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Palestinians can absorb whatever Israel hurls at them



By: Reach Charley Reese |

Source: Orlando Sentinal, July 11, 2001


The Israelis bulldozed another 14 Palestinian homes this week in a refugee camp in Gaza. The United States said the act was "provocative."


Actually, it was a war crime. Actually, what the Israelis have been doing to the Palestinians has been correctly characterized by the International Red Cross as war crimes and by a United Nations official as "an affront to civilization."


But, hey, you misled, sleeping Americans, you don't know what a breakthrough it is for the U.S. State Department to utter even the mildest criticism of some Israeli atrocity.




Wow. Golly gee whiz. Old George W. Bush promised he would provide leadership, and that's real leadership, calling a war crime "provocative." Finally, after eight months of refusing to utter even that bland a criticism, he managed to say the destruction of homes so precious to such terribly poor people is "provocative."


It is such an improvement over Warren Christopher. When he was secretary of state, the Israelis were indulging in one of their periodic and gratuitous artillery attacks against villages in South Lebanon.


A group of about 100 Lebanese women and children fled to a United Nations compound for safety. It didn't matter. The Israelis fired on it deliberately, as a subsequent U.N. investigation demonstrated. They were all killed, along with the U.N. peacekeepers. Bits and pieces of their flesh hung like grotesque decorations, dripping blood from shattered debris and blasted trees.


Do you know what Christopher said?


"The United States urges both sides to show restraint."


I wonder how he expected the shattered flesh of the dead Lebanese women and children to show restraint. Perhaps he thought that they should not bleed so profusely from their wounds. I think that was the very first time I felt ashamed to be an American, listening to that rat-faced, cold-blooded international lawyer brushing off an atrocity like a crumb on his expensive coat sleeve.


One day, Americans are going to wake up from more than 50 years of Zionist propaganda and suddenly feel like strangers in a strange land, to borrow the title of an old science-fiction work. They're finally going to see the simple truth:


Israelis drove Palestinians out of their own country and confiscated their land and wealth. Israelis refused to allow (and still refuse) Palestinian refugees to return, despite United Nations resolutions instructing them to do so.


In 1967, the Israelis attacked and took the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Since then, they have ruled it and still rule, despite U.N. resolutions against their actions.


Now, after dragging out so-called peace negotiations for 10 years how can the simple question, "When are you going to withdraw from the territories you illegally occupy?" take 10 years? -- the drama is heading toward a climax.


The Israelis have tried economic strangulation. They have tried to force the Palestinians to accept a chopped-up pseudo-country. They have tried killing their children, demolishing their homes and assassinating their leaders. They tried uprooting their agricultural orchards and sealing the Palestinians off from normal travel.


By the way, where are you environmentalists while the Israelis commit this environmental atrocity? Don't you know how long it takes for an olive tree to reach maturity and start bearing fruit? I thought you were concerned about the environment. Oh, excuse me -- not when it's a Palestinian environment. My mistake. I sometimes forget who is a hypocrite and who isn't, because there are so many these days.


What's next, of course, is for the Israelis to take off the bloody glove and commit one super massacre in an attempt to drive the Palestinians out or to break their spirit. This is what the Palestinians expect. They are bracing for it. They know that the Israelis have elected the one politician, Ariel Sharon, willing to do it.


They figure they can absorb that blow. If the survivors can rise from the rubble and say to the Israelis, "You can bury us here, but you can never drive us out of our own country," then the Israelis will have exhausted their options. They will dump Sharon and replace him with somebody who will finally, at long last, do some serious talking.


It's already terrible what the Palestinians are going through, and this new assault, when it comes, will be far worse. They need the support now of decent people with the courage to stand up for human rights. As you can see, the Bush administration prefers to remain on its knees. Most members of Congress are afraid even to do that. They prefer the supine position, total prostration.


If you can't find the courage to speak out against evil financed with your tax money, then at least watch as Palestinian children show you how real men and women live and die with honor.


Charley Reese

Orlando Sentinal