Israel Defense Forces Shoot an American, Will American Eyes Be Open?
Monday was the sixth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie by the Israel military, which happened when she tried to prevent the bulldozing of a Palestinian home in Gaza. Corrie, an American activist, had been in Gaza as part of the International Solidarity Movement, a "Palestinian-led movement of both Palestinians and internationals working together for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
Corrie's reported "tragic accidental death" by Israeli officials is not an isolated case.
Unfortunately, the majority of the cases are peaceful Palestinians killed trying to protect their own land, taken by force illegally by Israeli settlers.
Santa Monica College students had a chance to
see the other side; a side rarely seen in the US Corporate Media, the Palestinian side, seen when "Occupation 101" was screened. "Occupation 101", a documentary
on the Palestinian struggle that included Corrie's case, was shown thanks to the now defunct Mulism Student Association Club back in 2006.
After the film, a discussion between the people present and outraged members of the Hillel Club ensued. They couldn't let the "lies" shown on the "one sided" and "biased" documentary go unchallenged. Statements like "there was nobody [in Palestine] before," or military rationale "we
won the war" and even an absolute religious view "it is our land" courtesy of a Rabbi present were given.
Now, another act of violence has been perpetrated against another American citizen in Israel. Last Friday, another American was shot by the Israeli Defense Forces. The
International Solidarity Movement reported in a press release that member Tristan Anderson "sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. The heavy impact from the tear gas canister being
shot directly at him, from about 60
meters, also caused severe damage to his right eye, which he may lose. Tristan underwent brain surgery in which part of his right frontal lobe and shattered bone fragments were removed."
Tristan's girlfriend, Gabrielle Silverman, said in an interview to Democracy Now "We were at a demonstration against the wall,
against the Israeli apartheid wall in the West Bank village of N'alin, which is about 26 kilometers west of Ramallah." This was reported as both a peaceful and violent
demonstration, depending on the sources. The shooting by the IDF started due to "rocks being thrown at soldiers" as reported by the New York Daily Times or by "violating
a closed military area order," as an IDF spokesperson said to Democracy Now.
"Israel has been building a barrier made up of fencing and walls for about five years. It says it is aimed at stopping terrorists from entering Israel; Palestinians and other
opponents say that it takes land away and makes daily life very difficult for the Palestinian villagers there," wrote Ethan Bronner in an article for the New York Times that puts the situation in context.
It is a shame that it takes the death of an American for Americans to care what is happening in the Middle East. One cannot trust all the information given by the
mainstream media on any given situation, the war on Iraq was sold to the ignorant masses by the media.
Americans need to be informed on what is happening in the world and why it's happening. They need to question what they are told and search information of their own when sufficient facts and background are not provided.
"And the reality of the everyday occupation in the West Bank-I came to Israel and to Palestine because I wanted to see for myself,
I wanted to know for myself, as an American, as a Jew, what is going on out here. And what I discovered is that the level of occupation and apartheid-like conditions are much more extreme than I ever could have
imagined. And we need a much stronger movement in the United States, a much stronger movement for accountability and for-from our government towards Israel. And we
need to stop giving them so much money for their military and for their occupation," said Silverman.
If peaceful forms of demonstration are not permitted by Israel's oppressive forces, what are the Palestinian people supposed to
do? Opposition against Israel is not
an automatic declaration of anti-Semitism as the Israeli right wing labels anyone who speaks up against their brutal and criminal actions (Gaza anyone?). It also does not
condone the rocket attacks made by extremists.
But the reality of things is that there is a population that is systematically being treated as "terrorists," from an occupying force. Something has to be done to change the dynamic between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And it has to start with
the Israel government talking instead of bombing (as it has been historically recorded, it was Israel who broke the latest cease fire), respecting the Palestinians and stop taking what used to be their land.