Thursday, December 21, 2006
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Banner in Downtown Montreal [Photo: Ron Saba Montreal Planet Magazine]
On Saturday, December 16th, 2006 Palestinian solidarity activists gathered on St. Catherine street in downtown Montreal to draw attention to a 2005 appeal from over 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations to, "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights."
Distributing information to curious Montrealers strolling downtown Montreal, members of the International Solidarity Movement [ISM] and Tadamon! appealed to curious onlookers to support the Palestinian call to boycott Israel.
Click HERE to Download / Listen to the report from EI.
This audio report was produced by Stefan Christoff of Tadmaon! for broadcast on CKUT Radio, 90.3fm in Montreal & Internet distribution through Electronic Intifada.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Listen to the show which runs about 53 minutes (.MP3 or Real Audio) and then feel free to comment.
I know that a re-United Palestine, secular and for all of it's people will not be easy, but it is something we NEED to do. It is the only way out of this mess...
Friday, December 15, 2006
Of course this decision will help all of those Israeli military officers in defending themselves against a slew of war crimes lawsuits filed against them in foreign courts.
Read the story
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The other day I read the story on Laila's blog...but couldn't get my mind around the atrocity of it until today when I visited Asad al Nimr's blog. I'm warning you that the pictures are a gruesome disfigurement of what should be three angelic children.
As some have speculated I fear that this was a "false flag" operation (see: Operation AJAX) meant to stimulate infighting amongst the Palestinian population.
Not only should Palestinians stand together, all peace loving human beings should stand together and condemn this atrocity and any to come.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
"No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over others," Mr Annan said, urging the US to respect human rights in its "war on terror". Click here to read more...
"Israel needs a wake up call": An interview with Ilan Pappe
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I have just discovered the book ONE COUNTRY: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse by Ali Abunimah, a fellow Palestinian now living in the US who among many things is a cofounder and editor of the website Electronic Intifada.
About the Book
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages on with relatively new leadership on both sides, we are led to ask what has become a perennial yet only more urgent question -- will this conflict ever be resolved in a way that will finally bring peace to the region? This fall, Metropolitan Books published one of the most controversial approaches to a resolution. Noted expert on the topic and the son of Palestinians who fled the country in 1948, Ali Abunimah makes the radical argument that what is needed is one state shared by Palestinians and Israelis in his new book, ONE COUNTRY: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books; November 2006).
Clear-eyed, sharply reasoned, and compassionate, ONE COUNTRY revives an old and neglected idea of sharing the country. Although living together might seem impossible, Abunimah shows how Israelis and Palestinians are by now so intertwined -- geographically and economically -- that no kind of separation can lead to the security Israelis need or the rights Palestinians must have. He reveals the bankruptcy of the two-state approach, takes on the objections and taboos that stand in the way of a binational solution, demonstrates that sharing the territory will bring benefits for all, and asserts that the country can remain a homeland for both Jews and Palestinians. The absence of any other workable option can only lead to ever-greater extremism; it is time, Abunimah suggests, for Palestinians and Israelis to imagine a different future and a different relationship.
More urgent than ever, ONE COUNTRY is a provocative approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and one that is certain to cause a stir on all sides.
I believe it takes great courage to end the current cycle of: fear > hatred > war > terrorism > fear > hatred > war ....etc. The only way to get off this track is to try something different...a FREE and re-United Palestine, a secular country for ALL.
Buy the book in Canada
Buy the book in the U.K.
Buy the book in the United States
NOTE: I feel that my blog has gone too far into the political realm which was never my intention. As part of my effort to bring things back to my story of a Palestinian living in exile I give you this post and hope you will understand my sadness (and sometimes anger) over having to leave my ancestral home because of faulty politics, please consider this a new beginning.
Call me Abu-Issa. I was born in Jerusalem, Palestine in the mid-60's (vagueness for my protection). This is a picture of the hospital I was born into the world from. The Augusta Victoria Hospital which is on the Mount of Olives just East of the Old City. I like this picture because it shows the hospital in the winter with a light dusting of snow something which I have grown very accustomed to here in my new home, Montreal, Canada.
The Augusta Victoria Hospital was formally a German hospice. Named after
the wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who visited Jerusalem in 1898 and
built the hospital for German Pilgrims. You can see the Judea Desert in the
background of this photo, behind the photographer would be a breathtaking
view of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem's visual centerpiece. Since 1950
the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) has been a project of the Lutheran World
Federation. It's main task has been to provide services for Palestinian
Refugees in cooperation with UNRWA, the United Nations agency that has
been responsible for the refugee-programs in the region since 1948. Today,
the hospital continues to develop services for the Palestinian community,
mostly on a charitable basis.
The sad truth is that I have never been back to this hospital, ever, not even
for the birth of my younger brother (there was an Israeli curfew in effect at
the time, which will be another story for another post). The work they do
there is invaluable to the people of Palestine. (And please note that when
I say "the people of Palestine" I mean ALL the people of Palestine:
Muslims, Christians and Jews). You can support their work by contacting
Augusta Victoria Hospital
P.O. Box 19178
Monday, December 04, 2006
The next big question is who will replace him? Another neo-con or how about a Muslim?? Now that would be fantastic wouldn't it, a Muslim representing the United States at the UN.
Well, it is a serious consideration. Zalmay Khalilzad, the current US Ambassador for Iraq is one of those being considered. The Afghan-born Mr. Khalilzad would be the first Muslim-American to hold the post and in my mind would certainly represent the new (changing) face of the U.S. to the world. Considering that Islam is not only the world's second largest religion, it also is the second largest in the U.S. and is growing at the fastest rate and that more than three-quarters of American Muslims were born there, Khalilzad would be the best choice. And I can just imagine what the Islamophobists like Michele Malkin would say..."they're taking over", "run for your lives!".
Seriously, it would certainly disarm the Jihadist argument against the United States, wouldn't it?
Read more here and then let me know what you would think of a Muslim representing "The West".
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I have a new friend, Dandoon, a Palestinian lady who actually lives here in Montreal. Visit her blog.
Her most recent post has inspired me to get back to the roots of this blog as the emotional clearing house of a Palestinian living in Montreal. Now, I'm not saying I will stop discussing and exploring the political side of why I am here in this beautiful city, just that I will try to focus again more on the emotional side of what it is to be a Palestinian...who is not allowed to return home to Palestine...for now...
Monday, November 27, 2006
Before you read this post please read Part 1. It is important to get a full and complete understanding of the similarities and differences of the Israeli Apartheid versus the South African Apartheid. This article will deal with the DIS-similarities of the two, that said...read on!
First of all, what are key differences between South African apartheid and Israel’s policies toward its Palestinian citizens?
I will concede without a fight that in Israel, there is a lack of formalized separation of the kind practiced in apartheid South Africa. Another key difference is that while white South Africans sought to exploit the labour of the nonwhite community under apartheid, Israel has more often sought to displace Palestinians from as much of their land as possible and keep the land for Jewish use.
Land confiscation began in 1948 and has continued ever since. In 1948, approximately 750,000 Palestinians (three-fourths of the Palestinian population) were either forcibly expelled by Israeli troops or fled in fear during the war. Israel bulldozed over 450 Palestinian villages into the ground and took over other freshly 'evacuated' villages for Jewish settlement. Confiscation of private property of Palestinian citizens of Israel continues to this day.
Beginning in 1967, confiscation of Palestinian land extended to the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, and especially Occupied East Jerusalem which is where I am from. In the Occupied Territories, Israel has seized private Palestinian property, built hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements and expelled Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza.
Here's one of the 'technical problems' posed by Israeli friends who have written to me: Is it fair to consider Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza a form of apartheid, when these areas are not 'technically' part of Israel?
Well, in the early years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it might have been unfair to regard its system of military government of the regions as a form of apartheid; discriminatory policies against the Palestinians might have been viewed as a temporary incident of the armed conflict in 1967 and its aftermath.
But Israel has now maintained control over these territories for nearly forty years, a period two-thirds as long as Israel’s entire history as a country (58 years as I write this). Even after the 2005 withdrawal of Jewish settlers from Gaza, Israel continues to control entry and exit of all people and goods and in other ways continues to determine the fate of Gaza Palestinians, I urge you to read my friends blog Raising Yousuf for all the day-today trials. Moreover, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, and announced its desire to permanently control up to nearly half of the West Bank, possibly including the Jordan Valley. For all intents and purposes, Israel and the Palestinian territories it controls have functioned as one integrated economic and political unit. It is no longer possible to view an occupation of such long duration as a “temporary phenomenon”.
It is in its administration of these territories that Israel exhibits the strongest parallels to apartheid.
- Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have even fewer rights and freedoms than those with Israeli citizenship. They have no political voice in Israel, even though Israel effectively rules their lives.
- Separation and discrimination is most apparent in the two distinct legal systems applicable to Jews and Palestinians – Israeli Jews illegally living in the West Bank are subject only to Israeli laws, and enjoy the right to vote, and the right to travel within Israel and abroad. Palestinians living in the same territory cannot avail themselves of Israeli law, have no right to vote in Israeli elections and can travel freely neither within Israel nor abroad.
- An extensive road system built by Israel throughout the West Bank that Palestinians are forbidden to use. These Israeli-only roads bisect Palestinian land and impede West Bank Palestinians’ freedom of movement. That's right 'special roads' that Palestinians are not allowed to use.
- Palestinians in the West Bank often require permission simply to travel from one village to the next, and must pass through numerous Israeli military checkpoints. This is reminiscent of South Africa’s infamous “pass system” which controlled the movement of blacks.
Israel has begun to confine Palestinians to small, encircled enclaves in the West Bank similar to the infamous “Bantustans” that South Africa created for blacks.
- Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza do have the right to vote for the Palestinian Authority, but that body has only the trappings of sovereignty – postage stamps, passports, a police force – and lacks real power. The Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction over Israeli settlers and settlements in the West Bank, borders, airspace, water resources, its population registry and numerous other spheres that regularly fall under government control like tax collection.
- Although occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem was illegally annexed by Israel. The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are not citizens of Israel, only "legal residents" who must regularly prove connections to Jerusalem in order to continue to reside there. They face enormous legal obstacles to family unification and unequal access to housing, municipal services and other social benefits. They are treated as the equivalent of "foreign guests in their own country", without the right to vote in national elections.
Another one of the disputed ideas is Palestinians calling Israel’s “security barrier” the “apartheid wall”. This wall, which physically dwarfs the former Berlin wall, secures Israel’s control over confiscated Palestinian land and separates Palestinian communities from each other. Special regulations require Palestinians to obtain permits even to approach the wall in some areas, while Jewish people are able to enter these same areas unrestricted.
