To follow my heart and find my voice (Liberate THIS, Part 16)

[The final installment in a continuing series by guest author Dr. Dahlia Wasfi.]

Rachel Corrie peace vigil

Rachel Corrie peace vigil. Image used under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Rachel Corrie literally stood up for what she believed on March 16, 2003. She stood before the Israeli military who came to Rafah in armored bulldozers to level homes.

With her courageous stand, she equated her Western life with the lives of the Palestinian families behind her. Perhaps her actions were an affront to the occupation soldiers staring down from their sixty ton vehicle. Perhaps her actions inspired them to crush her to death.

Her actions inspired me to follow my heart and find my voice. To me, her courage showed hope and strength.

With Rachel’s example before me, my life has directed me to know my family. I traveled thousands of miles to go see them and know them.

But my work as an activist has also taught me that I don’t only have family in Iraq. My relatives are everywhere:  in Afghanistan; in Pakistan; in Kashmir; in Vietnam; in Walter Reed Army Medical Center; in Arlington Cemetery; in every village and city around the globe.

You have relatives there, too.

My medical career is on hold so that I can focus on calling for the immediate, unconditional end of war and occupation on behalf of all of my family.

What would you do for your family?

What will you do?

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94 Responses to To follow my heart and find my voice (Liberate THIS, Part 16)

  1. Regina says:

    This is a beautiful post. Family means everything.

  2. I know exactly what Dahlia is saying, because she inspired me to do the same and to search for my voice. She was present the first time I used my voice and she was the reason that I was there.

    Everything I do is for my family, my sisters, my brothers, our mothers and fathers and our children, especially those who are yet to be born.

    I love you Dahlia, for you truly are my sister.

  3. Janet Clark says:

    I am new on this website and I also believe that family is one of the most important possessions we have as humans. I don’t know all that has transpired in this forum but I do have a question.

    Rachel Corrie stood up for what she believed…she equated her Western life with the lives of the Palestinian families as stated above but there are also families in Israel what about them? Who stands up for them? Is this post speaking about the Palestinian families because this is what occurred on this day or would it have been the same if the opposite had occurred that day meaning the Palestinian soldiers came at Israel to level homes. There is always two side to every story so why did Israel take this stand in the first place. Please inform me.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Dear Ms. Clark–Thank you for your post. Please consider checking out the earlier installments of this series, Part 8 in particular, which features a short video of an interview with Rachel Corrie.
      The Palestinian people have been denied self-determination since at least 1948, when more than 750,000 men, women, and children were displaced from their homes to establish an exclusively Jewish state (though we almost never hear about this in the US). The ethnic cleansing that took place 64 years ago is the basis for the largest refugee population in the world today. Since 1967, the West Bank and Gaza have remained under a brutal and illegal (per international law, including UN resolutions 242 and 338) military occupation that is funded by American tax dollars (more than $3 billion per year in military aid alone). Israel has an army, air force, and navy. Palestinians have no country and no military; they have no control over their borders, airspace, water resources, utilities, and the list goes on. So, in today’s world, there is no Palestinian army unit armed with tanks and bulldozers to level Israeli homes. A good website that depicts the inequality of the Israeli occupation–and the American role in it–is The figures tell a much different story than what we are told by mainstream media. Specifically, no Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians, while 24, 813 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. Thank you for the dialogue…I look forward to your further thoughts. Sincerely, Dahlia

      • Janet Clark says:

        Thank you for your reply Dahlia,
        I looked and the site you referred me to and the numbers are devastating. I understand what you are saying about the Palestinians not having the ability or weapons to fight back.
        I wish we could all live in peace but it seems to elude us at every turn.
        I’d like to get a clearer understanding of how this all got started in the first place, and ponder how peace between these two groups can occur because I believe that in order to find peace one must first understand how a situation that created a war initially evolved.
        You stated “The Palestinian people have been denied self-determination since at least 1948, when more than 750,000 men, women, and children were displaced from their homes to establish an exclusively Jewish state (though we almost never hear about this in the US)”.
        According to my limited understanding this issue dates back to Biblical days almost 3000 years ago, and personally, I am fascinated because Jerusalem is such a controversial issue and people have been hurt on both sides of the fence.
        My research indicates that when the Jews, were scattered all over and came back to what is now called Israel…it was nearly deserted and a worthless piece of land that no one wanted, and the Jews begin to drain swamps and made the desserts bloom and the Arabs followed. I read that initially the Jews offered the Arabs jobs.
        I read that in 1936 the Muslims in Palestine wanted to rule and remove the Jews and rule an Islamic regime all over Palestine and that is when the first bloodshed occurred as two Jews were murdered in Tol-Carem by Muslims. Also, that this is when terrorism became an inseparable part of the rebellion and Jews began defending themselves?
        Also, that in 1947 the United Nations proposed two states in that region one Jewish and one Arab, and the Jews accepted but the Arabs rejected it declaring war? But my research indicates that the animosity to Jews predated the establishment of the state of Israel.
        I read that Arab leaders urged the Palestinian Arabs to leave so they wouldn’t be in the crossfire and were told they could return after the Jews were destroyed, but the Jews won the war instead…and that is the initial reason why the Palestinians left the country. Is this true at all?
        Now 54 years later some Palestinians are still living in refugee camps and are possibly being used as a political tool of the Arab powers… I also read that since then the Arabs claimed that the land belongs to them and committed attacks against the citizens of Israel, and that it is the radicals on both sides that keep this going…
        According to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Harold H. Saunders, “We have also repeatedly stated that the legitimate interests of the Palestinian Arabs must be taken into account in the negotiation of an Arab–Israeli peace. In many ways, the Palestinian dimension of the Arab–Israeli conflict is the heart of that conflict…. No one, therefore, seems in a position today to say exactly what Palestinian objectives are…. The issue is not whether Palestinian interests should be expressed in a final settlement, but how. There will be no peace unless an answer is found.”
        I am not sure what is true or not, but what do you believe is the answer to peace in this situation Dahlia?

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Hi Janet–Thank you for your very thoughtful questions on this matter, and your courage to ask them. In the US, questions about Israel/Palestine can often be erroneously dismissed as “anti-Semitic” as a means to shut down discussion and maintain the status quo. I’ll do my best to offer an adequate response here.
          I do not believe that this conflict dates back to biblical times, though this connection is invoked by Zionists.

          Zionism is a political movement with nationalist aims. The World Zionist Organization was formally established in 1897. Zionism’s leading goal—creation of an exclusively Jewish homeland—was born out of anti-Semitism in Europe and the deadly Russian pogroms of the nineteenth century. Early Zionists envisioned that Jews would be safe from persecution in their own territory. Thus, the foundation of the movement was laid during the late 1800’s—long before the European Holocaust of the 1940’s.

          The Zionist leadership actually considered statehood in multiple locations around the globe, including Argentina, Asiatic Turkey, North America, and Uganda. Ultimately, Palestine was selected as the site for a Jewish state because of the ancient biblical stories of Jews in that region some two thousand years before. David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, delineated the plans for the state, which incorporated not only historic Palestine but land from all of Palestine’s neighboring countries:
          “…to the north, the Litani river [southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-‘Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan…”

          Ben-Gurion is considered one of the fathers of the Zionist movement, along with Jewish intellectuals Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann. Their agenda for a state with Jewish purity required the removal of non-Jews from the land. They advocated the displacement of the indigenous population and their replacement with Jewish immigrants to achieve sovereignty. The Zionist motto was “a land without a people for a people without a land.” But there were people there, mostly Arabs, in well-established villages and cities. The notion that Palestine was “a worthless piece of land that no one wanted, and the Jews begin to drain swamps and made the desserts bloom and the Arabs followed” is false. In 1937, Ben-Gurion himself wrote in a letter to his son, Amos, “We must expel Arabs and take their places” (p.189 in Shabtai Teveth’s “Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War.”

          According to the first formal census done in 1922 by the League of Nations, there were 83,790 Jews in the region; 598,177 Muslims; and 71,464 Christians (mostly Palestinians with some Westerners). These figures from Donald Neff’s “Warriors for Jerusalem” (p.21) show that Jews were clearly a minority (and I think they were Arab Jews, as opposed to European Jews who were about to immigrate to the region in large numbers).

