TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF OCCUPATION
Dr. Ismail Zayid
At 0745 on the morning of Monday, June 5, 1967, the first wave of the Israeli airstrike went in, directed against all Egyptian airfields and destroying the entire Egyptian Air Force on the ground. The Syrian Air Force was destroyed that afternoon, followed by the Jordanian air force, for what it was.
The choice of this timing was carefully made. The U.S.A. and the Soviet Union had two days earlier warned Egypt and
Israel not to initiate any military attacks, lest there would be devastating retribution. The Egyptians accepted this and awaited the outcome of continuing negotiations in the Security Council for peaceful resolution of the conflict, then at hand. At the same time, they accepted an invitation from the U.S. government to send Vice-President Zakraria Mohieddin to meet President Johnson. At the time of the air strike, President Mohieddin was in Cairo airport awaiting to fly to Washington to meet with President Johnson on June 7th. Israel was afraid that its planned and calculated war would be thwarted, if this process of negotiation was allowed to continue.
True to form, the top Egyptian military and air force commanders were not at their stations and were at one airfield lined to welcome the Egyptian Chief of Staff from an inspection trip.
The attack against Egypt forced Jordan and Syria to declare their involvement in this war, as part of their Mutual Defence Treaty with Egypt. On June 8, the Security Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire. Israel, with its objectives not fully completed, refused to comply and proceeded to attack the Golan Heights and complete its occupation of the West Bank, having destroyed, on June 8, the U.S.S._Liberty, stationed off the coast of Sinai and functioning as a listening post to all the happenings in the area. The destruction of the U.S.S._Liberty, which brought about the killing of 34 American servicemen and injury to 171 others, was a calculated attack to complete its occupation of the Golan Heights, in defiance of Security Council resolution, and to cover-up Israel's premeditated unprovoked attack on the Golan Heights and the West Bank, which went beyond the green light given to Israel by the U.S. to occupy Sinai and bring about the destruction of Nasser. The story of the U.S.S._Liberty and its coverup is another long story that needs to be told elsewhere.
By the end of June 10, Israel had succeeded in occupying the whole of Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
WHO STARTED THE WAR?
I am relating this account for the simple reason that Israel's apologists and surrogate media in North America, have succeeded in brainwashing the North American public to believe that in 1967, Israel was attacked by the Arabs and Israel was conducting simply a defensive war to repel its attackers.
It is true that Israel foisted this fable, at the Security Council on June 5th to justify its expansionist war. Many of its leaders claimed, at the time, that Israel was facing a threat of extermination and genocide. However, it did not take the world long to see through this lie and Israel's own leaders came to admit that Israel started the war and the threat of extermination was a fable created after the fact:
"There was never any danger of extermination .... This hypothesis 'had never been maintained in any serious body'." General Ezer Weizmann Maariv, 4 April 1972quoted in Le Monde, 3 June 1972).
"All this story about the danger of extermination has been a complete invention and has been blown up a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territories." Mordechai Bentov, former Mapam Minister and member of the coalition during the June war. Al_Hamishmar, 14 April 1972 (quoted in Le_Monde, 3 June 1972).
"The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only a bluff, which was born and developed after the war." General Matitiahu Peled, Ha'aretz , 19 March 1972 (quoted in Le_Monde 3 June 1972).
Not only was there no threat of extermination directed at the State of Israel but in fact there was no threat of attack from Egypt at all, as testified to by none other than the commander of the Israeli Armed Forces, General Yitzhak Rabin who said:
"I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai in May would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."
General Yitzhak Rabin, Le_Monde, 29 February 1968.
and the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Levi Eshkol who said:
"The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military build-up actively there, testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel." Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Yediot_Aharonot 18 October 1967.
All this did not perturb the Encyclopaedia_of_Zionism
and_Israel which printed in 1971 the following:
"When, in the early hours of 5 June 1967, Israeli radar screens indicated approaching flights of Egyptian planes and armoured units moving towards the Israeli border, the Israeli Air Force was ready. Within hours, practically all the U.A.R.'s military airfields had been bombed...." Official spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry quoted in Encyclopaedia_of_Zionism_and_Israel, New York, 1971.
