Palestinian Independence Day

Today is Palestinian Independence Day. It is a holiday that began in 1988, but unfortunately it seems to me to be a pre-mature celebration. Although perhaps the Rafah crossing agreement signed today may be a step in that direction. While it arranges for the Palestinian Authority to take control of the border with Egypt, it remains to be seen if Ghaza will be able to control its skies, sea ports, or access to the West Bank. Another item to celebrate is the Rebuilding Alliance’s first home being built in Rachel Corrie’s name broke ground and there is a short film you can watch online.

But there is much to be concerned about as well with respect to true Palestinian independence. I never thought I’d say this, but I am far more impressed by Condoleeza Rice’s words and actions this week than with Hillary Clinton’s (just to be clear: I’ve never respected or admired either woman’s politics). In Ha’aretz today Rice stated, “A Palestinian state would indeed enhance Israeli security.” Finally Rice recognizes this point. But, she still doesn’t see the connection between occupation and terrorism. The real way to end terrorism is to end the Israeli Occupation. Still, it’s a starting point. Now if she could only look at the Annexation Wall and see that it’s got nothing to do with security, it’s not a fence by anyone’s definition, and it’s all about protecting illegal Israeli settlements and separating Palestinians from family, community, schools, hospitals, roads, mosques, churches, land, and water. Which brings me to Hillary. “This is not against the Palestinian people,” Clinton, a New York Democrat, said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around Jerusalem.” What I don’t understand is how a human being with a moral compass can see a concrete wall, that is twice as high as the Berlin wall, and make such a statement. I wonder about the people who showed her around and what they told her. Did they take her through East Al Quds (which is Palestinian territory) to see the Wall run right down the middle of it? To place Al Quds University on the other side of it? Did she see the new illegal Israeli settlers’ outpost by my friend’s home? If anyone wants to tell Hillary what you think I encourage you to write her an email or a letter.

It isn’t just these U.S. visitors who make me have second thoughts about the state of Palestinian Independence today. It’s also the fact that a new illegal Israeli settlement is beginning in Jayyous. It’s also the fact my home state of California wants to invest state money in Israel. I could go on and on (not only today, but any day), but it’s late and I have a cold and I need to get some sleep.

Salam–

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2 thoughts on “Palestinian Independence Day

  1. Dr. Newman,

    What Israel needs is Amir Peretz, the new leader of the Israeli Labour party. If you don’t know too much about him, look up his political views; I think you’ll find them interesting.

  2. Marcy,

    I’ve had some of that same “away-sickness.” The day after I came back from Palestine last December, I walked to the subway, and after I passed a drunk passed out in his own vomit, and another urine-soaked drunk in the subway vestibule, I just wanted to get on the next plane and go back there…I also found I was dreaming about being back in Palestine for months. (Curiously, in some of my dreams I was in the U.S., but it was just like Palestine, with checkpoints etc.–a premonition?) It seems a bit ironic given that some Palestinians dream about living in the U.S. But even though we don’t have occupation, we have problems created by our consumerist culture and our social fragmentation; these problems don’t exist to that level in Palestine…

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