COULD IT BE…. THAT ISRAEL IS A RACIST STATE?


Purchase this poster by Ricardo Levins Morales
and support The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)

The following article is from today’s HaAretz.. it is absolutely brilliant! Please read it….

Can you really not see? By Amira Hass
Let us leave aside those Israelis whose ideology supports the dispossession of the Palestinian people because “God chose us.” Leave aside the judges who whitewash every military policy of killing and destruction. Leave aside the military commanders who knowingly jail an entire nation in pens surrounded by walls, fortified observation towers, machine guns, barbed wire and blinding projectors. Leave aside the ministers. All of these are not counted among the collaborators. These are the architects, the planners, the designers, the executioners.

But there are others. Historians and mathematicians, senior editors, media stars, psychologists and family doctors, lawyers who do not support Gush Emunim and Kadima, teachers and educators, lovers of hiking trails and sing-alongs, high-tech wizards. Where are you? And what about you, researchers of Nazism, the Holocaust and Soviet gulags? Could you all be in favor of systematic discriminating laws? Laws stating that the Arabs of the Galilee will not even be compensated for the damages of the war by the same sums their Jewish neighbors are entitled to (Aryeh Dayan, Haaretz , August 21).

Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip?

Could it be that you all agree that a third of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley) should be off limits to Palestinians? That you all side with an Israeli policy that prevents tens of thousands of Palestinians who have obtained foreign citizenship from returning to their families in the occupied territories?

Could your mind really be so washed with the security excuse, used to forbid Gaza students from studying occupational therapy at Bethlehem and medicine at Abu Dis, and preventing sick people from Rafah from receiving medical treatment in Ramallah? Will also you find it easy to hide behind the explanation “we had no idea”: we had no idea that the discrimination practiced in the distribution of water – which is solely controlled by Israel – leaves thousands of Palestinian households without water during the hot summer months; we had no idea that when the IDF blocks the entrance to villages, it also blocks their access to springs or water tanks.

But it cannot be that you don’t see the iron gates along route 344 in the West Bank, blocking access to it from the Palestinian villages it passes by. It cannot be that you support preventing the access of thousands of farmers to their land and plantations, that you support the quarantine on Gaza which prevents the entry of medicine for hospitals, the disruption of electricity and water supply to 1.4 million human beings, closing their only outlet to the world for months.

Could it be that you do not know what is happening 15 minutes from your faculties and offices? Is it plausible that you support the system in which Hebrew soldiers, at checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank, are letting tens of thousands of people wait everyday for hours upon hours under the blazing sun, while selecting: residents of Nablus and Tul Karm are not allowed through, 35-year-olds and under – yallah, back to Jenin, residents of the Salem village are not even allowed to be here, a sick woman who skipped the line must learn a lesson and will be purposefully detained for hours. Machsom Watch’s site is available for all; in it are countless such testimonies and worse, a day by day routine. But it cannot be that those who are appalled over every swastika painted on a Jewish grave in France and over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish local newspaper will not know how to reach this information, and will not be appalled and outraged.

As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews. We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us. Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is immeasurably heavy.

IT’S ALL MY MOTHER’S FAULT


Lately I have been getting allot of comments telling me how brave I am, how special I am for being so outspoken against the Israeli government…. while actually living in Israel. A few posts ago I explained why I am in Israel, it certainly is not to remain silent. I have always spoken out against injustice and will continue to do so until my last dying breath.
But why? What makes me different from most others?
If I am at a restaurant and someone sees the next table occupied by Arabs, I see that very same table occupied by people. If I am on a bus and a Black person gets on, I see a person getting on. I can go on and on with various examples, but the point remains, why do I see something or someone differently than others see it?
I must credit my parents for correct upbringing, it’s as simple as that. I too had my prejudices as a child, based out of ignorance. I was a pupil in an almost all white, all Jewish Public School. There was one Black student in my class…. he had terrible body odour. Most of the students shunned him and had nothing to do with him. One day he was absent and the teacher took the opportunity to explain to us why he smelled the way he did…. her explanation was that Black people were not as evolved or developed as White people and retained something similar to a stench gland identical to the ones found in skunks. It made perfect sense, and we were all taught by our parents to listen to and respect our teachers. When the student in question returned to school, the rest of us were much more understanding towards him and were friendlier, probably out of pity for his circumstances.
That was in 1954, President Eisenhower was in the White House. My mother was an activist in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association). They were involved at the time in organising a lobby to visit the President to urge him to desegregate schools in the south. My mother wanted me to go along…. until I explained to her why schools should remain segregated. She was shocked and wanted to know where I heard such nonsense… when I explained it was part of a lesson in school she became furious… not at me, but at my teacher. The teacher was disciplined as a result of this and the class was given a different lesson… one about washing ones body, keeping it clean, and personal hygiene in general…. it made allot more sense than the original lesson.
If my mother was not such an outspoken person against injustice, perhaps I wouldn’t be one either. It’s all upbringing.
Hatred is learned at home, so is tolerance and compassion.
Oh, by the way….. the PTA had its lobby to Washington and schools were desegregated that very same year. Silence leads to no change…
So, expect me to continue speaking out at everything I see wrong in a very wrong society… I owe that much to my mother.
I also have the thoughts of one of the most brilliant minds in our century to thank for my way of thinking, Albert Einstein. Throughout his long life he was a supporter of progressive causes as can be seen by reading the link provided HERE.
One of the most outstanding acts of his was merely the signing of a letter to the New York Times in December of 1948, condemning what he saw as the emergence of a fascist party in Israel. Bear in mind that just four years later he was asked to stand as President of the new State… an offer that he declined.
So, bottom line is my way of thinking is not necessarily brave or special, it is in line with some of the greatest Jewish minds of our time.

PALESTINIANS ‘RIGHT NOT TO RETURN’

The right of refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes, lands and properties is a universal human right, except in Israel where Palestinians are denied this. To make matters worse, families that live in the Occupied Territories are now torn apart by the refusal of the Israeli State to reunify families… meaning that a Palestinian living in Jerusalem or another area in ‘Israel proper’ cannot get identity papers for his or her spouse living in the Territories. Thousands of families are divided as a result of this making life that much more unbearable for those that are already here.
HaAretz had two brilliant articles today by Amira Hass.. one about the Right ‘ Not To Return’, the other about ‘Family Disunification’….
To those that really believe Israel is not an apartheid state, perhaps these articles might open a few minds and hearts.
If you want to see with your own eyes the plight of the Palestinian refugee, watch THIS powerful and moving video about two Palestinian refugee girls, filmed by Palestinian-American Mai Masri.Thanks to Umkahlil for posting it.

