Israel’s pullout from Gaza is a charade

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Do you actually believe that Israel wants peace? Do you sincerely believe that Israel is taking actions to pave the road toward good relations with the Palestinians? Well, think again.

Israel still controls all borders, coastlines, and airspace in Gaza. 1.3 million Palestinians are mewed up in the world?s most crowded ghetto, called the Gaza Strip, and practically nothing has changed since the disengagement, except that when Israeli soldiers perform raids in Gaza they are less careful as to where they point their guns. In fact, Israeli jetfighters, mainly F-16s made in the USA, continue to strike many areas in the ?recently-evacuated? Gaza strip, in which several Palestinians have been killed, dozens others wounded, severe damages inflicted to buildings, and let?s not forget to mention the terror inflicted upon the innocent.

Financially and strategically, it only made sense for the Israeli government to remove its settlers from Gaza; it had nothing to do with care for the Palestinians. The international press Israel is now receiving for such a ?heroic? act allows Israel to continue oppressing Palestinians behind this illusory curtain.

Do you still believe Israel wants peace? Why, then, did Ariel Sharon?s advisor, Dov Weisglass, state in a 2004 interview with Israel?s newspaper Ha?aretz, ?The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that?s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians,? and that this enables Israel ?to park conveniently in an interim situation that distances us as far as possible from political pressure??

Today, more than 500,000 Israeli citizens are living illegally in the West Bank among over 2.4 million Palestinians. When I say illegally, I mean that under international law these settlers are not legally allowed to be living in the disputed Palestinian territory.

Israel pretends to want to freeze the building of settlements; in other words, to stop stealing Palestinian territory. They even claim to want to reverse the trend. But actions speak louder than words. On March 21, 2005, Israel approved plans to build 3500 new housing units between the Jewish settlements of Ma?ale Adumim and Jerusalem. These new settlements will cut the West Bank in half and strengthen Israel?s grip on Jerusalem, and they are already under construction. Since January of this year, Israel has issued nearly 200 tenders for new settlements on Palestinian territory; the theft never ends.

I have yet to state the worst. Israel is building a wall, twice as large as the Berlin Wall, on Palestinian territory, yet another reason to doubt the sincerity of Israel?s latest peace initiative.

The wall is lined with guard towers manned by Israeli soldiers. More than 90 miles of it have already been completed, with a lot more to go. The wall is just another way of annexing more Palestinian land and imprisoning Palestinians in ghettos.

I was personally forced to experience the hardship of the wall when Israeli soldiers at an entrance did not allow my aunt and I and many other Palestinians to enter Jerusalem to pray at the third holiest Muslim site in the world, the Dome of the Rock, situated within. Just like the settlements, this wall has been deemed illegal by the international community. But does Israel care? Why should it, when it has the indiscriminate support of the strongest, most wealthy democratic nation in the world?

Israel is suffocating the Palestinians. There are numerous checkpoints in Palestinian territory that prevent travel from one town to another. The wall is being constructed on Palestinian farmland, and is further preventing the practically nonexistent export of Palestinian goods. Fifty percent of Palestinians are jobless ? a direct result of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and Gaza?s perpetual state of oppression. Much of the income Palestinians now receive comes from jobs in Israel.

Even this is soon to change; Israel has announced a goal of eliminating the employment of Palestinians on its territory by 2008. After all, why does Israel need cheap Palestinian labor when now it can get cheap labor from the influx of Russian immigrants? The systematic economic destruction Israel has wreaked on the Palestinians for more than 38 years continues. What more does Israel want? Palestinians are so poor, their children are starving, and Israel is stealing the little land they have left.

Israel is a state whose foundations are based on the terrorizing of the people whose land they stole: the Palestinians. Do you want to learn more about the truth of the Israel-Palestine conflict? The Palestinian Film Series is coming to Pittsburgh on October 21. There will be two films shown on campus, October 23 and 30 at 7:30 pm in Porter Hall 100. Come reeducate yourself about the truth.