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Rumble In the Jungle

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Why is this? Why does America do this to Israel? Give them money and pardons them from paying it back. This country is struggling so much but yet we give those guys so much money. 
Why does Israel have America by the balls? This guy speaks the truth.
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I Traveled to Palestine-Israel And Discovered There is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’



Armed Israeli settler strolls across checkpoint in Hebron, West Bank. Photo: Thomas Dallal


The mind has a way of making traumatic experiences seem like distant dreams to those who survive them. As it goes, the more traumatic the experience, the quicker the paramedics in one’s mind rush to dress wounds, resuscitate and stabilize the victim; the victim being you.

Since returning from Palestine 36 hours ago, I find myself confronted with feelings of detachment and minimization of what I encountered. My subconscious has decided the horrors I witnessed in the ‘Holy Land’ were nothing serious–horrors which include a 26-foot-tall concrete wall enclosing the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank, and the sniper towers seemingly on every other corner of this open-air prison.

This was my first trip to Palestine–most westerners call it Israel, but I’ll address that topic shortly. I had never been to the country, but I read enough to know the basics: Palestinians and Israelis were fighting over land. The Israeli government was formed in 1948 as part of a vision set forth by a secular European colonial political movement called Zionism, founded by Hungarian Theodor Herzl in 1896. Herzl, an atheist, sought to free the Jews from European oppression and anti-Semitism, with the ultimate goal being the creation of a Jewish state.  He first proposed East Africa’s Uganda as the location of the Jewish state. This proposal also found the approval of the British government which controlled Palestine since the First World War. Herzl, however, later identified Palestine as the country of choice. I knew this.

The history of Palestinians was something I was familiar with as well, only because in high school, my friend’s parents were Moroccan Jews with staunch right-wing Zionist views. They’d go on about how Palestinians were worth shit and how they were sucking off the land they stole, and how they were not from Palestine, but Jordan. Truth be told, my friend’s parents’ passion about their ‘homeland’ made me sick. As a black person living in the United States, I could not relate to their love for their proclaimed homeland because I never had one. My ancestors were captured from various regions of Africa and forced onto ships bound for the Americas. Therefore, when questioned about the geographic origins of my ancestors, my answers were as vague as Africa is big.


Before I go further, I must put to rest a misnomer. Contrary to what’s been reported in the news for years, there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. None, zero, zilch, diddly-squat. I can say with confidence that Palestinians have no agency. The Israeli government controls everything in the country. This total control which is most magnified in the West Bank, concerns everything from where Palestinians are permitted to travel, to how much water they consume per month. Currently, there is no ‘conflict,’ only the omnipresent power of the Israeli government and those who resist it. This is important to understand.

Where was I?

I began researching the history of Palestinians in my senior year of college and discovered that my high school buddy’s parents weren’t only functionally insane, but they were completely incorrect in their claims. Palestinians had not fallen from the clouds and landed on Jewish land, (interpretations of certain religious texts would suggest otherwise) but had inhabited the country for thousands of years. In fact, Palestine hosted several occupations throughout history: Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Philistines, Tjekker, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, British, Jordanians– a gang bang of military occupations. Nasty.

American author and Professor of Political Science Alan Dowty put it best when he wrote, “Palestinians are the descendants of all the indigenous peoples who lived in Palestine over the centuries.” Moreover, studies suggest, that part, if not the majority of Arabs living in Palestine, descend from a core population that dates back thousands of years.

Perhaps it would be easier for me to believe the story of Palestinians falling from the clouds, or crossing into Palestine from Jordan shortly before the creation of Israel — that is, if my perception were formed by mainstream western media. In the years prior to the events of 9/11, including the initial months of the Second Intifada, media outlets such as Fox, CNN, and BBC, unfolded one dimensional narratives which included bloodthirsty Palestinians blowing themselves up in public places, killing innocent people. Never did they examine the societal constraints and conditions which might drive people to commit such atrocities.

In order for colonialism and occupation to be successful, previous inhabitants of a region must be dehumanized, labeled savages, and finally, their very existence denied. Once this paradigm has been established, any and all acts of horror can be inflicted upon them without recourse. Thus, the stories of the oppressed become irrelevant. 

Members of our delegation show passports at checkpoint entering illegal settlements in Hebron, West Bank.  Jewish Israelis are permitted entry, internationals must present passports and endure interrogation and Palestinians are not allowed. Photo: Thomas Dallal

Getting in and out

In the weeks preceding my departure from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Tel Aviv, I received travel warnings from The Carter Center, the organization responsible for sponsoring my trip. Our delegation, which consisted of prominent African-American journalists and artists, was provided suggestions of how to increase our chances of getting into Palestine-Israel. It is not uncommon for travelers to be denied entry into the country for absurd reasons such as their father’s last name sounds Arab, or they criticized Israeli policy on a social networking website. I decided I would tell my Israeli interrogators the truth, but be as vague as possible.

