The Israeli linguist, author and peace activist Tanya Reinhart has died of a stroke. She was 63 years old.
Ms. Reinhart was a professor emeritus of linguistics and media studies at Tel Aviv University and Global Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at New York University, but most of all, she was an outspoken critic of Israel's policies and a leading advocate for Palestinian national rights.
"I can no longer live in Israel due to its treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories", Tanya stated in December when she moved to New York.
"What I believe, like many Israelis, is that the way is to start a new page, to get out of the Occupied Territories and to live side by side with the Palestinians", She said in an interview in October, 2004.
And, in that same interview, she commented on the upcoming 2004 election:
"The biggest problem, of course, is that both candidates fully back Israel. The Democrats are never different on that issue than the Republicans. None of what Israel has been doing would have been possible without the stable and constant US support. So, it's been an axiom in US politics that you don't touch Israel. Or if you do, you only can mention Israel's right to exist, but not the Palestinians' right to exist. Although this is not a change, Israeli policy has changed. So we're not now talking just about support the occupation, but supporting the atrocities, the daily killing of Palestinians. "
Ms. Reinhart talked about the Presidential debates in which not one question was asked of the candidates about the Israeli - Palestinian situation. Imagine that! In the midst of a discussion about foreign policy, this important issue was omitted. Did anyone notice? Did anyone hear the sound of the deafening silence?
A few weeks ago, Israeli Apartheid Week was commemorated in New York City. Tanya was a vocal participant. She commented on the fact that the international community does not impose sanctions on Israel yet it elected to impose sanctions on the Palestinians.
"And Israel itself is holding tax monies that it owes the Palestinians. And the Palestinian economy is completely paralyzed with no salaries, no social services, no medical care of functioning hospitals."
Just two years ago, according to Jimmy Carter, in a report he wrote in the Herald Tribune, the Palestinian elections were, "honest, fair, strongly contested, without violence and with the result accepted by winners and losers."
And yet, this government that has been duly elected by the Palestinian citizenry, has been virtually ignored because Israel does not like the peoples' choice.
"In a world in which the US rules, might is right, and might can define democracy as it wills. Thus it was announced that the outcome of the Palestinian elections will not be recognized, and until this changes, the Palestinian people as a whole should be punished and starved." Tanya's words emphasized the unthinkable truth.
"The US and Israel are trying to impose a longstanding policy that they have always had of trying to push the society into civil war. They are doing this in Palestine by supporting collaborating forces like the forces of Dahlan in Gaza. They are trying to do the same in Lebanon. They are trying this in Iraq. The Palestinian people so far have resisted this attempt to push them into civil war, and they have managed to form a unity government."
The following demands have been placed on the Palestinian people:
1. Renounce violence. ( In January of 2005, Hamas announced that they were going to move from armed struggle into political struggle and enter the elections. Hamas did not even participate in launching of Kassams to Israel until Israel attacked Gaza)
2. Recognize previous accords. (and yet, according to the Oslo Accords in 1993, five years later in 1998, there should have been a Palestinian state. The reality was that, in this period, all Israel did was appropriate more land. It did not keep a single clause of the Oslo Agreements)
3. Recognize the existence of Israel. (It appears that something is backwards, for it is Israel that is not willing to recognize the right of the Palestinians to exist as a state)
This third demand is being used to suffocate the Palestinian People as they struggle to survive on what little land they have left.
A woman of conscience has died. Her body is lifeless. Her voice has grown silent. And yet, her message does not have to die along with her. It is up to every one of us to keep her mission alive.
"We are all Palestinians'
Who do battle
With the dark forces of injustice"
From The Dark Forces of Injustice - Genevieve Cora Fraser