american in palestine

Monday, August 21, 2006

"after all, look at what they've put israel through...."

i, unfortunately, recently made the mistake of engaging a zionist in an online forum...big mistake. but there was one statement that she made in the course of the 'discussion' that i'd like to expand upon a little.

the statement was made in regard to the 'security procedures' at the allenby bridge border crossing between the west bank and jordan, which is tightly controlled by israeli security.....as I questioned the beatings, harassment, delays and etc. there, she said, basically, "palestinians should be expected to endure extra security procedures - after all, look at what they've put israel through...."

and this statement could be applied in a similar fashion to a number of different situations:
palestinians should be expected to endure X - after all, look at what they've put israel through....

at checkpoints, for example...
palestinians should be expected to endure 700 checkpoints that are built between villages, cutting families in half, preventing students from reaching school, preventing ambulances from reaching the hospital, they should be expected to give up their babies in miscarriages, as over 100 women have done, should be expected to wait, standing in the hot sun after gallbladder surgery, until they die, as happened to an old woman as I watched last year at a checkpoint, should be expected to wait for hours each day to go a couple of kilometers away to work (most of these checkpoints, remember, are NOWHERE NEAR any israeli areas or settlements, so no justification can be given that this is about 'protecting israelis'), should be expected to strip naked in front of hundreds of people, even if they are a woman, should be expected to wait all day, or for several days, at a gate that separates them from their farmland, until the moment when the soldier in charge of that particular gate takes a whim to open it to let them farm their land or tend their animals......palestinians should be willing to wait at the checkpoints for as long as the soldiers stationed there want them to, even if they are sick, or pregnant, or dying.....they should be willing to die, of thirst, illness, injury, after waiting hours or days at each checkpoint, with hundreds of others all waiting, waiting....so that some singular israeli settler can pass uninhibited, and without seeing any arabs, on some faraway settler road......- after all, look at what they've put israel through....

or in prison....
palestinians should be expected to be seized from their beds in the middle of the night without cause or explanation, and locked into prison with 10,000 others, many of whom have never even been charged. they should be expected to endure torture, techniques which israeli human rights groups have documented time and time again as being severe violations of international law....techniques like "palestinian hanging" from the ankles, which was used by U.S. soldiers trained by Israelis in the tortures at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.....palestinians who have no association with any resistance group should be expected to be imprisoned and tortured in this fashion, after all, they should be willing to prove to israel that they are willing to go through whatever it takes to show that they are not opposed to the israeli occupation of their land, they should be expected, should be willing! to be tied to a chair with their back arched and pulled, to be stripped and harassed and beaten and abused (all of which have been documented on numerous occasions), should be willing to go without food and water for long stretches, to go without needed medical treatment, to be put into a windy dusty tent in the scorching heat of the Negev desert with thousands of other Palestinians being held there, many without ever being charged.....should be expected, if they are a pregnant woman in prison, to give birth in shackles, without proper medical care, to be imprisoned with their babies in tiny cells in which the baby has to learn prison procedures before they can walk or talk, palestinians should expect that they have no right to a trial, to a lawyer, to stand before a judge....they should expect that israel can lock them up for as long as it wants, for years and years, without ever charging them with anything, because 'security reasons' is reason enough (even if, as in many cases, there is absolutely no evidence that the imprisoned person has ever done anything at all)....they should expect to be tried, if they are tried, in a legal system that does not recognize them as people, and under which they have no legal jurisdiction or rights, as they have no citizenship in any country, having been deprived of the right to citizenship by israeli occupation of their land. in fact, they should expect to live in prison, happy in their knowledge that by doing so, they are helping to keep israel safe (despite the fact that no connection has ever been made between the massive imprisonment of palestinians and deterrence of attacks against israel), happy to live locked inside israeli prison walls with no way to appeal to any judge, court or body as they have no legal rights whatsoever....innocent or guilty, it doesn't (and shouldn't) matter to the imprisoned palestinians that they will not get their day in court, and have no right to expect it......
- after all, look at what they've put israel through....

