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May 11, 2006

Observations from Israel

The "Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East" (WCUSP) campaign received the following first-hand account of Israeli ethnic-cleansing from an Israeli peace activist. We urge you to join our challenge to US monetary, diplomatic, and military support of the illegal occupation of Palestine.


Tonight an Israeli television news report (channel 1) seems indicative of things to come, and the word should be spread. The report reveals that a Palestinian city with some 400 structures, narrow alleys, even a minaret has been built in the Negev for Israeli and American troop convenience--to practice house to house fighting in urban Palestinian and Iraqi communities. This does not bode well for either Iraq or Palestine, but my concern now is the latter.

This village-for-warriers-to-practice-killing-Palestinians, together with what I see happening in the OPTs (I'm there at least once a week--mainly in the Salfit governate, though I also go to some demonstrations against the wall in other areas) bring me to conclude that Israel is increasing its endeavors at ethnic cleansing. The changes that have been occurring the past several months (fences everywhere, more road blocks than ever, longer waits at checkpoints, tall lookout towers that can be used to snipe from springing up outside villages that have never been violent, continued land theft, etc etc etc suggest that attempts at ethnic cleansing are increasing in intensity, with the notion that making life as tough as possible for Palestinians will encourage them to leave, if not Palestine, at least their villages and run to urban areas that are safer (e.g., Bethlehem or Ramallah). There are not many of these 'safer' urban areas left. It appears (to me, at least) that Israel's ethnic cleansing is aiming driving as many Palestinians out as possible, in order to urbanize the OPTs for continued Jewish settlement to produce the 'greater Israel,' leaving Palestinians 4-5 cities with no hope for expansion or means of sustenance.

Immigration to Israel has almost entirely dried up (this past year population increase was due to birth not to immigration). The notion of a Jewish state demands a Jewish majority. With demography the main Zionist criterion, it appears that Israel's governments have realized that the only way to keep a Jewish majority here is by driving the Palestinians out. The simulated Arab city in the Negev is an ominous sign of what awaits the Palestinians. Heaven help them, and all of us, because it doesn't seem as if the world gives a damn more about what happens to Palestinians than it did about what happened to Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc during WWII.

This Palestinian city in the Negev was undoubtedly paid for with American $s. If you have time and influence, use it to cut American military aid to Israel, and to encourage the Presbyterian Church and others to engage in divesting from (at the least) companies that help maintain the Occupation, and boycotting Israel.


Cross-posted from the WILPF blog. I am the WCUSP Campaign Representative on the national board of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Posted by cj at May 11, 2006 12:55 AM


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