Posts Tagged ‘Nakba’


(Italian subtitles by Diego Traversa, French by Mirielle Rumeau)
To reply to the Gaza youth Manifesto, and with no additional words to the ones spoken with true heart on this video, we give you, The Manifesto. A simple, true, self-explanatory, expression of what we’re sick of.

As these days mark the 63rd memory of the Nakba, our people all around the world, revolt, and object to the injustice and hatred we are met with on a day to day basis, just because we’re Palestinians and just because we exist.

I urge your humanity and your conscience, to spread on this video, so the 15th of May 1948, wouldn’t ever be forgot, and so Palestinians would once more have their freedom and rights back; especially the right of return.

Salamat,
Two anonymous from Palestine.

كرد على بيان شباب غزة، وبدون أي كلمات إضافية للكلمات الصادقة من القلب التي قيلت في هذا الفيديو، نقدم نحن لكم “البيان” والذي هو تعبيرنا البسيط والصريح والغاني عن الشرح، الذي يعبر عن كل الأشياء “اللي احنا زهقنا منها”.

في هذه الأيام التي تمثل الذكرى الثالثة والستين للنكبة، شعبنا في مختلف أنحاء العالم ينتفض ويحتج على الظلم والكراهية التي نعامل بها على أساس يومي، فقط “علشان احنا فلسطينية”.

أنا أحث إنسانيتكم وضمائركم لتنشروا بياننا، لكي يبقى 15-5-1948 يوما لا ينسى في تاريخ الشعوب، ولكي يستعيد الفلسطينيون حريتهم وحقوقهم، وخاصة حقهم في العودة.

سلامات،
عشوائيان من فلسطين.

63 ans de Nakba

Par Deux anonymes de Gaza

Pour répondre au Manifeste de la Jeunesse de Gaza, et sans ajouter un mot à ceux qui sont dits du fond du cœur sur cette vidéo, nous vous donnons Le Manifeste. L’expression simple, qui se passe d’explications, de tout ce dont nous avons marre. En ces jours qui marquent le 63ème souvenir de la Nakba, notre peuple, dans le monde entier, se révolte et proteste contre l’injustice et la haine que nous rencontrons chaque jour, simplement parce que nous sommes Palestiniens et simplement parce que nous existons. (cliquer pour la suite du post et la traduction des sous-titres)
Nous en appelons à votre humanité et à votre conscience pour diffuser cette vidéo, pour que le 15 mai 1948 ne soit jamais oublié, et pour que les Palestiniens recouvrent leur liberté et leurs droits, en particulier le droit au retour.

Salamat,
Deux anonymes de Palestine

http://www.ism-france.org/temoignages/63-ans-de-Nakba-article-15565

63 ans de Nakba

J’en ai marre du mur
J’en ai marre des checkpoints entre les villes palestiniennes
J’en ai marre des colons israéliens illégaux et de leurs colonies
J’en ai marre que ma carte d’identité soit en hébreu
J’en ai marre que des gens ne connaissent rien de notre histoire mais qu’ils sachent tout de l’histoire juive
J’en ai marre que des gens ignorent le droit palestinien au retour et accepte le droit au retour des juifs
J’en ai marre de l’Accord d’Oslo que personne ici n’a d’abord voulu
J’en ai marre de l’Autorité palestinienne sans aucune autorité
J’en ai marre de voir mon père être humilié aux checkpoints par des gens de mon âge et plus jeunes
J’en ai marre que mes amis internationaux soient obligés de mentir quand ils viennent me voir, qu’ils soient interrogés, fouillés à corps et quelquefois expulsés
J’en ai marre que des gens ne comprennent pas ce qu’est “l’occupation”
J’en ai marre d’avoir tout le temps peur
J’en ai marre du syndrome de stress post-traumatique, un état normal ici en Palestine
J’en ai marre du Droit humanitaire international qui ne s’applique pas à l’État d’Israël
J’en ai marre de voir que combattre pour les droits humains de base des Palestiniens, ou critiquer la politique israélienne, est si souvent traité d'”antisémitisme”
J’en ai marre que tout le monde oublie que je suis une Sémite
J’en ai marre d’entendre les Israéliens se plaindre de discrimination quand l’État d’Israël a été fondé sur un principe de pureté ethnique
J’en ai marre de vivre à une époque où la discrimination raciale est devenue acceptable
J’en ai marre d’être constamment traité comme un suspect
J’en ai marre de la manière dont les médias nous décrivent, nous et notre situation
J’en ai marre que le monde entier se préoccupe de Gilad Shalit alors qu’il y a plus de 7000 Palestiniens dans les prisons israéliennes
J’en ai marre d’essayer de me défendre, moi-même, mes amis ou mes compatriotes et de me faire traiter de terroriste
J’en ai marre de voir, où je j’aille, le mur, une colonie ou une soldat israélien

