Shoe monument in Iraq demolished
January 31, 2009 at 20:50 (People's Art)
A monument to a shoe thrown at former President Bush is unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.
Shoe-throwing monument removed for Iraqi orphanage
The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.
Assisted by kids at the Tikrit Orphanage, sculptor Laith al-Amiri on Tuesday erected a huge brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.
But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi — now in an Iraqi jail.
After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.
“We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives,” said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.
Al-Zaidi’s angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero, and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.
The shoe monument, made of fiberglass and coated with copper, consists of the shoe and a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high. The shoe is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide.
The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.
“Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush’s war,” al-Naseri said. “The shoe monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist.”
Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader toppled by the United States in 2003, was from the Tikrit region.
Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail earlier this month. One of his brothers told CNN he “in good health and is being treated well.”
Al-Zaidi’s employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.
By tradition, throwing a shoe, is the most insulting act in the Arab world.
“There had not been any casualties in Israel since the cease-fire of June 2008,” Erdogan said. “The Israelis claim that missiles were being sent [from Gaza]. I asked Prime Minister Olmert, how many people died as a result of those missiles? …The United Nations Security Council makes a decision, and Israel announces it does not recognize the decision. I’m not saying that Hamas is a good organization and makes no mistakes. They have made mistakes. But I am evaluating the end result.”
January 30, 2009 at 13:21 (People's Art)
The bronze shoe monument. Photograph: Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images
A statue of a giant shoe has been unveiled in Saddam Hussein’s hometown in honour of the Iraqi journalist who threw his footwear at the former US president George Bush.
The statue also features a poem honouring Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who shot to international fame last month when he hurled his shoes at Bush during a farewell press conference.
The shoes narrowly missed the then president and Zaidi was quickly bundled to the ground by security staff.
The public artwork went on display in Tikrit, 90 miles north-west of Baghdad.
The Baghdad-based artist, Laith al-Amari, said his fibreglass-and-copper work was a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people.
Zaidi, who has since been dubbed by some as the Baghdad Clogger, was charged with assaulting a foreign leader and is in detention awaiting trial.
by Khalid Amayreh
It is really difficult to take seriously those who think that the new American envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has a real chance of getting Israel, the Nazi-like entity, to end its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and therefore achieve a just and lasting peace in this tortured part of the world.
True, Mitchell succeeded in resolving the 800-year-old conflict in Northern Ireland. However, with Israel in tight control of the American Congress, media and public discourse, it is unlikely that Mitchell will be able to do much in terms of pressuring the apartheid state to take a strategic decision to end its 40-year-old colonialist occupation of Palestinian territories.
The factors militating against Mitchell’s mission are numerous and overwhelming.
First, Mitchell should be honest enough to realize that Israel has effectively killed any realistic prospects of creating a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. The building of hundreds of Jewish-only colonies throughout the occupied territories has simply left no room for establishing such a state.
This is of course unless a quisling Palestinian leadership will be cajoled or coerced into accepting a “state” made up of disconnected Bantustans and townships under tight Israeli control.
Needless to say, such a scandalous sell-out of Palestinian rights would be strongly and violently rejected by a vast majority of Palestinians, and whatever Palestinian “Judenrat” acceding to such deal would be mercilessly crushed and its members killed like stray dogs in the streets of the West Bank.
Traitors who trade the national patrimony of their people for money, investment and preferential treatment by America and Israel can’t really hope for a better treatment from their people. This is how traitors are treated everywhere.
Moreover, it should be amply clear by now that no Israeli government would be able, even if willing, to dismantle the hundreds of settlements built on occupied Arab land since 1967.
The Israeli society and political environment are simply too jingoistic to allow any Israeli government to undo the “gains” of the Six-day war.
There are those who may argue that the settlers and their supporters can be overruled by a majority of Israelis who want peace. Well, this is not an accurate appraisal of reality. The settlers and their supporters represent a real majority within the Israeli society and especially within the Israeli army, as the upcoming Israeli elections will undoubtedly show.
This is the reason why successive Israeli governments consistently refrained from dismantling even a single settlement, including those created brazenly illegally, even according to the lopsided Israeli law itself. (All settlements are illegal according to international law as elucidated a few years ago by the International Court of Justice in the Hague).
Israeli leaders know deep in their heart that dismantling settlements and removing settlers could lead to a Jewish civil war. Olmert, whose election platform a few years ago was based on a promise to remove settlements east of the “Separation Wall,” eventually cringed before the settlers and didn’t dare to remove a single outpost.
Hence, it is inconceivable that in the absence of a truly massive political and psychological earthquake hitting the collective Israeli psyche, no Israeli government would be able to embark on the unthinkable task of dismantling the settlements and withdrawing to the armistice lines of the 4th of June, 1967.
Needless to say, such an “earthquake” can only be triggered by the United States, Israel’s guardian-ally. However, for such an earthquake to occur in Israel, a stronger political earthquake would have to occur in Washington D.C. first.
I am talking about a mental and political transformation, a real revolution that would free the American political class from the stranglehold of American Zionism, the demonic ghoul now gripping America by the throat.
This takes us to another question. Is America capable of extricating herself from this Zionist grip? Can America say “No” to the Israeli bully and act on it? Can America outsmart and outmaneuver the tyrannical Zionist clique enslaving America now?