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Regarding anti-Jewish riots, I’ll quote directly from Neff (p.21-22):
            “Organized Zionist immigration, openly dedicated to establishing a Jewish homeland, had begun eight years after the founding of the Zionist Organization. The first of the new immigrants, members of the second aliyah (literally ‘ascent’ in Hebrew), as it became known in the Jewish community, had added thirty thousand more Jews to Palestine between 1905 and 1914 [so I was wrong in my earlier post above…thousands of the Jews in the 1922 census were immigrants…my apologies]. There followed the third and fourth aliyahs, the former bringing thirty-seven thousand newcomers between 1919 and 1924 and the latter seventy thousand between 1924 and 1928.
            “Palestinians, both Moslems and Christians, viewed the immigration of Jews with alarm. By a historic coincidence, a wave of nationalism was sweeping the Arab world, sharpening the Arabs’ sensitivities to the threat posed by Zionism. The first anti-Jewish riots came in 1920, and they were to continue sporadically throughout the quarter century of the British Mandate [Britain claimed Palestine from Turkey at the end of WWI]. The British repeatedly established royal commissions to study the cause of the Palestinians’ violence, and repeatedly the commissions came to the same conclusion: The Palestinians feared the Jews were trying to take their land and deny them the opportunity to establish their own state.” [To this point, Palestinians had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, then the British Empire, and were now hoping for self-determination. But the Zionist movement would deny them.]

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Regarding the UN’s partition plan of 1947 (from Neff, p.23-24), “The Jews accepted the partition but the Arabs refused. They bitterly noted that while the Jews owned only 5.67 percent of the land and made up less than a third of the population (608,000 Jews to 1,327,000 Arabs), the partition plan gave the Yishuv [Jewish community] more than 50 percent of Palestine. The Palestinians would not accept partition, and they were strongly backed by the Arabs nations.
            “The next year, on May 14, 1948, the Jews declared the establishment of the state of Israel. Fighting between Arabs and Jews had been sputtering for months; now full-scale war broke out between the new Jewish state and its Arab neighbors. The fighting ended in 1949 with armistice agreements concluded between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
            “The old Palestinian fear that had first manifested itself in riots twenty-nine years earlier had come true. As a result of the war, Israel now controlled half of Jerusalem, though not the revered Old City, and a total of 77.4% of the land. Nearly 60% of the Palestinians–725,000 men, women, and children–had been uprooted from their homes. While Jews, many of them recently arrived from Europe, moved into the houses that Palestinians had lived in for generations, and in some cases for centuries, the displaced Palestinians huddled in crude refugee camps, homeless, landless and filled with hatred. Another group of Palestinians, about 160,000, remained on their land within Israel’s frontiers, now second-class citizens within a Jewish state [and suffer from systematic discrimination to this day].”
            Today, the Palestinians have been mostly abandoned by other Arab nations.

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          I support a single, democratic secular state as a solution, and there are many who agree with me, but it’s really none of my business. It’s up to the people who live there and the millions of refugees who have the right of return under international law.

      • Janet Clark says:

        Hi Dahlia,
        Thank you. I just watched a video of Ilan Pappe who is called the Israeli Historian and author speaking on his book of which you referred to. I also read that he is part German. His book “the Ethnic Cleansing” seems to portray the Jews quite negatively as “Zionists”, and this leads me to question if his views are biased. Do you think this is a possibility?
        Personally, I have no position either way; however, I do have empathy for all who suffer; and I desire to know both sides of the situation, which appears to be challenging in this situation according to who one believes or listens too, as if the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
        I also found an interesting article by Benny Morris regarding Pappe, who gives an in depth report about Pappe’s disproportionate historical reporting. Morris (2011), “claims that Pappe’s real interest lies in politics, specifically anti-British-imperial politics and anti-Zionist politics, and not in distant Ottoman-era history and that his reporting is disproportionate…and Such distortions, large and small, characterize almost every page of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.”,0
        Dahlia, do you believe all Jews there are Zionists and can one call Zionism racism?
        You also mentioned the “Zionist militias like the Stern Gang and the Irgun were responsible for bombings and massacres.” But are there not radicals on both sides?
        Finally, you stated “ending American support for Israel (in compliance with the law) will make peaceful resolution inevitable. The future of the region is up to the people who live there”.
        May I ask why you believe this would make a peaceful resolution instead of more fighting?

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          The founders of Israel were Zionists, so I don’t think that’s a distortion but historical fact (please see what I posted above about the political movement of Zionism). Zionism is a type of racism; I see the same racism in establishing a “Jews-only” nation by driving out non-Jews as I see in establishing a “whites-only” nation by driving out non-whites. Its founding principles are exclusionary. I don’t think everyone in Israel today is a Zionist, as there are some Israelis who oppose the occupation and recognize the injustices that continue to this day. Women in Black, an Israeli organization, has been opposing the occupation for decades. There are also groups in the US, like Jewish Voices for Peace ( and globally, like the International Anti-Zionist Jewish Network (
          I support your investigation of the resources I’m posting. Benny Morris is a little bit of a confusing persona, because while he is one of the New Historians on Israel, who is honest about the state’s foundation of ethnic cleansing, I think he considers himself a Zionist. Since the New Republic follows a pro-Israel line, I’m not surprised that this criticism of Pappe was published there. Other suggestions as resources are the writings of Tom Segev, Norman Finkelstein, and recently Miko Peled (an Israeli, son of an Israeli general, and for full disclosure, he is my Facebook friend :)) Peled’s website is
          Since we arm Israel with F-15/F-16 fighter planes, submarines, artillery, mortars, bunker-buster bombs, etc. which are used by Israel in violation of international law, then cutting off these arms and funding should have some limiting effect on Israeli aggression, which is the root of the problem. Furthermore, it is our political support of Israel at the UN that allows the state to continue to commit atrocities without reprimand or accountability. Maybe you already saw this page: Israel has been the target of condemnation for at least 65 UN resolutions. The Palestinians have been the target of none. There are two sides to every story. In this story, there are the sides of oppressor–Israel–and oppressed–Palestinians (and other Arab nations attacked by Israel including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon).

          • Janet Clark says:

            Thank you for responding Dahlia,

            Because I am a truth seeker…I am curious to know why there are conflicting stories on who actually started this war depending on which side is asked. This situation just does not appear to be as cut and dry as it is presented because if it was then people wouldn’t take such radical sides on the issue.
            Why do some say the Arabs attacked Israel because of their anger at the proposed U.N. resolution that the Jews accepted, but the Arabs rejected?
            Do you see any wrong doings concerning the Arabic Palestinians in this?

            Without any disrespect intended I would like to ask if you could in any way feel biased regarding this issue? I ask because when one is passionate regarding a situation, it is hard to accept both sides of a story, and your reference to Ilan Pappe as a good source of information made me question this because he clearly gives a one sided view, and when listening to him one does not need to know anything about the situation to determine his perspective.
            I ask this because anyone can close their mind to information that does not support their own; not to say that is what you do…it is just a natural occurrence for human beings…like myself.
            Also, the Arabs could have won the war but didn’t, and if the Israelis had lost the would be refugees once again, and if America withdrew don’t you believe the Arabists would try to wipe the Israelis off the face of the planet as I have read somewhere! That would not create peace…just more hate?
            Do you believe the Arabic radicals are in anyway keeping animosity at a peak?
            Just curious questions.

          • Ross Caputi says:

            Dear Janet,
            I’d like to recommend this paper to you, “The Debate About 1948” by Avi Shlaim. Here is an excerpt:

            “This conventional Zionist account or old history of the 1948 War displays a number of features. In the first place, it is not history in the proper sense of the word. Most of the voluminous literature on the war was written not by professional historians but by participants, by politicians, soldiers, official historians and by a large host of sympathetic chroniclers, journalists, biographers and hagiographers. Secondly, this literature is very short on political analysis of the war and long on chronicles of the military operations, especially the heroic feats of the Israeli fighters. Third, this literature maintains that Israel’s conduct during the war was governed by higher moral standards than that of her enemies. Of particular relevance here is the precept of tohar haneshek or the purity of arms which posits that weapons remain pure provided they are employed only in self-defence and provided they are not used against innocent civilians and defenceless people. This popular-heroic-moralistic version of the 1948 war is the one which is taught in Israeli schools and used extensively in the quest for legitimacy abroad. It is a prime example of the use of a nationalist version of history in the process of nation-building . . . One common thread that runs through the new historiography is a critical stance towards David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel and its first Prime Minister. Whereas the old historians tend to view Ben-Gurion as representative of the consensus among the civilian and military elites, the new historians tend to portray him as the driving force behind Israel’s policy in 1948, and particularly the policy of expelling the Palestinians . . . Although many of the arguments of the new historiography are not new, there is a qualitative difference between this historiography and the bulk of the earlier studies, whether they accepted or contradicted the official Zionist line. The difference, in a nutshell, is that the new historiography is written with access to the official Israeli and Western documents whereas the earlier writers had no access, or only partial access, to the official documents.”

