“A look at the violence occurring in Israel — What is going on?”
Peace is elusive in the best of times and most perfect of circumstances. But when disrespect and disdain disappear, so does any promise for peace. In the case of Israeli and Palestinian effort to achieve peace, it feels, well, impossible. Instead of focusing on ways to achieve peace, all parties retain their grudges and wreckage from the past, then sort and curate it into a single story that works for them. But that story is never the only one. It is, however, the story most Americans have heard. I’m not saying it isn’t true, or doesn’t contain truth, but it shouldn’t stand alone. There is more!
In this blog and the next, I will shed some light on the other, less familiar story. A story that until it is heard will only succeed in building a three legged stool that will never stand. So, what’s going on? What’s this fighting about? Will it ever end?
1) Since 125 C.E (A. D.) the year of complete destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent deportation of all Jews, until 1948, there was no such thing as Israel. Rather, Jews were scattered around the globe. They maintained the hope of returning to their historic homeland, but in the time since deportation, they had assimilated and succeeded in other places. Then came Hitler — WWII - death camps— genocide — and six million Jewish deaths. A “back-to-Israel” movement had always been part of the thinking among displaced Jews, but the events of WWII gave it legs. In 1947 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 181, that dream became a reality and a nation was born.
2) The problem was, the land chosen as home for the Jews wasn’t, and hadn’t sat empty or idle while they were living elsewhere. Others had moved in, picked up, and built lives for themselves. But, this is where the story goes south and what could have been, become the issues faced now. Families who had now lived in their homes for generations were required to “GET OUT!” The land was for some other people. Overnight, they went from self-supporting farmers to refugees. A title they still retain.
3) Similar to the treaties given to Native Americans involving land and peace, and subsequently broken (i.e. over 500), the Palestinians were presented agreements involving land and their homes, that were ignored or broken. Under the current Prime Minister, this practice has only grown worse. In the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) it only requires a small percentage of votes to stop almost anything. (The current P.M. maintains the support of the most orthodox Jews, giving him disproportionate power). Thus over the past decade Israel has increased their disregard for past treaties, permitting, and even encouraging, fundamentalist settlers to build on said Palestinian land. I have stood behind the twenty-foot high wall surrounding Bethlehem, with armed guards holding orders, to keep residents in. And just outside those walls, on deeded Palestinian property, gazed at high-rise condominiums complete with pools on the other side. POOLS — WATER — the sole function of which is fun in the sun. While in Bethlehem, water for eating, drinking, and bathing is more precious than gold, allowed into Bethlehem, two days a week.
Is it any wonder that anger and animosity run high? And there are so many additional examples of injustice….
Palestinian children do not attend the same school as Israeli children.
School buses provided for Palestinian children are half those of Israeli children.
Unemployment is high, yet Palestinians cannot leave their designated areas to even apply for jobs.
It’s an ugly situation. AND THEN THERE’S GAZA
The population of Gaza is 1.6 million people, and over 50% are under 18. 38% of Gazans live in poverty. 26% of the Gazan workforce, including 38% of youths, is unemployed. The average wage declined by over 20% in the past six years.
54% of Gazans are food-insecure and over 75% are aid recipients. 35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures. (Gazans are forced to dump their raw sewage into the Mediterranean, from which they draw their drinking water and the fish they eat. 50-80 million liters of partially treated sewage are dumped in the sea each day, making 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer undrinkable.
Gaza is also surrounded by a wall to keep people in. A blockade exists on the Mediterranean to keep food and most other staples out. In 2008, the Israeli military calculated that they determined was the average daily amount of calories needed to avoid malnutrition. That is the standard what is allowed in (sesame is banned).
Another example involves limits on cement. This assures that buildings recently destroyed by Israeli bombers, will never be repaired or replaced.
Again, you can begin to see why animosity runs strong. Who rightfully has claim to this disputed land? On what do they base their claim? People lived in this area long before any Jewish state. And when world events carried the Jewish population away and others moved in, what makes one right and the other wrong? How would I feel if claims from several thousand years ago suddenly put me on the street?
This is why, when Israeli soldiers burst into the Aqsa Mosque on May 7, 2021, sparks flew and flames were ignited. AND THEN, twenty seven days later, things took a sharp turn for the worst when. . . TO BE CONTINUED IN Tuesday’s Blast!