Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Palestinian Suffering: We Caused it, We Should Fix It

U.N. states share a portion of blame for the Israel-Palestine conflict -- they need to stop it.

By Liam Bailey

During the Nazi holocaust of WWII -- following orders or not -- German soldiers were responsible for the expulsion of millions of Jews from their homes, businesses and countries -- and the murder of millions more. Because of that, when the war was won the allied victors felt compelled by guilt to grant the Zionist/Jewish wish of a national Jewish state. As Britain then controlled Palestine, which is where the Zionists felt their state should be, Britain, along with the U.N. came up with a partition plan to give the Jews a portion of Palestine for their homeland.

So, I am saying that, for the above reasons, Britain, Germany and the UN -- meaning all developed nations -- bare equal responsibility for the Palestinian's suffering, which I will detail below. Israel has had nearly 60 years to do the right thing, it is time for the world to step in and right the wrong it played a big part in creating.

Most Palestinians live with unemployment, depression, poverty and hunger; it has got so bad that child beggars are entering Israel from the supposedly better off West Bank. Children sent by parents who can't afford to feed them, to face the danger of knife point robbery and sexual abuse for a few dollars, tells us just how desperate the situation is in the West Bank -- and it's even worse in Gaza.

Worse still all Palestinians are likely to feel: fear, anger, misery, hopelessness and despair on an almost daily basis, whereas we in the west might experience one or two of those feelings on an average day.

Here's why: Israel is the occupying nation. With their check-points and border restrictions they keep Palestinians from visiting family and friends, which is likely to cause loneliness, hopelessness and depression, from getting to jobs and making exports difficult causing unemployment and poverty. Fear comes from air-strikes and arrest operations. And all the above causes and exemplifies Palestinian anger.

The more Israel gets away with, i.e. remaining in the world's favour despite atrocities and violations of international law, the worse it gets, and the less likely a Palestinian state becomes. Like Israel failing to abide by the 4th Geneva convention regarding the treatment of civilians by an occupying force. Israel does not regard the Geneva convention as applying de jure to the West Bank and Gaza strip -- yet says that the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment does not apply to the occupied territories because they are covered by the Geneva Convention. That is a clear example of Israel saying we are above international law – and getting away with it.

In the summer war with Lebanon last year Israel used depleted uranium bombs and cluster bombs in civilian areas. Lebanese civilians are still paying for the latter with their lives, and the damage the uranium may have done to the soil, crops and women's fertility remains to be seen.

The 10ft high security wall Israel is building has been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice, not to mention the hordes of human rights groups, Israeli and global, speaking out about the huge atrocity it is. Israel keeps on building and the U.S. keeps treating her as a massive ally. Any attempts made by the U.N. Security Council to put a kerb on Israel's behaviour by issuing a resolution is vetoed by the U.S., who actually have the audacity to say the resolutions are biased against Israel. Israel acts like a rogue state and remains in the world's good books and cheque books.

The Palestinians want their own state and control over their own borders and destiny, but only Israel can give them it and that would cost Israel a lot of land and money, their sacred Jerusalem and chance for a greater Israel. Israel doesn't want to give up land, it wants to take more and Israel is the one in control. The wall is a good example of Israel wanting to take more Palestinian land, as the wall is kilometres inside the proposed Palestinian state, when it could provide the same security from inside Israel's proposed border. All this should mean Israel isn't impartial, yet Israel can still influence how the world deals with the Palestinians.

Israel is a prosperous state, receiving billions of dollars in aid from the U.S.. So who can blame the Palestinians for feeling despair and hopelessness when Israel on top of all the other bad things it causes in their lives was able to make the world stop giving aid to the Palestinians because they expressed their free will and elected Hamas. When the U.S. is following Israel's policy and constantly providing aid and acting on Israel's interests, of course the Palestinians are going to feel that the west is biased and miss-trust any efforts or initiatives they make towards peace, especially the U.S.. This feeling that they aren't being treated fairly again worsens Palestinian anger, as does Israel continually getting away with violations like the wall.

I saw a programme once about the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands, I couldn't imagine anything worse than soldiers your nation is at war with being in control of your day to day lives. At least the Channel Islanders had hope that the allies would be victorious and they would be liberated. Imagine living under an occupation that makes your life an impoverished misery, with the constant feeling that it is never going to end -- that this is all your life will ever be. That, to me, is Palestinian life.

It needs to stop! Jews suffered the modern world's worst atrocities for five years. But, although there has been no one atrocity on the scale of the holocaust, the mass expulsions, civilian massacres like the one in Lebanon last year and those before, the ever-lasting toll on civilians always running much higher that that of Israel, the home demolitions, and the general misery I talked about above, combined over 60 years to mean the Palestinians have suffered just as much. Death from a thousand cuts.

All the above should mean the world makes sure the Palestinians get their own state, as Britain and the U.N. decided Jews were entitled to their own state because of their suffering in the holocaust.

The UN, well the states that make it up should foot the bill for the Palestinian state. Offering the refugees, say, 2 million U.S. dollars for all they lost and the years of suffering. It should force Israel to give back all the land it took in 1967 including East Jerusalem, giving them a set time to decide what land it needs to swap; give Israeli land equivalent of any Palestinian land it needs to keep to maintain the security of all Israelis, including settlement blocs.

Paying the refugees should mean Israel has no reason to refuse, but if that combined with Israel's reliance on international assistance isn't enough to force their hand, no option should be taken off the table. Israel will complain about their security but with the full UN on the case, guarantees to ensure Israel's security could certainly be made. It's time to forcibly remove all obstacles and give peace a chance.

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