Sunday, February 26, 2006
Welcome to Israel: Scenes from the Tour Bus
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Write Your Congressman, MP About Siege of Balata and Nablus
Picture from Balata Camp's Community Website
I wrote to my congressman, Bill Thomas, and asked him to do what he could to stop Israel's latest killing field, Balata Refugee Camp. Please do the same; it is the least that we as US citizens can do to stop the carnage for which we foot the bill. Google your congressman and e-mail a few lines, mention the two sixteen year old boys who were shot in their own homes; today Israel's Occupation Forces hurled a grenade at medical workers, three fighters were blown up in a home (Israel just dispenses with arrests and trials), a journalist was injured, and a sixty-three year old taxi driver was also injured. Two young civilians were killed, one the army claimed for breaking the curfew imposed by the occupation forces.
Watch films about Balata here the Balata Film Collective Page.
Then weep, compose yourself, and take action bearing in mind that the "light unto the nations" snuffed out more lives today as its death squads blew up a house with three men in it, threw a grenade at a medical team, shot a twenty year old on the roof of his house, and killed an nineteen year old.
Read more about Israel's war on Palestine's poorest of the poor here and Physicians for Human Rights, Israel. Not content with roughing up medical workers, Israel's finest also struck at journalists. What's included in this post is but a sample of the "only democracy in the Middle East's" so-called Northern Glory operation's litany of horrors.
Further information may be found here at Palestine Center for Human Rights.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Beautiful Lies
Thousands of years of neglect turned much of Israel's soil into wasteland. Long before the State of Israel was established, Zionist pioneers began to reclaim this wasteland. They drained swamps, sank wells, and planted forests. Land once worthless became fertile again. The Israeli government continued this reclamation work. Israel's industy is the most advanced in western Asia. Seldom, if ever before, in history has a people worked with such energy to build a modern industrial nation on the ruins of the past.
And this is from the 1965 Worldbook's Palestine entry:
The long series of conquests and increasing neglect turned Palestine into almost a wasteland. Cities crumbled and swamps formed over rich soil. The population was mostly Arabs. There was also a small number of Jews. All of them were miserably poor. In 1882, the first group of Jews from Europe came to settle in Palestine. Tht was the start of the Zionist pioneering movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel.
And a caption for a picture:
Ancient Deserts "Bloom" with Ripened Grain, as the energetic Israelis irrigate and farm the dry southern part of their country.
However, Ahad Ha'Am, who visited Palestine in 1891 made the following observation:
"Throughout the country it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains .... are not cultivated."
What was that about Palestinian textbooks?
War Crimes in Balata: IOF Renders Child Brain Dead
ISM reports that sixteen year old Kamal Khalili was shot in his chest with live ammunition at 11:00 this morning in Balata Camp while throwing a stone at Israeli soldiers. He is now brain dead.
Regarding IOF murders early Sunday morning of Ibrahim Ahmad Mohammad El-Sheikh Issa and Mohammad Ahmad Mohammad El-Natour, both 17, Palestine Center for Human Rights reports that they boys were "killed by an IOF sniper who had assumed position in the house of Jamil El-Tirawi in the middle of the refugee camp and who subsequently fired at the two children. The children had been standing in front of their houses at the time. PCHR’s investigation reveals that there had been no apparent reason for firing at the children, other than the intent to kill. Each was hit with a bullet to the neck. And although demonstrations and stone-throwing do not in any respect justify such responses from the Israeli military, as they do not pose any considerable danger to the lives of soldiers, it is noted that such activities had already stopped prior to the killing."
In its update today on the continuing siege ISM reports "the military has occupied over sixty homes. Families in these homes are completely isolated. "When a medical team tried to see 64 year old Im Imad Mashi who has high blood pressure and has recently undergone a heart operation they were denied acsess. 'the soldiers told us she can die' said Clara a volunteer from Germany."
TLAXCALA Is Born!
Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity, is born!
Today, 21 February 2006, Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity, is pleased to announce its birth. To discover who we are, what we seek to accomplish and the things we do, you can read our Manifesto and the pieces we translate at our site http://www.tlaxcala.es.
To contact us, write firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the articles of Les Blough and Santiago Alba Rico, please go to http://www.axisoflogic.com
Check out here: http://altahrir.blogspot.com/2006/02/tlaxcala-har-ftts.html
and OUR GODFATHERS!! (affiliated sites)
Les at Axis of Logic,
Monday, February 20, 2006
Israelis Target Poorest of the Poor in Refugee Camps
Balata Refugee Camp http://www.balatacamp.net/website/balata.htm
Cloth With Handala From Balata
The Israelis brought us to this psychological state in which we have overcome our dread. The line dividing life and death has been effaced. Naji Al Ali
Israelis have a penchant for targeting, bombing, and murdering the poorest of the poor...the people whose houses they stole and whom they ethnically cleansed in 1948 and again in 1967. The famous Palestinian cartoonist, Naji Al Ali wrote about his experiences as a child in a Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp:
I am from Ain Al-Helwa, a camp like any other camp. The people of the camps were the people of the land in Palestine. They were not merchants or landowners. They were farmers. When they lost their land, they lost their lives. The bourgeoisie never had to live in the camps, whose inhabitants were exposed to hunger, to every degradation and to every form of oppression. Entire families died in our camps. Those are the Palestinians who remain in my mind, even when my work takes me away from the camp.
He recounts the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982:
The Israeli invasion was so brutal that many took leave of their senses. One day, on my way home, I saw a man walking around naked. People were looking at him aghast. I called out to Widad, my wife, and asked her to fetch me a shirt and a pair of trousers. The man was larger than I, so I fetched one of my larger shirts and a pair of trousers from one of the neighbours and we put them on him. I asked him some questions, but he remained silent. After making some inquiries, I learned that he was from Saida. After several days of relentless bombardment, he had been forced to leave his home in order to find some bread -- any kind of food -- for his children. He hoped that he could find a store open, because many of the streets in old Saida were covered over and one could walk there in relative safety. The man's efforts had proved futile. There were no stores open. When he returned home, he found that his house had been destroyed, killing his wife and seven or eight children. When the Israelis were taking us to the coast, we passed in front of that house. I noticed a small sign written in charcoal: "Take care! Here lies the family of ..." The man had written the sign himself, because the corpses were still buried beneath the debris.
