From Balfour to Lions’ Den: A contribution to defining Palestinian Nakba

11 Nov, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Makram Khoury-Machool 

The Palestinian Nakba began exactly 105 years ago with the release of a letter from then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to the leader of the Zionist movement in what became infamously called the Balfour Declaration.

The project to establish the Zionist entity was and still is based on a long-term joint program between the Zionist movement and some colonial powers, primarily Britain and the US

As someone who grew up and was raised in the city of Yafa after the occupation of eastern Palestine in the 1967 war – known as the Naksa – in the house of his late grandfather and under the auspices of a great educational figure such as my grandmother, known as Madame Khoury, who’s slogan “I’d rather die in my house in Yafa than become a refugee” became a mantra that engraved in our minds the effect of attachment to the land… and as someone who listened and read the successive enthusiastic political articles of his father, the political writer Naim Youssef Machool, about the Nakba, the land, agriculture and steadfastness, as well as the articles, plays, interviews, and lectures of his mother, writer and novelist Antoinette Adeeb El-Khoury, I thought that based on this extensive personal experience, I should support and base my claim, listed below, on journalistic observations from the 80s and 90s in Palestine in particular and on two decades of academic research on the Palestinian issue in Britain in particular, and present a contribution to an expanded project whose main idea I will briefly list below.

We say that it is widely accepted that the Nakba of the Palestinians took place chronologically under the British mandate between the partition plan and Resolution of 29/11/1947 and the 1949 armistice with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, although there was no agreement within the framework of an armistice or the like with the Palestinian people; whether those who were expelled from it or those who remained in their homeland.

Accordingly, the struggle involving the Palestinian people remains open: Zionist domination of Palestine and Palestinian resistance against the occupation.

This article, part of which was presented at the University of Freiburg in Germany in 2011 and the Bandung Conference in 2015 and 2022, argues that although the most catastrophic period of the Palestinian Nakba (lit. catastrophe) reached its peak between 1947 and 1949, the Nakba was neither the beginning nor the end of the Palestinian people’s catastrophe.

This article claims that the Nakba of the Palestinian people began exactly 105 years ago with the release of a letter from then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to the leader of the Rothschild Zionist movement in what became infamously known as the Balfour Declaration issued on 2/11/1917, which followed the occupation of Palestine by Britain that was involved in WWI, especially the occupation of Al-Quds by General Allenby in December 1917.

It also argues that the Nakba includes everything that has happened since then until now, but certainly, this catastrophe reached its peak between 1947 and 1949 – which witnessed the forced expulsion of half of the Palestinian people from their homeland and the destruction of the majority of Palestine’s cultural, commercial, and social structure – and is continuing deliberately according to a plan that has not stopped until achieving liberation and independence.

Apart from emotional slogans, the project to establish the Zionist entity was and still is based on a long-term joint program between the Zionist movement and some colonial powers, primarily Britain and the US. In addition, this article claims and warns that an attempt to implement a new chapter of the Nakba of the Palestinian people is very possible, including the expulsion of additional Palestinians from West and East Palestine because the goal is to seize Palestine as a whole and the Palestinian people are seen as an obstacle that must be eliminated to achieve this goal.

Since the peak of the Nakba between 1947 and 1949, Palestinians, whom I defined as the survivors of the Nakba – meaning those who were able to remain in their homeland and who were intended to be loggers and waterers, as per the Israeli occupation administration, for the ruling Zionist class and its Jewish Arab servants who were brought in from the Arab countries to colonize Palestine – consisted a “security problem” not only in Al-Jaleel, the Triangle Area, and Al-Naqab, but also in the Palestinian coastal cities, such as Akka in the north and Yafa in the south.

When late historian Dr. Constantin Zureik published the book The Meaning of the Nakba in 1948, a few months after the catastrophe and the peak of the Nakba, his description of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people was accurate – due to what he witnessed personally and through his professional academic tools – being coupled with a resounding catastrophic psychological trauma.

