THIS refers to the report ‘Israel on the cusp of peace with Saudi Arabia: Netanyahu’ (Sept 23). The Arab News has also reported Saudi foreign minister referring to the matter while cautioning that the two-state matter must return to the forefront.

Also, during his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud reaffirmed the kingdom’s support for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “that allows the Palestinian people to have an independent state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

We, in Pakistan, know very well that just like our Kashmiri brothers and sisters suffering under brutal and seemingly never-ending Indian occupation, the Palestinians have suffered seriously under oppressive Israeli apartheid. One can judge their sufferings from the fact that in Palestine — now called Israel — even in 1918, the Arabs formed 98.3 per cent of the total population.

Despite that, gangs of Zionist murderers from around the world started descending on Palestine around the time of Balfour Declaration of 1917, which had promised Jews a homeland in Palestine — an Ottoman territory at the time — in return for financial and other help for World War I.

And through massacres and wars, first by Zionist gangs and later by the Israelis, they killed thousands of Palestinians, wiped out over 500 villages and forced a large number of Palestinians to flee to neighbouring states where they still live as refugees.

Through such measures, the Zionists in Israel have managed to bring down the Palestinian population from 98.3pc to just 26.5pc of the total population of the territories that used to constitute former Palestine, as reported by Jewish Virtual Library.

During Gen Pervez Musharraf’s military-led rule, the case for Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with Israel was said have started gaining momentum. The Pakistani president even addressed the World Jewish Congress and the American Council for World Jewry in New York. However, the president clearly stated that without a just solution to Palestinian-Israeli problem — by way of a viable Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with a fair settlement of Palestinian refugees — there could be no further progress on the issue.

The Israeli government has repeatedly rejected the two-state solution, which nearly the whole world considers to be the only just and practical solution to the issue.

With the return of extremist Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s opposition to an independent Palestinian state has only hardened, as expressed in his following policy statement: “These are the basic lines of the national govern-ment headed by me: The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel.”

I sincerely hope the custodians of the two holy mosques will not surrender the third holy place, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and abandon helpless Palestinians just for some small worldly gain. If the kingdom goes down that road, relying on vague promises, it will only streng-then the brute forces inside Israel.

S.R.H. Hashmi
Karachi

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023

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