Thursday, January 24, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 78


 
 









 

Israel disobeys international laws

Lema Mousilli

Many question when the Middle East violence and terror will end. I strongly believe the problem lies in the occupation. Getting rid of the
occupation is like removing a malignant tumor that has eaten away at the peace process for years and claimed the lives of several thousand
people.

In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israelis have ruled these occupied territories and still
rule, despite United Nations resolutions against their actions.

For 34 years, Palestinians have lived under harsh Israeli military rule. The cruel Israeli military occupation and isolation of three million
Palestinians complete with travel permits, checkpoints, "whites-only" neighborhoods and other former trademarks of South Africa mark
Israel as the last remaining apartheid regime in the world.

It's odd that Israel receives an annual $3 billion subsidy from the United States, yet the United States is incapable of making Israel (a country the
size of New Jersey) comply with UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions, which instruct Israel to return the lands it illegally conquered and
allow Palestinians the right to return to their homes.

Well, it is generally accepted by all that, in America, Israel has pretty much won the propaganda war. Behind the reams of newspeak, the stark
outlines of Israel's decades-long daily pressure on a people whose main sin is that they happened to be there in Israel's way, is astoundingly
perceptible in its inhuman cruelty.

So often you hear of a "defenseless Israel" wanting nothing more than peace with the "terrorizing" Palestinians. It would be well to remember that
"defenseless Israel" has the fourth best-equipped army in the world, and ranks fifth (after Russia) in weapons sales around the world.

It has openly defied the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 adopted by Congress. These acts forbid Israel
from using American-made weapons on a defenseless civilian population. Not even in South Africa did F-16 warplanes bomb homelands as they
routinely do Palestinian villages.

Consider what Israel's unrelenting war against the undefended, basically unarmed, stateless and poorly led Palestinian people has already
achieved. The disparity in power is so vast it brings tears to many. Yet Palestinians are routinely called terrorists by the media.

How unfair is this? Particularly when one notes that it is not Palestinians who have used tanks, advanced war planes and helicopter gunships
against civilians; it is not they who use death squads and assassinations; it is not they who imposed collective punishments on innocent civilians.
The Israelis are doing all these things, which are internationally recognized war crimes, to the Palestinians with U.S.-made military equipment.

Sadly, the appalling, unbroken history of Israel's 34-year-old military occupation (the second longest in modern history) of illegally conquered
Palestinian land has been wiped out of public memory. Also forgotten are the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 and the expulsion of 68
percent of its native people, of whom 4.5 million remain refugees today.

The cruel confinement of 1.3 million people jammed into the Gaza Strip, plus the plight of the nearly two million Palestinian residents of the West
Bank, have no parallels in the chronicles of apartheid or colonialism.

So when will the violence in the Middle East end? The minute the occupation does.

Mousilli, a senior English and political
science major, can be reached at lema@mousilli.com.


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