By Deepak Tripathi
(source: Palestine Chronicle)
In the foreword to Ramzy Baroud’s book, Palestinian scholar Salman Abu Sitta refers to a bold assertion by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, in June 1948 – soon after the declaration of the state of Israel and in the midst of large-scale cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland. “Not one refugee will return,” proclaimed Ben Gurion, “The old will die. The young will forget.”
To some living at the time, it would have sounded like a hasty prediction. Not only has the Palestinian tragedy lasted six decades and more, its consequences today go beyond Palestine, the Arab world, even the Middle East. It lies at the heart of a much wider and far more serious crisis facing the world. How wrong Ben Gurion was. There cannot be another conclusion.
The seeds of the Palestinian tragedy had been sown while the Ottoman Empire was collapsing under British and French pressure almost a century ago. In a covert pact stitched in 1916, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Britain and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, determined the fate of Palestine as a largely internationalized territory.