Friday, September 29, 2006
Congressmen Rothman and Kirk Fasttrack Israel's Final Solution
Meet Congressman Mark Kirk from Illinois and Congressman Steven Roth from New Jersey. That's the distinguished congressman from New Jersey there with Ehud Olmert. The esteemed Congressmen are aiming to fasttrack the current genocide in Gaza. Concerned that some UNRWA employees and aide recipients may belong to Hamas, the two sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice yesterday raising the alarm bells. A press release from Roth's office states, "The money (US contribution to UNRWA), which is the primary source of funding for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), is possibly being used to employ members of the terrorist organization Hamas and distributed to Palestinian refugees with terrorist connections—in direct violation of U.S. law."
UNRWA employs 24, 324 staff, the majority of whom are Palestinian refugees. Its programs include health and relief and social services, which includes food aide for approximately 220,000 Palestinian families, over 800,000 people.
Congressman Kirk touts himself in his blog as "someone who cares for animal welfare," and he supported HR 503 "legislation that will permanently curb the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption."
And while Kirk and Rothman are concerned that US money may feed "terrorists," UNRWA's concern is regarding "insufficient donor pledges" for its Emergency Appeal, which will result in further deterioration of the humanitarian needs of the refugees.
Consider that UN Special Envoy for the occupied territories, John Dugard recently described Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza as "ethnic cleansing." He reports that seventy-five percent of the population in Gaza is dependent upon food aid for "survival." In light of this, Rothman and Kirk, by doing the bidding of their AIPAC masters, are aiding Israel in its genocide. Someone needs to tell these two legislators that aiding and abetting ethnic cleansing is a war crime. US citizens deserve better than these two foolish shills for Israel's final solution.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
100 Years of Zionist Apartheid
A Special Issue on the 6th Anniversary of the al-Aqsa Intifada
Palestine Right of Return
Sacred, Legal, Possible
Neither occupation, nor sovereignty diminish the right of private ownership. When the Ottomans surrendered their sovereignty to the Allies in 1920, Palestinian ownership of their land was maintained. Private ownership was also respected by the mandate government. Thus, the land and property of the refugees, although now administered by Israel, remains their own, regardless of the applicable sovereignty and the passage of time, and they are entitled to return to it. Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Zionists Effecting Slow Motion Genocide in Gaza
27 September, 2006
from Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
While human and living conditions in the concentration camp the Gaza Strip has become due to criminal Israeli cruelty has not reached the genocidal benchmark, there are serious indications that Gazans are literally starving by the hundreds of thousands.
This is evident from the already numerous Gazan children fetching for food in garbage containers or begging for food and money on the streets.
Israel, now for the seventh consecutive month, is simply barring the 1.4 million Gazans from accessing food and work and clean drinking water, pushing more than three quarters of Gazan families to real starvation.
This catastrophic situation had been planned carefully by the Israeli government for the purpose of forcing Palestinians to stop their struggle for freedom from the decades-old Nazi-like Israeli military occupation.
A high-ranking Israeli government official, Dov Weisglass, earlier this year publicly spelled out the cruel goal of starving the Palestinians.
“It is like an appointment with a dietician, the Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but will not die,” said the Nazi-minded Israeli official.
Unfortunately, his callous remarks, which, interestingly enough, were met with broad smiles from Jewish leaders in Israel and abroad, sounded no alarm in the capitals of the “democratic and civilized West” which soon sought to emulate Israeli cruelty by clamping down a draconian blockade on the suffering Palestinians.
Moreover, the Israeli army has been refusing to allow the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Gaza’s only exit to the outside world , thus reducing the Gaza Strip, the most heavily populated spot on earth, to a real claustrophobic detention camp.
Last week, a high-ranking Israeli army officer gleefully underscored the “success” of the Israeli policy in Gaza.
The officer, who spoke with the Israeli army radio, Gali Tzhal, pointed out that Israel was succeeding in tormenting and debilitating Gazans and other Palestinians by starving them and preventing them from accessing food as well as depriving them of the ability to purchase food.
“This way we score two hits, first we starve them really but silently and second we don’t have to worry about an outcry by the international community because the world reacts only when starvation becomes famine and people die by the thousands as in some African country.”
Unfortunately, the Israeli army officer’s predictions with regard to the faintness and gutlessness of international reactions to the tragedy in Gaza are already being vindicated.
Palestinians in Gaza (and also in the West Bank) are already dying and will be dying in great numbers not only from malnutrition but also from lack of medical care and lack of sanitation, especially after the Israeli air force bombed and destroyed Gaza’s only power station, plunging the area into darkness.
The bombing of the power plant, a war crime by every conceivable standard, has had devastating effects on all walks of life in Gaza, including hospitals and other basic services. It is widely believed that hundreds of Palestinians, including children, have already perished due to complications resulting from the destruction of Gaza’s main power station.
This week, John Dugard, Special UN rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, told international body’s Human Rights Council that Israel had already turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians and that life there was already becoming intolerable.
“In other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing but political correctness forbids such language where Israel is concerned. If the international community cannot take some action, it must be surprised if the people of the planet disbelieve that they are seriously committed to the promotion of human rights.”
Dugard said the US, Europe and Canada had failed the Palestinian people by withdrawing funds in order to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas in thelegislative elections earlier this year.
In fact Dugard’s statements don’t fully and accurately describe the deepening tragedy in Gaza.
In truth, Israel is turning Gaza into more than just a prison, it is turning it into a real concentration camp where the 1.4 Gazans, a majority of them children, are confined to 300 square kilometers, without food, without money, with work and certainly without hope.
Well, the shipyard dogs of Zionism and their supporters will cry out in protest that there are no gas chambers in Gaza. This is true. There are no gas chambers yet, but Israel doesn’t need ovens to kill Gazans and other Palestinians since this would be a huge public relations disaster for the children and grandchildren of the holocaust.
Hence, a “wiser” way to attain the same results, annihilating the Palestinians, lies in starving them to death or to near death as Weisglass had suggested.
It is very hard to understand why countries like France, which had experienced the horrors of German Nazism, is saying nothing and doing nothing while 3.5 million Palestinians are dying a slow death at the hands of Zionist Nazism.
It is also mind-boggling that the more humane countries in northern Europe are also effectively silent in the face of this silent death haunting the victims of Zio-Nazism.
Well, could that be a reflection of the more deadly silence of Arab countries, including those surrounding Palestine such as Jordan and Egypt, which haven’t uttered a word against the Nazis of our time, namely Israel and her guardian ally, the United States?
Are the Europeans and others saying effectively that “we can’t be more Arab than the Arabs themselves?
Or are they just resigning to the fact of Judeo-Nazism and coming to the conclusion that nothing can be done to stop it?
Are we in 1939 or 2006?
Rapprochement With Vatican Now
The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine, the largest Arab-American organization in the US passed the following resolution at its 2006 Convention in Jacksonville, Florida (note that the original inhabitants of Ramallah are Christian): "We are strongly against any proposed resolutions being discussed today in Congress that foster the impression that Christian Palestinians are discriminated against in their own homeland by the Palestinian Authority. There continues to be good relations between all Palestinians."
25 September, 2005
by Khalid Amayreh
Pope Benedict XVI on Monday, 25 September, met with Muslim diplomats in Rome in an effort to mend relations with the Muslim world following his recent speech which depicted Islam as a violent religion.
The Pope reportedly assured envoys from 22 predominantly Muslim countries that he had “total esteem and profound respect” for Islam and Muslims. He also pointed out that both Muslims and Christians must reject all forms of violence.
The high-profile meeting should be seen as signaling the return of stable and normal relations between the adherents of Islam and followers of Roman Catholicism.
The Pope has already stated that he never intended to malign Islam or insult its followers, insisting that his speech was misunderstood.
