Friday, May 9, 2008
Israeli Occupation of Palestine
Wow, Israel is fucked up. Even when my friend Rachel Corrie was purposely run over and killed by one of their bulldozers a few years ago, I didn’t fully understand the conflict over there. Now I'm starting to. In John Pilger’s book, Freedom Next Time, he writes, “Israel is the undisputed world champion violator of international law- an international law founded as a consequence of the crimes of the perpetrators of the Jewish holocaust.” This is ironic because they are some of the worst abusers of human rights since the Nazi’s. The Palestinians were living peacefully until in 1948 the Jews were awarded the right to a homeland. They started Israel and began kicking out all Arabs in the region. They started a campaign of destruction, killing and ethnic cleansing that continues to this day and goes virtually unchecked by the rest of the world. They are trying to oppress and wipe out Palestinian culture. Thousands live in refugee camps that are completely walled in. There are checkpoints everywhere and it often takes hours and hours to try and get through one. They cannot leave, go to school, see the doctor or anything without permission from the Israeli army. Ambulances are often not allowed to pass as the wounded bleed to death within sight of them. There are many cases of pregnant women not being able to pass a checkpoint to reach a hospital and having to give birth in a car and their babies usually die. Within the Occupied Territories there are Jewish ‘settlers,’ living in heavily fortified and guarded communities set up inside the camps. Inside these walls are rich suburban homes and affluent Jews watering their lush green lawns, while just meters away, beyond a wall, drinking water is very scarce and hundreds of children are dieing of starvation.
Israels excuse for this behavior is that they are battling terrorism. This stems from the fact a Palestinian organization, Hamas, attack them with suicide bombers. This is relatively new tactic in the region starting in the 1990’s (suicide bombers never existed in Iraq before the Anglo- American invasion.) Children growing up in the refugee camps have never known anything but war. Most have seen death first hand, often times members of their families. They live in constant fear of being bombed or shot. One of the most disturbing tactics Israel uses in its occupation is the targeting of children. From 2000 to 2004, 618 children were killed, over half shot in the head or neck, indicating sniper shooting. Most killings occur in their homes, school, or workplace. The trauma in these kids runs deep. The only weapon they have is themselves and they are very confused. The idol worship surrounding “Martyrs,” as they call them, is intense. Ten year old kids are becoming suicide bombers because they don’t know what else to do and and frankly, they don’t want to live. As well as starting the entire situation, Israel also provokes them. For example, in 2001, they wanted to attack and re-occupy the regions and try out their new jets and bombs, as well as send in 30,000 troops. But they needed a ‘revenge factor’ to motivate the troops for maximum killing, as well as to have an excuse for their actions within the international community. The problem was Sharif Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas had reached a secret deal that the suicide bombings would stop. Well, the Israelis heard about the plan and decided to assassinate the Hamas leader to provoke a response. It worked. Inevitably, 12 days later a new wave of suicide attacks occurred. Shortly thereafter, Israel attacked with unprecedented force.
The most despicable man alive is probably Israel’s leader Ariel Sharon. This man is a monster. His most notorious crime occurred in 1982 with his invasion of Lebanon. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was based in Beirut and he wanted them wiped out. In the first two weeks 14,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed and 20,000 injured. According to UNICEF, 10 children were killed for every one Palestinian fighter. Eventually the PLO retreated and was evacuated by an international force. Women and children remained in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps, assuming they would be safe. Wrong. Sharon deemed them “terrorists.” He allowed a fascist trained group called the Phalangists to encircle the camp and systematically murder every child, women, and elderly person. The Israeli army sat in watchtowers making sure no one escaped. The events were sanitized in Israeli propaganda. One of Israel’s public control methods is to accuse anyone critical of them of being an Anti-Semite and therefore pro Nazi. This, and a well-oiled propaganda machine, has let them get away with atrocity after atrocity. Another one that springs to mind occurred in 2002. For three weeks, the Israeli Army had invaded and occupied Ram Allah in the West bank, the capital of the Palestinian Authority. They said it was to ‘destroy the infrastructure of terror’ (Israel conveniently jumped on the ‘terror’ bandwagon after 9/11). The actual aim was, according to John Pilger, “to destroy the infrastructure of an organized society.” Pilger toured the area ten days after the occupation. Desks and textbooks in schools had been trashed, musical instruments looted, computers destroyed and hard drives stolen. Their cultural center was demolished. The master tapes of one of the best collections of Palestinian cinema were all destroyed. Every piece of equipment in the town’s radio station was wrecked. The soldiers shit everywhere: on artwork, in drawers, on floors, flowerpots and books. The children’s art section had been pissed on and vandalized with the Star of David and phrases like “Sons of bitches- you fuckers- I was born to kill.” Gardens with cypresses and fruit trees were bulldozed. This is a very common practice in the Occupied Territories. As soon as any prosperity occurs, like agriculture, the army comes in and sets them back a few years, motivated by spite. There are horror stories after horror stories, I could go on but it is just to fucked up. They have even started stamping the hands of their prisoners, a sad echo of the way their people were treated 60 years ago. Israel are not the only ones to blame. America supplies them with their jets, helicopters, and bombs while Britain helped put the country together with the Balfour Declaration. The fact that both these countries turn a blind eye to what is happening is a crime against humanity in itself.
Click map for bigger image.
An image from the Sabra and Chatila massacre.
EDIT: June 2nd. I met a man at a BBQ last week who served four years in the Israeli army. Every young man has to over there. We had a long talk and and he confirmed all of the above article. He told me he had committed violent acts at the checkpoints for the first year of his service, then wised up and mellowed out. The word he most often used to describe the settlers, politicians, and the situation in general was "fanatics".