Saturday, June 02, 2007

Forty Years Ago

Forty years ago I was oblivious to the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East. Although I lived in Jerusalem then and knew that tensions were building up between Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Israel, I was too busy with my small children and my life to be overly concerned. There were no newspapers in English and TV was a thing of the future. Jordan Radio aired 15 minutes of news in English daily, and although my husband had access to many Arabic stations, the news was long on passionate rhetoric and short on truth. But then, who in the Arab world could have predicted the pre-emptive strikes that Israel unleashed on Egypt, Syria, and Jordan on June 5, 1967?

The 5th was a Monday, and my little girls had school that day. I didn’t send them because they were sleepy after our weekend in Amman and a family visit. They were first and third graders and could afford to miss one day. Had they gone to their school near Damascus Gate, they would have been trapped there for days. I hate to think how terrifying that would have been for them and horrible for us. Even though they were at home with us during the war and had some semblance of security, they were emotionally traumatized.

We all survived and managed to go on with our lives under the subsequent Israeli occupation. We lived in fear and uncertainty every day. Our freedom of movement was restricted and we were subjected to selective scrutiny if we did leave East Jerusalem or the West Bank. With each passing year the grip of the occupation tightened and our hope that it would end diminished. After 15 years we returned to Amman to rebuild our lives.

Forty years have passed. Hundreds of thousands of children in Palestine have been and are still being traumatized by the occupation. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian homes have been bulldozed, thousands of businesses have been crushed, and land confiscation continues unabated – in fact one third of all Palestinian villages no longer exist. I have to face the fact the United Nations resolutions affecting Palestine won’t be applied, and that the Geneva conventions are only a token. International agreements do not seem to be binding on powerful countries. My disillusionment breeds cynicism and hopelessness.

Israel is less stable and secure within her borders and in the Middle East than it was 40 years ago. The Arab world has been wrenched into modern times in a most bloody fashion. All people in the Middle East deserve peace and the right to raise their families with hope for a better future. I cannot live without hope. It is time for bold men and women to make peace.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Madam,

Look in the mirror for the cause of your misery. Jordan declared war on Israel and got what it deserved.

All nations in the Middle East deserve peace? That doesn't include Israel in the Arab view. We get no peace and you get no peace but you like it that way.

Saturday, June 02, 2007  
Blogger joladies said...

Well anonymous I presume you are an Israeli from the 'we' remark. I wonder where you live? In the occupied territories or the State of Israel? And how many years have you lived there? Do you think it is right to take other people's lands, demolish their homes and farms and restrict their movements? As ASH says it needs a few brave men and women from both sides to come to a just and lasting peace. T

Saturday, June 02, 2007  
Blogger joladies said...

Dear Anonymous,

I nearly didn’t respond to your remarks because I felt that you may be having difficulty facing up to the realities of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Of course, that isn’t something that I can help you with - but I do want to comment on what you have alleged.

You say, ‘Jordan declared war on Israel and got what it deserved,’ I quote from Michael Jansen’s article in the opinion section of the Jordan Times for May 31st:
“... in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin dubbed the 1967 offensive as a ‘war of choice.’ Thus, the June war didn’t just ‘happen,’ it was made to happen. Israel carefully prepared for the day it would have a pretext to attack neighbouring states and conquer territories Zionist ideologues claimed as part of Eretz Israel or believed to be valuable assets. The June war was a well-planned campaign of territorial conquest which was promptly followed up by a well-planned Israeli drive for the colonization of Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan and the Sinai.”

Another comment you have made is: ‘All nations in the Middle East deserve peace? That doesn't include Israel in the Arab view. We get no peace and you get no peace but you like it that way.’ I disagree wholeheartedly with that comment. There are no people on this earth who do not want to live in peace. However, peace for one people at the expense of another is without justice and will not last.

Saturday, June 02, 2007  

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