Saturday, 19 January 2013

We Palestinians teach life, sir.

Before beginning this detailed blog post, I would like to share with you the video-clip that inspired me to write this post. It is a poem, written and preformed by a brilliant Palestinian spoken word artist named Rafeef Ziadah. As you can see, this is where the idea for my title also comes.



So here we go. This one is dedicated to the millions of murdered Palestinians since the occupation began, for the Palestinians who were forcefully driven out of their home land, for the Palestinians who continue to live under oppression, for the Palestinians who will not be forgotten. This one is for Palestine.



-Introduction-


When the topic about the history of Palestine and modern day Israel took my interest around the time of the most recent attacks on Gaza, I started searching the internet to educate myself further. Surprisingly, I found very biased information, especially Wikipedia articles. After digging deeper and inquiring further, the history of this topic became less grey. I realised that not knowing the history of Palestine but supporting the cause is not doing complete justice to it's people. This blog post will be a detailed, but not a full, history of Palestine which I hope you'll read to gain an understanding about this subject that you may previously not have been exposed to. I've acquired the information from documentaries, videos, trustworthy websites and word of mouth.



-The ancient history of Palestine-


From 578 BC-1914CE, the land was conquered by various empires. The first empire to conquer was the Babylonian empire from 606-536BC. It was here that the Jews were exiled to Babylon, now known as modern day Iraq. 

Over the years, the Arab-Jews flourished in the middle east. In fact, when the 2003 war in Iraq took place, many Jews who had migrated to modern day Israel from generations of living in Iraq were very upset to see their homeland being destroyed.

The second empire to rule was the Persian empire from 538-333BCE. During the Persian rule, a lot of Jews came to live in Jerusalem and here, the second temple was constructed.

In 63BCE-313CE, the Roman empire who were predominantly Christian, conquered and destroyed the second temple. 

It was from 636-1099 that the Arabs then took over. Shortly after, the Christian crusaders waged a war against the Arabs in which 70,000 Muslims were slaughtered and the streets ran with blood. 

During this era, the Muslims suffered being dis-united and subject to humiliation by non-Muslim powers. Arnat, the king of Karak who was occupying Palestine at the time, would launch attacks on the Muslim pilgrims travelling to make Hajj. Men were tortured, women were humiliated and children were killed. 




-The story of Salah-ul-deen-


It was in 1169 that Salah-ul-deen known as 'Saladin' in the English history books took rule of Egypt. Salah-ul-deen improved the state of Egypt and established a powerful army. His aim was to unite the Arab countries who had become semi-independent states. On hearing what Arnat was doing to the Muslim pilgrims, he sent a letter to request a peace agreement, where Arnat would release hostages and give back what he had previously taken. Arnat refused.

In May 1187, war was waged between salah-ul-deen and the crusaders. Victory was achieved by the Muslim armies. 


In July 1187, another war took place between the same parties, salah-ul-deen, again, won. 

Shortly, the final war was waged, this time an army of 50,000 christian crusaders were led by 'Richard the lion heart' and the battle took place in a city called Hiteen. The crusaders were defeated and salah-ul-deen officially took rule. He took down the large cross placed on the dome of the rock and put up the Muslim flag. Unlike the crusaders, he gave freedom for inhabitants to leave unharmed, respecting their creeds and allowing their worship. The Arabs would occupy the land for years to come.




-What role did the British play?-


It was from 1516-1918 that the ottoman empire took rule. All through out this period, it was the Arabs who occupied Palestine and lived there harmoniously. In October 1915, an agreement between Henry McMahoon, the British high commissioner in Egypt, and Hussain bin Ali, the sharif of Mecca, stated that the Arabs would revolt in alliance with the British empire to hamper the ottoman empire since during the first world war the ottoman empire became an ally to the Germans. In return the UK would recognize the Arab independence and the land previously held by Turks would be returned the Arab nationals. This is now known as the 'McMahoon-Hussain agreement.' There is a Myth that the Jews and the Arabs have been fighting for hundreds of years over the same land. This can be refuted by just reading a genuine history book and doing some research. Around the 1900's, antisemitism was on the increase in Europe and an idea was proposed to create a Jewish state in Palestine. This was the start of Zionism. The British were very supportive of the Zionist movement and helped to establish all of the structures of a state. 

