Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nakba Denial - Now - (Part Two)

The Holocaust is over… has been for 65 years. The Nakba is still going on and has been for 62 years. We often hear of the Holocaust but seldom do we hear of the Nakba. Nakba Now is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Another name for it is ETHNIC CLEANSING.

Uri Avnery, former member of the Israeli Knesset explains:

Ethnic cleansing does not have to take the form of a dramatic expulsion, as in 1948, it can take place quietly, in a creeping process, when more and more Palestinians simply give up. That is the great dream of the settlers and their partners: to make life for the Palestinians so miserable that they take their families and leave.[1]

Israel’s program of occupation carves up the West Bank into small, disconnected and impoverished enclaves. More than 200 settlement communities, filled with 470,000 Jewish occupiers, gobble up more and more land every day. Many settlements built right over homes that used to be owned by Palestinian families. Settler violence against unarmed Palestinians is documented and beyond debate.

Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, there are three times as many settlers and Israel has annexed 42% of Palestinian land for even more settlements. Yet, amazingly, the average Israeli citizen thinks that they are the ones compromising, that, “no concessions they make to the Palestinians will ever be enough… Palestinians will always demand more concessions until there is no Israel.”[2]

Nakba Deniers don’t even see Israel’s SEPERATION WALL.

Israel continues to build a “security fence” that turns towns into open air prisons. Its route, encircling communities and water resources, belies the purpose of security. It not only separates Palestinian families from the rest of Palestine, it isolates 350,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side of the wall, isolating them with 80% of the West Bank settlers. They no longer live in the West Bank, nor are they allowed to live in Israel. Dwelling amid an electronic fence, watchtowers, sniper posts, mine fields, surveillance cameras and patrols with killer dogs, it is hard to feel like anything more than a prisoner in your own land.

Nakba Deniers forget about POLITICAL PRISONERS and their families.

Someone said to me, “What the Palestinians need now is a Gandhi or King.” They have probably had one but he has more than likely been assassinated or is languishing among 8,000 others in an Israeli jail, who have been arrested in the middle of the night, detained without charge or convicted by “secret evidence,” which neither he nor his lawyer (if he ever had one) was allowed to see, answer or challenge. Chances are he has been convicted by confessions made while being tortured.[3]

Nakba Deniers underestimate the misery caused by the DEMOLITION OF HOMES, the epitome of Nakba denial. Human beings cannot live without a home.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (ICAHD) takes, as its main focus, and its vehicle for resistance, Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in the occupied Territories – over 24,000 homes destroyed since 1967. The motivation for demolishing these homes is purely political: to either drive the Palestinians out of the country altogether, or to confine the four million residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to small, crowded, impoverished and disconnected enclaves, thus effectively foreclosing any viable Palestinian entity and ensuring Israeli control. In more than 95% of the cases the homes demolished had nothing to do with security. Their inhabitants did not commit any acts of terror…; Taken against the background of Israel’s systematic destruction of more than 500 Palestinian villages, towns and urban neighborhoods in 1948 and after, and its ongoing policy of demolishing the homes of Israeli (Arab) citizens – some 20-40,000 homes in the so called “unrecognized villages” are slated for demolition – the picture that emerges is one of ethical cleansing.[4]

Nakba Deniers treat the MASSACRE OF GAZA as none of our concern.

To say that 1,387 Palestinians lost their lives is just a statistic. (As opposed to nine Israeli, four by friendly fire.) Even pointing out that most of those killed were noncombatants, including many women and children fails to grip our emotions. But the massacre was more than a statistic to 78 year old Mustapha Al Jamal when F-16s fired missiles into his neighborhood. Jamal, who survived the Nakba of 1948 when he was 11 years old, lost his home, and six sons. Today, a year after the “war,” he is still homeless. “Life is not getting better,” he said. “It’s slowly getting worse for many people.”[5]

