A reign of terror began 71 years ago in Palestine: aptly called The Catastrophe, that terror continues to this day. That land lies at an ancient crossroads, located directly along the shortest land route from Africa to Europe. You have to be a resilient people to have lived there over the past few millennia, resiliency is something that defines such people. Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions
Ethnic cleansing continues even as the Palestinian birthrate increases more rapidly than the Israeli birthrate. There are now 5.3 million Palestinians and 5.2 million Israelis living in the same geography.
Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1917 — the United States has only been around for 243 years. How much history, culture, traditions, arts, sciences, music, dance, cuisine, celebrations had flourished in those 401 years? Here is that link again: Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions.
The current political milieu in Israel extends from Rightwing to Ultra Rightwing, and all points in-between. Michael Oren, former Netanyahu ambassador to Washington and now a part of Netanyahu’s government, spoke over the telephone with Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker, the interview went off the rails with quite a flourish. Here is an excerpt:
Isaac Chotiner: I am trying to disaggregate the ideas that this is being done for safety and security and there is no alternative, and that it is being done because people are traditional and religious—
Michael Oren: That’s my point. It’s not just security. It’s also ideology, it’s also belief.
Isaac Chotiner: Do you think that there are moral consequences to those beliefs, if they include increasing settlements in the West Bank?
Michael Oren: I have to distinguish between what’s right and what’s smart.
Isaac Chotiner: Increasing settlements is which?
Michael Oren: Again, you want to put this in black-and-white terms, but it is not black and white. Increasing settlements where? They are not all the same.
Isaac Chotiner: Sure. I just didn’t understand what you meant by right versus smart. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
Michael Oren: It is definitely our right. I think it is our incontrovertible right as Jews to live anywhere in our ancestral homeland.
Isaac Chotiner: Really?
Michael Oren Cuts Short a Conversation About Israel
Michael Oren: No question. No question about it. Anywhere. And a member of the Sioux nation has a right to live on Sioux-nation territory. These are our tribal lands. The cradle of our civilization.
Occupation and demolition is heartless and it is brutal. Is it “a moral imperative” to uproot a thousand olive trees tended for a thousand years? The occupiers, protected by the IDF, routinely force families onto the street, then demolish their homes. Does it matter that those families have lived there for centuries? Housing developments in the Occupied Territories look like they’ve been transported from Southern California: reliable electricity, clean water, sewage pipes that dump onto the small isolated pockets that remain well isolated — where dwell the huddled Palestinian masses. Homeless in their own country. The “settlements” connect to Israeli jobs, markets and families over modern highways, fences run along the entire length of both shoulders. “For Israelis Only” — Jim Crow echoes there. Zoom out and you witness the spectacle of a 200 state solution, 200 isolated pockets of huddled masses yearning to be free.
Where you can meet Palestinians
What is it like to be dispossessed, to live under terror for 71 years? The IDF doesn’t just knock on your children’s door in the middle of the night, they break the door down and terrorize the entire family, the entire neighborhood. They do it at whim and with impunity, they keep the kids in holding cells indefinitely.
The British Empire took advantage of several remnants of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 by obtaining a legal instrument (a Mandate for Palestine) drawn up by the short-lived League of Nations. Lord Balfour feared an influx of Semites arriving at British shores, undesirable refugees in an otherwise polite country. He sought to keep them far away from Britannia. Palestine was on the other side of Europe, far from the White Cliffs of Dover.
I maintain that the British Empire signed over their “Mandate for Palestine” to Palestine’s present occupiers.
In 1948, Truman pulled a Balfour on the Palestinians.
Thanks for reading.
7 thoughts on “Nakba: a 71-year perspective”
Well said, Sir. A fair appraisal. The ignorant impotence of the British (Empire) blindly sowing the seeds of poisonous polar opposite planted peoples in the same field. As ever, the lessons of history duly ignored. A crying shame, for certain.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thank you, kind Sir! The “special relationship” between our two countries includes an ability to cast a blind eye at the invasive plant seeds sown in the name of Western Civilization. Ignoring the lessons of history is a patriotic act instilled at birth it seems. Blaming the victim is nearly autonomic. Please know that I value your support and your words enormously.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Was it not a portly yet senior official to the British Raj who coined the phrase, ‘Life is cheap in the East’. These days The West, as a whole, think it yet don’t speak it. How loathsome a thing capitalism run rampant can be. I enjoy your post, by the way. ‘Compassion upon intellectual foundations’ its content. Keep up the good work, Bill.
LikeLiked by 1 person
A catastrophe for sure Bill, and one in which both the British and American governments have been complicit.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thanks for the comment on the complicit, Henry. The two go back a long way, do they not? That prime directive about sloughing along in long lost causes and all that —sticking around until the muck gets up to the nostrils, never learning lessons from history… The US Empire has long claimed a mandate to the entire planet — the US that keeps voting against anything that would work better than sanctioning the sanctity of the status quo, ever since Truman. The Trump/Netanyahu morph more than disquiets me. But nothing profits like munitions — bombs and bullets expended trigger purchase orders for replenishment.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“What is it like to be dispossessed, to live under terror for 71 years? The IDF doesn’t just knock on your children’s door in the middle of the night, they break the door down and terrorize the entire family, the entire neighborhood. They do it at whim and with impunity, they keep the kids in holding cells indefinitely. ”
This cesspool of hate, intolerance, prejudice, bigotry and all things vile and obscene has much to answer for because far too many people have been put through this hell and will continue to be put through this hell simply because Europeans and Americans were cut from the same cloth and this is why I spare no punches when I go on a tangent on my blog because enough is enough and yet it never is!
Suffering and misery are what Europeans have been visiting on the innocent for far too long including the Palestinians, the Aborigines, the “American” Indians, the Africans, the Maoris, the Polynesians, the Marshallese, those in South and Central America and the list is endless. We have ALL been “dispossessed and live in terror” each and every single day. And ” keep the kids in holding cells indefinitely” is exactly what the Trump Administration is doing to children who have come from south of the border since they too have been “dispossessed” because of the horrors unleashed on their countries by Europeans.
The script is always the same; always and everywhere.
Great post, as usual!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Shelby for listing “Palestinians, the Aborigines, the “American” Indians, the Africans, the Maoris, the Polynesians, the Marshallese, those in South and Central America.” The list really is endless.
Israel uses weaponized language (hasbara) to deflect criticism immediately. Accusations of Antisemitism (J’accuse!) destroy the lives and careers of *anyone* who dares question *anything* remotely critical of *any* Israeli action that might come within a lightyear of disapproval. The parallels between Israel and the United States are innumerable. I could go on — and, of course, I will. But here is an informative opinion piece on aspects of Semitism: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/invention-mizrahim-170920103701750.html
“… while it remains a colonial project, bent on erasing the native Palestinian presence, their social efforts are more focused on “indigenising” themselves to the land. The obstinacy of Arab Jews in clinging to their cultural roots has provided a convenient avenue to lay claim to regional indigenous culture. So now, Arab foods (like falafel, hummus, shakshouka), traditional Arab clothing (like tatreez, galabiyas, keffiyehs), and Arab folkloric dances are all being rebranded as “Israeli,” yet another phase of colonial renaming, and they use the rebranded Arab Jews to justify their claim.”