The page captioned "The Occupation" (June/July) like the media in general, fails to come to grips with the institutionalized Israeli laws and practices causing Palestinian despair and rage.
Tensions can only be acerbated when opinions expressed that Palestinians are better off under occupation than if free. Slave holders in the United States were expressing the same opinions as to the condition of their slaves 100 years ago.
Discriminiation against Arabs is as firmly fixed in law as discrimination against blacks in South Africa, with one difference. South Africa has laws that express discrimination, but Israel's anti-Arabism is legislated with obfuscating language. Legal discrimination in Israel escapes the attention of most activists because of certain words in the Zionist lexicon deviating from conventional usage: e.g. citizenship, return, the Jewish people, and national institutions.
In spite of Israel's Declaration of Establishment, which promised equality to all inhabitants, Israeli fundamental law makes Arabs second-class citizens. Fundamental is the term for laws that substitute for a constitution.
THE WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION/Jewish Agency law mandates the Jewish Agency to develop the state for "the Jewish people". The Jewish Agency now owns 92 percent of the land and leases only to Jewish nationals. It develops the land for agriculture, social services, housing, settlement, etc. for the benefit of the "Jewish nationals" only and excludes all other Israeli citizens from benefits. In democratic countries, national institutions are government institutions, but not so in Israel, where the non-Jewish sector of Israeli citizenry pays the same taxes but receives no benefits.
In the occupied territories, the illegal policy of land seizures create cheap landless itinerant labourers who are bussed into Israel, to do the laborious work in the cities and farms. We are being told repeatedly that Israel is a Western-style democracy, while in actual fact its laws and practices almost resemble those of South Africa.
Gavin J. McEwen, Ottawa
I was taken aback and disturbed by the violence and emphasis on world destruction in the magazine's content. I thought I was subscribing to PEACE!
A peace magazine such as yours is very much needed in our country and I commend you for its excellence. The consequent networking which your magazine provides promises wonderful (and endless) possibilities between individuals and groups -- not to mention the possibilities inherent in strong, concerted and unified action right across the country, around one particular issue. Such a concerted action will work where others have failed in the past, in raising our government's (all levels) awareness of the extent and will of the Canadian peoples to work for a peaceful world.
Eugenia Johnson, Prince George, B.C.
A group of Canadian Veterans Against Nuclear Arms had the privilege of witnessing the 1988 May Day celebrations in Moscow. They were very impressed with the happiness and goodwill of the workers and their families who made up the parade. No weapons were seen, either in the parade or on the soldiers controlling the crowds of spectators. On return to Canada the vets recounted their experience, but were told that they must be mistaken, as NBC News on TV that day had shown a parade of troops, tanks, guns, missiles, etc. A question to NBC reportedly brought the reply that the military hardware was from file footage, and had been added "to maintain viewer interest!"
J. Barber-Starkey, Victoria, B.C.
The situation has deteriorated rapidly in Kanaky, as French government policy has become grotesquely obvious. One place where pressure can be placed on France is at the United Nations. New Caledonia was re-inscribed on the decolonization list in 1986, and affirmed in ´87. Being on this list means France is obliged to report annually on her efforts to bring independence to the colony, and to also allow U.N. observers in for referenda. France has refused to acknowledge U.N. requests. In 1987, France pressured and threatened some African countries who voted in favour of New Caledonia being on the U.N. list in 1986. Against unsubtle threats of reduced aid, several changed their vote. France will again be arm-twisting for the upcoming vote in October or November at the U.N. It's imperative that New Caledonia remain on the decolonization list, and the vote be strengthened. Canada abstained twice (1986 and ´87). We need letters now to the Minister of External Affairs Joe Clark requesting Canada change her vote to one in favour. Cite the continuing intransigence of France to deal with independence; cite the Ouvea cave incident; cite the continuous policy of the Kanaks for negotiation and dialogue and non-violence which is threatened and has suffered because of French refusal to move forward. France needs to know her actions are unacceptable. Write to Joe Clark at House of Commons, Ottawa, K1A 0A6. Send copies to Bill Blaikie, M.P. and André Ouellet, M.P. (External Affairs critics for the N.D.P. and Liberals respectively.)
Have you written to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, concerning RIMPAC military exercises and Canada's intention to shell Kaho'olawe again?
Even if it's only five lines, please let the government know what you think. Send copies to NDP leader Edward Broadbent, and Opposition leader John Turner (all at the House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6).
Phil Esmonde, SPPF, Victoria, B.C.
Ed. Note--Most RIMPAC participants have been persuaded to refrain from shelling Kaho'olawe; but Canada continues to flout Hawaiian sentiments, so Honolulu politicians threatened to shut out a Canadian firm's bid for a billion dollar contract for construction of a transit line. Money talks!
Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1988, page 5. Some rights reserved.
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