Archive for the ‘Khalid Amayreh’ Category

We don’t know for sure as of yet who murdered international Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. However, whoever committed this despicable crime must be a human beast walking on two legs.
 
Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted on Thursday, 14 April, in Central Gaza. Members of a notoriously fanatical group posted a video online saying they would kill him unless the Gaza government released detained Salafists from prison.
 
Within a few hours of the warning, Arrigoni’s body was found in an empty house.
 
Arrigoni’s death has infuriated Palestinians everywhere. Ismael Haniya, the elected Prime Minister of Hamas called Arrigoni’s murder a “nefarious crime that goes against our religion, norms and traditions.” A spokesman for the Gaza government described the perpetrators as “thugs and murderers of the lowest kind.”
 
One Islamist writer, Ibrahim Hamami, called the murderers, “the lowest of the low.”
 
The accused group, the Tawhid and Jihad, has denied posting the video or any involvement in the killing of Arrigoni. They hinted that the Israeli intelligence may have been the real killers of the Italian activist.
 
And while Israel can never be ruled out as an accused party, it is widely believed that the so-called Salafi group (Salafi means a true follower of the Prophet) remains the premier suspect. They are guilty until proven innocent, given the prima facie evidence that would indict them.
 
It is true that the Salafis are not carbon copies of each other. However, the militant Salafis have been accused of abductions, killings, attacking internet cafes, and calling for the expulsion of Christians from the Gaza Strip.
 
A group of Salafis last year carried out an armed rebellion against the Hamas-led government during which several people lost their lives. In one episode, an intermediary who was carrying a message to their leaders was brutally murdered by those who called themselves Muslims. Islam is absolutely against killing messengers even in war time.
 
One would hope to give these stupid fanatics the benefit of the doubt. However, their diabolic crimes in many parts of the Muslim world leave us no doubt as to their true nature.
 
They claim they are out to fight the armies of the disbelievers who have invaded some Muslim countries.  However, the falsehood and mendacity of their claims are made clear by the fact that for every western soldier they killed, they murdered at least a hundred Muslim men, women, and children.
 
And when they are confronted with these crimes, they often seek vague, erroneous, spurious and invalid edicts to justify and rationalize what is obviously evil.
 
Islam is not a vague religion, especially when it comes to human life. However, these ignorant fanatics seem to have been blinded by their misplaced zeal and ignorance.
 
They thrive and prosper and become quite gleeful upon killing innocent people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. And they think that by so doing they endear themselves to the Almighty when the opposite is true.
 
Have the killers asked themselves what in the world would justify killing Arrigoni, a man who came all the way from Italy to identify with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice? What wrong did he do? What crime did he commit? Didn’t they realize that Arrigoni may have done so much for Gaza which has now been besmirched by their cowardly crime?
 
Arrigoni didn’t come to Gaza as an aggressor or invader. He came to show solidarity with its wronged people and highlight the immense oppression meted out to be people by the Nazis of our time, the Zionist Israelis.
 
Hence, the claim that he came to the Land of Islam to spread corruption and disbelief should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves.
 
Again, there is no doubt that these ignoramuses are victims of their ignorance. They don’t represent the true followers of the Prophet (PBUH) who was quoted as saying according to authentic hadith that “whoever oppresses a Mua’hed (a non-Muslim resident or traveler in the land of Islam), or arrogated his rights, or takes something away from him against his will, or forces him to do that which is beyond his ability, I shall be his opponent on the Day of Judgment.”
 
In another hadith, the Prophet said “whoever killed a non-Muslim living in the land of Islam shall not smell the fragrance of paradise; verily its fragrance is smelled from a distance of a 40-year travel.”

The Beit Ayn settlement outpost near Hebron

WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh in al-Khalil

8 April, 2009

 

Religious Jewish terrorists on Thursday attacked a small Arab village north of al Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.

Eyewitnesses said as many as a hundred settler terrorists descended on the small village of Safa, 10 kilometers north west of al-Khalil, with the purpose of carrying out a pogrom against local inhabitants.

 

The terrorists were escorted by several Israeli army soldiers who reportedly made no effort to stop the terrorists who were shouting “death to the Arabs.”

 

The Palestinians, fearing for their lives, hurled stones at the rampaging  settlers to prevent them from setting fire to Palestinian property, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire at the Palestinians.

 

At least 28 people were reportedly wounded with live ammunition, including a boy who was shot in the chest.

 

Medical sources said Thaer Nasser Adi, 17, was in serious but stable condition at the Ahli hospital in al–Khalil.

 

The mayor of the nearby town of Beit Ummar, Nasri Sabarna, described the settler rampage as “an unprovoked criminal act against innocent and peaceable people.”

 

Sabarna said the settlers wanted to terrorize the Palestinian villagers in order to take over their land and property.

 

He accused the right-wing Israeli government of giving Jewish terrorists a green light to attack Palestinians and vandalize their property.

 

“The present government is a government of settlers, by the settlers, for the settlers. I believe there is a full coordination between the settlers and the army.”

 

Muhammed, a local villager, called the settlers “savages and Nazis.”

 

“These people go to their religious Talmudic schools in the morning, and in the afternoon they come here to attack us, terrorize our women and children  and sabotage our property. What kind of religion are they following?”

 

Muhammed called on the international community to provide protection against “these barbarians who want to kill us and expel us from our land.”

 

He lashed out at the Israeli army for its “connivance and collusion” with the settlers, saying that the army and the settlers were “two sides of the same coin.”

 

Al-Khalil Governor Hussein al Araj, who arrived at the village soon after the disturbances, accused the Israeli army of failing to protect Palestinians from the settlers.

 

“I believe the settlers wouldn’t dare attack the village without at least a tacit approval from the Israeli army.”

 

Al-Araj held the Israeli army fully responsible for this “pogrom,” saying that Palestinians in the occupied territories needed international protection.

