A heavy heart
I am writing with a heavy heart. I am an American Jew. I love my religion. I love my people.
I can see no justification for Israel to brutally murder and maim so many people during the recent demonstrations in Palestine. I feel sad and ashamed that my fellow Jews would act so callously in response to the largely peaceful protests of the Palestinian people. Yes, rocks were thrown and kites were flown with incendiary devices. But the casualties tell the story.
According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, since March 30 there have been 131 Palestinians killed, 13,900 injured, and more than 7,500 hospitalizations. There have been zero Israeli deaths and two minor injuries. Please tell me how this can be justified?
What if Cuba or Russia had inflicted this many casualties on largely peaceful demonstrators? Our newspapers would be filled with headlines condemning their brutality. What if demonstrators in Washington, D.C., were treated this way, even if some of them were violent? Would you say that the response of the military was justified?
Did you know that there are more than 600,000 Jewish settlers who now live in the Palestinian territory, beyond the official border of the state of Israel? Is this not an act of violence against the Palestinian people?
Did you know that U.N. General Resolution 194, passed in 1949, “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible”?
Somewhere between 500,000 and 800,000 Palestinians were either forcefully evicted or fled the violence during the creation of the state of Israel. They have not been allowed to return and they have not been compensated for the taking of their land and their homes. More than 500 Palestinian villages were bulldozed and covered over in an attempt to erase them from memory. Why does Israel have the right to settle more than 600,000 Jews in Palestinian territory, on land they have not occupied for hundreds of years, but the Palestinians cannot return to homes they left just 70 years ago?
This Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Jewish Voice for Peace and Peaceful Interfaith Creations will hold a peace vigil on the Plaza. We will be praying for a solution to the Palestine/Israeli conflict. We are open to having a dialogue with anyone who wants to discuss this difficult issue in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Avram Sacks, membership coordinator, Jewish Voice for Peace