Accidental emigrant

By Amira Hass

This past March, 44-year-old Hayan Ju’beh’s tourist visa expired, and he had to travel to Amman in order to receive a new one – a routine procedure for him over the last 10 years. “Three to four days and I’ll be back,” he promised his four children.
On the day of his expected return, his wife, 34-year-old Sawsan Quaoud, took their four children to a mall at El Bireh. The kids played games and she sat and watched them, drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette. It was then that she received a call from her husband.
The authorities didn’t allow him to pass through the Allenby border crossing, he told her.
What? At first she thought she misheard him, then she didn’t take him seriously. But he wasn’t joking.
Hayan Ju’beh was born and reared in Jerusalem, and lived there until he left to study theater abroad. He married an Irish citizen (who also has a British passport). In Britain their children 13-year-old Yussef and 11-year-old Sophie were born.
In October 1995 his wife passed away. Ju’beh decided to take the kids and move back to Jerusalem, to raise them among his large local family. The Oslo Accords and the hope of peace provided further encouragement to return to the city of his birth. He found a job working for the Jerusalem office of the MBC television network.
But in mid-1996, when he applied to renew his “laissez passer” travel certificate, which is issued to Palestinians when they travel abroad, Israel’s Ministry of the Interior told him: “You are not a resident.”
No rights at home
In December 1995 the Ministry of Interior began implementing a systematic policy of revoking the Jerusalem residency status of thousands of Palestinians who were born in the city, but for whom, according to the ministry, Jerusalem was no longer “the center of their lives” – and therefore their permanent residency permit had “expired.” This applied to all those who lived abroad in the past or at that time, as well as those Palestinians who lived in neighborhoods just outside Jerusalem’s municipal boundary. There was no official declaration of this policy. It only manifested itself as such when an increasing number of people discovered at the border crossings or at the offices of the Ministry of Interior that they were no longer defined as residents, and not as Jerusalemites, and were being stripped of rights in their own town.
Ju’beh was one of these people. His attempts to regain residency for himself and his children failed. He was without “identity,” without any legal document to prove his existence. Distraught, he applied for Irish citizenship, and received it. Since then he has been forced to leave his homeland every three months, to return as a tourist.
At the MBC office he met Sawsan Quaoud, a Nablus native and a Ramallah resident. In 1997 they married, and settled in Ramallah. In 1999 they established a television film production company; they also had two children. When they lost all hope of Ju’beh regaining his Jerusalem residency, they asked the Israeli authorities (through the Palestinian Ministry of Interior) for “family reunification” in Ramallah. That is, they asked Israel to allow him to become a resident of the Palestinian Authority. Israel did not do so; indeed, in all such cases since September 2000, has put the applications on indefinite hold.
Ju’beh’s two children from his first marriage are also considered tourists by law, and worse – as law-breaking tourists. They did not exit with their father every three months to renew their tourist visas, due to the high cost of such trips and the fact that they would miss school.
After Ju’beh was not let back in, Quaoud ran around for a month and a half between various government offices and lawyers. She called the Irish embassy, where the staff told her they had called the Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior to protest and asked for explanations, but received no answer. In the meantime, Ju’beh decided to try his luck at the Sheikh Hussein border crossing at Beit She’an.
On May 3 Ju’beh was permitted to return through Beit She’an, but was granted only a month-long visa. Both he and his wife thought they would be able to extend it through the Palestinian Ministry of Interior.
Despite the severed relations between the two sides, in certain cases it is possible to extend a visa for spouses of Palestinian residents without having to exit the country.
However, this is only possible three or four times, after which the spouse must exit again – with no guarantee of return. Exasperated after not succeeding to extend his visa, in early June Ju’beh left for Britain.
Ju’beh decided not to act illegally, as some people do, by remaining in the country after his visa expired, to fight for his right to stay “from the inside.” That would have turned him into a prisoner in Ramallah. Indeed when traveling to work outside the city, at every checkpoint in the area, a soldier could have discovered his “crime” and would have the authority to deport him.
Gradually the couple accepted that there was no other solution: The entire family had to leave, and join Ju’beh in Britain.
Quaoud took care of all the arrangements on her own: She dissolved the company she and her husband established, apologized to the six cameramen who had lost their livelihoods, rushed to complete a film she had been working on for the last six months, packed, bid her farewells, and prepared the children for the move – everything in a rush to make it in time to enroll the children in school in Britain.
“We surrendered,” admitted Quaoud, on the eve of her forced departure to Britain.
The Israeli authorities that revoked Ju’beh’s residency of his native Jerusalem did not allow reunification with his wife in Ramallah, and finally also decided that even as a tourist, he does not have the right to live in his homeland.

A policy of no-return

By Amira Hass

Since April 2006, Israel has imposed a sweeping ban on the return to the country of Palestinians of Western nationality, primarily Americans, who have been living and working in the West Bank for many years. The Interior Ministry and Civil Administration have not made an official announcement about this, and the people affected have only learned of the directive upon arriving at the border crossings.
On learning of the ban, Palestinian citizens of Western countries who have family, work and assets in the territories have sought help from their respective embassies.
Israeli officials have told Western diplomats that entry into the occupied territories through the crossings by Palestinians who are foreign nationals will be restricted to a minimum. The diplomats say they cannot intervene in Israel’s sovereign decisions.
Most affected by the directive are Palestinians who were born in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and were stripped of their residency status after 1967, while abroad for work and study purposes. The hope they had of returning to reside in the territories was boosted by the Oslo Accords.
Spouses of Palestinians – business people, academics and teachers who are not of Palestinian origin – are also affected by the ban. Until recently, Israel allowed them to remain in the territories as tourists, and to renew their visas every three months.
Citizens of Arab states (whether of Palestinian origin or not) have been prevented from entering Israel since 2000, even if they’re married to Palestinian residents. Since the Hamas election victory, this policy has been expanded and now applies to American and European citizens, too.
There have been an increasing number of cases in which entire families, primarily of a middle-class background, have had to emigrate because of this situation. (Amira Hass)

I STILL ‘HAVE A DREAM’


