On May 14, 1948, the United Nations recognized Israel as an independent state. However it was only
Territories Israel occupied in 1967 shaded in Green.
on December 15, 1988, the State of Palestine’s declaration of independence of November 1988 was acknowledged in the General Assembly in Resolution 43/177.
Meanwhile, 73 years after Israel was accepted as a member of the UN, Palestine continues to be a “non-member observer state” In the days prior to its independence May 14, 1948, Israel captured substantial tracts of land from the state of Palestine in a series of attacks in which hundreds of innocent Palestinian men, women and children were slaughtered. Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and their villages destroyed. In 1967, Israel annexed the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.
Despite the world body demanding Israel halt its unlawful occupation of Arab and Palestinian territory, its expulsion and demolition of Palestinian Arab homes, Israel steadfastly continues its illegal occupation and commission of what could amount to war crimes against the Palestinians.
In 2020 alone, the United Nations General Assembly condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestine 17 times. But Israel continues its illegal occupation of these territories, eviction of Palestinians from their homes, grabbing of agricultural lands and building Jewish-only settlements in its occupied territories.
This month’s Israeli attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem where 256 Palestinians -including 66 children were killed - was a result of Israel’s attempt to evict Palestinians from their homes and fields in the village of Sheikh Jarrah and replace them with Jewish settlers.
The UN Security Council proved ineffective in taking any action to stop attacks on what were civilian targets by Israeli occupation forces, thanks to the veto wielded by the US.
It was in the midst of these stressful times, Israel’s general election took place. Israel’s Premier Benjamin Netanyahu - charged with a slew of corruption by state prosecutors and struggling to ward off a possible jail sentence, was attempting to rouse nationalist sentiment garnered from the attacks in East Jerusalem to defeat his political challengers. To cut a long story short, Netanyahu lost. He was replaced as PM by Naphtali Bennett of the ‘Yamina Party - a far right advocate for the settler movement in the Palestinian territories. Bennett also claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera that all of Palestine belonged to Israel as per quotations in the Bible’, which he believes gives ‘legal title’ to Israeli claims of sovereignty over the whole of Palestine.
Media reports tell us, there was great joy in Israel when Netanyahu was defeated and his days as premier of that country came to an end after 12 long years. But how does this regime change affect the Israel-Palestine problem and the status of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation? Will Israel withdraw to its 1948 borders demarcated by the UN in its division of Palestine to create the State of Israel? Will Israel withdraw from the territories it captured in the 1967 war with other Arab nations? Will the new regime stop Israeli flag marches through Palestinian cities and towns demanding their (Palestinian) eviction? Will the new regime stop it oppressive policy of rationing water to the Palestinian population and evicting them from their homes? Acts amounting to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity?
Bassem al-Salhi, a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the prime minister-designate was no less extreme than Netanyahu. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem - the group which rules the besieged Gaza Strip, said it made no difference who governs Israel. However in the aftermath of his victory, speaking to Al Jazeera, Bennett appeared to propose a continuation of the status quo, with some easing of conditions for Palestinians.
“My thinking in this context is to shrink the conflict. We will not resolve it. But wherever we can [improve conditions] – more crossing points, more quality of life, more business, more industry – we will do so.”
In the end, the Israel-Palestine problem does not depend on personalities, what is needed is a change in Israeli policies, not individual rulers.