Two years after the McMahoon-Hussain agreement, the British foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, wrote to Lord Rothschild and his family who were considered as one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish families in America. Their influence in America was important to the British government. In this letter Balfour declared support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine but stated there had to be rights for the non-Jewish nationals living there, namely the Palestinians. This is known as the 'Balfour declaration.'


The McMahoon Hussein Agreement and the Balfour Declaration contradicted one another. Palestine was now promised, by the British, to both the Palestinians and the Jews.

However, during November 1915 and March 1916, a secret agreement took place between the French diplomat, Francois George-Picot and British, Sir Mark Sykes. The Russian Government were also a minor party to the 'Sykes-Picot agreement.' This agreement stated that the United Kingdom and France were planning on splitting and occupying parts of the Arab countries once they had revolted and over turned the Ottoman empire. Following the Russian revolution of October 1917, the Belsheviks, who were the new Russian government at the time, exposed the agreement. The British were embarrassed and the Arabs, dismayed.





-After World War I-


Jewish immigration increased out of Europe following World War I when Britain had implemented the Balfour declaration promising Jewish homeland in Palestine. Between 1914-1918, there was an immigration of 65,000 European Jews into Palestine.

The population distribution of Palestine in 1922:
Total = 757,182
Muslim and Christian Arabs = 87.6%
Jews = 11%

At this point, the Palestinians were outraged that not only did the British come to an agreement with the French behind their back, but that a European power was deciding the future of a non-European state without the consideration or wishes of the nationals who lived there. Looking back on History, it was the Palestinian Arabs who occupied the land for the most number of years, and ironically it was the Jews who occupied the land for the least number of years. It was never the Jews and the Arabs who fought for the land; in fact, there was more Christian-Muslim conflict over the land then there ever was Jewish-Muslim conflict. Do you see the myth?

In the 1920's, as the land was being stripped away from the Palestinians with the large number of Jewish immigrants, minor clashes began. Between 1920-1931, there was an additional 108,825 Jewish immigrants.

The population distribution of Palestine in 1931:
Total = 1,035,154
Muslim and Christian Arabs = 81.6%
Jews = 16.9%


When Hitler took power in Germany, the situation completely changed. Efforts to make Palestine a Jewish homeland now increased as both the British and the UN tried to make amendments for the Nazi genocidal policies. It was the Palestinians who paid the price for the Holocaust; innocent people who were the subject to genocide for the actions of a tyrant - how brilliant is the justice system we have?! 




Between 1932-1936, an additional 174,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine and between 1937-1945, there was an additional 119,800 Jewish immigrants.

In 1947, the violence between the Jews and the Palestinians spiraled out of control. Britain now decided to turn the problem over to America and let them deal further with the situation. The saying goes 'if you can't finish what you started, then don't start it all' but I guess back then the saying must have been more like 'if you have power and status, you can do whatever the hell you like, whether you finish it or not.' 

The UN were now under a lot of pressure to come up with a solution. They proposed to divide the land into two states. The Arabs were given 43% of the land even though they made up more than two thirds of the population. The Jews were given 56% of the land, even though they made up less than one third of the population and not to mention, the most fertile land. At this point, the Zionist leaders took advantage of their military power and immediately started occupying major cities in Palestine. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians had now began. They were doing to the Palestinians what the Nazi's did to them.

The argument nowadays is that the Jews were promised this land by God and so they have a right to take it, even if that means murder, massacre, genocide. There are people who think Religion is illogical, yet somehow agree with this argument. I am now addressing  the one who does not believe in religion or is not an adherent of one of the three Abrahamic religions; the Bible or the Torah is not considered by historians as a historically accurate document, so how then would you go on to agree with this? Or for the Christian who believes in this statement, doesn't genocide contradict the teaches of your faith? And for the adherents of Judaism, did you know most Rabbis and orthodox Jews do not support the state of Israel? WHY is this justifiable? 





