Germany gave my family reparations. Palestinians deserve the same from Israel.


I am a first generation American. My Jewish parents fled Germany as the horrors of the Holocaust unfolded. They left behind family members who perished in camps and were killed as they fled their homes as they were hunted down and shot by the Nazis.

My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father had a thriving butcher’s business in Frankfurt. They lived in the building next to the butcher’s shop. My father always said he barely realized he was Jewish until Hitler arrived. It was always Deutschland über alles.

My mother’s family was a wheat trader in Wetzlar. After Hitler’s rise, my mother first fled Germany so that she could learn the language in her new country and earn enough money to bring her parents and brother over. They came to the United States without a lot of money and, like many, had to build a life from the bottom up.

After the war ended, Germany granted my father reparations for the loss of his business as well as for the crime of persecution. He received a monthly check until his death at the age of 91. Both my parents were greeted by the German government and told them they could get their passports and citizenship back.

People born to Holocaust survivors who can prove that their father was forced to leave his homeland between 1933 and 1945 have the right to become German citizens with all their children, grandchildren and all future offspring forever. Last year my children, grandchildren and I became German citizens and received European passports.

Thinking of my own family and its history, I wonder why the 750,000 Palestinians driven from their homes and lands in 1948 when Israel was founded are not entitled to the same treatment my family received afterwards. the end of World War II. But the war against the Palestinians was never over. Instead, Israel continues its policy of ethnic cleansing to this day, as evidenced by the ongoing deportations in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem.

B’Tselem, a human rights organization in Israel, and Human Rights Watch have documented and denounced the continued mistreatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government and the settler movement, including the confiscation of Palestinian land and homes ; movement restrictions; limitations on the rights of freedom of expression and assembly; refusal of a building permit; denial of many basic civil rights and terrorism by Jewish extremist settlers supported by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Human Rights Watch concluded that conduct towards Palestinians amounts to persecution and apartheid, which are crimes against humanity under international law.

We recently witnessed the brutal bombardment of Gaza, where 2 million Palestinians were strangled by a 14-year blockade. Using the most sophisticated weapons made in the United States, the IDF targeted civilian population centers, hitting 18 hospitals and clinics, apartment buildings and killing dozens of children and other innocent bystanders.

I wonder: How is it possible that the victims of the Holocaust and their offspring could so brutally victimize another people on racial grounds? I wonder why the Palestinians do not have the same reparations and return rights accorded to my family after Germany accepts responsibility for their crimes. Shouldn’t Palestinians be entitled to reparations and the right of return? Shouldn’t they have the same rights to self-determination that Israel itself claims?

The right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes from which they were displaced is well established in international law. The primary source of support is United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of December 1948, in which the United Nations General Assembly, “decides that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their families. neighbors should be allowed to do so at the earliest possible date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those who choose not to return and for loss or damage to property which, under the principles of the international law or equity, should be remedied by governments or responsible authorities. “

It is somewhat ironic that thousands of Jews in Israel are getting reparations and passports from Germany because of deportation, loss of property and persecution, yet Israel will not allow Palestinians to return to a country. land from which they were evicted.

I simply cannot reconcile these deep contradictions which obviously exclude any possibility of peace in the region.

I am deeply ashamed and angry that these acts are being carried out on behalf of the Jewish people and that my government is providing the money and weapons to support these Israeli crimes.


About Norma Wade

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