And the heroic efforts of the youth who defended the camps:
From my inquiries into the circumstances of the resistance, I learned that it consisted of a group of no more than 40 or 50 youths. The Israeli had burned the camp while the women and children were still inside their shelters. Israeli missiles had penetrated deep inside the camp, claiming the lives of hundreds of children in the camp in Saida. The young men in the resistance group had spontaneously taken an oath to one another that they would die before they ever surrendered. And, in fact, the Israelis never captured a single one of them. In daylight, the Israeli forces would attack. At night, the resistors would strike.
The brutal Zionist onslaught continues...one hundred years of unabated toxic Zionism. Information from Balata Refugee Camp Community Website, Israel's current weekend target:
At 2am Sunday morning, over 50 armoured jeeps, two helicopters and a number of tanks/APCs began besieging Balata. Stone-throwing youth took to the streets and continue to resist the invasion.
Two of the youths were murdered for defending the poverty stricken refugee camp. I have written about them here.
The Occupation Army invaded the camp last week.
The Israeli Army searched homes in Balata on the night of Tuesday 14th Feb, in particular searching for Wa'el Mesheh. Failing to find him, they arrested his younger brother Tha'er to put pressure on the family.
Tha'er (21) is being held in Ofer prison without charges. He frequently worked with the balatacamp.net collective both on films and on youth projects.
Symbolic of the struggle for Palestinian justice is Naji Al Ali's famous character, Handala, who was introduced by Al Ali: I am Hanthala from the Ain Al-Helwa camp. I give my word of honour that I'll remain loyal to the cause..."
Al Ali continues: The young, barefoot Hanthala was a symbol of my childhood. He was the age I was when I had left Palestine and, in a sense, I am still that age today. Even though this all happened 35 years ago [today it would be 57 years ago], the details of that phase in my life are still fully present to my mind. I feel that I can recall and sense every bush, every stone, every house and every tree I passed when I was a child in Palestine. The character of Hanthala was a sort of icon that protected my soul from falling whenever I felt sluggish or I was ignoring my duty. That child was like a splash of fresh water on my forehead, bringing me to attention and keeping me from error and loss. He was the arrow of the compass, pointing steadily towards Palestine. Not just Palestine in geographical terms, but Palestine in its humanitarian sense -- the symbol of a just cause, whether it is located in Egypt, Vietnam or South Africa.
For all the fallen Handalas, most recently Ibrahim Al Sheikh Issa, 16, and Mohammad Ahmad Al Natour, also 16,memory eternal.
IOF Suffocates "Terror" Baby...While NY Times Ignores Just About Everything
And the "only democracy" in the Middle East is having none of it...so...
Early Monday Morning, 02/20/2006: According to Maan News:
Israeli soldiers nearly killed a baby while throwing a gas grenade in an Al Thahirya home...then they forced the family out in the cold, demolished the house and arrested the father...
Nineteen year old Ahmed Ibrahim Zaid was attacked and severely beaten by Israel's Occupation Forces...
It is hard work attempting to disable the "terror infrastructure"...one wonders why the New York Times doesn't cover the daring exploits of the Israeli Occupation Forces which today included...
destroying Samir Abu Maria father's house and taking twenty-seven year old Hebron resident Samir away...
and breaking into a northern Hebron house to take away Mohammed Salbi...
and exploding the gates to Mousa Al Ferikh's house...hoping to bag a few terrorists.
then on Monday afternoon...
In order to continue their brutal siege of Balata Refugee Camp, where Israel's "elite" forces killed two sixteen year old members of the "terrorist infrastructure," yesterday foreign UNRWA employees were asked to leave the camp immediately.
Osama Ghazi Al Baneh got off easy...the sixteen year was shot Monday through the chest by the elite forces of the light unto the nations...praise God he's in stable condition in Rafidiya Hospital.
And the New York Times mentioned the two sixteen year old boys killed in their own neighborhod for throwing rocks in paragraph thirty of a thirty-one page front page story.
This is how the boys,Ibrahim Al Sheikh Issa, 16, and Mohammad Ahmad Al Natour, were mentioned:
In the West Bank, Israeli forces fatally shot two Palestinians in the Balata camp in Nablus. Palestinians said the men were throwing stones at troops; the Israeli Army said they were planting bombs.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
"Elite" Units Score Against "Terror Infrastructure" Shooting Up Doctors and Kids
Killed for being Palestinian.
Ibrahim Al Sheikh Issa, 16, and Mohammad Ahmad Al Natour, both sixteen, were killed early this morning in their home, Balata Refugee Camp. The boys were defending their home with rocks.
According to IMEMC: "The [medical] source said that Ali was shot with a live round in his neck, and Al Natour was shot with a live round in his chest; Al Natour died before medical teams were able to transfer him to the hospital.
Camp Medical teams were not spared by these pitiful excuses for soldiers that Israel calls "special elite units...against terror infrastructures." The "terror infrastructure" just happens be someone's home, someone's child, or your family physician.
"Dr. Ghassan Hamdan, head of the Medical Relief in Nablus, reported that soldiers fired at medical teams in the camp.
"One doctor was shot and injured while she and her team were trying to evacuate one of the injured residents. She was identified as Anan Al Ateera.
"Dr. Hamdan added that Dr. Al Ateera was hit by bullet fragments in her head."
