The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: some uncomfortable truths

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The author, Swaley Kasenally, met with late Yasser Arafat in 1993 as Minister of
External Affairs of Mauritius to express our country’s appreciation for the Oslo Accords.

In his response to Vijay Makhan’s piece on Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Alain Soupe (L’Express 3rd January 2018), waded through the mist of pre Biblical times to justify the universally condemned decision of the Trump administration. Soupe craftily eluded the narratives that led to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Makhan referred to the centenary of the Balfour declaration (4 November 1917) – an exercise in treachery in which Perfide Albion excelled.

Soupe’s plea for a balanced and contrarian debate on the issue strangely resembled the current propaganda launched in Europe to countenance international revulsion at Trump’s move as evidenced by the UN General Assembly vote of 21st December 2017.

His wailings for our concern to the injustices meted out to the Palestinian people and his lamentations for our interest in a region far away from our shores are matters of patronage of a different age. Like the Palestinian issue, Mauritius suffered a similar ignominy at the hands of the British on the Chagos Archipelagos – indifference on our part is not an option.

We have no lesson to receive from Zionist lobbyists operating on the international scene. We regret the current mayhem unleashed by terrorists with various criminal motives and callous leaders in the Levant and the Fertile Crescent – once a haven for peace and prosperity. We should remember that ISIS is an emanation of the Al Qaeda movement - armed and equipped by the US to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Shia – Sunni divide is unashamedly being used by the current leaders in the region and their acolytes in Israel and the US to deepen the geopolitical instability. Iran under the Shah was a privileged partner to both Israel and the US and the Shia element then was factored in the political equation serving the narrow interests of both Israel and the US.

The Oslo Accords of 1993 presented the best hope for a permanent solution to the crisis. The world witnessed with awe the grand ceremony of the signature of the Agreement on the lawn of the White House. Mauritius endorsed the event by reestablishing diplomatic relations with Israel (severed in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War). The respected late Simon Peres, then Foreign Minister of Israel and I, as Minister of External Affairs of Mauritius, signed the agreement in New York in September 1993. On my way to New York, I visited the late Yasser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority in Tunis to express our appreciation for the Oslo Accords. That unique peace opportunity was brutally blown up by the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel by a Zionist extremist. The rest of that peace process is history.

By invoking Biblical reference to Jerusalem, the author tries subtly to establish the link Jerusalem – Judaism to justify Jerusalem as the political capital of Israel. He regurgitates Trump’s address to AIPAC (a Zionist lobby in the US) when the latter described Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. When one refers to the Jewish people, we are encroaching into religious domain: there is no political relationship between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, the latter is merely a holy city – holy to the Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Jewish people have no capital city, only countries and states have capitals. The Jewish people is not a country, it is a religious entity. They pray towards Jerusalem and refer to the holy city not as a political body but as a religious site.

I hope that ‘nos lecteurs de l’ile Maurice’ have been given an alternate view of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict.

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