Arab News

Wake up America!
By Karen Grundhofer El-Kawa, Special to Arab News
Published on 14 April 2002


At the risk of being labeled an extremist, I send you this list of undisputed facts regarding the history of Palestine. While I watch the American media distort the facts of what is going on recently in the occupied territories, I send you this information in the hope that you will re-evaluate your viewpoint and ask yourself the following questions:


Why do UN resolutions only apply when the US wants them to?

For example, we need to bomb Iraq because Saddam Hussein will not comply with the resolutions, while Israel can completely ignore the recently passed resolutions 1402 and 1403 (backed by the US) without any punishment whatsoever or even condemnation by our government (like they have ignored many other standing resolutions in the past).


How can we allow Israel to make comparisons to their political situation and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks? It is insult to the memory of those who died on 9/11 to make these comparisons. Israel has been in a state of war for over 50 years. There are three times as many Palestinians who have died as Israelis since the Intifada began in October 2000. Why do we Americans value the life of an Israeli more than a Palestinian?


I would like to make the distinction right now between “the real terrorists” of the world and the Palestinian suicide bombers. Since Sept. 11 governments and the media have distorted this issue to no end. The Israeli government has latched onto this new terminology taking advantage of America’s misfortunes. The “war on terror” has nothing to do with the Palestinian/Israel war that has been going on for over 50 years. Recent terrorist attacks against the US include US embassy bombings, Sept. 11, and the attack on the USS Cole. Foreigners committed these “acts of terror”. Yes they were Arabs, but there was not one Palestinian among them. Israel is an occupier in a land that is not their own. They have never compensated the Palestinians for their land. In the current Intifada, Palestinian suicide bombers have never attacked anyone outside their own borders. This in my opinion is not an “act of terror”. I realize this issue is extremely debatable. But how can the Israelis make comparisons to Sept. 11 when they have been in the middle of this conflict for so long?

Why today is the idea of “dying for a cause” so foreign to Americans? We have been taught since childhood about the heroes in American history who have died for our freedom or what they believe in.


Our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they could see us now bowing to the Israel government, denying the individual freedoms we take for granted everyday in America.


If you think the Palestinians are willing to die for anything less than their freedom, you are incorrect. Martyrdom and the fact that they also go straight to Heaven according to Islamic teachings, is just a bonus. While those who died in the American Revolution are definitely heroes, we denounce the Palestinians who defend themselves the only way they can.


Israel citizens are allowed to carry arms, Palestinians are not. Israel citizens are allowed to go anywhere they want, Palestinians are not. Israel army personnel are allowed to act as judge, jury and executor. Palestinians are like lambs going to the slaughter with no means of real defense.

Israeli Army can enter any home, kill its inhabitants, and destroy any personal property without blinking an eye. Israeli soldiers can bulldoze any home of their choosing without a flinch, build a set of condos in its place, call it a settlement and deny access to the land’s original owners (if they are even still alive). Nobody would bat an eye if the original owners were killed in the process.


We Americans treat minks and lab rats better than the Israelis treat the Palestinians. You might be willing to die for freedom in such circumstances too. Wouldn’t you? It is their only hope. More soldiers and civilians died in the US Civil War than any other war — over what — slavery. And you think the Palestinians are crazy? For those of you who think you will be accused of being an anti-Semite for backing a Palestinian state, this is not a religious issue for the Israelis. It is a political one! It is all about land and borders and control of an oppressed people. When Israelis turn it into a Jewish issue, they are trying to manipulate you. There are many Jewish people all over the world (especially in Europe), who denounce the Israel government and their tactics. They can see how oppressive the Israeli Army is. It can only be compared to how the Jews were treated by Adolph Hitler and his regime.


Ariel Sharon is without a doubt a murderer and a liar. Say what you want about Yasser Arafat. Before this current incursion, Arafat was hated more by the Arabs than anybody. But Sharon is a convicted murder.

He was found directly responsible for the massacres at the refugee camps in Sabra and Shatila where over 2,000 Palestinians died in 1982. But what you don’t know, Sharon is nothing more than a Mafia boss. The Christian militia who were his partners in Lebanon during the early 1980s are literally “swimming with the fishes”. Three different Lebanese leaders (his ex-partners) have been killed in Mafia style killings including one in February in a car bomb. These leaders were supposed to testify against Sharon in the Belgium world court. Now that they are dead, there is no case. (I can get you the details of this if you want supporting documentation).


Would we let a Mafia boss run our country? Sharon has no regard for human life. Any democratically elected leader who threatens another elected leader with exile or death threats as well stating he should have killed Arafat when he had the chance all those years ago, is not fit for office. I hope you will agree with me that our fellow Americans are misinformed and reading the situation incorrectly. If you care at all, I would ask you to think carefully about this. If we want to reduce the terrorist threat against America, we have to try and understand why people are so fed up with our government and their policies.