I believe Muslims, especially religious scholars and public opinion leaders should sincerely welcome such gestures of good will by the Pope and urge ordinary Muslims worldwide to refrain from making convulsive and emotionally-charged remarks against the man or the Christian faith. After all, and despite our the troubled history of Islam and the West, we still have much in common with Christianity, both in terms of theology and morality.
Moreover, it is not true at all that the Pope is an ecclesiastical equivalent of George Bush as some Muslim writers have been claiming rather erroneously of late. A man who truly seeks reconciliation with Muslims is not like the tyrant of the White House whose hands are stained with the blood of tens of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, Lebanese and Palestinians.
We must possess a sense of distinction, otherwise we would appear as irrational rabbles who are prone to violence and incapable of reasonable discourse.
Besides, Muslims should think many times before doing or saying things that would alienate over a billion Roman Catholics all over the world who follow and give allegiance to the Holy See, and who are predominant in states where sizable Muslim minorities live and work like in France and Germany.
In fact, good, stable and even friendly relations with the Catholic world is a paramount geopolitical Muslim interest.
Catholic nations can be our natural allies in the face of the global tyranny posed by the United States and Israel. In fact, both Muslims and Roman Catholics and many other peace and justice-loving peoples have common goals in combating American-Zionist hegemony and designs for global domination. Have we forgotten that the only country that withdrew its ambassador from Israel following its recent criminal aggression against Lebanon was a Catholic country, Venezuela, whereas Arab states like Egypt and Jordan, which maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, remained largely silent while Lebanese children and women were being decapitated and mutilated by Israel’s smart bombs and hellfire missiles?
Today, the wantonly-pro Israeli evangelical Christians, commonly known as Christian Zionists, are trying to assert themselves as the universal representatives of Christendom. Some of these maniacs are already speaking of wiping Islam off the map and doing to Muslims what Adolph Hitler did to his enemies more than sixty years ago.
These morbid-minded religious fascists are decidedly against every thing Islamic and would go to the extent of condoning, even encouraging a genocidal extermination of Muslims, even other Christians, including Catholics, who don’t subscribe to their doomsday theology.
Hence, positive and friendly relations between Islam and Catholicism, based on mutual trust and mutual respect, could more or less create a kind of balance between Islam and the West and disprove the so-called “clash of civilizations” promoted by pro-Israeli circles in the United States.
More to the point, Muslims, especially official bodies such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, can encourage the Vatican to an active stand against all violation of human rights and acts of oppression and persecution against Muslims and others like in Palestine where the Palestinian people are facing a Nazi-like occupation unseen since Hitler’s armies overran and destroyed much of Europe during the Second World War.
It is always in Islam’s interests to have a moral world in which morality rather than political expediency is adopted as the determining factors of the behavior of nation-states and the international community as a whole.
Undoubtedly, a serious dialogue with the Vatican should also convince the Church of Rome to take a vigorous stand against rampant Islamophobia in some western countries where everything Muslim and Islamic becomes suspicious even though the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding citizens.
Having said that, it is also obvious that Muslims ought to look inward in order enhance our own image and, more importantly, correct some of our ways and practices that go against Islam itself and the universal standards of human rights.
And the best way to go about doing this is by standing against extremists and terrorists in our midst who in the name of Islam or under its rubric attack and kill innocent people.
Yes, of course, Muslims are being subjected to a criminal onslaught by Israel and the United States and some other western countries, which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, the way to deal with these crimes is not to abduct innocent westerners in Iraq and decapitate them before TV cameras. This is not how Islam teaches its followers to behave.
Finally, we must, as ordinary Muslims and organizations, speak up against not only acts or remarks that insult our religion, but also against the despotic and tyrannical regimes in many Muslim lands that humiliate their masses by denying them their human rights and civil rights.
In short, if we don’t respect ourselves, we will not be respected by others.
Monday, September 25, 2006
An Open Question to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on Right of Return
Subject: An Open Question to Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi on the Right of Return
Dear Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
As you may have heard, your remarks in Switzerland about the Right of Return has caused concern and there is a need for explanation.
You were quoted in reply to a question on September 8th at Restaurant Karl der Grosse :
"We have to be realistic. We cannot just say all of them [the refugees] have to come back immediately tomorrow, because this will be the end of Israel . Let’s be frank about it."
Your reply to the Swiss daily "Tages-Anzeiger" was this,
"Barghouthi: The right of the [Palestinian] refugees to return as such cannot be discussed, but its implementation can be.
Question: Does it mean the return of a small number and a compensation for the large rest?
Barghouthi.: On this issue I can speak first in a conference [meaning negotiations with Israel]."
The statement (in English) on Al-Mubara web site is as follows,
“This Initiative calls for the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions requiring the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the West Bank and Gaza and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.” Note the word : homeland, not homes.
The letter you sent us (in Arabic) states,
Al Mubadara announcement on 15th May 2005 calls for
"the affirmation of RoR, as an individual and collective right, which no body whatsoever can forfeit" [my translation]. No specific details.
All these statements cause concern to Palestinian refugees. If that was an inadvertent formulation, then it should be corrected publicly. If this is the policy you wish to pursue, the majority of Palestinians will not agree with you.
You may be aware that the Explanatory Memorandum of resolution 194, as well as Bernadotte report on which resolution 194 was based, clearly states that the refugees should return to "the homes and lands" from which they were expelled or left. To return to their "homeland" is neither legally correct, not accepted by the refugees. The slogan "to return to their homeland" is adopted by the Israelis and their supporters such as Yasser Rabbo and Sari Nusseibah as a cover for tawtin. They advocate two ethnic states: Jewish Israel in as large part as possible of historic Palestine, and Arab Palestine statelet in what is left.
Resolution 181, on which Israel's Declaration was based, never envisaged, nor could it, in international law, advocate any ethnic state. Resolution 181 in Chapters 2,3 clearly protects the full rights of minorities in the majority state, whether Arab or Jewish. This is in recognition of the right to live in one's home and of the sanctity of private ownership regardless of the sovereignty on the place.
The claim that the return of refugees is undesirable because it may mean the end of Israel is outrageous. Do you expect the refugees to live in exile forever, in proximity to their homes, while Jewish immigrants are brought in to live in their homes? Do you support the institutionalized racism and Apartheid policies in Israel, the only state in the world to do that, which is the only obstacle to the return of the refugees? I do not think so. I hope not.
As to "implementation" of RoR, we have made extensive studies, more are coming, that the return is quite feasible, without major dislocation to present inhabitants.
But this is not the issue. As long as Israel is not dezionized and did not shed its racist and Apartheid policies, no return of the refugees will be accepted by Israel and the bloodshed will continue. In the end, it is Israel's policies that are doomed, because they are against legality, morality and history, not the right of refugees to return to their homes, a right they insisted on for 58 years and have no intention of abandoning.
Advocating Ramallah banana republic as a substitute for the core of the Palestine Question: the Right of Return, will never win political mileage whoever phrased.
You have expressed total devotion to RoR when speaking to Al Hakim. That is why he and his party supported you in the last elections.
I hope you now express your position on RoR in unambiguous terms to all those who wish to hear it.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Salman Abu Sitta
Right of Return Congress
Dear Dr. Abu Sitta
Thank you for your e-mail which gives me the opportunity to clarify a few points.
Firstly, you should know by now that I have always been unequivocally supportive of the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees to the homes they were displaced from, adn not to other places. I support this position because it is a national right, underlined by United Nations Resolution 194, but also because it is an individual human right tht is confirmed by international humanitarian law, and that cannot be reneged by any government.
This has been made quite clear in both Al Mubadara's program, and Independent Palestine's election platform, which stated that: "We support the refugees' Right of Return not just to their homeland, but to the homes they were displaced from."
There is no ambiguity here, and so the manner in which some continue to question our position, is surprising.
This does not contradict, but confirms what I said in my recent lecture in Zurich and in several other interviews, that the Rifht of Return itself cannot be negotiated, although its implementatin can, because rights are rights, and are not subject to negotiation.
I doubt that there is anything wrong with also stating that it is unrealistic to expect that all refugees will return at once, tomorrow.
As for the Geneva Accords, you know tht I have been one of their most pblicly outspoken critics, on television, and in writing. I was very strongly critical of the Accords recently at both the Geneva and Zurich meetings, a fact that you may have been informed of.
Regarding the Apartheid nature of what Israel has created, I think I was one of the first to call the Wall the "Apartheid Wall." We have been working very hard to expose Israeli policies as one contnuous policy of Apartheid that has become a system worse than that practiced in South Africa.
I hope my message is clear. I would be very happy to continue exchanging views with ou, and of having the opportunity to participate in some of the conferences that you organize.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The disgrace of attacking churches in Palestine
What interest do Muslims, especially in Palestine, have in firebombing churches in the West Bank ? And what message of civility, good –will and national unity do the perpetrators of these hideous acts want to communicate to the Palestinian people and the outside world by attacking and threatening to fire-bomb peaceful churches in Gaza, Nablus, Jenin and Tubas?
Aren’t we supposed to be the protectors of these churches? These are our own Palestinian churches, after all, and targeting them with fire-bombs is a cardinal criminal act of unparalleled stupidity.
It may be a little assuring that no one has been injured in these suspicious incidents, as they have been described by Palestinian political and religious officials. However, must we wait until somebody gets injured or, God forbid, killed, to do what should be done to eradicate this disgraceful behavior from our midst?
Yes, of course, we are all legitimately angry at and upset by the injurious remarks made recently by the Pope of the Vatican. But is attacking Palestinian churches in Nablus and Tubas, some dating back to the nineteenth century, the right way to express our anger and vent our indignation? Are Palestinian Christians and their churches mere escape goats or hostages to be attacked and targeted whenever a crisis between Islam and the West arises? Shame on us if we ever allowed ourselves to think this way.
Yes, these criminal incidents were minor in their scope and even negligible in the physical harm they have inflicted. But the moral damage they have caused is undoubtedly incalculable.
Needless to say, these attacks are not only morally wrong, they are also Islamically unlawful and politically very disastrous.
Morally, because these are peaceful places of worship and should in no way be involved in the controversy over the Pope’s remarks. From the Islamic view point, the attacks are plainly Haram according to the laws of the Sharia. Didn’t our Prophet Muhammed (S) say “Man Atha Thimmiyan Faqad Athaani” (who ever harms (a non-Muslim citizen living in Muslim land) also harms me”?
It is heartening that there has been not a single Palestinian leader or activist who publicly or privately has voiced or signaled any modicum of support for these strange acts. In fact, every Palestinian leader and activist from Hamas, Fatah and other factions have publicly condemned the thuggish behavior in the strongest terms.
The Mufti of Palestine, the Sharia Judge and the Sheikhs of al-Masjidul Aqsa as well as all Palestinian political leaders have all condemned these acts and the perpetrators.
Politically, the attacks, which enjoyed ample coverage especially by the Israeli media and pro-Israeli western news agencies, such as the Associated Press, have been a great public relations disaster for the Palestinian people and their cause.
They portrayed us as a thuggish and gangsterly people who can’t control their own impulses and who would embark on the stupidest act of self-destruction just for the sake of it.
Undoubtedly, those who did these acts have given Israel and its opportunistic hasbara apparatus free propaganda munitions for many years to come to demonize us as a people and vilify our struggle against this Nazi-like Israeli occupation whose bombs and missiles make no distinction between churches and mosques just as its bullets don’t distinguish between Muslims and Christians.
In addition, the perpetrators have dealt Palestinian national unity a huge blow by giving the impression that Christians and their churches in the Holy Land, which actually preceded Islam by hundreds of years, are no longer safe, not because of the criminal Israeli occupation, which is the real reason, but rather because of the thuggish behavior of certain elements within our society.
Israel and its shipyard propaganda dogs will now tell the west that Christians are leaving because of Muslim intimidation and terror, and will try to reap the greatest possible political and propaganda benefit from this sorry affair, all because of the criminal and stupid behavior of whoever stood behind these attacks.
Fortunately, our local Christian leaders, religious and civic, have behaved in an exemplary manner by making sure that these actions won’t undermine Palestinian national unity. And with their Muslim colleagues, they have succeeded in containing any possible aftereffects of this disgrace.
Unfortunately, we live in a country tormented and raped by the Israeli military occupation, which means that lawlessness and chaos are nearly always the “master of the situation”.
Under such conditions, it is really difficult to identify the criminal elements that carried out and stood behind the attacks, carried out under the cover of darkness.
And what makes things really suspicious is the fact that no suspects have been arrested in connection of what happened.
This really could be an indication that Israeli agents, and there are thousands of them, may have been responsible for most if not all of the attacks and attempted attacks on the churches.
The propensity to blame Shin Bet agents is plausible because Israel stands to benefit, from the view point of political expediency, from such incidents which corrode Palestinian national unity and seriously harm the image of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence..
We hope and pray that the perpetrators and those standing behind them will be identified and apprehended very soon. The early arrest and prosecution of the evil-doers will renew our confidence in ourselves and dissipate doubts about our moral fabric and national unity.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The Right of Return Cannot Be Dismissed
Key to My Heart. To purchase this tee-shirt, go to http://www.al-awda.org/shirts.html
What right does this fascist woman [Livni] have to say that refugees evicted from their homes and towns and villages at gunpoint have no right to return to their homes? The Right of return is the centerpice, the core, and essence, of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Without repatriation and indemnification of the refugees, there can be no peace, not after 500 years. Khalid Amayreh, Palestinian Journalist
By Amin Abu Wardeh
Friday, September 22
The Director of the Center for the Right of Return for Refugees reiterated Friday that UN Resolution 194 is nonnegotiable.
Two-thirds of Palestinians are refugees and are not about to relinquish their right. It is not a bargaining chip for President Abbas or Prime Minister Haniya. As a collective and individual right, is cannot be dismissed for any reason. Any official in whatever the office may be cannot make any decision that prejudices that right.
History will not be merciful to any who slacks off on the rights of sons to return to the land of their fathers and grandfathers, whether they currently are in Gaza, Jerusalem, West Bank, Jordanian, Egyptian, or Syrian camps, or living further outside in the Diaspora.
The recent Israeli Foreign Minister statements to the United Nations that Israel rejects a two-state solution, illustrates the numerous Israeli officials who refuse to cope with the reality of international law. The Israeli unilateral disengagement plan, that meant to take settlers out of the Gaza Strip without ending the occupation, and putting more settlers into an ever-shrinking West Bank, is illegal.
Director Badrsawi stressed that the international community wishes that the parties find a solution to this thorny issue. But the Israelis will not abide international law, and the Palestinians will not accept the American support of Israel that seeks to renounce international law with a stroke of its pen.
Badrsawi said, “The insistence of the Palestinian refugee to return after 58 years is clear evidence of their position and steadfastness.”
He wondered, “What would be the fate of the settlements that engulf the Palestinian territories, which disperse geographic unity of Palestine and has become almost cantons? What of Jerusalem, which Israel is still working to Judaize. What of the expulsion of the indigenous population and the policy of hemming them in?” Badrsawi’s questions did not end there. He also wondered, “Why the wall of apartheid, which swallowed the land and tore the country, dispersed families and neighbors and demarcated a new and smaller border, stands despite international law against it?"
“Will the wall be within the anticipated Palestinian State, or will it move to the borders of 4 June 1967, the agreed-upon borders?”
He continued, “There is also a question about the fate of displaced refugees. Will the coming solution ensure their Right of Return? The answer is yes because there can be no solution without it. They have rights to their property and their stolen lives. Even if we suffer this point in its clarification, Israel still is not accepting the Right of Return for these refugees to their homes, to their land. But this is nonnegotiable. It is United Nations Resolution 194. Even to return to territories inside the 1967 borders, Israel still refuses that. But Israel’s refusal to accept return to Palestinian homes and villages inside 1948 Palestine led to inside 1967 borders. Israel refuses a two-state solution, Israel refuses the Right of Return, Israel refuses international law.”
