Teach In on Gaza

cours-hebreuBY ED FELIEN

Southside Pride, Women Against Military Madness, the Anti-War Committee, Walker Church and the Minnesota Green Party sponsored a Teach In on Gaza at Walker Church Saturday, Aug. 23.
Mnar Muhawesh, the editor in chief of Mint Press, an online daily newsmagazine, spoke on the five myths regarding the Israeli/Gaza war:
MYTH 1: Israel’s first objective in the war was a response to the death of three Israeli teens.
FACT: Hamas denied kidnapping and killing the three teens, and several weeks into the offensive in Gaza, Israel admitted that it was not Hamas that kidnapped and killed the Israeli teens, but it still continued to shell the Gaza Strip after that announcement. Hamas says it responded to Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip with homemade rocket fire as self-defense.
MYTH 2: Israel’s second objective in the war was to defend itself against Hamas rockets.
FACT: Israel changed its tune to justify Operation Protective Edge to the international community by claiming that its military objective was to defend its citizens against Hamas rockets and to destroy tunnels built beneath the strip that Israel claims Hamas uses to smuggle weapons.  Although Israel is not physically occupying the Gaza Strip since it pulled out in 2009, it controls Gaza’s borders and sea- port. This has resulted in Gaza becoming the largest open air prison in the world, home to over 1.7 million people. By controlling Gaza’s border and seaport, Israel essentially controls everything that goes in and comes out—including resources, food, medical supplies, journalists and medics. Gaza has since turned into one of the largest ghettos in the world, with extreme poverty and high rates of malnutrition among children.  Tunnels are a way out.
MYTH 3: Israel Has The Right To Exist, Defend Itself, But Palestinians Do Not
FACT: Do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves and the right to exist?  Since statehood, Israel has moved Palestinians off their land and ethnically cleansed their land.  The U.N. Charter gives such peoples the right of self-defense, but Israel claims that any such defense is terrorism.
MYTH 4: Israel is a democracy that upholds human rights.
FACT:  All occupying armies have three goals: first, to insure its own existence over that of a native population; second, to annex as much land as possible and expand the new colony; third, crush any resistance.
MYTH 5: The media’s role is to be objective and present both sides equally.
FACT:  Every day of the bombing, Obama would announce to the press, “Israel has the right to defend itself,” perpetuating the Israeli false pretext for the war.
During the Panel Discussion, Sabry Wazwaz, from the Anti-War Committee, spoke about the need to participate in nonviolent demonstrations to show support for the struggle of Palestine.
Lucia Wilkes-Smith, from WAMM, spoke about her trip to Gaza many years ago and how she received negative and hateful comments on her report on it in the Star Tribune.
Jordan Kushner summarized some of the actions that people might take to resist Israeli aggression.  He suggested   people join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions groups that are locally active.
When she first came into the Teach In, Polly Mann, one of the two co-founders of WAMM—who wrote into the by-laws that there should never be a WAMM meeting without a consequent demonstration—asked the coordinator of the event if there was going to be a collection.  WAMM took up a collection and $250 was collected. A check for that amount will go to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), a nonprofit organization working for the rights of children in the Middle East by sending humanitarian aid, supporting projects for children and educating North American and international communities about the effects of the U.S. foreign policy on children in the region.

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