Resolution of nothing

Palestinian youths run from tear gas canisters while carrying Palestinian flags by the barbed wire fence along the border with Israel east of Gaza City, during clashes following a border demonstration on December 7, 2018. / AFP / Said KHATIB

This year has been one of important anniversaries for Palestinians. After the Nakba on May 15, this week marked the 70th anniversary of U.N. Resolution 194, which enshrines their right of return to their homes and homeland, and to compensation.

Tragically, for Palestinians, the anniversary still only represents one of occupation, oppression and disenfranchisement.

Shielded by the veto power of the United States, regardless of who occupies the White House, Israel is the sole country in the world that has ridiculed or ridden roughshod over every single U.N. measure targeting it.

And while history has shown that the world is willing to take action to ensure U.N. resolutions are enforced, the Palestinians have watched as the “civilized” West has turned a blind eye, even as Palestinian activists and intellectuals were hunted down by the murderous Mossad inside Europe’s borders and beyond.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have borne years of devastating Israeli attacks, suffered under a siege that has turned Gaza into a living hell, and witnessed the Jewish state’s colonialist project in the occupied West Bank expand with its rampant, illegal construction of settlements.

If Israel’s daily oppression was not enough, this year saw its U.S. patron move its embassy to occupied Jerusalem and cut funding to UNRWA, putting in jeopardy Palestinians’ access to crucial services, including children’s right to an education.

The anniversary of Resolution 194 rarely occupies more than two lines in most Arab media, let alone gets a mention in the West.

Yet the Dec. 11, 1948, resolution that supposedly ensures Palestinians’ right to return is like a knife in their stomachs that is twisted one notch further for each year those rights are denied.

The anniversary also draws attention to the failure of the U.N. itself.

Resolution 194 showcases its clear double standards, serving as an uncomfortable reminder to itself and the world that on the issue of the Palestine, the U.N. is paralyzed, apparently capable only of grandiose gatherings and empty resolutions that, 70 years on, have left the Palestinians with nothing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 11, 2018, on page 1.




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