Dignity of Jerusalem – Dr Ramesh Kumar

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Barbaric attacks on the Gaza Strip have once again highlighted the Palestinian issue across the globe. Dozens of innocent Palestinians have lost their lives as a result of the recent tension, with innocent children among the victims. The live coverage of the horrific destruction of the building housing Al-Jazeera, AP and other media outlets also shocked part of the world.

The land of Palestine, one of the oldest regions in the world, is considered sacred in the eyes of the world’s three divine religions – Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The ancient city is also called Jerusalem, Al-Quds or Bait-ul-Muqaddas. Jerusalem is also a highly respectable place in the eyes of Muslims due to the presence of Masjid-e-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock there.

According to Jewish people, this holy area has been their ancestral homeland and the prophets of the Jews had ruled there for many years in ancient times. Christians also consider Jerusalem a sacred place due to its affiliation with Jesus Christ.

This holiest territory has witnessed the most horrific destruction in human history. There have been many wars in the past to occupy the holy land and today even in the 21st century, the land of Palestine is in turmoil.

In modern history, Palestine was part of the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate until the start of World War I. After the defeat of the Turks, the British took control of the region in 1917. Under the Balfour Declaration, British imperialism promised Jews the area so they could establish their national homeland there. The newly-formed United Nations passed a resolution urging to divide the land of Palestine into two independent and sovereign states, Palestine and Israel.

Israel came into being on May 14, 1948. Ironically, an independent Palestinian state was not established, in violation of the UN resolution. On the other hand, Israel, with the support of Western powers, started to occupy Palestinian territories. All military wars with neighboring Arab countries resulted in increasing Israeli territory. One by one, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights and other territories were taken over by Israel. Today, the Palestinian territories only consist of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are not even connected by land routes.

Israel is the only country in the world that does not have recognized formal borders. Many resolutions have been passed by the UN against violation of human rights and abuse of international laws by Israel. Even today, peace activists around the world are on the streets to record protests against Israeli atrocities, but Israel is not ready to listen to any sensible voice.

It is a pity for the international community, especially the United Nations, that the Palestinian issue is still unresolved. In my view, the UN resolutions should be implemented to stop the bloodshed in the holy land of Palestine. If the UN and the international community do not play their due role to maintain the dignity of Jerusalem then the ongoing violence may result in initiating yet another horrific world war.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani