Sunday, March 30, 2008
"I am a pastor and I believe that a pastor should understand the pain of the people," says the priest. "It aches people when their land has been taken. It is as though a part of their body has been taken. It is very painful... My faith did not allow me to stand aside.
"Without land we have no roots in this country," says Fr. Shehadeh, "The land is our roots. The land is not only a place where you plant eggplants and cucumbers - it is our national home. I am a Palestinian and this is my homeland."
Otherwise the struggle will never be able to find its correct path towards peace and justice
This time, say it louder, and support another just cause: that of the Palestinian People.
Do not sing in Israel, so that your silence will prove to be more deafening.The concert you plan to give in July in Israel will coincide with the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of this state over the ruins of another country, Palestine. With the creation of this state sixty years ago, three quarters of a million Palestinians were dispossessed and uprooted from their homes and lands, condemned to a life of exile and destitution. At Hayarkon park in Tel Aviv, where you plan to sing, the Palestinian village of Jarisha was wiped off the map by the Zionist forces 60 years ago.
Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are "non-Jews." It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. In the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), Israel is continuing the construction of its colonies and massive Wall in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of July 2004. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination. For several months now the state of Israel has been carrying out a slow genocide in the Gaza Strip, and maintaining a tight blockade over its inhabitants.
Recently, the Israeli deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai, threatened Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with a "holocaust," a direct reminder of what horrors might occur if Israeli aggression towards Palestinians continues to be met with international silence and apathy.
If you sing in Tel Aviv you will be taking part in a feast for war crimes, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and continued oppression of a people.
We Urge You to Cancel Your Concert in Tel Aviv!
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Boycott the "Israel at Sixty" Celebrations
Israel at 60 is a state that continues to deny Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive compensation, simply because they are “non-Jews.” It still illegally occupies Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It persists in its blatant denial of fundamental Palestinian human rights, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights conventions. It still subjects its own Palestinian citizens to a system of institutionalized discrimination, strongly reminiscent of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. And Israel gets away with all this, thanks to the unprecedented immunity granted to it by the unlimited and munificent US and European economic, diplomatic, political, and academic support.
In view of this multi-faceted oppression that is the reality of Israel today, we regard any Arab or international participation, whether individual or institutional, in any activity that contributes, either directly or indirectly, to the “celebrations” of Israel’s establishment, as collusion in the perpetuation of the dispossession and uprooting of refugees, the prolongation of the occupation, and the deepening of Israeli apartheid. Inviting Israel as a “guest of honor” to the Turin and Paris book fairs, for example, is not only a deliberate betrayal of basic principles of human rights, including those enshrined in the laws of the European Union itself, but is also a deliberate attempt to cover up Israel’s crimes against the Arab people, especially its successive war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, and its acts of slow genocide against a million and a half Palestinians in the besieged and collectively punished Gaza Strip. In short, celebrating “Israel at 60” is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves.
We urge international civil society in all its components, particularly institutions and individuals working in the arts, academia, sport, trade unions, and communities of faith to boycott the “Israel at 60” celebrations wherever they are held in the world. These celebrations, by definition, insult our history, violate our rights, and deepen our oppression. They also render the path to justice, freedom, equality, and sustainable peace based on international law longer than ever before.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Department of Refugee Affairs - PLO
Jerusalem-The Arab Cultural Capital Project, Jerusalem
Higher National Committee for the Defense of the Right to Return
The General Union of Palestinian Women
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, PGFTU
Palestinian Farmers’ Union
Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS), Gaza
Federation of Palestinian Refugee Camp Youth Centers
Higher National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba,
PalestineRefugee Affairs Department, Mobilization and Organization, Fatah Movement
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
Ittijah-Union of the Arab Community Based Organizations, Haifa
Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, UPWC, Ramallah
Stop the Wall-the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Union of Employees at Private Schools-West Bank
Association of Residents of Depopulated Villages and Cities, Ramallah
General Federation of Cultural Centers, Gaza
Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights JCSER, Jerusalem
Federation of Independent Workers Committees, Gaza
League of Palestinian Refugees in Europe
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem
Occupied Palestine Golan heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
Al-Aswar Organization for Cultural and Social Development, Acre
University Teachers Association, Gaza
Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA-YWCA (JAI), Jerusalem
General Union of Health Service Workers, Gaza
Aida Refugee Camp Social Center, Aida Refugee Camp
A’idoun Group, Syria
Palestinian Community in Scandinavia
Canadian Arab Federation
Palestinian Counseling Center, Jerusalem
Land Research Center, Palestine, Jerusalem
Muwatin the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy
Palestinian Association of Brantford--Canada
Center for the Defense of Freedoms and Civil Rights (Hurriyat)
Wihdah Democratic Action Institute (Wa’ad)--Bethlehem
Federation of Agricultural Action Committees
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Ma’an Development Center, Ramallah
Gaza Center for Culture and Arts
Voice of Palestine, Canada
Canadian Palestinian Association, Ontario, Canada
Taghrid Association for Culture, Development and Reconstruction, Gaza
Jabalya-al-Nazaleh Cultural Center, Jabalya Camp, Gaza
Federation of Agricultural Work Committees, Gaza
Turathuna Charitable Society, Gaza
The Popular Committee at al-Burayj Camp, Gaza
El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe, Al-Bireh
Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, New York
General Union of Services and Trade Workers, Gaza Governorates
The National Council of Arab Americans - Metropolitan New York Chapter, NY
The Arab Muslim American Federation
The Palestinian American Congress, New York
Society for the Development of Women, al-Burayj Camp, Gaza
Yanbou’ Cultural Forum, al-Reina
Palestinian Human Rights Monitor (Rassid), Gaza
Yabous Productions, Jerusalem
The Arab Student Observatory of Victims of Occupation and Blockade of the General Union of Arab Students (GUAS(
Arab Culture Society
Al-Siwar-Arab Feminist Movement to Support Victims of Sexual Assault, Haifa
Popular Art Centre, Al-Bireh
Federation of Working Women’s Committees
Palestinian Federation of Women’s Action Committees
Al-Najda Association for the Development of Palestinian Women
Teacher Creativity Center, Ramallah
Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA)
Al-Quds Information Bank, Gaza
Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, Ramallah
The Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development
Jimzo Charitable Society
Al-Lidd (Lydda) Charitable Society, Ramallah-Al-Bireh Governate
Al-Lidd (Lydda) Social Association, Beituna
Lifta Charitable Society, Palestine
Committee of Residents of Greater Masmiyya, Ramallah-Al-Bireh Governorate
Falsteen Al Gaad association – Deheisha refugee camp
Meethaq Center for Development, Alkahder
Women Development Center, Addoha, Bethlehem
Al Feeneeq Center, Duheisheh Refugee Camp
Palestinian Progressive Youth Union, Gaza
Palestinian Women’s Information and Media Center, Gaza
Said Mishal Foundation for Culture and Science, Gaza
Assala Association for Heritage and Development, Gaza
Juthourr Cultural Society, Gaza
Women’s Research and Legal Counseling Center, Gaza
Media Forum for Women Affairs Advocacy, Gaza
Palestinian Cultural Center, Gaza
Refugees Popular Committee, Gaza
Workers Resource Center, Gaza
Progressive Union Work Society, Gaza
Friends of An-Nour Center Society, Gaza
Al-Aqsa Charitable Youth Welfare Society, Gaza
The One Democratic State Group, Gaza
Arab Cultural Forum, Gaza
Palestinian Democratic Union-Fida
Thursday, March 27, 2008
A Potpourri From Annie's Letters
Israel, Shame on You by Joharah Baker for MIFTAH:
"The fact that an orphanage could be shut down in an instant and the propaganda swallowed up whole about it being a spawning ground for Hamas suicide bombers is not only offensive in nature but completely incredible to any semi-sane listener not blinded by prejudice."
Nablus' Olive Oil Soap: A Palestinian Tradition Lives On by Michael Phillips for IMEU
Untold Stories: Nina Barzouzi Cullers for IMEU
"Many Americans are unaware of what the Zionists did to the innocent Palestinians," she says. "The US continues to support Israel regardless of the fact that Israel has defied UN resolutions and international law. Americans need to hear from survivors of the Nakba, just as the world has heard and continues to hear from the survivors of the Holocaust."
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Happy Birthday Israel: Company Is Coming And They Are Carrying UN Flags!
21 March, 2008 Countercurrents.org
[Israel Palestine] As candidate McCain pandered to militants and fundamentalists during his trip to Jerusalem, giving firm "support for Israel's military response"  in Gaza, he ignored B'Tselem/the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in Occupied Palestine Report which affirms:
As of "27 February to the afternoon of 3 March, 106 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. Contrary to the Chief of Staff's contention that ninety percent were armed, at least fifty-four of the dead (twenty-five of them minors) did not take part in the hostilities. In addition, at least forty-six minors were wounded… including the killing of four children and wounding of two others while they played soccer in the street, east of the Jabalya refugee camp on 28 February. B'Tselem's investigation indicates that Qassam rockets may have been fired earlier about 100 meters from where the children were. However, no armed Palestinians were killed or injured in the incident." 
McCain, the son of Vice Admiral McCain, the man who directed the rush job, white wash known as the Court of Inquiry regarding the June 8, 1967 attack by Israeli jets and torpedo boats on the lightly armed spy ship, the USS LIBERTY, as she sailed in international waters also issued a "further signal of solidarity with Israel, [by supporting] the Jewish state's claim to Jerusalem as its capital, which the international community rejects." 
But, hope and wisdom has spoken, for the most promising of a Palestinian Martin Luther King, Jr. has a risen in Ramallah.
Ziad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah operative and Deputy Minister for Prisoners' Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, is offering the world a vision to begin the world again with a nonviolent plan to defeat the culture of terrorism, racism and denial of the other.
On the very same day McCain was beating the drum of discord, disharmony and disunity, the Jerusalem Post  reported on the Palestinian visionary, Ziad Abu Ein, who has chosen the way of accord, harmony, unity and civilian obedience by activating the United Nations Resolution 194 regarding the rights of refugees to return home.
From May 14-16, the Palestinian Diaspora will be commemorating Israel's 60th birthday in the Holy Land by arriving with suitcases, tents and their house keys, carrying UN flags along with their UNRWA-issued ID cards.
As human beings have rights and states and nations have obligations, this global citizen, American civilian journalist and justice and peace seeker, phoned Ziad on March 19, 2008 to learn more about his dream; because one dream can change everything and only in solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again"-Tom Paine.
Ziad informed me, "I was born in 1959 in a tent in a refugee camp in Ramallah. Before 1948, my family had lots of land. My family has suffered so much and so have my four children.
"The Palestinians did not make Resolution 194, the UN did!
"We are calling all the refugees to come home and be UN peaceful soldiers!
"We are calling all Israelis and all the people of the world to wake up and participate in seeking justice and peace with us because this is the only way we will stop the terrorists!
"This initiative is seeking full human rights for all the Palestinians in exile. This initiative is seeking peace with the Jewish people which requires justice for Palestinians. This initiative is accepting and implementing UN Resolution 194!
"We cannot succeed in the peace process until we solve the refugee problem!
"We must expel the hate from hearts and minds! The only discrimination is in not accepting the other."
On December 11, 1948 The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 in regards to the crisis in Palestine that erupted and continues to flame because of the actions of 'civilized' white men who carved up the Holy Land in a misguided attempt to semi-repent for the atrocities of the Third Reich by forcing the indigenous peoples of Palestine to pay for the sins of the Nazis.
The birth of the state of Israel resulted in Al-Nakba/The Disaster for Palestinians who were forced out of their legally owned homes and off their legally owned property because of the lust of Zionists supremacists who violently pursued grabbing more than the UN had partitioned unto them.
"On March 10, 1948, in Tel Aviv, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns." 
Dr. Ilan Pappe, spoke those words on Nov. 8, 2006, on the seventh day of Sabeel's [Arabic for THE WAY] 6th International Conference; The Forgotten Faithful/AKA the Palestinian Christians, and this civilian journalist was in the audience.
Dr. Pappe spoke to over 330 International ecumenical Christians in the Ramallah Cultural Palace on that day about the "Dynamics of Forgetting" and because of the "fierce urgency of now" [Rev. MLK, Jr.] the world is beginning to remember that once there was a Red House where a most diabolical plan was hatched.
Dr. Pappe informed the crowd, "The Red House in Tel Aviv is gone now. It was a typical building in Tel Aviv that had all the characteristics of Mediterranean homes but with the local Palestinian architecture of the '20's. Today a USA Sheraton Hotel stands in its place. The Red House was the home of the Hagganah; a Jewish underground organization but before 1948 it was the home of a socialist movement, from which it received its name."
Haganah is Hebrew for "The Defense" and was a Jewish paramilitary organization formed in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. It began as a small group of "Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members until after the Arab riots of 1920 and 1921. The Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, whom the League of Nations had given the Mandate of Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront the Arabs about attacks on the Palestinian Jews, and thus created the Haganah to protect their farmers and settlements. The initial role of the Haganah was to guard the Jewish Kibbutzim and farms, and to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs.
In the period between 1920 and 1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah "units" were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim. Following the Arab 1929 Hebron massacre that led to the ethnic cleansing by the British authorities of all Jews from the city of Hebron, the Haganah's role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment. It went from being an untrained militia to a capable army."
The British did not officially recognize the Haganah,but the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces and Special Night Squads. By 1931, the most right-wing elements of Haganah branched off and formed Irgun Tsva'i-Leumi (the National Military Organization), better known as "Irgun" (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced "HaEtsel"). The members were discontented with the policy of restraint when faced with British and Arab pressure and "terrorists" in their own right. Irgun later split in 1940, and their off-shoot became known as the "Lehi" (Hebrew acronym of Lochamei Herut Israel, standing for Freedom Fighters of Israel, and also known by the British as the "Stern Gang" after its leader, Abraham Stern. Because the British severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, in 1939 the Haganah created the Palmach - the Haganah's strike force, which also organized illegal Jewish immigration of over 100,000 Jews to Palestine.
In 1944, in response to the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, by members of the Jewish Lehi underground, the Haganah worked with the British to round up, interrogate, and, in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action was called the Saison (or hunting season), and seriously demoralized the Irgun and reduced its activities.
But, the Saison could not stop the Irgun, Haganah and the Stern Group from working together. The three groups had different functions, which served to move the British out of Palestine and to make Palestine a Jewish state rather than create a Jewish home in Palestine.
Menachem Begin, an Irgun commander, stated in a 1944 meeting: "In fact, there is a division of roles; one organization advocates individual terrorism (the Lehi), the other conducts sporadic military operations (the Irgun) and there is a third organization which prepares itself to throw its final weight in the decisive war."
On November 8, 2006, Dr. Pappe also illuminated the crowd of committed justice and peace seeking Christians that, "The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres. The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened.
"From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing. When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return. This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.
"Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn't care! The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media.
"To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit! The Six Day War of 1967 escalated the ethnic cleansing and today in Jerusalem every Palestinian who fails to pay taxes, or has a minor infraction will loose their citizenship.
"In 1948 the mechanism of denial and ethnic cleansing as an IDEOLOGY, not a policy but a formula began. When Zionism began in the 19th century it was meant to be a safe haven for Jews and to help redefine Judaism as a national movement, not just a religion. Nothing wrong with either of those goals! But by the late 19th Century it was decided the only way these goals could be achieved was by ridding the indigenous population and it became an evil ideology.
"Israeli Jewish life will never be simple, good, or worth living while this ideology of domination, exclusiveness and superiority is allowed to continue. The mind set today is that unless Israel is an exclusive Jewish State, Palestinians will continue to be obstacles. However, there has always been a small vocal minority challenging this.
"The only thing that can save Palestinians is for the world to say "ENOUGH is ENOUGH!" The way to challenge and change the ethnic cleansing is to pursue true democracy and the use of sanctions and divestment, for money talks." [IBID]
Since 1948, USA taxpayers have provided over 100 Billion dollars to Israel, which is not a democracy, but an ETHNOCRACY!
"Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control."-Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006. 
In 1973, Ariel Sharon told Winston Churchill III, "We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart."
But all things are possible and miracles do occur; and one man's dream can change everything.
Learn More and Do Something:
6. Memoirs of a Nice Irish-American 'Girl's Life in Occupied Territory, Eileen Fleming, page 15.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Embracing the One State Solution
As an arrogant Israel continues to destroy the "two-state solution" through unrelenting settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, a growing number of Palestinians, including intellectuals, academics as well as ordinary citizens, are abandoning the goal of "Palestinian statehood". Their new strategy is the creation of a democratic, unitary and secular state in all of Palestine-Israel, in which Jews and Arabs would live in peace and equality.
Advocates of the one-state solution argue that the two-state solution is already dead and that any Palestinian state that might come out of the present peace process would be deformed and unviable and perpetuate conflict and violence in the region. "Such a state would be a sure prescription for future wars, instability and turbulence," one advocate argued during a recent symposium on the subject in Ramallah.
To be sure, advocacy for the one-state solution is not new among Palestinians. For many years, the Palestine Liberation Organisation called for the creation of a secular, non-sectarian state in all of mandatory Palestine, where Jews, Muslims and Christians would be granted equal rights. Voices favouring a common Jewish-Arab homeland in Palestine were heard among Palestinians -- especially within leftist and communist circles -- even before the creation of Israel in 1948.
Recent developments, however, including the apparent failure of recent high- profile peace efforts, such as the Annapolis Conference, coupled with Israel's adamant refusal to stop its settlement building activities and US inability and/or unwillingness to pressure Israel to halt its colonial expansion, are convincing an important sector of Palestinian elites that the two-state solution strategy is futile, unrealistic and detrimental to Palestinian national interests.
This week, a prominent Fatah leader in the West Bank, Ziad Abu Ein, called for abandoning efforts to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, arguing that it is probably too late for the Palestinians to reach this goal, given existing demographic and political realities. "Our people would be willing to live in peace with Jews in the absence of fanaticism and intolerance, and based on the principles of equality, live and let live, and mutual respect," wrote Abu Ein in an article published Saturday on a website he created specifically for these ideas.
Abu Ein called on "the nations of the world", the UN, as well as Israeli Jews to support and welcome the "desire of their Palestinian brothers and sisters to live in peace" in a unitary state extending from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan. Such a state, argued Abu Ein, would be free from violence, racism and efforts by one side to negate or undermine the interests of the other.
It is uncertain if Abu Ein's ideas were coordinated with the senior leadership of Fatah in Ramallah. However, it is interesting that these ideas come amidst growing disillusionment among many Palestinians with peace talks with Israel, which have so far yielded no tangible results. Indeed, frustration is conspicuous at all levels within Fatah. This week, pro-Fatah media quoted "sources close to Mahmoud Abbas" as saying that Abbas was already convinced of the futility of peace talks with Israel and that he was contemplating seeking an alternative to the failed talks.
