What is it Palestinians really want?
Commentary: The Orlando Sentinel on November 16, 2000
You're probably wondering what it is these Palestinians over there want. Well, even if you aren't wondering about it, I'll tell you anyway. They want the same thing the Founding Fathers of this country wanted: freedom.
You see, in 1967, Israel fought a war with Syria, Jordan and Egypt and won it right handily in about six days. In the process, it occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Jordan had illegally annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Egypt controlled Gaza.
The past 33 years, the Palestinians in those areas have lived under Israeli military occupation. Israel has no legal claim to any of their territory, including East Jerusalem. The United Nations has passed a number of resolutions upholding the Palestinians' claims and their right to self-determination. Bitter Harvest by Sami Hadawi has a good account of these resolutions.
Americans, of course, don't know what it's like to live under military occupation. Palestinians must at all times carry special identity cards. Their cars must have a special license tag. They effectively have no rights. Their land has been confiscated and Jewish settlements built on it. Their own houses have been demolished or blown up. Olive tress hundreds of years old have been bulldozed. Palestinians frequently are placed under "closure," which means that they cannot travel to get to their jobs. Often they are placed under curfew, which means that they cannot leave their houses for any reason.
You can't do anything but sit inside your house until your foreign occupier gives you permission to leave. Whenever they protest these indignities, some are shot dead, and even more stringent punishments are imposed on the survivors. The Israeli human-rights organization B'Tselem has documented much of this abuse, as have Christian observer groups.
During the most recent upheaval, according to the British newspaper The Independent, 191 Palestinians have been killed, and the wounded number more than 5,000. The same article states that 24 Israelis have been killed. Snipers have shot many of the Palestinians, including children. Amira Hass has written poignantly of this practice in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Israel recently has been condemned by Amnesty International and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Physicians for Human Rights recently condemned the use of excessive force by the Israeli Defense Force
A British newspaper editorial recently observed that if the Palestinians were black, the world would be united in denouncing Israel as a rogue state. Unfortunately, the Palestinians are not black. Moreover, the Israeli spin-doctors are so skillful and the Israeli lobby is so powerful that they have managed to convince most Americans that Israel is the victim of aggression. In fact, more American sailors died on the USS Cole than Israeli soldiers during the recent fighting, as of this writing. Apparently Israelis define aggressors as 14-year-olds armed with slingshots. I think that any man who can frame the face of child in his telescopic gunsights and kill him is a filthy animal who doesn't deserve to walk on this earth.
I've heard many tragic stories of Jewish children being shot by soldiers during the Holocaust. I fail to see any difference between a Jewish child being shot and a Palestinian child being shot. I fail to see any difference in the children. I fail to see any difference in the soldiers.
Americans who fail to speak out against these crimes being committed against the Palestinians with our money and with our government blocking any relief by the United Nations are accessories to the crimes. Remember: There is a God. And, sooner or later, there is always justice.
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