Sunday, Jun 04, 2017
Fifty years ago this week, the Arab world was stunned by the quick defeat of the main Arab armies when Israel launched a coordinated air and land offensive against the West Bank, Egypt and Syria, in what has come to be known as the 1967 War, or ‘the setback’ as Arabs like to call it.
The war did not come as a surprise. Everybody knew it was coming. Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser announced plans of a maritime blockade against Israel and was mobilising the Arab public opinion for what was supposed to be the war of liberation of the Palestinian lands, lost to Israel in the 1948 war.
Arab public opinion was ready for the war. The Arabs could no longer wait for it. They had been waiting for 19 years to liberate Palestine. Everyone thought it would be a smooth campaign.
On June 12, the stark reality hit the Arabs. Arab armies were crushed. Israel won and occupied more territories in the three states; Egypt, Syria and Palestine. Most importantly, we lost the holy city of Jerusalem. TV images showed Israeli soldiers dancing and signing inside the walls of our third holiest sites. And the endless subjugation of the entire Palestinian people started.
The world tried to make sense of what had happened and moved quickly to end the hostilities. Israel backers made sure that it consolidated its gains. The United Nations Security Council issued new resolutions: UN resolution 242, which calls for the Israel withdrawal from lands it occupied in the 1967 war, is the most famous one. No one remembers them today. Israel never implemented any of them anyway.
The Palestinians today feel the world has abandoned them. They are right. The Israeli occupation continues to grab their lands to accommodate new Jewish colonists, who continue to move in from around the world. Palestinian men and women are subjected to all sort of humiliation at checkpoints. Their children are denied the right to proper schooling and health care. Their young and old linger for long years in the occupation’s prisons, without trial in what is called administrative detention, which is against all international laws and norms.
The Israeli occupation is the only colonial project left in the world. Israel ignores all UN resolutions and does that with complete impunity. The Security Council, which forces other countries to implement its resolution, has for decades failed to question Israel’s actions and stand by its own decisions. The Palestinians ask why.
Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.