or the land....
palestinians should be expected to give up their land for the israeli immigrants. like the farmers in hebron who were just issued military orders last night to give up 275 acres of their land so that the settlements in the hebron area can expand.....and no, they shouldn't expect to have a hearing or an appeal or any compensation for their land....they should give it voluntarily, they should give up their ancient olive trees, nearly one million of which have been cut down in the last six years by israeli forces and settlers. despite the fact that these olive trees provide the only source of income for over one-quarter of the palestinian population, they should voluntarily give them up, they should be happy to let the Israeli army come and chop up their trees, and give the wood to Israeli settlers for firewood, and then take over the land to build Jewish-only settlements which they and their families will be walled out of.....they should give up their family's age-old connection to the land so that immigrants from russia or poland or the USA can come and build walled-in housing developments with guards at the entrances and electric fences all around.....as 260,000 Israelis and Israeli immigrants have done in the last ten years in the West Bank. they should be expected to give up their claims to their land, even if their families have lived there a thousand years, even if they hold a title, even if the land is the only thing they have left on this earth.....they should be expected to watch their children go hungry, their animals starve, and their homes be demolished as the homes of 27,000 palestinians have been demolished in the last six years....they should be expected to endure the loss of their ancestral land so new settlements and military bases can be built there.....
- after all, look at what they've put israel through....

or the wall....
palestinians should be expected to accept this Wall, built 'for Israel's security', built deep within Palestinian territory, annexing up to half of the Palestinian West Bank to make it de facto part of Israel.....the children in Silwan who are protesting the Wall that is pushed up against their school building, separating the school from the schoolyard, and the daily shooting by soldiers into their schoolyard as the soldiers 'protect' the construction of the wall against the shouts, protests, and occasionally stones thrown by the kids - they should just stop that silliness, they should give up their right to an education, should give up their access to their school, they should accept that this Wall is being built 'for Israel's security', despite the fact that it is running right through the middle of their town....the farmers in the Salfit district, where the Wall is being constructed right now, should be expected to give up their land, so that the water wells, 70% of which are already controlled by Israel, can all end up on the Israeli side of the Wall....despite the fact that their district is 20 km from the supposed 'border' between the West Bank and Israel...no matter, let Israel annex those 20 km, it is, after all, 'for their security'.....and what about those silly Qalqilians? How dare they complain that their town of 40,000 has been completely surrounded by the 8-meter high concrete Wall with guardtowers every 200 meters? That the only way in and out of the city - for farmers to reach their farmlands, for villagers to reach their work in town - is through one, Israeli controlled gate, which is frequently closed. That townspeople have been shot and killed from the watchtowers, that mentally-handicapped people have been some of the most victimized, with a number of them having been killed for venturing too close to the Wall into what Israeli soldiers term 'the killing zone' (varies from 3-300 meters from the Wall, depending on which soldier you ask, and how they feel that day). They should be expected to make a few small concessions 'for Israel's security'...
- after all, look at what they've put israel through....

food and water....
how can palestinians really expect to be able to have access to food and water - these things are luxuries, after all, and they should be willing to give up some luxuries for the sake of israel's security. so what if 40% of Gazan children, according to united nations reports, are suffering from malnutrition.....so what if Israeli control of 70% (and growing) of the West Bank's water means that Israeli forces frequently cut off the water supply to Palestinians in the hottest part of the year - to redirect the water to Israeli settlements to fill their swimming pools and supply their air conditioning, while the Palestinians (on whose land the underground wells actually lie) are stuck without drinking water, let alone water to wash clothes, food or dishes, for days on end (as Shoa'fat refugee camp is being cut off right now)? Palestinians should be expected to give up their universally-recognized right to access to water so that a few nearby settlers who recently moved onto land that used to belong to the palestinians can have water for their swimming pools. these palestinians should expect to give up a few small things here and there - like food and water - for the sake of israel's 'security'...
- after all, look at what they've put israel through....

and what exactly have the palestinian people put israel through anyway? over 900 israelis have been killed by palestinians in the last six years - 2/3 of them civilians (in the same time period, over 4,000 palestinians have been killed, 2/3 of them civilians). these deaths are without a doubt unconscionable, inexcusable, and there should be justice for the families of those killed. but are _all_ palestinians to be held responsible for the killing of israelis?

israelis are, for the most part, living modern, normal lives - able to work, shop, sleep, travel, eat, drink, swim, pray....all things that most people take for granted, but things which palestinians are routinely denied.

the 'suicide attacks', which supporters of Israel often cite as the main reason for the occupation of palestine are obviously NOT the real reason for the occupation - as the Israeli occupation began in 1967, and the first suicide attack was in 1994. as israel continues constructing a wall of apartheid that encloses palestinian areas into ghettoes and annexes up to one half of the West Bank to make it de facto part of israel, the resentment, anger and frustration felt by palestinians only grows. there were no suicide attacks prior to the 'oslo accords' in 1993 - an agreement that had israelis dancing in the streets, but pushed palestinians into an apartheid regime. it was only after the apartheid that was the true reality of the 'oslo accord' began to be enforced that attacks on civilians became commonplace....and the first such attack was not a palestinian suicide attack against israelis, but a massacre of 29 palestinian civilians praying in a mosque in Hebron by dr. baruch goldstein, a right-wing zionist israeli, in april 2004 (each year israeli settlers in hebron, including children, celebrate this massacre - some dress up like baruch goldstein and fire weapons into the air). a month later, in may 2004, the first suicide attack against israeli civilians took place.

my point is not to justify such attacks - they are absolutely, undeniably unjustifiable. i just think that many people are not aware of the historical context in which such attacks have emerged. and i think it is important to realize that the reason given by israel ('security') for the measures taken against palestinians is NOT the real reason for such measures. the real reason, which is exceedingly clear to anyone on the palestinian side of the wall, is the expansion of the israeli state further and further onto palestinian land, using whatever means are necessary in order to do so.

2 Comments:

  • I do agree that Israelis' Pleasures are more imporetant than Palestinians and Lebanese lives.
    Two Israeli (occupation / IDF= IsIrael'S Destructive and fatal) Soldiers abducted= Whole Lebanon Destroyed

    By Blogger Munir khan, at 10:11 AM  

  • I often have to deal with this really disturbing notion of BOTH sides being equal in the injustices perpetrated against one another. It frustrates me so much because more often than not, the other end will be someone who has NEVER been to Palestine and doesn't understand Arabic and therefore gets the news from an extremely biased news source. It frustrates me because alot of times, the Israeli/Palestinian issue comes up in a setting drenched with denial: sitting in Starbucks, sipping their coffee,enjoying the luxury of a cushioned couch, and discussing what they think Palestinians should/should not be doing to ease the conflict. It frustrates me so much because as much as I tell people to NEVER judge a people who are continuously,daily,routinely,endlessly suffering in every aspect of their miserable lives: from leaving the not so safe home to the extremely unsafe street looking for a living to the most basic right of a kid going to kindergarten being violated becausethe school has been demolished or invaded by a bunch of 18yr.\old soldiers for sniping-- people just don't understand that it's not as simple as they think, sipping their blood-drenched starbucks coffee.For all the injustices you've already mentioned, I dont know how ANYONE wouldnt be angry enough to resist. It's like a man hitting his wife and then shooting her because she screamed of pain.I am also Palestinian, though I dont live in Palestine but I have visited a number of times and it was more than enough for me know what humiliation tastes like. It is as bitter as hell. God bless you.

    By Blogger livid, at 1:16 PM  

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