If the sole purpose of building the wall had been to provide security for Israelis, it would have been built along the internationally recognized 1967 border (the “Green Line”); instead, it has been built on Palestinian land and in some instances right through the middle of Palestinian towns. Its additional result is to maximize Israeli control over Palestinian land, thus guaranteeing Jewish demographic predominance within areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank that Israel hopes to retain.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall is illegal and must be dismantled, and ordered Israel to compensate Palestinians damaged by the wall's construction. It also called upon third-party states to ensure Israel's compliance with the judgment.
The world opposed South Africa’s racist government and imposed sanctions on it (except for Israel, which maintained a close relationship with apartheid South Africa). Much of the world deplores Israel’s institutionalized discrimination. The U.S. government is aware of Israel’s record of discrimination, as its State Department reports demonstrate (see Part 1). But U.S. political leaders, to date, have not required Israel – for example, by placing conditions on economic or military aid – to abandon its discriminatory policies against Palestinians.
I believe this - Jewish nation in Palestine - 'experiment' has been a dismal failure and we need to admit that in order to move forward. The amount of money and energy spent to keep the people of Palestine (Jews, Muslims, Christians) apart can be better used. The 10's of millions dollars spent should be used to integrate the two populations through social programs, education and whatever other means possible and not to keep them apart.
The two state solution is NOT a solution. Opening the door to understanding between the European Jewish refugees (and their descendants) and the indigenous population of Palestine is the only solution.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
This is taken from another blog I frequent for spiritual inspiration:
"Choose to be Free"
by Velcrow Ripper
"Recently one of the comments on my blog stated - ‘one doesn’t choose to be free.’ Kind of like the idea that we are already enlightened, we just need to recognize that we are. Most certainly we are born free - then slowly, we begin to build our prisons, with more than a little help from society. We take a journey in life, away from the kingdom, out into the world, yet one day we can return to freedom.
Freedom, like love, is a choice. We choose to love - though sometimes it seems to just magically appear - falling in love - but we need to create the conditions. We need to open our hearts, our souls even, to the possibility.
Free will is a great gift. What a different game this life would be if humans were forced to be good, forced to do the right thing. How much more meaningful it is when we take the steps ourselves, when we choose liberation, when we choose to unpack all the filters and cultural limitations that stand in the way of us and freedom. I’m not talking about the kind of freedom George Bush is always going on about - his greatly touted freedom, for which he will lay waste to thousands of innocent humans - is by and large a chimera. Freedom does not mean the right to buy more stuff. Freedom does not mean another 100 channels of television.
Freedom means a heart, soul and mind that is liberated from illusion. Liberated from the controlling clutches of the ego. Liberated from the unconscious drives of hatred, agression, fear, desire, attachment, desperate grasping, that turns us into puppets on a string. The pupeteer is the ego. Cut the strings, and you will be free. Free from the constant looping refrains of the past, and free from the desperate striving for the future. Freedom is, in fact, surrender. Surrender, unconditionally, to what ‘is.’ A human being in a prison cell on death row has the ability to be free. It’s not conditional on circumstance. In fact, time and again I have seen incredible breakthroughs happen in the hearts of those who have every reason to contract into a tight ball of fear. For some, the opposite happens in the face of crisis - an opening magically occurs, and true freedom is experienced. Victor Frankl, in Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote that everything can be taken away from us but one thing - the freedom to choose the way we respond to whatever comes our way. He was referring, in this case, to those remarkable survivors of Auschwitz who were somehow able to come through with their spirits intact,and even transformed. With these kind of remarkable examples, how can we, in our own lives, with our own smaller (though by no means unimportant problems), not choose to be free? And once we are free, once we are truly autonomous, we will very naturally be impelled to take action in this world to help others become free, in whatever way is our own true path. Choose to be free - the planet is depending on you."
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I have been chastised many times, on this blog and by people around me who are disgusted that I should refer to their beloved Israel in the same way as the world referred to the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Also, seeing that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has released his new book on the subject ("Palestine Peace Not Apartheid") I feel now is the time for a direct explanation of this idea. Let me be clear I do not believe in the two state solution as does the former President and as such do not fully endorse his idea of peace in Palestine. I believe the only solution is a FREE and United Palestine. Now to the subject at hand.
First of all what exactly IS apartheid? “Apartheid” (literally means "apartness" in Afrikaans and Dutch) and it refers to the official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites and, more broadly to any social system that separates and discriminates against people based on race or ethnicity, especially when that system is institutionalized by laws or decrees.
The big question with regards to this post is why do many people consider Israel to practice "apartheid"? Admittedly, Israel and South Africa are different in many ways (which will be discussed in Part 2 of this post). However, there is ample evidence that Israeli policies meet the broader definition of apartheid by separating and discriminating against Palestinian Arabs, through systems that are institutionalized by laws and decrees. Some of these policies bear resemblance to South Africa during its apartheid era.
Since its inception 58 years ago, Israel has striven to establish and maintain a strong Jewish majority within the state, treating the ratio of Jews to non-Jews as a national security issue. Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Threats, Avigdor Lieberman, considers the Palestinian citizens of Israel to be a great “demographic threat” facing Israel.
