Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Palestinians to Iraq?

I just got out of a meeting with a Palestinian representative of the Land Defence Committee here in the Hebron District (the southern most portion of the West Bank). After six days of meetings and tours, I have to say that I'm filled to the brim with the unjustices of the system here - injustices that seem to drive the two sides in this conflict, Palestinian and Israeli, further apart.

I've read about it but it is a completely different thing to experience and see it with my own eyes. I thought the situation in Iraq was bad ... and it is ... but atleast in Iraq, Iraqis aren't made to feel like prisoners or aliens in their own land (and here atleast I'm talking about both Israelis and Palestinians). Atleast Iraqis don't have to worry about having their ID on them constantly. At least, they aren't on black lists that restrict their ability to travel from one town to the next. Atleast they aren't having their land confiscated. Atleast the American occupiers are not trying to make life so difficult and miserable that they will force Iraqis out of their own country. All these things seem to be true here ... all these things appear to be the plan, voiced or not, of the Israeli government.

Then today I was shocked when the man from the Land Defence Committee told us that one of the reasons that the U.S. invaded Iraq was to give Israel a place to transfer its Palestinian population too. I almost fell off my seat. I wonder what my Iraqi friends will think of this? Will the Iraqis like that idea? Perhaps it was just conspiracy theory talk ... but having seen the Israeli occupation on the ground ... it does seem clear that the Israelis main goal is to make life for Palestinians so difficult that they will just leave (for example and sorry, I can't verify this: we were told by one resident that in the Old City in Hebron, people are allowed to move furniture out of the Old City but not into it).

I keep asking, 'But if that is the Israeli goal, you would think they would have thought it through enough to provide Palestinians with a place to go to. Otherwise, it's simply a policy that will increase terrorism and insecurity for the Israelis. Any cornered animal will fight back eventually unless you give it a way out.'


Today, after visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (as well as the synagogue that is now a part of it), we went to view the Isreali settlement of Kiryat Arba (the first settlement here in Hebron). Jim, our leader was discussing the land appropriation around the settlement when a settler named Mazi stopped by in her car ... she listen for about 30 seconds and then interrupted by saying, "why don't you tell them the truth." We asked her to speak with us and she told us of how all the land of Hebron was Jewish land, that the Palestinian houses around us were filled with Palestinian terrorists released in a prisoner exchange, that the Palestinians massacred the Jews in 1929 and that the Jewish man that massacred the muslims in the Ibrahimi Mosque did so after he was pushed to far by Palestinian violence. She would have said more but there were lots of Palestinian children pushing close and though they were polite, they were making her nervous. We got her name and number and I'm hoping we get to speak to her again.


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