Palestinians in Europe to commemorate the 61 anniversary of Nakba “Catastrophe”

Transmitted from London by Sameh Habeeb

After 61 years of the Palestinian Nakba. Palestinians still adhere to their rights and legacy which was intended to be destroyed in the past decades but never it never happened. Palestinian communities, institutions and associations all over European countries are preparing for the 7th Europe Conference in Milan, Italy by the 2nd of May 2009. A broad spectrum of leaders, Palestinian public figures and delegations will attend the conference.

This year conference is entitled; “Right of return is nonnegotiable and will not be relinquished”. The message of the conference is to show the determination and adherence of all rights especially the right of return and independency. Thousands of Palestinian refugees and residents living in Europe are expected to attend.

The conference is being prepared and organized by the Secretariat of the Conference of Palestinians in Europe, and the Palestine Return Center (PRC) along with Palestinian assembly in Italy and several other institutions.

A number of Palestinian key figures, officials from the occupied Palestine as well as the Palestinian communities in Diaspora in Europe are expected to participate. Other European officials and highly-profiled figures expected to take part in the event.

European Parliament will be represented through Luisa Morgantina, vice president of EU parliament. British Member of Parliament, Jenny Tong, would attend as well.

The occupied territories would be represented by Mustafa Al-Bargouti, a Palestinian MP and secretary General of Palestinian Initiative. From the besieged Gaza Priest, Manuel Musalam, is predicted to participate.

Additionally, head of Islamic Movement in occupied Palestine Sheikh Raed Salah, Journalist Ghasa Bin Jido from Al Jazeera space channel, Palestinian writer-researcher Zeinat Abu Shawish, Doctor Muhammad Salem chair of Palestinian Doctors Assoication, Zinat and Doctor Salman Abu Sita chair of Palestine land committee would take place.

It’s worth mentioning that over the past years, the Europe Conference turned to be vast room for all Palestinians. It’s a mosaic-like that includes tens of Palestinian academics, thinkers, writers, activists, artists and journalists based in Europe.

The past conferences were of good organization and preparation that showed the adherence of the Right of Return. Those actions considered to be a way to bridge the gap between Palestinian generations and evoke the popular efforts in service of the cause.

The first conference was held in London 2003

The Second in Germany 2004

The Third in Austria 2005

The Forth in Sweden 2006

The Fifth in the Netherlands 2007

The Sixth in Denmark 2008

In the meantime, organizers are in race with time to hold the 7th conference in Milan, Italy. Thousands of people are expected to participate from the European countries as well as guests from Arab countries and occupied Palestine. A convoy of tens of trucks will leave for Gaza directly after the end of the conference organized by European Campaign to end siege on Gaza.

Contact Info:


1 Piazzale Carlo Stuparich
Milan20148 Italy


Northern West Milan

Milan City


For More Information:

Adel Abdallah

Secretary General of Europe Conference

Tel: 004369913811754


Majed El Zir

President of Europe Conference

Director of Return Center

Tel: 00442084530919


Mhuammad Hanon

Chairman of Palestinian Assembly in Italy

Tel: 00393477604355


International Terrorism and Disease….. two of the greatest scourges facing humanity today

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


Israelis call on musician Leonard Cohen to cancel concert
Open letter, various undersigned

Dear Leonard Cohen,

We are Jews, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who hold your poetry and music in high esteem, and it is because of this respect for your artistic contributions and your moral Buddhist commitment to “save all beings” that we hope that our appeal to you to cancel your planned performance in Israel will not fall on deaf ears.

Israel is facing one of its most immoral historical moments. Its ruthless, criminal bashing of the Palestinians has been met with little international criticism or curbing. The silence of most of the world’s governments continues to embolden successive Israeli governments to commit more violent acts. Israel has violated numerous international laws, but so far for Israeli Jews life in Israel goes on as if nothing happened. Indeed, your people, Cohen, have built “a new Dachau, And call it love, Security, Jewish culture,” as you have so perceptively put it yourself in “Questions for Shomrim,” but only a few voices have been raised against these injustices.

It is left for us, citizens of the world, to condemn Israeli atrocities and crimes against humanity. Dissociating ourselves from Israel’s brutal policies is the only nonviolent way now to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, the wounding and the maiming, and the robbing of Palestinians. Faced with all this and more, Palestinians are calling on all people to support their struggle for their basic rights. Unfortunately, recognizing Palestinian rights will require a fundamental shift in Israeli society. We suspect that this change will be achieved only via external pressure. The least that one can do in such a situation is not act as if it is business as usual. We see our society becoming more and more calloused and racist and given your longstanding, vocal commitment to justice, we cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality; we cannot envision you playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness. We appeal to you to add your voice to those brave people the world over who boycott Israel. We urge you to cancel your planned performance in Israel.