 

He added that settler attacks and terror would continue as long as “these criminal squatters remain here.”

 

The small settlement outpost, known as Beit Ayn, is home to extremist settlers who are indoctrinated in Jewish supremacy.

 

A few years ago, some of the settlers from Beit Ayn were caught implanting a large explosive charge at a Palestinian school near Jerusalem.

 

The explosion would have killed and injured dozens of Palestinian children.

 

Last week, a settler was killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the murder  of Palestinians by settler terrorists.

 

Normally, the Israeli justice system deals extremely lightly with settlers who murder Palestinians.

 

During the al-Qsa intifada,  the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists killed thousands of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom innocent civilians, to suppress Palestinian aspirations for freedom from decades of the Nazi-like Israeli military occupation.

 

According to an Israeli human rights organization, only a handful of cases of murder were investigated.

Zionist massacres then and now. I have been under fire of late from two diametrically opposite quarters. First, the fanatical, self-worshipping Zionists who think that non-Jewish suffering should never ever be compared with Jewish suffering.

 

Needless to say, this psychotic attitude stems from deep-seated convictions that a Jew is a special creature whose life is worth more than the rest of humanity. Haven’t we noticed, for example, how Israel has made “Gilad Shalit”, the Israeli soldier imprisoned by Hamas, a household name all over the world, while next to nothing is mentioned about the estimated 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps?

 

And, second, some pro-Palestinian activists who believe that I should avoid invoking the holocaust in my writings lest this help legitimize the Zionist narrative and inadvertently justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

 

To our pro-Palestinian activists, I, with all due respect, would like to say the following. I sincerely believe that we would be walking in the path of immorality if we denied or belittled other people’s suffering.  Indeed, it is imperative that we retain our humanity and moral fabric in the course of this legitimate struggle against the evil state. We must never imitate or emulate their ways and tactics. This would be self-defeating, self-destructive and immensely demoralizing. 

 

Moreover, we must refrain from saying or doing things that would make others portray us as inherent enemies of Jews, because we are not.

 

We also need to be constantly vigilant and cautious about what we say and how we say it, lest we inadvertently besmirch the legitimacy of our just cause.

 

Israel is so manifestly criminal and ugly that we don’t need to deny anyone’s suffering to prove this plain fact.

 

In short, we don’t have to shoot ourselves in the foot. It is wrong and it hurts us a lot.

 

Obviously, the Zionists’ “arguments” are motivated, as always, by ill-will and a malicious desire to silence critics of Israeli criminality whose phantasmagoric expressions we all witnessed recently in the Gaza Strip.

 

The subject of contention this time has been an article I published a few days ago, entitled “Shame on us,” in which I strongly criticized efforts by some dubious “peace activists” to bamboozle some innocent Palestinian children from some impoverished localities into playing music before “holocaust survivors.”

 

This is what happened last week when a dozen young musicians from the Jenin Refugee Camp, in the northern West Bank,  were taken surreptitiously to Tel Aviv where they were made to play a serenade before some elderly Zionists, some of whom veterans from the many criminal wars Israel had waged on our people. And as I said in the article, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was not carried out by UFOs but by the very people our children are now being asked to cheer up.

 

Understandably, the not-so-innocent event left many Palestinians infuriated by the cheap exploitation of these kids for Israeli hasbara purposes. As one who lost three uncles in one day to Zionist murderers in 1954, I felt deeply wounded and humiliated by that event.

 

I am actually not against reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. I don’t and never will view Jews as our inherent enemies. Some Jews are actually among the most effective supporters of our national cause. Those we salute for their honesty and morality.

 

However, it is obvious that true reconciliation in this part of the world requires that the slate be made thoroughly clean. Usurped rights must be returned to rightful owners, and wrongs must be rectified. This I say to honest and conscientious Jews who are genuinely interested in justice and peace.

 

But to the Zionists I would like to say that the following: the latest point of contention is not about music or even peace. This is first and foremost about human dignity of which the children of the holocaust and their children and grand children and great grandchildren have been trying to rob us.

 

And whether you like it or not, for us, at least, you represent the real Wehrmacht, the real SS and real Gestapo. You are the Nazis of our time. This is what we see from our vantage point. This is what much of the world sees. This is what many honest and conscientious Jews see.

 

You stole our country, you murdered our people, you destroyed our homes, and you expelled and dispersed the bulk of our people to the four corners of the world. And after all of this, you have audacity to dupe our children to sing and play music to you? This is simply beyond, far beyond, Chutzpah.

 

Some of you habitually babble the word “hatred” whenever a Palestinian asserts his people’s humanity and dignity.

 

Well, you are really sick to the bone if you think Palestinians must sacrifice their dignity in order to become a hate-free people according to the Zionist lexicon. We will not pay tribute to the killers of our children, we will not show respect to those who murder us.

 

Besides, who do you think you are anyway to lecture us on hatred? After all, you represent and embody hatred in its ugliest form. The extirpation of a people from its ancestral homeland from time immemorial is a satanic act par excellence. The destruction and obliteration of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages to fulfill Jewish nationalism is diabolical act of the highest order.

 

Your recent blitzkrieg in Gaza during which your Nazi-like army ganged up on a helpless, unprotected civilian population, exterminating them with bombs and missiles and incinerating their children with White Phosphorus proved once again that you are no better than the hateful Nazis you curse day and night for what they did to you sixty years ago.

 

Well, try to get yourselves out of this cocoon of self-denial. The Palestinian people don’t hate music nor do they teach their kids to hate Jews or non-Jews, it is your evil and murderous actions that generate hatred against you not only among Palestinians and Muslims but among many other people around the world.

 

Just look at your ugly faces in the mirror.

