Wednesday, August 18, 2010

for Palestinians, no refuge even at home

Did you see this story about Lebanon passing a law making it possible for refugee Palestinians to try for better than menial work in that country?

The Palestinians are not in the best of circumstances anywhere.

Did you know that there are about 1.4 million Palestinians living in 58 refugee camps in operation since the founding of Israel?.

Worst of all, even in what remains of their homeland in the West Bank, they are in prison because the Israeli military dictates their situation down to the last detail. Palestinians continue to lose their land to settlements in the pitiful fragments they tenuously live on in 2010.

Look at the sequence of maps below that portray what has happened since 1947 (courtesy of If Americans Knew). Do you recognize any similarity with Indian reservations in the United States? Did you, like me, fall for all the noise about Israel wanting peace for all the years this has been going on? Did you, like me, fall for the Israeli line that every Palestinian is a terrorist?

Seeing these maps, you can understand how the victims of this land grab might consider desperate measures. Don't forget that American Indians were the terrorists of the 19th century, and some of those who would be future leaders of Israel were dedicated terrorists in the middle of the 20th century. We need to get beyond labels and look at the maps that tell the undeniable story of the aggressor and the victim.

We can thank ourselves in America for allowing this to happen. Are you following the story of the settlements? Keep in mind that it has been official U.S. policy for decades to repudiate the settlement project, yet you can see what has happened regardless. What's made it possible is a steady flow of money, military hardware and diplomatic protection from the U.S. to Israel. Words of policy are immaterial.

Right now, President Obama is being just a tad more forceful on the issue than has been the case with most past U.S. presidents. You should make it a point to follow the story closely. Israel has been under a self-imposed moratorium on settlement building for many months. But will they continue it?

You can stay up-to-the-minute by reading the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a far better source of information on Israel than any U.S. newspaper.

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