Bush’s moral legacy to the world…..
Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

click on images to enlarge


Another tale from the hospital….

‘Chesid’ is the Hebrew term for charity and kindness… an integral part of the religion…. BUT…. charity and kindness for whom? For everyone or just for Jews? That is the question….

There are various charitable organisations that regularly visit patients in Israeli hospitals. Some bring sandwiches to give to people visiting the patients, others come just to give greetings and make the sick feel that they are not alone with their suffering.

BUT…. what if the patient is a Palestinian? Is he treated the same way by these supposed dogooders? NO!!!!
Their visitors do not receive sandwiches…. they themselves do not receive the friendly greetings. Is this ‘Chesid’ or is this racism? You decide.

I’ve often heard that charity begins at home… but isn’t this taking that a bit too far? Are the sick not all equal in the hospital? Are Palestinians not people?

Because of the closures and the sieges imposed by the Israeli government on the people of Palestine it is virtually impossible for Palestinian organisations to carry out the same sort of charitable work. Taking that into account, should these Jewish charitable organisations not try to bend over backwards to ease the suffering of those in the hospital? Should they not adhere to the biblical words telling us to ‘treat the stranger as we treat ourselves’?

How else are we to achieve a true and lasting peace in this land if we do not extend and open our homes to all and treat all with the due honour and respect they deserve?

Just a few random thoughts to think about during these Holidays….


No Eid with the siege
Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine

Palestinians wait at a checkpoint before they attend Friday prayers at the Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron, 26 September 2008. (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages)

Ramadan al-Hour’s four children have not seen their father for the past year. Ranging in age from five years to four months old, Amal, Aya, Sulaf and Walid live with their mother in the town of Kufr Qassem inside Israel. Israeli authorities have prevented al-Hour’s wife and children from entering Gaza. Ramadan, 35 years old, is from the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip and used to work in Israel. A year ago he was arrested by Israeli security forces from his home in Kufr Qassem. Since then, he has been prevented access into Israel.

“What I can say, I am increasingly feeling depressed because I am unable to see them, to embrace my children or to pamper my four-month-old baby. My life has become miserable under this siege,” al-Hour said.

“Every time I speak to my daughter Amal over phone, she asks me the same questions: when does your work finish, dad? We want to see you badly. The work never finishes, she wonders every time. For how long I can lie to them that I am busy working?”

Al-Hour was married a few years ago, before the Israeli authorities banned family reunification of spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. However, Ramadan could not obtain Israeli residency despite several application attempts.

“For the past two months, my wife has formally applied for entry into Gaza at the Erez checkpoint [in the northern Gaza Strip], yet she received no response from the concerned Israeli authorities,” he said.

“In spite of the fact that this procedure is totally consistent with Israeli law, every time my wife phones the authorities, she hears an answering machine saying ‘do not leave a message,'” al-Hour explained. He added, “Is that humane that we still can not see each other for more than a year? Is that humane that even in such an occasion of the Eid al-Fitr, we can not embrace each other? It’s really ruthless, so ruthless.”

Essam Hamdan, 40 years old, from the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip tells a similar story. He has lived alone for the past two months after his wife, who is originally from the West Bank city of Tulkarm, was forced by the Israeli authorities at the Erez checkpoint to sign a written pledge that she would not return to Gaza.

Hamadan’s wife was pregnant when she arrived at the checkpoint and needed urgent medical treatment in the West Bank. In spite of her condition and the fact that she had an Israeli permit to live in Gaza for one year, the Israeli authorities required her to sign the pledge or she would not be allowed to leave Gaza and she complied. Because of the severity of her condition, she was transferred to an Israeli hospital in Ashkelon, where she delivered four babies. Upon recovery, she and the children were transferred to the West Bank.

“Can you imagine, for 10 years I couldn’t have children, yet the moment God has met my wish, I can never see my dearest children,” Hamdan explained. “What a shortfall Israeli humanity is this, I really don’t know what to say. Shall I thank them for the treatment they provided to my wife or should I curse this occupation?”

Hamdan’s attempts to obtain a permit to visit his wife and children have been denied because he was previously arrested for working in Israel without a work permit. “I have already spent four months in prison, and now I am staying idle in Gaza for the past three years. I can hardly live because I haven’t worked,” he said.

