A Midnight Rant About Israel And Palestine
A Midnight Rant About Israel And Palestine
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
When were you last in Palestine? I recently asked that question to a friend who was saying that if people are upbeat and focus on the positive about Israelis and Palestinian relations than things, by-golly, are just bound to improve. "Of course there are flaws in the process but any peace process is better than none at all," he said. What naivety - is my response.
When I read what the media says or listen to the radio or watch television where the subject is the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and/or Peace Process, they seem to be discussing different countries than the countries I recently visited. If there is 8% left of historic Palestine that would be a miracle. It is closer to 6% in terms of what the Palestinians have control over - (though during curfew you are targeted for death if you so much as look out a window and we know these curfews go on for days and weeks and sometime a month or more). Each day that passes there is less and less available to Palestinians - all they have of what little remains is taken from them.
Is this happening in israel too, to the Jews? - Are their buildings being blown up by Palestinians? Are they being starved and denied water??? Do attack helicopters and fighter jets bomb and strafe them? Do tanks fire into their schools? Do Palestinian soldiers blow the brains out of little Jewish children sitting at their desks in school?? Is a walk down the street a nightmare never knowing who will arrest you for looking the wrong way? Or kill you because of your ethnicity?? Must Israeli jews stop and wait at checkpoints for hours at a time and are they told to turn around and go home even when there is a medical emegency such as a heart attack or childbirth???
Are Jewish Israelis subjected to having their property taken out from under them? Have their banks been robbed and their bank accounts been taken over by Palestine??
The only way to stop what is happening is to acknowledge it - not cover it up even further!! It started in 1948 and continues day in and day out in a never ending horror story!
The building of outposts and settlements progresses at record speed and it is under government support and control. In the 9 days I was there in January it was amazing how much progress was made in East Jerusalem and along the West Bank, Jewish-Only highways. - And the Wall is down the center of roads in East Jerusalem now - and if your house is on one side and they give you an ID for the other side - you no longer are permitted in your house and if you aren't there, physically present, under Israeli law they take it from you because you are absent. And Jewish Israelis are thrilled to get their hands on lands/property that are recently stolen. (They are not offered to non-Jews) These brand-spanking new settlements are prestige items presented by a criminal government to a compromised people.
There is no peace process. There never was. It has all been a fraud - as the building of Jewish settlements and killing and maiming of Palestinians has continued non-stop since Al Nakba in 1948. (Think Lebanon in 1982 - Sharon's massacre at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps) Yes, there are lulls, periods of "relative calm" which is when the worse damage occurs - kind of like the child's game of red light. You close your eyes for a few moments and see how things creep up on you. Israel is in a game called ethnic cleansing. Slow, deliberate, steady - the pressure on the Palestinians is relentless and barbaric. There are millions of Palestinians in refugee camps living in utter squalor both in and out of Palestine. They are afforded no rights commonly granted to other refugees throughout the world - Israel and its cohort America have seen to that. But there is one right that no one can deprive them - the Right of Return. They will never give that up. Never! Don't even think it. It is etched in their hearts as well in the stone of International Law.
Sure, there are still some privileged Palestinians though their fortunes are definitely on the decline. Some have wonderful and successful families and in America would socially be in the middle to upper middle class. I wish them well and want them to be happy and to succeed and I'm sure they shall - for them somehow there will be a way - even if they eventually leave Palestine.
And of course, there are wonderful, morally upright, non-racist Israeli Jews too - I have met quite a few and work closely with many in the Jewish community. - Some have negative opinions about Israel much stronger than mine.
By Israel I mean the Zionist controlled government.
But on the whole, the Jewish community is in denial and insists that Holocaust programs are aired constantly. It is a mantra used to deflect criticism from their practices in Israel. It is entirely appropriate to counter this with what has been done to the Palestinians.
We should make a pact - like a political pact. If a Holocaust program is aired - Palestinians are automatically asked to show a program on the Al Nakba atrocities of 1948 - uncut - unedited photos of children with their guts showing and teens and moms and dads and grandmothers and grandfathers lying in a ditch and in open fields with limbs missing - some decapitated.