It’s true, Hamas, over a period of eight years, fired 12 tons of rocket payloads into Israel in response to the blockade which kept food, medicines, fuel, and electricity from entering Gaza. At the same time, Israel dropped 100 tons of high explosives on Gaza during the first day of the of Operation Cast Lead, targeting schools, chicken farms, health clinics and sanitation facilities. As a result, every day, Gaza, with a population density exceeding that of Hong Kong, dumps 65 million liters of raw sewage into the Mediterranean,[6]

Rachelle Marshall writes:

A year after the invasion Israel’s three year blockade of Gaza is tighter than ever, with the results that Gaza’s crippled infrastructure has not been built and thousands of Gazans remain homeless in the midst of another winter. Because Israeli bombs destroyed the sanitation system, many Gazans are not only cold and hungry, but forced to drink contaminated water. Amnesty International’s British director Kate Allen said of the current situation, “The wretched reality endured by 1.5 million people of Gaza should appall anybody with an ounce of humanity. Sick, traumatized and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel policy imposed by Israeli authorities.”[7]

Nakba Deniers accept as normal or necessary Israel’s MILITARY CHECK POINTS, which often serve as centers of humiliation and even death for those trying to get to their jobs, schools or hospitals. .

Nakba Deniers look the other way instead of calling Israel to accountability for
CLOSURES and
JEWISH ONLY ROADS and the
UPROOTING OF OLIVE TREES and the
DENIAL OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, including
SEPARATE LAWS FOR SETTLERS AND PALESTINIANS, such as
THE RIGHT TO LEAVE AND REENTER THEIR OWN COUNTRY.
Nakba Deniers accept the dumping of Israeli
WASTE AND SEWAGE IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.

Little by little, with very little attention from the world community, Israel is squeezing Palestinians from their land with checkpoints, earth mounds, Black Hawk helicopters, F16 bombers, sulfur bombs, tear gas, sound grenades, guns and bullets while all the time disallowing the delivery of food, medicine, fuel and electricity to sustain life. .

In 2002, Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, declared, “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”[8] Arnon Sofer, father of Sharon’s separation Plan put it even stronger:

When 2.5 million people have to live in a closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day and every day. If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.[9]

My adversary said, “There will never be peace until the Palestinian mothers stop teaching their children to hate Jews.” I responded, “Mothers don’t have to teach their children fear and hatred. Children look around and learn from experience. Israel has its narrative which we hear often. Until we also hear and acknowledge the Palestinian narrative, the Nakba, Israel will show little interest in ending the occupation.

Thomas Are
August 16, 2010

[1] Uri Avnery, Is a Two State Solution still Possible? A Fantasy The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July, 2010, p.16
[2] Walter Reich, The Despair of Zion, Published in The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 2010. p. 50.
[3] According to the Middle East Study Committee Report to the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, “Some 8,000 Palestinians arrested in 2008 or in previous years were still imprisoned at the end of the year. This included some 300 children and 550 people who were held without charge or trial under military detention orders, including some who have been held for up to six years.” p. 69.
[4] Jeff Helper, Obstacles to Peace, A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. (Published by ICAHD, 2009) p. 1.
[5] See Mohammed Omer, Life Upside Down: One Year After Israel’s Winter War on Gaza. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2010, p.16.
[6] See Delinda Hanley, ANERA’s Bill Corcoran Describes Gaza One Year Later: Picking Up the Pieces, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2010, p.9
[7] Rachelle Marshall, U.S. Placates Israel and Opens New War Front While Ignoring Palestinians, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2010, p. 7
[8] Jeff Helper, Obstacles to Peace, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, p.26
[9] Quoted in The Jerusalem Post weekend supplement Up Front, May 21, 2004. p.4. Cited in Helper above., p.34. “Kill as many Arabs as possible and talk as much as possible about Peace,” became the formula of political strategist Reuven Adler, used to lead Sharon and Olmert to power and repeated in Livni’s successful election campaign of 2009. Cited by Helper, p.24.

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