Why Palestine matters

Many people don’t know what happened. They don’t know that hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians were forcibly driven off their land in 1948
in violation of international law.

The right of expelled and excluded Palestinians
to return to their land has been repeatedly upheld in international
legal rulings and resolutions for more than a half-century, beginning
with United Nations Resolution 194.When a people are made refugees, deliberately driven off their land or
forced to flee by war, they have an indisputable right to return and
reclaim their homes, farms, shops and so on when the fighting is over.

The war that established the state of Israel in 1948 also led to the
expulsion of more than three-quarters of the Palestinian population, or
close to 750,000 people. Israel�s “Six Day War” in June 1967, when it
seized the remainder of historic Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza,
created 300,000 more refugees, many of them second-time exiles.

None of those driven out in 1948 and 1967, nor their descendants, now
numbering more than 5 million people, have ever been allowed to come
back or been compensated for their loss.

Zionism, a right wing political movement, is what forced the
Palestinians off their land. This was done at gunpoint and often by
stone cold terrorist attacks on defenseless people.

January 1948 the Haganah and the Irgun, Zionist paramilitary forces,
began to carry out “Plan Dalet.” Under this plan, they staged nighttime
attacks on “quiet” Palestinian villages�those not involved in fighting.
Haganah and Irgun units would typically plant explosives around houses,
drench them with gasoline and open fire. The point was to terrorize and
drive out the Palestinian population.

Haganah and the Irgun later merged with the Israeli military and some
of their leaders, like Menachem Begin, later led the country. Begin was
labelled a “terrorist” by the Brits in the 1940’s for bombing the King
David Hotel knowing innocents were inside.

Begin “planned the bombing
of the British administrative and military headquarters (at the
luxurious King David Hotel) in Jerusalem that killed 91 people,
including many British officers and troops.”

All the premiers of Israel up to Golda Meir were in Haganah or the Irgun. Former terrorists were now leading a country.

U.S. opposition to Palestinian returnMost important from the U.S. leaders� point of view is Israel�s role in
the oil-rich and strategically vital Middle East. The fact that the
U.S. military is stretched thin by the intensity of an Iraqi popular
resistance that it did not anticipate only serves to highlight the
importance of Israel�s role in the U.S. strategy of global domination.

How Israel is actually viewed inside the ruling establishment here has
nothing to do with sympathy or friendship for Jewish people.

While Israel is a relatively small state, the Pentagon views it as a
gigantic military base, an “unsinkable aircraft carrier,” as one
commentator put it.

Opposing the odious policies of Zionism, which have created an
apartheid state in Israel, is a central demand of the upcoming Sept. 24
nationwide antiwar demonstrations. The same policies which forced
Palestinians off their ancestral lands also invaded Iraq based on lies.
It’s about oil, power, and geopolitical dominance.

Saying that opposing Zionism is anti-Semitic is like saying opposing
the insane policies of George Bush is anti-Christian. It’s an absurd
charge, but one Zionists often make and which some on the left
sometimes fall for. Yet there is a thriving peace movement in Israel
with many Jews as members.

Israel would not exist if not for the military and financial support of
the US. Israel is a client state for US interests, not the other way

Some Palestinians who were forced off their land in 1948 with no
compensation have lived in refugee camps ever since. They still wear
their house key around their neck. They want to go back to the land
that was stolen from them. Wouldn’t you?

A war in Iraq. A people forced violently off their land. It’s all linked and it’s all part of the same struggle.

Bring the troops home now.

Support the Palestinian right of return.