Over the years, Lieberman has advocated ridding Israel of its indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. He said in a November 5th 2006 interview with the Sunday Telegraph that Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population, were a "problem" that requires "separation" from the state. He added, "We established Israel as a Jewish country. I want to provide an Israel that is a Jewish, Zionist country. It's about what kind of country we want to see in the future. Either it will be an [ethnically mixed] country like any other, or it will continue as a Jewish country."
Many Israeli policies -- from the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian Christians and Muslims in Israel’s founding years and the denial of their internationally-recognized rights to return to their homes, to the route of Israel’s current “security barrier” -- are designed to preserve Jewish demographic predominance.
This has led to discriminatory policies against all major categories of Palestinians either living under or affected by Israeli rule, including Palestinian refugees in exile such as myself.
Yes, as a Palestinian living in exile this Apartheid system also discriminates against me!
It's true that “apartheid” typically involves considerations of how states govern and treat residents of territories under their control. Israel, however, has exercised discriminatory policies in determining who may live within the country and who may not. Thus, Palestinians who had lived continuously on their land for generations were forcibly expelled or fled in fear from their homes in areas that fell under Israeli control and have never been allowed to return. Their continued exclusion has helped Israel remain a predominantly Jewish state. Meanwhile, Israel’s Law of Return grants rights of automatic citizenship to Jews all over the world – a measure used to stimulate Jewish immigration and thereby bolster Jewish demographic predominance.
To clarify, at this point in time Israel today rules over:
- 4.6 million Jewish citizens
- 1.3 million Palestinian Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel (sometimes referred to as Israeli Arabs)
- 0.5 million citizens who are neither Jewish nor Arab
- 3.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
Jewish Israelis have greater rights and freedoms than Palestinian citizens of Israel. Although Palestinian citizens of Israel have the right to vote and run for office, they face de jure and de facto discrimination in many areas of life.
More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. These include:
- The Law of Return which grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians
- The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty which defines Israel as a “Jewish” state rather than a state for all its citizens.
According to the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report:
“[There is] institutionalized legal and societal discrimination against Israel's Christian, Muslim and Druze citizens. The government does not provide Israeli Arabs with the same quality of education, housing, employment and social services as Jews."For example:
* Ninety-three per cent of the land in Israel is owned either by the state or by quasi-governmental agencies (such as the Jewish National Fund) that discriminate against non-Jews. Palestinian citizens of Israel face significant legal obstacles in gaining access to this land for agriculture, residence, or commercial development.
* Most non-Jewish children attend schools that are “separate and unequal” in comparison to those attended by Jewish Israeli children. Government budgets allocate far more money for the Jewish schools.
* Many towns in Israel with a majority Palestinian population lack basic services and receive significantly less government funding than do majority-Jewish towns. In fact, more than seventy Palestinian villages and communities in Israel, some of which pre-date the establishment of Israel, are unrecognized by the government receive no services, and are not even listed on official maps.
* The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law prevents Palestinians from the Occupied Territories who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel from gaining residency or citizenship status. The law forces thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to either leave Israel or live apart from their families. Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the law when petitioned by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and other groups.
* Many Jewish Israelis express racist attitudes toward Palestinians and other Arabs:
- A recent poll revealed that two-thirds of Israelis favor segregated housing, nearly half would not allow an Arab into their home, and 40% support government policies to encourage emigration by Palestinian citizens of Israel.
- Israeli public school textbooks depict Palestinians and other Arabs in a derogatory fashion.
- Israeli political figures openly denigrate Palestinians:
+ Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of Shas, the third largest party in Israel’s Knesset, said that "most people know the Arabs are snakes...and snakes should be dealt with like snakes." (Maariv, 7/12/2001).
+ Knesset member and former Minister Efraim Eitam called the Palestinian citizens of Israel “a ticking time bomb” and said that they “resemble a cancerous growth…We shall have to consider the ability of the Israeli democracy to continue the Arabs' participation.” (Haaretz, 3/22/2002)
I will continue with part 2 of this post with the key DIFFERENCES between South African Apartheid and Israel’s policies toward its Palestinian citizens...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Here's one that hasn't been picked up by any Western Media yet:
Hamas Promotes Israel Truce in Europe
CAIRO — A delegation from the ruling Palestinian movement has recently embarked on a European tour, including London and Belfast, to market a long-term truce with Israel in return for its withdrawal to the 1967 borders, recognition of the right of refugees to return to their homeland and the release of detainees in its jail, a top aid to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said.
"We visited London recently and are scheduled to visit a number of other European capitals to promote this truce, which is similar to the one championed by Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin before Israel assassinated him in March 2004," Ahmad Yusuf told IslamOnline.net.
He was accompanied by Hams MP Sayed Abu Masameh on a ten-day unannounced visit to London.
Yusuf, who leads the delegation in its multi-leg tour, said the proposal has appealed to British officials who pledged to help market it.
"We told the Europeans that Muslims have been known for honoring their promises throughout the centuries and that the truce is a religious commitment and a political vision to resolve the conflict," he said.
The Hams official said the delegation has also met with European Union officials and "American figures".
"They promised us to reconsider their position on Hamas and start a dialogue in a prelude to remove the resistance movement in the future from the EU terror list."
Yusuf declined to name the European officials who met the Hamas delegation but said they are close to the quartet committee for Middle East peace, which comprises the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
"American dignitaries have also talked wit us about the truce as a mechanism to stabilize the region for the time being until we reach final and just settlement to the conflict," he added.
