Friday, June 30, 2006
What You Can Do to Stop Israel's War Crimes in Gaza
Send your name and country to this address ProtectPalestine@gmail.com to sign the Letter to Kofi Annan printed here.
In addition it is very easy for US citizens to send this prewritten Citizens for Fair Legislation letter to their representatives:
Click here to send our prewritten letter:
6/27/06-CFL ALERT: TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO DEMAND ISRAELI RESTRAINT AGAINST PALESTINIANS.
*In the last two weeks alone Israel has killed an unprecedented number of Palestinian civilians including pregnant women, children, and entire families. Not once did the U.S. speak out against these crimes. In retaliation for these attacks Palestinian groups have kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Israel is now promising collective punishment for all Palestinians and have entered Gaza under indiscriminate gunfire.
* Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that Israeli lives are more important than “lives in Gaza.” Ask your representatives if they believe that the lives of Palestinians who are being relentlessly killed and maimed are also worth less than Israeli lives.
*Tell your representatives that you value Palestinian lives as much as you value Jewish lives and that you are outraged to hear Israel has cut off electricity and stopped food from entering into Gaza because of the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. Remind your representatives that collective punishment is illegal and ask them how long this country will continue to be complicit in Israeli crimes.
EMAIL AND OR CALL THE WHITE HOUSE
WHITE HOUSE COMMENTS LINE: 202-456-1111
WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD: 202-456-1414
WHITE HOUSE FAX: 202-456-2461
Citizens for Fair Legislation
'Our Children Were Not Born to Get Killed By the Israeli Army'
Mohammed gave an impassioned interview from Rafah while heliocopters and F-16's hovered overhead, destroying everyone's sleep. He said that the Gaza Airport was turned into a military airport. He described attacks and demolitions of greenhouses and olive trees.
Rafah is dark due to the IOF's targeting of the electric power plant (a war crime). Rafah hospitals are appealing to the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop its aggression against the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza (of whom almost half are under fourteen; the median age in Rafah according to the CIA is 15.8.).
He described the awful situation at the Gaza/Egyptian border, where people, some of whom are children and elderly in need of medical care, are sleeping in the streets with no services. The UN observers evacuated this border when Israel began its
The "world's supporting killing of civilians," he said. "People [are] supporting by silence." While he importuned the US, EU, and international community to "put pressure on Israel," he added that there is "no one to listen."
He mentioned the "killing [of] children," and "targeting people in homes. Where should they go? There is no home but their home. [People are] seeking shelter in hospitals," and he spoke about a woman with young children running in the street because her house was shelled.
The director of the Rafah Hospital told him that there was no medicine. It is "impossible to move by ambulance from north to south," and "operation rooms are not working anymore," Mohammed reported.
"Our children want to live. Our children were not born to get killed by the Israeli army. Don't those people have any heart? They are killing us every day? [We are] exactly like the American, British, Norwegian, Swedish--not born to get killed by the Israeli Army.
"The Israeli Army is not coming for fun. The Israeli Army is coming to kill, coming to destroy."
He concluded the interview by admonishing the world to "Wake up. Look at us. Stop these attacks. We love life as you love life. It's our right to live. The children need to live. [Have you] no feelings at all. [Is there] no one to say 'No' to the Israelis? They are doing whatever they want to do. The world is silent. The media should wake up."
On CNN who approached him: "They want to dictate to me what to say exactly. Sorry to say that."
And as heliocopters and F-16's continued to destroy the sleep of the imprisoned people of Rafah, Mohammed reflects on what he and the other innocents have done to bring on Israel's latest war crime: "What I'm doing? I'm doing nothing. I'm talking to a radio station in San Francisco."
Endorse Letter to UN Secretary General
Please find below a letter to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council re the latest Israeli aggression on our people. The letter demands immediate international protection for the Palestinian people in addition to the release of all political prisoners held by Israel, and holding Israel accountable for its ongoing crimes. This is part of a coordinated call for action by several Arab, Palestinian and international New York-based organizations and groups, which starts tomorrow by a demonstration in front of the Israeli mission at the UN and the offices of UN Secretariat.
The letter will be submitted to the head of the Palestinian Observer Mission at the UN, Mr. Riyad Mansour, to deliver to the Secretary General and the Security Council before the tenth emergency special session (expected to be held this Monday).
Please send your personal or organization's endorsement of this letter to: ProtectPalestine@gmail.com including your name and country. Also, please feel free to circulate this letter as widely as possible. We need your support to protect the Palestinian people and make our voices heard.
To Secretary General Kofi Annan and the United Nations Security Council:
The United Nations was founded "to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace . . . ." The ongoing ethnic cleansing in Palestine has thrown into stark relief the need for the United Nations to live up to this duty.
Since the Palestinian people have time and again signaled their refusal to acquiesce in their own subjugation, the inexorable march of Israeli human rights violations continues with renewed savagery. The Israeli military has escalated its assault upon the Palestinian people, with dozens of Palestinians killed and wounded in recent months. Since the so-called Israeli redeployment from Gaza, Israel has continued to attack unarmed Palestinian civilians. On June 9, seven people of the same family were killed by Israeli shelling on a beach in the Gaza Strip. Nearly three dozen Palestinian children have been killed in the first six months of 2006 alone, with the world community looking on. As of June 27, the Israeli Occupation Forces have launched a large scale attack on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, punishing over one million Palestinian civilians for the legitimate exercise of the inherent right of self-defense against Israeli combatants preparing a wide-scale assault on heavily populated areas.
Meanwhile, these forces continue illegally to arrest and detain thousands of Palestinians, confiscate Palestinian land, demolish homes, impose a deadly economic blockade, and build its annexationist Apartheid wall. The historic policy of "Hafrada" (the Hebrew word for Apartheid) has reached its apex, and the international community is confronted more vividly than ever with the fruit of its inaction. It is thus time for the United Nations to discharge its historic obligation.
We therefore call upon the United Nations to intervene to defend the Palestinian people by immediately undertaking the following actions:
forming an international force to protect Palestinian lives against violent attacks by the Israeli military;
calling for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners held in violation of international law;
holding Israel accountable for its war crimes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and countless UN resolutions and other norms of international law.
Such actions would form the necessary beginnings of a just policy on Palestine that is long overdue. The Palestinian people are under brutal assault, and the moral failure of the international community cries out for rectification.
GOD BLESS PALESTINE
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Comments From Amayreh and El Sarraj
Hamas actually gained, not lost, the "power struggle."
How? By radicalizing the overall Palestinian stance vis-a-vis Israel. Now,
no prospective Palestinian government will dare accept anything less than
total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.
Moreover, Hamas has forced the PA and Fatah to commit themselves to
resolving the refugee problem in accordance with UN resolution 194, which
stipulates repatriation and indemnification for the refugees. So Hamas has
clearly won this showdown with Fatah. In fact all Palestinians have won.
This is why Israel has rejected the agreement, calling it "non-starter." Khalid Amayreh
Israel has crossed the line many times. By destroying the
infrastructure again and again of the Palestinian
Authority, by arresting ministers and Members of
Parliament, and by preventing Mahmoud Abbas President of
the Palestinian Authority from leaving Gaza, she unveils the
true nature of its relation with the Palestinian
Authority. It was the one thousand error of Arafat not
dissolve the Palestinian Authority when he was under
siege. The poor man thought that being a President would
have given him protection. Abu Mazen should now dissolve
the Palestinian Authority before he meets the same fate.
He is checked mated. The UN should come in or Israel
assumes the power and responsibilities of the occupation
without hiding behind the stigmatized Palestinian
Authority or the Infamous Oslo agreement.
Eyad El Sarraj
Please visit our site:
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
IOF Kidnaps Palestine's Legislators
IMEMC for story
3:14 AM Updates
Palestinian Ministers and legislators have been arrested by IOF.
The settler Eliahu Asheri has been killed.
15.8 Median Age in Gaza
According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, cutting off water and electricity constitutes a war crime.
