Wednesday, August 31, 2005
International Blog Day
www.whatthebleephappenedtoharv.blogspot.com This is Harvey Tharp's blog; I wrote about Harvey's speech to the Peace and Justice Caucus of the National Education Association here. Harvey is with Iraq Veterans for Peace, a former Navy Lieutenant, and his blog is eclectic with music, on the ground coverage from Iraq, his reflections about his time in Iraq--an extremely intelligent young man.
I'd also like to mention my friend Erlenda's blog, Screamer In the Matrix Blog for some of the most acute insights that I've encountered.
Another blog which is written by a highly intelligent woman is Kate/A/Blog Kay's take on current events is always thought-provoking.
My favorite blog written by my twin sister, cutter (sorry Haithem) is peacepalestine, so it's a mirror!
I also appreciate Winds of Change in the Middle East? by Dan Marsden and regularly read As'ad Abukahlil.
My favorite blog for on the ground coverage in occupied Palestine is Raising Yousuf, written by the talented and principled journalist, Laila El-Haddad.
The most beautiful and state-of-the-art blog is hands-down Sabbah's Blog.
I appreciate ninathedog for her hard work compiling posts about Palestine.
Also love Bethlehem Blogs, rafahnotes, rafah today and Free Iraq.
And, I must admit, I read RafahPundits; it would qualify as not a mirror because it frequently posts and links to views from the other side of the Palestine-Israel conflict and causes me to cuss at my computer, but that said, it has some very fine posts.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
At the moment there are 10,000 pending demolition threats in city of Jerusalem. Last year 150 homes were demolished. Also Jerusalem sees a lot of land confiscation to build Israeli colonies.
The Difference a Death Makes
While the Israeli children sometimes did not clean their rooms, the New York Times reports Israeli Occupation Forces releases that all of the Palestinian children, who were not strapped with explosives by their mothers, were sympathetic to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP, and Syrian Orthodox Youth Association.
UN Honors Arab Killer on Sabra/Shatila Anniversary
NEW YORK SAYS "NO" TO THE BUTCHER ARIEL SHARON!!
-Thursday, September 15-
-Dag Hammerskjold Plaza-
-47th St. and 2nd Ave (across from the UN), NYC-
subway: E, V Train to 53/Lexington Ave. Walk south to 47th St., turn left onto 2nd Ave.
4, 5, 6, 7, S Train to 42nd St./Grand Central Station. Walk east until 2nd Ave. and north to 47th St.
SAY NO TO ARIEL SHARON!
SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO RETURN FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES!
REMEMBER SABRA AND SHATILA!
On Thursday, September 15, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the man responsible for the massacres of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese, will speak before the United Nations General Assembly as part of the "World Summit." On the twenty-third anniversary of the killing of thousands of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon under Sharon's watch, the war criminal Ariel Sharon will speak as an honored guest at the United Nations in New York City. JOIN US to express our outrage at Sharon's presence in New York City before the United Nations, a body whose resolutions he has repeatedly flouted and ignored!
UN Resolution 194 guarantees the right to return to all Palestinian refugees. While Sharon speaks before the UN, he refuses to honor and implement UN Resolution 194 or countless additional resolutions denouncing Zionist occupation of Palestine and requiring the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, he has continued his decades-long campaign of brutality against the Palestinian Arab people, dedicated to eradicating their very existence. From Qibya in 1952 to Sabra and Shatila in 1982 to Jenin in 2002, Ariel Sharon is a butcher and a war criminal who should be on trial at the Hague, not speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Join Al-Awda New York on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM to declare that SHARON IS NOT WELCOME HERE and to demand the UN immediately act to implement Resolution 194, the RIGHT TO RETURN OF ALL PALESTINIAN REFUGEES TO THEIR ORIGINAL HOMES AND PROPERTIES!
Organizational endorsements and involvement are welcome! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to endorse or for more information!
For more information: http://www.al-awdany.org/
The children here have been brutalized, but not by their own community. In a four year period since this Intifada began, nearly 400 people from Balata Refugee Camp were killed. That would equate to a rate of two per week from the community of 30,000 although the higher numbers were killed by Israeli soldiers during Israel's massive invasion of the West Bank in 2002. While the killing rate has fallen since the Sharm Al Sheikh "ceasefire", assassinations of resistance fighters and killings of civilian children by Israeli forces have continued. Israeli forces have killed five in five months from the camp. Residents do not feel the respite of the ceasefire. Israeli soldiers in jeeps, hummers and APCs enter Balata several nights a week and have arrested scores of residents.
Bush Lectures Palestinians on Courage
"It took political courage to make that decision," Bush said of the [Gaza] pullout."And now it's going to take political courage by the Palestinians and ... Abbas to step up, reject violence, reject terrorism and build a democracy."
Bush’s latest lecture to Abbas to engage in an action that would most assuredly lead to civil war comes because of a recent suicide bombing in Israel which wounded two.
Instead of Bush lecturing Palestinians about courage, he should look to them for lessons in courage. It takes courage for every Palestinian man, woman, and child to keep from blowing him/herself up when Bush is compelled to take Abbas to task while they endure the slings and arrows of outrageous functionaries who bleat on cue as did Sean McCormack, State Department spokesperson, regarding the murders the night of August 24 of two resistance fighters and three kids in Tulkarem: “Israel has a right to defend itself.”
It takes courage for Palestinians to endure the occupation of one hundred percent of their historic homeland to which they are indigenous while at the same time demonised in the west as terrorists, as mothers who train their children to be suicide bombers, as people who murder Jews just because they’re Jews, and as anti-Semites.
It takes courage for some Palestinians to find some part in their hearts to feel empathy for the Brooklyn Jewish colonists who were for pure tactical purposes compelled to leave their comfortable houses in illegal colonies in Gaza.
It takes courage for Palestinians in refugee camps to have withstood relentless and brutal Israeli bombings, invasions, and arrests for years on end. In just one of them, Balata, four hundred Palestinians have been gunned down in their own neighborhood since September 2000.
It takes courage for Palestinians to continue to maintain that they are an entity, a cultural entity, a national entity, when the enemy maintains that Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land,” and that there is “no such thing as a Palestinian.”
It takes courage to insist upon one’s rights in one’s own lands when the a brutal occupation is enforced by the fourth largest military in the world, supported by the superpower of the world, and one hundred percent of its Congress.
It takes courage to write letters to newspapers in a desperate attempt to convey the Palestinian narrative to citizens who are brainwashed by an irresponsible media who finds details of oppression tedious but stories of war criminal colonists newsworthy.
It takes courage to write to Congressmen who one already knows will write back insipid responses that Palestinians must eschew terror and stop the incitement to hatred in its textbooks when it has been disproven that the textbooks incite hatred, as if Palestinians need to read a textbook to have a reason to hate the depravities to which they’re subjected.
It takes courage for Palestinians to see Israeli children’s deaths receive headline or first paragraph coverage in the New York Times 125 percent of the time, whilst their own children’s deaths, which in the first year of the intifadeh were five times greater than Israeli children’s, received a paltry 18 percent.
President Bush, who is obviously not moved by Palestinian courage, might consider a fellow American exemplar of courage, former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison. Christison has embarked on a lonely mission to illuminate Americans, ninety percent of whom she reports think that the Palestinians are occupying Israel. In "Can Palestine Be Put Back Into the Equation," she writes poignantly, "Palestine and Palestinians are terrorized and murdered in darkness. No one helps them, few note their dying." Obviously, the New York Times does not note their dying, nor does President Bush, nor does the US Congress. If President Bush ever speaks of the terrorization that the Palestinians have endured, if President Bush ever speaks of the murders that Palestinians have endured, if President Bush ever speaks of the dispossession that Palestinians have endured, then maybe, he will have the moral authority to give one of his little lectures on courage.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Palestinians Are Dying In the Dark
On August 24, five Palestinians were murdered by an Israeli death squad in Tulkarem. International Middle East Media Center reported that the Palestinians were Adel Abu Khaleel, 26, Majdi Atteyah, 20, Mahmoud Ismail Hdeib, 18, Anas Abu Zreinah, 16, and Ahmad Othman, 17.
