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Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Mish'al's Message: 'Like Clear Pure Water From a Mountain Brook'

Khalid Mish'al's message published in the Guardian today prefaced by Anne Annab's letter to the editor which expresses the sentiments of many Palestinians: admiration for a Palestinian leader who speaks forthrightly on behalf of victims who have had blame and abuse heaped upon them by an brutal aggressor.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for publishing Khalid Mish'al 's valiant "We will not sell our people or principles for foreign aid"... such a refreshing read, like clear pure water from a mountain brook, ice cold in the hand but warming as you look around at the amazing beauty of the natural world.

Many Palestinians have been forced out of their homes and villages and off their rightful land, denied basic necessities- even food and water as racist Israel has been trying to push them into even more poverty and despair.

Arabic has been temporarily erased from maps of the Holy Land, but Zionism simply does not have the power to control the truth... or the righteous outrage that has already spread world wide.

The inevitability of Palestinian victory has been there since day one, no matter how much Zionists demonize, oppress and destroy the Palestinian refugees- the Palestinians will return to shape a just and lasting peace.

Anne Selden Annab


Tuesday January 31, 2006
The Guardian

Khalid Mish'al

It is widely recognised that the Palestinians are among the most politicised and educated peoples in the world. When they went to the polls last Wednesday they were well aware of what was on offer and those who voted for Hamas knew what it stood for. They chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its promise to embark on a programme of reform. There were voices warning them, locally and internationally, not to vote for an organisation branded by the US and EU as terrorist because such a democratically exercised right would cost them the financial aid provided by foreign donors.

The day Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections the world's leading democracies failed the test of democracy. Rather than recognise the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the US and EU threatened the Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to choose their parliamentary representatives.

We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalised while our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land.

Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs, the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing.

Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory; and Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail. While we are keen on having friendly relations with all nations we shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no less abundant.

Our message to the Muslim and Arab nations is this: you have a responsibility to stand by your Palestinian brothers and sisters whose sacrifices are made on behalf of all of you. Our people in Palestine should not need to wait for any aid from countries that attach humiliating conditions to every dollar or euro they pay despite their historical and moral responsibility for our plight. We expect you to step in and compensate the Palestinian people for any loss of aid and we demand you lift all restrictions on civil society institutions that wish to fundraise for the Palestinian cause.

Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception or discrimination.

Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion "the people of the book" who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.

We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else's sins or solve somebody else's problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.

Khalid Mish'al is head of the political bureau of Hamas


Paradise Now Nominated For Academy Award

It was announced today, January 31 that Hany Abu Assad's Paradise Now is an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Mabrouk to Hany. As a Palestinian-American I feel very proud of his accomplishment and I was very impressed by the cool manner he exhibited at the Frankfurt Film Festival. I know that I am not alone in my feeling, and I think that every Palestinian is overjoyed for his great success. I feel like my Aunt Siham felt when one of us got into a good college or medical school. She would just go on and on.

The nomination provides an opportunity for his film to receive wide exposure so that westerners will know that there is more to being a Palestinian than the usual demonisation as "terrorist." The following story regarding a Ramallah audience's reaction to the film appeared in the now, unfortunately, no longer published Palestine Report. Here is my account of the film's Frankfurt premiere and a write up of a press conference that Abu Assad held after the showing.


Dalai Lama's Visit Not Connected to Ben Gurion Celebration

I had posted here earlier regarding the Dalai Lama's trip to Israel. According to the letter below, in response to a letter expressing concern that His Holiness was to attend an event celebrating David Ben Gurion, the Dalai Lam's visit "is not at all connected to the Ben-Gurion celebration."

Dear Anne,

I have been directed to reply to your email addressed to His Holiness the
Dalai Lama dated 15 January 2006.

We appreciate that you have shared your comments with us and want to let
you know that His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Israel is not at all
connected to the Ben-Gurion celebration. His Holiness was invited to visit
Israel by the Israel Friends of Tibet and His Holiness's other teaching and
speaking commitments determined the dates of his visit. His Holiness has
accepted an invitation to speak at Ben-Gurion University where he will give
a public talk and there will be a short ceremony honoring His Holiness.

His Holiness will also be visiting Bethlehem as the guest of the city and
the Holyland Trust, a Palestinian NGO, is organizing his trip there.

This will be His Holiness's fourth visit to Isreal, and as you hopefully
know, His Holiness is a tireless promoter of peace and always stresses the
need for dialogue as a non-violent way to solve conflicts.

All the best,

Rinchen Dhondrub


The Untold Hostage Stories from Palestine

When the ‘Israeli’ soldiers occupy a home the dirt and devastation cannot be imagined without seeing it. Anything from excrement smeared on the walls, sofa urinated on, precious things smashed, insults painted over the walls, cash and valuables looted. ‘ … I cannot even think of my home as it is whenever they leave’ as my friend, Ghada, from Raffidiya said to me – they have had this experience countless times.

The beginning of Anne Gwynne's account from Nablus:

On Thursday morning, 29th December 2005, I received a short SMS from Muntasser Abdel Rahiim, 26, Medical Relief Society Ambulance driver in Jeniin. ‘I’m sorry to tell you the Israelis are making trouble now in Jeniin Camp. They are in Motassem’s house’.

On Sunday morning, 1st January 2006, a shorter SMS came in from Muntasser – ‘Hi! The Israelis are gone from Jeniin and from Motassem’s home now’.

Between those two messages, 78 hours of terrorism and dozens of texts and phone calls. This is what happened to the Refugee Camps of Balaata and Jeniin during those hours (more)

Saturday, January 28, 2006


I've been tagged...

I got tagged

Thanks moi of my occupied territory for tagging me

5 things about me:

1. I have five children (four girls and one boy) and a grandson. (I started to get each one of them to say something about me, but their responses were not acceptable to me.)

2. It is my fervent desire and remains unfulfilled that my children were like the children in Little Women.

3. love chocolate, wine, martinis, ftiye (which is rice, lamb, yoghurt, bread), squash with leban, and slot machines

4. shy & work for the right of return

5. happily married

Three things I like in others:

1. Sense of humor

2. Loyalty

3. Honesty

Three things I dislike in others:

1. Hypocrisy

2. Kuripot (which in tagalog language means "cheap")

3. Ignorant Intransigence

I tag:



Steven Spielberg Takes Pride in His Courage

In an interview with Der Spiegel Steven Spielberg pats himself on the back and says "I am now extremely happy that I had the courage to make 'Munich.'"

When I think of courage, Steven Spielberg and his latest movie does not move me.

What is courageous about his blithe assumption that Israel's "moral superiority" first started to crack in the aftermath of Munich?

"You show agents who have doubts about their moral superiority when liquidating their enemies," Der Spiegel inquires. "Did you deliberately set out to offend -- or at least consciously risk offending -- your many Jewish friends whose admiration for you was almost unlimited following 'Schindler's List'?"

Hasn't Spielberg heard of Deir Yassin or the countless other massacres that spurred Israel's birth? Perhaps he's not familiar with Asher Ginsberg's account of the ill treatment the earliest Zionists colonists afforded the indigenous people.

Or perhaps his paen to Palestinians showing one of the Israeli death squad's victims' children playing the piano he sees as an act of supreme courage. It sure got Krauthammer, David Brooks and other paid shills for the Zionist entity on his back. And a whole lotta publicity for his latest blockbuster.

The woefully ignorant Spielberg recounting Olympic sportscaster Jim McKay's commentary says "I think it was then that I heard the words 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' for the first time - they hadn't been part of my vocabulary up to then." Probably not. Can't really fault Spielberg there since only a student of the tragedy the Zionists wreaked upon Palestine since the 1880's would have had familiarity with the works of say Alfred Lilienthal or Israel Shahak in the United States then.

All of the media coverage after 1967, in a deliberate and shameful manner, dehumanised Palestinians and Arabs. And the abuses in Guantanamo and Iraq, the abuse upon abuse that has been heaped upon the Palestinians, are the results of this virulent journalism. I remember, in college at the time, when Mike Wallace of Sixty Minutes, did a sympathetic human interest story on Palestinians in Detroit, my father and I were crying together on the phone, having NEVER seen Palestinians depicted as anything other than bloodthirsty terrorists before then.

Spielberg says, "As a Jew I am aware of how important the existence of Israel is for the survival of us all. And because I am proud of being Jewish, I am worried by the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the world."

I would like for Spielberg to clarify why the "existence of Israel" is paramount to his survival. He seems to be doing OK financially and otherwise, as is Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, who also equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. I would proffer that the "existence of Israel" does threaten the survival of say, a kid in Gaza, who ventures too close to what Israel deems "no man zones," or the farmer in Qalqilya, whose surrounded on all sides by a wall in order to make way for the influx of yuppie Zionist Jews from the US, Canada, Brazil, et al, who decide that it might be cool to settle down in Israel, with nary a thought for the hapless Palestinians they just might inconvenience.