I am raising these questions because all the old tools of trying to resolve the conflict in Palestine have been tried ad nauseam and proven ineffective and bankrupt.
This necessarily requires new “unorthodox” and “un-classical” tools that would convince Israel that “enough is enough” and that America wouldn’t continue to play the role of powerful whore in the service of Zionist supremacy in the Middle East.
But in order to reach such a realization, America would have to think honestly and do a lot of soul-searching. America would have to confront itself with the naked facts about the Nazi-like monster known as Israel. America would have to face the fact that the huge crisis now haunting the American economy is attributed first and foremost to Israel. More to the point, America needs to realize that unless Israel is reined in, America itself will go down. Isn’t America already going down, at least in part because it allowed a tiny criminal entity 10,000 miles away to dictate American policy and behavior toward the rest of the world.
After all, it was Israel that by way of deception got the unmissed ignoramus of the White House, George Bush, to invade, occupy and destroy two sovereign Muslim nations and murder or cause the death of over a million human beings.
It was Israel that envisaged the so-called “war on terror.” And it may well be proven eventually that Israel stood behind the 9/11 events. Yes, I don’t possess irrefutable evidence proving this point right now, but the cunning Zionist serpent is too demonic, too nefarious and too sly to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Hence, I would like to give the following advice to Mr. Mitchell.
Don’t be naïve, Israel and its leaders will try to dilute your mission by eviscerating it of substance. They will seek to overwhelm you with mountains of red-herring tactics. They will raise all sorts of issues, real and imagined to confuse you. They will shamelessly raise the issue of terror, ignoring the cardinal fact that Israel herself is the most satanic embodiment of terror in this world. They will speak about “anti-Semitism,” overlooking the obvious fact that Israel’s Nazi behaviors, e.g. the recent genocidal blitzkrieg in Gaza, are the premier generator of anti-Semitism around the world.
They will confront you with an avalanche of distractions to divert attention from the real core issue, their enduring Nazi-like occupation of Palestinian land and their unmitigated oppression of the Palestinian people.
If you are brave and honest, confront them, let them frown in your face, let them get angry. But don’t cower, or cave in to their bullying tactics, even if they threaten to mobilize Congress against you and your boss in Washington.
They might hint to you that the Jews control America and could therefore get the President to fire you. Don’t be impressed by this. Report it directly to Mr. Obama.
You are likely to be affronted soon by a man named Benyamin Netanyah, who is likely to become Israel’s next Prime Minister.
This man is a pathological liar, a professional propagandist who thinks that effective hasbara (propaganda) is the solution for all problems. Diversionary tactics and verbal prevarication are his policy and sheer mendacity is his modus operandi. So, don’t be deceived by his false magic.
Finally, I would like to say the following:
Be honest and frank with your boss in Washington. Tell him that Israel doesn’t want peace and is not seeking true peace partners among Palestinians.
A country that has built and continues to build settlements on stolen land obviously doesn’t want peace. Moreover, a country that bullies peace partners, e.g. the Palestinian Authority, to act and behave very much like the “Jewish councils” in Nazi-occupied Europe did, doesn’t seek genuine peace partners, but genuine quislings and bona fide collaborators.
Also, tell Mr. Obama that Israel and her leaders don’t really take America seriously. I give you one little example. In eight years of Bush’s misrule, and despite incessant and occasionally aggressive demands from Washington to remove roadblocks from the West Bank to enhance Palestinian mobility and help revive the region’s moribund economy, Israel actually increased rather than decreased the number of these evil checkpoints and roadblocks…and they did it under America’s nose.
(Didn’t Olmert boast recently about ordering President Bush to instruct Condoleezza Rice to abstain from voting in favor of a UNSC resolution calling for ceasefire in the Gaza Strip?)
Remember these barriers are erected in the heart of Palestinian population centers, not along side the Green Line, e.g. between Israel proper and the West Bank. They are meant primarily to torment and savage the Palestinian people.
This was done while Israeli leaders and officials were having chummy chats with Rice who visited Occupied Jerusalem and Ramalla 24 times. And the result of all her visits was a great fat zero. Well, Mr. Mitchell, try to learn from Rice’s monumental failure…don’t repeat it, even if you have to quit.
Good luck Mr. Mitchell.
‘The struggle now is to come to terms with what physically happened here.’
- Jabaliya, Gaza
Yesterday saw the first canvas tents go up in the Gaza strip to house internally displaced people. The UN estimates 50,000 people have been made homeless due to the bombing and bulldozing of homes and properties by Israeli occupation forces in Israel’s 21 day offensive in the Gaza Strip. The displacement is just meters in the case of many families who don’t want to move far from their ancestral land, and have opted to move into tents on the site of their destroyed houses.
People have lost more than their homes here. Entire families, living on family land, handed down throughout generations, have had their protection, life’s investment, and community networks literally crushed. The Al Eer family, living on land close to the border in ‘Izbat ‘Abed Rabbu had eleven homes reduced to rubble, and had five members dragged out from under one home. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, medical crews found Ibrahim Mohammed al-’Err, 11; Rakan Mohammed al-’Err, 4; Fidaa’ Mohammed al-’Err, 17; Iman Nember al-’Err, 27; and Mohammed Mousa al-’Err, 48 in the early hours of Sunday 18th January. Ibrahim al-Err, standing in the ruins of his home told me his family left their home on January 7th, after being told by Israeli Occupation Forces to get out. The family was told to leave immediately by loudhailers perched on tanks. ‘We saw 10s of tanks, they were everywhere, we didn’t even have five minutes, we didn’t have time to take our belongings’. Nasser al-Err, 40, living close by explained, ‘My sons left without their shoes, I had 5-6000 Dinars at home – I don’t know where it is or how to reach it. My son is disabled, where will he go?’
