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February 26, 2024

The Canadian Charger Fact Sheet on Palestine and Israel

The Canadian Charger

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1. On February 14, 1896, Theodor Herzl (1860 - 1904) published a 60-page pamphlet called Der Judenstaat in Vienna. The German title is translated as: The Jewish State: Proposal of a Modern Solution for the Jewish Question.

2. Herzl suggested Palestine as an ideal place where oppressed European Jews could establish an independent state. He wrote: “Palestine is our ever-memorable historic home” and would become “the great symbol of the solution of the Jewish Question after 18 centuries of Jewish suffering.”

3. Herzl and many others did not realize (or acknowledge) that Palestine was not an empty or sparsely-populated land, nor that its ancient civilization goes back some 5,000 years. Tribes of biblical Israelites inhabited ancient Palestine alongside its Indigenous populations for a mere fraction of those millennia (see The Archaeology of Palestine by William Foxwell Albright, Penguin 1949).

4. Following the publication of Herzl's book, European Jews began immigrating to Palestine with the financial help of rich European and American Jewish philanthropists who espoused Herzl’s Zionist political cause.

5. But Indigenous Palestinians were never consulted. Palestine had never been home to state called Israel – never. Yet wave upon wave of immigrants were sweeping into their ancestral territory claiming it as their rightful “home.”

6. Jewish immigration accelerated, and was even encouraged, by the British who occupied Palestine in 1920.

7. Inevitably, tensions erupted between native Palestinians and the new European Jewish immigrants – neither group was prepared for the other’s presence, having either been lied to, or not consulted.

8. Sir Ronald Storrs, British Governor of Occupied Palestine (1926 – 1932) wrote Zionism and Palestine (Penguin 1940), an eye-witness account of the oppression of native Palestinians by European Jewish immigrants.

9. The Nazi-led Holocaust of WWII contributed even more European Jewish immigrants to Palestine.

11. In 1956, less than a decade after its unilateral establishment, Israel invaded Egypt with the help of Britain and France.

12. Just 11 years later, in 1967, Israel invaded Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which resulted in the occupation of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and West Bank – all that remained of ancient Palestine.

13. In 1993 Israelis and Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement, recognizing each other’s right to security and existence; it was a promising start to better relations but failed almost immediately.

14. In November 1995, an Israeli Jew assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv to protest and prevent the Rabin government’s intention to recognize Palestinian rights.

15. For the past 57 years (since 1967) Palestinians in both the Gaza strip and West Bank have existed under harsh Israeli military occupation which restricts their movements, separates families, prevents economic progress, imprisons numerous Palestinians for unspecified charges and undermines Palestinian culture.

16. More than 700,000 so-called Jewish armed “settlers” now live in the West Bank behind vast security walls, which further fragment what little remains of ancestral Palestinian lands.

17. Also since 1967, 2.3 million Palestinians have been confined to the tiny (141 square miles) Gaza Strip under complete Israeli siege by land, sea, and air. Often called the “world’s longest-established concentration camp” Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Conditions there have dramatically deteriorated since October 7, 2023.

18. Today in 2024, Israel continues to utterly reject Palestinian self-determination and adamantly opposes the establishment of a Palestinian State on its own ancestral land – 128 years after Theodor Herzl wrote a small but devastating booklet advocating for the establishment of a Jewish State in an “empty” region called Palestine.

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After the 1967 war in which Israel swallowed up the rest of Palestine, Bertrand Russell, the 1950 Nobel laureate for Literature wrote:

"The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to ‘reason’ and has suggested ‘negotiations.’ This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annex foreign territory, but because every expansion is also an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.”

* * *

With every passing year of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Russell’s words only gain more urgency and truth.

Israel and its Western supporters not only continue to ignore “the injustice of previous aggression,” but actively promote its indefinite continuation.

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