Posts Tagged ‘gaza’

Azmi Bishara analyses the direction of Washington’s diplomatic offensive across the region

We had thought that the train of events from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to its invasion of Gaza, the impression these events created in people’s minds and the growing disillusionment with forces favouring the current settlement process offered sufficient inspiration and impetus to revise official Arab approaches to that process. However, one remains compelled to wonder just how prepared the forces opposed to this approach are to seize the historic opportunity to put an end to that process, rather than to succumb to the current drive to contain them. After all, the US and its allies in the East and West are haunted by this very spectre — the fear of losing the settlement legacy — for which reason they have been waging a sustained diplomatic assault on the region since the Sharm El-Sheikh conference on the reconstruction of Gaza.

The previous US administration had come to the conclusion that the Palestinian leadership, alone, was incapable of reaching a permanent deal with Israel on Israeli conditions, or of keeping the internal Palestinian situation under control. It therefore encouraged its Arab allies to play a more active and determined role in supporting the current negotiating process, strengthening the PA security agencies and countering the resistance in Palestine and elsewhere. Although the allies did as asked, in Annapolis and later, Washington did not take their interests into account. Instead it drove them into a state of permanent self-defence in the face of their own public opinion. Take, for example, their stance during the war on Lebanon in 2006, their incomprehensible boycott of the Damascus summit in March 2008, their complicity in the siege on Gaza, and their position during the summit on Gaza in Doha. To every season its men and its governments: in these regimes there emerged politicians, intellectuals and media figures of the sort that are ready to take part in the “struggle” to resist the resistance, alongside Israel and the US. Of course, the structure and culture of these regimes and their adherents is totally at odds with the concept of resistance and its corollaries of self-sacrifice and risk. They are not constructed to struggle, whether for themselves or for the US and Israel. This is borne out by the failure of the coup against the national unity government and the elected legislative majority in Gaza and in Beirut in March 2008. It is this difference that distinguishes them, for example, from rightwing Lebanese forces of the past. These were fascist forces engaged in a “struggle” against the Palestinian resistance, sectarian militias prepared not only to fight and commit massacres, like the current anti-resistance forces, but also to die for the sake of a sectarian cause, as did fascist forces in Italy, and in Spain during the Spanish civil war in the 1930s. Such dedication is no more. It has been replaced by a type of commitment that has no compunction when it comes to committing crimes but speaks the language of rent and deference to money and material gain. In the latest phase of dialogue and containment on which the Obama administration has embarked these forces, too, find themselves in crisis.

***

The new US administration has stated repeatedly that it views the region from a perspective of Israeli security when it comes to Iran and uranium enrichment, as well as to resistance against Israeli occupation. It believes that Israel’s right to security is not connected with ending the occupation, that it has the right to be an occupying power and at the same time be safe and that it is the Arabs’ duty to sit quietly in their camps, under the conditions of the occupation and the economic boycott, watch the news bulletins on negotiations and rejoice at the Mitchell appointment.

The new administration has also decided that the PA proved itself by keeping the security situation in the West Bank under control during the Gaza crisis. Israel thinks likewise, regarding this as its first real harvest from the Oslo process, a vindication of its earlier claims that Arafat was never serious about security coordination. The nature of the Palestinian leadership has, indeed, changed since the assassination of Arafat. The nature and creed of the PA and the level of coordination of its agencies has changed since Israel stopped being the enemy and became a true partner. In US and Israeli eyes, this type of PA merits support. However, such support stops way short of meeting the demands of the Palestinian people and remains confined to financial and security support, which is what is meant by the term “capacity building”.

The new administration in Washington maintains that support for the PA leadership goes hand in hand with weakening the resistance axis. This has conditions:

– Taking the interests of subordinate Arab states into account.

– Holding talks with Iran to convince it to halt uranium refinement activities while seriously hinting at sanctions before resorting to the military option. This requires building an Arab-Israeli front against Iran which, in turn, requires talking with those Arab countries that “fall under Iranian influence” and, perhaps, taking these countries’ interests into account to a level worked out beforehand.

– In order to identify the interests of these countries within the framework of a cooperative arrangement against Iran for the sake of Israel and to resolve the Palestinian problem comprehensively a new regional roadmap must be drawn up.

– This regional roadmap would support and fortify the already existing Palestinian “roadmap” but it would be much broader and comprehensive, taking into account the interests of countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria in exchange, obviously, for abandoning Iran, and the resistance movements in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq (with special consideration paid to the existing reality in Lebanon).

The region can thus expect a new “roadmap” for years to come, whether or not it appears in text form or under this title. This is where Washington’s actions are meant to lead us, not to a settlement, permanent or otherwise, or to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights. This is what will keep us occupied for a long time unless something momentous intervenes, such as a resurgence of the resistance or another war.

***

In order to flesh out the hypothesis outlined above I will turn to a critical discussion of the lecture delivered by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry at the Saban Centre of the Brookings Institute on 4 March 2009. Senator Kerry is a former presidential candidate and a leading Democratic Party figure who came out early in favour of Barack Obama. His lecture followed a recent visit to the region, covering Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. By way of introduction, I will say that the new administration in Washington has taken on board the conclusions of the Baker-Hamilton committee, supported by the Defense Secretary Bill Gates, which is precisely why the Obama administration kept him on in this capacity. The US establishment has absorbed everything that needed to be deduced from the failure of the war policy that the Bush-Cheney administration pursued throughout Bush’s two terms, which is why that establishment backed Obama. Let us turn now to Kerry’s conclusions following his visit to the region.

In his opening remarks Kerry welcomed the election of Obama as an extraordinary chance to signal a new approach to the region because of his pragmatism and “willingness to listen and lead”. He pauses to recount the “emotional” impact of the visit, which effects are presented with carefully calculated selectivity. He felt compassion for the suffering of the settlement village of Sderot over the past eight years and also “deeply moved” by the sight of “little Palestinian girls playing in the rubble” where once an American school stood. (I must admit I have a problem with liberals who want to show how fair and even-handed they are. They make the victims look nice when they want to support some of them and a little girl playing in the ruins of a bombarded American school serves the purpose admirably. As for the occupying power, it is taken for granted in their camp that it is the real victim for perpetuity.). He then proceeds to enumerate four causes for hope, in spite of the election of Netanyahu and all the wars. As we shall see, he does not hope for a solution but he is very optimistic about reaching a new “roadmap”.

The first cause is a “tectonic shift in Middle East geopolitics”.

“The rise of Iran has created an unprecedented willingness among the moderate Arab nations to work with Israel. This re-alignment can help lay the groundwork for progress towards peace.”

Otherwise read, strategic cooperation between the Arabs and Israel precedes peace, which begs the question as to why Israel would need to work towards a solution with the Arabs when it is already cooperating strategically with them against a common enemy.

Second, he says, “the Arab Peace Initiative has emerged as the basis on which to build a Regional Road Map that enlists moderate Arab nations to play a more active role in peacemaking”.

Third, reiterating what every mid-level Israeli Labour Party activist has said and Olmert himself stated in his farewell interview with Yediot Aharanot of 13 October 2008, Kerry holds that “the outlines of a final status agreement are in fact clearer than ever”. In his opinion, the challenge is how to get there and his answer is “to move simultaneously on capacity-building in the West Bank and final status talks”. One can fail but notice that as clear as the outlines of a final status agreement are said to be, Kerry does not venture to spell them out. This is largely because to him the road to get there is what counts. Back to the process is everything, the goal nothing. Life is one never ending negotiation.

The fourth cause was the election of Obama. His administration presents an opportunity for “charting a new path that will empower moderates on all sides who have been lacking political cover and losing political ground”. This was intended as a criticism of the Bush administration which showed no appreciation for the particular circumstances and interests of the Arab “moderates” and failed to provide them sufficient support, thereby keeping them under constant pressure and in perpetual conflict with their political environment.

Somehow the Arab position has done a 360 degree turn. There was a time when the Arab nationalist position held that to separate the Palestinian cause from its Arab hinterland was to collude with designs against the cause. The cause was, in fact, severed from its greater Arab nationalist dimension in Camp David, and even more so in Oslo; however, the Palestinian leadership was incapable of reaching a solution with Israel. Then suddenly it was realised that the cause would have to be restored to its regional dimensions, not because of pressures from Arab nationalism but because Arab nationalism no longer presented a threat, and also because the official Arab order had long since abandoned any Arab nationalist dimension to the Palestinian cause. Now that is a complete reversal. This is why Kerry can be so confident in his assertion that the Palestinian cause was a regional problem that needed to be handled in a plan that covered other regional influential issues, contrary to the customary tactic of dealing with these issues separately. The approach is possible in Kerry’s view because, “Whereas once the Arab world voted unanimously for the three no’s — no dialogue with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no peace with Israel — there are now three very different no’s which dominate many discussions in the region: no Iranian nukes, no Iranian meddling, and no Iranian hegemony”. Then he adds, quite explicitly, that because of this perceived common threat, the moderate Arab states and Israel “are now cooperating in ways that were unimaginable just a couple of years ago”.

Kerry goes on to say that the Bush administration drew many red lines that it could not enforce (he was referring to that administration’s prohibitions against talking with Iran and Syria, among others). The Obama administration would change that. It would focus on what can be done and leave side issues alone. The regional aim is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. Therefore, without foregoing the military option, we must move beyond the old red lines. According to the senator this entails talking with Iran about mutual interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and bringing Iran back into the international fold with recognition of its regional role in exchange for halting uranium refinement activities. There would also be talks with Syria, with the purpose of isolating and weakening Iran and its instruments such as Hezbollah. China and Russia would naturally be asked to help, though Kerry does not spell out how and what the US would have to pay in return. Russia has demands and interests extending from the Baltic in the north to Serbia in the south, and around the Caspian and Black Seas. China has an equally vast scope of interests. Would the US alienate and sacrifice the interests of its other allies in the world in order to please Russia and China, and all this in order to isolate and bring Iran to heel for the sake of Israel? Kerry did not bother following through on the questions his proposals beg.

***

Kerry supports dialogue with Syria and believes its goals realistic. Syria has negotiated with Israel before, in the face of Tehran’s objections, he observes. Of course Syria will try to “play both sides of the fence for as long as it can” but ultimately “I think that President Assad understands that, as a secular Arab country with a Sunni majority population, Syria’s long-term interests lie not with Iran but with its Sunni neighbours and the West”.

But if this is where Syrian interests lay what has been keeping it from this realisation for so long? Could it be that Kerry had not made it as plain to Damascus as his lesson to it on the Syrian demographic composition? Or could it be that there is a meeting between Syrian national security and the concept of Arab national security that the policies of the US, Israel and their Arab allies helped enhance? That question too is left unanswered. But this is why the US has not opposed the attempt on the part of its Arab allies to embrace Syria and avoid angering it.

However, this is not enough. There are Syrian and Arab demands and interests that the US and Israel lack the flexibility to meet. But Syria apparently will be glad just to talk. It will play the game because it has a political and economic interest in breaking the blockade against it. Of course, there might be some among Syria’s ruling elite, though not yet in the highest decision making echelons, who have more to gain from dialogue. Kerry is aware of this, which is why he stressed linking Syria to the Western economy.

“How do we begin?” Kerry asks midway through his speech. The starting point is to encourage the Arabs to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative which “bold step never received the focus it deserved when the Saudi King Abdallah proposed it in 2002”.

He sums up this initiative as essentially based on the formula of land in exchange for Arab recognition and normalisation with Israel. However, like Israel he still gives normalisation precedence over peace. For example, although there is the already existing Quartet “roadmap” for the Palestinian track, there is a need for a “regional roadmap” that will “require a sustained multilateral effort like the one that followed the first Madrid Conference in 1991”.

It is odd how everyone likes to recall that burst of activity, even though it brought the Arabs no closer to the solution of their demands. The “moderates” will also, according to Kerry’s vision, be expected to pressure Hamas into halting missile fire from Gaza and agreeing to a national unity government that conforms to the Quartet’s set conditions. In addition, Egypt has the task of stopping arms smuggling across its borders while Jordan will continue to train PA security agencies.

The only measure that Kerry offers the Arab allies in exchange for everything they are expected to do is to demonstrate “with actions rather than words, that we are serious about Israel freezing settlement activity in the West Bank”. At least, for once, there is some recognition that to all previous US administrations the position that settlement activity is an obstacle to peace was, indeed, mere words.