Occupier Invades Balata Refugee Camp
Occupier's Handiwork earlier this morning
Relatives of the two teenage stone throwers killed in their own neighborhood by Zionist death dealers
February 19th, 2006
For immediate Release
Balata Refugee camp was invaded early this morning. A resident of the
camp, Muhammad Al Qaisy, leader of Al Aqsa was arrested the house he
was found in belonging to the Hamami family was blown up from the
inside and it's garden bulldozed.
The military set up a military base in the UNRWA girl school bringing
in tents, generators and water tanks and have taken over twenty houses
locking the families in a room of their own homes.
Youth that confronted the soldiers with stones were shot at with live
ammunition. Ibrahim Issa Hader and Muhamad Ahmad Natur were killed.
Over thirty have been injured among them, Salih Abu Aifa and Mahmnud
Raje, were shot in the legs and then detained from red Crescent
ambulance before being evacuated to hospital Another youth who was shot
in the shoulder was detained by the military for half an hour before
being evacuated to the hospital by the UPMRC (united Palestinians
Medical Relief Committees). The UPMRC are have set up a
field clinic to treat the wounded on the site.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Petition On Line: Support Paradise Now
All That's Left to You
I represent the 'light unto the nations.' And Dennis Ross says Palestinians need to get "out of Israeli life"!
Above: Hamas legislators Mariam Farhat, Jamila Al-Shanti, Huda Naim.
"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldous Huxley -(1894-1963) via Tom
All That's Left to You is a title of a novella by Ghassan Kanafani, the gifted and revered Palestinian writer who was blown up in his car along with his teenage niece by Israel's Mossad prior to the events that occurred at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. All that's left to you. The expression has been rolling around in my head for a few days in light of statements emmanating from the US and Israel regarding the measures that they will take to get Hamas to renounce Palestinians' right to resist and instead proclaim Israel's "right" to exist.
No, it doesn't appear as if much at all will be left to the Palestinians if the sold out US Congress, which just passed Sen. Con Res 79, which calls for no direct aid to the PA, by a vote of 418-1, largely "political grandstanding" according to the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee since direct aid to the PA is already prohibited, if (or should I just say when) HR 4681, which is in the works by our Congress, better known as "occupied Israeli territory," passes.
HR4681 contains provisions according to ADC which
"include restricting US humanitarian aid; designating Palestinian territory as a 'terrorist sanctuary' thus triggering restrictions on US exports;
"prohibiting official Palestinian diplomacy or representation in the United States in a way counter-productive to promoting dialogue and a just peace;
"reducing US dues to the United Nations because some of its bodies were created by the UN to advocate for Palestinian human rights;
"and denying Palestinians the ability to receive assistance through international financial institutions."
Dennis Ross, aka "honest broker," right there in Congress' amen corner, doesn't want to leave much to the Palestinians either. Parroting Congress' proposal, he advocates cutting off all developmental assistance and relations with the Palestinians until Hamas recognizes Israel's "right" to exist and renounces violence.
In a Council on Foreign Relations interview he says
"The problem is that those who won, Hamas, have a very clear agenda that is not related to getting out of Israeli life, but in fact seeing Israel disappear."
Well, he's right in that Hamas would like to see Israel disappear as a state that violates the human and civil rights of the indigenous people, but what our honest broker does not mention is that Hamas'acts of resistance, none of which have occurred in the past year, are reactions to a very real intrusion of Israel in Palestinian lives...on their balconies, in their schools, in their orchards; surely the guy's heard of the occupation?
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice chimes in, "'I would hope that any state that is considering funding a Hamas-led government would think about the implications of that for the Middle East and for the Middle East peace process.'
"She said the Palestinians needed about 1.9 billion dollars a year and 'it will be interesting to see if that can be gotten from states that are not committed to the peace process.'"
And while even Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mafuz publicly claims Israel has no intention of cutting off its captives' electricity and water although Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman is all for it, Ross, disingenuously claiming that Hamas interferes in Israel's life in one article, in another article (he's quite prolific lately in the service of the Zionist state) reminds us of Israel's control over every facet of Palestinian life:
Israel supplies Palestinian electricity and water, and it collects taxes and customs revenue that provide much of the money needed for the Palestinian administration. And Israel controls nearly all access into and out of Palestinian areas.
But, in a show of fortitude and strength that earned them a majority of seats in the legislature, many of the recently elected Palestinians have yet to reverse the "rights"; i.e., renouncing their "right" to resist and proclaiming Israel's "right" to exist.
And, even with "nothing left to them," Palestinians are refusing to submit to Israel and the United States' blackmail.
Dr Azzam Tamimi says even a revised Hamas charter "would still call for an end to the Jewish state and the creation of a Palestinian state on all of mandatory Palestine."
And Aziz Dweik, "chosen by Hamas as the speaker of the new parliament, said the policies of the new government would be based on 'negotiating with the preservation of our right to resist (Israel).'"
Looks as if "all that's left to them," is a provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and reaffirmed year after year in UN Resolution 194, which Dennis Ross, Condi Rice, Ehud Olmert, the US Congress, and "peace" for a "piece" advocates don't want US taxpayers to know. But I'll tell you, and you'll be hearing it from newly elected Palestinian legislators as well:
All that's left to the Palestinians is to proclaim that they have an inalienable right to return to the place of their birth.
All that's left to the Palestinians is to proclaim the injustice of Israel's "right" to exist on stolen lands.
All that's left to the Palestinians is to proclaim that they have the right to be buried in the village in which they were expelled.
All that's left to the Palestinians is to continue to give voice to the injustice that Jews from Brazil, India, China, the US, France, and all over the world may become an instant citizen in a land to which they have never set foot, while the indigenous people are denied their right to return to the land of their birth.
All that's left to the Palestinians is to expose the fifty-seven year demonisation campaign that has been waged against them for the simple reason that they happened to be living in a land that colonising Zionists from the west coveted.
All that's left to the Palestinians, in spite of a massively funded campaign to vilify and blame the victims, is the simple truth and justice of their cause.