It was 43 years ago tomorrow that Martin Luther King delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ at the Great March on Washington for Peace and Freedom. To see a video of the complete speech, click HERE.
I was there along with a quarter of a million fellow Americans. It was the most gratifying day of my life as I was on the organising committee for that March the entire summer. To witness such a success was most rewarding. To hear the words of the great Dr. King, spoken live, were most encouraging. The last paragraph of his speech is the part that has stayed with me every day of my life since then…
“And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
But…what I see in every day life in Israel reminds me that those words are still just a dream. We have a long way to go before it becomes a reality.
I see discrimination daily… it is as ugly now as it was 43 years ago. I see it more from Americans in Israel than from anyone else… here is an incident that occurred just the other day…
I was in a gift shop and an American tourist entered. The conversation went as follows…
Tourist— Do you have any Arab toy soldiers?
Clerk— No, why would you want them anyway?
Tourist— So I can teach my grandson how to kill them.
Me— Have you ever met an Arab?
Tourist— Of course not, I keep away from them because they all want to kill me.
Me— I have met thousands of Arabs, I have never met one that wants to kill me, but I have met hundreds of American Jews, like yourself, that want to kill Arabs.
What possesses a person to be so hateful? What possible reason could there be, was he trying to impress the clerk with his ‘machoness’, his reverent zionism, or was it just plain stupidity? My guess is that it was the latter. But I do see a rise in this hatred being imported from the United States. The most extremes of the Judeo nazis of the past were also imports, the kahanas, the goldsteins , may their names be erased from memory. It must not be tolerated or it will be thought of as acceptable thought. It isn’t.
Israel has tried openly to show their opposition to this type of thought. Racism is illegal in Israel(in the books), racist orgnisations are outlawed (in the books)… we all know that is a load of bull! Racism is alive and well in Israel… and is strengthened by the hatred that is imported from the States.
I want to see the dream fulfilled… I want to see a world without hatred. I want to see an Israel/Palestine without walls, I want to see peace.
Perhaps if we all go back to the top of this post, click on the speech and listen to it carefully, more of us will realise that there is another way….
‘DEEP IN MY HEART, I DO BELIEVE, WE SHALL OVERCOME ONE DAY.’

WMD’S FOUND IN LEBANON


As the US continues its search for WMD’S in Iraq, the UN found the very thing…. not in Iraq, not planted by Saddam’s forces, but in Lebanon…. Cluster Bombs planted by Israel with the aide of the United States.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons the US continued stalling on the implementation of the ceasefire. Now they are ‘going through the motions’ of investigating the UN findings in an attempt to show their non compliance in this particular crime.
Right! Israel acted alone!! The US had nothing to do with it!! Israel made their bombs out of sand!! The US did not supply weapons to them!! Oh… but wait… in the article below the US admits to giving Israel the cluster bombs…. but there was ‘a secret agreement’ for them not to use them.
If you believe that, then you believe that George Dubya Bush is intelligent enough to be President of the United States.

Below is a report from the Associated Press…. definitely worth reading.

U.N.: Cluster bombs litter south Lebanon
U.S. State Department investigates whether Israel broke agreements

Saturday, August 26, 2006 Posted: 0416 GMT (1216 HKT)
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Homes, gardens and highways across south Lebanon are littered with unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israel, the U.N. said Friday, and the U.S. State Department has reportedly launched an investigation.

“There are about 285 cluster bomb locations across south Lebanon, and our teams are still doing surveys and adding new locations every day,” said Dalya Farran, spokeswoman for the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center, which has an office in the southern port city of Tyre.

“We find about 30 new locations per day,” she said.

This week, the U.S. State Department began investigating Israel’s use of American-made cluster bombs in south Lebanon, and whether their use violated secret agreements with Washington, The New York Times reported Friday.

State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said Friday that the department was aware of the allegations about the cluster bombs. “We are seeking more information,” he said, but he declined to comment further.

Since a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took hold August 14, eight Lebanese have been killed by exploding ordnance, including two children, and 38 people have been wounded, according to a U.N. count.

“A lot of them are in civilian areas, on farmland and in people’s homes. We’re finding a lot at the entrances to houses, on balconies and roofs,” Farran said. “Sometimes windows are broken, and they get inside the houses.”

The State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls launched an investigation into Israel’s use of three types of American weapons, anti-personnel munitions that spray bomblets over a wide area, The New York Times reported.

The Israeli army said all the weapons it uses “are legal under international law, and their use conforms with international standards.”

The newspaper quoted several current and former U.S. officials as saying they doubted the probe would lead to sanctions against Israel, but that it might be an effort by the Bush administration to ease Arab criticism of its military support for Israel.

The U.S. has also postponed a shipment of M-26 artillery rockets — another cluster weapon — to Israel, the paper said.

United Nations demining experts refused to comment on the reported U.S. investigation into whether Israel’s use of such weapons might violate American rules, but suggested it violated some aspects of international law.

“It’s not illegal to use against soldiers or your enemy, but according to Geneva Conventions, it’s illegal to use them (cluster bombs) in civilian areas,” Farran said. “But it’s not up to us to decide if it’s illegal — I’m just giving facts and letting others do analysis.”

During the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel said it was forced to hit civilian targets in Lebanon because Hezbollah fighters were using villages as a base for rocket-launchers aimed at Israel. Some 850 Lebanese died in the fighting, compared to 157 Israelis.

Lebanon’s south is also riddled with land mines, laid by retreating Israeli soldiers who pulled out of the region in 2000 after an 18-year occupation. Hezbollah has also planted mines to ward off Israeli forces. Lebanon has long called for Israel to hand over maps of the minefields.

Russia dismisses claims on Hezbollah weaponry
The U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center opened a branch in Tyre in 2003, to deal with the issue of land mines. Since the cease-fire, the office has redirected its efforts toward clearing unexploded Israeli bombs from the area.

Also Friday Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov dismissed claims that Hezbollah has Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles.

Israel sent a delegation to Russia last week to complain about the missiles that it says were used by Hezbollah in the recent weeks of fighting in Lebanon; the missiles reportedly have been a particularly effective part of Hezbollah’s arsenal.

But Ivanov said during a trip to the Russian Far East city of Magadan that the reports are “complete nonsense,” news agencies reported.

“No kind of evidence of Hezbollah having such equipment has been presented to us,” Ivanov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Cluster Bombs Lie in Wait for Lebanese Children

RACIAL PROFILING IN THE ‘GOOD OLE USA’

The United States is starting to follow the example of Apartheid states like Israel and is considering the introduction of racial profiling at airports. This is specifically aimed at citizens of Middle Eastern decent, specifically Muslims.That’s today… your guess is as good as mine who the target will be in the future. We are not talking about foreign nationals here, we are talking about citizens of the United States, in many cases native born ones.

Katherine Abbadi is a charming young woman that used to live in Ramallah, Palestine. She is an American born woman of Lebanese decent.She and her Palestinian husband moved to the United States last year and is now the executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

THIS is one of her first public debates that was aired on NBC yesterday, with Congressman King on his plan to racially profile Arabs and southeast Asians at the airports.I thought she did great as a ‘newbie’….

