This year marks the 70th anniversary of the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland — the Nakba — by the Zionist Movement, which established the state of Israel on the land of our forefathers. Since then, Palestinians have not only suffered displacement but also continuous aggression and oppression by Israel. Since 30 March, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been taking part in the Great Return March, a series of peaceful protests against the refusal to allow refugees to return to their homeland. Israeli snipers have shot and killed more than 130 Palestinian men, women and children, and wounded around 15,000. The international community has largely turned a blind eye to this injustice and US President Donald Trump has sided with the killers.
Israel has used its religion-based propaganda to woo the West and ensure support for its scheme to colonise as much of Palestine as possible; Trump's open support is the latest evidence of this. Israeli leaders such as Menachem Begin (1913-1992) and Yitzhak Shamir (1915-2012) were wanted as international terrorists. Begin was born in Belarus and led the Zionist terrorist group Irgun; he also founded the Likud party, of which current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader. Shamir was born in Poland and was a leader of the Zionist terrorist group Lehi. Both men became prime minister of Israel, despite their terrorist past and responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of more than 60 per cent of the indigenous people of Palestine. Their terrorism targeted the British Mandate administration, most notably with the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Bizarrely, that and other atrocities against British military and civilian personnel are overlooked by the British government and "Friends of Israel" MPs today, with Israel being a key ally. The same is true of the Americans, who either have collective amnesia about the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, during which 34 US Navy sailors were killed and 171 were wounded, or they simply choose to forget it. A cover-up by Washington has been in place ever since, which suggests the latter.
Although the Palestinians have the legal right to resist the Israeli occupation and return to their land, resistance movements are presented as terrorist organisations in Western mainstream media and designated officially as such by politicians. The US, for example, designates Hamas as a "global terrorist entity" (emphasis added) despite the undeniable fact that the movement has always restricted its action to the historic land of Palestine; Hamas has never carried out any act beyond the borders of its homeland. In stark contrast, Israel acts as a state above international law. Men, women and children have been bombed and killed in Israel's frequent military offensives against the people of the Gaza Strip. It stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity with its policies. Israel has not only invaded and occupied neighbouring states but also assassinated Palestinian leaders, writers, poets, intellectuals, journalists, academics, scientists and social activists with apparent impunity.
Many of these murders have taken place well beyond the borders of Palestine. Being a member of a liberation movement gives Israel, its politicians and supporters believe, an open licence to kill indiscriminately; no arrest, charges and trial are needed. In April, for example, the Palestinian scientist and Imam Fadi Al-Batsh was brutally murdered while he was walking to a local mosque for the dawn prayer in Kuala Lumpur, where he worked in a local university. A couple of months earlier, in January, Israel tried to assassinate a Palestinian school teacher called Muhammad Hamdan in Lebanon by planting a bomb in his car. Luckily, he escaped with minor injuries. Before that, in December 2016, the Israelis shot dead the Tunisian scientist Mohammed Al-Zawari in front of his house in Sfax. Mahmoud Abdel Rauf Al-Mabhouh was murdered by Israeli Mossad agents in January 2010 in a Dubai hotel. The Israeli assassins used false passports of their allies in Europe, and thus created an international scandal. They also murdered Izz El-Deen Sobhi Sheikh Khalil in Damascus in September 2004, by planting a bomb in his car. In September 1997, Israeli agents even attempted to murder Khaled Meshaal, the then chairman of Hamas, in broad day light in Amman, the capital of Jordan. The would-be assassins carried false passports and were captured by the Jordanian security services. The attack took place in Jordan even though Israel had signed a peace treaty with the late King Hussain. This illustrates clearly that Israeli governments have no respect for the sovereignty of any other state, even their allies. They have long spied on Israel's main sponsor, the United States of America.
Israel is allowed to do what it wants and is never taken to account for its breaches of international laws and conventions. It claims to be acting as part of the "war on terrorism" and then sells its "anti-terrorist" and "security" expertise in the global arms market. The Israeli discourse in this respect pushes a divide and rule agenda. In the name of "self-defence" and internal security it systematically destroys the aspirations of the indigenous Palestinian people. Israeli opportunism is, in every respect, a threat to world peace and stability.
So-called "Islamic terrorism" is the stock in trade of Israel and its allies, especially the US. The Americans are behind the mushrooming terrorist organisations with an Islamic veneer; they summon the terrorist demons and use the pretext of fighting them in order to destroy countries, as they have done in Iraq and Syria.
Palestinian resistance, on the other hand, has a very clear purpose: to liberate Palestine from Israel's brutal military occupation. Resistance groups never interfere in other countries or meddle in their domestic matters. The external leadership of Hamas, for example, left its base in Damascus because it couldn't support the position of the host government led by Bashar Al-Assad in 2011, nor could it stay and do nothing while such injustice took place in Syria. While favouring peaceful means to settle differences and negotiate towards internal solutions, resistance groups reserve their legitimate right to resort to arms when pushed to do so. The Palestinians know the importance of peace and yearn for it.
The Europeans and Americans who benefit most from the UN have little or no respect for the organisation. In fact, the powers in Washington treat the international community as a whole with contempt. Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, for example, flew in the face of UN Resolutions which state that the status quo of the city should be maintained and its occupation should not be accepted. Europe is rather more hypocritical; whenever Israel breaks international law, European states tend to abstain if proposed motions censure the Zionist state, and they still give it favoured trading status. What's more, they always join the chorus of those who insist that the Palestinians — who are the victims of Israel's occupation and violence, lest we forget — should refrain from reacting violently and "show restraint" in the face of extreme provocation by Israel.
The Trump administration is arguably more racist and right-wing than Netanyahu and his Likud-led governing coalition, to the extent that Mahmud Abbas, the most dovish of Palestinian leaders, refuses to recognise the Americans as mediators. Netanyahu, Trump and the rest of his Zionist choir now believe that it is the perfect time to impose a "deal of the century" on the Palestinians, as long as the regional Arab leadership is willing to go along with the charade in order to gain US and Israeli support for countering the aspirations of their own people to have democratically elected governments. Such a short-sighted foreign policy will lead to the isolation of the United States and see the world lose faith in international organisations like the UN, as well as international law. Coalitions will be formed, excluding America, as countries seek to build their own security umbrella. US interests appear to play second fiddle to Israel's in such policies, and the pro-American Arab regimes will lose their legitimacy as a direct result.
Although the US was the first to use the term "soft power", it seems to be ignorant of the tremendous influence that the Palestinian and Arab people have in the Islamic world and around the globe. Social media has loosened the pro-Israel grip on the mainstream media which has been used to suppress the Palestinian narrative. The result is that public support for Palestine in the West and elsewhere is becoming more widespread as images of Israeli atrocities are in the public domain as soon as they happen.
With no credible Palestinian backing for his "deal of the century", Trump faces it becoming the flop of the century. He will go down in history alongside the Zionist terrorists and Arab dictators as the villains of the piece, while the Palestinians will be seen as those who stood with great courage to defy the most powerful and arrogant world power in their quest for justice. It is they who are the heroes, and heroes live forever.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.