Terror in Mumbai and the Kashmir question
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied-East Jerusalem
Like most people, I condemn in the strongest terms the latest acts of terror in India which killed many innocent people from several nationalities. Taking the life of the innocent can’t be justified under all circumstances.
The Quran for example states in Sura No. 5, al-Maeda, that “ We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one killed a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” Other religious scriptures make similar admonitions against the killing of the innocent.
However, the issue of terror in India or elsewhere, is very complicated and contextual and stopping at condemning the terror and terrorists doesn’t take us anywhere.
In Israel-Palestine, for example, the issue of “terror” is rooted in the huge Crime Against Humanity, otherwise known as Israel, which through mass terror stole Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants in 1949, destroyed their homes, villages, and farms, murdered thousands and dispersed the rest to the four winds.
I am not an authority on India. But I know that India has its own “Palestinian question,” namely the Kashmiri plight.
India occupied Kashmir and Jammu more than sixty years ago against the will of its people and despite an explicit UN resolution that would have allowed the native Kashmiris to determine their own destiny through a public referendum, that is to choose either to join India, join Pakistan or be an independent nation-state.
Since then, However, the Indian army has been systematically repressing Kashmiris in ways similar to what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians.
As a result, tens of thousands of mostly innocent Kashmiris have been killed and horrendous crimes as well grave human rights violations are routinely committed against the largely Muslim inhabitants of the region.
This unmitigated repression, coupled with a real sense of being oppressed, eventually boomeranged, pushing many young Kashmiris to join resistance groups such as the “Mujahideen.”
As I said, no cause, however legitimate it may be, justifies the killing of innocent people. But, unfortunately, it does make terror, with all its ugly manifestations, inevitable.
The American-English poet W.H. Auden once wrote:
I and the public know,
What all school children learn,
Those to whom evil is done,
Do evil in return.
One should also recall the perfectly true adage that “war is the rich man’ terror against the poor and terror is the poor man’s war against the rich.” This is certainly true in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is likely to be true as well in Kashmir.
India is too powerful to be defeated by terror. However, India, or any other country, big or small, strong or weak, can be weakened, demoralized and destabilized by internal factors such as the rampancy of injustice, tyranny and racist discrimination against a given religious or ethnic community.
I understand that the Indian government is probably in no mood now to hear words of advice and wisdom. Moreover, the hot heads of the security establishment, along with jingoistic-minded politicians want to spill blood, now, because otherwise the virility and dignity of the Indian nation would be questioned.
But this is not the wise man’s approach.
India should be too confident of itself to walk in the path of insolence and impetuousness, since violence will breed even more violence and terror (even if called counter-terror) will lead to greater terror. India is a very large country, with over a billion inhabitants. It can’t post a policeman in every corner. A police state apparatus won’t work.
India must not try to emulate Israel, an evil state run by murderers, thieves and liars.
My advice to India is to be level-headed and analyze the outrageous events in Mumbai comprehensively and objectively and not give in to the temptation of revenge. Revenge might quench the thirst for blood for the time being, but eventually it would only deepen the crisis and cause more bloodshed.
I suggest that India should try to sincerely review its policies in Kashmir and reconsider some of its manifestly criminal behaviors against innocent Kashmiris on suspicion of harboring sympathy with the militants.
Indeed, I don’t see any legitimate reason preventing the Indian authorities from sitting down with militants in an effort to foster peace all over the subcontinent. Talking enemies who willing to talk for the purpose of solving problems is always better than killing. And meeting the legitimate aspirations and needs of embittered citizens or subjects always leads to a win-win situation for everyone.
More to the point, India should understand that military force has its own limits and that there are certain problems that cannot be overcome with guns alone.
Following the 9/11 events, in which elements within the Bush administration were probably involved, the US invaded, occupied and virtually destroyed two sovereign Muslim countries at the pretext of fighting terror.
Now, seven years later, one is prompted to ask if terror has really been defeated despite the death of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Does terror now pose a lesser or greater threat to world peace and security?
Well, we all know the answer.
Also, it is clear that Zionist circles in Israel and North America are trying to pull India toward the circle of Islamophobia. Don’t heed Zionism’s evil advice. They want India to hate Islam and Muslims on Israel’s behalf. Turning against Islam will harm India in ways unpredictable.
Instead, the huge Muslim minority in India should be utilized to fight terror which distorts their faith. It is in their best collective interests to do so.
But don’t you every fall in the trap of the clash of civilizations. The terrorists who carried out the carnage didn’t do it because “they hated our freedom.” They did it because of well-known grievances that can’t be easily dismissed as unreal. India must be have the moral courage to face these problems, the sooner the better.
In short, India shouldn’t not walk in the path of the fools like the Bush administration has been doing. A wise man should learn from the mistakes of others, if he doesn’t, then he is no better than them.
Finally, it has been reported that the terrorists in Mumbai were particularly targeting American and British nationals.
That is really lamentable because numerous Britons and Americans strongly condemned the criminal behaviors of their respective governments.
Innocent people must never be made to pay, especially in their lives, for the misconduct of their governments.
Otherwise, millions of Muslims should likewise be held liable for the scandalous acts of their respective governments.
Disturbing the peace
‘I’m afraid the police are looking for an opportunity to bring the Acre riots to Jerusalem,” says Sur Bahir resident Zohair Hamdan. Referring to the inter-communal violence that broke out in Acre on Yom Kippur when an Arab and his son disrupted the sanctity of the holy day by driving into a Jewish neighborhood to visit a relative, Hamdan has accused the Jerusalem Police of “silencing” the local mosque.
Hamdan intends to petition the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday against the police’s disconnecting three loudspeakers at the Umari Mosque in Sur Bahir at 11 a.m. last Friday, less than an hour before the call for the second Muslim prayer of the day.
“I have always been in favor of good relationships between Palestinians and Israelis. I believe in peace, but this is an attack on God, and for me this is a red line that shouldn’t be crossed,” says Hamdan, who announced several months ago that he was running for the city council but never submitted his candidacy.
He says he was not very surprised to see the policemen of the Jerusalem district in the Arab village, but he adds that he never imagined they would dare to touch a place of worship.
Hamdan claims, “I know it all started with a complaint made by city council member and resident of Har Homa, Meir Turgeman. He told me himself a few weeks ago that his neighbors asked him to do something about the muezzin call at night which, according to them, disturb them. Instead of trying to find a peaceful solution, he went to the police and the police came in and disconnected our loudspeakers.”
“Hamdan is right. I went to the police and lodged a complaint to the police, in the name of my neighbors in Har Homa and residents of East Talpiot,” admits Turgeman. “I personally am not disturbed by the sound, but the residents in Har Homa couldn’t stand it anymore – it wakes old people and toddlers at 3 a.m. It’s against the law anyway.”
According to Turgeman, Hamdan told him that “This [the noise] is done on purpose by a group of Arab residents who want to create tension.”
According to the district police spokesman, the three loudspeakers that were disconnected following some Har Homa and East Talpiot residents’ complaints were not on a mosque at all. “We discovered three very powerful loudspeakers connected to a Muslim Internet site. The loudspeakers were set up on the roof of a private home and not on the mosque, without the relevant permit, and were set on full volume, again against the law. We asked the owner of the house why he put them there, and he said it was other people’s doing and he was not involved. He agreed of his own volition to disconnect them. As far as the police is concerned, the matter is closed.”
A whoring, lying state
IOF troops paint over graffiti daubed on the walls of a mosque by Jewish settlers.
Israel routinely claims to be “civilized, and democratic.” However, in truth, Israel is neither civilized nor democratic. In fact, one can safely claim that Israel is actually a criminal, barbarian and utterly uncivilized state that lives and thrives on murder, theft and mendacity.
