Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

A donor conference is underway in Sharm Alshaikh in Egypt is “to raise funding” for Gaza but is turning out to be similar to all previous conferences: lots of huff, puff and posturing. For the US administration, it is a way to prop the government of Mahmoud Abbas (whose term ended January 9).  The US “pledged” $900 million but $200 million of those will go to cover deficits of the administration of Mahmous Abbas, $400 million to West Bank projects (many profiting Israel), and the remaining $300 million will be slated for Gaza but may never get there because the US refuses to deal or help anything associated with Hamas and Hamas is the de facto government (and most of the people) of Gaza.  The European Union is trying to buy its way out of the nagging conscience of having supported a failing US/Israeli policy (a policy that tries to bypass democracy and find compliant leaders or pressure them into compliance). This money is also getting entangled in the “no discussion with Hamas” mantra  (which only strengthens Hamas and their fundamentalist ideology). Hamas said it will not allow aid to achieve what the Israeli military failed to achieve by force (subjugation of the Palestinian people).  Other money pledged is also ending up with so many strings attached that hardly any of it is likely to enter Gaza.  But even if all these issues are solved, Israel simply continues to blockade Gaza and prevent reconstruction supplies from entering (a blockade that is not only an act of war but a crime against humanity).  Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said border crossings into Gaza must be reopened to allow aid into the devastated territory. “The situation at the border crossings is intolerable. Aid workers do not have access. Essential commodities cannot get in,” But neither he nor anyone else at this conference has even hinted at any pressure to be brought on Israel to achieve this opening.  Gaza remains a concentration camp with its residents who like all prisoners prefer the tough prisoner as their representatives.  Meanwhile, Israel plans to build 73,000 more housing units in the occupied West Bank areas outside Jerusalem and thousands more inside occupied Jerusalem (in tandem with demolishing Palestinian homes and continuing the ethnic cleansing)*. 

The posturing, speeches, and “pledges” thus distracts from what is really needed to achieve peace: pressure on the occupiers/colonizers not on the occupied/colonized.  Israel must be told by the outside world to a) not only freeze all settlement construction but actually reverse it by returning the lands to their owners and removing the settlers from all areas occupied in 1967, and b) Israel must pay for the damage it inflicted on Gaza and comply with International law on the damages of the apartheid wall it is building, c) Israel must allow Palestinians including all refugees the choice of return to their homes and lands or to be compensated if they chose not to return (and compensate them for their suffering), and d) Israel must allow the right of self determination for all the Palestinian people (a referendum on what we want would be a good beginning) and for full equality for all residents regardless of their religion. 

Initiatives are in the works along those lines.

*”Peace Now” reported that Israel is planning “73,300 new homes in West Bank”.  “Peace now” does not recognize Jerusalem as part of the occupied West Bank while all other countries do so, as does International law.  So the numbers of new colonial settlement buildings on Palestinian lands will increase by a much higher number http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068033.html

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home

http://qumsiyeh.org

Palestinian women photojournalists: from taking photos of holy places to documenting burned babies

 

The first woman photojournalist in the Arab world was the Palestinian Karimeh Abbud (1896-1955)  

 

Palestinian women started taking photographs of families and holy places, ceremonies and weddings, but ended up taking pictures of bodies of killed young children, shelled schools ruined homes, and lots of blood

 

Research by exiled Palestinian journalist Iqbal Tamimi

 

Introduction 

The difficult circumstances in Palestine facing journalists in the occupied West Bank and Gaza forced many media establishments to choose employing local journalists who know the nature of the area, besides minimizing the amount of risks reporters and photojournalists face when covering clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza.

 

This Essay will focus on Palestinian women photojournalists working within the Palestinian territories; thus excluding hundreds of Palestinian women journalists who are working all over the world after their families became refugees, or forced to exile.  

 

Early photography in Palestine

Photojournalism started after photography was introduced to Palestine in the late-nineteenth century by the British who undertook the first archaeological excavations in the Holy Land and tried to document their findings and the areas they investigated by pictures as Rachel Hallote reported (2007 pp 26-41). The British were followed by the Germans, and eventually by the Americans. Photography was introduced by people who came searching for evidence about biblical subjects and connections. Some elder Palestinians claimed that these excavations were part of a planned agenda to pave the way for the Jews to occupy Palestine well ahead the Nazi’s aggression on the European Jews. Americans were deeply involved in the archaeological photography in Palestine, but the British Palestine Exploration Fund dominated the photography activities in Palestine since the 1860s.

Photojournalism in Palestine is considered a male dominated profession as is the case in almost all Middle Eastern countries, but Palestine has always been the first country within the Arab world to offer women the opportunity to be in the lead to break old social moulds when it comes to pioneering work and education for women. As an example the first Arab woman to hold an academic title as a professor and to establish an institute in a western country was the Palestinian Kulthum Odeh (1892 -1965) as Tamimi (2008) reported.

During the same period another woman from the same city of Nazerath named Karimeh Abbud (1896-1955) was the first Palestinian woman to become a professional photographer. Karimeh lived and worked in Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century, research shows that she might have been the first female professional photographer not just in Palestine but in the entire East. Karima had her education in Nazareth, and at the Schmidt Girls School in Jerusalem, and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

 

Ahmed Mrowat (2007 p 72-78) reported that Abbud started photography in 1913 in Bethlehem after receiving a camera from her father as a gift for her 17th birthday. Her first photos were of family, friends and the landscape in Bethlehem. Her first signed picture available at present is dated October 1919. She started by setting up a home studio, earning money by taking photos of women, children, weddings and other ceremonies. She also took numerous photos of public spaces in Haifa, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Tiberias. When local Nazareth photographer Fadil Saba moved to Haifa 1930, Karimeh’s studio work was in high demand. The work she produced in that period was stamped in Arabic and English with the words: “Karimeh Abbud – Lady Photographer. She took photos of areas that have religious significance like Kafr Kanna in the Galilee associated with the Cana village where Jesus biblical stories claimed he turned water into wine. This village flourished in the 16th century, as it lay on the trade route between Egypt and Syria. Karimeh also took pictures of Mary’s Well near Nazareth or “The spring of the Virgin Mary“) which is reputed to be located at the site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would bear a son. The well was positioned over an underground spring that served for centuries as a local watering hole for the Arab villagers.

In the mid-1930s, she began offering hand-painted copies of studio photographs. In a 1941 letter to her cousins, she expresses her desire to prepare a publicly printed album for her photographic work. According to Mrowat (2007) Karimeh ultimately returned to Nazareth, where she died in 1955. Original copies of her extensive portfolio have been collected together by Ahmed Mrowat, Director of the Nazareth Archives Project. In 2006, Boki Boazz, an Israeli antiquities collector, discovered over 400 original prints of Abbud’s in a home in the Qatamon quarter of Jerusalem that had been abandoned by its owners in 1948. Mrowat has expanded his collection by purchasing the photos from Boazz, many of which are signed by the artist.

 

While Palestinian male photojournalists started few years earlier than Karimeh as Nassar reported (2006 pp. 139-155) it was Yessayi Garabedian the leader of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem who started the first photographic workshop in Palestine. One of Garabedian’s pupils was the famous Garabed Krikorian as Ankori (2006 p36) reported that he established his photographic studio in the Old City of Jerusalem and worked in it from 1885 until 1948. Krikorian was entrusted to prepare the famous Sultan Abdul Hamid Albums on Palestine and later became the official photographer of Kaiser Wilhelm II during his visit to Palestine in 1899. Krikorian worked in his workshop for over forty years. His son Johannes travelled to Cologne in Germany to further his photographic training and came back after years of study and training to become the preeminent studio photographer in Jerusalem.

 

Another of Garabed’s students was Khalil Raad who opened his studio in 1890, across the street from the Krikorian studio, leading to intense competition between the two pioneering photographers. Peace was found when Raad’s niece, Najla Raad was betrothed to Johannes Krikorian and she became known as the peace bride. But unfortunately the historic photographic studio was tragically destroyed in 1948 by the Jews during their attacks on the city. 

 

Palestinian women photojournalists now 

I requested some information from The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the Palestinian Authorities for (2008) regarding the percentage of female Palestinian photojournalists registered officially, the Palestinian authorities statistics built its findings on ownership documents of photography studios showing that there are 201 Palestinian female photographers in the West Bank of a total of 984 photographers, 783 are males. This statistic was obtained from officially registered studios excluding the number of photographers in Gaza where it is difficult to obtain statistics by the Palestinian Authorities, besides there is a number of journalists who are not registered officially. A female photojournalist in Gaza Eman Mohammed explained to me the amount of social difficulty she faced for stepping in a male’s territory, she also expressed her determination to overcome obstacles as she said “going to take photos at invasions, airstrikes, violent demonstrations, and hot zones seemed like the only way to prove to everyone that I can handle this job, but I could never go there without getting verbally offended or harassed”.

 

Eman mentioned violent demonstrations, invasions, and airstrikes for her subjects unlike the subjects documented by Karimeh, because she had no other choices for such subjects are part of everyday life in Palestine. Should she had another choice maybe she would choose to take photos of fashion shows or festivals, art galleries or anything that is not related to death and destruction, but this is her city and this was the hard reality she had to face.

 

During the Visa pour l’image international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France, from August 29 to September 11, 2005 Jack Crager (2005 p10, 15) reported that the exhibitions featured reflected individual photographers’ efforts to highlight major trends, during the exhibition all three participating Palestinian photographers’ images were of funerals in the Gaza Strip. Burgess (1994 p20-22) also reported that during the 1994 World Press Photo annual awards in Amsterdam, the top award went to Larry Towell’s image of Palestinian boys playing with guns for the camera. Palestinian photojournalists do not only witness and document attacks, they become sometimes part of such bigger picture. Smyth (2005 p12-14) wrote a feature article about three Palestinian photojournalists and brothers based in the Gaza strip who are employed by Reuters. Smyth reported that their work regularly takes them to scenes of chaos and destruction in which they are sometimes, inevitably, involved and face the possibilities of injury, she wrote of Jadallah one of the three Palestinian brothers photographers being injured four times through his work, and she reported on the more tragically still, funerals they have to cover that is often involve friends and relatives. Smyth argues that their intimate knowledge of Gaza that allowed the brothers to take photographs different to those of Western photographers based in the area. Sure if you are part of a place you would see things differently because you are not only doing your job, you are affected by what you are trying to capture from another angle, you are not totally independent of your emotions. 

 

Eman like almost all other Palestinian photojournalists could not get official training so she was trained as an individual by several photojournalists, and she had to convince her community that photography was only ‘just a hobby, not a lifetime career’ to escape more scrutiny. She had worked for different agencies for free just to have her pictures published.

 

Unlike Eman, Enas Mraih another Palestinian female photojournalist she was lucky to work with Alhadath newspaper published in Palestinian territories occupied 1948 called now ‘Israel’. She was invited to Denmark to participate in a workshop with 28 other journalists from 6 countries: Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Occupied Palestinian territories of 1967, Besides Israel and the country host. Enas was even chosen to be on the cover of ‘Crossing Borders’ a magazine published in Denmark and circulated in the Arab world. Enas was accompanied by another two Palestinian women photojournalists; they were Kholoud Masalhah, and Qamar Thaher. Enas was more fortunate than other female Palestinian photojournalists in being able to participate few times in conferences to discuss the Palestinian Israeli conflict, and the struggle of Palestinians fighting for the right to be treated equally like Jewish citizens living in the same state holding the same Citizenship, but still suffer racial discrimination by the Israeli government for being Israeli Arabs.

 

Laila Abu Odeh is another female photojournalist working in Rafah who was a victim of aggression by Israeli forces; she was shot in her thigh by the Israeli soldiers while filming the destruction caused by the Israeli shelling of The Rafah Camp near Salah Eddin Gate on the 20th of April 2001.

 

Palestinian women started taking pictures of families and holy places, ceremonies and weddings because this was part of every day life, but ended up taking pictures of bodies of killed young children, shelled schools and homes, and lots of blood including their own for the same reason. Having been living in an area where everything is disputed including the rights of journalists, there are no institutions those women can request assistance from for training or protection. They are women armed with cameras chasing the truth no matter what the consequences are. Some of them end up in jail like Isra’a el-Amarna the photojournalist from Dheisheh refugee camp who has been detained by the Israeli occupation authorities. Isra’a was working in photography to support her poor family when the Israeli occupation authorities arrested her on accusation of membership to Qassam Brigades, and that she had the intention to carry out a martyrdom operation. A camera is as powerful as a gun but those who use cameras are not the coward ones.

 

Bibliography

Katz, Lee M. (2000) Life, limb, & a deadline to meet Editor & Publisher 11/20/2000, Vol. 133 Issue 47, p14 

 

Hallote, R. (2007) Photography The American Contribution To Early Biblical Archaeology 1870-1920. Near Eastern Archaeology 70 no1 pp 26-41

Tamimi, I.  (2008)  The Palestinian Kulthum Odeh (1892 -1965) the first woman to hold the professor title in the Arab world, London Progressive Journal. Issue 41 October 2008

Mrowat. A (2007) Karimeh Abbud: Early Woman Photographer (1896-1955) Jerusalem Quarterly (Institute of Jerusalem Studies) Issue 31: p. 72-78

 

Mrowat, A (2007) Photography As Ethnographic History. Depiction of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict since 1948, The Institute of Jerusalem Studies.  

 

Nassar, I. (2006) Familial Snapshots: Representing Palestine in the Work of the First Local Photographers History & Memory – Volume 18, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2006, pp. 139-155 Indiana University Press.

Ankori. G. (2006) Palestinian Art Reaction Books, London P36

Mohammed, E. (2008) Proud with no pride of the “me” I choose to be Voices from the Frontline. Available online at: http://www.peacexpeace.org/content/en/yourstory/write?memoir=148&showhidden=hb8fea1a312984aae10183bef02bd1f26 accessed 20/1/2009

Crager, J. (2005) See it now American Photo v. 16 no. 5 (September/October 2005) p. 10, 12

 

Burgess, N. (1994) Going Dutch British Journal of Photography v. 141 (June 8 1994) p. 20-2

 

Smyth, D. (2005) Funeral days British Journal of Photography v. 152 (September 7 2005) p. 12-14

 

Homicide, a Zionist holy war: The 22-day sadistic Israeli Assault on Gaza which ended up with flowing rivers of innocent blood of 108 women and 437 children isn’t a deviation of the Zio-Nazi mainstream terrorism in the region, The Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the Israel of 1948 Plan Dalet, under which 840,000 Arabs were expelled from more than 530 Palestinian Villages and towns. 15,000 of them were ethnically cleansed adding 20,500 square Km to the Zionist occupied land. Like a jigsaw collecting piece after piece to complete the ugly picture of a so-called Promised Land for the Jews, hiding behind their holy scriptures interpreted by ill minds and worldly whims.

Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the 1948 Israel of massacres; of Deir Yassin where in all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City; of Sabra and Shatila where 1,500 Palestinians were massacred under the watchful Eye of Ariel Sharon, the Defense Minster back then. Who entered with his cursed Zionist feet into Al-Aqsa Mosque and provoked the Intifada (up-rising) of Al-Aqsa in 2000; Still Israel of more than 50 documented bloody massacres committed over 60 years of occupation.

Israel remains Israel of defilement, Terror, Massacres and malignant merciless policies towards the Palestinians, but what really grasped my attention in the latest Israeli assault wasn’t the Gaza war crimes but the dramatic changes and major turns from friends rather than foes. From family rather than enemy.

Parricide, an Arabic Backstab: In 1948 as soon as Tel-Aviv announced the establishment of an official Jewish state in Palestine. Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria gathered forces and tried to face such budding Zionist threat with military might before it spreads likes cancer in the region despite it ended with a ceasefire the year after, it certainly proved that the word “dignity” used to exist in the Arabic dictionary back then.

Unfortunately, regarding Arab Patriotic, heroic moves history doesn’t repeat itself. For more than thirty-five years now, with every Israeli demoniac move in the region we find the very same scenario happens. Israel acts, Arabic Street watches, Arab leaders talk and the western world enjoys the show. Every Player performs his normal routine.

