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Land is at the core of the conflict in the Middle East

By Dr. Buthayna Shaaban

The pain of the Arab people across the Middle East continues to increase, but it does not attract the attention of world leaders, or prick their consciences beyond an invitation for the Israelis and Palestinians "to talk in proximity". Events have racial undertones that are covered up, as is the truth of what is happening on the ground.

Western wars against the Arabs have gone on for more than a hundred years. Recent manifestations in Iraq have seen millions of Iraqis killed and wounded. In Palestine, meanwhile, Western-condoned brutality by the Israelis gives the impression that Arab lives and livelihoods are worthless. In describing Palestinian resistance to the illegal military occupation of their land as "terrorism", the pain of the Palestinians becomes acceptable to Western audiences, because Arabs and Muslims cannot thus be innocent victims. Crimes against humanity are disguised as part of the war against terrorism, which regards legitimate resistance as "terrorism", but not the killing, dispossession and oppression of Palestinians; the latter are all "responses to terrorism".


The price paid by the Palestinians for this deception is high; they face ethnic cleansing by any other name. The land is stolen, holy sites are "Judaised", indigenous people are killed and displaced, homes are demolished or occupied by illegal settlers, and farmers are attacked by the same, heavily-armed, settlers from Europe, Russia and the USA.

Such crimes against the Palestinians are condoned by the silence of so-called "civilised" Western governments. Experience has shown that successive generations of Israeli politicians are not bothered by Western "condemnation" of their actions, which are rarely, if ever, accompanied by practical steps to deter Israel from its genocidal policies. Such condemnation provides, at best, opportunities for Israel to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians while waiting for "talks" to begin. Contrast this with the West's reaction to Iran's nuclear programme and it is clear that different standards are being applied to the Zionist state which is, of course, the region's only nuclear-armed power. American taxpayers continue to pay the financial cost of Israel's apartheid wall which is taking ever more land in the West Bank, as are settler-only roads, the settlements themselves and military zones in the Jordan valley.

Even in the Gaza Strip – from which Israel is supposed to have withdrawn in 2005 the Israeli occupation authorities have created a buffer zone which has taken 87 square kilometres of Palestinian land. Thus do the Israelis have direct control of 24% of the Strip which is one of the world's most densely populated and crowded areas, while also controlling the borders, airspace and offshore territorial waters. The Israelis have demolished 23,100 Palestinian homes since 1967 to which must be added a further 17,000 buildings that were partially destroyed in Gaza during the Israeli invasion last year. More than a half million settlers live on over 440 sites across the West Bank, most of them in Occupied Jerusalem.

It is pertinent to refer to an article in the "Economist" (27 March 2010) entitled "Wall of suspicion: Israel, America and the world", in which the meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his advisers was described as "thieves entering at night", with not even a photo-call allowed by Obama. For the past 100 years and more, thieves have been looting Arab lands, water and resources. Ethnic cleansing has been taking place under the eyes of Western governments and the world's media, who claim that they are democratic and civilised. But what a monster they have created in the State of Israel, a state which pushed its humiliation in the White House to one side and continued its murderous policies, shooting dead young Mohammed Alfaramwa in Rafah, Gaza as he was demonstrating against the occupation of his homeland just days after that almost clandestine meeting.

Talk about a crisis in the relationship between the US and Europe on one side, and Israel on the other, is premature; Israel carries on regardless, dispossessing Palestinians and replacing them with Jewish colonial-settlers. Threats against national security and fear of terrorism have been invented as a cover for this activity, and those resisting are labelled as terrorists.

The issue in question today should not be terrorism, but justice, for what is needed for a real fight against terror, is to stand against the criminal injustice that is being wrought by the Israelis on the Palestinians. Peace without justice is no peace at all. The party with most to lose if normal standards of justice are applied in the Holy Land is Israel, which promotes ethnic, religious and "security" conflict to fulfil its criminal objectives. Where is the state standing for justice that dares to confront the Israeli occupation to bring justice and freedom to the Palestinians?

Source: Al-Sharq Qatari newspaper

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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