And finally, in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech at the Israeli National Defence College, gave away the fable:
"The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
This may be labouring this point but the perpetuation of this lie by our North American media, to this day, justifies my attempt to put this fable to rest, hopefully.
I do not need to remind you that this war was planned for twenty years and Israel's expansionist objectives go back farther than that and Israel's attempted annexation of "liberated Sinai", as Mr. Ben Gurion called it in 1956, was thwarted by President Eisenhower who went before the American T.V. public on February 20th, 1957 and stated:
"Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory, in the face of U.N. disapproval, be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal? If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purpose of the assailant, then I fear we will have to turn back the clock of international order."
President Eisenhower February 20, 1957.
Be that as it may, by June 11th Israel's objectives were completely achieved, through the connivance and collusion of the U.S. government. The remaining territory of occupied Palestine, namely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Golan Heights and Sinai, became Israeli-occupied territory. It is there that I want to direct your attention to what happened to the Palestinian territories occupied for the last twenty-five years and how the State of Israel treated the 1.7 million civilian inhabitants in these territories.
Despite the repeated statements by Israel's leaders days before this invasion which included Prime Minister Eshkol, who told Washington Post on the 23rd of May 1967:
"Israel has no aggressive designs." And later, on June 5:
"We do not demand anything except to live in tranquility in our present territory and we do not covet a single inch of Arab territory." despite these hollow assertions, it did not take Israel' sleaders long to uncover their designs.
No sooner had Israel's projected victory been completed and occupation of these coveted territories assured, than a process of destruction, expulsion and uprooting of people from their homes and villages was started. The extent of the destruction varied from one area to another. In the Latroun area, the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba (my own home town) were occupied on the 6th of June, without a shot being fired, and, two days later, a process of systematic dynamiting of every home, and later bulldozing, was carried out. A population of approximately 12,000 people were driven away, many of them trucked to the River Jordan and told to go to Hussein. Those of you who may have seen the Fifth_Estate program on the 22nd of October last year will have seen the callous disregard that Yitzhak Rabin and his soldiers displayed towards these innocent people. The inhumanity of dispossession and the brutality that goes with it are difficult to describe. In the characteristic style of the Zionist ideology and its machinations, the process of the destruction of these villages was hidden from the rest of the world and the process of re-writing history ensued. It was only for the courageous and gallant objections of an Israeli soldier, the writer Amos Keinan, and the work of the
noted British journalist Michael Adams, that brought about the disclosure of this crime, because the stories and the anguish of the dispossessed were totally overlooked by the world media. It is with shame, I state as a Canadian, that today stands at the ruins of these villages what is called Canada Park. Mr. Uri Avneri, the Israeli Member of the Knesset and a man of honour, described this act as a war crime that Canada should not allow itself to be a party to it. However, our governments continue to allow Canadian tax deductible dollars to be used for the erection of picnic areas and recreation facilities for Jews from Kiev, Moscow, Toronto and New York, while the villagers who, and their forefathers, have built these homes and cultivated these orchards, have now to live in refugee camps in Jordan. My protestations to our Ministers of Revenue Canada, including Mr. Elmer MacKay, Perrin Beatty and our current Minister, Mr. Otto Jelinek, have achieved nothing but the usual cliches of "we are investigating and we will let you know", and they have been investigating for years, and nothing happened. The destruction was not limited to these areas but in Jerusalem, 160 homes, historic sites, ancient libraries and museums were demolished to create a plaza outside the Western Wall. The process of destruction and expulsion went on, and over approximately 400,000 people from the West Bank were driven out to Jordan. The same loudspeakers that we heard in 1948 were going again in Jerusalem, telling people that the road to Jericho and Amman is still open and flee before death and tragedy befalls you.
1967 was only the beginning of a new chapter of dispossession and agony for the Palestinian people and twenty-five years later this saga of pain, torture, deprivation and humiliation under occupation, continues. It is perhaps appropriate at this stage to describe what international law stipulates as to the behaviour of an occupying power towards civilians under its occupation. After the Second World War, and to prevent the atrocities committed by the Nazis against civilians under its occupation, both Jewish and non-Jewish, the world community formulated an international convention to complement the Hague Convention of 1907 and adopted the Fourth Geneva Convention in August 1949, which remains until this day, the international convention to which all its signatories, which include all countries of the world, including Israel, Canada and the United States, are committed to abide by it and see that it is enforced. Ironically, however, the State of Israel today violates every article of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We do not have the time to go through the mammoth brutality that Israel practises against the civilians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. A few examples might highlight what I am trying to say.
Article 27 states:
"Protected persons shall at all times be humanely treated and shall be protected especially against acts of violence."
Article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:
"No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties." and Article 32 prohibits corporal punishment, torture and
"The high contracting parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to 'physical suffering'. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents." Israel's record in this field has excelled in its brutality and ingenuity in developing appropriate methods of torture.
On the 26th of February 1968, the International Committee of the Red Cross, in a report on conditions in the Tulkarm prison, stated that:
"Detainees have undergone torture during interrogation by the military police. This torture took the following forms:
(a) suspension of the detainee by the hands and the simultaneous traction of his other members for hours at a time until he loses consciousness;(b) burns with cigarette stubs; (c) blows by rods on the genitals;(d) tying up and blindfolding for days;(e) bites by dogs;
(f) electric shocks at the temples, the mouth, the chest and testicles."
Amnesty International has repeatedly described that a process of systematic torture and brutalization is undertaken in Israeli prisons against individuals who have not been charged and who have had no access to legal counsel. The Insight Team of the Sunday_Times of London wrote in June 1977:
"Torture of Arab prisoners is so widespread and systematic that it cannot be dismissed as rogue cops 'exceeding orders'. It appears to be sanctioned as deliberate policy." Felicia Langer, a distinguished and humane Israeli Jewish lawyer, stated:
"With my own eyes, I have seen marks of torture on the faces and bodies of suspects and accused persons. I say it here and now and challenge any one to contradict it."
Mr. Michael Adams of The_Guardian wrote on 26th of January 1968:
"I had my ups and downs during four years as a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, but the Germans never treated me as harshly as the Israelis are treating the Arabs of the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom are women and children."
To add insult to injury, the Landau Commission which investigated the reports of torture and killing of Palestinian prisoners, confirmed this but proceeded, incredibly, to sanction the use of "moderate physical pressure" during interrogation.
Here a judiciary commission sanctions torture, giving it a new name, "moderate physical pressure", in violation of international law and every notion of civilized behaviour. This ingenious description of torture as "moderate physical pressure" reminds me of the Orwellian newspeak of 1984. Israeli leaders have a great skill at this, and, perhaps while we are about it, I might give you a few examples: the territories under Israel's occupation are not occupied but "administered" territories. A policy of expelling Palestinians from their homeland is not described as expulsion or more appropriately as a national genocide against an entire nation but 'transfer'. In 1982, Israel waged a war of aggression against Lebanon, killing 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and destroying whole villages and communities, and this was called "Peace for Galilee". I don't think George Orwell had much to teach Israel's leaders. The stainless steel bullets covered with a thin coating of rubber are described as "rubber bullets" ... Incarceration, without charge or trial, is "administrative detention", and I could go on and on ... I must, however, go back and tell you that the killing and torture continue unabated. During the period of the Intifada since December 7, 1987, over a thousand Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and so-called settlers who are armed to the teeth, roaming towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza, abusing people and destroying their property and humiliating parents in front of their children. Of these thousand people killed, over 200 are children who have had the audacity to resist this oppressive occupation and lift their fists with stones against this mighty oppressive occupier.
