Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Zionism Must Be Dissolved For Peace
By Khalid Amayreh
Al-Khalil, occupied Palestine
9 October 2006
As a Palestinian who has been living under the yoke of Israeli military occupation for over 39 years and who lost three innocent uncles to the occupation’s bullets, I should have no problems comparing Israel with Nazi Germany.
It is true that Israel has not introduced gas chambers into Palestinian towns and villages. However, Israel has been killing and tormenting Palestinians nonstop in a variety of ways which, in their brutality and sheer evil, don’t really differ in substance from Nazi behavior.
Moreover, it is paramount to remember that the German holocaust didn’t start with Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, but rather with an idea, with a book and with a Kristalnacht, the sort of things that are so rampant in Israel’s collective thinking these days as the Israeli Jewish society continues to drift toward religious and jingoistic fascism.
This is not liberal Zionism giving way to religious Zionism as some pro-Israeli apologists would argue. There is no such a thing as liberal Zionism or democratic Zionism. These are contradictions in term.
Zionism, we are told, is about “building a national homeland for the Jews.” However, for millions of its victims, Zionism is about the extirpation, expulsion and dispersion of the bulk of the Palestinian people from their ancestral homeland to the four corners of the world by way of organized terror and violence. This is the ugly side of Zionism that much of the West doesn’t want to see.
Indeed, from the very inception, Zionism viewed Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land. This arrogant denial of my people’s very existence didn’t originate in ignorance of reality. It was rather an expression of virulent and violent racism, very much like those white European barbarians who exterminated six million native American Indians and called the genocide “Manifest Destiny.”
The Zionists did know that Palestine was populated by hundreds of thousands of Christians and Muslims. In 1898, a Zionist delegation visiting Palestine to assess the feasibility of making it a Jewish state, sent a pithy telegram summing up the situation. “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man.” Yet, the Zionist movement insisted with unflinching determination on wresting the bride from her lawful husband.
That was a sheer act of rape, it still is an act of rape and will always be an act of rape, no matter how much the mythmakers are celebrated and their myths are glorified.
In fact, despite the passage of fifty years of “Jewish statehood,” Israel’s undeclared but ultimate goal remains the expulsion of most or all of Palestinians from the area extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea.
Indeed, any casual observer of the Israeli media these days will be affronted, nearly on a daily basis, by remarks and statements by Israeli officials, including Knesset members and cabinet ministers, calling for “transferring” the Palestinians, not only from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, but also from Israel proper.
“Transfer” is not an innocent term. It is no less than a euphemism for genocide, at least a partial genocide, since it is almost impossible to effect the wholesale removal and ethnic cleansing of millions of people from their motherland without resorting to mass murder and mass terror.
Well, was not this the method used quite liberally by the legions of Zionism to force the bulk of the Palestinian people to flee their hometowns and villages in 1948? Didn’t Menachem Begin, in his book, The Revolt, refer to the Dir Yasin Massacre as a miracle because it made hundreds of thousands of terror-stricken Palestinians to flee in fear.
It is imperative that we call the spade a spade, especially when in the hands of our grave diggers. The Zionists are comparable to Nazis because their actions and behaviors are comparable and similar to Nazi actions and behaviors.
For as the Nazis sought to obliterate Jews as a people, the Zionists have been seeking to obliterate the Palestinians as a people. This is more than Golda Meir saying dismissively “what Palestinians” or some Israeli officials referring to us contemptuously as “Never-landers.” The systematic destruction of some 460 Palestinian towns and villages by Israel (1948-52) was a Nazi act of the highest order. It embodied total disregard and total denial of “the other” on no ground other than that the victims were non-Jewish (The relics of some of these towns can still be seen even today and are meticulously documented in Walid Khalidi’s monumental work All That Remains.).
Unfortunately, this modus operandi of hateful racism and terror remains Israel’s central policy toward the Palestinian people. There is no clearer proof of Israel’s malicious intent than the intensive building of hundreds of Jewish-only settlements on occupied land. Yes, everything here is “Jewish-only.” Jewish-only settlements, Jewish-only roads, Jewish-only pools, even Jewish-only rights, since non-Jews are viewed by a growing segment of Israeli Jews as children of a lesser God or even outright animals.
And now we have this evil gigantic wall whose stated goal is to prevent Palestinians guerillas from infiltrating into Israel whereas its real purpose is to carve and steal as much Palestinian land as possible.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that the Wall was illegal and ought to be dismantled. However, Israel, backed by its guardian-ally, the United States, arrogantly defied the ruling and implicitly accused the court and its judges of anti-Semitism.
In addition to the settlements, inhabited by the most violent and racist-minded Jews anywhere in the world , Israel has always sought to make Palestinian lives so unbearable in order to coerce them to immigrate.
To effect this evil goal, successive Israeli governments (Labor and Likud alike) employed every conceivable legal trick, including the introduction of dual justice systems, a liberal one for Jews and a harsh one for non-Jews.
One expression of this judicial apartheid is the open-ended incarceration of thousands of Palestinian activists, students, professionals and college professors as well as politicians, including lawmakers and cabinet ministers, without charge or trial (since 1967, Israel has arrested over 800.000 Palestinians).
When the notoriously insidious system of institutionalized repression failed to make significant numbers of Palestinians emigrate, Israel resorted to brazen physical harm in the form of terrorizing and killing the Palestinians at the slightest “provocation,” very much like Hitler’s forces did throughout Nazi-occupied Europe more than sixty years ago.
Needless to say, Israeli “pacification” raids and incursions leaves many children and women killed, homes destroyed, farms pulverized, furniture vandalized and roads and infrastructure thoroughly bulldozed. In short, every thing, every conceivable crime is committed by this Nazi-like entity, all under the rubric of fighting terror followed by much of the Western media just parroting the Israeli narrative as if the Israeli army spokesmen were the paragons of veracity and honesty.
In the final analysis, when Jews ( or anybody else) behave like Nazis, they should be compared to Nazis. Indeed, a country that sends its F-16 fighter-bombers in the middle of the night to drop one-tonne bombs on apartment buildings, where children and women are asleep, is not morally far apart from the Gestapo mentality.
Moreover, an army whose soldiers blithely and gleefully murder children on their way to school and then verify the killing by emptying twenty more bullets into the child’s head, as happened with Iman al Hamas in Rafah nearly three years ago, and then exonerates the soldier and give him financial compensation, is not really an army of professional soldiers, but an army of thugs, gangsters and common criminals. It is an army that differs very little from the Wehrmacht.
Yes, Palestinian suicide bombers carried out attacks against Israeli civilians and killed scores of innocent Israelis, often in retaliation for the killing of Palestinian children by the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish settlers. I totally and unhesitatingly condemn these suicidal crimes against innocent Israelis.
Nonetheless, Israel can’t push the Palestinians to the edge of physical extermination and national demise and at the same time shout “Hamas, terror, suicide bombings.”
The British poet Auden wrote:
I and the public know,
What all school children learn,
Those to whom evil is done,
Do evil in return.
Indeed, what would any people do after 59 years of Nazi-like oppression that transcends reality? What would any people do when forced to choose between death at the Jewish slaughter house and death as suicide bombers?
Israel claims it doesn’t kill Palestinian children and civilians deliberately. This is a cardinal lie. Mistakes happen once, twice, ten times. But when the killing of civilians happens nearly on a daily basis, it means it is policy. In the final analysis, killing knowingly is killing deliberately.
Today, Israel, like the Gestapo did to the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto, is barring millions of Palestinians from accessing food and work. In Gaza, Israel, under the pretext of freeing a captured Israeli soldier, has bombed or destroyed the bulk of civilian infrastructure there, including schools, colleges, streets, bridges, charities as well as thousands of homes. Israel has also destroyed the only power station in Gaza, forcing 1.4 million Gazans to live in total or partial darkness.
This is the same Israel whose army has just destroyed much of Lebanon and dropped 1.5 million cluster bombs throughout southern Lebanon.
Well, 1.5 million bombs can kill at least 1.5 million children.
I know that pro-Israeli apologists, including some who claim to be followers of the lofty leftist traditions of standing up against oppression, are tempted to create a certain moral symmetry between Israel and the Palestinians.
But, in all honesty, one might ask what symmetry is there between the rapist and his victim, between the occupier and the occupied , between the armed fanatical settler and the terrified Palestinian peasant who has to rely on western peace volunteers for protection from settler vandalism and savagery?
Is there hope for a peaceful solution to this enduring bitter conflict? Certainly, there is, and it lies in dismantling Zionism and the creation of a unitary, civic and democratic state in Palestine-Israel whereby Jews and Arabs live equally as citizens as many Jews and Arabs are living in Europe today.
I say Zionism ought to be dissolved because the concept of “Jewish state” necessarily implies intrinsic racism against non-Jews. Fortunately, there are Jews of conscience and good will who would agree with this solution. These are our natural partners for peace.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Bigoted American and European Immigrants Revel in Children's Deaths
Israel's Minister of Propaganda and apologist for child slaughter, Miri Eisen, transplanted American Jew who makes her home on stolen land.
Agence France Presse 30 October 2006
"Mr. Olmert also said the military had killed about 300 armed Palestinians in the past four months, according to Ms. Eisin."
October 30, New York Times
Of the Palestinian deaths in Gaza over the last three months:
137 under the age of 16
29 were women
12 were old men above the age of 60
42 were killed inside their homes
Dr Abu Hasanein
Palestinian director of ambulances and emergencies
Is "Al-Jazeera International" losing its Arab identity?
29 October, 2006
As al-Jazeera Arab satellite Television channel is celebrating its 10th anniversary, with achievements unprecedented in the history of Arab media, al-Jazeera International (AJI) which encompasses al-Jazeera.net/English plus the yet-to-be launched al-Jazeera English TV, is slowly but definitely losing its original Arab identity.
Indeed, a fleeting look at AJI’s English website these days would be sufficient to make one realize how far and deep the Qatari-based media outlet has departed from its original defining character.
In fact, one would exaggerate very little by saying that the AJI has lost not only its Arab face, but also its Arab heart and soul, and is fast assuming an “international” (western) identity, very much similar to the BBC, CNN or Sky.
Today, AJI relies heavily on the three main western news agencies, namely Reuters, Associated Press (AP) and Agance France Presse (AFP) in transmitting news and views from across the Arab world, specially the perennially hot spot, Palestine/Israel.
In October alone, for example, up 95% of news reports from or pertaining to the Occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, which were posted on AJI English website, were carried by the three mentioned agencies.
A few months ago, especially prior to the publication of my article (Pro-Israeli editors seek to influence Aljazeera English Satellite TV), AJI relied disproportionately on AP reports, especially from Palestine.
AP, especially since the 9/11 events, has been thoroughly influenced by the worldview of George W. Bush and his conservative administration. Its choice of words, tendentious reportorial patterns and the highly de-contextualized texts of its reports, especially with regard to the Arab world, Palestine and Islam, amply testify to a growing politicized and ideological mode of reporting.
With regard to the Palestinian-Israeli strife in particular, AP is proving itself a quasi-Israeli news agency. Indeed, AP offices in West Jerusalem are staffed with hard-line American Jewish Zionists or even hard-line Talmudic settlers living in the West Bank. This may explain why a pro-Israeli slant is always present, even conspicuous, in AP reports from Israel and the occupied territories.
Here is an example of the bias against Islam. On 25 September, AJI published an AP report titled “Pope tells of respect for Muslims” a paragraph of which read the following: “Meanwhile, in Palestine, Muslim demonstrators burnt several churches in protest.” The information given here was tendentious and inaccurate. “Muslim demonstrators” were not involved in the attacks on churches. The fire-bombings were carried out by unknown elements under the cover of darkness and Muslim activists, including some from the Islamic Jihad organization, were actually posted to guard some of the churches.
Now, AJI is relying increasingly on Reuters and to a lesser extent on AFP. There is nothing wrong, of course, in using wire service reports since no reasonable person would expect AJI to post correspondents in every major town in the world.
However, as a major news outlet (at least this is what AJI aspires to become), whose ethical code accentuates fairness, objectivity and honesty, AJI should scrutinize the veracity of these reports which often lack context and other vital pertinent information. If this proves to be a difficult task, then AJI could post able and experienced correspondents in the hot spots of the world like in Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, even North Korea.
I will give some examples corroborating my view that AJI shouldn’t over-rely on western news agencies.
On 28 October, AJI carried a news-wire report from Afghanistan on a massacre of scores of Afghani civilians in NATO bombing of one Afghani village.
The report quoted a NATO official as saying that the bombing occurred in “the fog and heat of war.” The report contained no further information about the victims themselves, such as testimonies from survivors, relatives and human rights activists. So, the Afghanis are killed by western warplanes and the story about their killing is also killed by a western news agency, and the story is readily and unscrupulously carried by Al-Jazeera.
This is scandalous, to say the least. We are talking about sixty families killed and devastated and all we hear and read about it on AJI English website is a few sound-bites from an indifferent NATO official. Just imagine how AJI coverage would have been had the victims been Americans or Australians or even Israelis!
And this is done by Aljazeera, the great Arab media network, which many people in the third world and the west had hoped would become an alternative source of news and views to the dominant and notoriously culturally-biased western media.
Here is another example: An AJI report from Palestine/Israel, from Reuters, also on 28 October, carried the following caption “Shalit captivity to end in days.”
Well, doesn’t AJI international realize that there are close to 11,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli detention camps, many of them doctors, professors, teachers, and other professionals, often without charge or trial?
So, why highlight and prominently feature the Israeli soldier’s name, who has been in captivity for only a few months, while overlooking the utter humanity of the “faceless, nameless, and worthless” Palestinians? Is this compatible with Aljazeera’s professional ethics? Indeed, how many stories has AJI done and posted on these helpless and forgotten prisoners whose only “crime” seems to be their being Palestinian and wanting to be free?
Two weeks earlier, on 14 October, AJI international posted another Reuters report from the Gaza Strip titled “Gaza clashes intensify.” What clashes? It is unbefitting for a respected news agency to call slow-motion Israeli genocide in Gaza “clashes” when almost 100% of the victims are on only one side (the Palestinian side) and when the Israeli occupation army is not really facing any serious military challenge. Doesn’t AJI realize that over 300 Palestinians, the vast bulk of them innocent men, women are children, have been killed and numerous others maimed and mutilated since the said Israeli soldier was taken prisoner on 25 June whereas only two or three Israeli soldiers were killed during the same period? Well, one might wonder if Reuters would have similarly referred to the Gestapo clampdown on Ghetto Warsaw as “clashes” just because Jewish defenders sought to put up some resistance to the Gestapo onslaught?
There is another even scandalous aspect of AJI’s Reuter’s reports from Palestine, namely the use or overuse of quotations and statements by Israeli army spokespersons as if these professional liars were the ultimate paragons of truth and credibility. Indeed, why does AJI accept reports that refer to the overwhelmingly innocent civilian Palestinian victims as merely “Palestinians”?
Doesn’t this amount to willfully avoiding and evading the fact that many of these victims are innocent men, women and children, killed knowingly, if not deliberately, by the Israeli army? Would Reuters have used the same impersonal and dehumanized reportorial pattern if the victims had been innocent Israeli men, women and children?
Furthermore, there is another worrying trend that is increasingly dominating in Reuters reports from Palestine/Israel and that is the impression of symmetry between Israel and the Palestinians one would get from reading Reuters reports.
This pattern of reporting is dishonest at worst and unprofessional at best. It is imperative for ordinary people, let alone reporters and journalists and politicians to realize that it is impossible to truly comprehend the situation in Palestine without first understanding that Israel has been occupying, persecuting, tormenting, enslaving and killing the Palestinians since 1967; that this occupation is not recognized by the international community; that Israel is in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions demanding an end to the occupation; that Israel is often starving Palestinians by barring them from accessing food and work; that Israel is effectively trying to get Palestinians to leave their ancestral homeland by making their daily life unbearable; that Israel doesn’t recognize Palestine’s right to exist, and that successive Israeli governments included cabinet ministers who espoused a Nazi-like mentality.
Shouldn’t Reuters remind readers of these facts as routinely and readily as it does when it doesn’t cease reminding us that Hamas’s charter calls for Israel’s destruction and that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist?
So far, I haven’t been able to find convincing reasons for this scandalous departure by AJI editors from al-Jazeera’s truly professional ethics that prevailed until the beginning of 2006 when AJI administratively belonged to the Arabic department.
Now, it seems, everything has changed and is changing after AJI became virtually independent, with English, American and Australian editors, who include some-openly pro-Israeli characters, giving ultimate authority and control over what may or may not appear on AJI English Website. Even erstwhile Arab English-speaking reporters for AJI, such as this reporter, have been either fired or neutralized and replaced by Israeli Jewish reporters.
I have nothing against employing Jewish reporters, even in Palestine/Israel. However, for well-known objective reasons AJI and other serious news outlets should employ Palestinian correspondents to communicate the plight of their people. These happen to be in the heart of the fray, unlike other reporters who often report from the comfortable hotels of West Jerusalem or luxurious restaurants of Tel Aviv. When a reporter feels and lives the suffering of his people, he or she is usually more able and more fit than others to report on that suffering, however objective and fair-minded the latter might be.
In conclusion, I want to say the following to the executives and directors of al-Jazeera. During the past ten years, you have succeeded in enriching the Arab cultural and political life as never before. I myself on several occasions described al-Jazeera as “probably the greatest Arab achievement in sixty years.”
You succeeded because you insisted on being more or less independent, because you refused to succumb to western pressure, including the bombing and contemplated bombing of your offices and studios, and because you often consistently sought to be the voice for the voiceless and the beating heart of the ordinary man in the street.
Now, however, AJI is being hijacked by people whose sympathies lie elsewhere, people who in the name of professional ethics are killing AJI even before it has seen the light.
My brothers, what is the point of having another BBC or CNN financed by Arab money and bearing a false Arab name?
We, who deeply care about al-Jazeera, and are willing to sacrifice to ensure its success , call on you, in the spirit of brotherhood, to see to it that AJI not drift away from the policies and ideals of the mother Arab channel.
Besides, why would an international audience, e.g. western, watch AJI if they could watch the original in their home countries?
Please, don’t rely on Reuters and other western news agencies, don’t mimic the BBC and CNN, have your own reporters posted in the hot spots of the world, and, more importantly, don’t give up your courage to tell the truth for fear of being accused of lack of objectivity by your western competitors and detractors. It is them, not you, who stand accused.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians Reassert Allegiance to Hamas
Israeli occupied al-Khalil
Flying in the face of concerted efforts by Israel, the United States and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) to topple the Hamas-led government, tens of thousands of Palestinians on Friday, October 27, reasserted their support and allegiance to the beleaguered Islamic movement.
Organizers and police sources estimated that over 60,000 people converged at the Wholesale Vegetable Market arena outside Hebron to express their rejection of international efforts to oust Hamas and replace it by a Fatah-led government that would recognize Israel, give up the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and put an end to armed struggle against the Israeli military occupation.
Many of the participants said they would vote for Hamas if elections were to be held now.
“Supporting Hamas is a matter of principle for me and my family. We would still support Hamas even this blockade were to last for 10 years or 20 years, " said Hasan Hurub, a 37-year-old teacher from the nearby town of Dura.
“We support Hamas because Hamas represents Islam, and as a Muslim, I must support those who stand for Islam.”
Thousands of teachers like Hurub have not received their full salaries for the seventh consecutive month thanks to draconian sanctions imposed by the United Stats and Israel aimed at toppling the Hamas-led government or forcing it to recognize Israel and stop armed resistance to Israel’s decades-old military occupation of Palestine.
During the huge rally, which lasted for nearly two hours, speakers lambasted “the enemies of Islam” for starving the Palestinian people.
“They are trying to starve you the same way the idolaters of Quraiesh sought to starve the Holy Prophet of Islam and his blessed companions. And as the old enemies failed then to stop the light of God, today’s enemies will fail this time as well,” said one speaker.
“The battle is one and the same, they want to destroy Islam, and the outcome will always be the same, Islam will emerge triumphant and victorious.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniya spoke via telephone from Gaza, vowing that Hamas would not succumb to international pressure to recognize the Israeli occupation.
However, Haniya suggested that Hamas would settle for a viable state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, coupled with the repatriation of Palestinian refugees to their original homes in what is now Israel, in return for an extended peace agreement or (hudna) with Israel.
He argued that “this unjust and oppressive world is putting all its weight against us to make us give up our rights and give up our dignity.”