What Are They Thinking?
Palestinians have no tanks, no ships, no airplanes. About seventy percent of them in Gaza do have, however, according to the UN, two dollars or less a day on which to live.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
'Left Alone to Face the Israeli Beast'
"These are our children," cooed Michael Oren to CNN about Gilad Shalit, the captured soldier whose name is a household word. Michael Oren, an American transplant to Israel was expounding upon the necessity for Israel's bombing of three bridges and its electrical plant, cutting off Gaza's 1,428,757 residents, who live together on 360 square kilometers of land, forty-eight percent of whom are 14 and under, from water and electricity. According to the Washington Post, "Engineers estimated that it could take three months to repair."
Michael Oren is part of the 'Israeli Beast.' In addition to his stint on CNN today, he was featured on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, extolling the virtues of extrajudicial assasination. Oren, who has spared no effort attempting to absolve Israel from its torpedoing the USS Liberty and killing 34 of its crew in 1967, folksed up his moments on CNN by mentioning his own soldier children.
Palestinian children in Israeli prisons, however, aren't paid any mind. You see, they have "blood on their hands," according to the Israel Project, an organization that provides Israel's apologists with sound bites to spin their stories. This has already been picked up by a slick Israeli blog. The Israel Project is a small part of Israel's hasbara beast. Supporters of the Israel Project include Senator Evan Bayh (IN), Senator Saxby Chambliss (GA), Senator Norm Coleman (MN), Senator Ben Nelson (NE), Senator Rick Santorum (PA), Senator Arlen Specter (PA), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Rob Andrews (NJ), Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (NV), Congressman Tom Davis (VA), Congressman Eliot Engel (NY), Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ), Congressman Jon Porter (NV), Congressman Jim Saxton (NJ), Congressman Brad Sherman (CA), Congressman Joe Wilson (SC), Actor and Director Ron Silver.
When he's not advocating taking out democratically elected Palestinian legislator and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Oren poetically waxes, "Soldiers are Israel's Everyman--or rather Everychild--and Israelis are acutely sensitive to their safety."
Israelis don't have the same sensitivity for Palestinian children since they refuse to accept accountability for their deaths. I have not heard of a Qasssam launch from a busy Gaza street but Israelis justify children's deaths on these streets by claiming terrorists launch rockets from urban centers. Palestinians force Israelis to kill their children. All seven hundred plus of them since September 2000. It beggars belief that transplanted American illegal settlers can be so myopic, but consider the comments to a post advocating a "scorched earth" policy for Gaza on a fairly popular Israeli blog:
"i think that golda meir is attributed with the thought that all is lost "until they learn to love their children more than they hate ours" (or mashu kazeh). sadly, it seems that not a lot has changed by way of THAT dynamic in the past 30+ years....."
And in response to part of the blogger's post in which he writes:
" I would even gladly exchange my own life for the chance to let my son marry, have children and enjoy a full life of his own."
A commenter writes:
"Contrast this [the above] with what we constantly hear from the mothers of suicide bombers, how they wish they could have 10 more to become martyrs. That's the difference between us and them."
The fourth largest military in the world promises summer rain showers for the children of Gaza, sealed off from their sea, sealed off from neighboring lands, cut off from their electricity, and cut off from their power. Laila El-Haddad writes, "In Rafah, the refugee camp that has not been spared the wrath of the Israeli Army on so many occasions in the past, where 16, 000 Palestinians lost their homes to armoured bulldozers, families have holed themselves indoors, fearing for their lives."
The beast has even compromised Mahmoud Abbas and his spokesperson Sa'eb Erekat. Abbas, like Claudius, appears to honor no boundaries in order to maintain power. According to Erekat, who is sounding more and more like the comical Polonius: "Abu Mazen has ordered a house-to-house search for the Israeli soldier. If we knew exactly where he was, we would go get him ourselves."
"Just as the whole world was moved to free the captured Israeli soldier, they must move to stop the war of genocide against the Palestinian people. Israel tries to make a fuss when they talk about two armies fighting, because the truth is that Israeli war jets, infantry and marines are fighting children, women and unarmed men,"
said Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Nasser Addin Ash-Sha'er today.
As of now, it appears as if Gazans are "left alone to face the Israeli beast."
For information from Gaza, check Dr. Mona El Farra's blog
Mohammed Omar's blog
Palestine Center Human Rights, Gaza
IOF Disappears 24 Palestinians Since Saturday
Israeli Occupation Forces disappeared six residents Al Shawaora village early Tuesday morning. Nader Salem, 30, Majed Hamdan, 23, Wa'el Salem, 22, Tarik Salem, 30, Sliman Salem, 23, and Ibrahim Abu Al Howar, 38.
Mahmoud Al-Haj was also disappeared Tuesday.
Monday's disappeared: 23 year old Iyad,
21 year old Ahmed,
20 year old Mahmoud Abdarbeh,
33 year old Abdarbeh Fawzi Khalid,
21 year old Ibrahim Awad,
20 year old Abdul Amala,
20 year old Talal Amala,
Ashraf Mounir Amala,
Murad Abdul Mahdi Amala,
18 year old Ahmed Said Al Khateeb,
40 year old Mohammad Musa Mohammed,
25 year old Khaled Dhiab,
33 year old Khalid Mohammed Shehdeh,
and 18 year old Mohammed Majid Spitan
Brothers Osama and Mustafa Muammar were disappeared on Saturday.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
'Nobodies and Million Dollar Babies'
Mahmoud Al Haj, from Bethlehem, 20, disappeared on Tuesday, July 27
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog! Emily Dickinson
Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained, representing approximately twenty percent of the current total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories. MIFTAH
Gaza is sealed by land and by sea, precluding even fishermen from working. PCHR Gaza
Paul Larudee, American passport holder, piano tuner, and peace activist was incarcerated at Lod airport. On June 18, a judge ruled he could not enter the occupied territories based on "secret charges," based on "secret evidence.
"Thousands of Palestinians have been sentenced to renewable periods of "administrative detention" based on secret charges that are, in turn, based on secret evidence."
In e-mails he describes two young Palestinian-American detainees:
Nur, a twenty year old diabetic who doesn't understand why he can't "to his Mom's place in Beit Hanina to eat Maqlouba."
Hassan, who "is having problems with his asthma because he's coming from vacation in China where he was affected by the pollution and some overexertion."
Million Dollar Baby
The European Union called on Monday for the release of the kidnapped IDF soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Jerusalem Post
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with sixty ambassadors yesterday regarding Gilad Shalit.
The French government is working for his release.
The British Ambassador has called the capture of the soldier a "serious escalation."
"Huge photographs of Shalit - gangling, dark-haired and bespectacled - covered the front pages of Israeli newspapers. Headlines referred to him by his first name only."
The Vatican will work to see that Shalit is released.
Hilary Clinton has chimed in.
"Abu Mazen has ordered a house-to-house search for the Israeli soldier." New York Times
Million Dollar Babies and Nobodies
Meanwhile, Gaza with its 1,428,757 population, median age 15.8 is held hostage for Israel's million dollar baby, Gilad Shalit.
Amber Alert for "Kidnapped" Gilad Shalit
Wilson writes Cpl. Gilad Shalit was "kidnapped," as if he were a toddler whisked out of a department store by a child molester instead of an Israeli soldier engaged in shelling and traumatizing Palestinian children in Gaza.
Today Wilson's story affirms Ehud Olmert's blunt assertion: "the lives of Israeli citizens threatened by Qassam attacks were 'even more important,'" than Palestinian lives. There is no mention of two Palestinian brothers abducted the day before, nor is there any indication that fifteen Palestinians were diappeared in the Hebron area Monday morning.
Wilson clearly sacrifices objectivity in an egregious attempt to present Israel in a favorable light:
"Israel completed the evacuation of its settlements and military bases here last September after occupying the strip in the 1967 Middle East war. It has not returned with significant ground forces since the withdrawal, despite near-daily rocket fire from the strip into southern Israel. Late Monday, one of the crude rockets landed in the city of Sderot, wounding one person lightly in the leg."
