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The Imbroglio.

Byline: Tariq Asad

Balfour Declaration-the highly divisive British proclamation, with US consent, in the midst of World War I - was a provenance for the creation of Israel. Besides being a declaration it was a carte blanche for depriving the indigenous Palestinians of their peaceful rights. Since then the Palestinians, while living on their forefathers' territory, have been facing incalculable human and material losses inflicted upon them by successive Israeli governments. Israel's globally condemned capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Six Day War of 1967 drastically altered the geography of the Middle East. Jointly called the "Occupied Palestinian Territory" the West Bank, inclusive of East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, are redolent of hellish images.

The use of blood and iron by the Israeli defence forces in the occupied territory has eventuated an appalling genocide of the Palestinians besides mass exodus from their native places in legions. The gut-wrenching wounds of Palestinian victims depict the use of globally banned chemical weapons. The Palestinians living in the occupied territory are bereft of basic human rights with little or no access to the outside world. Adding insult to injury, the Israeli settlements in the occupied territory speak volumes of its disregard, contempt and nefarious designs against the Palestinians. Despite decades of barbaric treatment and inexorable human loss, the Palestinians are yet to rein in their ancestral struggle for self-determination.

The steps of international organizations, that is, the United Nations, OIC, Arab League and others, serve no purpose for the Palestine issue. There exists a laundry list of the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions upbraiding Israel's territorial occupation, human rights violations and related crimes but so far tangible results have not been achieved. Tel Aviv's continual use of brutal force for suppressing the Palestinians has some benefactors in the West, not least Washington and London that authorized its creation. The US-Israel super-alliance has transmogrified a geographical tiny State of Israel into an invincible military state in the Middle East laden with neoteric and technologically sophisticated weaponry. Notwithstanding its brazen use of might and main, Israel's benefactors are yet to renounce multi-billion dollars of arms sales; even they have aligned their security interests with that of the Jewish state.

Israel is also the top beneficiary of a veto power retained by the US in the UN Security Council. Numerous UNSC resolutions have been strangulated by the US veto in favour of Israel: more than a year ago, the US used its veto for the 43rd time in support of Israel when it thwarted a draft resolution repudiating Donald Trump's decision for making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018 whilst accusing the UN of being prejudiced about Israel, defines the level of its attachment and alignment with the Jewish state.

The Trump administration's appointment of David Friedman, an opponent of the two-state solution and an advocate of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, as US ambassador to Israel and shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem, are two primal steps towards the execution of a nightmarish project for the Palestinians, that is, "Greater Israel" which would create a single de facto state ruled by the Jews who would have unqualified settlements in the occupied territory.

While observing the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May shrugged off the demands for a British apology on issuing the contentious declaration and expressed her country's unflinching support for the security of Israel. It is perspicuous that Israel's deplorable designs and heinous crimes in the occupied territory have thrived because of its hand-in-glove relationship with the US and the UK but now the turnabout from some Arab states and peace treaties with Israel have exacerbated the situation further. Egypt and Jordan, two prime neighbouring states, have economically and militarily benefitted a lot from their peace treaties with Israel at the expense of exponential surge in sufferings of the Palestinians.

In the Gulf sphere, the UAE and Oman have convivial relations with Israel, whereas Saudi Arabia's furtively snowballing warmth with the Jewish state would further trammel the decades-long Palestinians' struggle and efforts for their self-determination. Australia has kicked off a new era of bilateral relations with Israel; the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent apology on behalf of Canadians for his country's rejection of a ship carrying some 900 Jewish refugees running away from the Nazi attack in 1939, has created a terra firma for his country's diplomatic relations with Israel in future. Evidently Israel's unabated recalcitrance in the occupied territory is cajoled by its patrons and partners located in different regions of the globe: amicable relations with major world powers have kept a lid over Israel's culpable crimes in the occupied territory.

Israel cannot be curbed unless its undergirded support is eliminated; perhaps its benefactors have been lobbying for its global recognition and diplomatic wellbeing. Coincidently or not, most of Israel's well-wishers are well-heeled also thereby making matters worse for the Palestinians. Nonetheless, Washington is the prime player in this tangled web in the Middle East. Its influence on Tel Aviv can eradicate massacres, mayhem and displacements from the lives of the irrepressibly struggling Palestinians.

A review of the Palestine situation since the 1948 War manifests criminal dereliction on the part of the international community. The Palestinians' hue and cry on their spilt blood is yet to be catered effectively though the chronic Palestine crisis is now a run-off-the-mill matter with no rosy prospects in the near future. It seems the international community is extremely indurate and apathetic when it comes to doing justice with the tristful chapter of Palestine, whereas Israel's benefactors have marvelously succeeded in watering down the impact of the blood-soaked occupied territory. In the existing milieu, the right to self-determination, besides returning to the pre-1967 geographical boundaries, seems to be an elusive dream for the Palestinians.
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Publication:South Asia
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Feb 14, 2019
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