Sunday, August 06, 2006

Americans Observe Palestinian Misery
While on Tour of Israel

Sent: Saturday, August 05, 2006 3:58 PM

Subject: CAP tour in Jerusalem


We had a safe and uneventful trip and have concluded one week of our
tour. It has been safe, calm and peaceful here in spite of the terrible
carnage in Lebanon and Gaza. We traveled to Bethlehem, Hebron, At
Tawani, Ramallah and all over Jerusalem and surroundings, through many
military check points and new million dollar "terminals" with little
delay or harassment. The Palestinians are not so fortunate since they
are all stopped and often delayed. The "security wall" continues to be
built consuming about 11% of the small West Bank territory and new
settlements and settlement expansion goes on at a great rate. At the
present, as you know, there are no negotiations going on and the Israeli
government plans to complete its unilateral closing off of the Occupied
Territories within a year, leaveing no possibility of a viable
Palestinian state. The Palestinians, of course canot survive as a
sovereign, viable state with what Israel is unilateraly deciding for
them. Consequently, there will not be any peace for anyone in the region
for a long time. Since Israel will not recognize or deal with the
democraticaly elected Palestinian government, the radical militant
element will , of course prevail over the current moderate leadership in
the PA. that has indicated its wilingness to talk. It will be no
surprise to anyone who looks at the situation on the ground to see that
Israel is predetermining a contiunuation of instability and violence not
only here, but no doubt, all over the Middle East. It would appear that
the military power of Israel, backed by the U.S. government and its
military, has blinded both governments to the irrationality of relying
on military froce as the answer to every inconvenience, or resistance to
their control and domination. The discrimination against non-Jewish
residents of Israel is evident everywhere. When you drive from Jewish
neighborhoods into Arab neighborhods in the city of Jersualem, for
example, it is like going from a First world to a Third world country
though you are in the same minicipality, people pay the same taxes, in
fact, on average, the Palestinian Arabs in Jersualem pay more per capita
and receive far less services. The "Wall" is clearly designed not
primarily for security, but for taking more Palestinian land into Israel
while eliminating current Israeli Arab citizens from Israel.

We have interviewed about 25 leaders so far, about half Jews, half
Arabs. None have fully defended Israeli policies against the
Palestinians and only one has done so partialy though all defend the
right of Israel to exist safe and secure alongside a safe and secure
Palestinian state. The Israeli and the Palestinain publics together have
never been so suportive of a negotiated cease fire and setlement, yet
the Israeli government has closed off this possibility. Only the U.S. it
would seem, can prevent a continuing disaster long term here in the Holy
Land and throughout the M.E. You can judge the likely hood of the curent
U.S. government doing anything useful in this regard.

We have receirved the most wonderful hospitality everywhere, but will
return home with little oeptimism from what we have witnesed here on the
ground. The difficulty of the Palestinian people worsens daily. We have
much to share and much towork for as we look forward to joining you back
in the "good old U.S. A.


Mom & Dad

My reply:


Thank you, Jim, for sending this report from your
parents. It states succinctly what I observed during
the six months I spent in the West Bank.

Many Americans, including some Friends, continue to
support the aparthied practiced by the Israeli
government even though a growing number of Israelis
themselves are speaking out against it. I hope more
Americans can read reports such as this one from your
parents. Maybe by hearing about the situation from
people who have been there and seen the misery of the
Palestinians up close they will begin to understand
the anger of the Arab people and affect a change in
our government's policies before we find ourselves
truly embroiled in another world war.

A friend of mine in the West Bank, an American woman,
told me of how she was arrested by the Israelis after
she screamed at an Israeli soldier who was beating a
young Palestinian at one of the checkpoints. The
Israelis took her into "protective custody". One of
the soldiers, a woman, said to her, "you think we're
evil, don't you?" She answered, "no, I think you're
involved in an evil system." She then explained to the
young soldier how it compared to the world of her
youth spent in Alabama prior to the civil rights

In the light,


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