And when you think of it, all that's left to them is quite a bit.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Hamas Government in Two Weeks
Al-Khalil, Feb. 14, IRNA--Hamas, which won a landslide victory in the 2- January legislative elections in the Occupied Palestinian territories, has vowed to form a “strong and durable” government within two weeks.
The new government will succeed the Palestinian Authority (PA) care-take government of Ahmed Qurei.
Hamas said efforts to form the government would be accelerated after the convening of the new legislative council on 18 February. Hamas will be in control of 74 seats plus three or four other seats won by pro-Islamic independents. Fatah, the former PA ruling party, will have 45 seats while the remaining 8 seats will be held by two independents and three liberal and leftist parties.
However, irrespective of formalities, Hamas has actually been secretly making intensive consultations in an effort to secure the formation of the government before the end of February.
Hamas sources told IRNA that the next government would include members of Hamas, pro-Hamas independents, technocrats and several figures from Fatah or close to Fatah.
Hamas leaders explained that a “national coalition government” would be the most expedient choice, given the regional and international political circumstances.
“The next government will not be a religious government and the ministers will not be clergymen,” said one Hamas lawmaker in the Hebron region.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Thanks to CNN: Al-Aqsa Is Over!
Now, anyone who still bothers to watch CNN knows that CNN usually has the opposite effect on anyone watching its Mid East coverage. Sittie (grandma) has been known to scream expletives during the experience.
How does this hard hitting journalist get his information?
From a magazine for IOF soldiers.
Lavie didn't even interview an Israeli for his story, and we know better than to hope that he'd interview a Palestinian prisoner. No, instead he writes, again just quoting from a magazine article, that it's no longer necessary to put down the prisoners with tear gas.
Lavie also quotes the magazine:
Further "distractions" are planned, the weekly reported — backgammon games, basketball and volleyball.
We find that the goal of the creative commander Lt Col Avi "is to keep prisoners from 'causing trouble and organizing terror attacks from inside the prison.'"
Lavie, in an uncharacteristic burst of professionalism, reports in the last line of the story that there are eight thousand Palestinian prisoners.
There are a myriad of stories that a responsible journalist could have written.
Lavie is obviously not one of them.
and I will go into hell again
Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,—Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee:
Say to her, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here." Edna St. Vincent Millay
and i will go into hell again
to hold the child
that every woman has lost
will go into hell again
for an eternity
to love the child scorned
will swim through the Zionist smog
the sulfurous poisons spewed
by sick and selfish ideologues
will break my own heart
a billion times
to bleed into the stones
a trail of mere breadcrumbs for birds
till flocks and flocks of birds
fill the sky pushing gunships aside
with the brush stroke of wings
and i will go into hell again
to hold the child
bringing Palestine home
Friday, February 10, 2006
My Brother Mohammed
to an inspirational woman (aa) who works tirelessly on behalf of those less fortunate than she and for little Abud, a recent victim of toxic Zionism.
Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,—Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee:
Say to her, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Excerpts (in quotes) from Gideon Levy's "There will be a Vietnam here"
"Abdel Malek Zalbani is only 8 years old, a third-grade pupil, a child of refugees. His pet name: Abud.
"If a child in Pisgat Ze'ev were to throw a stone, would you also use gas against Pisgat Ze'ev?"
Would Israeli border policeman subject an Israeli child to Abud's fate?
" Abud moves his right leg for a moment. His left side is paralyzed. The respirator tube is stuck in his mouth, his little chest rises and falls at the rate dictated by the machine, his eyes are swollen and closed. A little boy in a coma. Will the border policemen who chased him in the alleys of the refugee camp, tossing stun grenades at little children, see him? Will they think about his fate - to die or to remain a cripple for the rest of his life?"
Would they fracture a Jewish kid's skull?
"His head is bandaged, hiding the compressed fractures in his skull. The doctors will be able to assess the amount of brain damage only in a few days."
Do the border police curse the settlers?
"The residents of the camp say that they provoke the children, they honk and they curse."
Do they suffocate and damage Jewish kids' brains?
"Sometimes it ends with temporary suffocation, sometimes it ends with brain damage, as in the case of the child Abud."
Do settlers houses suffer gas infestation?
"The owner of the house, Ibrahim Amla, awoke to the smell of gas spreading in his house."
Do US settlers feel any remorse as they look down upon refugee camps, which are the result of Zionism?
"'They don't want us here. We disturb the view of Pisgat Ze'ev. They look from the balconies and see a refugee camp. That disturbs their view.
"All my life we used to go to the forest opposite. That's the only place where the children can go. Pisgat Ze'ev is there, and now they're building the wall, too. Where will we go? Where will the children go? There isn't a single playground here in the entire camp.'"
I came across a little story going through my files, "My Brother Mohammed." During the first Intifadeh, a little boy was stopped by the IOF. The little boy opened his shirt and said, "Shoot me." The IOF soldier shot and killed him. The soldier asked another little boy to tell him who ordered him to throw stones. The little boy said, "My brother, Mohammed."
"Take us to him." The little boy took the soldiers to his brother, Mohammed.
The little boy said proudly, "Here is Mohammed."
Mohammed was three years old.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
My Personal Experience With the Israeli Occupation
I have come to admire Khalid for his courage, his forthrightness, and his unwavering devotion in the pursuit of justice for Palestinians. Of course, Khalid's story is just one of many; the journalist Laila El-Haddad wrote recently that everyone in Gaza has a story to tell.
Khalid is from Dura, a village near Hebron. He writes for Al-Ahram and for Al-Jazeera. Khalid's story:
When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, I was nine years old. This means that For the past 34 years, I have been "living" in the "Israeli era," or, to put more accurately, under Israel's dehumanizing military occupation.
Three years before I was born, three of my four paternal uncles, Hussein 27, Mahmoud 25, and Yosef 23, were killed by Israeli soldiers. They were simple shepherds who were grazing their herds near the village of Al-burj near the so-called armistice line, 20 km south West of the West Bank town of Hebron. With my three uncles, three other relatives, including a woman, were also shot dead.
