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Sep-11-2012 13:16printcomments

Palestine's Story is Complex and Needs to be Heard

Israel imposes a siege on Gaza, the narrow strip of land where 1.6 million Palestinians “live” – they are actually held prisoner.

A picture is worth a thousand words
A picture is worth a thousand words

(RICHMOND) - My friend Leon Goodman apparently believes Israel is the victim of Palestinian aggression (“Driver Misrepresents Syria,” South County Independent, July 19). Professor Goodman knows little about Palestine, and I can’t blame him. The U.S. media tells little.

For centuries the people of Palestine were overwhelmingly Arabs. But in 1948 the UN proposed giving most of their land to Zionists. Naturally the indigenous Palestinians did not approve. Zionist leaders were also dissatisfied – they wanted all of Palestine!

Jewish colonists had already been forcibly taking land from Palestinians. They destroyed or ethnically cleansed 500 Palestinian villages. They raped women, massacred thousands of Palestinians and drove 700,000 into exile. To this day Israel defies UN Security Council resolutions affirming the right of Palestinians to return to their homes.

The Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, is less than a mile from the site of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, where Zionists conducted a gruesome massacre in 1948. But no one must mention this. In 2009, one of Yad Vashem’s Israeli guides pointed out Deir Yassin to a group of tourists and reminded them what had happened there and in other Palestinian villages. The guide was promptly fired.

The atrocities of the 1940s continue today. Israelis continue to destroy Palestinian homes. If a newly homeless family moves into a tent, the Israelis return and destroy the tent. Sometimes Israelis force Palestinians out of their homes and give the homes to Jewish colonists from abroad.

Americans are distressed at the sight of an American family whose home and possessions have been destroyed by fire or a tornado. But we feel nothing – because we hear nothing – about 25,000 Palestinian families whose homes have been deliberately destroyed.

Palestinians cannot travel in their own country, even for emergency medical care, without being delayed, humiliated and often brutalized at Israeli check points.

Israel is also completing a “separation wall,” more than twice the height of the Berlin Wall and three times as long. But it does not separate Israel from Palestine! It winds around inside Palestine separating Palestinians from their farms, orchards, schools and hospitals. In 2004 the International Court of Justice found that the wall violates international law. The U.S. Congress then denounced the court.

In the West Bank Israel allows Palestinians barely enough water for basic human needs, while at nearby illegal Jewish settlements settlers water lawns, wash their cars and fill swimming pools.

Settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees or steal them for sale in Israel. They poison Palestinian livestock. Gangs of Jewish settlers beat Palestinians – sometimes while Israeli soldiers protect the gangs.

Palestinians who non-violently protest Israeli injustices are attacked by Israeli soldiers using tear gas, sewage water and rubber-coated steel bullets. Hundreds of Palestinians are killed annually. Thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons – most without even a trial. Imagine your child or spouse being taken away at 2 a.m. You can’t even find out where he or she is being held. Knowing the horrible tortures Israelis use on Palestinians, you can only imagine what they are doing to your loved one.

In 2006 Palestinians “voted the wrong way” in parliamentary elections. The majority voted for Hamas instead of Fatah. In retaliation, Israel imposed a siege on Gaza, the narrow strip of land where 1.6 million Palestinians “live” – they are actually held prisoner by Israel. Israel allows the Gazans little water, only intermittent electricity and limited food.

In June 2008 Israel and Hamas agreed on a cease fire. Israel violated it in November 2008 and Palestinians responded with homemade rockets. For three weeks Israelis bombed, invaded and killed in Gaza. They attacked schools, hospitals and U.N. facilities using white phosphorus and cluster bombs. Phosphorus burns for days inside human flesh. Its use against populations is considered a war crime.

But the Zionists have done an excellent job of intimidating American politicians and news media. We rarely hear of the Palestinians murdered almost daily. Even when the Israelis kill or maim an American citizen our State Department refuses to intervene. Meanwhile the R.I. congressional delegation routinely votes to give Israel billions more dollars from the American taxpayers. More and more American and Israeli Jews are speaking out against Israel’s atrocities. But they are not yet a majority.

This article was first published by South County Independent, Sept. 6, 2012

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Rod Driver studied engineering and mathematics at the University of Minnesota, receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1960. He worked at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque for six years before taking a teaching position at the University of Rhode Island for 30 years. Rod says he became a 'peacenik' in 1951 (thanks to a few weeks on Pariss Island). He became particularly active in opposition to U.S. wars in Indochina and U.S. involvement in overthrowing governments and supporting dictators in Latin America and Iran. As the Vietnam war was winding down Rod began paying attention to the abuse of Palestinians - enabled with U.S. weapons and dollars, which has never stopped. Rod is the founder and president of the non-profit Justice First Foundation.

In Rhode Island Rod was an elected delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1986, Then he was elected a state representative for 10 years. At this time he is not in office. You can write to Rod Driver at this address: rod@roddriver.com

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alsachti September 11, 2012 10:30 pm (Pacific time)

Indeed, Palestine's story is complex and needs to be heard. There has been rights and wrongs on both sides. The Deir Yassin massacre was condemned by Israeli leadership and a letter of apology was issued. Concerning the siege of Gaza, you failed to mention that it was the palestinian Fatah which considered that Palestinians “voted the wrong way” and refused to relinquish power, triggering a civil war between Fatah and Hamas. The rocket attacks against israel were also a stated cause of the Gaza blockade. Also, your use of the term "Zionist" is outdated (especially since it has antisemitic undertones).

Tim King: Yes, I failed to mention those things, thanks.  I am not worried if people think the use of the term representing those who believe they are entitled to other people's land believe I am antisemitic because they are either brain dead or so racist themselves that they have no concept of what it really means.  I reserve the right to insult anything that deserves it.  I am a person who would have given my life to save the Jews and Roma and Poles from the death camps, it is just a different day now. Take care.

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