          • Janet Clark says:

            Hi Dahlia,
            I want to thank you so much for your in depth replies. I would like to apologize for my last post…so please disregard the repeated questions that I asked, which you have already answered.
            You acknowledged how one can appear one-sided, or biased when one chooses to discuss only one side of the issue.
            You also addressed my concern about the use of Pappe as your reference, and my take on his apparent perspective. Thank you so much.
            Honestly, I was somewhat concerned about the delay in addressing my questions and it made me wonder why, but my assumptions were incorrect.
            I now realize that having to reply to so many different posts, and researching information takes time. Again sorry for the assumption and thanks for new references. I will look at them.
            Also, I truly appreciate that you took time to research and address the facts.
            However, it is still is unclear about who actually started the war, but you answered close enough.
            You also clearly stated your opinion of how peace can be achieved; I respect that, but I wonder how possible that is since so much hatred abounds!
            My only remaining questions from my last post are: Do you see any wrong doings concerning the Arabic Palestinians in this?
            You stated ““The old Palestinian fear that had first manifested itself in riots twenty-nine years earlier had come true. As a result of the war, Israel now controlled half of Jerusalem, though not the revered Old City, and a total of 77.4% of the land. Nearly 60% of the Palestinians–725,000 men, women, and children–had been uprooted from their homes”. So, may I ask what you think the fear of Israel if any may be; as to why they believe they must continue to be on guard and fight at every turn…and if America withdrew what do you believe would happen to Israel?
            Finally, Do you believe the Arab radicals are in anyway keeping animosity at a peak?
            Thanks again Dahlia for your openness, honesty, facts, and your opinions!

          • Janet Clark says:

            Hi Ross Caputi ,
            Thank you for the most interesting and informative article. I read it thoroughly although a few more time would shed more light; however this article leaves me empty on one hand and complete with a better understanding on the other.
            Regarding my question of who started the war, which is so relevant to the problem facing the conflict. It appears that this issue like the one facing these two groups will continue to be debatable.
            The new historians re-write history as a way of stirring up debate in which they were quite successful… in some ways they created thoughts about conspiracy and of course political issues. They presume to base their history on articles never viewed but that were always available, although Arab articles were not so available as I understand it.
            Shlaim wrote” “The old historiography on the emergence of Israel is a striking example of this general phenomenon. As for the new historiography, whatever its faults, it at least has the merit of stimulating a re-examination of time-hallowed conventions”.
            Re-examination doesn’t necessarily change the facts if indeed they are facts right? My problem here is that anyone can extract words and use them out of context as Pappe and others have. It just seems as though some of the new historians have ulterior motives.
            Regardless of that though; is that the conflict between the old and new historians in some ways reflect the actual conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
            Shlaim wrote”The debate between the old and the new historians is bitter and acrimonious and it is conducted in a highly charged political atmosphere. It is melancholy to have to add that there is no sign yet of the emergence of a post-revisionist synthesis. Battles between historians, like real battles, evidently have to run their course”.
            I have a question for both you and Dahlia, Between the Israelis “the precept of tohar haneshek or the purity of arms which posits that weapons remain pure provided they are employed only in self-defense and provided they are not used against innocent civilians and defenseless people” the Arabs fight of a Holy war, the kings, leaders, the indecision’s, peace versus no peace…
            Shlaim wrote “Last but not least of the contentious questions in the debate between the old and the new historians is the question of why peace proved unattainable in the aftermath of the first Arab-Israeli War”.

            In your opinion how does the concept of conformity and obedience apply to both the Israelis and Palestinians’ especially regarding this conflict?
            And what do you believe is the psychological and cultural rationale that drive this conflict?

            I am patiently anticipating your replies?

          • Ross Caputi says:

            Dear Janet,
            I would like to clarify that the new historians do not “re-write” history. Because they have had access to internal Israeli documents that earlier historians did not have access to, they have brought facts to our attention that challenged the traditional Zionist narrative about the creation of the state of Israel. Of course, these facts were not unknown before the new historians began writing about them. The 700,000 Palestinians who were displaced by the 1948 war have always been aware of these facts.

            Another historian that I encourage you to read is Benny Morris. Through his research he has found that the events of the 1948 war were “premeditated”. The zionist leaders, including David Ben-Gurion, debated transferring the Palestinians to present day Jordan by force well before 1948. Ultimately they chose to expel the Palestinians instead.

            I don’t think that Pappe, Shlaim, or Morris are taking words out of context to promote their ulterior motives. I think they are all honest historians who analyze the facts and come to conclusions based on those facts. Shlaim and Pappe believe, based on their research, that Israel is responsible for the expulsion of the Palestinians, and for that reason Israel is responsible for solving the Palestinian refugee problem. Morris is an odd case. He acknowledges the premeditation in Zionist thinking leading up to the war of 1948; he acknowledges the massacres committed by Zionist militias that cause the Palestinians to flee; yet he’s not morally opposed to any of it. He’s an honest historian, but he supports the atrocities that created the state of Israel.

            Other important scholars to look at this topic are Irene Gendzier, Edward Said, and Noam Chomsky.

            The Israeli and Palestinian “conflict” started over the theft of Palestinian land and it has continued because of Israeli expansion and aggression, and later because of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Israel and the US have been the major obstacle to peace because they consistently blocked peace agreements (the two state solution, for example) and have violated UN resolutions that declared their actions to be illegal. There has been much scholarship done on all this.

            I know that sometimes all this information can be overwhelming, and it can feel like we are lost between two incompatible perspectives and biases. But through analysis of the facts and sound argumentation we CAN arrive at truth.

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Dear Janet–The Palestinian people, in addition to many citizens of other Arab countries (including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt) as well as 9 Turkish citizens in May 2010 and more than 30 Americans since the 1967 attack on the USS liberty and more recent victims like Rachel Corrie, are the victims of Zionist aggression. The root of the problem in Palestine is an illegal occupation. History, generally speaking, can be viewed in terms of cause and effect. When the violence of the occupation ends, retaliatory violence from the occupied will end. I do not blame the victims, whether they are the Native Americans who fought against colonial settlers; Polish Jews who fought against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; black South Africans defending themselves from the violent apartheid government; or Palestinians legitimately resisting against an illegal occupation. Victims on both sides are victims of the root injustice. I do, however, have much criticism for the so-called Palestinian leadership including Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat, who have essentially sold out their people for personal gain (evidenced in the Palestine Papers:
            You asked “why they [Israelis] believe they must continue to be on guard and fight at every turn…and if America withdrew what do you believe would happen to Israel?” In the mainstream media, Israel is portrayed as the victim, yet Zionist militias and the “Israeli Defense Forces” which they evolved into have been the aggressors since the 1940’s. They have security concerns because they have denied peace and security for the indigenous peoples of the region. If America withdrew its military, financial, and political support, then Israel would likely have to abide by international law, i.e withdraw from the occupied territories and allow displaced refugees to return to their land and homes. “Wiping Israel off the map” is an ironic concern, since Palestine is absent from modern maps. The ones who have been “pushed into the sea” were the Palestinians of the coastal city of Jaffa, when Zionist militias drove them away ( Nazi Germany no longer exists, but Germany is still on the map. Apartheid South Africa no longer exists, but South Africa is still on the map. Apartheid Israel which operates in violation of international law must also become a relic, but no one has to die for that to happen, though Israel will have to abide by international law. There are extremists on both sides. The difference between Zionist extremists and Palestinian extremists is that the former have formidable influence in government and policy-making in Israel (David Ben-Gurion, Ariel Sharon, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman) with the Israeli military at their disposal. The latter have no power, no rights, no military.

          • Janet Clark says:

            Hi Dahlia,

            I have a better understanding of your cause now. I read on the biblical foundation and found that the radical Zionists want to take what God did indeed promise them; however, the promise was conditional.
            states, “What God really abhors is the spiritual defilement of Palestine by a nation of Christ-rejecting Jews who scorn their true Messiah, Jesus, and exalt those who crucified Him, the Pharisees. Unfortunately, in the last 1900 years the Christian church seems to have made no progress in viewing occupation of Israel Biblically. Scripture indicates that if the land of Palestine is not inhabited by spiritually obedient Jews then God sanctions tenancy by the peoples of any nation who are not overtly wicked.

            According to Deut. 29:24-29 (28) – “…and the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.”

            Deut. 30:15-20 (17-18) – “But if your heart turn away – I denounce unto you this day, that you will surely perish, and that you will not prolong your days upon the land, whither you passed over the Jordan to go to possess it.”

            1 Kings 9:6-9 (6-7) – “But if you will at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I gave them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, and I will cast out of my sight…”

            2 Kings 21:8 – “Neither will I make the feet of Israel move out of the land which I gave to their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.”

            The Zionists are not suppose to take it by force. So I also understand why he support of America is disturbing. God is supposed to give to them what He deems right when they do what is right. They are not representing God.