In fact, the Israelis not only killed three men of my family but also confiscated the three hundred sheep upon which my family's livelihood depended to a large extent. This calamity condemned us to a life of misery and poverty For many years to come. Thus, my family had to live in a cave For 22 years. The misery, the suffering, the abject-poverty were conspicuous in all aspects of our life. Until today, the Israeli government neither expressed guilt For the crime, nor compensated us For our stolen property. Of course, our loss didn't stop at three uncles killed on one day and 300 sheep arrogated by the Israeli government. Much more was taken away from us six years earlier, in 1948, our land in al-Za'ak, Um-Hartain, our home, everything.
Under Jordan rule, the most important thing the Jordanian authorities cared about was loyalty to the king and his family. Connections with the King and his Mukhabarat (or intelligence apparatus) meant that you've got done. Shouting "Ya'ish Jalalat al Malik" (long live the king), would give you an automatic certificate of good conduct. No wonder, it was a corrupt regime based on sycophancy, favoritism, nepotism, graft and corruption. The King was the law, and the law didn't exist.
The Jordanian regime never really made genuine efforts or preparations to repulse a possible Israeli onslaught. The most immediate priority for the Jordanian regime seemed to make sure that Palestinians didn't possess firearms. A Palestinian would get a six-month prison sentence if a bullet cartridge were found in his possession. Like the Israelis would do later, the Jordanians enlisted the "makhatir" (clan notables) to inform on every gesture of opposition or dissatisfaction with the King's rule within their respective areas. This cronyism and police state structure gave rise to more corruption.
Those free-minded Palestinians who insisted on voicing their conscience were dumped into the notorious El-Jafer prison in eastern Jordan where they were often tortured to death. I know of at least one person in my town Dura who was tortured to death For his political views.
So, we had to bear two burdens, despotism and repression from the Jordanian regime and frequent, across-border attacks from Israel. I can't forget Israeli Mirages flying over my head in 1966 as they dropped their Napalm bombs on civilians in the village of El-Sammou.
In 1967, I was ten years old. I can remember when we were told to raise the white flags when the Israeli army surrounded our village, Kharsa, west of Hebron. We were told we would be shot and killed if we didn't raise the white flag aloft. The Jordanian soldiers left in disgrace and headed eastward, some put on traditional women clothes to disguise themselves.
At the beginning, the Israelis launched what one may call a charm-campaign. Some people prematurely began making positive remarks about the Israelis such as "Oh, they are better than the Jordanians, they are civilized!" But that feeling was premature and didn't last long, as the occupation army began adopting stringent measures against us.
Soon enough, the Israelis began confiscating the land and building settlements. They also would demolish homes as a reprisal For guerilla attacks. In our culture, if you want to express extreme ill will toward somebody, you say "Yikhrib Beitak" may your home be destroyed.
The Israelis sought to take full advantage of this weak link in our social psychology. They demolished thousands of houses. The demolition has never ceased. Home demolition would leave deep psychological scars in peoples memories and hearts. Children would return from school only to see their homes being destroyed by bulldozers driven by soldiers wearing helmets with the Star of David on them. That Star of David, which we are told is originally a religious symbol, symbolized hate and evil. Even today, I couldn't imagine a more hateful sign.
Phobias, deep stress, neurosis, and depression are among the disorders children of demolished homes would suffer.
I personally witnessed several demolitions when I was 11. The operation would begin by declaring the village where the doomed house is located a closed military zone.
Then, all men from age 14 to age 70 are asked to assemble at the playground of the local school, with their heads bowed down. Very often the soldiers would shoot over peoples' heads to terrorize them. Civility was always absent, and in these days, there was no Jazeera or CNN to cover Israel's shameful acts, so they felt at liberty doing as they saw fit.
Then, the commanding officer would give the doomed family half an hour to get all their belongings out. (These days they don't give even five minutes).
The scene of young children comforting younger children is devastating. The distraught housewives would struggle to get her utensils and whatever meager appliances out lest they be crushed. A child would hasten to get his favorite toy, or an enlarged picture of his late grandfather before it is too late. Then the commanding officer would give the go ahead and the house would become rubble.
Afterwards, the Red Cross would bring a tent, as a temporary shelter, or the tormented family would simply make an enclosure and sleep under the trees. These were indelible images of misery, an ugly testimony to Israel's Nazi-like savagery.
Born into a very poor family, I started working in Beir Shiva when I was fourteen as a construction worker and then assistant plasterer (Maggish). I was able to learn Hebrew as well as the Moroccan dialect spoken by many Jews who had migrated from North Africa. Like Palestinians, most Moroccan Jews worked in the construction sector. Some were street sweepers as well.
On some occasions, the people I worked For would not give me my wages. I worked For such famous construction company as Rasco, Solel Bonei, Hevrat Ovdeim. I still retain my old Israeli work card.
We were continually humiliated at Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks at the A'rad intersections on the way to Beir Shiva. A Jewish officer would beat one of us savagely without a convincing reason. I made many Jewish friends then, but the psychological barrier remained intact. I did intermix with some Tunisian and Moroccan Jews in Arad, Beir Shiva and Dimona.
In 1974, I took part in anti-occupation demonstration in Dura (then I was an 11th grade high school student). The soldiers cornered me in one of the narrow streets of the small town, and beat me savagely on the head with the butts of their rifles. I was nearly killed. I hated them, as I never posed a threat to their lives. They displayed no humanity and I was only shouting "Falastin Arabiyya" "Palestine is Arab."
In 1975, after I passed the high school diploma exam, I went back to the construction sites in Beir Shiva. My family was too poor to send me to college. For sometime, the construction site in Beir sheva was my college. There I worked For a contractor named Shimon, a Tunisian Jew. It was hard and very hot, but I did manage to make enough money to travel to Amman. There I was able to get a student visa from the US embassy.
