I wasn’t going to post this here, but the response to the op-ed I wrote in a Boise newspaper the week I moved away is especially worthy of a read. A great example of people who are so filled with propaganda that they can’t even handle this very tame piece I wrote for al nakba. NB: Headlines are not mine.
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MAY 14, 2008
Searching For Home
Reflections on Israeli independence
BY MARCY NEWMAN
Just about three years ago, I wandered into a Palestinian refugee camp for the first time. Deheishe refugee camp lies a couple of miles from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and is one of 59 such refugee camps in the West Bank alone. It is clear when you come upon this, or any other refugee camp, that you are entering a different sort of space—one that is densely populated, with narrow alleys, and oftentimes raw sewage running down the streets. But it is the people of this refugee camp—and others in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon—who make the best of these abysmal circumstances by creating tightly-knit communities that the confines thrusts upon them.
Stumbling upon this community was in some ways an accident. In all my years of research about Palestine and Israel, I had not yet come to understand the root of the problem. I had been distracted by what I had imagined was the key to a peaceful solution: Palestinian and Israeli children who collaborated in various dialogue initiatives.
Indeed, it was a film broadcast on Idaho Public Television just after September 11, 2001, entitled Promises, that documented these sorts of encounters which first put Deheishe onto my radar screen. But I had missed the point in my exuberance over the possibility of Palestinian and Israeli coexistence, which this film, like so much of our media in the United States, obscures.
Palestinian refugee camps hold the key to our understanding of historical narratives that have been silenced, as well as international laws that have been violated. As we process the American media this week, much of which is intent on maintaining an imbalance that privileges an Israeli perspective in relation to its 60 anniversary, we must also take a moment to consider the gaps and fissures of those who are not afforded a platform to voice their side of the narrative.
For Palestinians May 15 is not a day to be celebrated, but rather it is a day to be mourned. Al Nakba is the Arabic name for this day and its surrounding historical events. Literally, it means “the catastrophe.” The word encompasses the entirety of the Zionist ethnic-cleansing project, masterminded by David Ben-Gurion as Plan Dalet to remove the indigenous Palestinian population from the land to make room for predominantly European Jewish settler colonists. The end result was that 750,000 Palestinians became refugees.
Of the 531 villages that were ethnically cleansed, more than 70 percent were totally destroyed in order to prevent Palestinians from returning to those villages. To cover up these war crimes, the Jewish National Fund, an entity that holds Israeli land in trust for Jews around the world, planted forests over the ruins of these villages. As a young Jewish girl, I recall receiving certificates from the JNF stating that someone had planted a tree in Israel in my name.
When I took youth from Dehieshe to visit their villages in historic Palestine a couple of years ago, I recall the horrific feeling that came over me upon entering the Menachem Begin National Forest, which had once been my young friend Lina’s village of Ras Abu Ammar. We spent hours searching for remnants of her family’s home using mental maps her grandparents shared with her.
There are other Palestinian villages that are visible. Villages like Zakariyya, where Israelis inhabit Palestinian homes that my young friends’ families once dwelled in. Or villages like Jerash, where no Israelis live, but the ruins of a Palestinian village on the hilltop are easily visible. In all of these villages are the stories of Al Nakba, which helps us to understand the root of this 60 year conflict. At the other end of the story is the desire for these young people and their families to have the right to return to their villages as codified in United Nations Resolution 194, which enshrines into international law that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible.” These two bookends—Al Nakba and the right of return—are the keys to solving the conflict between Palestine and Israel, a conflict that can only be solved by recognizing human rights and international law.
Dr. Marcy Newman is assistant professor of English at Boise State
Isabel, Canyon County 5/16/2008 – 1:21pm
I always cringe when I see Marcy Newman’s name. I know it will be something against Jews, even though she is Jewish. In her article on Palestinian refugee camps, she does not discuss the equal transfer of peoples from Arab countries to Israel in 1948, as Jews were thrown out with no possessions, losing their homes, businesses and money. They had a hard time making it in a new country as refugees. No one has ever asked them to go back and mourn over the businesses, lands, communities they lost. No one cares about their losses, frankly. Also, as to raw sewage, Israel has installed fresh drinking water and sewer pipe repeatedly in all refugee camps in their jurisdiction. The PLO types always tear them up within a week–sewage works so much better to stir up international sympathizers such as Marcy Newman. Third, as she well knows, the UN offered a two-state solution as Israel was formed in 1948. Israel accepted this deal. It was 5 Arab countries who rejected that and wanted ALL of Israel for their people. So don’t cry on my shoulder, Palestinians. Talk to your Arab leaders who refuse to grant citizenship to your people in any of their countries, who refuse to settle your people elsewhere and keep you in poverty for their own reasons, mainly to keep the terrorist element focussed on Israel instead of the corrupt, totalitarian Arab governments.