J’en ai marre de 63 ans d’occupation israélienne

Traduction : MR pour ISM

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WRITTEN BY Anis Hamadeh

 

With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies. (2) The stylish T-shirts, that promote the shooting of pregnant Palestinian women by indicating that in this way you can kill two human beings with one bullet, appeared strange to people abroad, too. (3) Moreover, the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister horrifies the public. (4) There would be further reasons to be disgusted, like the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the plans for expanding the illegal settlements, some killings, the abduction of Gazan fishermen and so on, but these details do not enter the global discourse, because, well, because they never did. The question is: how genuine is the amazement about what happened in Gaza?

 

Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 …


Deir Yassin and the Human Rights

 

1948 was a special year. It was marked by Plan D, the Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. (5) Jewish troops expelled about 700,000 people from the indigenous population of the country and killed many of the men in combat age. Even in 1936, after the Palestinian revolt, the Palestinian elite had been persecuted. This was shortly after the first Palestinian party was founded which was to represent the interests of the native population in the two fronts struggle against the British occupation and the Zionist conquerers. “Punishments” like the demolition of residence houses were firstly used by the British and were adopted later by the Zionists. In 1948, several Jewish terror groups were known, like the Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Lechi and others. They killed, took the land away from the local people and later contributed several prime ministers who were accepted by the world public without any difficulty – very similar to today.

 

Don’t think that the pogroms against the population of Palestine during the execution of Plan D were secret. When the future Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the Arab village of Deir Yassin attacked on April 9 and many of its inhabitants killed (certainly including children and women) in order to terrorize and horrify the people, this was covered in the world press. Begin defended his deed with a typical Israeli bonmot: “The massacre of Deir Yassin not only had its justification – without the ‘victory’ of Deir Yassin there had never been a State of Israel.” (6) Four years later, the same Begin attempted to kill the German chancellor Adenauer (7) and in 1978 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

When Deir Yassin went through the press, the horror about this deed was huge, very similar to today after Gaza. Everybody was surprised and disgusted, even perpetrators like Haganah and the Jewish Agency. A pattern came into being, the pattern of shooting and crying, i.e. killing with subsequent lament. This has worked: there have never been any consequences for Israel. The killings, the expropriations and the humiliation of the local population until today belong to the salient characteristics of Israeli politics. Nothing has changed.

 

At the end of 1948, large portions of Palestine were “Palestinian-free”, much more than the designated part of the land that the international community and the UN had granted to the Jews (with the explicit demand that the local people be treated well). We remember that the international community decided to give some land to the victims of the European genocide against the Jews and everybody was happy with the Palestine decision … except, of course, the people who lived in the region, because it was their land according to all international and logical standards. Weapons and myths (8) silenced them.

 

1948 was also the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December, when Israel was established on the blood of the Palestinians, the world celebrated the Human Rights and did not care about Palestinians. The world wanted human rights with exceptions, but this did not work. Now, sixty years later, we begin to understand that.

 

The Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state …

 

During its history, Israel has continued the Deir Yassin policy, and today there is less than 10 or 5 percent of the land left to the Palestinians. On global refugee days people do not talk about Palestinians, although they are the biggest group of refugees in the world with far over 5 million people. This works because Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims in general) are needed to fill the role of the anti-Semite which is substantial to the Zionist ideology.

 

It is, as if the world said: the Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state … Is it really surprising that we witness stunning similarities between the two today? (9) The Israeli population today is exactly confronted with the “final solution” subject now, because Israel cannot make peace on the one hand (this would imply justice for Palestinians, an unthinkable idea in Israel’s decision-making) and needs to end the conflict, on the other. With extremely violent politicians like Netanyahu and Lieberman the “transfer” plan comes closer, an idea to just expel Palestinians en masse like in the old days. Of course, if this happens, it will not mean peace, but more violence and even stronger resistance. So let your imagination fly and think about what a final solution could look like.

 

It is not known how many Palestinians must die before the world recognizes that they are human beings and not anti-Semites. Right now the killing goes on, the Gaza peak did not evoke a real criticism yet. Israel is encouraged to go on to see how far it can go. Do not think that this was it, do not think that Israel will now see that it cannot go on like this. The Zionists have learned that they can do anything with impunity. On March 22, 2009, a total of 14,000 tons of new US weapons arrived in Ashdod on the German cargo ship “MS Wehr Elbe” (owner: Oskar Wehr KG, Hamburg). (10) With these weapons alone, tens of thousands of people can be killed.

