FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Invasion of Bethlehem and Our Tax Dollars at Work

[Written April 3rd, dictated over the phone April 4, 2002]

There are many myths about what is happening in the Middle East- urban legends, stereotyping and dangerously slanted information. This information has been spoon-fed to the American people. We lap it up unquestioningly. But these half truths, slants and outright lies do as much to perpetuate this blood bath as if we were sending guns and ammunition. Oh wait we are.

MYTH #1 is that this conflict is ‘”too far away” or ‘” none of our business”. Before I continue I want to make sure that every American is clear that the US sends six billion dollars in aid to the Israeli government. So for people who think this conflict is not their problem I would like to give an update on what their tax dollars are being used for- Tanks. Lots and lots and lots and lots of tanks. Automatic weapons and olive green uniform. Right now:

OUR TAX DOLLARS are blocking all the entrances to Bethlehem, not allowing anyone in or out.

OUR TAX DOLLARS have also surrounded manger square. Where little baby Jesus once laid in a manger, Palestinians are now lying wounded and dying or contracting gangrene.

OUR TAX DOLLARS keep ambulances from reaching them.

OUR TAX DOLLARS have also trapped 200 Palestinians inside the church of the Nativity, including the Governor of the Bethlehem District, where the wounded are without medical attention and the rest are without food.

The day of the invasion OUR TAX DOLLARS killed a priest and wounded nuns.

And when the Latin Patriarchy marched from Jerusalem in support of their endangered brothers and sisters, OUR TAX DOLLARS would not allow them through the Bethlehem checkpoint, turning them back to Jerusalem in the cold drizzle.

Near Manger Square OUR TAX DOLLARS killed a mother and her teenage son. Bodies are still lying in the house as we speak while the younger children scream. When some international press went to try and rescue the children they were shot at by OUR TAX DOLLARS, in the same way OUR TAX DOLLARS shot through the door of that same house without even a warning.

OUR TAX DOLLARS “sanitize” the Palestinian refugee camps. Two nights ago in Dehaisha refugee camp our dollars were demanding all the men aged 14-45 and all the women 15-25 come out of their houses and give themselves over. Pictures of the dead plaster all the walls of the camps like wallpaper.

Which brings me to MYTH #2–that all Palestinians are terrorists, raised to kill since childhood. Arafat, the fearless leader of the terrorist state. This biased, slanted information makes me ill and ill to think of all the people who have digested it. Remember when native Americans were ‘”savages”? Remember all the Anti-Semitic propaganda of WWII? It is of urgent importance that we brush up on history quickly because if we do not learn these lessons right now we are dooming ourselves to repeat them. Saying that every Palestinian is a terrorist is like saying that every New Yorker walks around with a knife waiting to mug people in dark alleyways. The information that is given to Americans is biased profiling.

I sat in a Palestinian living room watching TV with the family when we all heard the news of the suicide bomber in Tel Aviv. Their reactions were the same as mine, Oh no, how many were killed? Oh no, this is terrible. The Palestinians realize that they will all pay for the acts of one, the proof being the invasion of Bethlehem. The bomber in Jerusalem was from the Dehaisha Refugee Camp and not surprisingly the people living there, 11,000 of them plus internationals, prepared themselves for direct and merciless retaliation. It would be like attacking the home town of Timothy McVeigh and killing the innocent people living there.

These Palestinian people have been living under Marshall law for over 30 years in constant fear for their lives. They are not raising their children to become terrorists. They are trying to raise their children as best they can in desperate situations. Walking through Aida Refugee Camp I see the paintings of the children and the children”s cultural center that is the pride of the 3700 people living there. The doctor and poet who heads the center says, ‘”the world cannot say that we raise our children to fight”. He gestures to the wall ‘”the kids do not paint tanks or artilleries they are painting on the walls their dreams lakes, rivers, doves”. There is not green in the refugee camps these kids have never seen these things, they paint from their dreams.

Aida camp has been working with the children of the camp teaching them music, dancing, poetry, music, dancing sports, all the things that children should do. The adults feel that these skills are better weapons. They explain, and I agree, that the children ‘”need this kind of hope” and healthier ways to express the myriad feelings swimming inside their little minds.

Kareem tells me a story. Once when the children were learning music inside a relatively exposed building inside the camp the Israeli soldiers began shooting. The children became afraid so to help calm them he suggested they sing. The songs of the children were drowning out the sounds of the shooting and giving the children courage. And then a girl was injured.

There are many more myths from the Middle East but we should also feel responsible for the international silence regarding the dire situation of the Palestinian people. Addressing the 22 internationals staying in the Aida Camp the same doctor says ‘”we were beginning to lose hope that anyone cared, we appreciate what you do. It gives us a little light in the darkness that surrounds us”.

Nancy Stohlman is a member of the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace, and one of four Coloradans currently in the West Bank in solidarity with Palestinians under siege by the Israeli military. You can read more about their experiences at: http://www.ccmep.org/palestine.html

More articles by:
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail