The Balfour Declaration of 1917, the foundation text, on which the state of Israel is based, pledged the British to furthering 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 that may prejudice the existing civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.
In 1948, when Israel declared the independence which the Israeli embassy celebrated recently, more than 90 per cent of the land of present day Israel was in Palestinian hands. Today Palestinians barely hold 10 per cent and illegal Jewish settlements proliferate almost hourly. Israel has, in fact, implemented an unacknowledged policy of ethnic cleansing.
Gaza is one of the small slivers of land still held by the Palestinians. It is one third the size of Ireland’s smallest county — Louth. It now contains a million and a half men, women and children. Many of these people were either driven off the land adjoining Gaza or are related to people who were. In Irish terms, it is as though a million and a half dispossessed Irish nationalists were clustered on the border looking back at land they once owned. I shudder to think what sort of an IRA this would create.