Yusuf expected that the Hamas-European dialogue would expand to include several EU countries.
"This dialogue could pave the way for in-depth talks with the US administration," he said.EU officials could not be reached for comment on the Hamas talks.
Yusuf said the delegation told the Europeans that Hamas cannot recognize Israel under such international circumstances, which deny the Palestinians their inalienable rights.
"Israel does not recognize our right to exist and our basic rights have not been fulfilled, not to mention other pending issues like the holy city of Al-Quds and the refugees," he added.
"We told them that Palestinian rights must be addressed first before reaching a settlement with Israel."
British officials, according to Yusuf, vowed to work on lifting the international blockade on the Palestinians and enhance dialogue with Hamas following the formation of a national unity government.
"The Europeans told us to prepare a list of Hamas cadres who can travel to EU countries to talk with clerics, MPs and politicians about the Palestinian cause and Hamas's platform," Yusuf said.
Talks between rival Palestinian factions on forming a unity government hit new snags on Monday.
An advisor to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced that talks between the parties had been suspended.
On the delegation's visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Yusuf said they met with a group of British negotiators to make use of their expertise in mediating between the Catholics and the Protestants.
"The talks with leaders from the Irish Republican Army were very much useful," he said, adding that the delegation invited Irish officials to visit the occupied Palestinian territories to have a first-hand experience.
He continued: "I think the European officials who visited the region have realized the Islamists can be a partner and that's why they had talks with some of Islamist figures."
Yusuf categorically denied Israeli reports that the delegation had met with Jewish figures in London.
"We met only Members of Parliament and peers during the London visit," he said.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero announced last week that France, Italy and Spain were seeking a ceasefire, an exchange of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners, a Palestinian national unity government and the dispatch of a fact-finding mission to the Palestinian territories.
The peace initiative, however, was snubbed by Israel, which called the Spanish endeavor "hasty."
Thursday, November 16, 2006
My goal here has always been to give my opinion of things and the background going on in the Arab World specifically to do with Palestine. Yesterday, that goal became much easier. Al Jazeera English has gone live! If your cable company does not carry it, demand it first of all OR get the feed off the internet here.
I hope that this channel becomes a trusted tool for understanding what is really happening in the Middle East and it's historical underpinnings.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Pay close attention when Noam talks about coming away from a rather extreme operation and then hearing on the radio news how it was being down played to the Israeli public. I think if Israelis truly understood what they were doing (and have done) to the Palestinian people they would be appalled!
The truth is there...now YOU have the choice to speak out.
Watch this and feel what the Palestinian frustration is...then visit the Breaking the Silence website.
Monday, November 13, 2006
A cross-cultural group of 20 prominent world figures has called for urgent efforts to heal the growing divide between Muslim and Western societies.
The chief causes of the rift are not religion or history, they say, but recent political developments, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Their findings were presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at a ceremony in Istanbul on today.
No other dispute had such a symbolic or emotional impact on people, he said.
"We may wish to think of the Arab -Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict among many. But it is not," Mr Annan said.
"As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation, and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses and in dances halls, so long will passions everywhere be inflamed."
The Alliance of Civilisations, which includes Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, dismisses the notion that a clash of civilisations is inevitable, but says that swift action is needed.
The group argues that the need to build bridges between Muslim and Western societies has never been greater.
They say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with Western military interventions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, contributes significantly to the growing sense of resentment and mistrust that mars relations among communities.Please take the time to download the report, read it (it's only 39 pages) and then forward it to your friends.
Download: Alliance of Civilizations Report [.PDF 431 k]
Learn more about the organization here: http://www.unaoc.org/
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I have often been asked by people on this blog and from friends why do Palestinians always have to be violent? And I have always responded that "if it bleeds it leads". Just because the media decides to go with the most dramatic (if not one sided) story doesn't mean peaceful resistance among Palestinians is not happening. Recent case in point last week in besieged Bait Hanun women showed there is another way and they paid for it with their lives, 2 dead and 6 injured.
A twelve-year old by the name of Ibrahim Ghazi Beit-Ilo was hit in the neck by shrapnel from a live bullet following a peaceful protest march against the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in October 27th. He underwent surgery at the Ramallah goverment hospital and the shrapnel was successfully removed. Another 16 people were injured by shrapnel from exploding tear gas and sound bomb cannisters or were beaten with military truncheons. [Read].
Or how about this candle light vigil in Gaza.
Not to mention all of the other peaceful demonstrations happening around the world that are out of the reach of the IDF, many of which I have participated in. Technically this very blog is an act of peaceful resistance, the sad fact is that I need to hide behind a pseudonym for my own protection.
What Zionists miscalculated in planning the resurrection of the ancient Kingdom of Israel is that simply for Palestinians to exist is to resist...what I fear however is Israel's plan to correct this miscalculation most recently with "Summer Rain" and now with "Autumn Clouds".
Friday, November 03, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Here is some additional reading for you after watching the video: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
Do the right thing and click the 'Share' button in the bottom right corner of the video below.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"When we [followers of the prophetic Judaism] returned to Palestine...the majority of Jewish people preferred to learn from Hitler rather than from us." Martin Buber, to a New York audience, Jewish Newsletter, June 2, 1958.