How were these deaths reported by other media? The Financial Times in an August 25 story headlined “Retaliation Shatters Relative Calm of West Bank,” was not referring to the five deaths shattering the ‘calm’, but to a rocket fired from Gaza at Sderot in southern Israel. Actually the headline is nonsensical since the story refers to the rocket which killed no one fired at Sderot in southern Israel as shattering the calm on the West Bank.
A search of google news and yahoo news for “Tulkarem Refugee Camp Deaths” turned up no stories in the western mainstream media on the five deaths. In fact when I searched “Tulkarem deaths” in Yahoo News eight out of the first ten stories that came up were about a suicide bombing in Israel and nothing came up about the five deaths, including three teenagers, in Tulkarem.
On August 24, five Palestinians were murdered by an Israeli death squad in Tulkarem. It was reported in the Khaleej Times that the two eldest were resistance fighters but had since joined the Palestinian Security Force. Ernest Hemingway wrote that all that matters when reporting about war are names and dates. The five were not afforded this dignity in the western press. On the night of August 24, Palestinians Adel Abu Khaleel, Majdi Atteyah, Mahmoud Ismail Hdeib, Anas Abu Zreinah, and Ahmad Othman were murdered by an Israel death squad.
May their memories be eternal.
Support Children of Palestine: Buy Calendars For Christmas
Palestine Children's Welfare Fund is pleased to annouce the launch of our 2006 calendar in support of the children of Palestine. The calendars will be mailedout the week of September 15th and each calendar will be distributed with anolive wood peace dove brooch and a Palestinian flag pin in celebration of peace and justice in Palestine and the removal of the settlers from Nablus, Haifa,Yaffa and Akka and their relocation to Manhattan by 2030. Please place the order for you and your group now so we can have it for you prior to the holidays.
You can view some of the pictures on the link below and the picture of the peacedove brooch on the link below it. Each Calendar is 15 dollars and as usual one hundred percent of the proceeds will go towards our projects in Palestine and the children who depend on us for a 75 dollars month allowance. Please read and forward to your friends and colleagues and ask them to help give the children of the land of peace hope and a smile. Looking forward to hearing from you and thanks again for your generosity, work and support.
p.s I love the month of May
http://www.pcwf.org/ , http://www.paypalestine.com,/ Palestine Children's WelfareFund. 201 W. Stassney # 201, Austin, Texas 78745 Click to buy Palestinian arts and crafts online, sponsor a Palestinian child, buy a flag or a kufiya, donate a book to teach one or plant an olive/ orange tree in Palestine to honor a loved one
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Never Forget Sabrah and Shateelah, Never
. . . what I saw will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. I saw a middle-aged woman hysterically dancing over a pile of children bodies, pulling her own hair and scratching her face, and singing unintelligibly. I tried to make some sense of her words. The only phrase I could hear was "ya mshaharah ya Subhiyeh [What a hellish, unbelievable sight, oh Subhieyeh]." The rest were just unintelligible sounds. A sobbing man, either her husband or brother, I assumed, was trying to make her stop, but without any success. I can still remember her dark, wrinkled and bleeding face, her gray hair and the Hennah on her chin. Next to the pile kneeled a younger woman, with her face buried in the sand. Suddenly she stood up and started to tear the top of her dress, only to be stopped by other women in the crowd. read more
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Radio Open Source: The Gaza Pull Out
I was reminded of a Sixty Minutes spot from at least thirty years ago that Mike Wallace did in which he interviewed Arab-Americans in Detroit. At that time it was very moving for me to see Arabs portrayed as human beings on western television.
Chris Lydon allowed Deemah, Amira, Laila, and Nave to speak.
When Laila was asked about the aftermath of the pull out, she mentioned that an Israeli drone was flying overhead as she spoke. She said that what was occurring was a mere "restructuring" of the occupation.
Deema added some hard facts mentioning the toll and continuing toll that Israeli occupation took on Gaza health care. She spoke about a "medical and humanitarian disaster unfolding [because' medical services [are] not available because of Israeli closure policies. [The] forced dependency on Israeli medical system [has led to problems]. Deema related that many medical services require one to apply for a permit from the Israelis, and that these permits are limited.
Amira Haas spoke about Omar, whose family has land in Gush Katif; during the last five years he and his family could not reach their own land. His pay for working on a settlement was one-third of the minimum wage; she stressed that relationships formed between Palestinian workers and their colonist employers were formed "out of obligation."
Lydon's program, refreshingly minus the usual spin on the illegal Israeli colonial movement, if heeded by US taxpayers, could go a long way toward furthering real understanding of Israel's occupation and ultimately lead to justice for the Palestinians. The Palestinian speakers affirmed that the pullout is not a "window of opportunity," merely occupation in a different form.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Raising Yousuf Provides Excellent Gaza Coverage: Laila on Open Source Radio Tonight
Tonight she'll be discussing the Gaza Disengagement on Open Source Radio at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, that's 1:00 AM for some of the faithful commenters here in Europe; I'll be up listening, even though school has started, and I find myself the recipient of forty years worth of materials from a retired colleague to sort through.
West-Eastern Divan Concert Strikes Chord in Ramallah
by Samia Khoury
I am Avi the cellist
I am Yossi the flutist
I am Nurit the violinist
I am Moshe the trumpest
We could not believe that we were in Ramallah. And we were sure it was not easy for the audience to envisage Israelis without their army uniforms, and not on special duty raiding homes and terrorizing the people. We were formally dressed for a concert at the Cultural Palace. Along with other young Israelis and Arabs from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Palestine we were performing with the West- Eastern Divan orchestra conducted by Maestro Daniel Barenboim.
What a joy it was to be in that beautiful place hearing the cheering crowd, the endless applause by people, who in spite of what we have done to their lives, during 38 years of occupation, came out to hear us and welcome us warmly. Of course we realized that had it not been for the special relationship between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said, this project would not have materialized, and we would not have been performing in Palestine and believing that music transcends all misunderstanding and hatred.
However, nobody should expect people living under occupation to welcome their occupiers in their midst before they atone for their crimes and end the occupation. We, out of all people should know how it feels. Up till now we refuse to perform Wagner in Israel because his music reminded us of the hated Nazi regime. So deep down in our hearts we really thought that those people coming out to listen to us cannot be the "terrorists" that our government has made us believe they were. They were human beings yearning for freedom, the slogan under which the concert was performed in memory of the late Edward Said.
Yet we could understand why many others could not feel comfortable watching us perform, as we realized that we were a reminder of the brutality of the Israeli soldiers during "operation defensive shield" in 2002. And some might be wondering if we were part of that operation. We had heard so many ugly stories, and they could have very well been experienced by some of the people listening to us tonight. The lady whose home was searched three times and was deprived of her torch- light, when it was the only source of light she had with the electric current being cut off. The one thousand dollars which were looted from a home whose owner must have left in a hurry fearing for her life. And the so many homes which were used by soldiers and left like a pig sty, while so many young men and students were picked up from the streets for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The irony of it all is that the whole concert was under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, that building in which the soldiers during that operation really went amok. What was done there was despicable. So we were wondering whether the audience was seeing images of soldiers as we were performing or did the beautiful music of Mozart's Sinfonia concertante (K.297b) and Beethoven's powerful Symphony No. 5 have a healing effect?
Deep down in our hearts we felt we owed those people much more than a cosmetic concert. Maestro Barenboim said he was not a political person. But in this troubled land nothing said or done can be non-political. So we cannot take it for granted that this concert could happen again under the same circumstances and that it will be a start for a process of normalization. We appreciate the Maestro's vision that performing together or getting to know each other as human beings will remind us that we are destined to live together on this land. But to be able to realize this vision we have to recognize that there are International laws and UN resolutions that we need to abide by as a country created by the International Community. We cannot continue to occupy a whole nation, and deprive them of their inalienable rights, and at the same time accept them to acquiesce. In fact we heard it very clearly at the concert, that our security is dependent on the freedom of the Palestinians.
How true that is. So maybe it is we before anybody else, who have a special responsibility. Should we not be the ones to start the campaign for ending the occupation and pulling down the walls and check points? Only then can the two peoples really enjoy the fruits of a just peace, which will bring about the freedom, equality, and fraternity that Maestro Barenboim feels strongly about.
