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No substitute for a just settlement for Palestinians

18th Jun 2021
No substitute for a just settlement for Palestinians

(Photo credit: Ali Jadallah/Credit: Anadolu/Agency)

The latest so-called “flare-up of violence” in the Middle East is another costly reminder that nothing has been done concerning justice for the Palestinians since the creation of Israel almost three-quarters of a century ago.

The issue has continually been put on a back-burner, swept under the carpet, ignored and avoided. But it will never go away until there is a just settlement.

The result is yet more meaningless calls by the UK Government and other Western countries for renewed negotiations as if there hasn’t been any.

There has never been a comprehensive peace process, nor any attempt for justice. Even the latest supposed attempt by the previous US President, Donald Trump, was to somehow seek a settlement without the involvement of the displaced Palestinians, whose land has not only been seized and territory carved up into virtual cantons and millions effectively imprisoned in the world’s largest open jail called Gaza.

“The occupation will not end and peace will not be achieved by symbolic measures,” the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London warned when yet against spelt out renewed peace negotiations would be towards the creation of “a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel.” It insisted that the UK Government would “continue to press Israel and the

Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult” as if both sides were balanced and not one side being armed to the teeth with the help of UK military equipment and especially with billions of dollars of US aid.

The latest bombing of Gaza was by far the largest military mobilisation by the biggest transgressor of international law. As described elsewhere in this paper, there was no comparison in the amount of death and destruction wreaked on Gaza. It comes after Israel was dubbed an apartheid regime by its own leading human rights group, B’Tselem.

Yet, where was the outrage from the world’s “just” and “democratic” governments, a stark contrast to the huge international public protests staged in support of the Palestinians, including across the UK?

The timing of the blitzkrieg was also not coincidental, coming after President Benjamin Netanyahu, who, despite holding four elections in two years, had been unable to win and form a coalition. It was also seen as the first test for US President Joe Biden. His predecessor, Donald Trump was considered to be by far the most pro-Israel American leader to date, even being prepared to jeopardise the special status of Jerusalem under international law.

While countries treated Israel with even more kid gloves than usual, Biden dithered, allowing the continued bombardment of Palestinian civilians. There was even no attempt to distinguish the military wing of Hamas in the media, classed by the US and UK as a terrorist organisation.

The pro-Israel bigotry had worryingly spread to try to prevent any expressions of support for the tyrannised Palestinians by equating any advocacy as anti-Semitic. There was even the harrowing account of a pupil being suspended at a school in Manchester for simply mentioning ‘free Palestine.’ Over in Yorkshire, a demonstration outside a school was described by a head teacher as supporting anti-Semitism while a group of students were disciplined for wearing lanyards bearing the Palestinian flag.

The FCDO issued a statement in response to a petition to ‘Introduce sanctions against Israel‘ proclaiming that the UK Government was “firmly opposed to such measures”, despite its success in ending apartheid in South Africa.

It insisted though it does “not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary” but pointed out that the regime was “an important strategic partner for the UK” and went as far as confessing “we collaborate on issues of defence and security.”

There was no compunction about the biased and hypocritical policy in stating “the UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel” without making any reference to the death and destruction heaped on Palestinians by Israel’s mighty arsenal of weaponry. Instead, it was framed that Israel has a “legitimate right to self-defence.”

It was also notable that the UK’s position towards the occupied West Bank has been reduced to being only “contiguous.” Even with regard to the trading of produce of illegal Israeli settlements, the Foreign Office has resorted to washing its hands, saying that “ultimately, it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The British

Government, it said, would “neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.”
The majority of the killings may have temporarily subsided, but the persecution of the indigenous Palestinians continues unabated. The state of Israel is lawless and in an eternal state of war. Temporary bouts of peace do not equate to justice for the Palestinians. And it is that injustice of ever-expanding occupation, which began with the birth of Israel, that is the root of the conflict.

Sooner or later Washington will need to move towards a more egalitarian policy while, despite its stance, the UK still holds special responsibility for largely causing the conundrum, and as a consequence, the killing and displacement of millions of Palestinians. There is no substitute for a just settlement.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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