ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Sharon and the Israeli right now use the American rhetoric of President George Bush
as a cover for the imperial intent of Sharon and his government. The real goal
of this government is to have absolute power from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Israeli State Terror & the Palestinian Liberation Struggle
The Murderous Subterfuge of American/Israeli Right
By Rudolph Lewis
I must confess I know little or nothing about politics or international affairs. Yet I am appalled and deeply concerned about the rhetoric of terror that has gained credibility in the American and Israeli media since September 11, 2001 with the aerial attacks on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon.
In our American history, we have had acts of terror in the name of freedom and manifest destiny that we have applauded. With respect to freedom — Nathaniel Turner of Southampton and John Brown of Kansas. With respect to Manifest Destiny, the slaughter of southeastern Native Americans and their removal to Oklahoma Territory.
Turner was especially inspirational for the American slave and so was Brown for the Union cause, which led to a half million dead and millions displaced (both black and white). Both Turner and Brown have been redeemed by American history. For the oppression they attempted to relieve was a thousand times worse than their acts of violence.
At heart I am a pacifist. I do not believe in violence as a means to solve differences. I much prefer that parties in conflict sit around a table and work out such problems in a spirit of brotherhood and justice. That is indeed what did occur with Rabin and Arafat. The Palestinians under the leadership of Chairman Arafat, with threats against his life from among his people, agreed to recognize Israel and its right to exist and allow the Israelis to control 75% of the land that the Palestinians once inhabited. That was no small concession, especially when there are millions of Palestinians who have no right of return.
And for his gracious stance for peace between the two peoples, Chairman Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Prime Minister Rabin. For his sincere efforts at peace with the Palestinians, Rabin was assassinated by one of his own, as Sadat was murdered for his peace efforts between Egypt and Israel.
Several years ago, we believed we were very near peace in the Middle East. There were three issues that remained to be resolved: the right of return for millions of Palestinians displaced by Israeli terror and confiscation; the seizure of land by Israeli settlers in the Territories; and control of Muslim East Jerusalem, which contains Islamic holy sites. East Jerusalem, as capitol of a Palestine state, is desperately needed if the Palestinians are to sustain themselves economically.
But the Israeli right, with its control of the military, did not want to resolve those issues. Sharon made sure of that by severe provocation of words and acts. He and others like him wanted to keep the military’s iron boot on the necks of the oppressed Palestinians. Sharon thus initiated a second Intifada, an uprising of Palestinian Muslims. These acts made him the leader of the Israeli government.
With the new American War on Terror, Sharon and the Israeli right now use the American rhetoric of President George Bush as a cover for the imperial intent of Sharon and his government. The real goal of this government is to have absolute power from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Many of these Israelis believe sincerely that this seizure of land and lives is a God-given right, the fulfillment of a divine promise.
We thus have two outwardly warring parties, unevenly matched. Sharon and his Army are a Goliath with the best of American warring technology, a three-billion-dollar-a-year grant, and the sympathetic backing of the American right, while the Palestinians are young Davids with only stones and their bodies, which they hurl against tanks and helicopter gunships. Palestinians are heavily outgunned — a few rifles, homemade bombs, which they can only deliver by concealing them on their bodies. Though sympathetic, the Arab governments are weak-kneed and duplicitous.
In effect, we have the Palestinians, a severely oppressed people, basically standing alone, attempting against all odds to maintain some integrity and dignity after they have agreed to grant their oppressors, mostly European refugees and their descendants, their ancestral lands and homes. They have nothing more to give if they are going to have any future whatsoever for their children in that last quarter of their homeland, the so-called Occupied Territories, that they legally retained but which has been besieged and overrun by Israeli tanks and jets. We Americans usually for the underdog, stand by silently as if what the Israelis are doing was a spectator sport.
Under Sharon, called “the Butcher of Lebanon (because as the head of the Israeli Army he allowed the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinian civilians–old men, women, and children). Palestinian towns and cities (including Bethlehem) are now occupied by the Israeli Army. From reports there seems to have been another massacre in this military adventure to wipe out the “terrorists.” Clearly, the Israeli War on Terror has been a war on the Palestinians, despite the deceptive defense of Sharon and his military machine by Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.
No one condones the murder of Israeli civilians by the so-called “suicide bombers.” We indeed sympathize with Israeli civilians and the fear that has overtaken them. But no one honestly believes that Chairman Arafat is directing these acts of violence, except Sharon, his Israeli backers, and his American allies. Such acts of violence by the suicide bombers, at least two of which have been women, clearly are acts of desperation by a people hard-pressed by the Israeli death machines — tanks, gunships, and bulldozers. These Israeli acts of military devastation of property and infrastructure, the siege and murder of leaders, are geared to set the Palestinians back fifty years.
The present arrogance and brutality of the Sharon government are unacceptable by anyone with a sense of fairness and equanimity. I for one cannot stand silently and watch this horror and condone the acts of Israel and the duplicity of the American government. American support of Sharon and his military occupation and its lack of sympathy for the plight of Palestinians are despicable and tasteless. There is no justice in it despite the regrettable loss of Israeli lives.
We sincerely hope that America will come to its senses, understand that the Israeli and Palestinian conflict has little or nothing to do with what happened in New York and Washington, D.C. on September 11. The Palestinians are an oppressed people seeking to liberate themselves from overwhelming firepower and domination by a fierce, domineering, aggressive, and imperial nation, which has, at least from the perspective of the Palestinians, the largest and the most repressive military in the region.
If America does not move quickly to curb the fascist acts of Sharon, we are in for another half century of war in the Middle East. We will again have American boys spilling their blood and American taxpayers wasting tons of money, overseas but needed domestically, to satisfy Israeli greed and madness, which it sustains by religious and political myth-making.
The same response is a for a third nation, namely, the United States, or the United Nations, backed by the US, to separate the warring parties as we have done in the former Yugoslavia. Our domestic politics, however, geared toward the winning of elections and the desire for personal power and opportunity have undermined the usual good sense and sympathy for the underdog, clearly here, the Palestinian people. The present cowardice and pandering of our politicians exceed decency.
Regrettably, America will have a devastating price to pay, much more tragic than the September 11 attack, for our sycophancy, muddled thinking, and lack of sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinian people. Though it is not too late to act honorably and justly in securing a just peace and freedom for the Palestinians, I fear our President has fumbled the ball.
On the home front, we Americans, especially the poor and the working classes, will be the real losers in this Republican gambit. The spiritual as well as the economic health of our country will be undermined for decades.
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By Ilan Pappe
It is amazing, according to Pappe, how the media had not managed to see the similarities between the ethnic cleansing that was happening in Bosnia with the one that is happening in Palestine. According to Drazen Petrovic (pg.2-3), who has dealt with the definition of ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing is associated with nationalism, the making of new nation states and national struggle all of which are the driving force within the Zionist ideology of Israel. The consultancy council had used the exact same methods as the methods that were later to be used by the Serbs in Bosnia. In fact Pappe argues that such methods were employed in order to establish the state of Israel in 1948.
The book is divided into 12 chapters with 19 illustrations in black and white, with 7 maps of Palestine and 2 tables. These include old photographs of refugee camps, and maps of Palestine before and after the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Pappe continues his writing as a revisionist historian with the intention of stating the bitter truth to his Israeli contemporaries and the fact that they have to face the truth of their nation being built upon an ethnic cleansing of the population of Palestine.
One can sense an optimistic hope in Pappes writing when he talks about the few who are in Israel who are aware of their countrys brutal past especially 1948 and the foundation of the state upon ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.PaLint
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted Fall 2002 / updated 11 June 2008