This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
When I set about to writing a piece for central California’s Hopedance, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to write another article cataloging the many horrors and outrages I saw inflicted on the Palestinian people as a matter of course by a vicious, massive, American-funded Israeli occupation force. Not because it isn’t important that the world know of the barbarity of the Israeli army and Israeli government policy, but because the mainstream media has carried some of these stories, albeit in incredibly watered down forms. For those with the courage and desire to learn more, however, stories compiling the Israeli crimes against humanity and outrages against civility are out there and accessible already in many alternative media sources. I thought to write something different because there are other stories out there, stories that have not been covered, stories that are far more controversial than Israeli war crimes. For two and a half weeks in April and early May 2002 I traveled throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories. My activities ranged from Jenin in the north, to Gaza in the south, east to Hebron, and dozens of other cities and towns in between. Before ultimately being captured by the Israeli army and deported on May 4 for bringing food and supplies to the captives in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I met many people, heard many stories, and saw many terrible things in the Occupied Territories -- I also came to one shocking realization, one that contradicts much of what the media leads us to believe about the region: peace for the Palestinian people is easily achievable, requiring but one, simple action -- that the Israelis pull out of the West Bank and Gaza. A pull-out would mean the removal of the illegal settlements and settlers that have always been used as military enclaves dedicated to terrorizing and killing Palestinians unlucky enough to live nearby. It would also mean that Israel remove the military checkpoints that have always been used to harass and frustrate Palestinians and smother their economy. It would mean they must dismantle their criminal water pumping stations that direct the overwhelming majority of the West Bank and Gaza's precious water resources to a small handful of Israelis. It would mean that they stop dumping pollutants, trash, and sewage in Palestinian areas. Also, they must cease invading Palestinian areas at will, targeting and destroying civilian infrastructure, and murdering those who bravely resist the aggression or merely get in the way, labeling them as "terrorists." When many people, particularly Americans, are called on to consider the prospects and possibilities for peace in Israel and the Occupied Territories, their minds begin filling with all sorts of more or less vague notions and ideas about the many impediments to peace that result from the peculiar situation in the Middle East. Many of the common 'impediments to peace' are notions based in cultural ignorance and misperceptions of history, perpetuated by biased and bad media coverage, and reinforced over time. For instance, we hear time and again mentioned, especially after suicide bombings, that what is happening there is a religious war, a conflict of religion, a conflict between religions. No doubt some people on both sides engage the crisis in a religious way. But these people are merely the fringe, the vast and overwhelming majority of them being militant Israeli settlers. The overwhelming number of people, on the Palestinian side in any case, see the struggle as nothing more than a struggle against occupation, a struggle for freedom, dignity, and autonomy. Among the many freedoms and dignities being sought by the Palestinians is the freedom and dignity to worship; but
guns. or helicopters. With the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s they gave up nearly everything. and small arms. steal their water. . there can hardly be imagined a more defenseless target than the Palestinians. but for the occasional military reserve duty that calls them away from the beaches and shopping malls. On the other side. in the years after Oslo. Israel is the fourth most well-armed military on the planet. I say peace for the Palestinian people. no tanks. significantly increased settlement building and social and financial incentives for settlers. This is why the Palestinians continue to die before the Israeli tanks and helicopters that occupy them: because if they didn’t continue to die. Instead. there is peace in Palestine!’ If they didn’t continue to prove to the world by their deaths that there is no peace. in part to dispel the myth that there is a Palestinian and Israeli conflict. and Palestinian towns to attack. The Palestinians have no gunboats. Nothing hardly could be imagined that would be more of a fabrication and lie than this. criminal bad faith. and to suggest different would be an uniformed generalization. it is only the Palestinians who suffer the absence of peace. Over the course of the 40 years of occupation the Palestinians have given up more and more of their claims in hope of achieving autonomy and freedom from Israeli aggression. Another commonly registered 'obstacle to peace' says that whenever Palestinians gain a concession from the Israelis it is only a prelude to increasing further demands. and all the suffering and deprivation belong to the Palestinians. Peace for the Palestinians is wholly in the hands of the Israelis. or airplanes. They are essentially a society almost exclusively made up of civilians. As for the suicide bombers. all of the force