The Bobby Sands Of Palestine
Since 1967, Israel has maintained policies that govern all aspects of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Soldiers enforce Israel’s occupation laws and military judges in uniform enforce them. These laws govern and restrict movement of Palestinians and freedom of speech and association. Furthermore, for decades, Israel has applied the procedure of administrative detention on a large scale, systematically imprisoning thousands of Palestinians. Israel uses this policy as a tool of oppression; it enables Israel to hold prisoners indefinitely, for months or even years, without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Currently, Israel has over 300 detainees who have not been charged with any crime or faced trial.
In the non-violent tradition of Bobby Sands (the Irish republican prisoner who died in a 1981 hunger strike), Khader Adnan, a 33-year old Palestinian baker and activist (Islamic Jihad), has been on a hunger strike first in an Israeli prison and then in an Israeli hospital. He is now on day 66 and near death. This is the longest hunger strike in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Adnan initiated his strike on December 18, 2011, one day after Israeli soldiers conducted their nightly raid in the northern West Bank village of Arrabe. They kidnapped Adnan from his home at 3 a.m. with his wife and two young daughters watching.
The American model of capturing suspected terrorists, and using forceful interrogation methods and detention without trial or charge, is amazingly similar to the administrative detention orders that Israel began using in the 1960s. While these practices have resulted in debates here in the United States, to date, Adnan’s hunger strike has stirred little debate in the Israeli press. However, Khader Adnan’s hunger strike has drawn international attention to Israel’s policy of long-term detention without trial. This is a grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention, the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.
How Deep Is Israel Oppression?
You be the judge. A very small sampling:
• Military Orders #811 and #847: Allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using “power of attorney.”
• Military Order #998: Requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank account.
• Military Order #128: Gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business, which is not open during regular business hours.
• Military Order #138 & #134: Forbids Palestinians from operating tractors or other heavy farm machinery on their land.
• Military Order # 1015: Requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. This permit expires every year.
Theocracy Of The Right
The religious right seems to think that the Constitution was written by divinely inspired Christian prophets and they were the Founding Fathers. Actually, Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson were Freemasons and, as such, didn’t believe in a Savior.
The recent statements by Rick Santorum that our government is “imposing a theology not based on the Bible” discards the original intent of the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution and rewrites his own version composed of cherry picked phrases taken out of context, and then uses absolutist logic to arrive at his own foregone conclusions.
Armed with his new Christian version of the Constitution, he leads the attack by the religious right against women’s rights, science, social programs, education, the environment.
Through his absolutist eyes, he zealously interprets “all men are created equal” to mean “identical” and ignores accidents of birth such as poverty or privilege, opportunity, genetic factors such as intelligence or health. All you have to do is pull yourself up by your bootstraps and work hard. The playing field was created level.
What Rick Santorum is really talking about is changing our government from a democracy to a theocracy, which is exactly what the Founding Fathers intended to forever prevent when they separated church and state.
Just look at The Middle East.
Palm Coast, Florida
It’s Not Too Late…
It’s not too late to give your dog and yourself a special treat. Imagine…a massage and essential oil session for 1 1/2 hours. That is…imagine learning canine massage techniques and essential oils, this Saturday, February 25, noon to 1:3 p.m.0 at the Community Center, with Thurman Greco leading us. At the same time give a gift — all proceeds go to the Woodstock Dog Park. There is a suggested donation for all of this, of $15.
Interested? Call 679 2113 extension 4 and leave your name and contact information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you Saturday.
Fran Breitkopf, for the Woodstock Dog Park Committee
For more letters, see print edition.