 

The Jewish state will collapse, like the Aryan state has collapsed, because both have the seed of self-destruction in them. Both are clearly racist, violent and expansionist in nature. This time it hits Arabs and Muslims instead of Jews. For over sixty years the international community has been blind to this fact, although it is so obvious that ordinary people know it and talk about it – not politicians or journalists or others who need the public.

 

Countries like Germany even have a “reason of state” to secure the persecution of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, calling it a “historical responsibility”. There is no other possible reason to introduce a reason of state if it was not for something highly illegal that needs to be hushed up.

 

We may still save the rest

 

The repressive tolerance of Western countries like Germany and the USA makes it possible to write all this down, because it usually has no “harmful” effects towards change. A lot of people think that – unlike the Nazi state – the Zionist state cannot be overcome by violence and thus will prevail. This is an error. Racist regimes of this ilk end up in self-destruction if they are not overcome from the outside. What is important now: we can still save lives. We cannot save the about 1,500 dead in Gaza anymore. But we may still save the rest.

 

At the end of May, the Free Gaza Movement will organize a flotilla of boats, the Hope Fleet, to break the siege of Gaza. You can support them. (11) The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is present in Palestine to shield Palestinians from the Zionist killers (12). You can support them and save lives. This is a critical phase and every hand is needed, every tongue and every cent. Boycott Zionists now! Take it seriously now! Boycott non-Israeli journalists and politicians who support the killing! Argue with them! Support those Jews who are committed against violence and for peace in Palestine. For the sake of humanity and of yourself: do not take part in this murder.

 


NOTES:
1. E.g. in the German “Spiegel”, “Israelische Armee: Gaza-Veteranen schockieren mit Aussagen über wahllose Morde.” by Ulrike Putz, Beirut,
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,614286,00.html
2.
See e.g. ‘Shooting and crying’, von Amos Harel, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html
3. See e.g. http://news.sky.com 20 March 2009, “Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings”, by Dominic Waghorn (URL too long)
4. Guardian 25 March 2009, “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s shame”, by Neve Gordon, http://www.redress.cc/palestine/ngordon20090327
5. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, 2006
6.
Markus A. Weingardt (2002): Deutsche Israel- und Nahostpolitik. p. 33
7. See e.g. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 June 2006 “‘Im Auftrag des Gewissens’. Begin war Drahtzieher des Adenauer-Attentats”, www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
8. Myths like “A land without a people for a people without land”, “Arab aggressions/ David vs. Goliath”, “anti-Semitic Arabs/Muslims”, Palestinian Nazi cooperation (it was far less effective than Zionist Nazi cooperation), Arab military superiority (Jordan was the only country with a decent army then, and the Jordanian king was successfully promised a part of the prey, namely the West Bank); also see John Rose (2004), “Myths of Zionism”
9. This comparison is still forbidden in the mainstream, “for the security of Israel”, but it is as obvious as it is founded and necessary. See my essay “The Second Case”, Feb. 5, 2009, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/23.htm
10. Amnesty International, Press Release, April 1, 2009, United States Delivers Massive New Weapons Shipment to Israel, Confirmed by Pentagon, Says Amnesty International, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e (NB: The German government is co-guilty, cf. (in German): http://www.radio-utopie.de/2009/01/23/Bundesregierung-dementiert-Wissen-ueber-Waffentransport-nach-Israel-Chronologie-der-Wehr-Elbe-Affaere)
11. See press release and updates at www.freegaza.org
12. http://palsolidarity.org

 

SOURCE: http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/804-shooting-and-crying-nothing-new-since-1948–or-is-it

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Research by exiled Palestinian journalist Iqbal Tamimi

 

Introduction 

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

 

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

 

Early photography in Palestine

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Palestinian women photojournalists now 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bibliography

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

WRITTEN BY IQBAL TAMIMI
Since the first minute the Zionists arrived in Palestine during the first half of the 1900s their policy was clear, it was to empty the land of its indigenous people and house immigrant Jews in their place. Almost 6 million Palestinians are now scattered all over the world as refugees since then, and hundreds of thousands were massacred and housed under the soil for resisting to abandon their home land.

The Telegraph published an article 5 Feb 2009 by Damien McElroy titled Britain offers to accept Palestinians who fled Iraq (30 widows with children!)