The following observations are an irrefutable proof showing that Israel differs very little from criminal states throughout history, past and present.
Take, for example, the ongoing daily rampages by Jewish thugs, otherwise known as settlers, against Palestinians and their property in the southern West Bank town of Hebron.
On Wednesday, 26 November, dozens of Jewish hoodlums attacked a Palestinian neighborhood in the heart of the southern West Bank town, causing much damage to residents, their homes and cars.
The gravity of this criminal behavior doesn’t stem only from the damage wreaked on innocent people, but rather from the stunning passivity displayed by the Israeli occupation army and the Israeli state in general toward organized Jewish terror.
The latest rampage is only the latest spate of violence by the thugs of Gush Emunim (Bloc of Faithful) against the Palestinians of the city of al-Khalil, or Hebron.
Last week, dozens of settlers attacked, shortly after midnight, the homes, cars and property of Palestinians in the vicinity of the colony of Kiryat Arba. The attackers smashed window glass, car windshields and vandalized property. The thugs also scrawled offensive graffiti on the wall of a local mosque, including the blasphemous graffiti “Muhammed is Pig.”
Unfortunately, very few Jewish religious leaders in Israel or abroad probably with the exception of the anti-Zionist group Naturi Karta, have condemned the sacrilegious acts. Well, Jews shouldn’t think that such virulent behavior is not going to be noticed by Muslims around the world.
The next time Jews complain about anti-Semitism in the Muslim or Arab world, they should be reminded of their despicable silence and indifference toward the anti-Islam behavior of their people in Hebron.
What is even more shocking is the refusal of the Israeli occupation army, which according to international law should protect local Palestinians from settler barbarianism and savagery.
This writer on many occasions witnessed settler thugs beat, stone and even shoot Palestinians while Israeli occupation soldiers were standing passively as if nothing wrong or abnormal was happening.
There is only one explanation and one interpretation of army passivity in this regard. It means coordination, connivance, acquiescence, collusion and coordination.
It means that the Israeli army doesn’t really object to settlers attacking Palestinians and vandalizing their property as long as this behavior doesn’t provoke an international outcry.
In short, Israel is simply sanctioning the organized terror and violence against innocent Palestinians in Hebron.
Doesn’t this remind us of how the Nazi authorities treated anti-Jewish thugs who attacked Jewish property and places of worship in November, 1938?
Yes, it is true, the scope of Jewish violence and terror in Hebron has not yet assumed genocidal proportions.
However, it is also true that even genocides start with relatively minor incidents, very much like what the settlers are doing to innocent Palestinians in Hebron these days.
Furthermore, it is imperative to remember that the thugs of Gush Emunim don’t really differ in substance from the Hitler Youth and other Nazi groups in terms of ideology and racism.
These thugs say openly and unhesitatingly that their goal is to exterminate non-Jews in Palestine or at least expel them, in order to establish a Talmudic Jewish kingdom that would rule according to Halacha or Jewish religious law. Well, a law, religious or otherwise, that advocates extermination, enslavement or collective deportation of an entire people from their homeland must not be hallowed or respected.
Hence, the ideology of Jewish messianic fundamentalism must be isolated and fought relentlessly.
Just imagine if these thugs, who are supported by powerful political parties and nearly 50% of Israeli lawmakers, were to control Israel’s vast nuclear arsenal.
Another stark example of Israeli barbarianism is the recent revelation by the Israeli media that the Israeli occupation army has been carrying out extra-judicial executions of innocent Palestinians.
According to reports published in the Israeli press this week, the Israeli army issued orders allowing soldiers to murder innocent Palestinians in the process of murdering so-called “wanted persons.”
One Israeli soldier was quoted as saying that “we killed innocent Palestinians knowingly and deliberately.”
Of course, none of the murderers has been prosecuted.
This is the state that keeps telling the world that it is the only true democracy in the Middle East and that its conduct is determined by the rule of law.
Well, Nazi Germany, too, followed the rule of law, that is the Nazi rule of law.
Some Zionists, who prefer argumentative prevarication and linguistic sophistry over honesty would claim that Israeli troops, unlike Palestinian guerillas, don’t deliberately target civilians.
But this argument is a big lie, because Israel has murdered thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians, and it is unlikely that all of them were killed by mistake.
Indeed, when mistakes are made every hour, every day, it means deliberate killing of innocent people is official policy.
Besides, when the number of victims is so large, as is the case in Gaza, for example, even intent becomes irrelevant.
Finally, Israeli military courts have lately been passing hefty prison sentences, ranging from 30-55 months, on Palestinian lawmakers affiliated with the Hamas movement.
We are talking about people who committed no misdemeanor or felony or violated any law. Their only “crime” is their decision to participate in the Palestinian general elections which took place in January 2006.
Needless to say, these elections had been okayed by both the United States and Israel, in the hope pro-American groups, such as Fatah, would win, which would allow for the liquidation of the Palestinian cause, especially the paramount right of return.
However, when Hamas won the elections, Israel, in collusion with the US and the PA, arrested nearly all Hamas’s lawmakers, charging them with affiliation with an illegal organization.
So, this is the behavior of the only democracy in the Middle East, a whoring democracy by every shred of imagination.
When will Israel wake up to its gruesome legacy, asks Khalid Amayreh
Unconcerned about arrest by the police or prosecution by the Israeli justice system, fanatical Jewish settlers in the Palestinian town of Hebron (Al-Khalil) have been attacking Palestinians, damaging and ransacking their property, exactly like Nazi thugs did to Jewish-owned property in Germany 80 years ago.
The settlers, who claim to be acting in the name of true Judaism, espouse a messianic doctrine advocating violence and terror against non- Jews in Israel-Palestine for the purpose of creating a pure Jewish kingdom that would be ruled by Halacha, or Jewish religious law.
The settlers, who represent the core of religious Zionism, believe that the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in the Holy Land will eventually usher the messianic age and accelerate the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, or Redeemer, who would bring about redemption for Jews and rule the entire world from Jerusalem.
In recent weeks, these thugs have been attacking Palestinian homes, smashing cars, vandalising property and fostering a general atmosphere of fear and terror throughout this town of nearly 200,000 people.
Al-Ahram Weekly has inspected the damage inflicted by settlers and spoken with thoroughly terrorised victims who complained that the Israeli authorities and army were effectively giving the paramilitary terrorists a carte blanche to terrorise Palestinians. “They [the settlers] are Nazi, and if there was a stronger epithet, I would not hesitate to use. You can’t imagine the ugliness and brutality of their behaviour,” said Ahmed Al-Jamal, a frequent target of settler terror and vandalism.
“Every Friday night and Saturday, dozens of settlers, including kids, descend on our neighbourhood to smash our cars, windows and property and shout ‘Death to the Arabs!’ This is their way of sanctifying the Sabbath and pleasing God.”
Al-Jamal said dozens of settlers, some of them masked, last week attacked his and his brother’s and neighbour’s homes around 2.30am, smashing windows and windshields of parked cars. “We informed the police, and the police told us they would look into the matter. This is pretty much what they have been telling us since 1970 when these ‘Nazis’ came to live here.”
Mohamed Daana, who lives in Wadi Al-Nasara, located just south of the Jewish colony of Kiryat Araba, said he submitted at least 500 complaints to the Israeli police in a desperate effort to put an end to settler violence and terror against him and his family.
“The last time I went to submit a police complaint in Kiryat Araba one policeman took me to the next room and told me ‘I want to advise you, there is no point in submitting all these complaints. We simply can’t do anything to help you. The settlers control the state and the army can do little to protect you from them.'” Asked what he would do next to protect his family, Daana said, “I have no choice but to remain steadfast. A harmful neighbour will either die or move away,” said Daana quoting an old Arabic proverb.