I would urge any of my readers that live in the United States to contact Congressman Pete King, of New York’s 3rd District, protesting his proposals. His contact information can be found HERE. Click on Constituent Services to get his email address.

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN OCCUPIED NATION


The day is still young here in Israel/Palestine… but more has already happened here than will happen in most other parts of the world. Israel is supposedly pulling out of Lebanon…. a country they were illegally at war with until just two weeks ago… But are still quite involved in the illegal occupation of Palestine. The atrocities taking place in Gaza are spreading to other parts of the ‘West Bank’… Israel is doing everything in its power to insure that Hamas will never form the government they were elected to head.
There are way too many quotes from this morning’s press… so I will just link three relevant articles here, here and here.
They are all worth reading…. and all worth getting you to join the struggle for a Free Palestine with a Right of Return for its refugees… anything short of that would not be justice.

FROM ‘DISENGAGEMENT’ TO CONTINUED OCCUPATION


THIS VIDEO MUST be watched by anyone who still believes Israel withdrew from Gaza a year ago.
Thanks to Umkahlil for posting it originally.

WHY AM I IN ISRAEL?

Below I will be pasting an essay from an expatriate Israeli who ‘cannot live here any longer’…
But, first I want to try explaining why I can…
Many times, in the 22 years that I have lived here I was asked….”Why are you here?”
I am not now, nor was I ever a zionist. I did not speak Hebrew, I disagreed with just about every government policy in Israel. When I planned my move (some call it Aliyah, which means ‘moving up’) there was a war raging in Lebanon, which I was opposed to.
A Judeo-nazi named Kahana had just been elected to the Knesset… a man that I detested since living in Brooklyn… a man that eventually had his head blown off because of the hatred he spouted. You call a man a dog enough times and he will eventually bite you… that’s exactly what happened to Kahana.
So…. coming back to the question…. Why am I here???
I was always a proud Jew. I came from a background of Eastern European Jewry, basically Yiddish speakers. I grew up in one of the many ‘ghettos’ of Brooklyn…. not realising until I was almost 16 that the subway ran on Yom Kippur. You can say that my childhood was quite a sheltered one, sheltered from the reality of the rest of America. But… at the same time shown by example that hatred is something to be fought, at any cost. A father that lost his entire family in the ovens of Auschwitz, a mother whose family fled the pogroms of Russia. Both knew the meaning of hatred and both taught me to oppose it wherever it might reveal its ugly face.
I could have become an activist in a group such as Jews Against Zionism, but I chose not to. I could have taken part in their anti Israeli demonstrations in front of the Israeli Consulate, but I chose not to.
Instead, I chose to move to Israel, and as an Israeli do everything in my power to change what I saw to be a very bad situation. My one vote for the Knesset was my way of getting Kahana removed from there. My outspokenness against any injustices I have seen here has helped in many ways to change certain situations.
My close friendships with Palestinians has shown many that not all Jews are full of hate, not all Jews blindly follow the Israeli government, and not all Israelis are racist, at the same time showing Israelis that Palestinians are not necessarilly what they might think they are. They are human beings, just like anyone else. I pride myself for never being afraid to speak out for what I believe in. I walk the streets with my head held high, again with pride, that I in no way ever supported the many wrongs that I have seen the Israeli government guilty of.
I have met fellow immigrants that moved here because of anti-Semitism in their homelands. This was never the case for me personally. I lived both in the United States and Canada and can honestly say that I never encountered anti-Semitism, short of a bad joke every now and again. No, I was fortunate, fortunate enough to be able to move here so I could in any way I can stop my fellow Jews from doing to non Jews what many non Jews did to them. Transferring injustices to third parties was never a solution, all it does is create new enemies. I am here to create friends instead.
Here is the essay I mentioned earlier, it was sent to me via e mail… a definite good read. It originally appeared on a site called Alternet.

Why I Don’t Live In Israel

If Israel is doomed to be a nation that lives by the sword, as is commonly proclaimed on the streets of Tel Aviv these days, then I opt out.

By Orit Weksler, AlterNet
Posted on August 17, 2006, Printed on August 21, 2006

This war is not different from the others. It’s just the same. It reminds us of the wars that preceded it. I was born into the Yom Kippur War and lived through two other “official wars”: the first Lebanon war, the first Gulf war. I remember as a kid: lists of soldiers killed in battle read on the radio after the hourly news; knowing the next name could be one of my friends’ brothers or fathers. I remember as a teenager: sirens, gas masks, and fireworks shows of patriot missiles chasing Scuds in the sky. I remember as a mom: driving in the farthest possible lane from a city bus, just in case it was the one carrying the suicide bomber that day.

Wars are all the same and this one is no different. For Israelis, they all go back to “that” war. That war that turned my great-grandparents into smoke, that horrible, monstrous act of genocide that keeps creeping up on us.

Jews were not a party in World War II. They were victims — they had no army and no choice. But Israel does have an army and a choice. Israel is choosing to endanger its citizens and soldiers, to ruin once again the lives of many civilians in Lebanon, in order to prove its strength and to keep “that” from happening again.

I think it’s not only a mistake, it’s a suicidal path. Nothing can ensure us “that” won’t happen — the gas chambers, the concentration camps, the ghettos. All that. Since it happened once it might happen again.

Some people justify Israel’s actions by arguing that Jews need a place to go to when anti-Semitism breaks out somewhere in the world. But as Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the philosopher and outspoken public figure, once said: the most dangerous place for Jews in the world is the state of Israel.

What does Israel have to offer Jews who come to find shelter? Right now it’s offering grief, fear and shame. If we’re doomed to be a nation that lives by the sword, as is commonly proclaimed on the streets of Tel Aviv these days, then I opt out.

And I did. When my son was born five years ago in Tel Aviv, the nurse complimented his good health by saying: “He’ll make a good soldier.” That gave me the chills. The babies he shared the nursery with will, in 13 years, be fighting the third, or fourth or fifth Lebanon war. I will do anything in my power so that my son does not become one of them.

This is one of the reasons I don’t live in Israel. In many ways I feel I’m in exile. I’m glued to the Internet and I cry for every civilian — Lebanese and Israeli, who is killed, wounded or traumatized by this war. I also cry for the soldiers and their families. I believe they are making a huge mistake and I don’t know how to make them stop.

Not that I agree with Sheik Nasrallah. In fact, he scares me. I think Israel should defend itself from Nasrallah and his kind. Israel should defend itself by joining all the people and governments of the Middle East who are concerned and threatened by fanatic Islam to figure out a way to disarm those guerilla warriors. Israel should join its neighboring countries to find a solution for the Palestinian refugees, it should take some responsibility for their situation and find a way to compensate them for their losses. And now it should also take responsibility for the damage done in Lebanon.