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Hi Janet–I hope I’m posting this comment in the right “slot” on the page. I’m sorry for my long delay in responding; I know you’ve posted again, and I appreciate all that you’ve written. I’ve had personal commitments the last few days and have fallen very behind on emails but I am enjoying the discussion. Please continue asking questions (here and generally speaking in life!); when I lecture, I often tell my audiences not to take my word for the arguments I make…get more information from a number of sources, and find out who funds those sources…following the money typically identifies the sources’ agendas.
          My agenda is my family and my desire for my tax dollars to be spent on positive efforts, not illegal ones. On my father’s side, I have family in Iraq who have suffered for decades–and continue to suffer–from US/Israeli policy which I’m trying to change. On my mother’s side, my grandparents were Holocaust survivors–European Jews who fled their homeland of Austria in the late 1930s to escape Hitler’s Anschluss. They made it to the US to get a second chance at life. I say in my speeches that it is for millions like my grandparents that we say “Never again,” and I believe that “Never again” should apply to my relatives in Iraq, too. My parents are currently supporting me so I can finish writing my book.

          With regards to conflicting stories, there is an African proverb that says, “Until lions write their own history, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” The winners write history. So for example, in the US, we are taught of the honesty and integrity of George Washington, who owned up to chopping down the cherry tree, but we don’t learn in school that he and many of the other “founding fathers” were slave owners. We learn to respect and honor the phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration of Independence, but I don’t remember learning that the Constitution defined an African male slave as 3/5ths of a man (and women….we’ve yet to earn equal rights under the Constitution). Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” is a classic work of what we might say is another side to the story of US history. The sides of the conflict in Israel/Palestine are oppressor and oppressed, similar to the sides in apartheid South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu draws this parallel: “Tutu condemns Israeli ‘apartheid'” (

          • Janet Clark says:

            Thanks Dahlia,
            I have asked enough about the start of the war and realize as you implied one may never get it right.
            You stated, “I have family in Iraq who have suffered for decades–and continue to suffer–from US/Israeli policy which I’m trying to change. On my mother’s side, my grandparents were Holocaust survivors–European Jews who fled their homeland of Austria in the late 1930s to escape Hitler’s Anschluss”.
            This is an interesting circumstance and I can understand how you must see things from both sides of the fence.
            I realize that you view this whole issue as the oppressor and the oppressed, understandably.
            When referring to the Holocaust you say never again. Three questions please…
            1. I totally agree with “never again” for anyone, however, do you believe that what the Germans did to the Jewish people is similar to what the Israelis are accused of doing to the Palestinians?
            2. I understand how conformity and obedience played a role in what the Germans did to the Jews…and I know people can blame these concepts for why people do what they do, but because you are connected to both sides …do you see conformity and obedience as a factor from either side, and in any instance?
            3. and how would this contribute to peace or a lack thereof?

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Hi again, Janet–I did not mean to imply that one may never get the history of the region right. But we don’t get the whole truth from mainstream media. The facts tell the story: The extremists of the Zionist movement took the land by force more than 64 years ago and maintain an illegal occupation of the indigenous Palestinians through state-sponsored terrorism. The United States aids and abets in Israeli crimes by way of military, financial, and political support.
            Regarding your questions below: 1) “do you believe that what the Germans did to the Jewish people is similar to what the Israelis are accused of doing to the Palestinians?” Yes, what the Nazis did to communists, homosexuals, gypsies, the disabled, Jews, and other minorities is what has been documented for Israeli treatment of the Palestinians (including collective punishment, death squads, nightly home raids, desecration of historic sites, ethnic cleansing and persecution, stealth of property, destruction of economic means, destruction of agriculture, arrest without charge or trial, torture, rape, and murder). I’m not alone in this view. Listen to British/Jewish Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman in a brief speech in Parliament: Also, here is a photo montage of pictures from Germany in the 1940s and Israel today: (WARNING to readers: graphic photos, but they depict what is happening that the mainstream media does not show us.)
            I’m sorry that I don’t think I’m connected to the conflict in a way that informs me to answer your questions about conformity and obedience. I have no experience in either Israeli society or Palestinian society. So I offer an honest “I don’t know.” 🙂

  4. Angela Hood says:

    Israel and Palestinian have been at war for many years, I have read that Palestinian want Israel to return land that was taken from them in 1967. Why do you believe Israel is not willing to restore the ’67 border to Palestinian? Do you think the war will ever end?
    I find it sad that innocent people have to die because of it.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank. There are Jew-only roads connecting the settlements. Israel’s goal is to drive out the families who remain in the occupied territories, which is why they deprive them of water, gasoline, electricity, and in Gaza, basic food and medicine. The Zionist leadership is still seeking to establish “Eretz Yisrael” which includes the land of Palestine as well of parts of neighboring countries, as set forth by the founders (please see my earlier comments about David Ben-Gurion). All of this is in violation of international law.

  5. Katie Geiger says:

    I feel completely naive and dumbfounded at the same time after reading about Rachel and the Palestinian’s plight. I was a senior in High School when Rachel was making such an amazing stand. I cannot believe how self-involved I feel after reading her story. He courage is compelling and infectious. I admit that I was not aware of all of the atrocities that have occurred to the Palestinian people, such as the ethnic cleansing 64 years ago, and 750,000 people being pushed into a Jewish state. After reading more, I cannot believe that more American’s as well as the UN are not aiding the Palestinian people. Something needs to be done, the media needs too make us all more aware.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Thank you for your compassion and your thoughts, Katie. Just to clarify, the majority (almost 60%) of Palestinians were driven out of their homes and out of Palestine in 1948. Thousands more were displaced in 1967. They ended up in refugee camps in the occupied territories and surrounding lands. Some (who were able) immigrated to other countries. I did not start to take action until I was in my 30’s. I took my cue from 23-year-old Rachel who was wise far beyond her years. You may be interested in the work her parents are doing to carry on her struggle for justice and to hold the Israeli military accountable for her death. Please visit

  6. Tammy Homan says:

    I noted where it was mentioned that Palestinians have no country. Is Israel not their country? Pardon me for my lack of knowledge, but I am trying to gain a better understanding as to what exactly this war is really over by getting the perspective of both sides.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful question, Tammy. Israel is not their country. After the majority of Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948, about 160,000 remained within the borders of the new Jewish state. However, because they are not Jewish, they do not have the same rights as Jews. (Please see “UN Calls on Israel to End Racial Discrimination” Palestinians and Arabs in general–even US citizens–are treated much differently than Jews when they try to visit their families in occupied territories. Interrogations typically last several hours at the airport and often involve strip searches.

      • Tammy Homan says:

        Thank you for your response Dahlia! I did follow the link you provided as well and what the Palestinians are asking for seems quite fair. So, this poses another question. Is Israel refusing to give anything that would stop this sort of segregation? As I said, I know little concerning this war and am trying to review all the facts. It appears this war is the equivalent to when the Native Americans were forced from their lands, but even then they were integrated to a degree. I am not seeing this with Palestinians at all. Another question, are the Palestinians willing to be integrated into this new society? Also, is it Israel’s objective to run all ethnic groups out of these region? I read were Palestinians were a multicultural/race area that lived peaceful before the Jews came, so with that said is it the perspective of the Jewish people that the entire land has to be eradicated of other ethnic groups? I do not understand this if this is their perspective. I also do not understand why Israel will not define its borders, is this merely an attempt to keep their borders flexible in the hopes of further expansion? Lastly for now anyway, are the Palestinians willingly to just live among the Jewish people provided they are given equal rights and fair treatment? I mean is this possible and what exactly is it that the Palestinians are requesting?

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Dear Tammy–I apologize for the very long delay in responding. I have lots of catching up to do! First, I think your analogy to what happened to the indigenous peoples of North America is excellent. I do want to ask you to tell me more about this part: “the Native Americans were forced from their lands, but even then they were integrated to a degree.” I only know of their genocide and expulsion from their lands to reservations. The only “integration” I know of is forced cultural assimilation. Please let me know if you have more information.
          Second, I think that the majority of Palestinians, like the majority of all peoples, would accept a society that reflects the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights ( However, at this point, the leadership in Israel is continuing to take Palestinian land illegally. The separation wall, which is allegedly built for Israeli security, is incorporating Palestinian land into the “Israeli” (western) side. Here is a report from B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: The Green Line they mention is the official international border of the occupied West Bank. For more information on the non-violent resistance movements against the wall, here is one source:
          I think that many right-wing Israeli extremists (and there are a number of them in the government) follow the line that all ethnic groups other than Jews must be eliminated to protect the character of the state. Avigdor Lieberman, the current Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, has called for loyalty oaths from Israeli Arabs (that 20% of the Palestinian population that remained in the borders of what became Israel in 1948) as well as their transfer out of Israel (essentially ethnic cleansing): BUT, there is also great racism against non-European Jews. For example, in Israel in 1996, blood donations specifically from Ethiopian Jews were secretly dumped because of fear of contamination with the AIDS virus. This discrimination led to riots:
          With regard to borders, I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea that Israeli leaders are seeking further expansion. This was the original plan for a Jewish state set forth by the World Zionist Organization in 1918/19 (scroll down almost to the bottom of this page to find picture with caption,”‘Palestine’ claimed by World Zionist Organization, 1919): Generally speaking, Palestinians want equal human rights, as you said, and as outlined by the Declaration of Human Rights; they want an end to the illegal occupation of their land (mandated by UN resolutions including 242 and 338 that have yet to be enforced) and their guaranteed right to return (UN General Assembly Resolution 194).

