Sincere thanks to The Star for carrying the news story about the plight of U.S. citizen Yaser Wishah (who happens to have been born in Gaza) caught in the Israeli occupation of territories captured in the 1967 “Six-Day War” (8/4, A-1, “Native Palestinian can’t escape stigma”). Also, Wishah’s “As I See It” essay (8/5, Opinion, “Israeli restrictions on Gaza unfairly hinder Palestinian”) reinforces the message about what it’s like to live under the thumb of a regime that talks “security” while engaging in collective punishment, violations of human rights, and disregard for international laws.
While all Americans are concerned about the future of the State of Israel and want to ensure its future, we must also be concerned with principles of freedom and justice for all peoples — including Palestinians.
Again, thank you for printing these two pieces. I encourage you to continue to tell all sides of the story regarding the ongoing problems of the Middle East.
James S. Walker
Recent articles about and by area resident Yaser Wishah demonstrate the suffering endured by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from Israel’s occupation.
Israel attempts to justify its actions under the banner of “security,” even if the Palestinians must bear at least some responsibility for their own fate. But Israeli overreactions, such as collective punishment, only fan the flames of extremism; they harm the Palestinians, the Israelis, and the Middle East peace process itself.
American Jews are now recognizing the extent of Palestinian suffering, and that the occupation must end since it is as costly to Israelis as it is to Palestinians. It’s also imperative to remember that Israeli and Palestinian lives are intertwined so that their joint security and future depend on finding constructive ways to deal with situations that don’t result in a “zero-sum game.”
Finally, Israel will only have peace if she negotiates with her Arab neighbors with the active involvement of U.S diplomats and politicians, the results of which would include a new, independent viable Palestinian state next door.
National board member, Kansas City chapter leader, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance of Justice and Peace