gliverson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Canyon County 5/16/2008 – 7:13pm
There have been miracles in this world, and Israel is one of those. With the entire Arab world out to crush, annihilate, murder, bomb, behead, all Jews…. God’s Israel still exists…. much to the chagrin of many! Israel is and has been the ONLY democracy, by Rule of Law (even for enemies) all along. They provide water, sewer, hospital care, and much more for (even) those who hate them and try to kill them….. you would think that the Arab and Palestinian idiots would recognize a good thing…. no way!!! They teach their smallest children to lie, hate, steal, murder and kill (even today) in the name of Allah….. the Religion of Peace? I am saddened by what I see over there! but I do NOT feel sorry for the Palestinians at all! They could have had Peace long ago if that was what they wanted…. they didn’t…. they wanted genocide of the Jewish race no matter what it cost….. it cost them a lot and still does. Israel is a premier nation of amazing science, religion, and agriculture, while the Hammas idiots that are firing missles at Israel are less than a 3rd world country caused by their own evil!
tsalam, West Boise 5/16/2008 – 8:12pm
Re: comments by Marcy Newman Again we see Marcy Newman posting in a local venue with her misinformation and skewed “facts” about Israel and the Arabs occupying Jewish land. It makes me wonder why she bothers to write this garbage in a local paper to be read by only a handful in a small town like Boise. Is she trying to convince a handful of people here or is she trying to convince herself of her convoluted reasoning? I also have to wonder about her story of “wandering” into a refugee camp. One is not free to “wander” anywhere in the Arab occupied areas of Israel unless they have a very powerful escort of locals. It is just not safe unless you have some very powerful friends there. As anyone who has a computer can research, since the mid-1800’s when the Jews began returning to their land after some 2000 years and rebuilding their homeland, the Arabs began coming to Israel for work from their historical lands to improve their lives. The Arabs are not native to the Jewish land of Israel. They are the interlopers. Until the Jews began returning there were only a handful of Arabs who even lived in Israel, which was then called the REGION of Palestine and included Trans-Jordan. In that time, Palestinians were anyone who lived in the region of Palestine, especially Jews. The Arabs occupying Jewish land have had numerous opportunities to build a viable society for themselves and have failed to do so. The latest opportunity was when Israel turned over the historically Jewish land of Gaza to the Arabs which included beautiful farms, municipal buildings, schools and homes and what did they do, they destroyed almost everything there. All of the infrastructure was in place for them to come out of the U.N. “refugee camps” and move in. The next thing they did was to elect a stronger Arab terrorist force, Hamas, to run the government. Repeated polls show some 75% of the Arabs in these refugee camps want to continue killing Jews. These Arabs in the “refugee camps” are the most heavily funded people in history. Especially since 1993, hundreds of billions of dollars have been paid to them to “better their lives”. One can see where most of the money has gone by looking on the hills overlooking these “refugee camps” and see luxurious Arab villas with all the amenities. Instead of blaming the Jews the Arabs should be blaming their own corrupt government leaders. Besides all the money that is poured in the area,every week, hundreds of semi-trucks of food and necessities for living are transferred to them from Israel. Israel supplies most of their electricity and water. Israel provides medical supplies on a weekly basis and hundreds of Arabs are treated for medical problems in Israel each year. What does Israel get in return, thousands of daily rockets hitting their communities sent as a “thank you” from Marcy Newman’s friends. Do you hear “war crimes” or “nakba” by the world for this outrage? The answer to the conflict is not the return of the Arabs who left willingly or were told to do so by the Arab League in 1948. The answer to the conflict is to replace the corrupt terrorist regime that rules in the Arab areas. It is to replace the school curriculum that teaches hatred and lies about the Jews and the West to all their kids beginning in kindergarten. It is for people like Marcy Newman to stop writing these blogs full of hatred and misinformation so people can learn the truth about the conflict. Happy 3060th birthday Israel. May you live long and prosper.
Ahavah, West Boise 5/16/2008 – 10:01pm
It has been said that if you repeat a lie long enough, it will eventually be accepted as truth. I for one think this is what has happened to Marcy Newman, and to anyone who actually believes there is a JEWISH reason for the so-called Palestinian refugee problem. “Palestinian refugees” is a big lie. The so-called “native population” that were “evicted” by the Israelis, were, in 1948, encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders, who promised to “purge” Israel of all the Jews. Nothing is said about the Jewish refugees that were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms. The truth is that the Arab League keeps the Palestinian refugees issue as a political weapon against Israel. The bottom line is that Israel has a right to the Land, both historically, legally, and most importantly, Biblically. A Jew, above anyone else, should know this, and stop defending the “poor Palestinians”. Happy Birthday Israel! In no way is it “the catastrophe”! It is a time for rejoicing! L’ Chaim! Am Israel Chai!