Our only hope for another concert would be along the WALL so that with horns and cymbals we will help pull it down.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Daniel Barenboim: Live From Ramallah
My translation from German of a press conference with Daniel Barenboim on the occasion of the 21 August performance in Ramallah of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
A Wall Between Music and Politics?
Does this Music project have a political dimension?
A Voice from the Audience: I would prefer to come back to the date of the concert. Have you confirmed the date? Do you know that it is in the middle of the time of the evacuation of the colonies? Has August 21 already been confirmed?
Barenboim: The August 21 date was confirmed before the dates of the exit was known. It’s up to you whether you believe me or not but believe me that in this situation there was no role for political calculation.
Audience: Excuse, Mr. Barenboim, but I cannot believe you. Because in the film you say, you want nothing other than to make music, but at the same time there are allusions to political problems, like the wall. The circumstances are not described, so that the situation is only presented from one side. It is said that a wall is being erected, but it is not said, why this wall is erected. For this reason I find that the film doesn’t just exclusively center around music, but that there is an undercurrent of politics present..
Barenboim: No, I will tell you, why not. The allusions to the wall are made by the young people in the film, they speak . . .
A Voice From the Audience: Yes, Palestinian young people! There are only ....
Barenboim:I’m sorry, but you have not correctly looked at it. In your opinion how many Palestinians are in the film? Because, do you know, not all Arabs are Palestinian. The allusions to the wall, of which you speak, were made by a young man from Syria. He is most certainly not a Palestinian. A young Palestinian also speaks about it. I would not like to prescribe how they have to think and I also don’t want to hinder them from thinking what they want.
A Voice From the Audience: No, I am speaking about the scene, in which you stand with Palestinians in an area and you clarify, how the wall will be erected. Don’t say that it is exclusively about music, Mr. Barenboim.
Barenboim: But I didn’t say that it was exclusively about music. I said that apart from the music and through the music there will arise connections, above all between men, who share the same passion, the passion for music.
A Voice From the Audience: You offer a certain contempt for the Israelis when you say that no Israelis could imagine, that an Egyptian ..
Barenboim: Not only . . . also Edward Said, he is Arabic, he was Palestinian . . .
A Voice From the Audience: Yes, but in the film you say ...
Barenboim: But he said it also! Excuse me, I’m sorry, but one imagines neither in France nor in the USA or in Germany the Egyptians to be passionate musicians dedicated to Bethovens Symphonies. That is a part of the culture of these countries, that we do not know. Very little developed, by the way, and the attitude of the Arabic governments, especially the Syrian and the Egyptian, are in a short scene in the film criticized by Edward Said himself. It would be a gesture of contempt to say that, and I have by the way said in Paris today . . . the Egyptians cannot establish a connection with classical music. Do you know that the project is itself a pardox. Because if there were no conflict, then the project would not be necessary. Egyptians would go to Tel Aviv, and study at music academies there. Israelis would perhaps on the other hand go somewhere else and the project would not be necessary.
Voice From the Audience: There are schools in Israel, there is at least a school in Jaffa, where musicians from . . .
Daniel Barenboim: Also from Syria? Also from Jordan? And also from Egypt? No, what you say is not correct. There is one school in Jaffa, where not only Jews study, but the students are all Israeli citizens. Jews, Palestinians, Christians and Moslems. But that doesn’t apply here. We are speaking here about the entire region and above all the different countries. On must not forget, that this conflict consists of two distinct parts in which there is perhaps a connection, but are independent of one another. There is on one part the Israeli-Palestinian or if you want the Jewish-Palestinian conflict and on the other side the conflict between the state of Israel and all of the other surrounding Arabic states. There are two separate conflicts, that often have something to do with one another. But one should not confuse the two, one can not say that Arabs study at the school in Jaffa. They are Israeli citizens. And I am happy, that that is. The have ssen the pianist Salim Abou Dechka and there are still other Palestinians, Arabs, Israeli citizens, who have the possibility to play. They play in the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, they work in Israel and that is good.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Gaza: Just Leave Already!
In the public radio realm, NPR has no peer when it comes to putting a spin on the war criminals. The teaser for "Caught in the Middle in Gaza": "Eldad Gal-Ed's role in the evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza: make sure soldiers avoid excessive force. His own family was evicted. Gal-Ed tells Steve Inskeep the process left emotional wounds." I'm sure he'll get over his wounds as soon as he rakes in his half a million in compensation for violating international law.
At least the Palestinians have the lovely warrior Diana Buttu, which I'm sure just drives the Israelis crazy. She's intelligent, well spoken and beautiful and I'm sure she'll prompt those Hasbara babes to work overtime to convince the public that she's not really a Palestinian: "This has been the greatest theatrical event I have seen in modern history, where each one of the actors has been paid more that $100,000 to appear in this media segment," Buttu said.
Diana just needs to watch more CNN so that she can adequately feel the colonists' pain. Even war criminals get the blues. We learn from "Evacuated Gaza Settlers in Shock," that the religious sociopaths who are upset with their "fleabag" hotels just can't wait to get on the road again.
"The former residents of Shirat Hayam, who had barricaded themselves in their beachfront settlement Thursday, were so disgusted with the mouse-ridden hotel they were sent to in the southern city of Beersheva that they decided to leave en masse. The 20 families chartered a bus Friday afternoon to take them to the West Bank settlement of Kedumim."
And I just want to give a shout out that Amy Teibel isn't among the three or four Middle East based journalists writing on behalf of Palestinians:
"Bikes were parked outside houses in Gaza's largest settlement Friday, but no one will ride them again through its streets. Homes were locked, but their owners won't ever unlock them."
For those who find abandoned bikes never to be ridden again by junior colonists as painful and gut-wrenching as Amy's prose, muster your courage for help is imminent for any manner of "psychological traumas" faced by the little sabras and sabrettes. IOF Spokesperson Hartman, acknowledging the painful effects of having "an 18-year old soldier clear out a 17-year-old girl who he might know from school or from childhood," assures sympathetic Westerners "we do have psychologists who are going to be there for them."
Gaza: Putting a Spin on War Crimes
Although Mahmud Abbas is continually called upon to reign in militant Palestinian resistance groups, how many times has he called upon Sharon to abide by international law which stipulates in Article 43 of the Hague Regulations that an Ocupying Power is responsible for the safety of the occupied population?
Safety for the occupied population is not even on Israel's agenda. Diana Buttu, a PA advisor has released the following statistics: "Throughout the 38-year military occupation more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army.. An estimated 8,500 Palestinians are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails. Approximately 20 percent of the Palestinian population, has, at some point been imprisoned by Israel. In the past 4 years alone, Israel has destroyed the homes of more than 16,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."
These times have produced a United Nations Secretary General who praises war criminal Ariel Sharon as "courageous," despite Israel's violations of scores of UN resolutions, one of which, 242, compels Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967. Instead of speaking plainly, instead of using his position to see to it that International Law, which Israel violated by moving its citizens to occupied territories, instead of using his position to see to it that Israel protects the people of the occupied territories as International Law also compels, Kofi Annan releases a statement that indicates that Sharon is to be lauded for putting a tiny fraction of his criminal activities on the backburner.
Rami Khouri wrote today in Lebanon's Daily Star that she was sad "that so few voices in Israel or among Jewish communities around the world would come out and say in clear terms that Israel is leaving because occupation is illegal, morally wrong, and politically counterproductive."
Sharon, of course, is motivated by racism. Rid of the 1.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, he is "maximizing land" for Jews and "minimizing" Palestinians in the West Bank. According to Khouri, "[Israel] represent[s] the last, lingering link to a form of 19th century European colonialism that is now universally seen to be based on the racist principle that white Europeans could steal the lands of any other people in the world, because the darker natives in southern lands had lesser rights as human beings."
Palestinians will continue to be victims of this anachronism unless leaders like Annan take a principled stand and journalists stop spinning war criminals as sympathetic victims and abusers as abused.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Bulldozer Cries on Cue
Sharon's Big Show winds down replete with grand finale, teenagers making a last stand on the top of synagogues in the colonies "Neve Dekalim" and "Kfar Darom." For hours upon end of "breaking news" CNN has shown soldiers and police carrying them gingerly to the busses, unlike the treatment afforded non-violent Palestinian protestors from Bil'in, who have been killed, tear gassed at close range, and infiltrated by IOF soldiers employing violence for a pretext, as if the IOF ever needed one, for shooting protestors. Of course, most westerners would not be able to compare and contrast the IOF's actions when dealing with Jewish Israelis as opposed to their treatment of Palestinians because the weekly Friday protests at Bil'in are not covered by the mainstream media.
