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International day of solidarity with the Palestinian people

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Ahead of International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians on Wednesday 29th November, there is a need for a sober reflection on the violence and racism that has permeated across Palestinian society for the past 100 years since the Balfour Declaration. So says the Claremont Main Road Mosque’s Imam Rashied Omar, in discussing the history-altering document, which set in motion the occupation of Palestine. The 2nd of November 1917 marked the centenary since the signing of the so-called ‘Balfour Declaration’ by the then British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour.

Through a declaration formulated and signed by Lord Balfour, Britain became the imperial sponsor of a Zionist state – euphemistically called a “Jewish national home” – that would be established in Palestine by expelling its indigenous people en masse. The Balfour Declaration thus marks the creation of the Zionist state of Israel and the onset of the illegal grabbing, colonization and occupation of Palestinian ancestral lands. It is lamentable that this immoral declaration of the Zionist State of Israel was endorsed by the United Nations in 1948.

However, in 1977, the United Nations passed a resolution (resolution 32/40 B) inaugurating International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people in recognition of the violence, injustice and gross human rights violations that were being perpetrated in Palestine.

In commemorating this day annually, the Claremont Main Road Masjid (CMRM) said it affirms the right of Palestinians to resist the illegal occupation of their land by the Zionist State of Israel. British author and activist, David Cronin, in his recent book titled Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel (Pluto, 2017), argues that the architect of the Balfour Declaration, Lord Balfour was a British white supremacist and racist who was a strong supporter of Cecil John Rhodes.

While serving as prime minister from 1902 to 1905, Balfour insisted that ‘Europeans’ must enjoy greater privileges than ‘Black natives’ in South Africa and that black people were “less intellectually and morally capable” than whites. There is little doubt that racism was at the core of the Balfour Declaration and not surprisingly lies at the heart of the policies of the Apartheid Zionist State of Israel.

“The Zionist State of Israel has for the past century, with the support of imperial powers in the West, continued with impunity its systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This has involved land grabs, settler expansions, home demolitions, destruction of essential infrastructure, illegal imprisonment and targeted killings of Palestinians,” says Dr Omar.

“Over 1.7 million displaced Palestinians living in Gaza, the largest open-air prison in the world, and other occupied territories are subject to the daily brutalisation of occupation under the Zionist State of Israel. With the complicity of allies in the region, access to water, food, and basic health services to Gaza and other occupied territories are easily and regularly blockaded.”

According to the Dr Omar, solidarity with the people of Palestine means not only do we condemn the injustice and gross human rights violations being perpetrated against the Palestinians, but also call for “the delegitimization of the Zionist ideology used to justify the destructive actions of the State of Israel”.

“International solidarity with the Palestinians demands no less than the complete isolation of the Zionist State of Israel, brought into being by the imperial pen of Lord Balfour,” he said.

“We call on all citizens of the world to support the global campaign to isolate Israel economically, politically, and culturally to bring an end to the decades of state terror, violence and injustice inflicted on the Palestinians. We call on the international community to enact its own resolutions in pursuit of justice for Palestinians by ending the impunity with which the Zionist State of Israel continues its expansionist programmes and perpetrates gross violations of human rights against the Palestinians.”

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