My observations, since returning from our visit to the Holy Land this year, cause me to agree with Ida Audeh’s Guest Opinion comments. Most Americans’ understanding of the current state of affairs and social justice concerns are tainted by a media perspective and powerful lobbies that spread a, largely, one-sided view.
Chair, HCEF/ HCSN Boulder Colorado committee
News – HCEF
While we were in the West Bank, it was very apparent to us that Palestinians suffer from incredible discrimination in every aspect of their lives. The checkpoints (represented by the Israeli government solely as security necessities) also serve as a means of severe repression and are a huge inhibitor to any form of realistic everyday life for Palestinians. We stayed in the home of Palestinians and saw first-hand their difficulties. The ill and the elderly are needlessly made to wait for hours on end to pass through checkpoints to get to medical care and other services. The same massive impediments hinder most Palestinian with respect to the few jobs and services that they can still access. Thousand-year-old olive orchards have been mowed down – with the tragic result of significantly discouraging and financially impacting those dependent on them for their livelihood. In the West Bank, there is not enough water and power for the Palestinians because the Israeli government takes theirs first to service the many illegal settlements. The walls (again, ostensibly only for security) extend severely into the Palestinian land to provide for enclaves for settlers who have simply taken the land from the Palestinians. The hundreds of “Israeli-only” roads cut off many of the viable economic means for survival in the West Bank. West Bank settlement growth is startling and continues at an amazing pace. Frequently, Palestinians are left homeless from indiscriminate bulldozing, which simply breeds hopelessness and despair.
In America, there are not nearly enough open and civil discussions about this discrimination that our tax dollars often support. Our media and the strong Israeli lobby in the U.S. have created a one-sided understanding of the situation.
My hope is that those of you who are able to, will go there and see for yourselves, or you will open your hearts and minds to try to try to understand the other side of the issue. Peace in this important part of the world is only possible through social justice for all, which is tragically not yet realized in this land.