Tina K. Russell

June 24, 2008

Israel and Palestine: The Reality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 7:35 pm

Op-Ed Columnist – The Two Israels – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com
To travel through the West Bank and Gaza these days feels like traveling through Israeli colonies.

You whiz around the West Bank on new highways that in some cases are reserved for Israeli vehicles, catching glimpses of Palestinian vehicles lined up at checkpoints.

The security system that Israel is steadily establishing is nowhere more stifling than here in Hebron, the largest city in the southern part of the West Bank. In the heart of a city with 160,000 Palestinians, Israel maintains a Jewish settlement with 800 people. To protect them, the Israeli military has established a massive system of guard posts, checkpoints and road closures since 2001.

More than 1,800 Palestinian shops have closed, in some cases the doors welded shut, and several thousand people have been driven from their homes. The once flourishing gold market is now blocked with barbed wire and choked with weeds and garbage.

“For years, Israel has severely oppressed Palestinians living in the center of the city,” notes B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, in a recent report. The authorities, it adds, “have expropriated the city center from its Palestinian residents and destroyed it economically.”

Please read this. Kristof goes on to speak of how thorough, choking, cruel, and ubiquitous the occupation is in Palestine, how Hamas terrorism is hurting Palestine’s chances of ever having a legitimate state, and how ordinary Israelis are reaching across the border to help the victims of the brutal occupation regime.

I want to be clear that non-violent means are the only legitimate means to fight the occupation. But fight we must, as the Israeli government will find out soon enough what its people have known for a long time: the theoretical advantage of a “greater Israel” will never match the horror, the death and destruction, being waged across the border, and that having a failed state next door creates a haven for terrorists and terrorist sentiment that puts every Israeli citizen in unacceptable danger.

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