Along the years of this Conflict, We didn’t need fortune tellers to prophesize the reactions of the Arab/Islamic leaders towards Israel’s inhumane actions. Starting with some preliminary Denials and Disagreements launched from Arab Capitals being broadcasted in news channels, followed by telling off the Israeli Ambassadors; “How bad you naughty guys are!” then ending up with an action reveals an everlasting wisdom from the Arab world; calling for a quick unscheduled Arab summit, where every Arab leader takes his private plan and joins the big boys club. Then in the end of the day, after some good quarrels and talk fights between them, accusing one another with treason and  idiocy comes out some more announcements carrying more denials, disagreements and  a Decalogue of what Israel should/shouldn’t due as if they are the Ten commandments Israel ought to follow!  Not to mention that such meek announcements from the so-called summit is fortified with some “change” from the fat wallets of some leaders. Thinking that such funding removes the sense of Guilt from their consciences, anesthetizing their super-egos with “that’s the best we can do for now.”

In the Arabic world of today, such humble and meek actions don’t even exist.

This time, reactions were different, in fact frightening, from the Arabic/Islamic world. A day before Gaza Genocide Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held talks with Egypt’s Mubarak regarding the situation in Gaza and Hamas. After the talk has ended she said the following:
“Enough is enough. The situation is going to change,” and that Israel will “change the reality” of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Hearing this kind of statement given out from an Israeli official in an Arabic capital without even hearing a direct counter-reply from the Egyptian side only meant one thing  that the sequel of events and responses from the Arab side will be much more different this time and things going to get much worse. 

Absolutely, Leaders of the Middle East understands that the only winning card to polish their pictures in front of the Arabic street is Palestinian. Hizbullah has used this card pretty well with some furious speeches to achieve Iran’s hidden agenda to gain the loyalty of the Arab street. Qatar drove a hard bargain as well to save face after the long shameful co-operation with the United States against Iraq. Trying to show the world it’s hard thriving to make all Arab leaders sit together around a single table, acting innocent. Egypt decided to blow this humble summit not only by declining the invitation but also preventing Mahmud Abbas (The Palestinian President) from attending. Since Egypt realized that it’s so-called leading role and its political throne in the region is in jeopardy since other leaders began to start other peace initiatives stepping Egypt aside.  Kuwait decided to sell stocks of Palestinian blood in the Arab economic summit after more than 20 days of the assault.

Saudi Arabia along with Egypt claimed that a summit is useless and it’s time to act, but eventually their actions were much more worse than attending a Summit.

What I find ironic is to see frontline articles in Egyptian national newspapers that without the help and wise actions from the Egyptian side, things would have gotten much worse in Gaza and it was Egypt, and Egypt alone, who ended the Israeli Assault with it’s wells of wisdom, patient and skillful diplomacy.

The Cease-fire didn’t end with the Egyptian initiative but with the U.S.-Israel agreement to condemn any pockets of resistance in Palestine.

On the other side of the Red Sea, We see Qatar greeting its King as a Conqueror who came from a Victorious Battle, only because he called for an urgent Summit, talking to the press of how stubborn Arab leaders are, as soon as a leader agrees to attend the summit another declines. With all this Propaganda giving me the feeling that all praise shall be given to Qatar for ending the Arab/Israeli Conflict that existed for decades! Neither the Conflict ended, nor Qatar did add anything to this Issue.

In the end of the day, we are witnessing a Parricide committed towards Palestine by the hands of its siblings. 

Sanctimonious, Uncle Sam: Definitely, Israel failed this time to imitate her elder brother Uncle Sam, the United States kept on throwing the same winning card (war on terrorism) on the “international community” table for over 6 years. Still winning with it the blessings of the Western world to bully around the world, doing whatever it likes whenever it likes. Israel thought it can use the very same card, to justify the Gaza offence as they are fighting terrorism exactly like America, thinking that this will pass quietly and smoothly with the help of the World’s bully to shut ever mouth with a “Veto” tape in the Security Council.

So, it was not surprising to see the IDF spokesman calmly answers the question of weather Israel is using illegal Weapons like D.I.M.E (Dense Inert metal Explosives) and WP (White phosphorus) in Gaza with such words “IDF is not using any weapon that has not been used before by the United States on its war on terrorism”. Still the United States sets a perfect example of the Sanctimonious showing the world how great values it conveys to the third world, and how it is an excellent example of the free world. Still remains ugly from the inside.

The winning American “war on terrorism” card didn’t quite fit well in Gaza war, this time War Crimes, Genocide and ethnic cleansing were broadcasted on many non pro-Zionist media witnessed by the whole world in such a way neither Israel nor the US could control. 

In the end of this tragedy “parricide, homicide, and the Sanctimonious” which was preformed at Gaza theater this time. And after the curtains fell, we shall say to the international legality “Rest in Peace” and to inform the three actors of this play that “Tiochfaidh ar la” which means in Irish, “our day will come”.

Sameh is a 23 years old training surgeon in Orthopedics. He just started Article writing as soon as he graduated from medical school this year. Sameh’s main interests lie in political and “Sarcastic Comedy” articles, currently writing comedic articles called “Living in the Republic Series” discussing daily problems facing Arabs in the middle east. He is now living in Cairo, Egypt.

Over three years ago, an idea took shape. That idea was to create a network of activists that would share their material, translating things they considered important from one language, and in exchange, they would be able to circulate things translated by others. We hoped that we could contribute to a more active, involved discourse in our own milieus that would not limited by language. We believed that a good article was like a painting or a song, if it had something to communicate, it could be appreciated in a different context, and we wanted to spread the ideas around as much as we could. We already liked some of the same authors, some of the same sources, and had a common view of the major issues, not less important, we shared a bond of friendship and trust. It was intended to be “for private use”, for our mailing lists, newsgroups, blogs and personal research. We didn’t create it with the intention of making it become a site. Yet, after four months of collaboration, that group of people decided it would be a good idea to share the material we were quickly compiling in great quantity with others. There was no other solution but to open a site, which we launched officially on this day. www.tlaxcala.es

Tlaxcala at the time was a loose assembly of about 25 translator-activists who decided to pool their resources and work in a coalition by agreeing to a common ideal. There have been translation collectives before, and many sites have staff that translates, and most of us had been translating for one site or another as volunteers for a few years, so we weren’t inventing anything new when we started, but there was indeed something “different” about Tlaxcala. The difference of Tlaxcala with other groups is still quite obvious to those of us who answered that first calling to “form a group of anti-imperialist translators”. We have maintained that focus, translating a staggering quantity of material, broadening our vision as a group, but also as individuals. We are trying to keep awareness on what the struggle against “Empire” really is. Together we have discovered how the only way to support liberation from the domination of Empire (be it military, economic, cultural, social, religious, political) is to actively participate, reclaiming the miracle and the mystery of diversity, exalting it even, while making the connection between every struggle, finding their commonalities as well as discovering their unique aspects, and discovering that there are more than a few rays of hope filtering in, and the mainstream media doesn’t seem to want to let people know.

Hegemonic thinking exists in every society, anywhere there is a need for consensus. It is not necessarily damaging to the causes of liberation, and indeed, there are corners of the world where “the people” are influencing “the power elite”, and this too is important news to share. An example among many, for three days the Italian media was hounding about the “mania of dictatorship of Chavez”. The mainstream must have been convinced it was enough to paint him as a megalomaniac and dangerous demagogue, after all, they use the same “Rogue State” menu that they are taught to use by the US. Apparently, it’s easy to call someone a dictator when there is a belief that “the people would not let this happen” and it was basically a given that the Venezuelan referendum would not pass. When it actually did pass, all of a sudden there was silence, this kind of consensus doesn’t seem to find any air time between one fluff story and another. More than that, it would have created a difficult situation to handle: either implying that Venezuelans do not know what democracy is, or that our mass media was busy using a propagandistic element with the Italian public. Either way, they took the easy way out and simply made that story disappear.

Tlaxcala is a group that exists in the realm of language, one that places the struggle for freedom, peace and justice in that sphere. Language is the basis of human existence. We came into a world that was already loaded with meaning, and we learn its codes, its mores and its limits through words. Indeed, our own existence is moulded by the language that we discover, each one of us on our own. It should not be surprising that activists are not expected only to vote or march when called to do so, they are aware of the important position that discourse always has had, of how it evolves, of the way it becomes an action itself, and for an activist-translator, action and language merge their boundaries, they unite into a single instrument.

Since the founding of Tlaxcala, we have grown in number and in dedication. We have obviously fulfilled our purpose of translating material (we now also subtitle videos and have an audio-visual section on our site, in addition to coordinating or supporting international campaigns and petitions), but more than that, we have grown into “Tlaxcala”: an international group with a distinctive character. Not only that, Tlaxcala this month, due to exponential increase in its user base, is upgrading the site, which will be easier to navigate, and will integrate more language pages and with improved features. But the site is only the aspect of Tlaxcala that others see. Tlaxcala is very much more than that.

It actually is hard for me to describe what Tlaxcala really is. Without being a party, sect, social network or NGO, it has managed to create a strong community. There is a human bond and connection of respect, admiration, collaboration and commitment that is so rare it actually does stand out when it happens. I don’t believe a day has gone by when I haven’t learned something, from improving my language skills to learning about the situation in another country to finding out information that otherwise would have been very difficult for me to obtain. I don’t think I would exaggerate to say that many members of Tlaxcala can attest to the same thing. Additionally, I have come into contact with so many outstanding people, people with brilliant minds, generous hearts, a sense of humour, compassion, talent. Every new member brings a whole new patrimony to our group, it is like discovering a new branch on a family tree. Each new member is reason for celebration. This is not to say there are not passionate disputes, that we sit around the campfire singing Kumbayah, but the bond that unites us is strong enough to ALLOW room for debate, dispute and discussion. This is the private side of Tlaxcala, and it is a source of enrichment for those who participate.

Three questions were posed to our members, so that words could convey the relationship between the aspect as an activist and as a translator. Here are replies to these questions from some of our members: I asked them to reply in a language I understood, and I hope the readers of this can also understand the material that is not in English. Check the Tlaxcala site, who knows if it won’t be translated into other languages!?

1)    Do you believe that your participation in our collective has affected your own activism?

Adib: Collective work is always creative and stirs activism and new ideas, man is a social animal, thus always learns from others.  

Atenea: Without a doubt. I believe that activism is about putting your life experience and education at the service of political causes that you strongly support and believe in. Tlaxcala has become one of the key places where I have been able to combine both my profession and principles to contribute, and it has shown me many a times that collective activism is powerful and effective.

Carlos: Naturalmente que si. Primeramente, porque aprendo cada día un oficio que no me es propio, el de traductor, de muy buenos traductores de todo el mundo. Segundo, porque a través de Tlaxcala se produce un importante intercambio de información que es de gran utilidad en otras actividades que hago en redes y organizaciones, con lo que Tlaxcala transciende más allá del  grupo en sí. Tercero porque aporta un enfoque amplio en matices pero bastante estructurado que conforma un tapiz de lo que podríamos considerar una corriente universal de izquierdas en la que es posible y grato trabajar hasta el punto de lamentar muchas veces no disponer del tiempo suficiente para hacerlo. 

Cristina: Mi activismo está ya muy activado, pero Tlaxcala me permite estar al día y acceder a información que de otra manera, a lo mejor, no tenía y propagarla por el mundo.

Diego: Beh, non mi sento un attivista o, almeno, non ritengo paragonabile quello che faccio ad una qualsivoglia forma di attivismo. Detto questo, mi fa piacere far parte di una comunità di persone umane, serie ed intelligenti che, loro sì, hanno molto da insegnare e da cui sono orgoglioso di poter apprendere. Soprattutto, Tlaxcala è un modo per evadere dalla nostra miserabile condizione italiana, soprattutto per evadere dal mare di soprusi e bugie in cui affoghiamo. Tlaxcala, senza retorica, non è solo un modo per conoscere nuova gente e mentalità diverse ma, per me, è una via per far sapere alle persone degli altri paesi che qui in Italia siamo ancora molti a non arrendersi a questo declino morale e sociale che ci sta inghiottendo. In condizioni normali, le idee o gli articoli degli autori che spesso “traduco” circolerebbero senza troppi problemi attraverso i normali canali. Ma non viviamo in condizioni normali e quindi ritengo di dover fare qualcosa per fare sapere almeno all’estero che qui in Italia abbiamo tante persone che meritano di essere ascoltate. E d’altro canto, cercare di contribuire a diffondere le notizie di avvenimenti esteri che qui da noi vengono spudoratamente filtrati, manipolati o censurati. Cmq faccio tutto questo sempre nella consapevolezza che poter scrivere e fare queste cose è un lusso che probabilmente la maggioranza della popolazione mondiale non può permettersi avendo necessità di sopravvivere. E’ uno dei tanti sensi di colpa che mi tormentano da sempre: se ragionassi come molti, dovrei godermi di più la vita proprio per rispetto di chi è meno fortunato, proprio come quando i genitori rimproverano i figli che non consumano fino in fondo il proprio pasto “per rispetto ai bimbi africani”. E’ sbagliato, è come dire che bisogna consumare di più per rispetto di chi non ha niente. In realtà, bisognerebbe rinunciare concretamente ad una parte di quel che abbiamo affinché i bisogni di qualcun altro possano essere soddisfatti. Questa è l’unica via. E, a parte la rinuncia concreta che mi impongo su molte cose, Tlaxcala è un modo come diversi altri per sentirsi più vicini a quelle persone, nella speranza che mi trasmettano un po’ della loro dignità.

 

Dima: it restored my faith in collective activism…

Esteban: Yes, I’m more attentive with the various opinions.

Kourosh: Definitely. Tlaxcala has contributed to my progression immensely. Since I was invited to join the network by Manuel Talens and Mary Rizzo, I made the acquaintance of a number of mindful, intellectual, prosperous and inspirational people who are unassumingly ready for any kind of sacrifice and commitment.

Following my admission into the network, my interviews and articles, fortunately, achieved a broad feedback and reflection internationally, thanks to the constructive contribution and involvement of worldwide translators who work under the umbrella of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity.

 

As a journalist who pays a high priority to the circulation of his message and the wide distribution of his productions, I’m exceptionally satisfied that my articles, interviews and reports were translated into Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Swedish and a couple of other languages pursuant to the precious and worthwhile endeavors of Tlaxcalains. I hope this could help the world to hear our call for peace, equality, improvement, tranquility and brotherhood.

 

Manuel: Le ha dado una visión mundial y ha eliminado cualquier resto de nacionalismo que pudiera quedar en mi.

Nadia:  No sólo ha afectado mi activismo, sino que cada día le da forma, de la mayor consistencia. Tlaxcala para mi es algo más, mucho más que un grupo de activistas procedentes de distintos lugares del mundo que comparten ciertos ideales, que persiguen ciertas metas en común, es una escuela, una escuela en la que perfeccionamos nuestras habilidades linguisticas, pero además, y más importante, trabajamos para construir un mundo mejor, un mundo sin exclusiones, sin prejuicios, un mundo en el que todos podamos ver más allá de la punta de nuestras narices. 

Susanne: I am a member of the local WDM (World Development Movement) group and I have been sharing some of the articles and videos with them. The articles I read on and translate for Tlaxcala provide me with view from those that are marginalised or completely ignored in the mainstream media and that helps to inform my own activism.

2)     What feelings and thoughts come to you when you are translating and then when you see your translations published?

Adib: The world is a global village; so you have to know what your next door neighbor and friend believes in to be able to associate with him in a civil manner so as both of you benefit from each other’s work, unless that next door neighbor is an intruding enemy who plans to expand to your living and bed rooms, then kick you out and replace you in them as we Palestinians are suffering with our intruding unwanted “guests”.. Translation helps you to know both your friend, to ally with him, and your enemy, to confront him and put an end to his atrocities. Know both your enemies and friends. Unfortunately what we learned from our enemy is that he is not willing to learn from his own mistakes… We learned that our enemy is digging its grave with its own hands.

When you see your translations published you earn satisfaction as you know that your time was not wasted, on the contrary it benefits others.

 

 

Atenea: I only choose to translate those articles and essays that resonate with my political convictions and interests, so the experience is always rewarding as every time I learn and/or open new windows to further strengthen my position in specific issues. I try to stay away from well-known authors in alternative media as I find it more urgent to lend my skills and profession to convey the ideas and thoughts of those who are not so popular but equally incisive and sharp. Publication and re-publication in other sites only means that we are achieving our goal as a group: giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain unheard, offering people a view into the other side of the (hi)story, and counteracting and counterbalancing the enormous amount of mainstream so-called information that bombards the world 24/7.

Carlos: Si la conciencia colectiva de una comunidad es su idioma, el esfuerzo de traducir a otra lengua diferente de la tuya, la materna, es adentrarse en un horizonte nuevo y abrirse a una nueva mentalidad, y así es como acometo un texto, que escojo en función de varias consideraciones y no sólo de mis preferencias personales puesto que influye la actualidad, la relevancia de lo tratado, los hechos que rodean el texto, su autor, etc..

