Two monumental actions in the last 30 days have ushered Jackson into the center of current world affairs. More precisely, the capital city has been brought up to and across the threshold of the volatile conflict between Palestine and Israel
First, on Jan. 11-12, South Africa successfully undertook the bold motion of forcing Israel to stand before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of genocide against the Palestinian people. Israel, further, was given a mandate to respond in 30 days to the court’s order to protect the Palestinians against any further acts that may be interpreted as genocidal.
Second, on January 25 the International Museum of Muslim Cultures (IMMC) opened its special exhibit, The Journey to Understanding: Palestine and Israel Unveiled. The IMMC is an internationally recognized institution based in downtown Jackson since April 2001. The exhibit consists of over 40 well-crafted panels of texts, pictures, and graphics that make a heroic effort to explain the complex and frequently inscrutable history of the Palestine/Israel contest for space and sovereignty, and peace in the post-colonial Middle East.
The exhibit fully documents the Palestine that existed more than a century ago as a viable, self-sustaining import-export economy, with a 95 percent Muslim population who owned 99 percent of the land. Palestine was still flourishing under the flag of the Ottoman Empire at the time that Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl convened a “Zionist Congress” in Basel, Switzerland on August 29, 1897, “for the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine.” Unfortunately for the Jewish people that Herzl had in mind, there was no place for these strangers in a flourishing, well-run and solidly Arabic Palestine.
Herzl’s closely guarded solution, nevertheless, was to buy out the Arab landowners where feasible, and to forcibly expel the reluctant Arabs and expropriate their property when necessary
“If I were to sum up the Basel Congress in a single phrase – which I would dare not make public,” Herzl confided to his diary, “I would say: In Basel I created the Jewish State.”
THE TOUR BEGINS
Inside the main exhibit room, the displays begin with Palestine before 1948, touching briefly on the Balfour Declaration of 1917, then moves on to Jerusalem, the divided city. Suddenly comes an unexpected immersion into the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, the uprising against the British mandate power that had shown itself to be in collusion with the Zionist Jews. World War II, 1939-45. Arabs reject the 1947 division of Palestine that gave Jews 56 percent of the land. In 1948 comes The Nakba, until today in Gaza, the most shameful part of the Jewish incursion into Palestine, in which the Jews destroyed 530 Palestinian villages, while systematically killing over 15,000 Palestinians, and, following Herzl’s plan, force-marched 750,000 into exile or refugee camps.
The exhibit loops back to the careers of terrorist leaders and future Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin of the Irgun, and Yitzhak Shamir of the Stern Gang, both terrorists of the worst type. They most likely bombed the King David Hotel in 1946. Killing 91 people of variety nationalities and injuring 46. Britain had given up its mandate after this bombing.
American citizen Golda Meir, during this period, said of the Palestinians: “We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”
African American United Nations Undersecretary Ralphe Bunche was given the task of working out a treaty of sorts between the Jews of the new state of Israel and the Arab heads of state in Jordan and Egypt, who were now the caretakers of the Palestinian lands.
Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his role in working out the peace agreement of 1949.
While the innocent men, women, and children of Gaza were being subjected to bombs and outright contempt of their humanity for over three months, South Africa submitted a request to the International Court of Justice for a hearing under the Genocide Convention. Hearings on South Africa’s request for provisional measures took place in The Hague on 11 and 12 January 2024.
South Africa said there was enough info available to show there to be the “plausibility” of genocide and if there is risk of genocide, the World Community must act. The ICJ issued six provisional measures that Israel must conform to. The court–
1) Ordered Israeli government to do everything in its power to prevent genocide;
2) Ordered this translated to the military as well;
3) They then ordered that all evidence be preserved;
4) They ordered that effective humanitarian aid be provided on an urgent basis;
5) They ordered those who are making genocidal statements face some level of prosecution; and that
6) Israel “shall submit a report to the court on all measures taken to give effect to this order within one month.”
The first four are really a cease fire by another name.
Naledi Pandor, SA Minister of International relations and Cooperation, was one of the women in state affairs who remained assiduous in the effort to bring Israel before the ICJ.
“Over the last 4 months, we’ve watched a genocide as it was being livestreamed,” Pandor said. “Oxfam reports that since Oct. 7, 2023, the daily killing of Palestinians exceeds the daily death toll of any conflict in recent years.
“The findings make it clear that it is plausible that genocide is taking place against the Palestinian people,” she said.
IMMC co-founder Emad Al Turk says his team “worked nonstop for the last three months to assemble this exhibit.”
He was especially moved by what were obviously crimes against humanity.
“This was a crime against humanity in proportions that we have not seen before in modern history,” he said. “There are 164 children being killed each day. It’s even worse than when the Holocaust was happening.
“Historically, the United States has supported Israel since its creation,” he said. “And it also supported having an independent Palestinian state. But none of the resolutions for the Palestinian State have ever been implemented. If we had implemented the Palestinian resolutions we wouldn’t be where we are today. War is not the answer. We have to have a peaceful coexistence. And the only way you can have a peaceful coexistence is by having equity and justice for all the habitants of that land.”
Okolo Rashid, co-founder and transitioning executive director, says she has aspired to follow the example set by Martin Luther King, the originator of the idea of a Beloved Community.