Perhaps the Kerry vision, as presented in his Saban Centre lecture, offers some insight into the current American diplomatic offensive in the region and some of the current Arab reconciliation movements. However, this leads us back to the question we asked at the beginning of this article. What are the supporters of a reconsideration of the entire settlement process doing at this moment? Do they have a strategy to counter the US diplomatic offensive? Until very recently conditions were favourable to them rather than to the pro-settlement process forces.

The Jewish War on Gaza and its resultant destruction of the Gaza Strip and the horrible killings of innocent women and children in cold blood and as reported in series of articles in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and in statements made by UN officials were not surprising since Jewish soldiers are educated and trained to do that, simply kill. And so the total silence of the Jewish community around the world and especially the US Jewish community should not come as a shocking surprise but was and is expected and so their dancing in the streets of New York City as their army was leveling Gaza, destroying homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, and UN supply depot and so their successful push for a an overwhelming resolutions in both House and Senate supporting Israel’s crimes in the name of “self defense”.

Ehud Barak, the Jewish Defense Chief in charge of the War on Gaza had the Chutzpah to declare the Jewish Army as “the most moral army in the world” as he went about justifying the killing and mayhem in Gaza. Of course Ehud Barak is right. The war on Gaza and the War on Lebanon, the many wars on the Arabs, and the crimes committed by his Jewish army are part of a culture, religious and value system that makes killing and murder of Arabs, a moral thing. For sure neither Ehud Barak nor the Jewish communities around the world and especially in the US seems to have heard of the word of the late Chaim Weizmann, the first Jewish president as he warned “ I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs”. Chaim Weizmann had good reasons to worry about how these Jewish settlers of Palestine and how they treat the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinians.

The Jewish State was not founded by peaceful new immigrants seeking refuge and escape from the Pogroms of Russia; it was founded by angry, racist militants committed to ethnically cleansing Palestine from its Arab inhabitants by all means, preferably by military means and cold blooded murder. That philosophy of the past continues today some 100 years later. The Jewish Occupation of 67 not only inspired the Jewish communities around the world, it was the rallying cry of Jews energized and drunk with victory giving Israel total unconditional and unquestionable support for all of its actions and the many wars initiated and engaged in by the Jewish state since 67.

The political, theological and social ideology that inspired the killings in Gaza, is the same that inspired the force expulsion of 700,000 Arabs, the total demolitions of 550 Arab villages, the killings in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Lod, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana I and Qana II, and the same that inspired the dropping of high explosive bombs over the school in Dir Albaqr in Egypt, the same that inspired the dropping of 1.5 million cluster bombs over civilian targets in Lebanon, the same that inspired the dropping of phosphorous bombs over civilian targets in Gaza and bombings of hospitals, schools, homes and mosques.  Such a theological value system also inspired the American Rabbi Baruch Goldstein to gun down dozens and injure more than a hundred Muslim worshipers as they kneeled in early Morning Prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. This theological philosophy was well explained in an essay titled “Ideology behind the Hebron Massacre” by the late Professor Israel Shahak.

For many Jews, secular or religious, believe that true redemptions comes about through murder and killings of Arabs, such were the views of the late American Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane proponent of “ extermination of the Arabs as the surest way to bring about “True Redemption of the Jews”. Rabbi Kahane calls on the Jews not fear Gentile but fear God only as “they go about expelling all Arabs from the land of Israel”. This view remains the rallying cry of the Jewish Settlers movements and the Hill Top Jews.

That religious and theological philosophy is the prevailing philosophy of the Gush Emunim, the Jewish Settlers movement benefiting from the large generosity of American Jews especially philanthropic Jews engaged in gambling, prostitution, liquors and Bingo Games and Gods knows what else? According to Ian Lustic, Gush Emunim believe that “Jews are not and cannot be normal people” due the covenant made with God in Mount Sinai.  Rabbi Shlomo Aviner one of their leader believes “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of “justice and righteousness” such laws do not apply to Jews”.  Rabbi Israel Ariel was quoted as saying “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment, and has not violated the prohibition of murder” Such religious philosophy prevails among the leaders of the Gush Emunim the likes of Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, Rabbi Ariel all of whom are of the views that” Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because the land was once Jewish all the property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews”. As such the Arab-Israeli conflict must not be seen as political conflict but a theological conflict that justifies the crimes in Gaza.

Eric H Yoffe in an article titled “Promoting Racism in Israel”  provides a very similar and frightening interpretation of the prevailing views among leading Rabbis especially the explanation of the commandment in Deuteronomy 25:17 where quoting from February 26,1980 article published in Bat Kol, the student paper of Bar-Illan University and titled “ The Mitzvah of Genocide in the Torah” written by Rabbi Israel Hess  where theological justifications for are found for  Killing of babes and sucklings, and forbid the showing of mercy”. This theological view comes from “milchment mitzvah” or war of religious obligations “Jewish Jihad”. Unlike the views held by suicide bombers that God provides them with 70 virgins for killing innocent people, the Jews believe that God Him Self comes down on the side of Jewish soldiers as they engage in cold blooded murder of non-Jews. This view was recently confirmed by Grand Rabbi Joseph Ovadia who claimed as reported in Haaretz that God interfered on the side of the Jewish soldiers during the War on Gaza and telling them where the terrorists were hiding.

In the same article Eric H. Yoffe, reports of exchange between Rabbi Shimon Wiser and one Yeshiva student who is also a member of the Jewish Army where the later (student) concludes “during wartimes I am permitted, even obligated to kill every Arab man and woman who happens across my way. I am obligated to kill them even if this leads to complications with military codes”. It seems this was the prevailing views not only of soldiers, but commanders and civilians leaders as well. It should not be so shocking for American Jews who secured congressional support for their Jewish Army to note the recent testimony of soldiers who reported in certain instances the cold blooded murder of an old Palestinian woman as she drudged alone on a lonely road, or the killings of a women and her children as she confused the orders of going left rather than right.  I am sure such acts of cold blooded murder made those who prepared and shoved the congressional resolutions down the throat of members of Congress very proud and is part of the value system prevailing among Israeli supporters.

This racist and criminal attitude goes toward the views that Palestinians Arabs do not belong and should not belong in Jerusalem, in Jewish towns and cities and certainly not in Israel. Thus the views of politicians the likes of Avigdor Lieberman who is committed to “transfer” of Arabs out of Israel/Palestine, and leading scholars such as Rabbi Elieser Waldenberg, the winner of the 1976 Israel Prize who is of the view that Palestinians, Muslims and Christians should not be allowed to live in Jerusalem and if the Jewish State to follow the covenant with God “it must expel all non Jews from  Jerusalem, in like manner, it is forbidden to us to permit non-Jews to be a majority in any cities among the cities of Israel” (Haaretz, May 9, 1967). Thus the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem has nothing to do with security as claimed, and the recent demolitions of Arab homes in Jerusalem has nothing to do with city regulations and housing codes, but has every thing to do with a theological and religious fatwa’s that forbid non-Jews to live in Jerusalem.

I always wondered why there is so much enmity between the Jewish State and the Arabs, between the world Jewish community, especially the American Jewish community and the Arabs, since the Arabs never committed the kind of crimes the Jews had to face for thousands of years, from the expulsion to Babylon, to the Inquision of Catholic Spain, to the Pogroms of Orthodox Czarist Russia to the Holocaust of Protestant Germany and the defamation of the Protocols of Zion. The Arabs and Muslims never did commit the kind of crimes that makes the Jews hate the Arabs so much. The golden age of Jews was during the periods of Muslims empires. However now I understand. It must be part of a religious, theological and cultural philosophy that must have been dormant for thousands of years and was dusted off and given a new life with the founding of Zionism and founding of a Jewish State to be a light among all nations.

With very few exceptions there is a defending silence among “Diaspora Jews”, as if a conspiracy of silence exists and in fact it does exist, especially in the US where very few Jews dare to speak out against the racist and criminal acts of Israel, against the Jewish Occupation, against the more than 500 “security” check points where Palestinians of all ages are subject to the most demeaning of human humiliations on daily basis. There is absolute silence against Israel Apartheid policies and practices, against the Jewish settlements on stolen Arab lands (including mine), against the Apartheid Wall, against the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem, against the destruction of farms and uprooting of hundreds of thousands of trees, against house demolitions, against targeted killings, against arbitrary arrests, against the use of civilians as shields for the very brave Jewish soldiers and  against the siege of Gaza and against war crimes committed by the Jewish Army in Gaza. Those brave Diaspora Jews (very few) who dare to speak out find themselves in the cold, out on the streets, dismissed from jobs and denied tenures and otherwise blackmailed by a Jewish community that prides itself to be among the first to support the Civil Rights movement, the first to stand up against the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and his “un-American inquisition”. Yes we have every right to be angry at “Diaspora Jews” and we have every right not to forgive them for turning what would and should have been a safe heaven for Jews that turned to a racist and criminal enterprise called the State of Israel. Of course no one expect Jewish leaders, commanders and soldiers to ever face war crimes, since Jews are not subject to abstract codes of justice and righteousness.

This essay was inspired by:

“The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre” by Professor Israel Shakah.       

“Promoting Racism in Israel” by Eric H. Yoffe.

“On the eve of destruction” by Ari Shavit

IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism and lax rules of engagement: Haaretz 19/03/2009.

ANALYSIS/ Can Israel dismiss its own troops’ stories from Gaza? Haaretz 19/03/2009.

IDF orders probe into allegations over Gaza war. Haaretz 19/03/2009.

Barak seeks legal okay to move civilians from homes. Haaretz 04/03/2008

Judges, scholars call on UN to probe war crimes by both sides in Gaza. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

Reserve IDF generals: Ethics probe necessary but difficult to carry out. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crimes of greatest magnitude. Haaretz 19/03/2009.

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques- IDF fashion 2009. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

Special Note: The Jewish State in addition to banning pasta, it also banned jam, biscuits, tomato paste, tea, sweets, and date bars, as security items from going into Gaza. 

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/we-will-not-forgive-the-jews-for-their-silence-for-turning-israel-into-a-racist-criminal-state/

When the women came and told her to leave what she was doing and come and sit in front of the house with them, my grandmother knew what was to come. They sat outside and didn’t talk much. My uncle had been shot in the chest by the IOF that afternoon, and was at that moment being operated. He was in a critical condition, the doctors had told the men who had brought him to the hospital. Some were sent back home to prepare the family for the news and to prepare the refugee camp to welcome the hero, in case the worst happened. Although hope dies last, it was a necessity to prepare everything for a quick funeral and a quick burial. The Israeli army had been known to take bodies of Palestinian martyrs and steal their organs without the Palestinian family’s consent. The organs would then be given to Israelis who needed them. So a Palestinian killed by the IOF, mostly for no reason at all or for defending his country, would be labelled as terrorist by Israel and the biased media, while his organs would be used to save Israeli lives. In other countries, stealing the organs of dead people is considered a crime, but as usual, it doesn’t apply to Israel.

 

My grandmother sat quiet the whole time, no tears and no words. It was her youngest son, they said. His elder brothers had one time after another been imprisoned for everything that Israel considered “terror”, that she decided at least to spare the youngest the inside of an Israeli prison. Every day she would tell him to go to school and come back directly. “don’t go here or there”. I heard my mother say one time “she thought this way she was keeping him safe from the Israelis; everyday coming back from school after classes were over, and keeping him at her side most of the time.” Till one day, the boys came and told my grandmother that her son had been arrested. ”Arrested for what?” “he was throwing stones.” He hadn’t even bothered to go to school that day.” One of my other uncles said laughingly when the story was brought up once: but we had prepared him for this. And everyone laughed. I laughed too, because I have been though this process as well. Actually, to us kids, it was just another game. One of those bizarre refugee camp games, like the “UNRWA restaurant” game, where we would play little refugee kids standing in line and waiting for our daily portion of a slice of bread and small slice of tomato with salt, and being shouted at by the “UNRWA employee”. The other game, which was to prepare us for future imprisonment by the IOF was the “confession game”. Each one of us would be “tortured” to strengthen our resistance and prevent us from confessing anything in case we are interrogated by the IOF. There was really no “torture” in this game, because there was no real beating. We would be shouted at in a funny way, and the one among us to act the “IOF soldier” would be mimicking Israeli soldiers trying to be brave, but who are in fact afraid of us, little children. We would laugh while being “tortured”, for it was mostly fun for us. Although the game would not really prepare anyone for the barbaric Israeli interrogation and torture, in some way, the game was educational. It gave us the feeling that we are stronger than the IOF and that despite all their weapons, they feared us. So, we would just play being beaten by the IOF, and the one playing the IOF soldier would ask us continuously to confess and we would refuse. He would slash us, though not harshly, on the soles, and demand we confess. We would refuse, laughingly, because for us it was a game, a game that would prove useful one day.