Some might say that I’m naïve. I’m not naïve — I’m desperate. This might be our last chance to put down our guns. I think becoming a responsible participant in the Middle East is Israel’s only chance of ever becoming a safe place for Jewish people. My children’s friends in Israel fear the hourly news followed by the list of today’s casualties, just like I did 25 years ago. This war is no different from the others. It isn’t another war that will make Israel a safe place to live.

Orit Weksler, a psychotherapist living in the East Bay, emigrated with her family from Israel to the United States in 2003.

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

SECOND CLASS COMPENSATION FOR SECOND CLASS CITIZENS


At least twice I wrote about the fact that the ‘war’ against Lebanon had never been declared by Israel. This way, no government agency is responsible for losses of property, income or lives.
More than twice I have written about the fact that Palestinians living in Israel (Israeli Arabs) are treated as second class citizens. This is always denied by the zionists that so proudly speak of equality among all of Israel’s citizens.
Just read the following… not taken from an Arab source, not taken from an anti Israeli source, but taken from one of Israels leading newspapers, HaAretz.
Now perhaps you might agree that the zionists are lying about other things as well.

Second-class compensation

By Aryeh Dayan

Is a shop owner in Nahariya, who was forced to close his business during the war, entitled to more compensation than the owner of a similar store in Acre or the Haifa bay area, who had to close shop? Are lawyers and accountants who were forced to close their offices in Kiryat Shmona or Ma’alot eligible for higher compensation than that which will be given to their colleagues in Rosh Pina or Safed?

According to the decisions taken by officials in the Finance Ministry during the war, which were approved by the Knesset’s Finance committee, the answer to both questions is yes. Since the government refrained from declaring a state of war, a strange and unusual legal situation has emerged, in which differences have arisen in the amount of compensation paid to various owners of businesses that were affected in a similar way.

The gap between the amount of compensation that was granted – stemming from whether the persons in question were designated as belonging to “confrontation line” communities – is well known and has already prompted three petitions to the High Court of Justice on the part of owners of small and medium businesses, who have requested that the situation be rectified. A fourth petition, submitted by attorney Samuel Dahwar from the Arab village of Fassouta in Galilee, reveals the fact that no Arab communities are included on the full-compensation list even though Arab towns and villages were in the range of the Katyushas and were hit by them.

One of the plaintiffs, Raik Matar of Fassouta, is a practical engineer and graduate of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. He provides planning services and carries out construction work and repairs. During the war, he was unable to continue with his job both because the government offices he works with were closed, and because the incessant shelling on the part of the Israel Defense Forces’ artillery batteries, stationed at the outskirts of his village, made life unbearable. The construction work that he had begun on the eve of the war – in Hurfeish, Kfar Vradim and Arab al-Aramshe – had to be stopped, on the instruction of the Home Front Command, because the residents of these places, like those of Fassouta itself, were not allowed out of the protected areas.

Matar estimates his losses during the month of the war to be some NIS 19,000: He should have earned NIS 15,000, and the remainder would have been ongoing expenses that are automatically deducted from his account (various insurance plans, regular office expenses, etc.). Had his office been situated at Moshav Alkosh rather than Fassouta, attorney Dahwar says, “the state would have remitted the entire sum to him.”

Alkosh is no closer to the confrontation line – it lies five kilometers south of Fassouta – but nevertheless the owner of a similar office there would have received the entire sum he had lost, while Matar can expect be left, after paying salaries to his workers, with only NIS 6,500.

Another petitioner, Suleiman Halek, owns a pizzeria in Fassouta and he also lost tens of thousands of shekels during the war. This is a flourishing pizzeria that was opened in 1997 and has since become a central place of entertainment for the youth of the village. “I estimate that before the war, at least half of the youth and children living in the village would come in here every day,” he says. Halek’s delivery service reached almost every house in the village and the neighboring villages.

During the war, Halek closed the pizzeria, according to Home Front Command instructions, which did not exempt him from paying his ongoing expenses, amounting to some NIS 5,000 per month. His turnover last year amounted to about NIS 35,000 per month. Had he employed workers, his situation would have been even worse than that of Matar. Since the pizzeria is a family business, however, his compensation will be estimated on the basis of his income last year. He will not be recompensed for his ongoing expenses or for damages such as spoiled food products. Had his pizzeria been in Ma’alot, he would have received full compensation from the state, both for the lack of income and for the expenses and damages.

Rational explanations

The root of this problem is the fact that an official declaration of a state of war was never made, which left in place laws and regulations that create two categories of victims, receiving compensation according to different rules and of differing sums. One group, whose existence was recognized by arrangements existing long before this war broke out, are those who have businesses in communities described as being on the so-called confrontation or front line. According to law, the state must compensate these businessmen fully during a time of hostilities, including for loss of income and regular expenses that they incur even when their business is not open. The list of front-line businesses, which is determined and updated by the finance minister, consists mainly of communities that are situated close to the border with Lebanon and as far away as 10 kilometers from it: in other words, the area that was already exposed in the 1970s to the short-range Katyusha rockets.

The second group, which is much larger than the first, consists of all those persons whose businesses are situated in what was defined during the war as “areas of limitation” – that is, places south of the confrontation line, which were exposed for the first time to the Katyushas. The vast majority of the 90,000 business owners in the North fall into this category and they will be recompensed according to new criteria that were drawn up in an agreement signed after the war started between the treasury, the Histadrut labor federation and the employers.

According to these regulations, the state will pay the full salaries of workers employed by these businesses and the remaining compensation will be fixed according to the expenditures for wages – not according to the permanent expenses they have to bear, the damages that were caused or the loss of income. The government will give them 132.5 percent of the wages they pay to their workers and since the business owners are obliged to pay the salaries in full, the sum left in their hands will be 23.5 percent. Businesses that do not have a lot of salaried workers – and many of the enterprises in the Arab sector are in that category – will receive a symbolic sum.

One may have thought the list of front-line businesses was out of date, but from the documents attached to the petition, it transpires that Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson took the trouble of updating it during the war, when the range of the new Katyusha rockets was known. Left off the list were at least four Arab communities that were hit by them. A missile that fell in Arab al-Aramshe took the lives of two people, one that fell in Fassouta destroyed a house and injured one of its occupants, and others that fell in Ma’ilia and Jish (Gush Halav) caused damage to property. Leaving these four communities off the list did not keep Hirchson from adding five Jewish communities, during the war, to the list: Eliad, Degania Bet, Har Odem, Kabri and Safsufa – all located south of the Arab communities that were left off the list.