The Ajrawi family lost five houses, the Jned family at least four. Naima Ajrami’s vulnerable asbestos roofed three bedroom home housed nine people. ‘We now live with our family in Falluja.’ She gestures to the crushed brick, furniture and pieces of her life behind her and under her feet. ‘We built this house ourselves. This is not the first time it’s been destroyed; half of it was bulldozed in the invasion of 2005.’ She lets her hands fall down, ‘I don’t know how we will rebuild it, my husband has no work, I don’t know, we wont be able to rebuild’.
A Rubble Tide
The tide of rubble, of leveled homes, rolls up and down the Gaza strip. In Mooghrieka, a tiny neighbourhood close to the former Netzarim settlement, over 30 homes were totally leveled and a further 130 partially destroyed. On one street, the sheer force of tank shelling in the streets outside had been enough to cave in the vulnerable asbestos roofs of at least eight homes.
The home of the Abu Shalafa family was bombed by tank shelling on the 5th of January. Three members were injured including 13-year-old Maysa, suffering from Cerebral Palsy and now additional shrapnel pieces lodged inside her head. The family showed us a large floppy x-ray photo, with clear white spikes inside a black skull denoting the embedded shrapnel. Maysa was writhing and screaming on a wicker matt outside her home, ‘She can’t sleep at night’ explained her mother as Maysa strained her clenched body in agony.
Dynamite, according to evidence uncovered by human rights groups and witnesses, was the main means of home demolition deployed by Israeli occupation Forces; later followed by bulldozing.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society and its’ army of volunteers has been trawling the streets of the areas hit by operation ‘cast lead’. They’ve been registering families for sheets of plastic sheeting to patch up blast holes and smashed out windows in their homes, organized by the Red Cross. They tick off questionnaires registering ‘emergency house destruction kits’ consisting of mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, jerricans, tarpaulin, a bucket, a kettle and chairs.
In Mooghreika, 53 members of the Al Qasans family – six families in total – had their four story home leveled, by F16 bombardment according to witnesses. Theirs is a similar story to many others, property was fired upon by tanks and inhabitants ordered out of their homes by soldiers through loudhailers.
In Ezbit Khader, in the Jabbal al Rais area, Mohammad Shaheen, Team Leader of the Red Crescent Society’s Disaster Management Unit was commandeering a team of volunteers putting up tents to house 140 families. The temporary shelters were paid for by the Falah Charitable Society. Bulldozers had smoothed down uneven land for around 20 tents, each sporting a defiant Palestinian flag flapping in the evening breeze, the wind blowing freely here now without any houses or trees to catch in.
He told me, ‘We wanted to put up the tents further inside the area, away from the border, but people wanted to be closer to their homes and land’, he said. Asked how long the camp might stay he says, ‘We are planning to have it here for up to one year if necessary but if we cannot get cement in then it could be much longer, it could be forever’.
The camp will have a food tent, medical tent, a play area for children in the centre and electric lights surrounding the huddled residential area. The United Nations Refugee Welfare Agency (UNRWA) has stated that it will only be dealing with existing refugees, settled in camps in the Gaza Strip – meaning charities have taken on housing the new homeless. Most of the 50,000 homeless in the Gaza Strip came from non-refugee areas and communities, qualifying as ‘Internally Displaced People’. A camp of large white canvas tents sporting Save The Children flags has been erected at the foot of Atatura. More are planned for Zeitoun and Toofah.
A Refugee Camp for an Orchard
A cave-like shelter consisting of a collapsed lopsided roof is all that remains of Ziad Al Khader’s home. The view from under the rubble is one of the camp. ‘Where those tents are’ he explains, ‘Is where my lemon and olive trees were, that was my orchard’. The Al Khader family, are the ancestral residents and farmers of the area, hence the name Izbet Khadar. Ziad says the family lost 30 homes in Israel’s offensive. Five relatives were also reportedly killed. Standing on top of the pile of exploded rubble that was his and his brother Ziad’s house, Ibrahim Khader, a farmer, and father of three, tells the story of what happened. He points to piles of rubble and slabs of concrete, surrounding us, ‘That there is my fathers house, that is my uncles house, that is my brothers house, another uncles house’, the rubble comes alive with the fact it was inhabited and up-standing less than two weeks ago.