Badrsawi concluded Friday, "The question remains, who or what will force it to do so."
Friday, September 22, 2006
Free Palestine:New Video for Outlandish Song
New video (thanks to ROR blogger Annie for the link) to go with Danish rock group Outlandish's beautiful song for Palestine, "Look Into My Eyes"(lyrics by Gihad Ali).
The earlier, "Red Riding Hood" version.
Action Alert: Peace One Day
Reprinted from Bonsoir (thanks, Akram)
Action Alert: Peace One Day
Today, the 21st of September, marks the International Day of Peace. For most nations of the world it is a gleam of hope that peace will prevail one day. For the Palestinians this day is no different from any other day they lived -barely- under the occupation of the biggest threat to world peace, "Israel".
In October 2005, the European Commission conducted a survey representing the EU's member nations with the question of which country presents the biggest threat to the world peace. Israel came first with 59 percent of the votes.
Nevertheless, Our world, the whole world, is becoming so ignorant and so blind that the butcher is being treated as a victim and the victims are not even considered human enough to be dealt with.
Peace can prevail one day, but never with the current Israeli policy of occupation and apartheid in place. If the world is honestly committed to peace then all nations of the globe should unite against the Israeli barbarism just as firm as we all stood against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
If you build a house you start with one brick. If we want to build peace why not start with one day... and that day has arrived.
Jeremy Gilley (The British director and founder of the UN Peace Day)
Send an Email to:
- The President of the European Commissionsgfirstname.lastname@example.org
- The UN Secretary Generalinquiries@un.org
- George W. Bushpresident@whitehouse.gov
requesting them to stop acting against the wish of the World, European, and American nations and urging them to stop starving the Palestinians and to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners, including the MP's and cabinet ministers, to end its occupation and apartheid, and to commit itself to a sustainable peace in the Middle East in which the Palestinians would be given back their basic rights including the inalienable right of return.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wilson's Reporting Facilitates Genocide
Zionist thugs in uniforms rampaged through Gaza today, killing three teenage boys, beating up a deaf man, shooting point blank at his wife and prohibiting ambulances entry as she and another civilian bled to death for four hours. Scott Wilson, reporter for the Washington Post, but coming across as the Public Affairs Officer for Israel's Occupation Forces, whitewashes the slaughter.
"The children were killed and their bodies torn to pieces," reports Palestine Center For Human Rights Gaza. Their names: Ala Saqer Dahrouj Abu Dahrouj (15); Zeidan Rafiq Mohammad Abu Rashid (16); and Mohammad Selmi Mohammad Masalha (17).
Maybe their names are a little too long for Scott Wilson of the Washington Post, ["Five Killed in the Gaza Strip"], whose story is little more than a paraphrase of the Israeli Army spokesperson.
Wilson spends much time rationalizing the murder of these young shepherds by emphasizing they were in the vicinity of rocket launchers. After reporting that "at least" five Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip today, Wilson waxes in the third paragraph about a broken "water pipe" in Sderot; it's not until the seventh paragraph that we learn a thirty-five year old woman,Itemad Ismail Abu Mo'ammar, was killed by Israeli tank fire in Um El-Naser, northeast of Rafah. Wilson doesn't mention her name; none of the murdered Palestinians' names are mentioned by the Washington Post reporter.
He does not mention that an Israeli soldier fired directly at her when she protested their storming her house and beating up her deaf husband after some youths had fled there to escape the gestapo-like death squads. She was left to bleed to death and ambulances were forbidden to reach her. Another civilian, "Mohammad Suliman Abu Mo'ammar (28), bled to death from gunshot wounds in the left thigh and right hand."
They were left to bleed to death for four hours. And while these modern day huns were at it in Gaza, they completely destroyed 13 houses.
Wilson quotes or paraphrases Israeli military officials eight times in his story. When he's not quoting them he supplies background information to take the edge of Israel's barbarism:
"Palestinian gunmen flee quickly after firing the crude, erratic rockets, often hiding in the labyrinths of Gaza's crowded residential neighborhoods. Many Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire after wandering into those staging areas soon after a rocket is launched."
Palestinians are paraphrased twice by Wilson: "Israeli military officials confirmed that artillery fire had been directed at three men, who Palestinian witnesses described as teenagers," and "Palestinian health officials reported that a 35-year-old mother was killed by a tank round in the Rafah fighting and an adult male was killed by gunfire."
Wilson even quotes an Israeli military official blaming the Palestinians for their own deaths, "An Israeli army spokesperson said Thursday, 'If the launcher was left on the ground, then these people were victims of those who left it there.'"
Wilson's reprehensible reporting facilitates Israel's genocide.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Thameen Darby Creates Nakba Layer for Google Earth
Photos: Lifta, an example of what you'll see on the Nakba Layer for Google Earth.
A young refugee girl takes care of her grandfather.
Thameen Darby has created a Nakba layer for Google Earth.
Thameen describes his project that will bring joy to Palestinian refugees:
"Do you want to see where your original town or village is in Palestine? If you have Google Earth you can use the attached layer to see the destroyed and existing Palestinian Villages. For those who have not used it yet, Google Earth is a new emerging tool for information exchange based on a three dimensional assimilation of satellite images of the world. Google Earth allows users to add layers to it after they install. There is a layer of all the destroyed Palestinian villages and towns in 1948. This is a big data base that shows the site of each village and directs you to a website that talks about each village in detail. Download the attachment from http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/310630/page/.
"If you have Google Earth, open the attachment and it will automatically go to Google Earth and display the layer. If you do not have Google Earth, download the attachment now and keep it until you download the program. It is a very nice program, it is very educational and a lot of fun to see the whole world on your PC.
"You can download Google Earth from here: http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html The Attachment is very small, only 150 Kbs. The attached layer contains a list of all the destroyed villages, around 700 of them, classified according to their district, with links to a website that gives detailed information about each village. Because of the amount of information, the layers are very crowded. So to view a specific subcategory, inactivate the other layers.
"Please forward this attachment and this email to your friends. Many Palestinians will like to see where in Palestine their original hometown is located. "
And Thameen adds:
"The web site palestineremembered.com is working on a more comprehensive project to bring the Nakba online. They are integrating the google earth maps into its data base, and they are using Dr. Salman Abu Sitti's Atlas of Palestine as one of their sources. Soon we will have all the land marks in Abu Sitti's Atlas online. Salah Mansour, the palestineremembered.com webmaster, told me it will be in two or three weeks. Isn't that cool !!"
Let's Not Forget,
Very cool. Thanks, Thameen for your extraordinary effort. Thameen exemplifies what my fellow ROR blogger, Akram of Bonsoir always maintains:
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Bush Tells UN Inalienable Rights Foundation of Justice
In his address today to the United Nations George W. Bush began with the quotation above which he noted "can be found in the very first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
If President Bush desires peace in the Middle East he would have continued quoting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; specifically, Article 13, Section 2, which states: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.""At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle between extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear and moderate people who work for peace," continued President Bush, and he admonished Hamas to "serve the interests of the Palestinian people, abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements that work for peace."
There is nothing "moderate" about the notion of the killing machine Israel's "right to exist" as a Jewish state, which serves bigoted immigrants while violating the "inalienable" rights Bush extolls at the expense of the indigenous people.
The interests of the Palestinian people are not served by "moderates" who with extreme egotism talk about bartering away inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are just that. They may neither be negotiated by individuals nor by governments. These "moderates" are in the words of Palestinian researcher Dr. Salman Abu Sitta abetting ethnic cleansing, which is a war crime.
President Bush looks to a "more hopeful world within our reach...where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority."
I couldn't agree with Bush more. It's certainly time for the Palestinian refugees, many of whom are "within" a fifty kilometer "reach" of their homes to be "empowered," through the implementation of their inalienable right to return to their villages and towns.