If denied entry, travelers could be detained for hours, interrogated and forced to board an airplane back to where their flight originated. Other visitors to the region advised me to avoid saying words like “Palestine,” “Palestinian,” ”solidarity,” and “West Bank” inside of Israel’s airport. I was also advised to sanitize my email in the event that Israeli officials requested my password in order to rummage through my inbox. Unfortunately, this is a common experience for Palestinian-Americans attempting to visit the country. Additionally, I was warned that Israeli authorities, on occasion, provoke visitors by being rude, or asking inappropriate questions–they aim to cause one to feel as though they’ve done something wrong. In my case, this tactic was working. I felt I was committing a crime by wishing to enter the West Bank to talk to Palestinians. Israel was getting to me already, and I hadn’t left my apartment.

How things work

I reached Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and made my way up a flight of stairs leading to a long, wide, windowed corridor filled with travelers speed-walking towards their destination. To my left were palm trees of a country I was hoping to enter, and fixed high above was the sun, whispering the arduous tale of humankind.

I had made it to customs. It resembled a race track betting area with fifteen booths and neon signs fixed to them which read, “Israeli Citizens” and “Foreigners.” I got into the foreigner line. Inside the booth sat an Israeli woman, maybe 20 years old. She looked sad and beautiful.

“Passport,” she said in a dry tone.

I gave it to her.

“What is the reason for your visit?”

I smiled and replied, “A tour of the holy land.”

She examined my passport, then she examined my face,”Will you be visiting the West Bank or Gaza?”

I said, “No,” without thinking.

“Where will you be going?” she asked.

“Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth,” I replied.

She examined my passport again, “Do know any Palestinians?” she asked.

I smirked and lied, “No.”

I was officially permitted into the state of Israel. I found my taxi driver, loaded my carry-on bag into the trunk, and we were off. Leaving Israel would not be so easy, but I’ll save that story for another time.

Riding from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the first thing I noticed, besides the breathtaking Palestinian landscape with its palm trees, olive trees and immense hills and valleys, were walls and barbwire. There were literally hundreds of miles of concrete walls and barbwire–not the kind one sees on a Los Angeles off-ramp, but those belonging to a prison

I’d later find out that a portion of my 90-minute ride from the airport to Jerusalem gave a brief look at “Area-C.” As it goes, the occupied West Bank is divided into three parts: “Area-A,” “Area-B” and “Area-C.” “Area-C” is controlled by the Israeli government, while “Area-A” is supposedly under the control of the Palestinian Authority (or PA), a self-governing body established to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip (“Area-B” is under glorified Palestinian municipal control and Israeli security control). The reason I say “supposedly,” is because after spending a week in the country, I began wondering if the area classifications were simply a broad public relations campaign to convince the world that Palestinians have a degree of military, political, and economic power they do not have. This is not a far-fetched inquiry. Since the second Oslo Accords in 1995, the Israeli government has asserted, and the international community has accepted, the notion that “Area-A” is under PA control, but on the ground, the PA acts as a subcontracted enforcer to the Israeli occupiers.

The Reality

In Jerusalem, I witnessed great religious and ethnic diversity. I saw Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Africans, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Christians, all scrambling in Old City Jerusalem towards their various destinations. It was postcard worthy.

The variety of cultures in Jerusalem is outstanding. Similar to many societies however, Palestine-Israel presents a polished version of itself to tourists, where 5-star hotels in Tel Aviv and tourist attractions in Jerusalem cloak its brutal realities. The fact remains that our delegation was subject to a type of racism I’ve only experienced in the southern states of the United States of America. Of course, to a Jew or a middle class Palestinian living in Jerusalem or Nazareth, my observations may sound like exaggerations, but for the African migrant sleeping on the ground in South Tel Aviv, or for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, my evaluations are dead on.

The blatant, systemic subjugation and profiling of Arabs was most pronounced when our tour guide, a middle class Palestinian woman, was forced by IDF soldiers to exit our tour van and pass through a checkpoint on foot. As all Palestinians must do, she was told to place her thumb on a scanner to pass through a turn-style at a checkpoint. The members of our delegation were no exception to IDF scrutiny. The light skinned blacks in our delegation were interrogated and asked bluntly if they were Arab, and if not, what the last names of their fathers’ were.

