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Palestine will be free ‘from the river to the sea’

Published Oct 12, 2023


Bafana Phalane

On October 7, Hamas launched a full-on military attack into Israeli territory. Thousands of rockets were launched into Israel and were followed by an invasion of soldiers by land and sea.

Hamas is a Palestinian militant group that emerged in the late ’80s to challenge Israel’s illegal land grabs. The Western media quickly labelled it a terrorist group, in support of their ally, Israel.

The following article seeks to reflect and clarify some of the issues relating to the current war between Hamas and Palestine.

This article reflects on some fundamental issues that have contributed to many conflicts between Israel and Palestine over the years.

Israel is a powerful nation with strong international backing, and this puts it on a pedestal because of the strong financial muscle and international support from some of the notable global powers.

As of September 2023, the conflict between Hamas and Israel showed signs of possible escalation. This attracted profound international interest and Israel’s allies have come out to support Israel with rhetoric and financial support.

The US and EU are among the international bodies who came out to publicly condemn Hamas’s efforts to push Israel out of the contested territory.

To put things into perspective, there was no country or state called Israel until May 14, 1948. The then head of the Jewish Agency David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the Israeli state.

This was after the UN resolution during its general assembly in 1947.

The assembly recommended that there should be a partition of the land to form two independent states, Palestine (Arab) and Israel (Jewish). Thd occasion marked the beginning of profound conflicts in different regions of the land as it was largely rejected by the people of Palestine.

Before the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Jews existed in various parts of the world; they are known as migrants everywhere in the world.

They have been living in the diaspora for centuries, from the Babylonian exile in the 6th century till the Roman exile in 70 CE.

Before 1947, the Middle East was home to various ethnic and cultural groups who’ve called the land home for centuries. The arrangement was significantly altered by the events of World War I, particularly the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

In May 1916, there was a secret agreement reached during World War I, by Sir Mark Sykes of Britain and Francois Georges-Picot of France. hence the agreement is called the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Its purpose was to clarify the proposed spheres of influence in the Middle East for the allies. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire, as one of the Central Powers, posed a new challenge for the remaining members.

The Sykes-Picot agreement had a long-lasting impact in the Middle Eastern region.

The perpetual conflict in the region was exacerbated by the artificial borders that were drawn by the Sykes-Picot agreement. This agreement is often criticised and labelled as the main contributing factor to conflicts in the region.

The introduction of the Israeli state in the region marked the beginning of even greater turmoil in the region’s history.

The word “apartheid” is closely associated with the state of Israel. This is based on their deliberate government policies to exclude non-Israeli citizens. Israel is a state whose claim to the land had no basis.

Among other issues, Israel inculcated a culture of hate in the region by elevating the Jews as the only legitimate group and labelling everyone else infidels. This created animosity and further destabilised the region.

Some of the factors that sparked hostility in the region:

Legal Distinction – many criticized the Israeli state for having a separate legal system for Israeli settlers and Palestinians, particularly in the West Bank region.

Resource Allocation – there is a clear unequal access to resources and services between the Israeli settlers and the Palestinians.

Separation of Populations – The “apartheid” state of Israel continues to implement policies that deliberately separate Israelis and Palestinians. physically and socially. This is demonstrated by the construction of the West Bank barrier to protect the Israeli settlers in the region that originally belonged to the Palestinians.

Restricted Movement – The control of movement is one of the forms of discrimination used by the Israeli state to oppress the Palestinians in the region. The various travel restrictions affect Palestinians and have a profound impact on their economic participation. Poverty remains to be a common feature in these regions.

The Israeli/Palestine conflict is a complex issue and multifaceted. The war in the region is heavily supported by the West and their allies.

in a dramatic speech, US President Joe Biden, flanked by vice-president Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “At this moment, we must be crystal clear: we stand with Israel,”, echoing: “We stand with Israel.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, speaking at the Finchley United Synagogue in North London, affirmed support for Israel on behalf of the UK. ”I am unequivocal,” Sunak told a packed audience. “There are not two sides to these events.”

There is no question of balance. “I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. The United Kingdom stands with Israel.”

The world should unite against the divisive Western powers for their double standards. They condemn Russia, with sanctions and monetary support for Ukraine, yet they support Israel for similar territorial disputes.

The war in Israel is a war of survival and retaliation against the apartheid state of Israel, until Israel stops its brutal oppression of Palestine, there will never be a definite ceasefire. Israel must push back and respect the borders agreed upon by the UN in 1948.

The world needs to unite against the injustices by Israel. The international community should collectively condemn Israel for invading Palestine. Power to Palestine!

*Bafana Phalane is a thought leader and public policy analyst with interests in climate change and social justice.