Noa Abend, Adv. Ahmad M. Amara, Iris Bar, Yoav Barak, Ronnie Barkan, Smadar Carmon, Adi Dagan, Dr. Aim Deuelle Luski, Yvonne Deutsch, Diana Dolev, Shai Efrati, Prof. Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Naama Farjoun, Eva Ferrero, Racheli Gai, Prof. Rachel Giora, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Amos Gvirtz, Tal Haran, Iris Hefets, Ruth Hiller, Tikva Honig-Parnass, Dr. Irit Katriel, Gal Katz, Adam Keller, Yael Lerer, Yossef Lubovsky, Olivia Magnan, Ya’acov Manor, Eilat Maoz
Dr. Ruchama Marton, Dr. Anat Matar, Haggai Matar, Rela Mazali, Dorothy Naor, Dr. David Nir, Dr. Nurit Peled, Leiser Peles, Jonathan Pollak, Yonatan Shapira, Dr. Kobi Snitz, Kerstin Sodergren, Amir Terkel, Adi Winter, Beate Zilversmidt


This OpEd in the Seattle Times was written by Huwaida Arraf, the daughter-in-law of our dear friends, Doreen and Stu. As American citizens we have a right to know what $3 billion per year of our tax dollars are being used for when, year after year, it is given without restriction to the Israeli military and used to in terribly anti-human and oppressive ways. Pease read, contemplate and pass on.

By Huwaida Arraf

WE Palestinians are often asked where the Palestinian Gandhi is and urged to adopt nonviolent methods in our struggle for freedom from Israeli military rule. On April 17, an Israeli soldier killed my good friend Bassem Abu Rahme at a nonviolent demonstration against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land. Bassem was one of many Palestinian Gandhis.

One month prior, at another demonstration against land confiscation, Israeli soldiers fired a tear-gas canister at the head of nonviolent American peace activist Tristan Anderson from California. Tristan underwent surgery to remove part of his frontal lobe and is still lying unconscious in an Israeli hospital. In 2003, the Israeli military plowed down American peace activist Rachel Corrie with a Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to protect a civilian home from demolition in Gaza. Shortly thereafter, an Israeli sniper shot British peace activist Tom Hurndall as he rescued Palestinian children from Israeli gunfire. He lay in a coma for nine months before he died.

Despite the killing of these unarmed civilians and documented evidence of systematic human-rights abuses, the U.S. continues to supply Israel with approximately $3 billion in military aid annually, allowing Israel to continue abusing Palestinians and preventing any meaningful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Israeli government orders the confiscation of Palestinian land for one of two main purposes: to build or expand illegal colonies or to construct the Wall that the International Court of Justice ruled illegal in 2004. In the case of Bassem’s village of Bil’in, even the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the Israeli government to change the route of the Wall, though Israel has yet to comply. Consequently, Palestinian farmers cannot reach their crops and they are devastated economically. Israel’s policy is intended to force Palestinians to give up and leave in order to survive.

When village residents gather weekly to protest, they use various creative methods of nonviolent resistance, including carrying mirrors up to the soldiers to show them “the face of occupation” or dressing as various politicians and wearing blindfolds to symbolize the world’s blind eye to their struggle. The Israeli military meets them and their Israeli and international supporters with tear gas, grenades, and bullets.

Eyewitness accounts and a YouTube video of Bassem’s killing attest to the fact that Bassem was not engaged in any kind of violent action when a soldier decided to fire a high-velocity tear gas canister — designed to be shot in the air or from a great distance — directly at his chest, fatally wounding him. In fact, just before he was shot, Bassem is heard calling to soldiers to stop shooting as a woman had been injured. Far too often, Israel tries to silence dissent by using disproportionate and sometimes lethal force against demonstrators.

In February, I led a delegation of American lawyers to the Gaza Strip to investigate Israel’s conduct in its 22-day military offensive during which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured, most of them civilians — a rate of more than 60 killed per day. We found disturbing evidence of willful killing of civilians, wanton damage to civilian property and deliberate blocking of humanitarian aid. These are violations of international law that may constitute war crimes. During the offensive, Israel attempted to avert international outrage by refusing to let foreign journalists enter Gaza.

The United Nations has appointed a team of experts, led by a renowned human-rights advocate — Richard Goldstone, a Jewish, South African judge — to investigate the conduct of both Israel and Hamas. Hamas has agreed to cooperate, but Israel has indicated an intention to block the investigation. Israel tries to silence the human-rights community by preventing access to the occupied territory and refusing to cooperate with U.N.-mandated inquiries.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed recently, “Believe me, America accepts all our decisions.” I do not believe, however, that the United States condones the killing of my friend Bassem. But if President Obama is serious about true peace in the Middle East, he must demonstrate that Lieberman is wrong, break the American silence, and heed the voices of those calling for justice.

Huwaida Arraf, J.D., specializes in international human rights and humanitarian law. In 2001 she co-founded the International Solidarity Movement.



If Only They Could See
By Mohammed Omer

AMSTERDAM, Mohammed Al-Sheikh Yousef could save his eyesight if only he could cross the border out of Gaza. He was denied a permit by Israel; he got one from Egypt, but not for someone to accompany him. And he can’t go on his own because he cannot see very well.