Regarding "the evacuation" Wilson conveniently eliminates important context so that a reader might wonder what's up with these Palestinians? Aren't they ever satisfied? Like most Israelis, Wilson believes, as Ran HaCohen writes,that the occupation has ended, when in actual deed, "Israel has imposed a total siege on the strip."
Wilson has been apprised in thorougly documented and minutely detailed e-mails by O'Connell about the disparity that exists between Palestinian rockets launched toward Sderot and the shelling of Gaza by Israel's occupation forces, yet Wilson includes mention of "near-daily rockets landed in the city of Sderot," minus any note of Israel's barbaric shelling, traumatization, and killing, which includes thirty-seven Palestinians in June.
A perceptive reader might note from Wilson's story, however, that Gilad possesses both French and Israeli citizenship, and that there are a heck of a lot of "kidnapped" Palestinian political prisoners in Israel's jails.
What most readers won't know, however, is that we have our nineteen year old poised to take out an indigenous people, many of them refugees in clear sight of their personal property within a few kilometers of Gaza so that he, and other Jews from all over the world, may live unhindered in a Jews preferred state and that Shalit is part of a military that daily engages in war crimes on behalf of this state that, among other breaches of civil and human rights, refuses to implement the inalienable right of 7.2 million Palestinian refugees to return home.
Wilson's spin and lack of context is little more than an Amber Alert for a vulnerable and slight Jewish boy with big rimmed glasses.
Monday, June 26, 2006
IOF Disappears 15 More Palestinians Today
The IOF disappeared the following young men from Halhoul, Ta’amara, and Dura villages today, June 26:
23 year old Iyad,
21 year old Ahmed,
20 year old Mahmoud Abdarbeh,
33 year old Abdarbeh Fawzi Khalid,
21 year old Ibrahim Awad,
20 year old Abdul Amala,
20 year old Talal Amala,
Ashraf Mounir Amala,
Murad Abdul Mahdi Amala,
18 year old Ahmed Said Al Khateeb,
40 year old Mohammad Musa Mohammed,
25 year old Khaled Dhiab,
33 year old Khalid Mohammed Shehdeh,
and 18 year old Mohammed Majid Spitan
The IOF disappeared from Gaza on Saturday, June 24:
Osama Muammar, who had just returned from studying at a university in the Sudan.
The IOF beat their fifty-two year old father who had severe injuries according to medical officials at the European Hospital in Rafah.
One Gilad is worth eight thousand Palestinians
Sunday, June 25, 2006
'And Paula, do we have any more info on that YOUNG Israeli soldier?
Uncle Hanna says one Israeli is worth about five hundred Palestinians so it is hoped that an exchange could lead to maybe a few hundred of the eight thousand Palestinian political prisoners' release.
The CNN anchor, who is preferable to Israel's public affairs spokesperson Mark Regev (my husband turned the TV off to stop my incessant expletives), didn't ask about the prisoners, nor did she ask any of the following questions:
Question: How is the wounded Fadhiyyah Ahmed, 80, whose son, Zakariyya, 47 and pregnant daughter Fatima, 37, were killed when an Israeli rocket slammed into the house in which they were eating lunch?
Answer: Not very well. According to Electronic Intifada she is incoherent, speaking in scattered words: "My son, my daughter ...Zakariyya is a genius, from KSA...Fatima teacher...children...a rocket...gifts..."
Question: How is Zakkariya's son, sixteen-yearl-old Ahmed doing after witnessing the death of his father, a news editor at Saudi TV, on vacation for the first time in Gaza in three years.
Answer:"Our life has completely changed. I don't know what I will do." The family will not be returning to Saudi Arabia.
QUESTION: How is Fatima's 18-month-old son, Khaled, who was seriously wounded doing?
QUESTION:What happened to the pregnant woman,Shaima Ahmad, 25,who was severely wounded by shrapnel?
ANSWER : Her baby was stillborn on Friday. Shaima remains in serious condition. The father named his stillborn baby girl, Majzara, an Arabic word that means massacre in English.
QUESTION:Who takes care of Aeshah Abu Mosallam's three children? She was shot in the head while standing on the balcony of her home in Balatah Refugee Camp on May 21.
ANSWER: Don't know because the only story that comes up when "Aesha Abu Mosallam" is googled is the one linked above.
QUESTION: Who takes care of three year old Mareya Aman, paralyzed, who lost her five year old brother, her mother, and her grandmother from an Israeli rocket?
ANSWER: Her great uncle did, but no news has been forthcoming about Mareya for some time now.
QUESTION: How did Dr. Mona El-Farra feel when her childhood home in Khan Younis was demolished without warning in 2000?
ANSWER: All my childhood memories…I still remember my late father’s rare photos, the minute I first drank that water from our well out of his hands. I still remember the joy of the relatives, friends and neighbors coming to celebrate this moment with us. The olive, orange, and guava trees, and many other trees, do not carry symbolic value only; they also have great economic value. They are lifelines for many families in the area. Agriculture is these people’s only income. The Israelis aim to decimate our already annihilated economy, to uproot us, to destroy our culture and to deny our very existence on this land for thousands of years.
QUESTION: How many stories come up on a google news search for "Gilad Shalit," the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinians?
QUESTION:How many Palestinian civilians have been killed in the last two weeks?
QUESTION:How many Israeli civilians have been killed in the last two weeks?
Saturday, June 24, 2006
My response to an editorial which appeared in the Chicago Tribune today, "The Gaza Battleground."
"They [Palestinians] elected Hamas and now live with the consequences of its rigid doctrine of hate," the Tribune editorializes (June 24).
For one week (June 15-21) according to the Palestine Center for Human Rights, Gaza Palestinians suffered eight dead, including three children and a pregnant woman; 45 civilians, including 24 children, were wounded by Israel's Occupation Forces gunfire; Israel's occupation forces made 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank; 57 Palestinians, including 4 women and 2 children were arrested; 15 more were arrested at checkpoints; four houses were taken over by the military; three houses were demolished, and land was confiscated.
Palestinians' legal, personal, civil, and human rights which include the inalienable right to return home (Article 13, Section 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to their personal property precludes the recognition of Israel as the "Jewish" state. And for this they are maligned in the western press as "haters" and are brutalized by Israel.
Sderot is today home to many Russian and Ethiopean immigrants living on village lands of the defaced and ethnically cleansed village of Najd, one of 418 depopulated Palestinian villages documented by Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi in All That Remains.
Najd's villagers were mainly farmers and engaged in animal husbandry. "Fields of grain and fruit trees surrounded Najd on all sides," according to Khalidi. There were 82 houses in Najd and its children went to school in the nearby village of Simsim, also obliterated. Palestinian Arabs owned 12,669 dunums of land in 1944/45; whereas Jews owned 495.
The key to peace in Palestine is implementation of the Palestinian refugees' inalienable rights as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." Palestinian personal, human, civil, and historic rights must not be relative to those of Jewish immigrants.
Nancy Harb Almendras
One small example of Israel's treatment of Christians within Israel proper is the treatment of the Christian villagers of Kafr Bir'im. The villagers were expelled in in 1948 and although the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in July 1952 that there was no reason to prevent their return, their village was demolished in 1953, "the only standing structure is the church and its belltower," according to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi in All That Remains. The villagers of Kfar Bir'im are among the 276,000 internally displaced Palestinian refugees within Israel according to the CIA factbook.
Nancy Harb Almendras
Israel Is Not the Threat to Christians
Saturday, June 24, 2006; A20
Robert D. Novak's April 17 op-ed, "Caught by Israel's Wall," contained numerous errors. Among them:
? Mr. Novak claims that the Gaza Strip is "one of the world's most densely populated places." At 8,666 people per square mile, density in the strip is less than Washington, D.C., which exceeds 9,000. San Francisco, Cairo and Manila are much more densely populated.
