Monday, July 19, 2004

Justice Banging on Israel's Door 7-16-04

By Ray Hanania
If you are among the legions of Israel's supporters, you believe the propaganda that the wall Israel is building is intended to protect Israelis from Palestinians.
Of course, we know that's only slightly true. The violence continues in all areas of the West Bank, not because Palestinians "hate Jews," as extremist Israelis assert, but because Israel continues to militarily occupy the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Worse, Israel continues to confiscate (steal) Palestinian land and expel Christian and Muslim Palestinians. Israel's policies and its continued occupation and theft of Palestinian land are among the causes of the violence.
They have never changed from day one, when Israel was declared a state on lands granted to it under the U.N. partition and lands it expanded upon during the war.
But Israel has a clever propaganda machine that relies on an uninformed American public that often views conflicts not on the basis of right and wrong, but on racism, emotion and fear.
More importantly, Israel gets its way because the American news media is often biased, unprofessional and one-sided in favor of Israel. Palestinians have a right to defend themselves in the face of this Israeli aggression, even if that aggression is manipulated into obscurity by a pro-Israel Western media.
And Palestinians have justice on their side. Last month, Amnesty International declared that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies of brutality in the occupied territories are "war crimes."
Recently, the International Atomic Energy Commission began a campaign to force Israel to come clean on its nuclear arsenal, estimated to be more than 300 nuclear weapons. Why does Israel need "300 nuclear weapons"?
As a deterrent? Or to launch a war to grab more lands from other Arab countries? Does Israel need to defend itself from an Arab world whose combined armies can't match the power of Israel's military?
This week, justice banged on Israel's door one more time. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared it has jurisdiction to rule on the legality of the wall.
Palestinians contend the wall is a land-grab by Sharon, the spiritual leader of the Israeli settler movement. Many settlers provoke Palestinians by attacking them, expelling them from their lands and confiscating those lands to build religiously and racially exclusive settlements of their own.
The process smacks of South Africa's old apartheid system of racial segregation. Israel's government supports this. Despite their claims, the number of settlers continues to increase.
If the ICJ in The Hague declares the wall illegal, it could order Israel to dismantle it. The wall is built not on the "Green Line," which marks the border between Israel and the lands it occupied in 1967, but on Palestinian lands conquered in 1967.
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu claims the occupied lands are "disputed," and, therefore, are subject to negotiation. But that's the same argument some Arabs make about Israel and that Israelis always complain about. Israel is in fact "disputed" territory, too, since the state was created on lands that went far beyond the borders defined by the U.N. partition plan.
The Israeli wall likely has dual purposes: to expand Israel's land control and grab all the natural water wells in the West Bank. Without access to water wells, Palestinian farmers can't farm. That means more pressure forcing them to flee, so, you guessed it, Israel can grab their land, too, and build more settlements.
Although many Israelis have become rigid against peace based on compromise over the years, Palestinians have changed their attitudes about the 1948 war, accepting Israel's right to exist on the lands it captured in 1948, but not on the land it captured in 1967.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin recognized that balance of justice in 1993. But Israeli extremists made it clear they reject peace, and they murdered him. Israel often manages to avoid justice, relying on the United States.
Every time the United Nations censures Israel for wrongdoing, America casts a veto. As the United Nations contemplates this latest ruling by the International Court of Justice, it is clear the United States will again protect Israel from answering to the rule of law and justice.
But justice continues to knock on Israel's door.
The question is, are there any Israeli leaders with the courage of the late Rabin to answer it?
To find out more about Ray Hanania, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

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