“But, no, we will not put all our cards in the American basket.
“I tell you my brothers and sisters, yes, there are challenges and suffering and pain, but whoever dreads climbing the mountains shall live forever deprived of freedom and dignity.”
Haniya lashed out at the United States for turning against democracy in Palestine when the outcome doesn’t suit its whims and interests.
“We are in favor of a genuine government of national unity based on the National Concordance Document. But you know there are those who want a government in Palestine tailored according to the American standards. And I tell you we will not allow them to steal our people’s dignity, we will not allow them to arrogate our people’s will to earn freedom and independence.”
Haniya also tacitly castigated PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah, for displaying national commitment in public but conspiring with the enemies of Palestine in secret.
“True patriots don’t burn our people’s property, true patriots don’t destroy and vandalize government buildings. These criminal actions will not benefit the perpetrators and those who stand behind them.”
Fatah had been hoping that the suffocating economic crisis haunting Palestinians would seriously undermine Hamas’s popularity.
Indeed, Fatah leaders, particularly in the West Bank, on several occasions called for fresh general elections in the hope that voters would oust Hamas and bring Fatah back to power.
However, today’s huge demonstration of popular power by Hamas shows that Fatah’s calculations are still far from accurate.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Enter Adolph Lieberman
by Khalid Amayreh
Al-Khalil - Have you ever wondered why almost everybody in Israel and North America is silent about the imminent inclusion of the Nazi-like figure of Avigdor Lieberman into the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert?
Just imagine how Jews and their supporters and apologists would react if George W. Bush were to include to into his cabinet figures such as David Duke.
Well, we all remember how Zionist circles around the world reacted rabidly to the brief inclusion of Jorge Haider’s Freedom Party into the Austrian government in 2000. Then Jewish and Zionist circles from Sydney to California waged a virulent campaign of vilification against everything Austrian to the extent that neutral and peaceable European country was made to look as if it were a modern-day reincarnation of the Third Reich.
Now, in Israel, we have the rising star of a Judeo-Nazi figure, a vile Moldovan, a little Stalin that combines characteristic Zionist racism with Stalinist brutality, who is about to join the government of Israel, the so-called only “true democracy in the Middle East.”
For those who still don’t know Lieberman, a thuggish figure by every shred of imagination, we are talking about the head of the fourth largest political party in Israel, Yisrael Beitenu, or Israel is our Home.
Lieberman is more than just “controversial” as the Jewish and Jewish-controlled media would portray him, mainly in order to evade facing the reality of his fascist-mindset.
He is actually a dangerous demagogic politician and warmonger who advocates ethnic cleansing, genocide and nuclear wars. In fact, the man can be viewed as a Hitler-in-the-making with very little exaggeration.
Lieberman’s thuggish behavior is very well known even among Jews in Israel. In 1999, the former Moldovan immigrant attacked and savagely beat, some say bit, a neighbor’s child for allegedly beating his own son.
The affair was publicized in Israel but eventually died down when Lieberman’s star rose, first as a lawmaker representing Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union and second as cabinet minister in Ariel Sharon’s government 2001-2003.
As a cabinet minister Lieberman espoused Nazi-like ideas so brazenly that then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had to warn him that he might be summoned to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity if he decided to turn his racist ideology into effect.
On 8 March, 2002, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot quoted him as saying the following during a cabinet meeting:
“At eight o’clock, we bomb all commercial centers, at 12 o’clock we bomb all fuel stations, and at two o’clock in the afternoon, we bomb all the banks, and we keep the border crossings open.”
More to the point, Lieberman’s election platform spoke of disenfranchising non-Jews in Israel, expelling Palestinians from the Galilee, and ethnically cleansing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by way of expanding Jewish settlements and confining Palestinians to Bantustans and townships as was the case in apartheid South Africa.
Lieberman also suggested on several occasions that Israel bomb Tehran as well as the Aswan Dam in Egypt.
Now this Lieberman is apparently slated to become Israel’s deputy-prime minister and, more significantly, Minister for handling Strategic Threats facing Israel.Well, would that include giving him at least a partial authority over Israel’s estimated 300-400 nuclear bombs and missiles?
Everything is possible in this strange state that is yet to wake up from a nearly congenital collective psychosis that makes her murder children on their way to school and drop 1.5 million cluster bombs in Lebanon, all under the rubric of ensuring security.
It is true that Lieberman is not the only Nazi-like political figure in Israel’s long criminal history. After all, it is really difficult to locate an Israeli leader whose hands are not stained with the blood of Arab civilians and whose mind is not infested with criminal racism. Indeed, murder, terror and racism are as Israeli and Zionist as apple pie is American and boomerangs are Australian.
Nonetheless, Lieberman can be especially dangerous because his Zio-Nazi ideology is given democratic legitimacy. Well, do we have to remind ourselves that Adolph Hitler was also elected by the people in a free and fair election?
Nonetheless, Lieberman can be especially dangerous because his Zio-Nazi ideology is given democratic legitimacy. Well, do we have to remind ourselves that Adolph Hitler was also elected by the people in a free and fair election?
Indeed, Lieberman, whose party controls 11 seats of the 120-seats making up the Israeli Knesset, draws support from wide sectors of the Israeli Jewish public beyond his immediate constituency which more or less support his fascist ideas about disenfranchising and even expelling non-Jewish citizens of Israel who make up nearly one fourth of the population.
Hence, it is misleading to dismiss this man and his manifestly racist party as a marginal phenomenon in Israel. In fact, one would exaggerate little by saying that Lieberman effectively reflects and represents the feelings of a majority of Jews in Israel. Yes, maybe other politicians, like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu, who boasted repeatedly about having succeeded in reducing the Israeli Arab birth rate, don’t speak as brazenly as he does, especially in public. However, it is amply clear that most of these politicians and leaders from the Zionist and religious-Zionist camps as well as the so-called center-left more or less hold the same ideas held by Lieberman, as evidenced from the policies and practices of successive Israeli governments throughout the years.
And now a few words to the Europeans.
It is really difficult to understand, let alone justify, European silence on the inclusion of this Nazi-like figure into the Israeli government.
Doesn’t Europe, which wasted no time in imposing draconian sanctions on the Palestinian people for electing Hamas, realize that this man is a million light years more extremist and more racist than anything advocated by Hamas?
How could Europe continue to have business as usual with a government one of whose ministers calls openly for disenfranchising and de-legitimizing nearly one forth of the population on no other ground than them being adherents of different religions?
Or is Europe emulating the American administration of George Bush by walking in the path of hypocrisy and moral duplicity and playing blind, deaf and dumb when Israel displays her own fascism before the whole world?
Europe should remember that fascism doesn’t become benign when espoused by Jews.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Soccer: Then And Now
Palestinian refugee children play in Chatila, South Lebanon camp beside burned buildings and growing piles of waste, 23 July 2006. ( Hugh Macleod/IRIN)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Freedom of Worship: Then and Now
Palestinians attempting to worship in Jerusalem scale the Apartheid Wall from Al-Ram on Friday, October 13. IOF troops gassed and beat Palestinians trying to worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.
