Today —May 15 — 12.4 million Palestinians around the globe commemorate Nakba, an Arabic term that means catasrophe.
And catastrophe it has been for 70 years, with 700,000 Palestinians being driven out from their homeland, some maimed and murdered on that fateful day. Israel was born on May 14 1948 with Arab blood in its hands, and seven decades on it continues to draw Palestinian blood.
Wanting to create a Jewish-majority state, the Zionist regime did everything it could to drive the Palestinians to death or desertion.
According to Al Jazeera, “Zionist forces had taken more than 78 per cent of historic Palestine, ethnically cleansed and destroyed about 530 villages and cities, and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities, including more than 70 massacres.”
But the origins of Palestinian ethnic cleansing had a longer history. It all started with a 107-word controversial letter called Balfour Declaration issued on November 2 1917 by then British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour.
It was a pledge by the British government which the Zionist regime used to rush European Jews into Palestine to make it a Jewsih-majority state.
But the letter had a 67-word sentence that changed the course of Palestinian history: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
Never have so few words done so much to alter the course of the history of a people.
It is clear to the world that Israel doesn’t want a two-state solution, the only means of bringing justice to the Palestinians and peace to the Middle East.
The Zionist regime wants to perpetuate the status quo so that it can dispossess the land of the Arabs to build settlments for the newly arrived Jews from Europe.
It is also part of a major plan to build a Greater Israel, the Eretz Yisrael made public by Yitzak Shamir, the regime’s former prime minsiter. For the Palestinians the story is different: they want a two-state solution, and they want it now.
The reason is not difficult to discern. Close to 5 million Palestinians live under military occupation with little access to food, medicine or sanitation.
And they have been living in such destitution for decades. Britain and the United States have a moral obligation to right all the wrongs they have done to the Palestinians.
The Palestinians have paid with their lives, land and possessions for a crime that Europe committed.
If the world community could somehow have the courage to create “a national home for the Jewish people” out of Palestine in 1948, they must surely be able to summon the moral courage to establish a nation for the Palestinians in their own homeland in 2018.