Palestine: August 2007

Attorney and activist delegation sponsored by Al-Awda-NY and the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago

Background to Palestine

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In the United States, due to pro-Israel lobby, government and media, the following historical facts are generally unknown:

Israel was founded through the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, when, armed and supported by the western imperial powers (especially Britain and the U.S.) and by the Soviet Union (via Czechoslovakia), Zionists systematically terrorized, dispossessed and ethnically cleansed the Palestinian majority.

Some 13,000 Palestinians were massacred, 531 towns and villages erased, 11 urban neighborhoods emptied, and more than 750,000 (85 percent) driven from 78 percent of their country, or what Palestinians refer to as the “48 areas.”

In 1967, Israel seized the remaining 22 percent – including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – which remains under military rule, and what Palestinians call the “67 areas.”

Today, at least 70 percent of the 10 million Palestinians are in exile – the world’s largest refugee population. Those who managed to remain — today, 1.4 million (or 20 percent of the population in Palestine ’48) — are confined to 2.5 percent of the land, subject to more than 20 discriminatory laws, and deemed a “demographic threat” to be “transferred” elsewhere.

In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 140 illegal, ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements and road systems dominate the water resources and control 40 percent of the land. Palestinians are confined, separated and degraded by an 8-meter-high separation wall, pass laws, curfews and 600 military checkpoints. In Gaza, 1.4 million suffer sealed borders; air, artillery and ground strikes; economic blockade; designation as “enemy entity”; and suspension of essential services.

During the past seven years, 4,274 Palestinians in these 1967 territories have been killed, compared with 1,024 Israelis. The army has seized 60,000 political prisoners; it still holds and tortures 11,000.

[Israel has also aggressively exported itself beyond Palestine. It was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally. Especially since 9/11, it has promoted the demonization of Arabs and Muslims. It has 200 nuclear weapons, but manufactured phony “evidence” of WMD for the Bush administration to invade Iraq.

There, as well as in Afghanistan and Lebanon, the U.S./Israel alliance has killed, maimed and displaced millions of people, using Israeli-perfected techniques of collective punishment, air war, human shields, home demolition, assassination, kidnapping, rendition, detention, torture, separation walls, partition and ethnic cleansing. Israel has been in the forefront of support for additional U.S. wars to dominate the Middle East, including Syria and Iran.

Israel is sponsored almost entirely by the United States. In the past ten years alone, it has provided $17 billion in military aid, which the bipartisan Congress has just increased by 25 percent. It is with these U.S. dollars that the Israeli regime wages an internal war against the Palestinians and an external war throughout the Middle East and beyond.

These facts are compelling in and of themselves. They are even more so as an American — whose government arms and finances the Israeli state; and as a Jew — whose ancestors suffered the same pogroms and ethnic cleansing that the Israeli state has for sixty years inflicted on the Palestinian people, on behalf, it claims, of all Jews everywhere.

And for these reasons, a growing number of religious, labor and human rights organizations in other countries – led by those in South Africa — have endorsed the same kind of boycott against Israeli apartheid that helped bring down South African apartheid.

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Written by nyclaw01

April 13, 2008 at 11:46 pm

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