After some heavy discussions on this latest Israeli-Palestinian war, I decided to do some research that wasnt buried in pro-con sources. I wanted to know when the Israeli Occupation began in Gaza and why.
And, I didnt want to use biblical-literalists opinions.
After my last blog post on this topic, (Israel – Gaza, Its Complicated) I planned on doing a post strictly pertaining the United Nations violations going on in this area, but a facebook friend of mine posted a graphic that led me to do this post.
Biblical Context: Israel believes that God told them this land belonged to them and no one else. I found a page on wikipedia that strictly pertains to the lands of Israel based on biblical scripture: Lands of Israel
However, there is the simple fact that Christianity began in Palestine, and that Palestinians were among the first converts to Christianity. (See -Aint Nobody Gonna Like This / The Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-428) / The Rise And Triumph Of Christianity / Palestinian People / Acculturation)
Those biblical representations aside, there are some facts about Palestinians and Jews that need to be discussed when the subject of Gaza and the Israeli occupation is brought up.
There is no truth to the centuries old adage that the war between the Palestinians and Israelis has been ongoing since the beginning of time. (I just found out this fact today, and Im pretty shocked) In fact, prior to the Zionist Jew conflict, Jews actually flourished amongst the Arab world.
From what I could find regarding this conflict, (not on a wikipedia page) most of the problems arose around 1915 when the Jews began to start settlement areas. This situation was further aggravated in 1922 when land was stripped from the Palestinians by the Jews. (Mandates for Palestine)
During the time of World War 2, over 150,000 Jews fled to Palestine, as refugees. (What happened in Palestine during World War II?) This migration would in fact, assist the Jews in the ‘conquering’ of Palestine.
In 1947, Britain requested that a permanent solution be addressed by the United Nations. (I admit, I do not fully understand this situation due to the oddly worded 2 state solution [Arab/Jew] or Independent solution. And I still do not fully understand which one they went with) (Israel Statehood)
Either way, Israel was granted statehood and became a member of the United Nations shortly thereafter and the destruction of Palestine truly began.
Alot of people have stated the similarities between the American Indians and the Palestinian people due to the way the land was ‘divided’ up. Jews were given the fertile land while Palestinians were (in my words) screwed.
It was around this time that Palestinians were forced off their property. Many fled during the Deir Yassin massacre (The Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948) In watching several documentaries, the Palestinians were clearly a victim of ethnic cleansing.
Once the Palestinians fled these areas (some estimates say 700,000 Palestinians fled), the Israelis took over that land. It was also around this time that we know that the West Bank was controlled by Jordan and Gaza controlled by Egypt.
After the United Nations enacted a resolution in 1948 that would allow Palestinians a right to return (forgive the use of wikipedia, but its the most comprehensive on this subject Palestinian Right of Return) However, Israeli leaders would not allow that to occur.
Unfortunately, even though Palestinians still held deeds to properties, they were turned into Jewish settlements. And lets be clear about what that means. The land owned by Palestinians who fled was managed by the Israeli government and it was leveled.
In 1967, another war broke out and another exodus of Palestinians took place. (Some of these Palestinians were expelled) These refugees fled to the West Bank and Gaza.
Even after the United Nations passed resolution after resolution, they failed to take action.
Ill skip ahead a bit to the late 1980s when the first intifada occured. Palestinians demonstrated/protested in a non-violent manner against the Israelis. (Most of these demonstrations were kids throwing rocks at tanks) Yitsak Rabin decided to respond with the brutality that we now know to be called ‘break the bones’. (I will not link to those videos but they are easily found)
During the 7 years of peace after the Oslo Process was began (1993) the Palestinians plight actually got worse. Israeli settlements expanded and any demonstration/protest against Oslo labeled you as a terrorist.
Over 740 homes were demolished during the Oslo Process.
In 2006, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was seen as a failure and Hamas was voted in.
Jewish settlers gain the benefit because Israel controls the power, the water, trash removal, and the roads, while Palestinians suffer from a lack of those services.
Most Jewish settlers on the always changing borders of Gaza/West Bank, have been offered ‘low’ costs for housing. They get a loan to relocate and if they are still there in 10 years, it does not need to be paid back.
In 2000, the Second Intifada began. The Palestinians mobilized against the oppression. It should be noted that Israelis used live ammunition against unarmed protesters.
Palestinians have lived in an oppressive environment for years. They have to go thru various checkpoints just to go down the street. This is also a clear violation of international law.
The saddest thing is that United Nations havent been allowed into Gaza to see these violations because Israel wont let them in. (Am I the only one who finds this odd?)
In August 2005, after 35+ years of occupation, Israeli forces began dismantling settlements in Gaza.
This was seen as a sacrifice.
Over $227,000 was offered to those settlers who offered to relocate. Israel asked the United States to pay twenty-two BILLION in aid to cover this cost. (I can find no sources as to when this money was allocated)
And while Israels presence is no longer ‘visible’ they still control the air space, water, and the border.
Speaking of border – there was a separation wall built. Its said to be twice the height of the Berlin wall. Its used to separate Palestinians in Gaza from land, family, schools and medical treatment.
There is now an entire generation of Palestinian children who have watched as their families have been treated in an inhumane manner.
Human rights activists who have been allowed into Gaza (i.e. World Vision) have been reporting these living conditions to no avail.
In fact, when activist Rachel Corrie was crushed by a bulldozer at the age of 23, the United States Congress refused to investigate.
Israel has the largest military presence in the world (behind the United States) and is the 5th largest nuclear power in the world.
It is also worth noting that the United States is seen as the sole supporter of Israel. Most of this support comes from two areas: The US lobbying organization known as AIPAC or from the fundamental religious groups, who believe that a strong Israel is ‘Gods plan’.
These organizations/groups would like us to view this as a good vs. evil situation, and would like us to have blind support of Israel.
Im sorry, but those of us who look beyond the deceit that our American media presents to us cannot do this. Our media has a total bias regarding the plight of the Palestinian people.
It is clear that Israel does not abide by the rules and regulations set forth at the 4th Geneva Convention – (i.e. settlements, control of travel etc)
American tax payers support this. Israel receives the most aid of any other country that the United States supports. (Israel gets 1/3 of the total aid by the US each year) In 2003, TEN BILLION dollars in aid went to Israel.
This money could be spent domestically in many areas. (But thats an entirely different blog)