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U.S.-Palestinian activist drumming up support to liberate Palestine

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By Ashok Ramsarup :: Interfaith organisations in South Africa are continuing the liberation battle for a Palestine state in the Middle East.     According to many scholars Palestine was a common name used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In modern history Palestine was initially administered by Britain. It was later terminated and it gave birth to a Jewish State – Israel.

Activist U.S.-Palestinian media consultant, internationally-syndicated columnist, author Dr Ramzy Baroud is on a roll to drum up support for a Free Palestine and ultimately end Israeli occupation.

Speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal Palestine Solidarity Forum in the port city of Durban, South Africa, Dr Baroud said thousands Palestinians were living prisoners and refugees  trapped in what he described as their homeland.

He spoke eloquently about his village that was destroyed in 1948.  “Beginning of every school term, children drew the Palestinian flags. This is an act of active resistance. Books have been given by the United Nations,” Dr Baroud told the audience that made up of Christians and Muslims.

Several generations of Palestinians are still fighting the Zionist group led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.     The controversial leader and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantzmet at a memorial service for Shimon Peres today.  He called on his rival Gantz to meet him any time to form a broad unity government.  According to latest election results, Gantz party has widened the gap over the Likud party.

Dr Baroud said: “The first generation of Palestinians wasgiven the refugee, but most of them died during exile.   They were not allowed to see their homes.

“The parents hoped their children will heal their wounds one day. They even handed the keys to their homes to the younger generation. The homes were destroyed.  The families are hoping to one day return to their parent’s homes whose roofs were made of tree branches,” said Dr Baroud.

Dr Baroud said the United Nations and governments around the world must act now to free Palestine.  South Africa underwent draconian law that apartheid affected the country.  DrBaroud said South African leadership must apply pressure against the Israeli regime that built blockaded Palestine with a wall.

In his latest novel entitled – The Last Earth – touching stories of numerous generations of the people of Palestinians have been profiled.  He recounts the stories of exile and the primordial crime of the Nakba of 1948.

Dr Baroud, who has covered 14 countries so far, said besides the Palestinian stories, it also focuses on the struggle, love, solidarity, tragedy, pain, fear and pride.

“The people of Palestinians are virtual prisoners in their own homeland. The scars are embedded in their hearts.  My aim is to tell the world the Palestinian story through ordinary people,” DrBaroud concluded.

Bishop Reuben Phillips said one of his memorable experiences in his life was a protest march in which he participated over the oppression of the Palestinian people. Bishop Phillips said there was camaraderie and solidarity of South Africans to the liberation of the Palestinians.

He hoped that all South Africans would continue to identify with the Palestinian cause.

The background stems from the Zionist Movement of Europe that wrote to the British government requesting a Jewish Homeland in the territory of Palestine, which was already inhabited by Palestinian Arabs for centuries. The British had colonised Palestine from 1917 onwards. Previously it had been governed by the Ottoman Empire.

British politician Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter called the Balfour Declaration which was receptive to the idea of a Jewish state.   The British had promised the Palestinian Arabs independence if they helped them during World War Two and had also said to the Zionist movement, they could set up a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Jewish immigrants declared their state in 1948 on the half of Palestine given to them by the United Nations (U.N.) calling it Israel. Seven decades later theykept capturing and annexing more territory from the Palestinians, even from the land that the UN had allocated to them to build their state. Eventually the Palestinians lost their original homeland and pushed further into enclaves and bantustans by the Israelis.

In 1977 the U.N. Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which is 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Palestinian Nakba.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦

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