Why are there people willing to spend years and years plotting against innocent Americans? We have to make some changes and pay attention to world opinion. We cannot remain the isolationists we are today and were before we joined World War II if we want to reduce the terrorist threat.


Solving the Israel/Palestinian issue would be a step in the right direction. Arabs (Muslims and Christians) are completely insulted by the lack of regard for human life in the Arab world. Arabs are frustrated by the one-sided American policy.


For those of you who believe this is not our battle to resolve, please realize every tank, gun, F-16, helicopter, and bullet read “Made in the USA”. As the arms suppliers for the Israelis (some paid for by the American government or private US citizens), we have to take some responsibility as to how those weapons are used. Don’t we hold drug dealers in some part responsible for selling drugs to our youth?


Yes, I realize there is more than just one side to every fight. But while our fellow Americans sit waiting in fear for the next terrorist attack on the US, our government continues to insult the intelligence of the Arab people. Individuals who were once considered moderate are now thinking maybe the US got what it deserved. Whether you agree with me or not is not the issue.


We have to do something to eradicate this hatred toward America, or we will pass this horrible legacy to our children. What worries me even more is that according to the polls, Americans actually believe getting rid of Saddam is the answer. Believe me; attacking Iraq will only increase America’s enemies. If you want to really have a “war on terror”, fix the problem in Palestine. Our government has to start playing fair and begin to really be impartial, if that is even possible. I hope for the future of America, the world and all our children, they can do it. Please read the following facts about Palestine and how we got where we are today. I ask that you show this information to everyone you know so we can at least give the another point of view.


Did you know?

1 — THAT, when the Palestine problem was created by Britain in 1917, more than 90 percent of the population of Palestine were Arabs, and that there were at that time no more than 56,000 Jews in Palestine?


2 — THAT, more than half of the Jews living in Palestine at that time were recent immigrants, who had come to Palestine in the preceding decades in order to escape persecution in Europe? And that less than 5 percent of the population of Palestine were native Palestinian Jews?


3 — THAT, the Arabs of Palestine at that time owned 97.5 percent of the land, while Jews (native Palestinians and recent immigrants together) owned only 2.5 percent of the land?


4 — THAT, during the 30 years of British occupation and rule, the Zionists were able to purchase only 3.5 percent of the land of Palestine, in spite of the encouragement of the British Government? And that much of this land was transferred to Zionist bodies by the British Government directly, and was not sold by Arab owners?

5 — THAT, therefore, when British passed the Palestine problem to the United Nations in 1947, Zionists owned no more than 6 percent of the total land area of Palestine?

6 — THAT, notwithstanding these facts, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that a “Jewish State” be established in Palestine? And that the Assembly granted that proposed “State” about 54 percent of the total area of the country?

7 — THAT, Israel immediately occupied (and still occupies) 80.48 percent of the total land area of Palestine?

8 — THAT, this territorial expansion took place, for the most part, before May 15, 1948 i.e., before the formal end of the British forces from Palestine, before the entry of Arab armies to protect Palestinian Arabs, and before the Arab-Israeli war?

9 — THAT, the 1947 recommendation of the General Assembly in favor of the creation of a “Jewish State” was outside the competence of the Assembly under the Charter of the United Nations?

10 — THAT, all attempts by the Arab states and other Asian countries to have the Assembly submit “the question of constitutionality” of its recommendation to the International Court of Justice for an “advisory opinion” by the Court were rejected or ignored by the Assembly?

11 — THAT, when the Assembly began to experience “second thoughts” over the matter and convened for its second special session in 1948, it failed to reaffirm the 1947 recommendation for the partition of Palestine — thus destroying whatever dubious legality that recommendation for the establishment of a “Jewish State” had had?

12 — THAT, that original 1947 recommendation to create a “Jewish State” in Palestine was approved, at the first vote, only by European, American and Australian states... for every Asian state, and every African state (with the exception of the Union of South Africa) voted against it? And that, when the vote was cast in plenary session on Nov. 29, 1947, urgent American pressures (which a member of the Harry Truman Cabinet described as “bordering onto scandal”) had succeeded in prevailing only upon one African country (Liberia), both of which had special vulnerability to American pressures, to abandon their declared opposition? And that, in other words, the “Jewish State” was planted at the point-of-intersection of Asia and Africa without the free approval of any Middle Eastern, Asian or African country except that Union of South Africa, itself ruled by an alien minority?

13 — THAT, Israel remained, ever since its inception, a total stranger in the emerging world of Afro-Asia; and that Israel has been refused admission to any inter-state conference of Asian, African, Afro-Asian, or Non-Aligned States ever held?

