On Gaza…And the Evils of Occupation
“On Gaza…And the Evils of Occupation”
by : “Spencer Pennington”
Okay, I feel like I have to say this. I said some of it in a previous journal just before the New Year, but I feel I need to elaborate.
I’m sick of the conflict in Gaza; I’m tired of it and I have to be honest – while my support isn’t with Hamas as a political party (or with any political party in the world, for that matter), I do support the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom. I believe that the Palestinians have been horribly oppressed not only by the Israeli Zionists, but also by the United States and formerly the British Empire.
This doesn’t mean that Palestine is absolved of any wrongdoing, but I sympathize more with them than with “Israel” and here’s why: first of all, Israel wasn’t founded on a consensus of Zionist and Arab interest, it was founded by a partition from the United Nations and the British Empire, who had political control of the Holy Land at the time, as compensation for the horrors of the Holocaust.
While it’s true that the Palestinians had places set aside for them, they were never consulted nor represented the way that the Zionists were; No one asked the Palestinian people themselves how they felt. The Palestinians had control of that land for over a thousand years where they allowed non-Muslims freedom of religious practice and suddenly the British decide that they have the right to divide it. Not only that, but the Zionists were actually armed and told to use whatever means were needed to create their state – and we wonder why the Palestinians retaliated – and they weren’t all Muslims either. The second main point is that I feel that Zionism and religious Judaism are two conflicting ideologies as do many religious Jews. I won’t go into that here, but I have a piece I wrote on the subject a couple years ago; it’s in my gallery so take a look if you like.
Third, there are constant instances of Zionist terrorism and there have been for nearly a century, the most famous of which probably occurred in Jerusalem of all places – the bombing of the King David Hotel by Zionist fanatics led by David Ben Gurion, the man who became Israel’s first Prime Minister. There were also several Zionist bombings in Egypt against the Arabs and the British – at least one of which was carried out against the British embassy in that country. These are just instances by the way that occurred even before Israel was founded.
Today, “Zionist fanaticism” still reigns – There instances of mosques and even churches and Christian graves being desecrated in Tel Aviv, Gaza, and the West Bank, but we never hear about it. If a Palestinian child throws a stone at an Israeli soldier, armed with equipment provided by the U.S. government, that soldier has been given legal right to shoot the child in self-defense by the Israeli government. Whole villages are bulldozed by the Israeli Defense Force and countless children are killed. Right now, there have been continued bombings of Palestinian civilian territory. For every one Israeli civilian killed, roughly seven Palestinians are killed. I am not saying that killing is ever right, but I find it interesting that the one Israeli civilian is always reported on the five o’clock news, but the seven Palestinians are usually worthless in the eyes of the Western press. The United States gives Israel billions of dollars every year and they are permitted to use that money for whatever they wish. In the current conflict, the Palestinian death toll is already in the hundreds with most of them being civilians and many of those civilians being children. Blockades have been made, cutting off Palestinian hospitals and the UN is starting to taper off its aid to the Palestinians due to the fighting in Gaza – The UN being most of the Palestinians’ only source for food and medicine.
Conflict and war are always abhorrent but what is even worse is forcing the involvement of innocent people, which both sides have done – but we only hear about the Palestinians doing this, when, just as I have said above, the Israelis, through military action, blockades, and imprisonment are killing hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians each week. It is true, an Israeli shopkeeper should never be the victim of a mortar rocket from Palestine, but neither should the Israelis carpet-bomb entire villages and towns in Palestine in retaliation killing more innocent people. To me, terrorism is terrorism, whether it is committed by a militia or by a fully-functioning government.
Most Palestinian freedom-fighters do not target or intend to bring innocent bystanders into their conflict. The reason some have attacked civilians is this: They feel that Israel has been assaulting Palestinian civilians for decades, which has been proven, and they see it as an act of retribution. This does not make it right – it is terrible, but the concept of all of this is not hard to grasp. Allow me to illustrate:
I often think of it in terms of children on a playground or in a school. If a child is bullied enough and pushed around for a long enough time, that child will respond often in the same way that he has been treated, sometimes even lashing out other children who have done him no specific harm. All too often as well, the child’s cries for help are ignored by those who have the power to do something and so they take the situation into their own hands. That does not make the child’s behavior right or proper, but it is not surprising.