Bush talks of giving "voice to the hopes of decent men and women who want for their children the same thing we want for ours."
Again, I concur with Bush. Decent and moderate Palestinian men and women want their inalienable right to be buried in the place in which they were born and their children want their inalienable right to live in and visit their ancestral towns and villages. There is nothing extreme about wanting to go home. All that's stopping its implementation is the very ugly, racist, and extreme ideology that Jews must maintain a majority in the Holy Land, which totally contradicts Bush's espousal of "a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths."
If Bush wants Hamas to honor agreements that "work for peace," he, himself will have to read beyond the first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and get up in front of the United Nations and advocate for its implementation.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine, Always On My Mind
Palestine by The Sound of Reason (thanks Karmalised)
Listen to Palestine, a hauntingly beautiful song
Close my eyes tonight
My conscience by my side
It’s hard to live this life
Where truth begins with lies
So I won’t sleep… I will stay awake
Cause if I dream… they will/then they’ll take their claim
Oh I try… oh I try to fight
To stay awake tonight
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine… always on my mind
Truth is where desire ends
A meaning to an end
I search myself all the time
To change what’s in my mind
So I won’t sleep… I will stay awake
Cause if I dream… they will/then they’ll take their claim
Oh I try… oh I try to fight
To stay awake tonight
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine… always on my mind
I can’t find peace cause it’s hard to release what we’ve done
What we could be if we’d only see what we’ve become
It’s unbelievable it’s undeniable ohhhh!
I want free, won’t sleep, won’t dream, won’t eat, won’t breathe
Won’t give in to what’s building inside of me
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Palestinians suspect Israeli agents behind fire-bombing of Churches
from Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Palestinian nationalist and Islamic leaders on Sunday strongly condemned fire-bombing attacks against a few churches in the West Bank, calling the incidents “suspicious” and “incompatible with Palestinian and Islamic culture.”
Three churches in Nablus, Tulkarm and Tubas in the northern West Bank have been attacked with fire-bombs by unknown perpetrators resulting in minor damage.
The mayor of Tubas, where a small Greek Orthodox Church was attacked, accused “suspicious elements,” a reference to Israeli Shin Bet (Israel’s chief domestic intelligence agency) agents of “having embarked on this ugly act and criminal act.”
“It is either Israeli collaborators or some overzealous fools upset by the remarks of the Pope,” said Iqab Darghmeh (Abu Ahmed), in a telephone interview.
Darghmeh and Muslim notables, including representatives of Fatah, Hamas and civic leaders visited the church Sunday morning to show solidarity with the small Christian community in the town.
“Christians here are not a separate sect. They are our flesh and blood. They are our brothers. An attack on their churches is an attack on Islam and the Palestinian people.”
The fire-bombings have been widely condemned by religious and political leaders throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Sheikh Muhammed Hussein, the highest-ranking Muslim clergyman in East Jerusalem described the bombing as “immoral, unethical and injurious to Palestinian unity.”
“Those who perpetrated these acts don’t represent the Palestinian people. They are a gang of ignoramuses and fanatics, or suspicious elements.” In the Palestinian political lexicon, “suspicious elements” is an allusion to Israeli collaborators and informers.
Earlier, the Mufti of Ramallah, Jamal Bawatneh, called on all Palestinians to inform on any person seen attacking or vandalizing Christian churches and property.
“I urge our people to inform on any person carrying out a crime against people and property. Failing to do so amounts to treason and complicity, “ read a statement issued by the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza.
Hamas condemns vandalism
Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance group, Hamas, strongly condemned attacks on churches in parts of the West Bank, calling such attacks “criminal and harmful to the Palestinian cause.”
“I am sure that Israel is enjoying this. Israel always wants to create problems and divisions between Muslims and Christians. And those who committed these acts are only serving Zionist propaganda and goals,” said Yousuf Ibrahim, a Hamas spokesperson in the Bethlehem region.
“I am nearly certain that at least some of the perpetrators are Israeli agents.”
On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Interior Minister, Sa’eed Siyam, ordered the security apparatus to step up security measures around churches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Pope’s remarks condemned
Muslim and most Christian religious and secular leaders did condemn anti-Islam remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI in Germany on 14 September.
The Pope, quoting a medieval Byzantine emperor as saying that “Show me just what Muhammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
The remarks drew angry but mostly non-violent reactions from across the Muslim world, with Muslim leaders calling on the Pope to apologize for offending Muslim sensibilities.
Some Muslim scholars interpreted the remarks as “a declaration of war on Islam.”
“When you say that Islam is evil, you are not only de-legitimizing it, but encouraging open war on its followers,” said the Supreme Sharia Judge in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sheikh Taysir Tamimi.
The pope more or less apologized during a Sunday mass.
“I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.
“These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.”
Saturday, September 16, 2006
September 16 Commemorates Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Pro-Israeli Editors Seek to Influence Al-Jazeera International English Satellite TV
September 15, 2006
By Khalid Amayreh
When the Qatar-based pan-Arab Al-Jazeera Satellite Television announced two years ago plans to launch Al-Jazeera International (AJI ), many people around the world hoped the new satellite channel would provide a genuine alternative to the notoriously biased western media, which often operate under a certain Zionist influence.
The new channel, the launching of which has been postponed several times for a variety of reasons, will provide both regional and global perspective to a potential audience of hundreds of millions of English speakers.
AJI is the world’s first English-language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East, with news management rotating around broadcasting centers in Athens, Doha, London, Washington, D.C., and Kuala Lumpur.
AJI has already attracted a number of luminaries in the world of TV broadcasting, including such people as Sir David Frost and Riz Khan.
However, it seems that disappointment may be awaiting many of those who expect to see a world TV channel that is fair and objective and especially free from the usual Anglo-American (and Israeli) worldview.
In fact, there are already ominous signs showing that pro-Israeli sympathizers, some of them with a background in the BBC, are already trying to control the editorial policies of the new channel, all under the rubric of professionalism and journalistic standards.
This writer, who has been working for aljazeera.net/English (which has now been incorporated into AJI) has discovered by chance efforts by some senior western editors at AJI to minimize and avoid as much as possible the publication of articles, especially news and feature stories, portraying Israel in bad light and exposing Israeli occupation practices against the Palestinian people.
This trend has become quite conspicuous lately. Aljazeera.net/English, for example, failed to report important news worthy events from Israel such as the admission by an Israeli military officer that the Israeli air force dropped over a million cluster bomblets on Lebanon during the recent war with Hizbullah.
Similarly, a story quoting Eifi Eitam, head of a right-wing Israeli party, as calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied territories, was left unreported, even after AJI was notified of the subject.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of similar examples, all showing that AJI is knowingly and deliberately avoiding serious coverage of the Palestinian plight, especially in its feature section which abounds with all kinds of stories covering various, including outlandish, subjects and events.
Earlier this year, one of the pro-Israeli editors contemptuously rejected a human feature story on a Palestinian college student from al-Najah University in Nablus who lost her right eye to an Israeli rubber bullet while on her way home from campus.
The senior editor, Vince Ryan, argued that the subject was not a priority and that aljazeera.net/English would prepare a more comprehensive coverage of similar cases later. Of course, the promised coverage never materialized.
Eventually, thanks to intensive pleading by this writer, the article, one of the best I’ve ever written, was posted(see “Rubber Bullets Menace West Bank, aljazeera.net/English”)[the original version and stronger version of Khalid's story is published here].
Ryan apparently never forgave me my “audacity” as evident from his subsequent behavior. In the third week of June this year, I submitted an article on Palestinian children and minors killed by the Israeli army and para-military Jewish settlers. The article was based on statistical information released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
However, instead of thanking me for the article, Ryan, upon seeing the article, and without giving it a second thought, wrote to me that I was lying and that the information contained in the article was false. His vindictive and nervous tone was very telling and spoke volumes.
