Thursday, May 16, 2019

Comments to the Dutchess County Legislature

Greetings to the Dutchess County Legislature.  I’m Gregory DeSylva from Clinton. My comments are about the County partnering with Israel.  I’m leaving copies with documentation here for you.

In 1944, Palestinian Arabs were 69% of the population of the Holy Land [1] and they owned 9 times more of the land than Jews [2].  

This changed radically around 1948, when the creators of the Jewish state ethnically cleansed 711,000 [3] Arabs from the 78% of the Holy Land that became Israel.   According to Ilan Pappe, Israeli Historian, they achieved this through at least 31 massacres of Arabs [4] – sometimes including women and children - terrorizing hundreds of thousands more into fleeing their villages. They then destroyed 418 of these villages [5] to keep the Arabs from returning to them and shot dead a great number unarmed Arabs who still tried to return home [6].

Due to this ethnic cleansing, in 1949 the new Jewish state contained only 14% Arabs [7].  Today, about 20% of Israelis are Arabs, but they’re second-class in terms of where they can own property, education, jobs, and in other regards.

In 1967, Israel extended its reach to the last 22% of the Holy Land through its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, where many of the 1948 refugees had taken refuge.  Subsequently, it has destroyed 49,320 Arab houses [8] and other structures in the West Bank, creating over 300,000 more refugees [9].  Quickly, Israel began colonizing these remnants of the Holy Land in defiance of international law [10].  Today, over 600,000 Jewish settlers illegally live there [11], and Israel keeps building settlements for more.  To make room, it destroys the homes and livelihoods of the remaining Palestinians, squeezes them into virtual ghettos, and dominates them with an iron fist. Yes, apartheid has come to the Holy Land! 

Dutchess County should not ignore these gross injustices. It should not put business before human rights. It should not partner with Israel until the Palestinians have equal rights to, and in, the Holy Land.

[1] based on Survey of Palestine, Chapter VI, Table 1    
[2] based on The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe, Table 1, p. 295
[3] United Nations Conciliation Commission Report of Oct. 23, 1950
[4] The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, p. 258
[5] Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return, by Naseer Aruji, p. 50.
[6] Foreign Affairs, Vol. 32, July 1954, p. 556 
[7] Israeli Central Bur. Of Statistics “Statistical Abstract of Israel No. 55”2004
[8] ICAHD.org home page: estimate based on UN OCHA data.
[9] Palestinian Refugees: Mythology, Identity & the Search for Peace, by Robert Bowker  
[10] 4th Geneva Convention Article 49: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” 

[11] Human Rights Watch.org “Israel and Palestine Events 2018”

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