The real Gaza

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I would like to offer the following reflection to the Opinion piece by Debby Titlebaum Neuman entitled "Hold Your Fire" in the Nov. 23 issue of the PG.

Phyllis Bennis, who describes herself as an American Jew, recently stated on Amy Goodman's program "Democracy Now" that "I can go to Israel at any time and live there and the day after my arrival become an Israeli citizen. However, a Palestinian born and raised in Israel but who became a refugee after the 1948 or 1967 wars may not even return to Israel for a visit, let alone live in the land of his/her birth."

Ms. Titlebaum Neuman says she does not want to hear "ignorant responses about occupation, settlements and the mistreatment of the Palestinian people." Nevertheless, she says, "I want to hear the truth." To me, there seems to be a disconnect here and a refusal to engage reality.

The undeniable reality is that 80 percent of the population of Gaza are refugees from Israel and the West Bank and have been so for generations. They live in what is commonly described as an open-air prison, the guardians of which are the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli government. This prison is guarded with caterpillar bulldozers and airplanes furnished with U.S. tax dollars by our government.

As long as the reality of oppression, domination and occupation is denied or obfuscated, it is hard to imagine the peace that Ms. Titlebaum Neuman wishes will ever be realized.




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