Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Today is the 64th anniversary of the shameful UN vote to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. [CORRECTION: As Jeremy Hammond documents, the UN General Assembly had no authority, even under its own bylaws, to partition any territory. It merely recommended partition.] Needless to say, the land worked and genuinely owned by Palestinian Arabs for centuries was not the UN member states' to give; nor did the UN have the moral authority to dictate that more than a million Muslim and Christian Palestinians would henceforth be ruled by a government that claimed to belong exclusively to the Jewish people (defined in a secular, biological, not a religious, sense) no matter where in the world they live. Thus not even in theory would the new state belong to all of its citizens. Very little of the land had been legitimately purchased by European Jews. (See the details of land purchases here.) The partition set the stage for the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes, to which they have never been able to return, the land having been "redeemed" in the name of the Jewish people. Many Palestinians were slaughtered by the Zionist forces. This is known in the Arab world as the nakba, or catastrophe. It also created the conditions under which the state of Israel in 1967 would conquer and occupy further territory that belonged to Palestinians. The grinding and humiliating oppression of occupation goes on to this day.
Eminent Jewish voices opposed the partition and the policies of the Israeli government, but they were ignored if not worse. (See more here.)
Of course no Palestinian state ever came into existence. For one thing, the Zionist authorities and the King of then-Transjordan did not want an independent Palestinian state and colluded to prevent its emergence. The Israeli authorities claim to be committed to a just two-state solution (assuming such a thing is possible), but their actions have always belied their words, particularly the relentless building of residential areas in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank. Meanwhile since June 2007, the Israeli government has maintained a blockade of Gaza that imperils the lives of its inhabitants.
In light of this historical context, Israel's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state as a precondition to negotiations only adds insult to monstrous injury.
This is truly the anniversary of a day of shame.