? Mr. Novak alleges that the security barrier is "cutting to pieces the promised Palestinian state." The barrier as planned and constructed encompasses no more than 8 percent of the West Bank. Remaining territorial contiguity is as great or greater than that of pre-1967 Israel. And a state was not promised; Palestinian Arabs have been offered an opportunity to build one through negotiations and performance.
? The column alleges that "the wall threatens Israel's tiny Christian minority and particularly Aboud's Christian roots." Aboud is in the West Bank, not Israel; its Christians are Palestinian Arabs, not Israeli Arabs. Israel's Christian Arab population has grown from 34,000 at the country's founding in 1948 to nearly 130,000 today. Meanwhile, the Christian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, estimated at 8 percent or more of the total after World War II, is now less than 1.7 percent (under 50,000). The decline has accelerated since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1993.
? Mr. Novak refers to "deadly daily artillery barrages" by Israel in response to rockets "ineffectively fired" by "undisciplined Palestinian militants." There have not been "deadly daily artillery barrages" by Israel. In response to near daily, indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire, Israeli counterattacks have included air-to-ground missiles targeting specific terrorists and artillery barrages aimed at launch areas.
Mr. Novak apparently writes about Israel from behind a barrier of his own, one that isolates him from the facts.
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East
Reporting in America
Confront the colluders in Israel's academy
Published: 23 June 2006
Israeli scholars have either collaborated in the occupation or turned a blind eye. They deserve a boycott, argues Lisa Taraki
Although Menahem Milson's career path and mine have been on a collision course, we have never met. In 1976, I joined Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank as a junior instructor in sociology. The same year, Milson, a professor of Arabic language and literature at the Hebrew University, became "adviser on Arab affairs" in the Israeli Government.
By 1981, when the academic community I was part of was struggling under the crushing yoke of Israeli punishments, he was appointed head of the military administration in the West Bank. One of the highlights of his tenure was the notorious "Village Leagues" scheme, a failed experiment in promoting a class of Palestinian collaborators to mediate Israeli rule.
Milson's service fits into the classic paradigm of a colonial regime enlisting scholars to assist in ruling the "natives". He told an American Jewish publication in 1995 that to "serve an Arab population responsibly, one needs to know language and civilisation. That is why so many professors have been called to do this". Indeed, the list of Israeli academics who have served government agencies and the occupation regime is impressive.
Today, that list includes demographers, psychologists and a host of strategic analysts.
What is most significant for those of us who argue for a boycott of the Israeli academy is that these academics, instead of facing censure and opprobrium from their peers for their complicity in oppression, are rewarded with the highest privileges. The toleration of racism and bigotry under the guise of scholarship is also remarkable; the legitimacy and normalcy of the discourse of "the demographic threat" is a striking example.
Opponents of an academic boycott complain that it violates academic freedom by restricting Israeli scholars' access to international academic networks.
They also claim that since Israeli universities are generally "liberal", the action punishes those who are least in agreement with the policies of their Government. These complaints betray a striking disregard for the indivisibility of academic freedom (the academic freedom of Palestinians being of no concern) and misrepresent the reality of the Israeli academy and Israeli academics.
When I arrived at Birzeit, the first institution of higher education established by Palestinians in the occupied territories, the university president had been deported by the Israeli Army. He was accused of "inciting" students against the occupation. He lived in exile for 19 years until he was allowed to return in 1993. As resistance to the occupation escalated in the 1980s, universities were treated to a constant diet of "closure orders" as punishment for student demonstrations.
As soon as a military closure order was issued, we young faculty would go into top gear and fire off appeals to Western consulates, the media and human rights organisations. Because arrests invariably followed closure orders, we also fell into a routine of preparing for students' encounters with the system of military "justice". We attended trials in seedy military courtrooms where some of the prosecutors and judges were academics on reserve duty. I can still remember watching those colourless individuals as they assiduously avoided the eyes of the Palestinian academic observers on the benches.
Later, and after we had organised makeshift lectures and laboratories scattered throughout Ramallah and Jerusalem, we would evade Army patrols bent on criminalising our efforts to rescue the semester or the entire academic year. I remember teaching a seminar on the Iranian revolution in the kitchen of an empty apartment in Ramallah, just as I recall travelling to Gaza to help a graduating student being held under house arrest finish his matriculation requirements (this trip, as the one to Jerusalem, is no longer conceivable, and we no longer have students from Gaza).
So where have Israeli academics been during the long siege of Palestinian higher education? Aside from a handful of progressive academics, the Israeli academy has remained silent. Business as usual has been the order of the day for nearly four decades. Virtually all Israeli academics have continued to serve in the Army's reserve forces and, as such, have been perpetrators of, or witnesses to, the many crimes committed by their military.
What is there left to do? Global centres of power have stood firmly by Israel as it has wreaked havoc with the lives and futures of Palestinians.
Our only hope is pressure from international civil society. And that includes academics. We want our colleagues abroad to know that, with every conference they attend at an Israeli university, with every review they write for an Israeli institution, they are unwittingly helping to maintain the system of injustice.
The academic boycott aims to make Israelis realise that there is a price to be paid for complicity, complacency and silence. Milson may have retired, but his successors continue to enjoy the fruits of academic freedom in the Israeli academy. The rest do not care.
Lisa Taraki is associate professor of sociology at Birzeit University.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Dadan's Poster for World Refugee Day
Dadan's excellent poster in response to SLATE's lack of coverage for Palestine's refugees on World Refugee Day, while highlighting the occupiers as refugees (see story below). See a larger image of the poster here.
Effective Resistance from Arab Bloggers On World Refugee Day
Roberts announced the largest refugee group- and got it wrong- largest is Palestinian- and it is the longest running refugee crisis.
Also your list of relief agencies Totally forgot UNRWA- as if the Palestinian refugees do not exist!
In addition we sent CNN thank you messages which included information about "right of return."
My friend and I were in contact all day, checking out the media's coverage of World Refugee Day; however, neither of us thought to check SLATE. Their abysmal coverage first came to my attention on June 21, when I checked out the beautifully designed blog, Ohoud's Arab Rhabsody. And I was thrilled to see that several bloggers, including Qwaider of Memories Documented, Hamzeh of Scatter Load, and Dadan, had resisted Slate's efforts to feature the oppressor prominantly on World Refugee while ignoring the largest and longest suffering refugee population:those registered with UNRWA number 4,255,120 and if one includes unregistered refugees the total for 1948 refugees alone is 6,400,000.
What started from a post on Qwaider's Blog:
"I was shocked and appalled by Slate.com for the way the have absolutely disregarded the Palestinian refugees. The hundreds of thousands that were driven out of their lands, forced into the conditions worse than Auschwitz and suffered ethnic genocide by their oppressors. These opressors were rewarded today by Slate which showed a picture from "Sha'ar Ha'aliya" in Haifa in 1950. For those who don't know "Sha'ar Ha'aliya" was just a triage point to manage the huge influx of Jewish occupiers that were flocking from all over the world to take over the ancestral land of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were consequently driven from their homes, farms, schools universities and businesses into the humiliating life of refugees. Helpless and hopeless in scattered refugee camps."
Found its way to Mazin Qumsiyeh's widely circulated e-mail of June 22 (although Qwaider's term "occupiers" should replace "refugees" after Jewish) below:
"-(this action is from a reader Iman)
Slate Magazine highlight forgets largest remaining refugee population in the
world while highlighting Jewish refugees
Submit your comment:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/admin/help/popup/frame_pageSlateQC.htmlWhat some bloggers did:
This is an excerpt from Hamzeh's excellent letter to SLATE:
It is impossible to imagine a good reason why Slate would choose to commemorate the stories of several refugee populations from across the world, and fail to honor the story of 4 million Palestinian refugees. It is obvious that the conflict that led to the displacement of Palestinians from their homeland was not absent in the mind of the people that prepared this "Today's Pictures" piece, as they clearly did not forget to feature the picture of a Jewish absorption camp in Haifa in the year 1950.