However, examining what has happened to the Palestinian people, during the past 105 years, requires a new definition or at least an updated definition of the Nakba that has prevailed so far. What happened since 1917 onward shows the numerous and ongoing chapters of the Nakba of the Palestinian people since the Balfour Declaration till now, including the decision to partition Palestine in 1947 and the occupation of the second part of Palestine in 1967, the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987, the Oslo Accords and their offshoots between 1993 and 1994 and the second Palestinian Intifada that began in Al-Quds in 2000, as well as the killing of the first official Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2004, the repeated wars on the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing aggression against the occupied West Bank and Al-Quds, in addition to a set of racist laws against the Palestinian people in western Palestine, specifically the so-called “National Law” of 2018, the continuous killing of the Palestinian people in occupied East Palestine and the arrest of more than a million Palestinian since the Naksa, including women, children and elderly, the expanding settlement that hasn’t stopped and the confiscation of lands, the so-called “Deal of the Century” and Netanyahu and Trump’s annexation scheme, which I called in a previous article the “third armed robbery,” and the economic and “military” occupation siege on the Gaza Strip by air, sea and land, 

On December 16, 2016, exactly on the 99th anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Letter, we launched the Palestine Initiative 100 to re-engage with the beginning of this catastrophe. We were determined to renew encouragement to open the Balfour file since the beginning of the Palestinian people’s Nakba in 1917 and held a publicity evening in London, the capital of the British Empire that issued the Balfour Letter to the Zionist movement. As part of holding Britain to its historical, legal, and moral responsibilities, we demanded three types of steps: apology, compensation, and correction. We believe that canceling any of these steps would be naive, incomplete, or deceptive.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

THE QUEEN AND HER LEGACY: 21ST CENTURY BRITAIN HAS NEVER LOOKED SO MEDIEVAL

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2022

Source

By Jonathan Cook

Anyone in the UK who imagined they lived in a representative democracy – one in which leaders are elected and accountable to the people – will be in for a rude awakening over the next days and weeks.

TV schedules have been swept aside. Presenters must wear black and talk in hushed tones. Front pages are uniformly somber. Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.

Westminster, meanwhile, has been stripped of left and right. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have set aside politics to grieve as one. Even the Scottish nationalists – supposedly trying to rid themselves of the yoke of centuries of English rule presided over by the monarch – appear to be in effusive mourning.

The world’s urgent problems – from the war in Europe to a looming climate catastrophe – are no longer of interest or relevance. They can wait till Britons emerge from a more pressing national trauma.

Domestically, the BBC has told those facing a long winter in which they will not be able to afford to heat their homes that their suffering is “insignificant” compared to that of the family of a 96-year-old woman who died peacefully in the lap of luxury. They can wait too.

In this moment there is no public room for ambivalence or indifference, for reticence, for critical thinking – and most certainly not for Republicanism, even if nearly a third of the public, mostly the young, desire the monarchy’s abolition. The British establishment expects every man, woman, and child to do their duty by lowering their head.

Twenty-first-century Britain never felt so medieval.

WALL-TO-WALL EULOGIES

There are reasons a critical gaze is needed right now, as the British public is corralled into reverential mourning.

The wall-to-wall eulogies are intended to fill our nostrils with the perfume of nostalgia to cover the stench of a rotting institution, one at the heart of the very establishment doing the eulogising.

The demand is that everyone shows respect for the Queen and her family and that now is not the time for criticism or even analysis.

Indeed, the Royal Family have every right to be left in peace to grieve. But privacy is not what they, or the establishment they belong to, crave.

The Royals’ loss is public in every sense. There will be a lavish state funeral, paid for by the taxpayer. There will be an equally lavish coronation of her son, Charles, also paid for by the taxpayer.

And in the meantime, the British public will be force-fed the same official messages by every TV channel – not neutrally, impartially or objectively, but as state propaganda – paid for, once again, by the British taxpayer.

