Crimes against humanity
September 1, 2011
Aryeh Green’s Aug. 18 column (“Israel and the Mideast – complex reality simplified,” The Aspen Times) contends that “Israel’s presence on either side of the 1949 armistice line is neither colonization nor occupation,” but “a Jewish nation in its natural and historic homeland.”
This contradicts the fact that an estimated 711,000 Palestinians were expelled from historic Palestine during the formation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948 (Wikipedia). The 1949 armistice, or Green Line, divides Israel from the West Bank (designated for the Palestinians in 1949). Israel took over the West Bank in 1967 after the Six-Day War and has since held it under an oppressive military occupation.
I spent a night in the West Bank under the frightening occupation and attended, along with my group, peaceful weekly Palestinian protests against the occupation, the separation wall and confiscation of their land. These peaceful protests are met with violent attacks by Israeli soldiers via bullets, tear gas canisters, etc. The separation wall is said to be for security, but it runs more than twice the length of the Green Line and is actually used to take large parts of the West Bank land and water for Israel while leaving high Palestinian population centers outside of Israel. Israeli leaders want Israel to be 80 percent Jewish.
Currently 4.7 million Palestinian refugees are registered with the UN in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon as well as the West Bank and Gaza, both under Israeli domination. The rights of these Palestinians to return to their homes in Israel (historic Palestine) have not been respected, a violation of UN Resolution 194 – the Right of Return.
To justify Israel’s actions, some choose to deny Palestinians have lived for generations in historic Palestine and that they were ethnically cleansed/violently expelled. For example, in April of 1948, Israeli soldiers massacred the people, including babies, in the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin.
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I have talked to numerous Palestinians in Jordan, Syria and the West Bank and heard the stories of what happened to them or their parents in 1948. I suggest reading Ilan Pappe’s (Israeli historian) book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” This is not about religion or ancient history, it is about contemporary justice and crimes against humanity that are “systematically denied” and continue today.