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Monday, June 06, 2005


Arab-Israeli War 1967: A Personal Account

Thirty-eight years ago today began my life long interest in what used to be called the Arab-Israeli conflict. Then, I could not even say the word "Israel." It was anathema to me, but it was not a name that I learned to hate from textbooks or from my parents.

Many people of Palestinian descent experience a turning point that determines their initiation to the struggle and life long pursuit, in one way or another, of justice for the Palestinians. I read that Michael Tarazi, who worked as legal counsel for the PLO, and who is younger than I, did not even know that he was Palestinian until he experienced his mother crying after the Sabra and Shatila massacre. That was his epiphany. I have read of another young woman of Palestinian descent who was sitting in her college class and started crying because it was the time of the Jenin massacre and the horrors that were inflicted upon Nablus. Dates are of immense importance: 1948, 1967, 1982, 1987, September 2000.

In 1967, my junior high classmates were high on the fact that Israel had defeated the Arabs so roundly. Americans were just as ignorant then as they are today. The news in the US media was one-sided. Period. Today, one may at least find some op-eds written by Hussein Ibish, Mazin Qumsiyeh, George Bisharat, Michael Tarazi. Happily, I came acoss the books of Alfred Lilienthal in the Baker Street Library in East Bakersfield, California. What Price Israel? and The Zionist Connection were my primers. Much later, I came across Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East International, and Journal of Palestine Studies. Still later, Vladimir Tamari, the Palestinian artist living in Tokyo, told me about Al-Fajr, the English language weekly (no longer published) edited by Hanna Sinoria, out of East Jerusalem. Finally, Edward Said vindicated us for being Palestinian in Zionist occupied America, and made up for all the lies printed in the western media; for the Zionist cause no one has emerged who writes with such truth, force, dignity, and eloquence, rather it is a cause that banks on ignorance and had at its inception and is furthered through brutality, lies, and obfuscation.

I am obsessed with the Palestine-Israel conflict. I know that I have turned off many American acquaintances, who really don't give a damn because they don't see the conflict as affecting them. I may have been the same way if the fantasy depicted on TV in 1967 wasn't so at odds with the information that I heard from my father and was later verified by Lilienthal, Israel Shahak, et al.

For some Israelis to maintain that they do not support the right of return because they fear living among venomous Palestinians is racist. I grew up among Palestinians; how the media depicts Palestinians is a lie that does nothing to further justice. We are not cut from a different cutter than any other ethnic group. I am certainly not going to repeat the canard that some of my best friends are Jewish, but I will say that some of my best friends and relatives are Palestinian and the dehumanisation is racism. This is how bad it is. Mike Wallace of CBS news did a feature years ago about Palestinians living in Detroit. I was in college at the time. I called up my dad in tears because for the first time ever on US TV, Palestinians were depicted as human beings. We were both crying for joy.

I hope to God that the dehumanisation stops. Dr.Salman Abu Sitta has painstakingly shown that it is feasible for Palestinians to return. Eighty percent of Israelis live on fifteen percent of the land. I can say "Israel" now, but I can not say "Israel has the right to exist." How could a Palestinian be expected to say that Zionists had a right to usurp his/her human rights because of a perceived historical right? Who in the hell knows exactly where his/her ancestors were living two thousand years ago anyway? Most, if not all, Americans realize now the injustice that was inflicted upon the Native Americans by the colonisers. Israelis must also realize, and the western media must take note that the Zionists have inflicted a great injustice on the indigenous people of Palestine and start to make amends. Recognizing the right of return and then taking measures to implement it would be a huge start.

i totally agree and the problem is tht ppl dont realize tht actually U.S is the cause of alot of stuff they r just blinded by thr U.S propaganda which is highly influenced by jews!!
it took me a long time to reach this post.

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