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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    The Truth About Israel

    After reading the misleadingly-titled opinion peace on the “truth” about Gaza, I feel compelled to refute the “facts.”

    I do not pretend to be able to relate the history of the conflict in the Middle East in a mere half page, but to blame one side entirely only prolongs the problem. While pan-Arabism has not done enough to help Palestinians, it is inaccurate and biased to deny the existence of Israel’s wrongdoings in Palestinian territories.

    During the partition of Palestine in 1948, Arab parties and those living in the territories were not consulted. Thus it is not difficult to determine why there was a war in 1948. It is the same reason Central Africans and Kashmiris today continue to live among ethnic violence.

    The idea that Arabs did not want Jewish inhabitants is absurd, history will tell you that not only did Jewish minorities live peacefully in Palestine prior to the creation of Israel, they lived largely in peace with Muslims in North Africa, Spain and Iran. In 1937, founder of Israel David Ben-Gurion declared, “We must expel Arabs and take their places.” This is not a statement that an Arab in Palestine could simply ignore.

    The refugees created in 1948 have been refused resettlement by the Arabs, and they have been refused the right to return by Israel, in defiance of the United Nations. Palestinians have the right to self-determination, and one can logically conclude that if refugees resettle, they are ultimately giving up their homes and exacerbating the goal of statehood.

    The truth is, Israel fears that by allowing the refugees back to their homes and farms, Jews will become the minority. As legitimate as that fear may be, why should Arab countries have to deal with millions of refugees because of continued Israeli settlement? Is international law not structured enough?

    As for the resistance movement, it has not existed nor was it created in some vacuum of Arab anti-Semitism. It is a response to occupation. Gaza is an Occupied Palestinian Territory, and as the occupying power, Israel has the legal responsibility to provide for food, medicine and clothes to the impoverished.

    Although Israel claims to have left the Gaza Strip, it blatantly controls Gaza’s airspace, land borders, and sea entries to the point of collective punishment. Women and children were not allowed to leave during the recent airstrikes. Israel is ultimately responsible for the slum-like conditions in Gaza. Israel currently prefers the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas to Hamas, even though Abbas subscribes to his successor’s party Fatah, whose charter calls for the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.

    The three-week long war on the Gazan people which ominously began the year remains the most unnoticed of ironies. Once again, the American government has decided to support the call of waging war to achieve peace.

    Israel will not allow the Gazan refugee population to leave, even though many originate in what are today Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon. These refugees did not decide to squash themselves into the open-air prison of Gaza, they were pushed by settlement, violence and military might. It is simply delusional to blame the Arab governments for inherently exclusive Israeli policies. To paraphrase in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., you will not find peace without the presence of justice.

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