In July 1976, I traveled to the US with only 200 US dollars in my pocket. There I studied at Seminole and Oscar Rose Junior College in Oklahoma, then on to the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where I obtained a BA in journalism. Then in 1982, I obtained a Master degree from the University of Southern Illinois in Carbondale. I really wanted to be an engineer, but seeing how the Zionists were turning the black into white, the white into black, the big lie into a "truth" glorified by millions, I decided to switch to journalism.
I began writing letters to the editor, letters that would invite rabid and nervous replies from Zionist students on campus. Then the Zionists would make threats and use other intimidation tactics. A survivor of poverty, misery, and violence, I didn't give a damn about their threats. I continued to cause them a lot of headache till my very last day in the US.
I was very active in the student campus movement in the States. I was ambivalent about the US. On the one hand I was impressed by the democracy and freedom of speech, on the other I was frustrated by the country's wanton support of Israel's oppressive policies. That feeling is still very much alive in me. Only the frustration and indignation have increased.
My letters to the editor can be found in such papers as "the Oklahoma Daily" and "the Daily Egyptians" under the name Khalid Suleiman. Occasionally, I used other names to elude the Zionists.
In 1983, I returned to the West Bank.
However, there is a little story that happened to me on my way back to Hebron. While traveling from Istanbul to Cairo, I thought I should travel directly to the Ben Gurion airport (without having to travel to Amman first as usual) and then by car to the West Bank. The El AL officer at the Cairo Airport assured me that everything would be ok, and I would be able to travel to Hebron very smoothly. It was not.
When we landed at Ben Gurion, I was immediately arrested. The Shin Beth interrogated me for five hours on my studies back in the states, my friends, the associations I was affiliated with, etc.
Then, I was told that the Israeli interior minister of that time, Yosef Burg (father of present Knesset speaker Abraham Burg) issued an order barring my entry into the country (my country). The order stated that I should be deported back to Egypt within 24 hours.
To make things worse, the police confiscated my papers, including the vital green "travel permit" issued by the Israeli military government and renewed by the Israeli consulate in Dallas. Without the permit, I would not be able to return to Hebron. Was it that Burg wanted to banish me from my country forever as had been done to millions of Palestinians?
It was nearly 7:00 pm, and the soldiers took me to the old British barracks where they told me to stay till the next morning. Three female soldiers stayed next to me, and they were making all sorts of jokes about me. They apparently didn't know I knew Hebrew. I was given an orange; I didn't eat it.
The next morning, airport officials forced me onto an Air Sinai plane and within two hours I was in Cairo again.
There, like a professional hijacker, I slipped into the Jordanian Royal Airways hall, convinced a Palestinian clerk to let me in. He did. On my way to Amman from Cairo, I was overwhelmed by anxiety. The Israeli authorities had stamped my Jordanian passport at the Ben Gurion airport, which meant that if the Jordanians found out that I had been in Tel Aviv, they most likely would throw me into jail for "dealing with the enemy."
Luckily the Jordanian Passport official at Amman International airport was so busy that he didn't examine the stamps on my passport. Good for me.
Then I faced the problem of my confiscated travel permit. I had to be smart, otherwise I would stay a refugee for the rest of my life.
So I went to the Main office of the Red Cross in Amman and told them that I had lost my Israeli travel permit in New York. (A good lie.) Well, the RC issued me a special VIP document in lieu of the one confiscated by the Israelis. Then I headed westward to the Allenby Bridge. There, luckily, I was admitted rather respectfully, apparently with the Israelis not aware of what had happened to me 48 hours earlier at Ben Gurion Airport.
In 1984, I began my journalistic career. Slowly, the Israeli would soon be getting fed up with my ideas and writings. Then the Mukhabarat (Shabak) would summon me once a month on the average. They would ask me to become a collaborator. I would tell them "do you think that somebody like me would become a collaborator?"
The way the Shabak (the Shin Beth) behaved convinced me that the Israeli state classified the Palestinians into two categories, collaborators and terrorists, nothing in between.
The place where the interrogation took place was crowded with Palestinians being tortured. I would hear people screaming. I personally know at least six people who died of torture in one year. One of them, Abdul Samad Herezat, was a personal friend of mine. He died as a result of the "the shaking technique."
The Israelis used a variety of torture methods against Palestinian inmates, including hooding, savage beating, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, suffocation, and many other forms of physical and psychological pressure. Israeli doctors would help administer the torture. Sometimes, they would bring an inmate's wife or sister and threaten to rape her in front of him. They would not rape the woman, but only threaten to do so in order to extract confessions from the inmate.
During the first intifada (1987-93), the Israeli army used really dirty tactics of collective punishment against the entire population. They would confine people inside their homes for 30 consecutive days, and if one ventured to get out, he would be shot dead.
It was like hibernation, and many ill people would succumb to their illnesses, being barred from leaving their homes. In Hebron, the curfew lasted for three months after the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994. They were like 90 days in hell.
I remember that in March 1994, Israeli president Ezer Weisman visited Hebron to offer condolences to the Palestinians. I was asked by my editor to cover the visit, which required that I apply for a travel permit at the Adorayem military camp in order to be able to travel the 10 kilometers to Hebron. I was stunned when the officer in command told me "sorry you can't go."
I retorted "but there are many journalists there." Then he said, "Yes, they are Jewish journalists, and you are not a Jew."
Earlier, the Israeli Shabak officer closed my AL-Qods press office in downtown Hebron and instructed all Arabic newspapers in the West Bank not to publish my reports. Indeed, my fax machine was confiscated and they would not give me a telephone line. Imagine I was only able to receive a telephone line in 1995 after the installment of the Palestinian Authority.
Today, I am confined to my hometown of Dura, near Hebron. I can't travel outside, I can't travel abroad, and I can't even travel to the next village. The Israeli Shin Beth still controls our lives. Today a Shin Beth officer, Captain Eitan, called me and asked me about the PA latest crackdown on Hamas. His massage was "we are watching you."