Last week, dozens of young settlers, many of them wearing masks and armed with submachine guns, rampaged through the Khaled Ibn Al-Walid neighbourhood, not far from the colony of Kiryat Araba. There the settlers, who reportedly were dressed in religious attire, vandalised a Muslim cemetery and scrawled the Star of David on Muslim graves.
On the walls of the Khaled Ibn Al-Walid Mosque, the rampaging thugs scrawled the following phrase: “Mohamed is a pig.” This is the new slogan the settlers are mouthing to offend and provoke the Palestinians. The other slogan is Mavet le Arabim or “Death to the Arabs!”
These obscenities are infuriating the Palestinians who warned that settlers were trying to instigate a religious war in the Middle East. “What does the Prophet Mohamed have to do with the conflict? Why are they deliberately provoking us? We have never, and never will speak ill of their prophets and religious figures,” said Hassan Jaber, a neighbour of the mosque.
“When someone touches a Jewish cemetery anywhere in the world, the Jews make a big outcry about anti-Semitism. But when Jews commit blasphemous acts against Islam and Christianity, it is freedom of speech.”
This is not the first time self-righteous settlers, who claim to be following the Torah, seek to offend Muslim religious sensibilities. According to local Palestinians, settlers have markedly escalated their anti-Islam discourse, mainly by way of scrawling sacrilegious epithets that are deeply offensive to the Islamic faith, such as cursing the Arabic name of God (Allah) and the Prophet Mohamed. Several years ago, a Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union pasted on the doors of Arab stalls and shops in downtown Hebron drawings depicting the prophet of Islam as a pig writing the Quran.
Such sacrilegious acts generally go unpunished by the Israeli government, allowing the settlers and their supporters to feel powerful and immune from government action.
The bulk of Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories follow the teachings of Abraham Kook, the first rabbi of Israel, who taught that Jews should seek to expedite the appearance of the “redeemer” or Jewish Messiah by way of carrying out acts of violence and bloodshed. In 1994, a Jewish settler terrorist, an American immigrant by the name of Baruch Goldstein, murdered at least 29 Arab worshipers who as they were praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Goldstein, who was eventually killed by survivors, became a national hero among religious Zionists and Jewish extremists in general, and his tomb in Kiryat Araba became a pilgrimage site for religious Zionists from around the world. The settlers adopt a manifestly genocidal ideology with regard to how non-Jews living in Israel ought to be treated.
This ideology, which settlers say is based on the Talmud and is taught at the Mirkaz Harav religious Zionist college in Jerusalem, and gives Palestinians in Israel-Palestine three choices: first, comprehensive enslavement whereby non- Jews, or goyem, would have to accept their inferior status, second, outright expulsion, “lest they remain a thorn in your side,” and third, Old Testament-style physical extermination.
The settler community in Hebron is not large in terms of numbers. According to Israeli government statistics, no more than 500-600 settlers and Yeshiva (religious school) students live in the old quarter of Hebron among the town’s 180,000–200,000 Palestinian inhabitants. However, thousands of Israeli soldiers and paramilitary troops guard and protect the settlers around the clock, with the chief method of protection taking the form of making large parts of the town off-limit to Palestinians. In other words, 200,000 are held hostage to the whims of 500- 600 thugs who demand that non-Jews be enslaved, expelled or exterminated.
Needless to say, this causes immense hardship to Palestinian inhabitants whose freedom of movement and economic activities are harshly restricted. In some cases, a Palestinian living, say, in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque, is forced to travel several miles in order to get home from a nearby school or grocery store. The reason for such draconian restrictions is to make ordinary life so unbearable for ordinary Palestinians that they would leave their homes “voluntarily” so that the settlers could then seize them without the need of murdering the inhabitants.
As usual, the Israeli government continues to treat the settlers with the greatest temerity, refusing to take decisive action to stop their almost daily acts of violent and terror against Palestinians.
There are three main reasons contributing to the soft-glove policy towards the settlers. First, many of the soldiers serving in the occupied territories, particularly in the Hebron region, are themselves settlers and reluctant to arrest their colleagues. After all, the soldiers and settlers often have the same rabbi and attend the same Yeshiva, and worship at the same synagogue. Moreover, soldiers who are also settlers are effectively answerable first and foremost to their local rabbis, and only secondarily to their army superior. Second, the Israeli state itself views the settlers as a strategic asset that will prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state, guaranteeing the continuity of Israeli control over the West Bank. This is despite all official propaganda that Jewish settler violence is carried out in spite of the government. Third, the proximity of the upcoming Israeli elections, slated to take place on 10 February, makes the government, especially Defence Minister Ehud Barak (head of the Labour Party) think twice before alienating the settlers, even by carrying out High Court rulings.
Last week, the Israeli High Court ordered the state to vacate Jewish settlers from an Arab building they had seized after forging ownership documents. However, the settlers and their supporters, including 48 Knesset members (out of 120) and former ministers, vowed to confront the army and police “be it as it may”. Moreover, the settlers were planing to hold a large rally in Hebron to protest against the court decision and to underscore their determination to have their way.
Israeli President Shimon Peres, the godfather of Jewish settlements in the West Bank who is falsely portrayed as a man of peace, was quoted as saying during a visit to London last week that “Israel will find it difficult to evacuate the settlements without civil war.” Yossi Sarid, a former minister, spoke of “a state within a state that has arisen in the territories.”
Writing in Haaretz on 21 November, Sarid wrote, “a new custom has come to the country: High Court rulings are one thing, reality is another. One has not the slightest thing to do with the other. The settlements and the outposts are planted firmly in place and refuse to be uprooted; private land of Palestinians is being freely stolen; whole neighbourhoods born in sin are being populated; homes that have been stolen are filled with people; a brazen fence stands according to its original, arbitrary plan with only minimal changes.”
Sarid’s remarks may even be an understatement of reality.
One noted Israeli journalist intimated to this writer last week that Israel was facing two nightmarish scenarios in light of the settlers’ determined refusal to leave the West Bank: “We have two alternatives, either we go into civil war or become a fascist or Nazi state. These two choices are becoming starker with the passage of each day.”
If it`s not the power getting cut, leaving entire neighborhoods in darkness, then it`s the water not reaching the top floors or the cooking gas running out. If you have an electric generator, some small part of it is bound to be broken and unfixable, because even before the hermetic three-week siege, Israel prohibited bringing in any spare parts for cars, machines and household electric appliances.
And if you somehow manage to find the money for a generator that was smuggled through the tunnels (its price has doubled or tripled since last month), it`s at the expense of buying a heater (not electric, of course), English lessons, clothes for the children and visits to the doctor.
This is Gaza in November 2008. Just as Gaza is the emptying of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency storehouses and the farmers who sowed and watered, but cannot market, their tomatoes, guavas and strawberries out of the Gaza Strip because Israel forbids it, it is also the calmness with which people receive the sudden darkness and the jokes that there is not much food in the refrigerator to spoil anyway.
Gaza is the ability to tell jokes in any situation, and the burning insult of having no running water for three or four days. And yet, the children go clean and neat to school.
Gaza is the long Nasser Street which has been blocked to traffic for over a year. Its asphalt is torn out and it is riddled with potholes and mounds of sand. When Israel forbade bringing any construction materials and raw materials into the strip, the renovation work stopped on this thoroughfare, the main access to three hospitals, which are always in danger of equipment failure if some part breaks down.
But Gaza is also parents leaving their children alone at home, without fear, or letting them go to a playground far from home, or go by themselves to their grandmother in the Jabaliya refugee camp (in the streets parallel to Nasser Street).
Gaza is reports of policemen attacking Fatah supporters at a university, or the police closing a restaurant for one night because its owners didn`t report in advance about a symposium that was held in the restaurant`s hall, in which Hamas speakers participated and was organized by a research center associated with Ramallah authorities.
