Rachel Corrie died on March 16, 2003, defending a Palestinian home from destruction by bulldozer while participating in an international movement against demolitions. Even as Israel destroys Palestinian homes by the thousands, it builds thousands of Jewish-only homes in the occupied territories.
President Obama’s conflict with Israel must be understood in these terms: Under international law, Israel is prohibited from building Israeli housing in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Jewish settlers in the occupied territories carry their Israeli citizenship with them wherever they go within the borders controlled by Israel. The Palestinians have been cleansed from their ancestral lands and concentrated in isolated ghettos behind massive walls. The Palestinians of besieged Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank have no citizenship whatsoever. As a stateless people under Israeli control, even their human rights are beggared.
Although Americans often think of the conflict in Palestine as a religious one where Israeli Jews face off against Palestinian Christians and Muslims, Israel defines the Jewish people as a “nation.” As the “Jewish nation” colonized Palestine, it defined Palestinians out of the human community. You and I would not call this “nationalism” because it is so very familiar to us as “racism.”
Wayne B. Kraft