Unable to reason with the man, who by the way never ever accepted even a single proposal for a feature article he viewed as “anti-Israeli” (I proposed numerous ideas for news and feature pieces), I turned to Russell Merryman, Editor-in-Chief for Web and News Media services at AJI, who is probably the most pro-Israeli operative in AJI today.
However, instead of treating the matter professionally, Merryman launched a tirade against me, accusing me of lacking professionalism and violating al-Jazeera’s professional ethics.
He argued that employing terms such as “martyrs” even within a quote was unprofessional (most Arab media employ the term in reference to Palestinians killed by the Israeli army). This is the same man who readily posts quotes by Israeli army spokespersons and Jewish leaders vilifying Palestinians as “terrorists, murderers and thugs.”
Finding out that he had no case against me, Merryman resorted to red-herring tactics, accusing me of creating confusion and turmoil at aljzeera.net (from the West Bank. I am even barred from leaving the West Bank by the Israeli occupation authorities). And after a brief email exchange, he told me I was fired.
I had written more than 300 pieces for aljazeera.net/English, probably more than anybody else, and never really encountered any problem with previous editors of aljazeera.net. Indeed, Merryman himself, when he started work with aljazeera.net in 2005, praised my professionalism and experience as a journalist.
I don’t know for sure why Merryman behaved the way he did. It is quite possible that he had been urged or cajoled by some of his Zionist friends to make sure that “anti-Israeli” articles are rejected.
But I have my suspicions which I am sure will be vindicated one day.
It may be that he wanted to make AJI coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a carbon copy of that of the BBC where he had spent several years as producer, presenter and news editor.
That would be a real disaster, indeed. It was due to the BBC accumulative coverage of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, at least in part, that a majority of British youths came to think that Palestinians were “the settlers” and Jews were the victims of the “Palestinian settler violence,” as was revealed in a British opinion poll a few years ago. Yes, of course, it is important to be neutral and impartial when covering international conflicts. But it is even more important to be honest when dealing with asymmetrical conflicts where one side is occupied and oppressed and the other is occupier and oppressor.
Eventually, though somewhat belatedly, the Al-Jazeera administration became conscious (I don’t know to what extent) of the silent but real pro-Israeli lobby that was building-up quietly but steadily within AJI.
This build-up had two main expressions: neutralizing Palestinian correspondents from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and the intensive reliance on reports by the American News Agency, the Associated Press, viewed by many as Israel’s ultimate news agency.
Needless to say, reports by this agency, whose Jerusalem offices are staffed by extremely pro-Israeli American Jewish zealots, never miss a chance to remind readers that Hamas was a terrorist organization and that Palestinian resistance fighters were actually terrorists. AP never ever remembers that timeless maxim that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Israel itself is also viewed by hundreds of millions of people around the world as a terrorist state par excellence.
Seeking to rectify the situation before it is too late, Al-jazeera’s top managers appointed Ibrahim Hilal, an able Egyptian journalist, to make sure that AJI didn’t drift too much away from the policies of the mother Arabic channel.
Hilal, under instructions from al-jazeera General Manager, Waddah Khanfar, asked Merryman to reinstate me as correspondent in Palestine. Merryman complied but only begrudgingly.
On 18 July, Merryman sent me a terse and condescending message, demanding that I apologize to him (I don’t know for what) and warning that my performance would be closely monitored. He said he would commission me to write some pieces, but that he and he alone would decide when and how. He actually never asked me to write a single piece, despite the numerous news worthy events taking place in Palestine.
I did propose to him that I should prepare some feature stories on the situation in Gaza, the power-struggle between Hamas and Fatah and how Israel was barring Palestinians from accessing food and work.
He wouldn’t even reply to these messages.
Last week, Merryman decided to change the entire rules governing the editorial policies of aljazeera.net/English. The new rules make sure that “undesirable stories,” e.g. stories that expose Israeli brutality and racism against the Palestinians or those portraying Israel as a Nazi-like entity, wouldn’t find their way to aljazeera.net.
Merryman has actually already put this policy into effect. For the past three or four months, not a single feature story about the Israeli persecution of Palestinians, which of late assumed nearly genocidal proportions, appeared on Al-jazeera’s English website. This is while the site abounds with all sorts of stories about Katrina victims and similar outlandish subjects.
Merryman claims he has received a full authorization from Al-jazeera General Director Waddah Khanfar granting him full authority to decide what is posted on Al-Jazeera’s English website.
I have sought to communicate my concerns about this grave trend now permeating through AJI to al-jazeera’s top officials, some of whom have openly voiced their frustration and exasperation in this regard.
One official intimated to me that “Merryman views with utter contempt the way the Arabic channel is run.”
Another told me that “this man and his friends want to turn al-jazeera into another Fox News or even another Jerusalem Post.” The latter is Israel’s main right-wing English newspaper which many liberals consider a mouthpiece of Jewish settlers.
I am sure that this article will sign me off from al-jazeera. However, I am willing to sacrifice my own personal interest and lose the bulk of my income in the hope that al-Jazeera officials, particularly Chairman Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani and Managing Director Waddah Khanfar will open their eyes and make sure that al-Jazeera International doesn’t become a new weapon in the hands of the enemies of Arabs and Muslims.
For God’s sake, don’t let them hijack Al-Jazeera under the disguise of journalistic ethics.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Right to Return, a Basic Right Still Denied
Updated September 12, 2006
The Right To Return, a Basic Right Still Denied*
• Palestinian refugees represent the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world today.
• In 2005, there were approximately 7.2 million Palestinian refugees, equivalent to 74% of the entire Palestinian population which is estimated at 9.7 million worldwide.
• The breakdown of the refugee population is as follows:
During the creation of the Zionist state in 1948, approximately three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced to become refugees. Together with their descendants, more than 4.3 million of these refugees are today registered with the United Nations while over 1.7 million are not. According to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), one-third of the registered refugees live in 59 U.N.-run camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The majority of the rest live in and around cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and of neighboring countries.
Approximately 32,000 Palestinians became internally displaced in 1948. Today, these refugees number approximately 355,000 persons. Despite the fact that they were issued Israeli citizenship, the Zionist state has also denied these refugees their right to return to their homes or villages.
When the West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied in 1967, the U.N. reported that approximately 200,000 Palestinians fled their homes. These 1967 refugees and their descendants today number about 834,000 persons.
As a result of home demolitions, revocation of residency rights and construction of illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian owned-land, at least 57,000 Palestinians have become displaced in the occupied West Bank. This number includes 15,000 persons so far displaced by the construction of Israel's Annexation/Apartheid Wall.
• The Right to Return has a solid legal basis:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 13 affirms: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country."
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination [Article 5 (d)(ii)], states: "State parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination on all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of ... the right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country."
The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights [Article 12(4)], states: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country."
Moreover, the Principle of Self Determination guarantees, inter alia, the right of ownership and domicile in one's own country. The UN adopted this principle in 1947. In 1969 and thereafter, it was explicitly applied to the Palestinian People, including "the legality of the Peoples' struggle for Self-Determination and Liberation", (GAOR 2535 (xxiv), 2628 (xxv), 2672 (xxv), 2792 (xxvi)). International law demands that neither occupation nor sovereignty diminish the rights of ownership. When the Ottomans surrendered in 1920, Palestinian ownership of the land was maintained. The land and property of the refugees remains their own and they are entitled to return to it.
• In 1948, the international community felt a deep sense of responsibility for the mass dispossession, ethnic cleansing and the Zionist transfer policy that began then. United Nations Mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, who was later assassinated by a Zionist terrorist hit squad, stated: "It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine" (UN Doc Al 648, 1948). This remains true today as any Jew, regardless of national origin, can gain automatic citizenship while Palestinian Arabs are denied their right to return to their own homeland.
• Consistent with International Law, The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. Paragraph 11 states: "the [Palestinian] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."