There was no detail given as to the nature of the "alternatives" sought, but well- informed Palestinians predict that options might include a decision by Abbas to resign and declare the peace process dead, dismantling the Palestinian Authority, or abandoning the two-state solution strategy and adopting a South-African style struggle for racial and religious equality in a democratic state based on the "one man, one vote" formula.
Abbas, conscious of negative repercussions on his relations with the Bush administration, hastened to deny the report, saying he was still committed to the peace process and the two-state solution.
Nonetheless, it is clear that an increasing number of Palestinians are no longer giving the two-state strategy the benefit of the doubt. It is estimated that between 25-35 per cent of Palestinians back the one-state solution. This percentage, however, is likely to increase dramatically if current peace talks between Israel and Abbas remain deadlocked.
This week, an opinion survey conducted by the reliable Ramallah-based Centre for Policy and Survey Research showed that if new presidential elections were held now, Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh would receive 47 per cent of the vote compared with 46 per cent for Abbas. The figures represented a sharp rise in Haniyeh's popularity. A previous poll conducted by the same pollster in December gave Haniyeh only 37 per cent compared to 56 per cent for Abbas.
The poll indicates that Hamas's steadfastness in the face of a harsh Israeli blockade, as well as the continued failure of the Israel-Abbas peace process, has led more Palestinians to give their support to Hamas. By nature this is bad news for proponents of a two- state solution.
Earlier this month, a symposium was held in Ramallah in which several advocates of the one-state solution presented their views. They argued convincingly that in light of the ideological and political orientations permeating Israeli Jewish society, the chances of Israel withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders, and giving up East Jerusalem and dismantling major Jewish colonies in the West Bank, are very slim. Participants argued that Israel was even less likely to allow a significant number of Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes and villages in what is now called Israel as part of a two- state solution deal.
Al-Ahram Weekly spoke with Hazem Al-Kawsmi, one of the main organisers of the symposium. He pointed out that the two-state solution was not going to work, neither now nor in the future.
"It is not going to work because Zionism doesn't want any kind of solution with the Palestinians. They want the whole land of Palestine. They want to keep controlling the lives of the Palestinians in every metre of historic Palestine. They want to control the oxygen Palestinians breathe, the water they drink, and the food they eat. They want to control borders, and retain the huge number of checkpoints, and they want to keep us living within walls, electric wire fences, and under total imprisonment."
Kawsmi said he realised that the one-state solution concept was "anathema" to Israel and Zionism.
"Today, Israel will not accept any solution, neither the two- state nor the one-state solution. Zionists are simply not ready for any solution that will bring peace for the region. They want peace only for Israelis, and to hell with others. They want to impose a situation that will take care of Zionist interests only, and they don't care about others who are involved in the conflict and live in the region.
"So, since the Zionists will not accept any solution today, except for continuing their colonial designs, why should we care about what they would accept or reject? Palestinians, together with freedom supporters in the world, should initiate a strategy based on a one-state solution, and go confidently for this scenario.
"Zionism is going to end, and this region will witness a new era where human rights are respected and justice is accomplished. The alternative to the one-state solution, which is a win-win situation for Israelis and Palestinians alike, would be open war forever based on a win-lose situation."
Some Palestinian intellectuals believe that Israel, if and when forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, will choose the two-state solution, since the one-state solution would end Zionism and eventually reduce Jews in Israel-Palestine to a numerical minority. The issue comes down to these two solutions, if Israel wants any solution, except a military one in which it erases the Palestinian national cause.
Fairuz 'Wa Habibi,' Good Friday Song
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
In order to demonstrate their belief and trust in UN resolutions and put into force what the international community has failed to do, the Palestinian people decided willfully to implement UN Resolution (194), declare themselves holders of the UN blue banner, and return to their homeland wherefrom they had been forcefully expelled. Sixty years following the expulsion and loss in the Diaspora, the Palestinian people have recruited their energy and that of all people who believe in peace, human rights and international legitimacy, to carry out their irrevocable right of return to their homeland in order to live in peace and security with their Israeli neighbors. Such coexistence will protect and defend human life, put an end to religious and intellectual bigotry, and highlight the right of people to have a peaceful and secure life. Thus the Palestinian people, determined to live in peace with Jews in the land of peace, will fulfill the mission of international legitimacy and humanitarian law.
Neither Jews nor the international community can stand against the desire of the Palestinian people to exercise their right of return to their homeland, and to their homes, land, holy places and heritage. In the annual commemoration of the suffering that the Palestinian people have been living through and the historical injustice that they had to bear, they are determined to shake off this injustice and implement the resolutions of international legitimacy. The Palestinian people call upon Jewish, Moslem and Christian believers and the international community to support humanitarian law and the right of return for the Palestinian people, and reject all forms of injustice. We call on Israelis to support the Palestinian initiative to live in peace and mutual coexistence, and welcome their Palestinian brothers who are eagerly looking forward to living in security and peace with them.
In implementation of this, May 14, 2008, marking 60 years of dispossession and homelessness, will be a day for the international community and the Palestinian people to carry out UN Resolution (194). Let us be soldiers to carry out this resolution and thus:
1.All Palestinian refugees inside and abroad have the right to exercise the right of return in a peaceful manner and become UN soldiers of peace.
2.All returnees have to raise the UN banner only.
3.All returnees have to attach UN resolution and the refugee card on their chests.
4.All returnees must bring their tents and other goods with them because most probably their houses had been destroyed and therefore they might be forced to live in tents on their land. If attacked by the discriminatory Israeli security forces that reject international law and legitimacy, we will not attack back but we will set up our tents hoping that our relatives and Jewish friends will assist us in our search for peaceful coexistence which will overcome any racial or inhuman trend.
5.Arab countries have to stress our right for return and we thank them for everything they have done to Palestinian refugees. We call on Arab countries to open their borders before Palestinian refugees and help them return to their homeland. Here we specifically name the countries of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq.
6.All Palestinians in Arab and Islamic countries must go to any of the ring countries to exercise this peaceful march in application to their individual right of return.
7.Arab countries and friends all over the world are called upon to support the logistics of exercising this right.