Reverence and veneration are the only types of coverage of the Queen and her family that is now allowed.

But there is a deeper sense in which the Royals are public figures – more so even than those thrust into the spotlight by their celebrity or talent for accumulating money.

The British public has entirely footed the bill for the Royals’ lives of privilege and pampered luxury. Like the kings of old, they have given themselves the right to enclose vast tracts of the British Isles as their private dominion. The Queen’s death, for example, means the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just added the whole of Cornwall to their estate.

If anyone is public property, it is the British Royals. They have no right to claim an exemption from scrutiny just when scrutiny is most needed – as the anti-democratic privileges of monarchy pass from one set of hands to another.

The demand for silence is not a politically neutral act. It is a demand that we collude in a corrupt system of establishment rule and hierarchical privilege.

The establishment has a vested interest in enforcing silence and obedience until the public’s attention has moved on to other matters. Anyone who complies leaves the terrain open over the coming weeks for the establishment to reinforce and deepen the public’s deference to elite privilege.

CONTINUITY OF RULE

Undoubtedly, the Queen carried out her duties supremely well during her 70 years on the throne. As BBC pundits keep telling us, she helped maintain social “stability” and ensured “continuity” of rule.

The start of her reign in 1952 coincided with her government ordering the suppression of the Mau Mau independence uprising in Kenya. Much of the population were put in concentration camps and used as slave labour – if they weren’t murdered by British soldiers.

At the height of her rule, 20 years later, British troops were given a green light to massacre 14 civilians in Northern Ireland on a protest march against Britain’s policy of jailing Catholics without trial. Those shot and killed were fleeing or tending the wounded. The British establishment oversaw cover-up inquiries into what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

And in the twilight years of her rule, her government rode roughshod over international law, invading Iraq on the pretext of destroying non-existent weapons of mass destruction. During the long years of a joint British and US occupation, it is likely that more than a million Iraqis died and millions more were driven from their homes.

The Queen, of course, was not personally responsible for any of those events – nor the many others that occurred while she maintained a dignified silence.

But she did provide regal cover for those crimes – in life, just as she is now being recruited to do in death.

It was her Royal Armed Forces that killed Johnny Foreigner.

It was her Commonwealth that repackaged the jackbooted British empire as a new, more media-savvy form of colonialism.

It was the Union Jacks, Beefeaters, black cabs, bowler hats – the ludicrous paraphernalia somehow associated with the Royals in the rest of the world’s mind – that the new power across the Atlantic regularly relied on from its sidekick to add a veneer of supposed civility to its ugly imperial designs.

Paradoxically, given US history, the special-ness of the special relationship hinged on having a much-beloved, esteemed Queen providing “continuity” as the British and US governments went about tearing up the rulebook on the laws of war in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

TEFLON QUEEN

And therein lies the rub. The Queen is dead. Long live the King!

But King Charles III is not Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen had the advantage of ascending to the throne in a very different era, when the media avoided Royal scandals unless they were entirely unavoidable, such as when Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis in 1936 by announcing his plan to marry an American “commoner”.

With the arrival of 24-hour rolling news in the 1980s and the later advent of digital media, the Royals became just another celebrity family like the Kardashians. They were fair game for the paparazzi. Their scandals sold newspapers. Their indiscretions and feuds chimed with the period’s ever more salacious and incendiary soap opera plots on TV.

But none of that dirt stuck to the Queen, even when recently it was revealed – to no consequence – that her officials had secretly and regularly rigged legislation to exempt her from the rules that applied to everyone else, under a principle known as Queen’s Consent. An apartheid system benefiting the Royal Family alone.

By remaining above the fray, she offered “continuity”. Even the recent revelation that her son, Prince Andrew, consorted with young girls alongside the late Jeffrey Epstein, and kept up the friendship even after Epstein was convicted of paedophilia, did nothing to harm the Teflon Monarch.

Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview
In a Newsnight special, Emily Maitlis interviews the Duke of York as he speaks for the first time about his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Ep…

Charles III, by contrast, is best remembered – at least by the older half of the population – for screwing up his marriage to a fairy-tale princess, Diana, killed in tragic circumstances. In preferring Camilla, Charles traded Cinderella for the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine.

If the monarch is the narrative glue holding society and empire together, Charles could represent the moment when that project starts to come unstuck.

Which is why the black suits, hushed tones, and air of reverence are needed so desperately right now. The establishment is in frantic holding mode as they prepare to begin the difficult task of reinventing Charles and Camilla in the public imagination. Charles must now do the heavy lifting for the establishment that the Queen managed for so long, even as she grew increasingly frail physically.

The outlines of that plan have been visible for a while. Charles will be rechristened the King of the Green New Deal. He will symbolise Britain’s global leadership against the climate crisis.

If the Queen’s job was to rebrand empire as Commonwealth, transmuting the Mau Mau massacre into gold medals for Kenyan long-distance runners, Charles’ job will be to rebrand as a Green Renewal the death march led by transnational corporations.

Which is why now is no time for silence or obedience. Now is precisely the moment – as the mask slips, as the establishment needs time to refortify its claim to deference – to go on the attack.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Contemporary Zionism pursues its assigned role as an advanced military and intelligence base of Anglo-American, European imperialism – Part V

8 Sep 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Niloufer Bhagwat 

The theoretical and ideological origins of Zionism are European, not Semitic. Zionism is ideologically rooted in European imperialism, colonialism and racism.

Contemporary Zionism pursues its assigned role as an advanced military and intelligence base of Anglo-American, European imperialism – Part V

To read Part III, click here. (Wrong LinK)

The theoretical and ideological origins of Zionism and its political construct in “Israel”  are European and not Semitic. The Zionist movement dates back to the 1880s, and is predominantly a European movement transplanted into the Middle East and into the United States of America. The World Zionist Organization was founded in 1897 by Theodore Herzl, born in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. In 1896, Herzl, in a pamphlet, ‘Der Judenstaat’, written in German, and published both in Leipzig and Vienna, envisioned the formation of a “Jewish State”. This organization was later led by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who was one of those “central to the discussions” with Zionist organizations in the UK and the USA which led to the Balfour Declaration and very early proposed that a future Zionist state could safeguard the trade route of the Suez Canal among other such promises to protect Western strategic interests in the Arab heartlands then controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Dr. Chaim Weizmann was born at Minsk in Tsarist Russia in 1874, in the then region of Belarus; educated in Switzerland and Germany, and later worked and resided in the UK for many years teaching Chemistry at Manchester University in Britain and became a scientist. Zionism was an offshoot of the political conditions of Europe fostered by European monarchies over centuries, using the religion and ethnicity of minorities for frequent pogroms against minority populations, whether Christian or Protestant or Jewish, as a political diversion from the political failures of the monarchical political system, and by demonizing minorities to justify the autocratic and arbitrary rule, to ensure absolute control of their citizens. 

The Zionist ideology was inspired both by the 19th Century monarchical and European concept of a dominant absolute militarist state based on religious loyalty, and the European Colonial project to establish settler societies in vast continents, initiated by the British in North America in the United States and Canada, in Australia, and New Zealand (now known as the five eyes); and in former apartheid South Africa and former Rhodesia; in the French colonial settler project in North Africa in Algeria and the Maghreb; the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Latin America; Portuguese Colonial territories in South America; Belgian territories in the Congo; Dutch settlements in the East Indies and South Africa, and German settlements in South West Africa and East Africa among others; for the seizure of resources and exploitation of colonial surpluses to fuel the European development project of global economic and political expansionism. Conquest and colonial settlements were accelerated by the technological developments of the Industrial Revolution, enabling rapid commercial exploitation of vast areas of the world. 

