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‘League of Nations’, the UN and the world’s longest running conflict - EDITORIAL

10 December 2018 12:03 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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n the aftermath First World War (1914 - 1918) in which 15 - 19 million lives were lost, the League of Nations (LN), an intergovernmental organisation wasfounded on January 10, 1920. 
The League’s goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes among nations through negotiation and improving global welfare. The goal of the LN was to prevent wars through disarmament, collective security and negotiation. Unfortunately despite the lofty benchmarks it set for itself, the League fell badly short of its goals. Barely two decades after the formation of the LN, World War II broke out in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.  


The loss of life in the second World War (1939-1945) was on a much larger scale, when compared to World War I. Between 60 - 85 million lives both military and civilian were lost. The largest number WWII casualties came from China and the Soviet Union,. 26 million are estimated to have died in the Soviet Union, while China estimates its losses at approximately 20,000,000 deaths.  


On October 24, 1945, at the end of World War II, the United Nations Organization was founded, committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. But within a space of three years the newly formed United Nations created the world’s longest running war (the Israel-Palestine conflict) when on May 14, 1948, it created the state of Israel in the land of Palestine. A concept of British Foreign secretary Arthur Balfour known as the ‘Balfour Declaration’. The declaration, contained in a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, was vaguely worded. Mr. Balfour had offered a “national home for the Jewish people”, NOT a state.  


Hungarian-Jewish writer Arthur Koestler described the setting up of the state of Israel in accordance with the Balfour Declaration in the memorable words “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third...”.  
The Balfour Declaration promised a ‘national home’ not a state to the Jewish people. This was to be achieved without prejudicing the “civil and religious rights” of Palestine’s “existing non-Jewish communities”, which at that time accounted for 90% of the population.


But May 15, 1948, the day after the UN recognised the State of Israel is remembered by Palestinians as the beginning of the mass exodus of Palestinians from their lands and homes... and every year on May 15, Palestinians the world over, approximately 12.4 million, refer to this day as ‘Nakba’, or “catastrophe”, it refers to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands and homes by Israeli Zionist gangs on May 15, 1948. By the first half of 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians had been forcibly expelled or fled their homeland in the face of armed Israeli attacks.


Today more than 1.5 millionPalestinians, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  Statistics revealed by the ‘Guardian’show, that almost 5 million Palestinians today live under a military occupation. This has lasted for over five decades. Another 1.7 million are Palestinian citizens of Israel and are a minority under pressure not to antagonise the Jewish majority. 


Some political parties from their community were banned until the supreme court overturned the ban. National security is invoked to justify often racist citizenship laws. They are poorer than their Jewish neighbours and endure terrible discrimination. However, they live better lives than Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, where politically the community is divided between Hamas’s radicalism and Fatah’s ineffectiveness. 


Continuing the illegal settlements and a combination of legal and administrative controls mean that the Palestinians, supposedly promised a fifth of the land as part of the Oslo Accords, control a little more than a tenth of historic Palestine. That the Israeli military operates freely in many Palestinian-controlled areas undermines the idea that Palestinians really run them. 


2018 marks the 70th year since the the UN created the conflict in Palestine. It is the duty of the UN to make both parties realise that peace can be achieved only through sharing fairly, the land both claim to love   

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