Plight of the Palastinian

Stop the killing.

We have to do something to help. The Limkokwing University is collecting funds that can be used for the purchase of food and medicine for the Palestinians. Give us your support. Donate any amount, even if you can only afford one Ringgit.


Lim Kok Wing: Israel-Palestine federation the best bet

13 January 2009, by New Straits Times

Israel, the brazen bully of the Middle East, has behaved true to character by launching an aerial bombardment followed by a tank-led ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, a 41km-long coastal enclave whose 1.4 million inhabitants are mostly refugees or descendants of refugees.

Typically, the Israeli military did not care who or how many they killed. They bombed and shelled police stations, residential buildings and schools. The callousness of their assault surprised no one.

Israel, as the world has come to know, is a rogue state. Since its creation in 1948 after expelling the Palestinians from their land at the end of the Second World War, Israel had attacked, invaded and occupied the territories of every country that shares land borders with it.

Countries further away were not spared. Israeli bombers destroyed Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981 and the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Tunisia in 1985. Now, it is reported to be flying practice bombing runs for a possible strike against Iran, which Israel's Western allies accuse of planning to build nuclear bombs.

Israel is a country perpetually at war with its neighbours for the past 60 years. In Gaza, it justifies the attack by claiming it is targeting the "infrastructure of terror" of the Hamas paramilitary force, the de facto rulers of Gaza, which has been firing rockets into the Jewish state in a tit-for-tat retaliation against Israeli military raids. More than 8,500 rockets were claimed to have been fired from Gaza into Israel in the past eight years, causing 20 civilian deaths.

In reprisals, the Israeli military blockaded Gaza and killed 1,700 Palestinians in just the past three years after Israel pulled out its troops and settlers from the territory as part of a disengagement deal.

In the latest offensive that began after last Christmas, nearly 1,000 Palestinians have died so far, with more than 3,000 wounded. The invaders have lost about a dozen soldiers.

What exactly is Israel's objective in making war on Hamas, a puny opponent with about 15,000 mostly part-time fighters? Hamas is a mere irritant and poses no serious security threat to Israel, which enjoys overwhelming military superiority. The hugely disproportionate response to Hamas's rocket attacks – clearly a "shock and awe" operation – points to a vicious reiteration of a fundamental doctrine of Israel's national defence.

According to the military information website, Israeli national security strategy is founded on the premise that Israel cannot afford to lose a single war. "Because the best way to avoid losing a war is to not fight it in the first place, Israeli strategy begins with the maintenance of a credible deterrent posture, which includes the willingness to carry out preemptive strikes," it says.

Thus, the pounding of Hamas.

Israel's military lost its aura of invincibility somewhat after its disastrous campaign in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when the Hizbollah paramilitary force fought it to a standstill. The Gaza war may restore some measure of Israel's deterrent power but, once again, at an enormous price.

In the end, the fighting will stop; a ceasefire will be agreed, the troops will be withdrawn, the Palestinians in Gaza will have to pick up the pieces of their lives from the rubble, minus the newly dead. New hatreds will be born; new vengeance will be sworn; a new cycle of killings and reprisals will begin some time in the future. Once again, hopes for peace in the Middle East have dissipated.

Peace in Palestine is the single most cherished goal of the international community today, and it has eluded the best efforts of many countries. The conflict has caused death, destruction and suffering across generations and continents.

Because it occurs in one of the most economically and politically sensitive regions; because of the powerful religious symbols rooted in the struggle and the scramble by big powers for the region's crude oil deposits, the Palestine war is the most dangerous flashpoint on Earth.

The struggle of the Palestinians to reclaim their occupied homeland, the humiliating defeats of Muslim armies by Israel, and the mindless support of Israeli atrocities by the United States, have enraged the world. No other single cause has done more to radicalise Muslims, turning them against the West and driving millions into the embrace of militant and extremist groups.

Admittedly, Israel lies in a dangerous region, surrounded by enemies on all sides. But it must also admit that there is no way it can kill all its enemies. It has been killing them for 60 years but still more have appeared. Killing is not a practical solution. Nobody can win all the time. With its small land area and small population, just a single military defeat would be the end of Israel. The day will come when its enemies will be armed with the means to destroy Israel. It is in Israel's interest to make peace to ensure its long-term survival.

It is time for a new thinking. The proposal of a two-state solution has been discussed and debated, and went nowhere. The proposal of a Palestinian homeland comprising two non-contiguous territories – the West Bank and Gaza Strip – is unfair, unjust, and unworkable.

These two territories are almost devoid of resources and would have to depend on Israel for most of their needs – from employment opportunities to supplies of food, water and electricity. This solution amounts to creating the equivalent of Bantustans – the so-called homelands for the blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era.

As both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate ancient claims to Palestine, they should look at a federation of Israel-Palestine as the solution. The two peoples should share the land in one nation, initially in autonomous territories without borders, and share the governing and elected institutions with Jerusalem as the capital of their federation.

The Western powers that support Israel's war machine should divert their funds to finance the return and resettlement of the millions of Palestinians and Israelis who now live as refugees outside the original Palestine.

The wealthy Arab countries should be glad to contribute to fund the development and administration in the future Palestinian autonomous territories.

The federation should be given 50 years to work, at the end of which the Israelis and Palestinians could be asked to decide a final status – whether to remain as a federation or choose separation into independent states.

With luck and good governance, the Palestinian territories should become self-sufficient in 50 years and be able to stand on their own feet.

Also, it will take that long to forgive and forget.

View all news

Get on the net talk to the world

Write to the newspaper, petition the politicians, make an I-report for CNN, correspond with the broadcasters, let the United Nations know your view.

From Grim to Bleak

An overview by Limkokwing University of Creative Technology

View exhibition gallery

Give us your support

Give us your support

Join the goundswell of activists who are clamouring for a halt to the massacre of men, women and children in Gaza. Limkokwing University is collecting funds for the purchase of medicine and food for the Palestinians.

Read More

Every action counts.