Ralph Remick: Address the real issues with Middle East
As stated on their website (http://www.bdsmovement.net), the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement directed at Israel and companies doing business with Israel. They claim that Israel is the “big problem” in the Middle East with apartheid, colonialism, Palestinian persecution, imprisonment of children, disproportionate retaliation for outside attacks, and international collaboration with the industrial complex.
So the BDS movement spreads their cause through the media, street protests, discussions, and films.
After reading The Union’s Aug. 26 opinion column by Brian Fry, I decided to do some fact checking. Mr. Fry stated hundreds of Palestinians, including about 700 children were arrested and held without charges. These “children” were stone-throwing teenagers. Here we call them juvenile delinquents and we sometimes lock them up.
The article reprimanded the Nevada Joint Union High School Board for proceeding with their purchase of HP computers. The BDS proponents should also boycott companies doing business with Israel such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Intel, Cisco and other high tech companies. Israel is known as the “second Silicon Valley.” Israel has more startup companies per capita and the second-highest number of university degrees per capita in the world. It also has the most scientists, technicians and scientific papers per capita (source: http://standwithus.com). So those of you who support BDS, throw away your smart phones, your computers, your software, your flash drives, your televisions, and internet security. And throw away your Israeli developed medicines and healthcare devices, your farming techniques, your water irrigation and reclamation, your alternative power, your bio-technology, and many other inventions that have been developed in Israel.
In my opinion BDS proponents need to address the real issues — namely the political leadership of the Palestinians, the anti-Israel attitude of the Arab League, and progress towards a two-state resolution.
In 1947, the UN voted to partition the area known as “Palestine” (renamed by Rome from Judea to Palaestina in 135 AD) into two states: Israel and Palestine. The Arab nations immediately rejected the UN decision. Since then there have been wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 to destroy the state of Israel, and many skirmishes in between.
In 2000, President Clinton held peace negotiations with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David. Israel offered all of Gaza and 91 percent of the West Bank plus land for land swaps; East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital; and monetary compensation for Palestinian refugees. President Clinton was stunned when Arafat walked away from the negotiating table.
In 2005, under international pressure for peace, Israel removed all Israeli citizens living in Gaza and demolished four Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a goodwill gesture towards peace. Since then there have been thousands of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza into Israel. And hundreds of tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel for terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens.
If Canada or Mexico began shooting rockets, digging tunnels, or sending recruits with explosive vests into the United States to harm citizens, do you not think the United States would respond with any kind of force? Maybe even build a wall?
Since June 2007, political power in Gaza has shifted from the Palestinian Authority and Fatah to Hamas. Hamas is an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement.
The Hamas Covenant opens with the statement: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Another significant statement within the Hamas Covenant states “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement … There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” (Article 13) The entire text is at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.
For peace there needs to be a reeducation program on both sides. An education that does not portray each other as villains, but rather as valuable human beings, worthy of basic rights. It can only be done by consciously and deliberately changing public attitudes and mindsets starting within the top leadership, both political and religious, and promoting that message to every respective citizen. Covenants, textbooks, and sermons advocating continued conflict need to be eliminated and replaced. It is high time for people to come together and pursue peace based on reason, respect, and compromise, rather than medieval thinking.
Surely the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve better. Is BDS doing anything to really change Middle Eastern attitudes?
Ralph Remick lives in Grass Valley.
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