Why Do They Do It?

by Linda Belanger


Their religion teaches them to do it....

Their religion teaches them to do it they say of the

Palestinian suicide bombers.

They teach them in school to hate Jews we are told.

But there are things that we are not told about.

The International Solidarity Movement website reports

that "the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is employing

intimidation and violence against international

journalists in an effort to prevent them reporting on

its occupation of Palestinian towns.

The Guardian of London reports an incident where

Israeli troops threw stun grenades at a convoy of 25

foreign journalists who were on their way to cover a

meeting between Yasser Arafat and a U.S. diplomat.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) has documented more

than 30 cases of journalists who have been wounded in

shootings by the Israeli army in the Occupied

Territories in the last two years.. Most were

photographers or cameramen, clearly identifiable as

such and shot some distance away from clashes.

Palestinian journalists are especially targetted. Two

of them, Maher Shalabi and Majid Sawalha, were

arrested by soldiers in the centre of Ramallah on 16

April and taken into a building where they were

blindfolded and handcuffed. They were insulted and hit

in the stomach, legs and back before being released a

few hours later without being charged with any


Israeli Imperial News ( a website edited by Israeli

dissidents, reports that in the early days of the

April 2002 offensive, Israeli troops occupied and shut

down Palestinian television and radio stations in

Ramallah and other cities. Foreign TV reporters were

denied freedom of movement except on selected occasion

in locations permitted by the military authorities.

Even the Israeli media has been denied free access

into the occupied cities. Israel's official and

private media and in some instances had to rely on

European and American TV reports for their coverage. .

In order to maintain their presence in the occupied

territories, certain media organizations such as

Reuters and AP are making concessions in their reports

in order to obtain the media passes that are necessary

to enter the Palestine and which are issued by Israel.

To get the story, media organizations like Reuters and

AP and CNN which are the source of a lot of what we

see and read in the mainstream newspapers report only

half truths. For example one of the suicide bombings

that took place in late June 2002 was reported to have

taken place in a "Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood of

Jerusalem". What was not reported is that Gilo is

actually situated in occupied East Jerusalem and build

on land expropriated from Palestinians. The bombing of

a city bus reported that there were children on the

bus but failed to mention that the occupants were

mostly Israeli military personnel.

It does little good to read a variety of newspapers,

as often, the story is obtained from the same source,

Reuters and AP. If you refer to several mainstream

newspapers or their websites on a given day you will

see the same article pretty much word for word from

one source to another. The information from the common

source (Reuters, AP) is just plugged directly into the

newspaper without being edited, verified or

supplemented with any background information.

Therefore, the day to day suffering and humiliation of

the Palestinian people is simply not reported in the

mainstream media. Unfortunately what little is getting

out is often not being published or aired on

television. In Canada 141 newspapers, 14 of them major

dailies and one of the three television networks are

owned by Israel Asper. It is well known that Mr. Asper

has issued instruction to his newspapers that

criticism of Israeli policies will not be tolerated.

The situation is similar in the U.S. and what is

published is greatly monitored and influenced by the

Jewish lobby.

But what is it they do not want us to know about?

The Israeli government has expropriated Palestinians

from their land and homes without compensation to

build settlements for Israelis .

The homes of people resisting the occupation, even by

peaceful means, have been demolished sometimes with

only a few hours notice for the occupants to get out.

In May 2002, an estimated 10,000 Palestinians were

left homeless when their homes in Jenin were damaged

or totally destroyed in the IDFs search for

"terrorists". Over 60 people were killed in the

operation of which only 30 were "terrorists". Israel

refused to allow an international observers to

investigate the scene.

The Israeli government has diverted water away from

Palestinian farmland to serve the Jewish settlements

that they have established within Palestine. In many

areas, water is rationed for Palestinians but Israeli

settlers have swimming pools. Averages: Palestinians

use 37.5 cubic metres of water per person per year.

Israelis use 235 cubic meters and Israeli settlers in

the occupied territories use 600.

Schools and churches have been shelled by Israeli

tanks and helicopter gunships.

House searches without warrants are a daily

occurrence. Homes are ransacked, windows broken and

furniture destroyed for no reason and sometimes the

occupants are executed on the spot.. In the case of

row housing, the IDF has a habit of blasting through

interior walls to get through to the next unit.

Curfews are imposed for weeks on end. Websters

dictionary defines curfew as a time generally in the

evening set as a deadline beyond which children or

inhabitants of an occupied territory may not appear on

the street. In the context of Israel's war on the

civilian population of Palestine, curfews are 24 hours

a day and lifted only for a few hours once or twice a

week. There is no going to school or work or shopping.

Children cannot play outside. People caught outside

during curfews can be shot on sight.

Ambulances are prevented from getting to the sick and

wounded. One hundred and twenty ambulance drivers and

paramedics have been killed in the last 18 month.

Hospitals are being damaged and destroyed.