Hamdan added that he would like to ask the Israelis “how can I pose a security threat to them while my life is now lost with no work and no job. All I want is to see my beloved children and enjoy some time with them. I have been looking forward to having children for ten years, since I divorced my first wife.”

Al-Hour and Hamdan are just a small sample of hundreds of similar cases in the Gaza Strip of Palestinians who are victims of Israel’s “security considerations.” As a result, these families will be unable to spend the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which begins at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, together.



In defense of Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

29 September, 2008

Earlier this month, a semi-official Iranian news agency lashed out at Dr. Yousuf al Qaradawi, widely considered one of the most eminent living Muslim religious scholars. The agency, called Muhr, castigated the great Alim, or religious scholar, for an interview he had given to an Egyptian newspaper in which he warned against organized efforts by some Shiite circles to convert Sunni Muslims to the Shiite branch of Islam. The Iranian news agency went as far as accusing al-Qaradawi of playing into the hands of Zionists and Jewish rabbis!!

I don’t usually write on religious matters, especially Sunni-Shia affairs. However, I do believe that a clear and unmistakable message should be sent to Shiite circles in Iran and elsewhere, namely that Sunnis are not about to become Shiites and that public support for Iran and Hezbullah in some Sunni countries doesn’t indicate that Sunni Muslims are infatuated with the Shiite faith.

The Sunni masses do support Hezbullah because this is the right thing to do. Hezbullah after all is fighting Israel, the evil brat of Zionism which is the ultimate enemy of Islam and Muslims.

The same thing applies to public support for Iran against the Zionist-controlled American administration which is trying so hard to deprive Iran of its right to develop nuclear technology.

People, regardless of their religious affiliations, support just causes irrespective of other considerations.

However, Sunni support for Iran against American hegemony doesn’t mean that the Sunni masses, which constitute more than 90% of Muslims worldwide, are coming to terms with the despicable habit of cursing the Companions of Prophet Muhammed, such as Abu Bakr, Omar Ibn al Khattab and Othman Ibn Affan.

Let us be very clear about this, cursing the Sahaba, as far as Sunni Muslims are concerned, is and will always remain the ultimate redline.

There can be no Muslim unity unless the Shiites brothers, especially in Iran, abandon this hateful and provocative ritual.

Luckily, some Shiite Ulema or scholars have realized this fact and adopted positive positions toward showing respect to the feelings of their Sunni brothers.

This writer has always supported Iran against Western, especially American predators.

While studying in the United States nearly three decades ago, I regularly took part in anti-Shah demonstrations on American campuses.

We shouted aloud Tau Margi Shahi Kha’en, Nehzat Idameh dorat” (until the death of the treacherous Shah, the struggle will continue), and “ Istiklal, Azadee, Hokomati Islamee” (Independence , Freedom, Islamic Government.”

I have also written numerous articles in support of Iran and Hezbullah and will continue to do so for reasons having to do with the moral principle of siding with the weak and the oppressed against the unjust and the insolent.

Hence, the Iranian brothers, especially the people at Muhr, shouldn’t think that this defense of Sheikh Qaradawi is coming from a “Zionist agent” as they are almost innately tempted to dismiss criticisms of some of their objectionable practices and attitudes.

I had the honor to meet with Sheikh Qaradawi many years ago. And I have ever since been following up rather closely his pronouncements and positions which I have found to be quite rational and wise.

Sheikh Qaradawi has been a fierce critic of Israeli criminality and the Nazi-like oppression the Zionist regime is meting out to the helpless Palestinians. However, he has never voiced hatred or hostility toward Jews as Jews, as Zionist propaganda circles claim.

He has been a constantly loud voice urging Muslims and Arabs to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Indeed, one would exaggerate little by saying that had it not been for Qaradawi’s efforts, the Palestinian ordeal would have been much worse.

As to his positions on Iran and Shiites, al- Qaradawi has always adopted decidedly moderate positions in this regard.

He had warmly welcomed the Iranian revolution back in 1978 as the vast bulk of Sunni Muslims did. He also stood against the Iran-Iraq war, calling it a catastrophe.

In recent years, al-Qaradawi stood against extremist Sunni groups such as al-Qaida which adopted a radical theological stance viewing Shiites, especially the Ithna Ashari Shiites (followers of the Twelve Imams) as heretical.