The matter in question is one of “blatant discrimination on a national basis,” Dahwar wrote in his petition, in which he requests that the High Court order inclusion of Arab communities in the list of confrontation-line settlements. “Businesses in the Arab villages close to the border with Lebanon will get less compensation simply because they are Arab.”

Dahwar examined the names on the list and found that the only non-Jewish communities included are the largely Druze Pek’in and Hurfeish, and Rehaniya, which is Circassian. He also found that Ma’ilia was not included on the list even though Kibbutz Yehiam and the moshavim Me’ona and Ein Yaakov, located even further from the border, were included and that Jish is not included even though Dalton and Safsufa, also further from the border, are listed.

“Before I presented the petition,” Dahwar says, “I tried to find other reasons besides discrimination against Arabs that could cause a rational being like the finance minister to make such a miserable and irrational decision. I could not find them. The instructions that the Home Front Command gave in Fassouta and Ma’ilia were the exact same instructions as they gave in Ma’alot or Alkosh. The damages caused to businesses are the same damages. So what explanation can there be other than racial discrimination?”

On August 8, the attorney sent a letter asking that the finance minister correct these distortions. He submitted the petition only five days later, after he did not hear from the ministry. Treasury officials this week refused to explain to Haaretz why Hirchson had decided to leave the Arab villages off the list that he had updated.

“A petition on the matter has been presented to the High Court of Justice,” the spokesman’s office replied, “and we’ll explain our position to the justices.”

Attorney Dahwar, who lives in Fassouta, is also an accountant and he submitted the petition in his own name and in that of four businessmen from Fassouta and Ma’ilia whose accounts his office audits. Dahwar’s office is situated in the village of Tarshiha, which because it belongs to the joint Ma’alot-Tarshiha municipality, is actually included among the front-line communities. He himself will be eligible for full compensation, but in the petition Dahwar explains that he too will be affected since the businesses of most of his clients are in Ma’ilia and Fassouta and they will therefore receive much less compensation.

This is not the first time that Dahwar is fighting to have Fassouta, Ma’ilia, Jish and Arab al-Aramshe put on this list. He raised the issue already in 1996, at the end of the Grapes of Wrath campaign, during several radio interviews. The then-finance minister, Abraham Shochat, acted swiftly to remove the issue from the public agenda.

“The finance minister proposed to us then to receive compensation as if we were on the list, but without being included on the list and without this constituting a precedent,” Dahwar explains. “At that time, I agreed to the arrangement because I wanted my clients to get the compensation that was coming to them. I won’t agree again since it can’t be that after every military operation, we will have to fight again for our rights.”

This time Dahwar hopes that the High Court of Justice will put an end, once and for all, to what he sees as outright discrimination.

FRANKENSTEIN OF THE MIDDLE EAST

A monster was created in the Middle East in 1948… a monster which was to herald in the end of imperialism in the area, but instead became the new imperialism. A monster that should know by now that it cannot continue on the path it chose… or it will perish.
Like they say: “those who don’t learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.” And the Americans are doing exactly what Napoleon once did …
And they found the perfect ‘partner in crime’… the Frankenstein that they helped create.
Ironic how similar the events were in Lebanon 20 some years ago to what took place just a few weeks ago… ironic and frightening that it is bound to happen again.
I found THIS site to be a very interesting history of Israel’s attrocities against Lebanon… all with the backing of the United States…. all with the complicity of the rest of the world.
HERE are photos of the latest attrocities in Lebanon…

It’s not to late to change the path of the future…. but we all have to do it together… the monster can and must be tamed.

CEASEFIRE~~~~~~ISRAELI STYLE

Since 1948 Israel has done whatever it wanted to anytime it wanted to. It has violated almost every UN Resolution aimed at them, it has violated almost every International Law in the books… yet stands like a beggar in the Diaspora communities of the world pleading for alms, and getting them by crying out to fellow Jews that it is their DUTY to help the poor Motherland.
The western world has always turned a ‘blind eye’ to their activities, perhaps out of fear that they might be called anti Semitic. Israel has always relied on that to ‘get away’ with their crimes.
How long is this going to be tolerated? How long will Israel be allowed to continue its policies of genocide? How long will the United States be allowed to continue selling (or giving) them arms before they too are sanctioned by the UN to stop? HOW LONG????
The time is NOW… not after thousands more are slaughtered by them… NOW, TODAY!
The following paragraph is from a New York Times article… the key word is DESPITE!
Israel just does not give a damn…. and they get away with it, that’s the frightening part.

JERUSALEM, Aug. 19 — Despite a cease-fire agreement, Israel intends to do its best to keep Iran and Syria from rearming Hezbollah and to kill the militia’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said a senior Israeli commander.

The rest of the article can be read HERE.

THE ONLY VICTORS IN WAR ARE THE WORMS


The dead are buried. The mourning periods are almost over. Life is slowly getting back to normal for some…. for others it never will. The loss of loved ones is not an easy thing to accept or live with, especially when it was totally unnecessary.
After a death there is a funeral….. here are scenes of some of the Israeli soldiers being put to rest….

And here are scenes of some Lebanese CIVILIANS being put to rest…. some even before they were dead.
There is a difference!

May we never know of these events ever again… Let us all work together to create an atmosphere of PEACE…. NOW AND FOREVER!

But…. you will never guess who the first to violate the ceasefire was…. give up? Read about it HERE.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY IN ACTION… NOT WORDS

Hugo Chavez has proven once again that he is a man that cares… not only for the people of Venezuela, but for the people of the world. There are no personal gains in sight for his efforts to make this world of ours a better place to live… he does it out of conviction to the human race.
The following is an Associated Press report of his latest proposals regarding the Middle East. All I can say is God Bless that Man!

Venezuelan president announces nationwide fundraising drive to raise money for rebuilding Lebanon and for Palestinians; calls Lebanese ‘heroic people’

Associated Press

President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela is carrying out a nationwide fundraising drive to raise money for rebuilding Lebanon and for the Palestinian people.

Chavez called the Lebanese and Palestinians “Heroic people” and reiterated his criticisms of Israel over its military offensive in Lebanon.

“I ask everyone in the country to give what we can for this fundraising campaign for the reconstruction of Lebanon – destroyed by the genocidal and fascist hand of Israel, and its masters, the U.S. Empire,” Chavez said.

The Venezuelan president said on Aug. 3 that he was withdrawing his country’s top diplomat to Israel to protest its attacks in Lebanon and its actions toward the Palestinians.

