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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

Shaping More Powerful Arguments For Palestine

General View of Nablus (Matson Collection Before 1920)
by Anne Selden Annab
Annie's Letters
Following the lead of many others, in "Sinkable Israel," Ayman El-Amir writing for Al-Ahram(1) compared the plight of the Palestinians to that of the Native Americans... Sinkable Israel, would sink much faster if Arab writers realized that they undermine their own arguments by trying to equate the devastation of early Native American communities to modern Israel's barbarically modern and intentional ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine.
Zionist propaganda makes Israel float. Zionists want Americans to believe that "Israel" is a worthy and a necessary investment. You don't need to convince Arabs (or Muslims) that racist Israel is wrong- you need to convince all the taxpayers and charities in the West, especially Americans, that Israel is really is a rogue nation in long term and flagrant violation of international law and the Palestinians basic human rights.
Early America was not at all like Palestine. First and most obviously, Palestine was not an isolated island totally untouched by the influence of long established trade routes as well as various alphabets and manuscripts- book learning. Palestine was a well known place, with known written history as well as many stone buildings including ancient (or at least old) churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, businesses as well as permanent homes (2). Palestine, just like
America one hundred years ago, had both urban as well as rural communities.
When Zionists began to invade Palestine, the people of Palestine had the ability to read and write (primarily in Arabic), they had books and they knew all about paper, glass, metal and other such crafts that help enhance the quality of life in many ways, as well as the rule of law.
Palestinians had door keys, whereas in Early America, there were no door keys, nor were there land deeds- in fact there were not even horses. Horses were introduced by Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century, very much revolutionizing travel, trade, hunting and tribal warfare.
Gallop up to 1776 and the official founding of the USA with our Declaration of Independence and the emergence of our Constitution with our Bill of Rights: Think about the very real potential for real freedom, equality, and prosperity for all people, including those now known as Native Americans, that was able to eventually emerge from "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America..." (3)
When the USA was first founded, women had no vote, nor did blacks or Native Americans. Those really were primitive times- worldwide. However our basic laws and ideals have enabled women, blacks and native Americans to gain legal rights, freedoms, economic opportunities, respect and relative security, whereas racist Israel's basic laws and policies ensure that the people of historic Palestine will continue to be harassed, oppressed, demonized and displaced in a continuing Nakba that has already targeted and destroyed countless Palestinian men, women and children, because they have been deemed the 'wrong' religion by the misnamed "Jewish State" that has been dividing and destroying historic Palestine for the past 60 years.
The rule of fair and just laws is a good foundation for any nation: The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (4) gave United States citizenship to Native Americans, while halfway around the world, the ink was still relatively fresh on Balfour's formal endorsement of early Zionism on the condition that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine"(5).
"In his diaries, Herzl made it clear that “the existing landed property was to be gently expropriated, any subsequent resale to the original owners was prohibited, and all immovables had to remain in exclusively Jewish hands. The poor population was to be worked across the frontier ‘unbemerkt’ (surreptitiously)… This population was to be refused all employment in the land of its birth… In 1901, the 5th Zionist Congress founded the Jewish National Fund. According to the by-laws of the JNF, acquired land became inalienable Jewish property and could no longer be sold or leased to non-Jews...”(6)
Never ever forget that when Israel declared itself a sovereign state in 1948, Native Americans legally had full and equal rights in America, plus tribal rights. Time lines are important to keep in mind. In equating the two very different tragedies in hopes of gaining American sympathy for the Palestinian cause, you actually prevent Americans from more fully understanding the escalating catastrophe that has been created by modern "Israel."
Never ever forget that in today's world, unlike even 100 years ago, we now have international law and known words coined to firmly condemn genocide. We also have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 (7) which clearly states in Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
This year, this month of May, as our gardens bloom with spring flowers, this year is the 60th Year of Al-Nakba and Struggle to Return: Palestine 60 Years of Forced Exile (8). It is Time For Return (9). It is logical--it is legal--it is moral--it is right.

Notes:
(1) El-Amir, Ayman. "Sinkable Israel." http://weekly/. ahram.org. eg/2008/895/ op2.htm
(2) Palestine Remembered http://www.palestineremembered.com/Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991.
(3) Preamble to the Constitution of the United States http://www.ushistory.org/documents/constitution.htm
(4) Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0700/frameset_reset.html?http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0700/stories/0701_0146.html
(5) Balfour Declaration of 1917 http://www.yale/. edu/lawweb/ avalon/mideast/ balfour.htm
(6) Sakhnini, Nizar. "The Zionist Project in Palestine: Colonial Settlement, Land Robbery and Ethnic Cleansing,"
7 October 2005, http://www.al/- awda.org/ zionists3. html(7) Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un/. org/Overview/ rights.html
(8) The 60th Year of Al-Nakba and Struggle to Return http://www.al-awda.org/convention6/index.html
(9) Al-Awda Fact Sheet The Right To Return, a Basic Right Still Denied* http://www.al-awda.org/facts.html
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Comments:
anne's point is well-noted; of course the scenarios are not exactly the same. when i make the comparison, i make it on one very specific point: that is, settlers came to this land thinking that God gave it to them and that the native inhabitants had to be 'dealt with'. i feel that is the point of commonality. after that, the situations differ in a variety of ways.
 
I think Falastiniya point is spot on. But let us do something about it.
Let us intensify the efforts for the LOVE of Palestine. Do your part and perform your responsibility toward the Palestinian human rights. Silence is complicity, no actions means approval.
Mark you calendar for May 23-25 where we assert the Palestinian National rights. We will say it loud that we will never forget. Palestinians are the Key holders of peace. Join the thousands and strengthen the network of the thousands of activists. Express your opinion and let the many panelists know of where Palestine should go. Support our efforts to empower our community and assert the Palestinians right of return. Join the many Palestinian Americans and their supporters in Chicago commemorating the 60th year of the forced exile of the Palestinian people. Be pro active, ask questions to the Panelists and discuss the current event. We must empower ourselves and make a strong network for Justice, Peace and Freedom. Be pro active. Enough talks, Register on line.
 
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