8.All Palestinians holders of foreign citizenships, especially US and European citizenships, are called upon to book for their return at the Israeli airport or ring countries on May 14 , 2008. Charter planes could be booked to ensure their safe arrival. In addition, tens of ships can be reserved to take them from international seaports provided that all bookings take place on the same date.
9.A personal invitation will be extended to all world leaders and members of all parliaments in the name of Palestinian refugees to support their humanitarian movement.
10.An invitation will be extended to all civil society institutions and their legal commissions.
11.An invitation will be extended to all judges and international legal advisors and attorneys.
12.An invitation will be extended to UN Secretary-General and international ambassadors.
13.Kings and leaders of Islamic countries will be invited.
14.Journalists and reporters will be invited to cover the event.
15.The Israeli government, members of the Israeli Knesset, and parties who advocate justice and peace will be invited.
16.A special invitation will be extended to the US President, senators, civil society institutions, and urge them to resist all racists and extremists who reject the right of return.
17.Arab and international artists will be invited to participate in the event.
18.The Palestinians pledge before the world to exercise the international resolution out of their belief in mutual coexistence and rejection of violence, terrorism and bigotry.
In the name of the Palestinian people in the Diaspora who are eager to return to their homeland and live in peace with their Jewish neighbors, we call on our Arab nation, in particular the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ben Suoud, Prince Hamad Ben Khalifeh Al- Misbah, and Mohammad Ben Rashed, and our dear kings and leaders of the Arab world to help and assist and provide means of logistic support to our Palestinian people to return home to the Holy Land.
We ask them to support this gesture politically, diplomatically and materially.
Likewise, we call upon all air travel agencies and land and sea shipments in the Arab world to shoulder their national and human responsibilities and support Palestinians to return homeland.We urge all charity institutions, businessmen and economists to support this inundation of return.
We call upon our Palestinian national institutions, their factions and leaders, as well as women and youth movements in Palestine to organize committees for the convoys of returnees. Every member in the Palestinian society is called upon to contribute put an end to Palestinian homelessness. We call on all parties, movements and civil society institutions in the Arab world and foreign countries to remove all obstacles before exercising human rights, and promote the sovereignty of law, and the will to live in peace, and shun all forms of racism, hatred and violence.
(God who gave life to people wanted them to live in peace, justice and dignity)
We launch this human, legal and moral initiative to stress the need for the implementation of justice and international legitimacy without any political or factional dimension, hoping that all creative and energetic Arab and international efforts to contribute to making it real and practicable program.
Sixty years of injustice and oppression, pain and suffering-enough --. We will not wait for return to the negotiation table and we will not wait for more slogans. We have to take decisive resolutions and execute our desire and our right and our readiness to fight, believing in life, sharing and coexistence that contradict all concepts of racism.
This initiative might put an end to Palestinian internal strife and bring back the Palestinian case to the forefront. The Palestinian people dream of peace, truth and security.
Our belief and exercise of the right of return will put before the whole world and the Israelis their responsibilities. We are a people who will return to their land from which we were expelled, and we agree to live side by side with the Jewish people free from the culture of the denial of the other at the intellectual, doctrinal, human and existential levels. If the Israelis reject this, then they will prove to be racial and ethnically fanatic who deny the right of existence to other people. We will put an end to this kind of thinking.
Let the will of our people to return homeland be victorious.
Let the UN resolutions, international legitimacy, and the international law be victorious.
Let us defeat the cultural of terrorism, racism and denial of the other.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Press Release: The Palestinian Confederation for the right of return
The Palestinian Confederation for the right of Return .
The Palestinian confederate for the right of return ended its annual meeting in Paris and has decided the following:
First, the Confederation expressed its deep concern about the vague language used by some Palestinian officials about the right of the Palestinians to repatriate to their original home. It rejects unclear terms such as “a fair solution to the Palestinian refugees” and insists on using “the call to Israel to honor the 194 resolution which is not for negotiable but for implementation.”
Second, the Confederation insists that the question of repatriation is the core of the Palestinian Israel conflict and thusly the confederation warns against any attempts to bypass this question.
Third, the Palestinian Confederation calls on Palestinians in Europe to join the Confederation in order to consolidate our efforts for the cause of repatriation.
Fourth, the Palestinian Confederation strongly condemns the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza strip which caused of hundreds of injured and deaths. We also call on the international community to create a crime tribunal to investigate the Israeli politicians and military who took part in the Gaza holocaust.
Fifth, the Palestinian Confederation has called upon all Palestinian leaders to unite around a political program which emphasizes the right of Palestinians for self- determination including the right of return.
Sixth, the Confederation decided to organize a public campaign in Europe to commemorate 60 years of the Palestinian Nakhba (catastrophe), calling upon all Palestinian and European civil society organizations to join this campaign in order to remind the international community of its responsibility for the uprooting of Palestinians in 1948.
Seventh, the Confederation elected a new coordination committee from Norway, France, and Switzerland.
The Palestinian Confederation for the Right of Return.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Photos of the Sea
Location:Takoma Park, MD
Country:United States of America
I believe, deeply believe, that Palestinians and Jews ought to be equals in this holy land. I believe more Americans would act on behalf of Palestinians if they were aware of discriminatory Israeli policies. I believe the inability of Majda's son to travel to the sea in his homeland smacks of Jim Crow and apartheid and that it is in everybody's interest to right this wrong without further delay. This, I believe.
In September 2000, I decided to do my part to bring peace to the Middle East. As a Canadian attorney of Palestinian origin, I believed I could use my legal skills to help broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Naive? Perhaps. I left my comfortable life in California and moved to the West Bank. Moving there was not easy: I did not know what life is like under military rule. My Western upbringing left me unprepared for life without freedom.
Seven years later, I am still not used to it. As a lawyer for the Palestinian peace negotiating team, I met Presidents, Prime Ministers, Nobel Laureates, Secretaries of State and other important figures. But none of these individuals hit me with the same emotional wallop as a young woman namedMajda.
Like me, Majda is in her thirties. Like me, she enjoys classical music, theatre and books. But unlike me, Majda has never lived a day as a free human being, for she was born Palestinian in the Israeli-dominated West Bank.
