To the Editor,
Hi, just to let you know I seldom venture into writing Letters to the Editor. However, in arriving late on Saturday May 22 to a demonstration outside Mel Arnold’s office (our MP) in Vernon, I was reminded how many people are concerned about the catastrophic bombing of Gaza and the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian children. It was a diverse crowd of at least 60 people of all ages and ethnicities with signs upholding the rights of Palestinians to exist. The event was sponsored by the Okanagan chapter of CJPME, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a group I had not been previously involved with. And yet despite the terrible oppression of Palestine and Palestine, theirs was a rational, balanced message that “all parties must be held to the same standards”, and that “all positions should respect international law and human rights”.
I feel that we are all connected to people somewhere, some how. Do our pension funds buy stocks in weapons that are sold from Canadian firms to the Israeli military sector? Does the restaurant owner you know have Palestinian relatives living in refugee camps in West Bank, Jordan, Syria or Lebanon? Do you have friends whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust, who migrated to Israel, and instinctively know the pain and fear of the current situation?
Let me remind the reader that after World War II, land ownership in Israel-Palestine was 6% Jewish and 94% Palestinian. Since 1947 under the UN Palestinian Plan, the armed conflict of 1948, and the 1967 invasion of West Bank and Gaza, Israel has continuously taken land from Palestinian ownership. This is a military and colonial takeover. Gaza and West Bank is described as the largest outdoor prison in the world with unbelievable restrictions, a 700 km. wall around West Bank, encroachment of illegal Jewish settlement, Jewish-only roads, “security zones” and curfews as well as random and continual harassment. 70% of Palestinians are refugees, millions of them internally displaced with no right of return under Israeli law.
I am not sure how this conflict will ever end. We can ask our government to withhold all military aid to Israel, use economic and diplomatic pressure to end the conflict. Human creativity can be put to framing a just solution. Young people are more open to getting past a stalemate if they can only take heart. The continued apartheid against Palestinians and their land is a monstrous situation, what can we do to make it end?