Another Day in the Middle East

I viewed with great horror – as I usually do- the news the other day in the Occupied West Bank & Gaza of the Middle East. Thinking of my family and friends in the area: 16 more people killed.

The news was that a suicide bomber killed 7 Israelis, and Israel struck back by killing 9 Palestinians in the occupied territories. As it was relayed across the media, the suicide attack was described as “terrorist”, the Israeli attack as “retaliatory”.

To better understand this tragic conflict, one must ask what would drive a person to undertake a suicide mission? What type of tragedy and desperation would force oneself to leave his/her loved ones behind and give up their own life? Then one must note the frequency of these suicide attacks in the Middle East. Hence, what is driving so many people – relatively speaking- to embark on the same path again and again? It would be shallow and naive to attempt to explain the history and proportions of this conflict in a few lines. Yet one must start to consider the historical facts of the situation. Here I quote the Israeli writer Baruch Kimmerling: “Since 1967, millions of Palestinians have been under a military occupation without any civil rights, and most lacking even the most basic human rights. The continuing circumstances of occupation and repression give them, by any measure, the right to resist that occupation with any means at their disposal and to rise up in violence against that occupation.”[4]

The Israeli occupation has put the Palestinians in a state of siege, by blocking the roads and digging trenches around the cities, effectively preventing people to travel from town to town, but more importantly from getting to work.

The bulldozing of thousands of olive trees, which constitute the livelihood of many Palestinians, has also contributed to their impoverishment. The Palestinian economy has reached an all-time low and unemployment levels have rose to 48% . [6]

So after 34 years of illegal military occupation, over 60 UN resolutions, and thousands of Palestinians killed, wounded, deported and permanently disabled, the Israelis still maintain that they are the victims of Palestinian terror. Yet until Israel withdraws from the West Bank & Gaza, and until the Nazi-like aggression against the Palestinian people ends, the cycle of bloodshed will continue.

Notes:

[2] Haaretz, March 27, 2001 Title: The right to resist, www.haaretz.co.il

[4] [5]  See World Food Program Emergency Report No. 09 dated March 2, 2001. www.wfp.org/ereport/2001/0302.htm Palestinian Territory & The New York Times: Palestinians in a State of Siege by Allegra Pacheco. March 16, 2001.

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