By Geoffrey Cook, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

Alameda California–Especially distressing news has been coming out of Gaza and Nablus recently, and Lebanon.

A tragic internecine Civil War between Hamas and Al-Fatah (in the Gaza strip) rages, wherein the Israeli Air force has intervened to disastrous results, and over a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli Lebanon, between the Lebanese Army and a group of Islamists who have embedded themselves within the camp.

Both in Gaza and Lebanon there has been a high toll of civilians caught in the middle. Besides this has been the mysterious disappearance of the pro-Arab BBC journalist, Alan Johnston in Gaza. Although it has been blamed on an unknown Palestinian group, a Zionist gang or even the governmental offices in West Jerusalem should be looked into as well.

The two mainstream middle-aged American women I interviewed were quite admirable in that they had spent several years on the West Bank city of Nablus offering aid and accompaniment to the Arabs there – often to the threat of their own lives.

Hebron is a mixture of Palestinians and Israelis, although from previous international legal judgments it has been ruled as part of the occupied territories.

An occupied territory’s land cannot be grabbed by the conquerors. Thus, there is an illegal settlement here because Tel Aviv controls all the roads, but the Old City is a Jewish Settlement: There are 40,000 Palestinians, but only 5,000 settlers. 1,500 soldiers are posted within Hebron to “protect” the “illegal” inhabitants. Roadblocks and checkpoints hinder commerce from entering to resupply Palestinian merchants, and internal blockages prevent children from their schools.

The settlers are enclaves amongst the owners of the land by hereditary right. The majority of the colonizers are very

militant, more often armed than not. Hebron is in the ancient boundary of Judea. An Israeli lawyer brought the Palestinians’ complaint to his country’s High Court. The Court found the Palestinians to be in the right, and ordered the free movement into and out of their markets.

Unfortunately, the IDF (the Israeli Defense Force) ignored their highest court. The Palestinians decided to resist through non-violent actions. A week later the army broke up the protest with tear gas. This explains why non-violent solutions are not practical in the Occupied Territories.

Where the Jews attacked them was an important sacred space for the local Christians and Muslims (and for that matter the Jews themselves): It was this mosque that marked the spot where Abraham (as) was born.

Definitely there is ongoing ethnic cleansing. There is continual harassment by settlers, to which Palestinian teenagers respond with stones. This is often deadly for the adolescences, because the Israeli soldiers respond with live bullets against the children. This gives the occupiers an excuse to take the young into prison in which they often waste their youth away. This becomes a type of genocide against the Arabs of the Holy Land.

An infamous military fence is blockading Palestinian farmers from their lands. Families are forced out: Forced from their ancient ancestral town and their olive groves. Whole neighborhoods are disintegrating.

“It takes a lot to confront the street violence.” Because of the mass unemployment among the adults, the children fall into becoming street kids, and, thus the cycle goes round.

Unlike in the West, Muslims, Christians and Jews were close neighbors for hundreds of years in the Fertile Crescent.

In 1929 Arab Muslims and Christians rescued Jews from a massacre of 63 in the Hebron area. After the Second World War, the British evacuated the Jewish survivors from European Death Camps, and allowed them to emigrate to the then Mandate of Palestine. Shortly thereafter, the State of Israel was formed.

The First Arab-Israeli War ended disastrously, isolating Palestine from the rest of the Arab World. After the 1967 War, besides losing half their land, the Palestinian Arabs were humiliated further by having to register as aliens to the Israeli State.

Your author is working on planning a three-day Conference on Palestine during the last weekend in August before Labor Day in Berkeley.

There will be Palestinian Muslims and Christians and even two liberal Israeli rabbis who have been working for a separate Palestinian State.

When we have everything firmed up, I hope The Muslim Observer will get the word out, and I plan on covering the Islamic speakers’ comments for these pages.


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