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Canada must be condemned for its support of Israel

Sunday, November 18, 2012

17 Comments

Written by Peter Miller

War today brings more deaths to civilians than to soldiers. Populations are bombed with the buzzing of drones overhead.

Palestinians in Gaza are facing air strikes and strikes from military ships off the coast as this article is being written. 

There have been 80 deaths in the most recent offensive from Israel called Operation Pillar of Defense. 77 Palestinians and 3 Israeli civilians have died. Over 600 Palestinians have been wounded, including children.

On November 5, 2012, a 20-year-old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers when he wandered close to the Israeli – Palestine border. Then again, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 came after these triggering events.

Later, on November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza called for a truce, Israel assassinated the leader of the Hamas’ Military wing, Ahmed Jabari.

Israel has called up 75,000 army reserves in order to build up along the southern border of the Gaza strip. There is growing worry that Israel will go on a ground invasion into Gaza. This offensive from Israel comes close to election time, when the ultra-right wing Israeli Government wants to use war for political gain and to push Israeli citizens to the right. It also comes with the growing threat of war between the West and Iran.

Since June 2007, Gaza’s population of over 1.5 million has been under siege and isolated from the outside world. Vital resources like building supplies, medical supplies, mechanical parts, fuel, and clothing have been prohibited from entering Gaza. Food has even been restricted to the point where Gaza civilians are given barely enough to live. According to a UN report in 2009, 75 percent of Gaza’s population is food insecure. The blockade is a form of apartheid and collective punishment being forced upon the Palestinian population by Israel.

According to OXFAM, hospitals experience power cuts lasting for 8 – 12 hours a day, 25-30% of Gaza’s households do not receive running water, 80 per cent of the water in Gaza falls below World Health Organization standards, and 95 per cent of industrial operations in Gaza have stopped because of the lack of electricity, production materials, and ability to export goods. According to the Red Cross, 30 per cent of the Arable land in Gaza lies within a buffer zone beside the Israeli made apartheid wall. The Red Cross also reports that Palestinians that attempt to farm this land are often shot at.

Canadian relations with Israel must be condemned. Canada is a strong ally of Israel and supports the blockade on Gaza, as well as Israel’s apartheid regime. Israel’s actions fall under apartheid. The United Nations’ Convention Against Apartheid defines apartheid as “Acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

One characteristic of apartheid is the denial of the “right to life and liberty of person” for a group of people.  An attack against this right is happening on a huge scale right now for Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and it happened again on a huge scale during Operation Cast Lead, Israelis offensive on Gaza in 2009 that saw an estimated 1400 civilians killed.

Palestinians also live under a different set of laws than Israelis. Under Israeli law, Palestinians can be detained indefinitely without trial, something that is not the case for Israeli citizens.

And of course, it is important not to forget the illegal Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West bank resulting in thousands of Palestinian homes being demolished, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians being left homeless. The UN calls for the settlements in the occupied territories to be dismantled and given back to Palestinian Refugees.

Canadians need to voice our outrage at the Canadian government for its compliance with Israel. Stephen Harper has stated that he respects Israel’s “right to defend itself” when Israel is not acting in defense but on the offensive and killing innocent civilians.

There have been protests across Canada and across the world calling for Israel to stop its system of apartheid and stop the offensive on Gaza. We must call on the Canadian Government to follow the majority of countries at the UN that call for Israeli apartheid to end. It is outrageous that Canada trades with Israel, and that Canadian corporations profit from apartheid. This must end.

Here is a link to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that calls for an end to relations with Israel for as long as it is committing such systemic violence: http://www.bdsmovement.net/

Universities in Canada should take part in BDS. Students Against Israeli Apartheid target Hewlett Packard (HP) among other companies in their divestment campaigns at the University of Toronto and York University.  HP provides Israel with IT infrastructure including Biometric Identification Systems that are used at checkpoints in the occupied territory. The University of Guelph received $6.2 million from HP for the science complex, and our university accepted a grant to use HP tablet PCs in first-year CIS seminars in 2007. There have been other deals between HP and UofG over the years as well, and it is unacceptable that our university works with a company that profits from apartheid.

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  1. Posted by: on Nov 24, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    The fact that you are calling Israel an apartheid state completely disrespects those who suffered in apartheid South Africa.

    Do your research. Israel is not an apartheid state.

