Wednesday, December 6, 2017

In Response to President Trump


As many of you know, President Trump today recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. 
I feel many of the people in the US may not understand why Palestinians are upset about this decision, or may not know what this may lead to. I wanted to write a post to clarify.  I specifically wanted to address the lies claimed by President Trump. More than the actual recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it upsets me more that a president of a great nation can stand up on national TV and tell lies. So, I am writing this blog in response to him and to those that think this was a good action.

Here are some of his words, I am not re-phrasing, but I am abbreviating. 
1. Trump called Israel the most "successful democracies in the world."
2. Trump said that in Israel, "Jews, Muslims and Christians aond people of other faiths are free to live and worship according to their belief."
3. Trump said that this course of action is for the "best interest of the United States of America and for the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement."

First point: Israel is a democracy. 
Some may look at the democracy just for Israelis. Well, if you do, then what about the Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship who get treated different than other Israelis. But I think we should also consider everyone who lives in the Holy Land. Half of the population consists of Palestinians who live on less than 10% of the land and who have no say on what goes on.  Israel controls their movement, their water, and their lives.  There are even roads on which Palestinians are NOT allowed to drive. These are roads only for Jews! How is that a democracy? You can call it what you want, but I call it racism.

When Palestinians go out to the street to protest, they are shot at using tear gas bombs and live ammunition. I know since I was one of those people demonstrating against the injustices done to my people many times. I smelled tear gas often and have seen people get shot simply because they were protesting. You can call this a democracy, but I call it terrorism.
 
If you are a Jew, you can build a house anywhere in Israel and live anywhere. If you are a Palestinian, you can only live in designated areas surrounded by 25-foot concrete walls (we call them concentration camps).  If you are one of the very few lucky Palestinians who live in Jerusalem and have an Israeli ID, then none of the rules that apply to Jews apply to you.

If you are a Palestinian and have a house in Jerusalem, you risk evacuation or your house being demolished simply for fixing your leaking roof.  You also risk losing your home if a Jewish family supported by the Israeli government decides they want to live in your home. 

Here is an example of a Palestinian man who lost his house in Jerusalem. One night, the Israeli soldiers came to his home and dragged him and his family out by force. He lost his family home. A home that has been in his family for generations. His childhood home and his father's childhood home. He was devastated and he was now homeless. He was not compensated for the house and was not even allowed to take many of his belongings.
Years later, this man saw his house in an auction. He went and made the highest bid to buy his own house back. When the committee found out he was Palestinian they disqualified him. They said that even if he made the highest bid, he still could not buy his house because he was not Jewish. 

Second point: People of all faiths can worship freely in Israel.
All Jews can get to their places of worship, but the Christians and Muslims cannot. There are over 4 million Muslims who are not allowed to enter Jerusalem to worship in their holy sites there. The few Muslims who are allowed to worship in Jerusalem, do so surrounded by Israeli soldiers holding M16 rifles. 

The majority of the Christians like me and my family are not allowed into Jerusalem to visit the places where the Savior was crucified, where He was buried and resurrected. We are not allowed to go the Galilee or Nazareth.
 
After I joined the LDS church in 1996, the only LDS church meeting place was in Jerusalem. I was turned back many times by the Israeli soldiers and was forbidden from entering Jerusalem and worshiping with fellow members of the church. I was even chased, shot at, humiliated and almost arrested countless times by Israeli soldiers just for the simple reason that I was trying to go and worship God.   

Third Point: This decision is good for the pursuit of peace between Palestinians and Israelis and will advance the peace process. 
I am not sure how you see that President. We need clarification on this one because my people are outraged and are already demonstrating in the streets and by the end of this week many of them would get killed or arrested. 
Here is a metaphor for you. Say we have two kids David and Ali. They don't particularly get along and are always fighting. David had 9 pieces of candy and Ali had one piece. Ali has never had any candy and he was always an oppressed child. The piece he had in his hand was a precious possession of his.  You go into the room, slap Ali in the face, take his candy and give it to David. And then you tell Ali that the candy was David's right all along and you are just doing what others should have done a long time ago.  After you leave the room, what do you think Ali will do? 
Now you go out of the room smiling and tell the kids' parents that you took Ali's candy in order to advance the peace process between the two kids. 

I want to end by saying it is not Jerusalem that is the main issue here. The reason everyone is so upset is that Jerusalem was the last straw...My people have lost their land and have been oppressed for over 60 years. We don't want Jerusalem only, we want our whole country back. We want our freedom, our identity, our dignity, and our voices to be heard.  This picture shows our loss of land over the years:
Gray areas: Places where Jews live.
White areas: Places where Palestinians are allowed to live.


 Lines at the Bethlehem checkpoint showing the separation wall:


  

22 comments:

  1. Correction: Trump didn't declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel declared Jerusalem its capital long ago, and it's a wonder why it took the US (Israel's premiere ally) so long to recognize it.

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    1. what's the deference a 100 years ago Belfor gave a land he does not own to people who do not believe in god because they claimed that god gave it to them. today 100 years later Donald trump agrees to accept Israels claim regarding Jerusalem.

      Injustices can never prevail weather decried by belfor,Trump or any power.

