Many know the state of Israel as, 'a land without a people for a people without a land.' It is seen by many as a land for the Jewish people to seek refuge in after having been victim to anti-Semitic persecutions throughout the centuries. However, there is an issue. Israel has not always belonged, and arguably still does not belong, to the people of Israel. The year 1948 marked a significant change for the lives of millions, with the consequences continuing on to present day. In 1948, Israel became a recognised country by nations such as the United States. In 1948, the establishment of Israel was known as the “nabka” (catastrophe) by the Palestinians. Israel, previously described as uninhabited land, came to be through imprisoning, expelling or murdering the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians.
Palestine, currently known as the occupied Palestinian territories, was home to over a million people before 1948. Whilst the majority of the population were Sunni Muslims, the country was still wealthy with Shia Muslims, Christians and Jews and other religious minorities. The Palestinian exodus of 1948 took place 66 years after the arrival of the first Jewish settlers and resulted in 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing their homes as a result of expulsion.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is often credited as a by-word for the Jewish-Muslim conflict - this is factually untrue. To title it as such would be to exclude the thousands and thousands of Christians, and even the atheist population, that have equally been expelled, imprisoned and murdered for living in their own country. Furthermore, there are many Jews, both orthodox and reform, protesting against the establishment of the unlawful state. To oppose Israel is not anti-Semetic, but anti-Zionist.
If the knowledge that 700,000 people were expelled from their homes and 2,000,000 are now forced to live in refugee camps in their own country still does not strike you, perhaps it may be helpful to include a couple more facts about both the history and the present of 'the only democracy of the Middle East'.
'The only democracy of the Middle East' has been declared by the UN as illegal and a perpetrator of genocide. After affirming that Israel has stolen land, the UN has also spoken out against Israel’s multifarious violations. This has not only included confiscating land, water, electricity and, other natural resources from the Palestinian Occupied Territories for the benefit of settlements of Israel but also includes violations of international human rights law.
Furthermore, Amnesty International has drawn attention to the regular and unlawful killing, torturing and arresting of thousands of Palestinians (7,000 of those include imprisoned children) who protested against or opposed the continuing military occupation and the severely restricted freedom of movement Palestinians are granted with the check points and the apartheid wall.
To describe the daily atrocities that Palestinians have faced since 1948 could not be done with justice in 500 words or even with 5,000. Therefore, I recommend anyone interested to have a further look into the on-going genocides, apartheid and illegal occupation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.