Letter to the editor


Students for Palestine

Last week, University of Southern California’s Students for Justice in Palestine hosted Palestine Awareness Week to expose the struggles of the Palestinian people under prolonged, brutal occupation and oppression.

SJP is a graduate and undergraduate group of students of various faiths, backgrounds, and academic interests that stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are struggling for peace and justice, and promotes awareness of fundamental issues of international law, human rights and basic standards of justice, and democratic principles essential to achieving a resolution.

SJP erected a wall in the Von Kleinsmid Center courtyard meant to represent the 26-foot concrete wall — referred to by some as a fence — that separates the West Bank and Israel, keeps families from one another, inhibits economic activity and usurps private Palestinian land. Throughout the week, lectures covered the separation wall, occupation, apartheid segregation, the structure of settler colonialism in Palestine and the medical needs of Palestinian women and children. On Wednesday afternoon, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union discussed academic freedom, freedom of speech and law enforcement.

“Invasion is not an event, it is a structure.” UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg differentiated the two types of settler colonialism, indicating the traits of the structure that is practiced by Jews in Palestine.

“They want the land, they do not need the Palestinian labor,” Piterberg said. And for that reason, Israelis practice the pure settlement type — as opposed to plantation colonization — that systematically and institutionally discriminates against non-Jewish peoples.

Never mind the 5 million UN-recognized refugees and the thousands more that are continually being displaced, refugees who have the right to return under international law and yet have been prevented from doing so. This stands in stark contrast to the right given by the Israeli government for any Jew in the world to “return” and gain full Israeli citizenship.

Israeli policymakers are also intent on squeezing the 5.5 million Palestinians that live within Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through hundreds of checkpoints within the West Bank, a siege on Gaza, house demolitions and confiscations.

I refer to the occupation of Palestine as colonization, as many scholars in the field do; they have come to realize that the asymmetry renders the situation radically different that the dual-nationalist struggle that has been claimed by both sides in the past. Palestinians are engaged in a national struggle in the face of Israeli colonization.

As a member of SJP, I work to support Palestinians struggling on a daily basis to exist in a place where their existence is perceived as a threat to a “Jewish state.”

I do not expect Americans to hold my views on what a final outcome of negotiations should yield. Rather, I take a stand for justice, equality and freedom for all Jews, Christians and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians between the River and the Sea.

I want Americans to realize that the current situation renders negotiation futile and unfair. I want Americans to realize that U.S. policy enables the status quo in the face of overwhelming disapproval by most of the world’s population as reflected in the United Nations General Assembly. Last year, only the U.S., Israel and seven small nations voted against Palestinian statehood.

U.S. media is one-sided and inaccurate, excluding the Palestinian narrative. Thusly, Americans lack access to information on core issues, including the role of the U.S. in providing Israel with at least $3.1 billion in annual military aid. This does not include additional loan guarantees, weapons and crucial diplomatic support enabling the aggressive militarized colonization of Palestinian land.

Instead, I would like to see constructive U.S. policy that ends the country’s role as an enabler of conflict, fulfills its duty as an objective arbitrator and promotes regional peace.

The hostility received from passersby that were “pro-Israel” during Palestine Awareness Week did not nearly measure up to the amount of support that the USC student body expressed for the Palestinian struggle and SJP’s efforts to expose one of the greatest ongoing injustices — the colonization of Palestine. I speak for SJP when I thank everyone that came by “the wall” to show their support and seek information.

To keep up with future events and continue the discussion, “Like” USC Students for Justice in Palestine’s Facebook page or email usc.sjp@gmail.com.

 

Linda Fawaz

Senior, International Relations

 
10 replies
  1. Palestinian
    Palestinian says:

    Thanks for all of your irrelevant comments above.

    This is the reason why Palestinian supporters are so persistent and motivated; we hear the lies and propaganda put forth to change the subject. We are trying to keep the discussion focused.

    SJP exists not to engage with people like you, but to engage with the wider logical and reasonable American public at campuses across the country, Europe, and Canada, that are curious as to how we are supporting a regime of hatred and discrimination.

    It would be so much easier to love, to respect, and to promote equality.

    Peace.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      “It would be so much easier to love, to respect, and to promote equality.”
      ………………….
      You mean like this?