 

That day, no funeral took place, for my uncle had made it. He had a strong will to live. But every time I think of that moment, I think about my grandmother. The 60 year old woman, who used to divide her week according to visiting days in Israeli prisons. Before one of them was released, another would be arrested, so that they rarely gathered at a dinner table. We were all used to it, not seeing all my uncles at the same time. I rarely heard my grandmother complain, but it was clear to everyone how much she loved her family and how sad she was that they weren’t all around her. She didn’t have to tell her children to go and demonstrate. It was a natural reaction to what these children themselves saw and went through, and it was the love of the land planted in their heart by my grandmother. She would often talk about Jrash, the village from which she and her family and all the residents were ethnically cleansed by the Zionist terror organizations. They were forced to move from one place to another, until they finally reached what is now Dheisheh refugee camp. There she tried to reconstruct her original home by planting some trees in the small piece of land near the UNRWA rooms they were to live in.

 

The life of my grandmother is typical of the lives of many Palestinian mothers. She was born in a small picturesque village in Palestine, where she grew up, got married and started a family. She would take care of her home, and help the family with the fields. She would care for her small garden and the apple trees which she loved most and would make marmalade for the winter. When the Zionist terror organizations started implementing their plan of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian population, Palestinian villages were attacked one after the other, and horrific massacres took place. The residents of Jrash were finally forced to leave, but not before they fought heroically. My grandparents often talked about these days. During my last visit to Palestine a couple of months ago, I listened to my grandfather as he talked about the fight with the Zionist groups. With sharp memory, he mentioned such details, that for a few seconds I could feel myself there, with them, 60 years ago.

 

A number of times my grandmother was beaten by the IOF soldiers, some of whom were younger than her own sons and who didn’t care that she was an elderly woman. When IOF soldiers would attempt to arrest someone in the refugee camp, she would hurry with the other women and try and stop them. When Zionist settlers would attack the refugee camp, she would carry the tree stem she hides behind the couch and go protect the camp alongside the men and women. And in the early mornings of the day, when everyone is still fast asleep, after finishing the morning prayer I would hear her asking God to protect her family, her relatives, her neighbours, the refugee camp, the Palestinians and the whole world. I heard her day after day asking forgiveness for the whole world.

 

In Palestine mothers are sacred. Every one of us has several mothers: the mother that gave birth to us, the olive tree, the land and the mother of all: Palestine. And a Palestinian mother isn’t just a mother to the children she gives birth to, she is mother to all Palestinians. When a Palestinian is being arrested by the IOF, women of all ages will be surrounding the soldiers within seconds, trying to free the prisoner. And for that, sometimes they pay a heavy price, like the 60 year old Mariam Ayyad from Abu Dees. On the night of 20th of September 2008, IOF soldiers broke into her house. After arguing with her, the old woman was repeatedly hit and thrown on the ground by the soldiers until she died in front of her children and grandchildren. During curfews, it is mostly women who would move carefully from one house corner to another and from one street to the other and distribute wheat and milk. When young masked men wanted to go from one place to another, they would be assisted by these mothers, who would check that the roads were clear of IOF soldiers. And when one of their millions of children gets killed by the IOF, they all gather and mourn as one single mother, that it becomes difficult to figure out which one of these mothers is the martyr’s mother. They are the protectors, the helpers and the witnesses of Israeli brutality, for many of them not only carry the pain of losing their children, they carry the scars of more than 60 years of Zionist terror and destruction.

 

During the Nakba of 1948, Zionist terrorists massacred Palestinians indiscriminately. Even women and children, who are protected during wars under all human laws, were killed in a brutal way. Accounts of the Deir Yassin massacre mention that among the 254 Palestinians victims were 25 pregnant women who were bayoneted in the abdomen while still alive. Another 52 children were maimed in front of their mothers before having their heads cut off by the Zionist terrorists. After the village of Beit Darras had been surrounded by Zionist terror groups and further Zionist mobilization was on the way to occupy the village, the Zionist terror groups called on the Palestinian residents to leave the village safely from the south side. The villagers decided that it was safer for the women and children to leave, since it was the village the Zionists wanted. Upon leaving the village, all the women and children were massacred by the Zionist terrorists. Kafr Qasim, Qibya and many other massacres carry the same pattern of killing unarmed mothers and their children. Other mothers lost their children, and many their lives, after being forced out of their homes to wander the hills of Palestine in search of a safe spot.

 

The suffering and pain of Palestinian mothers continues till today. Palestinian mothers, including the elderly and the sick among them, are often humiliated at checkpoints in front of their children, and pregnant women are delayed, causing many to give birth at these checkpoint. Women are not only delayed at checkpoints, they are often prevented from reaching hospitals, causing miscarriages and even the death of some of women and infants. Many unnamed children are stillborn at Israeli checkpoints after unnecessary delays or after their mothers were forced to deliver on the dirt road or inside cars at the checkpoint. A report of the Palestinian Ministry of Health published in October 2006 states that since the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000 some 68 pregnant women gave birth at Israeli checkpoints, leading to 34 miscarriages and the death of four women. In 2002, in two consecutive days two pregnant women on their way to hospital were shot and injured by the IOF soldiers at a checkpoint in the Nablus area. One of the women lost her husband who was shot on the neck and the chest. Others are forced to give birth at home, despite fear of complications because they fear they will be stopped at checkpoints and won’t make it in time to the hospital. In Azzun Atma near Qalqilya pregnant women are even forced to take up residence outside the village until they deliver out of fear that they might not be able to get the necessary medical treatment. The village, encircled by the apartheid wall, is separated by a gate from the rest of the West Bank. This gate is not manned at night, making the village a prison to its residents. According to a B’Tselem report, alone during 2006 some 20 out of 30 pregnant women from Azzun Atma were forced to relocate outside of the village because of their pregnancy.

 

IOF soldiers don’t hesitate in arresting Palestinian mothers to be used as hostages to pressure wanted Palestinians to give themselves up. In its report “Behind the Bars: Palestinian Women in Israeli Prisons” published in June 2008, Addammeer, Mandela Institute and the Palestinian Counselling Centre state that “As of May 2008, over 9.080 Palestinian political prisoners remain in Israeli prisons, detention facilities and camps; of those 73 Palestinian women (including 2 girls aged 16 and 17 of a total of 327 minors, and 24 mothers with a total number of 68 children.” Many of the prisoners are held without any charges, and are subjected to torture, humiliation and intimidation. There were four cases of women giving birth inside Israeli prisons under difficult conditions. These women had their hands and feet shackled to their beds. They remain so until they enter the delivery room and are chained again after they deliver.

 

Palestinian mothers are not only to suffer the loss of their children, husbands and other family members, they themselves are also targeted by the IOF. According to Miftah 7141 Palestinians had been killed by the IOF during the period from 28th September 2000 till 28th February 2009, 1138 of whom were children and 581 were women. A recent report of the Palestine Centre for Human Rights on Israel’s war on Gaza confirms that “Over the course of the 22 day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, a total of 1,434 Palestinians were killed. Of these, 235 were combatants. The vast majority of the dead, however, were civilians and non-combatants: protected persons according to the principles of IHL. PCHR investigations confirm that, in total, 960 civilians lost their lives, including 288 children and 121 women. 239 police officers were also killed; the majority (235) in air strikes carried out on the first day of the attacks. The Ministry of Health has also confirmed that a total of 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828 women.” Every single child killed had a mother. Human rights organization talked in their reports about mothers being killed together with their children, others witnessing the killing of their children and not able to prevent it, while others died in front of their children. Some of these mothers lost not only one child, but several. Of the many war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, one horrific story tells the fate of a Palestinian mother of 10. While sitting with her children, the IOF soldiers entered her house and demanded she choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel”. After the woman screamed in horror, the IOF soldiers told her they would choose themselves and then killed five of her children in front of her.

 

Palestinian mothers have been actively participating in resisting the occupation. They are the first to organize sit-ins in front of international organizations and hold marches demanding the release of their children from Israeli prisons or protesting the brutality of the Israeli military occupation. They visit their sons in hospitals and in jails, despite the long wait and the humiliation they endure on the hands of the Israelis jailers. Also, many of these mothers are the supporters of their families. When the father or son is arrested or killed by the IOF, it is the mothers who take on the burden of providing for their families. Those among them who have a piece of land would plant it with vegetables and herbs, to be later sold to neighbours or at the local market. Others use their embroidery skills to stitch Palestinian tradition dresses “thob”, scarves, shawls and pillow covers. They hold their families together, particularly in difficult times.

 

Biased media, serving only Zionist propaganda, ignores the suffering of Palestinian  mothers under Israeli occupation and instead often portrays them as heartless women, who send these children to the streets and encourage them to throw stones so be killed and then celebrate their death. Palestinian parents encourage their children to study and get a good education and build a better future for themselves. Some parents even lock their children inside the house to prevent them from participating in demonstration or any other kind of activity against the IOF because they know the brutality of the IOF and out of fear they might be killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers. Parents work hard to spare their children the suffering they themselves endured under the Israeli occupation. But as long as the Zionists occupy Palestine, Palestinian suffering will continue, and generation after generation will seek to get themselves rid of this brutal occupation, no matter how hard the parents try to keep their children away from it. Living in Palestine, and being confronted with Zionist terror every day, one is not in need of parents or teachers to form an idea about this Zionist state and decide to demonstrate for a better future. That is why many join demonstrations or get politically active without telling their parents. In many cases it is when the children get arrested or are killed that the parents first know of their children’s involvement in resisting the occupation. Palestinian mothers who lose their children often appear composed on TV and in the news, and if asked, most of them talk about their martyred children in pride and calm and without shedding a tear. It is behind the camera that they show their sorrow and anger at the loss of their beloved ones. Palestinians know that these mothers want to send a message to Israel: despite the suffering and the pain, you won’t break us, ever. Few journalists bother to visit these mothers days after their children have been killed. Many of them visit the grave of their killed child daily, and others keep their room as it was when they still lived there. Few reporters bother asking these mothers what memoires they have kept of their children. If they did, they would be shown clothes, hair brushes, notebooks and pictures, all soaked in tears. These mothers would have freely sacrificed their lives to save their children from death on the hands of the IOF and give them a future empty of Zionist occupation.

 

Mothers are sacred in Palestine because they are the personification of Palestine: the homeland and the mother of all Palestinians. It is the love of this land that is handed over from one generation to the next. Whenever in Dheisheh, we often sat with grandmother as children, listening to her talking about Palestine, the Nakba, the Naksa and the life in a refugee camp. She would talk about her mother and her grandmother, about her brothers and sisters, about my grandfather, and about her children. She was strong and was always there for her family, even at times when she herself was very weak. She was the safe island everyone seeks and the cave that sheltered us from the storm. Even long after her death, I still often think of her and ask for her guidance. She passed down her strength, steadfastness and kindness to her children. My mother continued the tradition of connecting us to the Palestinian landscape. As children, she and my father used to sit with us and tell us stories about Palestine, the history that one would not find in book, the history of the real people who lived on this land and appreciated it. For me, the personal experiences of my grandmother and mother are priceless. I am thankful to my grandmother and my mother for introducing me to a Palestine that was unknown to me, to parts of our history that others work hard to delete, to a heritage that is mine forever. Through our mothers Palestine is celebrated every single day.

 

In his poem “My Mother”, late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish said:

I must be worth my life

At the hour of my death

Worth the tears of my mother

 

Sources:

www.pchrgaza.org/h

www.miftah.org

www.imemc.org

http://mecaforpeace.blogspot.com/2009/01/in-gaza.html

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.

On the 21st of March the Arab world celebrates Mother’s Day. On this day also the length of the day becomes equal to the length of the night. Nature is sending us a hint of optimism that everything is possible and as much as we feel despair, there is an equal chance of hope.

I thought of researching some photos from Google to celebrate women and their children. I started with the terms “Mother and child” in a research in Arabic and I found all kinds of mother and child pictures available from every country and animals as well, including chimps and monkeys, but not one of an Arab woman or a Palestinian woman with a child.

