Sunday, June 21, 2009

History Class

When Egypt was in Gaza:

When I first visited the Gaza Strip after the Six Day War, I encountered a territory that bore stark witness to Egyptian aggression, callousness and inhumanity. For 19 long years, the area had been run directly by the Egyptian army. Under a "constitution" drawn up by the Egyptians, all legislative powers were invested in the Egyptian military commander, who controlled the civil administration. All political parties, except one endorsed by the Egyptians, were banned. The military governor also acted as the judiciary, and there was no appeal.

There were no elections. A puppet government automatically ratified all legislation that the governor brought before it. In 1965, even this fa├žade of local autonomy collapsed when the Egyptian army dismissed the legislature.

The secret police probed everywhere. No one was immune from sudden arrest and unlimited imprisonment without trial or, at best, a secret trial. The jails were always full and torture was common. There was official censorship of the press and mail, and telephone lines were regularly tapped.

For nearly 19 years, the inhabitants of the Strip were prohibited from leaving their homes from 9 p.m. until dawn on pain of death. This curfew was enforced by roadblocks. Men between 18 and 40 were prohibited from traveling to Egypt unless they were fortunate enough to secure permits. If they failed to return at the expiration of their permit, the military authorities took steps against their families.The Egyptians seized property at will, while refugees were prohibited from owning land. Thousands of young refugees were forcibly conscripted into the Egyptian army. Many were sent to fight Gamal Abdel Nasser's war in Yemen; others were sent into Israel to murder, sabotage and disrupt communications.

Three-quarters of the able-bodied were unemployed. Medical and social services were almost nonexistent The Egyptians did nothing to help farmers, create housing or develop industry. The majority of Arabs in the Strip outside the town of Gaza were left to rot, without sewage, running

HATRED of Israel started at the very tenderest years. I saw pictures which children had drawn, with the encouragement of their teachers, depicting themselves killing Israeli children. The textbooks dripped venom. One text for the third grade, entitled Arabic Islamic History read: "The Jews are always the same, in every time, every place. They live only in darkness. They secretly plan to do evil; they fight only from hidden places because they are cowards. We must purify holy Palestine from their filth in order to bring peace back to the Arab homeland."

The Arabs of Palestine

In 1961, MARTHA GELLHORN... returned from a journey to the Middle East, where she went to see the "Palestinian Refugee Problem" in terms of real life, real people. In this Atlantic monthly article she reports:say about themselves, their past and their future.

"ACCORDING to Arab politicians and apologists, this is what happened, this is the authentic view, these are the facts. Doubt is treasonous. There can be only one truth, according to Arab politicians and apologists, and it belongs to them:

In 1948, war took place between five Arab nations of the Middle East and the Jews in Palestine. This war was caused by the United Nations, whose General Assembly resolved to partition Palestine into two states, one for the Palestinian Arabs, the other for the Jews. The Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs would not accept this monstrous decision. They were obliged to protect themselves against it, with force. The United Nations operated as the tool of the Western Imperialists, notably Great Britain and the United States. The United Nations wanted the Jews to proclaim the upstart state of Israel. Because of the Western Imperialists, who favored Israel, the Arabs lost the war. By massacre, threatening broadcasts, pointed bayonets, and the murderous siege of cities, the Jews drove hundreds of thousands of Arabs out of their homeland. For thirteen years, these Arab refugees have languished in misery around the borders of Israel. The United Nations (Western branch) bears the blame for these events and must repair the damage. The condition of the refugees is a sore on the conscience of honorable men. The Israeli government refuses to welcome back to their homeland the refugees, now swollen to more than a million in number. This refusal demonstrates the brutality and dishonesty of Israel, an abnormal nation of aliens who not only forced innocent people into exile but also stole their property. There is no solution to this injustice, the greatest the world has ever seen, except to repatriate all Palestinian refugees in Palestine. Palestine is an Arab country, now infamously called Israel. Israel has no right to exist, and the Arab nations will not sign peace treaties with it but will, by every means possible, maintain the state of war."

It's well worth the read, how little has changed since then:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/196110/gellhorn

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