      Official PA television—the PA’s PBS—airs programs that feature children as young as six reciting anti-Semitic and violent poems. Just months ago, for example, a little girl recited a poem that claimed, (and I quote) “[Christians and Jews] are inferior, cowardly, and despised.” Three days earlier, on a different program, another young girl insisted that (and I quote), “Our wars are for the Al Aqsa Mosque, and our enemy, Zion, is a Satan with a tail.”
      This is apparently what passes for “educational television” under the Palestinian Authority.
      From cradles to kindergarten classrooms; from the grounds of summer camps to the stands of football stadiums, messages of extremism are everywhere in Palestinian society.
      In the international community, there is no shortage of individuals to lecture Israel about what it must do for peace. Yet these same “human rights advocates” stutter, mumble and lose their voices when it comes to criticizing Palestinian incitement.
      Ignoring words and thoughts of hate does no favors to the Palestinian people. It does no favors to families who seek to build better lives for themselves and their children. And, perhaps most importantly, it does no favors to Palestinian leaders who advance the language of peace instead of the dogmas of hate.
      Laying the groundwork for a stable peace in our region will not happen overnight. But those who would like to foster better relations between Israelis and Palestinians must start by speaking out against incitement in Palestinian society. The next generation—both Israeli and Palestinian—deserve no less.
      ……………
      Seems to me it is YOU who is spreading lies and propaganda, not us.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      “SJP exists not to engage with people like you, but to engage with the wider logical and reasonable American public at campuses across the country, Europe, and Canada, that are curious as to how we are supporting a regime of hatred and discrimination.”

      If the above words were not so Goebbels’ like they would almost be funny. The following two quotes are from the Palestinian Authority Daily, from an issue published just two weeks ago:

      1. “Churchill and Roosevelt were alcoholics, and in their youth were questioned more than once about brawls they started in bars, while Hitler hated alcohol and was not addicted to it. He used to go to sleep early and wake up early, and was very organized. These facts have been turned upside down as well, and Satan has been dressed with angels’ wings.”

      And this:

      2. “Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor that people would be competing to belong to, and not a disgrace punishable by law.”

  2. Prof. Taheri
    Prof. Taheri says:

    Almost all of the American aid comes back to the US to create jobs.

    The wall is referred to as a “fence,” or “barrier,” because 95% of it is a fence.

    The only instance I know of, where the fence separated Palestinians from their land was Bil’in. The Israeli Supreme Court ordered the fence re-routed and that was resolved.

    As Palestinian shahids massacred dozens of Israeli men, women and children in the early 2000s—at times almost daily, in discos, pizzerias, hotels, and on buses—the Israeli public cried out for a solution.

    The famed Israeli intelligence and military were rendered useless; despite all their efforts, they could not stop the carnage. People would shudder as they got on a bus, not knowing whether they would make it alive to the end of their ride. Daily life became a nightmare.

    The right-wing Sharon government, which did not want to put any barrier between “Judea and Samaria” and the rest of Israel, was finally forced to erect the separation fence and the onerous checkpoints.

    The bombings stopped cold.

    The attempts at murdering Israelis—“amaliyats,” which received the blessings of the vast majority of Palestinians—have never ceased. There are dozens of attempts every single month and the only things that stop them are the barrier, the checkpoints, and the intelligence-driven arrests.

    The barrier placed 80% of settlers and 3% of the West Bank land on the Israeli side—land that under all negotiations and agreements was to fall under the Israeli state anyway. But for pro-Palestinian propagandists, this has been enough to call it an “apartheid wall,” a “land grab,” etc.

    If you were an Israeli, would you rather be labeled a “racist” and stay alive, or would you rather have a good reputation but have your life turned into a living hell until one day you yourself get blown up into shreds?

    This language, about “Israeli Colonialism” only serves to provoke hatred of Israeli Jews, does little to really help the Palestinians, and makes peace even less possible. It may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning thriller, “Palestine.”

    • Palestinian
      Palestinian says:

      As this wall has been so successful in keeping Israelis safe, I wonder why so many of them have moved onto the other side of it to say Khalil/Hebron, or at least 125 other settlements. There are at least a few hundred thousand Israeli Jews living in an area that has been deemed by the Israeli government too dangerous to not have a security wall separating it from Israel. Living by the so called “terrorists.”

      This is a curious situation.

  3. Arafat
    Arafat says:

    There is no “Palestine”. There might have been, but they chose war instead- time and again:
    The would-have-been “Palestinians” would have had a state IN PEACE in 1937 with the Peel Plan, but they violently rejected it.