But Krauthammer and Brooks need not fret too much over their wayward boy. Spielberg's "moral values" require his "ardent" defense of Israel. Spielberg says "If it became necessary, I would be prepared to die for the USA and Israel."

One has to wonder just what would precipitate Spielberg's supreme sacrifice?


Know Your History: Dr. Salman Abu Sitta on The Roots of Sharon's Legacy


Israel's policy towards the Palestinians was not only forged out of the experiences of European Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany, but it also replicates the brutality, writes Salman Abu Sitta*


Zionist practice in Palestine has always been to grab the land and expel its inhabitants. It is a simple strategy that in today's world is denounced as a war crime, as ruthless ethnic cleansing.

After conquering 78 per cent of Palestine in 1948, the year of Al-Nakba, Israelis began consolidating their gains by seeking to make conquered Palestine Arabrein (Arab-free). A policy was instituted -- it remains active today -- of killing any Palestinian seeking to return home, the rationale being that he or she was seeking to "infiltrate" conquered territory. Eventually even the expression of an intention to return was enough for the Israelis who began a policy of assassinating resistance leaders in Arab and European cities and in the occupied Palestinian territories since the 1970s. It is a policy that has its roots in World War II, a time when many of the men who would become Israeli officers in 1948 were trained and during which those who would become Jewish immigrants-turned-soldiers in Palestine learned first hand the nature of systematised cruelty at the hands of Nazi soldiers, particularly in Poland.

In the course of 1948, 675 Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated and over 70 massacres and atrocities committed. That these massacres followed a set pattern, repeated in village after village, suggests that the perpetrators "understood" what they were being asked to do without the need for written orders, a replication of the events of World War II.

Following the cessation of hostilities in 1949 Israel began operation " Megrafa ", its aim to hunt down returning Palestinians. It continued throughout the best part of 1949, targeting Palestinian villagers in Galilee. Then, when operation Megrafa ended, Israeli forces set about expelling the Al-Sani tribe from Beer Sheba to Hebron. And between 1950 and 1956 they mounted a concerted campaign -- in which Ariel Sharon participated -- to drive the Al-Azazma tribe from Al-Auja, in the demilitarised zone, to Sinai.

The Egyptian representative to the UN told members of the Security Council in November 1950 "that beginning on 20 August 1950 Israeli authorities had, by armed force, expelled into Egyptian territory all the Bedouin living in the demilitarised zone of Al-Auja in Palestine. United Nations observers had 'found' that 13 Arabs, including women and children, died during the exodus and the bodies of several more were found crushed by armoured vehicles. By 3 September the number of expelled Arabs had reached 4,071."

In the same year Israelis engineered the expulsion of the inhabitants of Al-Majdal who had stayed put during the hostilities of 1948. The 2,500 that remained out of an original population of 12,00 were driven towards Gaza.

To spearhead the ruthless expulsion of Palestinians and the execution of returnees the Israelis set up Unit 101, a killer squad that would be disclaimed by the Israeli army when its brutal acts against civilians became known. Members of Unit 101 were allowed to dress in civilian clothes and developed notoriety for their drunkenness when on patrol. No restrictions were placed on the quantity of ammunition they could use.

In an article in Haaretz of 29 January 1999, Gideon Spiro a former member of the 890th battalion, says the unit "was an early, more primitive prototype for the more sophisticated liquidation units of Duvdevan and Shimshon established during the Intifada". Its operations, wrote Spiro, were characterised by "lots of killing of civilians and little real combat".

Unit 101 was set up on 30 July 1953 and Ariel Sharon was chosen as its commander. In Israel's Border Wars, Israeli historian Benny Morris describes the killer squad: "The new recruits began a harsh regimen of day and night training, their orientation and navigation exercises often taking them across the border; encounters with enemy patrols or village watchmen were regarded as the best preparation for the missions that lay ahead. Some commanders, such as Baum and Sharon, deliberately sought firefights. Unit 101 recruits went on forced marches and did calisthenics, judo, and weapons and sabotage training, at their base camp at Sataf, an abandoned Arab village just west of Jerusalem."

One of its first major operations was to attack the Bureij refugee camp on 28 and 29 of August 1953. E H Hutchison, a UN truce observer, describes the Bureij massacre in his book The Violent Truce.

"One of the latest and gravest incidents in the Gaza Strip has been the attack upon several houses and huts in the Arab refugee camp of Bureij on the night of 28 August. Bombs were thrown through the windows of huts in which refugees were sleeping and, as they fled, they were attacked by small arms and automatic weapons. The casualties were 20 killed, 27 seriously wounded, 35 less seriously wounded."

Morris also records the attack on the civilian population: "Foreign observers called the Bureij raid 'an appalling case of deliberate mass murder'... '[The] incident has caused intense alarm and unrest in the whole Strip', reported the acting director of UNRWA, Leslie Carver. He urged that the United Nations protest strongly to Israel against the 'unprovoked attack upon harmless and defenceless refugees. Israel denied responsibility, leading diplomats and officials to the conclusion that 'Israeli settlers' or 'a local kibbutz' had carried out the raid on their own initiative."

In the following month the Azazma were again attacked. According to Hutchison "Israeli aeroplanes attacked Arabs and their herds of camels and goats. At the same time, incidents of increasing gravity occurred in the demilitarised zone itself. Israeli armed groups patrolled the zone; they shot at Bedouins at the two main wells; Arabs and their herds were killed by air and ground attacks; armed Israeli forces, up to approximately 30 men, shot the herds and burned the tents of Bedouins."

One of Unit 101's massacres took place in Qibya on the night of 14 October, 1953. Village houses were blown up while the inhabitants were asleep. Sixty-nine women and children were killed. According to a UN report "bullet-riddled bodies near the doorways and multiple hits on the doors of the demolished houses indicated that the inhabitants had been forced to remain inside while their homes were blown up". The Qibya massacres provoked international condemnation. Ben Gurion denied any knowledge of the massacre, or of Israeli army involvement.

In the early 1950s Unit 101 was responsible for similar atrocities in Idna, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Falameh, Rantis, Jerusalem, Budrus, Dawayima, Beit Liqya, Khan Yunis and Gaza. The killer squad was on a rampage, establishing a modus operandi that continues until today, though rather than being practised by a small and officially disclaimed group the tactics of Unit 101 are now those of the Israeli army.

They are tactics that have their roots in the terrible experience of the Jews at the hands of their Nazi tormentors, witnessed first hand by many of the senior officers in the 1948 war of conquest who had served in the British army, the Red Army and other European forces. They internalised what they witnessed and within three years were using the same brutal methods against Palestinians.

The Nazis set up special troops for the purpose of hunting Jews, killing them and then looting and destroying their property. Like Unit 101 they faced no restraining orders and no limits were set on their use of ammunition or arms. They consumed a great deal of alcohol. Their discipline was generally loose. One of these forces -- surely not coincidentally -- was called Police Battalion 101.

Battalion 101 was responsible for "the deportation and gruesome slaughter in Poland of tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children" writes Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in Hitler's Willing Executioners.

Goldhagen exposes in terrifying and tragically familiar detail Battalion 101's atrocities against Jews, with ample documents and photographs as evidence.

Battalion 101 was divided into three companies which in turn were divided into three platoons each of which was further divided into groups of about 10 men. Sharon's Unit 101 was similarly organised.

In The Palestine Disaster Mohamed Nimr Al-Khatib, a Haifa notable, quotes a survivor of Tantura massacre of 22-23 May 1948: "On the night of 22-23 May the Jews attacked from three sides and landed in boats from the sea. We resisted in the streets and houses and in the morning corpses were everywhere. I shall never forget this day. The Jews gathered women and children in the place where they dumped the bodies so that they could be beside their dead husbands, fathers and brothers... They gathered men in a second place, and taking them in groups they shot them dead. One officer selected 40 men and took them to the village square. They were taken aside in groups of four. They shot one and ordered the other three to dump the body in a big pit. Then they shot a second, and the other two carried his body to the pit, and so on."

Maariv of 4 February 2001 carried a report that quoted Eli Shimoni, an Israeli officer in the Alexandroni brigade, the force responsible for the Tantura massacre. According to Shimoni "the prisoners were led away in groups to a distance of 200 metres, and it was there that they were shot... Soldiers would come to the commander-in-chief and say 'my cousin was killed in the war'. On hearing that the commander ordered the troops to take a group of five to seven people aside and execute them. Then a soldier came and said his brother died in one of the battles. On hearing that it was a brother the retribution was higher. The commander ordered the troops to take a larger group, and they were shot, and so on."

It is interesting to compare this with Goldhagen's account of a Nazi massacre of Jews, in which he quotes a German soldier: "These Jews were brought into the woods on the instruction of Sgt Steinmatz. He directed that the Jews had to lay themselves next to each other in a row on the ground before shooting them. From the field a detail of First Platoon led a group of about 50 to 60 Jews with spades and shovels to a wooded area more than 1,000 yards away where the execution would take place."

"The Germans," Goldhagen continues, "compelled the Jews to excavate a large pit for the execution... despite the intense heat of the day the Jews were allowed no food or water."

When the column neared the execution site the Germans separated the men and the women, depositing them at different locations, around 50 yards from the killing pit... The Germans divested their victims of whatever valuables they possessed... [One witness recalled] vividly the picture of these Jews, most of whom were undressed to the waist, lying for hours in the sun and getting severely sunburnt. For, after undressing, the Jews had to lie prostrate in a confined area and were not permitted to move. When the killing was finally ready to commence the men of Second Platoon formed a gauntlet running between the staging ground for the killing and the killing site itself. Successive groups of 15 to 20 Jews were forced to run to the killing site's pit, to run the German gauntlet, with the Germans shouting at them and beating them with rifle butts as they passed by."

The Germans knew what was expected of them. According to one, he remembered "with particular horror that during the execution a great number of Jews who were shot had not been fatally hit yet nonetheless, without being put out of their misery, they were covered by the victims that followed."

In 1948 Israelis too knew what was expected of them. They terrorised local farmers by driving jeeps into their fields and shooting at them. Typically, several jeeps, with machine guns mounted front and rear, would surprise the unsuspecting inhabitants and shoot them on the spot.

Uri Avnery, now a peace activist, was once a member of the Irgun terrorist organisation, enlisted in the Giv'ati battalion commando unit known as Samson Foxes. The battalion conducted jeep raids and inflicted heavy civilian casualties. In Apartheid Israel Uri Davis writes: "The political commissar of the battalion, Abba Kobner, turned to Nazi rhetoric in battle sheets such as that dated 12 July 1948 and entitled Aju al-Yahud (the Jews have come) in which he says, We broke the spirit of the enemy and rent their bodies open... We are confident that the dung of the corpses bring our fields into blossom..."

The very name of the unit, Samson Foxes, was in honour of the commander of Germany's Africa Korps, Erwin Rommel, nicknamed the Desert Fox, further underlining the similarities between Israeli and Nazi practices, even at this early stage in the war.

Both Nazi and Israeli forces hunted civilians, rounded them up, shot any who showed signs of resistance, gathered people in woods or open spaces, selected small groups to be shot and ordered them to dig their own graves. Both dumped bodies in pits and took pleasure in humiliating their victims.

Israelis repeat endlessly that they are fighting for "their very existence". Similarly, Goldhagen quotes a German officer from a killer squad writing to his wife in September 1942, "we are fighting this Jewish war today for the very existence of our Volk."

The same officer writes that "they [German soldiers] are doing what the enemy would do [to us]". It is a glib justification of atrocities that must surely ring a bell in Israel where the tacit acceptance among officers of civilian killing, expulsion, destruction of villages and property without written orders is widespread. Goldhagen repeatedly mentions that the Germans "understood" what to do. They did not need incriminating written orders.

Israeli historians, including Pappe, Morris and Benvenisti, all record that Ben Gurion never issued such orders in writing. What was required was understood by officers and soldiers alike and they carried out their unwritten orders efficiently. None was punished when their crimes became public. Indeed many were promoted. It took a small wave of Ben Gurion's hand for Izhak Rabin to "understand" that the inhabitants of Lydda were to be expelled.

Sixty to 70 thousand men, women and children walked Eastward from Lydda in the July heat. During the forced march, this terrified mass of humanity was repeatedly shot at by Israeli soldiers. As the march continued old people and children fell by the wayside.

The death march was yet another practice Israel adopted from the Nazis. It also followed the Reich in forcing its victims to work in camps. ICRC (Red Cross) records for Palestine, now accessible after 50 years, describe several camps set up by Israel in 1948 in which able-bodied non-combatant Palestinian villagers were forced to work to help the Israeli war effort and the struggling Israeli economy. The Red Cross regularly visited the camps.

Some argue that brutality is the same the world over and that war crimes occur in every war, which is precisely why the Rome Statute of 1998, and the International Criminal Court resulting from it, have been endorsed by so many states though not, tellingly, by the US and Israel.

It is tragic that the Zionist call of Never Again, or en brera (no alternative), came ultimately to be used not against the guilty but to justify the murder of Palestinians, an unsuspecting civilian population in a faraway land.

"It was supreme tragedy," writes Arnold Toynbee, "that the lesson learnt by them [the Jews] from their encounter with the Nazi German Gentiles should have been, not to eschew but to imitate some of the evil deeds that the Nazis had committed against the Jews."

* The writer is president of the Palestine Land Society, London.


Aya Al Astal and Mounadel Forgotten On Holocaust Remembrance Day

Aya Al Astal was buried in Khan Yunis yesterday. Her brother and mother are pictured above. A Yahoo News Search comes up with three entries for Aya Al Astal. The first two are pictures and the third one is a brief blurb from the Palestine News Agency.

A Yahoo News search for Holocaust Remembrance, which was also yesterday yields well over 150; I stopped clicking next after 150 stories. Many world leaders have spoken over the past few days about remembering the Holocaust. They have harsh remonstrances for the Iranian President, who to my knowledge, has not killed any children to date, but no words for Aya Al Astal and Mounadel Abu Alya, both Palestinian children killed this past week by Israeli Occupation Forces. In fact there are no words for Aya and Mounadel but lots of seemingly empty words from world leaders,

Israel acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority (with a clear view of Deir Yassin, site where a Jewish terrorist group massacred peaceful Palestinians)hopes

"this move would increase sensitivity to 'Holocaust commemoration in publics around the world that for many years have been trying to avoid the need to come to grips with the Holocaust on all its aspects.'"

And while restitution continues for Jews, no restitution is in site for Palestinian Nakba victims from whom the state of Israel inherited a whole infrastructure including houses with all of their belongings in them.

"Also on this day a New Jersey family got a part of a $350 million settlement from the German government to pay for property taken by Nazi's during the Holocaust."

Poland's Roman Catholic Church called upon believers

"to light candles in their windows Friday at 4:00 pm (1500 GMT) in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust."

There were many words and candles for victims of the Holocaust yesterday, January 27, but no words for Mounadel and Aya, the victims of a Holocaust which did not end with the liberation of Auschwitz January 27, 1945, but continues with the Palestinians to this day, the last victims of Hitler.


'This is a Great Day for our Nation':Meshal and Erekat Interviews

The following are translations from Italian of interviews with Khaled Meshal and Sa'eb Erekat which appeared in La Repubblica on January 27. It is refreshing to hear Meshal's to the point answers regarding Palestinian rights.

from peacepalestine

Interview with Khaled Meshal – Supreme Leader of Hamas
From the 27 January 2006 print version of La Repubblica (Italy)
by Alix Van Buren
“The Super-Most Wanted” Meshal

DAMASCUS—The day of Hamas’ triumph, the supreme leader, Khaled Meshal, keeps his euphoria in check and weighs his words: “This is a first step. Yet, other steps are needed before the goal: the liberation from the occupation”.

It’s not easy to succeed in meeting Meshal (Abu’l Walid, for his followers). Being a moving target of Israel, he continually changes his headquarters. In Amman, the Mossad injected poison behind his ear with an air-compressed syringe. After being discovered and captured, the Israeli agents were released in exchange for the antidote. The fact raised an international crisis.

Now we’re being brought by an armoured, smoke-windowed Mercedes 200 to meet him. Off with the mobile phones, that have been disassembled and put in a metallic box, off with the bags, off with the shoes.

Mr. Khaled Meshal, what does victory taste like?

“You should ask that to the Americans and Israelis, judging by their dismay before the outcome of the elections. Washington invokes democracy. Well, the constituency expressed their vote. Maybe our democracy has a not much welcomed face to the westerners: however, this is a great day for our nation”.

Is it also for peace? Israel considers your victory as a catastrophe, the end of peace process.

“That depends on Israel, not on us. If it is willing to acknowledge the rights of the Palestinians, to live freely on their own lands, then peace is at hand. We’re ready. But are they?”

Mr. Meshal, are you willing to negotiate?

“Since Madrid and Oslo, accords have lead nowhere. The peace process is at a deadlock, the Palestinian life quality has worsened, the fence is moving forward and engulfing further lands. As to the Road Map, it is unacceptable. It imposes upon us detailed conditions: the disarmament and the arrest of mujaheddins, the giving up of resistance. Yet it’s vague as regards Israel’s duties: it doesn’t say a word about Jerusalem, the refugees’ fate, the extension of territories to give back”.

Nor does Hamas make clear about which part of Palestine it means to free. Please, say it yourself: do you mean to recover historic Palestine that comprises Israel or only the territories occupied in 1967?

“I’ll answer you with another question: why does the world ask the Palestinians to define the borders of its own homeland while it doesn’t ask the Italians to do the same thing with Italy? I know very well what is the map of my country.”

So Hamas won’t acknowledge Israel, will it?

“No, we won’t do it. Israel was born from an aggression, an occupation of another’s lands.”

Your statute calls for the destruction of Israel. It was said that, in view of the elections, you would delete that paragraph written in 1988.

“You westerners are wrong: the statute doesn’t invoke Israel’s destruction at all. In Arab it is written, “ to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine”. We don’t want to get rid of the other, we only wish to attain our rights. So, that paragraph will remain.”

Would you accept negotiations through a third party involved, such as Israel has done in Lebanon with Hezbollah?

“We still haven’t decided. We already are dealing with the Israelis, as regards municipalities, for practical reasons. Hamas doesn’t reject talks. It’s Israel’s philosophy that impedes us from negotiating. So, there’s nothing left for us but resistance”.

America, Europe and Israel ask you to put down your arms. Will you agree?

“Obviously not, as long as most of the territory is under occupation. Only force has produced some result, the Israeli withdraw from Gaza.”

Yet, you have negotiated a truce.

“It’s true, and we have respected it whereas Israel has not. Now, since 1 January it expired. This doesn’t mean that Hamas won’t take into account the reality: it will depend on the conditions of the people and on the land.”

How does Hamas think about entering into the political process?

“Hamas has been dealing with politics for a long time. Our political platform also provides for a second way, besides the resistance: to build the political life on a democratic and solid foundation, to fight against corruption and introduce a principle of freedom and justice.”

Marwan Barghouti, from prison, is proposing to you a coalition government together with Fatah.

“It’s too early. We have to evaluate the international situation, which is very delicate, to consider America’s pressures upon the Palestinian Authority, whether Abu Mazen will ask us to accept the Oslo Accords and recognise Israel, something that we won’t do. At any rate, we’ll partake in each decision-making process.”

Sharon has struck and liquidated your leadership. What have the results of this been, Mr. Meshal?

To this question, Mr. Meshal jumps to his feet. “Look,” he says pointing to a board on the wall: a huge diamond-shape board filled with photos of smiling faces, of the “martyred” Hamas leaders. On the right, glowing within a sun there’s Sheik Yassin. On the left, Dr. Rantissi “The results are under everyone’s eyes. That, notwithstanding all these dead men, America, Europe and Israel will have to deal with us from now on.”

"Let them govern, but without us"
An interview with Saeb Erekat by Fabio Scuto

RAMALLAH—Saeb Erekat, former minister and person in charge of negotiations with Israel on PNA’s behalf, is sitting in his office in Ramallah that, at the first evening lights, is surrounded by green flags waved by some thousand Hamas’ supporters celebrating the electoral victory in the streets. Car horns sound and slogans can be clearly heard even through closed windows.

Dr. Erekat, this rejoicing we’re hearing in the streets might have been yours. While instead…

“They have won, they’ve the right to celebrate. And they’re greatly rejoicing because what has happened is a political tsunami.”

You have won and been elected in your own town, Jericho; though, it has been a total defeat for Al Fatah; how do you feel?

“I have no problems acknowledging it, frankly, I’m shocked.”

And now what will happen?

“President Abu Mazen, after having accepted the Prime Minister Abu Ala’s resignation, will have to charge Hamas to form the new government, and we of Fatah don’t expect to take part in it. If they are thinking of involving us within a coalition to get us to do the task they don’t mean to or don’t know how to do, in which they’ll be taking merits while we’ll be concerned with the most awkward and, sometimes, difficult matters, they are totally wrong.”

In your opinion, is there any chance for an agreement with Hamas?

“We have our own agenda, founded on negotiations, on accords with Israel. If they accept this program, we might talk about it.”

What mistakes have you made during the electoral campaign? Why haven’t people voted for you?

“There have been a number of errors. We have been punished because we didn’t manage to reach a definitive peace in these past years, because the corruption we’ve had has been overly emphasized, because the negotiation with Israel has stopped and the occupation has been going on while in general life conditions certainly haven’t improved. Moreover, Israel decided to carry out the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza as well, without any accord with us, thus letting Hamas ascribe the merit of it to its armed resistance and to the no-agreement line.”

Behind the defeat there is also the lack of renovation of your party.

“Absolutely yes, unfortunately it’s not come about. We must start again from this defeat and go towards a deep reform inside the Fatah. We must change the leaders, the party’s structures, and, mainly, we must work to win back our people’s trust. I hope that we can have a congress by next July.”

Many are sure that a Hamas led government won’t be going too far. And that in one year you will have to call new elections.

“It was a vote to punish us, but those who voted for Hamas couldn’t imagine or didn’t want such a defeat. In fact, I’m sure that many of those who yesterday voted for Hamas, today are regretting and they would gladly change their vote.”

Translated by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo, member of Tlaxcala, the community of translators for linguistic diversity (transtlaxcala@yahoo.com). This translation is on copyleft.

Friday, January 27, 2006


I Feel So Proud For Palestine Tonight

It's a shame what they did to those people. Baseel Harb

I'd like to preface this post. I am a Palestinian-American woman who has been studying Palestine since 1967. My focus is on the United States, even though I haven't lived in the United States since 1980, but God knows our work is cut out for us in the US and my English is pretty good and the US is my territory.

I read today about a Jewish woman, a US citizen, who was born in London, who was run over while she was walking her dog in New York City. She's a rich woman, a Bronfman. She was buried in Jerusalem. Born in London, lived in New York, but buried in Jerusalem. She was a hasbarist, that is,one of those who shill for the brutal, manufactured, toxic state of Israel, and Ms. Bronfman was a tacky ol' anachronistic colonial racist shill with the best of them--she was one of the shakers and movers of Birthright Israel, which convinces normal American kids that they need to arise and make their aliyah to Palestine because they will never be well if they remain in the good ol' US. No, they must "arise and go now, to a land called Israel," a country to which their ancestors migrated a few thousand years ago from Iraq... understand this, US taxpayers, they are not even indigenous to Palestine, but who in his or her right mind claims a God given right to land from three thousand years ago? They must go because the Bible and Meir Kahane told them so.

Now, Yasir Arafat is not permitted to rest in peace in Jerusalem. And the other side of this virulent Zionism, the side that demonises and vilifies any indigenous person to Palestine; don't you love these Poles, these Germans, these South Americans, these Peruvians, these Brazilians, these people from New Jersey, who drone on that Arafat wasn't born in Palestine, who pay some joker to make a case that Edward Said wasn't born in Palestine (he's too smart; he couldn't possibly be a Palestinian), who deny that we were born where we say we're born? If I want to go to Ramallah, from where my father comes, I'll have to jump through security hoops--stripped, provide my GRANDFATHER'S name, subjugate my German chocolates to interrogation...

OK, you know from where I come. I'm not from the Palestinian fellahin stock(that's such a tired, overworked phrase). I remember my dad told me "It is a shame what they [the Jews, the Zionists, what have you, as dad would say] did to those people."

And I think those people (and I miss my dad so much because if I said a name to him he could tell me precisely from where the person hailed in Palestine; he said the funniest stuff sometimes, like when I'd say, "Hey dad, I met someone from Ramallah"; "No, he's not from Ramallah," regarding my dear friend who lived in Ramallah since 1948; he's from Jaffa!") are the people who voted Hamas into office. And I do not have a thing to say about it although I will listen to Hanan Ashrawi talk about it because I love her dearly and Hanan is like me, and when she spoke to the Ramallah Convention a few years ago her eloquence reduced everyone to tears.

I don't have a thing to say about it because I live a fairly comfortable life (not as well off as Birthright Bronfman) and my purpose is to educate Americans.

Which is no easy task.

But I feel good tonight because Palestinians have affirmed something.

Because whatever one thinks about Hamas, the majority of Palestinians, by voting for Hamas, showed that they still have some fight in them, and that they still resist. They still resist corruption; they still resist compromise of God given rights; i.e., the right of return; these people for whom my middle class father was so sorry, these magnificent people who are bloodied but unbowed, by voting against corruption, and by voting for Hamas, still resist a world that beckons them to compromise on justice.

I feel so proud tonight.


All in a Zionist's Day's Work: Vilification of Clerics and a Good Slogan to Sell Israel

The lengths to which colonist Zionists go...

For example, take a look at the Judeo Christian Alliance

which goes to great length to vilify Palestinian Christian clergy like Reverend Mitri Rehab and Canon Naim Ateek

or this "non-profit" outfit, Israel in my Heart which is looking for a good slogan to sell Israel"

the winning slogan will be emotional and not functional
The slogan has to be catchy and not antagonizing

This is what Joey Low, the man behind Israel at Heart says,

The best spokespeople for Israel are Israelis themselves, not political appointees or foreign ministry employees or paid employees of any other Jewish or Israeli organization. Eloquent university students speaking from their heart about the country they know and love are the best ambassadors Israel could ever have
and this is the kind of garbage their minions propagate:

I'm writing this email for simple reasons, to tell you the truth about what happened in Jenin over the last 2-3 weeks and to share some of the stories and incidents that we had. Its pretty sad seeing and hearing the lies CNN, BBC and all the others have been feeding the world when you have seen a completely different picture yourself.

In the fighting that took in the refugee camp, children were used as human shields by the terrorists.

This is what Israel at Heart is all about:

we think Israel’s best ambassadors are likely well-educated students that are fluent in the language of the country they visit. These Israelis have completed their military service and are between the ages of 21 and 27. They carry opinion sets and life stories that demonstrate the diversity within Israeli society-one of its greatest assets. By simply telling the stories of their lives, we hope they can begin to change the way people see Israel and its people.


IOF Kills Nine Year Old Girl

Her name was Aya Al Astal. She was killled in the Gaza Strip. According to Ha'aretz
"a Palestinian ambulance found the girl's body hours after the incident." Yesterday Munadel, a thirteen year old boy was killed.

I have an eight year old daughter, Sophia, whom we call Choo-Choo. Today she completed the semester at her school. She is the second narrator for a play about an ugly woodpecker that her class will perform on Valentine's Day. Today she told me that she made an invitation with another girl for the parents. She went to a piano lesson at the music school after class and for dinner after eating chicken and rice wanted to also eat lamb with her dad and his friend so she sat down again to eat. I don't think that I could go on living if something happened to her.

I'd like to provide details about Aya's brief span on earth, but can't find any after a yahoo and google news and blog search both last night and this morning.. There are a couple pictures from Reuters, the story in Ha'aretz, one story from IMEC, and a couple lines from WAFA.

The Quartet didn't have a statement on Aya. Mainstream news is nothing but a lot of hyperbole about Hamas' victory. They did have this to say however,:

"A two-state solution to the conflict requires all participants in the democratic process to renounce violence and terror, accept Israel's right to exist, and disarm."

It's always about the occupied's resistance termed "violence" and "terror" by a brutal occupier.

May little Aya Al Astal's memory be eternal.


Steal this Book, uh Headline..."Palestinians Won the Elections"

Headline courtesy sugarcubes who is now "under construction"

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Elie Wiesel Has A Lotta Room to Talk

Elie Wiesel on the Hamas victory:

"Hamas won," said Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. "Hamas is surely not a democratic movement. Its ideas are surely not humanistic ideas.

Elie Wiesel's former occupation:

Journalist for the Irgun from November 1947-January 1949:

"...he decries terrorism, yet never apologizes for the terrorism perpetrated by his employer, the Irgun, for whom he worked from November 1947 to January 1949. Indeed, as author David Green points out, he chooses to stay at the King David Hotel, site of Irgun's most notorious act of terrorism (although Prime Minister Netanyahu begs to differ, calling it a guerrilla operation, not terrorism)." Daniel McGowan's Letter to Reverend Gehrling

Regarding his culpability in the Deir Yassin massacre:

"One man who is likely to know the truth about Deir Yassin is Elie Wiesel, undoubtedly the best known Holocaust survivor in the United States today. After 47 years of keeping silent, Professor Wiesel revealed last year in his memoirs that he worked in Paris for the Irgun as a journalist for its publication Zion in Kamf. He was privy to Irgun wire dispatches and articles written about Deir Yassin at the time."

Sometimes Wiesel just can't seem to shut up.

Other times, he just can't seem to speak up although he professes that "the opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference."

In "Elie Wiesel and the Sound of Silence," Daniel McGowan writes:

"...he speaks out against silence regarding injustice and violations of basic human rights; he cries out against racism and the evils of apartheid; he professes to believe that "the opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference.

Yet this Nobel Prize laureate, who worked for the Irgun before, during, and after the massacre at Deir Yassin, has nothing to say about it."


Brainwashing US Kids for Aliyah: The Video

From the soundtrack: "Take the blue pill and it will distract you from the symptoms of your illness...the belief that you can live a normal life in America...


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Iran Talks, Israel Delivers...Another Death

As the UN commemorates child victims of the Holocaust...

The Israeli Occupation soldier is a recent Zionist colonist from the United States.

A thirteen year old Palestinian boy was shot in his neighborhood by Israeli Occupation soldiers on January 24. His name is Munadel Abu Alya.

Iran talks, Israel delivers another death while child victims of the Holocaust are remembered at the UN:

“The exhibition serves as a poignant caution to us all to remember the base savagery of which human beings are capable, and as a call to arms to ensure that we all act to prevent such horrors,” Shashi Tharoor, UN Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, said at the opening of the children’s exhibit.

But as children of the Holocaust are remembered, the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. which affects everyone in Palestine society, most assuredly the children, has been going on since the end of the nineteenth century due to Zionist colonisation.

In Righteous Victims Israeli historian Benny Morris quotes Asher Ginsberg (1856-1927),

"We abroad are used to believe the Eretz Yisrael is now almost totally desolate, a desert that is not sowed ..... But in truth that is not the case. Throughout the country it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains .... are not cultivated."

The early Zionist colonists according to Ginsberg did not treat the indigenous people well:

" ....[the Zionist pioneers believed that] the only language the Arabs understand is that of force ..... [They] behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly upon their boundaries, beat them shamefully without reason and even brag about it, and nobody stands to check this contemptible and dangerous tendency." Expulsion of the Palestinians, Nur Massalha

Genevieve Cora Fraser highlights the continuing deleterious effects of Zionist colonisation on the children of Palestine:

What is the effect of political violence on Palestinian children? What is it like for children to have Israeli soldiers enter one's home in the dead of night with remote controlled dogs that attack them in their beds?

How do children feel when trapped by a three story high wall with armed guard towers which encases their village, town or city, with only one gate in or out and the gate is mostly locked?

How do Palestinian children of Hebron remain sane when marauding gangs of Israeli settler children and adults attack them on their way to school?

How does a small child react when their father, or uncle or brother is slain before their eyes by Israeli soldiers, and armed tanks roam the streets?

How do children feel when their homes are demolished to make way for illegal Israeli settlements with all their possessions inside, or when Israeli attack jets and helicopters invade the skies and strafe their communities with missiles? (more)

Perhaps those commemorating child victims of the Holocaust should reflect upon these questions.



By Juan Kalvellido, member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for
linguistic diversity (transtlaxcala@yahoo.com). Copyleft.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


From Auschwitz to Qalandiyah: Arbeit Macht Frei

Vielen Dank, Angus


Referring to the graffiti "Arbeit Macht Frei" stenciled on the sign at Qalandiyah checkpoint Hara Halevy from Machsom Watch says:

Of course I agree with the comparison, the sign there is horrendous, hopes for what, the slave and the landlord, the oppressed and the oppressor, the occupier?... It is disgusting.

Arbeit Macht Frei was an inscription at Auschwitz.

The normal inscription to which Ms. Halevy refers on the jailers' sign says "The Hope of Us All," with the words "tolerance" and "education" on the petals of the flowers.

Monday, January 23, 2006


$4 Million Raised in Beverly Hills for IOF and it's Tax Deductible

Vidal Sasson, the multi-millionaire owner of hair salons and founder of "Friends of the Israel Defense Forces."

Thanks to Jeff for the following:

The $4 million raised here to benefit the army of a foreign nation is tax deductible. The message from the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces website is: "The job of Israeli Soldiers is to look after Israel... Ours is to look after them. To make a donation, please fill out the enclosed secured form."


Gala for IDF


More than 850 people, including many of the most prominent leaders of the Jewish community, gathered at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills to honor the brave men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Region held the event to raise funds for an auditorium, library and synagogue at the soon to be built new REIM Base in the Negev.

The gala dinner was co-chaired by Cheryl and Haim Saban and included a live satellite hook-up with soldiers stationed near Gaza. The evening’s special guest speaker was Avi Dicter, who recently retired as head of Shin Bet. By the end of the evening, the gala dinner had raised nearly $4 million with many additional pledges and commitments under discussion.

