The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project


MIKE MURRAY, Cap Times, Jun 9, 2007

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war in which, most Americans believe, a small, gallant Israel defeated powerful attacking Arab armies.

A few brave Israeli historians now argue that this is a myth and that Israel’s 1967 pre-emptive attack on Egypt was a “war of choice.”

But it is clear enough that the war produced 40 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, as well as Syria’s Golan Heights.

The Israeli occupation is the longest ongoing military occupation in the world. It violates international law and scores of United Nations resolutions. It inflicts daily violence, brutality and humiliation on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, leading to two bloody revolts.

Just days after the war’s end, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem in order to open up the “Western Wall” for Jewish use. Since then, Israel has demolished more than 18,000 Palestinian homes.

More than 240,000 Jewish settlers now live in illegal colonies in the West Bank, using up the water, guarded by Israeli soldiers and traveling Jewish-only roads that trap Palestinians in isolated, economically starved ghettos.

The United States and Israel are blockading the elected Palestinian government, and so the occupied territories are wracked with violence, poverty, unemployment, and malnutrition.

Why should Americans care? There are many regimes that commit human rights violations around the globe. But it is difficult to find another example with such deep U.S. involvement. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.

Some prominent Americans have pointed out that this generates worldwide Arab and Muslim anger and that it is bad for Palestinians, Israel, and the United States.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is timidly beginning to reject the neo-con agenda and grasp the need to extricate the United States from the Iraq nightmare. Yet when it comes to Israel, they rush to join ranks with the Bush administration and pander to Israel’s well-heeled U.S. lobby, AIPAC, in support of the occupation.

The Israeli occupation is carried out with our money, our government’s support, and – in the eyes of the rest of the world – in our names. Unless we insist that our politicians change course, all parties can look forward to another 40 years of bloodshed and suffering.

Murray is a member of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.