Saturday, August 1, 2015

Palestinian Lives Matter

As I consider the violations of human rights and all that Israel does to dishonor and humiliate their Palestinian neighbors, I think it would be a shorter list to try to come up with what Israel has not done.  Israel has not built gas chambers, has not used Palestinian bodies for medical experiments, or rounded up young Palestinian girls to be sex slaves.   That is to be commended.  But when compared with its record of human rights abuse, it is hard to overlook so many similarities with Nazi-like practices in which Israel engages in seeking a “final solution” to its “Palestinian problem.”  It’s not that Zionist Israel is totally similar to Nazi Germany. It’s that Israel is not un-similar enough in its Nazi-like tactics.  “Death to Arabs,” expresses the mood of the day and it has been for a long time.

In writing of the founding of Israel as a state, historian Arnold J. Toynbee declared:
The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis…Though not comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.[i]

Chris Hedges summarizes how it is today:

Israel’s goal is to make life a living hell for all Palestinians, ethnically cleansing as many as it can and subduing those who remain. The peace process is a sham. It has led to Israel’s seizure of more than half the land on the West Bank, including the aquifers, and the herding of Palestinians into squalid ghettos or Bantustans while turning Palestinian land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Israel is expanding settlements, especially in East Jerusalem. Racial laws, once championed by the right-wing demagogue Mier Kahane, openly discriminate against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.[ii]

A report by Action on Armed Violence found that Israel killed and injured more civilians with explosive weapons in 2014 than any other country in the world.[iii]

When Palestinians cry out to the world, “our lives matter,” they are not just asking that they be allowed to live, but that they be given the same dignity and security that any life deserves.  Try putting yourself in their place:

We as Palestinians are daily humiliated by the Israeli forces; our human rights are violated daily; our homes are demolished daily by bulldozers manufactured in the United States; our olive trees are uprooted on a daily basis; our land is confiscated and turned over into illegal settlements daily; our young people languish in Israeli jails with no charges or due process for months on end; our teenagers are taken from their beds in the middle of the night and imprisoned by the Israeli army on an average two by night; and the Israeli government continues its violations of international law while the nations of the world remain silent.[iv]

It’s not just that Israel, up-roots trees by the thousands, destroys homes, schools and wells,  Israel has a record of horrible treatment of children. 

Children in the West Bank:

--- Face arrest without warning, military courts, and physical violence at the hands of the Israeli forces.  According to Defense of Children International Palestine, 500 to 700 children each year are arrested and come into contact with the Israeli military system in the West Bank.

--- Over half of the arrests take place during raids on homes in the middle of the night. Children are routinely blindfolded and have reported being beaten, insulted, and threatened with rape.

--- A 2013 UNICEF report concluded that, ”the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.[v]

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs asks:

Do you know what American taxpayer money to Israel supports? Among other things, it funds the IDF’s  detention of thousands of Palestinian children --- 8,000 since 2000 --- who are pulled from their beds in the middle of the night, often beaten, denied access to their parents, food or a lawyer, and held without charge.[vi]
What will it take for us, the United States, to wake up and acknowledge the fact that, “Children’s lives matter,” even if they are Palestinians?  Yet, the US stands alone as the only country in the world to oppose a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council calling for Israel to be accountable for war crimes.

Someone is going to say, “Oh come on. Comparing Zionist Israel to Nazi Germany is a bit over the top.”   And I will say, “Make you case.  I have made mine,” except to point out that the world went to war to stop Nazi Germany. On the other hand, Israel it still at it, and the world, especially the US, looks the other way as Zionism’s brutality rages on.

Thomas Are
August 1, 2015

[i] Naim Ateek, Justice and Only Justice, (Orbis Press, Maryknoll, New York, 1989) p.32
[ii] Chris Hedges, Why I Support the BDS Movement against Israel. Published by Truthdig, July 27, 2015.
[iii] Chris Hedges. Truthdig, 2015
[iv] Ateek’s Moral Universe., Mondoweiss,  July 7, 2015,
[v] Ylenia Gostoli,  Teen’s Death Highlights Israel Abuse of West Bank Youth.,  Al Jezeera,  July 6, 2015
[vi] These disturbing details were noted at a June 2 congregational briefing that featured Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old American teen beaten by Israeli police last summer. While he is now free, hundreds of children who don’t enjoy the privileges of American citizenship remain in Israeli prisons.  Reported in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  August, 2015. 

No comments:

Post a Comment