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Palestine in 2017

Palestine in 2017

In 1916 Britain and France, by means of the Sykes/Picot treaty divided the Middle East between them. The 1919 Balfour Declaration created a homeland, in Palestine, for the Jewish people. Britain withdrew from Palestine following the killing of 90 people at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem in 1948.

3,000 Israeli police and troops removed hundreds of illegal Jewish settlers occupying privately owned Palestinian land, February 1, 2017, Amona, Israel. Israel embarked on an unprecedented wave of West Bank settlement expansion, January 2017, approving 3,000 new homes one week after authorisation was granted for an extra 2,500 settler homes.

The international community declare settlements illegal. Donald Trump (Brute force, without wisdom, falls by its own weight, Horatius, IV, 65) remains silent over Israeli announcements of settlement expansion with the new US ambassador to Israel a supporter of settlements.

The original biblical ‘Promised Land’ was Judea and Samaria, today’s West Bank of the Jordan river - hence the relentless Jewish colonisation of Palestinian land with 100,000 settlers in 2008 rising to 600,000 settlers in 2016. Jewish settlers seize the summits and harass the Palestinians who retaliate and are arrested by Israeli Defence Force personnel ‘for their own protection.’ The settlers then are free to misappropriate the Palestinian’s homes and continue until there are no remaining Palestinians.

West bank settlements, Christian anti-Semitism and Muslim terrorism are morally wrong.

John Hume wrote an article for the Jerusalem Post proposing the Northern Irish Good Friday Agreement might be applied to the Palestinian –Israeli conflict, Unfortunately the West Bank with its massive Jewish settlements resembles 17th century Ireland after Catholic dispossession. Intractable is a good description.

US President, Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid lists the outrageous treatment meted out to the Palestinians, the Israeli occupation, the dispossession of Palestinian land by Israel, the brutality visited upon this denuded, subject population, and what he calls ‘a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights.’ This is a society of Jewish rulers and Arab subjects with few rights of citizenship. Carter proposes the taking of substantial portions of the occupied territory, with the remaining Palestinians completely surrounded by walls fences and Israeli checkpoints, living as prisoners with the small portion of land left to them.

David Ben Gurion former President of Israel said ‘go forth and make the desert bloom’ Israelis did no such thing, the Negev and Sinai deserts have an Arab majority and remain for grazing herds. Israel lacks international borders with the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Sinai taken in combat. Settlers live cheaply in the illegal settlements they do not pay service charges imposed on city dwellers. Settlements resemble Brooklyn because they are lived in by Jewish people from North America.

Gaza, Palestine, Irish President Elect, Michael D. Higgins Report

The US in 1997 won the Cold War and set the agenda for its security, prosperity and implementing its principles directly supporting Israel at Gaza's expense

In June 1997, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and US National Security Adviser, Paul Wolfowitz decided the United States had the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests.

US President Bush and the Axis of Evil Speech

In April 2002, US President Bush stated: "....The United States and Israel share a common enemy. We are both targets of 'an axis of evil'. Israel is targeted,.... because it is an island of liberal democratic principles in a sea of tyranny, intolerance and hatred....Iran, Iraq and Syria are all engaged in 'inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing against Israel, I declare war on international terrorism. Israel and the United States are fighting the same war."

'Should people say they hear the voice of God all the time and say they know what to do, then impose that on others politically, it is theological tyranny.' Senator David Norris, Irish human rights activist.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

Michael D. Higgins was elected President of Ireland 29th October, 2011. Michael D. Higgins is a humanitarian and civil rights activist who visited Western Sahara, Turkey, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Peru, Gaza, The West Bank, Iraq and Somalia. He was the first recipient of the Sean MacBride Peace Prize awarded by the International Peace Institute in Helsinki in 1992.

Michael D. Higgins Report on the August 2005 visit to Gaza

Delegation leader, Andreas van Aaght, former Netherlands Prime Minister, three former Ministers and one former French Ambassador, one an Auschwitz survivor along with Michael D. Higgins who wrote the following report visited Gaza in August 2005. This was a European Union delegation granted permission to report on the daily living conditions of Palestinians. The delegates had no affiliation with Hamas or al Fatah or any Palestinian organisation.

  • 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, 750,000 are children under 15 years of age. 900.000 live in refugee camps. Two thirds live below the poverty line with 40% unemployment in Gaza. The delegates travelled the routes ordinary Palestinians used, enduring the humiliating and degrading daily ordeals.

  • Gaza is best described as an open prison. Settlers used eight times more water than the refugees per head, for swimming pools, thereby reducing the Gaza aquifer to below sea level so that it became salinated.

  • As the settlers left Gaza, 13,000 settlers entered the West Bank. The Israeli government acknowledges more than 250,000 settlers in the West Bank. 150,000 settlements are arranged in a horseshoe around East Jerusalem with Israel controlling 60% of the West Bank. Settler occupation has the function of humiliation. 500 settlers in the centre of Hebron are protected by 5,000 Israeli soldiers, barring Palestinians from entering Hebron city centre.

  • Settlers enter a house illegally, expropriating Palestinian property by knocking through the walls and changing the locks. A confrontation takes place and the Israeli army takes the Palestinians into custody, for their own protection. 2,500 businesses have been closed as a result of such intimidation. In November 1989, Ariel Sharon advised: 'We all must run to the top of every hill. What we occupy we will keep, what we leave, they will get.' Settlements dominate the hills, with the Israeli Defence Force as protection. The delegation was pelted with glass bottles from settlers on the hilltops. Ordinary Palestinians are intimidated daily.

  • 'The Wall' was central to the delegates' visit. 'The Wall' was judged illegal at the International Court of Justice in 2004. 'The Wall', 9 metres high will shortly encircle Bethlehem.

  • Since September 2000, 500,000 Palestinian olive trees have been destroyed. The olive tree has tremendous symbolic significance for Palestinians.

  • Greater Jerusalem has become a 70% Israeli majority.

  • The West Bank will be divided along a north-south axis by 'The Wall' and will become as tightly controlled as Gaza.

The Future

The blockade of Gaza by Israel means that this is the last independent report on living conditions in Gaza for ordinary Palestinians. Operation Cast Lead caused tremendous destruction and 1,300 civilian casualties in Gaza.

The US 10 year $38 billion payment to Israel continues on what conditions?

The IDF did not fight Hezbollah to a standstill in Southern Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in 2006. This war cost 100 IDF personnel’s lives and the IDF’s reputation.

The Middle East deserves to be at peace. Palestinians have waited too long while many in Israel realise that security is best achieved when a viable Palestinian state is established. Mankind should be working to ensure peace through solidarity and support for International Law.


Causes for Concern, Irish Politics, Culture and Society by Michael D.Higgins, Liberties Press 2007; The Age of the Warrior, Robert Fisk Harper Prerennial 2009; New York Times Gaza Strip; Police clash with Israelis over eviction in West Bank, Irish Times, 2/2/2017;David Miliband Gaza Politics save the children

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