Amidst gaiety and razzmatazz, Israel, last week, on May 7 to be exact, celebrated its 60th birth anniversary on its streets. The popular mood of gay abandon would have been somewhat justified had the case of the transplanted state not been morally and legally un-sound. The merriment, that is why, was punctuated with pinches of salt.
That law, legality, logic, rationality even commonsense are not with Israel is an old story. What is the new one is that now Israel and its godfather, the US are known as Mother of Terrorism. This grave crisis of image tells heavily on the conscience of every Jew and American Christian.
Because of their state’s in-built frailty, now there is an ever-growing realisation on the part of the Zionists that their case has holes. But that is only one dimension of their dispensation’s vulnerability.
The other and more potent dimension is the fact that their victims, the Palestinians have been born and brought up in an atmosphere of gun-powder. That unfortunate fact has understandably inculcated belligerence in them. This generation has seen their parents, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours dying.
According to figures, more than 4,300 Palestinians have been killed during the last 10 years alone. Just think of the survivors’ psyche. According to Eran Yashir (Herald Tribune, May 8, 2008): A staggering 85 per cent of the Palestinian population is under 40, and so was born under Israeli occupation, which began in June 1967. More than 40 per cent of the Palestinians experienced the second “Intifadah” against Israel as children. These facts mean that the majority of the population have experienced Israel only as an occupying force.
Look at the issue from another angle: The median age of Palestinians is 17 years. Compared to the median age of about 37 years in the US and 30 in Israel, the Palestinians are a young nation. This fact of “young nation” has caused and should cause the alarm-bells ringing.
A political observer, recalling an interview in the New York Times last year, quotes a Human activist to say: “I think this generation will be the liberation generation. If in the past, one per cent of the people went into resistance, from this generation, 20 per cent or more will do it.”
Here it seems profitable to quote figures that show the enormity of the Palestinian situation: Since 1999 the Palestinian economy has shrunk by about a third. The rate of unemployment has risen from 14 per cent to 22 per cent in the period 2000-2005. The percentage of people below the poverty line has increased from 20 per cent in the late 1990s to over 40 per cent.
The reaction of the deprived did not dawn upon the usurper before usurpation. Now the position is there are more than 160 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Over the past decade, the number of settlers has increased from 1,50,000 to more than 2,50,000. Thus the Zionists have been systematically sending sincere invitation to sleepless nights.
To the Jews themselves, the record of their State has been uninspiring. Israel ceded territory in Sinai in 1980s, in Lebanon in May 2000 and in Gaza in August 2005. Many, and perhaps rightly, interpret these pullouts as results, respectively, of the 1973 war, of the Hezbollah attacks in Lebanon and of the Hamas attacks from Gaza.
Second, the July-August 2006 war in Lebanon exposed Israel’s vulnerabilities. Third, Palestinians are not unaware of the workings of Israeli policies, diplomacy and society. And finally what may, perhaps cause end of Israel is the fact that soon the Palestinian Arab population would be in majority in the area between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan.