IS ISRAEL WAKING UP TO ITS OWN ANTI-SEMITISM?

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‘Price tag’ is Israel’s anti-Semitism

Op-ed: There are relatively more hate incidents against Arabs in Israel than hate incidents against Jews in France.

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Please read the following sentence slowly: Relatively, there are more hate incidents against Arabs in Israel than hate incidents against Jews in France.

One has to read this sentence twice in order to understand its shocking meaning. And even then, the natural tendency is to question the data, to repress, to ignore. The dissonance is too heavy. Especially for us, the sons and daughters of a nation which was the victim of the most horrible phenomenon of hatred in human history.

The meaning of the comparative figures is hard to digest, but denial is more dangerous.

A total of 554 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded around the world in 2013, according to a comprehensive reportprepared by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University. The figures point to a certain drop compared to the previous year, but anti-Semitism has not only failed to step down from the stage of history, but in some places it is even a key player. Maybe not a lead actor, but definitely a character actor. Ever present, existing, above and below the surface.

But can we condemn anti-Semitism firmly, clearly, unequivocally – as it deserves – without turning our heads towards what is taking place in our own backyard?

Nineteen incidents of hatred against Arabs were recorded in Israel in 2013. The first took place in Jerusalem in January, when the Nabi Daud Mosque was desecrated with malicious graffiti, and the last one took place on the final day of the year in the village of Dura al-Qara. Three vehicles were torched, and the malicious graffiti left no room for doubt: Price tag.

When one examines these numbers courageously, the earth starts moving. Nearly eight million residents live in Israel. On average, we are talking about one anti-Semitic incident per 400,000 people.

Russia, for example, which has 142 million residents, recorded 15 anti-Semitic incidents that year, one incident per 9.5 million residents. Germany, which has 81 million people, recorded 36 incidents, one per two million people. Even France, which had the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2013, recorded 116 incidents. With its 66 million residents, we are talking about once incident per 600,000 people.

Where do we take this disgrace? That’s a good question. We must not get dragged into the overly familiar political dispute. It’s not a matter of left and right, nor is it a matter of routine political haggling. Something important has happened in Israel.

The Jewish tradition has many faces. Those trying to find support for racist perceptions in it will probably be able to do that, but those seeking to derive a moral-humanistic purpose from it will almost always have the upper hand.

When Hillel the Elder was asked to define the one rule the entire Torah is based on, he said: “That which you wouldn’t want done to you, don’t do to your friend.” Hillel gave us a comprehensive, cross-generation rule of thumb for every ethical and legal, private and public indecision.

Ant-Semitism is anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. It is similar in its motives and pathology in every language. The natural expectation from every person is to feel internal, literally physical, rebellion when he encounters it – all the more so if he is Jewish.

Yes, Jews have an extra duty when it comes to racism. The claws of racism have engraved this duty into our arms. We must all feel great shame in light of these hate crimes taking place almost every day recently by veiled and heartless thugs, who wish to celebrate the superiority of the Jewish people in its fatherland by degrading and humiliating the other

Only if we spew this abomination from within us we will be able to hold up a mirror to the world with integrity.

Attorney Yizhar Hess is the CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel, which is a member of the Tag Meir (“Spreading the Light”) forum.

 

 

 

 

 

KERRY MIGHT BE RIGHT .. IT’S NOT APARTHEID, IT’S WORSE THAN THAT!

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
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Israeli bulldozers demolish mosque, 3 houses near Nablus
(MaanImages/File)
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished a mosque and three houses in a Palestinian village south of Nablus, an official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that over 20 Israeli military vehicles entered Khirbet al-Tawil near the town of Aqraba early Tuesday morning.

Bulldozers immediately began demolishing a mosque and three houses belonging to Osama Anas, Anwar Sidqi Hani, and Muhammad Hani.

The structures were demolished under the pretext that they were built without permits, Daghlas said.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1,101 people, according to UNOCHA. Some 250 people have been displaced since the beginning of 2014.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

A SHORT OPEN LETTER TO JOHN KERRY IN PHOTOS AND QUOTES

You obviously have a problem with reading, so these might be of help to you  in standing by the original words you muttered … Can you not see the similarities in the images below?

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And some attitudes and policies … Prepared by Michael Rivero

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1. “There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies, not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.” Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. ” [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”. New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. “The Palestinians” would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ” Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

7. “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

SPEAK OUT NOW BEFORE ALL OF PALESTINE BECOMES A CLOSED MILITARY ZONE

Nabi Saleh is a small village of 500 inhabitants, located near Ramallah. It’s an essential component of the Popular Struggle Committee, and one of the most active resistant villages in the West Bank. Since 2009, every Friday, they stage non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli occupation.

On Saturday the IDF declared Nabi Saleh ”closed military zone”, not allowing anyone to get in or out of the village and carrying out violent actions against the residents.

They are now under siege.

The village of Nabi Saleh stays steadfast but calls for NGO’s, human rights organisations/defenders to spread the news, monitor the situation and support them as much as possible.

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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COMPARATIVE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS …. THEN AND NOW

See if you find the common denominator …

Poo Poo then, Poo Poo Now!

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Lyrics …

Can you remember the times
That you have held your head high
And told all your friends of your Indian claim
Proud good lady and proud good man
Your great-great grandfather from Indian blood sprang
And you feel in your heart for these ones

Oh it’s written in books and in song
That we’ve been mistreated and wronged
Well over and over I hear the same words
From you good lady and you good man
Well listen to me if you care where we stand
And you feel you’re a part of these ones

When a war between nations is lost
The loser, we know, pays the cost
But even when Germany fell to your hands
Consider dear lady, consider dear man
You left them their pride and you left them their land
And what have you done to these ones

Has a change come about Uncle Sam
Or are you still taking our lands
A treaty forever George Washington signed
He did dear lady, he did dear man
And the treaty’s being broken by Kinzua Dam
And what will you do for these ones

Oh, it’s all in the past you can say
But it’s still going on here today
The government now want the Iroquois land
That of the Senaca and the Cheyenne
It’s here and it’s now you can help us dear man
Now that the buffalo’s gone.

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Now, Look into MY Eyes

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Lyrics

Look into my eyes
Tell me what ya see
U don’t see a damn thing
Cuz u can’t relate to me

U blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to u
I’m the persecuted one
U the red, white and blue

Each day u wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thankin’ God He let me rise

Ya worry ’bout your education
And the bills u have to pay
I worry ’bout my vulnerable life
And if I’ll survive another day

Ya biggest fear is getting a ticket
As ya cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that’s just left
Will turn around and come back

Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Has our world gone all blind 
Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Some one tell me

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

See I’ve known terror for quite some times
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It’s the check point on my way to school

Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother

The bulldozers and the tanks
The gasses and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds

You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I’m terrorized in my own land
And I’m the terrorist

Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Has our world gone all blind 
Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Some one tell me

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

American do ya realize
That the taxes that u pay
Feed the forces that traumatize
My every living day

So if I won’t be here tomorrow
It’s written in my fate
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our wait

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

REVISITING A POWERFUL POEM ~~ “A JEW TO ZIONIST FIGHTERS, 1988″


GI SPECIAL 6A14-3

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A Jew to Zionist Fighters, 1988

By Erich Fried



What do you actually want?
Do you really want to outdo
those who trod you down
a generation ago
into your own blood
and into your own excrement
Do you want to pass on the old torture
to others now
in all its bloody and dirty detail
with all the brutal delight of torturers
as suffered by your fathers?
Do you really want to be the new Gestapo
the new Wehrmacht
the new SA and SS
and turn the Palestinians
into the new Jews?
Well then I too want,
having fifty years ago
myself been tormented for being a Jewboy
by your tormentors,
to be a new Jew with these new Jews
you are making of the Palestinians
And I want to help lead them as a free people
into their own land of Palestine
from whence you have driven them or in which you plague them
you apprentices of the Swastika
you fools and changelings of history
whose Star of David on your flags
turns ever quicker
into that damned symbol with its four feet
that you just do not want to see
but whose path you are following today

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From 1952 to 1968 he worked as a political commentator for the BBC German Service. He translated works by ShakespeareT. S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. In 1962 he returned to Vienna for the first time.

Born to Jewish parents Nelly and Hugo Fried in Vienna in 1920, he was a child actor and from an early age wrote strongly political essays and poetry. He fled to London after his father was murdered by the Gestapo after the Anschluss with Nazi Germany…  He arranged  for his mother to leave Nazi occupied Austria, as well as helping many other Jews to come to the UK. He joined Young Austria, a left-wing emigrant youth movement, but left in 1943 in protest at its growing Stalinist tendencies.

He published several volumes of poetry as well as radio plays and a novel. His work was sometimes controversial, including attacks on the Zionist movement and support for left-wing causes. ..The composer Hans Werner Henze set two of Fried’s poems for his song-cycle Voices (1973).

In 1982 Fried regained his Austrian nationality, retaining  the British nationality he had adopted in 1949. He died of intestinal cancer in Baden-BadenWest Germany, in 1988 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

An Austrian literary prize is named after him  the Erich Fried Prize.

He married three times and had six children

 

WHY LAND DAY STILL MATTERS TO ‘A PEOPLE WITHOUT A LAND’

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Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Thirty-eight years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. Her website is www.fidajiryis.net. Sam and Fida were both born in the Diaspora and relocated to their family’s hometowns in Palestine and Israel, respectively.

 

 

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ON THE UGLY SIDE OF THE WALL

Bill Fletcher Jr. – Traveling Through Palestine

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Bill Fletcher Jr.

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Last month, a small delegation of African American artists traveled through Israel and Palestine to get a firsthand look at the daily lives of Palestinians. What they saw shocked and angered them, and their eyewitness accounts are sure to spark debate here as heated as any confrontation in the Middle East. Bill Fletcher Jr., senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, led the delegation and shares his perspective on the region.

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On the Ugly Side of the Wall
By Bill Fletcher, Jr*

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“It felt like being in a huge prison.” That was how I responded to questions I was asked after leading a delegation of African Americans on a visit to the occupied Palestinian territories this past January. Yes, there are other ways of describing the experience. The land is beautiful; the people are generous; and with every glance, one sees reminders of a history dating back thousands of years.

Yet the feeling one gets is of being imprisoned; of being vulnerable; of not knowing. This was what we felt as African American visitors to the Holy Land. The reality for Palestinians is far worse.

 

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At every turn, we never lost sight of the ignominious “separation wall”, as the Israeli government politely references it; the “apartheid wall”, as much of the rest of the world describes it. A wall with guard/sniper towers, running, not along the Green Line (the armistice line that was agreed upon in 1949), but through almost whatever terrain the Israelis choose. A wall that frequently separates Palestinian farmers from their own lands, making it next to impossible for them to consistently cultivate their crops.

My delegation and I found it both frightening and sadly familiar that the Palestinians have few rights that the Israeli authorities are bound to respect. Land has been seized—illegally—by the Israeli authorities, allegedly for security reasons, or sometimes, quite ironically, for archeological reasons! And it is never returned to the Palestinians; instead, it is turned over to Israeli settlers.

There are roads on which Palestinians cannot drive without special permission. We discovered this firsthand as we traveled with a Palestinian guide who needed a permit to use particular highways. But even with this permit, she had to exit our van at checkpoints and walk through, while our delegation was permitted to remain in our van during and after inspection.

 

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In the mainstream media, we have frequently heard or read about Palestinian terrorism or military actions. Yet, in our brief experience, we felt no unease or fear when we interacted with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said regarding our interactions with Israeli soldiers. The young Israeli military men and women, frequently carrying automatic weapons, were quite full of themselves and felt no need to be polite to our delegation, let alone to the Palestinians. The Palestinians were treated with the sort of contempt one would expect to be experienced by a prison population.

Blink once, and you saw apartheid South Africa; blink twice, and you saw the Jim Crow South of the USA; blink three times, and you realized that you were not in the past, but in a very dangerous reality where an entire population is facing the prospect of perpetual marginalization and dispossession.

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*Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor, and global justice activist and writer. He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us!’: And 20 Other Myths about Unions”. He recently traveled to Israel and Palestine with an African American fact-finding team. 

 

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THERE WILL NOT BE PEACE IN ISRAEL UNTIL …

There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.

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Palestinians in Israel The Struggle for Rights

By Fida Jiryis *


“In fact, in the ‘sovereign state of the Jewish people’ there is little hope that Arab citizens will gain equal rights. For the Jewish majority, Israel is comparable in its civil liberties and inequities to Western democracies. But Arabs have no place in the Jewish state, except as a tolerated but essentially foreign element […] There is no substantial segment of Israeli society that opposes or seriously questions the fundamental principle of discrimination.”i
Few situations are as complex or riddled with contradiction as that of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. While many other minorities in the world suffer from discrimination and animosity, few are seen so blatantly as an enemy who must be treated with systematic oppression, with the hope that it would somehow disappear. A ludicrous notion, yes, but one that is deeply entrenched in the Israeli psyche and that will take a long process of understanding to reverse.Sadly, that process has not begun. Israel’s Palestinian minority is treated with mounting animosity and suspicion, targeted by a system of institutionalised, state-condoned discrimination and racist laws. In the “only democracy in the Middle East,” it has become commonplace to speak of a Jewish-only state, oaths of allegiance to such a state, and the threat of revoking citizenship from any dissidents – which is unparalleled worldwide and is against human rights – whose “crimes” may amount to no more than speaking out against injustice. In fact, the state goes far beyond this: it refers to its Palestinian citizens as a “demographic problem,” and its politicians frequently speak on policies of “transferring” them to the Palestinian territories, as though these “citizens” are pawns to be moved at will. In short, Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and those Palestinians who live in it – about 1.5 million people, or a fifth of its population – are a thorn in its side. It wants to be rid of them to fully practice being its exclusionist self.

While these Palestinians are, on paper, free and equal citizens of the state, in reality, this citizenship is far from equal. I have only to travel through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, for example, to be reminded of this. The infamous search process there has been described by many, and I’ve met one or two foreigners who, after having experienced it, have sworn never to come back. As soon as I line up at the check-in, an army of security personnel pounces. They see my passport, recognise me as Palestinian, and immediately give me a sticker that indicates that I must be searched. I’m then subjected to long, detailed questioning about where I’m going and for what purpose, and an equally harrowing baggage search, which is done slowly and manually, as though the x-ray machines wouldn’t pick up objects of suspicion. People’s reaction to this treatment is varied; some are frightened and intimidated, but most are humiliated and furious; many a voice rises in these halls.

Well, one does not travel every day. More pressing are the questions of daily life and work. For Palestinians to actually get jobs in the Israeli system is an exercise in itself. When I arrived in the Galilee in 1995, fresh out of Lancaster University in England with a BSc in computer science and some work experience, numerous interviewers in Israeli hi-tech companies demanded my army number. I was unable to provide it. Palestinians are exempt from serving in the Israeli army that oppresses their fellow Palestinians in the occupied territories. I was thanked and told that the companies would “call me.” No such calls came. In fact, as I discovered, this is the state’s way of discriminating against Palestinians in employment without appearing to do so outright. In the few instances when I found a job, it was in smaller companies with less rigid hiring procedures that were usually desperate for someone who knew English, since neither Arabs nor Jews in Israel are especially fluent in English. Twice, I found myself the only Arab among thirty or more Israeli employees.

The state has put in place an almost mind-boggling array of discrimination tools, such that one almost wonders at the ingenuity with which a people can practice systematic oppression of another.

In every Arab community, and in the five mixed cities where both Jews and Arabs live, de facto discrimination is readily apparent. Israel’s 1.37 million Arab citizens vote, pay taxes, and speak Hebrew, yet they suffer pervasive discrimination, unequal allocation of resources and violation of their legal rights. Housing, education, and income all substantially lag behind those of the Jewish majority. Only 3 percent of the land in Israel proper is owned by Arabs; permits are rarely granted to Arab families to expand their housing; and most Jewish towns and neighbourhoods remain off-limits.ii

Even more alarming, Israeli society is tending more towards right-wing ideology and racism. A 2012 surveyiii found that most Israelis believe that the state practices “apartheid” against Palestinians, and they are in favour of this. One-third to one-half of Jewish Israelis, according to the survey results, want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab citizens; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favour of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The findings “reflect the widespread notion that Israel, as a Jewish State, should be a state that favours Jews,” wrote Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist and blogger. “They are also the result of the occupation … After almost half a century of dominating another people, it’s no surprise that most Israelis don’t think Arabs deserve the same rights.”

Far from building bridges and attempting to negotiate a peaceful reconciliation, we live at the opposite end of the spectrum.

What do people do? Well, what they do everywhere else: they get up, send their children to school, and go out to battle the odds for survival every day. Some attend Israeli universities, get degrees, then usually find themselves in lower paying jobs that they’re just glad to have. Others finish school and, with difficult financial conditions being prevalent among the Arab population and their not being eligible for any government student loans, find themselves out of education and in the workforce. A large number of Israel’s Palestinians thus work in construction, factories, and other forms of manual labour simply because of lack of opportunity. Many university graduates also join these ranks after spending years looking for a professional job to no avail.

But Palestinians are highly resilient, because they’ve simply had to be. So they keep their culture, speak their language, albeit with a lot of Hebrew influence, and practice their customs. They protect as much as they can of their heritage and push forth for a decent life in this state that was forced on them. And, at the end of the day, they’re not going anywhere.

In recent years, also, youth have become fed up with the system and are more forthcoming in voicing their dissent. Their parents and grandparents grew up in a culture of military rule; today’s generation is far from being intimidated. It is getting more education and is realising, as it sees itself within the world and looks at other countries, that it is living in a system of apartheid. There is increasing awareness among Palestinians, even the poorest and least educated, that they are not being treated fairly and that discrimination is a yoke on their backs.

There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.

*Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer, editor, and author of Hayatuna Elsagheera (Our Small Life), 2011, and Al-Khawaja, 2013, two collections of Arabic short stories depicting village life in the Galilee. 


i The Arabs in Israel, Sabri Jiryis, Monthly Review Press, USA, 1976, p. xi.
ii The Paradox of Ethnicity and Citizenship, New Israel Fund, 2011, http://www.nif.org/issue-areas/israeli-arabs/
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iii The new Israeli apartheid: Poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority, Catrina Stewart, The Independent, Tuesday October 23, 2012; Survey: Most Israeli Jews wouldn’t give Palestinians vote if West Bank was annexed, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, October 23, 2012.

Written FOR

DEATH PENALTY RESERVED FOR PALESTINIANS ONLY IN ISRAEL

Officially there is no death penalty in Israel, unless of course you are a Palestinian. In these cases, the IDF acts as the Judge, Jury and executioner. No one is held accountable for these atrocities.

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Israeli forces kill 27 in West Bank in 2013, NGO says

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Israeli forces killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank in 2013, a human rights watchdog has said, three times the figure recorded last year.
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It was also the first time in 10 years more Palestinians were killed in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in 2013, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said.

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Three Israeli security forces personnel were killed – two in the West Bank and one in Gaza, the group added in a statement on Monday.

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B’Tselem said that in many of the West Bank incidents, Israeli soldiers shot at Palestinians who were throwing stones, “one man was shot when he tried to enter Israel without a legal entry permit,” and “one woman passerby was shot by the military who argued that a Molotov cocktail had been lobbed in the area.”

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Two Israeli soldiers were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank in 2013 and an Israeli fixing the border fence with the Gaza Strip was shot dead by a sniper from inside the blockaded Palestinian territory.

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Riots in Jenin, January 2013 (Photo: AFP)
Riots in Jenin, January 2013 (Photo: AFP)

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B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli slammed the Israeli army’s “lack of seriousness” in investigating the incidents where Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli troops.

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The army has only once indicted and convicted a soldier in some 28 separate incidents that have killed 35 Palestinians in the last two-and-a-half years, B’Tselem said.

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“Investigations are now launched almost automatically,” B’Tselem director Jessica Montell said in the statement.

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“Yet the essence of the investigative mechanism remains unchanged… in which practically no one is held accountable for the killing of Palestinians.”

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Source

MOTHER PALESTINE’S MESSAGE FOR 2014

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

mother-palestine-scissors-beat-apartheid

This will be our year!

RAPPIN TO APARTHEID

We need a new ‘I ain’t gonna play Sun City’ tune

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Artists United Against Apartheid – Sun City

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Not long after Band Aid and We Are The World focused musical attention on poverty and famine, a collection of artists took a similar approach in the struggle against apartheid. The initiator was Steven van Zandt – erstwhile guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band – who whipped up dozens of musicians to work on the project. They included Peter Gabriel, members of U2, Springsteen himself, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Run DMC, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne and Keith Richards. Van Zandt wrote and produced the song and it reached the top 40 in several European nations, though not in the US.

Sun City is a large casino resort in the north-west of South Africa. During the apartheid years it was located in ‘independent’ state of Bophuthatswana, a phoney political entity that enabled white South Africans to visit a casino, gamble and attend strip shows, even though these activities were illegal within South Africa itself. The United Nations placed a cultural ban on artists touring or performing in South Africa – however many notable American and European acts ignored this and received large sums to perform at Sun City’s massive auditorium. Amongst those to defy the ban included Linda Ronstadt, Queen, Laura Branigan, Rod Stewart, Julio Iglesias – and, ironically, black singers like Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick and Boney M. As a result, Van Zandt’s song continually insists that “I ain’t gonna play Sun City”:

Twenty-three million can’t vote ’cause they’re black
We’re stabbing our brothers and sisters in the back
I wanna say I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City
I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City

Boputhuswana is so far away
But we know it’s in South Africa
No matter what they say
You can’t buy me, I don’t care what you pay
Don’t ask me Sun City because I ain’t gonna play 

h/t Lokis

EID-AL- ADHA 2013 ~~ PALESTINE IS THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB

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The Muslim Festival, Eid Al-Adha will start tonight at sundown. It is a celebration to remember the willingness of ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.
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If we look at the reality of the Middle East today, we see that it is not a sheep that is being sacrificed, but rather the entire nation of Palestine. It is not Ibrahim that stands at the alter today, but rather it is the zionist entity called Israel that thinks it is fulfilling its obedience to God, in their chosen role of the Chosen People.
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It is no longer a three day celebration, but rather an ongoing one for over 65 years. Below is just a one of the latest examples describing the situation in Israel/Palestine today, an example which should shame any supporter of zionism throughout the world. But first, allow me to wish all of my Muslim Brothers and Sisters
Eid Al-Adha Mubarek!
May we very soon see a free Palestine!!
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A concerted attack on Palestinian identity

Apart from demolition of Palestinian houses and building of illegal colonies, Israel’s attempt at tampering with school curricula points at an even more sinister game plan — polluting impressionable minds

    • By Marwan Asmar*

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  • Image Credit: Hugo A. Sanchez/©Gulf News
 
Palestinians are up-in-arms over the latest attempts by Israel to introduce its “homegrown” educational curriculum in Arab schools in occupied East Jerusalem. Ever since the current academic year started early last month, Palestinians have expressed their anger at the Israeli Ministry of Education’s decision to introduce the Jewish curriculum in five Arab schools in occupied Jerusalem.

This is part of an insidious plot, long-term plan and thin end of the wedge to “Judaise” Arab education and the final blow to the Palestinian educational system in occupied East Jerusalem. It is the start of the imposition of total Israeli cultural hegemony over the 207 schools in the city which have around 110,000 pupils.

The latest move to introduce Israeli curricula in the Sur Baher Boys School, Sur Baher Girls School, Ibn Khaldoun School, Ibn Rushd School and Abdullah Bin Al Hussain School can only be seen as a renewed step-by-step policy by Tel Aviv to introduce Israeli curriculum so it eventually will spread among all Palestinian schools in the eastern part of occupied Jerusalem. It is part of a trend that began in the 2011-2012 academic year when the Ministry of Education made a bold move to introduce the Jewish syllabus and strengthen its grip in occupied East Jerusalem, which is seen by many to be the future capital of a Palestinian state as part of an eventual negotiated peace settlement.

The latest move is a concerted attack on Palestinian identity because the pupils targeted are between 4th and 8th grades and who educationists argue are in the prime of the socialisation stages when the mind is fertile and can be moulded to accept any idea. Many Palestinians see the move as troubling, leading to “de-Palestinisation” and “de-Arabisation” of education. Palestinian parents, educationists, teachers and politicians are particularly worried about “Israeli” textbook cases introduced to these youngsters. Of particular concern is the issue of maps, making the Occupied Territories look like they are part of the state of Israel with biblical and Hebraic names replacing Arab names and geographical areas. Over the years, for instance, Al Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, has been signed around the city as “Yerushalayim”, regardless of the Arab population of the city.

 

Then in the textbooks, there is the identification of occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, with the state being a bastion of democracy and human rights protected by a “security fence” rather than the concrete 142km Iron Wall around occupied east Jerusalem, splitting the Arab population of the city, who now require entry permits, and cutting it off from the West Bank, which is itself referred to in Israeli parlance as “Judea and Samaria”.

The Israeli term “Jewish Temple” is increasingly used instead of Al Aqsa Mosque, which is not only holy to Palestinians but to Arabs and Muslims all over the world. And of course there is no mention of occupation or the fact that Israel is slowly confiscating more Palestinian land, including the ones in occupied East Jerusalem.

It is no wonder that many see it as outright “brainwashing”, control of and onslaught on Palestinian culture, history and existence. And an imposed Israeli narrative on a population in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states an occupying power has the responsibility for the welfare and education of the people it is occupying.

Up until the recent moves, there had been an implicit understanding: Schools in occupied East Jerusalem would continue to follow an “Arab curriculum”. Despite Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and its annexation after 1967, and declaring the city its capital against the wishes of the international community, it could not introduce its own curricula — not for the want of trying, but because of resistance from the Palestinian population. Hence the Ministry of Education unwillingly relented. After 1967, it allowed locals to follow the “Jordanian educational system” till 1993, when it was transferred to the Palestinian National Authority after the Oslo Accords.

However, the going has been tough for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem. They have continually faced Israeli obstacles like house demolitions, which have increased because they require housing permits that are rarely given. Indeed it has been reported that from April 15 till the end of June, 12 buildings were demolished. In addition to that, permission to build more schools was denied.

Since 1967, Israel has been populating occupied east Jerusalem with Jews through colonies, amidst the predominantly Palestinian population that numbers slightly more than 370,000 people. There are eight major colonies, with 250,000 to 500,000 colonists.

Reflecting the socio-economic situation of Palestinians in occupied east Jerusalem, where 79 per cent live below the poverty line, the educational sector is in deep neglect as seen in poor facilities, lack of classrooms, over-crowding and need for maintenance. This is recognised by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel and even the Israeli High Court, which in 2011 ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to complete 2,200 classrooms by 2016. But the municipality continues to stall such moves due to the political situation regarding the city and its future.

The Israeli Ministry of Education itself runs around 54 schools in Arab east Jerusalem with a student population of around 40,000. Schools that are willing to teach the Israeli curriculum are offered incentives and benefits like more funds and there is an increase in salary for teachers willing to teach Israeli subjects. In addition, Israeli officials are playing on a number of psychological factors. When they meet parents, they stress that the Israeli curriculum is stronger, provides for better education, opens more doors to Israeli universities and the job market.

Palestinians educators and officials are sticking to their guns, but there is a much more sinister push from the other side.

*Marwan Asmar is a commentator based in Amman.

Source

THE ZIOPATION CANNOT CRUSH OUR DREAMS

“My dream is like the dream of any Palestinian kid,” says Tayma. “It is to live in safety and not in the shadow of colonization, and not to feel crushed every time I leave the house. And my other dream is to become a famous Palestinian rapper.”
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Short film about Tayma

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Find out more about Tayma’s story in this short film produced by Defence for Children International Palestine.

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Tayma, 13, an aspiring Palestinian hip-hop artist, shares her experiences of growing up with settler harassment and intimidation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan through her lyrics.

“We had a childhood just like everyone else, but it wasn’t a normal childhood,” says 13-year-old Tayma. “Everywhere we turn, the settlers are around us … They came to our land, stole our land, and are saying that it’s theirs.”

Tayma lives in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli authorities issued many of the Palestinian families living in Silwan with demolition orders for their homes to clear the area for a national park.

Israeli authorities also approved a large tourism center in the heart of the neighborhood, which will include parking, an event hall, a cafeteria, and stores. They’ve handed development of the area to Elad, an Israeli settlement organization.

“All the houses here are under threat of demolition [by Israel] so that the settlers can build a park for their children,” says Tayma. “They want to throw Palestinian families on the streets so that they can build parks for their own children.”

Israeli settlers have moved into Silwan. With the aid of Israeli security forces, they subject the longtime Palestinian residents to daily violent harassment and intimidation.

Tayma and her sibling must share the same steps with settlers to access their home. “Sometimes we rub each other the wrong way, which creates some bad situations between us,” she says. “There are cameras everywhere that watch the kids as they go up and down the steps.”

“My dream is like the dream of any Palestinian kid,” says Tayma. “It is to live in safety and not in the shadow of colonization, and not to feel crushed every time I leave the house. And my other dream is to become a famous Palestinian rapper.”

Produced BY
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Now look into my eyes and tell me what you see ….
i_am_the_child_of_palestine_by_shatha92-d4j8h7n
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ONLY JEWS ARE ALLOWED TO PRAY IN PALESTINIAN MOSQUE

Hatred has a long history …
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Yet the ADL remains silent …
no-muslims-allowed
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This is not the first time Palestinian Muslims’ right to worship has been violated by Israeli authorities. Earlier in the month the Ibrahim Mosque was closed to Muslim worshipers during the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah.
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ibrahim_mosque_iof_soldiers
[upsetting photo of female soldiers, apparently wearing shoes, sitting on the mosque's carpet which is marked for prayers]
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Israel to Close the Ibrahimi Mosque for Two Days

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Israeli Authorities decided to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron on Sunday and Monday to allow Jewish settlers to perform their rituals.

Israeli Authorities informed the director of Wafq administration about their decision to close the Mosque for Palestinian worshipers while allowing Jews free access to the holy site’s hallways and yards for the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur.

The Wafq administration stated that the Israeli decision is a violation of Muslims’ right to worship, and he has called for an intervention to stop the violation of the Mosque.

This is not the first time Palestinian Muslims’ right to worship has been violated by Israeli authorities. Earlier in the month the Ibrahim Mosque was closed to Muslim worshipers during the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah.

From

PALESTINIAN YOUTH TAKE BACK THE NIGHT

After watching their land being raped for over 65 years, Palestinian youth are attempting to take back the night …
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The new wave of movements which have gained prominence this summer can be traced back partly to a group of third generation, internally displaced youth from the village of Iqrit, who in August 2012 decided that they would take matters into their own hands and return to their ancestral village.
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Palestinian youth assert right of return with direct action

Nadim Nashef*
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Summer camps aim to reconnect Palestinian youth to their ancestral villages. (Photograph courtesy of Baladna)

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During the summer of 2013 a new grassroots movement burst onto the scene and announced itself as a major development in the long struggle for the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Activities occurring throughout the Galilee region of present-day Israel have been held which reaffirm the connection of the younger generation of internally displaced Palestinians to their ancestral villages. Events and projects simultaneously take practical steps to realize this long-denied, fundamental right.

The right of return is one of the most evocative and central issues for Palestinians ever since the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, which saw the destruction of more than 530 Arab villages and the displacement of approximately 800,000 Palestinians. The majority of them ended up as refugees in neighboring Arab states, or in those parts of Palestine which initially remained outside of Israeli control, namely the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 managed to remain inside the new state of Israel, however, finding refuge in nearby towns which had survived the ethnic cleansing of the majority of Palestine’s villages.

Brutal Israel

Attempts by the original inhabitants to return to their villages in the immediate aftermath of the Nakba were fought against by the new state, which used all the means at its disposal, often brutally.

Dispersed villagers attempting to return from outside the borders of the new state were often shot dead on sight by the Israeli army. Meanwhile, villagers attempting to return who had managed to remain within the borders of the new state were routinely rounded up and deported as “infiltrators.” Legislation such as the Absentees Property Law enabled the confiscation of property of those Palestinians who had been made into internally displaced persons, while denying their rights to live there or even to enter the site of their ancestral lands.

Between 1948 and 1955, the majority of these villages were destroyed by the Israeli army and covered either with pine forests or new Jewish-only settlements. In many cases, a cemetery, mosque or church was the only remaining evidence of a village’s existence.

The new wave of movements which have gained prominence this summer can be traced back partly to a group of third generation, internally displaced youth from the village of Iqrit, who in August 2012 decided that they would take matters into their own hands and return to their ancestral village.

Iqrit’s residents were originally ordered out of their village for two weeks shortly after the Nakba for so-called security reasons. Exceptionally, three years later they obtained Israeli high court approval to return, and received information that they would be able to return on Christmas Day, especially symbolic for the Christian community.

On that day in 1951, as the villagers waited to return, the Israeli army razed the village to the ground.

Potent symbol

Now living in two small rooms built as extensions of the still-standing church, Iqrit’s youth activists today sleep in the village in shifts in order to maintain a permanent presence there. This summer a small football stadium was also built, a potent symbol of the will and permanence of their return.

Iqrit’s community has been organizing summer camps for its younger members annually since 1996; this year approximately 200 youth between the ages of 8 and 16 attended. The aim of the camp was to help the youth develop their identity by teaching them about their own history, and connecting this to the wider Palestinian history before 1948.

In addition to the summer camp and the newly permanent presence, villagers hold religious celebrations during Easter and Christmas in the local church. The village’s cemetery is also still in use.

The youth-led, grassroots approach of Iqrit is very much indicative of the movement as a whole. Youth took the lead in 2013’s “Summer of Return,” ensuring that demands for the right of return find a renewed voice among the latest generation of the dispossessed.

One village which has adopted Iqrit’s strategy of youth-based return is Kufr Birim. Located close to the boundary between Israel and Lebanon — not far from Iqrit — for the past few years Kufir Birim has played host to summer camps for children.

This summer, people with family connections to Kufir Birim have also decided to maintain a permanent presence in the village, centered around the old community’s surviving church. However, their initiative has not been without obstacles.

Refusing to leave

In August, the Israel Lands Authority told the camp’s members that they had to leave within a week or they would be removed by force (“Authorities threaten displaced community’s return to village,” +972 Magazine, 22 August 2013).

On 28 August, Iqrit also received a visit by inspectors from the Israel Lands Authority, accompanied by border policemen. They came during the morning and confiscated tents and beds, uprooted the small garden, removed signs and destroyed property, including the new football stadium.

However, as in Kufr Birim, the youth are not willing to leave their ancestral land.

This summer has also witnessed a very successful summer camp in the village of Ghabisiya, while Baladna (the Assocation for Arab Youth) and a number of other groups initiated the Udna (Our Return) project with the participation of five ethnically cleansed villages: Saffuriyya, Miar, Maalul, Lajjun and Iqrit, with one youth group in each village.

The project aims to educate the new generation with family connections to these villages of their history and rights, with film screenings and storytelling featuring residents who survived the expulsion. Practical approaches to the issue of return such as town planning and logistics were also explored, while musical events by local artists added a cultural feature.

Iqrit, Kufr Birim, Ghabisiya, Saffuriyya, Miar, Malul, Lajjun. These are just seven of the Palestinians towns and villages which were destroyed and whose inhabitants were displaced during the Nakba.

Yet the combined activities of these villages during the summer of 2013 represent the most significant movement in the struggle for return since the years following the Nakba. Far from forgetting their roots and historical injustices, the latest generation of Palestinians inside Israel are showing their dedication to their right of return.

This, combined with the youth’s energy, enthusiasm and innovative approaches, has resulted in a grassroots, youth-led movement unprecedented in the history of activism for the right to return. Whatever the immediate reaction of Israeli authorities to the return of villagers in Iqrit and Kufr Birim, these movements have captured the imagination of people across historic Palestine, young and old.

And while the future of the movement is full of uncertainty, the determination and energy of our youth alone is reason for optimism.

*Nadim Nashef is is the director of the Haifa-based Association for Arab Youth-Baladna.

 

 

Written FOR

IN GAZA ~~ FIRST THERE WAS NO WATER, NOW IT’S UNDRINKABLE

In addition to the poor quality of water, only a quarter of households receive running water every day, during several hours only.
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Israel blocks vital water disinfection equipment from entering Gaza

Ali Abunimah  
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A Palestinian boy waits near a water purification station to fill up bottles of potable water, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on 11 July 2012.

 (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

*Israel has blocked the international development organization Oxfam from bringing vital equipment into the Gaza Strip to help make drinking water safe.

“The blockade on Gaza prevented Oxfam’s public health programme bringing in a chlorometer to help get right chlorine levels to clean water,” Ben Phillips, the organization’sCampaigns and Policy Director tweeted from Gaza today.

More than 90 percent of Gaza’s water supply is unfit for human consumption due to years of Israel’s deliberate destruction of sewage and water infrastructure, its ban on imports of equipment and pollution and over-extraction of the only underground aquifer.

As a consequence waterborne illnesses are widespread.

Phillips said that Oxfam “made an application [to Israel] to import” the equipment, but “[A]fter 8 months without agreement we had to use less effective processes instead.”

These apparently did not work. The equipment was to be shipped via Israel from a German manufacturer, Phillips added.

No water to wash your face

In addition to the poor quality of water, only a quarter of households receive running water every day, during several hours only.

The permanent electricity crisis means that water can frequently not be pumped and many Palestinian households must buy expensive bottled water.

“There is no water at all. I don’t even find a drop to wash my face,” Gaza student and writerMalaka Mohammed tweeted yesterday. “As a result [I] had to buy it!”

 

Life conditions for Gaza’s almost 1.7 million residents have deteriorated sharply since the 3 July military coup in Egypt.

Since the coup, the Egyptian military regime has destroyed dozens of underground tunnelsthat have provided the only alternative route into Gaza for many basic supplies banned or severely restricted by the Israeli siege.

Written FOR

WHAT KERRY OVERLOOKED IN GAZA >>>

The siege is collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza, but it is also a collective crime.
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As noose tightens, Palestinians in Gaza face darkest days

 Ali Abunimah 

 

Palestinians wait at a gas station in Gaza City on 1 September 2013, as tightening blockade has worsened fuel crisis.

 (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Click HERE to see Tweets ….

 

These tweets by blogger Omar Ghraieb capture the despair felt by many of Gaza’s almost 1.7 million Palestinian residents as Israel’s blockade, compounded by Egypt’s intensifying crackdown, has brought the territory once more to the brink of catastrophe.

Since the 3 July military coup against Egypt’s elected president Muhammad Morsi, the military regime has destroyed almost all the vital underground supply tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.

This week, Egypt began demolishing houses along its side of its border with Gaza, a futile and criminal Israeli-style tactic, that is seen as a prelude to establishing a “buffer zone” to further isolate Gaza.

As a result of these and other Egyptian measures, supplies of some critical medicines have hit zero, the construction industry has collapsed, and the Rafah crossing, the only entry and exit for most Gazans, is frequently closed.

The population of Gaza still faces 12-hour daily blackouts due to Israel’s destruction of the electricity infrastructure, but even the relief provided by noisy and often dangerous portable generators is fading into darkness as fuel supplies run out.

Slow death

A new report, “Slow Death; The Collective Punishment of Gaza has reached a Critical Stage,” from the human rights monitoring group Euro-Mid Observer, highlights the acute crisis that compounds the effects of the prolonged Israeli blockade.

Ten facts about the Gaza blockade

The report is worth reading in full, but these ten facts about the impact of the blockade capture the scale of the mounting catastrophe and underscore the urgent need for pressure on Israel to end it and for Egypt to end its complicity.

  • According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 57 percent of Gaza households are food insecure as of July 2013; however, if the current Israeli and Egyptians measures remain as they are, 65 percent of Gaza households will be food insecure (World Food Program estimate, June 2010).
  • As of August 2013, more than a third (35.5 percent) of those able and willing to work are unemployed (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) – one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Economists expect that the continuous closure of the tunnels will lead to a sharp increase in the unemployment level (43 percent by the end of 2013 compared with 32 percent in June 2013).
  • The continuous closure of the tunnels will lead to a 3 percent decline in the growth by the end of 2013 compared with 15 percent as of June 2013.
  • The construction sector is working at less than 15 percent of its previous capacity, leading to more than 30,000 losses in job opportunities since July 2013.
  • A longstanding electricity deficit, compounded by shortages in fuel needed to run Gaza’s power plant, results in power outages of up to 12 hours a day (UN OCHA, July 2013).
  • Only a quarter of households receive running water every day, during several hours only.
  • More than 90 percent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption.
  • Some 90 million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are dumped in the sea off the Gaza coast each day, creating public health hazards.
  • Over 12,000 people are currently displaced due to their inability to reconstruct their homes, destroyed during hostilities (UNOCHA, July 2013).
  • The economy has endured severe losses worth $460 million in all economic sectors within the past two months (Ministry of Economy- Gaza).

Collective punishment, collective crime

Although it remains the occupying power, Israel declared Gaza a “hostile entity” in 2007 and its then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared, “We will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza and outside of Gaza to the extent that it will help them bring back life into a completely normal pace.”

These and other Israeli official statements quoted in the Euro-Mid report highlight that the catastrophe in Gaza is a calculated and intended effect of the siege, making it a war crime and collective punishment under international law.

Complicity

Euro-Mid calls on the “international community,” to pressure Israel to end the blockade.

That call is right, but it is an unavoidable fact that the siege would not have lasted seven long years already without the complicity and support of the “international community” in the form of the United States and its allies, particularly the European Union and compliant Arab regimes.

The siege is collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza, but it is also a collective crime.

 

 

Written FOR

ROGER WATERS REPLIES TO ABE FOXMAN

roger-waters-graffiti (2)
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I have no attitude towards Jews. I do not group or categorise human beings in that way. I know many people who are Jewish, I have many very close friends who are Jewish, my two Grandsons are Jewish. I also have many friends who are not Jewish, who are Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Agnostic, whatever, they are my friends, and I love them, their faith or lack of it is irrelevant to me.
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A note from Roger Waters to Abe Foxman

Roger Waters 

Dear Mr. Foxman,

Thank you for your letter.  I will try to address the points you make, in the order that you make them. With the general proviso though, that I am wary of, and wearied by any form of slanging match.

Anti Semitism:

I think I note a change in A.D.L.’s position on my work, but it is not clear. Are you accusing me or my work of anti-Semitism or not? For the record I am not anti-semitic, neither is my theatrical piece The Wall and nor are any of the props, puppets or projections in that work.

You are right in saying that I have attacked The Israeli Governments’ policies in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel itself. You are wrong in your conclusion that my criticism of the policies of the Government of Israel requires the A.D.L. to “reexamine your attitude towards Jews”.

I have no attitude towards Jews. I do not group or categorise human beings in that way. I know many people who are Jewish, I have many very close friends who are Jewish, my two Grandsons are Jewish. I also have many friends who are not Jewish, who are Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Agnostic, whatever, they are my friends, and I love them, their faith or lack of it is irrelevant to me.

I do however have an antipathy to racism and bigotry, I have no time for racists or bigots whatever their religion or their race or their politics or the color of their skin.

You speak of the omission of “important details” from my letter, if I may, to provide context I will quote you here:

“Important details are omitted from your letter, which is a classic propaganda technique.  Why didn’t you point out that one of the stated objectives of the BDS movement, promoting a complete right of return for all Palestinians classified as refugees and the creation of a bi-national state, would result in the end of the Jewish character of the State of Israel and destroy Jewish national self-determination? Your writing also makes no mention of Palestinian terrorism, nor does it provide any context to the complex nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas, a terrorist organization which continues to advocate for Israel’s destruction, is entirely absent from your letter.”

You accuse the Israeli government of committing ethnic cleansing by physically evicting non-Jewish families from East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish occupants, yet provide zero evidence for this frivolous claim. You argue that Israel is akin to Apartheid South Africa, despite the complete and equal rights enjoyed by Arab citizens of Israel.

Your point about the right of Palestinian refugees to return is well taken, it is, as you say central to the B.D.S. position. The refugee’s right to return is enshrined in Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Fourth Geneva Convention and in UN resolution 194. This fundamental human right is a founding stone upon which the possibility of a civilized future for mankind rests. You are wrong, however in your assertion that B.D.S. requires a single bi-national State. The B.D.S. movement is open to a two State solution, the whole point of B.D.S. is to encourage any peaceful solution that guarantees equal rights to all the people regardless of race or religion. Is your position that the refugees should not be allowed to return? Should the refugees remain refugees forever? How would you feel if the boot was on the other foot? You are in a better position than most to understand the enormity of The Nakbah having been through a diaspora of your own.

Turning now to Hamas; Hamas does not “continue to advocate Israel’s destruction”. The charter you quote is out of date.

On December 1st 2010 Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh stated, “ We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees” In February 2012 Hamas forswore the use of violence.