Ramallah circa 1950's Sabat el-Nur, Saturday of Light. Once a Greek Orthodox holiday, in later years Muslims and other Christians joined in the celebration. Young men from Ramallah travel to Jerusalem the Saturday before Easter Sunday to bring the Holy Light to Ramallah, where they are met by priests and most of the townspeople. Since the Israeli occupation of Ramallah, the festivities have been subdued (photo: Shaeen, Naseeb. A Pictorial History of Ramallah. Arab Institute for Research and Publishing: Beirut, 1992).
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The couple is Nasrallah 'Audi and Sabha Muhawieh ca. 1935-40.
Israelis decimated olive trees in occupied Qalqilyia, 2003
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Palestinians apprehensive about CIA money
14 October, 2006
Palestinian nationalist and Islamic leaders have strongly denounced efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and affiliated foreign aide bodies to recruit Palestinian journalists, politicians and certain political groups to work against the Islamic group Hamas.
Western news agencies on Friday reported that the US was quietly starting a campaign projected to cost up to $42 million to bolster Hamas’s political opponents ahead of possible early elections.
The plan includes funding the Fatah group, providing training as well as offering “strategic advice” to politicians and some liberal secular parties opposed to Hamas.
Some of the funds will also go to journalists as well as radio and TV stations that agree to work against Hamas by portraying the Islamic movement in bad light.
A knowledgeable source in Ramallah intimated that some of the money would go to fund the launching of an anti-Hamas satellite TV station in the West Bank,
The new outlet ostensibly would serve as a counterweight to a planned satellite TV run by Hamas and based in Dubai.
“We know very well that American money goes hand in hand with American agenda. We also know that unclean money goes to unclean parties and unclean politicians and unclean journalists,” said Hasan Khreishe, deputy-speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Khreishe, who was abducted from his home by the Israeli occupation army in July and imprisoned for several weeks for taking part in the Hamas-led government, accused the American administration of “wanting to morph the Palestinian society into a mercenary society.”
“The Americans claim that this money will reconstruct certain Palestinian political parties, but I’m sure that the opposite will happen. These bribes will only corrode, corrupt and eventually destroy these parties since they will lose whatever respect and stature among the Palestinian masses.”
Veteran Fatah leader and former lawmaker Hatem Abdul Kader concurs.
“I have no doubt that any party or even individual receiving money from external sources will incur the wrath of the Palestinian people and suffer immense social and political damage.
“It would be a virtual political suicide.”
Abdul Kader said he didn’t think that “the real Fatah” will allow itself to be corrupted by CIA money.
“I am not sure about the authenticity of the report. It could be that things are blown out of proportion.”
Hamas leaders have castigated “the CIA conspiracy” against the Palestinian people.
“They are trying to buy off a few political mercenaries here and there. But I assure them that our people are not stupid and naïve. America’s agents, like Israel’s agents, will be thrown away like you dump a filthy rug into the garbage container,” said Ibrahim Suleiman, a Hamas spokesman in the Hebron region.
“America’s agents and collaborators are being discarded everywhere in the world. Do you think they will prosper here in Palestine? Have the Palestinian people forgotten what American has been doing and is doing to them?”
US official, while acknowledging the existence of the “aid program,” have non the less sought to downplay the growing controversy surrounding it.
US Consol General in Jerusalem Jacob Walles was quoted by Reuters as saying that “there is nothing new here. The U.S. has operated programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for many years to promote development of political parties and civil society organizations.”
Earlier this year, the US reportedly paid several millions of dollars to finance the election campaigns of several Fatah and other candidates.
The affair, then reported widely in the occupied Palestinian territories, proved embarrassing for the candidates and some observers contend might have contributed to their defeat by Hamas candidates especially in local electoral circles.
This week, the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute, which is closely affiliated with the State Department, held talks with the leaders of Fatah and a number of other non-Islamic politicians on how they could improve their performance in any prospective election.
One advise being offered is how Fatah could emulate Hamas’s election tactics by running fewer candidates per district and by fielding religious-looking women to campaign door-to-door especially with conservative households.
According to reliable sources in Ramallah, the $42-million fund is part of a larger American scheme aimed at strengthening PA President Mahmoud Abbas not only against Hamas but also against his opponents within Fatah, including supporters of the Tunis-based Farouq al-Qaddumi, the more-or-less nominal chief of the Fatah movement.
Qaddumi is firmly against the dissolution of the current Hamas-led government. He also strongly condemned the burning by Fatah activists of government buildings in Ramallah a few weeks ago.
Abbas’s Presidential Guard has already received a significant amount of light weaponry such as assault rifles and ammunitions, all in coordination with Israel.
Last week, Gaza journalist Imad Afaneh reported that a shipment of four containers of Russian-made rifles and ammunitions arrived from Israel via the Nahal OZ (or Mintar Crossing) and headed for the headquarters of Presidential Security at Ansar in Gaza City.
The weapons reportedly were handed to Fatah activists and cadres with many rifles sold at reduced prices.
The report has been denied by PA spokespersons, who described it as “speculations.”
Palestinian Schoolgirls: Then and Now
Teachers and pupils at the Girls' Training School established by the Friends in Ramallah. The Friends are highly regarded in Ramallah and still maintain an excellent school offering an IB course. This picture is from 1890 and is from Naseeb Shaheen's, A Pictorial History of Ramallah. Below schoolgirls today, October 14, in Gaza, walking past a home demolished by the Israelis. Zionists have ravaged Palestine.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Olmert wooing hardline fascists to government
By Khalid Amayreh
Oct 11, 2006, 00:25
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been holding talks with the extremist right-wing Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman in an apparent effort to get him to join the government, substantially weakened by the recent war with Hizbullah.
Lieberman, a former cabinet minister and ally of former Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, is the head of the Yisrael Beitenu ( Israel is our home) party , considered one of the most openly fascist political parties in Israel .
Israeli press sources have revealed that Olmert held talks with Lieberman on Friday, 6 October with the main topics centering on Lieberman’s demands for a substantial transformation of the Israeli political system.
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that both Olmert and Lieberman agreed to back a bill to make changes in the Israeli political system when it will be submitted to the Knesset for a preliminary reading.
During the meeting, which reportedly was arranged at Olmert’s request, both viewed favorably the prospect of Lieberman’s party joining the government.
In recent weeks, it was widely rumored that Olmert might ask Lieberman to assume the portfolio of defense in case the Labor Party, headed by the current Defense Minister Amir Peretz, decided to quit the government.
Ha’aretz, quoting sources close to Kadima party (Olmert’s party) described Lieberman as an “attractive coalition partner” who is interested in joining the government.
Lieberman has been calling for the adoption of a “presidential system” that would very much look like America’s form of government.
Lieberman also reportedly advocates a “constitution” that would sanction and institutionalize the official Israeli state policy of discrimination against non-Jews.
