Aijaz Ahmed speaking at Dayar-e-Mir Taqi Mir; Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

Aijaz Ahmed Speaks on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

A discussion on the issues concerning the Palestinian territory was held at the Dyar-e-Mir Taqi Mir on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

The discussion was part of a two day event titled “Revisiting Palestine” organized by the Outreach Programme, Jamia Millia Islamia, dealing with the appalling conditions in the occupied historical land of Palestine.

Aijaz Ahmed speaking at Dayar-e-Mir Taqi Mir; Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

The event was packed with films screening, discussions and readings. It was scheduled for October 19-20.

The discourse was fragmented into two different aspects and was chaired by two prominent figures of their respective fields. Mr. Aijaz Ahmed, a well-known Marxist thinker and a political commentator, spoke on the first aspect, “Looking back at Palestine” and Mr. Prabir Purkayastha, a science activist, who talked about the second, “The Way Forward to Palestine.”

Looking back at Palestine

Mr. Aijaz Ahmed referred to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) passed on November 29, 1947 for the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab and said, as a matter of fact, “the plan was never implemented and the Jewish state (Israel) was simply created on the basis of violence and ethnic cleansing”.

He further added, “At the time when decolonization of Asian and African nations was taking place a new colony in the Middle East was being created on the land of Palestine”.

As universally comprehended Mr. Ahmed also rebuked the Holocaust and called it a “crime against humanity” but said it can never justify the atrocities committed against the Palestinians. “Moreover the Palestinians were nowhere responsible for anti-Semitism and the war provoked by it during the early 20th century. Why then they are made to pay an unholy price of a crime they did not commit?” questioned Mr. Ahmed.

He said, “Israel is the only country in the world that has not declared its official borders nor it has a constitution yet.” The non-declaration of international borders means Israel has unchecked or unaccounted amount of land on which they keep on expanding their occupation and continually evict the Palestinians.

Since its inception Israel has been in a practice of constructing illegal settlers’ homes in East Jerusalem and West Bank which is nullified under the international law.

He also mentioned that at the time of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian land the United States top ranking officials including the then Secretary of State George Marshall were against the settlements. There was a belief among the Americans that the national interests should not be compromised for the favor of a lobby, the Zionist lobby. Mr. Ahmed said there are extensive records pertaining to that.

“The Israeli deprivation of Palestinians from their homeland is the longest military occupation in the world history. Over 90% of their water resources have been taken over and Israel is the most brutal regime mankind has ever witnessed,” Mr. Ahmed addressed the gathering.

Earlier this year the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) moved to the United Nations Security Council in a bid to recognize the state of Palestine and become a full United Nations member state. The Security Council was expected to vote in September amid continued United States and Israel’s opposition and United States determination to veto it. The application has not yet been tabled in the council for voting.

Referring to this very development Mr. Ahmed said, “The president of Palestine Mr. Mahmoud Abbas has gone too late to the United Nations. The Israelis have already exploited and obliterated the natural resources and Palestinians are left with complete despair and destitute.”

The Way Forward to Palestine

Mr. Prabir Purkayastha was talking about the hopes of a liberated Palestine among evidences of chaos, ruins and disguise. He said, “The international politics is determined and is centered on a very small piece of land which is about our National Capital Region (NCR). The most brutal and tyrant regime which has scandalized the entire world illegitimately dictate some 5 million people there.”

He pointed out the significance of India in the Zionist movement and the ways directly or indirectly India is supporting the illegitimate, apartheid and a non-secular state of Israel. As a well-known fact, Israel has big arms producing industry and its economy largely relies on the exports of those military equipments. According to Mr. Purkayastha India is the largest buyer of Israeli arms and it pays billions of dollars towards those purchases.

“We are underpinning the Israeli cause financially”, complained Mr. Purkayastha.

“India is very much educationally and culturally associated with the state of Israel. In fact a couple of years back even Jamia Millia Islamia signed a MoU with an Israeli university”, he added.

He asserted that unless we strenuously boycott the Zionist lobby and their dystopian reason of existence we cannot expect a non-apartheid state of Israel.

Confessing on India’s failure to take a clear stand against the Israeli occupation he said, “Being a science activist and a citizen of India I believe we have contributed measly towards opposing the Israeli occupation. There have been a series of rhetoric efforts from the government of India against Israel.” But he emphasized that just words would not do wonders but actions should to be taken in real terms to end this never ending hostility.

Gravity of the situation seeks international involvement

Replying to a question asked by a student among the attendees on the Palestinian leadership after Yasser Arafat Mr. Ahmed said it’s good for the Palestinian cause not to rely on just a person as the gravity of the situation seeks an international involvement. He said young leaders are coming up from Palestine and they are blazing a trail there. “These leaders are inculcating the grass root movement,” said Mr. Ahmed.

Mr. Ahmed questioned the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s credibility as the “Palestinian Papers” have revealed that he conceded to Israel and the United States almost everything just to guard his back from the knives of his rivals at home. Palestinian Papers are document on Middle East negotiations revealed by Al-Jazeera in January 2011. It is the largest leak of reports of negotiations and meetings behind closed doors in the history of Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In response to a question on Egypt’s role in the Palestine-Israel conflict since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, he blamed the new government in Cairo for playing a “double game” and called it a military dictatorship.

About Mohammad Behzad Fatmi

Mohammad Behzad Fatmi (Class of 2012) is a former staff writer for Jamia Journal, and a 2012 Bachelor of Commerce graduate. He can be reached via email at: behzad.fatmi[at]

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