Israel, which responded by calling home its ambassador, has criticized what it calls Chavez’s “One-sided policy” and “Wild slurs.”

Also read THIS interesting article from AlJazeera…


Southern Lebanese Bury 250 People Killed by War

LAW OF RETURN BRINGS US BACK TO THE 19th CENTURY

Because of Israel’s Law of return, many a Neanderthal from Eastern Europe found refuge in the glorious Jewish Homeland. In over 50% of the cases, their own ‘Jewishnesss’ is questionable, yet they are now attempting to bring us back to the 19th century. Often, because of their base of support they get themselves elected to our Knesset. One such ‘throwback’ is a man called Avigdor Liberman, a man who not too long ago advocated the execution of any Arab MP that communicated with Hamas.
Israel has always prided itself on the ‘fact’ that Israeli Arabs have equal status as Israeli Jews. I have said before and will say it again… that is a crock of bull!
Israeli Arabs are Palestinians that happen to live in Israel proper and the ‘State’ has not come up with a way to change that situation… short of mass deportations…
But, our Neanderthal in Residence has come up with the following proposals as reported on the YNet network…

Time has come for Arab Israelis to decide where their loyalties lie
Avigdor Lieberman

I’m not surprised by the Arab Knesset members’ refusal to sign a letter by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik calling on parliament speakers across the world to do their utmost in an effort to elicit a sign of life from the kidnapped IDF soldiers.

This is a symptom of the helplessness displayed by the State of Israel, its legal system, and even its legislature in the face of an effort to undermine the foundations of the Jewish-democratic state, undertaken through the utilization of our liberal democracy and political culture.

The State of Israel is home to a significant population sector whose identity stems from an aspiration to bring about the State of Israel’s destruction.

This group has succeeded in turning the values of democracy against itself, as a sort of self-destruct mechanism. This group’s members accept Israeli citizenship but their loyalty lies with another people.

They support Hizbullah and Hamas, but are willing to receive medical treatment and social insurance payments from the State when they’re hurt in attacks by the very same terror groups. They take part in elections but send to the Knesset members whose job is to undermine it.

The Arab community’s elected officials are not the root of the problem, but rather, its display window. The root of the problem is that same father whose two children were killed by a Katyusha rocket in Nazareth, yet he still blamed the government of Israel and characterized Nasrallah as a “great leader” and “dear brother,” right before approaching the National Insurance Institute to receive compensation granted to victims of hostile acts.

The country has the right to defend itself and its Jewish-democratic character. A bill I submitted to the Knesset immediately after the elections requires that every citizen, at the time of receiving his or her Israeli identity card, pledge their allegiance to the country as a Jewish and democratic state, to the national anthem, and to the principles outlined in the charter of independence. Also, every Israeli must obligate to perform national service – either military or a civilian alternative.

Anyone who refuses to sign such declaration is welcome to remain a permanent resident with full rights, with the exception of the right to elect and be elected.

As to those Knesset members, there’s a dual gap – both when it comes to legislation and to enforcing current laws. According to the Basic Law: Knesset, a Knesset candidate whose goals or acts include: A) Rejection of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, B) Racism, C) Support for an armed struggle by an enemy state or a terror organization against the State of Israel, will be barred from running for Knesset.

Relationship at crossroads

Despite repeated attempts, the Central Elections Committee never disqualified a candidate on the basis of clauses A or C. What’s worse, our laws do not include a clause forbidding such activity on the part of a serving Knesset member.

The second bill submitted by the Israel Our Home faction in the last Knesset session is supposed to provide a response to this problem, with a Knesset member who violates those clauses having his term curbed immediately.

Passage of this bill in the coming session would enable (for example) us to kick out of the Knesset MK Wasil Taha, who in an Islamic online chat following the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit at Kerem Shalom, recommended choosing the option of abductions over the killing of civilians, because “this option is more effective.”

The relationship between the State of Israel and its minorities is currently at a crossroads. The Arab community must decide where its loyalties lie – to those who are willing to live in the state of the Jews as a loyal minority with full rights and obligations I say “Welcome”. To those who tied their fate to that of the Palestinian people I say that this country may be too small for both of us.

The Real Solution would be to recognise a State of Palestine… allow them to have a Right of Return… and let them map out their own destiny…. without interference from the dark ages.
THIS just reported on CNN…. it’s getting worse by the minute here…

JUST ONE MORE EXAMPLE OF WHY THERE IS NO PEACE HERE

We talk peace… we make war. We talk negotiations, we arrest those we must negotiate with.
That is the way of the Israelis… creating situations that have no solution.
We cry that ‘they have our soldier’… but we create a situation where we will never see him again.
It’s time for Israel to accept the fact that Hamas was elected to represent the Palestinian people. Until that is done, there will be no change whatsoever in the situation we have here… none.
Arresting the cabinet ministers will get us nowhere except into a much worse situation than we are in today.
The ball is in Israel’s court right now… and they are not playing fair… it’s as simple as that.
The following is from AlJazeera… just one more example of why there is no peace here.

Israel extends Hamas MP’s detention

An Israeli military court has extended the detention of Abd al-Aziz Dweik, the Palestinian parliament speaker, until next Tuesday.

On Thursday, Dweik, 57, who was hospitalised with chest pain after his arrest earlier this month, shouted to television cameras at the court hearing complaining that his arrest was unjust.

“I am the elected representative of the people,” he said.

“This is unjust treatment by an occupation which lacks legitimacy. We do have the right and the legitimacy, but these [Israelis] are unjust and usurpers [of land] who do not observe human dignity or human rights.

“My rightful place is among the people.”

Dweik, whose hands and feet were cuffed, said he has been held in solitary confinement. Dweik, a Hamas member, was elected in January elections that gave the Islamist resistance group an overwhelming majority.

He opposes the extension of his detention until he receives a medical examination. He also said he did not recognise the legitimacy of the court.

His defence team says his health is deteriorating. He was taken to hospital earlier in his detention amid claims he had been beaten.

The defence has also stated that Israeli soldiers had forced Dweik to take a medicine that caused him to lose concentration and balance.

Asked by Aljazeera regarding his health, Dweik, an academic, said: “My health condition is bad, but my determination is stronger than Israel’s injustice.

“Justice will triumph, the oppression will end, while the Palestinian people will remain heroes,” he added.

Dweik was seized by Israeli forces on August 7 from his home in Ram Allah in the West Bank. Israel is holding tens of Hamas politicians.

REAL ISSUES BEING IGNORED

The ‘war’ in Lebanon is over! People have returned to their homes and jobs in the north and life is slowly getting back to normal for them. Lebanese civilians are not as fortunate, their homes have been destroyed, their places of work have been destroyed… their lives have been destroyed. It will take awhile for them to get back to normal… but that’s war… people suffer, people die.

