HOW THE JEWS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

This educational video was just sent to me by a Brother Blogger, Renegade Eye…. it’s a must watch.

SANTA BEATEN BY ZIONIST THUGS IN BETHLEHEM

Here’s something for Israel to be proud about…..

‘Father Christmas’ beaten in West Bank demo: organisers

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AFP) – Israeli guards beat five demonstrators, including one dressed as Father Christmas, during a protest on Friday against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank, organisers said.

About 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists attended the rally in the village of Um Salomona, near Bethlehem, the Biblical birthplace of Jesus that is preparing to celebrate Christmas.

Israeli border guards armed with truncheons briefly detained one activist and beat another five during the rally, the organisers told AFP, adding that one was wearing a Santa Claus costume.

An Israeli army spokesman said there had been disorder at the protest and that several demonstrators who were briefly detained were subsequently released.

Israel says the massive barrier of electric fencing, barbed wire and concrete walls built across the West Bank is needed to stop potential attackers from infiltrating the country and attacking Jewish settlements on Arab land.

The Palestinians say the project is aimed at grabbing their land and undermining the viability of their promised state.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice issued a non-binding ruling that parts of the 650-kilometre (410-mile) barrier criss-crossing the West Bank are illegal and should be torn down. Israel has vowed to complete the project.

Source

MUSLIM HOLIDAY DISRUPTED BY ZIONIST TERRORISM

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Instead of celebrating and enjoying the holiday feast with their families, millions of Palestinians are just trying to live though another day of terror and genocide.

The following essay was just sent to me by the author, it’s a must read if you want a feeling of the horrors these people face every day… holidays included.

The essay is followed by a video clip featuring the brilliant hand of our very own Carlos Latuff….

Israel wants to annihilate Palestinians, not reach peace with them

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

I know I should be observing and enjoying the Eidul Adha, the most important holiday in the Islamic calendar.

However, the ongoing orgy of killings and maiming in Gaza, carried out by the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust, leaves me no choice but to identify with these unwept victims of Zionist wickedness and arrogance of power.

In less than forty eight hours, more than 24 Palestinians have been killed. A large number of people have also been injured, some sustaining serious wounds that will leave them crippled for the rest of their lives.

The wanton killings are added to the manifestly evil blockade Israel has been imposing on the 1.5 million Gazans, which has already wreaked havoc on all aspects of life there.

Some Israeli apologists object to the use of terms such as “genocide” in describing the killings and strangulation of Gazans, arguing that no other suffering should be compared with Jewish suffering.

Needless to say, this unconscionable attitude is indicative of the brutal ugliness of Zionist mentality and its intrinsically racist perceptions of non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular.

The slow-motion destruction of Gaza by Israel, a state that claims to be Judaic while its behavior is more compatible with the ideas of Adolph Hitler than with the teachings of Moses, is certainly of a lesser magnitude that Nazi atrocities in the course the Second World War.

Yes, there are no gas chambers in Rafah and Khan Younis and Nablus. And Palestinians are not being shipped en mass to crematoria.

However, Palestinians are being killed nonstop, each hour and every hour, seven days a week, four weeks a month, in their homes, their kitchens, their streets and their neighborhoods.

In fact, a PR-savvy Israel doesn’t need “gas chambers” to kill Palestinians, even on a genocidal scale. It can and it is killing them rather quietly but constantly through an open-ended campaign of murder and terror, which has been going on for over 60 years. This murderous obscenity is being done while virtually everyone else, from the calamity called Condoleezza Rice to the infamy called Mahmoud Abbas, keeps babbling about the virtues of peace and moderation.

Yes, what Israel is doing to the Palestinians may not be identical to what the Nazis did more than sixty years ago. But the mentality, the utter evilness and the nearly satanic predisposition to commit murder and do evil, are very much similar if not identical.

I know many Jews would vociferously protest these analogies. However, honest and intellectually-brave people should always repulse these hypocritical protestations with the contempt they deserve.

Today, Palestinians are very much facing the same situation that Jews in Germany encountered in the mid and late 1930s. Here it is more than mein kampf and kristalnacht, for Palestinians encounter a mein kampf and a kristalnacht every moment of their lives.

Today, Palestinians are murdered in cold blood, denied the most fundamental of human rights, treated and humiliated a round the clock for being “goyem.” Their homes and property are bulldozed nonchalantly and their very existence is being viewed as expendable by a morally insensitive people who have come to consider the killing a Palestinian child in Hebron as a finally-realized revenge for the killing of a Jewish child at the hands of the Nazis in the heart of Europe many years ago.

Of course, Israel and her chorus of liars and propagandists and intellectual prostitutes don’t stop claiming that Israel is only defending itself.

However, any honest individual could easily discover the utter mendacity of such claims.

Nearly two weeks ago, a friend of former Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz asked me if I would agree to meet with Peretz at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem to discuss the situation in Gaza. I told the “friend” that I basically had no objections except that Jerusalem, East and West, are off-limit to Palestinians from the West Bank.

I also told the man that I was sure 100% that the Hamas-led government in Gaza would stop all “attacks” on Israel if Israel agreed to stop killing Gazans and lift the murderous blockade.

When the man related the conversation to Peretz, who then informed Ehud Barak about it, Barak dismissed the idea, telling Peretz to “shut up” because “I am the Defense Minister, not you.”

In other words, Israel, a state constantly ruled by vile war criminals who very much resemble the commanders of the Gestapo, SS and Wehrmacht, is hell-bent on murdering Palestinians on a daily basis.

These crimes are carried out under the pretext of self-defense against primitive and nearly innocuous projectiles , fired by desperate fighters seeking to create a modicum of deterrence against daily Israeli atrocities.

Today, the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip, are facing a looming genocide at the hands of the Nazis of our time. This looming genocide, a preview of which is already being demonstrated for quite sometime, could be effected in collusion with several parties, including the nefarious American administration, the whoring European Union and, of course, the quisling-like Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah.

Hence, Palestinians and their friends must never indulge in too much of wishful thinking by miscalculating that the world public opinion would prevent Israel from going too far.

Well, the world public opinion has been dead for a long time.

And the influential powers in this world, e.g. those states that are capable of pressuring Israel, are part of the problem and can’t be part of the solution.

The US, for example, which invaded and destroyed two Muslim nations and killed or caused the death of a million innocent Muslims, all under the mendacious rubric of the war on terror, will not seriously object to having Israel kill a million or two million Palestinians under the equally mendacious rubric of “self defense” and “preserving Israel as a Jewish state.”

Yes, we may not exactly be in 1939-Germany. But the evilness, the nefariousness and utter criminality of the world’s two most evil states in the world, the US and Israel, are almost identical to the evilness of the Nazi leadership.

For these reasons, the Palestinians must give more attention and devote more efforts to securing our physical survival as a people, a survival that we no longer can take for granted, given the Nazi nature of our oppressors.

A few days ago, an Israeli cabinet minister threatened a genocide against Israel’s own non-Jewish citizens.

This minister was quoted as saying that “those who keep invoking the Nakba, a new Nakba shall fall on their heads.”

This is very much like a Nazi leader warning that “those who keep invoking the holocaust, a new holocaust will fall on their heads.”

For these reasons, Palestinians must exercise utmost wisdom in order not to give the Nazis of our time (the Zionist regime) a pretext to exterminate our people, which could happen, even with the enthusiastic blessings of Washington and the capitals of Europe.


WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT PALESTINE? ~~ TAKE A QUIZ TO FIND OUT

Palestine Quiz 1- Palestinian Refugees

Palestinians have experienced several periods of major displacement, beginning in 1947-48 war, followed by a second major displacement in the 1967 war. Additional displacement has resulted from Israeli government policies and practices inside Israel and in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, including land confiscation, house demolition, revocation of residency status, and deportation.

The state of Israel opposes the return of Palestinian refugees based on the desire to maintain Israel as a ”Jewish state” characterised by a solid demographic Jewish majority and Jewish control of the land.

This quiz aims to test your knowledge on the Palestinian refugees issue and to give you an insight into their unique 59-year struggle.

Good luck!

Leave your score in the comments

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Palestine Quiz 2- U.S. Support of Israel

How much does Israel cost the American taxpayer? Does US law protect USA or Israel? How blind is the US governments’ backing of Israeli crimes?

Test your knowledge on the different aspects of the US support for Israel…

Good luck!

Leave your score in the comments

Source

MOST AMERICAN JEWISH GROUPS MUM ON TORTURE

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

I’m not surprised at all!

How could we expect a racist group like the ADL to speak out against torture when they support the atrocities carried out by the Israeli government against the Palestinians?

How could any AIPAC affiliated group do likewise? How would they continue to get the support of various government agencies if they spoke out against official government policies?

At least we know where their priorities are…. they certainly aren’t on the side of humanitarianism and justice…

They should keep in mind that SILENCE KILLS!

The following report deals with this…..

As Torture Debate Heats Up, Jewish Groups Stay Mum

The American Jewish Committee last week became the first, and to date only, mainstream Jewish group to give strong public backing to proposed legislation that would ban the use of torture by American military, intelligence and law-enforcement personnel.

On December 10, the AJCommittee’s board of governors passed a resolution expressly condemning the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Two days later the group also sent a letter to all members of Congress, urging them to support legislation that would force CIA interrogators to follow the guidelines set forth by the Army’s field manual, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh methods.

Most other Jewish organizations with prominent advocacy efforts in Washington, however, have been noticeably absent from efforts to push through the anti-torture legislation and from the broader national debate about the alleged use of enhanced interrogation techniques by American security forces.

“There was a shocking silence of the Jewish community on the issue of torture, and there is still a lacuna on this vital issue, to my eye,” said Felice Gaer, director of the AJCommittee’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. “All Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, need to be more vocal on this matter… Jews particularly know that torture is antithetical to everything in our tradition, ethics and outlook.”

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress, long leading advocates for civil liberties, have not weighed in on the pending anti-torture legislation, nor has the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella body of Jewish communal organizations.

A spokeswoman for B’nai B’rith International, Sharon Bender, said the issue was not an immediate priority for the organization. The AJCongress did not return queries for comment.

The communal organizations most actively involved in efforts to ban the use of torture by American security forces have been those traditionally associated with more liberal causes. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the national coordinating body for community relations councils, has urged its members to call their senators to support the bill. Meanwhile, several progressive groups, including the Union for Reform Judaism, The Shalom Center and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, have signed on to the National Religious Coalition Against Torture, an alliance of more than 140 groups.

In recent weeks, the issue of torture has been the subject of heated debate in Congress, particularly after revelations that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of its agents waterboarding two Al Qaeda operatives. Last Thursday the House approved the anti-torture legislation, but a day later, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the same bill. The White House has indicated it would veto such legislation.

Last month, the issue of waterboarding nearly derailed the Senate confirmation of federal judge Michael Mukasey as attorney general. During his confirmation hearings, Mukasey repeatedly refused to state that waterboarding constituted torture. He promised senators that if nominated, he would review Justice Department memos before taking a stance on the issue. Last week, Mukasey said he had not yet finished that review.

Mukasey is Jewish, as is his chief supporter in the Senate, New York Democrat Charles Schumer. In the resolution that its board of governors adopted last week, the AJCommittee appears to suggest that one need only look back into Jewish history to draw a clear conclusion on the illegality of the harsh interrogation technique.

“We are concerned as to the current national discussion, which suggests that there is some question as to whether waterboarding is legal and whether it constitutes torture,” the AJCommittee states. “Waterboarding — an interrogation practice associated with the Spanish Inquisition and prosecuted under U.S. law as torture as much as a century ago — is unquestionably torture.”

A similar condemnation of the practice was offered last month by the AJCongress, which has otherwise mostly steered clear of the anti-torture debate. In a November 9 statement welcoming Mukasey’s appointment, AJCongress President Richard Gordon called “on the Congress to act with dispatch to unambiguously declare waterboarding illegal.”

In 2005, both the AJCommittee and the AJCongress threw their support behind an amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator John McCain, prohibiting the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. The Senate approved the bill by a large majority but the measure was effectively weakened by legislation adopted in 2006.

As the anti-terrorist measures adopted by the Bush administration come under increasing fire, Jewish groups have been scrambling to find the right balance between national security concerns and their traditional defense of human rights.

The executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Rabbi Brian Walt, said that the reluctance of a large segment of the organized Jewish community to speak out against harsh interrogation techniques stems partly from the belief that torture may help to prevent terrorist attacks, as well as from concern that heightened scrutiny of American security forces’ methods could draw increased attention to Israel’s own interrogation practices.

“This is ironic,” he said, noting that Israel’s Supreme Court banned torture in 1999, “since Israel has a better record than the U.S. on this.”

SEE APARTHEID LIVE ON VIDEO

You think you have it bad? You grumble if you are caught up in a traffic jam on the way to work… you grumble if your train is a few minutes late and overcrowded….

Think of these people in Bethlehem trying to get to work on the other side of the wall…. starting out at 4A.M….. most times stuck at the checkpoint for hours….

Come for Christmas…. see it live if the following video doesn’t convince you that apartheid sucks!

BOWING DOWN TO THE DEVIL

That’s what it looks like if you see a group of devout Muslims at prayer bowing down with Israeli soldiers standing in front of them.

To one unacquainted with the horrors of occupation or apartheid it’s a very strange sight indeed as it can be very confusing. The following explains what the thoughts of these worshipers are in a situation like that…..

The soldiers don’t exist
By Amira Hass

At first glance it looks like people bowing down to other people. Maybe an ancient rite of worship before the weapons that hang nonchalantly from their erect bearers, who smile slightly, perhaps a plea for favor from the master. How easy it is from this photograph to infer a relationship of domination, when it is clear who is who on each side. How easy it is to conclude that the dominated side accepts the domination, the hierarchy, as part of Creation. Pierre Bourdieu writes in “Masculine Domination” that the ruled impose on the relationship of domination categories that have been formulated from the point of view of the rulers, and thus they cause these relations to seem natural.

Even the information that this is a photo of the weekly demonstration in Umm Salmona in the Bethlehem area, protesting the separation fence and the lands it is stealing, and that those who are bowing down are actually demonstrators who are praying, cannot erase the impression of prostration, of submission. But that is what is seen in the first glance of a non-Muslim, of someone who connects as a ruler (even if we deny this connection). Those defiant backsides of people who minutes earlier were rescued from the blows of the soldiers, offer another option to Bourdieu: They are not conforming to what we see at first glance, and are imposing categories of their own on the relationship of domination.

For the true Muslim worshiper, says a man named Fahr, a devout Muslim, the soldiers in front of him don’t even exist: “Prayer is not the physical movement. It’s a feeling – the values are connected to the soul, the soul is connected to Allah, the land is connected to Allah, Palestine is connected to Allah, the fence is connected to Allah, and so is destiny. When a Muslim says ‘Allahu Akbar,’ the worshiper feels that Allah is greater than anyone in front of him. And when the worshiper brings his hands to his ears, he leaves everything else behind him. Including the soldiers. He doesn’t see the soldiers.”

Even Palestinians who are not religious do not see a weakness in the worshipers here, and certainly not submission. “If you erase the worshipers from the picture,” says Lama, a totally secular woman, “you won’t understand what the soldiers are doing there at all. They’re disconnected, out of place, UFOs. But if you erase the soldiers and only the worshipers remain, they are in their proper place and all their actions are natural and in harmony with the surroundings.”

THE WALL MUST GO!


Just the other day I posted about a project in Bethlehem called Santa’s Ghetto… At the time it seemed like a worthy project, one that might help brighten up an otherwise very ugly situation… BUT, as the old adage goes… ‘You can’t please everybody’… as can be seen in the following article.

Banksy’s Bethlehem art protest backfires

By BEN LYNFIELD

AN EFFORT by the British graffiti artist Banksy to protest against Israeli occupation practices by drawing wall murals in beleaguered Bethlehem has crashed against a cultural barrier.
Unknown Palestinians have painted over a new Banksy mural of an Israeli soldier checking a donkey’s identity papers, it was discovered yesterday.

The mural was apparently meant to protest against the often draconian Israeli security measures that paralyse Palestinian daily life.

But some residents believe Banksy had insulted them. “I didn’t like that painting,” said Jamal Salman, a former town manager of Bethlehem. “It gave the impression that we are donkeys. He may have meant to say that the Israelis check the identity cards even of donkeys but, from my point of view, he is showing us as donkeys.”

Leading an effort known as “Santa’s Ghetto” that brought 25 European and American artists to Bethlehem, Banksy early this month painted six images on walls around the city. The art campaign, which ends on Christmas Eve, aims to illustrate the hardships Palestinians face from the 25ft-high Israeli separation barrier, which cuts farmers off from their land, breaks the West Bank into enclaves and casts a daunting shadow over Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

Israel says the barrier is essential to thwarting infiltrations by suicide bombers and has significantly reduced attacks. But it also effectively annexes 10 per cent of the West Bank to Israel.

Much of the “Santa’s Ghetto” effort, which includes an auction of artwork for children’s charities, has been aimed at transforming the barrier into an open canvas that protests against itself, something Banksy pioneered during a visit to Bethlehem in 2005. Bethlehem municipality officials hope the wall art will be a tourist draw.

The strongest image Banksy made for Bethlehem is one of a dove with an olive branch in its beak, wearing a bullet proof vest. Crosshairs are trained on the dove’s heart.

But George Rishmawi, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement Between People in the neighbouring town of Beit Sahour, said the wall would be better left as it is.

“Although these artists have come with good intentions, in general I am sceptical about any artistic work done on the wall,” he said. “The wall suffocates life every day. These artists should not make it beautiful: it should be left to speak for itself in all its ugliness.”

To Robin

CHRISTMAS HAS BEEN CANCELLED

SLAUGHTERING OF CHILDREN ON THE EID

Carrying babies to their graves in Beit Hanoun. They died
because western politicians are cowards and racists under
the heel of the zionists. (Source:
Kawther Info)….site contains most disturbing photos

Islamic custom is to slaughter a lamb or a goat on the Festival of Eid Al-Adha, a custom that goes back to the time of Abraham our Father who slaughtered a beast rather than his son. This particular custom fulfills one of the basic principles of Islam, that being sharing and helping the poor. The slaughtered animal is shared with the community and a portion of it is donated to the needy.

Zionism has given a new meaning to the holiday, instead of animals being slaughtered, it is Palestinian children. Just this week alone the following was reported from Gaza….

Two sick teen-age girls died on Wednesday, the first day of Eid, in Gaza after being barred from seeking medical treatment abroad by the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian medical sources on Wednesday morning announced the death of Dua Imran, 18 years, after suffering from a chronic disease and being barred from seeking medical treatment abroad because of the hermetic siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, 15-year-old Rawan Nassar, who suffered kidney failure, died on Wednesday evening, according to medical sources in the Gaza Strip.

The death of Rawan brings to 43 the number of Palestinian patients who died in the Gaza Strip since the closure of all Gaza Strip crossings since mid-June, turning the Gaza Strip into the largest concentration camp on earth.

The total closure since June 2007 and the economic siege that preceded it have left Gaza hospitals incapable of meeting the demands of the local population as the hospitals are running out of the necessary medication and spare parts for medical equipment, such as the much needed dialysis machines.”

This certainly is not what is supposed to be happening, but this is the reality of zionism, of occupation and of world complicity. In these cases it was not Israeli soldiers gunning down innocent children at play, it is a slower death, one that is just as much a murder. A murder that could have been avoided if the world cried out in unison…. ‘ENOUGH ALREADY!!! STOP!!!’

How long will Palestine have to wait before it hears those cries?

EID AL- ADHA MUBARAK

To all of my Muslim family and friends, EID MUBARAK! May your prayers for Peace and Justice become a reality in the coming year.

A sampling of the wonderful date filled Eid cookies prepared by my family


PEACE THROUGH EXTERMINATION….

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

That’s the road apparently taken by Israel and supported by the United States government. We knew Annapolis was a waste of time and taxpayers money…. BUT there was a slight hint of hope….

BUT… the reality is that not only has there been no evidence of peace being on the horizon, the situation here is worsening by the minute…..

As the American nation prepares for it’s holidays, Gazans prepare for funerals. The following report deals with the present situation….

Gaza blockade worsens healthcare

By Motasem A Dalloul in Gaza City

In the halls of al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip, patients queue outside the dialysis centre for treatment and medication.

However, they know there is a good chance they may get neither. An Israeli economic blockade of the Gaza Strip has meant that medical supplies are scarce.

Umm Ahmed, 35, sits and waits next to her 10-year-old son who suffers from kidney failure.

“I have to wait several hours with my son for his dialysis, putting his life in constant danger,” she says.

Sami Abu Ali, the physician treating Umm Ahmed’s son, tries to comfort her, but acknowledges that the risk becomes considerable if they wait too long for dialysis.

“Patients who suffer from kidney failure must follow a certain schedule for dialysis, otherwise, the toxins in the blood rise to a life-threatening level,” he said.

Looming health crisis

In 2006, following Hamas’ win in parliamentary elections, Israel began an economic blockade on the import and export of goods into Gaza for security reasons.

The Israeli military says it fears arms and bomb-making material could be smuggled into Gaza and that bombs could be hidden in agricultural consignments destined for the West Bank and Israeli cities.

Earlier this year, Tel Aviv tightened the blockade at the crossings between Gaza and Israel, allowing only the most basic of food items and medicines into the territory.

Many of Gaza’s hospitals have fallen into a state of disrepair, leaving 1.5 million people with few healthcare options.

Israel has barred their travel to the West Bank, Israel or Egypt for treatment.

Abed Awad, a head nurse who supervises and arranges schedules for kidney patients, says that many of the dialysis machines have simply stopped working.

“There are 66 dialysis machines in the hospital. More than 30 of them do not work because they need spare parts that Israel has not allowed the ministry of health to import due to the sanctions imposed on the Strip,” he said.

Supplies rationed

Hospital managers have been forced to find ways to ration supplies and equipment and they have reduced the number of dialysis sessions per person.

Dr Basem Naeem, the health minister in Gaza, says the ministry suffers from a severe lack of medical equipment, instruments and medicines.

“Spare parts for equipment have all run out and, unfortunately, we do not have a clear vision on how to deal with this crisis,” he said.

“There are hundreds of patients who are in urgent need for medical attention, or operations abroad.”

‘Exploding situation’

On Saturday, two days before the Paris conference to resuscitate the battered Palestinian economy, Nasser Mohrah, 49, from Jabalia, died of cancer.

According to his doctors, the Gaza interior ministry – in co-ordination with the Egyptian ministry of health – had given Mohrah funds and permission to pass through the Rafah crossing into Egypt for advanced treatment and therapy.

The Nasser Institute Hospital in Cairo had informed the Gaza interior ministry that they had the proper facilities to treat Mohrah.

But Israel prohibited him from travelling.

According to Gaza health officials, Mohrah was the 35th person to die of medical complications directly due to the Israeli blockade.

In a statement, the ministry of health said: “More than 450 patients [with] cancer, 400 patients [with] kidney failure and 449 of heart diseases live under threat of death under the siege of Gaza.”

The ministry said all have been denied travel by Israeli authorities.

Human rights issue

The World Health Organisation says it has seen an increase in the number of patients not allowed to get emergency health care outside Gaza.

At a symposium hosted by WHO, the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) organisation and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), Israeli doctors said that healthcare should be given even to persons considered security risks.

Hadas Ziv, the director of PHR-I, suggested an Israeli military bus could transport patients alleged to be security risks from Gaza to Jordan for emergency treatment.

Jamal al-Khodar, chairman of the Popular Committee against the Siege, has called on Israeli officials to immediately open the Rafah crossing to Egypt to alleviate the strain on the Gaza healthcare system.

“Preventing thousands of patients from receiving treatment abroad contradicts all international norms and human rights,” he said.

Source

THE GRINCH THAT STOLE THE EID

Imagine sitting down to a festive holiday feast where no food was served.
To many Palestinians that scenario will be a reality, not a figment of their imagination. Again, thanks to the sanctions of the Israeli government and restrictions put on Gaza by the Israeli army.

Tomorrow at sundown the Feast known as Eid Al Adha will begin throughout the Muslim world. In Palestine it will be just another day without food, water, electricity, fuel, LIFE!

Would it kill the occupier to allow joy to prevail during the Feast of the Eid? Would it kill them to act like human beings and treat others with dignity? Apparently so…. as can be seen in the following Associated Press report…..


Image by Ismael Shammout


Gazans: IDF restrictions deny us of animals for holiday sacrifice
By The Associated Press

Israel’s closure of its border with the Gaza Strip has caused a shortage of livestock for sacrifice at the annual Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday
beginning Wednesday, according to merchants in the coastal territory.

Ibrahim al-Kedra, a senior agriculture ministry official in Gaza said the average demand for the feast among Gaza’s overwhelmingly Muslim population of 1.5 million is around 10,000 cows and 50,000 goats.

At the Eid, Muslims slaughter sheep, goats, cows or camels, sharing the meat with friends and family and donating one third to the poor.

Al-Kedra said around 7,700 cows were allowed through by Israel in November and around 1,600 more were set for shipping Monday, but no goats or sheep were permitted, apart from 30 goats and 30 camels donated by Israeli Muslims for the Gaza poor.

Israeli military officials had no comment Monday.

After the militant Islamic Hamas seized control of the strip in June, Israel imposed stringent restrictions on its crossings, restricting the passage of goods and people to essential humanitarian cases.

Gaza meat company owner Salah Affana said most of the cows shipped into Gaza were under two years old, which according to Islamic tradition is the minimum age for them to be sacrificed.

Affana said the shortage could mean that the needy, for whom the Eid is a rare chance to eat meat, might have to go without this year.

Many poor families are waiting to get meat on the Eid, he said. We hope that we can get the animals on time so we can bring the smile to the faces of the poor children.

Even for the relatively better-off, the shortage is pushing prices beyond many pockets, with a 600-kilogram (1,300- pound) cow selling in the Gaza cattle market for about 9,000 shekels ($2,250) compared to 7,200 shekels ($1,800) a year ago.

“I am lucky, I found a cow over two years old, but it’s very expensive this year,” businessman Sami Abdel Jawwad, 44, said. “I will share the cow with my brothers , each one will pay 2,000 shekels ($500).”
Adel Charif, a 33-year-old driver, was less fortunate.

“This year is a very bad year for me, I have no money to buy animals or to share in one,” he said. “I used to buy a goat for 1,000 shekels ($250, 175) but this year it is 1,800 shekels ($450) … I will pray to God to forgive me because I will not able to sacrifice this year, and I will pray for revenge against the (Israelis), who imposed the blockade and make it impossible for us to celebrate our Eid.”

The festival commemorates the biblical story of Abraham and his readiness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God, who provided a lamb to be used instead.

CAN A DEMOCRACY BE RACIST?

CAN A DEMOCRACY BE RACIST?
A DesertPeace Editorial


Sixty years of being denied access to certain aspects of society or being treated without full dignity has become a way of life for an entire segment of the population. An attitude of ‘there is nothing we can do about it’ is not prevalent among the majority, but it does exist.

Acceptance of this wrong is as wrong as the problem itself. It is manifested most noticeably through the racial profiling practiced in Israel, again, most noticeably in public places where security checks are carried out. People entering shopping malls are checked for munitions or anything else questionable.

The same procedure is carried out at most other public places such as theatres, restraints and especially at the airports. Fine…. BUT….. why would an Arab have to go through a more thorough check than anyone else? Why does this person have to be singled out and humiliated publicly? Has he committed a crime? Does he look suspicious? Or, is it simply because he is an Arab?

I have on more than one occasion seen Palestinians singled out from a crowd and questioned by either the local police or by Israeli soldiers, in most cases just for the heck of it. It seems a tactic used only to ‘keep these people in their place’.

It is most often assumed that if a criminal act is committed the guilty party is an Arab, even in cases where there wasn’t one for miles around at the time. I had the experience once of witnessing a suspicious person outside my window. He appeared to be hiding something underneath the steps. I called the police to report this and was asked one question… “is the person an Arab?” My response was “to me he looks like a criminal.” But why the assumptions? Why the constant pointing of fingers at the totally innocent?

This evening a young man dressed in (Jewish) ultra orthodox garb (black hat and coat) was standing outside my building just looking at it… I asked him if he was looking for anyone in particular. He said he was trying to find out if there were any apartments vacant in the complex. He asked if any of ‘them’ lived here. I knew he meant Arabs, but answered in a sort of cocky way that if he moved in he would be the first (meaning ultra orthodox)….. “No, no,” he said, “I mean Arabs”….. I told him there were quite a number of Arabs in the building … I also told him that if he ever wanted to see peace in this country he would be wise to open up his heart and mind to other peoples living here and accept them as equals…. again reminding him that we are all the same flesh and blood from a common ancestry.

But why such attitudes? Why such prejudice?
All of the above explains why, the system maintains a level of distrust and hatred. It is the only way it can defend its actions towards the Palestinians.

When these issues are raised in the Knesset by Arab representatives they are ignored or referred to as treacherous. The only thing treacherous about them is the fact that they exist. Israel is constantly reminding the world that it is the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’…. Democracy and state sponsored racism are a contradiction in terms. Genocide and apartheid are not an integral part of any democracy.

Israel is far from the democracy it claims to be… the reality is, Israel is a racist state and as long as it remains one there will be no democracy. No one is free unless we all are.

THIS report gives more examples of the inequality in Israel.

WHAT/WHO IS HAMAS

Image by Ismael Shammout
The following is the best analysis I’ve seen to date of Hamas…. just who they are and why they are the way they are…… It was just sent to me by the author and is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the situation here.

Hamas at 20

Analysis

By Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

I am writing this piece as 300,000-500,000 people (according to Reuters) are converging at the Katiba Square in Central Gaza to mark the 20th anniversary of Hamas’ foundation.

Undoubtedly, the huge turn-out ( nearly one-third of the Gaza Strip’s total population) is an unmistakable proof that Hamas is still very popular among Palestinians despite the rabid American-led efforts to scuttle the movement, possibly in order to facilitate the appearance of a quisling-like Palestinian leadership that would succumb to Israeli hegemony and colonialist designs.

The massive attendance is also an eloquent refutation of a plethora of tendentious Fatah-financed or Fatah-inspired opinion surveys which have suggested that Hamas’ popular standing has seriously plummeted especially since the mind-June events in Gaza.

These opinion surveys are actually reminiscent of the numerous opinion polls that preceded the 2006-legislative elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and which had predicted a massive victory by the Fatah organization over Hamas.

At 20 , Hamas seems a young, viable, vigorous and aspiring movement, with hundreds of thousands of mostly young Palestinians indoctrinated in the moderate political ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This moderation, needless to say, will ensure Hamas’ continuity, growth and prosperity.

Hamas is not and will not be an al-Qaida-like organization, it will not wage Jihad on the whole world and will not classify the world into two camps- those who are with us, and those who are against us, as the al-Qaida organization has done.

Moreover, Hamas will not formulate its political outlook based on people’s religions and ideologies, and will continue to seek friendship on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests. Indeed, despite erratic and stupid utterances by some ignoramuses who are members of Hamas, the Islamic movement doesn’t actually consider Jews as enemies. In truth, Jews who support justice and true peace and who stand against oppression and occupation are Hamas’ partners for a better future for both Jews and Muslims in this tormented land.

More to the point, Hamas will continue to make a clear distinction between hostile states on the one hand and citizens of these states on the other, and will never seek to target the urban centers of countries whose governments are hostile to the Palestinian cause, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

And Hamas will continue to confine its legitimate struggle and resistance against the Israeli occupation to the Palestinian-Israeli theatre. This has always been Hamas’s policy, and it will continue to be the case.

At 20, Hamas has been through it all, from creation to destruction. The movement endured every conceivable act of savagery and criminality at the hands of the Nazi-like Israeli regime.

The leaders of the movement, and in many cases their families as well, were deported, imprisoned, assassinated and massacred. Today, as many as 4000 Hamas leaders and activists languish in Israeli concentration camp, many of them without charge or trial.

Even Hamas’ democratically-elected MPs and cabinet ministers have been summarily abducted from their homes and offices for no reason other than “the Hamas mantra,” a mantra whose invocation seems to justify every conceivable Israeli savagery, brutality and atrocity.

Indeed, the vindictiveness with which Israel treats these mostly innocent people has a few parallels in the history of mankind. The recent bloody repression by crack Israeli army units of the Kitziot prison inmates in the heart of the Negev desert, is a clarion testimony, if one were needed, to the blatant barbarianism of the occupation.

Twenty years are not a long period in the history of nations and their struggle for freedom and independence. However, looking back at what Hamas has achieved, one can safely claim that Hamas has been a valuable asset for the enduring Palestinian struggle.

To begin with, from the very inception, Hamas offered an authentic alternative to the corrupt PLO which par excellance encapsulated and continues to encapsulate all the meanings of corruption, despotism, dictatorship, nepotism, favoritism and even treason.

It is true, Hamas has not succeeded in liberating Palestine from the colonialist Israeli occupation.

However, Hamas has succeeded in reinstituting and prominently featuring the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees as the most paramount cause that can be neither compromised nor ignored nor circumvented.

The same can be said about other Palestinian national constants and red lines which the often happy-go-lucky Fatah negotiators have come to treat as “unsacred” and even “expendable.”

Actually, thanks to the political culture that Hamas helped foster and consolidate among Palestinians, there is not a single dignified Palestinian politician, even from Fatah, who would publicly express a readiness to give in on such red- lines like East Jerusalem, the refugees and the totality of any prospective Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories of 1967.

It is actually because of its consistent refusal to succumb to Israeli hegemony and bullying that Israel and her guardian ally, the United States, and their poodles, and puppets and allies have been boycotting and blockading Hamas in the hope that another Palestinian entity, e.g. Fatah, would do Israel’s and the West’s bidding by finally surrendering to Israeli colonialism, probably through a “peace settlement” that has all the marks of a capitulation .

Non the less, Hamas not only has assets, it has liabilities as well. Following the death of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, who was brutally assassinated by Israel in 2004, a new generation of Hamas leaders didn’t really understand the timeless golden adage that “it is not enough to be right, one has to be wise, as well.”

Yasin and his lieutenants understood and translated this golden maxim into tangible political wisdom that helped Hamas overcome or at least circumvent the treacherous minefields of the Oslo years.

It is perfectly true that most of the blame for the mid-June events in Gaza falls on Fatah, not on Hamas. After all, it was clear to all and sundry that Fatah leaders, especially in the Gaza Strip, accepted rather sheepishly to play the role of quislings on behalf of the US and Israel, thus forcing Hamas to take a preemptive action to prevent the occurrence of a longer and bloodier civil war that would have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

We all remember how Israel reacted to the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in 1982, when then Prime Minister Menachem Begin remarked that “we have nothing to do with what happened …It’s Arabs killing Arabs.”

Had Keith Dayton and Muhammed Dahlan and their cohorts succeeded in their conspiracy, God forbid, we would have had Ehud Olmert make the same argument, saying “we have nothing to do with what happened in Gaza; it’s Palestinians killing Palestinians.!”

Non the less Hamas is not completely blameless.

In these difficult days, when our people in Gaza are facing a brutal and merciless blockade at the hands of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust, and when most nations prefer to play blind, deaf and dumb and look the other way while our children are being killed and starved, we need to utilize every shred of wisdom at our disposal.

Yes, we must do the right thing, but it is also true that we must choose the right time for doing the right thing. Doing the right thing at the wrong time causes disaster and unnecessary bloodshed and suffering. It also undermines our ability to withstand the brutality of our enemy.

Hamas is undoubtedly right in refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israel, a country whose very existence was made possible only thanks to the destruction and near obliteration of another people, the Palestinian people, has no moral legitimacy and has no moral right to exist.

Non the less, Israel does exist and has political and international legitimacy, and Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions should be able to relate to this existence in pragmatic terms, but without giving it any moral legitimacy, because then we would all embrace the Zionist narrative and become de facto Zionists.

Hence, it is advisable that Hamas should reformulate the Hudna concept, at least in order show the world that the movement is not nihilistic, e.g. like al-Qaida.

Similarly, Hamas and other Palestinian organizations should be able and willing to stop the firing of al-Qassam projectiles onto Israeli territory if and when Israel shows a genuine willingness to lift the criminal blockade and terminate its aggression against the people of Gaza.

Yes, resistance to a sinister and wicked military occupation is a legitimate and secret right that no one can deny.

However, how to exercise this right in a way that would limit our losses is always a matter subject to argument.

In short, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups should start thinking with their brains, not with their hearts.

PALESTINIAN VILLAGES ~~ NOW YOU SEE THEM…. NOW YOU DON’T

Image by David Baldinger
David Copperfield, in his wildest dreams, never made villages disappear…. never made an entire nation disappear…. BUT, Israel does it every day when it comes to Palestinians.

Now that peace has been put on the ‘back burner’ after the Annapolis talks, Israel seems to think it has the ‘go-ahead’ to not only wipe Palestine off the face of the earth, but it’s people and their homes as well.

Below is just one of the latest examples of this, taken from HaAretz with permission.

‘This village will be erased’
Gideon Levy

A Palestinian man stands next to his car, which was damaged by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. (Khaleel Reash, Maan Images)
A Palestinian man stands next to his car, which was damaged by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. (Khaleel Reash, Maan Images)
The shattered marble panels of the Hashalom factory, some of which were designated for the kitchens of settlers, testify like a thousand witnesses to the events of the night of revenge. The weeping of Naama Masalha, who had to hide with her young children in the bathroom while the settlers smashed the windows of their house, also tells the story of that night of horror. In the small village of Al Funduq on the Qalqilyah-Nablus road, where Israelis, mainly settlers living in the area, still repair their cars and go shopping, they are now licking their wounds and assessing the damage.

The head of the local council, Omar Jaber, presents a report: damage to marble – NIS 111,000 ($27,500); to cars – NIS 76,000 ($19,000); to homes – NIS 6,000 ($1,500); to shops – NIS 10,000 ($2,500). He claims that 16 cars, 15 homes, 15 shops and two marble factories were damaged on the night of November 24. It is almost certain that nobody will compensate them for these hostile acts. Now just fear, fury and frustration remain in peaceful Al Funduq, which paid the price for the killing of settler Ido Zoldan, 29, a resident of Shavei Shomron, who was shot on the road that passes through the village five nights earlier.

On that Saturday night, hundreds of settlers stormed Al Funduq under the protection of Israel Defense Forces soldiers – who, according to testimony, even assisted in the destruction – and rioted in the village that was under curfew. Two days later it was reported that Israeli security forces had caught the gang suspected of killing Zoldan: three members of the Palestinian National Security organization, from Kadum. Last week the settlers went there, too.

The group of young settlers recently took over an abandoned Palestinian house overlooking the road leading to Al Funduq, and painted it pink. But the sight on that road, which passes below the rogue outpost of Shvut Ami, is not at all rosy: It is strewn with stones that the settlers now throw at Palestinian cars that use it. The terrifying IDF bulldozer that creeps slowly along the road is supposed to use the massive rocks in its maw to block off the villages in the area – not the outpost, of course. That is Israeli justice.


About 500 people live in Al Funduq. It is a village that has not suffered any casualties and is almost without prisoners in Israeli jails – only stonemasons, grocers and garages that serve the settlers in the area. Five days after Zoldan was killed the village was under total curfew. Afterward, for another eight days, it was put under nighttime curfew. The settlers have to be appeased, don’t they?

The atmosphere in the local council building is heated. The secretary, Jaber, says that about 400 settlers stormed the village on that black Saturday night. Zakariyah Asade, coordinator of field activities for the Rabbis for Human Rights organization, who lives in the neighboring village of Jit, says that the soldiers illuminated the area with their flashlights for the settlers, so that they could sow their destruction more easily. “They showed them where to break things,” says Asade.

“One thing is as sure as the sun that rises in the east: The settlers would not have entered without army protection,” says Omar Shari, a resident of a neighboring village, who is doing infrastructure work in Al Funduq, and two of whose tractors were damaged during the rampage. “In places where there were cars standing in the dark or behind a wall, the army showed them the way and lit everything up for them.”

Shari estimates the damage to his tractors at NIS 15,000 ($3,750). “I honor your dead just as I want you to honor our dead,” he says. “To the Russian soldier who came here two months ago and asked me ‘Where did you come from?’ – I have to ask: ‘As a Russian, what are you doing here? Go to Haifa.’ Al Funduq has been here for 500 years. [The settlement of] Kedumim has been here for 20 years, and it wants to dominate the entire area. It’s the army that allows the settlers to dominate.”

Jaber declares that “collective punishment is not just. We have children, wives, infants, ill and elderly people. If they want to arrest someone, let them. I have no idea who killed the settler, but why impose collective punishment on the entire village? To close off Al Funduq is to close off one-third of the West Bank. All the traffic between the north and the center of the West Bank passes along our road. It’s the only road. Until yesterday it was closed. We hear every day about the peace process, but on the ground we don’t feel a thing. When I’m in my house and they come to demolish my home and my car, what should I do?”

The owner of the tractors, Shari, adds a warning: “There are no shaheeds [martyrs] in Al Funduq, but [after] what they’re doing now to the children, in another 10-15 years, when they grow up – you’ll be hearing what happens here.”

A truck unloads crates of chickens from the Off Nehedar slaughterhouse in Hadera, on the main road of the village. In Sakr Bari’s grocery store stands a settler in a large white skullcap, buying vegetables. Bari estimates the damage caused to him as a result of the curfew to be NIS 3,000 ($750). He has a notebook where he lists all the debts of the settlers who buy on credit. Usually they pay once every month or two, but NIS 34,000 ($8,500) are permanent debts, since the outbreak of the second intifada.

Bari brings special kosher cans of corn and miniature carrots to his Jewish customers. Some of them, he believes, certainly participated in the night of rioting. Since then, only a few of his Jewish customers have returned. They come from all the settlements in the area: Kedumim, Shavei Shomron, Elon Moreh, Ariel, Emanuel, Karnei Shomron and Einav. The new map of Israel.

At the end of a muddy road, at the entrance to a relatively isolated house, stands Naama Masalha, dressed in black and extremely depressed. When settlers stormed the house, her husband, Akram, 31, was still at work, loading crates of vegetables bound for Israel. At about 9:30 P.M. he tried to get home in spite of the curfew, until he realized that the road was blocked by hundreds of settlers and soldiers. After a while he heard that the settlers were surrounding his house and damaging it, while his wife and three young children were trapped inside.

He was helpless. His young son, Rima, a first grader who is now doing his homework, brings the evidence: two IDF grenade cases, on which it says in Hebrew: “Blinding stun grenade. 1.5 second delay.” Akram describes the damage, some of which has been repaired – eight shattered windows, three broken lights on the porch, torn screens, a damaged water hose – and points to footprints in the mud of the settler who arrived on horseback, to break and destroy.

Naama: “We were sleeping in the room; my husband wasn’t home. Suddenly I heard the settlers breaking the windows and trying to enter the house. The door was locked.” She quickly gathered her children from the spacious rooms and together they entered the bathroom, a cubicle at the end of the house, where they hid until things quieted down. They were there for over an hour. Naama’s cell phone was broken and she had no way of calling for help; finally her brother managed to get to the house and rescue her. Naama is crying now. “She still cries when she remembers,” says Akram. “Yesterday I told her, ‘Prepare food and we’ll sit the way we used to,’ and she said she wasn’t able to do it.”

When her brother Mohammed arrived at the house, it was surrounded by a large number of settlers, among them soldiers and policemen. In order to record the event, he activated the recording device on his cell phone, after realizing that he would not be able to photograph anything because of the blackout.

Now he plays the recordings for us: “Erase this village – erase this house,” one can hear a woman screaming in Hebrew, in a hoarse voice. And then one hears the sound of blows. Mohammed says the intruders banged on the windows with their weapons, throwing stones at them, and that they also had sticks and iron poles in their hands. The soldiers and policemen stood by and watched. The woman continues to scream on the recording: “People of Funduq, pay attention: You will suffer, this village is erased. In blood and in fire, this village will be erased. Come out, come out of your homes.”

The recording is lengthy and not everything is clear; occasionally one hears the honking of a car horn or the noise of a stun grenade. All this time Naama and her three children were in the bathroom, frightened.

Before fleeing, the eldest daughter, Ishra, 14, saw the settler on the horse through the barred window of her room, banging on the windows. “Attention, policemen and soldiers,” the voice of the female settler can be heard again. “If you don’t provide a suitable response and don’t take this house down, you will be to blame for the next casualties.” Then, only then, can the sound of the policemen be heard, calling for all the Israelis to leave within five minutes. Naama and her three children were rescued unharmed by her brother Mohammed, and spent the following days in the home of Naama’s parents in a neighboring village.

A settler wants to buy a canister of cooking gas in Sakr’s grocery store. The gas has run out and the settler asks: “How will I cook?”

The shattered panels in the Hashalom marble factory stand in a row. Fragments of marble are scattered everywhere. Majed Diab, the owner, estimates the damage to his factory at NIS 50,000 ($12,500). He lives in the stone house that rises above the factory; some of its window panes are still shattered. He stood on the balcony the entire time, that night, and says he saw the settlers smashing everything.
When a settler girl tried to destroy a marble panel and was unsuccessful, recalls Diab, the soldiers helped her. He saw it with his own eyes. What did he do? “Nothing,” he replies in embarrassment, his face covered with white dust, a pencil stuck behind his ear. He says the rampage continued until 11:30 P.M. He was on the roof, the settlers and the soldiers were in the square in front of the factory.

The IDF spokesman, in reply to our query this week, ignored the question of whether the soldiers really helped the settlers, and stated: “During the course of the demonstration, mutual stone-throwing erupted between the settlers and the Palestinians, residents of the village. IDF forces, together with forces from the Border Police and Israel Police, dispersed the demonstrators. In addition, during the demonstration the forces arrested two settlers and two Palestinians who were rioting and throwing stones. The detainees were transferred to the Israel Police. It should be mentioned that the IDF is strongly opposed to illegal disturbances of the peace, and that the demonstration was not authorized by the military.”

An IDF bulldozer entered Al Funduq by storm, carrying another load of rocks and escorted by three jeeps. It is supposed to place the rocks on one of the village roads at the end of an olive grove, to choke off traffic there. At the last moment the driver changes his mind and leaves the village, careful not to harm the olive trees en route, and rushes off with his load to the neighboring village of Jinsafut.

