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By Ray Hanania — You can never meet an Israeli without hearing them say, either angrily or wistfully hoping for change, that the biggest problem in the Middle East conflict is the “refusal of Arabs to accept Israel’s existence.” The reality is just the opposite. Israelis and Jews as a people refuse to recognize the rights of Palestinians to exist in Palestine.
The story of the Palestinian family ordered evicted from their long time home in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah suburb is not a unique story. It is typical of many stories about Palestinians.
According to the newly launched Middle East newspaper, The National, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Jewish settlers who have forcibly taken control of a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem have the right to live there and the Palestinians, who have lived there endlessly, must leave.
There are more than 26 similar situations in Sheikh Jarrah alone where Palestinians are threatened by armed Israeli fanatics called “settlers.” And, there are more than 250,000 Jewish settlers living illegally in East Jerusalem in violation of fundamental laws of human rights.
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But Israel doesn’t care. They care only that Jewish people are “supreme” and have an exclusive right to Jerusalem and all the lands surrounding the Holy City.
It is that racism that most Israelis pretend does not exist and allows everyday Israelis to shake their heads and ignore the injustice, raising their eyebrows and their phony morality only when a Palestinian attacks or kills and Israeli. Uniformed soldiers. Or ununiformed armed militants who parade around Israel with automatic weapons, belts of bullets and hate strung across their shoulders.
These settlers teach their children racist hatred, and they justify it by arguing that it is the Palestinians who “hate” Israelis and Jews.
But no Palestinians has stoeln a home from an Israeli or a Jew. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
What is really happening in East Jerusalem is what is happening throughout Israel and the Israeli occupied West Bank.
Israel is attempting, as it always does, to manipulate facts on the ground. That’s a diplomatic phrase to describe the theft of land by Israel.
Israel’s government steals land all the time from Palestinians. With the weight of the Western media on their side, and the backing of a naïve American government, the Israelis always counter Palestinian claims by insisting that the lands were purchased by Jews in the 19th Century, although they can never provide any documents to prove it.
But in contrast, the Palestinians in these properties, homes and lands, can demonstrate they have been living there uninterrupted for hundreds of years, only disturbed by Israel’s racist greed to confiscate lands from non-Jews so that they can expand their controls over the land.
It makes the possibility of peace even more remote as Israelis refuse to accept the truth that they, and not just Palestinian “terrorists” and “militants” are as responsible for continuing the conflict as is anyone.
That blindness to truth and honesty about the mistreatment of non-Jews by Israel’s government is a form of subtle racism and hatred that plagues most of Israeli society as a whole. They say they support and want peace, but their actions contradict their words.
These policies by Israel may or may not be different from similar policies in the Arab World against Jews. But all that means is that in the best case scenario for Israel, they are no worse than the “terrorists” and “militants” they denounce.
They are exactly the same.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and author. He is managing editor of the Arab American Writers Syndicate,
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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