Tag Archives: West Bank

Pro-Israel vs Pro-Palestine: Can There Be a Third Option?

About a year ago I wrote a paper on media bias in coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. In her feedback, my professor accused me of being a Palestinian sympathizer and in the same breath called me pro-Israel. This conversation, in my mind, highlights the fact that no matter how careful I am, neutrality on this issue has become nearly impossible.

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Bethlehem, The West Bank: Every morning hundreds of Palestinians line up at the barrier to make it through the checkpoint in time for work in Jerusalem. It often takes 3+ hours to make it through.

Let’s face it, no one wants to talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict. No matter what stance you take, you’re going to offend someone. Since violence and tensions have somewhat lessened since last year, or at least have become overrun by other more flashy news stories, there hasn’t been a whole lot of coverage on the conflict. Though governments may be in a constant process of peace talks and negotiation the situation for most Israeli and Palestinian citizens remains unchanged.

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The Western Wall, Jerusalem

About three years ago I spent some time living in both Israel and the West Bank. As a writer and photographer I naturally blogged about my experience, and the response I got was both shocking and highly predictable. This conflict touches on so many aspects of history and culture that it has become absolutely polarizing on the fronts of ethnicity and religion. Like the situation with my professor I managed to piss off people on both sides as I desperately clung to what I liked to think was middle ground, searching for a “pro-peace” option.

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The Wall Will Fall

Readers, today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. At it’s greatest strength, the barrier separating East and West Berlin stretched 96 miles. 96 miles of concrete and barbed wire.  96 miles of trenches and kill-zones.

And that- all of that- is nothing.

Nothing in comparison to the wall Israel has built in, around, and through the West Bank territory.

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Fame Day: BDS

UN Officials report having warned Israel “17 times” that the school was housing refugees and children.

I’m writing this after one of the deadliest days in the recent bombing of Gaza. As of right now, estimates place the Palestinian death toll for the past 24 hours as being over 100, with many lost after the IDF (“Israel Defense Force”) bombed a UN school-turned-refugee shelter. With the total death count standing at 1,336, it can be tough in such times to feel that there’s any hope- but readers, there is a way to fight back.

It’s called “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions“.

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Why Palestine Can’t Use Nonviolence

I’m sticking with this topic because I was asked, somewhat indirectly, to cover the tactics Hamas has been using. I don’t think I can do that without sounding like an apologist for Hamas- which I’m not a fan of, in spite of my constant proclamations of solidarity with the struggle of Gaza. Still, I wanted to deliver on some level, and the more I thought about it, the more I found myself returning to a quote of JFK’s- that “those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent protest inevitable.”

Whenever any conflict flares up enough in Palestine for the West to take notice, we’re inevitably going to encounter the idea that the Palestinians are to be blamed for not using “peaceful protest”. Such comments usually come from folks who can’t deny the plight of Palestinians but who can’t yet bring themselves to actually take a stand for them- but we’ll get to that in a minute.

At times like these, we tend to cite our own “peaceful protests”, conveniently only talking about the white-washed portions of it. We’ll talk about MLK Jr. all day long, and forget that even such “nonviolent” civil rights luminaries as Fannie Lou Hamer kept herself armed to the teeth. Heck, Hamer herself declared “I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom and the first cracker even look like he wants to throw some dynamite on my porch won’t write his mama again.”

Yes indeed. And only one of many such examples within the “non-violent” movements of the 50s and 60s.

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Fame Day: The Presbyterian Church

Yours truly has not had many good things to say about organized religion, yet today we celebrate just that. Or more specifically, the Presbyterians, who voted on June 20th to divest its holdings in three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) associated with supplying Israel.

In fact, the Presbyterian Church has gone so far as to

1. Call upon all nations to prohibit the import of products made by enterprises in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

2. Call for the boycott of all Israeli products coming from the occupied Palestinian Territories, including AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories Beauty Products, and all date products of Hadiklaim, The Israel Date Growers Co-Operative Ltd, often marked by the brand names: King Solomon Dates and Jordan River (not Israeli products from Israel).

3. Direct the Stated Clerk to communicate this action to all other PC (USA) councils and entities and invite and strongly encourage those groups and organizations to endorse this boycott until significant progress toward Palestinian rights and independence can be reported to the General Assembly or the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (note: formerly General Assembly Mission Council.)

4. Direct the Stated Clerk to inform our ecumenical partners of this action, both nationally and globally, and call upon them to join in the boycott of these companies.

-Presbyterian Mission Agency

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How Many Palestinians Is One Israeli Worth?

Today, we’re going to try to find out the answer to that question.

On the 12th of this month, three Israeli teens hitchhiking back home disappearing, touching off a massive manhunt by the Israeli government that has to date resulted in the arrest of nearly 350 Palestinians and the fatal shooting of three.


Now you might be thinking “Gordon, you clarion bugle of the downtrodden, isn’t that ****ed up beyond all reason? That sounds like a math problem from a demonic algebra class.”

Yes, readers- yes it is. Nearly 350 people have been arrested on “suspicion” of involvement in the disappearance of these three boys.

350.

Not counting the dead. Continue reading