This position invited hostile reactions from some of the Salafi groups (fundamentalist puritanical Orthodox Sunni Muslims) especially in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.

Indeed, Qaradawi’s uncompromising views on Israel, American imperialism, the Palestinian plight and the ongoing American war on Islam, dubbed deceptively as “the war on terror” have prompted many western governments such as the US and UK to declare him a persona non grata.

So how could a man as such be serving Zionist interests when the Zionists themselves have spared no efforts vilifying and inciting against him?

Shiites circles in Iran and elsewhere miss no opportunity urging Muslims to get united in the face of Israeli aggression and expansionism. This is certainly a commendable and admirable stance.

However, true Muslim unity can’t be achieved while some influential Shiite circles in Iran and probably elsewhere retain the old repulsive practice of cursing the Sahaba of Rasullullah, or companions of the Prophet.

Is Shiism a religion based on cursing?

A few months ago, the highest-ranking Shiite Marjie (religious scholar) in Lebanon, Rev. Sheikh Muhammed Hussein Fadulullah issued a fatwa or religious edict prohibiting the cursing of the Sahaba.

Sunni Muslims warmly welcomed the fatwa and many Sunni intellectuals and religious leaders hoped that it would lead to a genuine reconciliation between the two camps.

However, that fatwa was eventually met with widespread opposition by some influential Shiite ulema in Iraq and Iran who couldn’t abandon the malicious canard that Sunni Muslims were Nassibi or Nawaseb (enemies of Imam Ali), the First Shiite Imam who is also the Fourth Sunni Caliph.

In truth, Sunni Muslims don’t hate Ali and his family. On the contrary, they love them so much. Don’t Sunni Muslims, as do all Muslims, recite at the end of their daily prayers “O God, may thy Peace and blessings be upon Muhammd and the family of Muhammed as Thou had bestowed they peace and blessing on Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim.”?

Besides, history shows that Imam Ali had an active working relationship with the very people many Shiites claim they hated him and dispossessed him of his divine right to become the leader of Muslims after the death of the Prophet.

Not only that, Ali actually had his own daughter married to Omar Ibn al Khattab, the man many Shiites hate most.

Well, does a man have his own daughter married to the man he hates most?

In addition, Imam Ali had three of his sons named after Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman, the first three Caliphs. Hence, one is prompted to seriously question the Shiite claims that Ali hated these caliphs. Well, a man doesn’t name his own children after his worst enemies.

Ali was known of his exemplary bravery and courage. This is why it is highly unlikely that his collaboration with the caliphs occurred under duress. Ali was not the type of man who would cower under duress. He was not the type of man who would play the role of a hypocrite. His heart and his tongue were the same.

In a nutshell, the Shiite brothers should realize that Muslim unity can’t be achieved while certain Shiites keep up reviving ancient hatred by cursing and vilifying historical figures Sunni Muslims glorify and love.

Such behavior would only perpetuate Muslim disunity. It would also prove that some Shiite religious circles are not really serious about Muslim unity.


The settler and the shepherd: an unfair tale

This Saturday, Yahya Atta Riahin, an 18 year-old shepherd from the town of Aqraba, in the Northern district of Nablus, was executed by Israeli settlers while grazing his sheep in the fields surrounding his village.

That night, Yahya was suppose to get back from the fields, like any other Palestinian teenager during Ramadan, to share Iftar -the fast-breaking meal- with his family. As they didn’t see the boy coming back and started being anxious, knowing the risk of an – unfortunately common- settler attack in the Region, they alerted the neighbours and the entire village organised a search to find the missing boy.

The body of the young shepherd was found with gunshot wounds late Saturday night, in the fields between the neighbouring settlement of Itamar and the villages of Aqraba and Awarta.

According to eyewitnesses, the teenager has been attacked by a group of settlers from Itamar and Jettit, the illegal Israeli settlements that surround Al Aqbraba village. To the witnesses, the boy was pursued by a settler’s car before they heard gunshots but did not see him being shot. From a first forensic report, the settlers shot at him at least 20 times, from close range.

“We are examining the bullets and type of gun, trying to find out who was behind (the shooting). Everything is open at the moment,” said Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesman.

Recent months have seen a spike in violence by West Bank settlers against Palestinians, and in some cases against Israeli security forces. The settlers from Yitzhar and Itamar settlements, built on southern Nablus lands, have routinely attacked the neighbouring Palestinian villages.

