a lil history

April 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

  • The Zionist movement was born in Europe in the 1880’s. Most of its members were European Jews.  It wanted to create an “Israeli” state for Jews only on Palestinian Arab land and exclude the Palestinians from being full citizens in Israel.
  • During World War 2 the german government killed around 12 million people, 6 million of whom were Jews.  This is called the Holocaust.  After the Holocaust,  in 1948, the Zionists invaded Palestine and established the Jewish-only state of “Israel” on indigenous Palestinian land with support from the British government. For generations Palestinian Arabs had lived there, built homes, had families, grown food, celebrated traditions.   450 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed and the Palestinians fled for safety in neighboring countries such as: Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria.
  • In 1967 the Israeli military attacked Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.  This is called the Six Day War.  At the end of the short war, the Israeli military controlled the West Bank  of Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, the Golan Heights of Syria.
  • To this day Israel still controls the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  Thousands of Israeli soldiers occupy the West Bank to keep the Palestinians under control.  The soldiers determine when you can leave your house, when and if your children can go to school, they can make you stand outside in the sun or cold for hours, they can ask for your ID at any time, they can invade your house at any time, the soldiers have all of the power and can do whatever they want, whenever they want, with very little oversight.
  • There are no soldiers inside Gaza.  But Palestinians are not allowed to leave Gaza to travel.  They are trapped inside a tiny piece of land, 25 miles long with 1.5 million people.  It  is called the largest open-air prison in the world.
  • Frequently Israelis shoot or bomb the Palestinians or imprison them for resisting the Israeli occupation.
  • Israel does not like for foreigners to visit Gaza and the West Bank because Israel wants to hide how they are committing genocide against the Palestinian people. The Israel government would like for all the Palestinian people to be gone from their homeland in Palestine.  Four times as many Palestinians have died during the Occupation than Israelis.   The United States government gives 3-6 billion dollars a year to Israel in support of its military occupation. This is why I traveled to Israel/Palestine,  because we cannot let the crimes of a US supported Zionist nation go silent.  We must tell the truth in the face of power.

trying to write a short accessible history of israel/palestine…

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§ One Response to a lil history

  • DaveNJ says:

    a. The Zionist movement did not coin the term Israel in the 1880’s. The concept of Eretz Yisrael and the return to land Jews were historically expelled from has existed in many Jewish communities for well over a millennium. Organized Zionism only existed once Jews were granted the freedom of movement and access to even consider the possibility that this dream could be realized. Also, the Jewish state proposed in the Partition Plan of 1947 did not propose any expulsion of any Arabs, and would have resulted in the creation of a state in which Jews and non-Jews had equal rights. David Ben Gurion accepted this plan. No other leader did.

    b. In World War 2 no nation opened its borders to Jewish refugees. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, arguably the most powerful Palestinian leader of the time, actively aided Adolf Hitler.

    What you call invasion was, in fact, immigration, of the legal and illegal variety, and it didn’t just start after the Holocaust. The first aliyah was in 1881, over 60 years previous. Some land was taken illegally, but other land was purchased through private means or the use of funds like the JNF.

    The only invasion that occurred in 1948 was the invasion by the nations you mention (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) of the UN recognized nation of Israel under the Partition Plan. This invasion was widely condemned, had vast racist overtones (“drive the Jews into the sea”), and many Palestinians fled their homes for what they thought would be a temporary amount of time until the Jewish population in now-Israel had been exterminated or expelled. This did not come to pass, and many folks were denied reentry.

    c. The 1967 War was provoked by the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, causus belli for military action. Egypt also expelled UN observers of a treaty line in the Sinai and massed an invasion force of 100k soldiers on the border with Israel. Israel only attacked Egypt, and legally given causus belli. They actually asked Jordan and Syria not to get involved. That didn’t happen, resulting the fighting in the Golan and West Bank.

    Israel offered all these lands back immediately after the war in exchange for recognition and peace agreements. They did not materialize.

    d. Israel does retain military control of the West Bank and Gaza’s borders. No inaccuracies here, except that much of the behavior you describe in the West Bank is now more in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, who hold autonomy in Jenin, Ramallah, Jericho, and several other Palestinian cities.

    e. What you call “resisting occupation” is often the same thing: shooting and bombing, often of civilian targets so as to provoke fear and change, generally accepted under the definition of terrorism. Hamas, the Palestinian elected government, is recognized as a terror group by the US, EU, and other foreign observers.

    f. It’s hard to gauge intent. Firstly, few observers would agree that this is genocide. At best it’s state-sponsored oppression, but mostly it’s a regional conflict between two groups fighting over the same spot of land.

    The United States also gives $2.5 billion a year to Egypt, a nation we have no strong friendship with, in the form of military hardware and training to uphold the Mubarak regime. If we were to deny state aid to every nation with a spot on its record we’d give out no foreign aid.

    We must tell the truth in the face of power. And it must be the whole truth.

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