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PW leaders delve into Palestine-Israel anguish

Representatives from Al-Hadaf KC and Citizens for Justice in the Middle East met with PeaceWorks leaders to discuss Palestine and Israel.
“We consider Israel to be America’s 51st state,” Suhaib (at right) explains to Cris Mann (at left) while Layla Allen listens.—Photos by Kristin Scheer

By Jane Stoever

PeaceWorks KC leaders/members met Feb. 17 to look at the Palestine-Israel history and suffering. A small group posed questions and heard answers from two representatives of Al-Hadaf KC, a Palestinian-led group, and three representatives of Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, which for decades has sought fair, even-handed US policy concerning Israel and Palestine.

Palestinian Loss of Land: From 1947 to the Present (2023), postcard shared at Feb. 17 meeting—see www.IfAmericaKnew.org.

Al-Hadaf spokesperson Suhaib, born and raised in Palestine, an immigrant to the US at age 18, commented on a postcard: Palestinian Loss of Land 1947 to Present (late 2023). Israeli settlements were sparse on the early 1947 map of Palestine. The Israeli land expanded vastly with the UN’s partition plan in 1947. Suhaib said, “For the UN to divide land how they saw fit and steal space from other people to create a nation, that’s what started the problem.”

Barbara Le Clerq of CJME said Jewish landowners went to the League of Nations and later to the UN to promote the Zionist movement.

Suhaib reflected, “People always try to make this a religious conflict. It never was. But since Day 1, they knew if they made it into a religious conflict, they would win.”

Commenting on the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and the horrific bombing of Gaza since then, Margot Patterson of CJME said, “As things get worse and worse, we get less and less news about it.”

The group deplored the recent US military support and funding for Israel, in addition to decades of customary aid. Layla Allen of Al-Hadaf remarked, “Think of the state of Israel as an investment for the US,” a means of US sway in the Mid-East. Margot replied, “The Israel-America relationship is actually a bad investment–$3.5 billion per year in aid—plus loans that don’t need to be paid back.”

Ian Munro of CJME added, “Israel is a terrible ally. They spy on the US. They sell our secrets to China.”

Margot Patterson, right, speaks with Barbara Le Clerq, left, and Ann Suellentrop during the meeting about Palestine and Israel at the Penn Valley Quaker Meetinghouse in KC MO.

Suhaib said, “The way we look at it in Palestine is this: Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union (1991), the US has been the only superpower in the world. But we in Palestine are paying the price for it. As if we are the ones to blame for the genocide against us, for the invasion of our houses. We are watching a genocide unfold. And Israelis have an endless river of money going to them—including free health care, free education, in the Zionist state.” Suhaib related, “We consider Israel to be America’s 51st state.”

Al-Hadaf KC offers educational sessions on zoom about Palestine every other Thursday. The site http://alhadafkc.org/calendar/ lists the Feb. 29 session “Occupation 202: The Right of Return and Self-Determination,” 7:30-8:30pm. The calendar also notes Monday-Friday Ceasefire Power Hour Calls at 8am and noon, and an action sheet: https://bit.ly/kcceasefire. On Facebook, see https://www.facebook.com/alhadafkc/.

During the PeaceWorks discussion Feb. 17, Henry Stoever asked which books to read and which films to see by or about Palestinians and Palestine. These were suggested: The Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries; Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations; The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine, by Nathan Thrall; “Tantura” about a village massacred in 1948 (film on Apple TV); and the movie “3000 Nights,” directed by Mai Masri. The website https://decolonizepalestine.com/ has a reading list and a Q&A. In addition, Margot moderates the show “Understanding Israel/Palestine” 9:30-10 am each Friday on KKFI radio, 90.1 FM; see https://kkfi.org/?s=Understanding+Israel+Palestine.

–Jane Stoever serves on the PeaceWorks KC Communications Team. (c) 2024, Jane Stoever, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

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