Realities Of Israeli Oppression
Rarely Aired In US
They Deserve Better

By Bill Kaufmann
Calgary Sun

Shawn Dombrowski's first task once he'd arrived in the Holy Land was to dissect the Israeli Defence Force's destruction of a Palestinian ambulance.
The Fort McMurray Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) said the Israeli troops knew the vehicle had been given clearance to enter Ramallah, but launched their grenade through its windshield anyway.
"The 40-mm grenade probably went right into the doctor's chest and blew up ... three EMTs had 80% burns over their bodies," he told a Calgary audience last spring.
The more fortunate paramedics are beaten to a pulp by the soldiers, used as human shields by them, kidnapped or delayed for hours from reaching patients, Dombrowski reported.
Palestinians on the streets during curfew, even those seeking medicine or food were shot out of hand, he added.
It's all part of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, where kids throwing stones at tanks are gunned down, schools are destroyed, clinics ransacked, homes plundered, tank shells lobbed into marketplaces and missiles hurled into crowds.
After being driven out of what's now Israel in 1948, the Palestinians are now enduring a second, more gradual expulsion in the West Bank -- ethnic cleansing slow enough as to escape undue world -- read American public -- attention.
Despite the "road map" to peace, land continues to be confiscated to build Israeli settlements, which brings the occupation troops and roads for the exclusive use of settlers that dissects Palestinian land, making life barely liveable.
Palestinians avoiding the numerous roadblocks on their own land to go about their daily lives invite a hail of bullets.
While settlers fill their swimming pools, Palestinians go begging for water; the army destroys wells.
Countless orchards nurtured over generations have been wiped out, marketplaces bulldozed, civilian infrastructure everywhere trashed, often for no apparent security reason.
"They just want the Palestinians to give up, leave their ancestral lands and go to Jordan," says Calgarian Sky McLaughlin, an educator in Ramallah.
Since the current intifadeh broke out three years ago, nearly 13,000 Palestinians have been rendered homeless by the IDF, which has made a weapon out of food and withholding other humanitarian aid -- some of the many war crimes it commits.
The IDF is notorious for killing journalists, aid workers and targetting human rights activists. This year, activist Rachel Corrie of Olympia, Wash. was crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer as she defended a Gaza home.
The Israelis called it an accident, that the driver couldn't see the 23-year-old peaceful demonstrator, but photos tell a different story.
In an e-mail from the bombed-out squalor of Rafah camp, Corrie described the lot of a people suffering under the world's fourth most powerful military.
"No amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing could have prepared me for the situation here -- you just can't imagine it unless you see it."
In a journey to the area four years ago, I met Israeli occupation soldiers in Hebron and Gaza disgusted with their mission.
Another witness, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa compares the oppression to the apartheid of earlier experience.
These realities are rarely aired among North Americans and those who do are labelled anti-Semitic. Presumably those Israeli soldiers of conscience are anti-Semites, too.
Now, under cover of the road map, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is building the security fence which meanders further onto Palestinian soil, cutting off farms and villages from the land and water that sustains them.
Sharon is adamant not a single settlement will be vacated -- a recipe for continued conflict -- precisely what he seeks.
Victory in the 1967 war made the long-held dreams of Israeli expansionists a reality, though the price paid for the colonization by both Israelis and Palestinians has been steep.
The terrorist suicide bombings are evil, detestable and should stop immediately; not only do they shatter innocent lives, they imperil the Palestinian cause. Enough is enough.
When the criminal scum who order the bombings are liquidated, it's impossible to summon sympathy for them.
But if your troops act like animals and treat the subjugated like animals, some of them will behave like animals.
And the current road map charade, driven by Israel bullying its feeble foe to accept whatever crumbs it deems fit to toss them, will ensure endless bloodshed.
Palestinians deserve better.
So do Israelis.
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