An attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany on 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team, who were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian group Black September disgusted the whole of the civilised world. I too was full of self righteous indignation. Terrorism continues to be an anathema in my eyes whether committed by an isolated group or by one or a group of nations.
“Acts of terrorism” have become far more blurred in the intervening 40 years. We have recently seen the deaths of two leading politicians both described as hero by some and terrorist by others.
In 1948 the state of Israel was imposed, by the newly formed United Nations, on the Palestinian population whether Christian, Jew or Muslim. Peoples whose ancestors had lived in Palestine for countless generations, never completely independent but always under the yoke of invaders from surrounding warring empires. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Ottoman’s.
Views on the Balfour Declaration are more varied than actual words contained in the document. My only comment is that it should be read fully and in its historic context.
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”
I was born in 1942 when German invasion was a daily possibility. I have family members who lie beneath the poppy fields of the Somme. I saw the preparations for the invasion of Suez which despite the apparent good intentions, ended in failure and ignomy for the country and the British Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden. I lived through the 1960’s when nuclear obliteration was possible and never far from our thoughts. A fact rarely mentioned as an ‘excuse’ by social commentators for that decades social upheaval among the post war baby boomers!
In the aftermath of that summer in 1972 I asked myself what if? What if I had been born in a country whose indigenous rulers had no say in the daily routine of the ordinary people. What if I had lived in a ‘refugee’ camp for thirty years and not in a suburb of my native Lancashire city? What if dozens of my family and friends had either been killed defending their homes or had escaped to nearby countries – unloved and unwanted?
Sometimes I think I know the answer but even now I am not certain. One fact I am certain about it is that the systematic destruction of the people and the country of Palestine is immoral.