But since the beginning of September and the holy month of Ramadan, attack as such as the burnings of fields and beatings of residents villages are have been increasing. Earlier this months, settlers from the same area stabbed to death a 9 years-old Palestinian kid, burned olive trees and crops, and destroyed a water well.

According to Haaretz, in the first half of 2008, particularly in the Nablus and Hebron governorates, there has been an increase in “disturbances of the peace” – the minimalist term used for harm caused by Israeli citizens to Palestinians and their property- as well as harm to Israeli security forces. Data presented by the newspaper indicated that there were 429 such incidents in the first half of this year, compared with 587 incidents in all of 2006 and 551 in 2007.

The settlers’ violence has always been a disaster for the living conditions of the Palestinians surrounded by illegal constructions and outposts that already have taken heir land away. But now, regarding the amazing increase of violent attacks, it has become a real core issue for the Israeli society in itself as the Israeli government has few control on the settler’s behaviour as settlers defend the violence as a tactic meant to deter Israeli authorities from evacuating settlements.

For more information on that issue, please read “Settler Violence Out of Control”



This evening at sundown Jews throughout the world and in Israel will start celebrating the New Year, Rosh HaShana.

As the same sun on the same earth we live on sets, Muslims throughout the world and in Palestine will start celebrating the Glorious Feast of Eid al Fitre.
In both cases these are family celebrations. But in one case this will not be. As during all Jewish festivals in Israel, the West Bank will be closed preventing Palestinians from visiting their relatives in other areas.

Talk about a Grinch!~

Is this the ‘Peace Process’ Israel speaks of? Is this the progress made between Abbas and Olmert? At least Olmert had the good sense to step down…

But, despite the situation, I want to take the opportunity to wish my Jewish brothers and sisters a Happy New Year…. and my Muslim brothers and sisters Eid al Fitre Mubarak.

Let us all hope that the situation will change soon and we can all celebrate our joyous days together in Peace!


She stood firm defending her home, and, like an Olive tree, died standing

The daughter of Mariam Ayyad, 60, tells the story of her mother’s last moments – she describes an argument that ensued when Israeli soldiers broke into her home in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, and repeatedly hit the 60-year old woman and threw her on the ground until she dropped dead in front of her children and grandchildren.

Mariam died on Saturday evening after a lengthy argument with Israeli soldiers and border policemen who invaded Abu Dis. The argument ended with the soldiers beating her and throwing her to the ground, killing her.

Her daughter, Hiba, 21, was standing next to her when she died. She could not express her feelings in words and with her eyes filled with tears she said, “Yesterday my mother became a martyr, as she died at the hands of the occupiers. And it wasn’t enough for them to kill her in cold blood! They also barred the ambulance from reaching our home!”

“Dozens of soldiers came yesterday evening to our apartment building, supposedly in order to kidnap students of the Al Quds University who live in the same residential building we live in”, Hiba stated. “When the soldiers got to the floor where my brother lives with his wife and children, my mother told them that her daughter in law is alone at home with her kids. “Please, for God’s sake do not go in there, leave them alone, the kids will be terrified”, the mother told them.

Hiba added that the soldiers did not care to what her mother said, and one of them pushed her to the ground. Another soldier checked her vitals and said that she is still alive. At that moment, I tried to rush to the street to ask the neighbors to call for an ambulance, and they did. But while the army blocked the ambulance from arriving, the soldier told me that she was dead.”

“I was shocked, really shocked, I could not believe this is happening. Everything happened so fast, but now she is dead and there’s no bringing her back.”, the daughter added, “My mother died strong, as a martyr, but if the soldiers did not obstruct the ambulance, she would be alive now, we would have been able to save her life”.

In deep sorrow she added, “my sister Fida’, who lives in Jordan, could not say farewell to her, my mother was buried at 1 in the morning, because we did not let the soldiers take her body to Israel”.

Thousands of residents of Abu Dis, Al Sawahra and al Ezariyya (Bethany) participated in her funeral.

“We are currently in the holy month of Ramadan, so my mother spent her last days fasting and praying”, Hiba stated, saying she is glad for that fact and sure her mother is in heaven. But she added, in sorrow, “How will my days, and my life be without her?!”

