Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Is The Declaration of Independence Applicable to Those in the Occupied Territories?

Today is Day 14,326 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and more than 40 years since the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

Every July 4th, the Boston Globe reprints the Declaration of Independence and every year I read it. What an extraordinary document! How much we in the United States treasure this listing of what our rights are and how we will fight against those who try to take them from us.

I think that it would be a valuable exercise to pretend for a moment to be a Palestinian and read the slightly revised Declaration of Independence below. Would you sign it?

Now pretend that you are the head of a Country. If you received this document, would you recognize the government of this new place called Palestine?

At the same time pretend that you were in the colonies in 1776. Would you, like Samuel Adams, sign the original Declaration of Independence or might you have moved to London (and then waited 200 years to drink Samuel Adams beer)?

(Here is the actual Declaration of Independence adopted by the Palestinian National Council on November 15, 1988 )

In General Session, July 4, 2007
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence of the United Occupied Territories of Palestine

WHEN IN the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these occupied territories; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present Government of Israel (GOI) is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these occupied territories. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

GOI has refused its Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

GOI has not passed Laws of immediate and pressing importance.

GOI has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Knesset, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

GOI has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with its measures.

GOI has helped to dissolve the Palestinian Authority for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the People.

GOI has refused to cause another to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the occupied territories remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

GOI has endeavoured to prevent the population by Palestinians of these United Occupied Territories of Palestine, for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, while encouraging Jewish Israelis to settle in the occupied territories and illegally appropriating private lands for their benefit.

GOI has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.

GOI has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislature.

GOI has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

GOI has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving its Assent to their acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these occupied territories:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond the occupied territories to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For helping to suspend our own Legislature, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

GOI has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

GOI has plundered our seas, ravaged our coast, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

GOI at this time includes in its armed forces foreign Mercenaries – individuals from Russia and the United States who have been allowed to become citizens of Israel - to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

GOI has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms:

Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A government, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Israeli brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United Occupied Territories of Palestine, in General Session Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these occupied territories, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Occupied Territories of Palestine are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent Palestine; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the GOI, and that all political connection between them and the GOI, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent State, it has full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Deuteronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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