From:   "Ismail Zayid" <izayid@hfx.eastlink.ca>
Date:   Tue Jun 4 08:48:17 2002
To:   <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
Subject:   " Without justice, there will be no peace" By Ismail Zayid. The Halifax Herald. June 4,2002
 

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2002 Back The Halifax Herald Limited

Without justice, there'll be no peace

By Ismail Zayid

I AM VERY happy to answer Naomi Honey's questions ("Mideast quiz," May 24 letter). She asks, "What was the name of the last Palestinian president . . .?" Interestingly she, or one of her group, asked me the same question when I spoke at Acadia University two months ago. I answered that the bizarre insinuation in this question is that a people under colonial occupation are not entitled to rid themselves of colonial rule and become independent.

Many countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Western Hemisphere, including countries like India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zambia, Brazil and even Canada, had no president until they rid themselves of the colonial power and became independent. Do we understand that, in her lexicon, these countries should have never become independent? Palestine is a country that has been subjected, for thousands of years, to continuing foreign invaders, including the Hebrew tribes, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Crusaders, Turks and British. Should that deny the Palestinian people their right to rid themselves of foreign occupation?

The Palestinians, who constitute two-thirds of the population of Jordan, are the refugees who were systematically and deliberately uprooted and ethnically cleansed from their homeland by the Zionist forces in 1948 and 1967. They remain as refugees determined to return to their homes as stipulated by international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the repeatedly reaffirmed UN Resolution 194, of 1948.

It is the height of immorality and hypocrisy to imply that you can drive people from their country, and it is the responsibility of the countries that gave them shelter in their hour of need to allow them to take over their own countries.

There are 54, and not 22, Muslim countries. They belong to Indonesians, Pakistanis, Moroccans, Jordanians and others. The Palestinians have always been and are an ethnically identified people of different religious entities, including Islam and Christianity, and are dedicated to return to their own homeland and nowhere else.

Yes, there have been millions of refugees in the world, and it is their fundamental right to be allowed to return to their homes. We have recently seen wars waged by the international community to allow the Bosnian and Kosovo refugees to return to their homes. Are the Palestinians, in the Zionist lexicon, less than human?

Ms. Honey reproduces the Zionist fable that the Arab countries invaded Israel in 1948 to destroy it or, as she claims, to divide it among themselves. This is totally wrong. Before a single Arab army soldier entered Palestine on May 15, 1948, the Zionist forces had driven out 350,000 Palestinians from their homes and occupied scores of cities and towns assigned for a Palestinian state in the UN Resolution 181 to partition Palestine into a Jewish and a Palestinian state.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, affirmed that had the Arab armies not intervened, Israel would have taken over Palestine in its entirety and cleansed it totally of its Arab inhabitants.

Egypt and Jordan held the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, respectively, in accordance with the armistice agreements signed in 1949, under UN authority, by Israel and the Arab governments. These agreements were stipulated as temporary until final borders and peace are obtained in compliance with UN resolutions 181 and 194. Interestingly, Israel was admitted to UN membership in accordance with UN Resolution 273, of May 1949, conditional on its implementation of UN resolutions 181 and 194. To this day, these resolutions remain uncomplied with, arguably making Israel's membership in the UN illegitimate.

Ms. Honey states that "Palestinian land rights were not an issue and Arab Palestinians did not identify themselves as Palestinians." She and her mentors have clearly not been around and have not heard how the Palestinians have always affirmed their dedication to their identity as Palestinians and their land. They rose in revolt against the British colonial rulers, in 1922 and 1936, against increasing Jewish immigration to Palestine and the threats of loss of their land, through facilitations made by the British rule.

Finally, let no one doubt that the Palestinians are dedicated to their homeland and will continue to resist, with all the meagre power they have, the continuing Israeli oppressive illegal occupation, that has been allowed to stand for 35 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions. They are calling for a modicum of justice, for without justice, I am afraid, there will be no peace or security for Palestinians or Israelis in this tortured land.

Ismail Zayid, MD, lives in Halifax.