One day, Majda approached me saying: "Ms. Buttu, my son does not believe that Palestine is on the sea. He has never seen it and no matter how many times I tell him, he doesn't believe me. You are allowed to travel. Please, take some pictures of the sea. I need my son to know that Palestine is bigger than just our town and a few checkpoints." I took the camera in disbelief: Majda lived less than 10 miles from the sea. "Have you been to the sea, Majda?," I asked. "No. I have made requests to the Israeli authorities, but they have always been denied." I traveled that weekend to the sea with Majda's camera. As I looked around, I tried to make sense of her life. How is it possible that a young woman has never been to the sea?
How is it possible that I, a Canadian, can see Palestine and yet a Palestinian cannot? As I took the photos, I faced a dilemma: Should the pictures include children? If they include children, will her son feel deprived? In the end, I took 30 photos. Most of them were out of focus as the tears streamed down my face. The next week I handed a smiling Majda her camera. "Thanks, Ms. Buttu. My son will be so happy!"
My once-naivete has since been replaced by realism: Peace will never come to this region until the Palestinians are granted their freedom. It has been just more than 40 years since the start of Israel's military rule over the Palestinians. Every day I wonder whether Majda and her son will ever enjoy a day of freedom -- or even visit the sea.
I believe, deeply believe, that Palestinians and Jews ought to be equals in this holy land. I believe more Americans would act on behalf of Palestinians if they were aware of discriminatory Israeli policies. I believe the inability of Majda's son to travel to the sea in his homeland smacks of Jim Crow and apartheid and that it is in everybody's interest to right this wrong without further delay. This, I believe.
Palestine Underground: 'So That You'll Have Palestine In Your House'
"This is for you," said Aunt Jean to me in July, 2003 after lunch in her San Francisco Sunset District townhouse. She handed me a Palestinian embroidered wall hanging.
"So that you'll have Palestine in your house."
Moving Forward With Life and Hope as Fifty Thousand Mourn Bethlehem Deaths
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 22:50:07 +0000
Subject: [BU Happenings] University Closed in Mourning
Dear Friends, Alumni and Benefactors,
When tragedy and violence come upon us, we are called to pray for peace – work for justice – pray for peace -- and to do our best to continue moving forward with life in hope!
It is just after 10:00 pm on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 and the streets of Bethlehem are quiet.
As reported on the the Maan News website (http://www.maannews.net/en/), just a few hours ago the Israel Special Forces dressed in civilian clothes and driving a civilian car with a Palestinian license plate, entered Bethlehem and opened fire on another civilian car that was parked outside a bakery about 2 blocks from Bethlehem University, killing the four Palestinian civilians.
Brother Robert Smith, FSC, Acting Vice Chancellor, just announced that Bethlehem University will be closed on Thursday, 13 March 2008, mourning the killing of four Palestinian men in Bethlehem on Wednesday, 12 March 2008.
Unfortunately, it was only six and a half weeks ago that I shared with you similar sad news when one young Palestinian was killed in Bethlehem by the Israeli military forces.
Please join us in praying for peace – working for justice – praying for peace.
Together with your prayerful support and solidarity we will continue to move forward and provide the students entrusted to our care with the best education possible. This we must do! To do so for us is what it means to pray for peace and to work for jusitice.
Thank you for your ever faithful and kind support and solidarity.
PS Even though it may seem strange to also share the positive news about Bethlehem University along with this sad news of the tragic loss of life here in Bethlehem today, we must continue to move forward with hope - this is what it means to be people of hope! Please visit our website (www.bethlehem.edu) to read more about the Annual Science Fair which attracted more than 1,500 students and teachers from local secondary schools and also about the generosity of recent pilgrims from Liverpool who passed along a generous financial gift to support the University.
Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD www.bethlehem.edu
Vice President for Development Tel: 972-2-274-1241
Bethlehem University Fax: 972-2-274-4440
Location Address: Rue des Freres, Bethlehem, Palestine
Temporary Mailing Address: PO Box 11407, 92248 Jerusalem
USA Office Br. Jerome Sullivan, PO Box 692, Lincroft, NJ 07738-0692
Tel: 908-839-9715 Fax: 732-219-1619 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Wednesday March 12, 2008 05:44
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Archimandrite Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church, stated on Tuesday that he is deeply concerned by racist statements voiced by Israeli officials against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Arab residents of Israel.
He said that these statements carry hatred and blind injustice against the Arabs and Palestinians who are the native inhabitants of the area.
Hanna added that incitement against Palestinians in Jerusalem, voiced recently by several Israeli leaders, raises concern that Israel might carry massive deportations which would target the Palestinians in Jerusalem in violation to the International law.
The statements of Hanna came during a meeting with Austrian human rights committees.
“There are several Israeli officials who are talking about displacing the Palestinians from Jerusalem, as if they are guests and are in Jerusalem due to 'Israeli hospitality'”, Atallah said, “Palestinians in Jerusalem are not guests, they have deep national, historical, religious and cultural roots in the land, but Israel is legalizing incitement against the Arabs and Palestinians, which is a very dangerous precedence”.
He also warned that the ongoing Israeli excavations in Jerusalem are threatening the historic holy sites, and the ancient buildings, and added that Arabs, Muslims and Christians, should counter these violations.
Hanna added that although there is a limited number of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, they remain part of the Palestinian people and cause, and that Jerusalem lives in the heart of every Palestinian Christian.
Furthermore, Hanna said that the city is an essential place for Muslims, and is a major part of their faith.
“Muslims and Christians in this land are brothers”, Hanna stated, “We are united by our Arab nationality, and by our Palestinian identity in this land”.
He called on International Human Rights organizations around the globe to help the Palestinian people in achieving independence, and liberation, and called for the right of return to all Palestinian refugees, in addition to releasing the political detainees from Israeli prisons.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
Local sources said that 72-year-old Zakiyya Al-Ammuri suffered a fatal heart attack when Israeli troops ransacked her home and abducted her son.
Israeli forces seized three Palestinians in Balata this morning.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Open Letter on the Occasion of Women's Day
An Open letter to
His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations
On the Occasion of Women’s Day
March 8, 2008
The General Union of Palestinian Women
Women’s Associations and Centers
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
On this day, the 8th of March, we call upon the UN to honor Palestinian women by putting an immediate end to their suffering inflicted by the Israeli occupation and its ongoing war crimes committed with impunity against their people and their land. At a time when women, the world over, are joyfully celebrating this historical landmark, Palestinian women are in deep mourning over the loss of their infants and their loved ones as a result of the horrific massacres committed in their midst by the Israeli war machinery from air, land and sea.
We call upon the UN to uphold the principles upon which it was founded, by abiding by international law and implementing its own conventions and resolutions.
We call upon it to have the courage to restore its credibility amongst the peoples of the world as a bastion of fairness and justice and as a haven for the oppressed and not as a tool in the arms of the powerful nations.
For 60 years, the Palestinian people have been waiting in the corridors of the UN in the hope of restoring their robbed homeland and their inalienable rights which were confirmed, affirmed and reaffirmed by this august body. Instead, the years of dispossession were gaining permanency and Israel was allowed to get away with establishing facts on the ground at every juncture, by its military exploits, in contravention with international law. Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing was becoming more obvious as the Peace Process to which our leadership was committed, turned into a Dispossession Process. Under the umbrella of peace, Israel perpetrated its policy of land confiscation and settlement. Gradual and insidious measures were instituted to rob our people of their livelihood, their identity, their aspirations and their freedom. Accelerated attempts were exerted and continue to be exerted at changing the Arab character of Jerusalem, the heartland of Palestinian land, and at denying its residents and rightful owners their legitimate rights in the city. Palestinians were expected to remain docile subjects as they witnessed their most basic human rights violated and their very existence threatened by the Wall, declared illegal by the Hague International Court of Justice, and the hundreds of check posts and by- pass roads dividing their land into isolated enclaves. Occupation was slowly acquiring legitimacy by the international community; defending the spoils of its aggression by aggravating its measures and human rights violations against a defenseless population, was widely accepted and justified as self defense, while easing such measures and violations or reducing the level of its aggression became, ironically a reward, indeed, a magnanimous gesture for acquiescence and subjugation!
This unfortunate state of affairs led to the perception that there is parity between the occupiers and the occupied. Moreover the occupied who dared resist or protest became branded as terrorists while the occupiers were merely gingerly prevailed upon, not to use excessive force!!
As women, committed to the welfare of humanity and to a peaceful and secure
future for our children, we have warned over and over again that this grievous situation is bound to give rise to bitterness, frustration and rage within the ranks of our people, leading to grave consequences. If peace is ever to prevail in this region, the UN has no choice but to assume its grave responsibilities by addressing the situation with audacity and even handedness, within the frame work of the powerful tool of international law.
An immediate end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State would be a first step towards achieving this goal .
Until such a time we call upon the UN to
1.Take legal measures to stop the Israeli onslaught against our people in Gaza and in all the occupied territories
2 . Lift the siege imposed on Gaza, which is not merely threatening the lives of 1.5 million people but is leading to an environmental disaster with grave consequences on the whole area.
3. Accord international protection to our people under occupation and implement UN resolution 1325 that calls for the protection of women and children in times of war .
4. Ensure that the 4th Geneva Convention is respected by Israel as an occupying power, in all Palestinian land including East Jerusalem.
5. Impose sanctions on Israel for its war crimes and its blatant violations of human rights and international law
6. Exert efforts towards freeing Palestinian women prisoners and all other political prisoners, especially children, from Israeli jails.
7. Institute measures towards the implementation of all UN resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian Question and which affirm Palestinian inalienable rights.
The General Union of Palestinian Women
Women’s Associations and Centers
Ministry of Women’s Affairs Palestine
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
From Gaza With Love and Donald McIntyre
From Dr. Mona:
Monday, March 03, 2008
The aftermath -Gaza today
3rd of march 2008
Here is the outcome of the Israeli military operation against Gaza ,
350 and more injured.
These numbers are preliminary, as the emergency teams were only allowed to evacuate tens of injured and some dead this morning, some who were lying in the citrus orchards of Jabalia town , east of Gaza city. The majority of the dead and injured are civilians, many suffered serious injuries. In some cases the casualties were of the same family and many children were killed .
2nd of March -
Al-Awda Hospital -
Jabalia Refugee Camp
69 injured arrived at the hospital , in one day (saturday 1-3 2008 ). These mass casualties are more than the capacity of the hospital's beds and two operating theatres. Many of the injured were laid on the floor because there weren't enough beds. Many had to be referred to the Shifa hospital (Gaza's central and largest hospital). The injuries were varied: abdomen , chest, head injuries, many children , and mutilated bodies !!!!!!!!!
The Palestinian Red crescent (PRC) ambulances used Al-Awda as a temporary base (makeshift point ). The Israeli forces ordered the PRC to LEAVE ITS HEADQUARTERS IN JABALIA , because it was close to the operation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While i was at Al-Awda hospital , the Apache helicopter gunships were in the sky firing and shooting against the resistance men. I heard the sound of many shellings and bombings, it was all too loud.
Many volunteers arrived at the hospital , to give a hand to the stretched hospital staff. The ambulance drivers were extremely exhausted; everyone was worried about the shortage of fuel. The hospital director was very busy in the operation theater. I met many injured children on the hospital beds.
Dr. Mahmoud my friend and his family -
Salah Eddin street -
In the past three days of the military operation against Gaza, Jabalia Mahmoud and his family were unable to leave home, which is in an area that had become a battlefield.
Two of his grandchildren were ill and in need of medications. Mahmoud himself suffers from kidney problems and has had a kidney transplant. He was in need of treatment and medications at the hospital. I tried several times to coordinate with the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) to evacuate the family to safer place , and could not. I felt helpless while I was in contact with them by phone. Later on when the shooting was so severe I lost contact, they were all on the floor, seeking refuge in the safest place of the home. The power was off and the mobiles were not charged , Mahmoud has three granchildren and four children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know if I am conveying the ordeal we face while living in Gaza under occupation (despite appearances Gaza is still occupied, Israel controls all the borders and the seas and does what it pleases in Gaza). This is one of many stories , I thought I would like to share it with you.
I share with you how our children suffer: first because of the seige, second because of the direct attacks and thirdly because of the poverty and lack of normal life, lack of better chances of living.
A total of 117 Palestinians were killed
47 resistance men
The total number of injured were 350.
It is a disproportional open war , and excessive use of military power by Israel. Our civilians pay the price .
Just to remind you wherever there is occupation , this colonial racist occupation
the resistance will continue , my share is civil resistance , but I do not blame others of their choice of resistance IT IS THE OCCUPATION THAT SHOULD BE BLAMED
from Gaza i send all my love
And a part of Donald McIntyre's story for the Independent:
In Gaza, medical officials said a 21-month-old Palestinian girl, two other civilians and three militants were killed yesterday. The Israeli military said four soldiers had been hurt and two Israeli civilians were slightly injured after 21 rockets were launched by militants, including three longer range Katyushas, one of which directly hit a house in Ashkelon.
