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It is bigger than Gaza

Apr 23,2018 - Last updated at Apr 23,2018

It is not clear how killing a Palestinian child by an Israeli sniper would help Israel in its desperate attempt to put an end to the Palestinian non-violent demonstrations near boarder fence! Evidently, the ongoing siege on Gaza is not about protecting Israel’s border. On the contrary, Palestinians in Gaza feel threatened days in, days out. In fact, Israel seeks to force Palestinians into submission.

While Israel unwisely helps erode it is standing internationally, its futile exercise of this siege will not pay off. It is just unthinkable that Palestinians will ever give up on their national rights to statehood in the occupied territories. The strength of this current wave of protests lies in the fact that these protests are in fact a grassroots non-violent campaign to bring back the issue of the right of return to the fore. The refugees and their descendants feel frustrated by the international indifference to their historic catastrophe. These marches will peak on 15 May, the anniversary of the Nakba, the Palestinian term for the war of 1948 and the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem.

It goes without saying that the Israeli government does not buy into the argument of the protesters. On the contrary, Israel seeks to achieve other more important objectives. Emboldened by the US President Donald Trump’s biased position, the Israeli hardline government seeks to target the refugees themselves. Just recently, the Trump administration took two controversial decisions: it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cut US funding to the UN relief agency for Palestinians refugees.

Explicit in the most recent confrontation on the border with Gaza is that Gaza is bigger than Hamas. It is the epitome of a living problem that is not going to fade away no matter what. The constant immoral siege has affected the living standards of Gazans, but it has not undermined their morals. The protest marches came to remind the world that the Palestinian problem is not about the establishment of Israel, but the deprivation of the Palestinians from exercising the right of return as enshrined in international law and UN resolution 194.

Israel’s insistence on not shouldering any responsibility of the refugee problem is a recurrent line for almost all political across the political spectrum. Allowing for refugees to return to Israel means the end of the state of Israel. In fact, Israelis have a consensus that such scenario is an existential threat to Israel. Yet, Israel is not allowing the Palestinians to establish their own state either! The ongoing occupation and the existence of hundreds of thousands of settlers in the heart of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have made it impossible for Palestinians to establish a viable and independent state. 

At the heart of the Israeli dilemma is the incompatibility of two of Israel’s objectives: Keeping the occupation and maintaining the Jewishness of the state. The number of the Palestinians and Jews in the area between the Mediterranean and River Jordan is even. For Israel to keep a Jewish majority, it must concede and allow the Palestinians to have their own state.

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