The possible inclusion of Lieberman’s party to the government indicates that Olmert is determined to keep up the present slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians as well as creating more “facts” in the West Bank by building more and more Jewish-only settlements in the territories occupied in 1967.
Israel has been barring Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser extent in the West Bank from accessing food and work, resulting in the severest humanitarian crisis since 1967.
It also underscores Olmert’s half-declared intention to abandon the so-called “convergence plan,” the centerpiece of his election campaign.
The plan, which Olmert said following the recent war in Lebanon it was no longer a national priority, stipulated the removal of some small colonies in the West Bank in return for the consolidation and annexation into Israel of the largest settlement blocs.
Lieberman has a long record of adopting fascist, even Nazi-like, attitudes and positions vis-à-vis the Palestinians and other Arab and Muslim nations in the region.
While minister in the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon in 2002, he proposed carpet bombing for Palestinian streets, malls, banks and other public facilities in order to force as many people as possible to flee their homeland.
He also advocated the bombing of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt and Tehran . In recent weeks, he urged Israel to bombs Iran with nuclear weapons if necessary.
His party’s platform calls for the expulsion and disenfranchising of Palestinians, both from Israel and the occupied territories of 1967.
Lieberman’s views, which would readily qualify him as a neo-Nazi in any European country ( Austria ’s Jorge Haidar’s views seem so innocuous when compared to Lieberman’s), are non the less representative of the general ideological trends among the Israeli Jewish populace.
Last week, Amir Peretz admitted in a radio interview that the Israeli Jewish public was moving steadily toward right-wing chauvinism.Olmert, substantially weakened by the recent war, is coming under mounting public pressure to form an official commission of inquiry to look into Israeli failures in the war with Hizbullah.
Olmert has been resisting demands to this effect, opting for superficial probes with no authority to sack officials.It is likely that Olmert is feeling increasingly politically insecure in the absence of a clear political program and following the mediocre outcome of war with Hizbullah.
If so, the not-so unlikely inclusion of Lieberman’s party, the third largest in Israel , into the government would consolidate a safe parliamentary majority in the government’s favor.
However, the presence of Lieberman in the government would most certainly take it even farther to the right with the possibility of transforming it into the most extremist right-wing government in Israel ’s history.
Indeed, if Lieberman should become Defense Minister as he has been demanding, especially in the aftermath of the war with Hizbullah, wholesale massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank wouldn’t be a far-fetched possibility.
In this case, Shaul Mofaz and Amir Pertez, both of whom can be considered war criminals for their direct involvement in the murder of thousands of innocent Lebanese and Palestinians as well as the utter destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon, would look like scout boys in comparison to what Lieberman is capable of doing.
Lieberman could also embark on a real military adventure against Iran with or without American consent.
© Copyright 2003 by palestine-info.co.uk email: email@example.com
Monday, October 09, 2006
Zionists Pressure UTLA to Cancel Discussion on Boycotts
Abed El-Fatah climbed over the Apartheid Wall in order to get to Al-Makkassed Hospital in Jerusalem for his open-heart surgery. The Israelis, who control every aspect of Palestinians’ lives, denied him a permit to go to the hospital.
Similarly, in Los Angeles recently, Israel’s builders of walls on the western front, the World Zionist Organization, the American Jewish Congress, Stand With Us, the ADL, and the Simon Weisenthal Center, denied Los Angeles school teachers an opportunity to discuss boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture from Israel.
The Human Rights Committee, one of 33 committees of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, a local affiliate of California Teachers Association, and part of the National Education Association planned to host a meeting on October 14 for the Movement for a Democratic Society in a room of the UTLA building. According to Emma Rosenthal, Los Angeles schoolteacher, the room holds thirty people. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture from Israel.
The Movement for a Democratic Society issued the following in its announcement:
To support the Palestinian people in their decades long struggle against Israeli aggression, dispossession and oppression. The Israeli government has systematically and continuously violated UN resolutions and international law in its treatment of the Palestinian people. When Israel was created in 1948, 75% of the Palestinians were forcibly dispossessed of their lands and forced into exile. Then in 1967, Israel illegally occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Jordan Valley and Gaza. Palestinians within Israel are forced to live as third class citizens without civil rights and face legal, economic and social discrimination. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories fare even worse since Israel illegally subjects them to demolitions, closures, curfews and checkpoints, extra-judicial detentions, kidnappings and assassinations, military attacks against towns and camps, racist, apartheid policies and programs. In addition, Israel continues to illegally seize Palestinian land and annex it to Israel and currently is constructing an immense concrete wall to protect illegal Israeli settlements and to isolate and divide Palestinian towns (Rosenthal, Emma. E-Mail to EFreePalestine, October 9).
UTLA President A.J. Duffy initially didn't give in to pressure from Zionist groups. An excerpt from an earlier post in response to attacks:
"I will not interject my personal feelings into this matter and will simply remind you that this is a democratic union in a democratic nation and I will not sponsor censorship. As incensed as you or I might be, I would hope you would be ten times as incensed if I started to determine who can and who cannot speak on issues in our committees" (Rosenthal).
Retired UTLA member Don White issued a plea for UTLA members to respond to President Duffy to counter the effects of the Zionist organizations.
One of his talking points:
“Condemn anti-Jewish racism, but assert that holdingIsrael up to the Geneva Convention, and the UnitedNations Declaration of Human Rights is not anti-Semitic, but consistent with the other issues addressed by the Human Rights Committee. That within the scope of the issues addressed by this committee, to NOT address the issue of Palestinian human rights would single out Israel for lack of scrutiny” (Rosenthal).
Unfortunately, UTLA President Duffy succumbed to Zionist pressure. An October 5 press release stated:
"The following actions have been taken by UTLA: 1. We have cancelled the UTLA location for this meeting. 2. We have deleted the link on the UTLA web site to the Human Rights Committee web site and the information on this event."
Statements made by Israel’s apologists to the Los Angeles Times, which incorrectly headlined and reported the proposed meeting as an “Anti-Israel Rally,” are indicative of their usual responses not based on any evidence when it comes to concrete actions to inform US citizens about Israel’s violations of international law. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called the committee’s position “anti-Semitic.”
Amanda Susskind, regional director of the ADL issued a statement claiming, “We are concerned that hateful rhetoric will not be productive for anyone during these troubled times.”
Emma Rosenthal, Los Angeles teacher aptly observes: “How can the teachers of Los Angeles be expected to teach accurately and responsibly on the issues of the Middle East if they are not allowed to explore those issues in their own union hall and are dictated what to say by the perpetrators of brutality and censorship?”