‘All of us were home when the army came. It was the 16th of January. Missiles were fired onto our area, a tank shelled my brother Ziad’s house, so his family came over to ours. We were then tank shelled. It was in the afternoon. My brother Ibrahim then called me and said he wanted to leave. I told him to ask the Red Cross to evacuate him but he said there was no chance, there was no co-ordination. The night was full of bombing. By 10am, everyone had left aside from mine and Ziad’s family. We were hiding, huddling together, we didn’t see what was happening. My brother Ismaeel then came round and said, ‘You have to leave’, we said, ‘How did you leave?’ He said, with a white flag. So we left with white flags. We didn’t take anything with us, we left everything at home. There was shelling, in my analysis, was to get us out of our houses. The destruction wasn’t as bad as it is now when we left. If you look around this area you would never have though it had shops, and homes, it was our area, our community, named after us. We were shot at as we were leaving, from a tank, they shot into our lemon trees. We all went to Rabea Sultan’s house, but they shot at his house too, it was an unnatural situation. Two of us were injured in the shooting. Our wives were asking the soldiers if they could return back to pick up some belongings, the Israelis said, ‘No, and if you try we will shoot you’. We’d built our neighbourhood together, it was our village. I built this house myself, I didn’t rent it, I didn’t buy it ready-made, I worked on it and know every single part of it, because I built it with my own hands.
When I came back I couldn’t believe this was my home, and the industrial area, the agricultural land, our land, this area was a farm land area, we are villagers. Right now, some of us sleep here, others are with relatives. I am staying here, my brother too, we were born here, we grew up here, we learned here, it is dear to us, this is my grandfather’s land and we will hand it down to our children too.
The plan of Israel is for all of us to leave our land and to give up on and give out the fighters. We can’t, we won’t, its our legal right, they’re trying to colonise our land and our sea, even if my son said to me I am going to fight, could I stop him, When, it’s our right? We didn’t come to the Israelis, they came to us, they came to colonise our land. We’re far from the areas where any missiles were being fired, why did they come to us and do this? If one of my brothers, or my father’s houses was still standing, then I could feel happy, it could be ok, but when I look around me and see all of my families’ homes destroyed, I cant be’.
A Man-made Landslide
We traipse down the landslide that is the side of the mound that was Ibrahim and Ziad’s homes and sit on mattresses inside the cave that is their home. We drink sweet sage tea – sage a natural anti-depressant that grows wild and abundantly here. Ibrahim’s kids keep a fire burning in the corner, stoked by pages of torn old schoolbooks and bulldozed olive and lemon branches. Aromatic smoke wafts up into the peaked roof of the concrete tent we now sit in. Five men, fathers, in their 30s, 40s and 50s, sit staring out and the new camp infront of them, their gaze alternating between the tents, the grey ground – once a ceiling – under their feet and their new guests. They have all lost their homes.
Ziad, the eldest son, white haired and sharp-eyed in his early 50s intones, ‘We all used to work in Israel, all of us, I was a builder, I had Israeli friends, and never in my life would I have expected Israelis to do this. How are we supposed to work for peace after this? How? They bombed our mosque. We had saved up, all of us from our area, on the land of my grandfather, for our mosque which we need for our community, to attack this, this is forbidden in our religion. Did the mosque fire missiles at them? They destroyed our water well, the well we all drank from, and now, what do we have here?’ He picks up a dusty empty six litre water bottle. ‘We were given his today, each family. Six litres. How are we supposed to live on this? And what if we want to wash our dishes? And look, its made by a US charity organization’ he says pointing to a charity insignia. ‘So the US is making the F16s that bomb us and the bulldozers that destroy our water wells and then US charities are giving us small bottles of water to drink in our ruins?’
Ibrahim explains, ‘We don’t need a sack of flour, we need our nation. We need our sea, our land, we need our air, our sky, open borders, the right to leave, for Russia, Ukraine, the UK, wherever we want’.
I ask how it feels to sleep in their broken home at night, ‘We have nightmares’ says one of the men smiling ruefully. ”Its really hard’, says Ziad blankly, ‘We think about our home, we think about everything we had, all the good things that happened in it and all the bad things that happened in it. My children were born here, in this house. It was everything. And, we built it, and, it’s, it’s, gone.’
Ibrahim joins in, ‘When I die, I won’t feel happy. I haven’t go anything left to show for all my life and life’s work, I didn’t manage to make anything lasting for my family, what I worked for was taken away from me, but, this is my land, still, and we are here’.
People still can’t believe what has happened to them here. Their landscape, their lines of sight and lineages of land cultivation, the tending of the soil and cyclical toiling of the land to yield olives, oranges, lemons, a harvest, a livelihood, the centuries old relationship between farmers and their land, has been bulldozed into dust. The protection of a home, to live and die in, to shelter in, a community centre in its own right for every family, a place to sit and drink tea in and bake bread in and bring up children in, to come back to every night, to invite guests to, to sleep safely within, ‘the heart of the home’ a phrase used every day, to describe, terribly, too often, where tank shells and apache missiles were shot into, ‘into the heart of our home’ says family after family, after family.
People here feel uprooted, Israel’s attack literally tearing families from their roots, blowing bricks and lives and livestock and trees and people sky-high. If not physically uprooted, this war had left everybody in Gaza psychologically uprooted, violated and disorientated by the fact of three weeks of blindness for every family unable to see what was happening to their relatives and fellow Gazans in ‘closed military areas’, kept out, kept blinded by sniper-fire and missiles against anyone daring to set foot but kept awake and shocked by the sound of bombs and strikes all over the Gaza strip.