I thought of shifting to the English search in Google engine, again the Arab woman was not there at all. Is it possible that thousands of screaming mothers in Gaza next to their children’s corpses have been dropped from the memory of Google? Was this an intentional attempt not to include us as mothers from a general search? Mothers and children of remote areas I have never heard of were there in hundreds of pictures, but not one Arab woman with her child… not even one mother from Lebanon crying over her children during the attacks on South Lebanon, not one woman crying over her killed children in Iraq, not one photo of any Arab woman with a child in Darfur or Iraq.

Have we been condemned sterile? Are we denied the honour of being mothers by Google?

I would like to remind Google on Mother’s Day that Mary the Mother of Christ, who happens to be the most important icon of motherhood in history, is a Palestinian Mother. How come none of almost 2000 pictures of Palestinian Mothers and their killed children on the Net could not manage to find their way to Google’s engine?

Talking about conspiracy, I guess this one example shows how common it must be to manipulate the media. Imagine if every researcher of women and their children stumbled upon photos of thousands of Palestinian Mothers hugging their killed children – what that would that lead to? Yes, it will offer people an extra eye and a great chance to know that there are people oppressed and crying for help, this will move the hearts of people who have a clean conscious that they might spend some time to know why all Palestinian Mothers are stained with blood, and investigate why their children are laying there wounded or killed. People will start to wonder why there is no picture of children playing, drawing, flying a kite, enjoying a meal, smiling or studying. People might wonder why women’s pictures show mothers without homes, mothers cooking on open fires in the wild, mothers inside prisons, mothers who do harvest flowers in black so that another mother from the FIRST world can enjoy mother’s Day and get a beautiful bouquet of flowers gathered by another Mother in Palestine who could not afford to take a day off on Mother’s Day, because she is the sole supporter and provider of her family because men are either dead or in prisoners by Israeli authorities.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers around the world, and a special Happy Mother’s Day for my heroines, the Palestinian and Arab Mothers.

With Israel there will never be peace

by Gianni Perrelli

Exclusive: The leader of Hamas in exile speaks. He announces an imminent conflict. That is because he says Tel Aviv is not interested in listening to Palestinians. And from America, the opening with Damascus was nothing but words. Conversation with Khaled Meshaal From the Italian news magazine L’Espresso. Translated by Mary Rizzo.

 

“In the name of God, the clement, the merciful, I would like to ask the first question. Is it possible that after the war against Gaza and our heroic resistance, Israel still does not understand that the peace process cannot be done without Hamas…?”

Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas, in exile for more than 40 years, reels off this question with the attitude of a challenge. Despite the severe losses (more than 1,400 Palestinians killed) he claims victory for the withdrawal of the Israeli troops decided by Israel. But he does not demonstrate that he harbours any illusions in the short-term. With the new government guided by Benjamin Netanyahu about to take oath, he awaits only more hostilities from Israel. And neither does he hold out great expectations on the first steps taken by Barack Obama, as he announced the will to follow along the road of force, “the only language that Israel fears and which bring about results.”

This exclusive interview to L’Espresso, obtained following complicated negotiations between Beirut and the Syrian capital, is the first one that Meshaal has given to the print media in the aftermath of the war. We have met him in a highly secured place in the outskirts of Damascus, arriving in a car with smoked windows. Before the entrance, armed militants bear Kalashnikovs. Yet, these security measures are necessary following the high number (45) of leaders of the movement that have been eliminated by Israel. The leader, in a grey suit and without a tie, appears cordial and relaxed. His calm demeanour never wavers in a conversation that takes off from the assignment of the task of forming a government given to Netanyahu, the Prime Minister who in ’97 sent a squad from the Mossad to poison him. “Netanyahu was the instigator of the thwarted attempt to assassinate me, but he, like all the Israeli Prime Ministers, is especially responsible for the assassination attempts against the entire Palestinian population. There are only slight nuances, but no substantial differences between the positions of the Likud, Kadima or Labour. For 60 years there has not been a single Israeli government that has not committed crimes against us. And it is better to face off with a conservative leadership that clearly follows its stated goals rather than the hypocrisy of the Labourists who only pretend to be committed to a peace process and while under their governments the greatest parts of the settlements have been built.”

But with Netanyahu, if Hamas does not open itself to dialogue, aren’t you risking catapulting into another war?

“We are not worried about a new war. Our people will never be defeated and it will never surrender. The defiance we face reinforces us because they are afraid of death and we are not. Peace is possible only if an international voice rises up to push for the recognition of our rights. The objective remains the constitution of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, the return of the Israelis to the pre-67 borders and the right of return of our refugees. We can accept nothing less than this. Has there ever been an Israeli government that has considered it right to address our aspirations? They say no to everything and they only act as if they are interested in a solution. Then what is left to negotiate upon?”


With the PA and Fatah the Jewish State is involved in dialogue. How can Hamas hope to gain their understanding if it continues to shoot rockets into Israel?
 

“That is a good question that gives me the opportunity to explain why the six month truce that expired in December was not extended. Israel made a commitment to put an end to the siege on Gaza and to open the checkpoints. None of this happened. They want to suffocate us, to cage us in a ‘Bantustan’. How can one talk about a truce when under siege? To guarantee its own security, Israel persists in the error of betting on the military defeat of our people. I have studied physics and I am convinced that in political relations Newton’s Law applies: every action corresponds to an equal and opposite reaction. When they will cease their aggression our resistance will come to its end as well. But if the gates remain sealed shut, the only outlet, I repeat, remains the struggle.”


They have put you in a sort of isolation.

“Sooner or later the world will open its eyes. The international community continues to see only our rockets but they ignore their F16s, the use of white phosphorus bombs. Israel takes advantage of its aprioristic support of the Americans, of the scarce credibility of the UN, weakened by the pressure from Washington and of the absolute vagueness of Europe which proves to be inert or withdrawn. How can so many European leaders remain unmoved when basic values are being trampled on? Things like freedom, human rights, democracy even? How can they not understand that they must come to an agreement with Hamas, which is a movement of the people?”

But things are changing with Obama, aren’t they?

 

“We all hope so. But a major change has to happen. Obama speaks a new language, but I don’t know if that is enough. We need new politics.”

If you could meet Obama, what would you say?

“Meet him? But if he has not even delisted me from the terrorist blacklist… But it is a fact that without Hamas, not even Obama will be able to make much headway. However I would invite him to consider the opportunity of a change. It’s not possible to make exceptions for Israel, ignoring the rights of other people. This change of approach would be in the interests not only of Palestine, but of the entire Middle East and the United States itself. America is involved and it will be the first to lose if the prospects of peace disappear. The first signals, however, are not very encouraging. Senator John Kerry, upon visiting Gaza was shaken by the destruction, but he nevertheless repeated that Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Well how can you deny that? For years Israel has been paying an extremely high price in innocent blood. First with the suicide bombers, now with the rockets even if in the last war there was enormous disproportion between your losses and theirs.

“We are not the bloodthirsty people they paint us as. We do not want innocent victims, from our side or theirs. But the Palestinian question has become a severe pathology. And whoever honestly tries to diagnose the cause can only individuate the occupation as the prime factor. Nothing is left to us but to resist.”

The international community would be more attentive to your issues if you recognised Israel.

“Do you think it’s the right moment after the barbarity of the recent war? Israel has already too much recognition. And it is the Palestinian people who need to be recognised.”

There are those who insist that after the war the people of Gaza are turning their backs on Hamas.

“I can assure you that our consensus in Gaza, in the West Bank and in the entire Arab world has grown exponentially. We do not feel isolated. And we are not closing ourselves off in a ghetto either. The United States wants to stick the label on us that we are a creature of Iran or Syria. We know these instruments of denigration. But we don’t think that America is an impartial judge. We open our doors to anyone who wishes to help us. And we ask whoever is against us to say with whom they intend to negotiate peace, seeing as how they do not want to give legitimacy to Hamas, which went to power by means of a democratic election.”

In the Territories there are some who admonish that you have lost contact with Palestine. That the leaders of Hamas have lived too many years in exile.

“Yes, there are some who insinuate that. But it is pure conjecture. We are all sons of Palestine. I cannot return due to the occupation. And like me, the same is true of all of the PLO leaders who lived for many years in exile, not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to.”

In Gaza uncertainty remains. Olmert subordinates the truce to the liberation of the soldier Shalit.

“The request already irritated the Egyptian mediators and it was duly rejected. Olmert is a hypocrite. Only today he remembers his soldier. We won’t be blackmailed. We are in favour of the liberation, but only through an exchange with the Palestinian prisoners, 12 thousand, among them children, old people and the sick.”

If Marwan Barghouti were liberated, would the road to reconciliation be easier?

“We hope he will be liberated. But no one can personify in himself an entire cause.”

Within the Palestinian political sphere there is need for détente. Is it possible to bring back a kind of reconciliation between Hamas and the more moderate Al Fatah?

“Differences can be overcome only if some rules are respected. It is necessary that the brothers in Al Fatah respect the outcome of the election. And then they need to consolidate the basis of democracy within the Palestinian Authority. The inalienable principle that all of us defend in the first place the interests of the Palestinians. It must be established that our law and order forces are at the service of the security of Palestine and not – under the direction of the American general Keith Dayton – at the service of Israel.” 

(26 February 2009)

http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/con-israele-non-sara-mai-pace/2069306/11/1

translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo for www.tlaxcala.es and www.palestinethinktank.com

By the Qawem Coalition: In a recent interview in the Zionist newspaper Haaretz, Marc Garlasco, an American military analyst for Human Rights Watch (and former intelligence analyst for the Pentagon), could not hide his excitement regarding “Israel’s” possible use of a new weapon called TAR-21. “It is an incredible weapon,” he says, and proceeds to describe in great detail the military capabilities of the Zionist army. An interview with a human rights organization that was expected to condemn Zionist use of chemical
and test weapons like white phosphorus and DIME (dense inert metal explosives) turns into praise for the aggressors’ military might. At the same time, Garlasco condemns the Palestinian resistance for its use of “illegal weapons,” which include conventional Qassam and Grad rockets because, according to him, they are “useless” and “not accurate enough.”
The interview with Human Rights Watch sums up the role of human rights organizations in the Zionist colonization of Palestine and exposes their racism towards the colonized. The role is always to protect the colonizer’s image of military superiority, while at the same time discouraging the colonized population from joining a meaningful resistance movement aimed at liberating the people from lifetime imprisonment.
**The population of Gaza: We are not looking for handouts
The “US” has offered 0.9 billion dollars in “aid” to Gaza, while subsidizing “Israel’s” military and economic assault to the tune of 3 billion dollars a year. Our people in Gaza overwhelmingly rejected the idea of meaningless western “aid” and described it as handouts not fit for a proud population that withstood the most aggressive military campaign in modern times. The population of Gaza stands with the resistance’s only realistic and natural demand: an end to the siege and the opening of all border crossings. This would enable the population to engage in normal trade and would certainly support any serious rebuilding effort. No society can function on handouts that do not respect the right of people to live freely, work and contribute to human society.
**Rebuilding according to the population’s strategic needs
In early March, a conference at Sharm el-Sheikh raised 4.5 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza. Not surprisingly, the conference insisted that most aid would be channeled through the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Abbas, which currently acts as the administrator of the Zionist occupation. The primary representative of the Palestinian people, Hamas, was not invited to the conference to participate in the discussion. “US” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in attendance and pledged 900 million dollars of “US aid”– about $600 million dollars of which was in developmental aid to the Palestinian Authority. She made clear that none of this aid would go to Hamas, which currently controls Gaza and enjoys popular support among Gaza’s population.
The aim is clear. The invasion of Gaza failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. The Zionist army could not destroy the military capacity of the Palestinian resistance or undermine support for it through collective punishment. Quoting Haaretz, once again, “only when the IDF left [Gaza] could the results of the war be seen as limited, with almost daily [resistance] attacks near the fence, a continuing ‘drizzle’ of rockets and information on renewed arms smuggling.” “Humanitarian aid” now takes up where military action left off: it is offered on the condition that Palestinians in Gaza renounce the resistance and accept a leadership that does not represent their interests.
This comes as no surprise, as the rebuilding effort is seen by these organizations and countries as an opportunity to continue the war on the Palestinian resistance. Past experience in the Jenin refugee camp teaches us that though rebuilding needs to address the strategic needs of the  population, it was the aggressors’ future plans for colonization that guided the rebuilding of Jenin: the Jenin refugee camp was rebuilt according to Zionist specifications by donor countries. The specifications addressed the Zionist army’s future war plans and operational needs.
The rebuilding effort in Gaza must be done by the people of Gaza and for the people of Gaza.
**Gaza’s Call to Action
Gaza and Palestinian resistance groups have called upon all free people across the globe to contribute to Gaza’s rebuilding efforts and continue with their campaigns of solidarity. Ramadan Shallah, a Palestinian professor who has taught in the U.S. and is the leader of Islamic Jihad, said: “Every free person that voiced support for the resistance is part of the world’s collective victory in Gaza.”
Gaza is in immediate need for honest aid that is meant to alleviate its current wounds without a political price-tag — aid that does not ask the population to drop their weapons for a handout of food.
The Qawem Coalition
On March 3rd something that is (to my knowledge) unprecedented happened in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. A standing room only crowd of over 130 persons heard actual Congressmen (not just outsiders given a platform by Congressmen) objectively discuss the devastation recently visited upon Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces.

