Original post made by Jag Singh on Jul 2, 2006
I ask my fellow Americans to consider how you would respond if someone forcibly expelled you from your homes into ghettoes, restricted your movements and then demanded that you grant them the 'right to exist' in your homes.
It is appalling that Israeli launched a large scale military invasion of the Gaza Strip just hours after the Fatah and Hamas agreed to recognize Israel within its 1967 borders.
Israel opened the attack with a series of air strikes on three bridges and Gaza's main power station. The attack left the power station in flames and knocked out electricity in most of Gaza City. The wholesale destruction of the basic infrastructure is in complete violation of the Geneva Convention which forbids collective punishment of a population. This action is a war crime and must be condemned by the international community. The United Nations has warned of a major human catastrophe in Gaza unless the international community, more especially, the United States can call an immediate halt to Israel's state sponsored terrorism. There is little doubt that the Palestinians most vulnerable population, women and children will starve to death unless we can raise the consciousness of the world and demand that Israel call an immediate halt to its relentless attacks on the Palestinians.
It is sad that the world has expressed anger over the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, but remains silent over the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israel's dungeons, not to mention 10,000 adult prisoners, thousands held without charge and trial, abducted from their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli occupation forces.
The long troubled history of Israel has always taken a colonial dimension, driving out the original occupants (the Palestinians) and annexing their land and homes with brute force aided and abetted by massive military and financial aid from the U.S. This is the root cause of the conflict and must be addressed by our government and more importantly the American people, if true peace is to prevail. A very close parallel exists between the apartheid policies of South Africa and Israel where a minority colonial power imposes its will on a majority population and annexed its land and drove its occupants into small ghettoes. Israel practices a blatant, overt type of racism. For example, Israeli citizens can marry anybody in the world, except Palestinians. If an Israeli defies the law and marries a Palestinian he has to leave the country or seek an annulment.
Finally, I have included an urgent appeal from 'Jewish Voice For Peace':
As the news from Gaza grows worse by the hour, we urge you to take action now to help bring international pressure to bear to stop the situation. While we all hope for the safe return of Corporal Gilad Shalit, his kidnapping can never justify Israel's massive destruction of Gaza's civilian infrastructure.
1. Get the facts and spread the word
Register for a special 1-hour briefing with JVP's Director of Education and Policy, Mitchell Plitnick, on Sunday, July 9 at 1 pm PST, 4 pm EST. Space is limited, so make your reservation now.
2. Write a letter to the editor
People in and around your home town need to hear from you. Israel has been demolishing the civilian infrastructure in Gaza. Targeting power plants and bridges cannot be construed as targeting combatants. Your neighbors are probably as appalled by this as you are, and they need to see your words in print so they know they are in step with their own community
3. Write to the U.S. Congress
Tell Your Congressional representatives and the President that America cannot continue to stand idly by while the situation in Israel-Palestine continues to deteriorate. Demand that our leaders press for the release of Palestinian political prisoners as well as Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Tell them that we insist that diplomacy and negotiations, not violence, be employed to resolve these issues. Demand that Israel stop its invasion and shelling of Gaza and that Palestinians stop firing their largely ineffective rockets at Israeli towns.
on Jul 3, 2006 at 1:03 pm
Hamas may have been chosen in a democratic fashion, but that should not be construed to mean that they are a democratic organization. Does Hamas respect democracy in principle? Does it respect non-Islamist democracies? Does Hamas respect human rights? If the Palestinians elect leadership that has vowed to destroy Israel, is Israel expected to negotiate with those calling for its destruction? The fact that Hamas made a last ditch effort to avoid retaliation and offered an ambiguous statement about Israel's right to exist does not impress me. When it didn't work, they instead called for attacks on Jewish children and Israeli schools.
As for Mr. Singh's apartheid comparisons, the assertion of that similarity suits the Palestinians, but the differences are so significant as to invalidate the comparison. Since 1948, there have been potentially two states in Israel/Palestine, but Arabs and Palestinians fought rather than accept the UN mandate, used terror for decades rather than negotiate, and waited far too long to make any credible steps towards a peaceful, two-state solution. Their leadership has been fractured and unbelievably corrupt, with millions upon millions of dollars disappearing into the private coffers of Arafat, et. al. The Arab countries that controlled the Palestinian territories prior to 1967 did next-to-nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, because those countries didn't really care either, and because the Palestinians' suffering helped them demonize Israel. Meanwhile, Arabs in living within Israel's borders have political rights and parliamentary representation. It may be a tense relationship at times - I'm not saying Israeli Arabs are fully integrated and empowered - but it's no apartheid.
I'm not defending the scope or intensity of Israel's military response to the current situation, (nor am I condemning it). However, merely comparing the numbers or sizes of attacks doesn't make the smaller side right. The Palestinians do not achieve any moral standing in a conflict because they happen to be weaker militarily.
on Jul 4, 2006 at 8:41 am
Mr. Singh says "I ask my fellow Americans to consider how you would respond if someone forcibly expelled you from your homes into ghettoes, restricted your movements and then demanded that you grant them the 'right to exist' in your homes."
I ask my fellow Americans to ask how our country would respond if missles were launched into our country from, say, Mexico? How would we respond if Mexican people blew themselves up in our shopping malls and on our buses? Would we sit idly by and let it happen?
Hamas continues its terror tactics because they know Israel will respond. The people of Israel have a right to a government that will act to defend its people. If Israel refused to act, I believe the attacks would grow in scope and ferocity until they finally forced Israel to act.
How about this solution: stop the kidnappings, stop the terror attacks and suicide bombings, and Israel won't be forced to react!
on Jul 5, 2006 at 9:15 am
Jagjit, Jagjit, Jagjit. [portion removed by Palo Alto Online]
You completely ignore the shelling of Israel by Hamas and the attacks on Israel by Palestinian homicide bombers. Your writings are completely one-sided--Israel is evil, the Palestinians are poor innocents. Hardly what the facts really say.
This conflict could have ended years ago if the Palestinians had recognized Israel and it's right to exist and if the palestinians had renounced terrorism. instead [removed portion]the late, unlamented Yasser Arafat, chose the path of terrorism and the newly elected Hamas government continues on that same path.