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Life is an incredible struggle for hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of people around the world these days. Refugees fleeing from the horrific violence in the Middle East — a disaster at least partially caused by the illegal and immoral U.S. attack on Iraq — face great obstacles in trying to create new lives for themselves and their families.

Tens of millions of people are living in desperate conditions partially due to the impact of droughts that are likely strongly related to anthropogenic climate change. Tens of millions of others suffer under harsh austerity measures, including steep cuts in public programs and pension benefits. These measures were imposed in order to provide the many trillions of tax payer dollars used to bail out greedy and irresponsible gamblers “working” on Wall Street and for multinational banks.

Much of the world’s attention is currently focused on the possibility of a nuclear holocaust due to a conflict or misunderstanding between U.S./NATO forces and either Russia, China or North Korea. Current arenas involving these forces include Syria, Eastern Europe, the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea.

Unfortunately, it appears as if some leaders don’t understand that real negotiations instead of demands can yield peaceful resolutions of disagreements. The multilateral agreement with Iran over its nonexistent nuclear weapons and the Russian-brokered agreement over the removal of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons are examples of successful negotiations.

Lost among all these dire situations is Israel’s now 50-year-long brutal occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands. These lands were seized by Israel during the illegal 1967 Six-Day War, an Israeli aggression that was unnecessary according to many Israeli political and military figures.

The Israeli military regime and Jewish extremists make harassment and humiliation a routine part of life for approximately 2.8 million West Bank Palestinians. The Israeli military, police and radical Jewish civilians act with almost total impunity in the West Bank. In addition, Israel has illegally implanted colonies and approximately 600,000 residents on Palestinian land.

Life in the West Bank is extremely harsh, but the situation in Gaza is far worse. Israel, with assistance from Egypt and the U.S., maintains an illegal siege that makes life barely survivable for almost 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. For example, in 2015, the UN estimated that if current economic trends continued, Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” Unfortunately, cowardly leaders of the self-proclaimed civilized nations allow Israel to deny justice. Fortunately, people can make a difference. We can apply pressure on Israel by joining the Palestinian BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign. For more info, go to

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.

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