Israel's intrusion into Palestinian Territories - reality or delusion?

Israel’s intrusion into Palestinian Territories – reality or delusion?

It is community engagements and mediation that can pave the way for peaceful settlement of Israel-Palestine conflict, and not subjective political commentaries.

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By Hriday Ch. Sarma

In recent years, Israel bashing has become a la mode among self-proclaimed progressive intelligentsia around the world. This is an easy way for one to rise to fame by branding a legal state as a scapegoat of his/her misinformed facts and misdeeds. Columnist Zak Witus, in his opinion article, ‘Israel’s punitive home demolitions’, published in The Michigan Daily, presents Israel as a villain that is imposing collective punishment against a particular community- i.e. the Palestinians. However, it is clear that Zak ignores, rather deliberately, historical developments and on the ground facts relating to the prevailing situation in the country.

UN Resolution 181, passed by an overwhelming majority in the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947, conferred Israel the legal authority for its statehood. It reiterated the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and a Arab state, with the city of Jerusalem as a corpus separatum to be under the UN’s responsibility. The Jewish nation which was then fighting for its survival and self-determination agreed to the Resolution, and even included it in its founding document – The Declaration of The Establishment of the State of Israel (1948). However, the Arabs in Palestine and the Arab states openly rejected the UN Resolution and initiated a war over it.

As the tide of the war started to swing in favour of the Jewish army, many Palestinian Arabs fled Israeli-controlled territories and spilled over into neighbouring Arab countries. So high was the exodus that the Palestine Arab Higher Committee had to ask neighbouring Arab countries to refuse visas to these refugees and to seal the borders against them. Many of them who stayed formed radical militant groups, such as Hamas, Palestine Liberation Army, Holy Jihad Brigade and the Army of Islam to sustain a war of attrition against Israel. These militant groups openly assisted neighbouring Arab countries to initiate four wars against Israel, only to be defeated each time. Amid continued tension in the Palestinian territories, Arabs have been fleeing from there since 1947, although no Jewish expulsion order has ever been made.

In recent times, Israel is frequently facing both large and small terrorist attacks, which mainstream international media rarely covers in great depth. In fact, after Hamas usurped power in Gaza in 2006, the intensity and frequency of such attacks have significantly increased. All Israelis, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, who live in the Israeli side of the country are facing a psychological trauma for their own security and the security of their families. Under such a situation, the Israeli government is acting in self-defence to protect the lives of its citizens while ensuring their well being. This is how any democratically elected government around the world is obliged to act under globally accepted international law. Why, therefore, the global hue-and-cry over Israel’s retribution to terrorist attacks coming from the Palestinian side?

All influential Arab countries and the despotic regimes holding power in Islamic countries have significantly gained from the continuing Israel-Palestinian conflict. They need this religiously sensitive conflict to keep diverting their populations’ attention from internal socio-economic problems. They falsify various facts relating to the conflict, sometimes using paid journalism, through Arab sympathizers and network of cohorts across the world. They are now adeptly using this tactic after the Arab Spring – a people’s movement using digital technology and peaceful mass protests – which still poses a threat to their survival.

The international community needs to understand the fact that Israel is not a aggressor state. It is asserting its historic right to the land fully in compliance with contemporary international law. It has occasionally cleared houses of Arab Bedouins that sprung up without legal permits inside its territories. The supposedly disputed Israeli settlements actually lie within a few miles of the 1967 border, otherwise known as the “Green Line”, including five major settlement blocs – Ma’ale Adumim, Modiin Ilit, Ariel, Gush Etzion and Givat Ze’ev. At present, Netanyahu government is working to designate the slopes of Mount Scopus – open areas within and around Jerusalem- as a national park to be further developed. This is part of a larger plan to create a “mental proximity” between the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim in West Bank. However, the agony is left-wing activists are claiming this as a new form of expansion of Israeli settlements.

It is community engagements and mediation that can pave the way for peaceful settlement of Israel-Palestine conflict, and not subjective political commentaries.

Hriday Ch. Sarma is a Israel analyst. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Energy Studies Programme at School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi).  He is the Founder and Team-Coordinator of Caucasus-Asia Center.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.


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