After Bono’s shout out to Palestine [video] from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I decided to do some digging into “The Palestinian Dream”.
Did you realize that Palestine, (as the region has been called since about 350 AD, before that ancient Israel and Canaan) and the people living there have been occupied by one foreign entity after another? Some of those entities were the Babylonians, the Romans, the Persians, the Muslims and in 1099 European soldiers arrived and massacred the Jewish and Muslim population in order to turn Palestine into a ‘Christian only’ nation calling it the Kingdom of Jerusalem. You can see the dramatic ending of that chapter in the history of Palestine played out in the Orlando Bloom movie Kingdom of Heaven.
Lawrence at Rabegh, north of Jidda, 1917
The most recent occupation was by Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) who after 400 years in Palestine were defeated by a British led coalition of Arab nations which included Palestinians, promised their freedom if they fought with them. That story was told in Lawrence of Arabia. The colors of the black, white, red and green coalition flag were used to create the Palestinian flag as well as that of Jordan. Unfortunately after the Arab Revolt Britain recanted their promise and instead granted European immigrant Jews the right to create their Jewish nation in Palestine! Between WW I and WW II the situation we are seeing in Palestine today began.
In 1948 a Jewish nation was created in Palestine. Israel was to be a homeland for the Jews of the world. While Palestinian Jews were only 30% of the population they were granted 50% of the land. An organized effort to remove non-Jewish Palestinians from their homes, farms and villages in some cases using brutal force, began. They moved them across the new border that now divided Palestine, into what were to be temporary tent cities. Those refugee camps are still there 61 years later, they’re no longer tent cities they are, at best overcrowded ghettos filled with Palestinians waiting to go home.
“Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date” – UN Resolution 194 (1948 AD)
Right of Return
Despite the way the PLO and Yasser Arafat were portrayed here in the West did you realize that they put an offer on the table that would have given Israel 78% of historic Palestine with a Palestinian state on just the remaining 22% in Gaza and The West Bank? All Israel had to do was comply with UN resolution 194 which guarantees refugees right of return OR compensation for lost property. In 1988 this was a formal part of the PLO platform. Israel called it a dangerous “peace offensive”. [Article: Israel Doesn’t Want Peace] A then unknown group of Palestinians were encouraged by Israel to overthrow Arafat and the PLO giving them weapons, intelligence information and money. They succeeded. The name of that group? Hamas.
Generation after generation the people of Palestine have dreamt of being free. Free to practice their religions whether they be a Christian, Muslim or Jew. Free to move around in their own country. Taxation WITH representation. Freedom to be free.
That is the Palestinian Dream.