This holiday season most of us are fortunate to have friends and family surrounding us.
However, we shouldn’t forget, as you have seen day after day on the TV newscasts, that many people throughout the world, and particularly in the Middle East, are running for their lives to escape war — a war that is fought not so much for gains in land but by one religious group against another.
In Palestine/Israel the occupation continues and the only thing that the Palestinians will be celebrating is another season under the control of the Israeli government. More than any other festivity, Palestinians commemorate their Day of Catastrophe, (Nakba). It is a commemoration, not a celebration, of the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from hundreds of towns and villages that were destroyed in a one-sided “war” by Israeli armed forces.
I’m a member of the American Jewish Voice for Peace, mostly Jewish university students, who want to see a two-state solution to the Palestine situation. This now appears to be impossible as Pres. Netanyahu pushes to populate former Palestinian lands with ever more Jewish-only settlements.
Israel has ignored UN resolutions to remove Jewish settlers from Palestinian lands and revert to the borders at the time of the 1967 war. More and more Jewish settlements are built every day despite being illegal. Meanwhile any homes that Palestinians build are deemed unlawful and bulldozers immediately come and destroy them.
It truly is a catastrophe every day for the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation (as well as those pushed into refugee camps in neighbouring countries — where they have been encamped for 68 years). I apologize for the history lesson, but we need to take the time to think about the people in this world who don’t have homes in which to celebrate with their families.
Frank Martens, Summerland