“If Mohammed does not get out of Gaza for medical treatment within the next 14 days, he may totally lose his eyesight and be blind for life,” Dr. Mawia Hasaneen, head of the ambulance and emergency service for Gaza hospitals told IPS in a telephone interview.

“In the past few weeks we have received 150 appeals from people in Gaza who are in need of urgent medical care,” says Ran Yaron from Physicians for Human Rights, a human rights group in Israel that campaigns on behalf of Palestinian patients to obtain exit permits for healthcare.

“We submitted 99 applications to the Israeli army on behalf of the patients, but only 15 cases were approved,” Yaron told IPS. “Israel as the occupying power has primary responsibility for the health of the civilians of Gaza because it controls the crossings. It should not use the patients as a political tool.”

The emergency staff often stand by helpless spectators to suffering. “I just received a call from the mother of a four-year-old child from Jabalyia refugee camp in the north, her son has congestive heart failure and respiratory distress,” said Dr. Hasaneen. “As an official I can’t stand watch her child dying simply because medical treatment is not available in Gaza and the borders are closed.” But he has no option but to do just that.

The Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights based in Gaza says that at least 41 Gazans died last year of causes that can be attributed to the collapse of the medical referral process. Currently, it says the condition of hundreds of Gazans is deteriorating rapidly.

For Gazans, what happens at the border crossings can make the difference between life and death. Medicines for many easily treated diseases sit across the Rafah crossing with Egypt or the Erez crossing into Israel. Patients cannot get across, and most medicines are not allowed in.

Egypt says it can only reopen the border fully with the co-operation of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority – which has no control over Gaza. Meanwhile at least 750 patients in urgent need of treatment outside Gaza are unable to leave, according to medical sources in Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been blocked for much of the time since Hamas took full control of Gaza in June 2007, after winning elections in January 2006. In the interim it had shared rule with the Fatah party which has its government entrenched in the West Bank.

Egypt recently opened the crossing for a few days. Ihab Al-Ghousin from the de facto Palestinian Ministry of Interior said that was “not long enough to allow people to get out and come back in.” Some patients from Gaza made it across to hospitals in Egypt, but could not return.

Last week, dozens of Palestinian patients in urgent need of medical treatment made it somehow to the Rafah crossing along with family members to stage a demonstration. They waved flags and held banners saying ‘We call on Egypt to save our lives’ and ‘We call on all parties to exclude the Rafah crossing from political disputes’.

Under a U.S.-brokered deal in 2005, the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority was given charge of operating the Gaza crossing under EU supervision. Egypt and the EU refuse to deal with the democratically elected Hamas government.

Israel refuses to communicate with the Palestinian Medical Committee set up by the Hamas-led Ministry of Health in Gaza. It wants to negotiate with a committee of the Ramallah-based Fatah government led by Mahmoud Abbas.

“The international community should demand from Israel that more coordination mechanisms are set up in order to enable Palestinian patients to get access to healthcare outside of the Gaza Strip,” says Yaron.



My post from yesterday…..

Who is next?
Ad in Ha`aretz
Translated by Adam Keller

On Sunday this week police investigation was started against activists of `New Profile`, on charges of incitement to avoid military service. Starting an investigation against a movement whose activity is legal and legitimate, is aimed at stifling voices which threaten the militarist hegemony and militarist culture in the Israeli society.

This severe violation of the Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of Association threatens all of us. Today New Profile is the target – tomorrow, all who dare to think independently, express themselves freely, and promote justice and equality.

We call for an immediate stop to the investigation against New Profile and to the persecution of political activists in Israel.


Signed by the following organizations (by Hebrew alphabetical order)

* Ahoti (My Sister) For Women in Israel
* Itach-Ma`achi, Women Jurists for Social Justice
* Isha Le`Isha (Woman for Woman), Haifa Feminist Center
* Altufula – Nazareth
* Balad Party
* Communist Youth Alliance
* Bat Shalom
* Gush Shalom
* The Fifth Mother
* Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
* The Israeli Committee for A Middle East free of Nuclear, Chemical and Bacteriological Arms
* Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
* Center for Defence of the Individual
* The Israeli Communist Party
* The Alternative Information Center
* Social TV
* Association for Women`s Economic Empowerment
* The Jaffa Group
* Hithabrut-Tarabut
* Zochrot
* Hadash – Democratic Front for Peace and Equality
* Yesh Gvul
* Machsom Watch
* Musawa Center
* Adalah – Judicial Center for the Rights of the Arab Minority in Israel
* Psychoactive
* Women`s Coalition for Peace
* Kol Ha`Isha (Woman`s Voice) – Feminist Multicultural Center
* Tmura (Change) – The Judicial Center for Prevention of Discrimination
* Tandi – Democratic Women`s Movement in Israel


At sundown tonight Israelis will mark the 61st anniversary of the founding funding of their state.

Often we hear university students living away from home referring to their parents as ‘the rents’. Why? Simply because it is usually the parents that foot the bill for their accommodations. In many cases the students themselves could not make it on their own.

So is the case with Israel, they have been funded from abroad for the past 61 years. They have never attempted to even try making it on their own. From day one they have stolen, lied, and killed to maintain what they call their own. From day one their supporters were aware of this but continued to pour in billions of dollars annually.

The following is ‘just one video that Israel does not want you to see’…

This is a fairly new video that shows the war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza during the recent blitzkrieg…

Just remember, Israel could not have done these things alone.



Still we Have a Glance of Hope in Palestine

Pictures taken last Saturday during school Trip in Khanyounis city, South of the Gaza Strip. By Ayman Quader



Transmitted by Sameh Habeeb

A number of maimed Europeans announced the willingness to join “Hope For Gaza Convoy” heading to Gaza in May 2009. European Campaign to End Gaza Siege (ECEGS) received a number of requests from disabled people in various EU countries.

Convoy spokesman, Ramy Abdu, said that the participation of maimed people came to stress on the necessity of rescuing the besieged Gazans by all means, especially the disabled people resulted in the last Israeli war.

According to Abdu, the maimed Europeans would participate along with various activists and officials.

He added that,” the convoy will include a number of micro-electrical vehicles for the maimed Gazans. Additionally, hearing and medical kits would be included in the convoy. Besides, around 10 ambulances will be given to Gaza hospitals.”

Bill, a maimed participant from London expressed his extreme happiness and excitement to take part in the action.

“I’m very ready to this trip despite it would be tiring for me. However, this is a message for those maimed in Gaza. I want to show my support for them. This is also a message for the whole world to help the people of Gaza especially sick and disabled people who are in bad need for medical support which is no longer available due to crossings closure.” Said Bill.

Its worth to mention that more people joined the convoy which will be headed by at least 10 European MPs and a number of peace activists. The convoy according to ECEGS carries more symbolic than political signs for the people of Gaza. What will be donated for maimed Gazans through the convoy will be symbolic compared with strong needs in all life aspects.

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, (ECESG)



100 Crown House, London, UK



There ya’go….. ISRAEL IS NO LONGER THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST! As if we didn’t know. It is now forbidden to speak about peace on the internet.

This is quite a frightening development for those of us that use the internet to convey the message of Peace and the truth about what is going on in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Foxmans will rejoice at these new gestapo tactics of the Israeli Police, but I promise you, my readers, that their glee will be short lived.

THEY CAN SHUT US DOWN, BUT THEY CAN’T SHUT US UP! We will find ways and means to continue getting the truth out.

Below are reports on this new development, including ways that you can help….. WE SHALL OVERCOME!


I have just learned that a number of Israeli peace activists have had their computers confiscated, have been called for interrogations, and have only been released upon signing agreements not to contact their political friends for 30 days. We are asking you to contact the Israeli Attorney General to demand an immediate stop to this harassment.

The activists targeted are members of New Profile, a group of feminist women and men daring to suggest that Israel need not be a militarized society. They are being wrongfully accused of inciting young people–like the shministim–not to enlist in the army. The charge is not true. While New Profile does not tell youngsters not to enlist, they certainly support those who do not: pacifists, those who oppose the occupation, and others. New Profile informs them of their rights and gives them legal support when necessary. But Israel is a country that does not acknowledge the basic human right to conscientious objection.

The government’s accusation against New Profile is not new. It has been out there for some time, as a source of harassment. Today’s police actions tighten the screws considerably. We’ve seen how international pressure has helped get many shministim out of jail. Now it’s time to put as much pressure so that Israeli peace activists can do their work free of intimidation.

I leave you with a note from New Profile: “These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up “only” for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel.”

The above is in part taken from the Jewish Voice for Peace.


The following is a Press Release issued BY the group involved…

New Profile Movement: Harsh Police Attack on Freedom of Expression

The [Israeli] Police Detained Political Activists from Ramat Hasharon, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva

“One who believed that criminal cases due to political activism are conjured up “only” for Arab citizens discovers that s/he is also liable to be detained due to the expression of opinions concerning the failures of the society and rule in Israel.”

Amongst the detainees – a 70 year old ceramic artist, the daughter of a family of “Righteous among the Nations” from Holland, a grandmother to six Israeli grandchildren .

This morning the Israeli police descended upon the homes of political activists, members of the feminist movement New Profile, which acts for the civil-ization of society in Israel and against the undue influence of the military on life in the country.

The police demanded that the activists turn over the computers located in their homes, and among other things took the computers of partners of the detainees and in one case also the computer of a fourth grade pupil, the daughter of one of those interrogated. The computers of family members were returned after the activists were released on bail.