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:
"Destruction by the occupying power of real or personal property belonging individiually or collectively to private persons is prohibited." Yet, apart from the destruction of total villages and communities, thousands of Palestinian homes have been bulldozed and dynamited, at the whimsical command of an Israeli military officer, because a child suspected of living in that household or in the neighbourhood may have dared to throw stones at this mighty occupier. The home or homes or the accused are demolished without as much as being charged, tried or convicted, let alone the fact that such destruction of property is totally prohibited under any pretext by international law. During the Intifada alone, and until the end of 1991, 2,108 homes and buildings have been demolished or sealed. Approximately one-half of these have been demolished because of the claim that no permit was obtained for building these homes. Over the last twenty-five years of occupation, Israel has, while building settlements for Jews on Arab land, persistently refused to allow the
Palestinians to build new homes for their expanding families and communities and hence this brutal act, destroying people's homes and leaving families with children completely homeless, and denying them even the right to rebuild their homes. To compound the brutality, the families whose homes are destroyed are required to pay for the cost of the explosives and bulldozers that dynamite and bulldoze their homes! Israeli Supreme Court Justice Maltz, supporting the demolition of a convicted Palestinian's home which left a grandmother, children and a mentally-ill woman, homeless, said: "I agree. It is legal, according to Clause 119 of the Defence Emergency Regulations of 1945 which in the words of defence lawyer Lea Tsemel "gives the military commander authority to order the destruction of an entire street or an entire neighbourhood". It is ironic that these British Mandatory regulations imposed in 1945 were described in 1946 by Dr. Bernard Joseph, who later became Israeli Minister of Justice:
"With regard to the Emergency Laws, the question is: Are we all to become the victims of officially licensed terrorism?" Ya'acov Shapiro, who became Minister of Justice in 1949 and enforced these laws, described them in 1946:
"Unparalleled in any civilized country. No such laws existed in Nazi Germany." Yet both of these distinguished men of law re-imposed these same laws, which were annuled by the British on May 15, 1948, and duly enforced them, against Arabs only, in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Alas, none of this disturbs the likes of Messrs. Bush, Mulroney and Major.
This is, my friends, only one example of Israeli justice. A headline in July 1990, in the Jerusalem_Post captured the current spirit of Israeli justice in the occupied territories where the headline read:
"Soldier kills man, gets four months; youth stones bus gets two years." Four Palestinian children were buried alive and the soldiers who committed the act were reprimanded. District Court Judge Zvi Tal lightened the sentence of Yehuda Ben Ariel, a settler in the Ma'ale Levona settlement, who shot and killed a Palestinian worker in the settlement. Tal sentenced him to 6 months and stated:
"One must lighten the punishment of Jews who take revenge on Arabs."
In May, 1990, a study from the Swedish Save the Children Organization and funded by the Ford Foundation, documented that: "the Israeli army has systematically become child killers." Between December 1987 and December 1989, 159 children under age 16 were killed by soldiers. The average age of the dead was l0 years. Between 50,000 - 63,000 children were beaten, gassed or wounded. More than half of those killed were not near a demonstration when they met their death. Only 19% were involved in stone-throwing. Even after slaughtering children, the Israelis weren't content: "soldiers obstructed or interferred with more than half of the funerals". The Guardian_Weekly_Report of July 22, 1990, by Colman McCarthy, of the Washington_Post, went on:
"When not killing children or mistreating prisoners, the Israeli military has found other outlets for violence. In May, Amnesty International documented allegations of torture and harrassment of Palestinian members of a joint Israeli-Palestinian group called Runners For Peace. The athletes wearing T-shirts calling for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and jogging through the West Bank were threatened and beaten. If George Bush can lecture Nelson Mandela on the virtue and necessity of non-violence, why not the same message to the Shamir government which needs to hear it a hundred fold more?"
The brutality and torture of prisoners have no limits. The description of the conditions in the prison called Ansar III defies description. However, a novel mode of torture and humiliation was described in the Globe_and_Mail on May 17, 1988 when it reported an account by an Israeli member of the Knesset, reported in the Israeli newspaper Hadashot, of May 16, 1988, who described the happening as follows:
"Soldiers of the base invited Israeli high school students to participate in a new 'sport' -- beating Arab prisoners. Some of the boys accepted and later told their friends about this great experience."
In an interview with one of the students who said he had participated in beating Palestinian prisoners, the student said:
"We saw three Arabs whose hands, feet and eyes were tied", the youths said. "We asked a soldier if we could hit them freely and he said 'Sure, why not?'". "After dinner I took off his blindfold and punched him in the face. He started begging for us not to hit him and then I got a truncheon and hit him in the face. Another prisoner started screaming. I went into a rage. I picked up a piece of metal and beat the hell out of him. He looked like mush -- a lump of flesh and bones when I finished with him.
I had an immense urge to beat them. I am telling you, if I had a machine gun at the time I would have killed him. Not that he did anything to me or said some bad word, but because of what those Arabs do here in this country."
