Many of us have been caught in an uncomfortable situation, in which the controversial Palestinian-Israeli topic presents itself at the most unanticipated moment. Most people try to avoid the debate by taking a neutral position, as it can quickly escalate. Some people thrive on aggressively presenting or defensively responding to the topic whenever presented. However, credibility is quickly lost when emotions determine the direction of the conversation. Regardless of the sensitivity of this conflict, or any other controversial disagreement, for that matter, staying calm and sticking to documented facts is the only way to stay composed to control the debate and come out on top.
Regardless of how often you find yourself in this type of situation, you must know how to present your position in an educated and respectable manner. In my opinion, it is always worth the attempt to become involved, as this will create greater awareness and increase the circulation of credible facts. One of the few effective strategies to raise awareness of this conflict and other global injustices—given the constant media censorship—is by spreading information by word of mouth. Knowledge is empowering. Even the most uneducated, ignorant person may be enlightened, if the facts are presented wholly and respectfully.
Common Zionist Lawyer Tactics
If you notice that the focus of the debate has shifted from the main focus of the ongoing modern day apartheid, ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population, and genocide, it is not by coincidence. It is simply because the person you are conversing with recognized that your facts cannot be refuted and the debate is inevitably approaching its end, in your favor. Therefore, most commonly a lawyer-like deterring tactic is employed, shifting into the direction of historical references or religious texts, such as the Bible, Torah, or Quran. You will face irrelevant questions in the context of your argument, which will deter the debate from the modern conflict to religious claims of land entitlement and most offensive, the claim of being “Gods chosen people.” This is an argument that cannot be proven and will likely spark frustration. If you feed into this argument you are losing credibility instantly by recognizing their claim to be a worthy argument in the first place.
We are living in the NOW and regardless of what an ancient scripture has written, with all due respect, it is outrageously irrelevant, given that millions of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes and are classified by the UN as the largest refugee population in the world. Tens of thousands are illegally detained, humiliated, tortured, raped and murdered, while the world watches this situation intensify in brutality and savagery.
We are all human, the value of one life will never be worth more than another, regardless of what you have been raised to believe. Nobody is “chosen” and nobody is inferior. If this is their constant and only claim to the land, which somehow and someway may excuse the ethnic cleansing and murder of an indigenous population, what is stopping me from writing a religious text, with claims of revelations, in which, God has chosen the Palestinians as the chosen people and the land of Palestine is only for the Palestinians? Did I mention that in my revelations, I was also told that all others are to be subhuman slaves and that the land of the United States was also promised to the Palestinians? It is as ridiculous as it sounds and no one would go for it. So, why are we allowing something so unfounded to continue right now, as you are reading this article? With respect to all religions and faiths, there will be disagreement and debate; however, the value to human life will NEVER be up for debate. Some people are uncontrollably born more fortunate than others into a developed country with resources and great privileges. Others are born into poverty, starvation, disease, and war. Millions are forced into child labor and prostitution all over the world. In Apartheid-Israel, Palestinians are born into poverty, inequality and injustice of human and civil rights, and are constantly subjects of global neglect, humiliation and racial discrimination.
The same country (U.S) that celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. day, a national holiday, which commemorates MLK Jr. for his undying resistance and life-taking struggle, for justice and equality of human and civil rights, funds the illegal occupation of Palestine and the Israeli-Apartheid with U.S tax payers money and shields Israel from the consequences of their actions, by flexing their veto power over 20 times since 1973. With all of the poverty and injustice in the world, Israel unjustly receives nearly 1/3 of the entire annual U.S Foreign Aid budget. To put things into perspective, the population of Israeli citizens is approximately 8 million, which receive 1/3 of the entire U.S annual Foreign Aid Budget, while there are 456 million people living below the poverty line starving in India alone.
Know your fundamental facts, dates & quotes and when to introduce them.
FACT: Israel Is Illegally Occupying Palestine
Under UN Resolution 242, Israel is required by international law to withdraw from all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. The United Nation’s General Assembly has repeatedly condemned Israel’s occupation of the territories as illegal (see UN resolutions 338, 1397, and 1402, among others). Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine, which is sanctioned and maintained by the U.S, is one of the most serious obstructions to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
FACT: Israel Systematically Violates the Human Rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories
Each day, Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Gaza violate articles of the 4th Geneva Convention on Human Rights, an agreement that governs wartime rules of engagement and to which Israel is a signatory. Palestinian homes and agriculture fields are routinely demolished to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers regularly arrest and detain–often for years– Palestinians without due process. According to Amnesty International, members of the Israeli security forces regularly use torture and prolonged incommunicado detention against Palestinians.
FACT: The Israeli “Defense” Forces routinely kill children and innocent civilians
According to B’Tselem, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, 1059 of the Palestinians killed from September 29, 2000 though July 20, 2002 were civilians. In comparison, 360 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians during this period, in Israel and the Occupied Territories combined. There were also over 108 extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinians during this period — a war crime according to the Hague Convention of 1907.