• UN General Assembly Resolution 194 has been has been affirmed by the UN over 130 times since its introduction in 1948 with universal consensus except for Israel and the U.S. This resolution was further clarified by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 which reaffirms in Subsection 2: "the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return."
• Israel's admission to the UN was conditional on its acceptance of UN resolutions including 194. Denying the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands is a war crime and an act of aggression which deserves action by the international community. The international community can apply sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law.
• The right of refugees to return is not only sacred and legal but also possible. Demographic studies show that 80% of Israelis live in 15 percent of the land and that the remaining 20% live on 85% of the land that belongs to the refugees. Further, of the 20%, 18% live in Palestinian cities while the remaining 2% live in kibbutzim and moshavs. By contrast, more than 6,000 refugees live per square kilometer in the Gaza Strip, while over the barbed wire their lands are practically empty. Ninety seven percent of the entire refugee population currently lives within 100 km of their homes. Fifty percent live within 40 km. While many live within sight of their homes.
• The inalienable rights of refugees are not negotiable. International law considers agreements between an occupier and the occupied to be null and void if they deprive civilians of recognized human rights including the rights to repatriation and restitution.
• The US is bound by its laws not to fund regimes that violate human rights and basic freedoms. There is no more elemental right than one's right to his/her home and to live in his/her land. The US could use the leverage of the massive financial support it gives to the State of Israel to press for this right.
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Palestine Land Society
Badil Resource Center for Refugee Rights
Shaml - The Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
See also: FAQs on Refugees and Al Awda's Points of Unity
2000 - 2006 Copyright Al-Awda/PRRC. All Rights Reserved. Legal Information.
Friday, September 08, 2006
League of Palestinian Artists Rejects Ankori's Dedication
Click on the banner to read and sign the petition to the 84 Hollywood signatories of the August 16 Los Angeles Times advertisement whitewashing Israel of its terrorist crimes.
Thanks to Bassem for the statement issued by the League of Palestinian Artists re Gannit Ankori's recently published Palestinian Art. An earlier post of Palestinian artist Kamal Boullata's letter to Al-Jazeera re a review of her work (then unpublished) is here (thanks again, Bassem).
Statement issued by the League of Palestinian Artists
After conducting a thorough review of Palestinian Art, by Israeli art historian Gannit Ankori; (Reaction Books Ltd. 2006) the League of Palestinian Artists deemed it necessary to release the following statement regarding "Part I-Foundations, pp.15-57" of the book. The three chapters making up this part are wrought with plagiarism, falsifications and the misrepresentation of sources which all lead to the distortion of facts in writing the history of Palestinian art. The author did not bother to comply with some of the most basic ethical codes of professional practice. Ankori's violations may be summed up as follows:
First: The author intentionally falsified and misrepresented the pioneering field research originally conducted by our Palestinian colleague, artist and researcher Kamal Boullata whose studies have appeared in books, encyclopedias, exhibition catalogues and academic journals. Published over the last three decades, Boullata's studies were the first to document a painting tradition in Palestine since the beginning of the nineteenth century. In light of the historical background he unraveled, he proceeded over the years to analyze the evolvement of Palestinian art in the aftermath of the 1948 national catastrophe (al-Nakba) that culminated in the uprooting and dispersal of Palestinian society.
Secondly: While purporting to present an academic historic study based on her personal findings, Ankori employed different forms of plagiarism. To deflect exposure, at times she included incomplete quotations or selective citations from Boullata's studies that serve her claimed thesis; at other times, she disregarded all proper attribution to her source. Thus, original ideas developed and analyses revealed in Boullata's writings were wholly appropriated and presented by Ankori as if they were her own.
Based on our examination of both parties’ texts, and regardless of the author in quesiton being an Israeli, the League of Palestinian Artists expresses its full solidarity with artist and researcher Kamal Boullata – not on the basis of his being a Palestinian, but rather because his pioneering studies and historic findings, which concern us in the first place, have been mangled and fraudulently appropriated. Gannit Ankori’s plagiarism did not only violate Boullata's rights as a writer but we consider her own writing as an assault on the very historicity of Palestinian art.
Thus, in the name of the League of Palestinian Artists, we ask researchers, art historians, the mass media and all cultural workers to take note of this highly camouflaged case of plagiarism. Readers should approach Ankori's writing with a critical eye that allows them to recognize what appears to be a genuine contribution to documenting a history of Palestinian art, as nothing more than a rehashing of conclusions reached by someone else as verified by published evidence. We must realize that such insidious practices perpetuated by some Israeli researchers who appoint themselves in a position to speak for the Palestinians could only be understood in the context of a colonialist mentality. This kind of appropriation of intellectual property is taking place at the same time in which the Israeli authorities are continuing to seize the remaining lands in our country, and in the process burying its actual history.
Finally, in response to Gannit Ankori's dedication of her book to Palestinian artists: We, the League of Palestinian Artists, reject her dedication and demand from her an apology for violating the intellectual rights of artist and researcher Kamal Boullata.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
To: The 84 Celebrity Signatories of the August 16 Advertisement in the Los Angeles Times--Consider This
CALLING ALL ARAB-AMERICANS, ARABS, ARAB-EUROPEANS, PALESTINIANS, JUSTICE SEEKERS--TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE--SIGN THE PETITION
See also here:
Sign the Petition
Resistance not terrorism
Read and Sign this petition
You write that you are "pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," ignoring the fact that Hezbollah and Hamas' recent actions were directed at military targets to secure release of political prisoners, which include 450 Palestinian children.
Israel's State Terrorism
You whitewash Israel's terrorism in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank and disingenuously ignore Israel's imprisonment of twenty-five percent of the democratically elected Palestinian legislature, imprisonment of its cabinet members, destruction of its Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister's Office by the claim: "If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die. We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."
Consider the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the Headquarters of the British Rule in Palestine, in 1946 by the Irgun, a terrorist Zionist organization, in which 92 British, Arab, and Jews were killed. And Consider that Israeli leaders such as Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister, commemorated the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing last July.
Consider that terrorism and ethnic cleansing were introduced to the region with the advent of political Zionism. David Ben Gurion aka David Gruen formed a committee to "'erase' all the names used in historic Palestine for the past five thousand years and to create new Hebrew names" thus destroying "the vocabulary of the life of the people."
Consider that "the average of Arab civilians killed in each month of the six months preceding the declaration of the birth of the state of Israel reached 150 dead."
Consider that Israel before and after its statehood depopulated 675 Palestinian villages, demolished 438 of them (Khalidi's All That Remains) and is responsible for seventy plus massacres to encourage flight of Palestinians in 1948.
Consider that recent events in Nablus are a continuation of Zionists' ethnic cleansing. Israel's Occupation Forces, in spite of being offered the keys to the building, blew up the ancient town's Ministry of the Interior wiping out "hundreds of thousands of file cases and documents--birth and death certificates, identification records, passports and other travel documents, ledgers of hand written information--a heritage of historical information about Nablus residents that covered more than 100 years of successive Palestinian occupations under the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate, the Jordanian kingdom, and the current Israeli regime."
Consider, between June 29, 2006 and August 22, 2006 forty-four Palestinian children seventeen years and under have been killed by Israel's Occupation Forces in Gaza alone. Consider that during the first Intifadah in 1987 against Israel's illegal occupation the orders of Defense Minister Rabin were to break the bones of young Palestinian stone throwers.
Consider also the 100 Palestinians in Gaza whose arms and legs were dismembered by Israel's occupation forces from June 25-August 12, and the 203 Palestinians in Gaza who were killed during the same time by Israel.
Consider that Israel recently demolished thirty-one Jerusalem homes between January-July 2006.
Consider the "pain" and "devastation" of the families of the 1300 Lebanese civilians, "their arms wrapped around each other in the moment of death as their homes were beaten down upon them by the Israeli air force," according to Robert Fisk, whereas only forty civilians, many of whom are Palestinian Arabs, whose homes lack bomb shelters and whose neighborhoods are in the vicinity of Israel's weapons factories, were killed by Hezbollah's rockets.
