May 2007

A Palestinian Visits Palestine...Impressions

The Zionist propaganda that Palestine was a "land without people for a people without land" was an outright lie. There were millions of Palestinian Muslims, Jews and Christians living in Palestine before the state of "Israel' was created. It was not an empty piece of land like the Zionists claim it was.

In Palestinian villages like Deir Yassin, and Beit Hanoun, large numbers of Palestinians were slaughtered by the Zionist forces. During the war of 1948, thousands of Palestinian civilians were slaughtered and nearly a million driven from their land and homes, becoming refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, where, still, almost sixty years later, generations of Palestinian families still live. Palestinian refugees make up the largest population of refugees in the world; over six million Palestinians are waiting to return to their homeland.

Palestinians now live in horrendous conditions, often facing horrible treatment by Israeli soldiers. Some of the tactics that the Israeli government uses against the Palestinians are very similar to how Nazi Germany treated its Jewish citizens. For example, during Nazi Germany Jews had to wear stars of David, that were sewn on to their clothing, so they could be immediately identified as Jewish. In Palestine, the Palestinians must carry I.D cards, which immediately identify them as Palestinian, so they can be subjected to brutal treatment at Israeli checkpoints by the Israeli soldiers. Also Palestinians have different color license plates then Jews, so they can be stopped at checkpoints and wait hours, while Jewish settlers are allowed to zip right through without waiting.

The oppression and occupation of Palestinian land is funded by United States tax dollars; Israel receives more foreign aid money than any other country in the world, and has used its military aid to purchase weapons to wage a war against the civilian Palestinian population.

This past summer I went to Palestine for a month. I got to experience what it was like to live under a brutal Israeli occupation. It was not an uncommon occurrence to hear gunshots flying overhead. I had to pass through many different checkpoints, and I saw firsthand the harassment that Palestinians living under occupation face everyday from the Israeli soldiers. Practically every night, large Israeli tanks roamed the streets and entire towns were forced under curfew. After waiting over 6 hours in Ben-Gurion airport in Tel-Aviv and being questioned with the same set of questions three times, I was released. Upon leaving Tel-Aviv and entering Kalandia Checkpoint, the difference was like night and day. Tel-Aviv was a modern developed city and Kalandia looked like a bomb had been dropped on it. The streets were torn up and littered with garbage. The homes were riddled with bullet holes, and large piles on cement could be seen where homes once stood.

The Apartheid Wall was very visible throughout Palestine. The Israeli government practices apartheid; one aspect of this is its construction of an apartheid wall that will span the distance of over 400 miles when complete. This apartheid wall cuts off Palestinians from their families, jobs, and schools. Israel claims this wall is for "security;" however, it has used this wall to steal more Palestinian land and water resources. Some towns are entirely engulfed by the wall. The Israeli government also formed hundreds of checkpoints within Palestinian territory. These checkpoints are used to humiliate and harass Palestinians on a daily basis. Pregnant women have been stopped while giving birth at checkpoints and forced to wait by Israeli soldiers, and many newborns have died because of lack of medical attention. Many people who have injuries are also forced to wait at checkpoints regardless if they are bleeding or nearly dying.

Living in Palestine is like living in an open-air prison. You life is controlled for you by Israel. Since 1967 Israel has destroyed over 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving thousands of families homeless. When you have nothing else to lose, there is nothing left to do but to resist. There is a direct connection between the occupation and the resistance.

If Israel continues to treat the Palestinians like animals and starve the entire population, Palestinians will continue to resist. Palestinians have the right to resist an illegal Israeli occupation. Many times, the resistance itself is demonized in U.S. media, or discussed as the subject of controversy - however, Israel dropping a bomb on a building full of innocent Palestinian civilians remains "uncontroversial" and unquestioned. The Palestinians are just like any other people; they want freedom and independence from their foreign occupier. You cannot oppress a people and expect them not to fight back. Without justice and the right of return for the Palestinian refugees there can never be peace.

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