“No group of people in the history of mankind have suffered more than the Palestinians.

” These were the words spoken by former U.S Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Unfortunately, most Americans are not aware of these “sufferings” to which Clark is alluding to. He is talking about the mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupying forces that invaded Palestine in 1948.The conflict between these two people is rooted deep in religious and cultural beliefs. (Sacco 1-10) I personally believe that Palestine is being punished for crimes they didn’t commit and unfairly treated by Israel. Through this unfair treatment because of religion, the Israelis have placed many Palestinians through physical, social and emotional distress. In order to understand the current conflict, we need to look at the history of the region where the two countries coexist. The religious, cultural, and historical aspects of the region are the main factors to accommodate for the current brutality between the two states. The main cause of the current conflict begins after World War II; where the Jews began thinking of developing a homeland for their people. They decided on Palestine, a country in which Jews inhabited roughly 3000 years ago, but have been inhabited since by Arab Muslims. This land, the Jews believed, was given to them by God, and, therefore, they felt they could do anything necessary to attain it and keep control of it. Palestinians, on the other hand, believe they have strong ties to the land as well. Generations of families have lived there, and some of the Holiest shrines for all Palestinian Muslims, Jews and Christians are located there. The religious factors are the main reasons both the Muslims and Jews believe they have the ultimate right to the land and struggle to coexist. (Ojeda 3) We need to understand the value of the religious aspect from both sides to truly understand why they fight so hard to keep their pride. The religious rights for this holy city were given to by themselves with shrines from the past as evidence that they rightfully claim the land.

For Muslims, Dome of the Rock was seen as one of the holiest shrines. It was the sight of the enlightenment journey carried out by the Muslim Prophet Muhammad S.w.a.s. It was called the Mei-Raj, a journey which was said to have reached the 7 heavens and his contact with previous prophets and his asking for forgiveness for the sins of humans. Also in this event it is told that he had pleaded to God about reducing the number of times Muslims would have to pray down to 5 times. The 5 time prayer is still practiced by many Muslims, and is believed to till end of time, therefore the importance of this event in time at the certain place is great to Muslims all over the world not just Palestinian Muslims. To have this land where the foundations of prayers were created, taken over by Jews was not taken pleasantly by the Arab Muslims living there. (Zayid) Dome of the rock was seen as a negative sight by many Jews and they have wanted to destroy it over the years but it has been controversial argument resulting in letting it stay in order to keep peace between the religious groups. The Western Wall is a major holy shrine for Jews and it has been there for many years and mosques such as Masjid-al-Aqsa have been built on part of and nearby many of the older temples, thus angering the Jews. These are only the small factors of this personal and political ongoing war between these two religions and countries. On the political terms, the bigger powers of this world are doing nothing but fueling this war with more weaponry giving one side an extreme advantage. (Ojeda 13) Despite futile efforts from the Palestinians and other Arab nations, through the support of Europe and the U.S, Israel was created over Palestinian lands in 1948, and Israel was given stateof-the-art-weaponry, and money at the expense of the Palestinian people. To this day injustice towards the Palestinians continues with little aid or support from Western nations while Israel receives a lot of money. Attempted efforts to even reach Palestinians during harsh times, such as the Gaza Strip bombing, was responded by the Israeli military who destroyed vehicles such as

the Red Cross van carrying medical supplies. (Sacco 34-39) Israel controls Palestinians in a way a zookeeper would control their animals, by cutting off food and water and supplies whenever they feel like and deny any sort of unfair treatment to the UN. This is considered to be illegal occupation of a country and is looked on as a passive situation. Occupation of the Palestinian territories is illegal and brutal to the Palestinian people physically, economically, and socially. The unfair punishment is also illegal breaking peace treaties such as the Geneva Convention. Israeli physical punishments towards Palestinians and their land, is very unfair and brutal; most of it also happens to be illegal and breaks many rules of the Geneva Convention. Sacco explains this in his book. Joe Sacco graduated from the University of Oregon as a journalist but pursued other careers then wrote his famous book on Palestine with intense research. He also claims that Israel conducts collective punishments through Palestinian towns in many disturbing ways. (Sacco 198.) For example, if a few Palestinian children throw stones at an Israeli tank, the Israelis will round up a bunch of Palestinian men, beat them, or take them to jail, where they undergo torture such as sleep deprivation, extreme hot or cold temperatures, and continuous beatings (Sacco 102-113). Another way of collective punishment would be to turn of the power, and water supply until that city “learned its lesson” (Chomsky 322). Punishments like this bring everlasting hatred to one race or group of people. They valued the Palestinians of less value than of human beings. The value of Palestinians was so diminished that at a point, Israeli’s traded two bodies of dead Israeli soldiers for 200 alive Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails (Sacco 115). Their view of superiority goes against human beings’ morals and escalated crimes for small crimes shows our distance from global peace and the efficiency of our U.N.