It began with an excerpt from a video about the Congressmen’s visit to Gaza that showed what was left of a day-care center. Although not much more than rubble, the center was host to an art exhibit that the staff insisted on mounting after its destruction because it was a center of life. There were also interviews with the staff of a hospital who, although their homes are only an 18-minute drive away, must go through an at least 90-minute (each way) check point every working day.

There was also a grocery store in Jaballia camp in which there were items on shelves thanks to the infamous tunnels. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) argued that it would be better to open the crossings where freight would be checked.

One must understand that none of the speakers blamed Israel for what happened. Indeed, all who spoke strongly emphasized that they were not taking sides and mentioned the anxieties that militants in Gaza have imposed on Israel with their rocket attacks. Nonetheless, when most in Congress and the mainstream media are in a state of denial about the humanitarian crisis, the fact that these few stood up to show pictures of bombed schools and displaced civilians indicates that there is change in the air and that the time for the Palestinian narrative to complement the other one that has monopolized the discourse in America is timely.

Ellison insisted that his call for opening the crossings, which he said was the only message he had to offer, would enhance Israeli security as well as alleviate the humanitarian crisis. He said that at no time did they hear any anti-American talk, nor anti-Israeli or pro-Hamas comments (although that may have been due to the fact that their visit was for only one day). Ellison noted that without a dedicated constituency, Gazans can expect no action. He noted that there is well-organized Israeli lobby and a somewhat less well-organized Palestinian lobby, but no peace lobby.

Brian Baird (D-WA) said that the original intention of the Congressional visit was for him and Ellison to speak on Islam in the West. Now, he said, the challenge is to be honest about what they have seen without being accused of taking sides. He felt that what has been done in the last couple of months gives people there hope, but that money is not sufficient. Neither the rockets nor the invasion has moved things forward; neither has advanced the prosperity or security of the people there.

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) says he never feared for his safety and he never met anyone looking for a fight. He said he found only friendly children and people who wanted to get on with their lives. He expressed the view that letting aid go only through tunnels has not stopped the rockets and not advanced communication between the parties to the conflict, but only enriched outlaws. Holt mentioned seeing a science book at an American school there shredded by the bombings and Baird recalled a book about baseball that mentioned Jackie Robinson’s successful struggle against racism.

The respondent was Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East Task Force of the New America Foundation. He remarked that the Congressmen had done a service for America’s public diplomacy by restoring hope. He thanked them for resisting playing the blame game and noted that the arbitrary definition of “basic food and medicine” that is now allowed at the Rafah crossing excludes toothpaste, building materials and item arbitrarily labeled ‘luxuries.’ Banknotes are not allowed in. Even when credit is deposited to a bank it can’t be withdrawn because there is no physical currency. He said these are collective sanctions rather than targeted sanctions. He concluded that to resolve the issue there needs to be a deal on Gilad Shalit, the crossings must be opened, and a cease fire accepted. What must not happen, he said, is to continue to hold the entire population hostage. The theory that deprivation of Gaza will cause them to overthrow Hamas has been disproven.

Levy explained that in 2005 there was an agreement that the Rafah crossing would not be used for commerce, and all commerce would go through the five Israeli crossings, but those crossings are now closed. Although 200 trucks now pass through Rafah, the minimal aid requirement is 500 trucks. Baird added that the crossing best equipped to screen trucks for contraband is not open.

In response to reporter Sally Quinn’s allegations of fears by “Arab and Muslim leaders” that Hamas will steal any aid and her inquiry as to whether Gazans are angry at or supportive of Hamas, Ellison replied that Gazans are focused on their survival. Baird added that there was a lot of discussion of long-term psychological effects on children and that they had heard at the Islamic Conference that if we don’t proactively reward moderates extremism will flourish. Because of the frequency of allegations of a “hate filled curriculum,” he asked the children about their attitudes toward the U.S. and got typical kid answers. Levy added that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the Fatah position was that by working with the U.S. and Israel they would deliver a Palestinian state; all these years after the handshake on the White House lawn that has become a tough promise to sell. There is a recognition now that Hamas is part of the landscape like it or not.

In response to a question from a reporter from Al Jazeera as to whether the trip and program signaled a real shift in American policy, Baird replied that “you can criticize a friend and still be a friend.” He feels that many in Congress would like resolutions to be more measured and nuanced. Ellison noted that in Israel it is okay to talk about these things; it is only in Washington that politicians fear derision for stating the obvious.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
http://www.minaret.org

source: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/thinking_through_a_us_strategy_toward_gaza_a_congressional_view/0017209

(thanks to Richard for the forward!) The Tesco 2 are Dee Murphy and Greg Wilkinson who kicked off a campaign to boycott Israeli goods by going into their local Tesco store, filling a trolley with dates produced on illegal Zionist settlements on the West Bank, taking them out without paying, tipping the dates on the ground and spraying them with red dye, then waiting for the police to arrest them. Dee is in court in early April. The police did not, for some unknown reason arrest Greg, but things have taken a turn for the worse as the following message I received from Greg last night shows…..

WASTING POLICE TIME
Police raided three houses yesterday and arrested two people – including me – on suspicion of ‘conspiring to commit racially aggravated criminal damage.’ They seized three computers and a lot of papers relating to Palestine/Israel affairs. They’ve kept my computer, which may mean they pick up some email addresses. Luckily the papers with addresses and phone numbers were out of the house by the time they searched it.

So what was all that about? It took us some time to realise that the police, in several vans and cars, were from Bridgend, not Swansea. Apparently there was a minor incursion at the Bridgend Sainsburys, during which a couple of boxes of Israeli peppers were sprayed with red paint and a ‘Boycott Israel’ slogan spray-stencilled on the floor. The police, or whoever set them up, took the word ‘Israel’ as racist, and it was assumed that the Bridgend and Swansea actions were co-ordinated, or conspired, by some sort of organisation or command.

I’m angry, as is my wife, at the racist slurs, because about ten policemen and women spent a couple of hours going through every nook and cranny of our house, and because I was arrested and whisked away to a police cell in Bridgend – as was a woman who was with me leafletting outside the Swansea Sainsburys last Saturday. D Murphy, already charged over an earlier acton at Swansea Tescos, had her house raided, but happened to be out. The police sent to her house then came on to ours – nowhere else to go in Swansea and nothing else to do – which was why we had about ten of them bustling through our rooms and, protected by their little disposable blue rubber gloves, through our drawers,bookcases, filing cabinets etc. They took away Ada’s craftknives and cutting boards, in case they might have been used in cutting stencils and seemed very interested in red paint – though the only red paint we had was emulsion, not much good for spraying. They also asked me about what they described as a ‘list of chants’ which they assumed I had composed. At first I couldn’t think what they were talking about, but later remembered that I’d jotted down some of the rhymes being shouted by a little group of Muslim schoolgirls at a Gaza protest demonstration in Swansea: ‘Stop the killing, stop the crime, free, free Palestine…. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’

Other things that annoyed us: a policewoman running into the house without so much as a knock or introduction and asking ‘Can I use your toilet,’ but seeming quite put out when I answered ‘Yes, if you get my computer back.’ Now we have no list of what has been taken away, and will only find out as we come to look for this or that. And the police at Bridgend who offered me a phone call to my wife, to say where I was and when I might be back, but then refused to let me ring her, because they were too busy. They also failed to tell me that my solicitor had rung, so when it came to my recorded interview, and they asked if I wanted a solicitor, I said not unless I was charged: I was anxious to save time and not bring the man all the way from Cardiff. When I was asked about medical complaints and drugs, I mentioned a muscular condition, and a detective sergeant I’d talked to earlier said ‘muscular stiffness’. ‘Viagra, is it then?’ quipped the desk sergeant. All I said at the time was ‘Nothing that localised, I’m afraid.’ But now it seems to me that sort of crack might have been uncalled for from a position of power.

Most of all I’m angry because I’ve lost my computer and everything on it for what could be months – we’re bailed until June 4th – and because all that waste of time and energy could have been saved if one or two CID people had come to the house and asked the obvious questions. We could have established in a few minutes

1. That the use of the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Israeli’ is no more racist than the use of, say, British, in relaton to invasion of Iraq or Aghanistant;
2. that no conspiracy exists or is needed to explain the use of red paint in boycott gestures here and there in South Wales – especially since the Swansea action was so widely publicised in local press and online;
3. That raids and searches, involving at least 20 police and guards on that one day alone, were a gross waste of police time and public money, not to mention infringement on civil liberties.
On the other hand, most of the police and Group4 guards were friendly enough, and the house was left more or less tidy – not like the trashed interiors of Palestinian homes after raids by the IDF.
Still, question remains who authorised this disproportionate use of police power and numbers – thousands of pound worth of public money to get to the bottom of a box of Israeli peppers and some graffiti on a Bridgend floor?
This development shows two things:
1. the campaign to boycott is beginning to bite and the Zionists have been panicked into a hasty and counterproductive response.
2. Things are going to get much rougher from now on.
Now is the time to re-double our efforts.
and, see what Richard’s written on his wonderful site.

 

 

 

 

Not only have the whites been guilty of being on the offensive, but by some skilful manoeuvres, they have managed to control the responses of the blacks to the provocation. Not only have they kicked the black, but they have also told him how to react to the kick. For a long time the black has been listening with patience to the advice he has been receiving on how best to respond to the kick. With painful slowness he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit.   – Steve Biko

 

One of the most important outcomes of the Gaza massacre (2009) has been the unprecedented tremendous outpouring of popular support for the Palestinian cause; something the signatories of the Oslo accords (1993) must have not been happy with. The return of the pre-Oslo slogans of liberation, as opposed to independence, have, undoubtedly, created a new dilemma, not only for Oslo political elites, but also for the NGOized, Stalinist Left.

 

The process of “Osloization”, i.e, a combination of corruption, Negotization, and a selling-out of revolutionary principles and sloganeering, fused with the fiction of the two-prison solution, has been dealt a heavy blow in the 2006 elections. Judging from statements made, not only by PA officials, but also by the Left, and even the Hamas government, the ultimate goal of the current river of blood has become the establishment of a Palestinian state in any dimension, i.e. the two-state solution. The contradiction between the tremendous international support, the revival of the BDS campaign, the outpouring of demos against Apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, and the reiteration, by most political orgs, of the two state mantra is a strong indication of the need for an alternative program that makes the De-Osloization of Palestine its first priority.

 

In order to understand the Oslo Accords and the extreme damage they have caused to the Palestinian cause, one needs a historical contextualization of the so called “peace process”, or rather what many critical thinkers have called the peace industry. This understanding is a necessary step towards a process of De-Osloization, a term I will get back to at a later stage.

 

The Oslo accord was claimed to be the first step towards self-determination and an independent state. But it is clear now, 16 years after the famous handshake on the White House lawn, that no state in the short run will be established because of the mere fact that Oslo simply ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people. In other words, these accords have offered Zionism what it has always been striving for. Golda Meir’s infamous statement that there are no Palestinians is a case in point here.

 

And yet, to claim that ‘Oslo’ and ‘Camp David’ were great missed opportunities and ‘breakthrough’, and that the so-called ‘peace process’ was in track until the Palestinians (i.e. colonized victims) blew it is a deliberate ideological distortion of reality claimed in order to prepare Palestinians for more concessions. Real comprehensive peace was not created in Oslo and Washington; rather what was created is an American/Israeli plan to resolve the conflict after the destruction of Iraq and the collapse of the Soviet Union and their attempt to construct a “new Middle East”—to use Condoleezza Rice’s words–a Middle East characterized by imperialist-Zionist hegemony and supported by despotic regimes. The Oslo accord was born dead because it did not guarantee the minimum national and political rights of 10 million Palestinian. As long as there are refugees, cantons, detainees, blockade, settlements, ‘legal torture’ of prisoners, dispossession, assassinations and occupation, comprehensive peace cannot be achieved. It is an illusion in the minds of those who signed the Oslo accords.