“To remake immense stretches of terrain to suit the lifestyles of another continent inevitably entailed the undermining and elimination of ways of life of those who had inhabited those lands for thousands of years. The project of terraforming was therefore fundamentally conflictual, it was in itself a mode of warfare of a distinct kind”. * (Amitav Ghosh, ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse, Parables for a Planet in Crisis’, published in 2021 by Allen Lane, Penguin Random House India)      

The British and European imperial, racist colonial-settler projects and the Zionist imperial colonial- settler apartheid project of “Israel” are both based on a similar theory of an exceptional or superior or ‘chosen people’ and race with the same strategies. 

The important features of Zionism are identical to the settlement strategy of the British and European Colonial Settler Project in North America, to Spanish and Portuguese colonial settlements  in South America; to French colonial settlements in Algeria and to Boer and British colonial settlements in South Africa, in Australia and New Zealand among European settlements in other regions of the world are :

a)      The myth of a superior or exceptional race or ‘chosen people’ entitled to the seizure of land and resources;

b)     The European narrative of a subhuman or inferior Indigenous or tribal or heathen population in territories to  be seized, alleging underutilization or incompetent use of land, resources and water;

c)      The right to kill, exterminate or ethnically cleanse the Indigenous population of territories forcibly occupied to re-settle European races for colonization with the settlers maintaining social, cultural and political linkages with European countries of origin;

d)      To stealthily and by design adopt strategies to reduce the Indigenous population, to monopolize land and resources for the European settler community through military means, or the use of bio-weapons, or both, like the germ warfare on Native Americans and their elimination through war.

e)       Prohibition of Inter-racial marriages;

f)       Control of water reservoirs, lakes and river waters of the occupied land;

g)    Cultural erasures directed at national identity, history, names of cities, towns, settlements and geographical sites and cultural expressions;

h)      Military and political domination. 

An examination of Zionism and its political entity “Israel” lays bare the reality that it shares all the above characteristics of the earlier Anglo-Saxon and European Imperial project of Settler Colonization, and is based on the Zionist myth of a ‘Chosen People’, in reality another theory of a ‘Superior Race’ or ‘Exceptional’ race similar to the Nazi theory of the superior  ‘Aryan race’ with its pursuit of ‘Lebensraum’ in the territories of the Slavs; which in the case of the European settler colonization was also sought to be justified through the encyclical of the Pope conferring the religious right on European nations to exploit the world, though Christianity is an Asian or Eastern religious faith later re-interpreted and adopted by the Roman Empire with political objectives. It is time to roll back all these racial myths, which have led to barbarism and rivers of blood flowing across continents, to restore human civilization. 

To dismantle the Israeli Apartheid State and its genocidal policies necessitates a united resistance in the region and worldwide support, adopting diverse strategies to roll back the racist and apartheid Zionist and NATO military and intelligence Israeli project in Palestine. The Palestinian National Liberation movement is one of the oldest national liberations in the world. Like the Hezbollah the National Resistance Movement of Lebanon, the people of Palestine have never surrendered and need wider support, as Zionism is a global economic and financial project integrated with Western Imperialism against peoples’ interests everywhere, in Asia, Africa, Eurasia, the United States of America and Europe.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Palestinian Resistance Factions Launch National Campaign in Face of UK Blacklist Decision against Hamas

November 20, 2021

manar-03573710016374034514

The Palestinian Resistance factions announced on Saturday launching a national campaign and a popular conference in face of the UK decision to label Hamas Movement as a terrorist group.

After holding a meeting in Gaza Strip, the Palestinian factions considered that the UK decision targets all the Palestinians and represents an extension of Britain’s colonial policy.

The Palestinian factions called on the UK authorities to undo their decision, urging the Arab League to reject it.

Member of Islamic Jihad politburo, Mohammad al-Hindi, described the UK decision as unjust and adding that it reflects grudge against all the Palestinians and their resistance.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement firmly denounced the UK decision decision against Hamas, voicing support to all the Palestinians and their resistance factions.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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