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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

YOUR VIEW: World should not celebrate birth of a state that violates rights of Palestinians

YOUR VIEW: World should not celebrate birth of a state that violates rights of Palestinians

More of our fellow Americans need to know the information contained in a letter published in The Manchester Guardian, April 30, 2008, and signed by 105 members of Britain's Jewish community. The article is entitled, "We're Not Celebrating Israel's Anniversary," and may be accessed on line by inputting the following web address:

That letter said, in part, "In May, Jewish organizations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who are not celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism ..."

American refuses to deal with Hamas, democratically elected under the supervision of American monitors, including former President Jimmy Carter. According to the Israeli press, close to 65 percent of Israelis say they can deal with Hamas.

Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinians by collective punishment and imprisonment without charge, called "preventive detention" by Israel. Israel complains about rockets while illegally using American cluster bombs and American weapons to attack Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria, destroying the infrastructure and killing many innocent people including children.

Israel controls the flow of water, electricity, and air, sea, and land travel and is ghettoizing the Palestinians via walls, fences and roadblocks. Our American weapons have destroyed the economies of the Lebanese and Palestinians. If Americans lived as they do, we would be firing more than rockets.

Two of our American principles, embodied in the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the United Nations charter, are firstly, the right of people to return to their homes and/or to be compensated for lost property and secondly, that no nation has a right to occupy land by force.

The occupying power may not transfer the existing population to its own territory or to the territory of a third power (i.e. forcing Palestinians into Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt or completely out of the region). The occupying power (Israel) may not transfer its own population to the occupied lands (Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and the Shabaa Farms of Lebanon).

These international laws were developed as a direct result of what happened to the Jews of Europe from 1933 to 1945 and were designed to prevent a repetition of those injustices. Israel violates these very laws today. The signers of the letter to the Guardian of April 30 said, "Under international law ... refugees from war have a right to return or to compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating."

The United Nations passed resolutions in 1948, 1967 and 1973 calling for Israel to allow the people to return to their homes, for just compensation, and for Israel to withdraw within its own borders. America is implementing resolution 1441 (a resolution based on lies and misinformation) against Iraq. We are militarily enforcing this recent, erroneous resolution, while the earlier resolutions remain unimplemented. We are creating more refugees from Iraq, many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, as Israel continues to destroy homes, power plants, water systems, and infrastructure among the Palestinians and Lebanese. America's misguided policy is straining friendships and aiding our enemies.

While the Israelis continue to commit crimes against the Christian and Muslim Arabs of Palestine and Lebanon, Israel wants the world to pay attention to past crimes committed against the Jews. The Spanish Inquisition of the church, the Pogroms of the Czars, and the Holocaust of the Nazis were all committed by Europeans, so-called Christians. Not one participant in those crimes against the Jews was a Palestinian, not one was an Arab, and not one was a Muslim.

The only safe haven for Jews from ancient times through the Holocaust was in Arab lands, where Arabs and Jews had lived in peace and harmony well before Moses married Zipporah, the eldest daughter of the Sheik of Midian. Yet the Christian and Muslim Arabs of Palestine have been made to pay the price for crimes committed against the Jews by others.

Peace in the Near East will be achieved when Israel adheres to international law and signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, already signed by its neighbors, and join in a nuclear-free zone. Israel must return occupied lands and must compensate those who have lost their homes, lands and businesses. Compensation is a cheap price to pay for peace. Israel has the power and Israel can stop the bloodshed by implementing the very principles designed to protect Jews worldwide.

The 105 Jewish signatories to the letter in the Guardian tell of how the Israelis deliberately drove the Palestinians from their homes and destroyed more than 400 Arab villages and towns. They wrote, "We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land."

The seizure of Palestine by European Jews and subsequent uprooting of the Palestinians is called "The Catastrophe" or "Al-Naqba."

We must work together to restore rights to those who have lost them, to enhance and extend rights to all people everywhere, and to stop the killing. One life lost anywhere is a loss for all people everywhere. I humbly beseech my fellow Americans to read the letter from the Guardian of April 30, 2008.

I ask this in the spirit of three great Americans I have had the privilege of knowing: Rabbi Elmer Berger, founder of the American Council for Judaism and author of "Who Knows Better Must Say So"; Haviv Schieber, outspoken former Israeli and Zionist; and Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, author of "Israel's Flag Is Not Mine," "What Price Israel?" and "The Zionist Connection II.


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