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Virgin Palestine a myth

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By E Qasim

(source: BusinessDay, 7/5/2010)

With reference to Rhoda Kadalie’s most recent column (Complex crisis most analysts fail to explain, May 6), your correspondent is either a new historian or a critical sociologist for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, hell-bent on being disingenuous or misrepresenting the truth.

In 1945 Palestine was responsible for producing the following products:

·  210000 tons of grain — 193000 tons by Palestinian farmers and 16600 by Jewish farmers;
· 143000 tons of melons — 136000 tons by Palestinians and 7000 by Jewish farmers;
· 79000 tons of olives — 78000 tons by Palestinians and one ton by Jewish farmers; and
· 8000 tons of bananas — 60% of which were produced by Palestinian farmers.

That Palestine was virgin land was a myth, used by the colonisers to justify their occupation of Palestine.

I wonder if Ms Kadalie and company were told about the racism practised in Israeli religious schools. Sephardic Jewish children are not allowed in the same classroom as Ashkinazi girls. They have different teachers and their playground times are different. Ethiopian children are prevented from attending these schools purely on the basis of their colour. Textbooks portray Arabs and Palestinians as “murderers”, “rioters”, “unproductive” and “illiterate”. Being a human rights activist, did Ms Kadalie and company ask their hosts to visit the more than 10000 prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons and dungeons? Their only crime is to resist the occupation. Her information about the various wars are far from the truth. Space will not allow me to elaborate that after the 1967 war, Israeli leaders openly admitted that Israel was the aggressor. There is a lot more I would like to share with Ms Kadalie and her colleagues regarding the “not so complex” Palestine question, if she is prepared to listen. Sadly, her information about Israel is further mired in ignorance and assumptions because she relies on hearsay rather than scholastic research and scientific verification.