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  2. Sorry my mistake. I corrected it. Thanks for clarifying.

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  3. Sahar, as an American living in Jerusalem, I have seen first hand the way the Palestinians are NOT treated equally. I had no idea what was happening before I lived here. The media rarely mentions the oppression and mistreatment. I feel betrayed by President Trump, because how does he think we will be treated now by our Palestinian neighbors? Many Americans live here because of jobs, now we feel we need to apologize for our country. Thank you for educating those of us who really don’t see what is happening.

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    1. This change was voted upon and passed by both Houses 1995 I believe and could, and SHOULD have been done years ago. Every President since then has signed a waiver every 6 months pushing the change back another 6 months. Trump didn't make this decision, Congress did. Trump is just the first President in 22 years to OBEY that law.

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  4. Most of us, in the US, think this is a horrible act and know it will end tragically. I cannot apologize enough. Our “president” is a terrible person who is a racist and ignorant when it comes to foreign policy (and national policy). We are doing our best here to get him out of office (the sooner the better). Again, I am so sorry (I know that sayingthis is not enough). Peace, sister. There are many of us who support you.

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  5. Sahar, I am sorry to see that your facts are skewed to make a point.
    There is no need for the Arabs to get hysterical about the United States recognizing the capital of an official state that has existed for 69 years...
    If the Palestinians continue to act emotionally rather than rationally I think they will continue to suffer for no need.

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    1. Eliot your thinking is skewed the USA is recognizing Israels claim when the whole world does not accept. Jerusalem is an emotional issue to all faiths.

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  6. Eliot, if you are suggesting that things have to be accepted because they are "facts on the ground", then we would have to accept that Israel will take all of historic Palestine, i.e. might is right and morality has nothing to do with it. We should all get emotional about that - I do as an atheist in the UK.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your feelings and your experiences. I am an Israeli Jew who converted to the LDS Church (albeit in the United States). I wish we could sit down face-to-face and talk because I'd love to hear more about your life experiences. I am sure there are things we might disagree on, but when discussing such emotionally charged topics it is easy to forget that first and foremost we are brothers and sisters.

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    1. I'd love to talk to you further. Where do you live? Maybe we can meet one day. Look me up on Facebook.

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  8. I had the opportunity to interview in a small group setting a member of the Israeli Supreme Court. He referred to Jewish citizens of Israel as 'us' and Palestinian citizens of Israel as "them." I asked him what he thought about a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court using the same language of 'us' and 'them' when talking about White Americans and Black Americans. He could not answer. Israel is a democracy the way Apartheid South Africa was a democracy. And it makes me sad.

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  9. Only an Israeli and a Palestinian can totally understand everything that has happened over the past several decades. Both sides have legitimate security concerns due to attacks on innocents by the other side. You cannot write a one sided article like this and not have others in the world not question your agenda. Let's see a balanced conversation about the issues. There is some understanding for actions both sides have taken.

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    1. I agree and I am not trying to justify the acts of either side. My article was just to explain why Palestinians like me are not happy about Pres. Trump's comments the other day.

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    2. not "only an Israeli and a Palestinian can totally understand everything that has happened the past 70 years". Everybody concerned by great injustice understand the suffering of the Palestinians by the hand of the zionist colonial enterprise taking over the land of Palestine 70 years ago with extreme violence by ethnically cleansing 2/3 of the inhabitants. Since that time the repression goes on relentlessly. Why? Because the Zionists want "a land without people for a people without a land". "But the bride (Palestine) had already a bridegroom (Palestinians)". citing Ben Gurion. He was aware of the problem and chased the bridegroom. Since that time the bride is abused every night. Can you imagine this long lasting crime? With Jerusalem the zionist perpetrator stole also the bride's jewels. She is abused and naked with no rights. This is the Palestinian situation. How can you not understand this big crime?

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  10. "When the wicked rule, the people mourn." The Book of Mormon. There are many of us grieving now.

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  11. Israel today as we know it is not the irael whom the lord covenanted with,..therefore they forfeited their rights in pertaining to that covenant,.& i would venture to go as far as saying that some Palestinians have stronger semetic ties to israel than the foreign european Ashkenazi...point being the real israel is & are covenant keepers & in due time the true churc will be established in palestine.

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  12. The political situation is very complicated, but one thing is clear, the Lord promised that land to Abraham's descendants through Isaac who gave rise to the Jewish nation. The Lord did not promise that land to Abraham and Ishmael who gave rise to the Arab nations. (By the way, when you were baptized, you were adopted into the Abrahamic covenant and became a member of one of the tribes of Israel.) The Jews are asserting their God-given right to that land, something the Arab nations have unsuccessfully tried to take away from them by force since 1948. Does this justify Jewish unfairness toward Arabs? Probably not. But it does explain why they take a heavy-handed approach toward their Arab neighbors.

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  14. I must say that reading these comments has given me a lot to think about. I want what I would hope every rational person would want a United Palestine/Isreal where everyone is free in everyway. Where peace and freedom is what rules. No secound or first class citizens. The rule of law. Freedom of religion, of movement and the right to make a better life. May we all remeber that God. Jehovah, and Allah would want peace and love.

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