 

These accords have led to the creation of a limited “administrative autonomy” in the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. The local population was given “the right” to form an authority that they could call “national.” Now the question is what makes the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) beyond questioning? What is the ‘legitimate’ ground upon which it was established? Very simple: The Oslo Accords. It has now become very obvious that despite the famous hand shakes on the White house lawn and in Annapolis, and the optimistic talk of the ‘New Middle East,’ these accords, in contradistinction with UN and Security Council resolutions, have not guaranteed the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, or the return of the refugees, nor even the demolishment of the Jewish settlements, and compensation for those Palestinians who have lost—and still losing—their homes, lands and properties; nor the release of all political prisoners, or the opening of all checkpoints, which have become daily nightmares for residents of the WB and GS; …etc. In spite of all the hand shakes, kisses, and friendly press conferences, Israel launched one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the conflict against the civilian population of Gaza, killing in 22 days more than 1400 people, including 438 children, 120 women, 95 old people, 16 medics, 5 journalists, 5 foreign women, and in which it destroyed more than 40.000 institutions and houses, leaving many families homeless. That, of course, was not mentioned as an objective of the Oslo Accords, but nothing either was mentioned in them that would prevent such bloodletting from taking place.

 

This is the political reality that Palestinian officials who signed the agreement do not like to be reminded of. In fact, what has been created in parts of Gaza and the West Bank is a very strange entity—an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. Gaza 2009, therefore, is the mirror-image of Oslo. When we bear in mind that 75-80% of Gazans are refugees, the results of 2006 elections become more comprehensible not only in its anti-colonial context, but also in socio-political terms. What Oslo has created in Gaza, and the West Bank for that matter, is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, a Third Worldish military court (commended by the Clinton administration), corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.

 

By winning the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars, and by getting international, Arab and Palestinian recognition, Israel–as an Apartheid settler-colonial state—has hoped to move into a new stage; a stage  that requires the formation of ‘new consciousness’ amongst colonized Palestinians. Herein lies the danger of Oslo; Osloization, within this neo-Zionist context, means the creation of a new paradigm through which you wash out the consciousness of your supposed enemy-the ‘Other’-and replace it with a one-dimensional mentality, through the construction of a fiction (two states for two peoples) whose end is unattainable. Even the fascist Lieberman has started singing the same song.

 

Put differently, to aim at creating the two-state Palestinian is to aim at creating false consciousness led by assimilated intelligentsia, some of whom have a revolutionary past record. Singing the slogans of “the two state solution,” “two states for two peoples,” “return to the 1967 borders,”–or even “a long-term Hudna” (as proposed by Hamas) — is intended to guarantee the subordination and conformity of the Palestinians, especially those with revolutionary ideas. Gone are the right of return of 6 million refugees and their compensation, and the national and cultural rights of the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

 

This goal, however, never sees the antithesis it creates as a result of displacement, exploitation, and oppression; it ignores the revolutionary consciousness that has been formulated throughout the different phases of the Palestinian struggle. Nor does it take into account the legacy of civil and political resistance that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. Hence the necessity of the formulation of Palestinian alternative politics. To be conscious of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and of the huge class gape that the Oslo Accords have created has definitely been the beginning of De-Osloization represented in the Al-Aqsa uprising and the outcome of the 2006 elections. This is an oppositional consciousness that the signatories of Oslo did not take into account. Both events represent an outright rejection of the Oslo Accords and their consequences.

 

The Gaza Strip, however, is seen by the PA as one of three building blocks of an independent state, although it is geographically separated from the second block, i.e. the West Bank. The third block is, Jerusalem, is under total Israeli control. None of the Palestinians in the occupied territories believe that the ‘semi-autonomous’ zones in the GS and the WB -that is, the ones that fall under category A—can lay the foundation for an independent state. What Oslo has led to is, in fact, a South Africa. When black South Africans needed to move from their townships to big ‘white’ cities, they needed to get a ‘pass’. During ‘peace time,’ Palestinians, not only those who work in Israel, but also those who wanted to visit the WB form Gaza, or vice versa, needed to apply for a ‘permit’. Beside the permit, Palestinians needed a so-called ‘magnetic card,’ which is a computer card that has a password to its holder’s security file. No one could work in Israel, or visit the WB, or even go to a hospital inside the ‘green line’ without a ‘permit’ and a ‘magnetic card’. If one was granted such invaluable cards, one was still not allowed to visit any other area except the one s/he was entitled to visit. If one was ‘caught’ at another area, one’s permit and card were confiscated immediately, not to mention the torture one was exposed to. Nowadays, no one is even given such luxurious ‘permits’ and cards.  How was apartheid South Africa different?

 

The tribal chiefs of the South African Bantustans used to believe that they were the heads of independent states. Luckily, the ANC, despite its many compromises with the National Party, had never accepted the idea of separation and Bantustans. The official Palestinian leadership on the other hand, at the end of the millennium, boasts of having laid the foundation for a Bantustan, claiming it to be an independent state in the make. Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate prize Zionism can offer to its ‘Other’ after having denied her/his existence for a century, and after that same ‘Other’ has proved that she is human. For Zionism’s continued presence in Palestine, the ‘Other’ must be assimilated and enslaved without her/ him being conscious of her/his enslavement. Hence the granting of ‘semi-autonomous’ rule over the most crowded Palestinian cities, and hence the logic driving the Oslo Accords.

 

Oslo, then, brought an unprecedented level of corruption into Palestine; and security coordination with Israel, under the supervision of—irony of ironies—an American general, has become the norm. Repeating the two-state mantra, carrying the Palestinian flag, singing the national anthem and— more importantly—recognizing Israel, regardless of the rights of two thirds of the Palestinian people, are what Oslo is all about.

 

The lesson we learn from Gaza 2009 is to harness all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without dismantling the PA and realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramallah are a façade not unlike the South African Independent Homelands with their tribal chiefs. The classical national program, created and adopted by the Palestinian bourgeoisie has reached its end unsuccessfully. Most political forces, including the governing party in Gaza, fail to explain how 6 million Palestinian refugees will return to the Israeli State of the Jews and an independent Palestinian state will be created at the same time.

 

Hence the necessity for an alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the two-prison solution, a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement that has been given an impetus by Gaza 2009. De-Osloizing Palestine is, therefore, a precondition for the creation of peace with justice.

 

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, and a member of the One Democratic State Group. – haidareid@yahoo.com

 

Source:

http://www.amin.org/articles.php?t=ENews&id=2845

This petition for commitment was published a few years ago. It is as relevant today as ever.

Palestinians are the Priority

an open statement of commitment to the Palestinian Solidarity Cause
There are individuals within the Palestinian solidarity movement seeking to create divisions by:

* deliberately shifting focus away from Israel’s war crimes and its supremacist Zionist ideology;

* imposing unilateral agendas by presenting both sides as victims;

* sabotaging service to the just cause of the Palestinian people;

* ignoring the issue of right of return for the Palestinians;

* utilising the platform of the Palestinian discourse to argue about anti-Semitism, which is not a Palestinian problem and not created by Arabs.

Our primary and single concern is solidarity with the Palestinian people.

As ethical human beings we consider it our obligation to:

* do all we can to allow the information to be diffused as widely and as quickly as possible;

* ensure the argument of the oppression and disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people stays in the forefront;

* present as clear and honest a picture as possible of the meaning of Zionism and the Jewish State;

* to cross the divide and to unite in our war against the Zionist crime.

We accept and believe in equality of all persons, regardless of their race, religion, political or other orientation. We believe that full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt, and we recognise that their attachment to their homeland is a fundamental and unalterable condition. To that end we advocate for one unified State with equal rights for all its citizens.

Any attempts at censoring reasoned critique of Israel and Zionism must be refused a priori, as it is in conflict with the goal of seeking to protect and support the Palestinian people – as their empowerment is the only way to peaceful coexistence for all the populations of the Middle East. Any attempts at dictating what the Palestinians should do will be looked upon with great circumspection and suspicion. Palestinians themselves wish to construct their own future and are not pawns to be shifted on the chessboard.

We demand free speech for sincere critics of Zionism and call for an end to campaigns created in order to ostracise its most vocal critics. Smear campaigns will not be tolerated, as we recognise that they are the instrument of choice of Zionists, and detract energy from our work. We will not hesitate to expose the instrumental usage of them, no matter the claimed principles of those who are engaged in creating such campaigns. On the other hand, open dialogue and reasoned argumentation is welcome and greatly encouraged as a tool to understanding and collaboration.

The indigenous people of Palestine are facing extermination by the hands of the Jewish State, and the world keeps silent. The sooner we draw public attention to Israel’s needless wanton destruction, the sooner we can do away with this horrifying, insufferable situation.

If you agree with this statement, please sign the petition.

http://www.petitiononline.com/grosveno/petition.html

On 2 February 2009, The Lancet Medical Journal’s Global Health Network online published Dr Swee Ang and Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta’s `The Wounds of Gaza’, first published here at PULSE. It introduced the article by stating:

Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

On 2 March 09 the Journal removed the article (though The Lancet Student still has it), stating: “We have taken down the blog post The Wounds of Gaza because of factual inaccuracies.”

No specific faults or amendments to the alleged inaccuracies are suggested. The reader comments, overwhelmingly in support, remain posted. A letter penned by four israelis (surprise, surprise!) that objects to the article was published on February 18. Our friend Dr Swee responds to this development and elaborates on the figures.

Dr Swee Ang on reporting from Palestine and Lebanon

Many of us are afraid to put numbers down because the pro-Israel Lobby will inundate us with emails and complaints. This has gone to the extent that only figures sanctioned by the Israelis are credible. Everything else is viewed as suspect!

Over the last twenty-six and a half years, I have taken many blows over this kind of issue. The only question I ask myself when writing is – when is the version according to the victims going to be articulated? The people of Gaza knew that 5,000 were killed in the Khan Younis massacre in 1956; 100,000 gone missing in 1967 of which 35,000 were murdered – just because they cannot go to the Sinai and take pictures, or dig up the mass graves, does not mean we refuse to let them state their case.

I looked at Northern Gaza – how often have I driven down Sala -Uddin Road in 1988 and 1989. I remember every turn and corner- I know the citrus orchards, the farms and the homes. Often I would stop my ambulance to give a ride to the farm workers and they in return would give me freshly picked lemons and oranges. I now see it completely laid waste by Israeli explosives like the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima, and yet we were called liars when we put forward the figure of one and a half million tons of explosives. We have seen apartment blocks not only reduced to rubble but incinerated – how many kilotons of explosives are responsible for this kind of damage?

The Lancet Global Health Network withdrawing `The Wounds of Gaza’ is not a problem at all. The wonder is how it even got to be published in the first instance.

My book From Beirut to Jerusalem, when first published in 1989, was reprinted hard back and then paperback within 2 months, as it was sold out on publication, and again sold out as soon as reprinted. Then Tom Friedman came out with a book with exactly the same title half a year later and by the same publisher. My book was withdrawn from the shelves. It went out of print for many years.

But the truth has to come out. Most times at great inconvenience to some of us as we well know.

I just want you to know that I am not afraid to believe the Palestinians. It is a scandal that the extent of the Khan Younis massacre had not come to light for all these years. It is a scandal that what happened in the Six Day War was not published. The intimidation to silence witnesses has to stop. We cannot allow the case to be stated only by the perpetrators of the killings.

Like the Palestinians in Gaza – I am also not afraid. My witness of Gaza counts. So does your witness. We should not be afraid of saying what the Palestinians told us. They are the ones whose families were killed, who bear the wounds of violence, who are dispossessed and persecuted. Their voices must be heard.

Dr. Swee Ang on the explosives used in Gaza

The actual tonnage of the explosives dropped on Gaza can only be accurately known to the IDF themselves. So other figures can only be estimates. However some of us have many years of experience looking at bombed out countries.

Over the 22 days, Gaza was intensely bombed from land, air and sea. The bombs dropped from the air are large, and most of them are more than a ton on average. In the south the bombs used to destroy the tunnels and structures around them are large heavy bombs.