Even in Beverly Hills, it’s not every day that someone gets up to pledge $1 million to a good cause, to say nothing of two successive million-dollar donors.

Dichter, a rising star in Kadima, warned that the “terror states” of Iran, Syria and Lebanon had not given up on their hopes to destroy the Jewish state. — Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles)

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Putting a 'Nice' Face on Zionism

Miss "Israel" 2005, Yelena Ralf, immigrated from the Ukraine to Israel in 2001 (I hope my posting of this picture doesn't encourage more colonists to leave New Jersey for historic Palestine!)

Let us not forget that Israel's crimes against the Palestinians have been taking place in the modern age with modern weaponry- with a full awareness of how wrong ethnic cleansing is. With a full body of international laws. With Holocaust museums everywhere. And with Zionist propagandists everywhere. AND never forget that Zionists play every side at once... including every peace camp. Annie Annab

Nice Zionist blogging immigrants (am I alone in thinking "nice" and "Zionist" is an oxymoron?), those recent arrivals from Brazil, Canada, US, and their minions of apologists swell the blogosphere. Are they clueless or deliberately manipulative? Do they malign Arabs and Palestinian Arabs deliberately? Or out of ignorance?

From On the Face, My Zionist Hero (now that, dear students, is another oxymoron) written by a recent immigrant from Canada (Zioblog quotes are in italics):

His father was a Polish Holocaust survivor and his mother immigrated to Israel as a child, shortly after King Farouk expelled the Jewish community from her native Iraq.

Faisal I (1921-1933), Ghazi (1933-1939), and Faisal II (1939-1958)] were kings of Iraq. Some Jews as suspected Zionists were expelled from Egypt circa 1948 when King Farouk reigned in Egypt. OK--son of a Holocaust survivor, chalk up one for manipulative; King Farouk of Iraq, chalk up one for clueless; "Jewish community expelled": chalk one up for manipulative, providing a part of the story, and most definitely chalk up one for the deleterious effects of "Zionism" on relations between Arab Christians/Moslems and Arab Jews (much of it deliberately provoked by Zionists).

More from On the Face:

Surrounding us was the rubble of several Palestinian homes that had also been crushed by Israeli bulldozers, because they had been used by gunmen who shot at Netzarim.

Netzarim was an illegal, by international law, colony as is Gilo, the "Jewish neighborhood" which Lisa mentions Palestinians shooting at in another one of her clueless and/or manipulative posts.

The term "Jewish neighborhood" is part of the vocabulary of dispossesion. And the nice Zionists blogger/colonists don't discuss "dispossesion," of which they are very much a part, when they meet in their coffee shops in Tel Aviv.

The recent arrivals and their supporters don't mind immigrating to Israel, and according to one Palestinian supporter, "taking Palestinian land, and then vilifying the Palestinians for objecting." Case in point, the writer of the Adloyada blog, who lives in Britain, who loves to extoll the virtues of illegal colonists. Writing about a group of mainly non-Jewish people attending a seminar at Yad Vashem with her she quotes one of the participants:

I listen to one of the participants who comes back from his trip to meet up with a Palestinian Orthodox Christian from Bethlehem. He starts telling me that he felt uncomfortable about the fact that he regarded almost everything he was being told as Palestinian propaganda or one-sided political spinning, such as endless stories about Israeli atrocities at checkpoints and in the territories.

Well, here's a little checkpoint story for ya, Adloyada, courtesy of a Palestinian Orthodox Christian from Ramallah. And how's the view of Deir Yassein from Yad Vashem? I hear that it's great.

And how's this comment for clueless and/or manipulative?

We are here not in order to wrest land, rights or dignity from another people but to develop a just society based on the vision of the Prophets and the most important of the Torah's values.

If that were only true, I'll take it all back, promise.

Until then, get a clue...start by pondering this: 675 Palestinian towns and villages were "snuffed" out along with their names so that you yuppie guys and gals could hop on a plane, park yourselves on the ashes of someone else's land, and then write insipid little feel good ditties for yourselves extolling "Zionist heroes." See ya at the soup kitchen.


Zionists (secular and others) Never Cease to Amaze...

Young Zionists (and old ones for that matter) never cease to amaze me. I grew up during the sixties and seventies when a social conscious was prized and many young people were really doing more than paying lip service to making the world a better place.

As a tireless fighter for the right of return says about those who immigrate to historic Palestine and tout "secular" Zionism, as if it's preferable to "religious" Zionism:

They immigrated to Israel. They believe in Zionism. We live in the global information age; they made the choice to move there while fully able to see what Israel really is. Instead they ignore two rather well publicized intifadas and do what they can to sell Zionism.

Such immigrants are not worthy of respect nor are they in need of well meaning Palestinians' homage. They feel good enough about themselves already, they are manipulative, and their sole purpose is to put a good face on "Zionism," a Zionism no more palatable, even though it comes packaged with "good works," than that proffered by the fanatics in Hebron.


About the Lovely Lady on the Left

For those who are curious about the lovely young woman whose picture appears on the left of this blog, the most thorough coverage appeared in Lawrence of Cyberia's blog in March 2005. It was entitled "Palestinian Women Get Breast Cancer, Too." A more recent link was provided by a commenter, which was written by European Parliament member Luisa Morgantini:

It never ceases to amaze me that young Americans, Brazilians, Ukranians, et al, continue to immigrate to historic Palestine, some with the express desire to kill "terrorists," knowing about the sickening violations of the human rights of the indigenous people that have been ongoing for over fifty-seven years.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Abu Assad and Abu Sitta: Fighting on the 'Side of Beauty'

Golden Globe winner Hany Abu Assad, director of Paradise Now, was quoted in the January 20 Guardian, "When you are the underdog in the fight, your weak position gives you the opportunity to fight on the side of beauty.

"When you only have beauty to express yourself, to fight with, then you establish a feeling for beauty, for how you create from the ugly side of civilization."

Assad further stated, "I have a lot of pain from the Jewish state. You can't escape it."

This pain that all Palestinians feel motivated Dr. Salman Abu Sitta to create his Atlas of Palestine, a monumental work in which he's painstakingly documented the six hundred and seventy-five Palestinian towns and villages obliterated by the Jewish state.

"All my adult life, I have been trying to reconstruct my birthplace through photos, maps, documents and oral narrative. It was indelible in my memory, gained in the first 10 years of my life before I became a refugee."

Faced with the "ugly side of civilization" represented by David Gruen's (Ben Gurion's) assembly of a group of scholars "to erase all existing Palestinian names and replace them with Hebrew names," Abu Sitta has through the Atlas put them "back on the record" and saved them from "erasure."

"The most obvious and saddest impression is the staggering dimensions of the Nakba," says Abu Sitta. "In every spot you look at, you know there were people with their own local history and geography that sustained them for centuries. Now they are refugees living in exile for over half a century. Numbers alone cannot fully describe this human experience. Life has been snuffed out of 675 towns and villages."

For Assad the remedy is art, "My art is like an aspirin: the pain will stay, but you forget it for a certain moment. Like on Monday when I got the Golden Globe, I forgot it for awhile."

Many of us forgot it for awhile along with Abu Assad, exhilarated that a Palestinian director dealing with a Palestinian theme won a major award.

And many of us, Dr. Abu Sitta's Atlas of Palestine our antidote will forget it for awhile as we leaf through photos showing "gardens, fields, wadis (valleys), clusters of houses, mountains."

These are "immediately recognized by a refugee," says Abu Sitta. "A grandfather can tell his grandchildren to see, not just to imagine, his village. On a personal note, I could see my father’s house, his orchard and my school. Such features cannot be erased from my memory and, now, can be shared with my children."

Dr. Abu Sitta's efforts "will surely secure the future of Palestine and Palestinians no matter long it takes. Leaders disappear, political regimes, however oppressive, dissolve one day but records and the people do not die."

Hany Abu Assad and Dr. Salman Abu Sitta. Palestinians ironically inspired from the ugly side of civilization to create beauty from our collective sadness.




'All I want is my God-given right...to go back to my home...'

Refugees visit Al-Majdal/Asqalon in 2003

Amid a veritable squall of comments and counter comments to Laila's blog on the Palestinian elections for the Guardian emerged this pearl:

I find it interesting that most people refer to "Palestinian refugee" without contemplating on what it means to be a refugee. As a Palestinian refugee who has been forced to live in another country all my life, I have EVERY right to go back to the place where I belong. It is my God given right, it is my right that is mandated by all international treaties, UN charter and all western laws. I agree that the holocaust was a most terrible tragedy that will shame the history of humanity until eternity. Three questions:

1)Why do I, a Palestinian whose grandfather was mowing the fields in 1948, have to pay for the oppression the jews suffered on the hands of the racist Europeans?

