Palestinians Suffer for the Sins of Others
PALESTINE'S FUTURE - Deheishe Refugee Camp, 2005 by Unknown
"We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities.
Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one - progressive, liberal - in Israel; and the other - cruel, injurious - in the occupied territories.
In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day."
-- Former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair, 2002
My boyhood occurred during an era when Jewish delicatessens, not McDonald's or Burger Kings, were the norm in many neighborhoods of Boston, particularly mine -- Roxbury -- which, until the late 1960's, was a predominantly Jewish enclave. So, as it turned out, my earliest exposure to persons of the Jewish faith was largely a product of my fondness for the outstanding kosher hot dogs my friends and I regularly devoured at Max Andrews.
"Max-Ann's," as we called it then, was a Jewish deli located on Blue Hill Avenue in close proximity to the Nation of Islam's Temple No. 11, whose minister at one time, Louis Farrakhan, graduated from the school I later attended Boston English, the nation's oldest public high school.
At that time, even if out of sheer ignorance I accepted a crass, stereotypical description of what Jews looked like -- white people with large noses --I was far more clueless as to what a Jew actually is. Perhaps not surprisingly, in that context, Jewish-ness, if you will, sort of flew under the radar. It held little, if any relevancy to me. That is, until Carl Zidel helped make it relevant. But more about that later
Right now, in light of the recent Israeli flotilla attack, and on the heels of our nation's own Independence Day celebrations, the issue at hand is my ever-increasing frustration at coming to terms with the seemingly casual disregard much of the American public and the world at large has for the lives and future of nearly 4 million of its fellow human beings.
Of course, I'm referring to the Palestinians, that itinerant tribe, indigenous to the territory we now call Israel, which for decades has existed as an essentially despised and dispersed nation of homeless squatters. Awash in the largely synthetic concern to those nations that matter, they've been shuttled from country to country like a nomadic Fourth World outsider class, incongruously infringing upon territories that are about as much their own as those areas of Palestine are to the Israeli settlers who now occupy them. They've undergone a soulless and incalculable disregard generally reserved for the world's un-saintly pariahs, apparently for committing the intolerable sin of fighting to reclaim territories from which they were forcibly removed generations ago.
"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 1998.
Indeed, as demonstrated by any number of events, the consensus among the world's movers and shakers seems to be that there is no dignity worth affording Palestinians, period; particularly if it comes at the expense of the Jewish state. Palestinian lives seem so spectacularly meaningless while those of Israeli citizens seem held as scripturally divine. Palestinians live in a world where grossly disproportionate military responses to virtually any degree of provocation are undertaken with heedless impunity. It is a place in which they weather merciless forms of collective punishment for infractions ranging from an attack on a Jewish settlement by a lone suicide bomber, to the election of candidates unacceptable to the Israeli government. Regarded as little more than a fatuous clan of troublesome interlopers, in the complex equation that is the Mid-East geopolitical calculus, the interests of the Palestinians barely compute.