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Israel Starves Palestinians Into Submission

Israel Deliberately Starves Palestinians Into Submission, Article In “The Nation” Says


By Sherwood Ross

Many Americans haven’t the foggiest idea about why their country is reviled and attacked by Muslim militants. They won’t get it from President Bush, either, who has floated the absurd canard al Qaeda attacked New York and Washington on 9/11 because it is envious of America’s "freedom."

It’s as if U.S. support of Israeli policies in the form of billions of tax dollars and military aid has no place in the equation. Yet, al Qaeda officials have stated their reasons repeatedly: to avenge Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians and to drive U.S. forces out of the Middle East.

Only a small fraction of Americans read magazines such as “The Nation” that candidly report the suffering of Palestinians at Israeli hands. The publication’s article by Alexander Cockburn June 19th for example, spotlights Israeli actions about which most Americans know nothing.

Cockburn charges, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians into submission as the reward for having democratically elected the party of their choice.” In a commentary titled: “Palestine: It’s All Over,” Cockburn states:

“Whole communities are famished and sick, cut off by Israel from food and medicine. The World Bank predicts a poverty rate of more than 67 percent later this year. A UN report issued in Geneva on May 30 says that four out of ten Palestinians in the territories live under the official poverty line of less than $2.10 a day. The ILO estimates the jobless rate to be 40.7 percent of the Palestinian labor force.”

Cockburn contends Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert doesn’t recognize the right of Palestinians to even the wretched cantons currently envisioned in his realignment.

In Olmert’s ‘realignment’ plan, Cockburn says, “the ‘separation barrier’ now scheduled to be Israel’s permanent ‘demographic border’ annexes 10 percent of the West Bank, while melding into Israel vast settlements and hundreds of thousands of settlers.”

“The Palestinians lose their best agricultural land and the water,” he continues. “Israel ’s Greater Jerusalem finishes off any possible viability for a separate Palestinian state. This Palestinian mini-archipelago of cantons is shuttered to the east by Israel ’s security border in the Jordan Valley .”

Cockburn said no matter which Israeli leader was in power, “the roads got built, the water stolen, the olive and fruit trees cut down(a million), the houses knocked over(12,000), the settlements imposed(300), the shameless protestations of good faith issued to the US press(beyond computation).”

“As the new millennium shambled forward, surely it became impossible to believe any Israeli claim to be bargaining, or even to wish to bargain, in good faith,” Cockburn said.

Cockburn said the Israeli government’s plan emerged during the 1980s: “The road system that would bypass Palestinian towns and villages and link the Jewish settlements and military posts; the ever-expanding clusters of illegal settlements; control of the whole region’s water.”

He asserted it isn’t hard “to get vivid descriptions of the increasingly intolerable conditions of life for Palestinians: the torture of prisoners, the barriers to the simplest trip, the harassment of farmers and schoolchildren, the house demolitions.”

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(Sherwood Ross is an American journalist who reports on historical and contemporary subjects. Contact him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

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