It is clear that this process of brutality is inculcated in this young new generation of Zionist children who, and their leaders, have not learned the lesson of history. This reminds me of what the great British historian, Professor Arnold Toynbee told a largely Jewish audience at McGill University in 1961:
"The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1947 (He might have said "and since") was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of 6 million Jews. He pointed out:
The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn."
In 1948, the Jews knew, from personal experience, what they were doing. It was their supreme tragedy that the lesson learned by them from their encounter with Nazi German gentiles should have been not to eschew, but to imitate some of the evils that the Nazis had committed against the Jews."
The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the expropriation of property. Nearly 70% of the land of the West Bank has been expropriated to create Jewish settlements. In the tiny strip of Gaza which is the most densely populated strip on earth, approximately 50% of the land of that tiny strip has been expropriated to accommodate approximately 3,000 settlers while the rest of that strip provides accommodation for 750,000 Palestinians. The creation of these settlements is clearly in violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 49 of the Convention states:
"The occupying powers shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Speaking of deportation, another newspeak for expulsion of people from their homes, their country and their families, thousands of Palestinians have been expelled from their home-land, leaving behind families uncared for and in violation of international law. Article 49 states:
"Individual or mass forceable transfer as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive."
Another aspect of this most brutal form of inhumanity is the continuing refusal to allow families to unite. Wives and children are not allowed the right of residence with their husbands or fathers and the struggle for the unification of these hundreds of families remains untouched by humanconscience. It is ironic that the Palestinians are not allowed to be reunified with their families or returned to their homeland, and this continues without any impulse of humanity on the part of great powers, who claim democracy and humaneness and civilized behaviour like in the United States, Canada, Britain or others. Yet hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews are allowed to move into Palestinian land and homes. An interesting aspect of the expropriation of homes and property in Jerusalem, that is going on now at fast speed,is being done under the so-called Israeli Law_of Absentee_Property, formulated in 1950, which dictates that any person, meaning Christian or Muslim and not Jewish, who may have left his home, after the 29th of November 1947 and until it became occupied by Israel, to any other town under enemy control, becomes an absentee. Tens of thousands of Palestinians who may have gone to a dentist between 1947 and 1948, or happened to become occupied after 1947 having been in territory not yet occupied by Israel, become absentees. Some of these live in Israel and are Israeli citizens but they are called "present_absentees" and their property is subject to expropriation. "Present absentees", I ask you?! Where, except in the state of Israel, such laws would exist and the state is described by the so-called free world as the oasis of democracy? The recent expropriation of homes in Silwan, to be taken over by Jewish settlers, is another example of this incredible law and Israeli justice. The owners may have visited Amman, Damascus or Cairo for any period of time and thus have become absentees and their property is open for expropriation. This process is just beginning in Jerusalem and these are another collection of "present absentees". Only Israeli justice can invent such modality of fraudulence and inhumanity.
Not only the homes may be destroyed but the trees may be uprooted. Over 120,000 olive and fruit trees have been uprooted during the years of the Intifada alone, for they may have committed the crime of hiding between them a child who may have dared to throw a stone at an Israeli vehicle. This is the same ideology of Zionism that is supposed to have come to make the desert bloom. The uprooted Palestinian trees and orchards are a testimony to this big lie.
In 1962 an Israeli soldier spoke of seeing a small child younger than 12 years being punished and kicked by three Israeli soldiers at Ramallah military government headquarters in the West Bank:
"The scene that followed was one of the most distressing I have ever seen: brutality and cruelty such as I had never before witnessed." he stated. Today this brutality would go unnoticed because it has become a routine mode of behaviour. One in every twenty children in Gaza has been seriously injured by gunfire, beatings or so-called tear gas. Over 50,000 children have been seriously injured since the Intifada. Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, as a Minister of Defence who is now being sold to us by the American administration as a dove, ordered his soldiers to beat and break the arms and legs of these children. We have seen this on television as we have seen this most oppressive and brutal behaviour. An Israeli colonel accused of ordering soldiers to break limbs of Palestinian children testified that beatings were "part of our accepted norm in this period". (The_Chronicle_Herald, June 23, 1990). British surgeon Pauline Cutting, who worked in hospitals in Lebanon and Gaza said when interviewed (Globe_&_Mail, 29 May 1990):
"The war in Lebanon was terrible but I never saw a child who was systematically beaten up. But here I have seen a 10-year old boy who was beaten unconscious with big wheals on his head. I keep thinking about what it takes to stand and repeatedly hit a child, what that soldier thinks about when he goes home." This process has gone further and now these children and youth are being shot and killed on sight without prior warning, if they happen to wear their Arab headress or for any reason that may occur to the appropriate soldier or settler. These death squads now roam in Arab dress, camouflaged as Arabs, to do the killing. The killing and brutalization of children is not incidental according to Dr. James Graff of the University of Toronto, who wrote:
"Palestinian children are being targeted because they are actively engaged in a common struggle to realize those aspirations for freedom and self-determination. In our view they are targeted because the present government of Israel seeks to smash them, their older brothers and sisters, physically and psychologically in order to secure a relatively docile demoralized subject population."
