Palestine

The Palestinians have had a raw deal. First a bit of history - a few years before I was born, just after the end of the second World War, the Jews decided they needed a state of their own where they could be safe from the persecution that they had recently and persistently faced. Fair enough. So they fought a war against the British rulers of Palestine and the state of Israel was born.

However in doing so a huge number of Palestinians (mostly Muslim but also Christians - this is not a purely Muslim conflict) were displaced from their homes and forced to live elsewhere. No compensation was given to those people, despite the fact that they were merely trying to hold on to what they legally owned - that's the initial wrong and in my opinion, the cause of the entire problem. Most of those displaced people finished up in refugee camps in the Gaza strip or in Jordan, on the West Bank of the river Jordan.

By 1967 those refugees and their children were getting a bit fed up with the lack of a solution to the loss of their land so they, and their arab allies, fought (and lost) another war against Israel. The outcome of that was that even more Palestinians lost their land and even more Palestinian refugees were created. Palestinian terrorism was born. Those were terrible days and no-one can condone what they did but when faced with no obvious solution to the problem it's not surprising if some people see violence as the solution.

The grand-children and great grand-children of those original refugees are still living in the refugee camps created back in the late '40s......Israel has been occupying not just the land that it fought for in 1948 but for thirty odd years it's also been occupying the land that it gained in the wars of the late '60s and early '70s. Is it any surprise that the Palestinians are fed up ?

All that would be bad enough but since it gained the West Bank Israel has been colonising it. All over the area Israeli settlements have been, and continue to be, built. The justification for these settlements is religious (the lands of our forefathers, etc.) but whether you agree with this or not (I don't) the effect is that the Palestinians see continued occupation of their land and also the daily development of a Greater Israel through facts on the ground.

Now if I'd have been born in a refugee camp in Gaza instead of in Perth I could have grand-children by now who'd know nothing other than living under Israeli occupation. 5 separate generations of Palestinians suffering all because the jews wanted somehere where they could feel safe. The Israelis are treating the Palestinians exactly the same way they themselves were treated. Well - two wrongs don't make a right. Talk about double standards ! Is it any wonder the Palestinians resist ? Quite frankly, it's amazing that there isn't far more visible resistance.

The current Israeli government under Sharon (an evil man whose belief that he can solve anything with greater and greater violence is making things far, far worse) likes to continually characterise all Palestinians as terrorists. They're not - they're resistance fighters.The real terrorism is state-sponsored terrorism by the state of Israel against the Palestinians: state-sponsored terrorism that would not be possible without the financial support of the USA; state-sponsored terrorism that's based on the false premise that the problem can be solved by creating a fortress Israel and preventing attacks against Israelis. This is like trying to stop a bleeding artery by putting a sticking plaster on the wound - it addresses only the symptoms not the cause of the problem.

Until Israel recognises that it has to give the West Bank back, compensate the Palestinians for the land taken from them in 1948, and accept a wholly independent Palestinian state as its neighbour there will be no peace.

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