Israeli Terrorism Against People Like You
Consider that to the Israeli the Palestinian pen is more dangerous than the Palestinian sword. Many Palestinian civilians who have been evicted from their homes and illegally deported included 200 with PhDs and thousands of engineers, doctors, pharmacists, artists, and writers.
Consider that just a few of the tens of Palestinian intellectuals maimed and killed by Israel include Ghassan Kanafani, renowned writer, blown up along with his niece in the early seventies, Kamal Nasser, the poet, murdered by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Anis Sayegh, head of Cultural Research was a victim of a letter bomb.
Consider the USS Liberty ship which was "intentionally" attacked by the Israeli Air Force in 1967 killing 34 Americans on board.
Consider Rachel Corrie, the heroic 23-year-old American girl crushed to death on March 16, 2003 as she tried to prevent the demolition of a civilian family's home in the Gaza Strip.
Consider Tom Hurndall, the 22-year-old British activist who was intentionally shot in head and killed while he acting as a human shield for Palestinian children amid gunfire in the Gaza Strip.
Consider the humiliation suffered by handicapped Palestinian-American comedian Maysoon Zayid who recently "was made to bleed for hours in the airport all over herself in a wheelchair."
Zionism Is Racism
Consider that any Jew from anywhere in the world may immigrate to Israel and become an instant citizen, but elderly Palestinian refugees may not be buried in the place of their birth. The price for this Jewish privilege has been devastating to occupied Palestinians and Palestine's 7.2 million refugees, many of whom live within 100 kilometers of land to which they hold deeds.
Consider that a Palestinian within the occupied territories or within Israel may neither be unified with his/her spouse if the spouse has foreign citizenship or if the spouse comes from Gaza or the West Bank.
Consider the 650-kilometer (400 mile) long and eight meters (25 feet) high Apartheid Wall being built by Israel in the West Bank since 2002, encircling Palestinian cities and villages and turning them into ghettos or Bantustans, and consider that the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the apartheid regime in South Africa "a picnic in comparison with the utter brutality of Israel's occupation of Palestine."
Right of Return is inalienable
Consider that Israel refuses to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2, which states "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
Consider that Israel refuses to honor United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 which states "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date."
Consider that the denial by Israel of the Palestinians' inalienable right to return home is ethnic cleansing and that by supporting Israel you are complicit in ethnic cleansing, which is a war crime.
And to conclude, consider educating yourselves about the roots of what you call "terrorism" in the region (and we are providing you with a reading list to start with) and until you do consider that we will spare no efforts to inform the public to boycott your films, publications, sporting events, and any other enterprise in which you take part.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Action Alert: Fight Hollyocrisy : : Sign the Petition
Fight Hollyocrisy :: Sign the Petition
Eighty-four celebrities, mainly from Hollywood, published a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Variety on August 16.
The advertisement whitewashes Israel's state sponsored terrorism and condemns its victims.
The celebrities' statement is hypocritical; on the one hand they claim to promote justice, freedom and peace on the screen, while on the other hand, they deny the right of Palestinians and Lebanese to attain their freedom and to live in peace in their independent states, the only just solution to the Middle East conflict.
Sign the Petition to the Signatories Here
Please help spreading the message widely by:
1 - posting this action alert in your blog, website and public forums
2- forwarding it to your mailing list
3- placing the petition banners in your blog, website and email signature (you can find the banners here)
Please give it few minutes of your time
Together We Can Make the Difference
Nancy Harb Almendras
Episcopalean Communion Caves In to ADL
Nahr al-Barid, Palestinian Refugee Camp, Winter 1948, Northern Lebanon (Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of Palestine, 1867-1948, Institute For Palestine Studies: Washington DC, 1991)
If you find that you can no longer look away, take up your cross. It takes courage as we were promised.
The Episcopalean Communion caved in to complaints of the ADL and removed Jerusalem Bishop Riah Assal's words from its website. Bishop Assal's accurate depiction of Zionism's effects on the native Palestinians may be read on Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation's website (below). Zionists "must silence all dissent and real criticism of racist Israel so as to maintain a toxic Zionist status quo - and what a shame that the church won't take the lead and stand up for what is right," writes Annie Annab.
Bishop Riah on the current crisis in the Middle East
The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
For the past forty years we have been largely alone on this desert fighting a predator that not only has robbed us of all but a small piece of our historic homeland, but threatens the traditions and holy sites of Christianity. We are tired, weary, sick, and wounded. We need your help.
We have seen and we have been the recipients of the generosity of our American and British friends. We cherish the support of everyone throughout the world who stands with us in solidarity. Daily, I hear from many of them who express outrage at the arrogant and aggressive positions of President Bush, Secretary Rice, Senator Clinton, and Prime Minister Blair. I am saddened to realize just how much the deserved prestige of the United States and Britain has declined as a result of politicians who seem to devalue human life and suffering. And, I am disturbed that the Zionist Christian community is damaging America's image as never before.
Little more than a week ago, we were focused on the plight of the Palestinian people. In Gaza, four and five generations have been victims of Israeli racism, hate crimes, terror, violence, and murder. Garbage and sewage have created a likely outbreak of cholera as Israeli strategies create the collapse of infrastructures. There is no milk. Drinking water, food, and medicine are in serious short supply. Innocents are being killed and dying from lack of available emergency care. Children are paying the ultimate price. Even for those whose lives are spared, many of them are traumatized and will not grow to live useful lives. Commerce between the West Bank and Gaza has been halted and humanitarian aid barely trickles into some of the neediest in the world.
Movement of residents of the West Bank is difficult or impossible as security measures are heightened to break the backs of the Palestinian people and cut them off from their place of work, schools, hospitals, and families. It is family and community that has sustained these people during these hopeless times. For some, it is all that they had, but that too has been taken away with the continued building of the wall and check points. The strategy of ethnic cleansing on the part of the State of Israel continues.
This week, war broke out on the Lebanon-Israeli border (near Banyas where Jesus gave St. Peter the keys to heaven and earth). The Israeli government's disproportionate reaction to provocation was consistent with their opportunistic responses in which they destroy their perceived enemy.
In her recent article, "The Insane Brutality of the State of Israel," American, Kathleen Christison, a former CIA analyst says, "The state lashes out in a crazed effort, lacking any sense of proportion, to reassure itself of its strength." She continues, "A society that can brush off as unimportant an army officer's brutal murder of a thirteen year old girl on the claim that she threatened soldiers at a military post (one of nearly seven hundred Palestinian children murdered by Israelis since the Intifada began) is not a society with a conscience. The "situation" as it has come to be called, has deteriorated into a war without boundaries or limitations. It is a war with deadly potential beyond the imaginations of most civilized people.
As I write to you, I am preparing to leave with other bishops for Nablus with medical and other emergency supplies for five hundred families, and a pledge for one thousand families more.
On Saturday we will attempt to enter Gaza with medical aid for doctors and nurses in our hospital there who struggle to serve the injured, the sick, and the dying.
My plan is that I will be able to go to Lebanon next week - where we are presently without a resident priest - to bury the dead, and comfort the victims of war. Perhaps as others have you will ask, "What can I do?" Certainly we encourage and appreciate your prayers. That is important, but it is not enough. If you find that you can no longer look away, take up your cross. It takes courage as we were promised.
Write every elected official you know. Write to your news media. Speak to your congregation, friends, and colleagues about injustice and the threat of global war. If Syria, Iran, the United States, Great Britain, China and others enter into this war - the consequence is incalculable. Participate in rallies and forums. Find ways that you and your churches can participate in humanitarian relief efforts for the region. Contact us and let us know if you stand with us. I urge you not to be like a disciple watching from afar.
2 Corinthians 6.11
"We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians, our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return - I speak as to children - open wide your hearts also."
In, with, and through Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem