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The 76 Year Catastrophe

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The Gaza And West Bank Context

The unremitting slaughter and destruction being perpetrated by the Israeli army and its governmental leaders on Gaza and The West Bank is unprecedented, even in the context of Palestine’s long, complex and troubled past. What is happening now harks back to 1948 and the confiscation of lands and homes from a once highly cultured, historic and commercially successful Palestine (where different religions live together in harmony). How Israel with its holocaust past can behave as it is now is beyond me. With over 35,000 dead, over 77,000 injured (many seriously), most homes and public institutions destroyed, 140 journalists killed and over 200 aid staff murdered. The West Bank has also been under attack with homes and roads destroyed and nearly 500 Palestinians killed. And while 135 Israeli hostages require urgent freedom, the 8,500 West Bank Palestinians detained without charge and subject to horrendous conditions including torture are ignored. It seems to me that Netanyahu has taken a page or two out of the Putin playbook with limits placed on press freedom, assassinations, carpet bombing, false imprisonment…While there were international protests at the Iranian retaliatory attacks on Israel, not a word of criticism on Israel’s destruction of the Iranian embassy in Damascus (with several Iranians killed).

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Amal wanted a closer look into the soldier’s eyes, but the muzzle of his automatic rifle, pressed against her forehead, would not allow it…She wondered if officials might express regret for the “accidental” killing of her, an American citizen. Or if her life would merely culminate in the dander of “collateral damage.”…Her stare made him uneasy. He had killed before, but never while looking his victim in the eyes. Amal saw that, and she felt his troubled soul amid the carnage around them.

p-717

It turns out that the head of the United Nations was correct in stating that the killing of young and old Israelis on the 7 October did indeed have a context, although this level of alleged violence can never be justified. Part of my research included a book written by Susan Abulhawa called Mornings In Jenin which is based on historical facts and true stories told by Palestinians. It is a work of fiction but based on fact. Susan was born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967, when her family’s land was seized and Israel captured what remained of Palestine, including Jerusalem.

In a distant time, before history marched over the hills and shattered present and future, before wind wind grabbed the land at one corner and shook it of its name and character, before Amal was born, a small village east of Haifa lived quietly on figs and olives, open frontiers and sunshine.

p-1118

“It’s very bad Hasan,” Ari said. “Zionists have hordes of guns. They recruited an army from shiploads of of Jews arriving every day. You don’t know all of it, Hasan. They have armoured cars and planes, even.” “Hasan, they’re going to take land. They’ve launched a campaign across the world calling Palestine ‘a land without people.’ They’re going to make it a Jewish homeland.”

“…You know the UN is meeting in November and everyone believes they’re going to partition the land. They are well organised and you know the British disarmed the Arabs after the revolt years ago. Some of the orthodox Jews in the city have organized an anti-Zionist campaign. They say creating a physical state of Israel is sacrilege. But powerful men in America have waged a relentless campaign to persuade Truman to recognize and support a Jewish state here,” Ari was clearly shaken.

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