So, now that it’s all over, the press here is back to its ‘normal’ reporting… we have three sex scandals involving government ministers, a crooked land deal involving our Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister that is ‘still’ at death’s door…. all great reading… BUT totally ignoring the real issues at hand… The war in Gaza.
It is still raging and people are still dying.
The latest campaign of Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, coined “Summer Rain” killed 196 Palestinians and injured 795 since the end of June, as indicated by Palestinian Ministry of Health Statistics.

The Ministry issued its report Tuesday, covering the period of 26 June through 14 August focusing only on the Gaza Strip. Among the 196 Palestinians killed, 59 were children under the age of 18.

Twenty-five women were also included in what many refer to as a massacre.

The report broke down the causes of death, including 28 killed by live bullets, 75 killed by Israeli missiles from air attacks, and 85 killed by artillery shrapnel from tanks.

These facts are conveniently ignored in the Israeli press… but they will not go away.. and they will be exposed to the rest of the world.

It’s time to STOP THE MADNESS NOW!

It’s time to SIT DOWN AND TALK NOW!

It’s time to allow the Palestinians a RIGHT OF RETURN NOW!

Let’s all get on with our lives PEACE NOW!


Another REAL ISSUE being ignored is… WHO FINANCED THE DESTRUCTION IN LEBANON?

MORE ON WHY RIGHT OF RETURN IS NEEDED

The following is ‘lifted’ from the source mentioned below. It contains facts which show how pressing the Right of Return is to the Palestinian people.
The United Nations defines Palestine refugees as people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948 and who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Refugees also include descendants of those who lost their land over 50 years ago.
Hostility between Israelis and Palestinians stems from conflicting claims of two groups to the same territory. The United Nations attempted to reconcile this tension in 1947 by partitioning the British-controlled Palestine into two independent nation-states. Palestinians rejected the partition plan, arguing that neither Jewish history nor the recent tragedy of the Holocaust invalidated Arabs’ rights as legal residents of Palestine. In 1948, Jewish settlers declared an Israeli state, precipitating the first Arab-Israeli War. At this time, eighty-five percent of Palestinians who lived in what became Israel were driven out of their homes. Approximately one-third fled to the West Bank, another third to the Gaza Strip, and the remainder to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
By 1950, about 914,000 Palestine refugees had abandoned their homes. During the Six Day War in 1967, another 300,000 Palestinians fled from the West Bank and Gaza, to Jordan, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere. Of these, approximately 180,000 were first-time refugees (“displaced persons”), while the remainder were 1948 refugees uprooted for the second time.
Between four and five million Palestinians are refugees today. Population density and unemployment rates within Palestine refugee camps are among the highest in the world, resulting in chronic poverty, overcrowding and a low standard of living.
Source… http://www.itvs.org/frontiers/story1.html

THE LAW OF RETURN ~vs~ RIGHT OF RETURN

AND WHY PALESTINIANS NEED ONE…

Israel has a Law of Return. Any Jew, anywhere can move to Israel and become a citizen. This, with the assistance of the Israeli government or the Jewish Agency. Millions of Jews have taken advantage of this law since it was adopted in 1950. Jews were scattered throughout the Diaspora, in many cases homeless and destitute after surviving the holocaust. Israel offered them a new home and a new hope.

Palestine does not have a Law of Return, nor do they have the Right of Return. Palestine does not even have a state to call their own. This is one of the greatest injustices in the crises we face here in the Middle East today, many say that it is in effect the cause of the crisis.
Millions of Palestinians were displaced after the creation of the State of Israel. Many have been living in sub human conditions in various refugee camps throughout the Arab Diaspora. Others were fortunate enough to start new lives in new countries… just as many Jews were able to before the holocaust began.
I have, over the years, heard two major arguments about not allowing the Palestinians to have a Right of Return;
The first is…‘ If they all return they will outnumber the Jews’.
Is it better to have these millions of displaced persons harbouring resentment, in many cases hatred, towards the Jews… then having them live side by side with the Jews appreciating the efforts they made to make them being here possible? Needless to say the resentment will last another generation or two…. but the hatred will disappear.
The second argument is; ‘The Palestinians do not have a State, never did, therefore they should not have a Right of Return’. To that I say..neither did the Jews. The Biblical argument of this being the ‘Promised Land’ and the Jews being the ‘Chosen People’ will not stand up in an international court of law. Neither should it be used to deny a nation the right to be a nation… that alone goes against every concept of the Bible.
Peace can become a reality in this area, but only if and when the Palestinians are treated as human beings by the Israelis. That includes allowing statehood and a Right of Return for them.
Together as two nations we can become the focus of the entire world as we both proclaim… SEE, WE DID IT!
So, I for one say…. LET’S DO IT!

QUIET IN THE STREET TODAY


For the past month there was much tension felt in the street, the supermarket, everywhere you went. The local hotel was filled to capacity with residents from the north that fled their homes. The local eateries were packed with these families.
Jerusalem was fortunate… we were not hit by any katyusha rockets, nor were any of our homes destroyed. But, many families are still observing the seven day mourning period for a son or daughter they might have lost in Lebanon. Ironically a record number of Israeli soldiers were killed just hours before the ‘ceasefire’. FOR WHAT???

When tragedy strikes anyone in our small country it strikes everyone. Everyone here knows somebody who knows somebody. Everybody is related to somebody who is related to somebody… that is the uniqueness of life in Israel.

Today there seemed to be a sigh of relief in the neighbourhood. The northerners are heading back to their homes and hopefully to a normal life. The soldiers are heading home to their beloved families. There are no parades to welcome them, no banners saying ‘Welcome Home’…. just loving families that are relieved they are coming home alive and not in a box.

The feeling of peace is a good one… but is it real? The war still rages in Gaza…. our soldiers are still there both dying and killing. FOR WHAT???
It’s time to declare a REAL PEACE. It’s time to sit down and talk to Hamas and come up with a JUST SOLUTION. It’s time for the KILLING TO STOP. NOW… Not when the UN says we must…NOW>>>>IMMEDIATELY.
Not one more death on either side…EVER… not one inch of Palestinian soil stolen again EVER. I know we can do it if we just try. NOW!
IMPLEMENT A RIGHT OF RETURN FOR THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE NOW!!! THAT WILL BE REAL JUSTICE!

As you can see by the previous thread, most residents of Beirut are not as fortunate… they too are attempting to go home… but there no longer is one. War does not lead to justice.. only death and devestation.
NEVER AGAIN!!!

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