Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: The Long, Torturous Palestinian-Israeli Struggle

I have a 47-year history of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. It was in the spring of 1974, I was editor of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper when I first met Yasser Arafat, then-leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

As with all things involving the beleaguered Palestinian people since 1948 — when tens of thousands of them were expelled from their homes by terrorists led by Menahem Begin to make way for European Jews to usurp Palestinian land for what was to become the State of Israel — the U.N. meeting was controversial. Arafat, who was unflinching in his advocacy for Palestinian statehood, was called the terrorist.

Support for the Palestinian cause was so toxic, that years later, when Andrew Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, simply attended a reception at which Arafat was in the room (the two men never even met), Young was forced to hand in his resignation to President Jimmy Carter.

As the Israelis illegally confiscated more and more Palestinian land, beginning with the 1967 Six Day War, the Palestinians became more and more desperate and resorted to all manner of violent measures to gain their liberty from what they and even the U.N. considered to be their illegal oppression, to no avail.

Israeli politicians became more and more hawkish. Begin, who led the terror bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, which broke the back of the Palestinian and world resistance in 1948, became prime minister; as did Ariel Sharon, who in the 1980s led the brutal siege of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, which left hundreds dead; as did the current Israeli leader (though his tenure is in jeopardy, and he’s under investigation, pending indictment when he leaves office for corruption) Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Palestinians saw their ancestral land confiscated, their farms, homes crops destroyed, as they were beaten down again and again by aggressive Israeli military actions, and their meager defenses — rocket attacks launched at Israeli cities — were labeled as terrorism.

Over the years, I’ve watched and heard the Palestinians bemoan their plight, fearing that the Israelis want to drive them into the sea and confiscate all their land. The Israeli immigrants from the United States and Europe consider the Arab-owned land to be part of what they call “Ersatz Israel” — Greater Israel — or “Judea and Samaria,” all the land from the Jordan River to Mediterranean Sea … a land with no Arab sovereignty, what literally already is, and what would be made permanent into an apartheid state.

In the wake of the World War II holocaust, the League of Nations-turned United Nations and the United Kingdom usurped land which never even belonged to them in the first place in what was and is Palestine and gave it to the Zionist European refugees, and Israel was born. Zionist pioneer Golda Meir coined the phrase: “A land without a people, for a people without a land.” The theft was made complete. The Jews had their “Promised Land,” albeit at the bloody expense of the now-stateless Palestinians.

Now, American and United Nations leaders keep their after-the-fact, phony “diplomatic” efforts alive with talk now of a “two-state solution,” a sovereign Palestinian entity — albeit with no military forces — alongside the Israeli state. But in reality, the Israelis are simply stalling for time, indulging the faux diplomatic efforts, while they confiscate more and more Arab land. They have no intention of permitting any kind of Palestinian “entity” which might have anything even resembling the Israeli state.

Lost in this diplomatic brew is the notion of antisemitism, which once meant hatred or discrimination against any of the Semitic people — originally defined as people who spoke Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic and certain other ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family. Those are the true Semites.

That definition morphed into only including Jewish people — hatred or discrimination against Jewish people, not the others in the Semitic family. Now it’s seen as any simple criticism of the unjust, racist policies of the Jewish apartheid state of Israel. In fact, some will read this article and label it and its author as antisemitic.

The “antisemitic” label effectively silences the critics of racist, oppression practiced by Israel, giving them literally a license to steal and kill.

Thus, we’ve seen over the decades brutal oppression by a nuclear-armed Zionist entity in the name of Israel’s “right to defend itself.” What a racket.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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