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Israel State Of Misery
By Mary Sparrowdancer
© Copyright 2007 - All Rights Reserved
10 -6 -7
It was two weeks ago when I learned about a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who, by way of a simple request, seemed to quietly epitomize what being a refugee from Palestine means. Her statement spoke to me of something that reaches very deeply into the human soul, and this is why the Palestinians will never cease to struggle for the right to return to their ancestral homes in the Holy Land. With her health failing at this time, as the woman began thinking about her final arrangements she asked that someone please go to her home village of Safad, which is located in the Palestinian hills of eastern Galilee. The village was ethnically cleansed of Palestinians in 1948. She asks that someone please bring back to her a handful of sand so that she might be buried with it.
When I heard of this, I knew immediately that this was symbolic of all that the Palestinians have ever asked. They have never asked for much at all other than simply to be allowed to return and be reunited with their land. They have asked to simply be permitted to have food and water, to be allowed to live and travel freely in their own land with the same dignity and respect that we all desire. They have asked for the cessation of the collective punishments they have suffered since Palestinewas pirated away from them and changed into Israel, a state for "the Jewish only" in 1948. It then became instead, a state of misery for all other citizens living there. They have asked for the misery to end. That is all they have ever asked.
For 60 years, however, this has been far too much to ask of the Zionists who are forcefully and brutally occupying the homes and lands that for centuries belonged to the Palestinians, including the family of the woman above who once lived in Safad.
Palestinian refugees are described by the UN Relief and Works Agency as "persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood" The Palestinians lost everything when Zionists from foreign countries decided to move to Palestine, to claim it as their own land, and to announce that the Holy Land was henceforth a Jewish supremacist state.
Previously, people of many religious beliefs, including Jewish, Islamic, and Christian, lived in relative peace with one another in Palestine. For 60 years, however, there has not been a single day of peace in the Holy Land, which is the last place on earth that should be an openly discriminatory, "Jewish only" state. For the millions of Palestinian refugees who Amnesty International claims are the largest and longest standing refugee population in the world, the way to achieve peace again in this state is through a very simple request that is in accordance with international law: Allow the Palestinian refugees the right to return to their own homes and lands.
Unfortunately, the Zionists who run Israel have held themselves above international laws for most of their 60 years of military occupation of Palestine. Codes of conduct that the rest of humanity are expected to abide by, apparently do not apply to Zionists, who for six decades have violated human rights weekly, daily, hourly in Palestine -- minute by passing minute -- all of it made possible through sophisticated military machinery and weapons paid for largely by US tax dollars.
While Israel continues its relentless assault on Palestinian civilians, while it cuts supplies off from the hungry and destitute refugees in Gaza, while it repeatedly destroys the refugees' meager homes and lands in Gaza and the West Bank, while the Zionist military tanks and armored vehicles repeatedly tear down refugee tents in the Negev desert, while they uproot ancient olive groves and orchards, while they continue to take land that belongs to the Palestinians in order to make new "settlement" camps for foreigners, Israeli Zionists continue to offer monetary incentives to Zionists and Jewish people from other countries to come and "settle" on the land that belongs to the Palestinians. According to Haaretz, the number of Jews and Zionists leaving the US and Canada to live in Israel is expected to reach a 33-year high in 2007. (1)
Currently, the refugees who have remained in dwindling territories of Palestine, are being roped off by enormous apartheid walls and huge fences of concertina wire, through which they can catch glimpses of the newly arriving strangers to the Holy Land, strangers who have come to freely and lavishly (and often unknowingly) live upon land taken from the Palestinians. The strangers are free to come and live here on lands belonging to the homeless who now watch from the other side of the fence. The homeless are not allowed to "resist," the atrocities inflicted on them by the Israeli military. If they do resist, they face arrest, imprisonment, torture or execution. While we hear many mainstream news stories about the "Palestinian terrorists," and "resistance fighters," and the qassam rockets that rarely hit any targets, we hear little about the true terrorists in that state: the Israeli military. We hear few reports about what is actually being done to the Palestinians who are held captive within closed borders. (2) (3) (4)
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, from September 20th through September 26th, 2007, a period of only one week, the Israeli military forces committed the following human rights violations and atrocities: 13 Palestinians were murdered in the Gaza Strip, including one child. One of the victims was crushed to death by a military bulldozer. Five of the victims were "extra-judicially executed," which means they were rounded up and executed by Israeli soldiers without the benefit of a trial or hearing. This is reminiscent of the manner in which the Nazis rounded up and executed refugees during WWII. The military soldiers simply enter the civilian neighborhoods in their armored vehicles, they assume the role of judge, jury and executioner, and they murder in cold blood. No one is held accountable for their crimes against humanity. The mainstream media simply reports this as "extra-judicial," as though no further explanation is warranted.
