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Palestine: History, People & the Land  Dispelling the Myths  Primer on History  Key Issues  Life in Palestine Now.

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Presentation on theme: "Palestine: History, People & the Land  Dispelling the Myths  Primer on History  Key Issues  Life in Palestine Now."— Presentation transcript:

1 Palestine: History, People & the Land  Dispelling the Myths  Primer on History  Key Issues  Life in Palestine Now

2 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20022 Myth #1: Palestine and Palestinians Never Existed “There was no such thing as Palestinians” Former Israeli PM Golda Meir Palestinians are “Two- legged vermin” Former Israeli PM Menachem Begin We need to keep Palestinians like “drugged roaches in a bottle” Palestinians are “grasshoppers” Former Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir Former IDF Chief Rafael Eitan

3 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20023 Reality  Blanket dehumanization of a people used as propaganda tactic  Israel has devoted enormous energy to: –Expel Palestinians from their homes –Strip away Palestinians identity –Deny Palestinian’s existence  Maps, books, photos reference Palestine –Baedecker's famous guidebook (1876) was entitled Palestine – Syria Of course Palestine and Palestinians Existed!

4 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20024 Population: 1870-1946 367,224 7,000 1,237,000 608,000

5 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20025 Population %: 1870-1946 35% 65% 2% 98%

6 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20026 Question it!  If Palestinians never existed, why do Israeli leaders refer to the Palestinians in their derogatory, racist statements?  If Palestine / Palestinians never existed, why are there resources (Pre-1948) referencing Palestine and it’s people?  If Palestinians never existed, what people lived there when European Jews arrived?

7 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20027 Myth #2: Palestinians Chose to Leave their Land in 1948  Myth: Palestinians left at their own will  Myth: Encouraged to leave by Arab leaders  Myth: 68% of Palestinians left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier  But on the other hand…. –Myth: It was a war and they lost, so it goes –Myth: “Population Exchange” - Palestinian refugee losses balanced by claims resulting from “comparable” exodus of Jews from Arab world

8 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20028 Reality  Palestinians largely defenseless in 1948  Exodus was involuntary and enforced  Never relinquished their rights of home & land  Significant proportion terrorized into leaving –News of massacres, rape, plunder instilled fear "In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don't agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force." Professor Ben-Zion Dinur Israel's First Minister of Education, 1954 from History of the Haganah http://www.birzeit.edu/crdps/village.htmlhttp://www.birzeit.edu/crdps/village.html Palestinians were forced to leave their land

9 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 20029 That’s about 4 villages destroyed per week! 419 Arab villages demolished and depopulated between 1947-1949

10 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200210 Question it!  Why would people want to leave their homes at their own will? Homes that have been in their families for generations! –“Oh, okay new-person-not-from-this-land, here’s the key to my house. Take it, it’s yours! I’ll just live in a tent.”  What causes masses to leave their land?  Would nearly 1 million people living peacefully on a land for hundreds and hundreds of years suddenly decide to pick up and leave because they felt like it? Where were they going?

11 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200211 Myth #3: A religious war that has lasted thousands of years  Myth: This is a religious war that has been going on for thousands of years mainly between Jews and Muslims  Myth: Since it has been going on for so long, there’s no chance for it to end in a short time period  Myth: There has never been peace in the Middle East

12 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200212 Reality  Christian, Jews, Muslims have been living together peacefully for hundreds of years  Difficulties have only started with an exclusive, religiously pure apartheid system  Israel loves saying it because –Longer it goes on, more time to build illegal settlements and humiliate Palestinians –Implies Jews have been there long time  Makes Americans feel that there’s no hope –“Why put pressure on Israel to change? It’s been going on for so long.” It’s not about religion, it’s about land AND it just began in the 1900’s!

13 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200213 Question It!  Why has there been relative calm before the colonist / Zionists arrived?  If it’s a religious war, how come we rarely hear about the Palestinian Christians? Where do they fit in?  If it’s a religious war, why isn’t it going on in Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and many other countries were both Jews and Muslims live?

