Palestinian fishermen offload their catch in the port of Gaza City on August 5, 2014, after a 72-hour truce agreed by Israel and Hamas went into effect following intense global pressure to end the bloody conflict. Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip after completing a mission to destroy a sophisticated network of cross-border attack tunnels, ending a ground operation which began on July 17. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS

Sept. 26 2014 (TSR) – Well, the bombs have stopped dropping on Gaza, so the world can move onto climate change, ISIS, U.S. aggression and other topics, all of which are important, but shouldn’t deflect from the ongoing oppression and genocide of the Palestinian people. The bombing has stopped, for now, but the suffering continues.

One of the conditions of the cease-fire is that Palestinian fishermen would be permitted to fish beyond the illegally-imposed limit of three miles. But as is often the case, apparently it is only Palestine that is expected to adhere to the conditions of the cease-fire; Israeli terrorists (also known as IDF soldiers) continue to shoot fishermen if they venture beyond the three mile limit.

The start of the school year also brings challenges. The horror of being a young child and needing to run in terror from your home, or see your parents, siblings or friends blown to bloodied, mangled bits before your eyes, can hardly be imagined. As a result of Israeli terror, the United Nations has estimated that at least 373,000 children living in Gaza will need direct and specialized psycho-social support, at least during the current school year, which has just begun.

For many of these children, returning to school is traumatic for a variety of reasons. Familiar classmates are often not there, having been killed as Israel carpet-bombed the area.  Class sizes, previously a large and unwieldy 35 have been increased in some areas to 60 students per classroom. This is because at least 24 schools were destroyed, and nearly 200 more at least partially damages. With 45% of the population under that age of 14, the need for schools is great. The classes were already oversized as a result of Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, which prevents building supplies from being imported.

Experts estimate that at least $7.5 billion is required to rebuild the Gaza Strip as a result of the damage from Israel’s latest ‘mowing of the lawn’, the periodic carpet-bombing, intended to destroy Palestinians, their nation and culture. In case anyone doesn’t know, that is what genocide is. The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction estimates that this rebuilding would take five years, if the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip were to be lifted. However, it is unlikely that that will be the case, which will delay rebuilding by years if not decades. And long before rebuilding is completed, Israel will decide it is once again time to ‘mow the grass’, and will invent a reason for doing so.

Such conditions in most parts of the world – hundreds of thousands of people homeless, desperate for food, shelter and water – would bring a quick response from much of the world community, including the United States. But the Israeli lobby is all-powerful in the halls of the U.S. Congress, and as goes the U.S., so goes most of the world. As a result, unspeakable human-rights violations that are condemned in the strongest terms, often with bombs and invasions, are ignored when perpetrated by Israel upon the Palestinians. The murder of three people living in illegal settlements is justification for countless home-ransackings, arrests of men, women and children, and increased home-demolitions and, eventually, indiscriminate bombings of homes, hospitals, schools and mosques. Yet the murders of countless unarmed Palestinian youths by IDF terrorists are ignored.

This is nothing new; Palestinian human rights have been ignored by the U.S. from the start. A few quotations from U.S. history illustrate this point.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence states the following:  “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” (emphasis added).

On May 27, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson said that “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.”[1]

Nearly two years later, Mr. Wilson continued his lofty rhetoric, saying on February 11, 1918, that “National aspirations must be respected; peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent.”[2]Further: “Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”[3]

High-sounding rhetoric, indeed, but with a major qualification: it only applies to those with powerful lobbies.

Mr. Wilson’s Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, was aware that the U.S. concept of self-determination didn’t apply to everyone. “In his private notes he wrote that it was loaded with dynamite, might breed disorder, discontent and rebellion. His neat, logical mind saw it leading the President into strange contradictions. ‘Will not the Mohammedans of Syria and Palestine and possibly of Morocco andTripoli rely on it? How can it be harmonized with Zionism, to which the President is practically committed?’ he asked himself.”[4]

Heaven forbid the ‘Mohammedans of Palestine’ rely on the U.S. fostering their self-determination.

More recently, in 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this about Egyptian unrest: “And we, we have a very clear message. Long-term stability rests on responding to the legitimate needs of the Egyptian people, and that is what we want to see happen.”[5]

Might one paraphrase Ms. Clinton? “Long-term stability rests on responding to the legitimate needs of the Palestinian people, and that is what we want to see happen.” Apparently, the ‘legitimate needs’ of the Palestinian people are not worth considering.

In 2012, Ms. Clinton, widely seen as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, said this about Syrian rebels: “…we cannot ask the opposition to unilaterally give up their struggle for justice, dignity, and self-determination.”[6] Does the U.S., by its unwavering and ever- growing support of Israel, support that as of today includes aid of $3 billion annually, not ask the Palestinians to ‘unilaterally give up their struggle for justice, dignity, and self-determination’?

But is the U.S. even interested in long-term stability in the Middle East? Would that not threaten its power and control over the vast oil resources of that region?

There has never been a time in U.S. history when profits and power have taken a back seat to human rights. The most basic rights of human beings, including the right to life, are dismissed if they stand in the way of the almighty dollar.

It will not be the governments of the world that initiate any change. Yet change has begun. It is the people of the world, gaining access to real information, rather than relying solely on the pablum fed them by the corporate-own news media, that have begun this change. Social media enables people even in the most horrendous conditions, such as the Gaza Strip under bombardment, to convey to wide audiences exactly what is happening. As these horrors are becoming known, more and more people are contacting their elected officials (‘representatives’ is an inappropriate term for U.S. members of Congress),  boycotting Israeli goods and generally making their wishes known in more powerful ways than ever before.

It was the actions of the people that ended the Vietnam War; it was millions of people worldwide who brought down South African apartheid.  It will be the same movement, enhanced and hopefully accelerated by social media, that will bring justice to the Palestinians.


[1]  Congressional Record, 64th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1917), 54, pt 2:1742.

[2] Congressional Record, 65 Congress, 2d session. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1918), 56, pt 2, 1952-53.

[3] Albert Shaw and Woodrow Wilson, The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson – Vol. 1,( Review of Reviews Corporation 1924), 475.

[4] Frank E. Manual, The Realities of American-Palestine Relations, (Review of Reviews Corporation 1924), 217.

[5] Accessed on Sept. 23, 2014.

[6] Accessed on Sept. 23, 2014



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