Today's final act starring compassionate soldiers and last stand colonists has relegated the murders yesterday of brothers Bassam Mousa Tawasha, Ussama Mousa Tawasha, Mohammed Ali Hassan Monsour and Khalis Mohammed Ra'ouf Welaiwel to paragraph 22 of a 24 paragraph story on BBC World's online edition. Palestine Center for Human Rights Gaza reports a Red Cresecent Ambulance was immediately on the scene but was prevented by the IOF from "attending the victims." Contrast to the two stretchers that appeared immediately for injured protestors from the Kfar Darom colony. The sponsor of Sabra and Shatila and a host of other horrors mouthed something for the press about "Jewish terrorism."
So one wonders if a reformed Ariel Sharon is crying over violations of Palestinian human rights that occurred this week. They included fifteen Palestinian civilians wounded by IOF and colonists, 42 IOF incursions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 51 arrests, a house demolished in al-Mawasi, 15 houses transformed into military sites.
Maybe Sharon would have cried if he'd had an opportunity to read about settlers from Kfar Darom who burned a Palestinian village yesterday, the same settlers being treated with kids' gloves by the IOF today, but according to Laila El-Haddad, reporter for Al-Jazeerah, no one bothered to cover it: "Two days ago I wrote about a Palestinian village near Kfar Darom who feared for their property and lives from neighbouring settlers, but their warnings fell on deaf ears. Settlers burned their property yesterday, and no one, I mean NO ONE covered it."
Sharon's selective tears exemplify the racism inherent in Zionism. Compare the IOF's actions when dealing with recalcitrant colonists at Neve Dekalim and Sfar Darom synagogues to the treatment meted to those Palestinians who sought sanctuary in the Church of the Nativity three years ago: "For the next forty days, the Israeli military prevented any food from entering the church and prevented medical treatment from reaching the wounded trapped inside. Anything moving in the streets were shot at by Israeli forces. Through the use of snipers, the Israelis also began shooting inside the church. When several Palestinians died, the others were unable to bury their bodies. The dead were trapped inside the church alongside the living. In total, the Israeli snipers killed nine people, including the church's bell ringer, and wounded more than forty. A great deal of structural damage was done to the Church of Nativity itself; three rooms in the complex were destroyed."
Sharon has produced with able assistance from most of the western media, a real tearjerker, which according to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, has shown "heart-wrenching," and "painful" scenes of "stoic" IOF soldiers "trying to remove their brethren." It will have a long run and leave the intended and indelible impression among western audiences, kept woefully uninformed by a mainstream media following a predictable script.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Media Serves Up Gaza Trauma and Drama
And dramatic it is. Sharif Hamadeh's observation that "Since there are no ribbons for civic equality and human rights, Jewish Israeli society and the international media remain transfixed by the pornography of the disengagement" is apt. He likens the international media's preoccupation with the disengagement as "absurdist theatre." The "histrionics" of the colonists, with many an American and Canadian among them, serve the purposes of the Israeli government, which has publicly stated it has no intention of dismantling more than the two percent of the illegal colonies that Gaza comprises. CNN and BBC are preparing westerners for another fact on the ground: If it is this difficult to get eight thousand colonists out of an area that hasn't much historical or biblical importance for Israel, it is next to impossible to remove the four hundred thousand entrenched in the occupied West Bank.
Nonetheless, TV coverage brought a few chills today. It is a tough task for even the most die hard Zionist sympathizer to put a spin on loud and obnoxious infiltrating juveniles hell bent on raising Cain. And we were treated to a candid Islamic University student, Ibrahim, who when asked by the reporter if he had any words for the departing Jewish people refreshingly replied, " Yes. Be frank with yourselves. This is not your land. I don't know where you're from. You are a lot of different cultures. You ripped this land from us." And hat tip to Golda (I can forgive the Palestinians for killing our children, but I can not forgive them for forcing us to kill theirs), Ibrahim proffered, "You forced us to hate you. I love you and wish you a peaceful life."
But for every Ibrahim there are manifold Israeli government officials hogging the cameras. Ariel Sharon, Mr. Pathos himself assures the colonists: "Your pain and your tears are an inseparable part of this country's history," he said, pledging that "we won't abandon you" after the evacuation.
Abandoned? Hardly. According to Nazareth based Jonathan Cook, who has pointedly refused to cover the hoopla: "There are lots of other stories I think might be worth covering, where Israel would find it harder to sanitise my reporting. I could visit the new luxury settlement some of the Gaza families are being moved to, which is concreting over one of the last nature reserves in the Negev. I could look at how Israel is hoping to use the $2bn aid it is expecting to receive from America as "compensation" for the disengagement to confiscate yet more land from Arab citizens in Israel’s Arab heartlands of the Galilee and Negev so that Gaza’s extremist, armed settlers can be relocated there. And of course I could look at the relentless land confiscation, house destruction and wall-building going on well away from Gaza in the West Bank and Jerusalem, unnoticed as those thousands of journalists are distracted by the "trauma" of disengagement."
And, as usual, the real victims of any Israeli venture are the hapless Palestinians. Laila El-Haddad reported in Al-Jazeera that the Dair Al-Balah area of Maani, which is near the hardline settlement of Kfar Dfaram is faces a month long closure. And according to Palestine Center For Human Rights, Gaza, "The IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the al-Mawasi area. They have continued to close al-Tuffah and Tal al-Sultan checkpoints at the entrances to the area. . On Monday morning, 15 August 2005, IOF ordered residents of Tal Reidan quarter in the north of al-Mawasi area through megaphones not to leave their homes until further notice." PCHR fieldworkers have also listed numerous settler attacks on Palestinians.
Israeli actions that are ongoing in the occupied West Bank remain underreported, if reported at all amidst the hoopla of 'disengagement' coverage. According to International Middle East Media Center, IMEMC , whose reports of Israeli atrocities are too numerous to list here, the Israeli Army has bulldozed lands near southwest Jerusalem, settlers have attacked homes and destroyed furniture in Borqa village, invasions are continuing, arrests are continuing, and barns and a well in Hebron have been destroyed. Farmers are convinced the action is aimed to get them to leave.
Still, the Palestinians of Gaza are entitled to savor the "drama" of the TV spectacle of a colonist pulled away kicking and screaming. "Ala'a Salim A-Qadi and his family and neighbors are watching television raptly as disengagement events unfold." For Ala'a and his family whose cut flower business was destroyed because colonists "over-pumped the main aquifer," causing sea-water to leach the water supply, seeing the settlers leaving produced tears. And after thirty-eight years of oppression, if anyone is entitled to a "dramatic" moment, it is the Palestinians.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Journalists "Disengaged" From Real Gaza Story
Journalist Michael Bronner told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now: "There are thousands of journalists, there are, some say, about 4,000 journalists. And the image of settlers being dragged from their homes or pulled from their homes is an image that they really want to have, and there's almost a sense that, you know, they're being taken to some place far worse than down the beach where they're going, where the new settlement is being built for them, the new community."
What journalists are not telling viewers of BBC and CNN is that the The Fourth Geneva Convention, the primary document governing the OPT, stipulates in Article 49 that the transfer of the population of the occupying power into the occupied territory is in breach of international law. Hence, the colonists are war criminals albeit war criminals who are being compensated handsomely for their crimes with some families receiving upwards of four hundred thousand dollars to relocate. Add to the pot the World Bank's last minute buyout for fourteen million dollars of the colonies' greenhouses built on confiscated lands. Some of the kicking and screaming colonists will relocate on illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank.
What journalists are also not telling viewers is that "under the 'disengagement' plan, the Israeli military will continue to control air and land borders (they will continue to be deployed along the Philadelphi Road border between Gaza and Egypt), and sea access to the Gaza Strip. Disengagement is . . .only a redeployment of Israeli military to the border areas."
