Posted by: Amie | February 6, 2009


(**note** this was written pre-recent Gaza/Israeli incidents in 2009**)

Previously on my blog we discussed Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and its history. But do we really know what actually goes on?

While the US condemns(-ed) Israel’s constant expansionist techniques, we rarely hear about this or Israel’s retaliation techniques in our mainstream media (go figure). I only recently began seeking out the realities of what has really been happening. I would never, under any circumstances condone terrorism, suicide bombings or anything of the sort, but doesn’t it make you wonder what drove people to such madness? Everything on earth happens and exists because of cause and effect, and it’s hard for me to believe that young people are willing to strap themselves with explosives and die taking other lives because of simple annoyance. There must be a bigger picture.

I started to read Witness in Palestine: Journal of a Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories by Anna Baltzer. If no one reads anything else about Palestine, I hope they would decide to read this book. The major theme of the text talks about Israel’s method of annexing land to build a wall between Israel and the Palestinians.

The wall is, quite literally, to block Palestinians from entering Israeli land. However, Israel has blocked off all means for Gaza and the West Bank to support itself – access to food, clothing, medicine, jobs, electricity, etc.

To annex, Israel will first usually offer the family money for their home. This offer is usually no where near the actual monetary value of the land, let alone the sentimental value. Most of the land that is “annexed” is that of olive farms passed down father to son for hundreds of years. It’s said that some of the olive trees that survive in Palestine today were there when Jesus began his ministry. When the family refuses the offer, the Israeli guard will come with bulldozers and rip out their home and their farms from their very foundation anyway. Then they will then claim the land for Israel since no one “technically” occupies it any longer.

On particularly heart-wrentching story in the book is about a very old olive farmer whose entire life destroyed before his eyes in this very fashion:

“We watched a calm old farmer finally lose his composure as he watched his livelihood uprooted. Sobbing, he got down onto his knees in front of the soldiers and begged them to stop the bulldozers. When his tears were met with stone faces he began moaning and swaying until the cloth rag on his head began to fall off. His friend tried to calm him down, but he was past control. He lifted his arms up towards the sky and cried, “Allah w-akbar!” Then he fell to the ground and started crawling around grabbing handfuls of dirt, letting it run through his fingers. He watched it fall, and then looked up at the soldiers, imploring them to stop his misery.

I cried as I filmed the desperate man and the seemingly unmoved soldiers. He sobbed until his throat was [sore] and dry. Finally he collapsed, silent – defeated. Others were moved to sepak and distracted the media and solders, but I kept watching the man. He was gone, in another world, starting into space. His land, his love, everything was lost. His heart was broken.”

And this is the least of the atrocities.

The book also speaks of four farmers who were shot when they approached the guard and asked them to stop the bulldozing of their land. The did not throw rocks, they did not carry weapons. They verbally pleaded with the guard, who in return, fired bullets.

Again, this is mild.

In 2002, on two separate days (one right after the other) two pregnant women were shot at Israeli checkpoints, while in labor and on their way to hospitals to give birth to their babies. The story of Maysoun Hayek was published by The Independent, a U.K. newspaper. Maysoun, her husband and her elderly father-in-law, while on their way to the hospital in nearby Israeli territory, passed safely though one checkpoint and were given permission to proceed. As they approached the next, her husband was shot in the neck and killed. She and her father-in-law were also injured. The army claimed they tried to bypass an earthen baracade, so they opened fire on the car.

If you read any other non-American news source (such as BBC), almost daily you will read about happenings in Israel/Palestine. The US and her media tend to turn a deaf ear, or generally play it up as thought this tiny, tiny piece of earth and its few inhabitants constantly terrorize the poor, poor little Israel. Yes, Israel, that, to this day, remains the recipient of the largest amount of United States’ foreign aid (and weapons), closely followed by Egypt.

Many people have their conspiracy theories about why the U.S. media disassociates itself from the realities of the conflict. Most would probably say it’s because the media is owned by Zionists or that we have Zionist lobbyists controlling our government – maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just easier for America to continue its imperialistic oil-hoarding ways in the Middle East by painting a picture that the “Promised Land,” held so dear and true by the vast populous of Evangelicals¬† is constantly terrorized by those evil Arabs. Who knows?

However what we do know is that we, as Americans, have generally no clue of what actually happens, or for whose side they should actually be fighting.


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