          • Kim Morriss says:

            I have been unclear to the root of conflict between Israelis and Palestenians until spending time reading the enriching comments to this article. Thank you for the insightful replies to everyone. Do you believe that a conflict resolution would ever be possible between these two ethnic groups?

          • kathiemm says:

            Thanks for your comment, Kim. Dahlia Wasfi is an extremely valuable source of information about US activities in the Middle East and the conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians. I suggest that you read all of her posts to gain a fuller understanding both of her experiences and her observations, and to benefit more from the information she provides. One could argue that Israelis and Palestinians are not inherently different from the Protestant English and Catholic French who waged bloody battles against each other for centuries but fought side by side in the 20th century and have been firm allies if not always kissing cousins for years now.

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Thank you so much for taking the time to read through these posts, Kim. I would also like to shamelessly advertise my book that “To follow my heart” is excerpted from…sorry! I do hope that it will be completed by the 10th anniversary of Rachel’s murder and the 2003 Shock and Awe Invasion of Iraq in March 2013. I will definitely keep you posted. On a personal note, I see myself as living proof that Arabs and Jews can live in peace again, as they did for centuries before the Zionist colonization of Palestine. I believe that when the oppression ends and people have a sense of respect for their humanity from their former adversaries, there will be peace. No justice, no peace. Or, to borrow from a bumper sticker, know justice, know peace.

          • kathiemm says:

            For the benefit of all of us, I definitely hope your book will be completed for the 10th anniversary of Rachel’s murder. Meanwhile we all appreciate the excerpts, and thanks for the message from the bumper sticker–I never saw that one.

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Thank you so much, Kathie. I actually stole that line from a bumper sticker about the Prince of Peace, with no disrespect intended towards Jesus, may peace be upon him. The sticker read, “No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace.”

  7. Dahlia Wasfi says:

    The State of Israel was created in 1948 through violent ethnic cleansing and the stealth of land and resources (Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe’s book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” is an excellent reference). The Zionist movement, whose goal was to create an exclusively Jewish state, used terrorism to drive the indigenous Arab people (Palestinians) from their homes and land. Zionist militias like the Stern Gang and the Irgun were responsible for bombings and massacres. They have taken the land of historic Palestine (where people of multiple religions and ethnicities lived together without war for years and years before 1948); they have invaded and occupied Egypt; they have invaded and occupied Lebanon; they have invaded and occupied Syria; they have bombed Iraq. This is the land they want, and I think they have no intention of returning or sharing it, in direct violation of international law. Furthermore, Israel does not have defined borders and will likely continue to expand at will. All of this aggression and occupation is funded by US taxpayers. We enable Israel to violate international law–and kill countless numbers of people–through military, financial, and political support. As I see it, ending American support for Israel (in compliance with the law) will make peaceful resolution inevitable. The future of the region is up to the people who live there.

    • Joyce Frink says:

      You wrote, “All of this aggression and occupation is funded by US taxpayers. We enable Israel to violate international law–and kill countless numbers of people–through military, financial, and political support. As I see it, ending American support for Israel (in compliance with the law) will make peaceful resolution inevitable.” As the U.S. is constantly committed to assisting in wars of other countries, it certainly does make one wonder or ask the question of why? When we look at the conditions here at home such as the bad shape we are in with the economy, education cuts being made which is having a huge impact on the education of our young people, and the homeless situations rising. What condition would be U.S. be in if the funds that are being sent to other countries was put to use right here at home. The idea certainly does come to mind, are we actually killing millions of Israelis since it is the funding from the United States that are actually enabling this war to continue.

      • Dahlia Wasfi says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Joyce. Your closing lines remind me of what Israeli author Miko Peled has said about Israel ( “The State of Israel today is governed in a way that cannot be sustained, where the two nations it governs, Israelis and Palestinians are used and abused and it is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated: Half of the population is governed by a radical Zionist regime that sees the struggle for control over the land as a zero sum game, and the other half of the population is governed by the security forces of this Zionist regime; one nation ruling over another while controling [sic] of the land and its resources.”

    • Angela Hood says:

      What i don’t understand is why? The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing struggle between the two. The main points of contention are: mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israelites settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement, and legalities concerning refugees. Why do you believe Israel is not willing to restore the ’67 border to Palestinian? Does religion has anything thing to do with Israel decision? Do you think the war between the two countries will end?

      • kathiemm says:

        Warring groups have been able to resolve such issues before, so there are good precedents. Leadership seems important–but so does dealing with the fringe groups in each society. I think there have been times in recent history when the Israelis and Palestinians were closer to resolution than they have been in recent years. A few assassinations have certainly and deliberately interfered with the process.

    • Tammy Homan says:

      So, since the United States is funding this war, the thought is if the United States withdraws their financial support Israel will not have the money to continue to destroy the Palestinians. I agree this would definitely limit the capabilities he of destruction, but I have to ask if it will change things that much? I mean the animosity felt from both would still continue would it not? What is the answer to get these to groups to be able to live peacefully among each other? I ask this because even if we can stop the war how will the core issues be resolved? Taking away funding could stop the war, but it will not change the issue at hand. What would need to be done to resolve the conflict between to groups that are so different from one another?

      • kathiemm says:

        good questions, Tammy. Do you have any suggestions re: possible answers to your questions?

        • Tammy Homan says:

          Well, I do not know as much as I hope to, but I would like to think that most people can be reasoned with, but obviously that has not panned out so far. I think to begin with Israel or any nation for that matter has no right to continue to try and force anyone out. I think giving a little on both sides would definitely ease some tension. I think Israel needs to definitely be made to define its borders and stop segregating the Palestinians as well as giving them the same rights. Why does Israel not just step away and leave these people to their own devices, let them have the land, their rights and became a country of their own. Is it that important to have that area? Why do they want it so bad? I think it is important to review both sides objectives to come to a reasonable conclusion, but I am not seeing any compromise here. I also do not see why the United States is involved in this, why are they supposedly funding Israel to push these people out? I need more information before I think I could even begin to think of a resolution, although a little acceptance and less prejudice would definitely be a start.

          • Jennifer Parry says:

            I think that pride had a lot to do with why Irsael does not leave the Palestinians. As unfortunate as it is, understanding and acceptance cannot be taught. I also think that the United States continues to back Israel strictly based on economical reasons.

            I found an interested article:

            It states that the United States spends over $3 Billion each year in aid to Israel, and that money is used to purchase guns, tanks, and helicoptors. I find it disturbing that money from the United States purchased the tanks and bulldozers that were used to take the life of Rachel.

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            The US is involved for three major reasons. One reason is the evolution (pardon my word choice) of the Christian Right and its political influence. This is a topic that I don’t know a lot about, but as it relates to Israel, Christian Zionism has growing influence through the efforts of pastors like John Hagee and his group, Christians United for Israel ( Very briefly, as I understand it, Christian Zionists view the State of Israel as fulfillment of biblical prophecy which will herald the second coming of Christ. Thus, they are strong supporters of Israel. As their influence on (mainly) the Republican Party has expanded in recent years, so has their influence on US policy.
            The second major reason for US support for Israel is our economic and political interests in controlling the resources of this part of the world–namely, oil. Thanks to much help from the US, Israel is a very strong military power. It is the only country in the region that has nuclear weapons (Israel also refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). Israel essentially serves as a colonial outpost in the region from which we can exert pressure and control. Israeli officials were involved in the decision to invade Iraq. Israel is currently pushing for an invasion of Iran.
            The third major reason (tied to the first) is the influence of the Zionist lobby in the US. An excellent resource on the topic is “The Israel Lobby” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Thank you, Jennifer Parry, for your comment and the link you shared. The author gave an interesting analysis and raised some excellent points, in particular, the connection between the resources in the region (namely, oil) and US support for Israel. The only point I question is his assertion that the bombing of the USS Liberty was an accident. Based on my readings and communications with survivors of the Liberty including Phillip Tourney and Ron Kukal, the 2 1/2 hour assault with napalm and torpedoes was deliberate. The BBC documentary, “Dead in the Water,” ( sheds light onto the attack and the possible cover-up by the Johnson administration that followed. (Sorry if I’ve already posted about this film on this thread…I’m losing track of threads.:) )

      • Dahlia Wasfi says:

        I think the end to apartheid in South Africa could be a good model for the end to apartheid in Israel/Palestine. There is no miracle solution, but the efforts towards healing undertaken by the South African people–and ongoing today–were/are remarkable. But this is my opinion; the future of the region is up to the people who live there and have the legal right of return (refugees) per international law.