While this camp was mainly setup to act as a triage point to help in absorbing the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who were then settling in the newly established Jewish state, other camps were being setup across the Middle East and in the new Jewish state itself to handle the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes and were driven out of their villages in the process. Today, there are 59 Palestinian refugee camps recognized by the UN, opposite Jewish populations living in the cities and villages that these refugees originally came from. Slate Magazine today chose to commemorate the Jewish refugees of the past and completely ignore the Palestinian refugees of both past and present.
This is mine:
SLATE is irresponsible in refusing to acknowledge the longest suffering and largest refugee population, the Palestinians, 4,255,120 of whom are registered with UNWRA. Ironically, the European Jews at an absorption center in Haifa that SLATE depicted, may be living in the 675 totally depopulated towns and villages of Palestinian Arabs. Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, expert on Palestinian refugees, describes the Zionist process for depopulating some of these villages:
"In the spring of 1948, some Jewish mukhtars (headmen) of Jewish colonies in Palestinian went over to the Arab Palestinian mukhtars in the nearby villages which maintained good neighbourly relations with them and whispered in their ears, 'we are your good friends and neighbours and we must give you our sincere advice. Those vicious Palmach soldiers who just landed from Europe have no mercy. They intend to clean out Arab villages. Take your family and run for your life before it is too late.' That was no 'sincere' advice. This ‘whispering campaign’, was ordered by Palmach commander, Yigal Allon (Paicovich) and it resulted in the depopulation of at least 12 villages."
Sderot, for which Israel's government uses as justification for its slaughter of Palestinian innocents was founded in 1951 on the village lands of Najd, one of 418 ethnically cleansed and defaced Palestinian villages described by Princeton historian, Dr. Walid Khalidi in All that Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948.
Unfortunately, based upon SLATE's coverage of World Refugee Day,seems as if Palestinian lives and history are not just irrelevant to Israel's government.
Mabrook to all the resolute Arab bloggers who effectively resisted SLATE's misleading and irresponsible coverage of World Refugee Day. It is my hope that we continue to work together to both challenge and, when due, praise the media. Check here often for what you can do, and I will check out your blogs as well.
Olmert's Bloodthirsty Immigrant Bloggers Would Target PLC
How can a society be "enlightened" and "just" if it doesn't implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, section 2, which states: Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. This is an example of the mindset of one "immigrant" who is free to illegally settle on confiscated land; in "132 Palestinian legislators on the wall... ♪...132 Palestinian legislators" this transplant from New York writes:
"Treppenwitz's 2-Step Plan for Stopping the Qassams
"Step 1: Send a public message to the PA and Hamas leadership telling them that starting tomorrow, for every single day that even one Qassam falls inside Israel, one member of the PA/Hamas Leadership (including the Palestinian Legislative council) will be targeted with one of our much more accurate missiles.
"Step 2: Make good on that threat.
"I figure we will probably burn through two, maybe three PLC Ministers before they figure out we're not bluffing."
In response to the following comment:
"Interesting idea, definitely preferrable to carpet bombing a refugee camp. Can I assume that the plan would be to target the legislators with the most dubious history and try to leave someone with some credibility who would be in a position to negotiate and enforce a truce should they see the error of their ways?"
Olmert's immigrant replies:
"... No, actually that's the great part. While we would be using pinpoint accurate laser-guided missiles to target the PLC Ministers, the actual person designated for evaporation would be selected randomly by pulling a name a day from a big lotto-style air machine. Since they use such a random weapon (the Qassam) it is only fair that we try to respond in an equally random manner."
I guess some women get off on this kind of talk.
The comments are mostly yea sayers, including one who says he likes the smell of napalm in the morning.
Of course, Dr. Salman Abu Sitta (now there's a patriot and a statesman and a man to emulate) warns us that soldiers take on different forms. Zionists come in many different varieties, but remember, even Jeff Halper, for all his good works, is an immigrant from Wisconsin who has the mistaken notion that Israel was once "progresive," and in spite of its "original sin" could one day rise again and be a veritable "light unto the nations."
Another immigrant on another blog, who is of the Zio-lite variety, actually seems to infer that an Israeli aggregate for blogs is enlightened because "The homepage of the Hebrew aggregate site has a permanent logo on the upper left square that says, 'This blog opposes targeted assasinations in heavily populated civilian areas.'"
Well, gee, thanks for that. This must be the other side of Zionism, Zionism with a big fat heart that never forgets to say sorry like Ehud Olmert.
Olmert says he's sorry for the babykilling, the killing of the pregnant woman and her brother, but he's not sorry for the beach killing cause Israel didn't have a hand in that. He's also not so griefstricken as to stop illegal extrajudicial assasinations.
"I am sorry from the depths of my heart for the unintended deaths of innocent people in Gaza and Khan Younis. No one understands that kind of pain more than us."
Spare us the empathy. Have the dignity to just shut up. You're killing refugees who were deliberately and systematically ethnically cleansed from their native villages. What you didn't demolish then and cover up with trees (remember the dimes for Israel) and give some Hebrew name, you stole and appropriated for yourselves and you continue to steal and appropriate for your immigrants. You and Elie Wiesel, the former journalist for Irgun when it massacred the villagers at Deir Yassin, and who doesn't have a damned thing to say about that in his full hypocrisy, probably full on King Abdullah's hummus at the big feast you fat cats are having, Olmert thinking about who he's going to take out next, as Wiesel challenges Mohammed Abbas to condemn suicide bombing as a war crime. Please.
None of you have the dignity or courage of a kid who throws rocks at a tank barrelling down his concrete refugee camp.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Cry, the Beloved Country
"The two leaders shook hands, embraced and kissed each other on the cheek. Asked about his handshake with Olmert, Abbas said, 'It was very warm, very warm.'"
Cry, the Beloved Children
From Sabbah's blog.
I did not cry when I watched these photos; I froze.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Sderot Built on Ashes of Ethnically Cleansed and Defaced Najd
Najd's Palestinian villagers, approximately 620 in 1945, were expelled on 13 May 1948, before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. According to UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2, the villagers of Najd have a right to return home to their personal property and to their native village.
Today, according to Khalidi, "some old trees grow" on the site of the village. It is "overgrown with cactuses and Christ's thorn and sycamore trees and contans the crumbled walls of unidentified buildings...."
There were 82 houses in Najd. Children went to school in Simsim, two kilometers away. According to Palestine Remembered the village has been completely "defaced."
In 1596 Najd's population was 215.
In 1838, Edward Robinson, an American biblical scholar "observed the villagers winnowing barley by throwing it into the air against the wind with wooden forks" [Robinson (1841) III: 260 as quoted in Khalidi 128].
Najd's villagers were mainly farmers and engaged in animal husbandry. "Fields of grain and fruit trees surrounded Najd on all sides."
Najd is fourteen kilometers from Gaza. Palestinian Arabs own 12,669 dunums in Najd although Israel refuses to honor their rights to their personal property, and refuses them their inalienable right to return home. In 1945 Jews owned 495 dunums of land in Najd and public lands consisted of 412 dunums.
Najd is one of 418 ethnically cleansed villages by Zionist Jews that Dr. Khalidi includes in his seminal work. Khalidi dedicates his book:
To all those for whom these villages were home and to their descendants.
Khalidi, Walid, ed. All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated By Israel in 1948. Institute for Palestine Studies: Washington, D.C., 1992.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Israel Commemorates World Refugee Day, Kills Brother and Sister, Teen
UPDATE/CORRECTION: Today, Palestine Center For Human Rights, Gaza, identified the dead children:Mohammed Jamal Shukri Rouqa,6; Samia Mahoud Ziad al-Sharif, 5; Bilal Jasser al-Hissi, 16.