There is no doubt that the new Israeli government, led by Benyamin Netanyahu, honestly reflects the collective mindset of the Israeli Jewish Zionist society.  True, there are Israelis who are averse to racism and fascism, but these are unfortunately very few in numbers and their influence is almost negligible.

 

Indeed, a fleeting glance at the composition of the new Israeli cabinet reveals an extremist coalition of war criminals, pathological liars, racist thugs (both of the Hitlerian and Stalinist styles), and hateful religious maniacs who inhale and exhale hatred 24 hours per day.

 

For those who don’t know him, Benyamin Netanyahu is a pathological liar par excellence.  His modus operandi is based on dishonesty, mendacity, prevarication, and deception.

 

Despite his public relations babbling about “peace with our neighbors,” the man is firmly anti-peace, against the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and against equal rights for Jews and non-Jews.

 

He is actually an enthusiastic advocate for Judaizing East Jerusalem by checking Arab demographic growth, demolishing Arab homes and denying Jerusalemites their natural rights to build homes to meet natural growth.

 

This brazenly racist policy is known as “narrowing Arab horizons” and its ultimate goal is to force the Arab inhabitants of Al-Qods, or as many of them as possible, to leave the city and emigrate for good.

 

Netanyahu’s venomous racism is not confined to the Palestinians of the “occupied territories” or the “Shtachem” as the West Bank and Gaza Strip are often referred to in Hebrew.

 

He was quoted on several occasions as demanding that “measures” be taken to prevent Israel’s Palestinian citizens from reaching the 30% threshold.

 

Furthermore, Netanyahu who often invokes the concepts of civility, democracy and western culture, especially when addressing naïve western audiences, actually believes that Israel should embark on a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians if and when the international community, particularly the US, would tolerate such a scenario.

 

In 1989 Netanyahu told students at Bar-Ilan University that “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

 

Well, for those who take the word “transfer” lightly, they should know that “transfer” is only a euphemism for genocide.

 

If such is the character of the premier, one can have a clear idea about his lieutenants and ministers from Avigdor Lieberman, to the gurus of Gush Emunim (the settler movement), who are shamelessly demanding that non-Jews in Israel-Palestine be either exterminated, deported or enslaved as water carriers and wood hewers in the service of the master race!

 

And then there is the irredeemably opportunistic war criminal Ehud Barak who insists rather arrogantly that the army that exterminated hundreds of Gaza children with White Phosphorus just two months ago is the most moral army in the world.

 

Netanyahu is not stupid. He realizes that his ideological convictions are too ugly and too fascist to be accepted by the international community, including the US, Israel’s guardian-ally.

 

This is why he is going to mislead the world by blurring and hiding, as much as possible, his government’s fascist nature.

 

He will heavily resort to employing “diversionary tactics” such as “terror,” “Iran,” “anti-Semitism,” and “Hamas” to distract attention away from the fascist and criminal platform of his government.

 

He will shout “Auschwitz, Treblinka, Mauthauzen, Bergen Belsen” whenever Israeli crimes are exposed and criticized.

 

He will claim that Israel will not allow itself to be pushed to the brink Auschwitz whenever Israel is demanded to end its Nazi-like occupation of the Palestinian homeland and allow the Palestinian people the right to independence and self determination.

 

In short, we are talking about a man who lies as often as he breathes a dishonest politician who thinks  and smart public relations can be a more effective substitution for an honest peace process based on human rights and international law.

 

This is why, the capitals of the world must not allow themselves to be duped, deceived and cheated by this notorious, cardinal liar.

 

I am, of course, in no way suggesting that the previous Israeli government was less nefarious than the new one.  The previous government of the evil trio Olmert, Livni and Barak had all the hallmarks of a Zionist Third Reich.

 

What else can be said of a government that ordered its army to exterminate and incinerate thousands of civilians with White Phosphorus, and then shamelessly claimed that it didn’t really mean to do it?

 

However, that government was considered by many states around the world, such as the gullible Europeans, a “government of peace,” a “liberal,” even “leftist government,” which really gave a new meaning to the term “verbal fornication.”

 

For us Palestinians, and despite the legitimate and understandable anxiety stemming from the rise of fascism in Israel, it is still better to have in Israel a manifestly fascist government pursuing fascist policies than a deceptively “liberal” or  “leftist” government pursuing the same criminal policies.

 

Let the world see Israel as it really is.  

In the final analysis, an honest criminal is better than a lying saint. At least the former is predictable and consistent.

http://xpis.ps/xpisps/Uploadarticles/866articles%20Let%20the%20world%20see%20Israel%e2%80%99s%20true,%20ugly%20face.doc

What will happen next? Will Palestinian kids be duped into playing music to Israeli pilots who exterminated Gaza children with White Phosphorus?

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

29 March, 2009

 

It is really hard to write on this subject without getting angry. We all know the extent to which Israel can be evil and satanic. After all, we Palestinians have been on the receiving end of Israeli savagery for decades.  

 

In fact, being thoroughly tormented and killed by the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust has always been and continues to be “the” Palestinians’ way of life.

 

However, for some Palestinians to allow themselves to be duped to sing and play music to their oppressors and child-killers is simply beyond the pale of human dignity.

 

It is at least as insulting and humiliating as some Jews were forced or duped to play music to SS, Gestapo and Wehrmacht soldiers during the Second World War. In both cases, the act was meant to humiliate the victims and rob them of the last visages of human dignity. 

 

And now, Jews in Israel are doing the same thing to Palestinians, Nazism’s vicarious victims.

 

Last week, a few innocent kids from the Jenin refugee camp were surreptiously taken to Tel Aviv to “cheer up and take part in peace-promoting activities.”

 

However, once there the kids were unceremoniously driven to a reception where they were made to play music and sing to “holocaust survivors,” some of them are former members of the Hagana and Irgun terrorist gangs who had taken part in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and expulsion of Palestinians form their homeland.