14 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200214 Myth #4: Israel’s “Generous” Offer  Myth: Palestinians get 95% of land  Myth: Administrative control over some Palestinian neighborhoods around Jerusalem  Myth: Administrative & civil control over Palestinians living in West Bank & Gaza

15 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200215 Reality  It’s like a prison  Continued building of bypass roads  Checkpoints every few miles  No real sovereign control over borders  No control over water or air space  Non-contiguous land And there’s more…. No Freedom No Independence

16 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200216 Reality  Continued Israeli military control over large segments of the West Bank, including almost all of Jordan Valley  Codified right of Israeli forces to be deployed in Palestinian state at short notice  Continued presence of fortified illegal Israeli settlements and Jewish-only roads in the heart of the Palestinian state Oh…and one more thing…. No Freedom No Independence

17 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200217 Reality  Required nearly 4 million Palestinian refugees to relinquish their fundamental human rights in exchange for compensation to be paid not by Israel but by the "international community." No Freedom No Independence

18 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200218 Question it!  Why is there no territorial contiguity for the Palestinian state?  Why don’t Palestinians have control of its external borders and water resources?  Why is Israel NOT carrying out a FULL withdrawal as required by international law?  Why is there no Palestinian Right of Return?  Why is refugee compensation to be paid by “international community”?  Why do Palestinians need to “compromise” any more? –Already only left with 22%* of their original land!

19 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200219 Myth #5: Israel’s a democracy  Myth: Claims to be only democratic state in Middle East  Myth: Israel civilized an uncivilized world and made the “desert bloom”  Myth: Israeli Palestinians have equal rights

20 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200220 Reality  Israel’s “Law of Return” gives automatic citizenship to any Jew  No defined borders  No constitution; Only series of laws that establishes Jewish supremacy over non-Jews –Torture is legal –Land confiscation is legal –Indefinite detention without charge Where’s the Democracy? Applies only to Palestinian Israeli citizens

21 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200221 Question it!  How can you be democracy and an exclusive state for Jews? That’s blatant racism.  How can you call a country a democracy when it doesn’t even have a constitution or defined borders?  Why does Israel grant citizenship to a Jew from Russia but not to an indigenous Palestinian who was born on that land?  Why does US provide unconditional support to an overtly exclusive, racist state?

22 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200222  Israel is a full democracy only if we are to consider Apartheid South Africa a full democracy  Yes … Israel is a democracy if you’re Jewish  It’s like saying US is a democracy as long as you’re white  Israel is a full democracy only if we are to consider Apartheid South Africa a full democracy  Yes … Israel is a democracy if you’re Jewish  It’s like saying US is a democracy as long as you’re white

23 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200223 Whenever You Hear…  Palestine & Palestinians never existed  Palestinians chose to leave their land  This is a religious war that has lasted hundreds of years  Israel has made “generous” offers to Palestinians and they never accept  Israel is a democracy Question it!

24 The Key Issues  Right to Return –Violation of International Laws –Refugee Crisis  Illegal Settlements –House Demolitions –Resources  Occupation –Denial of Self Determination –Human Rights Violations

25 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200225 Right To Return: A Critical Topic Often Ignored  Right of Return is right of Palestinians to: –Return to their homeland –Full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property in accordance with Int’l Laws  Why it’s not discussed? –Tied to racist nature of exclusive state –Israeli’s spin it as a “demographic problem”  The Reality –In 20 years population will be 55% Palestinian Christian and Muslim and 45% Jewish –Israel is afraid if right to return is implemented, the special state of Jewish character is ruined

26 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200226 Right of Return MUST be Brought to the Forefront  Permanent return desirable for peace to prevail  Ignoring it contradicts every link to democracy –What if everyone in US says we want an exclusive Christian state or exclusive white state? Means no Latinos, Asians, African Americans, etc…allowed  Ignoring it goes against basic American values of openness to diversity, acceptance of people no matter what race, creed, ethnicity  It’s universal basic right!