"We Created Terror Among the Arabs"
The Deir Yassin Massacre
By WILLIAM MARTIN
On April 9, 1948, members of the underground Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, or IZL, led by Menachem Begin, who was to become the Israeli prime minister in 1977, entered the peaceful Arab village of Deir Yassin, massacred 250 men, women, children and the elderly, and stuffed many of the bodies down wells. There were also reports of rapes and mutilations. The Irgun was joined by the Jewish terrorist group, the Stern Gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir, who subsequently succeeded Begin as prime minister of
The massacre at Deir Yassin was widely publicized by the terrorists and the numerous heaped corpses displayed to the media. In Jaffe, which was at the time 98 percent Arab, as well as in other Arab communities, speaker trucks drove through the streets warning the population to flee and threatening another Deir Yassin. Begin said at the time, "We created terror among the Arabs and all the villages around. In one blow, we changed the strategic situation."
From about 1938 on to the founding of
But Deir Yassin was not the only massacre by the Israeli Defense Force. That army, under Moshe Dayan, took the unarmed and undefended village of al-Dawazyma, located in the
We read further. According to Yitzhak Rabin's biography:
We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Alon repeated his question: "What is to be done with the population?" BG waved his hand in a gesture, which said: Drive them out! ... I agreed that it was essential to drive the inhabitants out.
Continuing the narrative,
At 13.30 hours on 12 July ... Lieutenant-Colonel Yitzhak Rabin, operation Dani head Operation, issued the following order: '1. The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly without attention to age. They should be directed to Beit Nabala,... Implement Immediately.' A similar order was issued at the same time to the Kiryati Brigade concerning the inhabitants of the neighboring town of
About noon on 13 July, Operation Dani HQ informed IDF General Staff/Operations: 'Lydda police fort has been captured. [The troops] are busy expelling the inhabitants.... Lydda's inhabitants were forced to walk eastward to the Arab legion lines; many of Ramle's inhabitants were ferried in trucks or buses. Clogging the roads... the tens of thousands of refugees marched, gradually shedding their worldly goods along the way. It was a hot summer day. The Arab chroniclers, such as Sheikh Muhammed Nimr al Khatib, claimed that hundreds of children died in the march, from dehydration and disease. One Israeli witness described the spoor: the refugee column 'to begin with [jettisoned] utensils and furniture and, in the end, bodies of men, women, and children.
There were many other such villages with Arabic names that have almost been expunged from memory--but not quite. These facts have always been known to some historians, however they have been consistently denied by the official Israeli histories, as, indeed,
Within the last 10 to 20 years, however, there has been an exponential increase in historical studies of the origins of the state of Israel which have coincided with the release by Israel of many, but not all, of the historical and military archives. Ben-Gurion University historian Benny Morris, as well as others, have systematically mined these documents and found numerous instances of massacres, and, by the way, not one shred of evidence for the frequently repeated official Israeli lie that the Palestinians fled Palestine because the surrounding Arab states told them to.
In fact, according to UN estimates, which some say are conservative, 750,000 Palestinians fled the site of the present Jewish state in 1948. Those refugees and their descendents now number about 4.5 million and constitute the largest and longest standing refugee population in the world. Many live in squalid refugee camps distributed in the surrounding Arab states or in the West Bank or Gaza, many retain the titles to their land, recognized by the British before 1948 or the Ottomans before that , and many retain the keys to their front doors of their former homes in what is now Israel, whether or not those doors still exists.
The '67 War generated a second wave of about 300,000 refugees from the West Bank and
The reader is invited to read the Hagana's Plan D , which has been available in English since the 1960s and was a military strategy of 1948 that entailed the evacuation of the Palestinian population from the areas of a future Jewish state.
Those who invoke the suicide bombings against mostly Israeli civilians to infer the righteousness of the Israeli cause live in a twilight of psychic denial of an otherwise unambiguous historical record: the state of
The suicide bombings inside
There will never be a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until Israel takes responsibility, under U.N. Resolution 194, calling for reparation of the Palestinian refugees, and recognizes the immense suffering it caused at that time. We need also to recognize the
William James Martin is a visiting Instructor of Mathematics at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Friday, October 13, 2006
This is crazy. An organization called the Israel Law Center is offering Israeli tourists and locals what they call the "Ultimate Mission" -- an eight-day James Bond style adventure behind the scenes of Israel's conflict with Palestinians! It'll cost you about $2,000 bucks but the money goes to sue countries the group accuses of militant links against Israel. Participants are promised briefings from Israeli spies, a visit to a West Bank checkpoint, tours of the Lebanese frontlines and trips in light aircraft over northern Israel. The flyers read: "Experience a dynamic and intensive eight-day exploration of Israel's struggle for survival and security in the Middle East today." The only thing more ridiculous is people are doing it. Organizers say they have about 30 to 50 people a day signing up!
This group "in the name of justice" have turned the entire Palestinian struggle into a game of ultimate paintball!!
In case you think I'm making this up click here.
And if you're a Christian Zionist don't miss the The Christian Zionist Mission.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Palestinian Muslims are currently joining the faithful the world over in denying themselves food between sunrise and sundown. But while most Muslims elsewhere break their Ramadan fast with sumptuous iftar meals, those unfortunate enough to live in the West Bank and Gaza are finding that they have less and less to put on the table come nightfall. That's because they remain under a financial siege imposed by Israel, the U.S. and Europe, in the hope of forcing Hamas, the Palestinian ruling party, to recognize Israel. The premise of the siege strategy appears to be that by increasing Palestinian misery, domestic pressure will mount on Hamas to submit or quit.