Mohammed Roka, 5, and his sister, Needa, 7, and an unnamed teenage girl, were killed today by Israel's Occupation Forces. John Pilger recently wrote "In Palestine, War on Children":
On my last trip to Palestine, I was rewarded, on leaving Gaza, with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering from inside the walled compounds. Children are responsible for this. No one tells them to do it. They make flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and one or two climb on to a wall and hold the flag between them, silently. They do it, believing they will tell the world.
But the world kow-tows to Olmert and his fellow ethnic cleansers, pictured above at the World Zionist Conference in Jerusalem today. The idiotic US Congress, against the objections of John Sununu and Henry Hyde seek to pass resolutions which are blatantly despicable lies:
"Whereas this year marks the 39th year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected."
The day started out well. CNN featured a Palestinian family on World Refugee Day.
I should have known better.
People of Sderot, living on the ethnically cleansed village of Najd, called for their government to do more. Five people from Sderot have been killed in five years from rockets fired by Palestinians. People of Sderot, rest well tonight.
Memory eternal, Needa and Mohammed.
World Refugee Day: Palestinian Refugees Featured on CNN
Israelis like to talk about reality and CNN's Paula Hancocks, bantering with Shihab Rantissi, said today that the Israel government and the US government have stated that right of return for Palestine's refugees will "never happen."
However, Abu Sitta talks about the Palestinian refugees' reality: "There is a reality that the refugees have never given up, nor will they give up, their right to return home. There is a reality that 97% of them are within 100 km of their homes, 50% within 40 km and many are within sight of their homes. The reality is, in spite of wars, raids, occupation and Israeli brutal policies, they have not surrendered or given up, all three generations of them."
Certainly the Abu-Akar family featured today by Paula Hancocks on CNN doesn't share Israel's reality. And so it was heartening to see this family from D'heishe Refugee Camp featured by Hancocks on CNN's World News throughout the day. Hancocks interviewed sixty-three year old patriarch Abu Nidal Abu-Akar, provider for an extended family of sixteen. He works two jobs, a furniture painter by day, and a gas station attendant at night. Abu-Akar, a distinguished looking man, tells Hancocks that his sons are in jail. He points to a picture and says, "It reminds me of my land and suffering I experienced. This picture of my land reminds me of my history," he continues. Um Nidal, Abu-Akar's wife, says "Inshallah" (God willing), she has faith that if not she and Abu Nidal, her children will return to their home.
CNN reminds us that on this day of refugees, there is no cause for celebration; however, it is hopeful that a Palestinian family is featured throughout the day in the mainstream media. In a preceding feature, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said that former president's Charles Taylor's trial before the World Court will "enable [us] to put the ugly past behind us." She noted that of 233,00 Liberian refugees, all but 69,000 have returned home from Sierra Leone.
And so will the Palestinian refugees return home. The noble nature informing their efforts for implementation of the inalienable right to return to their personal property and native villages and towns, will put the ugly past meted out by political Zionism's enforcers behind them. Or as an internal refugee from the ethnically cleansed village from Bir'im says:
Your people, Bir'im have not died
And will not forsake a grain of sand from you
As long as you have men like these
As long as you have men like these
Who continually strive for justice
they do not care what others may say
And they always say to the oppressor
Our Bir'im is more precious than money.
And the return will never disappear
We will return contented
We will forget the bitter days.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Whopee! Israel: 'A Country That's Fun to Live In'
Another 'putting a good face on Israel story.'
Although Russian immigrant artists to Israel may be "oxygenated" by a revival of creative arts in Jerusalem, Palestinian Jerusalemites are left gasping for breath. According to the suppressed EU Report on East Jerusalem: "When the [separation] barrier is completed, Israel will control all access to East Jerusalem, cutting off its Palestinian satellite cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah, and the West Bank beyond." Not the makings for "a country that's fun to live in" or to breathe in for its non-Jewish inhabitants.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Olmert's Risky Security Quest
My response to Jim Hoagland's "Olmert's Risky Security Quest," which appeared today in the Washington Post.
Israel has dealt with the Palestinian "threat to Israel" by deliberate ethnic cleansing in 1948. Israel has dealt with the Palestinian "threat to Israel" by refusing residency within Israel to Palestinian spouses from the occupied territories who wish to marry Palestinians in Israel. Israel has dealt with the Palestinian "threat to Israel" by shooting refugees who tried to return to their personal property in the 1950's. Israel has dealt with the Palestinian "threat to Israel" with hugely subsidized efforts to whisk Jews from all over the world to immigrate to Israel. Israel has dealt with the Palestinian "threat to Israel" by denying that there is such a thing as a Palestinian. That didn't work, nor will Olmert's cheerleading for civil war ultimately succeed in removing the "threat." The dismantling of this racist state founded upon ethnic cleansing and the ashes of 530 demolished villages should neither be threatening nor cause for alarm for Europe and the US, rather recognized as the only way toward peace.
My response to Steven Erlanger's "4 Months Into Aid Cutoff, Gazans Barely Scrape By"
Steven Erlanger writes that seventy percent of Gaza's residents are refugees and poignantly conveys the latest plight of the Palestinians, selling gold and even alluding to a father, no longer able to provide a dime allowance for his children, contemplating suicide. This deadly game waged by Israel is becoming ludicrous: what does a forced submission from starving people of Israel's "right" to exist on the refugees' stolen personal property mean anyway?
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Israel: 'Let Your People Go Home, Already' Say US Congressmen
I read about this in the New York Post. Abby Wisse Schachter informs us in her story riddled with lies that Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) are putting together yet another nutty resolution:
"As Nadler put it in a press release, 'When the Middle East peace process is discussed, Palestinian refugees are often addressed. However, Jewish refugees [from the 1948 war, when the Arab states attacked the just-declared state of Israel] outnumbered Palestinian refugees, and their forced exile from Arab lands must not be omitted from public discussion on the peace process. It is simply not right to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of Jewish refugees,' said Nadler."
Schachter explains: "Under the resolutions, when the subject of Middle East refugees is raised at, say, the United Nations, U.S. representatives must ensure 'that any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees is matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees, as a matter of law and equity.'"
Nadler gets big bucks from AIPAC to shill for Israel and make our Congress a laughingstock.
In the late seventies World Organization of Jews From Arab Countries tried to push the concept of "Jewish refugees," but Arab Jews, proud Zionists, weren't having any of it.
Yehouda Shenhav in "Hitching A Ride on A Magic Carpet," quotes several:
"Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: 'We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.'
"Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy: 'I don't regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.'
"Ran Cohen stated emphatically: 'I have this to say: I am not a refugee.' He added: 'I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.'"
Schachter lies with the best of them: "Jews who had lived for generations in countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Morocco and Libya were made to leave their birth countries as soon as Israel was declared."
She also makes a very ignorant statement in reference to whom the resolution represents: "Specifically, non-Palestinian Middle East refugees - Jews and Christians." Does she not know that about fifteen percent of Palestinians are Christian?
Shenhav writes: "The history of the 'Mizrahi aliyah' (immigration to Israel) is complex, and cannot be subsumed within a facile explanation. Many of the newcomers lost considerable property, and there can be no question that they should be allowed to submit individual property claims against Arab states (up to the present day, the State of Israel and WOJAC have blocked the submission of claims on this basis)."
Of course its in the interests of the state of Israel to block submission of individual property claims; imagine if it adhered to UN Resolution 194 and paid claims for the ninety-two percent of Palestine it confiscated from its individual personal property owners.
Schachter's bold lie is also countered by Naim Giladi. Giladi prefaces his article, "The Jews of Iraq": "I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called 'cruel Zionism.' I write about it because I was part of it."
WOJAC has been replaced by Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, the organization pushing this resolution. The following congressmen, who in addition to favoring starving the Palestinians until they recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, support this resolution: Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Reps. Michael Ferguson (R-N.J.), Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
In Route 181 an Arab Jew who immigrated from Morocco talks about how well she got along with her Arab Muslim neighbors. She laments that she ever came to Israel. Surely, if Arab Jews who are longing for their homelands in Arab countries wish to return, they should by all means. It is their inalienable right: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
So let your people go home already.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Who Elected These Pea Brained Idiots?
"Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) are soliciting cosponsors for a bill addressing “the systematic destruction” of the Palestinian Christian community by the Palestinian Authority (PA)."
Yeah, right. And thanks for your concern. Where was your concern when the Israeli storm troopers shot and killed Johnny Thaljieh, a Greek Orthodox altar boy, while he was hanging around in front of his uncle's shop? And where was your concern when Christine Sa'ada, a little Christian girl, was 'collateral' damage from an extrajudicial assasination? Oh, and where was your concern when Kamal Nasser, a fine poet, a friend of my dad's, was knocked off in Beirut years ago by none other than Ehud Barak in drag? And where was your concern when Israel's stormtroopers shot at the statue of the Virgin Mary in Bethelehem? Or destroyed an ancient sixth century church? Or stole land from my cousin's Christian village, Beit Jala, for the so-called Jewish 'neighborhood' Gilo? AIPAC must have greased your palms considerably, boys. Well, for your edification, although I'm not sure if it's worth it, here is a real, live Palestinian Christian on the matter. I'm of the school that Palestinians should speak about themselves, not bought off congressmen, not students of the "Orient," and most definitely not transplanted European and American "Israelis":
“We are disappointed by the resolution drafted by Congressman McCaul and Congressman Crowley purporting to act on our behalf. The resolution seriously misrepresents the situation facing Christians in the Holy Land...
"We have contacted the highest officials in the Catholic and Evangelical Churches in the US and in the Holy Land and they strongly oppose this resolution. We understand that the resolution was drafted without consulting Christians living in the region or local Christian organizations. The resolution grossly misleads the Congress as to the real threat that faces our community." Open Bethlehem’s chief executive Leila Sansour, a Christian from Bethlehem
Patriarchs Atalla Hanna, Michael Sabbah and Reverend Mitri Raheb,Canon Naim Ateek, and other religious leaders in Palestine don't have a problem with the Palestine Authority's relations with Palestine's Christians.
So who did these guys consult? None other than Justus Weiner. Remember him. The schill for Israel who wrote a book that said that Edward Said wasn't Palestinian? Thank God he is the champion of Palestinian Christians. I am so touched. God has answered my prayers for another appearance of the savior. Honestly, could we have a resolution against stupidity in Congress? Or would that be too time consuming?
According to Churches for Middle East Peace: "What information is the basis for the McCaul/Crowley resolution? The research that forms the basis of the resolution was conducted by Professor Justus Weiner, an American/Israeli academic who is a scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in Israel. His research includes little or no input from the local indigenous Palestinian Christians--- Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran communicants, and has significant inaccuracies, exaggerated conclusions and major omissions."
CMEP is very Christian in their assessment of Weiner.
But jokers like these congressmen, and their supporters, those great advocates for the Palestinians (their concern for Christians is touching; as for the rest, they may starve), including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Connie Mack (R-FL), Mike Pence (R-IN), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Henry Brown (R-SC), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Mark Souder (R-IN), John Carter (R-TX), Thomas Tancredo (R-CO), and Steve Chabot (R-OH) make me want to express myself in a very un-christian manner.
What you can do and more information here from Churches for Middle East Peace.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Letters to the Editor June 14
One underestimates the Palestinians by assuming that current divisions will lead to civil war. Palestinians have remained steadfast in demanding their universal human rights despite Zionist immigration and colonisation beginning in the late 1800's, the Catastrophe of 1948 which resulted in expulsion of seventy-five percent of Palestine's population and demolition of over five hundred of its villages, the occupation of 1967, the tragedy of Beirut in 1982, Israel's breaking of bones during the first intifada; Israel's destruction of infrastructure in 2002 and the whole host of state sponsored atrocities of the second intifada, including four thousand deaths, land confiscation, prison-like conditions, and barbaric uprootings of olive trees, both symbol and source of Palestinian life. In light of this steadfastness, which in Arabic is 'sumud,' there is no reason to assume that Palestinians will break any time soon.
While Abbas' motivation for the referendum is not entirely clear, Aaron David Miller's sophistry is quite apparent. Stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country," yet Miller suggests that the Palestinian Prisoners' Document's advocacy for implementation of an inalienable right is extreme. And what's sacrosanct about Israel's "right" to exist? Israel demolished over five hundred villages, depopulated 570 of them, and refuses to let people return to their personal property. Miller's belief that the affected should now affirm Israel's "right" to exist is analogous to the rapist's victim praising the criminal's act.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
From the folks who brought you 'land without a people': Spin and Carnage
Predictably the US media fails to recognize the deaths of Palestinian children as the report that the IOF didn't do it from the folks who wreaked havoc in "the land without a people for a people without a land" headlines google news and yahoo main pages. There is no headline on either page about the eleven Palestinians who were killed by Israel's missiles today.
What our media, enthralled by Israel's spin doctors, doesn't want its readers to see Sabbah provides...death in the concrete (not for the faint hearted).
At 10:30 PM in Germany; however, one could glance at Yahoo's main page news and be totally oblivous to today's carnage--the headlines:
• Iraq PM vows 'no mercy' in security crackdown
• Israel blames Hamas mine for beach blast
• Bush visit may have downside for al-Maliki
• U.S. recognizes Montenegro's independence
• Homeland Security red tape delays weddings
• Airbus announces delay in A380 deliveries
• EPA to phase out use of common pesticide
• U.S. vows to regroup after World Cup loss
And Google runs the same headline now:
"Israel Blames Hamas Mine for Beach Blast."
And this is on its main news page:
Israel denies responsibility for Gaza beach deaths
Reuters - 2 hours ago
By Luke Baker. JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel denied responsibility on Tuesday for an explosion on a Gaza beach last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians and led militant group Hamas to call off a 16-month-old truce. ...
Beach deaths 'not Israel's fault' BBC Bulgaria
Gaza at risk of erupting into civil war The Age
Not even a mention of the medics, kids, and other civilians who Israel killed today.
So, the spin is effective; with scant evidence provided in the accompanying stories, other than that "shrapnel" taken from the victims currently being treated in Israeli hospitals doesn't match Israeli shrapnel, the seed is planted in the minds of many Americans, who won't look at the stories, or who are oblivious of Israel's bloody history, that Hamas blew up its own people.
Israel's record speaks for itself. Israel has perpetuated massacres, expulsions, ethnic cleansings, demolitions, well poisonings; Israel shot at refugees returning to their homes in the late 40's and 50's; Ninety-three percent of Palestine was confiscated for 1948 Israel, and Israel continues to murder and lie about it; these fine folks who had everyone going for awhile that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land, and who still have the mainstream media perpetuating their latest in a long line of murderous spin.
UPDATE: Chris McGreal has a story countering the Israeli Spin in today's late afternoon Guardian. Excerpt:
"All the evidence points to the fact that it couldn't have been a mine," said Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon expert on battlefields who led the US military's battle damage assessment team in Kosovo and worked for its intelligence wing, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"You have the crater size, the shrapnel, the types of injuries, their location on the bodies. That all points to a shell dropping from the sky not explosives under the sand...
"But after investigating the scene, Mr Garlasco concluded that the army's explanation is deeply flawed. Among the new shrapnel he collected at the scene of the deaths is a piece stamped with the figures: 155MM.
"'The 155mm shell is what Israel uses in the howitzers that regularly shell northern Gaza,' he said."
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Dr. El-Farra: 'On the Beach'
Gaza: On the Beach
It is Friday and Hoda’s family like other Palestinians, were trying to enjoy a little fun. A moment’s escape from the hardship of daily life... economic sanctions from Israel, the EU, and US, military siege, 4 months with no salaries for more than
160, 000 government employees, a Palestinian economy already vulnerable and
impoverished, the high unemployment rate, unsettled political situation,
factional interclashes, vulnerable health services, lack of vital medications,
widespread psychological problems, and child malnutrition.