And let's be sure to include the photos of squalor and starvation in the tent cities erected for the refuges - many of whom are still refugees - 57 years later - but now they live in bombed out buildings in squalor though many are back in tents - like the 25,000 made homeless in Gaza over the last few years. There are lots of photos of the dead and the dying from 1948 to 2005 - just gathering dust. It's time they were aired - publicly - in newspapers and magazines and on television - over and over and over again just like the Holocaust until someone gets the point that the Palestinians have suffered too! Their suffering has lasted nearly six decades - not less than one decade as in the Holocaust - and there have been no reparations for the Palestinians - unlike the reparations for the Jews that for the most part were made in 7 years or less from the date of the injustice.
Yes. I am criticizing the Jewish community - those that do not look squarely at what their support of Israel is really about - with one set of laws granting rights and privileges for Jews-only while brutish military rule is enforced for the others. Many Arab Israelis - though they are Israeli citizens and pay taxes - are not permitted running water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, roads - though they may in fact put up facilities - but these are un-permitted as they say and so are destroyed at the whim of Israel. For the Bedouins, they've developed the fine art of aerial spraying of insecticides such as Monsanto's Roundup. It's very effective at killing crops, livestock and people who end up with cancer if they can't find shelter fast enough.
One Arab leader in Israel (Azmi Bishara) is not allowed to speak in the Knesset (he is a silenced member) because he has been arrested for such things as arranging visits of elderly to Syria to visit relatives. In their Knesset they openly speak of non-Jews - Arabs, Bedouins as sub-human and some prestigious members refer to them as insects - great talk - Yes, I read the English version of Israeli papers. Rabbis openly speak of Jewish obligations to preemptively kill Palestinians as a moral obligation - the list of such opinions goes on and on and they back it up with actions. (This sort of criminal thinking was also prevalent in America from the early 1600s to mid-1700s. These were barbaric times when church WAS state in the colonies. As a result, Catholic, Quakers and Jews were put upon and some were tortured and killed and toward the end of the 17th century the witch trials ensued. That's why the US founding fathers believed deeply in the separation of church and state and why it is enshrined in the American constitution.)
And yes, I recognize (though some claim I don't) that there are Palestinian suicide bombings and I deeply regret the loss of any life - but Israel occupies Palestine - Palestine does not occupy Israel. This is not a fair fight. It is a 36 BILLION dollar military against sticks and stones and stolen weapons. And yes our government in America is also becoming rabid with a belief in our superiority over all else. Preemptive strikes are against international law - that is what Adolph Hitler did. That is why one popular poster in Europe is that of George Bush with a mustache like Hitler's because that is what the world increasingly thinks of the United States and the renewal of a Bush presidency - the slow march to Nazism.
Come on - let's tell it like it is - Israel's independence was not grounded in righteousness and law but rather on a preemptive strike on the native population who (according to Resolution 181 which did pass despite Arab opposition) were not to be transferred. Yet 80% of the population was driven off of 78% of their land. That is the kind of thing Hitler did - and the freshly minted Israelis said, Never Again as they inflicted a similar atrocity on an innocent people. Ethnic cleansing was justified because of their supposed rights to a land which had been Jewish when Jews were what today would be called Arabs. Abraham came out of what today is called Iraq. By today's standards, Abraham would be called an Arab. Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic and today would be called an Arab Jew. Yet the problem with Jewish-controlled Israel is that it is Arab phobic. Go figure!
"In the 3rd millennium BC the civilized settlements of Southern Babylonia, Egypt, the Middle Euphrates, Palestine and Syria were invaded by tribesmen known as the Habiru or Apiru, who can almost certainly be identified with the Arabs, (the only identifiable meaning of 'Arab' comes from abir, nomad). The invaders, who are of Semitic stocks, inhabited and developed the ancient civilizations of Sumer and Babylon. The term "Semitic" was coined from Shem, son of Noah and respected ancestor of the inhabitants of Arabia. It is believed that Arabs from Central and Southern Arabia invaded the settled lands of the Fertile Crescent and that the Hebrews that are featured in the Old Testament were Arabs and part of the population of Arabia, which also included the Israelite Hebrews under the leadership of Joshua and other tribal chieftains."
- " Islam and the Form of the Mosque," by Martin Frishman, 1994.
