Sunday, 23 June. 2024
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

The overwhelming majority of western observers lightly assume that Hamas and Hezbollah are borne out of religious fanaticism and not, as is the fact, out of concrete facts on the ground - that somehow Israel and the US have a right to defend themselves but that no one else has the same right - that somehow, the US and Israel can use force not only to defend themselves but arrogantly enough to liberate us from the "dictators and terrorists" that rule our lands but that we do not have the right to use force (even against clearly military targets) to liberate ourselves from their oppression and occupation!

Since its inception in the early 1980’2, Hezbollah was created, and to this day is framed, around resistance to the occupation of Lebanese lands and the capture of Lebanese prisoners. They have consistently targeted military personnel and objects (including the US Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983).

Today, the pretext for Israel’s naked war of aggression (“Middle East Crisis” is too small a word for what is happening) is the capture and thus far safe-keeping of 3 Israeli soldiers (1 in Gaza and 2 others in Lebanon, who are still alive and well as far as any of us know). Again these are military personnel engaged in active duty in support of illegal occupation in both places. As for the loss of innocent life, even CNN reports that the death toll in Israel is 35 civilians out of 90, in Palestine 124 civilians out of 150, and in Lebanon 970 civilians out of 1050 or so. So who is killing the civilians here... the Israelis cannot be that bad of a shot! This of course does not even begin to take account of the massive destruction of, and damage to, civilian property, bridges, electric plants, airports, highways, etc that have been destroyed in Palestine and Lebanon, or the 1/4 of Lebanon's population which has become displaced persons and refugees overnight.

This does not even take into account the seemingly deliberate attacks on Red Cross ambulances and UN observation posts. It also does not take into account the Lebanese prisoners or the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of women and children. It does not take into account the capture of Palestinian Government officials, the bombing of the Foreign Minister's and Prime Minister's homes and offices and the violation of Syrian airspace and territorial integrity by circling President Assad's own house.

It really is not complicated at all! Israel has violated each and every line of the Geneva Conventions... not to mention the ongoing construction of illegal settlements, transfer of populations, confiscation of lands, and building of walls in occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel has the right to exist, to defend its territory, to protect its citizens and to prosper in peace and security. It also has the obligation to live by the rules of civilized nations, to abide by customary international law and to respect that the rights it enjoys and covets for itself to equally reside among the nations and peoples that surround it and with whom it purports to want to live in peace.

The amazing thing is that the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole have stopped asking for a historical perspective to the problem. They are willing to give up the 80% of Palestine that is now Israel. Most Palestinians are even willing to give up their right of return provided that Israel and the international community recognize that right as an inalienable principle whose exercise in practice will be limited as yet another historical concession.

Is it too much to ask that the world recognize that the Palestinians had been made to pay the price for Europe's genocide against the Jews; is it too much to ask that the world take stock of the Palestinian genocide committed by the Jewish people in 1947-48; is it too much to ask that the native inhabitants of a land revered by all be allowed to love it too?

The Arab States have universally extended a comprehensive peace offer in 2002 at the Arab League Summit in Beirut. The Beirut Plan recognizes Israel's right to exist and to exist peacefully and with normal relations with its neighbors; it upholds the vision of two-states (Israel and Palestine) co-existing in peace and mutual respect; it recognizes Israel's capital in West Jerusalem; and so on and so forth.

The later plan fully accords with all Security Council resolutions; with international law; and even with Bush's so-called vision for the Middle East. Peace is possible and remarkably achievable. All that it requires is that Israel withdraws from occupied territory.

All Arab States have accepted this peace plan. It is only Israel that not only rejects the plan but has expended great effort in having it ignored and even ridiculed. The Beirut Plan, like the city in which it was adopted, has been placed beneath the rubble by the Israeli war machine.

Peace is possible when one opens one's heart and mind equally to the rights and obligations of all States and all peoples. It is not possible when one tries to attribute monopolies of good and of evil or -of rights and wrongs- to any one side of a conflict.

Israeli citizens should know that this war will not bring them the peace and security for which they yearn; that bombs and massacres don't win hearts and minds; that textbooks cannot begin to teach the hatred that their Government's atrocities and war crimes can inspire.

American citizens should similarly stop asking "why do they hate us". The hate, where and if it exists, is borne out of the disappointment that accompanies the realization that the intentions of the so-called honest peace broker are neither honest nor peaceful and that the only thing which has been broken is the sense of equal humanity.

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