Posted on July 24, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Alison Weir was a weekly small-town newspaper editor in America in 2001 when she began researching the Israel-Palestine conflict. She read many books on the issue by respected authors, journalists, and academics, authored books, and written many articles found at the website she started – If Americans Knew. She traveled to Gaza to see for herself the situation there while talking to both Palestinians and Israelis. At the bottom of this post she delivers a fifteen minute talk on what she’s learned, at a speakers conference held in March 2014.
Ms. Weir points out facts that most who’ve done a moderate amount of research into the Israel-Palestine conflict are aware of, although the number of men and women who’ve done that moderate research is not nearly large enough. One would probably be right in saying that Alison Weir finds it strange that her conveying the truth regarding the history of Israel-Palestine-America has become viewed by many as a “courageous act.”
Israel became established through a war of conquest from 1947-49 where 750,000 Palestinian people were forcefully driven from their homes and land, in a military operation to take land for the new Israeli state. Since that time the Palestinian people have seen the amount of land under their control steadily reduced, until today, where the land is but a small fraction of what it was over 60 years ago. During those over six decades, the United States government has enabled Israel to take more and more land from the Palestinians – then building two-state-solution-destroying settlements on the confiscated land – by providing annual financial and military aid. Israel is the largest of all the world’s recipients of American aid; now around $3.1 billion per year, or $8-10 million per day.
While Israel has received well over $100 billion in American taxpayer support, Palestinians have increasingly suffered under a more intense version of apartheid as experienced by black South Africans – until organized worldwide pressure led to the dismantling of the racist South African system. Alison Weir suggests at the end of her talk that Americans need to demand an end to Israeli aid transfers as a leverage for resolving the conflict once and for all.
The Middle East region may offer the best example on Earth when thinking about the biblical passage: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” The history of Middle East wars does not coincide with what some describe as “those people have warred for thousands of years, and nothing can be done to stop it”, but the wars have been fought over natural resources, land, and corporation owners’ profits. There was no such thing as Middle East “terrorism” before Israel’s establishment in the late 1940’s, when American/western corporations began pushing for control of resources in the Middle East nations.
Those national governments which decide to emulate the universally admired Egyptian President Nasser’s model of Pan-Arabism – that directs resource profits to the people instead of outside entities and powers – soon find a military target on them. With regard to Syria – which has been the scene of an over three-year war over natural gas pipeline routes, a banking system outside of western private-central bank control, and perhaps large newly discovered Syrian natural gas deposits to rival Qatar’s enormous deposits – over 100,000 Syrians have died and millions have become refugees in what is now the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
In a matter of days recently, 700 Syrians died in attacks by paid mercenaries from over 80 countries around the world.
Since the 1953 CIA coup/overthrow of democratically elected Iranian President Mossadegh after he nationalized Iran’s oil resources, the Middle East has been the scene of war after war, all over energy resources. The 2003 War in Iraq – which destroyed that nation – killed 500,000 to 1 million Iraqis, 5,000 Americans, was pre-planned by Bush officials and oil corporations (complete with charts pointing out division of oil fields), cost American taxpayers trillions; based on the lies of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney and other assorted war criminals.
The world’s people need to start demanding that war criminals be punished just like people convicted of murdering one person. Providing deadly weapons to mercenaries needs to become punished just as when an individual provides to others the murder weapons. In other words, the world can no longer allow wars of aggression facilitators to act with impunity. Crime is crime, and no person is above the law, no matter if he or she is the leader of a nation, a multi-billionaire banker, or oligarch owner of a corporation.
The paths walked by Native Americans starting over 500 years ago, the Palestinian people since 1947, the people of Africa, and indigenous people in nations and regions around the Earth share many aspects. Through history all indigenous people at some point came into contact with people coming from outside their lands, frequently leading to experiences of extreme suffering from methods used by the “newcomers” to take land, natural resources and – when talking about slavery from hundreds of years ago to today’s sex trade/worker slaves – human beings.
Coming up with an analytical, reasoned explanation for history’s many examples of man’s inhumanity to his fellow-man is certainly no small task, yet any efforts which intend to decrease man’s inhumanity are worth entering into. In the United States, Native Americans were forcefully removed from the land of their ancestors and onto reservations where the land was poor for growing food and raising animals; on foot in inhuman marches that have fallen under the umbrella term “trail of tears.”
All people through history who’ve been on the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man have essentially walked the “trail of tears”, and today the people of Palestine are the world’s most publicized example of those still walking that trail. The thing about man’s continuing inhumanity to man is that men and women who are out of the line of fire experience the trail in a less intense form. Many who receive their information of world events on a superficial level from the corporate media – through the lens of its owners – are unaware of the true extent of inhumanity’s presence.
Men and women around the world, although not present in Gaza and personally witnessing the tragic events there, experience various levels of empathy, compassion, indignation, and heartache depending on the amount of accurate information they’ve seen or read. The current violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict has led to a global recognition of the need to get the differences and concerns finally resolved. In common terms, people are more and more demanding an end to the nightmare; the continued prison-like living conditions, senseless wars, killing and injury (physical and psychological).
Those who’ve viewed the Academy Award winning film “Dances With Wolves” may agree the most powerful scene in the production came near the end, when the Kevin Costner character (John Dunbar) and his white, native-adopted wife Stands With A Fist (played by Mary McDonnell) were leaving their indigenous friends to protect them from the Army. American troops were coming over the mountains after Dunbar, closing in to eventually kill the natives, and Dunbar’s native friend Wind In His Hair (played by Rodney A. Grant) is seen on a cliff-top on his horse.
Wind In His Hair would come to call Dunbar “loo-ten-tent”, he senses a possibility of never seeing friends Dunbar and Stands With A Fist again, and perhaps senses his own imminent death. Alone on the mountain cliff, Wind In His Hair yells to the Great Spirit, “John Dunbar is my friend! John Dunbar is my friend forever!” – in one of the most memorable, artistic, emotionally moving dramatic film scenes of all time.
“Dances With Wolves” is a film that tells about another example of people on the “trail of tears” – man’s inhumanity to man – and in that powerful closing scene suggests another way of living. One wonders what went through the minds of those who died in Palestine as they lived out their last moments on this Earth. Were there intense thoughts about love shared with husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and family, joyful laughter with friends and neighbors, and feelings of lost chances to develop lasting peace, friendship, and brotherhood between Palestine’s people and the people of Israel?
Man’s inhumanity to man has become no longer acceptable for a rapidly increasing number of men and women around the world, and solving the Israel-Palestine conflict would mark the beginning of the end for humanity’s “trail of tears.” Then soon, the human race will no longer shed tears of physical, psychological, and spiritual pain – but tears of joy from seeing every man or woman one meets as “my friend forever!”
Mankind’s greatest challenge and promise lies in taking actions which close the “trail of tears” – man’s inhumanity to man – forever.