        • Tammy Homan says:

          I read up on this little Dahlia and I have to agree eliminating segregation and discrimination along with implementing a democratic system could prove to be an effective measure. But, how can this be accomplished? If the United States is funding this war how do we stop that? What steps would need to be taken to take the United States out and bring in a non biased negotiating party or even have the US as a neutral party. I ask again, why is the US funding Israel? What is their rationale for funding a country that is intent on discrimination?

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            The main organization working to end US funding to Israel that I am aware of is US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation ( I’m not a member, but I am on their mailing list. But there are numerous efforts out there. Here is also a good site for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which is comparable to the boycott efforts towards ending apartheid in South Africa: (Sorry if I’m repeating links…I can’t remember where I’ve posted what. :)) Again, there are lots of resources out there, but these came to mind first.

    • Brian Jolley says:

      I believe that ending American support would be the end of Israel. This goes a little bit deeper than just the war between Israel and Palestine. There are a hand full of Arab nation working to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of attacking Israel. US tax dollars are funding this war because the life blood of our American Machine flows through the veins of the middle east. Having a ally, allows the United States to monitor our strategic interest is the region. Israel needs to be regulated by the US, not abandoned. That would spell disaster for that nation.

      • kathiemm says:

        Brian, could you explain a bit more about how you envision this regulation? I think you are correct that the US government feels a desperate need for allies in the region, but what the government/power structure wants is not always in the best interests of anyone except those in power. Please offer some suggestions re: what useful steps might be taken.

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Other countries in Western Asia are seeking nuclear weapons because that is a deterrent against an Israeli attack. Israel is the aggressor in the region, consistently. Israel, which has invaded and occupied Palestine; invaded and occupied Egypt; invaded and occupied Syria; invaded and occupied Lebanon; and bombed Iraq, has between 200-400 nuclear warheads and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

          • Tammy Homan says:

            So, I have to ask, is this why the US funds Israel, is it out of fear of what they may be able to do, or is it like a back up reserve of military power? Our we getting to the bottom of this, is this more over political power than basic human rights?

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            I think you summed it up well, Tammy. It’s about political power. For our own economic and political gain, we support regimes that serve our interests, regardless of their brutality and repression. Our government has done this over and over again–as have other governments, for sure. But I have a say (or at least I think I should) in what my government does in my name, so changing US policy is my top priority.

  8. Joyce Frink says:

    This war between Israel and the Palestinians dates back to Biblical days. For those of you who are not familiar, in the chapter of Genesis, it speaks about the land that was promised to Abraham which the Palestinians took. When Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt he died before it was completed. Joshua took over trying to take the Israelites to the land that was promised to Abraham, but the land was inhabited by other nations such as the Jeshubites and the Palestinians and others. The scriptures says that Saul was the 1st King, then David, but each king had no luck in securing the land being held by the Palestinians. As seen today, we have had so many Secretaries of Foreign Policy which has attempted to bring peace between Israel and Palestine, but with no success. No matter how many presidents we have had in the United States, they have all been unsuccessful in bringing about peace between these two nations also. According to the Bible there will be no peace until the Anti-Christ comes. Then there will be peace for 7 years. The scriptures tells that then there will be peace for a while, then he will desecrate it (the Anti-Christ). At that time will there be peace between the two nations.

    • Janet Clark says:

      Joyce, I would like to read a reply to your statement because this could be the missing link. Although many would prefer to for-go the spiritual factor …it is still a factor. I have read that as well, and you are correct…according to the Bible peace will not occur no matter what steps are taken. Besides, if the U.S. withdraws what happens to Israel, if the two groups decide to agree to some division that still would not satisfy the Palestinians. The animosity is so profound. I believe that some Zionists, not the radicals, but those who truly believe they were promised the land by their God of Issac and Abraham. An appropriate question is how does the spiritual aspect effect this situation on both sides, and what exactly do the Palestinians require? How many are actually hostile toward Israel?

    • Janet Clark says:

      Actually, Joyce I think this referred to the Biblical story of Abraham,
      Isaac and Ishmael. The land was promised to both the Jews and the Palestinians.
      Very interesting…so according to the Bible back then both should have a portion. Sadly, the conflict appears to be multifaceted…the Jews, the Zionists, military Zionists, the Palestinians, radicals on both sides ect. Many Jews do not agree with the militant ways of the extreme Zionists. This conflict goes beyond understanding. Both believe the land belongs to them (mine vs ours).

  9. Kristie Tripaldi says:

    After reading this amazing story I was at a loss of words. There were so many thoughts that ran through my head! My first initial thought was this poor woman! Then I realized how much the death of Rachel Corrie impacted the lives of others. Her story gives strength and hope to others who may have not have believed he or she had the strength. This story also makes me question my own priorities and ponder what my own beliefs are. When I believe in something I put my whole heart into it but do not know if I would have the courage that Corrie did! Corrie was truly a brave and amazing individual whose legacy will continue to live on even after her passing.

    • Joyce Frink says:

      You wrote that “all this aggression and occupations funded by the US taxpayers. We enable Israel to violate international law-and kill countless numbers of people-through military, financial, and political support”. I ask the question, why is it that everytime countries go to war with each other that the US has to be the one to fund their war. Why is it that so many US citizens have to die in order to bring peace abroad. I am a strong advocate against the US defending other countries when they have to use our military to fight for something that might seem senseless to us. My reasoning for this is because my brother was due to come home from the army, when one month before that time he was killed in Vietnam. Again, I say that was a useless war and so many innocent lives were taken. When we as Americans look at the conditions at home such as the economy, schooling, jobs, housing, couldn’t that money be spent here at home and not to fund a war? Yes, so many countless lives are lost, but can the US pull out now or is it too late? We need our dollars at home and not funding a war that has been going on for decades.

      • Charlie says:

        Hi Joyce,

        I get what you’re saying but as allies, we are bound to help those that as for it. I do think you’re right though, about the absurdity of our funding a war that doesn’t appear to have an ending in sight. Aren’t we in financial ruin? But again, as allies we do have a duty to help, but maybe it should be the kind of help in the form of clothes, medicine, food and water, or building homes. Maybe we can stop sacrificing lives and start saving them like Rachel was trying to do.

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Dear Charlie–Thank you for your beautiful sentiment regarding following Rachel’s example. In terms of Israel as an ally, I think we in the US should consider who we make friends with. Besides Rachel’s murder, here’s a story of harassment of US Marines by Israeli forces in 1983: “Israel Charged with Systematic Harassment of US Marines” by Donald Neff (

          And yesterday, June 8, 2012, was the 45th anniversary of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty. An excellent documentary on what happened is the BBC’s “Dead in the Water.”

          • Tammy Homan says:

            The more I read Dahlia the more disturbed I become. I am trying very hard to remain objective here and not form any kind of bias, but being the person I am I cannot understand the brutality of some of these acts. I also do not understand exactly why the US or the UN would allow such acts. Rachel was bulldozed down and what happened? How is this acceptable? If an American solider was to bulldoze an unarmed civilian even during war they would be punished. How do these acts just get swept up under the rug as if they did not occur? I am confused! What exactly is Israels reasoning behind such acts as well? Why is there no value put on a life? What is their perspective of the Palestinians that would cause them to behave in such a manner?

