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Monday, January 12, 2009

In Solidarity with Palestinian Freedom Fighters

As the saying goes, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. So just who are the terrorists and who are the freedom fighters in the Middle East today? Well, let’s think about that for a minute. Were our American Founding Fathers terrorists or freedom fighters? I guess if you ask the British, they would say that the English colonists in the English colonies of America were traitors and terrorists, rebelling against their own government back home in England. But that’s not exactly the way we Americans look at the Revolutionary War, is it? What exactly is it that we celebrate every 4th of July with our backyard barbecues, parades, and fireworks displays?

Well, any American school child will tell you that we are celebrating our freedom from British tyranny, thanks to the brave Minute Men who defeated the evil Red Coats. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Then we have the example of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, chronicled in Hollywood’s ubiquitous Holocaust movies, where Jews who had been sealed off and starved in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II in Poland rose up against that injustice. But that uprising was ultimately crushed by the Nazis. Yet their attempt at self-liberation is hailed by official history as one of the bravest and noblest attempts at freedom in the annals of martial history. And certainly we were all taught in school that it was worth the loss of American lives in the “Good War” to defeat the evil Nazis, even though the Nazis would say their movement was an attempt to prevent the Communists from taking over all of Europe. So I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Fast forward to Palestine 1948.

The Palestinians, including Muslims, Christians and (Sephardic) Jews, were all living on the land called Palestine, identified as such on any map or globe produced prior to 1948. And they had been living together in peace for many centuries, as evidenced by the large number of Christian churches, synagogues, and mosques that had coexisted on that sacred territory for centures, in the true spirit of ecumenism. Then after World War II, with the Allied Victory, the European Jews decided to cash in the Balfour Declaration and all hell broke loose in the region. The Irgun terrorists (or freedom fighters, depending on how you look at it), including the father of our next Chief of Staff, Rahm Israel Emmanuel, summarily terrorized the non-Jewish Palestinians off their land, starting with the village of Deir Yassin.

The Irgun terrorists (or freedom fighters, depending on how you look at it), slaughtered men, women and children in that small village, beginning what the Israelis call the “War of Independence,” even though their opponents, the rightful owners of the land, were largely unarmed and defenseless civilians. They then went around in pickup trucks with megaphones warning the neighboring villagers that the same fate awaited them if they did not immediately abandon their homes and flee into concentration refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank. And that’s how things have roughly stood for the past 60 years in the land they now call “Israel,” but which some would call “occupied Palestine.” I guess it all depends on how you look at. To give a visual perspective of how ownership of the land has been stolen changed hands, take a look at the following display: So as the Zionist-controlled talking heads on television attempt to explain the current situation to their brain dead viewers, please keep in mind that the problem did not start 2 weeks ago, or 6 months ago, or even in 1967. No honest discussion about the Palestinian situation can possibly take place without going back to the village of Deir Yassin in 1948. I don’t want to hear about Hamas or “rockets” or “terrorists” or breaking the supposed “ceasefire” or any these other red herrings.

Because none of these events can possibly make sense to the outside observer without going back to 1948. The bottom line is this: the Palestinians had been living in peace on that land for centuries, tending their orchards, farms, and animals, and minding their own business, until 1948. This is the first fact that needs to be understood before any further discussion can take place. Whatever happened to the Jews during World War II in Europe can not possibly be laid at the feet of the Palestinians, and there is no way around this basic fact. Although they had committed no crimes, the Palestinians have been holed up in cages refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank (of Jerusalem) since 1948, in extremely overcrowded conditions, living in a fraction of what once once their entire country.

In addition, their orchards, homes (and children) have routinely been destroyed and bulldozed, their young men imprisoned without charges, and they have been forced to live under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Yet, even after the loss of 80% of their original territory, the Palestinians have agreed to accept a 2-state solution, which would leave them a tiny country divided in two parts (Gaza and the West Bank) in exchange for peace. But the Israelis have no intention of ever agreeing to any 2-state solution because they want all of that land and will not be content until the last Palestinian is either dead or driven out of the region. The Israelis provoke reactions from the Palestinians by cutting off food and medical supplies, then use this as a pretext to finish what they started in 1948. In no way can this be considered a “war” between Palestinians and Israelis. The people of Gaza are trapped in a refugee camp with the 4th largest military in the world (Israel) now invading the camp to kill as many Palestinians as possible and drive the rest of them out of the Gaza strip entirely. How hypocritical for Israelis to kvetch that the Palestinians want to drive Israelis into the sea, when that is exactly what they are doing to the Palestinians - the rightful owners of the country! People who are largely unarmed and trapped in a concentration refugee camp, who are fighting for their very survival, cannot be considered terrorists by people interested in fairness. Unless you consider that the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were terrorists and the Nazis were the freedom fighters. You can’t have it both ways.

If Jews in Warsaw were freedom fighters, then the Palestinians have every right to fight against their oppressors, too. The Palestinians have the right to resist their own genocide. And that’s exactly what they are doing. All true lovers of freedom and justice must stand in solidarity with the brave Palestinian freedom fighters.

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