The state of Palestine lies in the spirit and clamour of freedom

Israel may have captured their land but it has failed to crush the Palestinian spirit for freedom

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Zafar Agha

It was early 1980s. Indira Gandhi had staged a dramatic comeback to power. Soviet troops had entered Afghanistan. West Asia was hit by Israeli attack on Palestinian camps inside Lebanon. Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman Yasser Arafat was the hero of the global youth for his rebellious defiance of the Israeli might.

In such a global scenario of anti-imperialist fervour, India hosted the non-aligned summit where Arafat was present. Every media person wanted to speak to the PLO Chairman. Amidst the Arafat media fever, the PLO leader hosted his press conference at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. The hall was filled to the brim with both national and international media persons. I, too, was there. In came Arafat and the press conference started. Questions were flying thick and fast.

Amidst the din of the questions and answers, my media guru and the then Patriot Bureau Chief, John Dayal, stood up and asked Arafat: “Will there ever be a Palestinian state in my life time?” Arafat started at John, kept quiet for a moment and then smiled and answered calmly: “There will be a Palestinian state not just in your life time but in my life-time as well.”

Arafat is dead. Both John and I are old now. But John Dayal’s question of a Palestinian state viability still hangs over humanity while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs Indian Prime Minister and his ‘friend’ Narendra Modi.

Well, times have changed. The Soviet Union is dead and gone. Liberation movements like Palestinian struggle is literally gasping for the breath. In these rightist times and fervour, India, too, has changed. RSS-sponsored Modi government is keen to forge a Hindu-Jewish-Christian alliance against Islam and Muslim countries. Palestine is neither Indian nor international concern. Even Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is reported to have secretly visited Tel Aviv. A Palestinian state seems almost an irrelevant idea now.

But do not forget the historic fact that independence struggles take hundreds of years to reach their goal at times. But they never die down. Arafat may be dead. Palestinian state may not be a dream anymore. But Palestinians are still kicking and alive. They continue to die for their dream homeland. Israel may have captured their land but it has failed to crush the Palestinian spirit for freedom. There may be no Palestinian state still but it has become an issue of international conscience. If you don’t trust me, count the votes supporting American resolution in the UN General Assembly for moving Israeli capital to Jerusalem!

Brother John, there may not be a Palestinian state in your and my life time. But don’t lose hope. There will surely be a Palestinian state sooner or later.

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