Sunday, August 28, 2005

The remaining 99.5 percent

Amira Hass has written a scathing article entitled "The remaining 99.5 percent" about the treatment of the majority of Gaza residents. It is highly critical of the Israeli policy of the past 35 years, which has placed Jewish settlers in the heart of large Palestinian populations. I thought this paragraph was especially harsh on Israel.
What talent it takes to live for 35 years in a flourishing park and splendid villas just 20 meters from overcrowded, suffocated refugee camps. What talent it takes to turn on the sprinklers on the lawns, while just across the way, 20,000 other people are dependent on the distribution of drinking water in tankers; to know that you deserve it, that your government will pave magnificent roads for you and neglect (prior to Oslo, before 1994) to the point of destruction the Palestinian infrastructure. What skill it takes to step out of your well-cared-for greenhouse and walk unmoved past 60-year-old fruit-bearing date trees that are uprooted for you, roads that are blocked for you, homes that are demolished for you, the children who are shelled from helicopters and tanks and buried alongside you, for the sake of the safety of your children and the preservation of your super-rights.

Here is a response to the article from Zev:
Amira Hass will not be let the facts change her love of the Palestinians and her hate for the Israelis.
Yes the Palestinians have lived in tragedy. But this tragedy has been forced on them by their own leaders. That does not make it any less of a tragedy but to put the entire blame on Israel is what I expect from the propaganda of Amira Hass and Haaretz.
Who kept them in the conditions they live in? Where have the billions of dollars gone that were supposed to relieve their situation? Were they in better conditions before the settlements were established on empty sand dunes or did they get better? Why did they remain in those conditions? When did they get electricity and running water? Did their condition get better or worse after Arafat came and the Oslo war started. Will their condition get better now? (I hope so) Did anyone ask them what they really want and were they able to answer without being afraid of being shot? According to the statistics brought in the article, how many Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians.
These are just a few of the questions that I would never expect an honest answer from the likes of Amira Hass.

My view is that Amira has a point, in that many Jews do not feel the pain of the Palestinians in Gaza as they have felt the pain of the 8000 Israelis forced to leave their homes last week. I think that for the peace process to proceed, the Palestinians leadership must take more responsibility for ensuring the best distribution of funds, especially in the coming months as the PA takes control of the entire strip. The Israeli occupation of Gaza is over. The monies received by the PA from the international community must be used to increase the living standard for all Palestinians. Lets all hope they are up to the task. Thank you Amira, for providing food for thought that is difficult to swallow.
Palestinian workers who were not allowed to enter Israel, crowd the barred barrier in the Palestinian area at the Erez Crossing, northern Gaza Strip, Jan. 18, 2004(

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