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Dear Tammy–Your concern and alarm at Israeli policy, and American support of it, is justified. The incidents of illegal acts in occupied Palestine, and also occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, for which no Israeli or US soldier (respectively) has been held accountable, are too numerous to count. Actually, after Rachel’s murder, when there were no consequences for the Israeli state or the soldiers responsible, several more international activists and journalists were killed, in addition to the usual death toll among Palestinians. Tom Hurndall, a British citizen, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers while escorting Palestinian children to school ( James Miller was making a documentary in Gaza when he was killed by Israeli forces (the piece he was working on when he was killed was released posthumously, entitled “Death in Gaza”). ( Brian Avery, another American volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (as were Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall) was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers. He survived. ( All of them were unarmed.
            And the suffering of Palestinians under occupation continues. Here is a summary of only the last week, from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza:

            You rightfully ask why is this happening, and I don’t have a good answer for you. We have seen this kind of conduct (and racism) before in apartheid South Africa. Even Archbishop Desmond Tutu compares the treatment of Palestinians to what he experienced under apartheid ( The good news is that apartheid South Africa is gone (without anyone being wiped off the map). Peace can come to this region, too, when there is justice. For the US to stop funding Israeli crimes would be a huge step in the right direction.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Thank you for your post, Kristie. Rachel’s parents are continuing her work for justice and are seeking justice from Israel for her death. You can find out more at

  10. Jodie Bowes says:

    It is very disturbing to hear about what happened to Rachel Corrie. She was a very brave woman who took a stand for her family and community. It would devastate any of us to see our families and community bulldozed down. What was the reason why the Israeli’s felt the need to bulldoze down the homes? I read that Israeli Defense Forces justifies house demolition for many reasons; forcing out an individual barricaded inside a house, clearing a path for tanks, and self-defense. All of the things that have to do with war is devastating this includes destruction of homes, bombing, loss of loved ones and much more.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Sometimes homes are bulldozed as an act of collective punishment against the family of someone who has resisted the occupation. Sometimes homes are leveled to establish a so-called Israeli “security zone.” But the bottom line is that the Israeli government is seeking to drive out Palestinians living in the occupied territories. All of these actions are illegal. For more information on house demolitions, and those opposed to them, please check out the site for the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Jodie,

      Your post made me consider how Rachel viewed her faimly ~ they are everywhere. How did she decide on this part of her family to defend? If you consider all of the branches one person can belong to, how do you decide which part of your family is worth fighting for? As an example, I have an exchange brother in Turkmenastan which is a nutral country, but he is trained in the army anyway (just in case), but if his country were to go to war with whoever, I would be there to help him, unless it was against the US because my brother is in the army and my sister is a marine. How do you choose?

  11. Brian Jolley says:

    I to am touched by this sad story. For someone to stare death in the face while standing up for what the believe in is the true definition of a hero. The sad reality of this is that this kind of sacrifice and violence is often in vain. She stood up for what she believed in but the home was still bulldozed and the fighting continues. I think at this point the roots of hatred are so strong, it will take many generations of tolerance and understanding in order for the fighting to stop.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Rachel was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D-9 armored bulldozer that was provided to the Israeli Army by the United States. Only the Israelis committed violent acts on that day (as on most days, only they are not typically reported in the mainstream press). As long as we are contributing to the occupation, the blood is on our hands, and we carry a responsibility to end it. The boycott, divestment, sanctions movement is gaining momentum and will hopefully be effective, as it was against apartheid South Africa, before too much more suffering is endured. More information is at

    • Joyce Frink says:

      Brian you made a good point when you said, “I think at this point the roots of hatred are so strong, it will take many generations of tolerance and understanding in order for the fighting to stop”. Indeed the roots of hatred are very deep. Sadly, it’s just not there but it’s all over the world. As always, I refer back to the Bible which is the best teacher of all books. It explains the wars and rumors of wars that we can expect in the last days. I don’t believe it will ever cease or get better. Will it take generations of tolerance and understanding to stop fighting? I don’t think so. The hearts of mankind are without conscious and unfortunately, these non-empathetic feelings or attitudes are being passed down from generation to generation. I don’t see an end anywhere.

  12. TinaMarie Sloan says:

    After reading this article and all the posts I have a new understanding of what the conflict between Israel and Palestine is truly about. I fell saddened by this story and how naive I have been about the facts on what is truly going on. We are so sheltered in the United States and Rachel’s story has showed me what a passionate person is capable of.

    As far as my family is concerned I would go to the ends of the earth for them, I would die for them, be tortured for them, there is no price that I wouldn’t pay for my family. Having children brings a whole new light to certain things that were in the dark. I look at the world with a whole new point of view.

  13. Charlie says:

    Rachel’s story is definetly sad and should be remembered, as well as Harald Fischer (German doctor), Rafaeli Ciriello (cameraman), and Iain Hook (UN worker). What strikes me as unbelievable is the Isreali Defence Forces spokesman Jacob Dallal’s response to the entire situation. He says the activist group was acting irrisponsibly and was putting lives at risk. How responsible is it to have killed over 2,000 people in less than three years? It seems that was means moral go right out the window

  14. Holly Keeling says:

    Hi Dahlia. Thank you for sharing this information. My question is, how much do you think President Abbas plays a role in the continuing war, and do you think that new leadership could help bring peace? I know very little about the conflict, but I am trying to learn more.

    Thank you,

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Thank you for your excellent question, Holly, and I apologize for my late reply. Mahmoud Abbas serves his own interests and the interests of the US-Israeli agenda. Details of this characterization of Abbas were revealed in the recent release of confidential documents, the Palestine Papers ( Under the guise of working on the “peace process” with Israeli leaders, he played a role in continuing the illegal occupation, which is the root of the problem. As long as there is the occupation, there will be no peace. The Palestine Papers also showed that the US was not an honest broker in negotiations (some thoughts on the Palestine Papers from leading journalist on Israel/ Palestine, Ali Abunimah, can be found here: Abbas’ term as President of the Palestinian National Authority officially ended in January 2009. But he has simply extended his term and stayed in office.

      Palestinians held elections for their legislative council back in January 2006. Soon afterward, the Israeli military began a campaign to arrest elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. They were arrested for their political beliefs. These legislators are political prisoners. As of April 1, 2012, 27 Council members remained incarcerated. 24 of them are being held in “administrative detention” without charge or trial. Palestinians held elections for their leaders, and the Israelis began arresting the winners. More information can be found in this piece by B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories ( and this piece by Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian non-governmental civil institution (

      So, I mentioned all that to say that I believe that Palestinians have the right to choose their own leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas if that is whom the majority want. But from what I’ve seen, he is not whom the majority want. This is an article by former Permanent Representative of Jordan, Ambassador Hasan Abu Nimah, discussing, “Why they [Western leaders] love Abbas” Abbas has helped to maintain the status quo. However, even with new leadership, these talks won’t bring peace as long as the US serves more as an advocate for Israel than an impartial mediator. During the years of occupation since the Palestinian Authority was created in 1993, Israel has continued to steal Palestinian land through the building of the separation wall and Jew-only settlements. This is illegal, but the settlement-building continues today with tacit US approval.

      I know that this is a LOT to try to take in when you’re new to the topic. Please let me know if I can clarify anything. Many thanks for the dialogue, Dahlia

  15. Angela Hood says:

    Tammy, I believe many attempts have been made to bring resolution between Israeli and the Palestine government by trying to establish a two-state solution where they would create a separate Israeli state and a separate Palestine state. In 2000, President Clinton held a summit at Camp David to negotiate a peace solution “In a meeting at the White House with Israeli and Palestinian representatives on 23 December 2000 President Clinton presented his own ideas for bridging the gaps between the two sides. The basis of his proposals was an understanding that a Palestinian State would be created in the West Bank and Gaza and that Israelis would withdraw altogether from Gaza. Israel would withdraw from 94 to 96 per cent of the West Bank. She would annex the remainder of the West Bank, containing some 80 per cent of Israeli settlers. The Palestinian State would be ‘compensated by a land swap of 1 to 3 per cent in addition to territorial arrangements such as a permanent safe passage’ between the West Bank and Gaza…Israel would ‘acknowledge the moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result of the 1948 war’ and the Palestinian refugee problem would be solved on the basis of ‘the guiding principle that the Palestinian state should be the focal point for the Palestinians who choose to return to the area.’ Both sides would accept that ‘the agreement clearly marks the end of the conflict and its implementation puts an end to all claims.'”

    • Tammy Homan says:

      Well, that all sounded like a good plan Angela, so what happened? Why did it not go through?

      • Angela Hood says:

        Because both parties do not agree on the two state:

        Benjamin Netanyahu, MSc, Prime Minister of Israel, in a June 14, 2009 transcript titled “Address by PM Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University,” available at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, offered the following:

        “In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other. These two realities – our connection to the land of Israel, and the Palestinian population living within it – have created deep divisions in Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more that unites us than divides us… If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.

        However Khalaf Al-Habtoor, former Member of the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council and Chairman of Al Habtoor Group, in a June 2001 Al Shindagah Online article titled “A One State Solution – The Only Way To Achieve Lasting Peace,” stated the following:

        A two state solution that separates Israelis and Palestinians cannot work. What is needed is a country where the two peoples can live together without conflict… Unfortunately the Palestinian goal of self-determination as a separate state or the idea of ejecting the 4.5 million Jews from Palestine is as unworkable as Israel’s belief in the two-state solution. It too ignores the reality on the ground: Arab and Jew are inextricably mixed throughout Palestine living in the same streets, towns and cities and relying on each other in many different ways.”