Palestinians and progressive Israelis told our delegation story after story of the abuses and degradation they’ve suffered at the hands of Israeli settlers or soldiers, and we witnessed some of this treatment first hand. Along with the rampant home and land confiscation in the West Bank (in which settlers receive state subsidies), agricultural violence is on the rise, as settlers uproot and destroy the olive trees Palestinians rely on for income and nourishment. More sinisterly, public beatings, arrests and shootings are common, particularly in the West Bank. Without charges, a Palestinian can be imprisoned and held for months or years under administrative detention. The same law does not apply to Jewish Israelis. In fact, Israeli citizens can commit a range of crimes against Palestinians with near impunity. Furthermore, Israelis benefit from being under police and civil courts jurisdiction, while Palestinians are under military jurisdiction. Human Rights Watch has documented the “Separate and Unequal” legal situation endured by Palestinians.

Yehuda Shaul (seen in orange shirt) lectures our delegation near village of Susya.  Photo: Thomas Dallal

Our delegation was introduced to Yehuda Shaul, a former commander in the Israeli army and current Foreign Relations Director for Breaking the Silence, an organization of former IDF soldiers who have dedicated themselves to revealing the atrocities committed against Palestinians, as well as the general corruption of higher-ups in the Israeli government. Yehuda, a heavyset man wearing a yarmulke, still moves and speaks like a soldier. As we drove up and down the hills of South Hebron, Yehuda’s lecture quickly began to feel like a general preparing a platoon for an offensive. He even revealed Israel’s plan to force rural Palestinians away from their land and into West Bank cities, making them dependent on the government.

As a liberal Israeli, Yehuda believes in granting rights to Palestinians and developing a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution. Yehuda is still a Zionist, and beyond lecturing about various land grabs, violence and injustices committed by Israeli settlers and the government, the 31-year-old steers away from revealing his personal story, which likely involves his journey as an IDF commander who terrorized Palestinian neighbourhoods, to the activist he is today who accepts that Palestinians are human.

Yehuda commanded our Palestinian driver to stop on the side of a road near an illegal Israeli settlement in the village of Susya. I point out that our driver was Palestinian because stopping in Susya was extremely dangerous for the three Palestinians in our van. Susya is home to armed, right-wing Israeli settlers who as Yehuda admitted, would “beat up” Palestinians on sight. Our Palestinian colleagues stayed in the van.

For some reason, Yehuda was compelled to conduct his lecture outside of the bus while our delegation shivered from a mountainous chill. It was then that a dusty car stopped feet away from us, engine running, with the driver focusing a murderous stare on our group. Yehuda kept lecturing as though nothing was happening, and our delegation pretended to listen as we remained vigilant for the deranged onlooker. The man examined us for a minute more, then sped off violently to return moments later to repeat this action. Sensing danger, I suggested to Yehuda we get back in the van and leave, but he ordered us to remain outside.

“This will only take a few minutes more,” he said, before continuing his lecture.

The rapid fire gunshots we heard in the distance gave us our cue to finally return to the van. The moment we were about to drive off, Israeli army vehicles pulled up, and a few soldiers peered in at us. They took a quick inventory of the van and then sped off. Apparently, during our lecture, Israeli settlers were attacking a group of Palestinians. I had seen enough.

Zionism has convinced many Jews that they are preserving themselves. The common thought is that if the “savage” Palestinians stop resisting, stop shooting rockets, stop fighting Israel’s inevitable domination, there can be peace. I find this peculiar because during my visit, I felt no danger from Palestinians, only from Israeli soldiers. Perhaps it’s because I’m accustomed to being hunted in America. There is no Palestinian-Israeli conflict; there is only oppression.

I will never disregard the Holocaust which left millions of European Jews dead or scrambling for survival. There is nothing that will ever right the wrongs committed by the brutal German regime. On the same note, I will never minimize Germany’s first, and little-known, genocide against the Herero and Namaqua of Africa, or King Leopold’s bloody reign on the continent. Tragedy is tragedy, one should not be placed above the other, nor should a past tragedy justify the next.


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For the record. I love Jews but I don't support Zionism and this is a political move not a religious move to occupy Palestine. Jews and Muslims lived happily together and in peace in Palestine. 



You're not the first person Ive heard this from, one of my former coworkers who was born in Iran has said the same.

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a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.

This if fucking occupation. They are the terrorist. All they do is make enemies and kill innocent people daily. 
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Jews would leave their kids with Palestinian families and vice versa during each others' respective holy days routinely, where the parents and older kids could go for worship and/or celebration and leave the young ones with complete trust with their "enemies" as it's made out to be.   As the ignorant and historically inaccurate saying...."they been fightin' since the beginin' of time"


Real Jews abhor what the state of Israel has done to Palestine, along with its Zionist policies. 

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The one thing that has always fascinated me is that these two peoples (Palestinians and Jews) are practically the same people in regards to DNA make up.




The shared genetic heritage of Jews and Palestinians


analysis suggested was that Palestinians were identical to Jews.


Palestinians and Jews are virtually indistinguishable.


Jews and Palestinian Arabs are blood brothers.


...the bad news? This is a religious conflict, not a genetic one.