But such collective punishment may be as misguided as it is cruel; even if it did work, any "recognition" achieved this way would mean little in the pursuit of peace. An authoritative Palestinian polling organization last week released telling findings on Palestinian public opinion in the West Bank and Gaza. It found 54% of voters dissatisfied with Hamas's performance in government, the figure rising to 69% when it came to financial matters such as payment of salaries. Only 38% would vote for Hamas in an election now. But when asked whether Hamas should submit to the Western demand that it recognize Israel, 67% said no.
Clearly, it's not simply some extreme Islamist fringe that favors withholding recognition -- it's a majority consensus that includes many of the voters of President Mahmoud Abbas's own Fatah party. In part, as Israeli commentator Danny Rubinstein notes, that reflects a widely held belief among Palestinians that "Yasser Arafat and the PLO recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement and what did they gain from that? Only suffering and misfortune." In fact, as Rubinstein notes, the settler population in the West Bank actually doubled during the Oslo years.
Even the Arab League proposal that Abbas is demanding Hamas accept as the basis for a unity government offers only conditional recognition â€” the Arab states would normalize relations with Israel if it agrees to withdraw to its 1967 borders. Hamas likes to dodge the issue by pointing out that Israel has no intention of doing that.
The question of recognizing Israel is difficult for Hamas or any other Palestinian organization, ultimately, because of the meaning of Israel in the Palestinian national story. In the Western and Israeli narrative, Israel's creation is seen as redress for centuries of Jewish suffering in Europe culminating in the Holocaust. In the Palestinian and Arab narrative, Israel's creation meant the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and another Arab humiliation at Western hands. So, while May 15 is celebrated by Israelis as Yom Haatzmaut (independence day), the Palestinians mark the same day as the somber anniversary of Al-Nakbah (the catastrophe), the moment when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost everything.
You can read the full article at TIME's website.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
"I have a scrap of paper that flew onto my roof. Typewritten and handwritten numbers, in the millions. A symbol of our tragedy. A symbol of our economic stranglehold. It smells like fire."
Is it me or if you tipped it down on the right...it actually looks like Iraq? Weird...
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Last night after having watched the replay of the events of 9/11 on CNN's Pipeline feed, I was listening to the NPR signal coming up from Vermont and heard a fantastic show. I sat there in my car and listened while silently hoping that everybody in the US was listening too. The show was "Speaking of Faith" which last night dealt with Islam and it's world image as a violent religion...which I know it is not. I invite you to listen to the show right here.
Listen to the Muslim point of view from other Arabs living in North America and realize the true nature of Islam.
Download the audio here: .MP3 - Real Audio
Visit the Speaking of Faith website here
Friday, September 01, 2006
I am a Christian and as such live every aspect of my life as best as I can, to represent the true message of Christ. No, I'm not a fanatic, born again, evangelical or Bible literalist. As a Palestinian Christian I draw great pride in being able to say I am a Christian from the land of Christ and as such am always concerned with those Christian's who choose to distort Christ's original message of peace. When I first discovered the idea of Christian Zionism I was stunned and appalled that any Christian could twist such a simple message of peace into...evil!
A couple of days ago the The Vatican's envoy in the Holy Land and bishops from three other churches launched a joint attack on the Christian Zionist movement, accusing it of promoting "racial exclusivity and perpetual war". The document is called: The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism which I have republished below.
Afterwards you can read Reuters take on the declaration here as published by Yahoo! online.
"THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM" - Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.
We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.
We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!
We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.
We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:
We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.
We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.
We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.
We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.
With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.
God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.
"What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our Land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace - and working for peace makes us children of God.
"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:19)
His Beattitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad,
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal,
Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Munib Younan,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
August 22, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
An interesting discussion broke out on another blog while discussing Canadian politics. It actually forced my eyes open to the plain truth that the George Bush White House is actually facist! Since then I've been running into articles that are helping me to sharpen my understanding of this including this article by Eric Margolis.
A moment ago I found this article that I thought I would share with you before George goes too far, the complete article can be read here.
Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?
by Thom Hartmann
In the years since George W. Bush first used 9/11 as his own "Reichstag fire" to gut the Constitution and enhance the power and wealth of his corporate cronies, many across the political spectrum have accused him and his Republican support group of being fascists.
On the right,The John Birch Society's website editor recently opined of the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretap program: "This is to say that from the administration's perspective, the president is, in effect, our living constitution. This is, in a specific and unmistakable sense, fascist."
On the left, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. specifically indicts the Bush administration for fascistic behavior in his book "Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy."
Genuine American fascists are on the run, and part of their survival strategy is to redefine the term "fascism" so it can't be applied to them any more. Most recently, George W. Bush said: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."
In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists who apparently perpetrated 9/11 and other crimes in Spain and the United Kingdom are advocating a fundamentalist theocracy, not fascism.