Journalists, most pointedly, western journalists, are not telling viewers that the colonists have led privileged lives on confiscated land in Gaza. According to Hanan Ashrawi's MIFTAH (which means 'key' in Arabic): "In the Israeli occupied Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, a settler population of approximately 6,500 controls more than 20% of Gaza's territory and has full freedom of movement." Today, afforded a few minutes on CNN, Ms. Ashrawi provided more recent figures: The colonists controlled sixty percent of the water and forty percent of the land.
Western journalists are also depriving viewers by not informing them that Neve Dekalim, a favored settlement for coverage by the BBC, is one of fourteen illegal colonies that surrounds the village of Al-Mawasi. Mawasi's cleanest water is controlled by the colonists, with much of it pumped inside the Green line to the Negev.
What western journalists probably won't tell you is that Mawasi's villagers have been denied access to their own beach for four years. And before one sheds any tears for the Israeli colonists, consider pregnant women, who have often had to wait up to one week for permits to get out of Mawasi, whose inhabitants' movements have been totally controlled by the IDF for the past four years.
Al-Mawasi's hardships continue throughout the "disengagement." According to Palestine Center For Human Rights, Gaza: "At approximately 0330 on Saturday, the 13th of August 2005, IOF moved into al-Lahham quarter in al-Mawasi area in the west of Khan Yunis, raiding and searching a number of houses. They checked the identity cards of Palestinian civilians. They then took 8 civilians to a nearby military post, where they interrogated them for two hours. Seven of these civilians were released, while 18-year-old Ahmed Yousef al-Lahham has remained in custody."
Al-Mawasi is not the only Palestinian village affected. Al-Sayafa is a "Palestinian area located in between the Dogit and Elli Sinai settlements in the Northern Gaza Strip and is home to approximately 180 Palestinians. Its inhabitants have been subjected to severe restriction of movement including requiring prior coordination to enter and exit the area and restrictions on the movement of goods and services."
But, here's hoping that some intrepid journalist will speak to Raja Sourani, head of Palestine's Center for Human Rights in Gaza. Here's what Raja said to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman:
RAJI SOURANI: [inaudible] There is nothing special. There is nothing special, nothing unique. [inaudible] It seems there is total misunderstanding for the disengagement [inaudible]. The Israeli occupation will continue in its legal and [inaudible] form. What's happening, this is unilateral disengagement [inaudible] decided by Sharon, and the occupation will remain, they will continue, they will keep controlling the borders, they will keep controlling the land. They will keep controlling the sea and the air. Gaza will be closed off. We will have no connection whatsoever with our people, relatives [inaudible] Jerusalem. The Gazans will be disconnected from the West Bank and Jerusalem, and their only contact with outside world, their only connection with the outside world [inaudible] will be under full Israeli control. And there will be no ports, no airport. It's already in Gaza there is 60% unemployment.
And with a little divine intervention a journalist just might point out the following: Ariel Sharon and George Bush have made very clear in public statements that Israel will remain entrenched in the West Bank because of "facts on the ground," according to Bush. Arab East Jerusalem is being encircled by expansion of existing illegal Jewish colonies. Palestinian homes continue to be demolished. Palestinians in East Jerusalem will be effectively cut off from neighbors, families, schools, hospitals, and land, before the citizens of Israel are satiated. The Apartheid Wall continues to be built further ghettoizing the Palestinians. Just like Oslo was a ruse for Israel's most intensive period of colonisation, the Gaza disengagement has effectively diverted the mainstream media's attention from Israel's continuing war crimes.
Monday, August 15, 2005
War Criminal Gaza Colonists Compensated/Palestinians Ignored
Being a war criminal pays: the illegal colonists will receive from 150,000- 400,000 in compensation from the Israeli government.
Unfortunately, the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine don't receive any where near the amount of coverage, of, for example, fifty-nine year old Anita Tucker, the Brooklyn, New York native, and darling of the BBC's Hard Talk, also oft quoted in the prolific and sympathetic news stories about the war criminals. If only the fate of the indigenous people were portrayed on CNN and BBC, perhaps US taxpayers wouldn't be so quick to subsidize Israel's ongoing war crimes to the tune of three billion dollars annually.
What follows is from the introduction to Walid Kahlidi's monumental All That Remains, the book which painstakingly documents ethnic cleansing and destruction of 418 Palestinian villages between 1947-48. It is about time US journalists learned something about the cruel history Jewish supremacists meted out to Palestinians. I can't get excited about the Gaza "disengagement." Most Palestinian academics have noted it is a mere tactical ruse and a diversion to deflect from Israel's iron grip on the West Bank and Jerusalem.
"There is no denying that the Zionist colonization of Palestine, which began in the early 1880s and continues to this day, represents one of the most remarkable colonizing ventures of all time, and certainly the most successful such venture in the twentieth century.
"Within one life-span, a nearly total revolution was effected in the demographic, socioeconomic, cultural, and political status quo as it stood in Palestine at the turn of this century.
"In the process, two momentous developments evolved in opposite directions. On the one hand there was the steady concentration of and encroachment by an immigrant Jewish presence accompanied by the relentless consolidation of its control over the natural resources of the country. On the other hand, there was the corresponding marginalization, dispersal, thinning out, and beleaguerment of the indigenous Palestinians who until 1948 constituted the vast majority of the population.
"For historical parallels of these twin phenomena, the closest analogies that come to mind are the impingement of European settlers in North America on the native American and that of settlers of British stock on the aboriginal populations of Australia and New Zealand.
"But there are also striking differences. (1) In Palestine, the displacement/replacement process occurrred within decades as opposed to two or three centuries in the other cases. (2) The process occurred in a tiny and already relatively densely settled country where there could have been no perception of a vast untapped wilderness crying for Western exploration and exploitation. (3) The Palestinian phenomenon evolved in the post-heyday of the classical European colonization of Asian and African countries and in the wake of the (at least verbal) espousal by the Western democracies of the principle of national self-determination. It anachronisticallly accompanied the demise of the old imperial regimes in the former colonies and straddled two World Wars ostensibly fought for the core values of Western civilisation. And (4) the colonizaiton of the homeland of the Palestinians took place in the modern age of communication and continues in full vigor under the glare, however fitful, of the electronic mass media. " (xxxi-xxxii)
"They [Palestinian villages] have remained altogether anonymous to the outside world and might as well never have existed. A dozen or so, though depopulated, were spared or suffered only minor damage. The rest were either totally destroyed or virtually so. They have literally been wiped off the face of the earth. The sites of their destroyed homesteads and graveyards, as well as their orchards, threshing floors, wells, livestock, and grazing grounds were all parcelled out among Jewish colonies that had been their neighbors or among new ones established afterwards on the erstwhile village lands. The Hebrew names of these latter have replaced their Arabic predecessors, sometimes faintly mocking and echoing them. The inheritors of these villages and their patrimony come from all the major Zionist/Israeli collective, cooperative, or small holder agricultural movements (kibbutzm and moshavim). These movements are affiliated to Israeli political parties that span the entrie spectrum from the most liberal to the most hardline, with the lion's share going to those closer to the former.
"Some hundred or so Palestinian villages in the areas conquered by Israel in the 1948 war were neither destroyed nor depopulated, and continue to exist to this day within Israel's 1967 borders. One might note, however, that over 80 percent of the lands of these Palestinian/Israeli citizens who never left their homes have been confiscated since 1948 and put at the exclusive disposal of the Jewish citizens of the state (xxxii). "
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Before the Colonists Came to Canaan
From Jews for Justice in the Middle East
Early History of the Region
Before the Hebrews first migrated there around 1800 B.C., the land of Canaan was occupied by Canaanites.
"Between 3000 and 1100 B.C., Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan...Those who remained in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century A.D.] were a potpourri: farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes."
Marcia Kunstel and Joseph Albright, "Their Promised Land."
The present-day Palestinians' ancestral heritage
"But all these [different peoples who had come to Canaan] were additions, sprigs grafted onto the parent tree...And that parent tree was Canaanite...[The Arab invaders of the 7th century A.D.] made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabized that we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin."
Illene Beatty, "Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan."
The Jewish kingdoms were only one of many periods in ancient Palestine
"The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years...Then it fell apart...[Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David's conquest of Canaan in 1000 B.C. to the wiping out of Judah in 586 B.C., we arrive at [only] a 414 year Jewish rule."
Illene Beatty, "Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan."