She also said that the soldiers broke into their apartment building several times in recent months, conducting raids of the apartments in an attempt to kidnap Al Quds University students who live there.

Mousa Daoud, , head of the Al Makkased Charitable Society Clinic in Abu Dis, said that the body of Mariam Ayyad was brought to the hospital in a Red Crescent Society ambulance, and that the autopsy revealed that she suffered a fracture in her lower skull which also lead to brain hemorrhage.

“She was already dead by the time she got here, there was nothing that we could do to save her life”, Daoud stated, “Her skull was fractured when her head hit the ground”.

Fateh legislator, Jihad Abu Zeid, slammed the Israeli crime and said that the Israeli occupation is ongoing with its violations and crimes in direct violation of international laws and the basic principles of human rights.

“They committed this crime in Ramadan, this holy Muslim month. This latest crime has revealed the real face of the occupation and its plans to avoid achieving peace and stability in the region – this is what they are doing on the ground at the same time that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are attempting to reach a peace deal”, Abu Zeid added.

She also stated that the occupation is actively acting against any opportunity for peace in spite of the international efforts to achieve a peace deal.

She voiced an appeal to the international community and human rights groups to intervene and expose the Israeli crimes and oblige Israel to respect human rights and be committed to the international treaties and principles.

“They should oblige Israel to respect human rights, they should force Israel to stop its illegal assaults against our people”, Abu Zeid said.


Another tale from the hospital…..

During my first week at the hospital I was witness to the first hand brutality against the people of Palestine. A bed was wheeled into my room by two young Israeli soldiers wearing identification badges of the Military Police. In the bed was a young boy, both legs in casts and signs of beatings on his head and face.

I innocently asked the soldiers what was going on…. and was quickly informed that the boy was a ‘terrorist’ and is in their custody until he is able to leave the hospital and go to a military prison. “Terrorist” I declared….. you guys are holding loaded machine guns while he is strapped to a bed all broken up from head to foot!!! He has a bullet in each of his legs and you say he’s the terrorist…The response was that “he threw stones at an army jeep”. I asked where the jeep was at the time and they told me it was in a small Palestinian village just outside of Bethlehem.

I went to talk to the young lad at that point…. he denied all charges, told me his name was Hanyeh and begged me to get word to his family that he was in the hospital and alive. He apparently was in custody for two weeks at that time and his family was not informed if he was dead or alive or where he was. A young lad of only 17 possibly being mourned by his parents who way to often witnessed young boys disappear never to be seen again…

I asked him what his home phone number was, there wasn’t one. I asked the name of his village and was told. Fortunately I knew some people there and was able to reach them and was able to get word to Hanyeh’s mother about his whereabouts.

The next morning there she was standing in front of me. Disregarding all traditions associated with religious Muslim women, she put her arms around me and kissed me on both cheeks, crying and thanking me at the same time. The boy was asleep, I woke him and told him he had a guest….. “MAMA”!!! It was a very moving scene. The police intervened at that point and told her to leave and not speak to him…. my immediate reaction was “not on my watch!” I told the young soldier to shut his eyes and his mouth and allow them to have a short visit. By some miracle, the soldier turned around and left the room…

After a few minutes the mother asked me for my cellphone number and asked if her husband can call later and speak to the boy… of course I agreed. I also told her that if she was able to visit again to tell the soldiers that she was visiting me, and from my bed she could speak to her son.

A week later the boy was moved to a different ward where it was a bit more difficult for family visits. The soldiers informed me on more than one occasion that Hanyeh asked for me every day, my new friend the ‘terrorist’.

I can’t help but ask what would have happened if I wasn’t in the room when the young lad arrived. Would his family ever been told where he was or why? This is not an isolated incident, unfortunately these actions by the Israeli Military are the norm. The prisons here are full of young Palestinian ‘terrorists’, many of whom were never brought to trial or officially charged , as was the case with Hanyeh.

The signature quote on my email is “To believe in something and not live it, is dishonest.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~
I think I was being honest by living my beliefs during that period.

It also made me realise how more efficiently the hospital itself could run if it wasn’t used as an extension of the military prison system.




The Livni illusion

Khalid Amayreh from East Jerusalem

Israeli President Peres assigns Livni to form a new government (photo: AFP)

The friendly smile hides a sinister agenda.

With Tzipi Livni succeeding Ehud Olmert as Israel’s next prime minister following her slim victory over former defense minister Shaul Mofaz on 18 September, most Palestinians are pinning few hopes on the “new” Israeli government’s ability to make a real difference in relations.

Initially, Livni’s victory generated a modicum of euphoria, especially among observers not well-versed in Israeli politics. However, a more sobre analysis of the political realities in Israel suggests that Livni won’t be able to do much in terms of reaching a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority without having the backing of a solid majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

One Israeli writer remarked following Livni’s victory that “the heart wants to hope, but the brain cannot.” Some observers on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides are already predicting that the government Livni is going to form will not last long and that early general elections will have to be held in Israel sooner rather than later.

Likud opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu is already wasting no time lambasting Livni on the ground that she was only elected as prime minister by less than half a per cent of eligible Israeli voters.

Livni herself has recognised the “immense difficulties” facing her task of forming the next government, saying that she won’t call for early general elections unless her efforts to form a stable and strong government reach a dead end.

Livni has been wooing Knesset members from other parties, especially the Haredi Shas, which represents Jews of Middle Eastern origin. However, as of now, she is facing an uphill struggle forming the government given the lack of unity within her own party and the widespread calls for early elections.

Mofaz, who received the backing of nearly half of Kadima members, decided to take a time out, with some unconfirmed reports that he might be contemplating returning to the Likud. This means that the next Israeli prime minister will not have her own party solidly behind her, which may very well shorten the duration of her government.

Kadima, the party formed by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, has never been ideologically and politically homogenous. Moreover, last week’s internal party elections which Livni won by a majority of no more than 400 voters illustrated the sharp divisions between the right-wing extremists within the party who voted for Mofaz and the pragmatic Jabotinskyites who voted for Livni.

Publicly, the Palestinian Authority welcomed the election of Livni as the lesser of two evils, given the hawkish character of Mofaz.

Saeb Ureikat, a PA negotiator, said he hoped Livni would engage more deeply in the peace process, leading to a final-status agreement that would put an end to 41 years of Israeli military occupation and Palestinian statehood.

However, given Livni’s profile, Ureikat’s remarks were more about diplomatic pleasantries and less about a genuine Palestinian conviction that Livni is the right person for advancing peace.

A known Sharonite, Livni stands firmly against the dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and opposes a return to the 1967 borders. She is also vehemently against the repatriation of Palestinian refugees who were uprooted and expelled from their homes when Israel was created more than 60 years ago.

Mahmoud Muhareb, a professor of Israeli Studies at Al-Quds University, says it is foolhardy to pin real hopes on Livni for advancing the peace process. “In essence, Livni belongs to the Sharon school. Her overall strategy is to annex the largest possible part of the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem, and impose the fait accompli on the Palestinians.”

Muhareb said Livni would keep up Judaising the occupied territories, especially East Jerusalem, and at the same time keep a superficial peace process alive in order to impede the restoration of Palestinian unity. “Her pronouncements and positions as foreign minister show that she is a real extremist.” She insists that the Palestinians “must recognise Israel as a state for the Jews”.

Muhareb argued that Israel’s engagement in peace-making is not attributed to a genuine desire for peace and justice. “The driving factor behind the peace process as far as Israel is concerned is the demographic problem. Israel wants as much as possible of Palestinian geography and as little as possible of Palestinian demography.”

Another Palestinian intellectual, Hani Al-Masri, reflected the prevailing feeling among most Palestinians by arguing that there are no fundamental differences between Israeli leaders. “They all agree that Israel must not return to the 1967 borders, that the refugees must never be allowed to return home, that Israel must retain control over Palestinian borders and border-crossings and that any Palestinian entity would have to be subservient to Israel in one way or the other.”

Al-Masri pointed out that the lingering negotiations between PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei and Livni, which have been going on for over a year, have achieved virtually nothing. “These fruitless talks give the impression that there is a peace process going on, where there is really none. This is why the world is making no genuine efforts to force Israel to end the occupation.”

Al-Masri argued that any government formed by Livni would have to appease the Jewish extremists, otherwise she would lose parliamentary confidence. “In order for Livni to be able to form a durable government, she will have to keep Jerusalem as a part of Israel. Hence, we must not pin hopes on Livni and other Israeli leaders. We must rely on ourselves by restoring our national unity and build our own strength.”