14 — THAT, since the General Armistice Agreements were signed in 1949, Israel has maintained an aggressive policy of waging military attacks across the Armistice Demarcation Lines, repeatedly invading the territories of the neighboring Arab states. And that Israel has been duly rebuked, censured, or condemned for these military attacks by the Security Council of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 11 occasions — five times by the Security Council and six times by the General Assembly?

15 — THAT, no other country in the world, whether member of the United Nations or non-member, has been so frequently condemned by the United Nations?

16 — THAT, no Arab state has ever been condemned by any organ of the United Nations for military attacks upon Israel?

17 — THAT, besides expelling the bulk of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and besides constantly attacking the neighboring Arab states, Israel has also consistently harassed the United Nations observers and other personnel stationed along the Armistice Demarcation Lines: It has assassinated the first United Nations mediator and his military aide; it has detained some truce observers; it has militarily occupied and illegally searched the headquarters of United Nations personnel; and it has boycotted meetings of the Mixed Armistice commissions?

18 — THAT, Israel has additionally imposed a system of apartheid upon the Arabs, who stayed in their homeland? More than 90 percent of these Arabs live in “security zones”; they alone live under martial law, restricting their freedom to travel from village to village or from town to town; their children are denied equal opportunities for education; and they are denied decent opportunities for work, and the right to receive “equal pay for equal work?”

19 — THAT, notwithstanding the foregoing facts, Israel has always been, and still is, widely portrayed in the Western press as the “bastion of democracy” and the “champion of peace” in the Middle East?

20 — THAT, the Western powers have persisted in declaring their determination to ensure a so-called “arms balance” in the area, as between Israel, on the one hand, and the 100 million inhabitants of the 13 Arab states, on the other hand? And this unilateral Western doctrine of so-called “arms balance” is no more reasonable than the suggestion that, in the Cuba-US conflict, there should be “arms balance” as between Cuba and the United States.... or that the whole Continent of Africa should not be allowed to acquire more arms than South Africa... or that Mainland China should not be permitted to have more arms than Taiwan... or that the military allowed to acquire more arms than South Africa... and that only thus can peace be safeguarded in the Western Hemisphere, in Africa, in Asia, or in Europe?

21 — THAT, Israel allots 85 percent of the water resources in the occupied territories for Jews and the remaining 15 percent is divided among all Palestinians in the territories? For example in Hebron, 85 percent of the water is given to about 500 settlers, while 15 percent must be divided among Hebron’s 120,000 Palestinians?

22 — THAT, the United States awards Israel $3 billion in aid each year, more than to any other country in the world: US aid to Israel exceeds the aid the US grants to the whole sub-Saharan Africa?

23 — THAT, GDP, per capita, and consumption per capita in the occupied territories have dropped about 15 percent in the West Bank and Gaza since 1993 — that’s even with large foreign assistance pouring in, from Europe, mostly?

24 — THAT, up until 1993, the US and Israel permitted humanitarian aid to come into the territories. UN humanitarian aid was permitted into the West Bank and Gaza. In 1993, that was restricted?

25 — THAT, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?

26 — THAT, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections from its sites?

27 — THAT, Israel currently occupies territories of two sovereign nations (Lebanon and Syria) in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?

28 — THAT, high-ranking military officers in the Israeli military have admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed by the Israeli Army?

29 — THAT, Israel refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?

30 — THAT, Israel routinely confiscates bank accounts, businesses, and land from Palestinians and refuses to pay compensation to those who suffer the confiscation?

31 — THAT, Israel stands in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council Resolutions?

32 — THAT, Israel’s current head, Ariel Sharon, was found by an Israeli court to be “personally responsible” for the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon in which thousands of unarmed Palestinian refugees were slaughtered in 1982?

33 — THAT, today’s Israel sits on the former sites of more than 400 destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the Israelis renamed almost every physical site in the country to cover up the traces?

34 — THAT, Sharon’s coalition government includes a party — Molodet — which advocates expelling all (of the over two million) Palestinians from (their homes) in the occupied territories?

35 — THAT, Israel’s illegal settlement-building in the Occupied Palestinian territories more than doubled in the eight years since the Oslo agreements?

36 — THAT, illegal settlement building under Prime Minister Ehud Barak doubled compared to settlement building under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

37 — THAT, more illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories were built under Barak than at any other time in the history of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land?

38 — THAT, despite a ban on torture by Israel’s High Court of Justice, torture has continued by Shin Bet interrogators on Palestinian prisoners?

39 — THAT, Palestinian refugees make up the largest refugee population in the world?

40 — THAT, Israeli military checkpoints surround every Palestinian population center in violation of the Oslo Accords?

41 — THAT, the right of self-determination is guaranteed to every human being under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December, 1948), yet Palestinians were/are expected to negotiate for this right under the Oslo Accords?

42 — THAT, Palestinians have the highest ratio of PhDs per capita in the world?