Last night I was at Harvard University watching a Palestinian film, "Women in Struggle," produced, written and directed by Buthina Khoury with Buthina present and fielding questions from a very shocked audience. The film focuses on Palestinian women political prisoners and how they were brutalized in Israeli prison - raped with IDF and broomsticks until they were unable to bear children. A common tactic is to arrest a parent - a father and throw him in the room with his naked daughter and force him at gunpoint to sleep with his child. This is systemic - not random. This is Israeli policy - what it commonly done. They also arrest girls - pluck them out of their homes at gunpoint - no reason is necessary - and they physically and sexually torture them - and the same is done to men and to boys to break them and try to force them into becoming collaborators. Sick, sick, sick!! And there are widespread reports of Israeli military training American troops - the rest spills out into news reports involving sexually perverse torture in prisons.
There is NO need for the occupation - it is sick - sadistic and depraved. Lot's of money could be saved by Israel if they merely stuck to defending their borders. And the reason for terror tactic responses would diminish to nearly zero. Some wonderful Israelis see through it all but by and large most go along and blame the victim, I have found. I recently wrote an article about the FFIPP (Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace) conference and the arrests of 2 Gaza students with IDs and permits in hand. They were walking in the Old City as tourists and there was no rhyme or reason for their arrest. But the heroes of the story were two professors, an Israeli American, a former IDF officer and a retired Israeli professor of Chemistry. Through a variety of tactics they were finally able to rescue the students.
I am accused of being one-sided in my writing, but I have often praised where there is a reason to praise - hoping that these exceptions to the rule set an example. However, the nasty, brutish truth is all about. One of my Israeli friends told me of IDF near his home, rifle blasting the face of a young American man who was walking Palestinian children to school so they wouldn't be killed by settlers. He and his wife also witnessed other atrocities. They risk arrest for fighting government policies and practices yet they are courageous and do whatever they feel they can do as needed. He told me that the military now has a presence in grammar schools to teach good Israeli military values! He is beginning to see the situation as hopeless - the population is so saturated with government propaganda and increasingly - to his sorrow - in some instances can be compared to the rise of Nazi Germany. Many, he claims, oppose this trend but feel powerless to stop it.
But make no mistake, Palestine is the victim - when an occasional Israeli is killed it is blow-back - the result of increased anger and frustration- even the so-called Palestinian rockets are glorified college experiments - not guided missiles like what the Israeli military uses. Israel systematically has tortured and dispossessed the Palestinians. Under international law, as an occupied people, Palestinians have a right to resist - just as Jews had a right to resist during WW II and if an occasional German civilian or Nazi got in the way - injury and death were the result. I do not like or condone any of it but I see who is doing what to whom and refuse to blame the victim. Palestinians have also learned that Israel only respects violence. It is what has brought them to this latest so-called truce.
Under American law, I believe it is both morally and legally wrong that a state "for" Jews should be handed any US money except for humanitarian purposes. There is a constitutional prohibition - the separation of church and state. If Israel encourages Jews to Israel - fine - but it is a state FOR Jews where Jews have rights and others do not. Israel is NOT a democracy. That claim is PR developed to cover up what Israel actually does to its non-Jewish citizenry. I have seen about a dozen documentaries on this issue and gone to conference after conference and heard this discussed by many Israeli scholars and NGOs - the ones who would like to change things but never will - because they are essentially without power . The government of Israel does what it will and is devoid of humanistic considerations.
Many Israelis I have listened to or spoken with have come to believe that only an external force - such as UN Peacekeepers or a world wide boycott will bring about the needed change. Many in Europe's academic world are boycotting Israeli academia and the best of Israeli scholars are begging them to do so because conditions in the country are so bad.
They blame the problems of the country not only on Jewish elitism but extreme Arab phobia with the white European Ashkenazi (WASPS - White Ashkenazi Sons of Pioneers) still very much calling the shots. Sure there are a few windows of opportunity here and there and some tokenism to shut the others up. I have been told by these brave people that if there is to be peace with the Palestinians, Israel must change from within. Israel is a country out of control, with rising poverty, violence and long-standing issues of racism and discrimination that are tearing the fabric of the society apart. If Israel can heal itself, and adopt a more humanitarian attitude that the Jewish community was once upon a time respected for - then and only then will peace be possible, because Israel will be at peace with itself.