There was much hope when the Oslo Peace accords were signed in 1993. However, the peace process was derailed when Dr. Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarch on Feb. 25, 1994, and the massacre was avenged 40 days later by the first suicide bombing inside Israel in the city of Afula on April 6, 1994. The peace process received further blow when the Prime Minister Isak Rabin was assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995, as he was leaving a rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo process, by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords.
However, recently, the outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel again proposed that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This is the same proposal that President Carter put forth in his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.
Although some still argue that there can be no peace until Palestinians stop their “terrorist” attacks, many others recognize that the Palestinian “terrorist” attacks are desperate response against the Israeli government’s continued confiscation of Palestinian lands for Israeli settlements.
Furthermore, the Palestinian “terrorism” is no match for Israel’s “state terrorism” with their F16’s, Apache helicopters, and Merkava tanks, which is why far more Palestinians fall victim to Israeli violence than Israelis to Palestinian violence.
President Carter in his book cites that between September 2000 and March 2006, 1,084 Israelis were killed of which 123 were children, while 3,982 Palestinians were killed of which 708 were children.
Sara Roy, who is a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, addressed what the Palestinians endure under the Israeli occupation at a Holocaust Remembrance lecture at Baylor University in 2002:
“Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians is not the moral equivalent of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. But it does not have to be. No, this is not genocide but it is repression and it is brutal. And it has become frighteningly natural. Occupation is about the domination and dispossession of one people by another. It is about the destruction of their property and the destruction of their soul. Occupation aims, at its core, to deny Palestinians their humanity by denying them the right to determine their existence, to live normal lives in their own homes. Occupation is humiliation. It is despair and desperation. And just as there is no moral equivalence or symmetry between the Holocaust and the occupation, so there is no moral equivalence or symmetry between the occupier and the occupied, no matter how much we as Jews regard ourselves as victims.”
After 40 years of military occupation, Israel has 500,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and 2.5 million Palestinians herded into isolated Bantustans.
Israel views itself as an enlightened western democracy, but they have established an Apartheid state in their backyard.
Israel is building the separation wall to consolidate the confiscated land and to wall off the Palestinians. Palestinians who are not reconciled to the theft of their home and land are regarded as terrorists.
It is a tragic irony that President Carter and Prime Minister Olmert are free to speak the truth only because they are no longer running for a political office.
It is hoped that President Obama, who promises change, will reverse the America’s unquestioned support of Israel which has been the impediment to Middle East peace, and help broker a just peace to the two embattled peoples of the Middle East.
Akio Tanaka is an Oakland resident.