The process of killing and beating and torture of children is only one aspect of this brutality. The denial of education to these children is another manifestation of what Zionism means to the Palestinians. For nearly four years or more all universities in the occupied territories were closed and schools of all stages were closed for nearly three years. It was a crime for a family to teach their children even in their own homes. Where else would you find such behaviour totally condoned by the leaders of the so-called civilized world? Besides the closure of schools and universities, the academic freedom of teachers and students has been violated persistently and repeated closures and imprisonment of students and teachers for any peaceful demonstration or protest. The school syllabuses have not been spared.
The Israeli authorities have erased from school syllabuses any material referring to Palestine, love of country, Palestinian nationalism and the Palestinian people's national identify. Any reference to the Arab contribution to human civilization history are subject to censorship. Periodicals and books that are available in Israel to Jewish schools and universities are denied to Palestinian schools and univer - sities.
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child stipulates that the first_principle:
"The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this declaration. All children without any exception whatsoever (even if they are Palestinians) shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or his family."
In the Zionist state of Israel, there is a policy of discrimination against the Palestinian child, not only in education but in every aspect of life.
The second_principle is that:
"The child shall enjoy a special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities by law and by other means to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in the conditions of freedom and dignity."
Under Israeli occupation a child may see the humiliation of his parents before his own eyes and the destruction of his own home and the closure of his own school, in defiance of all these principles.
"That the child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality. The Palestinian child is the only child in the world who is denied any recognition of his nationality.
I could go on about the denial of all rights to the Palestinian child. Our distinguished Prime Minister not long ago chaired an international convention on the rights of the child and proclaimed himself as an ardent supporter of the rights of the child. Yet, when questioned about Israeli treatment of Palestinians, including children, in the occupied territories, he was angered by the question and stated that Israel is a democratic country and upholds all human rights. Mr. Mulroney and his Foreign Minister do not see beyond their financial supporters, who are committed to the cause of Zionism. All these violations of human rights and international law go virtually unnoticed by Mr. Bush, Mr. Major, or Mr. Mulroney and others. The hypocrisy and double standards are blatant. In 1990 half a million troops were sent to the Gulf to enforce a Security Council resolution, we were told. Iraq was destroyed and its 17 million people continue to die of starvation and disease, because U.N. resolutions have been incompletely enforced. Yet, Israel continues to violate human rights and occupy illegally Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territory, in continuing defiance of repeated Security Council resolutions. Yet, U.S. military, economic and political aid to Israel continue, in support of this violation of international law. Has the word Sanctions against Israel been whispered? Does Mr. Bush and his "New World Order" mean anything but that the world must remain subject to the interests of the U.S. and its friends, including Israel? The dictionary, my friends, on our leaders' hypocrisy is voluminous ...
Since 1948, the Palestinian people have endured the hardship and indignity of exile and have waited for the world conscience to allow them the right to return to their homes, a right that is fundamental in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a right that has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the United Nations General Assembly since the 11th of December 1948, when Resolution No. 194 resolved that:
"Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that those wishing not to return should be compensated for their property."
The U.N. mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden stated in a report to the U.N.:
"It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine, and, indeed, at least offer the threat of permanent replacement of the Arab refugees who have been rooted in the land for centuries."