Of the 21,000 buildings destroyed, 4000 of them are completely demolished. Some believe that these are by small nuclear fission bombs. However there is no proof and it is impossible to tell, though the effect of all structures, especially concrete, being incinerated, would suggest that the size of these bombs are of the order of kilotons­whether they are conventional explosives or otherwise. If you were to look at the effect of the atom bomb on Hiroshima (about 15 – 20 kilotons), you would see the incineration of concrete similar to that of that seen in these 4,000 buildings. These 4,000 buildings would have been destroyed by 4,000 kilotons of explosives. The other 17,000 destroyed buildings are the result of bombs of single figure tonnage judging from the kind of destruction. Apart from bombs being dropped on buildings reducing them to rubble, bombs were also dropped on fields, orchards, farms and roads.

We do not know enough of the explosive values of DIME to comment and hence have not speculated on it. They have been used in Gaza. But from what is commonly known about them, they are very heavy bombs, more so than conventional.

As to the person who queried the “million and a half tons of explosives dropped in 22 days” as such an amount would have obliterated Gaza [a question put forward to http://www.womenforpalestine.org, a site which carried Dr Ang’s article]­ we can safely answer him that the whole of Northern Gaza has indeed been obliterated – he or she is most welcome to see for themselves! The whole stretch of Northern Gaza has been converted to a complete wasteland. In the South again vast stretches of agricultural areas have also been demolished.

The figure of one and a half million tons of explosives in our view is a conservative estimate. Those who are sceptical about it need to see it for themselves.

Dr Swee Ang on the figure of 35,000 political prisoners being executed during the 1967 Six Day war

The number 35,000 was from the International Co-operation Department (ICD) of Gaza. Within the first 2 hours of the attack on Egypt, 11,000 Egyptian soldiers were killed. But we are not talking about them, as they would be those killed in action.

After the first 2 hours till the end of the 6-Day War, about 100,000 Egyptian and Palestinian combatants were missing and never found. These included many young men in Gaza who had joined the Egyptians and the early PLA (of Nasser) to fight the Israelis. There are at least 2 mass graves in El-Arish on the edge of the Sinai desert, and the Israelis themselves had admitted to killing those captured, but had not admitted to killing so many. The Gaza information had stated 35,000 executed, but we had not asked them the whereabouts of the remaining 65,000. Many of the missing still have surviving relatives living in Gaza. The names of those executed could be traced from the ICD in Gaza. 1967 is a long time ago, and I do not see what advantage it is to the ICD in Gaza to make up these figures.

As many of you will be aware, a similar situation occurred with the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, where Palestinian sources believed that 3,000 were killed and IDF only admitted to over 300. Bayan Al-Hout had compiled at least one and a half thousand names to date, and the list is still increasing. We still do not know the whereabouts of the men murdered in the Stadium, now that some soldiers of the Phalange have admitted to executing people there. The bodies buried in Martyr’s Square were from within the camp itself, and not those abducted to the Stadium.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, NOW REMOVED from Lancet, but always on PTT
https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/swee-ang-thumb1.jpg2009/02/04/the-wounds-of-gaza/

from http://pulsemedia.org/2009/03/04/lancet-withdraws-gaza-article/ email: meca@mecaforpeace.org web: http://www.mecaforpeace.org

FOR A TALK AND PRESENTATION SEE ALSO URL: http://www.inminds.com/from-beirut-to-jerusalem.html

The Gaza donor conference concluded a couple of days ago in the Egyptian city of Sharm-El-Sheik and was attended by more than 70 countries, pledging more than $5 Billion, exceeding any and all expectations. Of course this sum of money and the US pledge of $300 million is dwarfed by the $30 Billion George Bush pledged to Israel in arms and weapons.

Nevertheless, I think the attendance and the generous amounts contributed shows finally how much the world cares about the people of Gaza and is an indirect indictment of the crimes committed by Israel during its 22 days of 24/7 assault on the Gaza Strip. Of course very few heads of states or government officials dare to criticize Israel as it went ahead with its war crimes on Gaza, but the world rallied around to bandage the wounds of the more than 1.5 million Palestinians who had to endure the most criminal war assault since the closing days of WWII perhaps with the exception of Israel’s summer war on Lebanon a couple of years ago when some 1.5 million cluster bombs, gift from George Bush to the Lebanese people, were dropped in the last 10 days of the war.

The Gaza Reconstruction Conference in its closing statement called on Israel to open with immediate effect all crossings for all humanitarian aids and for conareuction materials needed for the massive work ahead. Somehow everyone forgot the geography of Gaza and that Gaza has some 50 km of shoreline and has a sea port.

However Israel, given the angry unhappy nation it is, full of hate and contempt for the world and human values, is a country that will not even consider world opinion because it does not give a damn about the world public opinion to begin with, and is unlikely to open the border crossing with Gaza for pasta, let alone a front loader.

The newspapers carried accounts of the secret list of forbidden or restricted items Israel concluded as threats to its own security including “pasta, pasta sauce, lentil and hearing aids”. Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee had to inquire with Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister why “pasta” is a restricted item? This should tell you and the world how pitiful this nation is, “the only killing democracy in the Middle East” and I will not be surprised if Israel added Humus, fool, falafel and kinafeh to the list of forbidden items. One has to imagine if the Palestinians want to import heavy construction material or cement. Perhaps Israel has new building technology made up of bagels, motzaballs or corn beef as construction material. Israel needs serious mental help.

What I am most surprised about is the call by almost everyone, from Mahmoud Abbas, to Hillary Clinton, to Nicolas Sarkozy, to Husni Mubarak and their calls, almost begging calls for Israel to open the border crossing, I say, the hell with Israel and its border crossing with Gaza. Let Israel build a 1000 meter high Apartheid Wall between it and Gaza. Who needs Israel and who needs its products and services? Israel is giving the impression to the world it is doing the Palestinians a big favor when it allows fuels and food supplies to come into Gaza, For Gods sake Israel and Jewish suppliers get paid for everything that comes through to Gaza, at much higher prices, nothing is for free, so why bother with Israel when Gaza has access to the sea and has a port much older than any ports in Israel?

Let Israel go to hell, and let Israel keep its border crossings closed and let the people of Gaza open their port and import everything they need and want through the Port of Gaza. No need to reward Israeli suppliers with billions of supply contracts. I know the world is concerned about Hamas smuggling weapons, and all I can say is that Hamas is simply too stupid to smuggle anything of significant threat to Israel such at RPJs and other serious weapons of significant risk to Israel. In more than 2 years under siege Hamas has managed to smuggle enough material to produce useless, and militarily insignificant Qassam rockets that some 15,000 of these failed to even totally destroy one single house. Though I believe the issue of weapon smuggling is more political and a powerful propaganda tool than a strategic issue for Israel, nevertheless I concede that something has to be done to make sure that Hamas or anyone else does not use the opening of the Port of Gaza for weapons smuggling. Besides, I am not convinced that armed struggle Hamas style is the answer to liberation.

I am sure the Americans and the Europeans will be very pleased if Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas announced to the world their willingness to entrust the management and operation including security operation of the Port of Gaza to the Americans and perhaps some European partners. Let America manage and operate the port making sure only constructions materials, food suppliers and consumers goods comes through the port. Let Americans and the Europeans break the siege of Gaza and end once and for all the Israeli Occupation of Gaza that has lasted some 42 years. Let America and Europe operate all of the security measures, not to Israel’s satisfaction but to the American and European satisfaction that all materials coming through are for civil purposes and nothing to make atomic weapons out of. And yes, let Egypt close the Rafah Crossing for all goods but allow it for people to cross if they choose to travel through Egypt. Let the US and Europe open and operate both the Sea Port and Airport of Gaza. Let the world this time end the siege of Gaza. Hamas must not hold the people hostage to its own agenda. And yes, let the US Navy and US Coast Guard patrol the coast lines off Gaza for good measure.

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/the-hell-with-israel-open-the-sea-port-of-gaza/

 

No condolences to apartheid Israel….yes, it has killed 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza because its fears are of a demographic nature, its army never cared what age or gender it killed, Israel’s machine was harvesting Palestinians of all ages and sizes…young and old, disabled and healthy, pregnant women and young girls, the ones resisting the occupation and the ones who are still too young to understand such expressions….. Israel’s nightmare is of a demographic scale, it is frightened to be outnumbered…so the answer was to starve people to death, stop them from receiving medication so that they would die of ‘natural causes’ then bar the media from investigating that and then knit a freshly made lie to suit its new tailored fib. Israel’s actions mean there was a terrorist in every cradle, there were tunnels turning bread to arms. 

During the time Israel was feeling victorious and happy counting 1,300 massacred Palestinians in cold blood, Palestinian women retaliated by giving birth to 3,570 babies. The Palestinian woman is considered a demographic bomb, a highly fertile creature as fertile as the soil of Palestine. The more Israel sends Palestinian on a one way trip to the womb of the land, the more Palestinian women’s wombs show generosity, giving birth to more heroes.  

At a time the average fertility in Israel is 2.6 babies per woman, Gaza is considered one of the most fertile in the whole wide world with an average of 6 babies per woman. Israel suffers a high percentage of senior citizens while Gaza has an abundance of youngsters and according to UNICEF’s report on the 3rd of March 2009 the total number of children in Gaza is approximately 793,520, or 56 per cent of the population (PCBS). This was one of the main reasons that forced Israel to stop its military incursions, for there are 4,170 humans per every square Kilometre in Gaza, to imagine how densely populated Gaza is, one should know that Lebanon is 29 times the area of Gaza. 

This brings us back to Israel’s devious methods of trying to kill women who are considered as factories of men, without being blamed directly for that by its policies of blockades, and checkpoints where sick women or women about to give birth suffer for not being able to reach hospitals, by denying them the right to travel or import foods and medicines, by bombing their infrastructure leaving them with no water to drink or use for hygiene, by depriving them of fuel leading to total arrest of the sewage system refineries, by spraying them with chemicals from above and burning them with white phosphorus, and by killing them indirectly out of sorrow and deep grief after losing their family members especially their young ones, but as Yasser Arafat once said we Palestinians are an undefeatable nation we are ‘Shaab Aljabbareen’.

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=81824&titular=las-mujeres-palestinas-son-la-pesadilla-demográfica-de-israel– IN SPANISH

The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.

The $900 million pledged to the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh should be seen as part of the regular American aid to Israel. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated to assure the well-being of the population under its control. But Israel is harming it instead, after which the United States (like other countries) rushes to compensate for the damage.The Clinton and Bush administrations – and Barack Obama appears to be following in their footsteps – erased the phrase “Israeli occupation” from their dictionaries and collaborated with Israel in ignoring its commitments as enshrined in international law. The billions of dollars that Israel receives from the United States for weapons and defense development – which played a significant role in the destruction in the Gaza Strip – are part of Israel’s successful propaganda, which presents the Rafah tunnels and Grad rockets as a strategic threat and part of the Islamic terror offensive against enlightened countries.

 

The West has blown the Hamas movement out of proportion, exaggerating its military might to the point of mendacity; this allowed for an extended siege and three weeks of Israeli military intractability. In the Palestinian and larger Arab world, this embellishment helps Hamas depict itself as the real patriotic force. The hundreds of millions of euros that have been donated or pledged to help Gaza, as though it were beset by natural disasters, are overshadowing the trade ties between Europe and Israel. The Western countries concerned about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians also buy from Israel arms and defense knowledge developed under the laboratory conditions of the occupation, that serial creator of humanitarian crises.

And the 1 billion petrodollars? First of all, they were generated from a natural resource that logic dictates should benefit the Arab peoples. Second, they were pledged at a conference that boycotted Gaza (neither Hamas nor business people or social activists from the Strip participated in the donors conference). This is how Saudi Arabia lends its hand to the American and Israeli veto of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Every cent paid to the Palestinians – whether for the Ramallah government’s budget or medical treatment of children wounded by Israeli pilots or soldiers – lets Israel know that it can continue its efforts to force a capitulation deal on the Palestinian elite. Only by recognizing that surrender is the goal can one understand that 16 years after Oslo, no Palestinian state was established. When did Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Tzipi Livni begin talking about two states? Only after their bulldozers and military bureaucrats crushed the realistic physical basis of a Palestinian state. And this basis is: June 4, 1967 land (including East Jerusalem), Gaza – an inseparable part of the state – and zero settlements (and that applies to Gilo and Ma’aleh Adumim).

