|The News Line: Editorial
Thursday, 20 April 2017
100 years since the Balfour Declaration, Palestinians are still paying for it with their lives!
ISRAEL has detained one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967, says the joint statement released last Saturday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs on the eve of the latest heroic Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
These figures reveal just a part of the price that the Palestinian people have paid for the UK’s notorious Balfour Declaration of 1917. This gave their country to the Zionists and led to countless wars and massacres, during and especially after the founding of Israel in 1948, during which and since, the UK ruling class has never ceased its financial, military and political support for Zionism, at the same time as millions of Palestinians were being forced out of their country and turned into stateless refugees.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs also pointed out that Israeli forces detained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the first and second intifadas. During the First Intifada, which lasted from December. 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, scores of Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces.
In 2000, the Second Intifada broke out – known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada – after then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in an act of provocation, causing heavy clashes to break out between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which developed into a full-scale uprising.
According to the joint statement, by the time the uprising ended in 2005, Israeli authorities had detained some 100,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 minors, 1,500 women, and 70 Palestinian lawmakers and former ministers.
The statement added that since October 2015, when a wave of political unrest erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in what many locals refer to as the ‘Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Intifada’, some 10,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces, the majority of whom were from occupied East Jerusalem.
About one third of the Palestinian detainees since 2015 were children and teenagers, the statement said. According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 300 of the 6,300 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons are minors.
The statement adds ‘Human rights violations and the torture of children have been documented via lawyers working in these institutions. Night arrests, severe beating in front of their parents, shooting at them before detaining them, handcuffing, feet cuffing, and blindfolding, in addition to delayed notification of their right to legal assistance,’ were among the violations committed by Israeli forces against minors.
Some 210 Palestinian prisoners have died as a result ‘extrajudicial exterminations’ or from ‘deliberate negligence under torture’ in Israeli custody, the report highlighted, saying that the most recent case was Muhammad al-Jallad, who died in detention in February after succumbing to a gunshot wound inflicted by Israeli forces months before.
‘Since the creation of the Israeli occupation state in 1948, collective extrajudicial extermination has been committed against Palestinian prisoners by shooting them after their arrest,’ the statement continued.
The current prisoners’ hunger strike is taking place at a decisive moment when President Trump says that he wants to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and that it is OK with him if Israeli PM Netanyahu annexes the whole of Palestine as part of the state of Israel. Such a move will lead to a Palestinian insurrection!
British workers have a special responsibility for giving massive support to the Palestinian people since Palestine was crucified by kind permission of the UK ruling class. On May Day, British workers must march with Palestinian flags and insist that the UK government apologises for the Balfour Declaration, as the Palestinians are demanding, and also that the UK recognises the state of Palestine.
In fact, the UK working class must give all the support that the Palestinian people require in the days ahead when they rise up to win their fight for freedom by establishing their state.
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