FACT: Israel is an Apartheid State
Israel has developed an elaborate system of racial discrimination, embedded in its legal system, exceeding Apartheid South Africa’s laws. These laws include the Law of Entry, the Law of Return, the Citizenship Law, the Military Service Law, the Law of Acquisition of Absentee Property, the Law for Acquisition of Land, and a host of legally sanctioned, discriminatory rabbinical rulings.
FACT: Palestinians suffer a severe water shortage due to the Occupation
The Israeli government pursues a grossly discriminatory water policy. Since 1967, the Israeli government has been stealing up to 80% of the groundwater from the “Mountain Reservoir,” a group of groundwater aquifers located underneath the mountains of the Occupied West Bank of Palestine, including the Occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian people are allowed no control of these extensive water resources.
FACT: Over 1,000 Israelis have refused military service due to the Occupation.
“We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving and humiliating an entire people,” declares a petition signed by the reservists.
DID YOU KNOW…?
*Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no country has violated as many UN Security Council Resolutions as the state of Israel. In spite of this fact, Israel, a country slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, receives nearly 1/3 of the entire annual US Foreign Aid budget.
*As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States has the power to veto any Resolution it wishes, and has used this veto power more than 20 times since 1973, to thwart the will of the Council, and to shield Israel from any consequences for its actions.
*According to a report released by the Israeli Peace Now movement, the Israeli government spent well over USD$533 million in sustaining the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories in 2001, more than half of that amount provided by United States tax-funded economic aid.
Did you know that non-Jewish Israelis cannot buy or lease land in Israel?
Did you know that cars owned by Palestinians are color coded to distinguish Jews from non-Jews?
Did you know Palestinians are not allowed to move from one city, lets say Gaza to Bethleham, to another without first getting a ‘visa’ from Israel?
Did you know that Israel allots 85% of the water resources for Jews and the remaining 15% is divided among all Palestinians in the territories? For example in Hebron, 85% of the water is given to about 400 Jewish settlers, while 15% must be divided among Hebron’s 120,000 Palestinians?
Did you know that Israel routinely confiscates Palestinian bank accounts, businesses and land and refuses to pay compensation to those who suffer confiscation?
Did you know that Israel stands in defiance of over 80 United Nations Security Council Resolutions?
Did you know that it was not until 1988 that Israelis were barred from running ‘Jews Only’ job ads?
Did you know that Sharon (former ‘elected’ leader of a democratic society) was held responsible for the massacre of more than 2750 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila? The UN qualified the massacre by Sharon as GENOCIDE.
Did you know that Sharon’s commando unit in 1953 razed the Palestinian village of Qibya killing all its citizens and bombed all the houses, mosques and schools?
Did you know that Israel’s settlement-building on Palestinian land increased considerably since the signing of the Oslo agreement?
Did you know that settlement building of Jewish only homes under Barak doubled compared to settlement building under Netanyahu?
Did you know that Palestinian refugees make up the largest portion of the refugee population in the world?
Did you know that between 1967 and early 2002 Israel expropriated some 79% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip? Estimated figures published by Amnesty International in 1999 show the following:
Year Land Confiscated in the West Bank
Did you know that since between 1967 and early 2002 Israel demolished or sealed over 8,500 homes, of which 2,500 were in East Jerusalem alone? Houses are demolished as punitive measure or under the pretext of ‘lack of building permit’ – permits are rarely granted.
Did you know that the Ha’aertz Israeli paper estimated in 1998 (31 July) that a population of 5,800 Jewish settlers in Hebron consumed 547 liters of water a day each? By contrast, a population of 119,230 Palestinians in the same area consumed or had access to no more than 58 liters per day each.
Did you know that since 1967, (and of course not counting the atrocities committed since March 2002) over 600,000 Palestinians have been jailed in Israeli jails and over 200 have died while in Israeli jails? During the first year of the second intifada alone, Israel arrested over 1,900 Palestinians, of which 600 were children under 16.
Did you know that Israel uses torture routinely in jails (only against non-Jews of course) despite the Israeli High Court outlawing it?
In Their Own Words…
It is invaluable to gain knowledge of Israeli political, humanitarian and civil rights positions pertaining to the Palestinians. Understanding the positions and mentalities of former and current Israeli leaders, will allow a better understanding of the positions taken by their supporters.
Quotes from Israeli Political Leaders
“If I was an Arab leader I would never make [peace] with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country.”
–First Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion
“I don’t mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal. What you don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it.
–Former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, speaking to Amos Oz, editor of Davar, on Dec. 17, 1982
“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
– Moshe Dayan, April 1969, Ha’aretz; quoted in Edward Said, ‘Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims’, Social Text, Volume 1, 1979, 7-58.
“Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”
– David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.
“This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”
– Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971
“[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
– Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the ‘Beasts,”‘ New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
“(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
– Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988
“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”
– Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”
– Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online