During the above seven-day period of time, there were also 33 military incursions into civilian neighborhoods and refugee camps with armored vehicles, in which 47 civilians, including 12 children and a journalist were wounded by the Israelis. Thirty of those wounded were in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, the same town where a brutal massacre of Palestinian refugees was carried out by Israel in 2006.
During the same week in question, the Israeli army also demolished 23 refugee homes and two apartment buildings, one of which was a five-storey building. The army used an unarmed Palestinian civilian as a human shield in order to gain entry into a refugee camp. Zionist "settlers" from other countries viciously attacked a Palestinian child and two paramedics in Bethlehem. Zionist "settlers" also stabbed a Palestinian in Jerusalem. Many acres of Palestinian agricultural land were demolished and fired upon by Israeli warplanes, thus adding to the already dire food crisis the Palestinians are suffering.
For 16 months, Israel has kept the borders of the Gaza Strip completely closed, thus creating a deliberate humanitarian nightmare for the 1.5 million Gazarefugees being held prisoner there. They are being held prisoner at the mercy of the military offensive force that in one week, alone, carried out all of the above atrocities on civilians who cannot escape and cannot adequately defend themselves against the sophisticated Israeli military force. This is not a "war." It is a military attack against a civilian population. Only the aggressors are in possession of advanced weaponry and machinery of war.
Caught in a struggle that appears to be eternal unless someone finally stops Israel, while the remaining Palestinians are unable to escape their tormentors, the Israeli tormentors have shown that their thirst for torment and "collective punishment" cannot be quenched, even after 60 years of bloodshed. As though no amount of torment will ever be enough, Israel is now preventing even food, water, fuel, and medical supplies to the people it has trapped in Gaza. (5)
In virtually all mainstream "news" about the situation between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas is repeatedly described as having carried out a "bloody takeover" ofGaza. This is blamed as the reason for the "collective punishment" by starvation and thirst now being carried out with full support of the US and the EU. The truth is, however, that Hamas was legally and democratically elected by the Palestinian people who had grown frustrated after many years of major corruption within the Fatah leadership. An election was held, the people voted, and they voted for a much needed change. But change is not what the US and Israel desired. The Zionists did not approve of the election results.
According to journalist Khalid Amayreh, "The Jerusalem Post routinely publishes tendentious and even concocted stories about Hamas and Islamic movements in general for the purpose of besmirching their image. In mid June, for example, the paper published a piece of disinformation by Fatah alleging that a Hamas militiaman brutally killed a Fatah activist by pushing him off a multistory building in downtown Gaza. However, upon further investigation, the story turned out to be inaccurate as the victim's father asserted that his son was actually killed by Fatah militiamen who mistook his son for a Hamas activist." There are also numerous reports indicating the Israeli military personnel have been dressing as Hamas in order to carry out kidnappings, and further confuse matters. (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11)
Because the "news" coverage is so utterly one-sided and pro-Zionist, we hear about each rare Israeli who is kidnapped, but most people have no idea that in the last seven years, approximately 60,000 Palestinians have been kidnapped by the Israeli forces, and approximately 11,000 are still currently being held in prisons, including children, families, women, babies, the sick and the elderly. Since the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shaleet in June of 2006, the Israeli army has kidnapped more than 9,000 Palestinians to date. (12)
The way to end this state of misery is not through giving more military funding to Israel via US tax dollars. This military funding and misuse of US tax money needs to be stopped at once. The way to end the misery is for Americans to arm themselves with the truth. It will be painful at first, because the truth is sometimes painful to learn. Tell the North Americans who just moved to Israel to turn around and come back home to their own countries. Give the stolen lands back to the Palestinians and allow them to return to their homes. The Holy Land was never meant to be a destructive, "Jewish only" state in which only one race or religion is honored, cared for, and preserved.
And if someone of conscience is reading this in the ethnically cleansed city of Safad, please send me a handful of sand. I know of a refugee who wants to be buried with it when her heart stops beating. Let it be the first of many gestures of compassion and peace that have been missing for far too long in the Holy Land. (13) (14)
1. North Americans moving to Israel. 10/06/2007
2. The Israeli Apartheid Wall: 10/06/2007
3. Watching from the other side. 10/06/2007
4. Walls and Wires. 10/06/2007
5. Human Rights Violations: 10/06/2007
6. Fatah corruption. 10/06/2007
7. The Hamas election. 10/06/2007
8. False journalism. 10/06/2007
9. Israelis dressed as Hamas. 10/06/2007
10. Israelis Frequently Disguised as Hamas. 10/06/2007
11. Israeli military dons Hamas Uniforms. 10/06/2007
12. Israelis kidnapped 60,000 Palestinians in seven years. 10/06/2007
13. Israel is destroying antiquities in Holy Land. 10/06/2007
14. Apartheid The "haves" (as in, "we Zionists now have your land"), and the "have-nots," (as in, "you Zionists have stolen our land, and destroyed the Holy Land)." 10/06/2007
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mary sparrowdancer is an independent journalist and the author of a bestselling book, The Love Song.