A 19-day war between Israel and Palestine has left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead. At least 165 of them are children. For now (at the time of going to press) there is a truce. The Honourable Paul Findley weighs in with some important facts.
While viewing the massacre of Gazans, you may wonder why 1.8 million Arabs are crowded on that tiny strip of seashore and are being bombed day and night into death and ruins by Israel’s powerful military machine. A glimpse of history is timely.
Facts stated below are little known in America:
Beginning in 1947, as an opening of the War of Attrition, 800,000 Arabs began to flee their ancestral homes in rural Palestine fearing death as a Jewish onslaught obliterated without a trace over 500 Arab towns, villages and hamlets. Massacres were frequent. Those who fled were forbidden to return home.
Fifty years later, the Arab refugee problem was staggering: 766,000 in Gaza; 741,000 in Jordan; 408,000 in Syria; and 144,000 in Egypt; smaller numbers in other Arab states.
Gaza became a part of Occupied Palestine as a result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Although disputed by Israel, the Jewish state provoked the conflict. At war’s end, Israel pledged land for peace, then refused. Refugees and their descendants in Gaza struggled for survival. Israeli controls became brutal.
Today, potable water is nearly gone. Most of the population depends for survival on food and water distributed by United Nations officials. If supplies are not increased starvation - not just malnutrition - is certain. Gazans, all Arabs, huddle behind high fences armed with Israeli remote-controlled machine guns. A gate that once served as an occasional opening to freedom is now kept locked by the government of Egypt at Israel’s request. Gaza has long been described as the largest open-air prison in the world.
Israeli punishment became more severe seven years ago when Gazans exercised the right of self-determination by electing the Hamas Party to manage local affairs.
Once Hamas took control, Israel and the US government conspired in a sustained but unsuccessful attempt to destroy the organisation.
They still try. Hamas was reelected to a second term and recently achieved a cooperative arrangement with the Fatah organisation that maintains a measure of authority in the West Bank.
Infuriated because all gates stay closed, Hamas sends rockets over the fence. They do little damage but incite Israelis to launch heavy lethal bombing. Revenge is not wise policy, but people penned up like cattle for years welcome pain and discomfort for their oppressors.
The current assault on Gaza is Israel’s third in seven years, by far the worst. Hamas rockets are no match for Israel’s artillery, missiles and bombs. Thanks to US taxpayers, Israel has high tech missiles that shoot down Hamas rockets while still in the air. Hamas has no such defense, in fact, no defense at all.
The late radical Rabbi Meir Kahane, wrote a book titled ‘They Must Go.’ In it he declared that all Arabs must be removed from Palestine so an all-Jewish Eretz Israel, the dream of Zionism, can come into being. Eretz Israel consists of the entirety of Palestine, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, plus the Golan Heights, long a part of Syria, exactly the Arab territory Israel now controls.
All Arabs are not gone, but nearly two million are imprisoned in Gaza. Elsewhere in Occupied Palestine, 4.2 million Arabs are abused and denied basic liberties. Their property and livelihood are steadily being seized by Israel to provide illegal housing for Jews-only settlements. Arabs are squeezed into an ever-shrinking part of their birthright. More than onehalf of the Palestinian West Bank is now populated by more than 500,000 Israeli settlers. Kahane followers can boast they are more than halfway toward reaching their goal.
Who is responsible for this tragic mistreatment of Palestinians? If you ponder that question, bear in mind that Israel could not possibly commit this criminal behavior without automatic, unqualified, US government support year after year.
The lobby for Israel now controls all major US news media. Congress behaves like an appendage of the Israeli parliament. No president since Dwight Eisenhower has had the courage to stand up to Israeli wrongdoing.
Almost all of those who know the truth are afraid to speak out for fear of paying a heavy price - maybe loss of employment. Small wonder most Americans are uninformed about the tragedy in Arab Middle East.
All citizens of the United States must face the truth: Our government is complicit in Israeli crimes against Arabs. This is an election year. We should elect a Congress that will suspend all aid until Israel behaves.