Opinion: To whom does Palestine belong?

Why did Hamas kill 1,300 and wound 3,300 Israelis on October 7th?  Hamas said it was motivated to launch the attack because of long-term anger over Israeli treatment of Palestinians, expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and recent violent encounters at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque (cbsnews.com).

Israel’s deliberate policies of police brutality, racism, and abuses against Palestinians has been going on since 1947. The birth of Israel led to a major displacement of the Arab population (750,000), who either were driven out by Zionist military forces, by the Israeli army or fled for fear of violence from these forces. 

In 1950, Israel passed a law that authorized the state to seize land and property belonging to “absentee owners”, namely Palestinians who became refuges and whom Israel still won’t allow to return to reoccupy their properties.

In 2018, Israel passed a law legalizing segregation between the Jewish majority and everyone else. This law imposes apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Territories. This law also excludes full citizenship for the Palestinians born and living in Israel. These Palestinians living in Israel and the Occupied West Bank are not seen as a people worthy of equal rights, dignity and respect. Human Rights groups have documented 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians for not being Jewish. The Israeli treatment of Palestinians is far worse than what our Black citizens experienced in the southern American States after the Civil War. Palestinians can lose their homes and properties if they physically protest against Israel’s dehumanizing practices. Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession of their properties and exclusion across all territories under its control clearly amount to apartheid (amnestry.org). 

The following incident in the Gaza Strip may be another reason why Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. Beginning on March 30, 2018 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip began their “Great March of Return” demonstration. The Palestinians were protesting the 11-year Israeli land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip. They wanted the Israeli government to lift this blockade and allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns in Israel. 

On May 14, 2018, some protesters along the Gaza/Israel border fence engaged in violence that involved throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in the direction of Israeli soldiers. Eyewitness testimonies and social media videos gathered by Amnesty International documented that Israeli snipers killed 58 and wounded 1,350 Palestinian unarmed protesters, bystanders, journalists and medical staff who were 165-435 yds inside the border fence. These protesters presented no threat to the Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the fence.  

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, over 150 Palestinians, including 31 children and three paramedics were killed during six months of this demonstration. At least 10,000 others were injured. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition (amnesty.org). 

Jewish settlers in the West Bank have been attacking Palestinian families, sometimes killing them, stealing their farm lands without any negative consequences from the Israeli government or courts. Since 1967, 700,000 Israeli settlers have illegally settled in Palestinian territory within the West Bank. The Israeli group, Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights) have documented these attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians between 2008 and 2018 and has concluded that they are seeing the actions of a Jewish Ku Klux Kan movement. 

Since 2008, the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs has been tracking Palestinian and Israel death and injury data in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel. There have been 5,512 Palestinians killed and 155,716 injured while only 309 Israelis have been killed and 6,331 injured. This verified data documents Israel’s use of excessive violence against Palestinians. This data excludes the deaths and injuries in the Gaza Strip and Israel that occurred on Oct 7, 2023 and after.

In reality, Israel’s Palestinian policies and beliefs created Hamas. These beliefs include believing that all Palestinians are terrorists; the Holy Land (Israel and Palestine) is for Jews only; there is no Israeli guilt in bombing hospitals and refugee camps; and reducing the number of Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip by any means. This is genocide.

What did Israeli politicians think would happen? Did they think the Palestinian people would remain passive and let Israel do these inhumane actions until all the Palestinians left? The Palestinians are telling Israel that this land is also our land and you will not succeed in removing us. We will fight back using the same tactics you have used against us. 

Israel doesn’t care what the world thinks about its laws and actions against the Palestinian people. The shameful truth is that we are supporting Israel’s policies and violence towards Palestinians and their genocide by our unwavering support of Israel in our words, political actions and money. In 2022, we gave Israel $3.3 billion, with 99.7% going to its military (usafacts.org). How much of our money has been used by Israel to kill innocent Palestinians?

Tom Laurent

Nov 27, 2023

One Comment

  1. The Native American

    As an Indigenous person, it’s ridiculous that people recognize “genocide” ONLY when physical violence occurs. Are people really that dumb, uneducated, and ignorant?

    The world is getting a front row seat on what colonization and genocide does to people, and those who benefited from it whether socially or financially.

    As long as greed exists, there will never be equality nor justice.

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