Nonetheless, Livni is likely to continue the peace talks with the PA. According to observers, the new Israeli premier-designate is likely to press the Palestinian leadership to show a willingness to compromise and not to “waste this opportunity”.

According to Israeli writer Uri Avnery, Livni is convinced that the only way to maintain Israel as a Jewish state is the creation of a Palestinian state. However, it is also true that Livni believes that the creation of a Palestinian state would also provide a solution for Israeli citizens who are non-Jews.

In other words, the two-state solution as envisaged by Livni would entail the ultimate expulsion of Israel’s Palestinian minority at some point in the future, which really places her in the extreme right-wing camp.


Some background information for this post…..

In my last post, on the 10th of August I informed my readers that I was off for a vacation to recharge my batteries…. What I didn’t tell you was that I was off to the hospital for what I thought was a small problem. It turned out that the problem was not so small after all…. the doctors found a growth of scar tissue below my knee which was the result of a surgery I had on that leg about 12 years ago. Constant pressure on that growth eventually caused a blockage in two major arteries in that leg.

Once again, surgery was necessary to correct the problem…. Sounds simple so far, right? NOTHING is simple in Israel….. at least nothing related to health care.

First days in the hospital….

I was in one of the largest hospitals in the Jerusalem area. I originally went directly to the Emergency Room (which is the usual way to get admitted into the hospital itself). I was admitted after consulting with a number of doctors connected to the Vascular Surgery Department…. but there was one problem…. there was no room in the department that I was to be transferred to. As a result, I wound up stuck in the Emergency Room for two days, until there was a bed available for me. BUT…. the bed was not in the Vascular Surgery Department, it was in the Dermatology Department. This was not really a big deal or a problem as I was visited by doctors from the department I was supposed to be in. After three days I was finally given a bed in the department I was meant to be in.
Then the fun started….
Test after test after test indicated that I did indeed require surgery…. but was I strong enough to undergo it? So, more tests to determine if that was the case. That all took about two weeks of literally not getting treatment for the problem I was admitted for. Finally, a date was set for the operation. I was to be operated on a Sunday at 7A.M…. only to be told that there was to be a three hour delay because of some emergency procedures taking place in the operating room…… again, only to be told five hours later that my operation was to be postponed until Wednesday.

On Wednesday I was informed that it would not take place until the following Tuesday. In a way it made me feel good in a way, knowing that my operation to be was not considered an emergency. Tuesday finally came and the operation took place. Supposedly the problem was resolved….

To insure that my blood vessels remain open after surgery I was put on a drip for the next few days. It was quite an aggressive medication that took six hours each time it was administered. The doctors were more than pleased with the results as it was working better than they thought it would.

Then the beaurocratic problems with the Health Fund started….

After about six treatments, the Health Fund that I belong to informed the hospital administration that they were not prepared to pay for a continuation of the treatments…. it was too expensive! If a Health Fund is not prepared to pay for treatments that could possibly save a patient’s life, what are they prepared to do??

Their logic was that it would be cheaper for them to have me transferred to a smaller hospital where it would cost them less. I was game… I just wanted to get the whole thing over with and get on with my life.
However, the doctors treating me had a different solution….. there was a special injection that they felt would help my situation… an injection that was administered under local anesthesia which would open and expand the blood vessels and keep them open, making the remainder of the original treatments of the drip unnecessary. I was given the injection and again, the doctors were very pleased with the results. I was finally released from the hospital and sent home the next day.

Surely the stress and aggravation I was put through is not good for a person with circulatory problems….

But does the Heath Fund care??

Obviously not! They are there to make money… not to spend it on health care. The government has cut back on virtually all social services in order to continue funding the illegal occupation of Palestine. Ever dollar (Shekel) spent on health care or education means less money in the coffers that finance the continuation of the apartheid policies and ongoing holocaust against the people of Palestine, Gaza in particular.

Is there an alternative??

Of course there is. It’s called PEACE! It’s called ENDING THE OCCUPATION!! It’s called granting the people of Palestine a State to call their own. Only then will the Israelis themselves be able to live in dignity as well…. WITH PROPER HEALTH COVERAGE!!!

When Michael Moore writes about the ‘SICKO’ situation of the American health crisis it’s made into a movie. Hopefully he will read this post and help us in our own dire situation.