U.S. ignores persecution of Palestinians

I am deeply concerned and disappointed by the Daily’s coverage of Israel’s birthday. The Daily has completely ignored the experience, history and sentiments of the people who were dispossessed as a direct result of the creation of Israel.
Israeli and American policies have been built on myths such as “a people without a land for a land without a people,” and Palestinians forced from their homes by invading armies. Zionists have ignored the rights of Palestinians and have hidden behind derogatory images of Palestinians to escape facing the moral issue at hand. Israel exploits and sensationalizes Arabic hate rhetoric against Jews, while hiding and suppressing the hatred that is nurtured and justified within its own boundaries.
The result of Israel’s creation was 700,000 Palestinians being driven from their towns and villages by Haganah forces — later the Israeli army — in 1947-48. Many fled in the wake of terrorist atrocities such as the massacre of the villagers in Deir Yassin by Jewish forces on April 9, 1948. In total, 418 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed, and vast tracts of land, houses, shops, olive and orange groves belonging to Palestinians were confiscated. These practices continue to this day.
However, it was not until quite recently that Israelis began to face up to their history. In the past ten years, several prominent Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim have written books which observe that early Israeli history is no cause for celebration. Moreover, Israeli television is airing a series that brings all of these details to the public’s attention for the first time.
If Israel can begin to face these realities, why is coverage of Israel in the United States nothing more than a shallow piece of fluff that is deeply offensive to all those who have suffered the loss of their homelands?
There are nearly three million Arabs and Arab Americans living in the United States, many of whom can visit, but never return, to the land of their ancestry and birth, whereas Jews from all over the world can go to live as citizens in Israel.
According to Rabbi Elmer Berger, “The Zionists did not draft a constitution for their new Jewish-Zionist state. Rather, they passed Basic Laws’ that protect and elevate those of one religion and denigrate those of other faiths.” If Israel is truly a democracy, why are people in Israel classified as Jews and non-Jews with laws established to elevate the Jews over the non-Jews?
Elie Wiesel, a Nobel peace prize winner, worked as a journalist for the Jewish terrorist group Irgun’s Paris office before, during and after the Massacre at Deir Yassin. A friend of mine once asked him, when he had said something about the Palestinians and the tragedy inflicted upon them by Zionism. Wiesel responded by sending my friend a copy of a book he had written. In this book Wiesel essentially asks the Palestinians to be kind enough to leave their homeland for him and other Jewish Europeans because the Jews had been subjected to the Holocaust and pogroms in Europe. Amazing logic. Since the Jews were persecuted, the Palestinians must sacrifice their homes and land or else face their own persecution.
Furthermore, on April 23 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that negotiations were under way for the purpose of including into the Knesset the Moledet party, a Jewish Nazi-like party, who call for the expulsion of all non-Jews from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel proper. This from a man who insists Yasser Arafat should systematically crackdown on Islamic militants for Israel’s security.
Today most of the Palestinians are still exiles, and more than 95 percent of their homeland is still under Israeli control. Palestinians are being ethnically cleansed, tortured, detained without charge or trial, their homes demolished and land illegally confiscated. They are still enduring humiliation and degradation at checkpoints, racism, oppression, fear and injustice in their homeland.
While all this is going on, people around the world are celebrating the 50 years of injustice that Palestinians have endured. Celebrations, such as the one on Northrop Mall last Thursday, which deny the truth of Israel’s creation as well as a future for the Palestinian people, are nothing short of a celebration of ethnic cleansing. The participants were dancing not just on people’s deeply held sentiments, but on their graves as well.
Fadwa Wazwaz is a graduate student in computer science.