Gaza is the teacher who forces school girls to cover their heads, although senior officials assert that this is not the education ministry`s policy. It is exaggerations and false rumors, and it is also the Fatah detainees` report that cameras were installed in the interrogation room to ensure that the interrogators act within the boundaries of the law. It is the surprise when `Hamas` police restore stolen property, even before it has been reported stolen.
Gaza is the feeling among Fatah supporters that the power has been stolen from them, and their fear of the security apparatus, as it is Hamas` self confidence. It is the comparisons made with the intimidation methods in Yasser Arafat`s era and exchanging information about the suppression of Hamas activity in the West Bank.
Gaza is the anger of the entire public, including Fatah members, for what appears to be Ramallah`s deliberate neglect and indifference toward the strip and its residents` fate.
Gaza is those dreaming to leave it, and those who left years ago for school and work and miss it. Gaza is the people who cannot return to their families here, because even if they could find a crack and enter through the border crossings blocked by Israel, they would remain imprisoned here, and would have to renounce their freedom of movement and choice completely.
Everything is so intense here.
`We measure our lives in minutes, not in days or weeks,` a Fatah man said. His life has been turned upside down since June 2007, and is turned upside down every day due to the political rupture. He was referring to Fatah men like himself, convinced that Hamas people in the West Bank also `measure their lives in minutes.`
But his description suits everyone. The changes are so sudden, violent, swift and frequent that the individual has no control over them – whether it is high politics or laundry times.
Gaza is people`s constant attempt to cling to a normal life, although Israel foists on them abnormal terms of imprisonment, isolation from the rest of the world and deterioration to a state of humiliating dependence on international charity programs.
Missing in Gaza… Bread
Ola Attallah, IOL Correspondent
Akram Awad – The Siege on Gaza: We Share the Blame
As an international community, we all share the responsibility for the ongoing brutal siege on Gaza, and not until we utilise all possible means of peaceful and nonviolent resistance shall we hope for a close end of that siege. international community, we all share the responsibility for the ongoing brutal siege on Gaza, and not until we utilise all possible means of peaceful and nonviolent resistance shall we hope for a close end of that siege.
There is not much to say about the Holocaust of Gaza’s people – assuming that the reader has at least followed the media coverage of what is happening in the traumatised Strip. It comes as no surprise that Gazan’s have resorted to euthanasia to end the lives of thousands of newly hatched chicks, for even Gazan birds would prefer dying with honour over being victims of starvation. There is nothing exceptional about Gazans keeping their children alive with animal feeds, because even those who know the least about Gaza are aware that this is only one of the means used by its people to save the whole region from a definite explosion. The only shocking aspect of the whole current scene is that as much as Gazans are trying to convince their children that this life has at least some goodness that makes it worth clinging to, as much as the world strives to disprove such theories, and establish in the minds of those children that this life and world deserve no more than the curse of Gaza.
So as not to let the reader imagine that the world above belongs to another planet, I must make it clear that the world I’m referring to is actually “Us”: You and me. It’s easy for us to mourn Gaza’s people, and it’s easy to pray for their patience and persistence, and it’s easy to condemn the Israeli slaughter of 1.5 million people in Gaza. What seems impossible, though, is our confession that we are the ones besieging Gaza, and that all our condemnations, protests, prayers and writings – unless accompanied by genuine acts on the ground – are a bashful reflection of our insouciance toward the ongoing massacre against Palestinians in Gaza, and the lack of any desire from our side to take serious and practical actions to break the siege on the strip.
A reader may wonder: “genuine acts on the ground! Me?!” Their wonder will disappear as soon as we come to a realisation that peaceful and nonviolent resistance to injustices throughout history has been as effective as armed resistance – if not superior in many cases. Let’s remind ourselves and remind Egypt – Israel’s partner in the shedding of Palestinian blood in Gaza – that Egypt itself wouldn’t have gained its independence from colonialism in 1923 without the 1919’s revolution – which was peaceful in most respects – and the civil disobedience that followed the arrest of the leader of the Wafd Party, Saad Zaghloul. It was that revolution which finally forced the colonisers to surrender to the will of the Egyptians and declare Egypt’s independence. Let us also remember that Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful non-cooperation movement in India between 1920 and 1922 and then his famous Salt March in 1930 are what broke the back of British colonialism and forced it to recognise the independence of India in 1947. The determination of a man who just entered his seventh decade to walk a distance of 390 km in order to reach the Arabian Sea and break the British Raj salt laws, preventing the extraction of salt, may be seen by many as an act of madness, but when this old man attracts more than sixty thousand Indians on his way to the coastal village of Dundee and inspires millions to join the disobedience, the questioning of the fruitfulness of the pilgrimage to salt becomes no more than a sort of sophistry.
History is full of examples of peaceful and nonviolent resistance methods that the ninety year Palestinian struggle – since the Balfour declaration – could have learnt from. So why is it that Palestinians have not yet managed to achieve what others have achieved in the same, or shorter, time span? It won’t be far from truth to attribute the success of other nations’ struggles to their unity around one focal idea and their dedication to realising it. If Palestinians carefully diagnose their failure to achieve freedom then they would most probably trace the reasons back to the lack of those very attributes. I’m almost confident that Palestinians never agreed on one focal target; if you ask Palestinians for their thoughts on the best methods to achieve their freedom I trust you would be able to collect enough material to fill several volumes with scarcely any consistency between those methods. To stay within the article’s theme I shall say: The national consensus and participation of all sectors of the population are necessary conditions for the success of any initiative of nonviolent resistance that can be considered synonymous – or even a substitute – for armed resistance.
We started with the siege on Gaza and here we are talking about nonviolent resistance, so what’s the point? What I’m trying to say is that peaceful and nonviolent resistance benefits from an added value compared to armed resistance; that it is not limited to a certain segment of the nation, and that it allows for the contribution and involvement of all peoples of the world – as well as the victimised nation itself. The people of Gaza have prompted us to launch a non-violent resistance against the blockade when they rebelled against the siege and dismantled the separation wall on the Egyptian border to breathe in the scent of freedom for a few days before Egypt forced them to return to their big prison and suffocate inside their cells. Only a few understood the Palestinian hint at the time and started developing the Idea, and so emerged the Free Gaza movement (www.freegaza.org) and its brilliant idea of running vessels to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sea. Despite their limited financial and physical capabilities, the small group succeeded in proving the feasibility of their idea by repeating it three times, the latest of which was the boat carrying parliamentarians who resorted to the genius idea after they were prevented by the Egyptian regime from entering to Gaza by land.
It is enough of a pride for the Free Gaza movement that they innovated the “Freedom Boats” idea and implemented it on the ground. What remains is the most important part: the collective action: by me and you, our families, neighbours, friends, colleagues, and all those who believe in the righteousness of the Palestinian struggle and that they too, share the responsibility to achieve the freedom of Palestine. The Freedom Boats can move from being just a nice idea to an effective nonviolent resistance weapon only when the monthly trips become a continuously active and regular ship line, and when a fleet of ships replace the small boats, and when the programme organisers are forced to delay the travel of some passengers due to the overbooking of volunteers from all parts of the globe, and when each of us becomes a partner in accomplishing the idea by contributing toward the financing of the cruises or covering the expenses of volunteers; only then can we hope for a near collapse of the Israeli siege on Gaza, a collapse that we achieve with our own blood, tears and sweat rather than hopelessly begging for the sympathy of politicians and international bodies.