During the 1990s it was still possible to describe donations to the Palestinians as an expression of confidence and hope in Israel’s readiness to free itself of the occupation regime it had created. But not in 2009. Support for Israeli policy – this is the only way to understand the fact that other countries keep pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars meant to put out the fires set by this policy, without extinguishing the source of the blaze.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068553.html

falastin quote

Posted: 03/02/2009 by editormary in Falastin, Quotes
Tags:

The death siege of Gaza is designed to go on igniting the Palestinian community. It is designed to go on exploiting disenfranchised groups inside Israel. It is designed to present the false image of an Israel seeking peace and holding its fire. It is designed, first and foremost, to prevent true political process and a just peace while simultaneously absolving Israel of responsibility for war. The siege imposed in the name of Israel’s defense is designed to defend only Israel’s powerful, to defend the policies of force and appropriation that serve them so well.
Rela Mazali

cartoon of the day

Posted: 03/02/2009 by editormary in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

click to enlarge

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

When the war gets tough, Israel brings out that magic word that they seem to have a unique understanding of: “peace / Shalom”. That word which to any normal person means harmony, tolerance, end of violence and condemnation of destructive acts that cause suffering doesn’t mean the same thing to the average Israeli, who is basically a hardcore warmonger in sheep’s clothing. “Peace” to a normal person means good things, things we see our children paint, like blue skies, rainbows and people who are in harmony with man and the environment. To an Israeli, it means something entirely different. And that is why, in a moment when Israel has driven the million and a half human beings into a hell of suffering and starvation, then decided to bomb the living daylights out of them and destroy their lives and possessions, they bring out their weapons of mass persuasion, their Hasbara pros who are able to sing and talk about love and peace, while on the other side of the mouth they are spouting words of intolerance and accusations. Noa is called to the front lines each time there is a nasty bit of reality that involves her country, and this time, she’s been a busy little bee and getting busier.

Years ago, I used to be a fan of Noa. I saw her on the Festival of San Remo, and found her performance original and thought she had a special talent. I didn’t really care that she was Israeli, she seemed somewhat a-political. (Nowadays she sounds like a warbly Celine Dion, but this is the market, and she is part of it). But, times change and if someone is Israeli, given what Israel is, they have two choices, it seems: to embrace that Israeliness until the bitter end or to cast it off. Israel can’t leave anyone indifferent, given that it’s involved in occupation and war, and their performers, writers and “intellectuals” know they are showcasing the political agenda of their country. Noa never fails to come up with the goods, and I will explain some of her recent exploits, after a brief introduction.

For quite a long time, Israel has been dishing out one atrocity after another. It almost defies the imagination of where to begin in a timeline, there is simply too much that disgusts anyone with a conscience. Yet, let’s get close to home, very close to home, and go back only as far as the 2006 war against Lebanon. If there was a cruel and evil war, that was surely it. From Cluster bombs to bombing milk factories and power plants, roads, bridges and hospitals, not to leave out dropping bombs on convoys of families who were told to flee lest they be bombed within their homes, Israel left no stone unturned in their horrifying range of violence. Funnily enough, Noa appeared on TV in Italy a few times that month, once in a “fashion show” where she sang “Shalom” while images of the “poor settlers leaving Gaza in tears” were projected behind her. Yes, it was a shock, that this was the message: Israelis suffer. Then she and Gil Dor did a song on the evening TV news, she made a few more appearances just to bring the point home.

It kind of reminded me of something that happened this January. As Europeans know, 27 January is Shoah Memorial Day week month year. Yes, it starts some time on the eve of the 26th of January and then it ends on the eve of the 27th of January a year later. It is this way each year. And, when there is a bloodbath Israel is making happen, the celebrations are not only for about an hour a day, but from dawn till dawn. I must mention a memorable moment. I was on the phone with a friend in the West Bank and we were trying to get information about a mutual friend of ours, who we knew lived near the police station that was destroyed in the first bloody day of Israeli air raids. No one had been able to reach him and it won’t be hard to imagine the fear we had. Of course, any civilians suffering in a war is bad, but there is a difference when you know your loved ones are in the middle of it. It is a nightmare. In the other room, my husband was offering coffee to his colleagues who are rescue volunteers like he is. They turned on the news and during the height of the destruction in Gaza, all that could be reported was one Shoah item after another. It was pretty striking, the way reality was so different from what the mass media was proposing. I heard one of the ambulance drivers, someone who has no interest in politics at all, say, (and it really only works best in Italian…) “più porcate si fanno, più giorni della memoria ci mettono”, which roughly translates to: the more horrible things Israelis do, the more Holocaust Memorial Days they give us.” Yes, someone who doesn’t follow these things was able to understand the connection, there’s really no other excuse for the massive bombardment of Jewish victimhood and Israeli flags that we see especially in moments of horror against Arab peoples. Reality and Hasbara are two worlds that can never cross the divide.

So, where did Noa enter into all of this? She came to hasbara rescue in a major way: through internet in her “letter to the Palestinians” where she told them that the war was necessary in order to get rid of the bad guys (Hamas). Many people were utterly disgusted by this total lack of comprehension that this war was as dirty and filthy as it gets, that she can no longer pretend to be about peace when she is justifying the slaughter of innocents, which was precisely what she was doing. In fact, Juliano Mer Khamis and others initiated a petition to have her NOT sing a charity gig for Gazan children (published here https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/noa-thumb21.jpg2009/01/21/ban-achinoam-nini-noa-from-participating-at-gaza-charity-event/) and she pulled out, but then, she was called to sing her peace song and talk about how wonderfully peaceful she was on the worst television talk show in Italy, that of Fabio Fazio, who is sure to have one Israeli a week during wartime, people like Grossman, (sometimes appearing twice in one war  month!) Well, right now, Noa is going to be the Israeli entry to the Eurovision song contest, Yawn. Which is of course OF COURSE having her sing a song about the theme Israelis are the world experts on, Peace. How much ya wanna bet she becomes the victim-darling-peace advocate… yes, reality and hasbara are worlds apart.

If you’d like to see Noa’s current vision of peace, check out her site this week where she talks about the Israeli elections. Sure, they didn’t go the way she (a leftist, she tells us) would have preferred but still : LEIBERMAN AIN’T HAMAS!  And how bad is Hamas? Seeing that Noa moans about Israel being condemned by “Jew-haters” and “anti-Semites”, calling people who do this spreading INCREDIBLE propaganda (she spreads Hasbara…. different stuff, you don’t question hasbara, folks, unless you want to be insulted, bombed or occupied). Reminds me of when I saw Magdi Allam, a nutbar pro-Israel journalist. He said that those responsible for the war in Iraq were the “peace movement people who gave Saddam the hope that there was a way out of the war, and thus made him confident”. Yes, that kind of thinking is what Noa engages in: the “right” won because there was just so much nasty PROPAGANDA by Jew-haters going on. IT’S OUR FAULT! (OH, I’m getting into her style of shouting out things in all caps… sorry!)

Read it to believe it: the voice of peace. This post requires no commentary. Her hatred and Islamophobia speaks for itself. Hell, it could have been written by the ADL itself or anyone in The Israel Project, the MFA or any propaganda organ for Israel at all. It has a little something for everybody! http://www.noasmusic.com/index.asp

Hello all.

A few words about the Israeli elections and where things stand now, from my point of view:

Though i voted left, as always, I am not surprised by the results of the Israeli elections.

I am proud to live in a democratic country which has given voice to the people, even when i am unhappy with the result. I am proud to say that the ONLY party that was ever deemed illegal in Israel was KACH, lead by Kahana, the fanatic Jewish right wing party. Raam and Tal , two Arab parties who support Iran and refuse to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jews, who don’t even make their party’s declaration of principles available in Hebrew, are kept in the Knesset. They are PROTECTED by the Israeli supreme court.

The Israeli election results, however saddening, were obvious, amongst other things, in the face of the INCREDIBLE propaganda spread around the world by the ENORMOUS amount of Anti-Semites and Jew- haters who are bent on destroying Israel. When the Israeli population sees the lies spread around, the hypocrisy of the world who sees Israel as the aggressor rather than a country acting in self defence, a world whose eyes are blind to the killing and the massacres by the MUSLIM fanatics of the Palestinian people, of Fatah, of women who dare to raise their head, of ANYONE who does not agree with them, when the Israeli people who number 7 million, 1.5 million of them Arabs, see around them 1.5 BILLION Arabs, with hardly ONE voice raised in peace, compared to the ENDLESS Israeli and Jewish voices raised in peace, then it is clear that the elections will go right.

A challenge for you:

Try Googling ’peace organizations’, see the endless, endless peace organizations based in Israel, Arabs and Jews together, and Jews everywhere in the world (the only one in Lebanon is in Lebanon, MICHIGAN!).

Then Google “Jewish terror´and see what you find….

Now, Google “Arab peace organizations…”, ?????????????

and Google “Arab/Muslim terror”……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, Meretz, a very sane and liberal left wing organization who supports 2 states for 2 people, has supported both of Israel’s operations, in Lebanon and Gaza. Of course they have, because Meretz know very well that Israel was acting in self defence against fanatic, cruel, Nazi-like organizations, the Hamas and Hezbollah, who are holding innocent people captive, Arabs and Jews as one, and using them as human shields in their death-loving Jihad.

Why don’t you spend some time looking at THIS?

and THIS?

and THIS?

and for a thorough report, THIS:

and the list goes on and on.

I would like to say again:

both sides have failed to make peace, and now both sides have become more extreme, especially the Muslim side. Fortunately, Lieberman and his friends, which i care nothing for, can never compete with the death loving fanatics on the other side.

Now it is up to both sides to state their intentions for peace, recognition, co-existence and compromise.

I would like to raise my voice in support of peace, equal rights for all Arab citizens in Israel, equal rights for all Jewish people in all Arab countries, co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel and everywhere, Palestine alongside Israel in peace, prosperity and freedom.

Who will join?

And finally: The international community would do well to stop pointing fingers in such an unintelligent, not to say hateful, anti-Semitic and down-right stupid way, and start getting both sides to the table to start working out a deal.

All the best

Noa

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3679680,00.html
hear the songs here:: one of them “YOU and ME still ALIVE”
part of the lyrics.. sure, she can sing that, not those who she approved the slaughter of! How ironic, not to say sickening.

In “There must be another way” we hear this: And I cry I cry for both of us… (after you’ve said that there was a Cancer to Get Rid of, how DARE you, Noa, you hypocrite).
Faith in the Light is the most traditional Noa-esque song, and it offers this bit, “Where can we go from here, sister, it’s been one long night. Tell me that we’re here to stay and that we can set things right….” sick. You are here to stay Noa, but thousands, including babies too small to speak, are no longer here to stay, thanks to support from you!
“Second Chance” has these beads of wisdom: “Every second is a second chance.”
All of this restores my belief that the only good thing to ever have come out of Eurovision was Abba… At least they were sincere.

Israeli bullets against Vittorio Arrigoni From Infopal

Written by Vittorio Arrigoni, Translated by Mary Rizzo

One heart, two hands, a beating heart and a mind that is still working. Two eyes deep enough to focus on injustice and aimed at by snipers Two hands that are still working so that they can comfort the little child who is A “dispersed son of a lesser God”, and a heart that is skipping beats and pumping blood for a mind that is not ready to show indifference before a tragedy such as this. I am alive, but this could quite easily have been the video of my execution:

 

When a bullet (even if it may have been a rubber coated one) rushes past your temple, I can assure you it is like you have received a slap in the face by a heavyweight, something so strong to knock you to the ground. This is what happened, two days ago at Khozaa, when we were accompanying Palestinian agricultural workers (they and we are visibly all unarmed civilians) so that they can work in their own fields, at a distance of approximately 600 metres from the confine, Israeli snipers tried to kill me. The bullets struck at less than 50 centrimetres from where I was standing. Several days earlier, despite the presence of internationals, the same snipers had wounded Mohammad al-Buraim, who is deaf-mute:

   

I beg you to look at these videos and to spread them on the internet. They speak clearly as to precisely what the Israeli siege is to those who do not have ears to listen to the cries of pain from these innocent people who are butchered on a daily basis by the “only democracy in the Middle East”. To who hasn’t got a nose to smell the stench of Fascism behind the masks of victims in which these killers dressed as soldiers are manoeuvred from Tel Aviv, by land:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nkcYaqhpng

and by sea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu8lGTPaMzk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTUYivihoTE   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87NrkNV_owM

We’ll be back soon to accompany the Palestinian farmers to their fields, aware of the fact that while dying might be for some a matter of survival, for others it’s just a pastime of target practice.
Let’s stay human
Vik

 SEE ALSO: http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m52185&hd=&size=1&l=e