Amongst those interrogated: Analeen Kish, aged 70, a ceramics artist, daughter of a family of the the “Righteous among the Nations” who converted to Judaism after her marriage to Holocaust survivor Dr. Eldad Kish, active in organizations of Dutch Holocaust survivors in Israel. The pair have six grandchildren; Miriam Hadar, age 51, an editor and translator, mother of two, married to professor of psychology Uri Hadar. The two women were born in Holland and continue to hold Dutch citizenship.

Additionally detained for interrogation were Amir Givol, a resident of Jerusalem, Sergei Sandler, a resident of Beer Sheva, and Roni Barkan, a resident of Tel Aviv. The computers of all those interrogated were taken by the police, who presented search warrants.

All five were interrogated in the Ramat Hachiyal station in the Yarkon Region of the police. At the conclusion of the interrogation they were released on bail and under limiting conditions, and all were told that during the next 30 days they are forbidden to contact other members of the movement.

The New Profile Movement expressed rage over the interrogation and the demand to not have contact with other members, which means a partial paralysis of the activities of this important organization in civil society in Israel.

Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, who is representing New Profile, said that the investigation of the police is focusing on the website of New Profile, which has links to other sites on the internet. Ben Nathan added that the New Profile Movement is a recognized non-profit association which acts openly and publicly, in accordance with the law, and the use of a criminal investigation in this context is invalid and exaggerated, and stands in opposition to freedom of expression.

New Profile is a feminist movement established ten years ago. The movement has been warning for years of the exaggerated and destructive influence of Israeli militarism on civilian life, and provides legal aid and social support to young people desiring not to do military service, both for political and personal reasons.

The New Profile Movement noted today: “These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up “only” for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel.”

For interviews: Dr. Diana Dolev, telephone: 052 872 8300
Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, telephone: 052 358 9775

For further details: Ofra Leith, telephone: 050 552 4372
Eilat Maoz, Coordinator of the Women’s Coalition for Peace, telephone: 050 857 5729


One would think that a man that supposedly suffered would be the first to speak out against others suffering….. but one would be wrong to assume something like that when the person involved makes his living by wailing about his own suffering…. caring nothing about the plight of others.

This is what the ‘holocaust industry’ is all about….. it’s all about money and the hell with everyone else! Below is one person’s opinion on this matter…..

An open letter to author Elie Wiesel regarding Gaza

Dear Mr. Wiesel,

First time I read Night, your memoir that describes your horrific experiences during the Holocaust, was in 2003. In my opinion, two books everyone in the world should read are Night and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.

I also suffered in my childhood. In 1992, my life was turned upside down when the civil war broke out in Bosnia, my country. At this time, I was thirteen and my sister was eleven.

My family is Serbian and we stayed in our city, Gorazde, which was held under siege by the Serbian forces. Overnight, many of our Muslim neighbors and even some friends began seeing us as the enemy. For two years, my family endured treatment that no human being should ever be subjected to. We were shot at, terrorized, put in a detention camp, starved, and eventually stripped of everything we owned. All this because of our ethnicity.

When I was seventeen, I almost killed a man who had attempted to kill my family during the war. After years of emotional struggle when I considered revenge as the only way to move on with my life, I was blessed to get involved in a youth program designed to help young people in Bosnia to become leaders in their communities. I worked with “former enemies” and this helped me open up my mind.

Over the years, yours and Nelson Mandela’s books, experiences, and work for peace made me think about my wartime experience and subsequently led me to a complete personal transformation.

I went from a teenager seeking retribution to a person seeking healing, reconciliation, and peace. I wrote about my wartime experience and search for peace and reconciliation in Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia, published in March 2008 by AMACOM Books.

I found somewhere a quote where you say: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

I completely agree with you.

I tried to find an Op-Ed, an interview, a statement made by you, in which you say something about the current conflict in Gaza and condemn the killings of innocent people.

I couldn’t find anything.

Like you, I dedicated my life to peace building and conflict transformation and management worldwide and promised to never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.

I am not influential like you, but I still do everything I can to voice my opinion. I write and publish articles. Over the years, I wrote extensively about Rwanda, Darfur, Zimbabwe, and other places where people suffer.

I’m currently writing about the crisis in Gaza and condemning killing of over 300 innocent Palestinian children who were brutally murdered by the Israeli forces in three weeks.

Will you?

Savo Heleta

Savo Heleta is the author of Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia (March 2008, AMACOM Books, New York) and a postgraduate student in Conflict Transformation and Management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


JERUSALEM — Ahmed and Salim appear to be typical teenage brothers.

They spend hours in front of their computer playing Wii and posting crude updates on Facebook. They jam with Guitar Hero and watch bad American sitcoms. They bicker and call each other names.

The animated stars of an incendiary new Internet cartoon series aren’t typical, however. They’re young Arabs who spend their afternoons trying to bomb Israeli buses, gun down Jewish girls and incinerate crowded cafes, and in the three months since their debut, their caricature of Islamic extremism has attracted a growing cult following in Israel.