The moment shattered. An Israeli gunship suddenly fired at random against the
beach, while army tanks fired artillery shells and Apache helicopters crossed
the sky. 40 civilians were injured, 10 killed.
In the Hospital
Whole families were destroyed in minutes, but all I heard was “the Israeli army
will investigate the incident”. American officials commented on the right of
Israel to defend its security!!!!!!!!!
I personally have no comment.
Like many of us in Gaza, I burst into tears. Some
of my collegues at the hospital could not go to the child’s room. The camera
man collapsed at the scene.
Last week while I was at Al Awda hospital(north of gaza), I visited the health
emergency crew, who were targeted while evacuating the dead bodies of
I felt that this was one of the normal practices of the Israeli
army, to attack health emergency teams.
now I am wondering, is it our
destiny as people living under occupation, to deal with abnormal practices as
if they were settled normal facts??
I feel that no place in Gaza is safe. I mentioned that phrase in one of my press
releases at the beginning of the intifada, and I still feel the same way.
Letter to New York Times
Steven Erlanger writes "eight Palestinians were killed on a Gaza beach (June 11), apparently by an errant Israeli shell," and then proceeds to write: "The army believes that a shell fell short or that a dud, previously fired, exploded."
Erlanger did not quote Palestinian eyewitnesses in the story. Palestine Center for Human Rights, Gaza reports the following:
"An Israeli naval boat stationed off the coast of Beit Lahya fired seven successive artillery shells at civilians on the beach in the Waha area, north of Beit Lahya. The shells landed on the beach, which had been crowded with civilian men, women and children at the time."
Reporting further PCHR writes: "Israeli television Channel 2 broadcast footage of the Israeli boat firing the shells at the beach, with one of the navy soldiers scanning the beach with binoculars; thus indicating that the crime had been perpetrated with a premeditated intent to kill."
No need for Erlanger to provide a forum for excusing Israel's brutality. Erlanger quotes Israeli General Aviv Kochavi who speaks of a false 'equivalence' but is brutally honest in his assessment of Israel's disproportionate attack: "The message we are trying to convey, you can call it deterrence, but it's, 'Ladies and gentlemen, there is an equivalence here: so long as you shoot Qassams at us, we'll shoot artillery at you.' "
'Yaba, Yaba, Abooya'
Moi taped the wrenching Al-Jazeera video of Hadil screaming "yaaaabaaaaa," which means daddy. My reaction is here and Khalid Amayreh's comment is here. Other reactions to the Bahr al-Sudaniya massacre in Gaza:
We call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent all acts of terrorism, including the firing of missiles and rockets from Gaza. Sean McCormack, Spokesman, US Department of State
I cannot get her voice out of my head. Her screams pierced through my body and soul as she began to fathom the fate of her father lying lifelessly in front of her. "Yaaaabaaaa" means "Daaaaddyyyy". Her Daddy is no more. Her Mommy is no more. Her siblings are no more.
Moi, My Occupied Territory
We called my Aunt, who works with the al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza. She was hysterical, and this is a woman who seldom loses her grip.
She just spoke of blood and body parts, and how one of the cameramen at the hospital couldn't hold it together and dropped his camera as he was filming after he heard a bloodied, batterd girl crying out for her father.
I feel so useless being here, so impotent and angered, and I just want to cry and scream at once. After a week of energizing talks, in which I really felt I could contribute a little bit by informing people this happens. Laila El-Haddad, Raising Yousuf
I just read of this horrible massacre of children on the beach, and my heart sank, and my tears fell. You are not alone in feeling impotent- we feel it in America, too, as we cannot stop our government from facilitating these inhuman Israeli attacks that go against every American principle. I am so sorry for American complicity in these attacks, and will continue to fight to change our foreign policy to one that reflects American values, of fairness and justice for all people, including Palestinians and Iraqis. Comment from Liz on Laila's Blog
A tear tried to escape from my eye, but I am a man, and men do not cry… men fight.Am I a man? I do not know…
Watching that small Palestinian girl on the T.V. arose doubts in my mind… Am I a human being? What did I do after watching her? I only tried to get out her image from my soul but could not.
She was with her mother, father, and sisters in a picnic at Gaza beach. They were setting together… laughing… playing… Suddenly, an "Act of Defense" against this laugh landed on them turning the laughing faces into bloody dead parts…The girl ran from the body of her mother to that of her father trying to wake them… her scream pierced my heart…
I feel so useless, worthless… I feel angry. Khaled Nazzal, Blue Fog
The Israelis have murdered
The family of a hard
Working Gaza farmer
The Israelis have caused
Destruction In our world again
A new massacre on the Gaza Beach Hayam, Palestine Free Voice
The video is heart breaking, full of scenes which you will NEVER, I repeat, you will NEVER see in your media, and I promise you, you will NEVER forget.
While watching all this and more on Palestine TV and Aljazeera, I, my wife and all my kids, all started crying. We could not stand the scene of the wounded and dead kids, women and elders, and especially the girl you see in this video, running on beach after she lost her mind when she saw the dead body of her father laying on beach. Haitham Sabbah, Sabbah's Blog
they were shot at from the sea and the air. why?! is swimming now deemed a threat to israel? i asked how many more mornings would i have to wake up to this kind of news, more importantly- how many more palestinians have to die this way, why must innocent people continue to be killed? why doenst anyone do something, why dont i do something, what can i do anyway? my heart go out to everyone- the victims, their families.....i dont know what i would say them? pat them on the back and say its ok? its not ok- at all. comfort them and tell them i know how they feel? i dont know how the feel- i dont know how it feels to lose a mother a father a sibling to idf brutatlity. so what do i say to them, as a palestinian living here in the states, that is free to go anywhere she wants- she can go to the mall and buy whatever and the only thing that would delay her is traffic on the highway- not a checkpoint. do i go back and express my solidarity with them by living with them- well i cant even do that- i cant stay longer than three months at a time. so what do i say, or what do i do, to make it better? i really dont know. Al-Falasteenyia
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that the attack which killed seven members of the same family took place at approximately 16:40 on Friday, 9 June 2006. An Israeli naval boat stationed off the coast of Beit Lahya fired seven successive artillery shells at civilians on the beach in the Waha area, north of Beit Lahya. The shells landed on the beach, which had been crowded with civilian men, women and children at the time. Seven civilians from the same family (father, mother and five children) were killed. A sixth child from the same family escaped death but was seen on television crying hysterically beside her father’s body. A further thirty-two civilians, including thirteen children, were injured. Two of the injured sustained serious wounds.
The family members killed in the attack were:
- Ali Issa Ghalya (49); his wife
- Ra’eesa Ghalya (35); and their children:
- Haitham (1);
- Hanadi (2);
- Sabrin (4);
- Ilham (15); and
- Alia (17).
Israeli television Channel 2 broadcast footage of the Israeli boat firing the shells at the beach, with one of the navy soldiers scanning the beach with binoculars; thus indicating that the crime had been perpetrated with a premeditated intent to kill. Palestine Centre For Human Rights
IDF officials said Saturday that even if it turns out eventually that the civilians' death was the result of army artillery , the strike took place in open areas where the Palestinian know that movement is banned. Therefore, they said, this is the unfortunate result of the ongoing war on terror, not an operational failure. ynet news
The Israeli navy decided to stop shelling. For now. I guess to give the Palestinians a chance to collect all body parts, which I hear were blown all over Gaza's beautiful beach.
But not to worry.
The army (or navy in this case) will investigate.
They will investigate why people die when shells land on their heads.
They won't be investigating the toxic level of hatred in people's hearts which allows them to keep killing Palestinians in this way, day in and day out.
They won't be investigating the indifference of the Israeli population to these massacres that are committed in their name and for their security.
They won't be investigating the level the dehumanization of the Palestinians has reached that nowadays nobody cries for their dead.
No, they won't. Amal Amireh, Improvisations: Arab Woman Progressive Voice