Everybody heard the sound of homes being bombed, mosques being bombed, hospitals being bombed, shelling and bombing and striking, everybody jolted and shuddering in their beds and homes and by night and by day. Now people are slowly trying to re-root themselves, to return, to re-orientate, to follow the trail of destruction and piece together where the tide of Israel’s war began, where it spilled over into the streets and alleyways and orchards, who it took with it, how and where, to cohere the sounds with what we see now before our eyes, this settled hell and to make sense of the before and after. Not knowing and not witnessing, being left with memories of sound without sight, and a present reality of pure destruction, gutted land and communities, is in itself a violation of the human need to understand and bear with and feel with our neighbours and friends. What many find so painful here, is not just the horrific violations that the living witnesses remember, such as the Samouni family and the Abid Rubbu Family, its not just what they saw, but its also the fact of what Israeli soldiers saw, they who perpetrated these inhumane violations, with open eyes, ‘laughing’ according to some witnesses; that they saw it all, when we didn’t and couldn’t stop it, and that they were present, that they perpetrated, witnessed and withdrew, anonymously, and seemingly, remorselessly.
The struggle now is to come to terms with and understand what physically happened here, and to re-root, as the communities of Atatura, Ezbid-Abu Rubbu, Toofah, Zeitoun, Rafah, Maghrooka, Johra Deek and Ezbit Khader are re-rooting, whether it be in canvas tents or their concrete ex-home tents. To re-grow and reclaim, a shared history and a shared future, and a present of an ongoing liberation struggle, together again
- Ewa Jasiewicz is an experienced journalist, community and union organizer, and solidarity worker. She is currently Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement.
A flechette embedded in a wall in a Bedouin villlage in Gaza © Amnesty International
Apart from white phosphorus, the Israeli army used a variety of other weapons in densely populated civilian areas of Gaza in the three-week conflict that began on 27 December.
Flechettes are 4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m wide and 100m long.
An anti-personnel weapon designed to penetrate dense vegetation, flechettes should never be used in built-up civilian areas. The Israeli army has used them in Gaza periodically for several years. In most cases their use has resulted in civilians being killed or injured.
Amnesty International’s fact-finding team in Gaza first heard about the use of flechettes in the most recent conflict some ten days ago. The father of one of the victims showed the team a flechette which had been taken out of his son’s body.
In its latest post on Amnesty International’s Livewire blog, the team described how on Monday it visited towns and villages around Gaza and found more hard evidence of the use of flechettes.
In ‘Izbat Beit Hanoun, to the south-west of the town of Beit Hanoun, several flechette shells were fired into the main road, killing two people and injuring several others on the morning of 5 January.
Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was one of those killed. Her husband and her mother-in-law told the team that the family had just had breakfast and were outside the house drinking tea in the sun.
Wafa’ and her husband were standing by the corner of the house when they heard a noise, followed by screams. They turned to go back into their house but at that moment Wafa’ and several other members of the family were hit by flechettes. Wafa’ was killed outright.
That same day, at the other end of the street, 16-year-old Islam Jaber Abd-al-Dayem was struck in the neck by a flechette. He was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit but died three days later. Mizar, his brother, was injured in the same attack and still has a flechette lodged in his back.
In the village of al-Mughraqa on the morning of 7 January, a shell struck the room where Atta Hassan Aref Azzam was sitting with two of his children, Mohammed, aged 13 and Hassan, aged two and a half. All three were killed. The six other members of the family who were in the house fled to the nearest school for shelter. The team examined the bloodstained wall by which the three were killed. It was full of flechettes.
Thanks to Haitham
Gaza residents returning to their homes in Zeitun neighborhood find their houses covered with slogans such as ‘Death to Arabs,’ and ‘One down, 999,999 to go.’ IDF: Those responsible will be reprimanded
A painful reminder for remained evident in Gaza in the form of blatant, racist graffiti sprayed on houses’ walls by IDF soldiers.
Residents of the Zeitun neighborhood who returned to their homes once the fighting in the region was over discovered that their walls had been sprayed with slogans such as “Die you all,” Make war not peace,” “Death to Arabs,” “Arabs must die,” and “One down, 999,999 to go.”
Some of the graffiti was sprayed on the ruins of the homes of the al-Samuni family, who lost dozens of its members during the war.
An IDF spokesman said in response to the report: “This is not how IDF soldiers are educated. This goes against the IDF’s ethical code. The matter is being investigated and those responsible for it will be severely reprimanded.”
I find it interesting that the IDF will reprimand those responsible for the graffiti….. BUT NOT FOR THE COLD BLOODED MURDER OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS….
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Commentary by Khalid Amayreh
The meeting in Cairo on Monday 26 January, between a Hamas representative and Fatah leader Azzam al Ahmed is a glimmer of hope for millions of Palestinians and their allies who are hoping and praying for a speedy end of the enduring rift between the two biggest political camps in the Palestinian arena.
Though symbolic and procedural in nature, the meeting shows that the problems between the two sides can be overcome if both sides display good-will and especially if the Ramallah regime ends its ignominious subservience to Israel and the United States.
Needless to say, the rift has wreaked havoc on the reputation of the just Palestinian cause and caused many bleeding wounds to our people, the scars of which will take a long time to heal.
However, we are still one people, feeling the same pain, languishing under the same hateful occupation, and harboring the same hopes for freedom and justice.
But in order to reach a lasting national harmony, we need to be honest and frank, and refrain from trying to negate the other side. This is so because neither Hamas nor Fatah will go away or evaporate into nonexistence.
There is no doubt that a great calamity has hit our people in the Gaza Strip. But by no means was that evil aggression a victory for Israel unless the Zio-Nazi entity views the mass killing of innocent civilians and the mass destruction of residential homes and public buildings as an act of heroism.
Well, if so, then we would have to view Adolf Hitler as the greatest hero of all times.
Nonetheless, we should refrain from whipping ourselves too much or trying to score propaganda points one against the other.
Israel did try to decapitate Hamas, destroy its legitimate government (legitimate because Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people) and give the Gaza Strip back to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas on a sliver platter.
The fact that Israel couldn’t achieve the criminal goal was not due to Israeli magnanimity. Zionists are too thuggish and too criminal minded to know the meaning of magnanimity. After all, magnanimity requires at least a modicum of humanity and Zionism has none of that.
In truth, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions earned this spectacular steadfastness, this legendary resoluteness, in the face of overwhelming criminality, hideousness and firepower.
Hence, one can only view with utter contempt the cheap canards and calumnies coming out of Ramallah and accusing the resistance of responsibility for the widespread death and destruction in Gaza, as if the murderous pilots who were raining bombs and missiles and white phosphorous on the heads of our children and civilians were members of Hamas, not Israeli war criminals.
To be sure, such cheap accusations are made by two categories of people, ignoramuses who don’t know the facts, and bona fide traitors who are doing Israel’s work.
The former can be somehow forgiven by virtue of their ignorance or stupidity. However, the latter are willful Judases who ought to be silenced and punished. And if the time is not conducive to dealing with them the proper way, they should be isolated in disgrace.
This should be one of Hamas’s key tasks in the coming weeks and months. Otherwise, the Fifth columnists within Fatah and the PA, the very people who committed national adultery in broad daylight by collaborating with the Shin Beth and the CIA for the purpose of raping the Palestinian people’s will and achieving America’s morbid goals in this tortured part of the world, will continue to create mischief and try to rock the collective Palestinian boat.
These must be ejected, isolated, exposed, disgraced, and made to pay for their treachery and perfidy.
But Fatah is not a movement of traitors, and it is not in the Palestinian people’s interests to see Fatah catapulted into the laps of the likes of Muhammed Dahlan, Nimr Hammad and al-Tayeb Abdul Rahim who probably were dreaming, even loudly, of an Israeli victory in Gaza.
Hence, it is both right and wise for Hamas to get closer to true patriots within Fatah. And the time to do that is now.
There is no doubt that despite the enormity of the genocidal Zionist blitzkrieg against our people in Gaza, Hamas has not only managed to remain intact, but has also earned overwhelming respect and admiration from around the world.
Hamas shouldn’t treat lightly this earned outpouring of support which many movements, parties and governments even dream of receiving a fraction of.
In this light, Hamas should show enlightened flexibility toward re-establishing national unity.
It is this national unity that will eventually dump the government of Fayadh into the dustbin of history and do away with the whoring practice known as “security coordination.”
The restoration of national unity will also impose an early retirement on people like Keith Dayton and other CIA officers who have taught hundreds, if not thousands, of our beguiled and naïve young sons that the enemy is Hamas, not the Zionist thugs who have just murdered and maimed thousands of our children and civilians in the Gaza Strip and who have been stealing our land and narrowing our horizons.
In the Quran, God orders Muslims to refrain from falling into disunity and internal conflicts.
In Surat al Anfal, God says: “ And obey God and His Messenger and fall not into disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For God stands with those who patiently persevere.” Of all Palestinian factions, Hamas should understand this best.
This video was NOT aired on BBC or Sky News….. it might ‘tarnish their biased image’…..
The Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for humanitarian donations to Gaza has been screened on ITV and Channel 4.
The decision to screen the film follows point-blank refusals from both the BBC and Sky News, who said it would threaten their impartial image.
The controversy over the BBC’s refusal to show the two minute film reached a crescendo today, with director general Mark Thompson forced to go on Radio 4′s Today programme to explain his decision.
This is a repost from exactly a year ago today…. I could have written it today…. nothing has changed for the better.
Or we have THIS short video showing the true colours of a racist Israel soldier…
After watching both of these videos, one has to ask who is a threat to whom…. the answer is obvious.
Then we come to still another section of the ‘Israeli Arab’, the Bedouins…
Bedouins living in the Negev, another area within Israel are constantly suffering under the yolk of zionist tyranny. For the most part, these Bedouins serve in the Israeli army, giving their all to the Jewish state. In return they return to their homes only to see their entire village bulldozed to make way for an Israeli road or an irrigation system. They are denied medical care in many of their villages and worse yet, many have been moved close to nuclear facilities where the radiation is slowly killing them off. THIS link has much information about the plight of the Negev Bedouin population. Needless to say. fewer of these Bedouins find themselves identifying themselves as Israelis, they are Palestinians.
Last, but not least, let’s not overlook the treatment given to representatives elected to the Israeli Knesset by the Arab electorate. Does the name Azmi Bishara ring a bell? Did we forget the hounding he received from the government, the forced exile he is still under to escape punishment for crimes he did not commit… he is but one example, but the most recent one.
Despite all of the above, there is a small section of Palestinians that one can rightfully refer to as Israeli Arabs. They are a small band of collaborators led by one Mahmoud Abbas, the former President of Palestine. Again, despite the above, despite the present siege of Gaza, they still see themselves as leaders of the Palestinian people. Tomorrow they will be meeting with representatives of the Israeli government to ‘discuss’ the events in Gaza. It’s too damn late for those discussions. What is needed are immediate actions to end the siege and to restore calm to the million and a half people whose very lives are at stake at the moment.
A convoy arrived this morning at Gaza to deliver essential materials…. the following was the only bit of news I could find so far on this action… Israeli forces turn away aid convoy at Erez Crossing
So bottom line is that the concept of an Israeli Arab is nothing but a myth, unless you are a member of Abbas’ cabinet.
With friends like these
By Sherine Bahaa
KHALED AMAYREH, the Al-Ahram Weekly correspondent in the West Bank was arrested Sunday evening by the Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Hebron. He was released after two days. Amayreh, 52, lives in Dura, 12 miles southwest of Hebron and has worked as the Weekly correspondent since 1997, as well as for a number of other media outlets.
He has a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois. For a long time, he suffered, as do all Palestinians in the occupied territories, being confined by the occupation to his home village.
Not long ago, he was prohibited by Israeli forces from leaving Hebron at an Israeli checkpoint, detained and released only after being threatened for his courageous articles documenting Israeli crimes in the Weekly.
Surprisingly though, this time, Amayreh was not arrested by the Israelis, he was detained by the PSF; the PA police apparatus. This was the fourth time that Amayreh was arrested by the PSF. But this time why was he arrested? He was not in a demonstration, nor was he smuggling weapons to his fellow Palestinians being killed by Israelis on a daily basis.
His crime was explaining, during an interview with the Beirut based Al-Quds satellite TV, why there are only a few demonstrations in the West Bank in support of the people of Gaza. Amayreh frankly said that the PA did not allow such demonstrations. Amayreh did not mean to undermine the PA but he said, “the PA has certain commitments towards Israel and they (PA) do not want things to get out of their hands.” Amayreh also said the Israelis do not respect the PA and view the PA as a kind of “servant” to Israeli interests.
For the PSF, this was defamation. Amayreh speaking to the Weekly immediately after his release, explained that he only spoke of how Palestinian officials were prevented from moving freely and how Israel added more checkpoints to try to cordon Palestinians in closed areas. In short, they did not like the tone of the interview.
“They interrogated me for six hours, then they locked me in a dark cell for two days, where I could not tell day from night.”
“I think they released me because of the media and public pressure,” Amayreh said. According to Amayreh, around 15 journalists have been arrested over the past few months and some of them are still in jail.
Amayreh, father of nine, was taken from his family home to the headquarters of the PSF in Hebron. His family were denied any access to him.
The International Society for Translators and Linguists issued a statement condemning his arrest and asking for his immediate release. “These police units do not represent anything for Palestine except murder, destruction, corruption and chaos,” the statement said. “This apparatus is a disgrace to the history of the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Amayreh has helped the Palestinian cause much more than those people have,” the statement added.
In the past three weeks, dozens of Hamas supporters have either been detained or summoned for investigation by the PA’s much- feared Preventive Security Forces and General Intelligence Service. Coordination between the PA police forces and the Israeli occupation forces and Shin Beth has continued even as Gaza is being destroyed, in pursuit of their common goal of uprooting Hamas in the West Bank.
Five months ago, Amayreh was invited to attend a media conference in Germany and was granted a visa from the German representative office in Ramallah, the main stipulation being that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. In spite of this, the Israeli military authorities refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank and he was unable to travel. But be it the Israelis or the PA Security apparatus, it is evidently clear that Palestinians are continuously having their civil rights violated.
By Khalid Amayreh
With George Bush now dumped into the dustbin of history , millions of people around the world are hoping that the new American president Barack H. Obama will make a genuine departure from the conspicuously criminal policies that characterized his predecessor’s gloomy era.
Undoubtedly, Bush excelled in the perpetration of evil. He murdered, killed, deceived and lied, thinking he was doing a great service to America and the world.
His era was drenched with blood, mostly the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, killed unjustly under the misleading rubric of “the war on terror.”
In Palestine, and only three weeks before his unmissed departure, Bush gave the Zio-Nazi state of Israel carte blanche to commit a real genocide in Gaza in which thousands of helpless civilians were brutally massacred and maimed while thousands of homes and other buildings were utterly destroyed.
And instead of urging Israel to stop the pornographic bloodletting against the captive and virtually defenseless people of Gaza, Bush behaved gleefully and gloatingly, invoking the mendacious mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
We in the Middle East realize quite well that Obama is not going to be the paragon of freedom and justice many naïve people had thought he would be.
Unfortunately, the American political environment is too morally barren to produce truly moral politicians who would be willing, let alone able, to call the spade a spade, especially when the Zio-Nazi state is concerned.
Doing so would most likely be tantamount to committing political suicide in a country where Congress, the media, Show business as well as the bulk of the vital financial industry are tightly controlled by Israel’s American gents.
Non the less, Obama should strive to be more than just a sort of a Bush-lite president. Otherwise, he would be repeating the same mistakes, indulging in the same follies and committing the same crimes, knowingly or unknowingly.
I know it is premature to judge the man since he has been only a few days in the White House. However, the signs are not very encouraging.
Obama has refrained from denouncing the recent Nazi-like crimes committed by the Zio-Nazi state in the Gaza Strip. Obama spoke elaborately about Israel’s right to defend itself, but said absolutely nothing about the Palestinian people’s right to defend themselves.