But theocracy - the merging of religion and government - is also on the plate for the new American fascists (just as it was for Hitler, who based the Nazi death cult on a "new Christianity" that would bring "a thousand years of peace"), so they don't want to use that term, either... more>>>
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Brutal Truth of the Palestine Situation
by Terrell E. Arnold, August 25th 2006
The Israeli Zionist dream for Palestine is coming true. Deprived of food, water, electricity, money, medical care, safety, leadership, and official outside help, the Palestinians are turning on each other as they struggle to survive. But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made it clear that this is only the beginning. “Nobody dies from not having electricity,” Olmert is said to have told his cabinet, and “no one in Gaza should sleep”. Emphasizing that last point, low-flying IDF jets break the sound barrier over Gaza virtually every night.
The Palestinian government disaster was deliberately contrived by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations. On top of this, the Israel Defense Force is conducting daily raids, bombings, attacks, kidnappings, and interference with human movements. The goal is to contrive the utter collapse of Palestinian society, while goading as many as possible into leaving, dying, or killing each other; it is doubtful that the Olmert government or its Zionist backers care which.
While the outside world has been more or less fixated on Lebanon, IDF forces and Mossad have been conducting intensive warfare and political harassment in Gaza and the West Bank. The Israelis have taken much of the parliament, many cabinet members, and the Deputy Prime Minister hostage, although they use the euphemism “arrest” for what they do. They have threatened to assassinate the Prime Minister and have bombed his and other government offices.
In the process they have progressively disassembled the democratically elected Palestinian Government by kidnappings, and it is doubtful that without an international outcry that so far has not been forthcoming, many of these prisoners will ever be released. Instead they may join the ranks of the estimated 10,000 Palestinian hostages the Israelis have held without charge for many years.
Westerners, particularly Americans, should get the goal for this carefully programmed nightmare in Palestine clearly into their heads. It is not to punish the Palestinians for taking an Israeli soldier prisoner. It is not about the sporadic delivery of home-made rockets into Israeli territory that seldom produces casualties. It is not about the occasional body-bomber who detonates himself or herself on an Israeli bus or street with bloody consequences.
Those events actually serve as Israeli game plan window dressing. Anyone who has been watching closely knows that the objective is to assure that the Palestinians never get near a negotiating table. The Zionist government and its close supporters, many Israelis, and many American supporters of it, want all of Palestine as part of Israel, but Israel cannot go on taking Palestine bit by bit if the Palestinians are prepared to negotiate. Nor can they go on with an occupation that is designed slowly to swallow the rest of Palestine unless the Palestinians continue to fight back. As Patrick Seale commented in the Guardian in early July, “Palestinian moderates are Israel’s real enemies.”
This Israeli scenario is made specifically for an American market. In the midst of the Israeli destruction of Lebanon, a noise level that masked equally concentrated violence against Palestine, top US political leadership, including more than 400 members of the House of Representatives, pledged unswerving allegiance and support to Israel. To be fair, that was not merely a total lack of interest in whatever happened to the Palestinians or the Lebanese; the real concern was about the November congressional elections and the power of the Jewish vote.
Under that order of political corruption, democracy is taking a criminal hit in Palestine. Having led a concentrated campaign to harass the Hamas government of Palestine out of office, the United States now looks blandly on–along with Western Europe and the UN–while Israel takes the freely elected Hamas government apart. Israel is doing that not because, as western media have put it, “Hamas is a terrorist organization”. The Israelis, whatever they say, do not really care about that; since the beginning, Israeli governments have often been led by terrorists, the most recent being Ariel Sharon before he was laid low by illness. The real concern is that from positions Hamas has put into the public domain, Israeli leadership has concluded that negotiating with Hamas could mean real concessions, essentially falling back to the 1967 green line and giving most of the West Bank and Gaza back to the Palestinians.
The brutal truth of the Palestine situation is that with hardly any visible objection–in fact with deliberate Western connivance–the world is watching an Israeli war crime in progress. While during the shooting phase of the late war both Lebanon and Palestine were being systematically destroyed, no UN resolution ever mentioned Palestine, and it is still being destroyed without letup.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Mahmoud Abbas during the run-up to a ceasefire resolution, but she paid no apparent attention to the fact that the democratically elected government of Palestine was being dismantled by Israel. Bland US pleas for moderation on both sides that followed her visit rang weirdly hollow. When the occupying and attacking power has the alleged fourth most powerful army in the world, while the people being attacked have no organized armed forces at all, such a plea is meaningless.
Hamas and Palestine have become a harsh study in intended consequences. It has been well advertised that the US, the Europeans, the UN and Israel want the Hamas government to fail. The denial of international assistance to that government and Israeli withholding of funds that belong to it started the Palestinian system to unraveling. Having had much of its physical infrastructure destroyed by the Israelis over the past four years, the Hamas government had little to work with, and Israeli destruction of power and water facilities in July-August pretty much shut down Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas candidates were elected because they were better at providing essential services than the Fatah leadership, but they cannot do that without resources.
If one looks candidly at the history of international terrorism, it becomes clear that Israel’s efforts to take Palestine away from its people initiated the pattern of attacks that led us to 9/11. President Bush crows often that launching the War on Terrorism after 9/11 made the United States safer. However, in light of the crimes being committed against Palestine, such braggartry is a sad illusion. Enough new terrorists are being generated in Palestine and as a result of crimes against Palestine to keep the world well supplied for at least a generation. The long term consequences of taking down Hamas–intended or not–will be a pattern of political violence for which Americans and everybody else will pay and pay.
The writer is the author of the recently published work, A World Less Safe, now available on Amazon and through bookstores. He is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions were as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, and as Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War College. He will welcome comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.