  2. Posted by: Emily on Nov 26, 2012 @ 11:41am

    After reading this article I felt the need to express some of my concerns. I think it is important to note that discourse and media coverage on the Israel-Palestine conflict has been very one-sided and often anti-Semitic. I of course do not wish to undermine the human rights that have been violated, and the human suffering that has occurred but it is important (especially as University students) to look at all sides of an issue. I find the very biased approach that many groups on campus have taken in regard to this issue unsettling and wish that there could be a more open dialogue on the subject. I also worry about the implications that the rise of anti-semitism will have on Jewish persons living all over the world.

  3. Posted by: on Nov 26, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    I would have to agree with Emily! I could not have said it better myself. Emphasizing Emily's point, there is no denying the impeding Human Rights concerns. However, you just discussed a conflict detailing only the actions taken by Israel. I think it is easy to forget that it takes TWO to tango. Unfortunately, both the PLO and Israel have caused mush human suffering. In my own opinion, the real tragedy is the lack of compassion, and quick finger pointing seen in both this article and in the ideological battle being played out over various social media.

    Furthermore, I think it is especially interesting how you decided to emphasize the issue of Palestinian rights. "Palestinians also live under a different set of laws than Israelis. Under Israeli law, Palestinians can be detained indefinitely without trial, something that is not the case for Israeli citizens."

    I do not know if you are aware but in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all passed anti-terrorism legislation that has permitted individuals to be detained without any charges laid against them if they are found to pose a security threat- through the issuing of a security certificate. Although in Canada the individual named in a security certificate is entitled to a trial within a reasonable time period, this is done in secret without the individual present. (see ATA and IRPA)

    Furthering Emily's point, their are grave implications that arise from your article. It is with immense concern, that I urge you to seriously consider producing a less bias article. I understand that you may want to focus on Human Rights concerns which is perfectly acceptable. However, if that is the case, than maybe you should focus on what NGOs and other Humanitarian groups are doing to assist those in need rather than merely detailing one side of a conflict.

  4. Posted by: Paddy_OB on Nov 26, 2012 @ 6:58pm

    Emily, your post is what raises the most concerns here. Are you really calling the author anti-semitic? This is a grave insult and should not be thrown around lightly in a debate like this.

    If you were not referring to the author but to general media coverage, then the least of things you could have done is back up your statement with facts. My general impression has been that the mainstream media has overwhelmingly taken the side of Israel, let alone demonstrated any anti-semitism. One need only to look at how the media treats Israel’s few casualties as tragedies, while downplaying the now over 160 Palestinian dead. Our governments have also overwhelmingly taken the side of Israel.

    It would also help if you were more explicit about the supposed bias and anti-semitism you see around you. You call for an open dialogue and everything, but don’t have anything to back up your criticism of those “many groups” on campus that are allegedly biased. The truth is that these groups are more than willing to have an open debate on the issue of Palestine and Israel. The sad thing is that whenever they open their mouth on the issue, groups that support Israel try to shut them down in every way possible. You yourself don’t sound like you want a real debate when you throw such serious insults as anti-semitic right off the bat, without any basis.

    This time Israel has gone too far though. We will make sure to have a real debate. Stay tuned to this page, there’s a lot more coming.

  5. Posted by: Paddy_OB on Nov 26, 2012 @ 7:21pm

    Hrafla, your argument about lack of compassion, looking at the two sides and talking about NGOs totally fails to grasp what this issue is all about. This is about the unfair and unjust relationship between Palestine and Israel. The only balanced to look at this issue is criticize Israel relentlessly. Israel is the colonial power invading a weaker country here.

    Israel is supported by the US and nearly every major industrialised country in the world. The US bankrolls them to the tune of over $3 billion every year. It enjoys unconditional support in its actions from the US, all the while it continues stealing Palestinian territory. It’s not Peter’s article that’s one sided; it’s the conflict. For decades, Israel has been conquering Palestinian territory and encircling their remaining land. Today Gaza is under siege. Gazans can’t access 30% of their agricultural land (not to mention the land that was stolen from them on now Israeli territory), they can’t access much of their sea territory. They are not allowed to import many basic items, including medical supply. Gaza is an open air prison.

