Monday, February 19, 2007

Not Far Away Enough

Perhaps it wasn't her stories as much as the film. Feryal Abu Haikal, a headmistress at a girls' school in Hebron and guest this weekend at a church in New Paltz, told of trying to shepherd her young students to school through groups of the rock throwing settlers. But the film showed the settlers kicking and taunting the young girls and heaving rocks at them. One ten your old was hit in the face while Israeli soldiers stood by laughing.

Far away? Not far enough. Many of the settlers are from Brooklyn. The money for the illegal settlements on Palestinian land comes from right wing extremist religious groups in the United States, both Christian and Jewish. The soldiers' weapons, their jeeps and the bulldozers they use on Palestinian homes are all paid for by US tax dollars. UN resolutions against this racism have been routinely vetoed by our government. Our politicians, heavily financed by these extremist groups, pass resolution after resolution supporting Israel. And our national media completes the hometown support for throwing rocks at little kids. Palestinian suffering is always hidden from the American people.

Israel wants to remove millions of Palestinians from the West Bank and replace them with Jewish settlers, a recipe for endless bloodshed in the Middle East. But American support is key; it just couldn't happen without us.

So the next time a US politicians heaps praise on Israel, ask them who they are working for, extremist groups who fund them or US citizens.


Marketplace on NPR:

Your report from the West Bank today (2/16/07) was offensive in any number of ways. You interviewed a number of "settlers" who waxed eloquent about their reasons for moving to illegal settlements on Palestinian land (the country is beautiful, neighborhoods are new, and almost everyone speaks English). But the settlers were also upset by a number of developments (Palestinians "throw stones," and threaten terrorist attacks, all of which have reduced property values).

No Palestinian was interviewed. No mention was made of the violations of international law involved in these "settlers" taking land that doesn't belong to them. Certainly there was no hint that these settlers, backed by the Israeli Defense Force routinely harass, beat, and shoot Palestinians.

No, your report was just about a nice group of people who have a few real estate problems. Like a backed up sewer system.

I can't imagine the level of racism it must have taken to do this report. Marketplace's casual acceptance of apartheid is morally intolerable.