The Conquest and Occupation of Palestine

By Henry Slocum

Palestine has been officially occupied since 1948. The Israeli state was created out of nothing by the United Nations as an extension of the Zionist movement beginning in the late 19th century, and as compensation for the horrors of the Holocaust. By 1882, European Jews were already moving into Palestine and displacing the indigenous population by establishing their own settlements. Today, Israelis continue to create settlements on what remains of Palestine: the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Along with the continued creation of settlements on stolen land, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have carried out countless attacks against governmental and civilian targets within the occupied territories.Still worse, a wall erected by the occupiers encloses the entirety of the Gaza Strip. This wall prevents the flow of vital resources to the people of Gaza, such as water and, more importantly, medical supplies. Gazans are not allowed to leave this enclosure without an enormous amount of difficulty and bargaining with IDF soldiers at the gates. This makes the Gaza Strip the world’s largest open-air prison. The people of Gaza have been forced to take extreme measures to get daily necessities. Tunnels run from the interior of Gaza to Egypt, through which smugglers travel with medicine, food, and other vital items. However, these tunnels have become the target of IDF strikes with both soldiers and heavy artillery, further cutting off Palestinians from the already tenuous supply of necessities.

Israel is nothing less than an Apartheid state. Israel is a country governed by an elite minority responsible for colonizing indigenous peoples and their lands. The minority then forcefully segregates and subjugates the native population in order to prevent resistance. When the victims of Apartheid do resist, they are brutally repressed with the use of riot cops, tanks, automatic weapons, and “rubber” bullets. These so-called “crowd control” weapons are actually steel balls coated in a thin layer of rubber, making them just as lethal as regular projectiles. The IDF also fires high velocity tear gas projectiles into crowds, killing innocent Palestinians. Israel is even guilty of using white phosphorous on Palestinian civilians without provocation. Used predominantly to destroy homes, hospitals, and other civilian targets, white phosphorous is an incendiary chemical that burns at such intensity that resulting burns are usually fatal. This should be the center of an enormous human rights investigation. So why is Israel getting away with it?

The United States is largely responsible. One-third of the entire foreign aid budget of the US goes to Israel, a total of almost $85 billion since the creation of Israel. The United States government is doing everything in its power to eagerly support the projects of Apartheid Israel, no matter what cost to the victimized Palestinians. Israel is also the largest recipient of military aid, in the form of money and machines, including F-15 fighters, precision-guided munitions, and jet fuel. Multinational corporations based in the United States contribute to the Apartheid as well. Caterpillar supplies the Israelis with bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes in Gaza and the West Bank, too often with people still inside. The U.S. is directly funding Apartheid, occupation, and murder. The blood of innocent Palestinians is on the hands of the Israeli and U.S. governments.

Many people suggest a two-state solution to this conflict. These people often forget some major issues that make this “solution” an utter impossibility. Take the question of boundaries. Currently, Gaza and the West Bank are the only remnants of historical Palestine. If the two-state solution were implemented, which borders would be used? The original 1948 borders, the borders after the invasion of 1967, or what remains of Palestine today? Then there is the question of military power. If Palestine existed alongside Israel, the IDF would far outgun and out-man any army, “defensive” or otherwise. The Palestinians would not be able to protect themselves from future white phosphorous attacks, even if it were a state. Regardless, Palestine is in a perilous position. Innocent Palestinians die every day due to lack of necessities, and the IDF continues to carry out raids and deadly attacks on the people of Palestine. We must look past the absurdity of a two-state solution, as there is no peace in this. And clearly having one state won’t work. That one state is called Apartheid Israel.

Henry Slocum ’13 writes as a member of MPJC-SDS and can be reached at [email protected]