LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Palestine state marks 72 years of continued suffering

Palestine is faced with an infestive permeation of the novel coronavirus and its response to the health crisis is severely encumbered by the preexisting oppressional limitations

In Summary

• The 72 years of Palestinian suffering and devastation thus remains a blot on humanity.

• But it is not too late to give this oppressed and occupied lot a new and just beginning.

Medics evacuate a Palestinian woman who inhaled tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 21, 2019.
Medics evacuate a Palestinian woman who inhaled tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 21, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

May 15 is widely marked as the 72 anniversary of the Palestinian Al-Nakba or the catastrophe.

This is a day of mournful recollection of the human and territorial tragedy that historically befell Palestine after the 1948 Balfour declaration, which contentiously established Israel as "a national home for the Jewish people" hard in the heels of the Holocaust.

Prior to this catastrophic event that was enacted by the then British Foreign Secretary James Arthur Balfour, it is well-known that both the Palestinians and the Jews had lived harmoniously under the previous Ottoman rule. Thereafter, the Palestinian territory and people have been at the mercy of the Zionist occupation with its obdurate dehumanisation, encroachment, harassment and brutalisation that draws a close parallel to the open-air prison of the past South African apartheid system.

Small wonder why the late South African peace icon Nelson Mandela said: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

Currently, Palestine is faced with an infestive permeation of the novel coronavirus and its response to the health crisis is severely encumbered by the preexisting oppressional limitations such as the security blockades imposed on it by Israel and Egypt in addition to having overcrowded refugee camps and an under-resourced and strained healthcare system.

However, there still seems to be little honesty and bipartisan action on the part of the International Community to end this sably and the long-standing plight of Palestinians and their territorial conflict with Israel. For example, the Trump times in Washington have variously emboldened the occupying regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by fanatically abetting to weaken and humiliate Palestinians from economic, diplomatic and military angles.

The Guardian newspaper for instance lately reported that the United States had announced it will give $5 million to the Palestinians to help them fight the coronavirus epidemic in what it described as "roughly 1 per cent of the amount Washington provided a year before Donald Trump cut almost all aid."

Neighbouring Arab states are also largely controlled by disunited and self-seeking leaders who are indifferent to the Palestinian cause as the UN remains a toothless dog in the conflict. The 72 years of Palestinian suffering and devastation thus remains a blot on humanity. But it is not too late to give this oppressed and occupied lot a new and just beginning.

More urgently now, however, is that the world should ease the pandemic burden on Palestine through humanitarian and medical assistance.

Mohamed is a social-political commentator in Garissa town