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Peace Train: Israeli treatment of Palestinians can be likened to barbaric treatment of minorities

Here we go again with yet another deadly and devastating Israeli military attack on Gaza that has captured the world’s attention.

However, this current crisis is notably different in scope from the numerous previous major Israeli war crimes. This time there was already ongoing Palestinian resistance to Israeli provocations and violence in occupied East Jerusalem — including the egregious Israeli attack in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in all of Islam. There was also more Palestinian resistance to the Israeli provocations and violence in other parts of the occupied West Bank, and in Israel itself with its apartheid regime.

In addition, people worldwide recognize that the Israeli conquest and theft of Palestinian lands is just another colonial racist venture. The Israeli treatment of Palestinians is similar to the barbaric treatment of other Indigenous peoples and minorities. There is definitely much more support for Palestinians around the world now, including in the U.S.

The U.S. and Western European nations wring their hands and plead for an end to the violence while the U.S. simultaneously prevents any sanctions against Israel. Of course, these nations lamely insist that Israel, an occupying power attacking an occupied people, has a “right to defend itself.”

Wait, what did they say? Didn’t they mean to say that the Palestinians, those living under apartheid and those under a brutal military occupation, have a right to defend themselves?

Rather than go into the details of this current crisis, in the following I am going to look at a larger picture. I don’t mean to downplay the horrific suffering, loss of life and devastation of this ongoing crisis that impacts Palestinians to a far greater extent than Israelis. However, it’s important to understand that this shameful situation was predicted.

At the end of World War I, the U.S. established the King-Crane Commission to examine the question of Palestine. The Commission, initially predisposed in favor of Zionism, changed its mind when it learned that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the non-Jewish inhabitants. The British officers consulted by the Commission did not think that this program could be carried out except by force of arms.

In 1938, Mahatma Gandhi was asked about the Palestine conflict. He responded: “It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. … They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart.”

Albert Einstein said: “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish State. Apart from practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish State … I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain…”

In 1942, the American Council for Judaism was formed. As a solution for the conflict between Jews and Arabs, the ACJ recommended a democratic state in Palestine wherein Arabs and Jews would share in the government and have equal rights and responsibilities. It rejected the creation of an exclusively Jewish state as undemocratic and as a retreat from the universal vision of Judaism.

If it is not too late, given that the two-state solution is dead, could the ACJ recommendation work? If we continue on the current path, the future looks increasingly bleak.