21 September 2003

The Arab Occupied Territories - Never Published

This article was never published by The South End due to the amount of responses from the article published before this one. This was written while I was in Israel July 27, 2003.

It is only in Israel that I am lucky enough to travel in a bulletproof bus. This week I went to visit a good friend and her very cute children in the city of Beitar. This trip took me into the Arab occupied territory of Judea/Samaria (aka West Bank).

I decided not to take my car into the occupied territories because I was afraid that my rental car would not be able to make the trip due to unforseen circumstances ie. molotov cocktails, snipers, and other "problems". Instead I took the bulletproof bus.

On my 15 minute trip out of Jerusalem to Beitar I thought about being under "occupation". Occupation is another word for being held hostage. Jews living here in Israel are being held hostage by the Arabs living in this country. We are

afraid to ride the buses, afraid to go shopping, and afraid to drive the roads.

I have been doing a lot of traveling while here in Israel. When I first arrived, I was getting directions to a outlying suburb of Jerusalem when the woman giving me directions gave me a shocker. She said to make sure not to miss my exit

because I would end up in the Arab city of Ramallah. This means sure death.

As I was driving that evening I made sure to pay attention to all the signs pointing me to that particular suburb, I was scared to miss my exit. I was scared to be murdered because I am Jewish.

We saw the blood frenzy several years ago when two Jews made a wrong turn into Ramallah. The Arab police there picked them up and took them to the police station supposedly for their own safety. News traveled quickly and the entire city

showed up at the station. The police did not bother doing their human duty - to protect innocent lives. They instead beat the two Jews to death, then threw their bodies out the window to the crowd outside. There was almost nothing left to identify the bodies with when the Arabs later returned the bodies to Israel. Instead we see the inhumanity of it all when one of the Jews cellphones rang while all this was happening. One of the murderers answered the phone and found that it was the wife of one of the Jews. He told her that he was busy murdering her husband. Occupation means that you cannot travel your own land for fear of making the wrong turn on the highway. I cannot assume anything different if I should G-d forbid make a wrong turn.

On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that Arabs can walk freely in any city in Israel without a worry of being murdered in the street. Every day I see Arabs going anywhere they want in any city going along their business. They are

still allowed to ride the buses, still allowed to go shopping and drive the roads. There have been no instances of Jews lynching Arabs like was done to the Jews in Ramallah. Who is under "occupation" here?

How did we come to such a situation here in Israel? Israel won a defensive war against her Arabs neighbors in 1967, when they announced to the world that they were going to drive her into the sea. In the span of a week, Israel won the eastern half of Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria. There has been no other country that hands back the land that it wins in war. Especially not back to the enemies that tried to destroy her in the first place. Especially if doing such a thing would make your country an indefensible 9 miles wide.

As a result of winning this war, Israel has inherited the Arabs living in these areas. Of course none of these Arabs wanted their own state when they were occupied by Jordan before 1967. Only when under Jewish control does it become

important. We can see Arab priorities clearly here. Arab statehood becomes a must when it comes to displacing the Jewish identity with the Land of Israel and not before.

I am glad that I have come to visit in the Land of Israel. It is only here that I can understand what it means to be a people under "occupation".

09 September 2003

Equality, Tolerance and Acceptance

America is founded on the principles of equality, tolerance and acceptance of others with different ideas and religions than our own. Schools have whole curriculums based on “diversity” and “cultural awareness”. We look for common aspirations between groups of people in order to build our communities and better ourselves and our families. We assume that everyone around the world is also working toward these same goals of equality, tolerance and acceptance. We are wrong.

Islamic fundamentalists are not interested in any of these goals and certainly do not promote them. We need to understand their world view in order to see how it was possible for the tragedy of 9/11 to occur.

Fundamentalist Muslims believe that the Jews received a Revelation from God, the Torah, but then corrupted that Revelation. Christians received a Revelation, the New Testament, but corrupted their book too. According to them, the Koran is the final, uncorrupted word of God.

To these Muslims, the world is divided into two parts. The first part is the Dar al-Islam, the House of Islam. This is the area that, according to the Koran, is under Muslim rule. The second part is called Dar al-Harb, the House of War. This refers to the area of the world that is under non-Muslim control. Between these two parts there will always be a perpetual state of war. They believe that this will continue until the non-Muslims either accept Islam, or submit to being second class citizens to Muslim rulers.

This state of war can be seen around the world where fundamentalist Muslim are only interested in recreating the world in their image. In Indonesia, the fundamentalist Muslims are fighting the Christians. The mastermind of the Bali bombings shouted out in court, “We are ready to win the crusade against Christians! We will win!” Indonesian police also found church service schedules in raids on terror organizations indicating their interest in murdering Christians during prayer. (www.domini.org/openbook/ind20030820.htm).

In India, the fundamentalist Muslims are fighting the Hindus. In February 2, 2001, one of these Muslims, Shri Gopal Godse, is quoted as saying, “Islam is the mission of spreading Arabic culture by killing original Hindu culture” (www.hinduunity.org/indexold.html). Thousands have been killed.

In addition to the suicide bombings murdering and maiming of hundreds of Jewish men, women and children in Israel, Christians have an additional problem. An example of their problem is obvious with the body of the Muslim who converted to Christianity. His body had been chopped into four parts and was returned to his family as a warning to other possible converts (www.domini.org/openbook/pal20030729.htm).

In Sudan, for the past twenty years, Muslims in the north have been fighting to control non-Muslims in the south. Over a million non-Muslims have been murdered. This number doesn’t include the thousands of kidnapped and enslaved non-Muslims in the north.

Until the late 1990s there was dictatorial rule in Nigeria and fundamentalist Islam was held under control. Now there are thousands of Christians killed trying to resist fundamentalist Islam.

In Egypt, ten percent of the population are Coptic-Christians. These Christians live in constant fear since the Egyptian government lifted restrictions on fundamentalist Islam. Thousands of Christians have been murdered.

In Australia, concerns are being raised about possible al-Qaeda connections with the Islamic Youth Movement in Sydney (www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2003/s876582.htm). In the Philippines, the fundamentalist Muslims are a small minority, but are attempting to move their Christian neighbors from their homes. This includes murder to accomplish their goals. In the Balkans, when the fundamentalist Muslims are in power, they persecute the Christian population. Saudi Arabia outlaws the practice of any other religion except for Islam. Anyone caught can be beaten and thrown into jail. Even in China, fundamentalist Muslims are attempting to disrupt the political system (www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1993/10/17_1.html).

In can be seen from these examples that it does not matter to the Islamic fundamentalists what religion you are or where you live. The rest of the world knows this. It is only now after the attacks of 9/11 that the United States has learned.

If not all Muslims are fundamentalist, where are the condemnations of murder by the moderate and liberal Muslims? If religious persecution of other religions is not acceptable to Islam why hasn’t the Islamic leadership and communities come out against such atrocities which occur daily across the world? Are they afraid that they will be targeted and removed from power? Many times, these condemnations of murder are qualified. “Of course we are against the attack on 9/11, however, it is because of this that or the other thing that that country did.” It is the “yes-but” excuse. There is a denial of responsibility for their co-religionists actions. The world is waiting to hear from a moderate Muslim.