belong to the Israelis. The common use of the word “conflict” in regard to the relations between the Palestinians and Israel suggests a sort of parity of forces and of aggression where nothing could be farther from the truth. equipped with modern American-made tanks. Africa. They don’t even have airports anymore. Israel in loathsome. no heavy artillery. missiles. The simple act of pulling out of the Occupied Territories would result in peace for the Palestinian people. The Israelis in Israel enjoy peace and have enjoyed peace. In practical terms. but for the West Bank and Gaza. and continue to occupy what little remains of their land. they are armed with crappy Kalashnikov rifles. etc. as it has always been. Any respectable rebel group in South America. stealing more and more of what little land the Palestinians had ultimately been forced to accept at Oslo in hope of peace. ‘look. none of which are spared when there are Arab families to evict. they already have peace on their terms. they don’t represent the Palestinian people any more than Terry McVie represents all Americans who criticize their government. From the very beginning of the so-called 'peace process' the Palestinians never received so much as an inch from which they could demand the proverbial mile more. Israel would go before the world and say. and some home-made bombs that are far more likely to kill their desperate handlers than a designated target. Nevertheless. rather than peace for the Israel and Palestine. The struggle is about freedom from arbitrary aggression and Israeli control. and Asia is likely to be better armed than the whole of Palestine. victims as they are of persistent and brutal occupation and aggression. In Israel. which often fail to operate. helicopters. all of the aggression.to understand the resistance to Israeli occupation in this light is to apply a myopic reductionism that completely misreads the struggle. fighter aircraft. the world would say that the Palestinians have agreed to a settlement that permits Israel to tyrannize them. It is the Palestinians alone that are forced to suffer the miseries and destruction of war. no one is dying.
ten years after Oslo. in hope of saving their children from the early graves that have always been the main concession offered by Israel.’ reducing them to such a miserable state that they will ultimately accept whatever mere pittance remains of that to which they originally agreed Now. a fear of what the future holds if they do not attain some measure of autonomy and sovereignty soon. south through Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Palestinians need only flip over the New Israeli Shekel (the legal currency in Israel and the Occupied Territories) 10-agorot piece: beneath a seven-branched candelabra and the emblem of the State of Israel is an unexplained amorphous shape that nearly fills the side of the coin. the illegally and brutally occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. just as was done with Palestinian land. and the West Bank and Gaza are there. Beneath the candelabra and the symbol of the State of Israel is a geographical representation of Greater Judea. The only thing left they can give up is their lives. and with every year the brutal Israeli policies seem successful at forcing the Palestinians to accept less. By the way. And ‘in the process. . it somehow neglects to explain this particular shape. or dignity. And anybody who thinks they should is a despicable racist. I hope not. which stretches in the mind of the super-Zionist beholder from the Red Sea and Egypt in the West. All that Israel has to give up for the sake of peace for Palestinians is what the international community and the United Nations has always said it must rightfully give up. Hopefully the world will make Israel stop before then. emblem. Although the Palestinians are not easily moved by fear. What does this shape represent you might ask? I'm sure Palestinians have. across Jordan to the Euphrates in the East. The wants of the Palestinians are extremely simple. north through Lebanon and Syria. (oh yes. and. it becomes clear that the Palestinians can not and will not give up any more land. introduced on September 4. though the candelabra. the 10-agorot piece. the Israelis have shown that they are willing to take.The so-called peace process of the 1990s has been the process of Israel stealing bits and pieces from the little that remains in the Palestinians’ pot at every step of the way. or autonomy. or an ignoramus who requires the counseling and assistance of concerned and better informed friends. they have been forced to accept the little that they now do because of a practical fear. to anyone who has traveled through the area. 1985. While the website of the Bank of Israel describes the iconography of all Israeli coins in detail. Does the world expect the Palestinians to become refugees again. and script are all explained. moving from camps in the West Bank and Gaza to camps in perhaps Jordan and Egypt? I don’t think so. the Palestinians have nothing more to give up in the struggle for peace than their lives. is the most recent addition to Israel's coin currency. too). But.
Along with 12 other international he was apprehended by the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem and deported in early May. .Jeff Kingham is a central coast resident who went to Israel and the Occupied Territories in April. He is available for interviews and speaking engagements and can be reached at jeffatthefarm@hotmail. While there he helped document Israeli atrocities and worked with various groups supporting and bringing aid to the besieged Palestinians.com .