The Israelis also have a history of killing mass Palestinians with no restraint. In the refugee towns of Sabra and Shatila, at least 3000 Palestinian and Lebanese men women and children were killed in the span of two days by Law makers and who were working with the Israeli government (Zayid). They also completely destroyed the Jenin refugee camp, and barred any medical or humanitarian groups from entering the camp (Zayid). Palestinian eyewitnesses claim that Israeli army carried freezers of dead bodies out of the camp before they allowed any journalists or news agencies to enter the camp (Zayid). The act of keeping their genocidal acts out of the eyes of the general public( rest of the world) is a shameful act, because the people were still missing, their families still knew, and it was obvious that they were killed, there is no other possible explanation of hundreds of people disappearing. This explains that Israel can torture and murder Palestinians without being questioned by the world about it with no investigations. The unfair treatment of Palestinians through every aspect continues. Another example of Israel’s ruthlessness is fairly recent as they bombed the Gaza strip and exclusively killing women and children and innocent men. “Two Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets since the Israeli offensive began.” (Westervelt 2) At this time in the offensive by Israel, 350 were dead and approx. 1000 were injured. (Westervelt 5) This lop sided developing genocide was actually seen as a war by the U.S. and the U.N. and they actually accused Palestine for breaking the cease fire treaty that was in place and completely undermining the critical actions taken by Israelis to violate the rights of the Palestinians as human beings. None of the mass killings in refugee camps or the shut off of major supplies was even discussed upon in resolving the violence issue. If you envision the small rocket attack by the Israeli in a humanitarian view, you can see that the attack was a battle cry for the weak Palestinians to seek help from outside sources. The Israeli’s valuing their two dead soldiers very highly unleashed a

brutal air striking of the Gaza strip punishing undeserving people and committing a crime against humanity. Physical punishment was one strand of punishment Israel inflicted on Palestinians, they also found other ways to make their lives miserable. They bulldozed houses for no reason; they continued to build settlements in territories that belonged to Palestinians despite U.N resolutions commanding them to stop. The Israeli army isn’t the only group that attacked Palestinians, Jewish settlers are extremely cruel to the Palestinians, and they beat Palestinians while the Israeli soldiers watch with approval.(Sacco 127). The weakness of U.N is shown by their limited actions. I personally don’t understand how the U.S. and European leaders had only one thing to say about the Gaza strip bombing, that it was Palestine’s fault for breaking the cease fire law. (Zayid) Crime against innocent people should be looked at also there is no mention of the breaking of the Geneva Convention by Israel. Unfortunately for Palestinians, this type of inexcusable behavior has not let up and won’t unless the World comes to the aid of the Palestinians, specifically the U.S, who claims to be neutral, but continues to send 3 billion dollars annually and the finest and latest state of the art weaponry, while the poverty stricken Palestinians receive nothing from the U.S government. This is the result of the power the Israeli lobby holds in the U.S government. (Ojeda) Although the physical brutality displayed by the Israelis is enough to make one’s stomach turn, they’re not done yet. The Israelis isolate the Palestinians economically, decimate their resources, and exclude them from well-paying jobs. According to Theodore Herzl, the creator of the Zionist movement for a Jewish homeland in Palestine,” We shall try to spirit the penniless (Arab) population across the border, by procuring employment for it in transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country…” This shows that the Jews had no plan, and still

don’t on sharing the wealth of the land. Israeli’s cut down Palestinian Olive trees, which are their main source of income and food for no reason but torture. (Sacco 60-63). The Israeli’s also forced the Palestinians to work low paying jobs with terrible conditions by restricting them from working high prestige jobs (Binur 15), and if by some chance you found yourself with a high paying job, you were treated very badly by Israeli police, and citizens that you were forced to move out simply because it was so uncomfortable to live with these circumstances.(Rabinowitz and Abu-Baker 117-18) Israeli’s also forced Palestinians to harvest tomatoes in Palestinian territories, but instead of giving Palestinians the credit, the Tomatoes are shipped around the world as “Israeli tomatoes”(Sacco 168-173) Israeli settlers have also been accused by Palestinians for killing their cattle, which milk they use for a source of income. As you can tell, the Israeli’s make it very difficult for a Palestinian to make a living, support his family, and do all the things we feel are necessary for human life, such as food, shelter, and medical treatment for yourself and your family. Unfortunately, today more than 90% of Palestinians living in refugee camps are living under the poverty line, and 40% in the Gaza refugee camp are unemployed (Sacco 150). Physical, social, and economical abuse destroys a person inside and out. By taking away their jobs and their harvest and any hopes of surviving in the future, it makes the people realize that their life is not worth living for. Just like in every genocide there is a rebellious group of people to retaliate, there is the Hamaas. Hamaas were and still are seen by many as terrorist groups, but that is only hyped by the media they only look to reduce and protect people under Israel’s abuse of power. (Stanley 5) The final argument against the Israeli’s is their treatment of the Palestinians socially. Israel holds back Palestinian efforts to become an independent state, and have kept the

Palestinians lagging in the social ladder. For one, Israel continues to reject democratically elected Palestinian governments as negotiating partners, and have recently cuts off all ties with the newly-elected Hamas party (Egendorf 3). They continue to kill and kidnap members of the Palestinian government in order to undermine their power. Israel deals with problems between them and the Palestinian government as if they are on a higher level, and as if they have the authority to act as international police, for example. there was a dispute between the two parties, so Israel surrounded former Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, in his compound with no water or electricity for days. This is not how humane governments should act in regard to a dispute; Israel has no respect for anything their counterpart (Palestinians) do or say. The Israeli’s also keep control of the Palestinians by keeping them in refugee camps where the living conditions are horrible. In fact, The Gaza strip which is a Palestinian territory is the most populated area in the world per square mile (Sacco 150), to make matters worse, they keep strict curfews on these refugee camps, as well as road barriers that take hours to pass, which usually cuts off Palestinians to medical aids. The Israeli’s will never see an end to the violence, if they continue to treat the Palestinian government as a joke. In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate the completely vicious brutality of the Israelis towards the Palestinians, whether it’s through physical punishment, economic suppression, or simply the smothering of the Palestinian people as a whole. This type of behavior must stop immediately. People must reach out to the Palestinian people, and support them, by standing up against actions taken by their government which is morally wrong, and spreading their message so that others may be made aware of their horrific situation. This way, their cries may be heard by the people of the U.S who are brainwashed into believing that the Palestinians are terrorists, by the Pro-Israeli U.S regimes. The truth about this conflict must be spread, so that the

Palestinians may one day feel and live as you do today, and receive the justice, that they deserve. Political policies does only evil in our world, it forces us to believe one side over the other, such as the US media criticized Palestine even though their rockets killed only two Israelis and Israeli’s brutal destroyed thousands of innocent Palestinian lives. I beg you to please look at some online websites about the ongoing genocide in Palestine and at least recognize what is happening. The first step is recognition and I really hope we can resolve this ongoing issue, because it is events like this which are causes of large wars. “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4.1:18

Works Cited Binur, Yoram. My Enemy,Myself. New York: Doubleday, 1989. Chomsky, Noam. Middle East Illusions. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers INC., 2003. Cramer, Richard Ben. How Israel Lost. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004. Hall, John G. Palestinian Authority. N.p.: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003. Herzl, Theodore. The Jewish State. 1896. World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 29 Mar. 2009 <http://www.worldhistory.abc-clio.com/>. History of the Palestinian people. 2001. CD-ROM. Ojeda, Auriana. “The United States Should Stop Supporting Israel.” 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 29 Mar. 2009 <http://infotrac.galegroup.com/‌itweb/‌? db=OVRC>. Palestine Liberation Orginization. Palestine National Charter. United Nations, 1968. World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 29 Mar. 2009 <http://www.worldhistory.abcclio.com/>. Rabinowitz, Abu-Baker, Dan, Khawla. Coffins on Our Shoulders. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005. Sacco, Joe. Palestine. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2001. Terrorism. Dept. home page. 2004. San Diego. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 29 Mar. 2009 <http://infotrac.galegroup.com/‌itweb/‌?db=OVRC>.

Zayid, Ismail. Personal interview. 7 Nov. 2010.

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