    Meanwhile, in Cisjordania, Israeli settlers are continuing to burn Palestinian villages and farms to steal their land. Palestinians have effectively lost most of the arable they still had a right to due to these savage attacks by Israeli zealots that enjoy the full support of the Israeli state, and, de facto, the US. This is a situation of complete injustice in face of which the Palestinians are powerless.

    We can’t have an open, fair discussion on this issue if we don’t acknowledge the unequal power relations that underlie this conflict. Unfortunately, the name-calling approach of Emily, and the refusal to acknowledge the political nature of this that Hrafla puts forward undermine this discussion, and, ultimately, its resolution. If one is genuinely interested in resolving this situation, rather than blindly defending one side, then one must look at the injustice at the center of the conflict.

    I will end by sharing this link to an article that interviews Israeli soldiers talking about the horrible deeds their country’s colonial enterprise has done in Palestine. Hopefully they won’t be denounced as anti-semitic too. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/israel-soldiers-testimony-idf-gaza

  6. Posted by: peterm on Nov 26, 2012 @ 7:27pm

    Hi Elyse. I think you should read an article that argues about why Israel is an apartheid state. The link is here:

    http://www.thecannon.ca/viewpoints/opinions/opinion_why_we_call_it_apartheid

    The article was written by Greg Shupak, a former PHD student at Guelph who is now teaching English at Guelph Humber.

    I also must disagree with you that I am disrespecting those who suffered apartheid in South Africa. Prominent people who struggled against South African apartheid have said that Palestinians are suffering from apartheid just like South Africans did in the past.

    The former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, has condemned Israeli apartheid. In a letter he wrote to Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, he said:

    “Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.”

    Desmond Tutu, a former South African Arch Bishop who was an advocate against South African Apartheid, has also stated his opposition to Israeli Apartheid. Desmond Tutu who is a recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize has said that Israel must:

    "Strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories side by side with Israel, both with secure borders."

    And Baleka Mbete, the chairperson of the ANC and former Deputy Minister of South Africa, has also discussed Israeli apartheid. After travelling to Israel and Palestine, she said the Israeli regime is not only comparable but “far worse than apartheid South Africa”

    Above are words from three famous South Africans that would disagree with your comment that I was disrespecting South Africans who lived under apartheid in my article.

  7. Posted by: Emily on Nov 26, 2012 @ 10:00pm

    Paddy_OB,
    Firstly, I stated that media coverage has been anti-Semitic, not this particular article and carry no animosity towards the author whatsoever. I am more concerned that on campus, dialogue has been very biased as it is not a black and white issue. As an educational institute it is important that we first educate, then critically analyze and discuss issues before taking sides or pointing fingers.
    Also since I was merely addressing broad concerns in response to an internet article, I did not feel the need to reference academic sources to back up my point. However, I would encourage you to review the literature on the subject. I have reviewed the literature and there is a large amount of evidence on how discourse on the conflict has been anti-Semitic, particularly in Europe. This has had real implications for Jewish people, as it is a well documented fact that anti-semitic violence has increased at an alarming rate in the EU since 2000. This has been directly linked to views of Judaism as a result of discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    I also found your comment alarmingly biased and attacking. You seem to have very strong opinions on the subject, but did not demonstrate broad knowledge of the subject. For example although you mentioned the financial support that Israel has received from the US, you failed to mention the large amount of financial support that Palestine has received from the EU as well as academic and political boycotts of Israel. Indeed it is a very complicated conflict, which is why I think students should be given the opportunity to have a free, unbiased space to learn about and discuss the topic. After all this is the only way we will reach any solutions for lasting peace, taking sides will only result in more problems.
    I am truly sorry if my argument offended you, but I do feel that my point has been misinterpreted. I do not deny that Canadian and US government policy is problematic. I also recognize the horrors that Palestinians face due to the actions of the Israel government and that discourse on Palestine has had anti-Islamic and racist undertones. I am no more anti or pro Palestine than I am Israel. I am merely concerned that groups at the university have been too close minded on the subject, and the real implications that this will have.
    This subject is very dear to my heart as I have Jewish friends that have been hurt by biased views of the conflict on campus. I have also had the humbling experience of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. This does not prevent me from being critical of Israel, but I am also critical of how arguments have been framed.
    In conclusion I would encourage you to be more open minded and look more critically at all sides of the conflict. This is a valuable tool that will help you throughout your university career and in your daily life. Also consider the realities that people have to face, as it is also too easy to make judgements when we do not have to face the implications.