The article is about efforts to resettle Palestinians who have been forced into squalid desert refugee camps on the Iraqi border in the hardest conditions including facing hazards of fires and floods that have claimed many lives such as the story of Ahmed Mohammad who lost his pregnant wife when a fire engulfed his tent last month. “The fire took seconds to burn and I could only rescue my son.” said Ahmad. There are more than 800,000 Palestinian refugees still living in Syria and 224,000 are registered with the UN as refugees.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/4527498/Britain-offers-to-accept-Palestinians-who-fled-Iraq.html

many Palestinians were never granted citizenship in the countries they fled to, they and their offspring are scattered now all over the world from Europe to Chile. Governments like that of the UK have a moral obligation towards those Palestinian refugees for two reasons: the first is due to the British government’s role and policies since the Balfour Declaration which was a direct contributor to the Palestinians’ misery, and the second is its role in the Iraqi war that ended up with forcing the refugee Palestinians of Iraq to become refugees again. But still a solution like accepting 30 widows is not going to be the perfect solution. These Palestinian widows from the Tanf refugee camp in the desert must be grateful for this kind gesture, but this action solves the problem of 30 widows only, thus discriminating against male refugees who are as much victims as women. Men like 81-year-old Mahmoud Abdul who fled Haifa in 1948 from Palestine to Baghdad, then Amman, Damascus and now again he is with many other Palestinian refugees are in the no-man’s land holding tight to one dream only, they want to be citizens where they can set up homes and feel no one can take that home away from them. Saving the lives of 30 widows is a drop in the ocean regarding solving the problem of 6 million refugees. And we should not brag about accepting to rescue 30 widows after causing 6 million people become exiled and refugees.

Solving the problem of 30 widows or ‘spearheading’ this attempt as the Telegraph has called it, is not good enough, year after year Israel has been forcing more Palestinians to become refugees by enforcing different methods of pressure and expulsion. Even though Palestinians are grateful for such generous gestures they would rather be home in their own properties, taking care of their lands and feeling dignified instead of feeling like a heavy guest.

The new effort to resettle Palestinian refugees outside Palestine is another attempt to patch another hole Israel punctured while being sure that other countries should find a way to mend. Since 1948 Israel has been expelling Palestinians from their country, thus entering the circle of displacement over and over again. The only suggestion Israel keeps coming with is why don’t other Arab countries accommodate them? This is the most ridiculous statement made to escape the blame and dumb problems created by its policies of expanding occupation on other people’s steps. Israel’s continuous suggestions that the Palestinians should be absorbed by other Arab speaking countries is the most ridiculous statement ever, sharing a language does not in any way give a valid reason to accept such responsibility, it would be like a great mixture of people invading Australia because their God told them Australia will always be theirs regardless of where they came from or when they embraced that religion, and then demanding the UK to take the Australian refugees in because they speak English.

The Telegraph was fishing in muddy waters when it said in its report “After turning a blind eye for years, Syria feels it has done enough. There has to be a resettlement solution that allows these people to resettle in a third country.” Why should Syria or any other Arab country solve a problem created by Israel with the blessing of USA and UK? Syria itself is suffering the Israeli aggression and occupation of its Golan Heights and the stealing of its water resources by Israel.

Israel is still refusing to declare its borders, and was and still is expanding illegally on Palestinian land, Israel is still turning a blind eye to the international community and a long list of UN resolutions demanding its withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land, Israel is still stealing the resources and lands and properties in the Occupied Territories and still gets away with it. The media shows every day Israel being defended by the USA and UK governments, and shows the friendly visits of top politicians visiting Israel on the Palestinian occupied land, yet emphasising Israel’s RIGHTS to live in peace, what a load of ridiculous heap of pathetic policies, they are visiting an occupied territory and yet demanding safety of the occupier not the victims. But one knows well that such visits are not returned back because most Israeli politicians are wanted for war crimes, and the people in the USA and UK have a different stand from that of their government and sympathise with the oppressed Palestinians. Should any Israeli official gamble with his life and visit the UK I am sure he will be executed by being stoned by hales of shoes by the citizens who showed great support and sympathy to the misery of Gaza people.

Should the UK not do something regarding Israel’s continuous policy of forcing Palestinians to exile, one day it will find itself facing the moral obligation of not only taking the 13,000 Palestinians who fled to Syria with faked Iraqi identities but much more than this figure. The UK and other European countries have to bear in mind that if Israel was not stopped by international collective effort, those countries will be forced to clean Israel’s mess, and pass this inheritance to the coming generations.