All about ideas…

Time to observe Palestinian Propety Rights.

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Because of the Israeli lobby and AIPAC, most Americans – and certainly most of Congress – believe nearly anything Israel says, even to the point of overlooking what Israel does. Case in point is the flap over VP Biden’s trip to Israel and Israeli housing announcement in West Jerusalem.

The Americans say they believe that the kind of rude surprise that occurred when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was visiting here earlier this month — an Israeli announcement of 1,600 units of Jewish housing in a part of Jerusalem conquered by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians — is not likely to be repeated in the coming months. That was one of Mrs. Clinton’s central demands of Mr. Netanyahu: no more acts that disturb the atmosphere as indirect talks with the Palestinians get under way.

The 1,600 units in East Jerusalem constituted the latest of several steps that the Americans considered problematic.

This morning on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, the major discussion was the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations, and the break down caused by the housing announcement. That conversation reminded me once again that no one in the media, or anywhere else for that matter, has mentioned that building the housing in Palestinian West Jerusalem occupies yet more of the rapidly shrinking Palestinian territory or that it appears Israel’s continued settlement plans in the West Bank are preventing a two-state solution.

Israel's continued encroachment into Palestinian Territory, from 1946 - 2000

There are only two possible outcomes to the current scenario of expanded settlements in Palestinian territories within the next 50 years. One is that Israel will cease to be Jewish because the Muslim and Christian Palestinian population is growing much faster than the Jewish population. Jewish Israelis will become a minority. When the majority of the population ceases to be Jewish, can the current Jewish political parties continue to exist as they do now? Not likely. Unless Israel ceases to be a democracy by denying non-Jewish residents the right to vote, then Palestinians will dominate Israeli politics.

The second outcome is that Israel, including all of the West Bank and Gaza, becomes more like apartheid South Africa with a ruling overclass of Jews and a permanent underclass of Palestinians, where rights are denied and the rule of law is unequally distributed between Jews and Palestinians. If this event occurs, peace will not even be in the cards for Israel.

The fact that hardline, right Israeli’s don’t – or won’t – see these outcomes is stunning in both their blindness and lack of logic. Of course, these hardliners see another outcome altogether. In that one, all Palestinians are shoved out of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – or killed, whichever comes first.

In the U.S., there’s a heated argument going on about Immigration, with many saying immigrants are taking over large tracts of the southwest and elsewhere and that immigration should be halted. Imagine, then, how Palestinian’s must feel. Where is the sense of equity and balance and justice when Americans say no to migration here but okay in Israel? The U.S. has a long history of protecting property rights, even to the point of allowing long-time squatters the legal right of eminent domain. Yet, the U.S. aids and all too often abets Israel’s denying those same property rights to Palestinians, only because that population just happens to have differing religions.

I remain a firm believer that Israel has a right to exist and exist in peace, but I am not one to close my eyes and ears to Israel’s faults. Blatantly stealing and occupying another people’s property, namely the Palestinians’, is dead wrong. No two ways about it.


Written by Valerie Curl

March 21, 2010 at 11:33 AM

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