A reign of terror began 71 years ago in Palestine: aptly called The Catastrophe, that terror continues to this day. That land lies at an ancient crossroads, located directly along the shortest land route from Africa to Europe. You have to be a resilient people to have lived there over the past few millennia, resiliency is something that defines such people. Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions
Ethnic cleansing continues even as the Palestinian birthrate increases more rapidly than the Israeli birthrate. There are now 5.3 million Palestinians and 5.2 million Israelis living in the same geography.
Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1917 — the United States has only been around for 243 years. How much history, culture, traditions, arts, sciences, music, dance, cuisine, celebrations had flourished in those 401 years? Here is that link again: Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions.
The current political milieu in Israel extends from Rightwing to Ultra Rightwing, and all points in-between. Michael Oren, former Netanyahu ambassador to Washington and now a part of Netanyahu’s government, spoke over the telephone with Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker, the interview went off the rails with quite a flourish. Here is an excerpt:
Isaac Chotiner: I am trying to disaggregate the ideas that this is being done for safety and security and there is no alternative, and that it is being done because people are traditional and religious—
Michael Oren: That’s my point. It’s not just security. It’s also ideology, it’s also belief.
Isaac Chotiner: Do you think that there are moral consequences to those beliefs, if they include increasing settlements in the West Bank?
Michael Oren: I have to distinguish between what’s right and what’s smart.
Isaac Chotiner: Increasing settlements is which?
Michael Oren: Again, you want to put this in black-and-white terms, but it is not black and white. Increasing settlements where? They are not all the same.
Isaac Chotiner: Sure. I just didn’t understand what you meant by right versus smart. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
Michael Oren: It is definitely our right. I think it is our incontrovertible right as Jews to live anywhere in our ancestral homeland.
Isaac Chotiner: Really?
Michael Oren Cuts Short a Conversation About Israel
Michael Oren: No question. No question about it. Anywhere. And a member of the Sioux nation has a right to live on Sioux-nation territory. These are our tribal lands. The cradle of our civilization.
Occupation and demolition is heartless and it is brutal. Is it “a moral imperative” to uproot a thousand olive trees tended for a thousand years? The occupiers, protected by the IDF, routinely force families onto the street, then demolish their homes. Does it matter that those families have lived there for centuries? Housing developments in the Occupied Territories look like they’ve been transported from Southern California: reliable electricity, clean water, sewage pipes that dump onto the small isolated pockets that remain well isolated — where dwell the huddled Palestinian masses. Homeless in their own country. The “settlements” connect to Israeli jobs, markets and families over modern highways, fences run along the entire length of both shoulders. “For Israelis Only” — Jim Crow echoes there. Zoom out and you witness the spectacle of a 200 state solution, 200 isolated pockets of huddled masses yearning to be free.
What is it like to be dispossessed, to live under terror for 71 years? The IDF doesn’t just knock on your children’s door in the middle of the night, they break the door down and terrorize the entire family, the entire neighborhood. They do it at whim and with impunity, they keep the kids in holding cells indefinitely.
The British Empire took advantage of several remnants of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 by obtaining a legal instrument (a Mandate for Palestine) drawn up by the short-lived League of Nations. Lord Balfour feared an influx of Semites arriving at British shores, undesirable refugees in an otherwise polite country. He sought to keep them far away from Britannia. Palestine was on the other side of Europe, far from the White Cliffs of Dover.
I maintain that the British Empire signed over their “Mandate for Palestine” to Palestine’s present occupiers.
In 1948, Truman pulled a Balfour on the Palestinians.
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