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Protect Palestine

Emma Rhoads

In America, the word “Palestine” is frequently linked with other terms: Hamas, terrorism, intifada.  But most residents of the country are not bloodthirsty caricatures of terrorists, but refugees representing a people without a nation nor a means of self-determination.

The Nov. 30 United Nations vote on Palestine’s status as a U.N. observer state corresponded with this goal. However, the United States was one of the nine countries against the upgrade to Palestine’s political standing. But if the U.S. continues to preach freedom and independence, it needs to support a two-state solution that gives land and autonomy to Palestine.

Jews settled in the territory now consumed by Israeli-Palestinian struggles following persecution in Russia and Ukraine and, later, the fascist and anti-Semitic regimes of World War II.

In a 1946 letter supporting the recognition of Israel, members of the U.S. Senate wrote to President Harry Truman, “The Jews left alive in Europe are largely destitute, unwanted, or homeless with a well-grounded need and want to migrate to Palestine.”

In its 1948 recognition of Israel, the U.S. upheld ideals of self-determination and showed its support for those in need.

Today, Palestinian civilians represent some of the neediest people in the Middle East. Although Hamas, a terrorist organization, has influence in Palestinian territories, destitute civilians support Hamas  because it serves primarily as a source of aid.

Hamas has gained popularity by providing civilians with civil services, like infrastructure, as well as by providing families with food and medical care.

Palestinian civilians need these basic resources. According to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, five million Palestinians are refugees. Gaza and the West Bank, territories where Palestinian refugees live, lack infrastructure and a developed economy. Many Palestinians rely on jobs within Israel. However, Israelis treat Palestinians as second-class citizens, making Palestinians carry identification at all times and enforcing harsh travel restrictions on Palestinians.

In a 2010 report, Human Rights Watch noted that, in Israeli settlements, Palestinians were deprived basic neccessities and lived in de facto segregation from Israeli neighbors.

Any American will affirm that our country values freedom and self-determination; our ideals have not changed. Our politics have. We should follow the U.N.’s lead.

The United States’ alliance with Israel makes sense in that Israel is the only true democracy and advanced economy in the Middle East. But the morality of this alliance becomes doubtful when it supercedes age-old values of independence. America may support Israel, but it should also recognize that Palestinians are suffering under Israeli control.

It’s clear that both Palestine and Israel have committed violent acts against each other. Bloodshed has both sides, and neither is blameless.

However, the U.N. decision to recognize Palestine as an observer state is a step in the right direction. It supports Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Operation, while de-emphasizing Hamas. It encourages negotiation, rather than violence, as a route to progress.

Truman described Israel as “not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.” Backing Palestine’s autonomy under a two-state solution will ensure that these ideals remain in politics.

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About the Contributor
Eliza Llewellyn, Web Managing Editor
Eliza Llewellyn ’14 is driven and well-rounded. Now that it’s her third year on Inklings, she’s ready to take the lead. As web managing editor, Eliza is excited to advance the Inklings website with innovations in media and graphics. It’s not going to be easy, and fortunately her experience as co-captain of the Staples JV tennis team has taught her the valuable leadership skills necessary for the job. Not only this, but her position on the yearbook committee and her commitment to playing piano constantly puts her time management skills to the test. While her job on Inklings may also be extremely time-consuming, she puts it above all else. “If I’m doing homework at 10:30 p.m. and a new e-mail pops up with an article, I stop what I’m doing to read it,” said Eliza. “It’s one of my first priorities.” When Eliza isn’t editing articles, she’s writing them. Last year she wrote a news story, "Legacies: Investigating a College Application Controversy," which she considers one of her best works. “It felt good to talk to guidance counselors and college admissions officers because I was finding information that people would not get otherwise,” said Eliza. This year she hopes to pursue writing in-depth and research-based articles, as well as find a good balance among all her extracurriculars. With her dedication and drive, there’s no doubt Eliza will go above and beyond.

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    christopher shaffarJan 15, 2013 at 2:08 am

    train the Jews to ethnically cleanse the arabs i meant. Read “The ethnic cleansing of Palestine”, the author has citations where you can actually SEE in jewish museums and their gov library where they actually planned the cleasing and forced relocation of the arabs, via training from the British. WAR CRIMES! JEWISH WAR CRIMES! and no i’m not anti-semetic, i have jewish friends who agree with me.

  • T

    tom fontaineJan 14, 2013 at 10:26 am

    no such place as palestine end off

    • C

      christopher shaffarJan 15, 2013 at 2:05 am

      actually Tom, it WAS INDEED Palestine for CENTURIES under Ottoman empire rule, then syrian, then the British “protected” it through mandate which really meant bully the arabs and train them to ethnically cleanse the land so they could create israel, and its ONLY been israel since 1948, and was Palestine for CENTURIES before british interruption.