[Excerpts of article by Syed Rizvi, writing in The Daily Texan]
This past Friday, the United Muslim Relief chapter at the University of Texas at Austin hosted its second annual “Let Palestine Shine” event, an apolitical charity dinner that provides direct relief to Palestinians in the form of sustenance, shelter, healthcare and education.
The Palestinian cause has been cast as anti-Semitic, anti-American, and, God forbid, pro-Islam. However, this should not the case. Palestine is a humanitarian cause, and events such as “Let Palestine Shine” should be able to bring people of diverse faiths and backgrounds together.
For this humanitarian claim to make sense, it has to be made clear that the fight over Palestine is not a religious conflict. Religion does play a factor in the conflict, but in the same way that religion plays a role in your everyday life. Religion is a moral driving force for many Palestinian-Muslims, as I am sure it is for Palestinian-Christians. The people of Palestine, which the United Nations recognizes as a state, are struggling for their basic rights every day. The region’s religious affiliations is irrelevant to the fact that we face a tragedy in Palestine.
The Palestinian conflict is political in part. However, as Americans, we should not forget the human element. The oppression and injustice against Palestinians violates the human conscious. There is a prevailing idea among Americans that the loss of Palestinians is a necessary evil and collateral damage that is executed by Israel for security reasons. This argument is dispelled by Israel’s disproportionate aggression, economic oppression, and invasive and illegal settlements, all of which independently go beyond sensible security measures.
Since Sept. 29, 2000, 132 Israeli children have been killed and 2,053 Palestinian children. In total, 1,185 Israelis have been killed and 9,100 Palestinians. The suffering of the Palestinian people extends beyond the graveyard. Israel has 5,271 Palestinian political prisoners detained while Palestine has 0.
Since 1967, 28,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed, and the state has an unemployment rate of around 25 percent.
[The Daily Texan]