Happy birthday, Israel! You turn 60 years-old this week and my, have you grown! You went from a humble 7 percent to a whopping 88 percent of Palestinian land (including chunks of the West Bank and Gaza, which are now known as occupied Palestinian territories).
Here at UC Irvine, several organizations (such as Hillel) put on iFest, a week-long celebration of your birthday. They had many cultural attractions for students to experience. One of the attractions advertised was henna, which actually dates back to ancient Egypt and India, not Israel.
That’s okay, though, because they also had yummy shawarma sandwiches, which, now that I think about it, date back to Turkey and Syria. All right, well, have no fear because they did provide something that actually was from the Israeli culture: hookah! Oh wait, that also traces back to India and was popularized by the spread of the Ottoman Empire. So I guess they couldn’t really provide anything authentically “Israeli,” but you catch my drift.
Anyways, it was loads of fun, and it was all for you. They wanted to show UCI the jewel of the Middle East by providing an incredible clubbing experience, some mediocre belly dancers and many other moral forms of entertainment … they are a religious organization, after all.
Now that the big day is almost here, I say that we give Israel a toast. Here’s to 60 amazing years of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people and driving them out of their homes. Here’s to 60 years of keeping the 4 million registered Palestinian refugees out of Palestine and denying them the right to return to their homeland.
Here’s to 60 years of “accidentally” killing Palestinian children, although you might want to be more careful when you indiscriminately shoot at civilians because the death toll is getting a bit high.
Approximately 1,000 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000. I’m sorry, how inconsiderate of me to dampen the mood; let us continue with the toast. Here’s to the 18,000 Palestinian homes you have demolished and to not demolishing a single Israeli home.
Here’s to 60 years of having the support of the United States, which continues to veto U.N. resolutions condemning your attacks on Gaza and other issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s to 60 years of claiming peace and unity, yet ruthlessly murdering Palestinians and other Arabs in neighboring countries.
Here’s to cutting down hundreds upon hundreds of olive trees, many of which had existed in Palestine twice as long as your disgrace of a nation. Lastly, here’s to allowing the 4 million Palestinians in Gaza to live well below the poverty line, leading to the starvation of many men, women and children who did nothing wrong but be born under your occupation. Happy birthday, Israel, and thanks for being an incredible example of morality and democracy.
Mariam Moustafa is a third-year international studies major. She can be reached at