What is it Palestinians really want? Commentary published in The Orlando Sentinel on November 16, 2000 By Charley Reese
You’re probably wondering what it is these Palestinians over there want. Well, even if you aren’t wondering about it, I’ll tell you anyway. They want the same thing the Founding Fathers of this country wanted: freedom.
You see, in 1967, Israel fought a war with Syria, Jordan and Egypt and won it right handily in about six days. In the process, it occupied the West Bank,East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Jordan had illegally annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Egypt controlled Gaza.
The past 33 years, the Palestinians in those areas have lived under Israeli military occupation. Israel has no legal claim to any of their territory, including East Jerusalem. The United Nations has passed a number of resolutions upholding the Palestinians’ claims and their right to self-determination. Bitter Harvest by Sami Hadawi has a good account of these resolutions.
Americans, of course, don’t know what it’s like to live under military occupation. Palestinians must at all times carry special identity cards.
Their cars must have a special license tag. They effectively have no rights.
Their land has been confiscated and Jewish settlements built on it. Their own houses have been demolished or blown up. Olive tress hundreds of years old have been bulldozed. Palestinians frequently are placed under “closure,” which means that they cannot travel to get to their jobs. Often they are placed under curfew, which means that they cannot leave their houses for any reason.