The Palestinians are not the first people to react in this way to the evils of colonialism either – We turn again to the history of the British Empire. For over three centuries, the Irish were one of the most heavily persecuted ethnic groups in the Western world. Well into the twentieth century, and even today, the Irish fought against the English occupiers by all means necessary including most of the tactics we see used by the Palestinians today – it is often thought, in fact, that the Palestinians acquired many of their methods by imitating the Irish Republican Army, a group dedicated to permanently removing the English from any place of control in Ireland and ending the division of their country.
Though most of their targets were the English military and their supporters, one method used by the IRA was that of sending letter bombs to English post offices in the 1970’s – the idea? Since the English had been subjugating and even making slaves of and killing Irish civilians for ages, strike back in the same way. Although some of their methods were questioned, the IRA had the support of many British Punk youths and even many Black British, who were subjugated to the racism of the English police. Other freedom fighting regimes too, in places like parts of Africa, sympathized with the IRA and with the rebels in Scotland dedicated to fighting the English occupiers. In recent years there has been a rise in Tibetan rebels committing bombings against their Chinese occupiers, some of whom say they were influenced by the Palestinians in some ways themselves.
Again, it is not right to kill, especially to kill innocents. They should not be dragged into war – someone must stop it, but what happens when the oppressor attacks innocent civilians? It may be wrong, but is it surprising when the oppressed respond in kind? For most Palestinians, this conflicts isn’t even about Jew versus Muslim – it is about one oppressed people fighting a military superpower – it is about Palestinians, many of whom are in fact Christian and even Jewish, standing up to Israeli Zionism.
These people genuinely feel that they have nothing left. They believe that they have nothing to lose because everything has been taken from them while their cries for help have gone largely ignored. They cannot afford basic necessities like healthy food and clean water; they can’t send their children to school or give them adequate healthcare. So, unfortunately, many of these people fight, and they die, because they believe that perhaps by their death, a better life can come for their families. These people are trapped in refugee camps in an apartheid-like state. South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, who is a supporter of Israel’s existence, has even likened the situation of the Palestinians to apartheid.
And when one of these Palestinians breaks under the pressure and perhaps even kills an innocent person, which is unquestionably wrong, or even if they kill a soldier, Israel responds by retaliating with a blow a hundred times worse, destroying bridges, schools, and hospitals. To me, that is terrorism. To me, it is terrorism when soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force bulldoze villages, raid mosques and churches, kill innocent children for throwing stones, and force families into refugee camps at the point of a gun.
To summarize I wish most of all for peace, I wish there could a solution where both sides could be content, but there cannot be occupation. If people are oppressed, they will fight back – there is no question. I am not in any form a nationalist; I do not support any political party, but I do support the rights of human beings to live in peace, and if a people feels oppressed and wishes to form their own state, especially on land that was largely taken by an unfair division, I believe they have the freedom to do so. If people have been pushed from their homes and wish to reclaim them, I do not blame them if they feel indignant and though I may not approve of all methods used, I do support their cause. This goes not only for Palestine but for the whole world.
What I said just a couple of weeks ago I will say again: The occupation in Palestine must end; the English must leave Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man, and the Chinese must release Tibet from their control.
These words are not meant in offense to the Jewish people, but to stand against Zionist incursion; they are not meant in offense to the people of England; though I am largely of Irish heritage, I do have some English blood and many of my heroes are English; these words are not meant as an offense to the people of China, but as a message saying that the Tibetans have a right to govern themselves just as you do.
I mean no offense to anyone here; I do not wish to lose any of my friends here, my watchers, or anyone else. If I do offend anyone, I do apologize and I welcome any feedback you have to give. Know, however, that I speak none of this in hate, but in hope for truth and peace. These are my views, however, which most of you know, and I cannot be afraid to express them.
Peace be with you
Peace and love,
January 9, 2009
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