Just as Zionists have erected an Apartheid Wall in Palestine, Zionists erect walls in the United States, which erode our rights to assemble and discuss. Of course, the mere fact that they clamor to stop discussion is evidence that the Zionist enterprise is doomed to failure.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Amayreh: Bleak Ramadan in Palestine
Respected Palestinian journalist, Khalid Amayreh writes about Israeli ethnic cleansing, 21st century style:
Bleak Ramadan in Palestine
7 October, 2006
from Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Normally, the holy month of Ramadan is a festive season of heightened spirituality and good will. It is also an occasion where family members share the usually exquisite Iftar meals immediately after sunset at the end of the day-long fast. However, for many Palestinian families, hard-hit by extremely harsh Israeli-western sanctions, this Ramadan has the smell of real penury. Abject poverty is also becoming increasingly apparent among the traditionally weak sectors of society, such as day-laborers.
Yousuf M. Suleiman is a school teacher of 30 years from the southern West Bank town of Hebron. He has a family of eight but can hardly get things “under control” when it comes to securing the basic needs such as flour, sugar and rice.
“I really don’t know what to tell you. Would you believe me if I told you that last week we didn’t have bread for three days?” said Suleiman, with a clearly subdued voice.
Suleiman, like the rest of the estimated 170,000 Palestinian public employees and civil servants, has not received his salary for the seventh consecutive month due to the financial blockade imposed by Israel, the US and EU on the Hamas-led government.
The government has paid “advance payments” amounting to 50-60% of the regular salaries. However, the meager and irregularly-paid sums have not made much of a difference for most Palestinian families, especially during Ramadan when family spending increase substantially.
So how do these poverty-stricken families make thing do? How do they explain to the children the sudden and unprecedented poverty haunting them?
Akram Hussein is a Palestinian policeman, with a wife and two small children. He says that all the “tricks and innovations” he has been devising to overcome the financial problem are being exhausted.
“Now the nearby grocery store won’t give us on credit any more. He says he will go bankrupt himself if he kept selling things on credit. And I must say he is right.
“Sometimes I tell the kids that the money is in the bank but the bank is now closed, but they often squeeze me with all kinds of questions which expose the trick.”
Asked what he is going to do, Hussein looks heavenward, saying the solution is God’s hands.
Palestinian families who don’t have the basic foods, such as flour and sugar, are normally helped by the local Zakat (Alms) committees. However, the assistance is getting more meager and more irregular and can hardly make up for the unpaid salaries which nobody knows when they will be paid in full.
Samir Rabi’e is a clerk at the local Zakat committee in Dura, 10 miles south west of Hebron. He says that demands on food has been greater than ever.
“Now we have a lot of previously well-to-do people asking for assistance. This is not a natural situation, it is induced poverty imposed by the Americans and the Israelis for political reasons.”
Rabai’e complained that Israel and the Americans “won’t give us mercy and won’t allow God’s mercy to reach us,” citing a Palestinian proverb.
“And the rich Arab states prefer to heed America’s demands rather than shield Palestinian children from the ghoul of starvation.”
He pointed out that the US, acting on Israel’s behalf, has bullied the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, to prevent Muslim donors from sending their charity to the occupied territories.
“Now we mostly rely on local sources which are scarce, meager and can’t really meet the huge and growing demand.”
Another Zakat official in Bethlehem, who wouldn’t give his name for security reasons, urged Muslims to bypass government control mechanisms and help the Palestinians face “this criminals and cruel siege by the enemies of Islam.”
“ Please, send your charity money and donations to your brothers and sisters in Palestine. Don’t wait for your governments’ approval because your governments are likely to be mere puppets of the United States and Israel.
“ We must never reach a situation where we need a permission from the Americans to practice our religions. If helping a starving child in Rafah or Nablus is terror, then let all of us be terrorists.”
Bread and tea
There are many Palestinian families whose honor and pride won’t allow them to ask for food openly and publicly, even from the Zakat committees.
These, said Rabi’e, are suffering silently.
“I personally know families that break their fast at the end of the day on bread and tea. It is these people who need particular attention.”
According to some sources, there are already early signs of malnutrition among children public schools.
“Physically the signs are not conspicuous, but we notice that many children can’t concentrate or are absent-minded, this could be the result of children not having sufficient nutrition,” said a Hebron school principal.
He said schools couldn’t do much about the problem other than writing reports to the ministry of education.
Catastrophe in Gaza
Israel is not only impoverishing and starving Palestinian by denying them access to food and work, but is actually killing them in droves and on a daily basis.
Indeed, not a day passes without a number of Palestinians getting killed and maimed in Gaza where an average of three to five Palestinians, most of them innocent civilians, are killed on any given day.
On the fifth day of Ramadan, an Israeli tank fired an artillery shell at a northern Gaza home, killing two teenage brothers. That was the “perfect” Ramadan gift by Israel to that Gazan family. And more and more “gifts” of this kind are in the offing, as indicated by the Israeli Chief of Staff, Dan Haluts, who said he slept well the night he ordered the dropping of a one-ton bomb on a Gaza apartment building in 202, killing 12 sleeping children.
As usual in such circumstances, the Israeli army claimed that “two terrorists” were killed. The concocted lie was readily and blithely carried by western news agencies and then quoted by media around the world. So, the innocent is killed and the story of their murder is also killed.
According to figures compiled by human rights organizations and the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Israeli occupation army has killed more than 226 Palestinians in Gaza alone since June 25 when Palestinian guerillas abducted an Israeli occupation solider near Rafah. Hundreds others, mostly children and innocent civilians, have also been maimed and injured by indiscriminate Israeli bombing and bombardments.
Moreover, the Israeli air-force bombed and utterly destroyed the bulk of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, very much like it to the Lebanese infrastructure during the recent war with Hizbullah.
The “targets” included schools, colleges, bridges, office buildings, and ordinary homes in addition to the only power station in Gaza the destruction of which plunged Gaza into darkness. The local authorities in Gaza have sought desperately to partially solve the problem by importing electricity from Egypt and alternating electricity supplies to various localities, thus enabling Gazans to have a few hours of electricity supply per day.
Israel normally justifies its massive bombings of Palestinian homes and neighborhoods by security considerations. However, the utter disproportionality and vengefulness of the bombings suggest that Israel is only interested in making as many Palestinians as possible suffer. Maybe Israelis are after all emulating their former tormentors? Well, haven’t they been doing that all along, some would say?
This year, the Israeli army has introduced a novel tactic of terrorizing Gaza citizens. It is the Telephone terror whereby Israeli shin Beth agents telephone a given Palestinian family to tell them that their home would be bombed within five minutes and that they would be killed if they didn’t leave immediately.
The evil calls normally are made in the quiet hours before dawn and are designed to inflict maximal terror on the families who are forced to jump out of their beds onto the streets, only to see their homes and their belongings and everything destroyed by air-to-ground missiles fired by indifferent Jewish hands.
This week, when a home was bombed this way, some revelers came to see what was going on, only to be greeted by another salvo of bombs raining from the sky. A girl of 14 years was instantly killed by shrapnel. Ten others children were injured, one seriously.
According to Israeli sources, the Israeli goal in Gaza, and to a lesser extent in the West Bank, is to generate an explosive implosion among Palestinians, so much so that they would begin to kill each other.