Cuando un trabajo se ve después publicado pienso en la utilidad que pueda tener y para quién puede tenerla. Busco vestigios de errores y trato de tenerlos en cuenta para la siguiente traducción y también para escoger un nuevo texto. De unos trabajos te sientes más satisfecho que de otros pero, como los temporales en la mar, el peor siempre es el último.

Cristina: Hay veces (me acaba de pasar con un tema de Venezuela) en que me apasiono e implico de tal modo que me sale una traducción con mucha vida y yo llego a emocionarme. ¡Ésas son las mejores! 
No he visto aún ninguna traducción mía publicada porque soy una novata entre vosotros.

Diego: Nell’ordine: camuffare in qualche modo la mia limitata conoscenza della lingua straniera; evitare fraintendimenti e possibili querele (che da noi sono molto di moda) sperare di non commettere troppi errori, visto che tu ed altri dovete sobbarcarvi le revisioni. Quanto alle pubblicazioni fanno piacere ma più che altro implicano la possibilità che ancor più persone possano leggerle.

Dima: I recognise the importance of what we’re doing as translators, seeing the translations on the web affirms my commitment. it’s only a shame I can’t contribute as frequently as i would like to..

Esteban: Je n’en tire aucune gratification personnelle, le seul fait de savoir que le texte d’un auteur engagé pour les mêmes idées que moi sera certainement lu par des personnes qui n’auraient jamais pu le lire et par conséquent n’auraient pas pu avoir une information parallèle ou un avis en dehors du cadre de la pensée unique m’incite à catalyser les deux parties. Tous les textes de Tlaxcala (et d’autres sites également) ne seront jamais imprimés dans la presse impérialiste, et pourtant avec Tlaxcala ils sont à la portée de tout un chacun afin qu’il s’interroge et s’aperçoivent comment les médias manipulent les consciences. Le niveau des textes étant élevé, Tlaxcala est un excellent vecteur d’information, d’apprentissage, de formation et de stimulateur à la lutte.

Kourosh: At the time of writing and translating, I just try to set focus on the job which is assigned to me; a genuine concentration. Due to the overwhelming clutter of works which usually entangle me, sometimes I can not manage to draw the projects to a close and finish up the works timely, for which I should apologize to all of the Tlaxcalains; however, that’s a source of honor and pride for me to see an abundant trust and confidence which the people bestow upon me.

Manuel: Como cualquier otro traductor implicado en un trabajo político colectivo y voluntario, escojo los textos en función de mis propias preferencias. En el proceso de traducción procuro plasmar las ideas del autor original de la manera más clara posible y con la mayor corrección estilística de la que soy capaz. El lector se merece siempre un buen texto. Cuando veo mis traducciones publicadas suelo estar ya haciendo alguna nueva, así que nunca vuelvo la vista atrás.

Nadia: Una traducción publicada es un nuevo cohete qassam lanzado en contra de la ocupación de la que somos objeto, es un acto de protesta y por ende de resistencia. Tal como los combatientes que en algún rincón del mundo elaboran rudimentarias armas para defenderse de aquellos que los oprimen, nosotros, con nuestras traducciones también reivindicamos nuestro derecho a luchar elaborando cada una de nuestras traducciones. En el proceso dejamos el alma, no hay traducción que no cuente, que no aporte, cada una de ellas representa nuestro grito de protesta, ese grito que, como decía el subcomandante marcos, se sumará al de otros en distintos rincones del mundo hasta finalmente ser escuchado por aquellos que resisten y luchan con las armas en nuestro nombre, porque todos somos combatientes, todos somos palestinos, subsaharianos, iraquíes, tibetanos, todos empuñamos la misma arma.

Susanne: Some of the articles in particular made me think about how the things are connected and how the response in the Western corporate media just doesn’t reflect the severity of some conflicts and the suffering in the world because of some powerful interests, it’s like a script being followed. I have noticed how my translations appear on a number of blogs after publication on Tlaxcala, for all those readers who want to get beyond the scripted reporting in the corporate media. It makes me happy.

3)     Have you gained in a personal way from participation in our collective, or have you lost something?

 

Adib: Definitely both in a personal and collective way. How could anybody lose in collective work. Collective efforts is like yeast that matures dough that becomes good bread when baked thus you have your fill that is consumed with pleasure.

Atenea: No original answer here: I have gained a solid network of compañeros whom I share a world and life view with, a really big thing when you actually think about it. I have lost some free time, but have become a more creative time manager!

Carlos: Aparte de algunas clases de saxofón he perdido poca cosa comparado con lo mucho que he ganado, lo más importante de todo: estar en contacto con un creciente grupo de personas extraordinarias, lo cual sería imposible de otra forma. He ganado también  aprendizaje y  posibilidades de expresión. Desde cualquier punto de vista personal la experiencia es enormemente positiva.

Cristina: He ganado el participar en un proyecto como Tlaxcala del que soy admiradora hace años.
Me enorgullece formar parte de un grupo de gente tan luchador, generoso, valiente con cuyas metas y puntos de vista coincido al cien por cien.
No pierdo nada, porque el tiempo empleado me parece un granito más de arena en la montaña que pare la injusticia.

 

Diego: Mi pare di aver risposto in parte già nella prima. Cmq, più che altro, mi pare di star “rincretinendomi”. Ma forse dipende dal fatto che è Tlaxcala stessa ad essere probabilmente qualcosa di un po’ “folle”.

 

Dima: I like being in a world-wide collective and I intend to plan some trips to countries when some Tlaxcala members have a spare bed for me to lie on (watch out everyone!)

 

Esteban: Comme j’ai dit dans la phrase en rouge ci-dessus, elle est pour moi EN PREMIER. Et donc j’ai gagné sur mon chemin personnel et j’espère encore gagner dans mon apprentissage sur les couleurs du monde, dans ma façon de penser et de réagir. Il faut dire que l’activité intense de beaucoup de militants au sein de l’association incite à aller de l’avant.

 

Je profite de ce questionnaire pour dire que : il est vrai que j’ai des préférences pour des textes et des auteurs, mais je n’ai AUCUNE retenue pour les luttes et les combats des peuples, ethnies, communautés ou individu contre l’impérialisme aliénateur. De même, il y a quelquefois des textes auxquels je n’adhère pas entièrement, alors, je m’abstiens de traduire ou de commenter ; pour autant si une majorité des membres actifs pense que ce texte peut être positif pour les luttes (même s’il n’a pas la radicalité qui me convient), alors je m’investis dans cette optique, ET JE L’ASSUME (« Je l’assume » c’est la seule raison qui me fait signer à la fin, sinon je signerais « le collectif »).

 

it’s a part of me…

Kourosh: Undisputedly, working in Tlaxcala added some new values to me. A beneficial sort of communal cooperation with a group of admirable people who are enthusiastic about their works, making new contacts with people who understand the reality of pure dedication, commitment and pledge, fueling the process of advantageous movements to help the oppressed, needy and impoverished worldwide and finally, acting upon the responsibilities which I believe are allocated to me.

Manuel: He ganado un horizonte sin fronteras y he perdido tiempo libre.

Nadia: No he perdido nada, cómo podría? He ganado mucho, he ganado un espacio de lucha y me siento privilegiada por ello, he ganado el martillo y el cincel con los que estoy contribuyendo a modelar el mundo en el que quiero vivir. 

Susanne: It’s only a short time since I have been a member, but in this time I have been very impressed and inspired by the dedication and courage of Tlaxcala’s members and friends. It is very life affirming and gives me hope that the world can be improved. 

Having left Gaza now, I am trying to come to terms with what I saw, what I heard and honestly, what I don’t think I will ever understand  is the justification.  While Israel’s recent offensive has been the most egregious of any historical attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza, it is just that, one of many.  Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment and sanctions for many years.  Prior to the Israeli pullout in 2005, Gaza was under the complete control and occupation of Israel.  Nearly 8000 Israeli settlers occupied 40% of Gaza while the 1.5 million Palestinians occupied the remaining 60%.  Settlements were located on the most fertile lands and along Gaza’s beautiful coastal regions and checkpoints prevented Palestinian mobility.  Despite being one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, 25 miles long by 4-7.5 miles wide, Gaza was divided into three sections and Palestinians had to pass through multiple checkpoints to get from one section to the next.  Often Israeli forces would close these checkpoints and not allow the Palestinians access to the other regions in Gaza as a form of collective punishment.
 
Yet with Israel’s pullout in 2005, the Palestinian experience has not improved.  Rather, it has become even more unpredictable and isolated.  Palestinians who celebrated the exodus of the Israeli settlers and the return of their land could not have imagined what would follow and how Israel would subsequently unleash its brutal force against them.  As the saying goes, nothing in life is free and the Palestinians have paid, and continue to pay, a dear and unforgivable price for Israel’s withdrawal from their legally rightful land.
 
From the first moments of Israel’s military campaign on December 27, Israel’s indifference to civilian casualties was clear.  Its first attacks started at around 11:30 AM, at a time when children leave the morning session of school and the afternoon students arrive.  The streets were packed with civilians,­ children no less.  Within moments, hundreds of Palestinians were killed and even more Palestinians were injured (at least 280 Palestinians were killed on the first day, and 700 wounded, including more than a dozen policemen attending a graduation ceremony at the Gaza City police station).  One of the little girls in Jabalia told me that she was in school when the attacks started.  She fainted from the overwhelming fear and was not able to go home and see her family for days.  When she did go home, she remembers seeing dead and injured bodies stranded all over street and hearing the thundering sound of missiles falling.
 
In its offensive, Israel attacked UNRWA warehouses, schools, mosques, civilian neighborhoods, businesses, factories, hospitals, universities and the media center.  Its attacks took place during the day, night, during temporary ceasefires, and often without any notice or warning.  I would ask the Palestinians I met who had lost loved ones in the recent incursion whether they were warned about an oncoming attack by some flyer or radio announcement.  The majority would laugh at my question.  “Why would I stay in my home if I knew that it was going to be attacked?  Do you think I want to die?  Do you think I would want to put my family and children in danger?”  Most of the Palestinians had no notice that they were going to be attacked and bombarded until it was too late, and at that point, all they could do was stay in their homes, far from any window or door, and pray that their house would not be next.
 
Those, like Majid Fathi Abd al-Aziz al-Najjar, who were warned, tended to flee to “safer” areas.  Majid and his wife and children resided in a border town in Khan Younis.  Shortly after the start of its incursion, the Israeli military dropped flyers on his town, a copy of which he showed me.  It said in Arabic that militants had entered your area and as a result we are forced to react and attack this area.  Yet these flyers were only dropped in the center of town and Majid did not even realize that they were dropped until after the attacks on his way to see the rubble that used to be his home.  Realizing that Israeli tanks were planning on entering Gaza and would destroy anything that would block their entry, Majid packed his family and fled to his relative’s home far from the border, in an area deemed safe.  Yet at 10 PM on January 3, 2009, a white phosphorus missile strayed off course and rammed right into the home that Majid and his family had taken refuge in, along with 15-20 other Palestinians.  The missile came through the roof and broke through the wall and hit Majid’s wife, Hanan Abd al-Ghani al-Najjar, dead center in her chest.  She died immediately upon impact.  Six or seven others, including Hanan’s elderly mother and Hanan and Majid’s daughter were severely injured by shrapnel and rushed to the hospital.  Whereas Majid thought he had fled from certain death in his home on the border, death followed him to his place of refuge.  Yet the sad reality is that no matter where Majid fled, no place in Gaza was safe.  Hanan’s death was not the unpredictable result of a misguided missile, but rather the predictable consequence of a one-sided war waged by the fifth largest army against a population that is trapped within a prison and weakened by decades of occupation and years of blockade.  
 
While Israel has perfected its many excuses in justifying innocent Palestinian death and destruction (“there were militants present…well we thought there were militants present” ,”we warned them but they did not to leave”, “missiles were being fired from that [insert location here]”, “we are investigating this attack”, “it was an accident”), Israel has fallen short of providing actual evidence to substantiate killing people like Hanan Al-Najjar, Kassab Shurrab, Mahmoud Masharrawi, Sabha’s husband and the majority of others killed.  After attacking the UN-operated al-Fakhura School in Jabalia on January 6, where many families had taken refuge and killing at least 40 innocent women and children and injuring dozens more, Israel made a rare attempt to actually justify its attacks.  Not only did Israel use one of its staple excuses (“militants were firing from inside the school”), but it actually showed a video of militants firing mortars from the school.  Within a matter of days, though, the video was dated to 2007 and till now, Israel has not provided us with another staple excuse of why, two years later, the al-Fakhura School was attacked and the hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed and injured. 
 
How does Israel explain the executions, the shooting of Palestinians point blank in cold blood?  How does it justify Israeli soldiers shooting Kassab Shurrab with five bullets across the chest as he came out of his car with his hands to his side, especially as one of the Palestinian hostages sitting blindfolded by the soldiers heard the commander tell the soldier in Hebrew to shoot the civilians that were driving down the road.  What about the two daughters of Khaled Abed Rabbo, Amal, age 2, and Suaad, age 7, murdered by an Israeli soldier using a semi-automatic rifle before their father’s eyes as the other Israeli soldiers ate chips and chocolate?  Let us not forget about Sameer Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, a 43 year old UNRWA worker, who was separated from his family by Israeli soldiers and taken to a separate room and shot in the chest?  For four days after killing Sameer, Israeli soldiers held his family hostage and would make the family prepare the murdered Sameer food.  Only when the Israeli soldiers left their home, did Sameer’s children see that their father was executed and by their father’s dead and bleeding body were piles of food.  How about Farah al-Halo, 1.5 years of age, who was shot in the stomach when her family was forced to evacuate from their home at 6:30 PM by Israeli soldiers who assured them of their safety?  Only 50 meters down the road they were shot at by other Israeli soldiers.  Farah, with her intestines spilling from her stomach, died on the side of the road a few hours later as the same soldiers that had assured their safety watched.
 
Further, how can Israel explain its use of the Palestinians as human shields?  Upon entering a village, Israeli soldiers would separate the men from the women.  Sami Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, Sameer’s brother, was taken as a hostage and forced to accompany the Israeli soldiers for four days.  He was handcuffed and blindfolded and made to walk in front of the Israeli tanks and soldiers as bullets would whiz by.  At other times, he was made to sit on his knees in an open field for hours while Israeli soldiers would shoot from behind him and often at his feet.  These Palestinians were nothing more than entertainment for the soldiers, a child’s play toy.  When I asked Sami whether he saw any Palestinian militants during his time as a human shield, he laughed and said that he only saw Israeli soldiers with their blackened faces and camouflage outfits.  “It was only Israeli soldiers shooting at each other,” he remarked.  It is thus no wonder that between four to six Israeli soldiers were killed and 24 others injured in “friendly fire.”
 
Additionally, how can Israel explain the humiliation tactics it used against the Palestinians such as forcing Palestinian ambulance drivers to abandon their ambulance cars and drive donkey carts to pick up the dead and wounded as if to equate Palestinians with donkeys?  The soldiers would grant the ambulance drivers half an hour to clear the area using donkey carts and threatened to shoot after half an hour.  And what about the racist remarks painted on the walls of the Palestinian homes?  One of my co-delegates took pictures of the Hebrew writings graffitied on the walls of some of the Palestinian homes we visited in Zeitoun and had a friend translate them.  Among the things written were: “Death to Arabs”, “War now between Arabs and Jews”, “An Arab brave is an Arab in a grave” “Bad to the Arab=good for me”, “He who dreams Givati [Israeli infantry brigade] does not expel Jews. He who dreams Givati kills Arabs!!!”
 
The reality is that Israel cannot explain or justify any of these things, nor does it even care to do so.  When Israel’s staple excuses are not readily consumed or when it is examined under a critical lens, Israel applies another tactic­ threat and demonization.  Israel has created one of the strongest lobby organizations in the U.S., AIPAC, which actively demonizes any opponent or criticizer of the State of Israel.  Due to John Ging’s, the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), open opposition to Israel’s attacks in Gaza and his call for the investigation of Israeli attacks, he has been demonized and AIPAC recently introduced House Resolution 29 attacking UNRWA and alleging that it supports terrorists.  Even I have received a few threatening emails upon the issuance of NLG’s Press Report which documented some of our findings.  One of the emails indicated that I, along with the other attorneys, will have our careers followed.  As the email stated, “Israel is smart not stupid, and will continue to do what they must as will America to survive even over the bodies of their leaders if necessary.” 

Almost every Palestinian I met in Gaza believes that Israel’s recent attack will only be followed by another bloodier and more deadly attack on Gaza that will exterminate the Palestinians once and for all.  Considering the history of attacks on Gaza, the level of atrocities recently committed in Gaza and the lack of international redress, I do not think that these statements are mere paranoia.  Israel must be held accountable for its crimes in Gaza lest it commit larger and more egregious crimes in the future.  As one who has been trained in the legal profession, I demand that Israel engage the legal arena and provide the international community with real evidence, and not just staple excuses and dated videos, that can justify every single civilian murder and the widespread d estruction of Palestinian civil society.  Until Israel is able to do so, the evidence in Gaza leads anyone willing to visit to the inevitable conclusion that Israel has committed war crimes.

“If  good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasses round about all that they do” Surat A’ali Imran,  (the House of Imran), III, v. 119 

 

“I call on the Israeli army to crush these Palestinian terrorists who are at Iran’s beck and call; chase the rebels of Hamas, annihilate its lunatics and demented leaders who are disguised as men of faith, crush them and exterminate them and teach them a lesson which they will never forget just as you taught the terrorist Hizbullah a harsh lesson in 2006….So deliver Gaza from the grip of Hamas.  These Palestinians, wherever they go, they take with them terror, corruption, trouble l, tumult and ingratitude…..!”

 

These words were not written by Israeli propagandists or Zionist apologists seeking to justify the recent Israeli blitzkrieg in Gaza. They are actually the words of a Kuwaiti Arab columnist who has apparently sold his soul to the devil.

 

I say “sold his soul to the devil” because when a human being transforms himself into a willful liar in the service of evil, that person, knowingly or unknowingly, loses his morality and eventually loses his humanity as well.

 

I don’t know for sure what makes such people undergo such a diabolical metamorphosis. It could be mental weakness, or a certain psychological defect that they have failed to overcome, or even a mental dysfunction. However, treachery always goes hand in hand with moral depravity and lack of self-esteem.

 

Needless to say, a writer, or even a commoner, who gleefully rejoices over the extermination of children, as we saw recently in Gaza, has obviously banished himself from the realm of humanity.

 

Unfortunately, there is a number of so-called Arab writers who seem to have devoted themselves to besmirching and vilifying Hamas and other Arab resistance movements, as if the right thing to do were to succumb to Zionism, the Nazi-like movement that has been murdering Palestinians, destroying their homes, stealing their land and dispersing them to the four winds.

 

Indeed, instead of standing up for justice and identifying with the oppressed against the oppressor, as every noble human being should do, these wicked mercenaries have decided to curry favor with the Nazis of our time probably in the hope of receiving a certificate of good conduct or a citation of honor from Zionist entity. Or perhaps they hope that international Zionist circles might press award-granting bodies in the West to reward them for their treasonous behavior.

 

Well, they have. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has already prepared a list of “honor” of Zionized Arab writers who are doing a “marvelous job” on Israel’s behalf.

 

Just watch the Zionist media these days and see how often these lowly traitors are quoted by Zionist spinners and hasbara operatives.

 

This shows beyond doubt that these gullible little men have fully swallowed up the Zionist narrative, bait, hook, line and sinker.

 

I understand that many of these writers are shockingly ignorant of the facts. However, there are others who know the facts very well but lack the intellectual honesty and moral rectitude to stand up for the truth. It is the cheapness of character that makes them what they are, vile hypocrites swinging right and left depending on the instructions they receive from their paymasters and benefactors.

 

A few years ago, one of these so-called writers based in London was quoted heavily by much of the American and Israeli media when he claimed that “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.”

 

Well, I don’t know what was this so-called writer was smoking or drinking when he uttered this colossal mendacity, a canard that has more to do with mental diarrhea than with any genuine intellectual activity.

 

Didn’t that little man learn in school in Saudi Arabia that “defending one’s home, country and honor is a duty binding on all Muslims”?  Couldn’t he bring himself to understand that a foreign occupation is actually an act of rape, and that just as rape victims have every right to fight and resist their attackers, so do people languishing  under occupation have a similar right to resist their occupiers, oppressors and tormentors?  Did he forget that even in America, his real god, or more correctly the god of his god, they say “give me freedom or give me death.”

 

More to the point, couldn’t that weak-minded charlatan realize that the invasion, occupation and destruction of sovereign nations by the US, along with the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, represented and embodied terror in its ugliest forms? 

 

I understand that certain Arabs dislike Hamas because of ideological hostility. However, I never thought in my life that an Arab and Muslim bearing the name of Abdullah or Abdul Rahman would urge Israel to annihilate Palestinians and express the wish he was an Israeli soldier slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese  children.

 

Well, moral depravity, it seems, has no limits.

 

I do know that the vast majority of Arabs are men and women of honor who stand soul and heart with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. This graceful solidarity manifested itself in the massive demonstrations which took place recently from Mauritania to Bahrain, mostly against the wishes of the tyrannical regimes.

 

In fact, it was this huge show of support and identification with our struggle that kept us going all these difficult days, facing and absorbing the genocidal onslaught by the Nazis of our time.

 

Some primitive Sheikhs in certain countries issued edicts against organizing demonstrations to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza. They shamelessly argued that holding demonstrations constituted an imitation of non-Muslims and was therefore incompatible with the Islamic Sharia.

 

Well, what kind of Sharia are these ignoramuses talking about? Don’t they know that it was the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and his companions who held the first demonstration in Islam in order to challenge the hegemony of the idolaters of Quraysh?

 

Moreover, if these pseudo-Ulema are really concerned about “Halal and Haram,” (virtue and vice), why don’t they speak up against the rampant promiscuities in their respective countries? Why don’t they speak up against the hundreds of pornographic and semi-pornographic TV stations which are owned and operated by decadent emirs who claim to be Muslim while doing the works of Satan?

 

Why don’t they speak up against their respective regimes’ disgraceful submission and subservience to Zionist-controlled America?

 

Is spreading moral permissiveness and pornography compatible with Islam? Is subservience to the US, Israel’s guardian-ally, compatible with the laws of the Sharia?

 

Answer me if you can, or just shut up, you hypocrites. You, your ignorance, stupidity and cowardice are a cancer upon the conscience of Islam and Muslims. 


But, thanks to God, we have many authentic, God-fearing Ulema, such as Sheikh Yosuf Qaradawi, who won’t flinch from standing on the side of the Umma and supporting the forces of resistance, without worrying about alienating the Tyrants.

 

It is such Ulema that we respect and salute. May they live to see the demise of Arab dictatorships.

 

In conclusion, I say we must isolate and expose these treacherous writers and mouthpieces of Zionism.  In fact, they are being exposed, not the least by Israel which enthusiastically publishes their silliness and trivialities.

 

Well, if Israel is your ultimate admirer, then you don’t need to tell us who you are. The tree is known by its fruit. 

 

Sure it was red all over Gaza this year, and earlier than any other country in the world, blood red, not rose red.

 

The Independent published an article today entitled Israel allows Valentine carnations out of Gaza. The Independent reporter described Israel’s allowing 25,000 carnations to cross the border in the first exports permitted from blockaded Gaza in a year as a gesture. Is this funny or what? Usually the expression gesture holds meanings of good will and kind intentions or so I thought, since gestures usually do not come after killing the people and bulldozing their homes to the ground as well as creating orphans and widows.

Good old Israel allowed 25,000 carnations from Gaza to cross the border so that the lovers in Israel and Europe will have a day to remember, but kept the medicine and children’s food under siege for 19 months. What a gesture… Oh I have forgotten that Palestinian children are not worthy of mercy or consideration, unlike the sensitive Europeans who should celebrate Valentine’s Day in style. I bet those carnations are the most expensive in the whole wide world since they grew in Palestine and were irrigated with blood. But thank God the Independent reporter assured us that Major Peter Lerner, of the military’s civil co-ordination office, said Israel had agreed to relax the blockade for the carnations at the request of the Dutch government. I wonder how come no government in the west succeeded in its requests of Israel to relax the blockade for children’s food and medicine and how come only Valentine’s Day flowers had this privilege.

One more question comes in mind, how come the children of Gaza were harvested by white phosphorus bombs while the carnations of St Valentine remained untouched…the irony that the people who are mourning their loved ones, are the ones who are growing the roses and carnations that will be enjoyed by the civilized part of the world, civilized to the point of creating weapons and watching the children of those who plant those flowers die of starvation and be burned by the bombs.

To all the Palestinian women who have lost their loved ones, may you rise up like olive trees and keep your roots in the soil… you deserve all the roses in the world. 

The photo:
Photo: Reuters

Every day, I am assaulted by something in the topsy-turvey world of US politics that amazes me and makes me say to myself, ‘Well I guess I have seen it all now’, only for it to be outdone and replaced the very next day by something even more outrageous.

Politics can do that to people. Power and the opportunity to play on the ‘big field’ is like a drug that makes people do crazy things, things that defy reason, logic, and sometimes decency.

Take for example the most recent article by Arab American Institute James Zogby in his defense of President Elect Barak Obama’s decision to appoint Rahm Emmanuel as White House Chief of Staff. In his piece entitled “Rahm Emanuel and Arab Perceptions” he writes “The emails and calls to my office were both troubled and troubling because much of the reaction was based on misinformation”. The “misinformation” in this case dealt with Rahm Emanuel, the “brilliant strategist” as Jim puts it and his many “proven” political skills which led to him being “tapped” by Obama. No more no less. That is, as Jim calls it, “First, the facts.” I just wonder if Rahm’s ‘proven politics’ is also what dragged Obama to AIPAC’s conference this past summer to deliver that infamous shameful speech, as well as the meeting
afterwards with the board of AIPAC where he was accompanied by Rahm
Emanuel. I don’t think Rahm being born to an Israeli parent who once ran guns for the Irgun Terrorist Organization, his faith as a devout Jew or his being a staunch supporter of Israel had “nothing” to do with his appointment as the conventional wisdom would like us to believe. Of course not, it is his ‘brilliancy’ that got him there. “Its that simple” says the spokesman for the Arab-American community Jim Zogby. Maybe Arabs lack thinking brains to be in positions of power.

Ok, Emanuel may not be an Israeli Citizen, even though Israeli law grants citizenship to Jews who are born for Israeli parents abroad. As a matter of fact the “Israeli Law of Return” grants Israeli citizenship to any Jew who wishes to have it. As a matter of fact many American Jews in high power positions are dual citizens. One such is Douglas Feith, who ran the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, and who concocted the ‘Yellow Cake’ theory giving George Bush the ammo he needed to invade an Arab country. Another one coming to mind is Michael Chertoff, our Director of Homeland Security whose father fought in the Bitar Brigade, a Jewish terrorist group during the Palestinian Holocaust which by the way, started way before the so-
called ‘Holocaust’ of Europe and which continues to this very day. No doubt the reader is inclined to call me an ‘anti-Semite’ despite the fact that there is more ‘semitism’ in one of my eyelashes than there is in the whole of European Jewish community because I said the “so-called” Oh well, I guess I am one of those ‘self-hating’ Semites.

Jim goes on to defend Rahm’s service in the Israeli Army saying: “Emanuel volunteered for a few weeks, as a civilian, doing maintenance on Israeli vehicles.” Is he a mechanic? So, not only is he “brilliant” when it comes to politics, he is ‘Rahm the Mechanic’ as well. Talk about a real Renaissance man. Not only is Rahm “brilliant” in banking and finance, “brilliant” in the way he stabs a steak knife into a hardwood table repeatedly when talking
about ‘enemies’ who must be dealt with, but “brilliant” with cars too, especially the ones used by Israel’s military. There is something so familiar between this and the whole “Joe the Plumber” business we heard so much about during the campaign.

Ok, let’s get back to that then–What vehicles Jim? What is a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Army? Did you know that there are no ‘civilians’ in Israel? If someone volunteers to go help a country at a time of war, one can safely assume he will be involved in some kind of a defense position. Was he greasing up the Israeli Tanks before they took positions on the Northern border with Syria and Lebanon in 1991? Or did he just write some nice love notes on Tank Shells? I am not sure, but this “brilliant” American found it
necessary to go and join the Israeli Army – ok in a civilian capacity, god don’t be so uptight on technicalities – but yet, he did not join the American Army fighting two wars. It makes you wonder what country comes first in Rahm’s mind. Is he one of those Israel’s Firsters bunch?

As an aside (although one of supreme importance) what should be noted is that if Mr. Zogby–seeing his homeland of Lebanon being bombarded by Israel as it was in July 2006–decided to don his US Passport and go to Lebanon in order to volunteer in protecting another country, he would be arrested upon re-entry into the US and charged with a whole assortment of crimes related to terrorism. However, when it is a Zionist Jew doing so for Israel, he is offered the highest position in the president’s cabinet and the rest of the world is not supposed to think anything of it.

Oh yes, this is the killer, I almost left it out. Jim wrote: “The truth is that Emanuel is an effective leader in Congress. He is a strong supporter of Israel. But then, how many members of Congress are not?” It’s no big deal, he is just one of the many in Washington who are supporters of Israel. Well Jim you forgot one fundamental difference between “Rahm the Mechanic” and others, namely that the other members of congress prostitute themselves for power, influence and money, but they really don’t get much enjoyment out of the deal. On the contrary–just like prostitutes they want the ordeal to be over with asap because deep down they feel so ashamed of themselves seeing Palestinian children dying from Israeli bullets fired by
Israeli settlers as well as Israel’s imposed starvation and hunger on
innocent people and they can’t do anything about it. “Rahm the
Mechanic” however, Mr Jim Zogby, enjoys what he is doing for Israel. His father, his family, and his “mother country” are proud of what he has become. Israeli Newspapers said “one of us in the White House.” He is doing it because he enjoys it. The Arabs are the sworn enemies of Rahm’s father and his last name is a reminder of that. Emanuel actually is not the last name of the family they changed it when rahm’s uncle, Emanuel was killed by Arabs before the establishment of Israel, and the family changed their last name to, Emanuel. Now do you understand why Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and all freedom-loving people around the World are disturbed by Rahm’s appointment? Can you take your democratic hat off for a second and voice your concern about Rahm? Can you, Uncle Tom?

I saw you turning the world upside down for a comment that John McCain did not make-even though, we made a big issue out of it- I for one made the biggest stink about it, but I did not see you doing the same when Rahm’s father actually, and factually insulted ALL Arabs, dead, alive and yet to be born. Thank God for Mary Oakar and the ADC who forced an apology out of Rahm for what his father had said about how his son will “surely influence Obama’s decisions on Israel” while following it with the comment that “he wasn’t Arab” and therefore will not be going to the White House to “mop floors”. The funny thing in the whole episode is Rahm’s apology, and especially when he said that the comment made by his dad did not “reflect the way he was raised and did not reflect his family values”. I wonder who raised him?

It was his father who said it, the head of his family, the man who installed the values in Rahm, the very same man who ran guns to the Jewish terrorists to massacre the poor souls of Deir Yasin. Now Jim, do you blame the Arabs for their “perception” of Rahm? Is it just a perception? “Can you hear me now!!!”

www.currentissues.tv

Current issues with Hesham Tillawi can be viewed Live every Thursday at 8:00 PM Central Standard Time on Cox Cable system Channel 15 in Louisiana as well as Live on the Internet at www.currentissues.tv and can be contacted at Tillawi@currentissues.tv The show is also broadcast on Bridges TV via cable, satellite, and broadband and on Amazonas satellite World Wide. Current Issues the radio show airs live around the World on Broadband and shortwave 5.050 and many stations around the U.S. every Saturday 4-6 PM Central Time on www.republicbroadcasting.org

The Zionist Electorate Warmongers
The last parliamentary elections of the Zionist entity proved beyond doubt that there is no right or left as well as there are no extremist Zionists and no moderate Zionists, they are equally extremist in their hatred of Arabs, and their aim to fulfill their final goal that is to complete their ethnic cleansing of every single Palestinian Arab still sticking to their land from their historical homeland, Arab Palestine. Zionists consider the indigenous Arab population as an enemy within the entity; so being as such it is either our death or uprooting.

The Zionist elections: A society competing with itself…

The result is the same… It is either me or you!!!

An-Nahar – Beirut

For the first time in twenty years the veil dropped off the face of the Zionist candidates and their parties’ programs by dropping the deceiving and unwanted peace from their electoral programs, of course with the Arabs. In the past they always claimed that Palestinian Arabs are the obstacle to peace, and they are, Zionists, who call for it.   

Jonathan Cook, wrote on February 09, 2009 in the “The Nation
quoting Elias Khoury, a 33-year-old architect from the village of Ibilin in Galilee, who had been a lifelong supporter of the Communist Democratic Front, the only joint Arab-Jewish party represented in the Israeli parliament. No longer. Tomorrow, when Israelis head to the polls to elect their next government, Mr. Khoury – one of the country’s 1.2 million Arab citizens – will be staying home rather than casting a vote.

Zionist elections

An-Nahar – Beirut


Khoury said, “I’ve given up on the talk of coexistence,” and added. “Now it’s clear it is just empty rhetoric. After the attack on Gaza, I am sure there will never be two states here. It’s going to be either a Jewish state with no Arabs, or an Arab state with no Jews. Voting any Arab party into the parliament is a waste of time.” Of course this is a reflection of the over 90% or actually more of the Zionist electorate that endorsed the Zionist war waged last December/January, as well as being anti coexistence with Palestinian Arabs as well as in other occupied Arab territories.

Cook added, “His ominous vision of the future reflects disillusionment with the Israeli political system, he said, rather than extremism. ‘We are living in an extreme situation imposed on us by Israel.’”        

The Zionist imported society on all levels, of interests and professions had been cooking for their hatemongering and as thus warmongering against Arabs at large and Palestinians in particular, the vast majority of their university professors, historians and “philosophers” such as Benny Morris of Ben Gurion University in the Negev and Martin van Creveld, a former professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a world-leading writer on military matters, who both, like all their other colleagues, claim to be speaking on behalf of the civilized white European world, which has the right to annihilate third world peoples to establish their new civilized democracies on their lands,  of course with no exception Zionist military personnel are the teachers for and revivalists of Zionist hatred and warmongering.

Martin van Creveld said in a September 2003 interview in Elsevier (the Dutch weekly) to directly or indirectly threaten all Arab with atomic warheads, which Zionist leaders try to deny also directly or indirectly: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

Van Creveld like his fellow professor Morris who blamed Ben Gurion for not completing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, Creveld talked about ‘collective deportation’ as Israel’s only meaningful plan for the Palestinian people. “The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this [the Israeli government] are waiting only for the right man and the right time…”

The same person who wants to deport Palestinian Arabs from their own land, which we are sure as a historian knows better than to falsely claim that this land isn’t theirs said, “They are after our civilization. We must summon the forces of civilization and the force and the power to act against them now, when we have the power and when we still have the time to do so.”

In reviewing the elections campaign programs, you don’t have to read in between the lines, the above quote is in block letters, and was and shall still be ruminated by each and every one of the winning and losing candidates for which they receive high cheers and applause shall keep echoing as long as the Zionist entity is still in existence, which shall certainly shorten its life span…

This article, which I only found yesterday, thanks to my friend Susanne, is slightly dated by a few weeks, but it is an absolutely astonishing document revealing the behind-the-scenes goings on prior to the current cease-fire in Gaza. Italian journalists of Arabmonitor, the first portal of the Arab World in Italy, have interviewed several of the key players who reveal steps Egypt has taken to block Turkey’s efforts at obtaining a ceasefire, their pressure on Hamas to “declare defeat”, the training of special troops of Dahlan in Egypt for a re-entry into Gaza, and the elation that Abu Mazen felt at the news of the assassinatin of Saed Siyam . Shocking reading….

THE EGYPTIAN NEGOTIATOR SHOUTED AT THE REPRESENTATIVES OF HAMAS: NOBODY IN THE ARAB WORLD CAN AFFORD TO SAY NO TO EGYPT
Damascus, January – The high-level representative of Hamas we had the opportunity to talk to chose to remain anonymous, considering the delicacy of the statements he had to make. With but a few hours into the assassination of Saed Siyam in the Gaza Strip and with equally short time left before the opening of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by the Emir of Qatar, our interlocutor had been granted only two hours of sleep the previous night and his red-veined, deeply sunken eyeballs tell it all. He reveals to us that it’s not Egypt who is actually negotiating the terms of a cease-fire for Gaza, but Turkey: at least, as far as the demands from the Islamic resistance are concerned.
That is how we get to know that what the delegates of Hamas obtained from Egypt was not a draft for a cease-fire proposal, but a dictate: a lull in fighting for an initial two-weeks period, in order to allow for humanitarian aid to be distributed in the Gaza Strip and during which the terms for a durable long-term cease-fire would be negotiated. Cairo would actually opt for a twenty-years truce, but surely for nothing less than a fifteen-years duration of it, demanding at the same time the resistance to sign up on an unconditional defeat, to renounce armed struggle and refrain from military training for its members, as well as from producing and importing weapons.

During the short-term lull, the two-weeks halt of fire, there would be no opening of border crossings and even humanitarian aid allowed to pass into the Gaza Strip would do so at the discretion of Egypt and Israel.

“We thanked them, but explained that it was unacceptable. General Suleiman (head of the Egyptian intelligence) was furious and shouted: Nobody in the Arab world can afford to say no to Egypt”.

To describe the kind of game Cairo had been playing from early on in the run-up towards the Israeli aggression (starting 27 December), our interlocutor told us that on 26 December the Egyptians asked Hamas to “raise the white flag”, to declare defeat “and then we (the Egyptians) will intervene with the Israelis to guarantee your personal safety”. In any case, during this talk, which took place in the presence of some of Suleiman’s aides, the Egyptian interlocutors assured the Palestinians they had received guarantees from Israel that no military attack against Gaza was on the time-table. “In these three weeks of war there were days in which for periods of up to 48 hours they denied any passage through the Rafah crossing, even to gas canisters urgently needed by the surgical wards of Gaza hospitals.

That’s not all: since about ten days 400 of Mohammad Dahlan’s men (the former strongman of Fatah, the USA and Israel in the Gaza Strip) are guests hosted at an Egyptian military centre in al-Arish (provincial capital of Sinai), where they are being trained by Egyptians”. The plan is for these 400 to return to the Gaza Strip, if not on the back of Israeli tanks, then with the support from Egypt.

In recent days the waters of the Nile began to look very troubled, because Egypt did not appreciate at all the efforts of the Turkish delegation to mediate the terms of a cease-fire. General Suleiman initially even prevented the Turks from meeting the representatives of Hamas, demanding that he himself act as messenger between the two delegations. At a certain point, Ahmed Davotouglu, the senior advisor of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, ran out of patience and the Turkish delegation from Ankara obtained permission to access the Palestinians.

“The Turks went ahead with a quite pragmatic approach. They held out to Suleiman that the Egyptian proposal was, realistically speaking, unacceptable for us and came forward with ideas that would contain guarantees for us as well as for the Israelis. For instance, they proposed to establish a presence of international monitors directly at the crossings, in joint venture with Palestinian forces from the Authority in Gaza, who at the Rafah crossing ­ but only at the Rafah crossing ­ could also consist of a a mixed forces, that is, those of the Palestinian National Authority in addition to our own. According to the Turkish proposal, the international presence would be different from the one set up by the European Union at the Rafah crossing years ago, which practically implemented orders given by Israel through remote control by monitors. According to the new proposal, the forces at the border crossings would act as an independent authority. And again it were the Turks who proposed a time-table of possibly one year for the duration of the cease-fire. We consider Turkey a partner with whom to negotiate, because it has shown much realism”.

Among the key conditions proposed by the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement for a cease-fire there is the demand for a complete and definitive halt of the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, the immediate withdrawal of the invasion troops, who “could withdraw within two hours”, but whose evacuation should be accomplished latest within a couple of days, an end of the siege imposed on the area and the opening of all crossings, foremost of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

We asked our talks partner to give us his evaluation of Abu Mazen’s performance during the present crisis. “Listen, shortly after the outbreak of the Israeli aggression he was called up on telephone by the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Ramadan Shallah (who lives in Syria, in exile), asking him to make a gesture and to call Ismail Haniye in Gaza, to find out what was going on. Abu Mazen rejected the plea. We know from absolutely trustworthy sources that yesterday, when news reached them at the Moqata (Abu Mazen’s seat at Ramallah) that Saed Siyam had been killed, the political leaders present, among them Abu Mazen, congratulated themselves and handed out sweets. What could I ever say, at this point?”.

Abu Mazen’s term as President of the Palestinian National Authority has expired on 9 January. “Yes, but given the current circumstances, we don’t want to create additional problems and prefer to suspend the issue until after the end of the war against Gaza, following which, last not least, we must address the task of reconstruction in Gaza”.

Our interlocutor told us that last year, ahead of the Arab League summit in Damascus, Egypt had tried by every means to persuade Palestinian Authority President to boycott the meeting, but Abu Mazen responded: “If I don’t go there, my seat will be occupied by Khaled Meshaal (head of the Political Office of Hamas)”, which was the reason why he went to Damascus (at the recent Arab-Islamic emergency meeting in Doha, from which he remained absent, the seat for the leader representing the Palestinians was indeed occupied by Meshaal).

The Europeans also, who in public always took care to present themselves as “virtuous” in avoiding any contact with Hamas, during the past weeks held more than once talks with the Palestinian Islamic Resistance. “Some of them approached us to express their negative feelings over the fact that we, according to them, refused to abide by the existing cease-fire. When we pointed out to them, that is was in fact Israel who violated the cease-fire by refusing to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, these countries slipped away.

However, three European countries kept the lines open and we are still in contact with them. They offered their help to find a way out of the crisis. I can’t tell you the names of two of them, only that they are European Union members, one of them a leading power, and the other one driven by an ambitious policy. The third one to offer us their help is Norway”.

Nevertheless, on the American front some interesting developments are coming up. Daniel Kurtzer, former US Ambassador to Israel, who is quite close to Barack Obama’s team, has met twice “as a private citizen” with Hamas leaders. His aim was to “pick up ideas”. The two talks took place in spring 2008 and then again last November, following Obama’s electoral victory. And then, how could we fail to recall that former US President Jimmy Carter had asked for a personal encounter with Khaled Meshal, and with other figures from the Hamas leadership, in April last year as well as in November.

source:

In the US and the West, we are able and free to debate God and HIS/HER existence, debate Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, debate America, its failures and its successes, debate our constitution and its interpretations. We are free to debate George Bush and his stupidity, his crimes against America and the world, and his many failures. We are free to debate anything and everything except Zionism, Israel and Judaism. In Palestine and the Arab world, we are allowed to discuss few things but one thing no one dares to discuss is the PLO, its illegitimacy and its failures.

Israel committed war crimes for over 20 days in Gaza, killing and murdering in cold blood women and children, destroying homes, schools, social centers, UN facilities, mosques and hospitals yet, no one in the US and the West dare to say anything let alone criticize Israel, its racist and criminal practices, as we have seen in the BBC’s refusal to air calls for aid to Gaza and in the attack on Paul Simon and CBC for its airing of the recent special of why a two state solution is not possible any more.

Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential term finished and expired a couple of weeks ago and who lost any and all legitimacy as president of Palestine and the Palestinian Authority stood up yesterday in Cairo and declared that under no circumstances will there be any dialogue with those who (Hamas) questions the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

I am sure all Palestinians and the Arab world, with the exception of the very few Palestinians who are on the payroll of the PLO know well that the PLO lost any and all of whatever legitimacy it had to begin with 20 years ago. What remains now of the PLO is nothing more than perhaps a couple of dozen “parasites” around Mahmoud Abbas, direct beneficiaries of his financial generosity. I am sure if the payroll stops they will drop the PLO as hot potatoes.

To begin with, the PLO was never elected, voted or chosen by the Palestinian people, rather the PLO was chosen by the Arab League, which itself is of questionable legitimacy with many Arab leaders coming to power by tanks but not by the ballots and have no legitimacy whatsoever. As at no time did the Palestinian people in an open debate, forums, votes or ballots ever vote for and selected the PLO as “the sole and only representative of the Palestinian people”. An organization like the Arab League with questionable legitimacy cannot vote on or select an organization for and on behalf of the Palestinians people. The Arab League never had a mandate to represent the people of Palestine let alone select its representative, never.

Even in its heyday, the PLO was never legitimate since its officers and members were not elected by the people, but through a process similar in so many ways to the old Communist Party of the old Soviet Union, where the party on its own, without ever going back to the people, chose its general members and this general membership elected a slate of candidates that the leadership put forward. The same is true of the PLO. Arafat as a party leader funded and organized unions such as teachers, artists, social scientists, engineers, students, etc to be part of the “party” and put forward the slate of leadership to head and represent these “unions” and in turn these selected leaders voted the same (Arafat) leadership that voted them in. Thus the Palestine National Council, which is the “elected” people’s congress, was never elected through open election: rather its members where selected by Arafat and his gangs and where voted in. Faulty process to the core.

Thus the Palestine National Congress never truly represented the people and Arafat and his gangs were never voted in by the Palestinian people inside or outside Palestine. That is why there was never ever an open and serious debate on issues of concern to the people such as the occupation, liberation, building institutions, representing the people of the Diaspora, let alone the many fatal and criminal decisions taken by Arafat and the PLO leadership. There was never a debate on what happened in Jordan in 1970, never a debate on what happened in Lebanon, never a debate on what happened in Tel-Zaater and Sabra and Shatila, never a debate on what happened to cause of the forced exiles of 350,000 from Kuwait, never a debate let alone filing criminal and civil charges against all those who committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. Equally troublesome is the lack of debate or call for accountability of the tens of billions of the people’s money that simply disappeared during the tenures of Arafat, Qurai and Abbas. Tens of billions of the people’s money stolen by the very same leadership that is supposed to be the people’s trustees of their money and future. As such the Palestine National Council was nothing more than a ‘yes’ congress for the leadership so similar to the party congress of the Soviet Union, a bunch of ‘yes’ people who serve the wills of their masters, the leadership.

It was the late Arafat and his partners Abbas and Qurai who, once they signed the Oslo agreement recognizing Israel and its occupations, and becoming its agents and administrators, simply discarded the PLO as no entity. The Palestinian Trio of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai, turned the PLO into a “shell” organization putting a number of loyal cadres on the payroll just to keep the PLO under “oxygen”. The Palestinian Authority became the legal and financial partner of the Jewish Occupation. Arafat and Abbas simply put the PLO in a cold freezer, to use only when needed and to serve the purpose of the Jewish Occupation.

Under Oslo, Israel recognized the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and the only one authorized to sign and execute a “peace agreement” with Israel. Thus Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on the PLO and its role in the “peace process”. Without Abbas’s PLO, Israel could not consolidate its occupation, could not settle the issue of the refugees, could not keep the Jewish settlements and could not have a financial and security partner. Abbas’s insistence on the legitimacy of the PLO has nothing to do with ending the Jewish Occupation, has nothing to do with the Apartheid Wall, has nothing to do with ending the Jewish settlements, has nothing to do with return of refugees, has nothing to do with Jerusalem, has nothing to do with Jewish war crimes, has nothing to do with the 11,000 hostages held by Israel, certainly it has nothing to do with the siege of Gaza, with the war on Gaza and the Jewish war crimes committed in Gaza. It has everything to do with his the PLO legal obligations under Oslo to deliver Palestine and the Palestinian people under occupation and in the Diaspora to Israel. Without the PLO Israel could not reach a “peace agreement” that makes Israel a controlling partner of all Occupied Palestine of ‘67 including Jerusalem.

As for Israel and the lack of debate, we all know what happened to anyone and everyone who dares to say or speak out. They end up on the side streets of Washington, Berlin, Paris and London, politically finished and ruined. A deadly bullet waits all those who dare to speak out. The same is true in Palestine and the Arab world.

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/the-forbidden-debate/

The rebuilding of Gaza has become the latest siege weapon. The Israeli occupation, the US that had backed its offensive, and the EU which did nothing to stop it are conspiring to turn the reconstruction process into a means to produce a suitable “peace partner” while the Arab summit in Kuwait hopes to use it to bring about Palestinian reconciliation. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government is urging all parties and others to look to it as the sole channel for administering the construction process on the grounds that it is the government formed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation that is recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Soon we will see that freezing reconstruction will become the tool of all those parties for extracting from the resistance what they have been unable to gain from three weeks of warfare and the long blockade that preceded it.

Israel, the occupying power, is determined to keep a tight grip on the reconstruction process, which is why it sustained its closure of the border crossing following its “unilateral” ceasefire. Indeed, this is why it declared the ceasefire unilaterally: it did not want to be bound by any agreement — the Egyptian initiative or any other framework — that would oblige it to lift the embargo, if only partially, in order to facilitate reconstruction. Tel Aviv has also been seeking to obtain “guarantees” from international agencies such as UNWRA. On 19 January Reuters reported that Western diplomats revealed that Israel had asked the UN and other agencies to submit itemised lists of the goods, equipment and staff that they intend to send into Gaza, whether for urgent relief or for the more long-term reconstruction process. According to these sources, Israel plans to keep close tabs on these processes by insisting that the various agencies obtain its approval in advance for every project. One of the conditions for that approval will be that the project will not benefit Hamas or its government in Gaza. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has appointed Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog as coordinator of the Gaza reconstruction drive.

The US not only fully supports Israel on this; it is open about using the reconstruction process to help the PA reassert its authority and influence in Gaza. The EU is equally frank in its approval. EU External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner made clear that the EU would not contribute to reconstruction unless Gaza produced a viable peace partner and that it would not make aid available to a government led by Hamas. A high-level European diplomat was reported by Reuters as saying that this was “a recipe for failure”. “Let’s be realistic. If the PA is going to be responsible, its leadership and institutions have to exist on the ground. Right now none of that does,” he said.

It is patently clear that to Tel Aviv, Washington and Brussels the assertion of PA rule over Gaza is the strongest argument for holding off reconstruction as a Damocles sword over Gaza, and for the occupying power this condition is its strongest “guarantee” for sustaining its grip on that sword. The fear now is that Israel and the international powers that have helped it to perpetuate its occupation since 1967 will use a Palestinian façade buttressed by official Arab support to stage a repeat in Gaza of the Iraq experience in the wake of the 1991 war when reconstruction and development were perpetually deferred in order to further weaken the country preparatory to toppling the regime through the invasion that took place in 2003. It may or may not be a coincidence that the Israeli invasion of Gaza ended almost on the same date that the war against Iraq started 18 years ago. Nor does it bode well for the aftermath of a “regime change” scenario in Gaza that Iraq’s infrastructure today, six days after the Saddam regime was toppled, is worse than it was beforehand.

The attempt to engineer such a scenario can be seen in PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s appeal to the Arab summit last week to channel the reconstruction process through the PA and its institutions, an appeal echoed by World Bank President Robert Zoellick who met with Abbas on the fringes of the summit in Kuwait. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other Western leaders had proposed creating a temporary international committee to oversee the funding and organisation of the reconstruction effort. However, Abbas and his supporters rejected such a mechanism on the grounds that “it presumes that the separation between Gaza and the West Bank will continue,” as acting PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad put it, adding that international donors who are eager to reconstruct Gaza “will risk deepening the Palestinian division by ignoring the role of the PA”.

The PA’s stance, if followed, would condemn Arab pledges made in Kuwait — as well as any pledges made in a possible international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza called for by Egypt, the PA and the EU president — to remain pending until such time as a “viable peace partner” secures a steady seat in Gaza.

Although the participants at the Kuwaiti summit stressed the need for the reconstruction of Gaza in principle, they failed to reach an agreement over the mechanism. Differences between leaders obstructed a proposal to create a reconstruction fund and the most participants managed to agree upon was to make reconstruction contingent upon Palestinian reconciliation, a task they designated to Arab foreign ministers without setting a date or place for a ministerial meeting for this purpose, leaving us with the question as to when and how Arab ministers are to succeed where their heads of state failed.

Of course this procrastination through delegating makes the pledge to reconstruct Gaza barely worth the paper it was written on and will probably consign it to the same oblivion fated for so many other Arab summit resolutions. One of those forgotten resolutions was that adopted by the emergency Arab summit in Cairo in October 2000 calling for the creation of an Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem Fund for the purpose of reconstructing Palestinian infrastructure, especially in the sectors of healthcare, education, agriculture and housing. Apparently Arab leaders in Kuwait did not wish to recall that that resolution did not restrict the distribution of funds through the channel of the PA but also provided for other channels such as UNWRA, the Egyptian and Qatari Red Crescents, the Jordanian Royal Philanthropic Organisation, the UN Arab Gulf Programme and other such regional and international humanitarian agencies. Perhaps, too, they did not want to remind anyone that when that earlier resolution was passed there was no “Hamas problem” behind which are hiding those who do not really want to reconstruct the occupied territories, whether in Gaza or in the West Bank.

The underlying reason why the Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem Fund was not adopted by the Kuwaiti summit as a mechanism for the reconstruction of Gaza is that the urgent humanitarian mission has been politicised whereas it should remain above the political fray between Palestinians, Arabs, foreign powers and everyone else whose voices are loud enough to drown out the appeals of those in need. There is nothing to debate about humanitarian relief. The Israeli offensive destroyed all the civil infrastructure of the government in Gaza on the grounds that it served as bases for Hamas whereas in fact it was PA infrastructure paid for by taxpayers in donor countries. Whole residential quarters were flattened, totally destroying 4,000 homes and severely damaging around 16,000 more. There are now some 100,000 civilians in urgent need of shelter, temporarily accommodated in some 12 refuges opened by UNWRA in schools that were also targeted by Israeli guns and therefore need to be repaired as well. In addition, agricultural land ruined by bombardment has to be reclaimed, potable water needs to be supplied to half a million Palestinians, electricity has to be restored to about the same number of people, and about 80 per cent of the inhabitants of Gaza are in urgent need of food relief (these are all UN estimates). Any political argument for postponing such urgent aid is morally outrageous.

The Israeli list of “prohibited materials” even before its offensive includes such items as iron, steel and cement, which are now absolutely vital to reconstruction. UN Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes pointed out this self-evident truth in a statement last Tuesday saying that if Israel refuses to allow in construction materials reconstruction cannot begin.

It is equally obvious that to adopt the PA as the sole channel for reconstruction financing is to effectively allow the occupying power, which destroyed Gaza, to supervise reconstruction. It is hardly possible to expect the PA, which is at Israel’s every beck and call, to independently and effectively manage the reconstruction process by remote control from Ramallah, let alone release funding for projects without Israel’s prior approval. Remember that President Abbas, himself, pleaded the difficulty of obtaining an Israeli exit permit on short notice as the reason he did not appear at the Doha summit on Gaza, according to Qatari Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamed Ben Jasem Al Thani. Also, only two months ago, Abbas’s government in Ramallah could not disburse salaries to some 70,000 PA government employees who are believed paid to stay home because of the internal Palestinian rift. If, as acting Prime Minister Fayyad repeats on every occasion, the PA is unable to deliver the budgetary allocation to Gaza, which is about half of its total budget, how can that government be relied upon to deliver the funds that have been pledged — or will be pledged — for reconstruction?

Kuwait, for one, acted correctly when instead of waiting for the Arab summit to reach an agreement it donated $34 million directly to UNRWA. Similarly, Norway donated 20 million kroner to organisations capable of reaching civilians directly in Gaza, such as the International Red Cross. Such noble examples confirm the existence of practical, serious channels for meeting urgent humanitarian needs. These should not be made pawn to the demand for the arrival of a Palestinian “peace partner” to Gaza, contrary to the insistence of PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki in Kuwait that everything had to be coordinated with the PA “in all fields” before beginning the relief and reconstruction process. If that demand is met, nothing could be more guaranteed to subject the reconstruction process to the whims of the occupying power and turn it into another way to besiege Gaza in order to bring it to its knees.

* The writer is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit on the West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. This article was translated from Arabic and published by Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 932, 29 January – 4 February 2009.

Source: http://en.timeturk.com/nicola-nasser-gaza-new-siege-mechanism–377-yazisi.html TimeTurk

  

The latest of Al Arabiya TV series of betrayals to the ethics of journalism and another move of manipulations of the media came today with a report it has published on its news website.

 

Al Arabiya claims that Palestinian Mothers are requesting NOT to broadcast images of children killed in Gaza because it causes fear and panic amongst the children in Gaza.

 

What A heap of Bull media Sh-t.

 

Before going to disintegrate Al Arabiya’s method of handling the coverage of Current Affairs, I would like to mention that the Foreign Ministry of Israel hailed on its website by Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni a number of Arab journalists and recommend reading their articles regularly, and have their list of names available on the official website of the Ministry as a reference because she considers them as Israel’s ambassadors in the Arab world, for they follow exactly the Israeli line and defend its point of view to the letter. She recommended not only publishing their present articles during the last war, but all their old ones – especially the ones they wrote against Hamas, and guess what? Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, General Manager, Al Arabiya Channel and the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat who happens to hold a US post-graduate degree in mass communications from USA, is on this so-called Honour list.

 

Regarding Al Arabiya’s report claiming that the women of Gaza complained that what their children see on TV screens of bodies or parts of bodies of Gaza children became a worrying concern and that it should be stopped.

 

I would like to borrow an old saying of my Palestinian culture book of sarcastic quotes that can be applied in this case, we were told since we were young, ‘if you want to find if a certain claim is a lie, just look how big it is’ and sure enough this lie is extra large, for everybody around the world knows that Gaza still does not have electricity to connect TV sets to, and almost the majority of the homes in Gaza have no living room or TV sets left to watch TV, let alone the fact that most of the families are left with no mothers to complain, and the mothers who were lucky to escape death are preoccupied by other concerns like finding some clean water to drink, or finding a way to visit a half burned child at hospitals, and what piece of furniture to burn next to boil some roots to eat after 19 months of siege and after Israel forces have blown up all the UN buildings that used to have some stored food. All the pictures we received are still excellent evidence that all the dishes that used to capture the signals from TV stations are on the ground half buried under the rubble with the dead bodies. What kind of false media message is Al Arabiya trying to send the world?

 

This is clearly a desperate attempt to dilute the pain and misery of the people of Gaza for they have committed the sin of choosing Hamas as their political representative which is considered as an anti-USA.

 

The mothers and children of Gaza are claimed to complain of airing their need and despair and the injustice fallen upon them, but it seems that no Palestinian mother is complaining about the collaboration of the Arab states against them and siding with the Israel and USA.

 

Since when Al Arabiya has worried about the emotions of women in Gaza or been concerned that the children can’t sleep? How else would the people around the world would know the scale of cruelty and destruction caused by the Israeli state, and how ugly the war was? Is Al Arabiya advising us to create an entertainment program backed with animation and soft music when we scream about such a huge scale of massacres? 60 years of occupation and massacres had no effect on the international conscience because of the media manipulations Al Arabiya and other media adopting Western agenda means of reporting, by considering the dead are no longer important, and only worrying about the preferences of the fragile sensitive emotions of the living. I bet Al Arabiya would prefer a little entertainment instead to wash away the blood of hundreds of children killed without any crime committed but being born Palestinians. Al Arabiya has been reporting about the handmade rockets that fell on Sderot killing nobody but injuring a worktop of a kitchen, but not once it has mentioned that Sderot was the original home for those who were desperately firing homemade rockets more like fireworks because they were desperate after 19 months of siege and being forced to live packed like sardines and pickled in their own sweat together in the most populated area in the world.

 

Al Arabiya claimed that Palestinian women (generalising as usual) do not want any pictures of the massacred, let’s see who they have claimed they were representing the Palestinian mothers in Gaza and how did they came up with such report, and who were there references….?

 

They mention two persons, this was not the Gaza mothers point of view, but one person (a male) not a mother as claimed by the article, and one journalist.

 

So… how can Al Arabiya lie and claim something the mothers of Gaza never said? The manipulations of the media seem to underestimate the intelligence of the viewer and insult Palestinian women who are still mourning their lost ones in the shadows of their wrecked homes, holding tight to bits and pieces of their lost ones, sniffing the scent of their children’s bodies mixed with the smell of white phosphorus.

 the article in question: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/02/02/65521.html

By Akiva Eldar 

A new study of Jewish Israelis shows that most accept the ‘official version’ of the history of the conflict with the Palestinians. Is it any wonder, then, that the same public also buys the establishment explanation of the operation in Gaza?

A pioneering research study dealing with Israeli Jews’ memory of the conflict with the Arabs, from its inception to the present, came into the world together with the war in Gaza. The sweeping support for Operation Cast Lead confirmed the main diagnosis that arises from the study, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the world’s leading political psychologists, and Rafi Nets-Zehngut, a doctoral student: Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering. The fighting in Gaza dashed the little hope Bar-Tal had left – that this public would exchange the drums of war for the cooing of doves. 

“Most of the nation retains a simplistic collective memory of the conflict, a black-and-white memory that portrays us in a very positive light and the Arabs in a very negative one,” says the professor from Tel Aviv University. This memory, along with the ethos of the conflict and collective emotions such as fear, hatred and anger, turns into a psycho-social infrastructure of the kind experienced by nations that have been involved in a long-term violent conflict. This infrastructure gives rise to the culture of conflict in which we and the Palestinians are deeply immersed, fanning the flames and preventing progress toward peace. Bar-Tal claims that in such a situation, it is hard even to imagine a possibility that the two nations will be capable of overcoming the psychological obstacles without outside help. 

Scholars the world over distinguish between two types of collective memory: popular collective memory – that is, representations of the past that have been adopted by the general public; and official collective memory, or representations of the past that have been adopted by the country’s official institutions in the form of publications, books or textbooks. 

The idea for researching the popular collective memory of Israeli Jews was raised by Nets-Zehngut, a Tel Aviv lawyer who decided to return to the academic world. At present he is completing his doctoral thesis in the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The study, by him and Bar-Tal, entitled “The Israeli-Jewish Collective Memory of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict,” examines how official collective memory in the State of Israel regarding the creation of the 1948 refugee problem has changed over time. 

Bar-Tal became enthusiastic about the idea and, with funding from the International Peace Research Association Foundation, he conducted a survey in the summer of 2008 among a representative sample of 500 Jewish Israeli adults. The study demonstrated that widespread support for the official memory testifies to a lower level of critical thinking, as well as belief in traditional values, high identification with Jewish identity, a tendency to delegitimize the Arabs, and support for taking aggressive steps against the Palestinians. 

In a telephone interview from New York, Nets-Zehngut says it is very clear that those with a “Zionist memory” see Israel and the Jews as the victims in the conflict, and do not tend to support agreements or compromises with the enemy in order to achieve peace. This finding, he explains, demonstrates the importance of changing the collective memory of conflicts, making it less biased and more objective – on condition, of course, that there is a factual basis for such a change. 

Bar-Tal, who has won international awards for his scientific work, immigrated to Israel from Poland as a child in the 1950s.

“I grew up in a society that for the most part did not accept the reality that the authorities tried to portray, and fought for a different future,” he says. “I have melancholy thoughts about nations where there is an almost total identity between the agents of a conflict, on the one hand, who nurture the siege mentality and the existential fear, and various parts of society, on the other. Nations that respond so easily to battle cries and hesitate to enlist in favor of peace do not leave room for building a better future.”

Bar-Tal emphasizes that the Israeli awareness of reality was also forged in the context of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens, but relies primarily on prolonged indoctrination that is based on ignorance and even nurtures it. In his opinion, an analysis of the present situation indicates that with the exception of a small minority, which is capable of looking at the past with an open mind, the general public is not interested in knowing what Israel did in Gaza for many years; how the disengagement was carried out and why, or what its outcome was for the Palestinians; why Hamas came to power in democratic elections; how many people were killed in Gaza from the disengagement until the start of the recent war; and whether it was possible to extend the recent cease-fire or even who violated it first. 

“Although there are accessible sources, where it is possible to find the answers to those questions, the public practices self-censorship and accepts the establishment version, out of an unwillingness to open up to alternative information – they don’t want to be confused with the facts. We are a nation that lives in the past, suffused with anxiety and suffering from chronic closed-mindedness,” charges Bar-Tal. 

That describes the state of mind in 2000, when most of the pubic accepted the simplistic version of then-prime minister Ehud Barak regarding the failure of the Camp David summit and the outbreak of the second intifada, and reached what seemed like the obvious conclusion that “there is no partner” with whom to negotiate. 

Bar-Tal: “After the bitter experience of the Second Lebanon War, during which the memory of the war was taken out of their hands and allowed to be formed freely, the country’s leaders learned their lesson, and decided that they wouldn’t let that happen again. They were not satisfied with attempts to inculcate Palestinian awareness and tried to influence Jewish awareness in Israel as well. For that purpose, heavy censorship and monitoring of information were imposed” during the Gaza campaign.

The professor believes that politicians would not have been successful in formulating the collective memory of such a large public without the willing enlistment of the media. Almost all the media focused only on the sense of victimization of the residents of the so-called “Gaza envelope” and the south. They did not provide the broader context of the military operation and almost completely ignored – before and during the fighting – the situation of the residents of besieged Gaza. The human stories from Sderot and the dehumanization of Hamas and the Palestinians provided the motivation for striking at Gaza with full force.

Nets-Zehngut and Bar-Tal find a close connection between the collective memory and the memory of “past persecutions of Jews” (“the whole world is against us,” and the Holocaust). The more significant the memory of persecution, the stronger the tendency to adopt Zionist narratives. From this we can understand the finding that adults, the religious public and those with more right-wing political views tend to adopt the Zionist version of the conflict, while young people, the secular public and those with left-wing views tend more to adopt critical narratives.

The atmosphere in the street and in the media during the weeks of the Gaza war seems to have confirmed the central finding of the study: “The ethos of the conflict is deeply implanted in Jewish society in Israel. It is a strongly rooted ideology that justifies the goals of the Jews, adopts their version, presents them in a very positive light and rejects the legitimacy of the Arabs, and primarily of the Palestinians,” notes Bar-Tal.

For example, when asked the question, “What were the reasons for the failure of the negotiations between [Ehud] Barak and [Yasser] Arafat in summer 2000?” 55.6 percent of the respondents selected the following answer: “Barak offered Arafat a very generous peace agreement, but Arafat declined mainly because he did not want peace.” Another 25.4 percent believed that both parties were responsible for the failure, and about 3 percent replied that Arafat did want peace, but Barak was not forthcoming enough in meeting the needs of the Palestinians. (Sixteen percent replied that they didn’t know the answer.)

Over 45 percent of Israeli Jews have imprinted on their memories the version that the second intifada broke out only, or principally, because Arafat planned the conflict in advance. Only 15 percent of them believe the viewpoint presented by three heads of the Shin Bet security services: that the intifada was mainly the eruption of a popular protest. Over half those polled hold the Palestinians responsible for the failure of the Oslo process, 6 percent hold Israel responsible, and 28.4 percent said both sides were equally responsible.

Among the same Jewish public, 40 percent are unaware that at the end of the 19th century, the Arabs were an absolute majority among the inhabitants of the Land of Israel. Over half of respondents replied that in the United Nations partition plan, which was rejected by the Arabs, the Arabs received an equal or larger part of the territory of the Land of Israel, relative to their numbers; 26.6 percent did not know that the plan offered the 1.3 million Arabs a smaller part of the territory (44 percent) than was offered to 600,000 Jews (55 percent).

Bar-Tal claims that this distortion of memory is no coincidence. He says that the details of the plan do not appear in any textbook, and this is a deliberate omission. “Knowledge of how the land was divided could arouse questions regarding the reason why the Arabs rejected the plan and make it possible to question the simplistic version: We accepted the partition plan, they didn’t.”

However, his study shows that a larger percentage of the Jewish population in Israel believes that in 1948, the refugees were expelled (47.2 percent of respondents), than those who still retain the old Zionist version (40.8 percent), according to which the refugees left on their own initiative. On this point, not only do almost all the history books provide up-to-date information, but some local school textbooks do as well. Even on the television program “Tekuma” (“Rebirth,” a 1998 documentary series about Israel’s first 50 years), the expulsion of the Arabs was mentioned. 

Nets-Zehngut also finds a degree of self-criticism in the answers relating to the question of overall responsibility for the conflict. Of those surveyed, 46 percent think that the responsibility is more or less evenly divided between Jews and Arabs, 4.3 percent think that the Jews are mainly to blame, and 43 percent think that the Arabs and the Palestinians are mainly to blame for the outbreak and continuation of the conflict. It turns out, therefore, that when the country’s education system and media are willing to deal with distorted narratives, even a collective memory that has been etched into people’s minds for years can be changed.

Bar-Tal says he takes no comfort in the knowledge that Palestinian collective memory suffers from similar ills, and that it is also in need of a profound change – a change that would help future generations on both sides to regard one another in a more balanced, and mainly a more humane manner. This process took many decades for the French and the Germans, and for the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland. When will it finally begin here, too?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=1060061

By Carlos Latuff

By Carlos Latuff

There are only two powers in the world…the sword of the oppressor and the spirit of the oppressed. In the long run, the sword is always defeated by the spirit.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”
–Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of 14 July 1972.

May the Holy Name visit retribution on the Arabs’ heads, and cause their seed to be lost, and annihilate them, and cause them to be vanquished and cause them to be cast from the world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them, you must give them missiles, with relish – annihilate them. Evil ones, damnable ones.”
— Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon discussing Passover and God’s wrath at Israel’s enemies, 8 April 2001. Some months ago he distinguished himself by describing Arabs as “snakes” whom “God regrets having created“.
(more…)

Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. The name of this is “retaliation”.

 

Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. The name of this is “terrorism”.

 

Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; the name of this is “self-defense” or “collateral damage”.

 

Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

 

Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

 

Rule #6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (around 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or a trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”.

 

Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add “supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran”.

 

Rule #8: When you say “Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

 

Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva Conventions”. This could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

 

Rule # 10: The Palestinians are always “cowards” who hide behind a civilian population that “they don’t care about”. If they (militants) sleep in houses with their families, the name of this is: “cowardice”. Israel has the right to annihilate the towns where they sleep using bombs and missiles. The name of this is “high precision surgical action”.

 

Rule #11: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. The name of this is “neutral journalism”.

 

Rule #12: If you don’t agree with these rules or if you favor the Palestinian side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion.

 

THIS NAME OF THIS IS: DEMOCRACY!!

(Isn’t democracy wonderful?)

 

Now that you have read the rules (a Spanish language version of them says the author was God, and I’ve translated an Italian version you can read tomorrow on www.tlaxcala.es), see what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lies and Deception has issued in today’s briefing. It’s their denouncement of War Crimes and Death of civilians, of thievery and use of weaponry. Obviously, they project all evil onto their enemies, and here is a classic example of the Hasbara of Israel’s “Good War in a Nutshell”. If you read it, you will see that they are accusing Hamas of all and sundry, War Crimes, even! See how well they apply these rules, going beyond the beyond! They tout about words such as “Truth”, the use of exaggeration and hyperbole alone is staggering, “Eight years of constant rocket barrages”, “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”,  and the whopper, “…I was struck by how cosmetically unchanged Gaza appeared to be.”

 

Count how many times they use each rule and share your results with the rest of us! Find a few rules that were hidden… in essence, for lovers of science fiction or fairy tales, this genre will be right up your alley.

Behind the Headlines: The truth about Hamas crimes in Gaza

The evidence of Hamas’ war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza’s residents are finally coming to light.

Despite Hamas’ best efforts to hide the truth about events in the Gaza Strip, the evidence of Hamas’ war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza’s residents are finally coming to light.

Israel knows better than most countries the horrors of war. Eight years of constant rocket barrages targeting Israeli civilians, eight years of trying tactic after tactic to stop these war crimes left Israel with little choice but to invoke its legitimate right of self-defense.

When Israel did strike back against Hamas terror in Gaza, it took unprecedented and innovative steps to try to encourage civilians to avoid Hamas positions, even placing tens of thousands of phone calls warning residents in hazardous areas. As British Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp commented on the BBC, “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”

To Israel’s great sorrow, innocent civilians in Gaza have been harmed. However, the figures of civilian casualties have been greatly exaggerated. Most of these figures come from Hamas sources, amplifying the number of civilians killed by including as “children” teenage Hamas fighters and as “women,” female terrorists. According to an Israeli investigation, of the 1,100-1,200 reported casualties, 250 were civilians. The rest are believed to be terrorists or have yet to be identified, but given that most of them are young men in their 20s, it is not unreasonable to assume that they are also members of Hamas or other terrorist organizations.

Hamas is responsible, both morally and under international law, for many of the dead and injured civilians. This terrorist organization deliberately used the local population as human shields, a war crime. Civilian structures were used as launching pads for rockets, a tactic that is extremely hazardous to residents. Civilians were prevented, at gunpoint, from fleeing the sites of battles and even children have been grabbed to be used as living bulletproof vests. Even ambulances were not safe from hijacking attempts by terrorists, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of battle to transport Hamas terrorists to safety.

Property damage, while sizeable, has also been exaggerated. As Tim Butcher, a journalist intimately familiar with the Gaza Strip reported (Telegraph, Jan 20): “There had been no carpet bombing of large areas, no firebombing of complete suburbs. Targets had been selected and then hit, often several times, but almost always with precision munitions. Buildings nearby had been damaged and there had been some clear mistakes… But, in most the cases, I saw the primary target had borne the brunt… For the most part, I was struck by how cosmetically unchanged Gaza appeared to be.”

Hamas’ rocket attacks, which continued throughout the operation, constituted a double war crime. Not only were they aimed at about 15% of Israel’s civilian population, they were cynically carried out from locations immediately adjacent to homes, schools, hospitals, relief agency warehouses, mosques, public buildings – as well as from the office building that housed foreign media studios. These reprehensible acts were documented not only in Israeli aerial films, but by the international media.

As Rod Nordland (Newsweek, Jan 20) described one event, “Suddenly there was a terrific whoosh, louder even than a bomb explosion. It was another of Hamas’s homemade Qassam rockets being launched into Israel – and the mobile launchpad was smack in the middle of the four [apartment] buildings, where every apartment was full…”

Lorenzo Cremonesi (Corriere della Sera, Jan 21) relates the testimony of “Um Abdallah”:  “Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs … had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames.”

Many of Gaza’s residents are now returning home. Some have found weapons left behind by Hamas terrorists who turned their homes into forward positions against the IDF, or worse, bodies of terrorists killed during the fighting. Many blame Hamas for the loss of life and property damage caused by Hamas’ practice of hiding among the civilian population. However, critical as they are of the Hamas regime in private, few, if any, residents of Gaza will accuse Hamas publically, a move that is tantamount to suicide.

An official Fatah spokesman in Ramallah (Jerusalem Post, Jan 19) reported that 100 of his men in Gaza have been killed or wounded, some brutally tortured, by Hamas. A Fatah leader in Gaza City claimed that members of his faction were being held in school buildings and hospitals that Hamas had turned into make-shift interrogation centers, and as many as 80 were either shot in the legs or had their hands broken for allegedly defying Hamas’ orders (see also video of Fatah testimonials about Hamas).

Ulrike Putz (Der Spiegel, Jan 23) managed to interview Palestinians who were not too intimidated by Hamas to speak (as long as their full names were not used): “Hail found out after the cease-fire that the militants had used his house as a base for their operations. The door to his house stood open and there were electric cables lying in the hallway. When Hail followed them they led to his neighbor’s house which it seems Hamas had mined. As Hail, in his mid-30s, sat on his porch and thought about what to do a man came by: He was from Hamas and had left something in Hail’s home. He let him in and the man then emerged with a bullet proof vest, a rocket launcher and an ammunitions belt. An hour later a fighter with Islamic Jihad called to the door, then disappeared onto the roof and reappeared with a box of ammunition.” 

Israel has a strong interest in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and will work together with the international community and moderate Arab regimes to improve the lives of Gaza’s residents. However, caution most be exercised to ensure that the aid does not end up in Hamas’ pockets.

This is not unwarranted wariness – Hamas has a long history of stealing humanitarian aid for its own use, even while the operation was ongoing. As Yaacov Katz reported (Jerusalem Post, Jan 12), “Hamas raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders.”     Earlier (Jerusalem Post, Jan 6) Mr. Katz related that “Hamas has set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its operatives wounded in fighting with the IDF – and, according to Israeli estimates, it is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip…”  

These reports are not only coming in from Israeli sources. Jordan’s News Agency (Petra, Jan 20) reported on the hijacking of humanitarian aid on its way to UNWRA warehouses in Gaza for distribution to the civilian population: “A number of armed men have seized on Tuesday a Jordanian aid convoy after entering the Gaza Strip… The armed men opened fire at drivers after crossing Karem Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing point and forced them to head to their own warehouses.”

Hamas’ hijacking of humanitarian aid is not only ethically repulsive, it is extraordinary given that Hamas is attempting to claim that the motive for its  rocket attacks is to force the opening of the crossings. This assertion is, of course, preposterous given that the rocket fire started eight years ago, when there was free trade with Gaza and continued after Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Hamas’ constant and deadly rocket, mortar, truck-bomb and shooting attacks on the crossings are one of the prime reasons for their closing.

The complexities of fighting terrorist organizations are becoming more familiar to democratic states, including NATO forces in Afghanistan. A British soldier who served there analyzed the IDF’s activities in light of his experience and noted (The Spectator, Jan 24) that “I believe that I and other soldiers understand the stress, friction and confusion that combat brings in a way that media commentators and UN bureaucrats never can.”

However, one principle is clear to any unbiased analyst – as long as Israel, and not Hamas, is blamed for civilian casualties and property damage, Hamas will continue to use civilians as human shields and violate every basic rule of international humanitarian law.

As Nir Boms, vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East, and Shayan Arya an Iranian activist, wrote (Jerusalem Post, Jan 28), “War, even when justified, brings much injustice with it. But there is also an important lesson to be learned, and a hope that this time it will not be completely missed by the rioting Arab street… The Palestinian discourse often fails to address the question of responsibility and accountability for Palestinian choices, decisions and leadership.” The Palestinians in Gaza must accept and take responsibility for the consequences of the Hamas leaders they chose.

Fortunately, the truth is starting to come to light. Even a senior European Union official – Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid – denounced Hamas, not only stating (AFP, Jan 26) during his visit to Gaza: “I intentionally say this here – Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such,” but also concluding that: “At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas” for the conflict in Gaza.

WRITTEN BY KHALID AMAYREH – The meeting in Cairo on Monday 26 January, between a Hamas representative and Fatah leader Azzam al Ahmed is a glimmer of hope for millions of Palestinians and their allies who are hoping and praying for a speedy end of the enduring rift between the two biggest political camps in the Palestinian arena.

 

Though symbolic and procedural in nature, the meeting shows that the problems between the two sides can be overcome if both sides display good-will and especially if the Ramallah regime ends its ignominious subservience to Israel and the United States.

 

Needless to say, the rift has wreaked havoc on the reputation of the just Palestinian cause and caused many bleeding wounds to our people, the scars of which will take a long time to heal.

 

However, we are still one people, feeling the same pain, languishing under the same hateful occupation, and harboring the same hopes for freedom and justice.

 

But in order to reach a lasting national harmony, we need to be honest and frank, and refrain from trying to negate the other side.  This is so because neither Hamas nor Fatah will go away or evaporate into nonexistence.

 

There is no doubt that a great calamity has hit our people in the Gaza Strip. But by no means was that evil aggression  a victory for Israel unless the Zio-Nazi entity views the mass killing of innocent civilians and the mass destruction of residential homes and public buildings as an act of heroism.

 

Well, if so, then we would have to view Adolf Hitler as the greatest hero of all times.

 

Nonetheless, we should refrain from whipping ourselves too much or trying to score propaganda points one against the other.

 

Israel did try to decapitate Hamas, destroy its legitimate government (legitimate because Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people) and give the Gaza Strip back to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas on a sliver platter.

 

The fact that Israel couldn’t achieve the criminal goal was not due to Israeli magnanimity. Zionists are too thuggish and too criminal minded to know the meaning of magnanimity. After all, magnanimity requires at least a modicum of humanity and Zionism has none of that.

 

In truth, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions earned this spectacular steadfastness, this legendary resoluteness, in the face of overwhelming criminality, hideousness and firepower.

 

Hence, one can only view with utter contempt the cheap canards and calumnies coming out of Ramallah and accusing the resistance of responsibility for the widespread death and destruction in Gaza, as if the murderous pilots who were raining bombs and missiles and white phosphorous on the heads of our children and civilians were members of Hamas, not Israeli war criminals.

 

To be sure, such cheap accusations are made by two categories of people, ignoramuses who don’t know the facts, and bona fide traitors who are doing Israel’s work.

 

The former can be somehow forgiven by virtue of their ignorance or stupidity. However, the latter are willful Judases who ought to be silenced and punished. And if the time is not conducive to dealing with them the proper way, they should be isolated in disgrace.

 

This should be one of Hamas’s key tasks in the coming weeks and months. Otherwise, the Fifth columnists within Fatah and the PA, the very people who committed national adultery in broad daylight by collaborating with the Shin Beth and the CIA for the purpose of raping the Palestinian people’s will and achieving America’s morbid goals in this tortured part of the world, will continue to create mischief and try to rock the collective Palestinian boat.

 

These must be ejected, isolated, exposed, disgraced, and made to pay for their treachery and perfidy.

 

But Fatah is not a movement of traitors, and it is not in the Palestinian people’s interests to see Fatah catapulted into the laps of the likes of Muhammed Dahlan, Nimr Hammad and al-Tayeb Abdul Rahim who probably were dreaming, even loudly, of an Israeli victory in Gaza.