The decision to continue or end the siege on Gaza is neither an Israeli, Egyptian nor International decision; it is our – and only our – decision. If we are to accept the facts on the ground we should have no reason to expect neither a little sympathy from the Israeli occupier, nor to move the heart of the Egyptian regime. On the other hand, by instating new facts on the ground through nonviolent resistance Israelis will have no option but to accept that the end of their savageness and the freedom of Palestine is definitely on its way, and the Egyptians will be reminded once more of their leader, Saad Zaghloul’s, saying “Right is above might and the nation is above the government.”
restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
that’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I called the song Alice’s
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
have to take out their garbage for a long time.
We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
on toward the city dump.
Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.
We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
decided to throw our’s down.
That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it.” And
I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
under that garbage.”
After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
police officer’s station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the
shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
police officer’s station.
Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn’t very likely, and
we didn’t expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again,
which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer’s station
there was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was
both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said “Obie, I don’t think I
can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on.” He said, “Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car.”
And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to
mention the aerial photography.
After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
us in the cell. Said, “Kid, I’m going to put you in the cell, I want your
wallet and your belt.” And I said, “Obie, I can understand you wanting my
wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
want my belt for?” And he said, “Kid, we don’t want any hangings.”
I said, “Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?”
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
toilet seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars roll out the – roll the
toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
and didn’t get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.
We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up,
and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the
judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not
what I came to tell you about.
Came to talk about the draft.
They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.”
And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL,” and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”
Didn’t feel too good about it.
Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me
at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
and I walked up and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Kid, we only got
one question. Have you ever been arrested?”
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
the phenome… – and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, did you ever
go to court?”
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, I want
you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W …. NOW kid!!”
And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
and said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage.” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid?”
And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
up and said.
officer’s-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say”, and talked for
forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
(“KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?”)
I went over to the sargent, said, “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m
sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sittin here on the Group W bench
’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women,
kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug.” He looked at me and
said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind, and we’re gonna send you fingerprints
off to Washington.”
And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.”. And walk out. You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.
And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the guitar.
With feeling. So we’ll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does. Here it comes.
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
for another twenty five minutes. I’m not proud… or tired.
So we’ll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
harmony and feeling.
We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.
All right now.
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice’s Restaurant
By Gideon Levy
The Israeli peace camp was born in sin and died because of a lie: It was born as the legitimate son of the sin of occupation, and died the illegitimate son of the lie that `there is no partner` with whom to negotiate on the other side. Between September 1967 and October 2000, it spent 33 years waging the brave and determined struggle of a minority against a majority, `traitors` against `patriots,` `defilers of Israel` against `lovers of Israel,` David against Goliath. Today, we must painfully admit that it was struggle that did not produce much.
The peace camp was born of a small ad – a statement bearing only a dozen mostly unknown signatures – addressed to the general public, and then began to die a pathetic death, which is lamented by no one. Since then, its body has laid in public squares that are void of protesters, in streets empty of struggle and in public discourse free of ideas. On occasion, it lets out a desperate and dying gasp from the direction of a group of determined but marginalized groups, near the separation fence in Na`alin or in Gush Shalom`s advertisements in the Friday paper.
On occasion, it wraps itself in the guise of a mass demonstration, mostly at deceptive memorial rallies for Yitzhak Rabin – also featuring pop stars Aviv Geffen and Ninet – and in public opinion polls in which the majority claims to adopt its positions. But the interim balance sheet of history is clear and razor sharp: The occupation, the settlements, the police thugs and the brutality have been victorious over everything else. Never have so many people said we need to put a stop to things, and never have so few done anything about it.
The Israeli occupation enterprise has never been so prosperous, sweeping up in its whirlpool all of Israeli society and a vast army of settlers, secret agents, soldiers, prosecutors, journalists, politicians, judges, doctors, engineers, builders, architects, industrialists, artists, archaeologists and average apathetic citizens. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is implicated. They speak peace, but make war; oppose the settlements, but take part in their construction; say `two states,` but vote Likud; close their eyes, hide their faces and wrap themselves in the most dangerous of blankets: blankets of apathy.
I am flipping through the yellowing pages of Haaretz from September 1967. The announcement concerning the establishment of the peace camp is hidden between an advertisement for a car that costs 10,849 liras and a guaranteed `original key chain` for anyone who purchases a pack of Diplomat razor blades, just next to the death announcement paid for by a neuro-psychiatric society mourning one of its members. A dozen members of the Matzpen movement, who were outcast, excommunicated and persecuted, placed the ad three months after the end of the Six-Day War. At the peak of the nationalist orgy and the religious celebrations that dominated us then, came the first call: `Leave the occupied territories immediately!`
Everything the advertisement predicted about messianic occupation, and the terror and oppression that would be born of it, and the fact that we would become a `nation of murderers and murdered,` is a common truth shared by the masses, the mainstream, the warm and fuzzy consensus. Even Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon would concur. But surprisingly and catastrophically, here we are today, as the famous Chaim Nahman Bialik poem goes: The sun is shining, the acacia is blooming and the slaughterer is still slaughtering.
At the end of Camp David, when he told us `there`s no partner,` Ehud Barak propagated an even bigger lie: that we have a peace camp. How pleasant it is to delude ourselves that we have one, and how depressing it is to know that we don`t. There is no left – just empty words. When the only demonstration in town is over student tuition, when the only discourse in city and village alike concerns the `Big Brother` TV show, and the loudest cries are over `corruption` and Olmert`s frequent-flier miles instead of over the jailed Palestinian who is bleeding and beaten, who hasn`t had a normal day in his life – then we know for sure that there is no peace camp in Israel in 2008.
Maybe there never was? Maybe a camp that is defeated with such intolerable ease just needs to be told there is no partner in order to simply disappear. The moment this camp witnesses terrorism – that means of struggle for all those who seek liberation – it shuts itself down at home, planning the next package tour and watching a reality show, in fear, silence, betrayal and sick apathy, while half an hour away, the cruel occupation lives on. It`s much crueler today than it was back then, when a dozen Matzpen members printed that public appeal, a voice crying in the wilderness, the barren desert wilderness of the Israeli left and of Israeli society as a whole.
The term `left` and the expression `peace camp` need to be removed from the dictionary of Hebrew terms. We no longer have the right to make use of them. Any use whatsoever.
The price of Jewish blood
Israel‘s planned operation to rescue Shalit could spark a new Intifada, writes Khalid Amayreh
There is a growing impression among observers in Palestine-Israel that Israel may be preparing a “rescue operation” to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli occupation army soldier who was taken prisoner in Gaza by Palestinian fighters more than two years ago.
Israeli intelligence services claim they know the whereabouts of Shalit, specifically the Gaza street where he is being held. However, serious observers here doubt the credibility of these claims, arguing that Israel would have carried out a rescue operation a long time ago had the Israeli intelligence known Shalit’s place of detention.
The rescue operation scenario is described by some Israeli political analysts as “generally politically safe” if the operation ends successfully. Needless to say, “successfully” here means accomplishing the mission of liberating Shalit and bringing him back to Israel alive.
The Israeli intelligence services have been hunting for very conceivable piece of information that would enable Israel to locate Shalit’s place of captivity. This week, the Israeli press, quoting anonymous sources, reported that the Shin Beth was offering potential Palestinian informers the sum of $10,000 in return for providing credible and authentic information that would lead to the liberation of Shalit from Hamas’s custody.
However, Palestinian officials scoffed at the latest Israeli feat, calling it “a reflection of frustration and despair”. Some Israeli security services, relying on information extracted from Gazans rounded up during the repeated Israeli incursions into the Gaza Strip prior to the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Hamas, have pointed out that powerful bombs were planted in the vicinity of the building where Shalit is thought to be held. This implies that any prospective rescue operation to free Shalit is expected to end in failure.
There are certain indications that the current transitional government in Israel may well be willing to carry out a rescue operation regardless of the consequences. The reason for this is linked to the upcoming Israeli elections and the end of the Olmert government’s term in office.
The Kadima Party and its erstwhile junior coalition partner, the Labour Party, headed by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, realise that with Shalit remaining in captivity in Gaza, Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu is likely to put them on the defensive and use the issue as an effective propaganda tool in his election campaign.
Hence, a successful or even partly successful rescue operation would serve as a spectacular publicity booster for both the new Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, the man who would be directly responsible for ordering and overseeing the operation.
Nonetheless, while a decision to carry out an operation can be taken anytime, assuming that Israel does possess sufficient intelligence information to ensure a successful outcome, the Israeli government would have to seriously consider the political and other ramifications of failure since the chances of failure equal if not exceed the chances of success.
In this case, “whoever takes the decision to carry out an operation will have to bear the full consequences,” says Ahmed Youssef, advisor to Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza. “The Israelis have left no stone unturned in a desperate effort to discover Shalit’s whereabouts, but to no avail.”
However, some analysts argue that the Israeli army might very well opt to assassinate or abduct a number of important Hamas figures, including high-ranking officials in order to compensate for the failure of the operation and also to mollify Israeli public opinion. “They [the Israeli army] would abduct ministers and lawmakers and humiliate them publicly in order to compensate the Israeli public for the possible death of Shalit and failure of the operation,” one Israeli journalist intimated to Al-Ahram Weekly.
Israel had already abducted hundreds of Hamas’s members, including some 40 lawmakers, government ministers and other elected officials, in a failed attempt to bully Hamas to release Shalit. Israel had also carried out numerous deadly and devastating incursions all over the Gaza Strip to pressure the Islamist government to free Shalit, prompting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to complain that the Palestinian people have already paid too much for Shalit.
More to the point, the Israeli government is giving the impression that it has nearly exhausted all political efforts to get Shalit released, including exerting pressure on the Egyptian government to in turn pressure Hamas to show “flexibility” and accept a more modest number of Palestinian prisoners who would be freed in exchange for Shalit.
However, the Egyptian leadership has refused to succumb to Israeli pressure. A few weeks ago, President Hosni Mubarak was quoted as telling an Israeli reporter that Egypt expected Israel to address Hamas’s demands with regard to the Palestinian prisoners. Hamas interpreted Mubarak’s remarks as implying that Egypt is rejecting Israeli efforts to instigate President Mubarak against Hamas.
Apart from a possible rescue operation, Israel has two alternatives vis-à-vis the Shalit affair. First, reaching a swap deal with Hamas through Egyptian mediation in which case the Israeli government would have to release most or all Palestinian prisoners Hamas is insisting must be freed before Shalit can be returned to Israel.
This is the view of Saleh Al-Naami, an Israeli affairs correspondent based in the Gaza Strip. “I think Mr Olmert is in a better position now to agree to a swap that would more or less meet Hamas’s conditions without having to pay a devastating political price,” Al-Naami told the Weekly. “Olmert has nothing to lose; he is leaving for good, and he must be contemplating culminating his rule with something he would be remembered for.”
However, this scenario is unlikely to materialise, at least before the Israeli elections slated to take place on 10 February. Indeed, releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, along with the concomitant spectacular celebrations, would be a serious public relations liability for the present government, which would translate into a significant PR asset for the right-wing camp, especially for Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu.
In addition, releasing a large number of Palestinian prisoners would undoubtedly be a great booster for Hamas which could undermine PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s public standing, especially in light of the clear failure of the American-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Hence, it is nearly out of question that Olmert would take such a decision even if Hamas decided to relent on the number and quality of the prisoners Hamas wants to see released. Moreover, the stiff opposition by the Shin Beth, Israel’s chief domestic security agency, to releasing a large number of Palestinian detainees is likely to militate against this scenario.
A third and plausible possibility is that the current Israeli government will simply leave the matter for the next Israeli government to resolve. In this case, the next Israeli prime minister, who many pundits assume will be Netanyahu, will have to resolve the issue, but under less public and political pressure in comparison to the current Kadima-led government.
However, even hawkish Netanyahu would have to consider the consequences and ramifications of a rescue operation, especially with President-elect Barack Obama in the White House. “The scene of murdered and mutilated children in the streets of Gaza wouldn’t be the right thing to begin healthy relations between Netanyahu and Obama,” one Israeli journalist said.
Furthermore, a military operation targeting Hamas would certainly spark off an all-out confrontation with Hamas and other resistance organisations in Gaza, which could seriously complicate the delicate relations between Israel and Egypt as well.
In 1997, Netanyahu ordered the assassination of Hamas’s politburo chief Khaled Meshaal in Amman. The assassination attempt failed and the two would-be Mossad assassins were captured by Jordanian security. However, the operation prompted then King Hussein of Jordan to demand that Israel release from custody Hamas’s founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Yassin was released and allowed to return to Gaza, contributing to the growing influence of Hamas. He was eventually murdered by Israel on 22 March 2004.
Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem shudders at the drift to fascism in Israeli politics
With Israeli Jewish society drifting towards right-wing extremism, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, Israeli political parties contesting the upcoming elections, slated to take place on 10 February, are radicalising the tone of their public discourse in the hope of wooing as many potential voters as possible to their respective agendas.
The Kadima and Labour parties, erstwhile coalition partners, are escalating their rhetoric against the Palestinians, with ministers and former ministers calling for the resumption of assassinations of Palestinians.
For example, Shaul Mofaz, widely considered a certified war criminal, has been urging the Israeli government to launch devastating land and air attacks on Gaza, regardless of the political and moral price Israel may have to pay.
Mofaz, who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent Palestinians in his capacity as both chief of staff and defence minister, suggested this week that the Israeli army ought to carry out ruthless operations in Gaza in order to defeat Hamas which he termed a “key strategic threat”.
Tzipi Livni, Kadima leader, reportedly has Mofaz in mind for the defence portfolio in case Kadima emerges as winner in the elections and she succeeds in forming the next Israeli government.
Interestingly, acting Defence Minister Ehud Barak has been conspicuously less bellicose. This week, Barak called for preserving the fragile truce with Hamas despite “the provocations”, an allusion to the firing of pathetic homemade projectiles on Jewish border settlements near Gaza in retaliation for deadly Israeli attacks that have so far killed more than a dozen Palestinians.
Barak, his aides argue, is not interested in making a big conflagration in Gaza prior to the inauguration of the Obama administration in the White House on 20 January because this might leave a bad impression on the new president. Moreover, Barak and Livni seem to calculate that an outbreak of deadly violence in southern Israel would seriously undermine the Israeli campaign to press the West to force Iran to end or suspend its nuclear programme.
Israel, which is widely believed to possess a huge arsenal of nuclear bombs and warheads and delivery systems, has been saying that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will not be ruled out.
Apart from sporadic statements by Kadima leaders, including an unprecedented remark by outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which he said Israel would have to return to the 1967 borders, much of the action has been taking place in the right camp, where the Likud is regaining its former status as Israel’s number one political party. In recent days, a number of former Likud leaders, who had either left politics or switched to other parties, have decided to return to their former home.
The returnees include such renowned figures as Benyamin Begin, the son of former Israeli prime minister Menahem Begin and Dan Merridor, a former minister of justice. Begin is viewed as embodying honesty and integrity in politics, while the latter is seen as representing political moderation, characters that would be a valuable asset to a government formed by a notoriously dishonest and pugnacious Benyamin Netanyahu.
However, two more hawks are also joining Likud. The first is Moshe Yaalon, a former chief of staff, who is also widely viewed as a certified war criminal, not only by Palestinians, but also by human rights organisations around the world. Yaalon has been warned against entering several European countries, including Britain and Spain, lest he be arrested for his role in the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
Yaalon’s tenure as chief of staff of the Israeli army 2002- 2005 was marked by numerous acts of almost pornographic murder of civilians in both Gaza and the West Bank, including the bombing and extermination of many Palestinian families as well as the deliberate targeting of children and other civilians. Yaalon is also a leading proponent of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, with or without American backing.
Speaking in occupied Jerusalem this week, Yaalon was quoted as saying that he decided to join the Likud “because I can no longer remain on the sidelines during such a critical time in Israel.” Yaalon was against the Israeli army redeployment from the Gaza Strip and is an ardent supporter of Jewish colonisation in the West Bank. With regard to the peace process, he believes Palestinians would have to spend many years “educating themselves about peace” during which time Israel would create more settlements in the West Bank.
Nonetheless, the most dangerous and problematic right- winger, dubbed by some Israeli intellectuals in Israel as the Hitler of Israeli politics, is Moshe Feiglin, who advocates the ethnic cleansing or extermination of non-Jews in Israel-Palestine Old Testament-style.
Feiglin is very popular within Likud and there are serious concerns in Israel and within Likud itself that he would be elected as the number two man in the party.
This prospect is reportedly causing a lot of unease to Likud leader Netanyahu who is worried that the character of Feiglin would have a decidedly negative impact on the Likud image, especially if the party formed the next government, as widely expected.
Feiglin advocates the idea of manhigut Yedhudit or “the Jewish leadership”. According to this concept, Israel would have to adopt four steps towards resolving the Arab Israeli conflict once and for all:
First, induced Arab emigration from both Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Needless to say, “induced emigration” is effectively a mere euphemism for genocidal ethnic cleansing.
Second, Israel would have to reconquer and tightly control every part of the occupied territories and place non-Jewish inhabitants under a harsh military occupation until they can no longer endure the persecution, which then would force them to leave.
Third, Israel should resume intensive Judaisation of the territories, including the destruction of Christian and Muslim holy places.
And, fourth, Israel should dislodge itself from the peace process since this process is incompatible with the rules and teachings of the Torah and Talmud.
Feiglin also openly advocates an all-out war on Islam for the purpose of eradicating the religion and its estimated 1.5 billion followers. Feiglin is viewed as a fascist figure even by traditional Likud hardliners. A few years ago, Limor Livnat, a former minister of education, called him “a foreign weed, his blood is not our blood, his flesh is not our flesh”. One Israeli journalist has compared the ascendancy of Feiglin as the number two man within Likud, conceivably succeeding Netanyahu as prime minister, to the ascendancy of Adolph Hitler to power in Germany, nearly 80 years ago.
What is more worrying still is that the current Likud head Netanyahu seems quite helpless as to what he could do to neutralise Feiglin and his many supporters within the Likud. When Netanyahu was asked about Feiglin last week, he reportedly said ,”I can’t do anything about him.”
However, observers in Israel speculate that Netanyahu would seek to appease Feiglin by undertaking to stop the peace process with the Palestinians. Netanyahu has been alluding to this for weeks, saying that he believes in a peace that is based on economic prosperity, not territorial concessions, a euphemism for keeping the occupation intact.
Now the big question is how the Barack Obama administration will relate to an Israeli government run by the likes of Feiglin and a further radicalised Netanyahu who has the heart and mind of Feiglin, but the tongue of an eloquent public relations officer.
Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem
The decision by the Buckingham palace to bestow an honorary knighthood on Israeli President Shimon Peres should be viewed as a blatant disregard for propriety and moral conduct by Queen Elizabeth II and the British government. It is also a definitive sign of the decadence of our time.
In the past few decades, however, the honorary knighthood was often bestowed on decidedly evil people who carry on their hands the blood of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Queen Elizabeth II
For example, in the early 1990s, Queen Elizabeth bestowed the honorary knighthood upon Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf who was responsible for the annihilation of tens of thousands of retreating Iraqi troops north of Kuwait.
The troops posed no military threat whatsoever to the American forces. Non the less, Schwarzkopf ordered the American air force to annihilate them completely.
That was a colossal war crime the perpetrator of which should have been severely punished, not honored by the Queen of England.
Now this title is being bestowed upon another war criminal, Shimon Peres, the man who in the spring of 1996 ordered the Israeli army to bomb the UN peace keepers’ headquarters at the village of Qana in southern Lebanon.
A scene from the Qana massacre-1969
In that hideous massacre, more than a hundred Lebanese children and women were murdered and mutilated in the most barbaric manner.
Headless and limbless children were scattered everywhere as Peres and his henchmen were indulging in endless lies to justify the Nazi-like atrocity and fend off blame. Interestingly, until this moment, Peres has not apologized for the massacre. Hence, one begs the question of whether a man as such deserves to be accorded the highest or one of the highest honorary titles in the UK.
Peres in Qatar-2008
Peres other achievements include the introduction of nuclear bombs into the Middle East as well as the dispossession of unprotected Palestinian villagers of their land and property for the sake of building apartheid-style colonies for Nazi-like Jewish settlers who think that God authorized Jews to exterminate or enslave non-Jews as water carriers and wood-hewers.
In fact, it is Peres, by championing the settlement drive in the West Bank since the early 1970s, that has made the achievement of genuine peace in the Middle East a virtually impossible task.
Peres himself acknowledged this fact when he told the British parliament on Wednesday, 18 November, that evacuating Jewish colonizers from the West Bank would lead to the outbreak of civil war in Israel.
In short, the man is a vile war criminal, a rapacious colonialist and an irredeemable liar. He is no more than a thug with a necktie and a deceitful tongue.
Indeed, were there justice in this world, this Godless criminal would have been consigned to jail a long time ago.
Non the less, we probably should put things in proportion with regard to blaming the UK for this indecent act of honoring a certified war criminal.
After all, we should not expect much in terms of moral conduct from the very country that 91 years ago gave Palestine, the homeland of the Palestinian people from time immemorial, to Zionism.
It would be a folly, after all, to expect morality from the paragons of immorality.
With her party’s chances of winning the upcoming Israeli elections looking dim, Kadima’s leader Tzipi Livni has been making a plethora of outrageous statements of late.
In fact, the word “democratic” should be viewed as an unessential addendum meant to fool the international community since nearly
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni
everyone knows that “democracy” in Israel, whatever it means in real terms, is and will always be subservient to the “Jewishness” of the apartheid state.
We all know, of course, that the mantra “Jewish and democratic” reiterated ad nauseam by Zionist leaders is a manifestly obscene oxymoron.
For those who are still vulnerable to Zionist lies and prevarication, let me say the following.
Israel can’t be Talmudic and democratic at the same time, and the claim that it can should be treated as no more than a piece of rubbish that belongs to garbage containers, not in respectable circles where healthy arguments are voiced.
Likewise, Israel can’t really be Zionist and democratic, since Zionism is inherently exclusionary, segregationalist and racist.
In short, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It can not be both.
But what does Israel have in mind when its leaders insist that Israel must remain a Jewish state, regardless of human rights and international law.
What Israel is really seeking is a special guarantee from the international community whereby future Israeli governments will have the right to force millions of non-Jewish Israeli citizens to either convert to Judaism or be deported to the four corners of the world, as the fascist Zionist entity did to the native Palestinians in 1948, when the bulk of the Christian and Muslim inhabitants of Palestine were ethnically cleansed by Jewish gangs simply because they didn’t belong to the “holy tribe.”
Now, non-Jews in “Israel proper”(Israel still doesn’t have fixed borders) constitute around one fourth of the population. (in all mandatory Palestine, non-Jews make up at least 50% of the overall population).
Now, Israel is restless, almost to hysterical proportions, trying to find ways and means to check the growth of non-Jews in Israel.
Proposals, including far-fetched ideas, have been discussed as to what can be done to reverse the tide.
Zionist leaders have spoken of widespread forced conversions, importing entire communities from India, China, Afghanistan and South America.
The less diplomatic within the Zionist leadership have proposed sterilizing non-Jews by adding special chemicals to Palestinian drinking water.
Still, a growing number of Israeli intellectuals, rabbis and Knesset members are advocating a massive genocidal ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in order to ensure the “ethnic” and religious purity of Israel.
In other words, Israel is insisting that the “master race” (or chosen people) be kept pure of any “contaminants” because non-Jews, according to some Jewish religious schools, are actually lesser human beings, or even outright animals.
So, is the world willing to give Israel in 2008 what it refused to give the Third Reich nearly 70 years ago, namely the right to be racist?
Even Livni’s support for the two-state solution shouldn’t be taken at face value. In recent weeks, Livni on several occasions said that the creation of a Palestinian state (presumably on parts of the West Bank) would have to resolve the Palestinian “national problem” just as Israel will represent a solution for the Jewish national problem.
This is not an innocent remark, since it implies that Israel at a certain point in the future would have the right to deport some or all its Palestinian citizens.
Well, wouldn’t be that a ghoulish expression of JudeoNazism?
Alice in wonderlands
Finally, there has been a truly comical news item pertaining to a Palestinian Authority decision to publish advertisements in the Israeli Hebrew Press in an effort to sell the so-called Arab Peace Initiative (API) to the Israeli Jewish public.
The ads explain the details of the API but is quite terse about the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees forcibly uprooted from their homes by Zionism when Israel was created sixty years ago.
Does the PA really think that Israel reject the API due to ignorance or misunderstanding of its content and details?
A copy of the PA ad
on the Arab initiative
If so, then PA leaders, from head to bottom, are no better than ignorant imbeciles, who therefore should be selling falafel in the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus.
Israel, in case they don’t know, has consistently rejected the API and every other initiative because it has no intention of giving up the spoil of the 1967 territories.
And Israel is not going to abandon these colonies, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, all for the sake of a hug with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia or the Emir (is he a King now?) of Bahrain.
Well, experience has shown that hugs and kisses, and much more, between Arab despots and Israeli officials can be had without any Israeli “concessions.”
Evidence to this effect are ample and well-known.
Israel views the PA and the rest of Arab regimes, these hateful bastions of tyranny and corruption, as impotent beggars. And beggars, let alone impotent ones, can’t be choosers.
That is the gist of the matter? Isn’t it?
Nazis par excellence
By Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-Occupied Palestine
19 November, 2008
Jewish boys smuggle a calf for
Food into Ghetto Warsaw, 1943
A Palestinian man smuggles cow for food into the Gaza-2008
Israeli propagandists routinely dismiss comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel as “corrupt” and “far-fetched.” Some Zionists would even argue that only pathological anti-Semites would dare make such comparisons.
However, in light of what Israel has been and is doing to the Palestinians, including the present ruthless blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the slow, agonizing death meted out to innocent Gazans, any honest person shouldn’t fail to observe the striking similarity between the Nazi mentality and the collective Israeli mindset.
The Nazis viewed their victims as “Untermenschen” while Zionist Jews simply refer to their equally tormented victims as “terrorists” or “potential terrorists.”
Even a 7-year-old Palestinian school child is often referred to in Israel as “a terrorist child.”
Needless to say, the demonizing, dehumanizing language is meant to make the readers, viewers and listeners hate the victims. This is exactly what the Nazis did during the Second World War.
For example, when a Jewish resistance fighter was killed in one of the many Jewish communities throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, the German and other pliant press would report the event with a caption reading “ a bandit fell to his death” or “a bandit emerges from his hideout.”
Many of the fighters would rather jump to their death from the a fourth or fifth floor than hand themselves over to the SS, very much like Palestinian freedom fighters are doing these days.
Today, the Israeli army and media use nearly identical epithets in reference to Palestinian victims of Israeli Nazism. They only replace the word “bandit” with the word “terrorist.” The rest is almost a verbatim rendition from German to Hebrew.
But, of course, the matter goes beyond Semantics. Israel today is imposing a manifestly brutal siege to the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, which is strikingly similar to the German siege imposed on the 350,000 Jewish inhabitants of Ghetto Warsaw in 1942.
Yes, the modalities and circumstances may be somewhat different. But the mentality, the hatefulness and vindictiveness are undoubtedly the same.
The Israelis are cutting off food, electricity, fuel and gas supplies to the Gaza Strip, causing a human disaster on a very large scale.
The Germans did the same at Ghetto Warsaw, but on a comparatively smaller scale.
It is true that Israel is not transporting Gazans to death camps as the SS did at Ghetto Warsaw. However, it is also true that that Israel is killing and maiming Palestinians in droves, nearly on a daily basis as a result of denying them access to adequate food and health care, which causes many ill-Gazans to succumb to their often treatable illnesses.
This week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, spoke of a real humanitarian disaster in Gaza where hundreds of thousands of people are being starved for political reasons.
“We are talking about 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children are deprived of their most basic human rights for months.”
The words used by Pillay fall short of fully communicating the extent of the gigantic human disaster facing the people of Gaza where an entire people are pushed to the brink of physical extermination on no other account than them wanting to be free from Israeli Nazism.
Unfortunately, Israel, a country ruled by fascist politicians and former army generals who are war criminals par excellence , is constantly emboldened by the disgraceful silence or acquiescence of western powers, including the United States and Europe.
This Nazi-like state continues rather unflinchingly the sadistic policy of starving Gazans in the hope that they will rise up against their democratically elected government and join the American-backed regime in Ramallah, which many Palestinians have come to view as a quisling entity, very much like the Judenrate or Jewish councils that ran Jewish communities on behalf of the Nazis throughout Nazi-Occupied Europe.
I really don’t understand how Jews, who produced luminaries like Albert Einstein, are allowing themselves to behave in this visibly barbarian manner? Do they feel particularly virile and manly when they watch babies succumb to death due to lack of medicine or absence of health care?
Do they feel that by starving and killing innocent Gazans, they are punishing the Nazis vicariously?
I am raising these questions because I know there are hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews and non-Israeli Jews who are gleefully enjoying the macabre suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent Gazans, at the hands of their “Jewish army,” the “most moral army in the world.”
Well a truly moral army doesn’t behave like this. Only an army of thugs, gangsters, vile criminals, and psychopaths would withhold food and medicine from dying children?
It is only an army of a Wehrmacht style and political leaders of Hitler’s ilk that refuse to allow ill men and women seek urgently-needed medical care to proceed to their destination in the West Bank and Jordan?
What does preventing ill people from seeking medical care abroad have to do with security? Is saving a child’s life a serious threat to Israel’s security and territorial integrity?
What does preventing a truckload of flour or wheat from reaching Gaza have to do with security?
Well, it is the old adage: crime and lie go hand in hand.
Yes, these are the very people who have made the holocaust their ultimate religion, the people who think that Nazi atrocities during the Second World War justify the slow-motion genocide being meted out to the helpless Palestinians.
European governments are also shamefully watching the unfolding tragedy in Gaza, but are saying virtually nothing and doing nothing to stop it.
European diplomats, like British Foreign Secretary David Miliband , seem to pay far more attention to Sderot and other Jewish settlements bordering Gaza than to the Dresden-like death camp which Gaza has been transformed into, thanks to the west’s failure to rein in its monstrous brat.
In 1948, Harry Truman, who was instrumental in creating Israel, wrote the following:
“I fear very much that the Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on the top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath. I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.”
Well, I am afraid that Truman prophecy has been fulfilled. Some people would say that it was fulfilled many many years ago.
Political cartoons that appeared in newspapers on 11-5-08.