2) Why on earth MUST Israel be a Jewsih state? 12% of Israelis (the Orthodox Jews) do not believe that the current Israel is the Israel of God. The majority of the other Jews in Israel are non-practicing and rather secularist. So why "Jewish" again? How can you call yourself a "Democracy" while by your very nature you are excluding all other religious or ethnic entities? This is almost you saying, "America is for the white man only!"

3)It is irrelevant whether Arab states give the Palestinians a citizenship or not.If they do, they are doing them a favor. The bottom line is a refugee is somebody forced out of their land and has the full right to go back. If Israel prevents us from going back to where we belong, it is denying us our right. This is a very fundamental difference.

I am not going to engage in the "propaganda" of some of the contributors, for there is not much value in that.

I am a Palestinian refugee. All I want is my God-given and basic human right to go back to my home country.

Posted by Yassine on January 21, 2006 03:58 AM.

Friday, January 20, 2006


An Invitation to Barak Obama

Thanks to Jeff Blankfort for forwarding this story from Katie of ISM re her meeting with Barak Obama. I've edited Katie's story a bit by putting it in paragraph form and cleaning up a few mechanical errors (sorry, that's the English teacher in me). And humdiallah (thanks be to God) for these fine young folks' efforts on behalf of the Palestinians.

An Invitation for Barak Obama

January 15th, 2006
by Katie (ISM)

The morning of Thursday, January 12, Palestinian and other international activists and I were invited to the branch of Jerusalem
University in Ramallah for a conference that Barak Obama, the US
senator from Illinois, was holding with students. The others were
skeptical about him, but I assured them that he was a very progressive
politician and he would be supportive of the Palestinian cause.

Barak Obama began the conference by saying how surprised he was that it
was cold and raining in Ramallah, that it went against his preconceived
notions about the climate in the Middle East. He spoke about his
background and how he was the underdog in his race for the Senate. He
explained to us that even though the US has made many foreign policy
mistakes, that he believed in our system of checks and balances. He
then offered to start a dialog with the audience.

One student asked how Arab governments could create a paradigm shift and
improve relations with the US. When he answered the question, I tried
not to give in to frustrated laughter because, I kid you not, this is
what he said (I am paraphrasing and my comments are in parenthesis):

The Arab governments need to embrace democracy, not theocracy. When you
allow the will of God to influence the laws of your country, you will
not win the support of the US (what about Israel claiming they have
the God given right to rule this land?. The Arab governments need to
renounce violence against civilians(What about 100,000 dead Iraqis,
were all of those people terrorists, Baathists, foreign fighters or
were some of them civilians?. The US is opposed to theocracy and
terrorism and if the Arab governments want to create a paradigm shift,
they need to address these concerns of ours.

So then I asked him, "You say the US is opposed to theocracy and
terrorism, how can you explain to the Palestinian people how the US can
be opposed to these things but still supports a state that has racist,
oppressive, unjust and apartheid policies. And do you see how this
paints an inconsistent picture to the people of the Middle East?"

He began his answer by saying he would not accept the assumptions I
made and therefore was not going to address that part of my question. He
said he could understand the Palestinian view that the policies of the
US were one sided but he said the relationship with Israel was not
going to change. My high hopes for Barak Obama's foreign policy ideas
were shot down!

Obama said this was his first trip to the Middle East, that he had just
come from Qatar and Jordan. I imagine he stayed in some pretty fancy
hotels. I'm not sure that if you are a powerful American politician
on your first ever trip to the Middle East that you can really get a
good idea of what things are like here.

So Barak Obama, I would like to send you an invitation. I invite you to
consider that maybe your preconceived notions about the weather in the
Middle East are not the only notions that were incorrect.

Barak Obama, I would like to invite you to stand in line at Qalandia checkpoint, I
would like you to witness the humiliation Palestinians face there,
I'd like to invite you to take part in a peaceful demonstration in which
Mohammad Mansour was engaged when his friend was shot and killed, or
Roni, who was shot in the neck and who is now paralyzed from the waist

I'd like to invite you to acknowledge that there are families
on the Palestinian side of the wall who cannot travel 5 minutes away to
the next village to see their families on the Israeli side of the wall.

I would invite you to meet Ahmad, a five year old boy I met on the way
back from Jenin whose father was killed by Israeli soldiers.

I would like you to consider that if a Palestinian wants to leave the country
by plane , he or she cannot leave via Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv,
he or she must travel by land to Jordan and leave via the airport in
Amman. This is the Middle East's only democracy, Mr. Obama !

I would invite you to consider how the unconditional support for Israel with US
tax dollars affects 4 million Palestinian people who just want to live
their lives and be free from oppression.


Meen Erhabe? (Who's the terrorist?)...and so-called Palestinians!

January 17 So-called Palestinians in Al-Khalil (Hebron)

And this from a US citizen who made "Aliyah" on December 27 regarding the IOF's treatment of Hebron hooligans:

I have been told on numerous ocassions [sic] that things in Israel are different. You have to shop differently. You have to travel differently. Different beaurocracy [sic], different banks, protektzia. Just different.

But I never suspected that this also included an intrinsic difference in human decency, in the abuse of citizens by the “authorities”. (And if anyone wants to compare this to claims made against the IDF vs. the so-called palestinians, don’t. In that case it is defense against suicide bombers, rock throwing and Kassam missiles. In the case of Hevron (and Gush Katif, Northern Shomron) it is just uncalled for, brutal abuse).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Oprah's Got A Mess on Her Hands Now!

Dear Editor,

Many thanks for the story re Elie Wiesel. For Palestinians, Wiesel is the epitome of hypocrisy.

Although he was a journalist for Irgun, which was responsible for the massacre in cold blood of inhabitants of a peaceful Palestinian village in 1948, he has uttered nary an apology.

He refers to Arab youths' faces as "twisted with hate."

Oprah could do better than to extol such as he as "required reading for everybody."


Nancy Harb Almendras
Wiesbaden, Germany

Oprah's New Mess

Dear Editor,

Delighted to see some solid and sordid truth revealed about Elie Wiesel in "Oprah's new mess". Just as Israel methodically misuses religion for political power, for years Wiesel has been misusing his beautifully written non-fiction book "Night" and his Nobel Peace Prize fame to help promote Israeli bigotry, exasperating blatant injustice and heavily armed Zionist terror all through out in the Holy Land.

Seems to me we miss the whole point about Holocaust stories, museums and films when we stand by in complicit silence while racist Israel reinvents ways to vilify, harass, torment, dispossess and destroy a targeted population. For every one's sake, remember all those who have been hurt by institutionalized hate ... Free Palestine - Support the Right of Return...

Anne Selden Annab
notes: http://www.al-awda.org/facts.html


Oprah's new mess
By Adam Shatz, ADAM SHATZ is literary editor of the Nation.

AMONG THOSE reeling from the flap around James Frey's memoir, "A Million Little Pieces" — which has been exposed as an embellishment, when not outright fabrication, of the author's life — is America's most powerful literary critic, Oprah Winfrey. "A Million Little Pieces" was an Oprah Book Club selection, and Winfrey has defended her choice, insisting that the "underlying message" counts more than strict respect for the facts.

Now she has also made what looks like a highly savvy decision. She has named as her next book club selection Elie Wiesel's 1960 memoir, "Night," a searing account of the author's journey through the nightmare of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. What better way for Oprah to underscore her point about a memoir's underlying message — and at the same time to insulate herself from criticism over the Frey contretemps — than to warm herself by the hearth of Holocaust remembrance? After all, no one will contest Wiesel's memoir or — thankfully — the truth of the historical events it recounts.

Oprah is planning a trip to Auschwitz with Wiesel, who has a reputation as a truth-teller, a witness to human cruelty, a shining example of the power of remembrance over the forces of evil, deceit and amnesia. And yes, the pilgrimage to the camps will be filmed.

Oprah in Auschwitz. Not since "Springtime for Hitler" have we been treated to a Holocaust production so surreal. If nothing else, Oprah in Auschwitz — and the sales of "Night," which are sure to multiply — will bring home the horrors of the Nazi genocide to millions of Americans. It may even improve black-Jewish relations, bringing together a Jewish survivor of the camps and a black survivor of racism, violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Yet Oprah in Auschwitz may also turn the Holocaust into another recovery narrative — a "feel-good story about the ultimate feel-bad experience," as the film critic J. Hoberman memorably wrote of "Schindler's List," in which the principal Jewish characters survive.

Worse, it overlooks the far more disturbing "recovery" that Wiesel has made since his ordeal in the camps. For the author of "Night" has gone from being a great victim of war crimes to being an apologist for those who commit them — all while invoking his moral authority as a survivor.

