Where's the sympathy for Palestinians forced out of THEIR homes?

Speaking of the removal of Israeli colonists from Palestinian land, I've recently come back from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where I witnessed the effects of REAL dispossession (unlike the colonists who are being relocated to very comfortable housing elsewhere courtesy of US taxpayers, housing that most people in Watts, Harlem, the Appalachians or any First Nations reservation could never dream of occupying). And no Palestinian has ever been compensated for their tragic losses, whereas a "majority of the Jewish settlers have accepted a compensation package - in between $150,000 to $400,000."

Some Palestinian seniors (I almost called these dispossessed people senior "citizens") I saw in the camp are still holding onto the keys of their homes seized and/or destroyed sixty years ago. Corporate media in North America creates the impression that Palestinians don't have rights, and they don't have pain--which is why they refuse to show us either.

The Occupied Territories, of course, were (are) reservations inside a colony/settler-state, like Wounded Knee, Lubicon Lake, Kahnesetake or (until recently) Kwazulu-Natal. During the current pull-out from the illegal occupation (and relocating the occupiers of illegally-constructed colonial housing), we're seeing a great deal of coverage of how sad the folks are who are losing their plantation manors.

What's less reported--indeed, what's obliterated from popular memory and in North America from our textbooks--is the misery of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have been tricked, forced or hunted out of their homes and off their ancestral land for decades and decades.

Add into this the exploitation by Israeli colonists of Palestinian labour, labourers often paid at less than minimum wage (which like in the American South or in South Africa allows the Elect to live in luxury while the peasants sweat and starve) as described on this morning's Democracy Now! by crusading Israeli journalist Amira Hass, and you have a portrait of cruelty and indifference to suffering that is truly sickening.

The Palestinian refugee camp at Saida, southern Lebanon. Not a field full of tents or sod houses, but a neighbourhood devastated by invasion and civil war. Generations of stateless refugees without rights to education, work or movement have been born here.

Electrical "safety" for the hundred thousand or so people crowded into this five-square kilometre refugee camp.

Availability of clean water and adequate sewage for refugees remains a major health problem in the camp.

Housing in the camp. Imagine living in such conditions not for months, but for generations? Your children and their children in a world five square kilometres big?

Education for children, especially for girls, is insufficient. Even if Palestinian refugees had full rights to work in Lebanon (let alone in their homeland), they'd have access only to the worst jobs.


Anonymous said…
Are you in Palestine now? Amazing; happy honeymoon you two- from Marie and Doug. Call us when you return!

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