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Home arrow Blog arrow November 2009 arrow November 28, 2009

November 28, 2009
November 28, 2009: The Holiday's in Palestine  

A People's History of Thanksgiving

By Ramzy Baroud
November 26, 2009


This week Americans will observe "Thanksgiving" commemorating a romanticized era in their nations record, celebrating the supposed solidarity and brotherhood enjoyed by the first settlers and the indigenous people of what is now called the United States. However, this fantastic tale of friendship contradicts the candid remarks of many notable personalities in US history.

Few can be as blunt regarding the legacy of the United States toward the native people of this land as the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. In his narrative, "The Winning of the West," Roosevelt spoke about the "spread of the English-speaking peoples over the world's wasted spaces." He wrote: "The European settlers moved into an uninhabited waste...the land is really owned by no one.... The settler ousts no one from the land. The truth is, the Indians never had any real title to the soil."

In an interview with the British Sunday Times, on June 15, 1969, former Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir made similar claims, stating, "There was no such thing as Palestinians. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist."

While Native Americans and Palestinians were the ancient indigenous peoples of their lands, this was of little or no relevance to the foreign settlers. What really mattered was "Manifest Destiny", what really mattered was "Zionism".

Roosevelt goes on: "The world would probably not have gone forward at all, had it not been for the displacement or submersion of savage and barbaric peoples as a consequence of the armed settlement in strange lands of the races who hold in their hands the fate of the years."

In the mid forties, David Ben-Gurion declared that Israel is adopting a system of "aggressive defense. With every Arab attack we must respond with a decisive blow: the destruction of the place or the expulsion of the residents along with the seizure of the place."

My grandparents, mother and father, along with nearly one million people were expelled from their land after the brutal destruction of 418 villages and towns, and the murder of thousands of Palestinians. They spread in all directions, mostly on foot to clear space for the Chosen People. They settled in refugee camps, concentration camps, which are still in existence until today. My grandparents along with my mother, father and brother are buried in one of those camps.

Ben Gurion retired in 1963, four years before Israel invaded the rest of Palestine, the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. It created another tragedy, another dispossession, all with the hope that the state of Israel can become purely Jewish. Israel defied international law that called for the right of return for Palestinians refugees. Instead, it instituted its own law, shortly after its establishment in 1948, issuing the right of return for Jews only. Any one of Jewish race, anywhere in the world was and is still allowed to come to Palestine, granted citizenship, to live free of charge on a land that is not his, in a place where he does not belong.

Amid this savagery, land grabbing and dehumanization of the victims, both the United States and Israel have managed to convince themselves that the way they treated their victims was in fact humane and civilized. "No other conquering or colonizing nation has ever treated savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States," Roosevelt said.

Likewise, what many have called "the most moral army in the world", many Israeli officials could very well be held to international account for their involvement in Israel’s infamous Operation Cast Lead, which lead the to deaths of nearly 1,500 innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip just about one year ago.

From targeting civilians to completely ravaging the civilian infrastructure to using civilians as human shields to using illegal weapons on civilians, the Israeli army rose to new heights regarding the capacity and potential of human savagery.

Judge Richard Goldstone, who lead the UN delegation said that he had witnessed things in Gaza that would give him nightmares for the rest of his life. Such contemporary acts of barbarity bring to mind comments made by Roosevelt regarding the conduct of his armies: "No other conquering or colonizing nation has ever treated savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States."
Please allow me to shift the course of my thoughts to finish with these great words from the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians:

"We want freedom from the white man rather than to be integrated. We don't want any part of the establishment, we want to be free to raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to be able to hunt and fish and live in peace. We want to be ourselves. We want to have our heritage, because we are the owners of this land and because we belong here.

"The white man says, there is freedom and justice for all. We have had their "freedom and justice," and that is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this."

Similar are the sentiments of Abdelrazik Abu al-Hayjah, the Palestinian Administrator of the Jenin refugee camp, who declared after the Israeli massacre of Jenin in 2002:

"If they will destroy the camp many times, the people of Jenin will rebuild it, because with every time the peoples' courage and determination intensify. The more Israel brutalizes Palestinians, the stronger their resistance shall be. Israel cannot resolve its problems by force. They have to understand that Palestinians' quest for freedom cannot be stopped. Its only human nature for people to resist, to regain their freedom.

"The (Palestinian) people do not hate Israelis because their names are different, or because their language is different. Nor do they hate them because they have anything against the Jewish religion, but because they are occupiers, and as long as they are occupiers, the resistance will go on. The Palestinian resistance shall live as long as the occupation lives."

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story" (Pluto Press, London), now available for pre-orders on Amazon.com.





Back to Bil'in: Part 2

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Part 1: Read more...

Some 30 Israelis and 25 internationals joined the people of Bil'in for the Id al Adha demonstration against the wall. Demonstrators marched with Palestinian flag coloured balloons, chanting slogans and imbued with holiday spirit. The army didn't let the relatively small number of demonstrators confuse them. After a formal holiday greeting, they immediately started throwing gas canisters. The wind, possibly in solidarity with the ovine population, blew directly in the demonstrators' faces, and made it difficult for them to maintain their stance. Demonstration leaders were seen scolding soldiers for their crimes while simultaneously scolding shabab for their disobedience to the no-stone-throwing-at-the-gate policy. Several demonstrators suffered direct hits by gas canisters, and some expensive holiday outfits were permanently scarred by the black soot of the struggle.

- Dr. Roy Wagner, Senior lecturer Computer Science Department Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo

http://www2.mta.ac.il/~rwagner



 
Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 5:55 PM
To:

The international day for solidarity with the Palestinian People in the Palestinian Eid holiday, dozens suffered teargas inhalation in Bili’n’s weekly protest.

     Under the slogan, “Towards a Palestine free from settlements, the Wall, Apartheid roads, checkpoints and roadblocks, and for one united Palestine with no islands and cantons”, the residents of Bili’n gathered in a protest after the Friday prayer joined by international and Israeli activists. The protesters raised Palestinian flags and banners calling to hold on to Palestinian rights like Jerusalem, right of return, borders, access to water, the release of all detainees and removing the wall and settlements.

One of the representative leaders of Fatah, Mohammed al-Madaniy, and Leila Ghanam, the Governor of Ramallah and al-Bireh, joined the Bil’in residents in today’s demonstration.

A Greek group participated with the people in Bil’in to give their support.

    The international activists carried banners showing their solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian right to resist the occupation and live in peace on their land. A British activist, Jody Macantyre, said “We came to be in solidarity with the Palestinians, we believe in their right to live in peace. We are here today in Bili’n because we see the Wall as an obstacle to the building of a Palestinian state” from America Sasha Solanas said “ I’m here today to show my solidarity with the Palestinians in Bili’n on the International Day for the Solidarity with the Palestinian people. I have heard a lot about this village and the weekly protests against the wall and settlements. I admire the struggle in Bili’n, and I’m happy to be here with you today.”

    The protesters marched towards the wall built on the land of Bili’n chanting and singing slogans to resist the occupation, hold on to the Palestinian rights, and a national unity among the Palestinians. When the demonstration reached the razor wire placed by Israeli soldiers to block the protesters, the Israeli army announced a closed military zone, but the protest kept moving towards the gate. The Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters and stun grenades, dozens suffered teargas inhalation.

Thank you for you continued support,

Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
co-founder  of Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin

Email-
Mobile- (00972) (0) 547847942
Office- (00972) (2) 2489129
Mob
ile- (00972) (0) 598403676



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