It was interesting that two weeks ago in the Globe_&_Mail of May 22nd, Mr. Joel Cuperfain, an ardent Zionist, wrote that it is "outrageous and unprecedented" for the Palestinians to claim the right of return. This is ironic when Israel entitles every Jew from any corner of the globe, including millions of Russian Jews who, and their ancestors, had never set foot in Palestine, to have the "right to return" while the Palestinians who were born, and their forefathers had lived, and cultivated the land of Palestine for thousands of years are now denied this right, which is described by Zionists as an "outrageous claim". Only in Zionist philosophy and rewriting of history can such a incredible statement be made.
In 1967 more injustice was inflicted upon the Palestinians. For the last twenty-five years they have been subjected to a system of manipulated administrative and legal structure causing political oppression and economic exploitation. Their fundamental rights are denied to them. The rule of law does not exist. More than 1,290 military orders have been passed in the West Bank amending local laws beyond recognition and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These laws stipulate that the Palestinian cannot dig a well in his own land or deepen an existing well. He cannot plant a tree without the order of the military governor. The four colours of black, green, white and red are prohibited to be gathered. A grocer who arranges his tomatoes and apples and oranges in any system pertaining to these four colours, is liable to be gaoled. A child may not carry these four colours, which are his national flag. The Palestinian is denied any system of law. He or she may be arrested and detained for as long as a year without charge or trial, and this may be renewed by the stroke of the pen of a military officer. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been held in this manner. A university professor in Bethlehem was detained, in the most oppressive conditions, because he dared to teach his community how to plant carrots and tomatoes to feed themselves, a crime in the eyes of the Zionist ideology. I have only scratched the surface of the oppression, the cruelty and injustice to which the Palestinians have been exposed over the last twenty-five years. Every facet of human right has been violated and every method of torture, humiliation and indignity has been apportioned to them and the world remains silent. Not only that, there was a time when many of Israel's apologists in the media, or as Mr. Pat Buchanan described them as the "Amen_corner", who described the Israeli occupation as a liberal occupation. To this, Professor Israel Shahak, who had experienced the Nazi Belsen concentration camp, and saw what goes on in Israel, described this statement in these words:
"The Israeli occupation regime in the conquered territories is not only not a liberal one, it is one of the most cruel and repressive regimes in modern times."
Brutality is legislated. Racism is the order of the day. Discrimination is manifest in every aspect of life, and by legislation. But I assure you my friends that the Palestinian people's tenacity is unyielding. Our people are willing to struggle and sacrifice and you cannot defeat a people with this tenacity, when a child turns his little hand into a fist, with a stone, that defies the oppressor. The oppressed people of South Africa were able to teach F. W. De Klerk a lesson that has made Mr. De Klerk declare that the book on apartheid is closed. I am afraid the book on the Zionist ideology is not yet closed but I can assure you that Zionism, like apartheid, is running against the natural course of history and I am optimistic that right will overcome wrong. I am also optimistic because there are, though few, Jewish voices who are speaking out. The great Jewish journalist, I. F. Stone, wrote a few years ago:
"How can we talk of human rights and ignore them for the Palestinians? How can Israel talk of Jewish rights to a homeland and deny one to the Palestinians?"
Similarly, Professor Israel Shahak, Chairman of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights, said:
"The majority of the Israeli public are shutting their eyes to the simple human cry of the Palestinian. and warned his people: ...not to allow the experience of the German people between the two World Wars to befall them. I am not afraid to say publicly that Israeli Jews and with them most Jews throughout the world, are undergoing a process of Nazification. He went on to state that he is saying this: ... so that no one can say as the German people did, 'I did not know'. And like Albert Speer, I am trying to act before it is too late."
This is the kind of authentic Jewish voice that I am happy to say gives me hope that, in time, there will be more people like I. F. Stone, Israel Shahak, Felicia Langer and Mordecai Briemberg. For if the other voice, the voice which has come to dominate Israeli and Zionist thinking, arrogant with power, which thinks only of territorial expansion and practise discrimination and terror, the voice of Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, if that voice should continue to speak for Israel, then Israel will bring, I am afraid, tragedy on herself and the Palestinians and very likely on the rest of the world.
Palestinians are calling for a modicum of justice for without justice, I am afraid, there will be no peace for Arab or Jew in the Middle East.