Pray for Peace

Imagine taking a leisurely stroll with your family when without warning an army tank comes barrelling down the street only to stop in front of you. The military officers jump out and ask you ridiculous questions and relate demeaning demands while taunting you with their superior attitudes. Then, abruptly, you are lying, helplessly, on the ground, blood seeping out of the nearly fatal bullet hole. Your dark, oppressed, fearful life ends before it had a chance to begin. To many this may sound dissonant and unrealistic. Perhaps you think it may be the story of people in a third world nation overcome by rebellious tribes. Or perhaps it is another Holocaust story of Nazi persecutors. No. In fact this is a scenario that is an everyday reality for many people whom, from what you have gathered from bias media outlets, are suicide bombing, third-world, terrorists. This off course is far from being remotely true. The people overcome by these hardships are the Palestinians; a nations of family oriented, educated, peace loving people who have experienced such an array of devastation that one would be taken back by it.

With so many ways of perceiving the Palestinian- Israeli struggle, many people are often conflicted as to who is in the right. I personally feel that as a young Palestinian who is well versed and passionate about the matter that it is my social and humanitary responsibility to speak out on this very critical issue.   In order to best understand this conflict, it is crucial to study its origin. About a century ago Zionists- Jews who believe they must reclaim their Holy Land- wanted to found a state in the country of Palestine. To their advantage the British who controlled Palestine at the time supported their ambition. Jews began to leave Europe and establish dwellings in Palestine during the early 1900’s. This trend grew significantly after the Second World War.

Almost instantly the violence commenced between the invading Israelis and the Palestinians who were struggling to save their homeland. Fearing the reprecautions of their actions the British turned over Palestine to the UN. The United Nations had a compromising plan, which would divide Palestine into two regions: one for the Palestinians and one for the Israelis. Yet as opposed to forming a win-win solution they created one significantly to the advantage of the foreigners. The UN gave the Jews, which only made up 30% of the population, 55% of the land, while the remainder of the population consisting of Muslim and Christian Palestinians were left with a mere 45% of their own land. All this took place without any consultation with Palestine’s original inhabitants. Overcome with anxiety over the loss of their nation, the Palestinians rejected the state of Israel.

After being at war, the Jews seized 75% of Palestine and even more tragically, 800,000 Palestinians were dispersed among neighbouring countries and the West Bank. Israel even had the audacity to take over the western half of Jerusalem, which was an “International City.” For the nest 24 years proceeding 1948, the Palestinians who lived in Israeli territory were treated like third-rate citizens and were subjected to martial law and land expropriation. Israel took the approach of “ethnic cleansing” in an attempt to rid themselves of the Palestinians once and for all. To make sure that the then 4 million refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza would not return to their homeland, Israel destroyed 500 of what the claim to be “abandoned” Palestinian villages and they turned over the property to Jewish immigrants. Although the UN passed a resolution to allow Palestinian refugees the “Right to Return” (Resolution #194) Israel has created counter laws to prevent this.

Matters increasingly worsened in 1967 during the Six Days War when Israel conquered the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the remainder of Jerusalem. The Israeli’s treatment of the Palestinians dramatically worsened as well as they imposed overwhelmingly unnecessary military rule over the devastated Palestinians. The UN continued to pass resolutions that would supposedly have Israel withdraw from the occupied territories and yet have Israel recognized as a country by Arab nations. In 1973 allies joined both sides of the struggle. Egypt and Syria along with the USSR joined Palestine while the US supported Israel, providing them with massive weapon supplies and giving them a significant amount of financial aid to this day. It was in 1974 that the first peace talks took place. They were facilitated by President Nixon and involved Egypt, Syria and Israel. At the time the Palestinians had no official representation. Eager to have their voices heard the Palestinian Liberation Organization (the PLO) was established and headed by Yasser Arafat.

 1987 ushered in a new phase of the conflict. It was called the Intafada and it was finally time for all Palestinians to take a stand. Demonstrations and strikes were held nationwide in protest of the Israeli occupation. In retaliation to juvenile rock throwing at advanced military vehicles and well-armed soldiers, all equipped by the US, Israel began to kill virtually everyone that stood in its way. They demolished numerous Palestinian homes and killed 1300 Palestinians by 1991, most of whom were young adults. Just for the sake of comparison, substantially less Israelis were killed in that same time span; 80 people to be exact.

Since the first Intafada- the second being during this century- the same pattern of violence has taken place; Israelis mercilessly slaughter innocent civilians; a Palestinian extremist does a suicide bombing; a seize-fire is called; peace talks are attempted; Israel impose curfew on Palestinians, Israel targets Palestinian civilians….  

On January 31st, 2005 Israeli soldiers fired at and killed Noran Deed, a 10 year old Palestinian girl who was lining up in the school yard.-Daily Times

On January 29th, 2005 Ibrahim Al-Shawas, who was mentally handicapped, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. -Al Jazeera

On January 27th, 2005 Rahma Abu Shams was also shot in the head. She was only 3 years old and was simply sitting at home. -Zaman Online

 On January 21st, 2005 a 13 year old boy was shot dead in Gaza while out walking with his family. -News.com 

On January 12th, 2005 a 23 year old man was shot dead while driving his pregnant wife to the hospital. -ABC News  

These are just a fraction of those killed by Israeli troops daily. The majority of kids killed by Israeli troops have been randomly opened fire at or had their homes bombed or shelled. Almost all of them were killed while no risk was posed on the life of the Israeli soldier. Palestinians live daily with the constant fear of being killed unexpectedly. They have curfews imposed on them, which stunt their livelihood, and they live everyday with the burden of having lost those whom they so dearly loved.

 It is a crime to take someone’s life. It is a crime to steal their home. It is a crime to abuse, harass, wound and/or injury another human being. In Canada anyone found guilty of these crimes would be seriously reprimanded. In Palestine, the Israeli soldier who commits these crimes is deemed a hero.

Two-thirds of my family- both sets of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles- still live in Palestine. They are faced with these traumas everyday of their lives. My grandparents were there when the Zionists began their invasion, my parents grew up in a war zone and I escaped the Intafada. I count my blessings that I have escaped that calamitous area but I yearn to return and save it from despair. I hope that you have gained insight and perspective on this heart-wrenching situation. It is essential for all world citizens top expose themselves to the atrocities against your fellow man because these innocent, dead children could be you, or your relatives. This matter seems endless but I believe we have the capabilities of resolving the matter simply if good people take a stand.

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~ by amytalk on January 16, 2006.

2 Responses to “Pray for Peace”

  1. It is truly unfortunate that in a world of “civil society” we still hurt and destroy the lives and souls of our fellow man.

    Will there ever be a world of peace?

    Perhaps.

    Until someone can take the initiative and stand up for it peace, stand up stand up and say, “this is wrong, this is unjust, this is inhumane, this is criminal”… peace will be another dream lost in the dusts of wars and hatred.

  2. thanks for your moving humane article. it seems that israel never learns that excessive violence is self-defeating. i’m currently writing a private piece on “israel and palestine” for circulation to friends. just a small step to try to counter Israeli domination of gullible public opinion on this whole issue. i feel for you and for all palestinians. we each do what we can.
    blessings

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