Editor:Today, as has now become routine every couple of years, Americans are once again glued to CNN to find out what is going on in Gaza. Unfortunately, only when a large scale operation is enacted upon this small strip of land, or an Israeli citizen dies from “terrorist” rocket fire, does this conflict receive any serious attention from America. Thanksgiving is here. For me, this is a time to spend with my family members of whom I see far too little. This is also a time for me to reflect upon injustice in the world and how we celebrate in its name. America’s founding seems to play before my eyes when I witness the horror going on in Palestine and Israel. When our forefathers escaped persecution they found a land that was seemingly barren until they met the indigenous populations already there. The indigenous populations of America have faced genocide and their culture is fading into the scarce “reservations” we once gifted them. The “white man” did not quite see eye to eye with these “savages.” These new colonizers did not want to necessarily share their new land in all sense of the word. America’s indigenous populations welcomed them to share the land they believed did not belong to them, but the colonizers’ agenda soon became clear and they had to be resisted. In the end, the colonizers won and settled in what is now the United States. As victims of war and persecution, the Jewish population also sought out new lands to call home and exist in safety. As we know, this dream became reality 64 years ago.
Without arguing who shot first, ending November’s ceasefire, Americans must make an effort to understand what is happening. On Thanksgiving, we owe our slaughtered indigenous brothers and sisters such respect. I do not believe violence is the path to peace, period. However, just as the indigenous people of America had the right to do against selfish, greedy colonizers, today’s international law has reaffirmed the moral right of all occupied populations to resist, “including through armed struggle,” their occupier without targeting citizens. Many people living in Gaza have already been conquered, herded into the Gaza strip after Israel’s founding engulfed their homes and neighborhoods. These refugees, a population of about 1.6 million, live in a strip of land about 24 x 4 miles in size that is under a siege by the Israeli military. Israel controls Gaza’s territorial waters, land borders, airspace, movement of goods, electricity, natural resources, effectively occupying Gaza in addition to the West Bank. When Israel speaks of defending itself against the population they are occupying, when they speak of destroying tunnels used to smuggle weapons when those very same tunnels are the only access to food and building supplies, when they argue Hamas will not recognize “Israel’s right to exist”, at the same time they do not recognize the right of Palestinian existence…once must question, right? While Palestinians in Gaza are besieged, their families in the West Bank suffer daily hardships enforced by Israel’s racist laws and procedures. With all the same restrictions faced in Gaza, the Palestinians in the West Bank are harassed by the military, illegal settlers, apartheid roadways, restriction of movement, home demolitions whilst the land partitioned to them, at the same time Israel’s was, is being annexed illegally.
What do we do when we see injustice in the world, when our fellow humans are so blatantly being denied their rights as such, when Sonoma County will support Israel’s killing and oppression Palestinian men, women and children through approximately $57 million in military aid (could be used in our schools!)? Those sympathetic to the struggle of Palestinians have taken on popular non-violent resistance, mainly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) that was successful in representing the world’s call for an end to South African apartheid. Unfortunately, supporters of such non-violent actions are slandered, libeled, called anti-Semitic and hateful. Then with what means, if not by peaceful demonstration or an occupied people’s armed resistance, will we allow Palestinians have to achieve their right to equality, justice and peace? Loss of life on both sides is horrible. There needs to be a just resolution. This Thanksgiving, I will be thinking of those who lost their homes, their children, their lives. I do not pray for a ceasefire in Gaza today, I pray for the end of the occupation and justice for Palestinians. Rockets may cease landing in Sderot, but Palestinians will still be occupied. No peace without justice.