Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Palestinians are in danger when they leave home

One of the American media’s best-kept secrets about the Middle East conflict is the Palestinian perspective. Palestinians are demonized in the press, in large part due to suicide bombings. There are two sides to every story and here I’m going to give a Palestinian perspective.

There is no excuse for blowing up a bus full of innocent Israelis on their way to work, but there also is no excuse for shooting Palestinians for leaving their homes.

For the past four months, a curfew has been imposed on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories. B’Tselem, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the occupied territories, found that Israeli Defense Force soldiers fired live ammunition at Palestinians who were not in their homes during curfew. Fifteen Palestinians were killed, 12 younger than 16 years old. The curfew imposed constitutes collective punishment and breaks international law, but that doesn’t seem to matter because it’s all for Israeli security.

It seems if you’re in the army, it’s acceptable to kill civilians for posing a threat to the nation. In a November 2000 report, the Physicians for Human Rights found that “a pattern of injuries seen in many (Palestinian) victims did not reflect IDF use of firearms in life-threatening situations but rather indicated targeting solely for the purpose of wounding or killing.”

The report’s conclusion was based on evidence investigators collected regarding “the high number of gunshots to the head; the volume of serious, disabling thigh injuries; the inappropriate firing of rubber bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets at close range, and the high proportion of Palestinian injuries and deaths.”

But Palestinians are still the evil ones, even though some Israelis want to “transfer,” i.e. ethnically cleanse, all Palestinian territories. The American public rarely hears about this because the American media doesn’t report it. The United States gives 30 percent of our foreign aid to Israel, money that funds military operations.

Since the Israeli occupation began, Palestinians have had basic human rights oppressed. They do not control their own water supply and traveling between towns is almost impossible due to strict checkpoints. Children have not been allowed to go to school, play outside or see doctors.

On Monday, Amnesty International issued a report citing the IDF for war crimes in Nablus and Jenin earlier this year. Amnesty documents serious human rights violations such as “unlawful killings; torture and ill-treatment of prisoners; wanton destruction of hundreds of homes sometimes with the residents still inside; the blocking of ambulances and denial of humanitarian assistance, and the use of Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields’.”

Even some Israelis have denounced the army’s behavior. A petition signed by hundreds of Israeli reservists stated, “We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving and humiliating an entire people.”

Amazingly, Americans have rarely heard the Palestinian point of view and what an entire people have had to endure. For more Palestinian perspective, check out www.electronicintifada.net.

Obviously, my past two columns have been too simple and too short to even touch upon the complications of the Middle East conflict. Israel has the right to exist, but that right should not compromise the basic human rights of Palestinians.

Kristina Francisco is a Medill senior. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Palestinians are in danger when they leave home