West Bank & Gaza Map 2007 (Settlements)
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Map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
By now we've all seen or heard something about the latest bloodletting in the Middle East this time involving the Israeli's and the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and Israel proper.
The mayhem apparently began over three Israeli teenagers being killed in the occupied West Bank presumably by Palestinian's. A day later Israeli settlers abducted and burned alive a Palestinian boy in revenge. The boys cousin, visiting from the US on holiday, was also abducted supposedly by Israeli agents as he was standing nearby a demonstration involving Palestinian's, was severely beaten presumably by the same Israeli agents. With an Israeli investigation over the incidents seemingly dragging on, Hamas Palestinians in Gaza started lobbing rockets into Israel in retaliation whereby Israel overreacted by bombing supposed Hamas sites in Gaza. Reports this morning indicate Israel may be planning a ground attack on Gaza.
Before going any further let's be clear; the killing of innocents, regardless of which side commits it is never justified no matter how legitimate the grievances suffered by, in this case the Palestinian's, forced to live under the harsh apartheid rule of Israel.
At the same time it is understandable the simmering rage of the Palestinian's suffering under the brutality of the Israeli occupation and the violent abuses committed by the mostly orthodox Jewish settlers in the West Bank onto innocent Palestinians, will sometimes boil over and acts of aggression will be committed against Jews. But again, the killing of innocents is the line that can't be crossed, even when Israeli's kill innocents in their persecution of the Palestinian's.
Here's the bottom line; Israel is the occupying power. They are responsible for all acts committed under its occupation. It is never those occupied who are responsible as the catalyst for their violence-when it happens-is the result of their being illegally and brutally occupied.
Resistance to occupation is to be expected. The occupied are confined and in the case of the Palestinian's in the West Bank there are verifiable accounts of families being driven out, their homes bulldozed as the family is forced to watch, their olive groves uprooted so Jewish settlers can take over the confiscated land. And of course the Israeli Defense Force is always there to protect the Israeli settlers in their illegal settlements.
It's the Palestinian's that have been forced to endure this brutal occupation since the 1967 war when Israel annexed the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai-subsequently returned to Egypt. And despite all Israeli governments since 1967 mouthing their intention to negotiate a two state solution with the Palestinian's, all its actions say otherwise. There are now over 400,000 Jewish settlers in illegal settlements throughout the West Bank, a 22' separation wall surrounds the West Bank with roads built for Jewish settlers while highly restrictive with checkpoints for Palestinian's. Gaza is an open air prison and a blockade of the port by the Israeli's restricts shipping and what materials are allowed to enter the city. Gaza fishermen are severely restricted allowed only to traverse nearby fishing grounds.
Yet it's not just the Israeli government that is responsible for the brutality committed under its occupation.
The Israeli people have been mostly silent and indifferent to the plight of the Palestinian's, have not objected to the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank, the brutality committed by Jewish settlers upon the Palestinian's and are therefore silent accomplices to their government's occupation policies.
Israel is not the supposed "democracy" it heralds itself to be not while that "democracy" brutally occupies another people within its midst yet still maintains the faÃ§ade it is a democracy. The rest of the world justifiably sees it as a pariah state.
Jews everywhere can no longer hide behind the holocaust accusing anyone who criticizes Israel as being anti-Semitic.
Lastly there is this totally open ended support of Israel by the US which underlies all Israeli actions thereby making the US complicit to Israeli government actions.
The US talks a good game "condemning" Israel's settlements policy and the need for a two state solution with the Palestinian's. But it's all a smokescreen.
Without US undying support of Israel there would be illegal settlements in the West Bank, no blockade of Gaza, no nuclear weapons, no $3 billion in arms each year, a return to the 1967 pre-war borders and a long ago peace settlement with the Palestinian's. And Hamas wouldn't now be lobbing rockets into Tel Aviv.