Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Occupation and Apartheid E-Cards

Reposted from the blog Sixteen Minutes to Palestine

Parodies can be valuable when they force people to consider reality from a different perspective. But most of these e-cards aren’t parodies. It’s what millions of people have to live through every single day.

Families who come from both sides of Israel’s apartheid wall are not always permitted to be together. Husbands and wives are kept apart by concrete walls, checkpoints, soldiers, and residency laws aimed at subsiding a “demographic spillover”.
That’s what happened at the University of California, Irvine when the Orange County district attorney filed charges against eleven Muslim students for protesting and disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech. Oren was attempting to justify the murder of over 1,400 civilians in Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The last few times Israel and the Palestinian Authority met at the negotiations table, among Israel’s many preconditions (continuing settlement building, maintaining control over the West Bank, maintaining the Gaza blockade, etc.) was that the PA not have any preconditions of its own.
Since Israel’s establishment, Palestinians now have access to less than 13% of their land.
This past March, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed the UN Human Rights Council and refused to cooperate in an investigation into the effects of illegal Israeli settlements on Arab populations. Lieberman is a staunch supporter of settlement building, openly rejecting the human rights and international laws condemning the transfer of populations into occupied territory.
Oren, a published author and politician capable of having his message heard and read by the masses, insists that disruptions are attempts at indiscriminate censorship and violate his right to speak. Later, when CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ aired a report on Palestinian Christians, Oren was discovered to have tried to block the story from airing. CBS called him out on it.
The Anti-Defamation League, which claims to be the strongest human and civil rights advocacy group in the United States, seems more concerned with domestic spying and censorship. Its strategy involves exploiting the definition of anti-Semitism to include anything remotely in favor of Palestinian rights. (Download a PDF version of an investigative report here.)
Israel has yet to offer a single acceptable peace or landswap proposal.
Having yet to define its borders, Israel annexes land freely, particularly in the West Bank where its barrier wall slices through significant chunks of the territory. As one Israeli author concludes, Israel’s borders are elastic.
Traveling through the West Bank is difficult, especially when most of the roads are restricted to Palestinians.
As this guest contributor says in his letter to Maine’s Morning Sentinel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a state of denial over the apartheid policies his government promotes. Palestinians are restricted from using certain roads and must travel through checkpoints in the West Bank whereas Jewish settlers are free to travel along any route without delay. Palestinians are also subject to home demolitions if the structures are outside of “zones” much like the cantons set aside for black South Africans during South Africa’s apartheid days.
Part of the wider strategy to “Judaize” the land involves planting new trees in places where Palestinian olive groves, for example, once stood. “Desert blooming” has led to very grave social, economic, and environmental consequences.
Settlement building violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and is therefore illegal. Yet Israel insists that its national law trumps international law and, in many instances, retroactively legalizes settlements in the West Bank and continues to build more.
An Israeli minister recently called on the government to cut electricity to Gaza in an attempt to lower electricity prices in Israel. If electricity were to be cut, it would join a long list of things kept from entering the Gaza Strip at one point or another in the last few years, including chocolate, A4 paper, wood, and cinnamon.
Another wave of social protests—the J14 movement, which began as a ‘liberal’ housing protest—has taken over Tel Aviv. But the protests have yet to formally demand or even acknowledge an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
By the end of President Barack Obama’s first term, he will have given Israel upwards of $12 billion in military aid alone. (Organize to end military aid to Israel).
Newt Gingrich insists that Palestinians are invented people.
The Israeli government has repeatedly armed settlers with “non-lethal” weapons to use against Palestinians. And for those who do have guns and other dangerous weapons, the Israeli military has been known to stand idly by as the armed settlers fire at Palestinians and destroy their properties.