Fifteen hundred Palestinian have been killed since

January 2000. Eighty percent of the victims were

civilians and 25% were children. New York Times

reporter Chris Hedges writes in Harper's magazine that

he has watched Israeli soldiers day after day taunt

Palestinian children and then "shoot them for sport".

Palestinians must carry color-coded ID cards and drive

cars with color-coded plates.

The Israelis have built highways throughout

Palestinian territories for the Jewish settlers that

they have established there in contravention of

international rules of occupation.(4th Geneva

Convention 49th article) Only Israelis, who have

special licence plates are allowed to use these roads.

Students, truck drivers, civil servants all wait for

hour after hour, as the Israeli army closes off the

main road whenever a Jewish settler living in the

nearby settlement, wants to pass. What used to be a 20

minute trip to work can now take several hours.

Palestinians cannot even move from one village to

another as many of their roads have been bulldozed to

prevent vehicular movement. The Gaza strip which is

only 10 miles wide by 30 miles long has been divided

into 4 separate areas. A recent article by a BBC

correspondent reports that the line of cars waiting to

cross from one area of Gaza to the other stretched as

far as the eye and that some people had been waiting

for 36 hours to cross.

The West Bank has been carved into 220 such areas. The

direct transport of merchandise from town to town is

forbiden. Trucks must meet at checkpoints and goods

must be transferred from one truck to another.

Transportation costs have soared while goods perish on

trucks held up at checkpoints. Sixteen women have

given birth at checkpoints due to delays. Three of the

babies died.

Israel controls who enters and leaves Palestinian

territory. Even foreign nationals married to

Palestinians are at the mercy of the Israeli

authorities. Last year Israel destroyed the radar at

and dug up the runway at Gaza airport. In order to

leave the West Bank or Gaza, permission must be

obtained from Israel to cross into Israeli territory

to fly out from an Israeli airport.

Now I have a question.

How do you obtain any decency and goodwill from people

who have lived under these conditions or who have

family living in Palestine or from other Arab

countries? Yet, below are a few of many responses that

I received to a recent article that I wrote on the

Israeli Palestinian conflict.


From a Palestinian.....If left to human beings and

their sense of compassion, none of the horrors that

occur in Palestine, as well as the stereotypes that

are easily given to the Arabs, would exist. This is

the underlying message that I felt through your

message. I have read many other articles, written by

Jews, Israeli reporters, Christian reporters, in

defense of the Palestinian people. This goes to prove

that internationally, we are all there, Jews,

Christians, and Muslims to join hands and fight an

evil that may well engulf the entire world.


From a woman in Saudi Arabia . I'm a housewife from

Saudi Arabia, and a mother of two children. All the

women and men I know cry, just as I do, at the sight

of the human degradation that we witness around us.

God, Who sent all three religions to His creatures at

different stages of the world's development, did not

want us to hate each other this way. No, on the

contrary, His message is one of compassion, respect,

and love among all human beings. .... when I witness

the writings of well intentioned and sincere people

such as you, I see a little light at the end of the

tunnel. God bless you.


I am a displaced "1948" Palestinian Christian and like

many of my displaced compatriots have resigned

ourselves to the loss of our hometown (Haifa)..All we

seek now is PEACE and reasonable living for our fellow

Paletinians in a viable State of their own in the

occupied territories to afford these maligned,

humiliated, abused and terrorized people a chance at

earning a decent living, raising their children

without fear of zealots who want to steal all their

land, destroy their homes, uproot their trees and

throw them out into the desert....


I am a Canadian of Palestinian origin. My Grand

parents and my parents were made refugees in 1948 when

the state of Israel was created. My parents, brothers

and sisters now live in Ramallah, in the occupied

territories, and have been suffering for many years,

but things even got worse in the past few years. The

suffering goes beyond the economical and physical. The

emotional suffering is driving many to irrational

acts. The kids are having nightmares about the

incursions and the home demolishing. My heart aches

when I think of the children who are living under such

horrible conditions. Many times I felt hopeless and

helpless when I write to politicians and I do not get

an answer or when I write to my local news paper but

they do not print my letter.


I am a Palestinian-American .... There is a lasting

and gut wrenching tragedy in the land of Palestine.

The tragedy is for the Israelis and the Palestinians.

I will be honest with you, I am very proud that the

Jewish people have a homeland, but I am sad to see

them not share it wholly with the original inhabitants

of the land, the Palestinian people. Amidst all the

massacres, bloodshed, and finger pointing, people must

learn to get along and live with one another. No one

side is right in this conflict, but the media never

explains this. It is always the Palestinians who are

the terrorists and it truly makes me sad. ... I feel

for all the Israelis and Palestinians who have lost

their lives, but the bloodshed will forever continue

if we allow ourselves to be stuck in this cycle. I

apologize for the lengthiness of this email, but you

have truly touched me with your article and I just

wanted to say thank you.


Linda Belanger can be reached at:



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