1190. 1391. 1881. 1905. 1929. 1938. 1946. 1948. 1966. 1967. 1976. 1987. 2002. 2008. 2012. 2014. 2018.
And in 2021, the people that have suffered most during so many of the dates above continue to wreak havoc and suffering on the people of Palestine. Those who suffered so terribly seem intent on bringing suffering to others.
Mr. Netanyahu, and all world leaders, let me first say that I have never been to Israel, or Palestine, but I have met people of both countries, and all are as I would expect from humanity, and nothing more. Passionate, appreciative of life, in search of happiness; and imperfect.
Some of the dates above, as many, especially those whose faith is Jewish, will recognise, are the dates of some of the worst atrocities ever commited between one group of humans and another, more specifically “pogroms”, or an organised massacre against a particular ethnic group. In 1190, it was English Jews who were massacred; in 1391, Spanish Jews; in 1881, it was the Jews in Kiev, now Ukraine. And of course, the holocaust was one of humanity’s most shameful perpetrations.
As many are aware, 1948 began the gradual establishment of the state of Israel, created by an international agreement that allocated a region of Palestine to a growing Jewish population who had, since the turn of the century, begun to immigrate into the region we know as Palestine and build settlements. Except it was never formally agreed.
Now it’s important to recognise that being Israeli and Jewish are separate ethnicities, however Resolution 181, and in reality many other points in time including Herzl’s book “The Jewish State”, Chaim Weizmann’s land purchases, the establishment of Hashomer and the Balfour declaration of 1917 all sought to address the fact that, for centuries, the Jewish people had no homeland. They had been scattered around the world and had suffered inconceivable persecution. That cannot be denied.
But as Resolution 181 was never formally adopted, and as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes to create the state of Israel, you must recognise the tragic irony of a people forced from their homeland, guided by Moses to safety, who are now forcing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to do the same; and then killing women and children with savage military attacks under the auspices of “self defence”.
Anyone who believes that the state of Israel should not exist is wrong. That’s not what is in question. What I want to know, and not just from the leader of Israel, but from all world leaders and politicians, particularly those from England, the United States of America, Russia and Europe, is why the violence against Palestinian people continues? And why we continue to accept the burgeoning illegal settlements in recognised Palestinian land?
Our ability to react as a world to tragedies with near-instant responses is what has shaped the development of our human-led world; as an engineer myself it’s what inspires me. In a world where “western” democracies spout the importance of freedom of expression and the pursuit of justice, why do we allow the imprisonment – because specifically in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that’s what it is – of the Palestinian people?
And in a world where rule of law is what keeps us all, as a remarkably diverse population of almost 8 billion humans, together and somewhat united, why have we allowed more than 80 years of illegal occupation?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all those in power, now is the time. We are on the verge of what promises to be the most important decade the world has ever seen as we move, as one race, towards a truly sustainable future. Put aside politics, anger, wealth and give the Palestinian people what the Jewish people have so desperately sought for two thousand years; dignity. And a home.