WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?

By John Hickox, Dufur, OR
Palestine land lossThis is not an easy subject but it is one that must be discussed.

The most recent episode of Israel’s bi-annual atrocities in Gaza has faded from the news. How can that be? An estimated 2106 citizens of Gaza were killed! Israel admits that “as many as 72% were civilians.” That means that 1516 non-Hamas men, women, children and babies were killed by rockets and bombs launched from American made Apache helicopters and F-16 jets.

Here are some important things to remember about this whole sordid affair:

1. It did not begin with three teen-age settlers being killed by Palestinians. It did not begin with a Palestinian teenager being burned alive by Israeli forces. It did not begin with the 6 day war in 1967 or any of the other events that may come to mind. It began with the brutal ethnic cleansing of hundreds of Palestinian villages by radical Zionists in 1949. So whenever you hear about a recent attack on Palestinians by Israel that “Israel is merely responding” to some Palestinian action or other, remember that it’s the other way around. Since the beginning, on May 1, 1949, the original unacceptable action was Israel’s killing and forced eviction of a majority of the Palestinian people.

HOPE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

by John Hickox, Dufur, Oregon
palestine stampAre you ready for good news about the Middle East? It’s here! For the first time since 1948, it’s okay to boldly speak out in support of the Palestinian cause. Even Thomas Friedman is doing it! A link to his recent New York Times column follows:

The Third Intifada,  February 5, 2014, Wednesday

The weapons of this uprising in the Middle East are nonviolent.

One of the surprising, even shocking, things Mr. Friedman says:

It’s obvious that a Third Intifada is underway.  It’s the one that Israel always feared most–not an intifada with stones or suicide bombers, but one propelled by nonviolent resistance and economic boycott.

Friedman is right.  Benjamin Netanyahu (and Ariel Sharon before him) was happy when the opposition was defined by suicide bombers. Every bus explosion translated into millions of dollars from members of the American Jewish community.

VISIT PALESTINE

by John Newton Hickox, Dufer, Oregon

On my office wall is a big poster, the kind you find on a travel agent’s wall. The scene is Jerusalem’s Old City, the Dome of the Rock prominent at the center, printed in 1936. Even today most brochures promoting Holy Land Tours use this scene. But my poster is different in a couple significant ways. The city in the distance is framed on one side by an ancient olive tree in the foreground.

In 1936, olive trees were almost sacred to Palestinians. Even today, most Palestinians feel they have violated a deep covenant with their ancestors if they fail to gather the fruit produced by their trees. Every tree has faithfully produced fruit for hundreds or maybe thousands of years. Generations of families living near the cherished tree have relied on it as a staple of life. The tree has produced through good and bad times. Through long dry spells, the olive tree keeps on giving. The only requirement is that the olives be picked every year. Palestinians are distressed and guilt-ridden when olives are left on the tree.

My poster is different from contemporary ones in another significant way. Across the bottom, in large block letters, are the words: VISIT PALESTINE. On all current posters, the word “Palestine” has been replaced by “Israel.” Is this a big deal? To the Palestinians it certainly is.