Gaza is losing lives, Israel is losing money ….
US and European Airlines Suspend Flights to Israel
Over 80 flights canceled Wednesday (Photo: Reuters)
Gaza is losing lives, Israel is losing money ….
As Gaza gets pounded by Israeli bombs …. Israelis are being pounded with the following …
Panic put to music …
And how to stay safe …
Here’s a video of REAL panic at the Ramat Gan Zoo
Khalid Amayreh adds …
|Unable to score significant hits against Palestinian resistance fighters, the Israeli army and air force continues to target mainly residential homes and apartment buildings all over the Gaza Strip, using American supplied F-16s and helicopter gunship. The latest toll of the ongoing blitzkrieg is believed to have reached 90 people, the vast majority of whom children, women and senior citizens. Around a thousand other civilians were injured, some critically.|
An Israeli military spokesman has admitted that Israel is killing Palestinian children knowingly, saying the goal of the killing is to make Hamas supporters suffer. Israel routinely carries out war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians and other peoples of the Middle East, paying little or no attention to the rule of international law or international humanitarian law. Human rights operators have long called for prosecuting Israeli political and military leaders as war criminals for committing crimes against humanity in Palestine. Israel exploits the strong Jewish domination of the American government and Congress to escape any meaningful censure by the international community.
Here is a partial list of names of those murdered by Israeli bombs in Gaza …. PAID FOR BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER … yet Netanyahu wants Israelis to panic
|1. Mohammed Sha’aban, 24, was killed in a bombing of his car in Gaza City.
2. Ahmad Sha’aban, 30, died in the same bombing.
3. Khadir al-Bashiliki, 45, died in the same bombing.
4. Rashad Yaseen, 27, was killed in a bombing of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
5. Riad Mohammed Kawareh, 50, was killed in a bombing of his family’s home in Khan Younis.
6. Seraj Ayad Abed al-A’al, 8, was wounded in the same bombing and succumbed to his injuries Tuesday evening.
7. Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15, died in the same bombing.
8. Bakr Mohammed Joudah, 22, died in the same bombing.
9. Ammar Mohammed Joudah, 26, died in the same bombing.
10. Hussein Yousef Kawareh, 13, died in the same bombing.
11. Mohammed Ibrahim Kawareh, 50, died in the same bombing.
12. Bassim Salim Kawareh, 10, died in the same bombing.
13. Mousa Habib, 16, from Gaza City’s al-Shujaiyah neighborhood, was killed along with his 22-year old cousin while the pair were riding a motorcycle.
14. Mohammed Habib, 22, was killed with Mousa Habib.
15. Sakr Aysh al-Ajouri, 22, was killed in an attack on Jabalya, in northern Gaza.
16. Ahmad Na’el Mehdi, 16, from Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, was killed in a bombing that wounded two of his friends.
17. Hafiz Mohammed Hamad, 30, an Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in a bombing of his home in Beit Hanoun, along with five of his family members.
18. Ibrahim Mohammed Hamad, 26, died in the same bombing.
19. Mehdi Mohammed Hamad, 46, died in the same bombing.
20. Fawzia Khalil Hamad, 62, died in the same bombing.
21. Dunia Mehdi Hamad, 16, died in the same bombing.
22. Suha Hamad, 25, died in the same bombing.
23. Suleiman Salman Abu Soaween, 22
24. Abdelhadi Jamaat al-Sufi, 24, was killed in a bombing near the Rafah crossing.
25. Naifeh Farjallah, 80, was killed in an airstrike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
26. Abdelnasser Abu Kweek, 60, was killed in the bombing of Gaza’s central governorate.
27. Khaled Abu Kweek, 31, Abdelnasser Abu Kweek’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
28. Amir Areef, 13, died in a bombing in Sha’af.
29. Mohammed Malkiyeh, 1½ years old, died in a bombing.
30. Amniyeh Malkiyeh, 27, Mohammed Malkiyeh’s mother, died in the same bombing.
31. Hatem Abu Salem, 28, died in the same bombing.
32. Mohammed Khaled al-Nimri, 22
33. Sahar Hamdan, 40, died in the bombing of her home in Beit Hanoun.
34. Ibrahim Masri, 14, Sahar Hamdan’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
36. Sumoud al-Nawasra, a mother, was killed in a bombing along with her two children.
37. Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, 4, arrived at the hospital “in shreds.”
38. Nidal Khalaf al-Nawasra, a child of unreported age, died along with Mohammed and Sumoud.
39. Salah Awwad al-Nawasra, was killed in the same bombing. His body was found under the rubble of the house.
40. Amal Youssef Abdel Ghafour
41. Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour, a young girl
42. Rashid al-Kafarneh, 30, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was bombed.
43. Ibrahim Daoud al-Balawi, 24
44. Abdelrahman Jamal al-Zamli, 22
45. Ibrahim Ahmad Abideen, 42
46. Mustafa Abu Mar, 20
47. Khalid Abu Mar, 23
48. Mazen Farj al-Jarbah, 30
49. Marwan Slim, 27
50. Hani Saleh Hamad, 57, was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun along with his son Ibrahim.
51. Ibrahim Hamad, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
52. Salima Hassan Musallim al-Arja, 60, was killed in a bombing in Rafah that wounded five others.
53. Maryam Atieh Muhammad al-Arja, 11, was killed in the same bombing.
54. Hamad Shahab, 27
55. Ibrahim Khalil Qanun, 24, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis.
56. Muhammad Khalil Qanun, 26, was killed in the same attack.
57. Hamdi Badieh Sawali, 33, was killed in the same attack.
58. Ahmad Sawali, 28, was killed in the same attack.
59. Suleiman al-Astal, 55
60. Muhammad al-Aqqad, 24
61. Ra’ed Shalat, 37, was killed in a bombing that wounded 6 others.
62. Asma Mahmoud al-Hajj was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis that killed eight members of the same family and wounded 16 other people.
63. Basmah Abdelfattah al-Hajj, 57, was wounded in the bombing and succumbed to her injuries shortly afterwards.
64. Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj, 58, died in the same bombing.
65. Tarek Sa’ad al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
66. Sa’ad Mahmoud al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
67. Najla Mahmoud al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
68. Fatima al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
69. Omar al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
70. Ahmad Salim al-Astal was killed in the bombing of a beach house in Khan Younis that critically wounded more than 15 people.
71. Mousa Mohammed was killed in the same bombing. The two bodies were recovered four hours after the bombing.
72. Ra’ed al-Zawareh, 33, succumbed to his wounds and died. The location of his death was unreported.
73. Baha’ Abu al-Leil, 35, was killed in a bombing.
74. Salim Qandil, 27, was killed in the same bombing.
75. Omar al-Fyumi, 30, was killed in the same bombing.
76. Abdullah Ramadan Abu Ghazzal, 5, was killed in a bombing in Beit Lahiya.
77. Ismail Hassan Abu Jamah, 19, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis that injured two children, one critically.
78. Yasmin Mohammed al-Mutawwaq, 4 was killed in a bombing.
79. Mahmoud Wulud was killed in a bombing of a civilian vehicle in northern Gaza. His remains were taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabaliya.
80. Hazem Balousha was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
81. Alaa Abdelnabi was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
82. Ahmad Zaher Hamdan, 22, died of injuries sustained in northern Gaza.
83. Mohammed Kamal al-Kahlout.
This just released …..
The appeal for help – “They’ve kidnapped me” – came in a whisper on a furtive cell-phone call that one of three abducted Israeli teenagers made to police from the car that had picked them up on a road in the occupied West Bank.
Within seconds, the muffled sound of what could have been gunfire from a silencer-equipped weapon was heard on the recorded call. The recording was released on Tuesday, just before the three were buried.
Jewish seminary students Gil-Ad Shaer and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, went missing while hitchhiking in the West Bank on June 12.
Their bodies were found on Monday not far from where they disappeared. Israel blamed Hamas Islamists for the abduction and killing. The group has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
The recording begins with a police emergency operator answering and giving his name as “Udi”.
“They’ve kidnapped me,” one of the youngsters, identified by Israeli authorities as Shaer, says in a hushed voice.
Unintelligible noise can be heard, prompting the operator to ask: “Hello?”
“Head down, head down,” one of the kidnappers snaps, speaking in Hebrew with an Arabic accent.
“Hello?” asks the operator.
“Head down, down, hands down,” the kidnapper says.
“Hello?” the operator says.
Two shouts are heard and then the sound of what appears to be physical blows.
“Hello?” the operator says again.
There is more shouting, louder this time.
“Hello?” the operator asks.
“Ay, brother,” someone says softly in the vehicle as a series of what seems to be silenced gun shots are heard.
“Hello?” the operator says.
But there is only the sound of an Israeli radio station playing on the car radio.
“Hello? Answer me, whose telephone … where are you now,” the operator asks.
The recording ends there.
Police publicly acknowledged shortly after the teenagers were abducted that one of them had made the emergency call – and that operators failed to alert the appropriate security personnel, apparently believing it was a hoax.
A search for the three began only hours later after one of the teenagers’ parents reported him missing. Five policemen have been dismissed after a preliminary investigation.
Not in words, but in (non)actions….
Following is a letter from Joe Meadors, Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association
To: Everyone Who Honors All of Our Battle Dead — This Obviously Does Not Include The National Leaders of The Department of Defense, The Navy Department, The American Legion, The Navy League and Every Member of Congress
Subject: Annual USS Liberty Memorial Service
Suppose you gave a memorial service for Americans killed in action during an attack on a US Navy ship by an enemy of the United States and nobody came.
Suppose you gave a memorial service for Americans killed in action during an attack on a US Navy ship in which that ship was ordered to be abandoned while it was still under attack and calling for help and nobody came.
Suppose you gave a memorial service for Americans killed in action during an attack on a US Navy ship in which among the awards won by the officers and crew of that ship are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons and the Presidential Unit Citation which makes it among the most decorated ships for a single action in US Navy history and nobody came.
Impossible you say? Not so. In fact it happens every year. On June 8th of every year — the anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty — USS Liberty survivors and our families gather to hold a memorial service in Washington DC. This year it was held in the Navy Memorial.
Members of Congress were invited to send an official representative to honor our fallen shipmates as were the Department of Defense and Navy Department, The American Legion, the Navy League and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
These are all organizations who never miss an opportunity to honor the American military especially those who have been Killed in Action during an attack by an enemy of the United States.
Well, almost never.
The Department of Defense was a no-show.
The Navy Department was a no-show.
The American Legion was a no-show.
The Navy League was a no-show.
Congress was a no-show.
This is nothing new. We’ve been holding an annual memorial service in Washington, DC for decades. They’re always invited but they NEVER attend a memorial service for USS Liberty KIA. At most a ten minute drive from their offices to honor American fallen sailors and none of those organizations could be bothered to send a single official representative.
Being selected for special treatment is nothing new to USS Liberty survivors. You’d think that by now we’d be used to it.
We are the first ship to be attacked by forces declared to be hostile to the United States then ordered to be abandoned by US Navy forces in the Mediterranean while we were still under attack and calling for help.
We are the first ship in US naval history since World War II to be torpedoed during an attack that has never been investigated by the US government.
This is special treatment we can do without and with your help can ensure comes to a halt.
Please help us by making a contribution to the USS Liberty Veterans Association by clicking here. Please forward this to anyone you feel may be interested — especially to those in The American Legion, the Navy League, DoD, Navy Department and Congress who may take issue with their organizations’ treatment of the USS Liberty KIA. If they are interested in being put onto this email list, ask them to visit here.
Director of Operations
USS Liberty Veterans Association
What ever happened to …..
One of many traditions that seemed to have gone astray is the handling of notes placed in the Western Wall by worshipers. Tradition has it that these notes are meant for God’s eyes ONLY ….
In the case of a note left by Barack Obama, it was not only removed from the Wall, but it was made public.
This week, the ‘new tradition’ involved the note placed by Pope Francis …. proving that nothing is sacred here any longer…
Pope Francis wrote the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish on a note he left in the Western Wall.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation released the contents of the note placed between the stones of the Kotel during the pope’s visit on Monday.
The note, signed “Francis,” was written on papal letterhead.
The Lord’s Prayer, also known as “Our Father,” is a central prayer in Christianity.
If their own traditions are not kept and respected, one can only wonder about attitudes toward other peoples’ …
The use of nazi symbols is illegal in Israel unless they are used on the face of the German Chancellor ;)
All of these things make a Merkel-Hitler comparison awkward — so much so that, instead of just calling it “Picture of the Year,” we might do better to call it “Embarrassing Picture of the Year.”
Benjamin Netanyahu casts Hitler mustache on Angela Merkel / Marc Israel Sellem
Ah, the hazards of light and shadow.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a press conference today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he didn’t mean to point his finger in a way that would cast upon her face a distinctly Hitler-mustache-like shadow. But point he did — and Jerusalem Post photographer Marc Israel Sellem captured the moment in a photo that’s now gone viral.
The image has unleashed a tidal wave of laughter, praise and puns. BuzzFeed ran it under the tongue-in-cheek headline “There Is Nothing Strange About This Photo of Angela Merkel — And You’re Crazy If You Think Otherwise.” Gawker’s headline joked that “Angela Merkel Did Nazi This One Coming,” engendering a slew of comments like “Something’s not Reich here” and “Heil get you every time.” Inhabitants of the Twittersphere have been busy nominating it for “Picture of the Year,” while the photographer’s personal Facebook page has been inundated with back-slapping comments from friends (“Congratulations!” “Bravo!”).
But the photographer himself, and his employer, seem to be taking an altogether more bashful approach. Sellem initially uploaded the photo to his Facebook page, but then deleted it, according to BuzzFeed. The Jerusalem Post has said that it will not use the photo, with reporter Lahav Harkov taking care to clarify that the image did not (despite appearances) get posted to the Jerusalem Post’s Facebook page, and tweeting in quick succession:
See Tweets at LINK
There’s a whiff of embarrassment and defensiveness about these remarks — and that’s probably just as it should be. Looking at this photo, you can’t help but laugh. But you also, well, kind of cringe.
Likening Merkel to Hitler — even accidentally and non-verbally — is especially cringe-worthy given what a conciliatory posture the German leader has taken towards world Jewry, the State of Israel, and even Netanyahu’s right-wing government. She took time out of her election campaign to pay her respects at the Dachau concentration camp. She called for the people of Germany to show “civil courage” in the fight against anti-Semitism. She said that a boycott against Israel is “not an option.” She even came out in support of Netanyahu’s controversial demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as Jewish, calling that recognition “critical.”
All of these things make a Merkel-Hitler comparison awkward — so much so that, instead of just calling it “Picture of the Year,” we might do better to call it “Embarrassing Picture of the Year.”
The Jerusalem Post is right not to run such a photo. And their staff members are right to be (or at least publicly act) a bit bashful about the whole thing.
But, of course, the good sense they’re showing means almost nothing in practice. The image is out there, flooding news sites, social media sites, and even Getty Images. The sad fact is that today will be remembered not as the day a German leader received Israel’s highest civilian honor — oh yes, amidst all the laughter, did you not hear that Merkel received the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction from President Shimon Peres? — but as the day she was likened to her most notorious countryman.
Ironically, while accepting the medal from Peres, Merkel herself saw fit to bring up that countryman’s ignominious legacy. “In light of Germany’s responsibility for the tremendous suffering of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, receiving this award today is something of a miracle,” she said.
In other words, she acknowledged that the shadow of the Holocaust looms long and large over Germany’s relationship with Israel. Apparently, she just didn’t realize how literally that phrase applies.
See the photographer’s response at The Jerusalem Post
DesertPeace’s response … If the mustache fits, wear it!
This even made it to YouTube
“I refuse that because I am pacifist, and I hate any kind of violence, and I believe that the army institute is the top of physical and psychological violence, and since I received your order for making the checking procedures my life changed completely. I became very nervous and my thoughts were dispersed. I remembered thousands of hard images, and I could not imagine myself wearing the military uniform and participating in suppressing my Palestinian people, and fighting my Arab brothers. I reject enlisting to the Israeli army or to any other army, because of national and moral reasons. I hate oppression, and I reject occupation.“
Scholastic had already apologized for publishing a children’s book in its popular Geronimo Stilton series that included a map of the Middle East leaving out Israel.
Stung by the fierce reaction, the publishing giant has gone one step further.
It reworked the animated map to include Israel. It also told parents it would replace copies of the book, ‘Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab’ with a new updated one including the new and improved map.
Or you can download a copy of the new Israel-friendly map and paste it on top of the old offending map. Plus there are options for getting a new e-book if you purchased the book online.
Or you can call a special hotline.
Got the message? The folks at Scholastic are really, really sorry about the snafu. And they really, really care about Israel.
Of course, you can never please everyone. Within hours the blog on which the change was announced was bombarded with several messages demanding to know why there was still no mention of Palestine.
Anti-Semitic incidents in land down under may stem from import of hundreds of thousands of Muslims since 1980s
The incidents include shattering synagogue windows, physical assaults on Jewish students, derogatory exclamations against Jews on the streets and hurling different objects on synagogue goers. The leaders of the Jewish communities in Australia are not particularly enthusiastic about publishing the figures and putting them on the public agenda for their own reasons, as if one can combat this troubling phenomenon and make it disappear by keeping quiet
In 1938, Thomas White didn’t want to “import” Jews, allegedly so as not to give rise to anti-Semitism in his country. Many things seem to have changed since then in the land of kangaroos and koalas, and it’s quite possible that these changes stem, among other things, from the import of hundreds of thousands of Muslims since the 1980s, including thousands of Palestinians.
The full report can be read HERE
How times have changed …
Here is yet another story of a Palestinian being harassed while trying to travel through Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. Anonymous lives in Berkeley, her father is Palestinian and her mother is Jewish. Here she recounts how she was interrogated and strip searched while trying to leave Israel/Palestine after visiting family in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, “I had been mistreated, combed out of the crowd and profiled, my time wasted and my dignity subsequently stepped all over without a second thought. I had been treated like a criminal for having an identity that I was born into, told explicitly in each of these actions that I did not belong here and had no place here at all as a person with Palestinian heritage. Harassed and picked out from the rest because of my name, my history, the assumptions that go with them, and my very intention to visit my family, many of who cannot visit me in the USA.”
I took a deep breath and looked around at my surroundings. I mostly kept tabs on the other people who I had been in line with. While most went through the baggage scan machine and straight to their ticket desks, the other members with yellow stickers on their luggage like myself had all been cleared after a 10-15 minute bag check with only one or two of their bags being searched. I was the only person left at the checking tables. The thin bald man in the suit came over once again.
“What do you have in your pockets?” he asked me. “My passport, my visa, and my phone” I told him.
“Fine” he said, “she will escort you to security.” He pointed to the young blonde.
I reached for my bags. “No no. They stay here. You go with her.”
“Who will watch my bags?” I asked him. “They will be here. Go with her.”
The blonde woman and I walked through the airport.
“How old are you?” she asked me. “21” I said, “and you?”
“23” she said.
We stopped before a big white door. She swiped her id card and typed in a code. The door unlocked, to which I entered a white room with a baggage x-ray machine and a white table that looked like a dental chair. Curtains hung in the near right corner. She pointed to that corner with a foam chair and metal legs.
“Sit there” she said. I sat.
A young man appeared, he was in a plaid shirt, jeans and a pair of white Adidas. Undercover police for sure. He lurked on the other side of the curtain that the young blonde partially drew. “Stand with your arms at your sides” she gesticulated. I watched the man’s white sneakers stop on the other side of the curtain, facing towards it. I took my shoes off and my phone was placed in a grey tub. I eyed my passport and visa on the shelf in front of me. She did a general pat down and then pulled my pant waist far from my body and checked around between the gap where my underwear and my belt would have been if I had been wearing one. She sighed and told me that I was finished and should take a seat. Somebody else came through the white door on the other side of the curtain and began laughing with the plain-clothed guard. I could tell by the voice and by her black shoes under the curtain that she was a woman. The young blonde woman left with my shoes and my phone in the grey tub. I eyed my passport again on the ledge in front of me and stuck it into my pocket.
“Are your pockets empty?” Another blonde woman came through the gap in the curtains, the undercover guard moved to the table across from the gap and viewed in. I took my passport out again and held it in my hands. “Yes”.
She had large round eyes and appeared older than the first blonde woman who had checked my bags, maybe she was 26-29. Her hair was wavy and limp against her head. My phone beeped again, probably my family calling me to check on why I had not notified them about my status through the airport as we had agreed.
I guessed at the time. It was perhaps around 6:45. I had been in the private security room for roughly a quarter of an hour. “I am the security supervisor here and I have some questions for you” she told me. She asked me again as to the purpose of my trip, to which I gave the same generic answer of Holy Land sights, friends and family visits.
“Who’d you stay with?” I gave some names. “And the addresses?” I gave one address of a friend in Jerusalem who I’d stayed with for a block of time. She questioned me more on the details of the residents in the flat and how I knew them. She asked me why I’d stayed there and how I could be friends with the people who I mentioned. All had Jewish names.
“We just are” I told her. She stared blankly. “Ok…” she paused.
I said nothing, just looked up at her face. “And who paid for this trip?” she demanded. Her tone was hostile and her body language was on edge as she stood above me and looked down at me in my chair. “My mother.”
“So that I could visit the sights, friends and family” I repeated.
“You are going to London now.”
“Yes I am.”
“To visit family.”
“You are always visiting family” she commented in a teasing tone, the corner of her mouth in a slight snarl, “Why is that?”
“Because I am. Any other questions?” I told her flatly.
“What do you do?”
“What do I do?”
“Yes in the USA or wherever you live what do you do.”
“I work. I recently graduated college.” She asked for the details of what I studied and where I worked. I gave her one-word answers.
“What are your family names?” she again demanded.
“T(Palestinian) and N (Jewish).”
“And your other name is T(Palestinian)?”
“Your father was born where?”
She repeated my name. “That is my name.” She paused, confused.
“You told another security person that you are Jewish but really you’re just a Palestinian.”
“I am both” I told her.
“What do you mean both?”
“I am Jewish and Palestinian. My mother is Jewish and my father is Palestinian, do you want my family names again?”
The undercover guard was still sitting on the table swinging his legs. His face twisted.
“So if you are both, where is your family in Israel?”
“Jaffa and Tel Aviv” I told her. She was frustrated. “But who…you’re going to England?”
“My mother was born in Britain, why I am going to England and who I will see is not relevant. Do you have any other questions?” I asked her.
This was the first emotional rise that she had gotten from me and, though it was mild, I reminded myself to calm down. I did not want to spend any more energy on this process than I had to. The goal is to end this and go. End this process and go. I reminded myself.
She paused. “Ok, were you told to bring anything onto the plane?”
“I am just bringing myself and my luggage”
“Yes but were you told to bring anything with you?”
“I don’t understand your question”
“Were you told to carry something onto, you know, the plane”
“I still don’t understand your question. I am attempting to board this plane in order to leave Israel and I am hopefully bringing myself and my luggage”
“But there is nobody else?”
“No? I am by myself” She turned around to leave.
“Excuse me, what is your name please?” I asked her. “My name?” The guard smirked.
“Yes your name.”
She and the guard exchanged glances. He sniggered. She laughed. “What do you want my name for?”
“You know my name so I would like to know your name.”
“Hilda Ma…” She mumbled the rest. “What was your last name again please?”
“I’ll spell it out for you later if you want. Ok?”
“Yes thank you.” She tossed the curtain aside.
I sat in clear view of the guard who exchanged some words and guffaws with Hilda. He raised his eyebrows at her and pointed at me, his tone of voice said, “can you believe that? Who does she think she is?”
Hilda imitated me and they laughed again. She then disappeared to the other side of the room where I lost visual contact with her. The guard watched her speak with the young blonde woman who then reappeared in the curtained area. She pulled the curtains closer together behind her. The white shoes stood on the other side of the curtain, facing towards it. She motioned for me to rise and hold my hands away from my body.
“Are you going to check me again?” I asked. “Yes” she said.
She scanned me with a metal detector, paying close attention to my chest where my underwire was making the machine beep (which anyone who wears a bra can tell you happens routinely in a check with a handheld metal detector). She lifted up my sweat-pant legs and checked around my calves.
“What’s in your hair?” she said, pointing to my poofy bun on top of my head.
“Nothing, it’s just a hair tie” I said. “Ok can you take it off” she told me.
I took my hair down and she sifted through my curls. “You have a lot of hair” she told me.
I put it back up into a bun and said nothing. Then she left through the gap in the curtains. The man walked to the gap in the curtain and again turned to face me. I sat down and looked at him. His feet were swinging and his eyes mocked me.
The young blonde came back with the same probe, with a flat head and a cotton pad, that she had used to check my luggage earlier that morning. “Ok stand up again” she told me.
“What is that?” I asked her. She looked shyly at me. “This will um go around your chest and your bottom area”
“Your waist and yes like that” she said. “For what purpose?”
“To check and then scan into the machine…it’s just your surfaces” she told me.
I withheld a shudder, feeling the situation slowly slipping out of my control. There was no one else in the room, only the four of us, Hilda, the young blonde, the young undercover guard, and myself. Hilda called the guard over to the right hand side of the room. I watched his white Adidas move back and forth as he rocked on the other side of the curtain. The young blonde stuck the flat-headed probe down my shirt and then around my bra. Then she pulled my sweatpants far away from my body and circled the probe around my waist.
“Can you pull your underwear down a little bit please?” she asked me. This was the first time that she had said please and I could tell that she was embarrassed. I stared at the gap in the curtain and pulled the top of my underwear down. I looked her in the face. Her skin was dewy. The woman swept the probe around my body again and then told me to lift my feet off the floor. She checked my soles. I heard my phone beep twice in its grey bin somewhere on my right by the white “dental” chair next to Hilda and the guard. The young blonde avoided my eye contact and left through the door.
About 30 seconds later, Hilda reappeared and swept open the curtains. The guard reappeared with her and moved to stand on my left by the curtain seam.
“Ok so I need to take off your underwear.”
“Yes the machine signaled a problem with your shirt and underwear so you need to take them off”.
The guard stared me down. His eyes were mocking. “You want me to take off my underwear and then do what with them?”
“We will scan them and then you will need to put other ones on.”
“Other ones? I only have what I have on.” On cue the young blonde rolled in my red suitcase and pulled it into the curtain area.
“What did the machine detect exactly?” I pressed. “I can’t tell you that. You just need to remove your underwear and your shirt.”
“And then you want me to change back into them?”
“No you have to check them in with your luggage and wear something else.”
“But I don’t want to wear anything else. My other clothes are dirty.”
“You have to wear something else. The bra is a security threat.”
“My bra is a security threat?”
“Yes and so is your shirt.”
My mind buzzed as my emotions rose. I looked at the guard and he smirked back at me. “This is your punishment for asking Hilda’s name” I told myself.
The young blonde girl looked at me with my suitcase in hand, a surprisingly distressed look on her face. The expression was guilt. Only later did it strike me that the time between the probe test and Hilda’s decision that my underwear threatened security spanned an average of 30 seconds and that this was, most likely, a time too short to have actually checked the cotton pad on the end of the probe and communicated the next sequence of events between Hilda and the young blonde along with the organized retrieval of my suitcase from the terminal.
I unzipped my bag and popped it open. The inside was a mess from the first rummage through it and I had no idea where anything was. I calmed myself down, took deep breaths, reminded myself that this was all a power play with the intention of making me feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I fished out another bra from my bag and took the first shirt that I could find. I went into my underwear pocket but Hilda stopped me. “Why don’t you just wear the ones you have?” she said.
“You told me to change my underwear” I responded.
“No you can leave them. I just want your bra and your shirt” she barked at me.
I folded the two articles over my arm. “Give them to me” Hilda demanded. “I need to scan these before you put them on.” I handed them over to her while the guard watched. She disappeared, I don’t remember what she did. I was busy watching the young blonde woman who looked as uncomfortable as I felt. Hilda handed me my bra and shirt. I stared at the guard. Hilda caught my eye, “you have to change clothes now. No one will see you.” She left and drew the curtains behind her.
For the first time since I entered the airport, I was alone. I watched the guard’s white shoes, pointed towards the curtains. For good measure, I faced the wall and placed my passport in my pocket. I changed my clothes and replaced them with the ones from my bag. I went to my bag to fold them back in when Hilda pulled back the curtains.
“No don’t pack them yet I need to test them!” she barked.
“You already checked them. That’s why we are going through this process, correct?”
“I will check them again.”
I passed them to her right past the guard’s body. He had stepped very close to Hilda and myself. As I passed my clothing to Hilda, he stared down at the bra in my hand and then back up at me. I stood there. I took deep breaths. My eyes dared him to utter a word. He didn’t, he just stared at me.
The young blonde called me back to the other side of the curtains and closed them behind me. My whole body was vibrating with anger. She checked around my body with a metal detector for the second time. The young woman patted down my top yet again. My throat constricted and I could feel angry tears welling up somewhere inside me. I swallowed my feelings. I buried them. I reminded myself of my goal in this very moment and of the stubborn character that my family was so well known for. I made a pact with myself that I would not give them the emotional response they were pressing for. I would not let them compromise my dignity. “Focus” I told myself. “Just focus.”
Hilda brought my shirt and bra back from wherever she had taken them and I packed them into my chaotic suitcase. As Hilda and the guard joked and laughed together, the young blonde approached me. “This is all protocol you know” she whispered at my side.
“Oh really? This is protocol?” I said slowly. I looked her in the eye and she looked down at her feet. I hoped that she was ashamed of this process, ashamed of the actions that had been deemed “appropriate”, realized that she was a pawn in all of this but no less guilty in carrying out the policy of racial and specific group targeting that this whole experience was built upon.
The end of the process was sudden. The whole thing was surreal actually. Hilda left the room in one swift movement. The door slammed behind her. The guard kept tabs on me with the young blonde at my side. I closed my bag and pulled it to standing.
“You can put your shoes on” the young blonde said.
I looked around. “Ok, can I have my shoes please?”
“Oh yeah.” She brought me the grey bin with my phone and shoes and I slipped them on.
The girl pointed me towards the door and we walked through, the plain clothed guard disappeared into the hallway behind us. I did not see him again.
The girl and I walked back together, alone. “You know…” she began “I’ve been working here for 1.5 years and I have never seen them do something like that.”
“Do something like what?” I asked. She looked up at me with a crease in her forehead, “make someone take off their bra…”
“I hope it’s the last time” I told her. She looked ahead into the terminal. We stopped talking.
We reentered the large room that I had first had my bags checked through, the glass doors to the outside of the airport shone with the bright light of the sun. It was now morning. I smiled to myself that I had finished the process. “I get to leave now”, I thought to myself. My eyes adjusted to the light in the terminal where I clearly saw about 6-8 security guards rummaging through the complete contents of both of my carryon bags that now lay limp on the floor. Stuff inside grey bins, outside grey bins, on the conveyor belt, across on other tables; my things were strewn absolutely everywhere. It was chaos.
I appeared before the tables, covered in my things, as the plastic gloved hands continued the sifting process. Everything was separated and individually run through the little metal detector behind me.
A stern, balding, reddish haired man with a black kippah stood there with an earpiece on one side. His arms were crossed and by the way that the skinny bald man stood next to him and all the guards checked in with his appraising gaze, I could tell that he was the boss of this particular operation. Hilda had disappeared completely. She was nowhere in sight. I said nothing about the bags. I just breathed. “Excuse me”, I called to the skinny bald man, “What was the woman’s name who checked me in the security room?”
The man looked at me, “You mean Hilda?”
“Yes Hilda” I responded.
The man with the kippah turned his glance towards me. “What is her full name?” I asked.
The bald man opened his mouth to answer but first turned his attention to his superior. “We don’t give last names” the man with the kippah asserted. “I doubt that”, I thought to myself.
“Ok what is her title then please?”
“Hilda, Security Supervisor.” A woman with a clipboard appeared between us and asked the skinny man who I was. He pointed to my name on a short list, which she then highlighted in yellow and pink. The skinny man looked at me, “You will make your flight.”
A young woman beckoned me to her box, I’m next. She opened my passport and stared down at the page. She stutters my first name. “Yes?”
“Ra…Ra…” I pronounce the rest of it for her. “What was the purpose of your visit?” I let out the same monotonous answer I had uttered all morning.
“You have friends and family here?” she asked. “Yes.”
“Ok where are they?”
“Tel Aviv and Jaffa” I said. She paused and cocked her eyebrows. “That’s the same place.”
“No no, I said Tel Aviv and Jaffa” I told her, thinking she had not heard me correctly. “Yes that’s the same place.” What she was implying hit me.
All morning I had been mistreated, combed out of the crowd and profiled, my time wasted and my dignity subsequently stepped all over without a second thought. I had been treated like a criminal for having an identity that I was born into, told explicitly in each of these actions that I did not belong here and had no place here at all as a person with Palestinian heritage. Harassed and picked out from the rest because of my name, my history, the assumptions that go with them, and my very intention to visit my family, many of who cannot visit me in the USA.
Here I was being told by a girl in uniform, very close to my age, that my town had no existence in the present, even as I had just left from it hours before arriving at the airport. The whole morning’s exchange culminated at this moment as a burning ember in my stomach. It was emblematic of the constant reminder that we Palestinians are being systematically forgotten and erased from public consciousness in every sphere of life, delegitimizing every root that we are attached to inside and outside of the Israeli state.
Tel Aviv, some of it built on two prominent neighborhoods of my town, much of the rest built upon the orange groves that sustained it, was swallowing up my very presence, right there in the middle of the airport. I realized that, to this girl I was already a disappeared part of “history”, excluded from her general consciousness, not even present in her own imagination of the past.
Yet here she was, looking right at me. I wanted to show her, to figuratively reach behind her glass case, that I was not a shadow of the things that were but a glimmer of the present and future of what is and what can be.
“They are not the same place” I tell her “One is north and one is south. One is a city and one is a town.”
“No, you were in one place. The name of the city is Tel Aviv – Yafo. Not Yafo. Same place.” She handed me back my passport and stared at me, annoyed.
“It is not the same place” I told her. “Is that all?”
I hurried to my gate, through the final check and into the airport lounge area. I decided that the plane would not leave without me, from the beginning the airline had been notified about my ensured tardiness. I stopped at a candy and snack store on my way to the gate and chose a bottle of water. I brought it up to the woman at the desk. “Passport and boarding ticket please” she told me. I handed both to her. She looked me up in the computer in front of her. Her eyes fixed on me. “How long have you been in Israel and what is your final destination?” I was incredulous. I was being asked security questions by a candy vendor.
“Excuse me, I’ve already passed through security. How much are those tic-tacs please?” I grabbed the box next to me. She told me the total and I paid. She asked no more questions. I took my boarding materials from the counter. As I turned around, I noticed two plain clothed men with shaved heads watching me from their seats at the fountain. They had no baggage. I guessed who they were. I moved past them and walked briskly to my gate. I kiss the necklace around my neck as an act of gratitude and I know that I will be back. I also know that it will not be easy. It never is.
I hope that one day this story becomes a fairy tale of what was once the Occupation, in all of its arbitrary character and continual perpetuation of inequality, injustice, and illusion. For now, this experience as described above is just a minor example of the humiliation and daily challenges that Palestinians face on a regular basis when trying to cross checkpoints inside and outside of the West Bank and Gaza. It is just a minor example of the racial profiling that Palestinians with Israeli passports or Jerusalem ID cards go through on a regular basis when walking down the street or applying for a job. It is just a minor example of how the Occupation divides the Palestinian population into all of our different “statuses” and privileges while combining us all together into one essentializing package. It is an example of a situation where the oppression of certain groups of people has been completely normalized by the international community.
If we can start anywhere in deconstructing this Occupation, literally taking it apart, we can start by educating ourselves and our communities. I implore those who read this to learn about the history of Palestine, to learn about recent events on the ground, to talk to as many people as they can, to be curious and ask questions, to look at displays of military power and question the motives of those governments who support them.
Throughout all of this, please remember, that this is not a historical issue, it is a human one.
Peace, Justice and Dignity.
Hollande says still supports ‘firm’ punitive action against Syrian regime over chemical attack, adds Paris can act without Britain, after its parliament voted against strike. UK’s Cameron says Obama will understand need to listen to wishes of British people
French President Francois Hollande said a British parliamentary vote against taking military action in Syria would not affectFrance‘s will to act to punish Bashar Assad‘s government for an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians.
Hollande told the daily Le Monde in an interview that he still supported taking “firm” punitive action over an attack he said had caused “irreparable” harm to the Syrian people and said he would work closely with France’s allies.
Asked if France could take action without Britain, Hollande replied: “Yes. Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France.”
A British parliamentary defeat on Thursday of a government motion on Syria has dealt a setback to US-led efforts to punish Damascus for last week’s poison gas attack.
Hollande is not constrained by the need for parliamentary approval of any move to intervene in Syria and could act, if he chose, before a parliamentary debate on the issue set for Wednesday.
Hollande told Le Monde that he would not take any decision to act unless the conditions were there to justify that.
“All the options are on the table. France wants action that is in proportion and firm against the Damascus regime,” he said.
“There are few countries that have the capacity to inflict a sanction by the appropriate means. France is one of them. We are ready. We will decide our position in close liaison with our allies.”
Prime Minister David Cameron on his part he regretted the failure of the British parliament to support military action in Syria but that he hoped President Barack Obama would understand the need to listen to the wishes of the people.
“I think the American public, the American people and President Obama will understand,” Cameron said just hours after parliament voted against a government motion to authorise the principle of military action in Syria.
“I haven’t spoken to him (Obama) since the debate and the vote but I would expect to speak to him over the next day or so. I don’t think it’s a question of having to apologise,” Cameron said in an interview aired on British television channels.
Also Friday, Germany’s foreign minister ruled out his country’s participation in a military strike in Syria.
Guido Westerwelle told Saturday’s Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that such military action had “neither been asked nor is it being considered by us”, according to comments pre-released by the paper.
The inspectors have spent the week visiting rebel-held areas on the outskirts of Damascus following reports of a chemical weapons attack last week that the opposition blames on President Bashar Assad. The Syrian government accuses the rebels of chemical weapons attacks on civilians and soldiers.
The witness said the inspectors were not carrying body armor, indicating they would not cross into rebel-held territory.
An Israeli architectural firm defended its involvement in the planned construction of a shopping mall on a former concentration camp for Jews in Serbia.
“We cannot be suspected in being insensitive to anything relating to the Holocaust,” Ami Moore of the MYS firm in Tel Aviv said in a statement sent to JTA. Moore was responding to allegations that appeared earlier this month in an article by the Reuters news agency that his firm was pursuing unlicensed plans for building a shopping mall for Serbia’s Delta corporation on the premises of the Topovske Supe camp, where 6,000 Jews and 1,500 Roma were murdered during World War II.
Heritage preservation officials in Serbia told Reuters they opposed the plan to build on the site, which comprises a cluster of dilapidated warehouses and a memorial plaque. Delta has not obtained the necessary permits to destroy the warehouses and build there, Aleksandra Fulgozi, deputy director of Serbia’s Agency for Protection for Cultural Monuments, told Reuters.
But according to Moore, his office plans to build a large memorial monument at the entrance to the shopping mall that would “educate about the Holocaust.” He said representatives of Serbian Jewry have been consulted with regard to the design.
“Topovske Supe was an army warehouse that was improvised into a concentration camp for about half a year. The old walls mean nothing. The essence of the memorial means everything,” Moore wrote. “The main issue regarding the proposed memorial is to make it respecting of the victims, educating the next generations, visible and accessible as much as possible.”
Moore said that the plaque currently installed at Topovske Supe “fails to do so.”
(Reuters) – A decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Mursi including that of a popular comedian dubbed “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”
The legal change by interim President Adli Mansour was welcomed by activists who had voiced concern over the high number of investigations during the one-year rule of ousted Islamist Mursi, who was toppled on July 3.
But Human Rights Watch Egypt said the decree did not go far enough, arguing that insulting the president “should not be an offence in the first place.”
Several Egyptians were investigated for insulting Mursi during his brief term in office, fuelling fears that the Muslim Brotherhood politician was trying to crush freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The most high profile case was that of Bassem Youssef, a popular comedian likened to U.S. satirist Stewart, who regularly poked fun at Mursi.
The prosecutor general ordered Youssef’s arrest in March, drawing criticism from Washington, but the cardiologist was released on bail.
Youssef hosted Stewart on his show in Cairo in June, and Stewart took aim at Mursi and his government, saying: “A joke has never shot teargas at a group of people in a park. It’s just talk.”
The army removed Mursi from power following mass protests against his rule and replaced him with Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Under the decree, those found guilty of insulting the president face a fine of up to 30,000 Egyptian pounds ($4,300). Under the previous law, they could be jailed for up to three years.
“We were hoping (such cases could be dealt with) through civil litigation and compensation, not fines, but it is still a good step,” rights lawyer Gamal Eid said.
“We are against imprisonment and we prefer no criminal courts forpublishing crimes,” he said.
He added the 28 cases of “insulting the president” brought during Mursi’s year in office compared with a total of 24 cases over the 115 years that preceded his election win last June.
Many of the cases were brought by private citizens sympathetic to Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
But Egypt director at Human Rights Watch, Heba Morayef, called on the interim leadership to go further.
“This amendment, while a general step in the right direction, doesn’t go anywhere near far enough, because it doesn’t address the multiple provisions in the penal code that limit freedom of expression,” she told Reuters.
Under the amended law, anyone found guilty of insulting the president would face a minimum fine of 10,000 pounds.
($1 = 6.9949 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Tom Perry and Mike Collett-White)
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How It Works
Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin wrote to Google CEO Larry Page on Sunday urging the company to rescind its decision to refer to the Palestinian territories as “Palestine” on all its products. Elkin claimed this decision was liable to have a negative impact on efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
“By so doing,” Elkin wrote, “Google is in essence recognizing the existence of a Palestinian state. Such a decision, is in my opinion, not only mistaken but could also negatively impinge on the efforts of my government to bring about direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“ … I would be grateful were you to reconsider this decision since it entrenches the Palestinians in their view that they can further their political aims through one-side actions rather than through negotiating and mutual agreement.”
Elkin concluded by proposing that Israeli representatives meet with representatives of Google to discuss the issue.
On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor also slammed the decision, saying that Google isn’t a diplomatic entity with the authority to grant recognition to other states, “which begs the question why are they getting involved in international politics and on the controversial side.”
Google said over the weekend that its move was a response to the United Nations General Assembly’s vote last November to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state and to similar moves by other international agencies.
“We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products,” Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said on Friday. He explained that Google consults with various sources and authorities when naming countries, and in this case, it is following the lead of several international organizations, including the UN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the International Organization for Standardization.
Until about four or five years ago, Google had virtually ignored the Palestinian Authority’s existence. Only in 2009, for instance, did it decide to create a homepage for the Palestinian territories – google.ps. That same year, it removed all the territories Israel captured in 1967 from its maps of Israel.