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Palestinian Struggle ‘Anti-Imperialist’ at its Core, has Nothing to do with Religion: Muslim Leaders in Greece

The Palestinian struggle has nothing to do with religion and has, at its very core, an “anti-imperialist character,” according to a Palestinian community leader in Greece.

While the world’s attention is again on the Palestine-Israel issue due to the ongoing Gaza crisis, Mohammed al-Sayyed, president of the Palestinian Community in Greece, emphasized the need to view the current events through the lens of history.

“What has been happening in Gaza is not since Oct. 7,” he said in an interview with Anadolu.

“The Palestinian problem, the Palestinian suffering, started since 1948. And that is if we don’t go back to 1917.”

By 1917, he was referring to the Balfour Declaration, a letter from then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a leading figure of the British Jewish community, pledging support for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

“Balfour gave something he doesn’t own to some people who don’t deserve it. The Zionists, they don’t deserve Palestine, they have nothing to do with Palestine,” said al-Sayyed.

“Before that, the Zionists themselves were searching for a country for themselves in Argentina or then in Kenya. Then the third one, they found the easiest solution (was for) the British to help them to establish their home in Palestine.”

Since 1948, when Palestinians were expelled from their historical lands, Israel has remained adamant in ignoring numerous UN resolutions, said al-Sayyed.

“Until October 7, there were so many resolutions from the UN and the Security Council that say Israel should withdraw from the occupied territory, including Jerusalem,” he pointed out.

As the occupying power, he said, Israel also has the legal obligation of protecting Palestinian lives in the West Bank, but instead it continues to kill civilians and encourage the expansion of illegal settlements.

‘Not a religious war’

Al-Sayyed emphasized that the decades-long Israel-Palestine issue cannot and should not be seen as a war of religions, specifically Islam versus Judaism.

“We, Palestinians, co-existed with Jews in Palestine for centuries. And, by large, Jews lived peacefully in the wider Islamic geography, from Morocco to Yemen and Iraq, for over a millennium until the foundation of Israel in 1948,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Palestinian nation scattered all around the world as a result of the Israeli occupation includes Muslims and Christians with different worldviews and lifestyles.

“We, however, are united and one in resisting Israel and convinced that we will eventually prevail,” he said.

“It is important to know that the Palestinian struggle, in essence, has an anti-imperialist character.”

Al-Sayyed urged the international community to be on the “right side of history” at a time when Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are facing “ethnic cleansing” by Israel.

“The right side of the history is to be with the Palestinian people, who have been treated unfairly for decades,” he said.

‘World wants Israel to have Gaza, West Bank’

When asked about the reported Israeli plan to expel Palestinians from Gaza to re-occupy it and open it to illegal settlements, al-Sayyed said Israel is pursuing this objective with the backing of the international community.

“The whole world wants Israel to execute its plan. They want them to have the rest of the land. They want them to have the West Bank and Gaza,” he said.

However, he asserted, that the “steadfastness of Palestinians” will not let this come to fruition.

“The Palestinians have said we will not leave our country. We are ready to die here and we will not go for another Nakba,” he said.

“You know why? Because in Gaza itself, 70% of its people, they are also refugees. They are the children and grandchildren of Palestinians who were expelled from their hometowns after the foundation of Israel in 1948.”

Europe’s double standards

In an interview with Anadolu, Naim el-Ghandour, president of the Muslim Association of Greece, stressed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was right when he said that Europe owes the Jews, not Muslims.

“When Jews were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, it was Muslim states in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire that welcomed them,” said el-Ghandour.

He said there is still strong anti-Semitism prevalent in Europe, pointing to it as the main reason for the strong and unconditional support that European states extend to Israel.

“They support Israel because they don’t want Jews to be back in Europe,” he explained.

On the soaring Palestinian death toll in Israel’s attacks on Gaza, which is now over 11,200, including more than 7,700 women and children, el-Ghandour said Europe’s stance on Israel’s ongoing atrocities has refuted its own narratives of freedom, democracy and human rights.

Source : aa