 

God knows how much Palestinian blood did these so-called “holocaust survivors” shed in 1948 and subsequent years. Certainly, Deir Yasin, Tantura, Dawaymeh, and the numerous other massacres were not committed by UFOs. They were committed in cold blood by these very people our children are now cheering up.

 

Shame on us a thousand times!

 

Some of the kids were instructed to utter words that should never be uttered by the victims of Zionism. One of the participants reportedly dedicated a special song to Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by Palestinian fighters in Gaza nearly three years ago. No mention, not even an allusion, was made of the estimated 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps. 

 

But the kids apparently felt they had to say anything they were asked to say in order to show gratitude for the Jewish “peace contractor” who got them out of the ghetto, otherwise known as Jenin refugee camp, even for a six-our outing in Tel Aviv.

 

I am not against showing genuine sympathy with the victims of the holocaust. However, a sympathy that is manipulated to justify, rationalize or even extenuate the crime against humanity that is Israel is worse than a crime if only because it serves to promote and perpetuate oppression.

 

As human beings, we Palestinians do sympathize with all victims of Nazism, Stalinism and imperialism, the wept, the over-wept, and especially the unwept who constitute the vast majority of victims.

 

Having said that, however, I strongly believe that no honest person under the sun has the slightest right to demand that we pay the price for what the Nazis did or may have done to European Jews nearly 70 years ago.

 

We didn’t send Jews to the ovens. The Germans did. We didn’t starve Jews to death as Jews are doing to us today in the Gaza Strip.

 

We didn’t incinerate Jews in Gas chambers as Jews have recently incinerated Palestinian children with White Phosphorus.

 

Hence, of all people in this world, Palestinians must never be made to feel guilty for what the Nazis and other Europeans did to Jews. I say so because a feeling of guilt, even a modicum of guilt, on our part, would be construed or misconstrued as a  vindication of Zionism, the Nazism of our time.

 

There are additional reasons that make the latest insensitive manipulation of Palestinian suffering especially ugly and dishonorable.

 

First, nearly all the young musicians who were taken to Tel Aviv came from the Jenin Refugee camp. For those who have forgotten, this is the very same refugee camp that Israeli tanks pulverized in 2002. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed homes right on top of innocent civilians, including the physically handicapped, while dozens of innocent civilians were systematically massacred, very much like Jews were at Ghetto Warsaw. The massacre at the camp was so hideous that Israel refused to allow UN officials to access the camp to inspect what happened.

 

Well, again the Nazi analogy is inescapable. Just imagine surviving Jewish children from Treblinka or Bergen Belsen made to sing to SS soldiers!!

 

Second, the disgraceful concert in Tel Aviv comes on the heel of Israel’s genocidal assault in Gaza where Israeli warplanes showered the children, women and men of coastal enclave with White Phosphorus and other missiles and bombs of death while Israeli Jews were gleefully celebrating the “victory on Hamas” and Israeli rabbis preoccupied with classifying gentiles into “children of light” and “children of darkness.”

 

In Gaza, the Zionist Jews exposed their shame to all the people of the world by acting like primitive barbarians and murderous savages.

 

Hence, the utter shamefulness of sending Palestinian children to Tel Aviv to help Israel’s hasbara efforts whitewash Israel’s pornographic barbarianism in Gaza.

 

Finally, it is obvious that the PA bears much of the blame for this disgraceful event. The PA should never allow so called “cultural exchanges” and “cultural normalization” with the murderers of our children, the very state whose leaders and military commanders view us as “scum, vermin and animals” that ought to be exterminated.

 

Unfortunately, the PA itself encourages some demoralized Palestinians to endear themselves to Israel, even in the cheapest of manners.

 

The often cordial meetings and exchanging of kisses between Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the butcher of Gaza, leave one and only impression, not only on the children of the refugee camp in Jenin, but also on TV viewers around the world.

 

Perhaps the Israel artillery and war planes were showering Gaza with candy, not White Phosphorus!!!

 

This is probably the main message the organizers of the Jenin-Tel Aviv tour wanted to communicate to these miserable kids who are obviously having a hard time recognizing their fathers’ killers.

In its increasingly rabid efforts to consolidate control of traditionally Arab-East Jerusalem, Israel this week moved to suppress Palestinian cultural activities associated with the city being declared the capital of Arab culture for 2009.

On 19 March heavily armed paramilitary police violently dispersed a meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, confiscating posters, leaflets, placards and computers.

Israeli police also raided schools, social clubs and community centres to foil activities celebrating Arab culture in the occupied city which Israel considers its “united and undivided capital”.

Several organisers, including East Jerusalem lawmaker Hatem Abdel-Qader, were arrested on charges of disturbing peace.

Israeli security forces cordoned off East Jerusalem by deploying soldiers at all entrances to the city. They turned back visitors, including several delegations from Arabian Gulf states, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Frustrated by the draconian Israeli measures the Palestinian Authority, the main organiser of the festivities, decided to transfer the main event to Bethlehem, a few kilometres south of Jerusalem. Hundreds of PA officials, foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and diplomats arrived on 21 March to listen to a speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas reasserted his commitment to establishing a viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, on all Palestinian land Israel occupied in 1967.

“We will continue to reject the Israeli policy of Judaising Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem]. And we will not hold peace talks with any Israeli government that rejects the two-state solution,” said Abbas, alluding to Israeli designate-Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

The Palestinian leader, who recited a few verses of the Quran pertaining to the status of Jerusalem in Islam, pointed out that Jerusalem was the key to peace in the region and the world, saying that peace will not prevail unless and until the Israeli occupation ends completely.

