Sunday, December 23, 2012

George Meek (from IFPB) presents Palestinian human rights abuse issues at Arlington VA church


Today, Sunday, December 23, 2012,the Trinity Presbyterian Church of Arlington VA hosted a presentation by George Meek, who has recently visited the occupied and settled areas of the West Bank for the Interfaith Peace Builders (link ) and the International Solidarity Movement (link ).

Meek documented what appear to be major human rights abuses against civilian Palestinian citizens by occupying Israeli interests.  This problem starts with the settlements on the West Bank, and is exacerbated by the Separation Barrier, which actually runs into the West Bank and splits off about 25000 people from parts of their families.  He mentioned the 106 checkpoints and showed a slide of the Jemaleh Checkpoint, built with IS Aids.

He showed the Mabale Adummim Settlement, which he said threatens the lives of Bedouins in the area.
   
He said that many Palestinian small businesses are closed without compensation.
   
He says that 27000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since 1967.  If any family member in a Palestinian home is suspected of terrorism, the home is destroyed, punishing the entire family (like parents and siblings) for the “sins” of one. He said there are 5 million refugees and 1.5 million in camps.
  
He described the Israeli policy as “collective punishment” based on national origin.
   
Politically, he suggested that the $30 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel, especially in light of US deficit problems, be ended (link ).  He also suggested boycotts, such as against Soda Stream, which is manufactured by a plant at an Israeli settlement on “stolen Palestinian land. (The link is here.) Meek had protest cards that could be given to retail store managers and also cards to mail to the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation”  He also encouraged consumers to buy products from fair trade organizations, like olive oil from Canaan Fair Trade (link ).

He discussed the refusal of Israel to allow refugees to return and mentioned U.N. Resolution 194 in 1948, which was supposed to guarantee compensation to Palestinians and allow refugees to return.
The event (crowded in a small room)  was attended by church members, including young adults, and certain visitors. A retired judge, Hebert Grossman, asked about the need of Israel to protect itself from suicide bombers, and he mentioned a League of Nations mandate that had given ownership of all West Bank lands to Israel.  In any case, the UN Resolution would seem to demand compensation.

Another audience member asked if reducing US aid to Israel would embolden Iran and Syria to attack Israel or even launch terrorist attacks (like EMP) in the United States.

Visitors may want to look at my review of Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid" on December 25, 2007 on the Book Reviews blog. 

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