27 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200227 Universal Declaration of Independence "(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country"

28 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200228 1948: Resolution 194 Paragraph 11: "...the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date... compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." Reaffirmed 110 times with universal consensus, except for Israel & U.S.

29 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200229 1974: UN Resolution 3236 Subsection 2, "the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return".

30 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200230 1997: UN Resolution 52/62 “Reaffirms that the Palestine Arab refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of justice and equity."

31 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200231 1948…1974 … 1997 …. UN Resolutions reaffirmed over and over and over with universal consensus … … except for Israel & U.S. Question it!

32 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200232 Right to Return: Who Can Become An Israeli Citizen  If you’re Jewish… –Arrive at airport –Go to “Qlitat Aliyah” (Jewish Immigrant Reception) –Say “I’m Jewish” –Congratulations, You’re a citizen! Palestinians are not allowed the same methods as Jews to become a citizen  If you’re a Palestinian… –Sorry, no chance.

33 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200233 Refugee Crisis  About 5½ million Palestinian Refugees  Oldest & largest refugee problem in the world  Not a single refugee allowed to return –Onto fourth generation of refugees –Some made refugees multiple times 1948 & 1967  Ways of dispossession –Home demolitions….displaced again –Israeli Laws

34 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200234 Right of Return IS Possible A study on the demography of Israel shows that 78% of Israelis are living in 14% of Israel and that the remaining 86% of the land in Israel is mostly land that belongs to the refugees on which 22% of the Israelis live.

35 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200235 Illegal Settlements  Large housing projects/cities built illegally by Israel on land confiscated from Palestinians within West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip  Began as a means of controlling & annexing Palestinian land occupied during “1967 War”  Serves Israel’s strategic, military, economic interests –Impedes peace process; creates “facts on ground”  Constant reminder and humiliation to Palestinians in an Apartheid system

36 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200236 Settlers & Settlements Of 400,000+ Settlers, 70%+ Americans (e.g. Brooklyn); Others Russian & European 130 / 16 190 Illegal Settlements SOURCE: Foundation for Middle East Peace http://www.fmep.org/reports/200 2/sr0203.html#5 http://www.fmep.org/reports/200 2/sr0203.html#5 1133

37 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200237 Water  80% water aquifers in West Bank  Illegal settlements strategically placed on top of water aquifers & mountains  Illegal settlements get priority access – As illegal settlements are built or expand, water taken away from Palestinians

38 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200238 This Really Happens When supplies run low during summer, Israeli water company shuts off valves that supply Palestinian towns. So settlers get full swimming pools while Palestinian villages a few miles away run out of drinking water. Settlers attack Palestinians' water supply, severing pipes and switching off valves. They dump untreated sewage on Palestinian land, polluting wells and aquifers. Israeli army has routinely destroyed water supplies, an activity defined as a war crime. SOURCE: http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=744&CategoryId=4 http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=744&CategoryId=4

39 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200239 Palestinian Olive Trees  Sole source of income for many Palestinian farmers –Each tree yields approximately 5 gallons of oil sold at markets for equivalent of about $75 (U.S.)  Olive Trees passed down through generations of Palestinian families –Takes decades to mature fully  More than 11,000 olive trees have been uprooted and destroyed  Under attack by Settlers

40 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200240 House Demolitions  Classic colonial practice – attacking or eliminating habitat of indigenous population –Carry out collective punishment either in retaliation for, or as deterrence against, acts of resistance  Violations of International Law –Demolish villages and create policies refusing to grant them building permits –Encouraging and subsidizing construction of illegal Israeli settlements  Creating nation of homeless & dispossessed (becoming a refugee yet again)

41 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200241 Occupation  Loss of control over natural resources  Imposition of suffocating closures and curfews  Destruction of Palestinian land and property  Suppression of free statement  Systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy

42 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200242 Occupation International law considers agreements between an occupier and any body in occupied areas to be null and void if they deprive civilians of recognized human rights including the rights to repatriation and restitution.

43 Al-Awda and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF)June 200243


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