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Village Destruction in the Jordan ValleyDr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
Israel is aided and abetted by every U.S. President and Congress and every American tax payer who elects pro-Israel governments. We are all guilty because we tolerate or encourage the permanent intimidation of our public officials by Israel and its American allies.
(CHICAGO) - British journalist and author Victoria Brittain traveled to the Jordan Valley to see the actual conditions and latest developments in one of the areas under discussion in the peace negotiations John Kerry is conducting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
A people under military occupation, prisoners in their own land, controlled by outside forces, live in the area in which Victoria Brittain traveled.
She later wrote of her mid-January trip and the people she met in Open Democracy. One man she interviewed was Burhan Bisharat (above), whose home in the village of Kirbet al Makhoul has been destroyed four times.
Brittain began her trip northeast of the Palestinian city of Nablus, traveling along a road toward the northern Jordan Valley and the international border with the country of Jordan. The area through which she traveled contains rocky brown hills, riddled with what she describes as “concrete posts every hundred yards inscribed ‘DANGER’ Firing Zone”.
Her journey covered one part of Area C, designated as land under Israeli total control under an earlier agreement reached under President Bill Clinton known as Oslo 2. One particular part of Area C in which Brittain traveled is described on UN maps with the occupier’s euphemism, “Israel’s Nature Reserve”. Much of the area map is shaded with the equally euphemistic identification, “an Israeli closed military area”.
In her trip report, entitled The Fourth Destruction: Stolen Land and Childhood, she writes:
Mainstream media reports on the Kerry negotiations do not include references to Area C, nor are there any references to the suffering of Palestinians under occupation. Instead, the MSM focuses almost exclusively on Israeli demands which shift as often as a carnival con man shifts his three cups under which he claims he has hidden a pea.
You know the game: At the con man’s invitation, the sucker chooses one of the three cups. The sucker bets on which cup contains the pea. He or she, always loses because the cups and pea are under the control of the fast moving hands of the con man.
Who are the suckers in the current peace negotiations? Start with the American government and travel down the chain of command to the American tax payer. U.S. tax money floods annually into Israeli coffers. Your tax dollar at work, busily destroying villages in the Jordan Valley.
In this current game of cups and the pea, also called peace negotiations, Israel had introduced two new, never before included in negotiations, demands.
The two new Israeli demands are, first, the Palestinians must acknowledge Israel as a “Jewish State”, in spite of the obvious fact that a large minority of citizens in any “Jewish State” would be non-Jewish.
The Washington Post pushes the “security claim”.
The second new Israeli demand is the retention of a large chunk of the Jordan River Valley, a “necessity” for Israel’s “security”. The land Israel claims to need for its “security” expands with each new move of the negotiation cups.
In her Open Democracy report, Victoria Brittain (right), a former associate foreign editor of the Guardian, describes conditions that now prevail in the Jordan Valley’s Area C:
[The picture at the top shows Bisharat sitting in his ruined home. It was taken in October, 2013]
The three now live in another almost empty replacement home half the size of what they had before and which Burhan built himself in two days, bringing an aluminium roof from Nablus. But every day is lived under the shadow of another onslaught that they know can hit their lives any time.
This is a father who took the very difficult decision to send his seven older girls to live a few miles away in a small town where they go to school. His oldest daughter is 17 and in the twelfth grade and is in charge of the little household of children.
“I want my children to have a better life through education…it is best to keep them away, though it is very tough for them to be alone, and (with a gesture to his silent wife) for their mother.” Burhan is only 38, but the harshness of his life has made him look and seem a generation older.”
Israel repeatedly, and illegally, destroys the Basharat home because Israel wants to clear the land for what it wants as a future Israeli state. This repeated action takes place at the time when negotiators are discussing the future “ownership” of the land.
Palestinian rights to this land is not in dispute; it is land that is illegally occupied by Israel. Furthermore, the mistreatment of Palestinians like Basharat and his family is illegal. In a world where justice has meaning, such mistreatment is considered to be a crime.
Who are the guilty parties in this crime? Israel, of course, but Israel is aided and abetted by every U.S. President and Congress and every American tax payer who elects pro-Israel governments. We are all guilty because we tolerate or encourage the permanent intimidation of our public officials by Israel and its American allies.
There was a time when a few major U.S. political leaders spoke against that intimidation.
In his new book, The Brothers, Stephen Kinzer offers a remarkably candid quote from one of the brothers in his book, John Foster Dulles, then the U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration. Israel took advantage of the Suez Crisis in 1956-57, sending its army across the Sinai Desert toward the Egyptian border. Dulles angrily insistsx that Israel withdraw.
In response, Dulles used words no recent Secretary of State would dare use:
Kinzer does not offer a source for this quote, so before using it, I checked Google, which promptly led me to the ever-valuable and always reliable Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA). I found a report published in WRMEA’s February/March 1996 issue.
The writer was Donald Neff, (at left) who for 15 years headed Time magazine’s Jerusalem bureau, After leaving Time, Neff wrote extensively on the Middle East for magazines like WRMEA. He also wrote several books on the region.. His WRMEA report from February/March 1996, looked back at a significant moment in history. His story includes the Dulles quote, and a good deal more.
Donald Neff wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian situation with a veteran journalist’s passionate need to tell the full story. It was headed, Ike Forces Israel to End Occupation After Sinai Crisis. It begins:
Britain and France followed Eisenhower’s firm advice and quickly removed their troops from Egypt. But Israel insisted on retaining parts of the peninsula. Despite repeated U.S. urgings, Ben-Gurion refused to withdraw Israeli troops. In retaliation, Eisenhower joined with 75 other nations in the U.N. General Assembly in passing a resolution on Feb. 2, 1957, “Deploring” Israel’s occupation. Only two nations opposed: France and Israel.
Still, Ben-Gurion refused to move his troops. On Feb. 11, Eisenhower sent a forceful note to Ben-Gurion to withdraw. Again Ben-Gurion refused. At the same time, the influence of Israel’s supporters became intense. The White House was besieged by efforts to halt its pressure on the Jewish state; 41 Republican and 75 Democratic congressmen signed a letter urging support for Israel.3
Ike’s concluding paragraph asks a question that demands to be heard again as negotiations continue over Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territory.
Please visit James Wall's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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