He cited the “thousands of rockets” that Hamas fired on Israel, but completely ignored the cruel and deadly aggressions Israel has been carrying out against an imprisoned people languishing under a manifestly criminal siege that has striking similarities with the German siege of Ghetto Warsaw during the Second World War.
Obama said the Palestinians needed food, clean water and basic medical care. However, he carefully refrained from uttering the word “freedom.” That was really mind-boggling, even shocking.
Well, Mr. Obama, are you betraying your own history? Your own Afro-American people’s struggle for freedom and justice? Besides, what happened to “give me freedom or give me death.”? Indeed, have you come to think that certain classes of people, the Untermenschen, don’t deserve freedom or can live without it?
Obama should understand that the enduring Palestinian cause is not about food, clean water and basic medical care, although these are basic necessities for all human beings. It is also not about border crossings or even terror.
What the Palestinians need most, Mr. Obama, is freedom, freedom from the Nazi-like Israeli occupation, oppression and persecution.
We want to be free from the evils wrought upon us by the Zionist occupation of our country. This evil occupation is a collective act of rape that robs us of our human dignity, human rights, even our very survival.
As human beings, we will not accept trading our God-given freedom for food, clean water and medical care.
The White slave masters once viewed your not-too-distant ancestors as only deserving food and water and probably some sort of medical care, but no freedom.
So, are you Mr. President trying now to reproduce ancient racism and apply it to our people, long haunted by foreign occupation and oppression.
Obama said Hamas would have to recognize Israel in order to qualify for his administration’s recognition.
Well, Hamas doesn’t need your recognition, Mr. Obama. It won’t do it any good.
The US did recognize the PLO nearly two decades ago after the latter recognized Israel.
But since then, and instead of pressuring Israel to end its criminal occupation and colonization of our homeland, successive American administrations (under Reagan, George Bush, Sr., Clinton, Bush, Jr.), gave Israel tens of billions of dollars to expand Jewish-only colonies, effectively enabling the criminal state to kill the prospect of any genuine peace settlement of the conflict.
So, what would your conditional recognition of Hamas do in real terms? Moreover, why do you think Hamas should repeat the same stupid blunders of the PLO?
Luckily, Hamas will not recognize the evil Zio-Nazi entity under any circumstances. Evil and its ramifications and implications must never be granted legitimacy, especially by its victims.
A state that commits genocide and exterminates thousands of innocent children and women and old men, by raining on their homes missiles and bombs from high altitudes, using the state-of-the-art of the American technology of death, cannot be a legitimate state. It is rather a criminal state that ought to be destroyed and eradicated.
More to the point, a state that uses White Phosphorous bombs against school children, worshipers praying to their God in peaceable mosques, and civilians seeking shelters in UN-run schools is a murderous genocidal state not unlike the Third Reich?
After all, there is not really a qualitative difference between exterminating people by way of gas chambers as the Nazis did several decades ago and incinerating them by white phosphorous bombs and F-16 fighters as the great grandchildren of the holocaust survivors have just done in Gaza.
In short, Israel is a murderous criminal state which has no legitimacy. This is not a matter of a few rotten people at the helm of Israeli politics. The entire Zionist infrastructure is intrinsically and hopelessly evil.
Hence, no Palestinian with a modicum of national dignity and self respect should lend legitimacy to this satanic entity.
One more message to Obama. It has been reported that one of the foreign policy priorities of your administration is to mend relations with the Muslim world.
Well, this is certainly a good idea. After all, one of the main causes of Muslim hostility to the US is America’s scandalous and enduring embrace of tyrannical Arab regimes that treat their own peoples as animals or sub-humans.
So, Mr. Obama, if you would like to see America respected, not just feared, by Muslims, you hasten to withdraw your country’s support from these rotten and self-worshiping tyrants who torment and savage their own masses on America’s behalf.
You certainly did the right thing by terminating some of the ugly practices initiated by Bush, e.g. the renditions and the ghoulish torture techniques such as “waterboarding,” that some of our Arab governments have been involved in obviously in collusion with the Bush administration.
Non the less, you still have a long way to go. These governments, which the US routinely calls “our allies,” are really really tyrannical police states whose political and moral modus operandi represents the exact antithesis of every sublime value and ideal America holds dear.
So, please, Mr. Obama, withdraw your support from governments and regimes that don’t allow free and fair elections as well as freedom of expression; don’t court governments that arrest, persecute, torture, and kill political opponents and non-conformist journalists. Don’t sanction police state practices in the Muslim world under the rubric of such outworn concepts as “the war on terror” or “fighting fundamentalism” or even “preserving America’s interests.”
Mr. President, the most effective means of safeguarding America’s interests in the Muslim world is attained by adopting a foreign policy based on justice, morality and respect for our people’s right to freedom and sovereignty.
Yes, embracing tyrannical police states in the Muslim might look expedient in the short run. But in the long run, America will only reap the hostility of hundreds of millions of people in the Muslim world.
Finally, I would like to point out that Muslims don’t really hate America. I myself received my college and graduate education in the US, and I harbor no hatred or hostility to the American people.
Muslims only hate the often pornographic oppression meted to us as a result of America’s unjust policies.
And, as always, Palestine remains the most scandalous example.EGINNING