received my first Christmas card today. It contained
the message; "May your heart and home be filled
with love and peace during this festive season, and
throughout the New Year".
My thoughts turned immediately to the "Holy Land",
and I reflected on the kind of "peace" Palestinians
- both Christian and Muslim - are "enjoying"
this festive season, as Israel's brutal, overlong
and illegal occupation of Palestine not only continues,
but intensifies daily.
I thought of the, over 2,100, bereaved families, whose
loved ones, including children, have been killed by
Israeli Military Forces, since September 2001. Their
"festive season" will by spent grieving,
as will a further 500-plus families who have lost
loved ones, again including children, due to IDF blockage
of medical assistance.
I thought, also, of the 22,000 Palestinians wounded,
many maimed for life, by Israeli soldiers; and of
the 19,000 Palestinian prisoners, arbitrarily detained,
tortured, and denied any family visits, or compassionate
leave, even should a child or parent die. How "festive"
will their, and their families, Christmas be?
And what of those left homeless, or without an income,
as numerous homes, and countless acres of carefully
tended agricultural land and orchards, are demolished
daily to ensure the "security" of illegal
No doubt, the interminable curfews, movement restrictions,
denial of Palestinian children's education, checkpoints,
etc, will continue, strangling not just the Palestinian
economy, but all aspects of Palestinian life.
And I thought of, and almost wept at, the UN's lack
of action in the face of Israel's blatant, daily breaches
of over 80 UN Resolutions, International Law and the
Surely, the very least it could, and should, do is
immediately deploy an International Peacekeeping Force
to the region, as called for by such reputable Jewish
Peace Groups as Gush Shalom and Not in My Name, as
well as the Palestinian people.
Maybe then at least some Palestinian hearts and homes
could be "filled with love and peace during this
festive season, and throughout the New Year".
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