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From the Midwest to the Middle East

Author Pamela Olson visits Halifax

by Jim Guild

Visiting author and journalist Pamela Olson called for intensified pressure on Israel during her stay in Halifax. Photo by Judy Haiven
Visiting author and journalist Pamela Olson called for intensified pressure on Israel during her stay in Halifax. Photo by Judy Haiven

Current negotiations are not the solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict, Pamela Olson told a gathering of 60 on Sept. 25 in Halifax.

The visiting American author and journalist said there can be no just resolution if Israel wants all three -- all the land, Jewish democracy and peace.

  • “If they want all the land and Jewish rule, they will have apartheid not peace (which is pretty close to the status quo now).

  • “If they want Jewish democracy and peace, there will have to be a fair, two-state solution with a truly sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza (which is virtually impossible due to the 600,000 Israelis living in illegal settlements throughout the West Bank).

  • “If they want all the land and peace, this would mean a one-state solution likely resulting in an ongoing anti-apartheid struggle on the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” Olson said.

Although encouraged by the Palestinians extensive non-violent activism (such as peaceful demonstrations and protests) within the occupied Palestinian territories, she said there needs to be much more international pressure exerted on Israel through actions such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS).

The United States is key, she said, and public education is needed to bring the truth of the Palestinians oppression and Israel’s violations of international law to people’s attention.

Toward that end, she wrote a book -- Fast Times in Palestine: A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland – to tell the story of her personal experiences during several visits and work stints in the past 10 years in the West Bank.

“A small town girl from eastern Oklahoma , I was welcomed by the Palestinians in the village of Jayyus and things moved quickly from there.”

As her website (www.pamolson.org) states:

With dizzying speed she found herself attending Yasser Arafat's funeral, tour-guiding Israeli friends around the West Bank, dating a Palestinian from a conservative village, being held at gunpoint and injured by a stun grenade, and witnessing the 2005 Disengagement from inside the Gaza Strip.

The gripping narrative focuses not only on violence, terror, and politics but also on the daily rounds of house parties, concerts, barbecues, weddings, jokes, harvests, and romantic drama that happen in between.’

A Dalhousie University student in the audience who recently returned from two months in Palestine voiced his agreement with Olson.

“I cringe when I think about the peace process.

“When you see what the Palestinians go through every day. They’re an impoverished population living on a fraction of their land, with no control over air space, water, or access to their land,” he said.

“I lived in Bethlehem – it feels like a prison.”

Olson’s presentation was sponsored by Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace: Independent Jewish Voices-Halifax; and the Canada-Palestine Association.

While in Halifax, Olson also spoke at the Kings College School of Journalism, and at Dalhousie University, and appeared at Chapters in Dartmouth.



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Topics: Peace/War
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