In short, the Israeli occupation is perpetual misery, torment, persecution, enslavement, and dehumanization. I feel frustrated because I can't communicate to you the full extent of this enduring evil. It transcends reality.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Cartoons Reflect Europe's Islamophobia
Sunday 05 February 2006 6:53 AM GMT
Aziz Duwaik won a parliamentary seat in recent elections
After Hamas's electoral triumph, Palestinians are in the news again, with thousands of them demonstrating against Denmark and European countries for publishing cartoons that they say depicts the Prophet Muhammad in an unfavourable light.
Last week armed Palestinian groups briefly surrounded a European Union office in Ram Allah.
Aziz Duwaik, professor of urban planning at the Najah University of Nablus, won a parliamentary seat in the recent Palestinian legislative elections.
His Change and Reform (Hamas) list won all nine contested seats in the southern West Bank town of Hebron at the district level, defeating the dominant Fatah party.
Aljazeera.net spoke with Duwaik at his Hebron home. The following are excerpts from the interview.
Aljazeera.net: Why have Palestinians been so strongly protesting against the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad?
Duwaik: These cartoons have been insulting to our religion and injurious to our feelings. They were meant to insult, provoke and offend Muslims. And they have succeeded. I call on the government of Denmark and the people of Denmark and the rest of Europe to stop insulting other people in the guise of press freedom.
We respect press freedom, but ridiculing and besmirching our religious symbols is not press freedom. There is a conspicuous malicious intent here, and people's right not to be insulted and offended overrides a Danish newspaper's right to insult the prophet of Islam. Besides, we are living in a global village now, and we should respect each other.
People in Europe value their liberties ...
And we value our religion and our prophet (peace be upon him). Press freedom is a great ideal. However, could one argue that Hitler and the Nazis were practising their freedom prior to the Holocaust? We know the Holocaust started with cartoons like this against Jews, and with books like Mein Kampf, and then came Kristallnacht ... and then we know what happened.
These cartoons are a reflection of rampant Islamophobia in Europe, which is very similar and nearly as virulent as the anti-Semitism that existed in Europe, especially in Germany, prior to World War II. This anti-Semitism eventually led to the Holocaust and the deaths of millions of human beings.
You see, when you send out thousands of hate messages against a certain ethnic or religious community every day, you make people hate these people, and when mass hatred reaches a certain point, nobody would object to the physical extermination of the hated community when it happens.
Do you fear a Holocaust against Muslims similar to what happened to the Jews?
Why not? The Holocaust was committed by human beings, not by citizens of another planet, and Germany, where Nazism thrived, was probably the most culturally advanced European country in the 1930s and 1940s.
But Europe is now democratic, unlike Nazi Germany?
Yes, but who told you those democracies don't commit genocide? America is a democracy, but we saw recently how this democracy invaded and destroyed two small and weak countries based on lies, while most Americans were duped into believing that Bush was doing the right thing.
Let's talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do you still want to destroy Israel?
You are asking the victims of Israeli oppression, occupation and racism if they are interested in destroying their oppressors and tormentors? This is a tendentious question that should be asked to Israel, which is occupying our country and oppressing our people and carrying out ethnic cleansing against us.
In fact, all that we want is to be free. Is freedom for the Palestinian people tantamount to destruction of Israel?
Are you not are evading the question?
I am not evading anything; it is you who is evading and ignoring reality here. Just take a look and see for yourself who is destroying whom, who is stealing whose land, who is savaging and persecuting and brutalising whose people, and who is practising ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide against the other.
But the question remains, how can Israel possibly talk with Hamas as long as Hamas refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist?
Why on earth should we recognise Israel while Israel refuses to recognise Palestine? Indeed, we can't understand why the international community, strangely enough including some Arab leaders, is demanding that we recognise Israel but making no similar demands on Israel that it ought to recognise Palestine.
But Israel is a reality while Palestine is not.
Palestine is also a reality. There are nearly five million Palestinians living in Palestine and these people have an inherent right to self-determination. Do you think that we are children of a lesser God or something?
Israel has recognised the PLO and said it will accept President Bush's vision which calls for the creation of a Palestinian state that would live in peace alongside Israel?
The important thing is not what Israel says but what Israel does. Israel has built hundreds of Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank and transferred hundreds of thousands of its citizen to the occupied territories. This alone shows the mendacity of its claims regarding Palestinian statehood.
Are you implying that the creation of a Palestinian state is no longer possible or realistic?
Precisely. Israel has effectively killed all prospects of a genuine and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. In a nutshell, there is no room left for a true and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. The implanting of so many Jewish colonies has made the creation of such a state utterly impossible.
Will you be willing to negotiate with Israel?
Negotiation in itself is not the issue. The issue is our rights as human beings and as a nation. If Israel is willing and ready to come to terms with our human, civil and political rights, then we can negotiate, otherwise we will not allow ourselves to repeat the same failed process of the past 10 years all over again. We maybe weak politically, but we certainly are not stupid.
The Oslo process was not a peace process. It was a process of deception and cheating and lies which enabled Israel to truncate our homeland with settlements and separation walls and roadblocks and closed military zones. We will not deceive our people as the Palestinian Authority did for 10 years.
Will you form a government of national unity, a government of technocrats, or a Hamas government?
We certainly prefer a government of national unity which we think would best serve the interests of our people. I believe that eventually Fatah will join the government.
But Fatah leaders have ruled out joining a Hamas-led government?
These statements by some Fatah leaders are mostly post-election reflexes; we understand how our brothers in Fatah feel after their electoral defeat. But I am sure that eventually some Fatah leaders will join the government.
What would you say to Palestinian Christians, some of whom might be worried about the aftermath of Hamas' election victory?
