Israel: Victim or Aggressor?
It isn’t unusual to hear Israeli spokespeople talk about the various threats to Israel’s survival. The current bugaboo is Syria, which has displaced Iran only due to the current violent turmoil in Syria. But it is only a matter of time until Israel turns its attention to Iran, depicting that nation as the big bad wolf, just waiting for the right opportunity to chomp down and destroy poor, vulnerable Israel.
This picture has been carefully drawn by Israel over a period of generations, and bought into by the U.S. government, mainly, perhaps, due to the generous largess that the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) so bountifully bestows on the U.S.’s so-called elected officials that dance to its tune; their name is legion. One needn’t wonder for too long where conviction ends, and coveting for the almighty campaign dollar begins.
Yet there appear to be more and more people and nations that are taking a closer look at the picture, and are seeing it in a different light. Not in the hallowed halls of Congress, or course, or in the White House, but globally, a brighter light is being shone on this picture, and more and more people are not seeing it as at all pretty.
An ad at several Metro North stations, that first appeared in the summer of 2012, is once again making the rounds on Facebook. The ad shows four maps, and the caption is ‘Palestinian Loss of Land – 1946 – 2010’. The maps show the shrinking Palestine, and the growing territory of Israel. Another large caption on the sign reads: ‘4.7 million Palestinians are Classified by the U.N. as Refugees’.
There is nothing controversial about this advertisement. It simply presents indisputable facts. However, not everyone is pleased with the ad. Dovid Efune, editor of the Jewish newspaper ‘The Algemeiner’, said this: “I think the ad is very offensive….It paints Jews as aggressors, as imperialists, as people that are stealing or taking land from others.”
Except for the part about it being offensive, this writer must agree with Mr. Efune: the signs do exactly what he says they do. And what is his objection? Israel is the aggressor, it is an imperialist nation, it is a nation stealing land from others. What, one wonders is anti-Semitic about telling the truth?
The nation of Israel was born out of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. During the establishment of Israel in 1947 – 1948, at least 700,000 Palestinians were forcefully driven from them homes; many were massacred, and the vast majority was forced into refugee camps. They were given no compensation, and certainly their needs and national aspirations were not in any way considered.
Since that time, as the signs at the Metro North stations clearly show, Israel has taken more and more Palestinian land, bulldozing the homes of Palestinians, destroying centuries-old olive groves, building ‘Israeli only’ roads through Palestine that Palestinians can’t even drive across, let alone travel on. Israel, with the fourth most powerful military in the world, and backed by the most powerful, has established countless checkpoints within Palestine, ostensibly to protect itself from its oppressed colony. Palestinian youth who throw rocks at Israeli bulldozers destroying their homes, or Israeli tanks patrolling their streets, are fired upon with sophisticated, deadly, U.S.-provided armaments.
Israel controls all of Palestine’s borders and checkpoints; IDF (Israel Defense Force) soldiers arbitrarily decide who can pass, and who can’t. Palestinians must obtain permission to farm their own land. It is not uncommon for them to be granted permission to plant crops long after planting season has ended, or to harvest them long after the crops have spoiled in the field. Those lucky enough to plant and harvest at reasonable times are often, when bringing their produce to market, delayed at checkpoints so long that their produce spoils.
Palestinians seeking medical attention must also cross through countless checkpoints, regardless of the seriousness of their injury or illness. Over the years, numerous women have given birth at checkpoints, simply because the IDF soldiers manning them decided to delay their crossing. Many babies have died as a result, unable to get the emergency care they required.
Israel assures that its settlements in Palestine, which are illegal under United Nations and other international laws, have all the water they require, yet they keep the Palestinians on a ration that only just enables them to survive. So while Israelis, living illegally in settlements in Palestine, enjoy swimming pools, and all the water they could possible ever want, Palestinians living within view of those settlements rely on a meager ration. And when Palestinians create reservoirs to catch rain, in order to obtain a little more water, Israel bulldozes the reservoirs.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is forever proclaiming his quest for peace, all the while strengthening his unspeakable apartheid regime. He, as did his predecessors, takes what he wants from Palestine, answering to no one, accountable to no one.
Yes, Mr. Efune, Israel is the aggressor; it is an imperial nation that is, and has for generations been, stealing land. It is an apartheid state, and there is growing international recognition of that fact. The sooner its barbaric practices can be stopped, the sooner basic human rights and dignity will be restored to the Palestinians.