Friday, June 4, 2010


Would there be a Palestinian problem if Israel treated Palestinians the way it treats Jews? No, because Palestinians would be and would have have been treated as neighbors and as partners in building a homeland for them both. But politics intervened and we have what we've had since 1948 -- a divided land seething with resentment and violence.

This has particularly been the case since the 1967 war when Israel took the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt respectively and occupied it, promising the Palestinian residents their freedom but never giving it to them. As journalist Robert Scheer writes, "There is no such thing as a morally acceptable occupation, and as the oppressed resist they will become more violent in their desperation. In turn the occupiers will show their true colors as oppressors.

The secret to stopping the violence and improving Israel's security needs is, as Scheer so eloquently says, to treat Palestinians the same way as Jews are treated, with dignity and respect.

The other day Israel again tried to crush dissent and protest by attacking it. The attack, in which 9 civilians were killed and 600 arrested ("kidnapped" is perhaps the better word), backfired. New boatloads of nonviolent protesters bearing building materials, medical supplies and food are on their way and more are planned.

If Israel wishes peace and the respect of its neighbors and the world, it must immediately cease its blockade of Gaza, discontinue the illegal settlements in the West Bank that have but one purpose, and that is to occupy the whole of the West Bank and prevent any hope of the Palestinians having their own homeland. If Israel wishes to destroy itself, the best way to do it is to continue what it's doing. If it wishes to live and prosper, the only way to do that is to begin treating everyone with respect as human beings.

The Palestinian people are good people who deserve better. Two excellent resources to increase your understanding are Naomi Shihab Nye: "Habibi", and Ramzy Baroud: "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story".

All for this post,


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