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Nice article Rice. 



But how come no one on here has an answer on why does the United States give Israel money every year by the BILLIONS and don't ask for our money back?

I don't know the answer. I think it's a good question, along with everything else that happens between those two peoples. I really liked the link with that Rabbi you posted...I'd seen it before and mostly I agree with him. It's such a fucked up situation and I don't know what the answer is. I can't even form a good opinion anymore because while I will admit that I used to openly support Israel, I don't know what to believe anymore other than the situation as it stands cannot last forever. The Palestinians AND the Jews deserve a homeland. I think that Israel should take the first step and proffer the olive branch of peace...along with halting settlements, helping to create a Palestinian state without walls and security checkpoints, with free access to water and food, etc. It'd be a start.

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I don't know the answer. I think it's a good question, along with everything else that happens between those two peoples. I really liked the link with that Rabbi you posted...I'd seen it before and mostly I agree with him. It's such a fucked up situation and I don't know what the answer is. I can't even form a good opinion anymore because while I will admit that I used to openly support Israel, I don't know what to believe anymore other than the situation as it stands cannot last forever. The Palestinians AND the Jews deserve a homeland. I think that Israel should take the first step and proffer the olive branch of peace...along with halting settlements, helping to create a Palestinian state without walls and security checkpoints, with free access to water and food, etc. It'd be a start.

I'm glad you see it that way now Bung. That Rabbi hit the nail on the head.
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All we really need for the prophecy of peace in the Middle East is for “A fat kid with a small penis to decorate a cow to be ginger.”  Afterwards Israel would be a rocking place to be.




On a serious note;


Since peace negotiations have been tried ( or may have been tried ) by both factions within America and all have failed or were unable to achieve the desired results...  etc...  Can there be a solution from within the area that strikes a balance for all people involved ?  Neither side would be totally happy with any solution.


My far fetched idea for peace in the Middle East is as follows;


1.  Create One country in the Middle East encompassing all territory within the Middle East.  Each current country would be like a state within the larger country.

2.  Allow freedom of religion.

3.  Allow equal rights for men and women.

4.  Provide an equal voice for each political party.


Implementation of above plan is or would be a nightmare.


Note:  Ideas such as these were forced down the throats in the Middle East sometime around WW1, maybe before (I can't remember all the dates).  It did not work then as the boundaries were arbitrarily drawn by people from the " outside "...  Rules were enforced militarily.  Etc...  In other words there were numerous flaws in this idea then much as there might be today.


Note:  Military defense spending would decrease as a result of peace.  Prosperity, health, quality of life, etc... would increase. 


Note:  Relearning the idea of " it is easier to hate than love."   Make it " easier to love than it is to hate."


Note:  Creating the idea of a middle eastern country in its own image would be even harder to get people onboard with if we compare or create in the image of the United States, New World Order,  or anything remotely resembling some form of " western " idea.  How to make it their own idea and like it ?  We may not need a politician to do so but a reputable Used Car salesman.


Please excuse my ramblings above.  It all started when I thought of the idea of how easy it is for us to hate and how difficult we make it upon ourselves to love.

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That "Van Halen means peace" bit from South Park is brilliant!


I certainly did not intend to make South Park the impetus for change but yes, if it takes a fat boy with a small penis painting a cow to give peace to the Middle East, then yes, it was brilliant.


Taking a deeper meaning away from a show like South Park can be challenging but not impossible.

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I think Old Jerusalem should be turned over to UN control.  Let them handle access.  No building permits, either, so no more bullshit about building a 3rd Temple of Solomon or any of that doomsday crap.  Whatever is there now stays and if that's a problem for your religion, tough shit. Maybe find a faith that's not so concerned with architecture, I don't know what to tell you.  There's no such thing as Holy Land - it's all a bunch of dirt and shrubs and goat shit.  If God ever said anything about all that he was probably talking about Montana, anyway.


Get rid of that & the "God promised us Chosen Ones Avenue between 12th and 31st Street" nonsense follows it into the dungheap of bad ideas.  Without all that mystical nonsense it becomes a more mundane territorial dispute with an obvious agenda of slow-motion ethnic cleansing. I think the religious stuff is distracting from much more important realities for the people living there, to the detriment of everyone involved.

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  • 1 month later...


Nice article Rice. 



But how come no one on here has an answer on why does the United States give Israel money every year by the BILLIONS and don't ask for our money back?

I'm pretty sure we give billions in aide all over the world and don't ever ask for it back. Why single out Israel?

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I'm pretty sure we give billions in aide all over the world and don't ever ask for it back. Why single out Israel?

Because we give Israel triple to quadruple more than anyone else yearly and don't ask for it back. We don't give the same nations yearly billions of dollars like we do Israel. And you like us giving away billions?
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