 

Hence, it is both right and wise for Hamas to get closer to true patriots within Fatah. And the time to do that is now.

 

There is no doubt that despite the enormity of the genocidal Zionist blitzkrieg against our people in Gaza, Hamas has not only managed to remain intact, but has also earned overwhelming respect and admiration from around the world.

 

Hamas shouldn’t treat lightly this earned outpouring of support which many movements, parties and governments even dream of receiving a fraction of.

 

In this light, Hamas should show enlightened flexibility toward re-establishing national unity.

 

It is this national unity that will eventually dump the government of Fayadh into the dustbin of history and do away with the whoring practice known as “security coordination.”

 

The restoration of national unity will also impose an early retirement on people like Keith Dayton and other CIA officers who have taught hundreds, if not thousands, of our beguiled and naïve young sons that the enemy is Hamas, not the Zionist thugs who have just murdered and maimed thousands of our children and civilians in the Gaza Strip and who have been stealing our land and narrowing our horizons.

 

In the Quran, God orders Muslims to refrain from falling into disunity and internal conflicts.

 

In Surat al Anfal, God says: “ And obey God and His Messenger and fall not into disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For God stands with those who patiently persevere.” Of all Palestinian factions, Hamas should understand this best.

 

Amen!

I have decided to publish some names and photos of the Israeli military personnel who participated in the so-called “Operation Cast Lead”, the offensive launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Gaza Strip between 27 December and 18 January 2009. The names of these criminals called my attention since the first day of their criminal attack against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. I consider each person who took part in this IOF and each one whose name appears in this report as a war criminal who should be requested by an international court of justice, just like all other war criminals who were persecuted before…Colonel Ron Ashrov.jpgThe Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is conniving with others the war crimes committed in Gaza. These others are Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and his cabinet of criminals, and the military counterpart, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is equally involved in the war crimes in Gaza. The Attorney General of Israel asked his military counterpart to open a quick investigation among the military as an “alternative” measure to hinder potentially “hundreds” of international lawsuits against Israeli officials alleging war crimes against the Gaza population during the operation has been widely anticipated. There is growing concern in the offices of the Israeli justice and war ministries because they expect a massive wave of lawsuits for human rights violations against Israeli officers and politicians.

Colonel Hartzi Halevi – Paratroops Brigade Commander1The criminal intentions of Menechem Mazuz, namely helping to cover up war crimes of the State of Israel by giving an advice to the military, and by opening a “formal and internal investigations” is a clear fraud planned by the Israeli ministry of justice. Such a behavior is not that of a state, it is the behavior of a criminal organization trying to escape their well deserved punishment.

The military censor of Israel is preventing the media from identifying officers who participated in the Gaza Strip IOF, and divulging information about them which could be used in legal proceedings against them in courts of justice abroad. There is great concern at the defense and the justice ministries that Israeli officers will be singled out in a massive wave of suits for human rights violations.

Eyal Eisenberg2.jpgIn recent days the censor has forbidden publishing the full names and photographs of officers from the level of battalion commander down. It is assumed that the identity of brigade commanders has already been made known. The censor also forbids any reports tying a particular officer of battlefield command rank (lieutenant to lieutenant colonel) to destruction inflicted in a particular area.

The Israeli war criminal number one, Ehud Barak, stated that the State of Israel bears the responsibility for sending IOF troops on missions in Gaza, as well as for defending civilians, and as such it is obligated to grant its full support to these officers and soldiers who participated in the IOF in Gaza. Barak said that no harm should come to officers and soldiers as a result of their Commander of the 401st Brigade Colonel Yigal Slovikinvolvement in the operation.

The war criminal Barak ordered the IOF to set up a team of intelligence and legal experts to collect evidence related to operations in Gaza that could be used to defend military commanders against future lawsuits abroad.

 

Here are Some Names of the Israeli War Criminals who Operated in Gaza 

maj-gen-ido-nehushtan-approved-as-new-iaf-commanderMaj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a war criminal, Commander of Israeli air forces which lead all the operation of destruction with tons of phosphorus bombs.

Colonel Ron Ashrov, a war criminal, Commander of the Northern Gaza, deputy to the Givati Brigade.

Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg – Commander of all the IOF war criminal forces of “Operation Cast Lead” were under his command in Gaza Division. He personally participated in the war. He commanded the operations, in which Armored and Engineering corps units, as well as infantry soldiers were taking part. Eisenberg also commanded a division during the Second Lebanon War.

colonel-yigal-slovikColonel Yigal Slovik, commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy, entered Gaza in a Merkava tank from Netzarim and he did not stop until it reached the coast. He murdered the Palestinian civilians who raised the white flags, and he destroyed many houses over the head of the people. The brigade units also conducted numerous raids targeting public infrastructure.

destruction-commander-in-gaza-warSho’alay Marom, Brigadier (res.), razed to the ground hundreds of houses in Rafah, and in Jabalia.

Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, he served as a commander of the criminal Golani infantry brigade’s 13th Battalion in Gaza and in the “second Lebanon war”. He attacked the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, where hundreds of Palestinian residents who had fled on foot were murdered under his instructions. In one well-known incident, about more 150 Palestinian civilians were gathered by the IOF in a house, and then the house was bombed and shelled. Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai is a friend of the PA, and it is known that he coordinated his crimes with the PA.

Lt. Col. Oren Cohen, a war criminal, commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade, who led on night his troops into eastern of Gaza City, they murdered over hundred Palestinian. He was moderately wounded by the Israeli war criminal friends. Cohen and his soldiers operated during the second Lebanon war.

Lt. Col. Avi Blot, a war criminal, commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yehuda Cohen, battalion commander in Givati infantry Brigade’s Rotem Regiment, a war criminal in the second war in Lebanon, and a war criminal in Gaza.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ronen Dagmi, deputy commander of the 401st Armored Brigade which operated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Col. Avi Peled.jpgCol. Avi Peled, a war criminal, a commander brigade in Battalion 51 who operated in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and he was operated during the second war of Lebanon.

Brig.-Gen. ( res.) Zvika Fogel, a war criminal, a former deputy OC Southern Command in charge of artillery fire for Operation Cast Lead. Zvika and his son Zivi Fogel participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.
Brigadier-General Yuval Halamish, Chief IOF Intelligence Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Paratrooper Brigade commander, Hartzi Halevi, during an IDF opeCol. Hertzi Halevy, brigade commander, a former Sayeret Matkal, commander of the Israel Paratroopers’ Brigade in Gaza, committed war crimes in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”.

Col. Tomer Tsiter, a Givati squad commander from Ra’anana, participated in the massacre in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and previously he participated in the massacre “Operation Defensive Shield” in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002.

Gur Rosenblatt, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Guy Ohaion, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lt. Col. Erez, armored corps, tank commander, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Maj. Nimrod Aloni, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Shlomo Saban, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Capt. Ron Vardi, a war criminal, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Ashkinazi_terrorist_1Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, IOF Chief of Staff, whose father was a holocaust survivor from Bulgaria and whose mother was born in Syria. This moral degenerate is the engineer of this new  holocaust in Gaza. He committed war crimes in south of Lebanon. Three of his soldiers were captured by the Hizbullah resistance after they illegally crossed into Lebanon as a provocation ordered by him.

Commander of the Shoalay Marom Brigade_destroying Gaza houses.JMajor-General Yoav Galant, southern command chief. He was the chief commander in charge of “Operation Cast Lead”. He personally participated in the massacre against civilians in Gaza.

Richard Awizrat, Senior Warrant Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, and he also participated in the massacre in Jenin of 2002, during “Operation Defensive Shield”.

Major-General Amos YadlinMajor General Amos Yadlin, Military Intelligence chief, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

War Criminals Preparation Team 

Ehud Olmert, the corrupt Israeli Prime Minster legitimized the War in Gaza together with his cabinet.

Ehud Barak, Israeli War Minister, planned “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve his chances during the next elections.

Tzipi Livni, Foreign Minister of Israel, who leads the Israeli propaganda to legitimize the massacre and destruction in Gaza, planned and coordinated “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve her chances during the next elections

Yuval Diskin.jpgThe names of many other war criminals from the infantry, tanks, combat engineers, artillery, and intelligence who participated in the war crimes in Gaza are still unknown. They should not feel safe either. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are proscribed and prosecuted in all countries of the world in one way or other, and there exists no statute of limitations for such crimes. The “protection” offered by Mazuz and his cronies is weak, first of all because the fact that such “protection” is offered is a implicit admission of guilt, and because national and international statutes specifically address the issue of sham “proceedings which are instituted to protect the guilty”, and because since the Nuremberg proceedings against the German army, following orders is no excuse and does not absolve of culpability. We and others will continue doing whatever is possible to find out the names of as many of the criminals who participated in Gaza as possible, and any information which will put them behind bars.

Read and See more Photos About the Israeli War Criminals here.

Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet security service chief, the organizer of the war in Gaza. Due to his personal recommendation, the IAF bombed the hospitals and the medical centers of Gaza.

Brig Gen Jonathan Locker, head of Israeli air forces which operated in Gaza.

brig-gen-jonathan-lockerhead-of-iaf1My decision is a challenge to the State of Israel, to the Israeli attorney general Mazuz and the military headquarters, who forbade the media from publishing the names of the Israeli officers who lead “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, murdering 1310, and wounding over 5600, over 90% of these casualties being civilians, destroying public and the private property in many parts of towns and cities, and completely razing several areas completely to the ground.

Song by The Dark Bob:

 

With George Bush now dumped into the dustbin of history, millions of people around the world are hoping that the new American president Barak H. Obama will make a genuine departure from the conspicuously criminal policies that characterized his predecessor’s gloomy era.

 

Undoubtedly, Bush excelled in the perpetration of evil. He murdered, killed, deceived and lied, thinking he was doing a great service to America and the world.

 

His era was drenched with blood, mostly the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, killed unjustly under the misleading rubric of “the war on terror.”

 

In Palestine, and only three weeks before his unmissed departure, Bush gave the Zio-Nazi state of Israel carte blanche to commit a real genocide in Gaza in which thousands of helpless civilians were brutally massacred and maimed while thousands of homes and other buildings were utterly destroyed.

 

And instead of urging Israel to stop the pornographic bloodletting against the captive and virtually defenseless people of Gaza, Bush behaved gleefully and gloatingly, invoking the mendacious mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

 

We in the Middle East realize quite well that Obama is not going to be the paragon of freedom and justice many naïve people had thought he would be.

 

Unfortunately, the American political environment is too morally barren to produce truly moral politicians who would be willing, let alone able,  to call the spade a spade, especially when the Zio-Nazi state is concerned.

 

Doing so would most likely be tantamount to committing political suicide in a country where Congress, the media, Show business as well as the bulk of the vital financial industry are tightly controlled by Israel’s American gents.

 

Nonetheless, Obama should strive to be more than just a sort of a Bush-lite president. Otherwise, he would be repeating the same mistakes, indulging in the same follies and committing the same crimes, knowingly or unknowingly.

 

I know it is premature to judge the man since he has been only a few days in the White House.  However, the signs are not very encouraging.

 

Obama has refrained from denouncing the recent Nazi-like crimes committed by the Zio-Nazi state in the Gaza Strip. Obama spoke elaborately about Israel’s right to defend itself, but said absolutely nothing about the Palestinian people’s right to defend themselves.

 

He cited the “thousands of rockets” that Hamas fired on Israel, but completely ignored the cruel and deadly aggressions Israel has been carrying out against an imprisoned people languishing under a manifestly criminal siege that has striking similarities with the German siege of Ghetto Warsaw during the Second World War.

 

Obama said the Palestinians needed food, clean water and basic medical care. However, he carefully refrained from uttering the word “freedom.”  That was really mind-boggling, even shocking.

 

Well, Mr. Obama, are you betraying your own history? Your own Afro-American people’s struggle for freedom and justice? Besides, what happened to “give me freedom or give me death”?  Indeed, have you come to think that certain classes of people, the Untermenschen, don’t deserve freedom or can live without it?

 

Obama should understand that the enduring Palestinian cause is not about food, clean water and basic medical care, although these are basic necessities for all human beings. It is also not about border crossings or even terror.

 

What the Palestinians need most, Mr. Obama, is freedom, freedom from the Nazi-like Israeli occupation, oppression and persecution.

 

We want to be free from the evils wrought upon us by the Zionist occupation of our country. This evil occupation is a collective act of rape that robs us of our human dignity, human rights, even our very survival.

 

As human beings, we will not accept trading our God-given freedom for food, clean water and medical care.

 

The White slave masters once viewed your not-too-distant ancestors as only deserving food and water and probably some sort of medical care, but no freedom.

 

So, are you Mr. President trying now to reproduce ancient racism and apply it to our people, long haunted by foreign occupation and oppression?

 

Obama said Hamas would have to recognize Israel in order to qualify for his administration’s recognition.

Well, Hamas doesn’t need your recognition, Mr. Obama. It won’t do it any good. The US did recognize the PLO nearly two decades ago, after the latter recognized Israel.

 

But since then, and instead of pressuring Israel to end its criminal occupation and colonization of our homeland, successive American administrations (under Reagan, George Bush, Sr., Clinton, Bush, Jr.), gave Israel tens of billions of dollars to expand Jewish-only colonies, effectively enabling the criminal state to kill the prospect of any genuine peace settlement of the conflict.

 

So, what would your conditional recognition of Hamas do in real terms? Moreover, why do you think Hamas should repeat the same stupid blunders of the PLO?

 

Luckily, Hamas will not recognize the evil Zio-Nazi entity under any circumstances. Evil and its ramifications and implications must never be granted legitimacy, especially by its victims.

 

A state that commits genocide and exterminates thousands of innocent children and women and old men, by raining on their homes missiles and bombs from high altitudes, using the state-of-the-art of the American technology of death, cannot be a legitimate state. It is rather a criminal state that ought to be destroyed and eradicated.

 

More to the point, is not a state that uses White Phosphorous bombs against school children, worshippers praying to their God in peaceable mosques, and civilians seeking shelter in UN-run schools is a murderous genocidal state not unlike the Third Reich?

 

After all, there is not really a qualitative difference between exterminating people by way of gas chambers as the Nazis did several decades ago and incinerating them by White Phosphorous bombs and F-16 fighters as the great grandchildren of the holocaust survivors have just done in Gaza.

 

In short, Israel is a murderous criminal state which has no legitimacy. This is not a matter of a few rotten people at the helm of Israeli politics. The entire Zionist infrastructure is intrinsically and hopelessly evil.

 

Hence, no Palestinian with a modicum of national dignity and self-respect should lend legitimacy to this satanic entity.

 

One more message to Obama. It has been reported that one of the foreign policy priorities of your administration is to mend relations with the Muslim world.

 

Well, this is certainly a good idea. After all, one of the main causes of Muslim hostility to the US is America’s scandalous and enduring embrace of tyrannical Arab regimes that treat their own peoples as animals or sub-humans.

 

So, Mr. Obama, if you would like to see America respected, not just feared, by Muslims, you hasten to withdraw your country’s support from these rotten and self-worshipping tyrants who torment and savage their own masses on America’s behalf.

 

You certainly did the right thing by terminating some of the ugly practices initiated by Bush, e.g. the renditions and the ghoulish torture techniques such as “waterboarding,” that some of our Arab governments have been involved in obviously in collusion with the Bush administration.

 

Nonetheless, you still have a long way to go. These governments, which the US routinely calls “our allies,” are really tyrannical police states whose political and moral modus operandi represents the exact antithesis of every sublime value and ideal America holds dear.

 

So, please, Mr. Obama, withdraw your support from governments and regimes that don’t allow free and fair elections as well as freedom of expression; don’t court governments that arrest, persecute, torture, and kill political opponents and non-conformist journalists.  Don’t sanction police state practices in the Muslim world under the rubric of such outworn concepts as “the war on terror” or “fighting fundamentalism” or even “preserving America’s interests.”

 

Mr. President, the most effective means of safeguarding America’s interests in the Muslim world is attained by adopting a foreign policy based on justice, morality and respect for our people’s right to freedom and sovereignty.

 

Yes, embracing tyrannical police states in the Muslim world might look expedient in the short term. But in the long term, America will only reap the hostility of hundreds of millions of people in the Muslim world.

 

Finally, I would like to point out that Muslims don’t really hate America. I myself received my college and graduate education in the US, and I harbor no hatred or hostility to the American people.

 

Muslims only hate the often pornographic oppression meted to us as a result of America’s unjust policies.

 

And, as always, Palestine remains the most scandalous example.