Truth and Justice Radio
WZBC 90.3, Boston
Sunday AM 6-10


Sherif Fam on Palestine, 2 July 2006

"To paraphrase Martin Luther King: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

It is Sunday, July 2nd and Palestine is hurting. Badly.

Israel’s army invaded Gaza on Wednesday with tanks, helicopters, artillery and armored personnel carriers. The army immediately set out to destroy major elements of Gaza’s civilian infra- structure. The power plant donated by Egypt which supplied 75 percent of Gaza’s electricity was destroyed. Water and sewage systems were similarly destroyed as were the three roads which connected Gaza to the West Bank. Gaza’s Islamic University was bombarded with artillery as was the northern town of Beit Lahia.

President Mahmoud Abbas was prevented from leaving Gaza where he had been conducting intensive negotiations and had reached agreement on the manifesto issued by the more than 8,000 Palestinian political prisoners Israel is holding in its jails. Meanwhile, Israel’s military forces in the West Bank went on a rampage in Nablus, Jenin, Qalquilia, Tubas and Ramallah, arresting civilians at random with no charges, as well as 64 government officials, including the Governor of Qalquilia, elected representatives in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Director of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Ministers of Finance, Labor, Jerusalem Affairs, Prisoner Affairs and Strategic Planning.

Supersonic flights of F15s and F16s were resumed over Gaza intentionally subjecting the entire civilian population to unbearably painful sonic booms which Israel’s Chief of Staff had previously qualified as just below the fatal level. Well, there is a word for inflicting pain just below fatal levels. It is called torture. And what Israel is doing is terrorizing and torturing an entire civilian population.

Israel claims that its sole purpose in this campaign is to secure the release of an Israeli soldier who was abducted during a Palestinian raid on a military outpost. In fact, it has nothing to do with the soldier, who is also a French citizen, although France and Egypt kept up appearances by mediating to secure the release of the soldier. Prime Minister Olmert, who proudly asserted before the US Congress that he was following in Sharon’s footsteps, has adopted the same policies of using any excuse to obliterate Palestinian civil society, its juridical, municipal and public health infra-structures, its housing, its schools and hospitals and commercial establishments, and its cultural heritage: everything that sustains Palestinians as a people.

The entire Gaza strip, home to 1.4 million people is sealed off from the outside world. No water, no food, no medicine is allowed through to any part of Gaza while the military continues its campaign of destruction.

President Abbas urgently appealed to the White House, the Qaurtet, the Arab nations, the entire international community to mediate and end the carnage but got no support. Continuing to maintain appearances, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the soldier must first be released and then negotiations can begin.

There is a word for what Israel has done under Sharon and continues to do under Olmert. And the sooner that word enters public usage the better, and the more clearly the context of what Israel is doing will be seen. That word is genocide. Israelis have been referring to it for years to describe events on the ground. Israeli historian and author Tania Reinhart has called Israel’s actions as a “creeping genocide.” In 2003, former Israeli Knesset Member, and Minister of Communications and the Arts, Science, and Technology called it “Murder under Cover of Righteousness.” Last year she called it “Holy Insanity.”

There is more than one way of killing a people. Crematories and en masse killings are only its most public manifestations. Far more insidious is the stealthy, relentless killing in time, not only of individuals, but of the social fabric that constitutes Palestinian civil society, down to the destruction of its historical and cultural heritage and the erasure of its memory. The intentional destruction of the civil society and cultural heritage of an entire nation is genocide, not to mention the collective terrorizing and torture of its population, holding it captive, dumping toxic wastes on it causing disease, and denying access to food, water and medical care. One does not need gas ovens to commit genocide. Death by disease and starvation is just as effective. And that genocide which we have been witnessing for years is being carried out with the full complicity, financial backing, and political support of the United States of America - to its eternal shame.

We will have more to say about that subject in future editions of this program.

Israel and the US have been engaged for years in political and media campaigns to hide the truth and silence its voices. But the voice of truth and justice will not be stilled.

Make no mistake, behind every bullet, every tank shell, every artillery shell, every rocket that kills a Palestinian, there lurks an American finger at the trigger. And so do the collective fingers of all those who watch passively and allow the genocide to continue. To paraphrase Martin Luther King: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Today, all the countries of the world cower before a frighteningly hostile and menacing United States. While the international community has named the US and Israel as the two most dangerous countries in the world, none dares to suffer their displeasure.

So, it is up to civil society, the common citizens of every country, most especially of the United States, to take matters in their hands. All of us must speak out and get involved in one way or another. To the many who believe that they can not make a difference, I offer you these words by author Anita Koddick: “If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” Now imagine what armies of mosquitoes can do.

Starting today, let us all resolve to be the mosquitoes that will wake up the world and bring it back to its senses. For we are all responsible, by our actions or inaction, for the world we live in today, and for building the world we hope to leave our children and grandchildren.

--SHARIF FAM
Host of This Week In Palestine, WZBC radio, Boston


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