By Sami Zaatari
Politicians and supporters of Israel often use analogies to try and paint the Palestinians as the bad guys, the villains who are responsible for the conflict, and the party that is responsible for there being no chance of peace.
We saw an example of this displayed at the Republican Primary debate held in Florida, where both Mitt Romney, and Newt Gringrich laid complete blame on the Israel-Palestine conflict right on the shoes of the Palestinians.
The example used by Gringich was what if America was getting attacked by daily rocket fire? What would the reaction of most Americans be? According to Gringich, most Americans would view such an act as a declaration of war, and the whole moral of the story is that Israel is the here under constant rocket attack so therefore they are fully justified in what they are doing and that the Palestinians are the guilty party.
The analogy fails on many levels, and the analogy itself shows the willful ignorance on the part of Israel’s supporters, a willful ignorance that is utilized to pain the conflict in a completely different light, one that completely satisfies the Zionist agenda.
The first glaring problem with this analogy is that it fails to take into account that rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip are not being fired by a sovereign state; Gaza is not an independent country. So therefore analogies of rocket fire hitting America from Mexico or Canada is completely off the mark as Mexico and Canada are foreign states with defined borders, the Palestinian territories are not sovereign states of their own with their own defined borders.
This off course leads to the main point, the Gaza Strip is a piece of land that is under siege by Israel, for decades Israel occupied the territory, denying the Palestinians their rights to freedom and statehood. Even after Israel left the Gaza Strip they did not cease their control, they simply went ahead and turned the Gaza Strip into one big concentration camp where Israel sealed the borders, as well as Gaza’s sea, and airspace. Israel effectively controls what comes in, and what goes out of Gaza, this in turn has destroyed the economy of Gaza, making living conditions for very stressful for those Palestinians.
So with these facts in mind, let us turn the analogy, imagine America was held under siege, occupation, and that Americans were being denied their right to statehood and freedom. On top of this America had no control over it’s rightful sea, as well as no control over it’s airspace, thereby effectively turning it into an open prison camp that was not able to partake in the act of free market trade of goods and services. What would the reaction of Americans be?
This right here is the actual state of affairs, the actual ground facts of what is happening, and this right here is the reality. Israel is an occupying force, an occupying force that denies Palestinians their right to statehood and freedom, an occupying force that denies Palestinians their right to use their own sea and airspace, and an occupying force that continues to steal Palestinian land on a regular basis in order to build more illegal Jewish settlements.
Canada, Mexico, and nearby American states are not under occupation by a foreign country. Canada, Mexico, and American states are free sovereign territories were the citizens in those lands have freedom. As is often said, “It’s the occupation stupid!”
– Sami Zaatari is an American writer of Palestinian-Iranian descent. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.