I wish my claims as to the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem were “frivolous”, sadly they are anything but, I direct you to two pieces of corroborative evidence, 1)Roadmap to Apartheid 2012 a documentary film by Ana Nogueira a white South African and Eron Davidson a Jewish Israeli. And, 2) Extreme Rambling, Walking Israel’s Separation Barrier. For Fun. 2011 by Englishman, Mark Thomas.

Moving on, again for clarity’s sake I quote your text:

“Most disturbing of all is your decision to single out Israel for a boycott, while ignoring real human rights abusing countries around the world.”

Your question about singling out Israel for a cultural boycott is an interesting one. I equally deplored the occupation of East Timor or The Western Sahara, but one cannot take up cudgels for every just cause, if one tried to one would be spread too thin, so to speak. Also B.D.S. had already started in Palestine, so I joined an existing movement of people who were organized and proposing a non violent method of resistance to the occupation and inequality of Palestinian Israeli citizens civil rights.

Having said that, I do also support organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights watch which try to focus on all human rights violations and abuses where ever they may occur. I haven’t been everywhere, so there’s a lot of bad stuff going on that I haven’t seen with my own eyes. I do absolutely agree with you that I should speak out as often as possible against all abuses of human rights. As a matter of fact everywhere we perform “The Wall,” I speak in the local language and dedicate the Wall Concert to All The Victims of State Terrorism All over The World.

Finally, I notice you couldn’t resist the little anti-semitic dig at the end of your letter.

“Mr. Waters, having many Jewish friends and relatives does not give legitimacy to your hostile campaign against the Jewish State, and while painting a Star of David on your pig may have been free of anti-Semitic intent, your strong animosity towards Israel is indeed riddled with it.”

Just to reiterate my position, I am anti-war, anti-apartheid, anti-racist, pro human rights, pro peace and pro self-determination for all peoples. I am not anti-Israel or anti-semitic.

I am also passionately pro dialogue and thank you for taking the time and trouble to share your thoughts with me in this open letter. You speak of a Two State Solution, and although I know you don’t represent the Israeli Government, you do represent a point of view, and I should be most  interested to hear what you think such a solution would look like, both geographically and demographically. Where would you think it just and equitable to put the borders between two such states, and who would live where? Given the continuing policies of occupation, colonization and settlement building in the West Bank and the siege of Gaza, it is very difficult for any neutral observer to imagine that the Israeli Government is serious in moving towards an equitable two state solution.

However, It maybe that there is a glimmer of light this week. We are assured by John Kerry, Secretary of State for Barack Obama that peace talks are taking place in Jerusalem. These are secret talks so we don’t know who is having them or on behalf of whom, but, should those talks bare fruit and a just and equitable peace break out, then it will be time to tear down the walls and picket lines, end the boycotts, clamber disheveled over the barricades and join the people in the streets.

I will be there with every musician I can muster.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Waters
Budapest, Hungary

PS – “Teacher leave those kids alone

 

Source

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN FORCED TO CONFESS TO CRIMES THEY DID NOT COMMIT

I’ll murder you if you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you here.
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Palestinian children routinely tortured, some threatened with rape: Israel rights group

 Ali Abunimah 
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Palestinian children are systematically subjected to torture and violence, including threats of rape, by Israeli interrogators, in order to force them to confess to stone-throwing.

The brutality, at the Etzion police station, in an illegal Israeli colony near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, is documented in a new report by the Israeli group B’Tselem:

In November 2009, B’Tselem began receiving reports of violence against Palestinian minors during interrogation at the Etzion police station. Until July 2013, B’Tselem field researchers collected 64 testimonies from residents of eight communities in the southern West Bank who reported such incidents. Fifty-six of them were minors at the time of their interrogation. The testimonies describedsevere physical violence during the interrogation or preliminary questioning, which, in some cases, amounted to torture. The violence included slaps, punches and kicks to all parts of the body, and blows with objects, such as a gun or a stick. Some of the former interrogatees also reported threats: in twelve cases, they claimed that the interrogator had threatened them or female relatives with sexual assault, such as rape and genital injury. In six cases, the interrogatees claimed that the interrogators had threatened to execute them; in eight cases, the interrogators allegedly threatened to harm family members; and in five other cases, they allegedly threatened to electrocute the interrogatees, including in a way that would damage their fertility.

“I’ll murder you if you don’t confess”

B’Tselem included the testimony of M.A., a 15-year-old boy, from Husan village near Bethlehem:

The interrogator “Daud” took me outside with a soldier. They blindfolded me. The plastic cable ties were still on my hands. They put me in a car and started driving. I don’t know where they took me. We reached some place outside Etzion and they forced me out of the car. My hands really hurt because of the cable ties. They took off my blindfold. I didn’t know where I was. They tied me to a tree, and then they raised my cuffed hands and tied them to the tree, too. It hurt a lot. “Daud” started punching me. After a few minutes, he took out a gun and said: “I’ll murder you if you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you here.

Consistent

While the revelations from B’Tselem are shocking, they are, sadly, hardly new. The accounts of the Palestinian children are consistent with those collected in dozens of cases in 2012 alone by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI).

These cases include routine use of solitary confinement with no access to family or lawyers, as well as physical violence, to force children to confess.

Last year, DCI released the brief video above, Alone, highlighting the experience and testimonies of Palestinian children abused and tortured by the occupation forces.

The film makes the point that Palestinian children subjected to military occupation have no one to protect them from such abuses by Israeli forces.

As of June this year, there are 193 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons of whom 41 were between the ages of 12 and 15.

Some 7,500 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli occupation forces since the year 2000, according to DCI.

Systematic violence and near total impunity

B’Tselem reports that its efforts to obtain accountability for Palestinian victims in dozens of cases have been met with stone-walling.

The group said its appeals to the occupation to deal “systemically” with the phenomenon of torture and violence at Etzion have gone nowhere:

Although B’Tselem contacted the Israel Police on this matter repeatedly, no official answer was given to the question whether any steps had been taken to address the phenomenon and, if so, what they were. All our communications with the police on the matter were met with denial.

B’Tselem said that the high number of consistent reports of torture suggest a systematic process:

The high number of reports B’Tselem has received regarding violent interrogations at the Etzion station, and the fact that they span several years, gives rise to heavy suspicion that this is not a case of a single interrogator who chose to use illegal interrogation methods, but rather an entire apparatus that backs him up and allows such conduct to take place.

B’Tselem itself issued a report about the torture of children at Etzion police station as far back as 2001.

Again, B’Tselem’s experience matches that of other Israeli groups, such as Yesh Din, that have found that efforts to obstain justice for Palestinians from their oppressors result in almost total and systematic impunity for the abusers.

 

Written FOR

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