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Journey to Jerusalem Hardcover – 1 Mar 1981
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It is the way that Halsell penetrates the people involved, her observations from her direct experiences, her ability to gain the trust of the people, to the point where they expose their inner feelings to Halsell, that is what is clearly shown in this book, and gives the book credibility. As we see, the book was published in 1981, yet today, the circumstances remain the same, the same people, the Jews, have not changed, the people are still being persecuted, the Muslims and Christians are still being chased out of Palestine. Read this book and grow, your education into this reality may encourage a change to better humanity.
However it wasn't long after she arrived in Israel that she was disabused of the notion that such a thing would be possible. Israel IS politics! Political maneuvering, political manipulation, political disenfranchisement, political persecution, political prisoners and the list just goes on and on.
Not long after she arrived, Grace learned about "Peace Now"; a political group of Israelis that want to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors.
She also learned about "Gush Emunim"; a political group of Israelis who DO NOT want to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. They want a war that will allow them to expand Israel's borders so that they can take ALL of historic Palestine as well as Lebanon and Jordan.
She also learned of armed Jewish terrorists who terrorize Palestinian students as well as other West Bank Palestinians.
She also learned of a massive propaganda campaign to demonize the Palestinians. This campaign has apparently been very successful. There's evidence of this throughout the whole book. The first example of this was on page 41 where Grace relates the story of a Jewish woman who had never met an Arab. The woman told Grace not to go to Ramallah, because it had "only Arabs" and that they would surely kill her. She also claimed quite confidently that all Palestinians were terrorists.
She learned about Jewish settlers who are given guns, economic incentives and free pre-fabricated housing to steal Palestinian land in the West Bank and live on it. All of the settlers know what they're doing is illegal, but they don't care. They have guns. And many of them believe that God WANTS them to steal land from the Arabs.
Arabs who are victims of this theft are told by the Israeli government not to go anywhere near the land that was stolen from them, or else the Jewish settlers will kill them.
Grace also learned Arab Christians in Palestine and Arab Muslims in Palestine are closer there than anywhere else in the Middle East. This is because the Israeli occupation has made second class citizens of ALL Palestinian Arabs, Christians as well as Muslims. Both Muslims and Christians in this part of the world are oppressed.
Grace spoke to an elderly woman by the name of Mrs. Khalaf, who told how her two sons, both medical doctors, protested to the Israelis about the confiscation of their family's lands. The Israelis then arrested the sons and put them in jail. They tortured and expelled them both without trial.
She also learned about Abdel-Jawad Saheh, mayor of the West Bank town of El-Bira. In the summer of 1980 the Israelis had deported Abdel-Jawad Saheh without explanation of trial. They also deported Fahd Kawasma, the mayor of Hebron, also without explanation or trial. And they did the same thing to Muhammad Milhelm, the mayor of Halhoul.
She also learned of the car bombings. The mayor of El-Bira escaped unharmed, but Mayor Bassam Shaka lost both legs and Mayor Karim Khalaf of Ramallah lost a foot. Jewish terrorists claiming credit for the car bombings said "Our aim is to expel all Arabs from the West Bank." The Palestinian mayors said, "The Jewish vigilantes get arms from the Israeli government and they have the backing of the Israeli government."
But, it wasn't always like this.
A Muslim acquaintance named Mouhib told Grace how relations between Jews and Muslims in Palestine used to be much more amicable.
"In 1905, when I was born, Palestine was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. There were about fifty thousand Jews in Palestine. They were Sephardic, or Arab Jews. There were so few German or Ashkenazic Jews that they could not muster a quorum for a synagogue. The Arab Jews then in Jerusalem were of a Palestinian strain. We got along well. We did business together. We spoke a common language. In early Arabic literature you will find many testimonies of good relations between the Jews and the Arabs. The Muslims ruled over a large portion of the known world for thirteen hundred years, from the rise of Islam to the beginning of the twentieth century, and in all this time the Muslims did not hate the Jews nor practice discrimination. We were brother people and lived in peace."
"Muslims venerated the great Jewish philosopher and physician Moses Maimonides, and the Muslim ruler Saladin chose him as his closest advisor and friend, as well as his personal physician."
"We Palestinian Arabs made no objections to the early arrival of European Jews in Palestine and the peaceful settlements made through the financial aid of Moses Montefiore and, in the eighteen-eighties by the Rothschilds. We did not see the Jews as threats to our lives and our properties. Arabs and Jews continued to live in peace."
He then speaks of how white Zionist Europeans, with the assistance of the British government seized Palestine from the Palestinians.
"We thought it absurd for Europeans to speak of a "return" to Palestine of white European Jews. They were not Orientals. They had no Palestinian strains. They had never lived in Palestine. Yet we were forced to relinquish our land to an alien race. Millions of dollars raised in the United States, South Africa and England subsidized the European Jews who moved onto our best, most fertile western or costal plains."
Mouhib sums things up pretty well on page 126 when he says, "In 1948, they were given half of Jerusalem and half of Palestine. And now they want the other half as well. It seems there is no limit to the power of the usurper and his capacity to find justification for seizing Arab property, the rule being, "What is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine."
Brother Lowenstein of Bethlehem University spoke of how bad things are in Bethlehem for his Christian and Muslim students.
"The Israeli soldiers have on many occasions stormed our campus. They break into our classrooms and arrest our students. Of course the students demonstrate against the Israeli occupation. Anyone, of any creed or nationality would. You cannot have an oppressed society without expecting students to react."
Three paragraphs down Brother Lowenstein says, "We Christians of the West have not taken a moral stand. We have spoken for justice for other peoples, but not the Palestinians and we must have the courage to speak for that suffering. Moreover, a claim to Palestine must be based on the realities of the twentieth century without reference to a history that took place several millennia ago."