Thursday, 29 October 2020

Part One

Those of you who know me -who perhaps read what I write on facebook, or who have heard or seek out my music, will know that I am a passionate supporter/advocate/activist/ commentator on the subject of the injustice, to put it mildly, of what is happening in Palestine.  There will be those who wonder why the subject so obsesses me. Let me prevail upon your patience and try to explain:

 For years I wondered why there was this antipathy, this animosity, between Palestinians and the government of Israel.  Many people may think there is a simple explanation but, of course no such conflict between peoples is ever simple.  Where to begin? I wondered. So I put into practice what my wonderful partner, Pauline, always says in such instances- "Google is your friend," she says.  Coincidentally, it happened to be, at that time, some sort of anniversay of what is called "The Balfour Declaration".  I then found out that this very simply entitled document, or letter, as it turned out to be,  was the published, internationally recognised, paper, issued by the UK Parliament under whose aegis it had been drafted, declaring the establishment of what we now call Israel, or, to put it another way, a homeland for the Jewish people.  The reason it was produced by the UK was because, at the time, the region of Palestine was under the mandated administration of Britain, under international agreements following WW1,  these agreements having been produced by the League of Nations, which later bcame the UN.  Just why it was Britain that had this mandate is the result of conditions and outcomes of the war and the various nations/forces involved in it but I have to admit that I do not- did not- fully understand those processes.

Nor, I must admit, do I understand why (a) it was decided that the Jewish people should be provided with a "homeland" or (b) why it was Palestine that was decided upon.

As regards the former, I have assumed (and I accept that assumptions are risky) that the Jewishpeople, the Zionist diaspora, especially after the trauma of WW2, will have longed for a homeland.  Secondly, of course, there are aspects of Judaism which cause them to believe that their homeland in the land of Palestine is their god-given right.

Palestine, as history scholars will know, has long been and Arab land, peopled by the Palestinian Arabs for centuries.  The Palestinians have occupied, built on, lived and worked in their land for a very long time indeed so people will readily understand their- to put it mildly- resentment at the occupation of Palestine by Israel.

So, this (to my mind) contorted series of events and circumstances has resulted in Jewish people in large numbers emigrating to the middle east- to Palestine- and establishing their settlements and state in what Palestinians are adamant  is their land.  If you, reader, could imagine someone- a stranger- cimbing over the back fence of your garden without your consent, building a house on it and a fence across it and denying you access to it, you might begin to understand how the average Palestinian feels about the Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestinian land.

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