The experiment, using the term used by veteran Israeli journalist Amira Hass, has succeeded.
Last week, as many as 14 Palestinians were killed in internal disturbances ignited by the claustrophobic siege on the estimated 1.5 million Gazans who are barred from accessing food and work and are effectively confined to a pressure cooker.
And when Israeli officials are confronted with the question of how they could allow themselves to starve and torment the prisoner population, who are still practically under the Israeli occupation since Israel still controls rather tightely all Gaza’s border crossings, the officials simply shrug their shoulders and invoke the mantra of terror as if starving innocent people were not a criminal act of terror itself.
This week, visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, instead of treating the situation in Gaza in particular and the occupied territories in general as a humanitarian disaster, congratulated her Israeli counterpart Tsibi Livni on the “success” and “effectiveness” of the Israeli-American sanctions against the prisoner Palestinian population.
With this moral depravity and criminal hypocrisy, unseen since Hitler’s armies surrounded Ghetto Warsaw during the Second World War, Palestinian suffering is even likely to exacerbate.
And the world is also likely to keep silent, just as did then.
This is how Ramadan looks like in Gaza in 2006.
IOF Shoots Palestinian Farmers Trying to Enter Their Land
Walid Khalidi in Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948, calls the Jaffa orange "the Palestinian gift to the world" (131).
Sadly, today the Jaffa orange is associated with the Zionist usurpers.
Today in the Cora Store in Forbach, France, I picked up some fresh dates. I was fully prepared to spend four Euros for a few dates on the little branch until I saw that they were from Israel. I also noticed candied dates from "Israel" amongst the baklava and knafi.
Before buying a product from the people from Europe and America who steal land and then pass off Palestinian traditional products as their own, consider the Palestinian farmers in Tulkarem. Maan News reports "Israeli forces shot at Palestinian farmers on their farms in Tulkarem area on Saturday." Farmers trying to enter their land were shot at by the soldiers of the blight unto the nations. And to think that I felt bad because the snooty vegetable hawker in Cora admonished me for picking up the dates without buying them.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Weir: 'Just Another Mother Murdered'
Alison Weir has written "Just Another Mother Murdered," about the underreporting of the same incident:
Almost no one bothered to report it. A search of the nation's largest newspapers turned up nothing in USA Today, the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Tampa Tribune, etc.
There was nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox News. Nothing.
The LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Associated Press each had one sentence, at most, telling about her. All three left out the details, the LA Times had her age significantly off, and the Washington Post reported that she had been killed by an Israeli tank shell.
It hadn't been a tank shell that had killer her, according to witnesses. It had been bullets, multiple ones, fired up close.
Neighbors report that Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband because he wasn't answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her husband couldn't hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him. So they shot her. Several times.
Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo'ammar.
She didn't die, though. That took longer. It required her life to flow out of her in the form of blood for several hours, as Israeli soldiers refused to allow an ambulance to transport her to help. Her husband and children could do nothing to save her.
Finally, after approximately five hours, an ambulance was allowed to take her to a hospital, where physicians were able to render one service: pronounce her dead, a few days before the commencement of Ramadan, a season of family gatherings much like the Christmas season for Americans. She left 11 children. None of this was in the Washington Post story, which had reported her death in one half of one sentence.
Her husband's brother, who lived in the same house, was also killed. He was a 28-year-old farmer.
Why did this all happen? The family lived behind a resistance fighter wanted by Israel. They were simply "collateral damage" in a failed Israeli assassination/kidnapping operation.
All together, five Palestinians were killed that day. The other three were young shepherds killed in another area, two 15 years old and one 14, who seem to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gaza.
None of this was reported in most of America's news media, and so the American public never learned about a mother bleeding to death in front of her children, or young shepherds being blown to pieces. Apparently, it just wasn't newsworthy.
A Case Study of "Good" News Coverage
The Washington Post at least mentioned these deaths, so perhaps those who care about journalistic standards should laud the Post for its coverage.
And yet, the Post in its short report got so much so wrong.
In addition to misreporting Itemad's cause of death and omitting critical facts, the Post's story portrayed the entire context incorrectly, telling readers that these five deaths had broken a period of "relative calm."
The fact is that while it was true that in the previous six months not a single Israeli child had been killed by Palestinians, during this period Israelis had killed 75 Palestinian young people, including an 8-month-old and several three-year-olds.
I phoned the Post and spoke to a foreign editor about the need to run a correction, providing information on Itemad's murder. The editor said that she would pass this on to their correspondent (who is based in Israel), but explained that it was "impossible for him to go to Gaza." When I disagreed, she amended the "impossible" to "very difficult." She neglected to mention that the Post has access to stringers in Gaza available to check out any incident the editors deem important.
Next, I wrote a letter to the paper containing the above information. Happily, the Post letters department apparently checked it out and decided it was a good letter. They sent an email informing me that they were considering my letter for publication and needed to confirm that I was the one who had written it, and that I had not sent the information elsewhere.
I replied in the affirmative, we exchanged a few more messages, and everything appeared on target. Normally, when publications contact you in this way, your letter is published shortly thereafter. I waited in anticipation. And waited.
It is now almost two weeks after their report, and I have just been informed that the paper has decided not to print my letter. The Post has apparently determined that there is no need to run a correction.
I think I understand.
Although the Washington Post's statement of principles proclaims, "This newspaper is pledged to minimize the number of errors we make and to correct those that occur... Accuracy is our goal; candor is our defense," the American Society of Newspaper Editors clarifies these ethical requirements: corrections need only be printed when the error of commission or omission is "significant."
And, after all, these were only Palestinians, and it was just another mother dead.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Thameen's 'A Refugee's Eid'
Thank you to Annie of Annie's Letters for bringing 'A Refugee's Eid' from Dr. Thameen Darby's blog to my attention. What follows is a small excerpt; please go to Thameen's Blog for the entire story. It is well worth it.
In your fresh green village, atop the dreamy Palestinian hills and among your beloved relatives and olive and apricot trees, you must have been used to a magnificent Eid. I can hear the prayers flying from the mosque minaret with the glorious colors of the dawn, awaking the people and the land to a new Eid morning, kids putting on their new clothes, every one visiting every other one in the small village, as people there live as one family. You miss the wonderful Eid. But here my friend, we did not miss many things. Our refugee camp has been refractory to Eid for 52 years.To be honest with you, I never knew the meaning of Eid. All I remember about Eid is that my grandfather and father used to go to the mosque at sunrise to pray, and when they come back our Eid was over. In the camp we have no relatives, which is the case of most other people. My father used to visit Im Ali, our widow neighbor. “She is a branch that had been cut from a tree,” he said every Eid morning.
Few men come to visit us, our neighbors. Apart from this there was no Eid. In a refugee camp, nothing belongs to anything. You can feel that people are detached from their homes, homes are detached from the streets, streets do not belong to the land and if there is a tree, she will be lonely and miserable like a refugee.