        So the problem is they cannot come to an agreement which has been the problem for years. In my opinion the way to end the conflict between the two is through communication and negociations. The social perception must change change as well as the Palestinian people have a willingness to establish a practicing democracy .

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Dear Angela–I agree with you that a just and lasting peace can be achieved through communication and negotiations, but this will happen ONLY when the chosen representatives of the Palestinian people are given equal footing at the negotiating table. This has yet to occur. As I described above, the so-called peace process has been mediated by the United States, which has served as Israel’s advocate rather than an impartial third party. Also (and I only just posted this), many of the elected representatives of the Palestinian people have been incarcerated by the Israeli government, many without charge. In addition, rights for Israeli citizens vary depending on one’s ethnicity (Israeli Jews have more rights than Israeli Arabs). Thus, it is the Israelis, not the Palestinians, who have proven unwilling to establish a practicing democracy. Though we often hear in the media that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the reality of their policies tells a different story.
          Even the source you quoted from, which should be as unbiased as possible, shows that Palestinians’ voices hold less importance than Israeli perspectives. The top “pro” quote is from Benjamin Netanyahu, a right-wing politician and Israel’s current prime minister. He calls for a “demilitarized” Palestinian state. What nation in the world today would yield its rights to self-defense, especially when the oppressor next door (Israel) would have the most sophisticated arsenal in the world, including nuclear weapons? Then, the top “con” quote is from a politician from the United Arab Emirates (a Western Ally). You have to look to find quotes from Palestinians, though it is their future at stake as much as the future of Israelis.

      • Dahlia Wasfi says:

        Hi Tammy–Please see my response below to Angela on why no agreement was reached.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Hi Angela–The official whom former President Bill Clinton put in charge of the Camp David summit of 2000 was Dennis Ross, a long-time supporter of Israel. In the 1980s, he and Martin Indyk—another strong supporter of Israel in the US government—created the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Zionist think-tank sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In 2002, two years after his involvement at Camp David, Ross served as chair of the Israeli think-tank, the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, based in Jerusalem. With Ross in charge of negotiations, the talks were over before they started. This is a clear example of American bias in Israel/Palestine. Our nation cannot, on one hand, fund Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinian people and give Israel international political support, and on the other hand, serve as an impartial mediator in peace talks. As I posted above, the release of documents in what’s called the Palestine Papers illustrated America’s failure as an honest broker for Israel/Palestine (
      The above description you posted of the Camp David Summit in 2000 does not tell the whole story. I find the following interview with an observer to be a very interesting read: “Challenging Camp David mythology, four years on” ( In this interview of Clayton E. Swisher, a member of security at the talks who wrote a book on his observations, Swisher notes:

      “Arafat or no Arafat—can one imagine any Palestinian leader agreeing to ‘finality of claims’ without a written document, maps, and explicit definitions, i.e., what precise area constitutes the ‘Holy of Holies’ on Jerusalem?…

      “According to [Dennis] Ross’s deputy, Aaron Miller: ‘There was not a formalized, written proposal that covered the four core issues [borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem]. There was no deal on the table. None of the issues were explained enough in detail to make an agreement, though the Israelis made an interesting argument on Jerusalem.’

      “On the last point of Jerusalem, it is worth quoting the reaction of Gemal Helal, an influential State Department advisor who translated for President Clinton: ‘What the Palestinians were offered, no Arab leader could accept.’”

  16. Tammy Homan says:

    I am still trying to get a better grasp on why this war has not ended. From a psychological perspective, what is it that is so different regarding these two cultures? Also, is it just one, or the other, or both that refuses to conform or bend to a set of certain standards? I am trying to get a better idea of these to culture’s that make them so different that they cannot find a way to end this war.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Hi Tammy–I hadn’t replied to your previous questions at the time you posted this one. The cultures actually have a lot in common. The root of the problem, however, is the illegal military occupation of Palestine and the subjugation of the Palestinians. In addition to the other reasons I’ve mentioned on why the US supports Israeli policy, another big factor is economic gain. Military aggression and violence are, unfortunately, big business in today’s world. War profiteering in the US is illegal, but billions of dollars were paid to American corporations who received contracts after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The occupation of Palestine (and the Golan Heights of Syria) is also big business. The website aims to expose the Israeli occupation industry, documenting the companies which profit from Israeli occupation.

  17. Debra Ball says:

    Dahlia, when turmoil is going on in a country, a important question I am curious about is ‘are the people of the country actually aware of the fundamental issues of the war’? Many countries are told lies upon lies to keep unjust issues alive. Was this war created to cover up lies? And what avenues do the innocent people have on their behalf?

    • kathiemm says:

      You raise some important issues, Debra, and I am sure you will hear back from Dahlia.

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Hi Debra–Thank you very much for your questions. I guess the answer would depend on which particular conflict you are addressing. For the invasion and occupation of Iraq, our imperialist motives were nothing new for Iraqis. The land of Mesopotamia/Iraq has been coveted for its rich resources and developments for literally thousands of years. One of the major reasons for our invasion of 2003 was to control Iraqi oil. I would say that many, many Iraqis knew that this was our motivation. On the other hand, many Americans believed our government’s lies about WMDs and ties to Al-Qaeda, both of which were non-existent in Iraq before we invaded.
      In occupied Palestine, the source of the conflict is the illegal occupation and ongoing stealth of Palestinian land. Palestinians know this. More than 7 million Palestinians are considered refugees today directly because of the ethnic cleansing of their land by the Zionist movement.
      In theory, the United Nations should advocate for innocent victims. But because we are the world’s only superpower, opposition to our policies typically falls on deaf ears, unfortunately.
      Please let me know if this answers your question. Sincerely, Dahlia

  18. Jody Tice says:

    This was a very touching story. Rachel was very courageous to stand up for her family. Has her stance made a difference in her town of Rafah? Have the Israeli military left Rafah alone? Did the Israeli military go after her family?

    • Dahlia Wasfi says:

      Dear Jody–Thank you so much for reading my piece. This is the final installment of a 16-part series which the Engaging Peace blog editors generously shared on this site. If you don’t have time to read all parts, you might be interested in part 6 which introduces Rachel Corrie ( Rachel was born and raised in Olympia, Washington, USA. At age 23, she traveled to the city of Rafah in Gaza, occupied Palestine, with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). As a humanitarian volunteer with the ISM, she practiced civil disobedience to defend international law, specifically to defend the human rights of Palestinians living under military occupation.
      Rachel was staying at the home of a Palestinian pharmacist and his family. In the few weeks Rachel was there, they became like family to her, and she became like a daughter to them. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer while standing in front of the family’s house to prevent its demolition (while the family was still inside). The bulldozers left the area after killing Rachel on March 16, 2003, but the home she was protecting was demolished by the Army two weeks later. Rafah remains under military occupation today, and the citizens of Gaza continue to suffer under a severe economic blockade that was imposed in 2007.
      Rachel’s parents have courageously continued their daughter’s efforts for peace and justice. You can find out more about their work at Please let me know if you have more questions! Sincerely, Dahlia

      • Jody Tice says:

        Could you give me some differences and similarities between these two ethnic groups? Are the Palestininian’s obedient to the Isreali militray because of their lack of machines and militray themselves? How would social perception and social cognition relate to either of these ethnic groups? What coukld be done socially to resolve this conflict?

        • Dahlia Wasfi says:

          Hi Jody–The major difference between the Israeli leadership and the Palestinians is that the Palestinians are of Arab ancestry, while the Israeli leadership is predominantly of European ancestry. (It is important to note that Israeli society is increasingly discriminatory against African Jews–even though Israel is a Jewish state. See “Israeli Ethiopians suffer from racism directed at African migrants”
          You are correct that Palestinians are oppressed by the Israeli military–one of the strongest and best equipped in the world–because they have no comparable means of defending themselves, and they have fewer rights than Israelis. They are treated as less than equals to Israelis. If the situation changed so that Palestinian human rights were respected, and Israelis treated Palestinians as equals, that would give Palestinians a view of Israelis other than that of the oppressor. Each group could be humanized to the other. I think the first step towards that mutual respect is the end to Israel’s illegal occupation and support of Palestinian refugees’ right of return, both of which are called for by international law.

          • Jody Tice says:

            Thanks so much for sharing. I am doing a school assignment right now and our topic is Kashmir and the two ethnis groups we are studying are Indian and Pakistan. Do you know much about this topic at all and if you do would you care to share your insight?

          • Dahlia Wasfi says:

            Dear Jody–Oh, I am woefully ignorant of Kashmir’s history. What I know is that control of Kashmir was split: one region of Kashmir was ceded to India and the other to Pakistan. The Indian occupation of Kashmir is brutal, comparable to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The people of Kashmir are seeking self-rule. This is my limited information, but I will see if I can get more info for you. Thank you for the dialogue, Dahlia

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