There, at the entrance to the village’s auto-repair shop, he drops the rocks and blocks traffic. From a yellow transporter, a family silently watches what is happening, the children with their noses pressed against the windows. What are their parents telling them?

Next to the new roadblock that has just been set up – Annapolis-Shmannapolis – the old sign on behalf of the German government is, ironically, still in place: “A project for the rehabilitation of village roads.” The bulldozer driver packs down the mound of earth, adding another rock, just to be on the safe side.

DESPITE ISRAELI SANCTIONS…..

Gazans wholeheartedly support the leadership they elected as can be seen in the following report…… No prouder nation exists anywhere else in this world.


Hamas rally draws
tens of thousands

Hamas’ leaders issued a defiant message saying they would never recognise Israel [AFP]

Hamas has marked 20 years since it was founded with a huge rally in Gaza City, attended by what was estimated to be a crowd of between 150,000 and 300,000 supporters.
Saturday’s rally was the biggest show of support for the movement since it took control of the Gaza Strip in June.
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Hamas was created in Gaza in December 1987, from an offshoot of the Gaza wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Its leaders issued a defiant message at the rally saying they would never recognise Israel, which has cut all but essential humanitarian supplies to the territory.
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‘Empowered’
In a message to Hamas TV broadcast at the rally, Khaled Mashaal, the movement’s leader in exile, warned Israel: “Our people are able to launch a third and fourth intifada until the dawn of victory arrives.”
Ismail Haniya, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, told the crowd: “Today, with God’s help, this movement is empowered. Today this movement is ruling.
“Some reports and secret service agencies tell you that the resistance is regressing, Hamas is regressing.
“I say to those issuing these estimations, ‘Come to Gaza. Come to the oppressed West Bank to see this greatness, this glory. To see the men and women of Palestine, who are committed to steadfastness and resistance.’ This is God’s call and it will prevail with God’s help.”
Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jerusalem, said that the crowd came to both support Hamas and show their discontent with the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Mohyeldin said: “Hamas enjoys quite a lot of popularity in the Gaza Strip, particularly in its policy towards Israel.
“It is always seen as the corner of legitimate resistance for Palestinians. It still does enjoy a wide popularity for many of its social services.
“[The rally] comes at a very interesting time for both the movement and the Palestinian people at large, as we heard from Hamas’ leadership today saying that they will continue their armed struggle and their resistance.
“They also made the point that they are willing to talk to their Palestinian counterparts in the Fatah movement who dominate the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority.”
Mohyeldin said that a thawing of the relationship between Hamas and Fatah was suggested by the Hamas leadership at the rally, but no indication was given as to when this would start.
‘Hostile entity’
Hamas were elected to power in January 2006, when the party stood for the first time in parliamentary elections.
Tensions between itself and rival Fatah led it to seize control of the Gaza Strip in June this year.
In September, Israel branded the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” and increased restrictions on supplies and movement in and out of the area.
The UN’s World Health Organization has described the humanitarian situation there as “intolerable”.

Source

SIXTY YEARS OF DEAFENING SILENCE

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

2008 will usher in the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel…. the destruction of Palestine.

As one side of the wall rejoices, the other side languishes in the misery of occupation….

This is not what was meant to be…. but the same world that created the monster of zion stands by silently as it continues to destroy….

Zion waited 2000 years according to this Jewish Agency propaganda video…. how long must Palestine wait?


This is what zionism means to the Palestinians….

GROWING SUPPORT FOR STRIKING WRITERS

Image by David Baldinger

Striking screenwriters refuse to surrender

By John Wojcik

Those who think it is only a matter of time before striking screenwriters cave in to the Hollywood producers are not getting what this strike, now supported by two-thirds of the public, is all about. This point was made clear Dec. 7 when talks between the writers and producers broke down.

The strike was expected to be a fight over pay formulas. But the writers have turned it into an epic struggle to force the media conglomerates who control the entertainment industry into ceding some of that control to the workers.

It started when 12,000 television and movie writers, represented by the Writers Guild of America, walked out in November, shutting down a dozen sitcoms and almost all late-night entertainment shows.

At a time when corporations like to portray unions as out for the count, the writers, drawing widespread public support, have struck a blow for solidarity reminiscent of the militant unity that built industrial unions decades ago.

Recent polls by Survey USA and Variety indicate that the 66 percent support for the strike cuts across all sections of the public, and that the majority blame the corporate media for the deteriorating quality of television and movie writing.

“Writers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the TV and movie industries. They get no respect,” columnist Clarence Page wrote recently. “The rest of us walk out of theaters … wondering why some more of the big money that we see up on the screen wasn’t spent on developing better scripts.”

Many issues are on the table in this strike, the guild’s first since its five-month walkout in 1988.

The writers are demanding a tiny 2.5 percent of the money that media conglomerates are making from reusing the writers’ work on the Internet, smart phones, iTunes, movie downloads and other media. The writers also want a bigger share of DVD profits than the 0.36 percent they settled for in 1988, when home video was something new.

The writers are using the new media as a powerful weapon in their battle. They have written and produced clever videos posted on web sites such as strikeswag.com and slashfilm.com. They have titles like “Voices of Uncertainty” and “Why We Fight.” Striking writers from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” have one titled “Not the Daily Show, with Some Writer.”

In “Voices of Uncertainty” on the slashfilm.com site, Sumner Redstone of Viacom brags to investors about “golden opportunities” to make billions from digital technology. A message flashes across the screen: “Golden opportunities not available to writers, strikers or residents of Guam.”

Patrick Vernon, president of the Writers Guild of America West, has said from the beginning that writers must restore leverage lost as corporations took control of the entertainment business. He has described Hollywood as teetering on the brink of a dark age for creativity. Recently he told the press: “I think if they could do business without us, they would, and so they are making our task as mechanical and simple and low paying and unartistic as possible.”

The union is lobbying the corporate studio owners to agree to union representation for the thousands of writers on reality and animated shows who are not yet organized. This would create a major shift in favor of workers in the entertainment industry.

Five weeks into the strike, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has issued a sharp attack against the union, accusing leaders of “pushing an ideological mission far removed from the interests of their members.” The bosses know that what the writers seek is a radical shift in industry power. What really worries them is the apparent willingness of the public to back such a shift.

This is what is behind the breakdown of talks on Dec. 7. The companies were unable to restrict the negotiations to the narrow issue of wages. The writers, with the public behind them, are telling the bosses that this time they want a real piece of the pie.

Source

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

A Palestinian demonstrator argues with an Israeli soldier during a demonstration against Israel’s separation barrier at the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Sebastian Scheiner/ Associated Press)

Less than a month after the ‘staged Peace Conference’ in Annapolis… the struggle to stop the wall continues… the occupation of Palestine continues… the killings continue…. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

The photo above was taken at this week’s ongoing demo against the wall…

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