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
An Apology From a US Christian to Palestinians
For example Ed McAteer, founder of the Moral Majority, and a Christian Zionist who doesn't believe Israel should relinquish any of the illegally occupied territories, was asked by Bob Simon of CBS News: "What about the three million Palestinians who live on the West Bank and Gaza?"
Simon said that McAteer suggested that " . . . the bulk of them could be cleansed . . . and moved to some Arab country."
Not to be outdone, Kay Arthur, of Precept Ministries, an organization that leads tours to Israel, told Simon that Yitzak Rabin's signing of the Oslo Accords was a mistake " . . . and I believe that God stopped it by the things that happened," a not so indirect reference to Rabin's death by assassination.
In March 2002, Ariel Sharon invaded the occupied territories again. George Bush unequivocally told him to get out. Jerry Falwell launched a campaign in which his minions, estimated at 20-26 million, phoned, e-mailed, and wrote letters to Bush and Congress. Bush didn't say another word as Sharon unleashed another vicious attack on the indigenous people of the occupied territories and Falwell boasted, "The Bible Belt is Israel's safety net in the US."
One incitement to hatred that I found particularly appalling from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is the following from the Fourth International Christian Congress on Biblical Zionism.
"We also urge the Church to recognize that local Christian Arabs have been living under unbearable circumstances due to abusive Islamic coercion and intimidation."
My father was a Palestinian Orthodox Christian. When he lay dying four years ago, the person who visited him most frequently, and who came a long way from Northern California to do so was the son of a prominent Jerusalem Muslim cleric. Indeed, my father and Sa'eb were friends for most of their adult lives. For US Christian Zionists to make a proclamation about supposed animosity between Muslim and Christian Palestinians is the height of audacity and ignorance.
Indeed, the fate of the Christian Palestinian is no different than that of the Muslim if these millions strong fanatical hatemongers hold sway. In fact, Palestinians are chastised for seeking solace in Christ for their suffering. To the Christian Zionists it is no more than "exploitation of His suffering and sacrifice for temporal and devious political purposes."
Christian Zionist websites still peddle misinformation that has been debunked not only by Palestinian historians, but also Israeli historians. "There simply is no distinct Palestinian entity," proclaims retired Brigadier General James Hutchens of the JerUSAlem Connection. Particularly galling is his pernicious use of the word "so-called" when putting "Palestinian" before people. And then he proceeds to pontificate on what we are "in reality." People without a "distinct culture." People to whom he referred in "An Open Letter to President Bush," as "from God's viewpoint . . . the illegal occupants, not the Israelis."
Christian Zionist websites repeatedly bleat that Allah is not "our" God although as a Christian Palestinian I call upon God, "Ya Allah." As the daughter of a Christian Palestinian I am the descendent of the original stones, the first Christians, although the Christian Zionists consider my Palestinian brethren, both Muslim and Christian as "illegal" occupants of the land to which they're indigenous. It is particulary hateful for these Bible Belters to make the ignorant assumption that Palestinians lack a discernable "culture." Assuming that they did not have a distinct culture, does it give anyone a right to ethnically cleanse them? To the Christian Zionists, Palestinians are the children of a lesser God.
For their malice, for their perversion of Christianity, for their promulgation of lies regarding the Palestinian people and their history in Palestine, for their demonisation of the Palestinians, for their lack of regard for the dwindling numbers of their co-religionists in Palestine, for the lies that their leaders spew about God; i.e., "Those who promote a Palestinian state have placed themselves in alliance against God," for their incitement to hatred, for their advocating ethnic cleansing, for their role in promoting Israel's repressive measures in the occupied territories, for those who believe as does Gary Bauer, co-founder of Stand For Israel, that it is an "obscenity" to give up land for peace, and for their complete and total abdication of the Golden Rule, I apologize to the Palestinians on behalf of US Christians.
For those US Christians among us who are appalled at what our co-religionists are doing in our name, and who still consider "the least of their brethren," please look to those Palestinian Christians such as Reverend Naim Ateek, the founder of liberation theology, and an advocate of "spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, and love." That's what I thought Christianity was all about. Let us not allow it to be hijacked by the fanatics.
Monday, August 08, 2005
August 7, 2005
By Khalid Amayreh *
Israel incessantly claims that she is the only true democracy in the Middle East. The Jewish state often uses this claim, which is half-true at best, to blur her systematic violations of Palestinian civil and human rights.
Two weeks ago, while I was on my way to Jordan and South Africa to conduct some interviews with officials in both countries, the Israeli security authorities told me rather unceremoniously that I couldn't travel.
At the Allenby Bridge border crossing, an Israeli security officer told me, after examining my Palestinian passport, that I should return back to my home in Hebron.
"You are black-listed," he told me in a dismissive and indifferent tone.
When I sought to protest the draconian and unexpected measure, the officer said tersely "you know, for security reasons."
I am a professional Palestinian journalist. I have a BA degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a Master Degree in the same field from the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale.
I work for a number of English language media outlets, including al-Jazeera.net/English and the Egyptian newspaper, al Ahram Weekly. My articles and dispatches are published around the world. There is nothing secretive or suspicious about who I am and what I do.
I have never been arrested by the Israeli occupation authorities and never been accused of any wrong doing. Yes, I don't hesitated to call the spade a spade, but this is part of being a journalist. Needless to say, a journalist who can't call the spade a spade, should probably seek another job.
More to the point, I consistently supported a political settlement of the Palestinian plight based on international law and human rights. I also openly condemned on several occasions all violent acts targeting Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
Non the less, it is amply clear that Israel continues to classify Palestinians into two categories, either terrorists who ought to be annihilated or severely punished, who also apparently include critics of the occupation and its many diabolic practices; and collaborators and quislings who only deserve a dog treatment.
There is nothing in between. A Palestinian, like me, who, while repudiating violence against civilians, insists on his people's freedom and human rights, is viewed as a "dangerous man." In other words, a terrorist.
There is no other explanation for Israel's draconian measures against me and my Palestinian colleagues who are only communicating to the outside world, as objectively as a human can be, and as honestly as possible, events in this tormented region.
One Israeli officer at the "travelers' hall" mentioned the word "al-Jazeera" as if working for aljazeera was a grand crime.
Earlier, a number of Israeli official media spokesmen voiced their displeasure at al-Jazeera.net's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This was followed eventually by a change of behavior by Israeli spokespersons who wouldn't return telephone calls from me and my Gaza colleague Leila El-Haddad.
Leila, a Harvard graduate and mother of a six-month child, is also barred from traveling to Israel proper and the West Bank.
Again, the security mantra is always ready to justify the ban.
However, I do suspect that the real purpose of these flagrant and unjustified punitive measures against me and Leila is to impose immobility on us in order to undermine our journalistic performance.
We are journalists, not politicians. We don't create events, we only report on them.
In any democratic country, when a state has certain grudges or serious charges against an individual, the courts settle any dispute.
Here in Israel, things are entirely different. The Shin Beth is the accuser and the judge and the usually Palestinian victim, whether a journalist or an ordinary citizen, is supposed to chew his suffering and bitterness quietly. I refuse to do so, and I won't accept this disgraceful treatment for I am not a child of a lesser God.
I have been told that I would have to pay the minimum of $2000 US dollars to an influential Israeli lawyer in order to be allowed to travel only for one time.
If true, then I would have to sacrifice twice my monthly income to rapacious Israeli lawyers just to be able to travel outside the West Bank.
This flagrant treatment of Palestinian journalists is unjust and unacceptable to say the least. And it must stop.
If Israel has any genuine accusations or charges against us, let them face us before a court of law, and we will accept the consequences.
But if they lack any evidence incriminating us, as they obviously do, they should grant us our natural rights to travel freely inside and outside our country, for there is no law under the sun restricting the movement of journalists just because the government doesn’t like what they write.
I realize that we are a people under occupation and that the occupation is actually an act of rape. I know this fact too well, first as Palestinian citizen and second as a journalist.
However, I can't understand how Israel's security is served by barring Palestinian journalists from carrying out their jobs?
And a word to our Israeli colleagues. I believe you must speak up against the punitive and humiliating restrictions being imposed by your government on Palestinian journalists.
