Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

What do the Palestinians want?

By Christine DeSouza

"No one has asked the Palestinian people what they want," stated Bassem Eid at a lecture sponsored by Chabad and AIPAC last Sunday evening. Who speaks on their "behalf"? Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, President Abbas, Fatah and the United Nations Refugee Works Agency-all of whom are just speaking for themselves and lining their pockets while keeping the Palestinian people pawns for "peace."

What do the people want? The same as what most American's want: job security, a good education and healthcare for their children.

"No one [Palestinian] is talking about the settlements," Eid said.

His own definition of "homeland" is that it isn't where you were born necessarily, but it is a place where you find dignity, justice and freedom.

An analyst for Israeli TV and radio and a Palestinian human rights activist, Eid has lived his entire life in East Jerusalem. He was born in Shuafat, which is under Jordanian rule and became a UNRWA refugee camp. Currently, 160,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem. They carry an Israeli ID and a Jordanian passport. The ID allows them to travel all over Israel. Eid calls himself "a proud Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp and raised a large family."

Of the 2 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, 54 percent live in refugee camps. Of the 2 million in Gaza, 65 percent live in refugee camps. Israel is trying to increase working permits. Currently, 150,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank cross checkpoints daily to work in Israel; 15,000 of them are building settlement houses. Those who work in Israel average a monthly salary six times that of those who work under the Palestinian Authority.

What will help the Palestinians? Rather than America and the European nations pouring money into Hamas' and UNRWA's pockets, they should help to create industrial zones. Economic prosperity for the Palestinians can pave the way for their future.

What is hurting the Palestinians? The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement and UNRWA.

BDS is causing more harm to the Palestinians than Israel.

"BDS's goal is not peace, but how to destroy Israel at the expense of the Palestinians," stated Eid. He went on to say that the Palestinians should stand up against BDS.

America and Europe give $1.6 billion to UNRWA, who publish textbooks that teach hatred. "The main mission of the UN is how to create conflict," Eid said. "We must control the sources of the funding of the conflict."

How can we help? Let our congressmen know that we must stop funding UNRWA until they change the textbooks.

Eid does not expect to see any kind of peace solution any time in the near future, perhaps one or two generations from now there might be a "kind of peace," but he is not hopeful.

To learn more about how to fight BDS, follow Eid on Facebook. He is also forwarding to Rabbi Mendy Bronstein a sample letter on what to say to our representatives concerning funding the UN and UNRWA.


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