  8. Posted by: Emily on Nov 27, 2012 @ 9:57am

    First off I want to apologize for yet another comment on this post, I promise that this will be my last. I feel as if my initial comment has misinterpreted, which understandable as the term 'anti-Semitism' tends to raise a lot of reaction and maybe I have not been completely clear in my argument. So I will try to better explain what I was trying to express in my initial comment as eloquently as I can.

    Well I'm by no means an expert on the topic but I just finished a research paper on the effect of discourse on public support for foreign policy specifically in the EU so I have read quite a bit on the topic. There are alarming examples of how the conflict has been racialized, in terms of both anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism. There has also been widespread documented proof and official acknowledgement of extreme growth in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, as well as documentation of decline in public attitudes towards Jewish people in Europe. There has also been increasing hostility in this discourse, meaning that these trends will probably be on the rise.

    I am not saying that the discourse promoted by UofG groups has been anti-Semitic, because as far as I know it hasn't. What I take issue with is the fact that these groups have taken a very biased stance on the conflict (and of course I think people are free to have these opinions, I am certainly not anti-Palestine or pro-Israel, I like most people just want peace among the two) but they have portrayed the conflict in a very black and white manner, omitting important information and failing to generate discussion on the topic. Also I do not think that actual lasting peace will be achieved by promoting one side over the other.

    As well while not being overtly anti-Semetic, it has been documented that people often confuse Israel and ZIonism with Judaism in general, so I think that there should be more discussion about how this is not the case, and recognition that discourse on the subject can potentially lead to racist attitudes and how to avoid that. I am perturbed that groups claiming to support diversity and anti-oppression have failed to discuss the issues in Palestine as well as Israel. I did attend events during anti-apartheid week last year hoping to gain a better understanding of the topic, but I was disappointed that this was not the case.

    I have been criticized for being too vague and lacking proof that this bias exists on campus groups. To provide an example is OPIRG's upcoming Guelph Rally for Peace in Gaza and the facebook page for the event states "join in solidarity with the Palestinian people to protest the violent actions of the Israeli government." This is followed by facts about the persecution of Palestinians with no other information on the conflict. Also Israeli anti-apartheid week is extremely biased. I have yet to hear of an event surrounding the conflict on campus that has promoted open dialogue on the matter

    To be continued in yet another post..

  9. Posted by: Emily on Nov 27, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Since we are a university, there is an inherent duty to promote a better understanding of issues, generating debate and critically analyzing things at all levels. That is the only way that positive progress will ever be made in the world. I'm not saying that I am against support for Palestine, that all criticism of Israel is inherently anti-Semitic or that I support Canadian policy on the issue (heaven knows I am not a big Harper fan), I am merely challenging University groups and discourse to do a better job at framing their arguments within a broader context, as it will be beneficial to the general student population and will actually help to strengthen and give validity to their arguments.

    Taking an overly biased stance on such a complex issue without discussing it more broadly is very dangerous, and this is a tactic that extremist anti-Israel groups have taken. This has lead to their racializing the debate in order to mobilize support for Palestine and action against Israel. Taking a biased stance without explaining context is unethical, unacademic and it is a slippery slope. I would hate to think that events on campus whose aim is to promote solutions and change in the Middle East could have the potential effect of producing closed minded individuals rather than better educated and empowered ones. It's lack of understanding and ignorance that leads to intolerance. There is a lot of anti-Semitic pro-Palestine literature out there so if students are of the mindset of promoting Palestine at all costs rather than engaging in research with open minds then this can only have negative consequences.

    I realize this is very long winded but I am pretty passionate about the subject and since it's such a controversial topic it's not easy to explain my position in a few short sentences. I am not trying to say that we need to give any criticism of Israel the anti-Semitic stamp, but we do need to discuss the possibility of anti-Semitism, criticize any biases that we perceive and generally try to promote better understanding of the conflict. This is admittedly not an easy task but it is a very important one. Beyond that people are free to take whatever stance they want, and participate in positive activism to promote that stance, but the place of University groups is to create the unbiased, safe space to openly discuss the context from which this activism is formed, not just skip this stage and jump right to finger pointing.

    In conclusion Patty_OB I think we are on the same side in wanting a more open debate. I hope that the discussion this article has generated will encourage at least one student to learn about the conflict, or question bias in the representation of any issue.