-A story of a Palestinian women- 


I'd like to share with you a story of a Palestinian women who was driven out of her homeland when the Jews took over. She was the only one of her family to survive. 

During the conflict taking place in Palestine and the heartless murders committed, this woman, whose name during the documentary was not mentioned, took her children to seek refuge in a house with her brother Musa who spent the night to keep them company. 

That night the area was bombed, houses were destroyed, people were killed. After things calmed down a little, Jewish soldiers broke into her house, took them all out and severely beat her brother whilst she and her children watched helplessly. In tears, she handed over some money to one of the Jewish soldiers and begged the soldier not to kill her brother in return. The soldier took the money and replied 'you are very kind, look to what I'll do.' The Jewish soldiers placed her brother facing down on the floor in the position of prostration, then they pointed a gun at his head and shot him five times. 

The majority of her family members were all killed including her two sons, one step son, her father and her mother, her two brothers, her grandparents, her uncle, her aunt and her cousins. Till this day, when  recalling this story, she can not help but cry as she re-lives the painful memories.



-What did the neighboring Arabs do?-


It was after 300,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes that the Arabs finally intervened. It was after May 15th 1948, which by now Israel had declared itself a state, that the neighboring Arab armies were sent in to Palestine. Compared to the amount of Israeli soldiers, the Arabs were inferior in number.The Arab soldiers equated 68,000 whilst the Jewish soldiers reached 90,000. 

The Arabs were late, by this time the Jewish Armies had cleansed most of the territories and the new state of Israel encompassed 78% of the land previously belonging to the Palestinians. Out of the 500 Palestinian cities, 400 of them were destroyed. The west bank had come under Jordanian control and the Gaza strip had come under Egyptian control. It was said later that the Arab countries had stepped back and allowed this to take part, specifically King Hussein of Jordan who had even agreed to this and purposely allowed his armies to fail with poor weaponry and unsuccessful strategy. It was the dis-unity and corrupt governments of the Arab nations that also played a part in Israel's success.

Peace was declared between the Arab states and Israel, even though peace remained elusive. 700,000 Palestinians refugees lived in near by camps who still held the deeds to their homes which were now occupied by Jewish families. Many migrated to Jordan, Egypt and other near by Arab counties. The nationals of these countries were frustrated at the large number of Palestinian immigrants that even clashes and discrimination occurred between them, especially in Jordan. The Palestinians were homeless, broken and with no one to turn to for genuine help. 

The efforts of destroying the possibility of the Palestinians returning back home were strongly put into practice by the UN who continues to affirm the Jewish settlers human rights in international law and the 'right to return.' Palestinians who lost their homes in 1948 can not go back to Palestine even for a visit, but the Jews living outside of modern day Israel can go back as if they were returning and claim immediate citizenship having no historic ties, speaking no Hebrew, having no family who are or were living there - all they need is to be Jewish.




Through out history, this continues to be one of the biggest genocide acts committed and one of the most untold or hidden cases. It is a part of history, in my opinion, that is slowly dying along with the people who experienced the catastrophe first hand. 


Learn, remember and teach. Palestine will never be forgotten.

4 comments:

  1. Sorry, but no. The Palestinians in Israel have far greater rights and opportunities than they do in any of the Muslim countries who have segregated and exploited them since 1948. Why no mention of the phony Kingdom of Jordan, which comprises 80% of the former region-not nation, for it never existed as such- of Palestine? The genocide of Palestinians you speak of is a lie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reply to Dan; Do you write fantasy novels for a living? if not, you should.

      Delete
  2. This is a bunch of LIES! You are LIARS!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FpBR3u6_JkM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0-TcEH1-qvI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yqv5bocP4kQ

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFindex.html

    You are LIARS! Israel was given 12% of HIS Land. You took the remaining 88% and still try to complete Hitler's job - on wich you helped him.

    Islam is Terrorism and Evil! PERIOD!

    ReplyDelete