I think if these fears are real, and I don't think they are, they must be phobic in nature. The Christians of Palestine are our brothers, compatriots and countrymen. We are languishing under the same occupation and experiencing the same pain and suffering, hence it would be preposterous to even contemplate harming or even hurting these people.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Hamas Will Not Recognize Israel for Pie in the Sky
2 February, 2006
One of the main factors contributing to Hamas’s resounding electoral victory over Fatah on 25 January is undoubtedly the futility and conspicuous failure of the Oslo peace process.
Indeed, it is amply clear that the misbegotten process has utterly failed to recover Palestinian rights or even seriously alleviate Israel’s Nazi-like repression of the Palestinians.
The Oslo Agreement itself was so vague, so much so that both the PLO and Israel viewed it differently, if not contradictorily.
Israel viewed the agreement as an expedient arrangement that would, more or less, keep the occupation intact, while giving the nearly decimated Palestinians a limited autonomy whereby Israel would retain nearly all the assets and the Palestinians would receive nearly all the liabilities.
When the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat told his people that the agreement would eventually give them an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Shimon Peres, the proverbial “peace dove,” said rather contemptuously that “we can’t stand guard at Arafat’s lips, let him dream, dreaming is not against the law.”
As to the PLO, whose leadership excelled in futile rhetoric about “liberation” and “statehood” and “Sha’ab al Jabarin” (the irresistible people of Palestine), it sought consistently to sell the Palestinians a mendacious interpretation of Oslo, namely a promise of liberation and a viable state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In fact, nowhere was the Oslo Agreement more scandalous in its “constructive vagueness” than in the issue of mutual recognition.
The PLO, eager to extricate itself from an acute financial and political crisis following the Second Gulf War (the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent defeat of Iraq by an American-led coalition) agreed readily to recognize Israel without even specifying its borders.
In return, Israel never agreed to recognize a would-be Palestinian state, and only, and rather parsimoniously and reluctantly, agreed to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.
The recognition of the PLO was no more than a symbolic act, devoid of any concrete significance in political terms. In fact, the recognition didn’t imply any Israeli recognition of Palestinian rights or any realization that the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem would have to be terminated.
Indeed, the subsequent unmitigated expansion of Jewish colonies in the West Bank, under the nose of the PLO and the international community, proved beyond doubt that Israel didn’t and wouldn’t recognize a state called Palestine, despite Israel’s (disingenuous) acceptance of the “roadmap.” Indeed, a country that really wants peace with her neighbors doesn’t build hundreds of hateful colonies on stolen land, and doesn’t transfer hundreds of thousands of its most fanatical and hateful citizens (the Talmudic settlers) to occupied territories. And, obviously, Israel has done all of that and more, while still having the audacity to tell the world it has no peace partner on the Palestinian side.
Last week, when the Palestinian people in the occupied territories were given the chance to vote in a democratic election, they expressed their utter disenchantment with this ignominious scandal and finally decided to trash the corrupt and lying clique which gave them 12 years of deception, lies, and a police state without a state, whose modus operandi consisted of corruption, despotism, nepotism cronyism as well as total subservience to Jewish insolence and submission to American blackmail.
The Palestinian people voted for Hamas because they have been cheated by the PLO, cheated by the neighboring Arabs states (most of which are no more than obsequious puppets at America’s beck and call), cheated by the international community, as they have been tormented and nearly decimated by an insolent Israel whose powerful Jewish circles in America control, nearly completely, American politics and polices.
The Palestinian people are sincere about peace, but they are not stupid or gullible. They can easily recognize a genuine peace process from a genuine deception process. They allowed themselves to be duped and cheated once, but they will not allow themselves to be duped and cheated again. We gave what we thought was a peace process the benefit of the doubt, but we will not give what is manifestly a deception process the benefit of the doubt.
It is true that Hamas has no miracles to offer at this time since the Palestinian people, including Hamas itself, are still under a most nefarious and dehumanizing occupation, not unlike the Nazi occupation of Europe.
Hamas will be honest with the Palestinian people and will not seek to sell them pie in the sky and will not give them fantastic promises based one classical American lies and classical Zionist mendacity.
Moreover, Hamas will not be bullied by hypocritical western demands which, not only ignore the enduring Jewish rape of Palestine and enslavement of its people, but demand that the rape victims make sustained efforts to accommodate the rapist Israel and show deference to her feelings.
Hamas will not speak about Israel’s destruction. Hamas can’t destroy Israel. And Hamas actually doesn’t want to destroy nuclear Israel.
But Hamas will not give Israel a free recognition nor will it give up the most intrinsic right to resist these vile foreign occupiers. Everything has a price, because real peace can only be the fruit of justice.
Hamas will be willing and ready to give Israel a de facto recognition, an open-ended peace, if Israel agrees to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state on 100% of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, from which they were expelled at gun point when Israel was created in 1948.
Hamas will not accept to cede even one centimeter of the 1967 territories.
Needless to say, the 4th of June, 1967 borders have a paramount psychological symbolism, in addition to their political significance. One has to be Palestinian to understand this symbolism, and we will not betray our own souls.
Hamas is also willing and ready to halt all forms of violent resistance if Israel is willing to reciprocate and stop its wanton daily aggression, acts of murder, home demolitions and this organized, institutionalized state- terror against our people.
In short, Hamas wants to be a genuine peace partner, not an inferior vanquished supplicant begging for everything from Israel and America, from travel permits to a meeting with a junior American officials.
There is now a new breed of Palestinian leaders the world will have to deal with.
These proud and dignified people will not be bullied by sticks or induced by carrots. Nor will they allow themselves to be blackmailed by foreign aid, as Hamas Khalid Mish’al pointed out recently.
In short, the ball is in Israel’s and America’s courts. If they want a historical peace with based on UN resolutions, and the principle of land for peace, this is the time.
If they say no, because of their insolent nature and arrogance of power, then they will only be vindicating Hamas long-standing ideology that Israel and peace are an inherent oxymoron, when one appears, the other disappears.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Look Into My Eyes
Outlandish song and video based on words by Gihad Ali.
#1 Hit on Danish Charts November 2005 (thanks Zahi and Annie)