  10. Posted by: on Nov 27, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Good Afternoon Paddy_OB,

    Thank-you for the response. I agree with you in that this conflict is most definitely about the relationship between the PLO and Israel, and as you have described it an unfair and unjust one. However, where my opinion diverges from yours is where you say, "The only balanced to look at this issue is criticize Israel relentlessly. Israel is the colonial power invading a weaker country here." You are suggesting that because the PLO is the weaker country and Israel has “invaded” them, that the only balanced way to look at an issue is to criticize Israel. This approach and extreme narrow framing of a conflict is not useful in assessing International Relations. If a conflict involves two actors, do you not think it is useful to examine the actions of both of those actors? My issue with the article is that it seemed to be extremely one sided. In my opinion, in order to have meaningful discussion about a conflict, you have to examine all sides of that conflict. It seems as though many have taken a very black-and-white approach to the issue, only citing the actions of the Israelis. I am not trying to minimize the impact or affect of these actions, nor am I taking a pro-Israeli or anti-Palestine stance here. I am also NOT denying that there is an unequal power relationship between the two actors. However, by using such narrow framing the conflict is being over simplified. As professor Spears explains in his Conflict and Conflict Resolution course- conflict is MESSY! This can especially apply to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

  11. Posted by: on Nov 27, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Moreover, in your response to your comment that my "argument about lack of compassion, looking at the two sides and talking about NGOs totally fails to grasp what this issue is all about," I would have to agree with you. Talking about NGOs fails to grasp what the issue is all about. However, my comment about NGOs was in response to the human rights and humanitarian issues that the article discusses extensively. The article details many of the humanitarian concerns facing those individuals in Gaza. If the purpose of the article was humanitarian in nature- it was effective in detailing some of the main concerns; and as I suggested, the discussion could have been furthered by explaining the various actions and steps that NGOs and NPOs have taken. However, we both know this was the purpose of the article. In short, if you are going to discuss a conflict- it may be useful to take a more holistic approach. Otherwise, it would be more enlightening to read about action taken by NGOs than a piece that cites all the humanitarian issues, points-fingers, and presents a very one sided op-ed.

    I recognize that a lot of the humanitarian concerns are a direct result of Israel's decisions. However, there was no mention of the concern for civilians that Hamas has put in danger as they have launched rockets from residential areas in Gaza targeting civilians. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are commendable for their actions and although there may be an unequal power balance at play one must still strive to examine the actions of both actors.

    Furthermore, in regards to your comment that, "...the refusal to acknowledge the political nature of this that Hrafla puts forward undermine this discussion, and, ultimately, its resolution." The only thing undermining this discussion is the blatant narrow framing being used. How is examining the actions of only one group of individuals in a conflict useful?

  12. Posted by: D_L on Nov 27, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    There is a serious problem with the history of Paddy_0B's earlier comments. Claiming that Israel is an imperialist country stealing more and more of the Palestinians land is factually incorrect.
    There has never been an arab country known as Palestine. Palestine is a word that was used to define the ottoman territory and later a British which included all of what is today called Jordan (hence the name trans-Jordan), Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Both Jews, Muslims and many more people have always lived there. A large part of that land was given to Arabs to create the country called Jordan. In 1947, the British presented the question of what to do with the remainder of that land to the UN for a decision. On November 29, 1947 the UN voted to partition that land into 2 states, a Jewish one and an Arab one. The Arab world rejected the resolution and attacked the Jewish territories, the Jewish leadership accepted the resolution, fought a defensive war of survival, won and declared a country in the land that they occupied.
    At the end of Israel's war of Independence, Israel did not occupy the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. A palestinian state could have been declared then, but instead the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt, and the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. The palestinian Arabs living in these territories were never given Egyptian or Jordanian citizenship, nor was any effort to give them sovereignty ever attempted. The Arabs who remained in Israel after 1949 were given full citizenship, and there are many many arab citizens of Israel today as well as Arab elected officials and members of parliament.
    Israel conquered those territories in another war of self-defense in 1967, offered to make peace with the arab league in return for relinquishing those territories, and was categorically rejected. These territories have been in dispute, it is incorrect and disingenuous to refer to them as Palestinian land occupied by Israel, that land has never been officially part of any country.
    Furthermore, it is important to realize that Israel returned the entire sinai peninsula in 1979 (another territory which was conquered by Israel in 1967), to Egypt in return for peace.
    Since the 1993 Oslo accords, the policy of every single Israeli government has been to create a Palestinian state through negotiations on land which was captured in 1967 (as per UN resolution 242). In 2000, the Israeli government presented a peace offer to Arafat which included 97% of all the Palestinian demands. Not only was the offer rejected, no counter offer was made and an intifada against the Israelie civilian population was waged.
    In 2005 the Israeli government removed all of it's settlements from Gaza, forced 8000 Israelis out of their homes, and removed all military personnel from inside of the Gaza Strip. The blockade of gaza in 2007 was put in place only after the palestinians in Gaza began firing hundreds of rockets on a monthly basis into Israeli cities