“There is no way that our conscience, if we are in tune with it, there’s no way we can remain silent during this particular time,” she said. “Emad has covered much of what you need to understand about the Palestinian struggle. I want us to also focus on Beyond Palestine. That’s what King talked about. He talked about the need for us to get rid of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism, wars really.”
It is the conscience of each individual that compels the decision to take up a cause or burden of our neighbors. she says.
“We are on two tracks,” Rashid says. “We are fighting hard for justice for the Palestinians; and we are also building a movement to build a Beloved Community in Jackson. We are further along than we were when King spoke. But we must have a cease fire. We must have humanitarian aid to go to our fellow humans. This is not just about Palestine. This is about what it means to be human. It’s about a small group that Dr. King talked about – a true revolution of values. The only way we’re going to get through this right, is that we’ll have to have a revolution of values.”
LIES AND DECEPTION
A somewhat heated discussion came near the end of the Thursday’s exhibit regarding propaganda and deception that have played a central role in convincing President Joe Biden and other world leaders to support Israel’s cause, right or wrong. The two great deceptions, that 40 babies had been beheaded by Israel’s former client organization Hamas, the legitimate government of the Gaza Area, and the elaborate false scenario of Israeli females having been raped almost as a routine part of the Hamas military excursion of Oct. 7. Biden was hooked into the Israeli cause by Netanyahu from the first mention of the Oct. 7 attack. The elaborate scheme was created by Israeli Psy-ops people and was fed to the gullible public through the New York Times and especially the English paper, the Guardian.
The reliable media watchdog The Intercept debunked the false narrative of the Hamas rapes and 40 decapitated babies reported on Jan. 29.
“According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, one of the main propagators of the claim that the Palestinian Resistance fighters sexually assaulted Israeli women on October 7, the police cannot find any victims or any witnesses of any form of sexual assault,” The Intercept reported.
Regarding the 40 beheaded babies, The Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill wrote on December 14: “Eventually, the Israeli government was forced to admit it had no evidence to support the claim (of Hamas beheading 40 Jewish babies), though it continued to imply that it might be true.”
Al-Turk said he was well aware of the constant barrage of falsehoods and deception overshadowing the Palestine condition.
“Israel has been lying for years,” he said. “This is not new. They have a propaganda machine that they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on to change the narrative on what Israel does in the occupation. I spoke to someone questioning me here in Jackson about how I can justify the Oct. 7 occurrence. I said if Hamas has killed one innocent person it is not right, But I don’t have any proof of what happened. The only thing I hear is the Israeli side.
“I don’t know what the truth is, but Hamas about two weeks ago came up with a detailed report of what happened on Oct. 7, and they actually published it. It was published in the U.S. as well.
“I have lived through a history of 75 years of lies. But as the events unfolded, the story of the 40 beheaded babies of course started with the Israelis story,” Al-Turk said. “And then the Guardian of England wrote that article. And the President of the U.S. actually repeated the same thing. After the Guardian reporter was challenged about how he got that information, they backed away from it. Basically, the White House Press Secretary apologized and said the president should not have said it. So, this was an obvious lie. Even the music festival of Oct. 7, if you look at what happened at the music festival, there are cars and people in the cars that are charred. With the military equipment Hamas had when they went over the border, they could not have done this (burn the bodies inside the cars.) The evidence is showing right now that Israeli helicopters were actually shooting and they set the houses on fire.
“They had something in place called the Hannibal doctrine, which required that no Israeli hostages should be captured by Hamas. Israelis were ordered to kill them rather than allow them to be captured. If the Israeli armies are engaging with the Palestinians and they’re about to take hostages, they go there and kill Israelis and Palestinians.”
MORE EXHIBIT FEATURES
On display: Resolution 2334 UN Security Council condemns Israeli settlements from occupying Palestinian lands.
This is a violation of international law, specifically the 4th Geneva Conventions prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own population into the territory it occupies. Lawless and above the law. 56 resolutions condemning Israel have been passed, but they tend not to have any effect. The Security Council, whose duty it is to enforce, fails to enforce or even to support these resolutions.
500-700 Palestinian children come in contact with Israeli courts each year. These are the only children in the world who experience systematic prosecution in military courts. Soldiers and any other authorities or any rag-tag occupier, or settler, will break the arm or leg of a Palestinian child suspected of having thrown a rock at a tank. They arrest seven- and eight-year-old children, break their arms, shoot them in the leg, or commit some other mean or heinous punishment.
Palestinians are very familiar with the devastating police practices used against Black Americans. Some fear the knee on neck tactics used by Israeli police that also killed George Floyd of the United States.
Israel teaches those tactics to American law enforcement bodies across the U.S. Thousands of U.S. police officers, sheriffs, and ICE officers have received training with Israeli military and police forces.
Understanding Apartheid: near the end of displays.
Nelson Mandela speaks: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Although practiced for many years, Apartheid came to be known as the legal system of South Africa in 1948, the same year that Israel staged its murderous takeover of Palestinian lands and villages, esp. at Deir Yassin, forcibly driving 800,000 Palestinians from over 530 towns and villages.