Understanding the conflict between Israel and Palestine

Understanding the conflict between Israel and Palestine
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Understanding the conflict between Israel and Palestine

Most Americans don’t understand the truth of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. That’s ironic considering that most Americans are Christian and they don’t seem to care for the plight of Christians in the conflict at all. Christians are allied with Muslims and are being persecuted by Israel’s racist discriminatory government. And they are being discriminated against because they are Christian. Christian Americans who don’t support Palestinians are not really Christians at all

By Ray Hanania

Americans are wary of the continued violence between Israel and Palestine. But seeing as how the 3rd Congressional District has the largest concentration of Palestinian residents, and voters, it’s worth looking at it again.

This conflict has gone on so long there is no real start date. The only concern should be if can be an end date where Palestinians and Israelis compromise by sharing the land.

While the Palestinians have made many mistakes in the past, there is no “balance” between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel is one of the most powerful governments and military force in the world. They control the land taken in 1948, Israel, but they also occupy the rest of historic Palestine of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, taken during the 1967 War.

Israeli soldiers man checkpoints controlling the movement of Christians and Muslims in the occupied territories of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Maria Khoury

Israeli soldiers man checkpoints controlling the movement of Christians and Muslims in the occupied territories of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Maria Khoury

There are 9 million citizens in Israel. Only about 20 percent or 2 million are non-Jewish, Muslims and Christians. They do not have full citizenship rights and are discriminated against because of their religion. Critics call this a form of Apartheid.

There are about 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank with about 450,000 Jewish settlers there, and about 300,000 Jewish settlers living in East Jerusalem. (A “settler” is a Jewish person funded and supported by Israel’s government. They are given homes on land taken from non-Jews in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.)

The only solution is to have Two States, Israel and Palestine. Palestine would be in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and could include many of the Jewish settlers, if they agree to become Palestinian citizens, which most have said they don’t want.

The settlements are exclusively Jewish. Israel doesn’t build settlements for Muslims or Christians. They are spread throughout the West Bank and critics argue their presence makes a Two State Solution impossible.

Gaza was occupied until 2005, when the Israeli military withdrew but since then, Israel militarily surrounded Gaza controlling the borders, electricity and water. Nothing gets in or out of Gaza without Israeli approval. It’s a ghetto of poverty and suffering.

My relatives live in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian territories, in West Jerusalem (where my father is from), in Nazareth and throughout the Galilee, and they live in Occupied East Jerusalem (which Israel annexed), Bethlehem (where my mother is from), Ramallah and the Christian Triangle around Bethlehem. My family owns 8 acres of land adjacent to East Jerusalem. The Christian presence is vanishing, by the way. My cousins are the pastors of the Church of the Nativity.

The problem is non-Jews have less rights than Jews in Israel and no rights in the occupation. Israel refuses to allow me to control my land (even though my wife is Jewish) because I am Christian.

Relatives in Israel complain they are abused and brutalized, denied basic rights including expanding their properties or building news homes, while it’s the same for relatives in the occupied territories but worse.

Israeli settlers carry weapons and are accused of destroying Palestinian farms and olive groves. Israel has expanded the 1967 border into the West Bank to encircle the underground water reservoirs, denying it to the Palestinian farmers.

The mainstream American news media rarely covers their everyday suffering and only writes about it when Israel’s interests are at stake.

Several months ago, Israel targeted 160 Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in an East Jerusalem neighborhood called Sheikh Jarrah, beginning to evict them and replace them with Jewish settlers. When Palestinians protested, Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked them, killing several. This took place during the Muslim religious month of Ramadan, and to quell the protests, Israel limited access to prayers in East Jerusalem. You probably didn’t read much about those killings or brutality.

The protests worsened causing Israel’s military to respond more forcefully resulting in increased violence and oppression. That’s when Hamas entered the conflict, firing rockets. And that’s when the news media started to pay attention.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that violently blocked peace over the years. But so is Israel’s Jewish-only settler movement. They are terrorists, too, but are protected by Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the news media doesn’t really focus on their widespread violence and hate.

Netanyahu says he wants peace, but he really wants land. The real war is in the American news media where pro-Israel reporting spins the truth over Palestinian views, and all of the truths are marginalized.

If Israel wants peace, it has the power to make it happen. Until then, there will be continued violent conflict and more death and destruction that won’t end.

Of course, you the American taxpayers are vested in it, paying Israel more than $38 billion thanks to President Obama.

(Column originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group May 19, 2021. Email Ray Hanania with your comments at rghanania@gmail.com.)

Ray Hanania

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