  13. Posted by: D_L on Nov 27, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    It is important to realize that the both the charter of Hamas and even the PLO charter call for the destruction of Israel. The occupation of Palestinian land which is often referred to in the media is not a statement simply about Gaza and the West Bank, it is a statement about the entirety of the State of Israel's right to exist. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964, long before Israel was in possession of the so-called "Occupied territories."
    In discussing this sensitive topic it is important to know the history of the conflict, and the realities on the ground.
    The vast majority of Israelis want a 2 state solution to this conflict. Palestinian society in both the West Bank and especially in Gaza are being educated to hate, and to reject the possibility of a 2 state solution. To see examples of this in Palestinian media (including many children's shows), schools, speeches in arabic, sermons in Mosques etc. I would like to refer you to the website: www.palwatch.org

    While there may be a problem with certain Israeli policies, it is unfair to blame Israel for the continuation of a conflict it has made many efforts to end.

  14. Posted by: Brendan C on Nov 27, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    D_L,

    While there was never a sovereign state called Palestine prior to 1948, the idea that there were no Palestinian people before that time is simply false. Palestinian national identity, like all national identities, developed as part of a gradual historical process which many scholars argue began under the Ottomans, but was consolidated under the British Mandate in opposition to British rule and Zionist colonization.
    The 1947 Partition plan was rejected because it gave half of the territory of Palestine to a community that only made up a third of the population and was concentrated on a small portion of the land. The proposed Jewish state would also have had an Arab community making up nearly half of its population. Historians have also shown that if the Arab leadership had accepted the plan, the Zionists would have rejected it.
    The 'defensive war of survival' was in fact a campaign of ethnic cleansing in which 750,000 people were forced to flee their homes, half of them before the Israeli declaration of independence lead the Arab states to intervene. Israel conquered huge areas that had been awarded to the Arab state under the partition plan, and was only prevented from occupying Gaza and the West bank by the defensive actions of the Arab armies. Palestinians in the territory that became Israel lived under military rule until 1966, and have always faced systemic discrimination despite their citizenship.
    Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza after starting the Six-Day War with a preemptive attack on Egypt and Jordan. The overwhelming international legal consensus is that these territories have been occupied Palestinian territory ever since.
    The Oslo accords and the 'peace process' have lead to the creation of a fragmented Bantustan in the West Bank, nothing approaching a state. No Israeli government, not even Rabin's, has ever been committed to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. Tactical decisions like the withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from Gaza don't change that.

  15. Posted by: Tanya15 on Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    This is an op-ed I came across that is very well written and identifies some key arguments.
    I encourage all to read it and to educate yourselves.

  16. Posted by: Tanya15 on Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Sorry... here is the link!
    http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/?q=article%2F2012%2F11%2F28%2Fwhy-hamas-forced-me-leave-amherst-college

  17. Posted by: Josh Greenberg on Nov 28, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Just sharing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo

    I hope one day people can be open-minded enough and mature enough to learn all the info before they make claims. I am not saying I am in any sense fully educated, but I always put in the effort to look at 2 sides of an argument before I open my mouth, which is more than I can say for some people.

    I don't expect this video to change anyone's mind, but come on people, we are in university, and anyone who starts talking, or write a post without knowing and documenting the other side of the argument is doomed for failure.

    This conflict, as a few of you have said is very complicated, and by not allowing for two sided discussion we are just going in an endless circle. Instead of arguing about who is right and who is wrong, it would be nice to see discussion of solutions. What can be done to prevent a terrorist organization destroying the Jewish people (like its mission statement says)?? How to prevent/reduce civilian causalities on both sides?

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