Friday, July 25, 2014

Americans Should Open Their Eyes ~ There Are 2 Sides to the Gaza Story

Americans Should Open Their Eyes ~ There Are 2 Sides to the Gaza Story

Perhaps I am one of the few Americans who are tired of the U.S. Government’s perpetual blind support of Israel since it was carved out of territory belonging to others and made an independent state in 1948 after the Holocaust of World War II.

To create the State of Israel, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin stole, designated or or appropriated land from those of Palestinian or Arab descent, evicted them from their homes with what they could carry, and left them stateless.  I don’t know about you, but I would feel resentment.

My experiences may be somewhat unique to that of the typical Israel apologist. During my childhood in north central Indiana my family were friends with people of Arab descent who had been forced from their homes. They lost their homes, personal possessions and sense of identity. Yet our friends had the good fortune to emigrate to the U.S.A. and start over. Those who did not have those resources are still feeling the pain and anger of decisions made by foreign potentates 68 years ago. The anger is passed down generation to generation.

Additionally, in 1978 I had the privilege to study at my university’s campus in England. Among the international student body were several students from countries in the Middle East, including Jordan. During the December holiday vacation, I backpacked through Europe with some fellow students and stopped in Geneva. One of the young women attending our school, Harlaxton College, was spending the time off with her father in Geneva. She invited us to lunch. My fellow traveler and I showed up at our friend’s Geneva residence at the Hotel Intercontinental, to be greeted at the door by a butler and finding her father was the Jordanian ambassador to the United Nations. Despite being slightly underdressed for the occasion in our college student ratty denim garb, we were treated with kindness, courtesy, and genuine welcome. We were also given a gentle lesson on the Palestinian / Israeli dispute by a well educated, thoughtful diplomat who had gotten his MBA from Southern Methodist University and had served the U.N. in New York. He was a true diplomat. But it was eye opening to me to be shown on a map where people had been forced from their homes and given an explanation that we Americans did not often hear as to why tensions had not eased.

Think about it. Only 68 years have passed since peoples’ homes were taken from them. The Palestinians have been stateless for decades. And then consider that some people in the southern states of the U.S.A. still feel bitterness at the outcome of the Civil War. 150 years after its end. The British and French fought wars for hundreds of years.  It is easy to understand the anger and frustration of the Palestinian people. Do I support Hamas? No. But I also believe that Israel bombing civilian hospitals and residential units in Gaza– even if they do give advance notice – is really no less than a war crime.  

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