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How will Europe act towards Palestine now?

Image of protesters supporting the BDS movement outside Downing Street during Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the UK on September 9 2016
Protesters supporting the BDS movement outside Downing Street during Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the UK on September 9 2016 [File photo]

The game that lasted for a quarter of a century is over and the international promises sold to the Palestinian people under the banner of the Middle East ‘peace process’ have evaporated. Who now can hope for an independent Palestinian through negotiations? What about Jerusalem, since Washington’s recent decision?

While the Israeli army was murdering Palestinians with live bullets on the Gaza border yesterday, a crowd of US officials and members of Congress, led by the Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, gathered in Jerusalem. The large American delegation was elated to move the US Embassy to the occupied city but were wilfully oblivious to the conditions faced by Palestinians.

They are drowning in the ecstasy of misleading historical accounts and false religious interpretations intended to glorify a military occupation regime. They talked about Donald Trump as if he were a faithful Christian who had been sent by the Lord to accomplish what his predecessors at the White House could not. The joyful celebration disregarded the lives and the blood of the Palestinian people, and humiliated them as they counted the lives of their victims, the youngest of whom was the infant Leila Al-Ghandour, suffocated by the Israeli army with tear gas in east Gaza.

The opening of the embassy was an expression of an American shift that would end a quarter of a century of promises to establish an independent Palestinian state through negotiations. This transformation forces Europe to answer a fundamental question: What next? Of course, promises can be marketed to the Palestinians for another quarter of a century, but they will not wait until then, as even now they are mobilising in the face of the Israeli occupation by means of unexpected public methods.

Gazans are now staging a massive peaceful popular rally demanding legitimate rights for which international resolutions were issued, but have remained ink on paper. The unarmed refugees have moved towards their homeland in order to regain their land and homes, which were taken from them by the Israeli authorities. All of these masses have realised that the international community has failed them for the past century and has lost its credibility forever.

Occupied Palestine: my personal experience

Political leaders in Europe can be content with standing by and watching Israel’s massacres against the unarmed protestors and issue verbal warnings, as it did in the past. However, this does not absolve them of their moral obligations or historical responsibilities, as they played a part in creating the Nakba. The Palestinian people paid a heavy price for the European policies during the first half of the 20th century, which led to their expulsion from their land and homes and turning most of them into refugees without a country.

Israeli security forces take a Palestinian minor into custody in the West Bank on 20 December 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

As for the state built on the remains of Palestine, it had the European colonial experiences to rely on. It was distinguished by its denial of the Palestinian people’s existence and the denial of their basic rights, including their right to self-determination, the right for refugees to return to their country and homes, and the right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

According to the prevalent Israeli logic, the Palestinians should fade away or live under occupation forever, without protesting, screaming, or resisting. In order for the occupation to succeed in the test of existence, it must continue to oppress this nation by all means possible, as well as design advanced systems of land looting, resource theft, complete control, and Apartheid.

It must also exercise intimidation, imprisonment, exile, and murder. All of these systematic practices did not stop some from complimenting this rogue government, including international charters, which described it as a shining democracy belonging to the civilised world. This propaganda is perfect for covering up the facts, concealing continuous war crimes and brutal killing of the Palestinian people.

However, when the Israeli leadership decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – with the help of its ally, the Trump administration, it lost the ecstasy of the moment and failed to conceal reality.

The Palestinians are still at the heart of the issue, driving events, revealing undesirable facts and carrying the keys to their confiscated homes. The world saw the wound of the Palestinian Nakba, which has not healed and continues to bleed.

Even the American embassy celebration would not have succeeded if it weren’t for the hindrance of the Palestinians’ movement in Jerusalem and with the occupation forces’ violent chases in the city’s streets and camps, filled with the fumes and smoke of gas bombs.

The ceremony of smiles at the American embassy ended and the Israeli spokespeople demanded that the Palestinian people recognise the status quo, i.e. surrender to the occupation. It seems that this unfunny joke is kind of like asking the world to recognise poverty, ignorance, and disease as a status quo that should not be contained or confronted. However, the status quo that the world is seeing today is the Palestinian people’s determination to gain back their rights, no matter how long it takes or what the sacrifices are.

Palestinian generations march in popular rallies, stripped of any weapons, in order to reach their lands and homes, located behind the big prison called the Gaza Strip. Did David Ben-Gurion imagine this when he supervised the ethnic cleansing programme in Palestine? Did he imagine that the refugee population would continue to create events, raise their voices, and demand their land and homes even 70 years later?

READ: Palestinian outrage as US embassy opens in Jerusalem, 70 years since Nakba

Successive Israeli governments and their allies on both sides of the Atlantic mistakenly bet on the factor of time, assuming that it will erode the Palestinian cause, forsake the identity of its people, and that its generations would give up on demanding their rights. The 70th anniversary of the Nakba has shown that time has the opposite effect and that all of the tricks and plans used with this nation to exhaust them have failed. The result is the emergence of a new Palestinian generation unafraid of live ammunition and is generous with their sacrifices, despite the Israeli soldiers’ eager fingers on the trigger.

Europe must understand the messages that these extraordinary developments carry. It is the end of a phase filled with false promises and empty slogans that has lasted a quarter of a century. Europe must determine its position on the policy of collective strangulation imposed, with international complicity, on two million Palestinians in a large prison isolated from the world; a prison called the Gaza Strip.

These people were subjected to an immoral siege for political objectives, perhaps in the hope of causing an internal mass explosion within Gaza itself. However, this policy of collective punishment eventually led to a mass popular explosion in the face of occupation, not for loaves of bread or medication, but for rights and justice. Finally, is there a recommendation that Europe proposes to the Palestinian people other than to wait for another quarter of a century of worthless promises and slogans?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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