    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 1939 with the MacDonald White Paper, but they violently rejected it (and Jews would have even been restricted from BUYING land from Arabs).
    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 1948 with UN 181, but they violently rejected it (and actually claimed that the UN had no such mandate!).

    They could have had a state IN PEACE in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza from 1948-1967 without any Jews- because the Arabs had ethnically cleansed every last one; but they violently rejected it. In fact, that’s exactly when they established Fatah (1959) and the PLO (1964).

    They could have had a state IN PEACE after 1967, but instead, the entire Arab world issued the Khartoum Resolutions:
    A. No peace with Israel
    B. No recognition of Israel
    C. No negotiations with Israel

    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 2000 with the Oslo Accords, but they violently rejected it- as always.

    And as soon as Israel pulled every single Israeli out of Gaza, what did the would-have-been “Palestinians” do? They immediately started shooting thousands of missiles into Israeli population centers, they elected Hamas (whose official platform calls for jihad with no negotiations until Israel is destroyed) to rule them, and they have dug tunnels crossing into the Negev to kill and kidnap Israelis.

    And even afterwards, Ehud Olmert made his subsequent generous offer that went far beyond even that of Barak. The would-have-been “Palestinians” rejected it.
    They had many chances.

    They threw them all away because destroying Israel was higher on their priority list. It still is.
    Oh well. That’s their choice.

  4. Arafat
    Arafat says:

    Feb 13, 2013
    In another story the Western media apparently refuses to cover, any Palestinian who dares to criticize Hamas or the Palestinian Authority risks being arrested or summoned for interrogation.
    Palestinian journalists are now hoping to bring this to the attention of President Barack Obama when he meets with President Mahmoud Abbas next month.
    The journalists say they want United States and the rest of the world to know that the crackdown on freedom of expression in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip is designed to hide the fact that Palestinians are governed by two repressive regimes that have no respect for human rights and democracy.

  5. Arafat
    Arafat says:

    Official PA television—the PA’s PBS—airs programs that feature children as young as six reciting anti-Semitic and violent poems. Just months ago, for example, a little girl recited a poem that claimed, (and I quote) “[Christians and Jews] are inferior, cowardly, and despised.” Three days earlier, on a different program, another young girl insisted that (and I quote), “Our wars are for the Al Aqsa Mosque, and our enemy, Zion, is a Satan with a tail.”
    This is apparently what passes for “educational television” under the Palestinian Authority.
    From cradles to kindergarten classrooms; from the grounds of summer camps to the stands of football stadiums, messages of extremism are everywhere in Palestinian society.
    In the international community, there is no shortage of individuals to lecture Israel about what it must do for peace. Yet these same “human rights advocates” stutter, mumble and lose their voices when it comes to criticizing Palestinian incitement.
    Ignoring words and thoughts of hate does no favors to the Palestinian people. It does no favors to families who seek to build better lives for themselves and their children. And, perhaps most importantly, it does no favors to Palestinian leaders who advance the language of peace instead of the dogmas of hate.
    Laying the groundwork for a stable peace in our region will not happen overnight. But those who would like to foster better relations between Israelis and Palestinians must start by speaking out against incitement in Palestinian society. The next generation—both Israeli and Palestinian—deserve no less.

  6. Arafat
    Arafat says:

    • Since the Palestinians were never Israeli citizens, and never wanted to be Israeli citizens, there’s really no question of Apartheid here.
    The Palestinians’ disenfranchisement comes out of their own rejection of UNGAR 181, which advocated the establishment of one Jewish state (Israel) and one Arab state (Palestine, or whatever they might have wanted to call it) on the land of the Palestine Mandate. Had they accepted the resolution and established their own state on the land allocated by the UN, there would be no Palestinian refugees today.
    No country in the world can be forced to accept a belligerent population whose manifesto includes the destruction of the would-be host country. Neither democracy nor membership in the UN requires any country to commit suicide, which is what you seem to be advocating.
    If you really want an example of an Apartheid state, examine the laws of the Palestinian Authority– it is a criminal offense to sell Palestinian land to a Jew, and the maximum penalty for someone selling land to a Jew is death. Mahmoud Abbas has already declared on more than one occasion that “No Jew will be allowed to live in the new Palestine”.
    How’s that for Apartheid?

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