You are readily allowed freedom of movement throughout the West Bank and to Jordan and Egypt as well. I am not against this freedom. I only demand that the same freedom is granted to your Palestinian colleagues. We are not children of a lesser God, after all.
Finally, I would like to address journalists around the world. Israel is tormenting Palestinian journalists and restricting their freedom of movement because it doesn't like what they write. This is a serious and scandalous violation of press freedom and human rights.
I believe it is your duty as journalists to speak up against this act of rape by a state that claims ad nauseam that it is the only democracy in the Middle East.
Democracies just don't act this way.
* Palestinian journalist based in the West Bank city of Hebron.
by Gilad Atzmon
Yesterday, Eden Natan Zada, a young Jewish Israeli man wearing an IDF uniform opened fire on passengers on a bus in a Druze neighbourhood of the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram, killing four people and wounding twelve.
Astonishingly enough, for the first time the Israeli public is labelling a Judeo terrorist ‘mechabel,' a title reserved solely to Arab freedom fighters. I suggest that we stop for a second and ask ourselves what really stands behind the Hebraic collective revolutionary lingual shift.
Is there really any categorical difference between Eden Natan Zada, a 19 year old, newly religious settler and an Israeli Air Force F-16 pilot who drops bombs on Palestinian cities? Isn’t an IAF pilot, the salt of the Israeli earth, a secular Jew raised in Tel Aviv or even in a kibbutz, a mechabel? As far as I am concerned, at least ethically, they are very much the same. They are all engaged in the murder of innocent Palestinians.
For instance, is there any difference between Natan Zada and Dan Halutz, the newly appointed Israeli Chief of Staff? For those who managed to forget, It was Dan Halutz who ordered the dropping of a one-ton bomb on an apartment in a residential area in Gaza on July 22, 2002 to extra-judicially kill a leading Palestinian activist Salah Shehadeh, but also killed 15 innocent bystanders, among them women and 9 children. When Halutz was asked how it feels to throw a bomb over an urban territory he was quoted as saying: it feels like “a slight tremor in the wing of the airplane.”
Ethically speaking, there is no difference between Natan Zada and Halutz. Halutz, the ex commander of the IAF is no doubt a mechabel. But somehow, the Israeli people fail to see it. They regard him as a patriotic hero. Seemingly, Natan Zada internalised Halutz’s ideology. Lacking an American airplane, he decided to act independently. He took his IDF gun into a bus full with Arab people. But then one may ask why has the entire Israeli society denounced him collectively? Why Sharon, himself an established bloodthirsty war criminal, condemned the kill using the strongest possible language? What is so unique about Natan Zada?
Evidently, people with fascist tendencies are happy to leave murderous practices in the hands of the state. For them, as long as it is the state who is killing on their behalf, they are left morally intact. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, is in practice, a state appointed murderer. For the Israelis, Halutz is entitled to kill, Natan Zada isn’t.
There is one more crucial difference between Halutz and Natan Zada. The later was a newly religious Jew. He was a settler. He had a settlers’ skullcap on his head. And for those who fail to realise, the Secular Israelis hate religious Jews almost as much as they hate Arabs. The reason is very simple. Because Jewish secularity is an empty quality in itself to identify with, the secular Jew is engaged in a process of negative dialectic. He basically hates everything that fails to be him. This would include Arabs, Religious Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Settlers, Germans, Gentiles, basically everything. The Secular Israeli hates just in order to define himself.
But it goes even deeper. Secular Israelis like to differentiate between Palestinians in the occupied territories and Palestinians who happen to possess Israeli citizenship. While the first group is regarded and treated by Israelis as sub-humans and a demographic danger, the second is comprised of people who are at best second-class citizens. Clearly, within Israeli society, Halutz gets away with killing just because he kills the ‘bad’ Palestinians, those who demographically endanger the Jewish state. Natan Zada, on the other hand, is regarded as a mechabel just because he killed ‘Israeli Arabs’. Natan Zada failed to realise that the Israelis prefer to keep the ‘Israeli Arabs’ for later. For the time being the ‘Israeli Arabs' are there to provide the Jewish colony with some cheap labour force as well as genuine high octane humus. For the time being ‘Israeli Arab’ are allowed to live.
Clearly, the Israelis don’t like Arabs; they don’t distinguish between those who live in Gaza, Shfaram or Riyadh. All one needs is to quote an Israeli popular saying: ‘a good Arab is a dead Arab.' The Israelis want Sharon to disengage from Gaza as soon as possible not because they search for a true peaceful solution but rather because they want another quiet twenty years in their doomed demographic pipeline. They simply want to delay the end. The majority of the Israeli Jews support the pullout not because they aim for peace, it is rather the opposite, they just hate to live with others. The Israeli Jews want to live in an Americanised segregated Jewish state. The idea of a non-Jewish majority on their newly formed national state horrifies them. For the Israelis it is clear that the ‘Israeli Arabs’ will be dealt at a later stage.
Natan Zada and his comrades do not agree with the general Israeli outlook. Seemingly, they understand the Zionist agenda slightly better than most Israelis. For them an Arab is an Arab, a gentile is a gentile and mostly important a Jew is a Jew.. They want the Jewish state solely for the Jewish people. Full stop. Natan Zada and his friends want to jeopardise Sharon’s pullout, they prefer to hang on to Gaza and to cleanse it of Palestinians. Natan Zada wanted an all out war. The Natan Zadas want to redeem the land now. Halutz, on the other hand, is a military general. He prefers not to fight in all fronts simultaneously. He believes that the kill must be scheduled. First Gaza, then Jenin and only then Shfaram and Jaffa. He has an American airplane, he can take his time, at least that’s what he believes in.Natan Zada reminds the Israelis what their next battle to come is going to look like. Natan Zada is the nightmare of the Israeli secular identity. Unlike most Israelis, Natan Zada is coherent and consistent. His message is clear. He managed to internalise the Zionist dream. He is fighting for a purified Jewish society. In fact, Natan Zada is ahead of Halutz and most Israelis. While Halutz engages himself in a step by step ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, Natan Zada extends the battle to the entire biblical Israel.
The devastating murder yesterday is a wake up call for the Palestinian people and for all of us who support the Palestinian cause. We shouldn’t let ourselves be overwhelmed by the general mode of Israeli condemnation and righteous hypocrisy. Zionism is all about establishing a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Zionism is all about establishing a racially purified Jewish state. There are no different faces to Zionism but rather different political and pragmatic practices. Natan Zada and Dan Halutz are both murderers. They both are motivated by hatred of everything that fails to be Jewish, they just apply different strategies. It was just a question of time before Palestinians within Israeli territory would become the subject of Israeli state terrorism. We must bring Zionism down now.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Zionism's Legacy A 'Bitter Harvest'
Zionism is unhealthy for children and other living things.
What Price Israel? Alfred Lilienthal asked. Relatives mourn the victim of a Zionist. The "terrorist" Sharon refers to the teenage gunman as a "terrorist." Photo by Muhammed Muheisen.
The nineteen year old who killed Dina and Hazar Turki is the legacy of a colonial, racist, apartheid society.
This colonist soldier has no intention of letting "people'" of Palestine be free. He confiscated this sign from a demonstator against the Strangulation Wall in Bil'in Ironically, the splendid US media edifies its readers by informing that the wall is intended to keep out "attackers."
Friday, August 05, 2005
Activist Contacts Reuters Re Overt Bias
Your obvious bias comes shining through in the choice of words you sued in covering the Jewish terrorist attack on a bus filled with Arabs in Israel.
This is blatant and obvious bias is clear in the descriptions that accompany the pictures that were put out by the Reuters whereby Israelis are portrayed as humans who “rescue”, “mourn”, and “light candles” all of which are endearing qualities, BUT Arabs “storm”, thus giving the readers the impression of Arabs as uncivilized savages.
It would never occur to the casual reader that ALL of the people that you identify as Israelis in the pictures are also Arabs.
It is scandalous to say the least that you would choose these words whereby goodness and humanity are portrayed as being an “Israeli” quality, while barbaric behavior is assigned to “Arabs”
Shame on you!
Chaim from the comments in Ha'aretz.
In Shfara "Israelis" Rescue, Mourn, Light Candles . . . But "Arabs" Storm
Reuters identify these candle lighters as "Israelis."
Reuters identifies these men as "Israeli" men mourn.