Among those buried yesterday were six members of one family including its head, Abd el-Rahman Mohammad Ali Atallah, and his 60-year-old wife, Suad, two sons and two daughters, who were killed late on Saturday afternoon when their house was destroyed by three aerial bombs which residents near by said also injured four children including a two-day-old infant. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which documents all Palestinian deaths, and is opposed to all attacks on non-combatants including in Israel, said 49 of the dead since Wednesday were civilians.
As thousands of Gazans streamed on foot through streets abnormally empty of cars because of severe fuel shortages to and from near-continuous funerals in Beit Lahiya and Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan cemetery, Fatima Abed Rabbo, 23, told how she was shot in the left shoulder as she stood by her one-year-old daughter, Doha, at her home in Jabalya during the bloody first hour of the Israeli incursion shortly after midnight on Saturday.
Lying on her bed at the Kamal Odwan hospital, where the first 40 dead victims of the assault were brought on Saturday morning, Mrs Abed Rabbo said the shot had come through the door of her balcony at about the same time as her friends and neighbours Jaqueline and Eyad Abu Shbak, a teenage brother and his sister, were killed in their home.
She said Jaqueline, 16, who she said had been hit by shrapnel after an Israeli missile hit a parked car outside the home, was an especially good student in the science department of her high school. Eyad, 14, who was struck by a bullet, had just started high school.
"They were excellent people," she said. "Our family and theirs were always in and out of each other's houses. Two ambulances came at the same time to take us away. They were dead and I was alive."
Mrs Abed Rabbo was close to tears how she described how she was still breastfeeding Doha but had had no contact with her or her two-and-half-year-old son, Anas, both of whom were being cared for by relatives, since being taken to hospital because of the military closure of the area after the incursion. "The phones are not working and my husband who came with me in the ambulance has not been able to get back." A spokesman for the Red Cross confirmed yesterday evening that Palestinian ambulances were still unable to reach parts of the area of the incursion to pick up injured persons.
As We Lay Dying, Dalit Searches For A Man
Monday March 3 2008
First came an explosion in the street outside. Then the sound of a single rifle bullet slicing through the sky in a sharp crack and into the apartment directly above the home of Raed Abu Saif, the same apartment into which his young daughter Safa had just gone. It was Saturday afternoon, about 4pm.
Abu Saif hurried upstairs and found, lying on the floor of the front room, Safa, aged 12. There was a hole in her chest where the bullet had entered and a hole in her back where it had exited. It took her three hours to die.
Outside in the district of Zimmo Square, at the eastern edge of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip, there was by now a heavy Israeli military presence, with tanks and troops and the sound of fighting raging. It was too dangerous for ambulances to reach the apartment and too dangerous for Abu Saif to head out on foot with his daughter. Instead, he fetched bandages, closed the wounds as best he could and held her in his arms as she bled.
"She said she was in pain, that she couldn't breathe," he said. "A few minutes before she died she told me to stop squeezing the wound, she couldn't breathe. I was just touching her hair. Then I saw her eyes roll up. I felt her heart. It was not beating."
From a piece of cloth the family fashioned a white flag, which Abu Saif's mother carried. His wife, Samar, went with them out into the street carrying Safa's corpse. An Israeli tank was parked a little way off and shone its lights at them. Twice the tank fired in the air over their heads, they said, until eventually they gave up and turned back for home to spend the night in the flat, the family and six other children and Safa.
Only yesterday morning did Abu Saif finally manage to cross safely out of the fighting and to a hospital morgue, where his daughter's body was prepared for the funeral. But Safa's mother and siblings were still in the house, surrounded by fighting and unable to join the mourners. The roofs of nearby buildings were still dotted with Israeli soldiers. It was from there the bullet that killed Safa was fired, the family believe.
By some estimates the Israeli military operations mounted over the past five days have left more than 100 Palestinians dead, among them many civilians. For Saturday alone the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights put the number of dead civilians at 49; Reuters news agency said Palestinian medical officials put it at about 60. Two Israeli soldiers and one civilian in the town of Sderot were killed.
Even measured on Gaza's often brutal scale of violence, that is a gruesome toll.
The first repercussion came yesterday when the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, suspended his so far fruitless peace negotiations with the Israelis, just ahead of the arrival tomorrow of the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who was hoping to encourage the talks.
Then in the West Bank there were riots in support of Gaza in Ramallah and Hebron - where Israeli troops shot dead a 14-year-old boy.
Israel's leaders adamantly defended their operations. "Nobody in the world would deny that striking at Hamas strengthens the chance for peace," Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said in Jerusalem.
There is no doubt that many of the Palestinian dead were indeed militants, some involved in launching rockets towards Israeli towns. Several Hamas fighters were visible in Jabalia in their black fatigues, some armed, one carrying what appeared to be a detonator.
But the number of civilians, including children , among the dead and injured was inescapable.
At one point yesterday a crowd of several hundred mourners carried through the streets the body of a young infant girl, Salsabeel Abu Jalhoum, who died aged 21 months. There were many others, like Mohammad Maboheh, a boy aged 16, who was shot dead on Saturday morning while standing on his balcony in the Abed Rabbo district of Jabalia, and whose father was in intensive care last night with a bullet wound to the chest. There was Mustafa Banna, 20, who lay heavily sedated in the Kamal Adwan hospital after both his legs were blown off by an Israeli shell which struck near his home in Beit Lahiya on Thursday afternoon. A Palestinian rocket had been fired a few minutes earlier by militants in a nearby field. "The rockets are no good. But what can I say? It is our fate," said the boy's uncle, Faher.
And there were Eyad and Jacqueline Abu Shabak, brother and sister aged 16 and 17, shot dead around midnight on Friday in the front room of their home in the Abed Rabbo district of Jabalia, only a few hundred metres from where Safa Abu Saif was to die later that day.
Eyad took a bullet to the chest and died later in hospital, his sister was hit with a bullet to the head and died where she fell. Their uncle Hatim, 32, sat outside the funeral tent yesterday and explained openly how much he too disagreed with the militants firing rockets. Then he said: "But what is our guilt?"