Addressing the Arab-Muslim world, Abbas said: “I urge our Arab and Muslim brothers to come to the rescue of Jerusalem, protect Jerusalem from the act of rape to which the city is being subjected… Jerusalem is being Judaised by force, its Arab identity is being obliterated, its history is being falsified, its people are being oppressed and tormented. Its homes are being demolished. Jerusalem is the beginning and the end, it is the ultimate address of peace. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”

Addressing Israel, Abbas said: “Peace can’t be made through the building and expansion of settlements, brute force and military insolence. What happened in Gaza recently reflects the Israeli mindset, and with such a mindset, it is clear there can be no peace.”

Abbas’s desperate but defiant words epitomised the situation across the occupied Palestinian territories but especially in Jerusalem, where Israel is planning to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes.

The planned destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood in the heart of the city has been described by PA officials as “demographic decapitation”.

“They are indulging in ethnic cleansing in broad daylight. They are chasing Palestinians out of their homes. They are trying to decapitate Arab existence in East Jerusalem, step by step, home by home, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, while they continue to lie about their desire for peace,” said Rafiq Al-Husseini, a senior aide to Abbas.

Asked by Al-Ahram Weekly what the PA was going to do to prevent Israel from carrying out the wholesale destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood [the goal is to build a park and recreational facilities for Jewish settlers in the surrounding areas], Al-Husseini said the PA would try to mobilise the international community to stop Israeli crimes.

During her recent visit to the occupied territories US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the planned demolitions as “unhelpful” and “incompatible with Israeli commitments under the roadmap”.

Israeli officials were unimpressed by Clinton’s warnings. Jerusalem’s Jewish mayor, Nir Barkat, described her words as “a lot of air”, claiming she had been misled by the Palestinians.

Barkat, an extreme right-winger, vowed to destroy Arab homes en masse, saying that “what we do in our capital is none of America’s business”.

Israeli efforts to obliterate the Arab-Islamic-Christian identity of Jerusalem began immediately after 1967. Four days after seizing the city Israeli army bulldozers razed the Maghariba and Sharaf neighbourhoods. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighbourhoods were expelled at gunpoint. Two mosques, two religious schools or Zawiyas and 135 houses were destroyed.

Several months later Israel seized the Harat Al-Maghariba for “public use” and built a large plaza in front of the Buraq — the Wailing or Western — Wall. The heart of Al-Maghariba and the adjacent, smaller Harat Al-Sharaf were both Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) properties dating back to the time of Salaheddin Al-Ayoubi (Saladin).

According to Palestinian sources Israel has demolished as many as 700 homes in the old town alone, forcing many inhabitants to seek shelter outside the boundaries of the city, e.g. in the West Bank.

Since 1967 Israel has confiscated 34 per cent of East Jerusalem for “public benefit” and designated 44 per cent of the occupied Arab town as “green space”. Nine per cent of the city was confiscated for the purpose of building settlements, leaving only 13 per cent of the original, built up Arab area, for the Palestinians.

In addition Israel has adopted a number of aggressive measures aimed at forcing the town’s Arab inhabitants to leave. These include imposing excessive taxes on real estate, including homes, withholding vital municipal services from Jerusalem’s Arabs in order to force them to relocate and denying residency rights to as many as 20,000 Arabs living in the city.

The Israeli authorities have continued to deny Arabs building licences, exacerbating a housing crisis in the Old Town and surrounding Arab neighbourhoods.

The systematic destruction by Israeli municipal authority of “illegally-built” homes pushed thousands of Jerusalemites to the brink of despair.

Adnan Al-Husseini, the nominal Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, described Israeli measures in Jerusalem as a “full fledged demographic war”.

“The Israeli goal is very clear. It is to force as many Palestinians as possible to leave the city and sell their property to Jewish interests.”

Al-Husseini said Israel was following a variety of tactics to achieve its strategy, including psychological and economic pressure, heavy taxation, physical coercion and harassment and financial incentives to force Arabs to sell their properties. Jerusalemite Arabs were clinging to their city, he said, despite Israeli efforts to curtail Arab demographic growth.

The Palestinian population of Jerusalem has grown extensively since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. Today, the total population of Jerusalem (East and West) is estimated at 720,000, including 475,000 Jews (66 per cent) and 245,000 Arabs (34 per cent).

As many as 260,000 of the Jewish population of the city (54.7 per cent) are living in 34 colonies established in and around East Jerusalem since 1967.

Maali Adomim, Pisgat Zeev, Har Homa and Gush Itzion are among the largest of these settlements.

Israeli demographic experts predict the Palestinian population will make up 40 per cent of the town’s total population by the 2020. It is to forestall this possibility that Israel has been making frantic efforts to confiscate more Arab land in order to build Jewish settler units.

According Israeli sources tenders for building more than 25,000 settler units have been issued since the Annapolis conference in 2007.

Earlier this month the Israeli group Peace Now revealed that the Israeli government was planning to build more than 73,000 units in the occupied West Bank, most of them in existing settlements surrounding East Jerusalem.

The group, which monitors settlement expansion in the West Bank, said the new plans would lead to the doubling of the Israeli settler population and scuttle any prospects for the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state.

Among the most dangerous and explosive aspects of Israel’s efforts to Judaise East Jerusalem is the ongoing excavation and digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.

According to Waqf officials, digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque is seriously undermining the foundations of Islamic shrine and the nearby Dome of the Rock.

Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, warned that it was only a matter of time before a “major disaster” occurred as a result of Israeli diggings in the vicinity of the Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) esplanade. He accused the Israeli authorities of constructing subterranean tunnels beneath Islamic holy places without any consideration for the safety of Islamic shrines. “I can say without the slightest exaggeration that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing the danger of collapse as a result of these excavations.”

Islamic Palestinian leader Raed Salah was even more dramatic in voicing his concerns. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing urgent danger. A medium earthquake could cause the collapse of the mosque.”

Salah was arrested by Israeli police on Monday, 23 March, charged with “disturbing the peace” and “inciting against Israel”.

