Israel and Palestine Articles
by Herb Leibacher
Many of the Palestinians of the Middle East consider the region of Palestine to be “occupied” and renamed as Israel. To them it is the land of Free Palestine. They are the indigenous people of this ancient land. Human remains have been found there dating back to 6,000 B.C.! In Jericho, the earliest communities date back many thousands of years in the place once known as the land of Canaan. Free Palestine lies on the western side of Asia. The country is bordered by Lebanon and Syria. On the west side of Palestine lays the Mediterranean Sea. Jordan lies to the East and the Gulf of Aqaba and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula to the south. It is populated by a people who are mostly Muslims, yet are religiously diverse to include Christian, Jewish, and Druze neighbors. Most Palestinians are multi-lingual. They speak English, Hebrew and French. Arabic is the official language.
Today the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is what defines the situation for the people of Free Palestine. This issue is volatile. No other single issue has ever generated more United Nations resolutions than this one. Indeed, this struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians is one of the most explosive and long lasting conflicts in all of history. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire following World War One, Palestine came under western occupation as a result of a “Mandate” of British design. This mandate imposed political and geographical controls over a region that had not seen such things for more than 2.000 years. The resulting political upheaval gave rise to the Palestine Liberation Organization or the PLO. The PLO has been internationally recognized by most governments since 1974. Israel, the United States and some of its allies do not recognize the PLO as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. These discrepancies are the source of much political unrest in the region of Free Palestine.
“Hopeful” could be the word to describe the future of Free Palestine. Since the Gulf War ended in 1991, the United States, the worlds remaining super power, has become more determined to manage a comprehensive peace process in the region. The effort was spear-headed by then Secretary of State James Baker and culminated in the 1991 Madrid peace conference. These and other events such as the Oslo Accords (September, 13, 1993) give hope to Free Palestine and help to solidify relationships among Israelis, the surrounding Arab states and the representatives of the Palestinians living on the West Bank. The exact point in time when Palestine first became home for the architects of civilization is not known. The possibility of seeing the evolution of that civilization create peace in the very place of its origins, generates allot of hope in the hearts and minds of all the peoples of the earth. Are the obstacles that the Palestinian people face in their struggle for freedom, within humanity’s ability to solve? I hope so. Wouldn’t it be a boon to our children and their children if we saw this happen in our lifetimes!