Reuters identifes these rescuers as "people." They are carrying a wounded man in the Arab town of Shfaram where a nineteen year old shot dead four Arabs.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Thoughts on Boulos' "How can we keep what we cannot defend?"
"How can we keep what we cannot defend?" This question is posed by Zaki Boulos in his thought provoking essay which must be read in its entirety at peace palestine. This essay will just deal with this bottom line question.
"How can we keep what we cannot defend?" There are many ways of answering this question. In some instances, Palestinians and those working on their behalf in the West are attempting to defend Palestinians, at least through divestment efforts, efforts to sway public opinion, and efforts to sway politicians. This is not the time for me to discuss the merits of Palestinian defense militarily; at least one analyst, Shibel, has documented the deleterious effects of the intifada on Israel's economy. I will leave this type of defense for him and others to consider.
"How can we keep what we cannot defend?" Edward Said addressed this when he admonished those of us living in western countries to concentrate our efforts on American and European public opinion. He also advocated that we seek an Israeli audience. He cited the example of Arafat's inarticulate nephew who was the PA's man in the US (thankfully soon to be replaced with the articulate and urbane Afif Saffieh). Contrast the PA's efforts in the US with the highly efficient and organized Israeli Hasbara campaign.
Just one example of its effectiveness was to change the discourse at Oberlin College. How to deal with anti-Zionists on a left-wing campus, the Hillel Zionists asked? Prior to its efforts, which included joint evenings with the Muslim Students Association, forums, etc., anti-Zionist discourse was the norm on campus. Its campaign was so successful that the discourse has moved in a "two-state" direction, which is exactly what the Hillel Zionists sought to do. They're pretty happy with themselves, having successfully countered attempts for divestment. By portraying themselves to be working toward co-existence, they've apparently sidelined those who seek peace and justice based upon international law and UN resolutions to the "lunatic fringe" corner. It is sincerely hoped that those who seek peace with justice will emerge from this defeat stronger.
"How do we keep what we cannot defend?" I do not live in the US anymore and have only read about efforts of some college anti-Zionist groups, affiliated with Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Campaign. The University of Wisconsin at Madison is one example. It appears from the campus newspaper that two activists, are working to engage the college in a divestment campaign. Mohammed Abed (thanks peace palestine)and Fayyad Sbaihat's well written essays have appeared on the campus' on-line newspaper. Their efforts have been met with a barrage of mostly racist and hateful comments on the same site. However, Mohammed and Fayyad, like any Palestinian advocates, are by now inured to the hateful diatribes. Their efforts have led to a resolution sponsored by the Association of University of Wisconsin Professional Statewide Employees urging divestment. These professionals are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and encompass twenty-five University of Wisconsin campuses.
"How do we keep what we cannot defend?" The Faculty Senate of Platteville, Wisconsin is the first university faculty body to adopt a resolution calling for divestment. The Presbyterian Church (USA) will divest its portfolio from companies aiding Israel's occupation of Palestine. The World Council of Churches has recommended that its 347 member churches follow the example of the Presbyterians and the Anglican, United Methodist, and United Church of Christ are now considering divestment.
"How do we keep what we cannot defend?" For all the positive news reported above, we still find that Israel is undeterred in building its Apartheid, Strangulating Wall, in spite of the fact that the International Court defended the rights of the Palestinians not to be cut off from their farms, schools, hospitals, families, etc. We find that Israel is resolved to "maximize Jews," and "minimize Palestinians," and this from the Deputy Prime Minister.
"How do we keep what we cannot defend?" George Bisharat, the articulate lawyer, writes beautiful op-ed stories which appear in widely circulated newspapers. No one could read one of his stories and not be moved by his love for Villa Harun ar-Rashid, the house which was confiscated in 1948. When Dr. Bisharat visits the house after many years, the current Jewish occupant insists, "But the family never lived here." Telling, isn't it?
"How do we keep what we cannot defend?" One of the most tireless advocates for Palestinians is, as she describes herself, "just a housewife," Annie Annab, who writes around four-five letters-to-the-editor daily, many of which are published. Here's an example of a letter that she submitted today, August 4 to George Bush. I've included a link so that any Palestinian American eating sunflower seeds right now can wash his/her hands and take a five minute break and write a letter.
Letters To Leaders
All messages are published with permission of the sender. The general topic of this message is Foreign Affairs:
Subject:Stop Israeli racism-
Support real justice for Palestine : Support the Right of Return.
To:President George Bush
August 4, 2005
Israel's unilateral "disengagement" from Gaza dominates our news, obscuring Israel's continued land grabs and attacks on Palestinians.Today, while all eyes are on the "disengagement" Israel has quietly announced plans to expand yet another West Bank Settlement. And today a Jewish resident of the West Bank settlement of Tapuah, dressed in a Border Police uniform, opened fire inside a bus killing two adolescent girls and the driver of the bus in the Arab town Shfa'amer (Shfaram in Hebrew).
The shooter also directed his fire outside the bus, and the casualties included people outside the bus. Five victims wounded in the shooting were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa. All were in moderate to serious condition.Israel's Channel 2 when reporting on the incident said the incident was not a terror attack: 57 years ago Zionist terror helped create Israel- and Zionist terror continues to this day... and the persecuted and impoverished Palestinians are called terrorists and imprisoned- or killed- because they dare object. But when reporting breaking news, Israeli Jews aren't called terrorists by the Israeli media.
They are subsidized by the state to live in illegal settlements and make life miserable for the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.
Israel's refusal to respect U.N Resolution 194 from 1948, the Palestinian refugees inalienable right of return, reinforces Israeli racism and encourages religious fanatics to wreck havoc through out the region.
Israeli racism is building that awful ugly concrete segregation wall.
And Israeli racism also encourages the media to frame stories that dismiss the very real suffering of the Palestinians.
Please- support real justice for Palestine : Support the Right of Return.
On September 24 there will be a peace march in Washington DC- another peace march because many citizens of this world really do still believe in the rule of law... and real democracy with full and equal rights for all...and peace and possibility....However right now our racist "friend" Israel does not.
Please stop supporting Israeli racism - and Zionist terrorism.
Zionism really is racism- and racism really is wrong. Annie Annab
"How can we keep what we cannot defend?" I have only relayed a few instances of people who are actively defending the right for Palestinians to live with peace, justice, and dignity. We need to keep working with steadfastness to educate westerners about the morality of the Palestinians' cause. We can start defending our relatives in the Holy Land through our efforts in the US and Europe. It is real easy to walk into your congressman's office. I did it a few weeks ago because I needed to help my husband expedite his application for naturalization before we left for Europe again. I could have just as easily walked into Congressman Bill Thomas' office in Bakersfield and engaged the office staff in a conversation about Palestine or left some literature for the congressman. Everyone was quite cordial. I also recommend writing letters and mailing them to your congressman or MP's office/s. E-mails may get overlooked, but if that's all for which you have the energy, please write an e-mail. Write letters to your local papers. Throw in that the US provides Israel with three billion plus dollars a year. Talk to your parish council or deacons about divestment.
"How can we keep what we cannot defend?" My apologies to Zaki. I am forever grateful to him for asking this question and to cutter of peacepalestine for publishing his essay because it has certainly helped me to focus and clarify my thoughts on how one individual may effect a bit of change. In addition to efforts to redouble our activism, it is important to tell our children our history. Every Palestinian home should have a copy of Whalid Khalidi's Before Their Diaspora and All That Remains. It is equally important not to give in to apathy, nor despair. I hesitate to go on about the examples of the spirit that are so inspiring because I do believe that for all his faults Yasir Arafat was right when he said that the Palestinian was not the Red Indian. Despite the Native Americans' almost physical annihilation, they have graced the US with a beautiful spiritual legacy. But we should not be too quick to say that "We will fight no more forever, my children are all dead," as Chief Joseph did and then take comfort in our embroidery, our food, our music, our history, and our spirit. There are nine million Palestinians on this planet, five million of whom are living in exile, and a good many as citizens in western countries. Everyone in the west must aid this struggle; we must work to defend those who remained by biting the hand that feeds the enemy.
"My hope is not built on changing, fluctuating circumstances. Ultimately, my fiath and hope is in a God who would see to it that the situation would change." Reverend Naim Ateek