In recent years the Israeli security authorities have allowed extremist Jews to enter the Haram esplanade and perform Jewish prayers and other rituals.

In 1967 the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque “once and for all”.

The story was told by Narkis shortly before his death in 1997 and quoted by Avi Shlaim, an Israeli historian, in The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

“There was an atmosphere of spiritual elation. Paratroopers were milling around in a daze. Narkis was standing for a moment on his own, deep in thought, when Goren went up to him and said ‘Uzi, this is the time to put a hundred kilograms of explosives in the Mosque of Omar and that’s it, we’ll get rid of it once and for all.’ Narkis said ‘Rabbi, stop it.” Goren then said to him, ‘Uzi, you’ll enter the history books by virtue of this deed.’ Narkis replied, ‘I have already recorded my name in the pages of the history of Jerusalem.’ Goren walked away without saying another word.”

Two weeks later the Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Moroccan Gate).

Numerous efforts by Jewish extremists to destroy the Islamic shrine have been reported over the years.

WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh

 

One of the most scandalous aspects of US foreign policy towards the Middle East is the shocking dishonesty inherent in the American approach regarding the Palestinian plight.

 

The US often watches Israel indulge in pornographic criminal acts against Palestinian civilians, acts that contradict the most fundamental American ideals and norms.

 

However, instead of condemning these evil crimes, successive American administrations have either kept silent or given Israeli the benefit of the doubt.

 

Take for example the recent Israeli blitz in Gaza. Everyone under the sun knows by now that Israeli forces committed outrageous massacres of innocent civilians in Gaza.

 

And every honest person knows that these crimes were carried out knowingly and deliberately, often using American-supplied weapons, such as F-16 fighter planes, White Phosphorus bombs, dart shells and anti-personnel chemical agents that eat through the body, causing indescribable suffering, leading to death.

 

So, could it be possible that the US, with all its intelligence capabilities, doesn’t really know that Israel committed these massacres against innocent civilians whose only “crime” was their enduring determination to be free from Judeo-Nazi persecution and oppression?

 

This week, the United Nations human rights investigator Richard Falk pointed out that the Israeli blitz against the Gaza Strip in December and January constituted a clear-cut war crime of the “greatest magnitude.”

 

Falk said Israel clearly violated the Geneva Conventions which require warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

 

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attack is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law.”

 

Falk, a Jew, argued convincingly that on the basis of the preliminary evidence available there is reason to reach this conclusion: that Israel carried out deliberate massacres against innocent civilians.

 

“Some of these criminal violations included the targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances and the use of internationally prohibited weapons such as White Phosphorus, in civilian areas.”

  

Falk’s remarks have been perfectly corroborated by irrefutable evidence produced and gathered by numerous human rights groups, including Israeli groups such as B’Tselem.

 

Indeed, even Israeli soldiers and officers who took part in that genocidal onslaught are now making testimonies acknowledging that the Israeli army committed indiscriminate and wanton murder of innocent civilians and that everyone was aware of this reality.

 

According to these testimonies, published by the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, “Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property.” (Ha’aretz, March 19, 2009)

 

According to Ha’aretz, the testimonies include a description by an infantry squad leader of an “incident” where an IDF sharpshooter “mistakenly” shot a Palestinian mother and her two children.

 

“There was a house with a family inside, we put them in a room. Later, we left the house and another platoon entered, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof.

 

“The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold fire and he…he did what he was supposed to do….!!

 

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to…I don’t know how to describe it….The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of the soldiers. So, as far as they are concerned, they can justify it that way.”

 

Some Israeli officials and mouthpieces of Zionist propaganda would claim that these criminal acts of premeditated murder were merely “individual aberrations.”

 

This is a big and most likely malicious lie (a malicious lie occurs when the liar knows he is lying). After all, an aberration doesn’t happen 1,500 times in 22 days.

 

In short, Israeli soldiers and pilots were given clear and unmistakable instructions to murder civilians, to destroy their homes and to thoroughly terrorize them.

 

Well, things are clear enough for all those honestly interested in knowing the truth.

 

Regrettably, however, it is amply clear that the Obama administration, along with most European governments, are not really interested in pursuing this matter, not because they don’t know the truth about Israel and its hideous crimes in Gaza, but rather because the truth is too inconvenient for them.

 

Indeed, it is highly inconceivable that western governments don’t know the truth about  the recent genocide that Israel perpetrated in Gaza. They know it, probably too well.

 

The problem with these military and political powers, but moral midgets, is that they don’t want to act on their knowledge. They don’t want to look Israel in the eye and tell her Nazi-minded leaders that they are murderous thugs and ought to be thrown behind bars or at least be shipped, like drugged wild animals, to the Hague to be prosecuted for their crimes. Indeed, had the Obama administration had a semblance of moral ethics, it would have refused to receive Gabi Ashkenazi, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, the man who supervised all the wanton killings and destruction in Gaza.

That man is a war criminal pursuant the laws of man and the laws of heaven.  His hands are stained with the blood of 400 children, many of whom were exterminated with White Phosphorous shells.

 

However, instead of arresting him, or at least denying him an entry visa, America received him with all the trappings and pleasantries befitting a venerable statesman. Shame on America for prostituting herself before the Nazis of our time.

 

Well, this is the crux of the matter that the Obama administration is reluctant to face for fear of upsetting the powerful Jewish lobby in America, which is trying apparently successful in forcing the new American leadership to be at AIPAC’s beck and call.

 

In short, if the Obama administration wants to be sincere and honest about peace in the Middle East, it should stop preoccupying itself with secondary and symptomatic matters such as Palestinian “terror” and Hamas’ “non-recognition” of Israel, and the so-called “Iranian threat.”

 

The real problem impeding peace and stability in the Middle East is simply the malignant tumor known as Israel, a bellicose, militaristic, arrogant and paranoid state that has lost all claim to decency, dignity and respect, a state whose modus operandi is based on murder, dishonesty and theft.

 

Hence, it is imperative that the Obama administration abandon, once and for all, its hopelessly impotent stance vis-à-vis Israel and its powerful agents in America.

 

This is if Obama truly wants to succeed and save his country and the world from the huge turbulence and chaos now looming over the horizon.

 

The statesman Winston Churchill once was heard to say, “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.” Surely, his experience in international relations would lead him to have had a clear understanding of who is sitting at the helm in the decision room, and who simply dances to someone else’s music.

 

Well, Mr. Obama, assume the position of leadership that everyone expects, rather than jumping to the orders of the Jewish lobby.  This is how they are accustomed to treating American presidents, from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush.

 

This is certainly what they want you to be. The way the lobby handled the recent “Freeman affair” is a stigma of shame on America’s forehead. It leaves no doubt as to that lobby’s rapacity, meanness and hell-bent determination to enslave America for Israel’s sake.

 

Don’t surrender to them. American is too important for the world to be handed over to the Satanic lobby.

“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. 

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!

UPDATE! FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARREST WRITTEN BY KHALID AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! With friends like these – WRITTEN BY SHERINE BAHAA

KHALED AMAYREH, the Al-Ahram Weekly correspondent in the West Bank was arrested Sunday evening by the Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Hebron. He was released after two days. Amayreh, 52, lives in Dura, 12 miles southwest of Hebron and has worked as the Weekly correspondent since 1997, as well as for a number of other media outlets.

 

He has a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois. For a long time, he suffered, as do all Palestinians in the occupied territories, being confined by the occupation to his home village.

 

Not long ago, he was prohibited by Israeli forces from leaving Hebron at an Israeli checkpoint, detained and released only after being threatened for his courageous articles documenting Israeli crimes in the Weekly.

 

Surprisingly though, this time, Amayreh was not arrested by the Israelis, he was detained by the PSF; the PA police apparatus. This was the fourth time that Amayreh was arrested by the PSF. But this time why was he arrested? He was not in a demonstration, nor was he smuggling weapons to his fellow Palestinians being killed by Israelis on a daily basis.

 

His crime was explaining, during an interview with the Beirut based Al-Quds satellite TV, why there are only a few demonstrations in the West Bank in support of the people of Gaza. Amayreh frankly said that the PA did not allow such demonstrations. Amayreh did not mean to undermine the PA but he said, “the PA has certain commitments towards Israel and they (PA) do not want things to get out of their hands.” Amayreh also said the Israelis do not respect the PA and view the PA as a kind of “servant” to Israeli interests.

 

For the PSF, this was defamation. Amayreh speaking to the Weekly immediately after his release, explained that he only spoke of how Palestinian officials were prevented from moving freely and how Israel added more checkpoints to try to cordon Palestinians in closed areas. In short, they did not like the tone of the interview.

 

“They interrogated me for six hours, then they locked me in a dark cell for two days, where I could not tell day from night.”

 

“I think they released me because of the media and public pressure,” Amayreh said. According to Amayreh, around 15 journalists have been arrested over the past few months and some of them are still in jail.

 

Amayreh, father of nine, was taken from his family home to the headquarters of the PSF in Hebron. His family were denied any access to him.

 

The International Society for Translators and Linguists issued a statement condemning his arrest and asking for his immediate release. “These police units do not represent anything for Palestine except murder, destruction, corruption and chaos,” the statement said. “This apparatus is a disgrace to the history of the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Amayreh has helped the Palestinian cause much more than those people have,” the statement added.

 

In the past three weeks, dozens of Hamas supporters have either been detained or summoned for investigation by the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Forces and General Intelligence Service. Coordination between the PA police forces and the Israeli occupation forces and Shin Beth has continued even as Gaza is being destroyed, in pursuit of their common goal of uprooting Hamas in the West Bank.

 

Five months ago, Amayreh was invited to attend a media conference in Germany and was granted a visa from the German representative office in Ramallah, the main stipulation being that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. In spite of this, the Israeli military authorities refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank and he was unable to travel. But be it the Israelis or the PA Security apparatus, it is evidently clear that Palestinians are continuously having their civil rights violated.

 

KHALID AMAYREH’S ACCOUNT OF HIS ORDEAL

Source: Islamonline 
http://www.islamonline.net:80/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1232976490385&pagename=Zone-English-Muslim_Affairs%2FMAELayout 

“Five Minutes” With the PA Interrogators
Muzzling Freedom of Expression in Palestine

By  Khalid Amayreh : Journalist – Occupied Palestine

When the Beirut-based Al-Quds satellite television interviewed me last week on the recent genocidal Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, it never occurred to me that the few sound bites I uttered would land me in a slimy prison cell at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Apparatus (PSA) in Hebron.

During that interview, I was asked why the American-backed regime in Ramallah was not allowing large protests in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. I answered that the PA didn’t want things to get out of control and that it didn’t wish to antagonize Israel.

Interestingly, Israel itself had allowed a massive demonstration against the war on Gaza to take place in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin where as many as 150,000 people, including some Jewish peace activists, took to the streets to protest the nauseating killings and bombings of civilian targets all over the coastal enclave.

I further pointed out that Israel didn’t really respect the PA and was effectively treating it as a subservient entity serving  Israeli interests.
I  did think, and I still, that I was stating the obvious. However, the PA security establishment had a different idea.

Proverbial Cup of Coffee 
 
I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.On Jan. 18, shortly afternoon, someone from the local PSA center invited me to drink a cup of coffee with the head of office for five minutes. Eventually, the “five minutes” were stretched into 55 hours of nightmarish experience.  

I knew they wanted to arrest me since most Palestinians have come to associate the onerous telephone call with imminent arrest by any of the security agencies.

When I arrived there, I was neither asked to meet with the local security chief nor offered the proverbial cup of coffee. Instead, I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.

My watch and shoe laces were also taken from me. They must have been awfully worried about my safety!

Half an hour later, I was taken to the PSA headquarters in Hebron, 14 kilometers away. There, I was scolded for “besmirching and distorting the PA image,” “sowing discontent,” and “indulging in incitement.”

I was subjected to four sessions of interrogation which covered a whole set of issues and subjects from the Iranian strategy in the Middle East to the receding chances for the creation of a Palestinian state.

I told my interrogators that what they were doing was against the law, since the Palestinian law stated that “the security apparatus has no right to question, interrogate or detain a journalist in connection to his or her work.”
When I uttered these words, one operative scoffed at me, saying that “we are in Palestine, not in Sweden.”

Small, Semi-dark, Rancid-smelling Room

The interrogators didn’t really abuse me neither physically nor verbally. However, I was thrown into a small, semi-dark, rancid-smelling room with two other inmates, one a political prisoner and the other a common-law prisoner. That in itself was a humiliating form of mistreatment.

Getting dumped inside a slimy cell, with an exposed water circuit, was not exactly the right way to treat a journalist who has spent a lifetime defending the just Palestinian cause in face of Israeli propaganda and lies. But, then, they were probably right in a certain sense. The West Bank is not Sweden, and the PA regime is not the government of Sweden.

On Monday evening, Jan. 20, I was asked to meet with the PSA Chief, Abu Al-Fateh, who explained to me that the overall situation facing the PA was sensitive and delicate and that journalists had to be careful and cautious about what they say and write.

I generally concurred with him. However, I did forcefully argue that suppressing freedom of expression, especially press freedom, was a very harmful idea. I further  explained that when people are made to fear the government, it means that that the government is undemocratic and had a lot of things to hid from the people.

At the end of the conversation, I was told I could go home.

My latest encounter with the PSA is not the first time I am hounded by the PA security establishment. Last year I was subjected to intensive interrogation by the PA Mukhabarat (or general intelligence), also in connection with my professional work.

In 1998, I was arrested and briefly imprisoned for reporting on the prevalence of torture in some PA interrogation centers. I was also interrogated by both the Palestinian and Israeli security apparatuses over an article I had written on the  centrality of the right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in what is now Israel.
These days, most Palestinians arrested by either Israel or the PA are rearrested by the other side after their release.

Self-censorship

Self-censorship is the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism.I knew that the main aim behind my brief but unjustified incarceration was to make me exercise “self-censorship” and refrain from calling things by their real names.

However, for journalists, “self-censorship” is not an innocuous word. It actually represents the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism. After all, a journalist ought to be responsible first and foremost to his or her conscience within the frame of the law.

Unfortunately, very few people within the Palestinian security establishment understand the language of human rights and civil liberties.

This condition is made even worse by the persistent power struggle between Hamas and Fateh, which is often used as a pretext and justification for the police-state atmosphere prevailing in the West Bank now.

Hence, one would exaggerate very little by saying that the situation of human rights and civil liberties is the West Bank is probably worse today than it ever has been since the establishment of the PA more than 15 years ago.

Rampant Violations

My latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.In truth, my latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.

Last week, PA security personnel assaulted and severely beat AP correspondent Majdee Ishtayyeh while filming an “unlicensed” demonstration in Ramallah. Ishtayya reportedly was taken to a nearby building where he was badly beaten, causing a severe hemorrhage from his nose.

The 44-year-journalist had to undergo a surgical operation to fix his battered nose at a Nablus hospital.

Some other journalists, photojournalists, and cameramen were violently assaulted and had their equipment broken or confiscated. 

Last year, as many as 20 Palestinian journalists were imprisoned for relatively lengthy periods for reporting news or views the PA regime considers detrimental to their interests or image. Many of these journalists were beaten and even tortured for refusing to abide by the “official line.”
And in nearly all cases, concocted charges were leveled against them, such as  “sowing division, incitement, and endangering national unity.”

Last year, Awad Rajoub, an Al-Jazeera.net correspondent was detained in a PSA prison cell in Hebron in what he described “harsh and humiliating conditions” for 32 days. Rajoub was forced to sleep inside a bare room, without mattresses or blankets, and had to use his own shoes as a pillow.
Rajoub was accused of interviewing critics of the PA.

Carte Blanch for Law Violation

In fact, there is a widespread impression that the security agencies are granted  a virtual carte blanch to violate the law for the sake of punishing and savaging political opponents of the PA regime, particularly people affiliated with the Islamic camp.

During my brief stint at the Hebron jail, I saw several inmates being subjected to the Shabah (hooding) technique where a prisoner is made to sit down in a small room with his hands tied to his back.

At one point, I heard an inmate crying “why are you beating me, why are you beating me.”

The PA government in Ramallah claims that it is doing its utmost to uphold the rule of law. This is its usual response to criticisms voiced by local and international human rights organizations.

However, it is obvious that the status of human rights and civil liberties under the PA   continues to deteriorate, especially with the virtual paralysis of the Palestinian justice system and especially in light of the conspicuous hegemony the security agencies exercises over civil society. This is why Palestinians do hope that the PA government, which many people view as both illegal and illegitimate, will issue clear and unmistakable orders to the security agencies to stop arresting and mistreating journalists and to respect the basic human and civil rights of Palestinian citizens.

Such a step is crucial for the creation of a healthy society based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity. It is also a sine-qua-non for the success of the Palestinian  national struggle for justice and freedom from the shackles of the colonialist Israeli occupation.

Khalid Amayreh is a journalist living in Palestine. He obtained his MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois in 1983. Since the 1990s, Mr. Amayreh has been working and writing for several news outlets among which is Aljazeera.net, Al-Ahram Weekly, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), and Middle East International.

 

 

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.