A piece on CounterPunch well worth reading as puts into context the situation in which the Palestinians find themselves. For all the huffing and puffing about re-starting negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, it is abundantly clear that not only do the Israelis not want to to talk but that they also seek to use the time to further develop settlements in the West Bank and so entrench its position there.
Today, there is no excuse for not knowing the truth about Palestine. Even taking the disinformation spread in mainstream media, there are enough glimpses one gets of an oppressed people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem that should compel us to ask questions. This has been considerably aided by the internet. Where once Israel could manipulate the media narrative, now millions can see videos and read witness accounts of Israel’s occupation in all its terrifying ugliness. Global initiatives, like the daring Free Gaza flotillas, force the mainstream media to report this news, however fleetingly. Consequently, people want to see for themselves what is happening in Palestine and come back with stories that have shaken them to the very core of their being.
Stories of endless queues of people at checkpoints waiting for permission from armed soldiers who decide if they should pass; devastated families making sense of the rubble that was once their homes as Israeli bulldozers move on to the next calculated demolition; heartbroken farmers grieving over their centuries-old uprooted olive trees and scorched earth orchards; already traumatised children wondering if the next missile or bomb will this time wipe out their families or friends; terrified citizens waiting for the sound of army squads coming to arrest who knows who in the early hours of the morning; and the shadow of that rapacious Wall darkening the landscape even as it closes off the world to the Palestinians it imprisons.
And these are only the obvious signs of Israel’s apartheid plans as it moves to cement an exclusively Jewish state in a land that is home to almost an equal number of Palestinians and millions more in exile waiting to return home.
The alarm bells should be ringing when this information filters through, and yet there is a wall of silence while our political leaders declare undying fealty to Israel or cavalierly wear it as a badge of honour or indulge in junkets to Israel. And those bells should be all the more alarming, when documented reports of Israel’s war crimes by human rights groups and official enquiries are virulently attacked and then ignored.
But the world lacks courage. People are terrified of being labelled anti-Semitic. Even Palestinians, who are themselves Semites, are often afraid of being further shunned and disadvantaged in countries that give them refuge. Not only do people fear repercussions, but speaking the truth or even just hearing it has a way of taking people out of their comfort zones. They fear their troubled consciences may require them to act and so they bury their heads deeper into the sand where they hope even the sounds of silence might be extinguished.