Its creators and fans see a humorous series that resembles “South Park” — at least visually — and mocks Islamic terrorism. Its critics see a hate-filled cartoon that uses crude stereotypes to dehumanize Muslims, intensify Arab-Israeli divisions and inflame the conflict between Muslims and Jews.

“What they do is strengthen old stereotypes of the Arabs and Muslims as radical and stupid and terrorists,” said Yizhar Be’er, the executive director of Keshev, an Israeli media-monitoring group. “These episodes are so full of hatred that if an Arab did this about Jews, immediately the Anti-Defamation League would make big noise about it.”

ADL officials in Israel said they hadn’t heard of “Ahmed and Salim.” However, Phyllis Gerably, the director of the group’s Israel office, said the cartoon sounded “counterproductive.”

The United Arab Emirates has banned “Ahmed and Salim,” and Palestinian bloggers have denounced it. YouTube removed one of the first six episodes and warned the creators that it could ban the entire series if new episodes are too offensive.

Created by two young Israelis, 21-year-old Tom Trager and 20-year-old Or Paz, “Ahmed and Salim” are the petulant pawns of a rabidly anti-Semitic father who’s constantly trying to send his sons off on terrorist missions that inevitably go awry.

In their three-minute debut, which has been viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube, the boys’ father bemoans the fact that his sons haven’t gone off on a suicide mission and killed lots of Jews.

“Why can’t you two die already and make your father happy?” the father says before shooting one of his many veiled wives in a fit of rage.

Ahmed and Salim reluctantly head off with a box of dynamite that their father tells them to put on an Israeli bus. Before they carry out the mission, however, Salim throws a tantrum and demands an ice cream.

The brothers then mistakenly put the bomb on a Palestinian bus, killing dozens and disgracing their father in front of his terrorist friends.

In a future episode, Trager and Paz are thinking of featuring the prophet Mohammed as a buffoonish neighbor of Ahmed and Salim. Even many mainstream Muslims are likely to consider that a sacrilegious insult, as they did when cartoons of Mohammed in Danish newspapers triggered a wave of violent protests.

“You can get murdered for a cartoon like that,” said Trager, a self-described atheist. “I despise all religion, but no other religion would do that over a cartoon. That’s why we’re passionately more aggressive towards the Muslim faith.”

“We do want to offend, but we have no intention of offending Muslims or Arabs,” said Trager. “It’s a silly cartoon that doesn’t represent any reality, that’s about a bunch of idiotic stereotypes with no basis in reality.”

Trager and Paz, however, seem to revel in the controversy they’ve created and hope it’ll help boost their profiles so they can turn “Ahmed and Salim” into a television series. So far, though, there’ve been no offers.

“We love the negative feedback,” Trager said. “We love the death threats. We’re surprised we’re not dead yet.”

While Trager shrugged off the substantive criticism from Be’er and others, he said that people take his “silly cartoon” seriously.

“When people watch ‘Ahmed and Salim,’ they already have a pre-existing opinion about Muslims and Jews,” he said. “If the person watching it is a racist, then he was already a racist to begin with. We are not changing anyone’s opinions — nor do we try.”

While that may be true, “Ahmed and Salim” is generating a cult-like following. “Ahmed” and “Salim” both have Facebook pages, and each character already has more than 1,200 friends who constantly leave crude messages for the brothers that mimic their language in the series.

“Happy birthday d—face,” one Facebook fan wrote on Ahmed’s page this week as dozens of supporters chimed in to celebrate the cartoon character’s imaginary birthday.

One fan in Paris is so obsessed with Salim that she wants to buy him a plane ticket, seemingly not realizing that he’s a cartoon character, Trager said.

As the series progresses, Trager said, he and Paz plan to expand their focus to include Israeli society and culture, a prime target of one of their pre-“Ahmed and Salim” cartoons, which lampooned Israel’s obsession with reality television.

In that five-minute cartoon, Palestinian militants holding Gilad Shalit (a real Israeli soldier who was captured by Gaza Islamic militants in 2006), bemoan the fact that Israelis are paying more attention to the reality series “Big Brother” than they are to their real captive brother.

The cartoon militants capture one of the most popular “Big Brother” contestants, a brash 56-year-old father who tells crude jokes on the show. The Israeli government decides to hold a phone-in contest to decide which Israeli should go free, Shalit or the loutish “Big Brother” contestant.

As might be expected, Israelis overwhelmingly back the “Big Brother” contestant, who’s freed to wild celebrations as Shalit dies in captivity.


Abdul Sattar Qassem: “They kept me in the company of criminals and murderers”

By Khalid Amayreh

Just released from a PA lockup ostensibly in connection with his outspoken criticisms of the Palestinian Authority, Abdul Sattar Qassem has accused his incarcerators of mistreating and humiliating him.

“They kept me in the company of criminals and murderers all these days.”

Qassem was arrested by the Preventive Security Force (PSF) last week on what seemed to be fabricated libel charges filed against him by two members of PA security agencies.

Qassem, a former presidential candidate and Professor of Political Science at al-Najah University in Nablus in the northern West Bank, said he believed his detention was meant as a warning against criticizing the PA government and security apparatus.

He described his ordeal as a “self-defeating act” for the PA, saying that he would continue to call the spade a spade irrespective of intimidation from the security agencies.

“freedom of speech and expression is a paramount issue over which there can be no compromise. Shielding this freedom from the forces of repression and despotism is a collective responsibility. If we tolerate violations of our human rights and civil liberties, then we will be jeopardizing our future as a people.”

Qassem strongly denied PA allegations that he had “besmirched the image” of certain PFC members during a television interview.

“I have been a victim of intimidation, assault and vandalism. I was always careful to submit a complaint against the perpetrators. However, instead of arresting the perpetrators and prosecuting them for their crimes, the PA authorities decided to arrest me. Isn’t that strange?”

Qassem spoke defiantly, saying that he wouldn’t be silenced.

“This country is our country, this land is our land, Falastin (Palestine) is our homeland, we have no other homeland, and we shall remain faithful to our faith, values, history and the legacy of our forefathers.”

PA political and security officials labeled Qassem’s arrest “criminal rather than political.” However, most observers in occupied Palestine are convinced that the arrest of Qassem, a well-known political intellectual, was motivated by a desire on PA part to punish and intimidate political opponents.

The PA continues to detain dozens of political activists and journalists on suspicion of being associated or affiliated with the Hamas movement.

Last week the PA arrested journalist Mustafa Sabri from his home in the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya.

The arrests coincide with the resumption in Cairo of the Hamas-Fatah dialogue.

Sources in Cairo reported that the main stumbling block impeding a national reconciliation agreement lied in PA demands that Hamas recognize Israel and abandon resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel as a matter of religious ideology.


Early Saturday morning, Israeli troops entered the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem’s Old City and cleared the area of it’s usual Shabbat worshipers. They then proceeded to demolish the centuries old structure.

Apparently they were given orders to demolish any structure that was built without a permit in East Jerusalem. King Herod was responsible for the construction of the wall around 1900 BCE. He neglected to obtain the proper building permits. City Hall records eventually exposed this oversight and the order to demolish was issued. The Western Wall has served as one of the holiest places for the Jewish people for centuries.

It is often thought of as the ‘hotline’ to God. Worshippers place handwritten notes in its crevices and they believe that God reads them. God apparently was quite offended awhile back when a note left by Barak Obama was stolen from the wall….. God’s mail was tampered with…. He did not appreciate that.

But, now the wall is gone! Those that came here to wail while it stood have something real to wail about now. The above is a fabrication….. it’s not true. BUT, the following article unfortunately is….. this is a report of just a few demolitions that occurred this week… there were many. Click HERE to read about others. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

IOA demolishes Palestinian home south of Jerusalem, 4 others near Nablus

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority demolished a Palestinian house without prior warning in the Sal’ah area, south of occupied Jerusalem, Wednesday morning at the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Local sources said that the house is owned by Ammar Hedidon who has a family composed of five members, pointing out that the IOA had demolished the foundations of the house two months ago before Hdidon restored it.

In another related context, Israeli bulldozers escorted by a large number of IOF troops demolished also on Wednesday four Palestinian homes in Al-Taweel area near Aqraba village, south of Nablus, while four others were awaiting the same fate.

The Hamas Movement in the West Bank strongly denounced the local and international human rights organizations, and media institutions for being silent towards what happened in Al-Taweel area, calling on them to condemn and expose the Israeli violations committed in the area to the whole world.




Friday is the Holy Day for Muslims. Friday is also the day most Muslims are on a day off and can participate in demonstrations against the growing wall of apartheid being built on Occupied Palestinian Lands. 


Friday is also the day the Israeli army participates in these demonstrations by shooting at the participants. A month ago an American Solidarity Worker, Tristan Anderson, was seriously wounded by these terrorists. Last Friday, A Palestinian named Bassem Abu Rahama was murdered by these bastards. Today, 11 others were wounded, some seriously, by rubber bullets and tear gas. 


All this while the world looks on and DOES NOTHING.

11 anti-fence protesters wounded in West Bank demonstrations

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
At least 11 people were injured by tear gas and rubber bullets fired by IDF soldiers in anti-fence demonstrations in the West Bank on Friday, according to the protesters.

Some 1,000 Palestinians and leftist demonstrators protested the route of the security fence in the towns of Bil’in and Na’alin in the West Bank. The events were suffused with added tensions following the death of a Palestinian protester, Bassem Abu Rahama, who was killed during a similar demonstration last week.


Protesters say 10 people were injured by rubber bullets, among them three Israelis. All of the wounded suffered light injuries to their feet.


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Click on image to enlarge


Convoy Update: Ambulances and Medical Aids to Gaza

Transmitted by Sameh Habeeb

London, April 23, 2009 –As part of its activities, The European Campaign to End the Siege in Gaza (ECESG), is restlessly preparing, in race against time, a convoy of medical aid to Gaza.