Again, there's no denying the truth of Wiesel's experience. But he has his own problems with credibility, which Winfrey might wish to note. Not with the facts of his own life but with broader issues of historical truth and historical memory, which touch upon matters far more substantial than the number of hours James Frey spent behind bars.

For example, Wiesel does not believe that Gypsies and gays should be remembered alongside Jewish victims of the Holocaust, although hundreds of thousands of them perished. He has frowned upon the use of the term "genocide" in reference to the Armenian holocaust.

Wiesel's troubles with memory and truth are especially acute when it comes to Israel's behavior toward Palestinians. For example, he has long maintained that the 1948 Palestinian refugees left voluntarily, "incited by their leaders," a claim that Israel's own historians have done much to shatter.

In the face of abundant evidence from human rights groups that Israel has committed widespread human rights violations in the occupied territories, Wiesel has either denied such reports or loftily asserted that, as a Jew who does not live in Israel, he has no right to air his criticisms (though, paradoxically, his nonresident status does not prevent him from airing his praise). His last Op-Ed article in the New York Times was a lamentation for the settlers of Gaza, zealots whom even Ariel Sharon, the architect of the settlement project, finally had the wisdom to remove from their stronghold.

The author of a justly praised Holocaust memoir, Wiesel may provide Oprah with good cover after the Frey disaster. As a historian and political commentator, however, Wiesel has been a specialist in denial, a man who has contributed far more to the blurring of fact and invention than the author of "A Million Little Pieces."


Calling All Pal-Am Teens To Tell Oprah: Why is Elie Wiesel's Book NightRelevant Today?

A friendly librarian passed along the following information and idea to me.

It is extremely time sensitive--entries must be received by February 9.

The topic: "Why is Elie Wiesel's Book Night Relevant Today?

"Each finalist, along with one designated parent or guardian, will receive a trip to a special Oprah Show taping in late February."

So, to borrow from the librarian who wrote to me...if enough of our children wrote about their own family's experiences of genocide, expulsion, dispossession...perhaps Oprah would include some of them in her program.

Details here:


Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Why Does Oprah Fete Elie Wiesel?

Oprah Winfrey says that Elie Wiesel’s Night "should be required reading for all humanity."


Elie Wiesel’s experiences haven’t taught him empathy.

Daniel McGowan of Deir Yassein remembers quotes Noam Chomsky, “Far from being a great humanitarian, Wiesel, as Noam Chomsky contends, is simply ‘a terrible fraud.’”


McGowan states in a letter to Pastor James Gerling, “When asked about the oppression and dehumanization of Palestinians by Israel, he ‘abstains’ and dismisses the subject claiming ‘I cannot say bad things about Jews,’ or ‘Such comparisons are unworthy.’

“He degrades Palestinians with racist remarks, such as claiming they use their children as shields for adults throwing stones and worse.”

McGowan provides further information about Wiesel:

“He knows from personal experience that on April 9, 1948 Arab civilians, including women and children, were murdered in cold blood in the village of Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem by Jewish terrorists known as the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Wiesel worked for the Irgun, not as a fighter, but as a journalist and knows the details of this infamous (but not the only nor the largest) massacre of Arabs by Jews. And while he piously demands public apologies for atrocities committed against Jews (for example in 1946 at Kielce, Poland), he has never been able to apologize for the atrocities committed by his own employer.”

So why do Chomsky and McGowan say that Elie Wiesel is a fraud? I will quote liberally from McGowan here:

“Perhaps it is because Wiesel, who has written literally volumes Against Silence, remains silent when it comes to issues involving Palestinians—issues such as land expropriation, torture, and abrogation of human rights. He gets great press coverage when he piously declares that the Kosovars must be allowed to return home, even though he has never given support to the right of 750,000 Palestinians driven out in 1948 to return to their homes in Israel. Nor does he show any concern about the ethnic cleansing continued by Israel after the 1967 war and, indeed, continued to this very day in Jerusalem and in Hebron.

“Perhaps it is because Elie Wiesel proclaims with great piety that “the opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference” while he remains totally indifferent to the inequality and suffering of the Palestinians. Perhaps it is because he enjoys recognition as “one of the first opponents of apartheid” in South Africa, while he remains totally silent and indifferent to the apartheid being practiced today in Israel. Forty-five percent of the people living within the borders controlled by Israel are not Jews; even if they have Israeli citizenship, they have fewer rights than “the chosen people,” if they do not have Israeli citizenship, they have virtually no rights at all.

“Perhaps it is because he decries terrorism, yet never apologizes for the bloody terrorism perpetrated by his employer, the Irgun, for whom he worked from November 1947 to January 1949 in Paris as a journalist for Zion in Kanf.
“Although Wiesel had intimate knowledge of the terrorism perpetrated by the Irgun at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, he refuses even to comment on it. He dismisses this act of terrorism in eight short words in his memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea. He remembers the Jewish victims at Kielce, Poland (July 1946) with great anguish and angst, but ignores twice as many Palestinian victims of his own employer. The irony is breathtaking.

“It is even more shocking that the world’s best known Holocaust survivor can repeatedly visit Yad Vashem (the most famous Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem) and yet keep silent about the victims of Deir Yassin who lie within his sight 1,400 meters to the north. He bitterly protests when Jewish graves are defaced, but has nothing to say when the cemetery of Deir Yassin is bulldozed. He refuses even to acknowledge repeated requests that he join a group of Jews and non-Jews who wish to build a memorial at Deir Yassin.

“Elie Wiesel may profess modesty and claim he is “not a symbol of anything” but, unfortunately, he has become a symbol of hypocrisy.”

So, my question to Oprah Winfrey is why travel to Auschwitz with Wiesel and why feature him on your show? Why are high school students required to read Night? Wiesel has learned nothing from his experiences. He denies the right of return to Palestinians and says that Palestinians' "faces are twisted with hate." What is the purpose for studying the Holocaust and for Oprah's love fest with Wiesel? It would appear that it is to further Jewish supremacy in the Holy Land and to hasten the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.





Mabruk, Hany! We Are So Happy! Paradise Now Wins Golden Globe

Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad with Paradise Now actors Ali Suleiman, Lubna Azbal, Qais Nashef.

Great News. Hany Abu Assad's Paradise Now has won The Golden Globe for best foreign film. I wrote about how cool Hany was confronting Zionists at a question and answer session after a showing of his film at The Frankfurt Film Festival. Also here and here.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Illegal Squatters Making Music Over Palestinian Graves

At Nawal and Fawzi's funeral. May their memories be eternal. Indigenous people suffer while insidious apologists like this celebrate western squatters' making music. Illegal squatters like Yoni Becker, from West Virginia, are making music over Palestinians' graves.


Not a Nice Day in the Neighborhood: Sharon Sighs and another Arab Dies

Gennadiy Shnayderman, Ukranian born American, made "Aliyah" for the express purpose of fighting those indigenous Palestinian "terrorists" in his homeland.

How touching that Arab killer Ariel Sharon opened his eyes today when a recording of his grandson's voice was played.

Betcha don't know that Nawal Ahmed Asa'ad Dwaikat, 47, was killed by Israel Occupation Forces, or should I say North American, South American, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Ukranian, Ethiopean, German, etc., etc., etc., Occupation Forces since many teenagers like to make "aliyah" to the country formerly known as Palestine, and for love of a country in which they've never set foot prior to the "aliyah" shoot up Palestinians in their own neighborhoods. In fact at least 2500 recent "immigrants" comprise the Israeli Occupation Forces. They're called "lone soldiers" and the Jewish Agency for Israel wants to make sure that they're taken care of while they're cutting short the lives of the indigenous folk.

Take for example, Gennadiy Shnayderman, a "Ukrainian-born American who volunteered to serve in the Israeli army." He just couldn't stand what those indigenous "terrorists" were doing in his "homeland."

"On the fateful day of September 11th, 2001 (9/11) Shnayderman and eight of his friends from New York made aliyah to Israel with the express purpose of serving in the Israeli army. Despite their parents' protests, the eight were determined to fight for their homeland."

Wonder from where the soldiers came who put an end to Nawal's life? Nawal was killed by at least fifteen bullets according to Palestine Center for Human Rights. Her son Fawzi was killed also and four other members of the family were severely wounded in their own home by the soldiers under the command of Ariel Sharon.

This is Israel. This is the country to which the panderers for Zionist funds including Obama Baraka, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson have recently paid homage. The Dalai Lama plans to visit in honor of David Ben Gurion's, formerly known as David Gruen, one hundredth immigration anniversary. Men who should know better than to flirt with Sharon, the greatest Arab killer of them all and his acolytes from the US, from the Ukraine, from South America...

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