Razor wire, electrical & steel fences, concrete barriers and road blocks, watchtowers and tanks, helicopters, drones and F16s overhead, and the looming gray wall of separation encircling us –these are the borders of Gaza and the West Bank. Jennifer, these are what imprison us on our ever-shrinking land, what scar and desecrate our towns and villages. Bulldozers maul the earth and eat away at our homes and orchards. Hideous robotic claws tear up our land and the pavement on our streets and even walking becomes impossible. How can I run away? The borders around me trap me at every bend. Worst of all is that when I close my eyes the same barbed wire cuts across my mind so that I cannot escape. Not even in my dreams.
A parallel universe runs alongside the one being conjured up in the press. There, where the Road Map to Peace is analyzed and criticized, lauded or condemned, a difficult reality faces readers worried that the latest violence will shatter this recent attempt to make peace –or dismissive as the words turn into bits of human flesh on the streets. Far away from critical commentary, a fifty-five-year-old process of human displacement and destruction continues uninterrupted by the tempest raging in the news headlines.
To understand the Palestine conflict, one must strip away the words that obscure it. There is no state in the making, no autonomy being created, no sovereign Palestinian authority, no withdrawal from illegally settled territories, no cessation of occupation. A real map would show the West Bank cut in two by the sprawling settlement of Ariel, strangled within by checkpoints and military outposts, slashed by Jewish-only roads, divided and encircled by a creeping apartheid wall, fragmented into dried up villages whose resources Israel has stolen for itself and its settlements and intends to keep.
A real map would show the Gaza Strip gnawed away at either end by bulldozers, the homes and businesses at the edges of Rafah and Beit Hanoun heaps of tangled wire and broken stone. The borders of Gaza are receding slowly, before our eyes, as families flee to the interior, to the overcrowded camps –themselves isolated by yet more checkpoints and settler bypass roads. Sewage pools go untreated as wadis and wells fill with bacteria and disease, the air and water made putrid by environmental suffocation. The shoreline belongs almost exclusively to the Gush Katif settlement block and patrolling Israeli gunboats out at sea.
The destruction of the land of Palestine is nearing completion. What was cut to 46% in 1947 had become 22% twenty years later and is less than half of that now. There are no plans, processes, or maps that seek to restore it even partially. The big problem remaining is what to do with the natives who refuse to leave. Slowly, in piecemeal fashion, they are being bulldozed and dynamited, targeted or imprisoned, deported, detained, bombed, buried, surrounded, shot, or gradually transferred out of sight. The international community stands mutely by unwilling to intervene.
Why don’t our papers report this?
Forget about the Road Map. Don’t be seduced by the talk of peace. Israel is an offshore US military base and weapons testing ground. It is a westernized colony for white supremacists seeking ways to discreetly dispose of its nigger population. It is an American franchise for the new global economy, a consumer outlet, an ad for Disney-World-gone-native, a terrorist training camp for Jewish fundamentalists, the most well-funded terrorist organization outside the mainland United States, a strategic foothold in the Middle East for oil-thirsty, power-hungry neo-cons.
It is suicide’s most willing accomplice.
JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She spent a good part of the last three years in Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Lebanon. She is a member of the Palestine/Israel Peace & Justice Alliance (PIPAJA) and a founder of the Rafah-Madison Sister City Project. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org