A convoy of tens of trucks, which has been widely received, will be going to Gaza to support the besieged people. Several European NGO’s, MPs and individuals announced they are going to participate in “Hope For Gaza Convoy”

Khaled yousef, representative of the convoy in Sweden said that some Arabic and Islamic associations donated several trucks containing wheelchairs and medical equipments for the People of Gaza, along with  2 ambulances.

In the United Kingdom, Birmingham city will send a number of doctors and medical specialists to help Palestinians in Gaza. Also, four trucks of strongly needed medications and medical equipments. Many Individual and human right activists will join the convoy. UK participants will leave late in April to Italy where the convoy is gathering.

The number of medical vehicles and ambulances has so far come to 12. It’s expected that more will be included to the convoy.  The dozens of trucks will be loaded with medical items and equipments for disabled children from the latest Israeli war in Gaza.

“We have got tens of requests from people to join the  convoy from across Europe. People are yearning to visit Gaza to give a helping hand for the crushed besieged people over there. ECESG will give priority for doctors, human rights activists and journalists in the first place. Ramy Abdu, convoy coordinator said.

In the official level, around 10 European and British MPs are expected to participate in the convoy. According to Abdu, some more might join in the next few days.

In the meantime, some trucks and vans have already arrived into Italy, Milan from many European countries. The rest would arrive in couple of days as the convoy will move as scheduled early in May from Milan then Alexandria then Gaza.

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, (ECESG)




Over the weekend I posted about a murder committed by Israeli troops at a protest against the wall of apartheid. As delegates were gathering at the site of the Durban Conference Against Racism, racism was/is thriving in Israel. The man murdered was loved by his community. You can read about him below…. the martyr who had a name….

His name was Basem
By Mohammad Khatib


Basem Abu Rameh, seen here by the Separation Wall in the village of Bil’in, near the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. (www.ActiveStills.org)
His name was Basem, which means smile, and that is how he greeted everyone. But we all called him ‘Pheel’, which means elephant because he had the body the size of an elephant. But Basem had the heart of a child.

He loved everyone, and because of his sweetness and ability to make us laugh, everyone loved him. Basem was everyone’s friend: the children talk about how he would play with them, scare them and then make them laugh. He would tend the garden in the playground and bring toys and books to the kindergarten. The old ladies in the village talk about how he used to visit, to ask after them and see if they needed anything.

In the village, he seemed to be everywhere at once. He would pop in to say hello, take one puff of the nargila, and be off to his next spot. The morning he was killed he went to the house of Hamis, whose skull had been broken at a previous demonstration three months ago by a tear gas canister projectile – the same weapon that would kill Basem.

Basem woke Hamis and gave him his medicine, then off he went to visit another friend in the village who is ill with cancer. Then a little girl from the village wanted a pineapple but couldn’t find any in the local stores. So Basem went to Ramallah to get a pineapple and was back before noon for the Friday prayers and the weekly demonstration against the theft of our land by the apartheid wall.

Pheel never missed a demonstration; he participated in all the activities and creative actions in Bil’in. He would always talk to the soldiers as human beings. Before he was hit he was calling for the soldiers to stop shooting because there were goats near the fence and he was worried for them. Then a woman in front of him was hit. He yelled to the commander to stop shooting because someone was wounded. He expected the soldiers to understand and stop shooting. Instead, they shot him too.

People came to his funeral from all the surrounding villages to show Basem that they loved him as much as he had loved them. But those of us from Bil’in kept looking around for him, expecting him to be walking with us.

Pheel, you were everyone’s friend. We always knew we loved you, but didn’t realize how much we would miss you until we lost you. As Bil’in has become the symbol of

Palestine’s popular resistance, you are the symbol of Bil’in. Sweet Pheel, Rest in Peace, we will continue in your footsteps.

By Mohammad Khatib, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements



How dare they! The nerve of them!! After 61 years of FORCED EXILE from THEIR homeland, they are still DEMANDING a Right of Return.

Just because diaspora Jews that have not lived here for thousands of years have that right, what makes Palestinians think they deserve the same?


Well…. Israel’s new nazi in chief set them straight on that issue today….. now let’s see if Obama will support him….. or the PEOPLE.

Isn’t it ‘ TIME FOR A CHANGE’?



Lieberman: Right of return makes Arab plan unacceptable

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday his opposition to an Arab peace initiative stemmed from its demand for a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to Israel proper.


“The clause on the right of return cannot be agreed to,” he declared at a cabinet meeting on the government’s diplomatic policy.


“This is a subject upon which there is wide agreement in the government and in the public as well.”



Lieberman’s criticism of various peace efforts has stoked consternation in Israel and abroad.


The firebrand rightist was earlier quoted by Army Radio as branding the Arab plan, which was launched in Saudi Arabia and offers pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from Arab lands, as “a dangerous proposal, a recipe for the destruction of Israel.”


After Lieberman ruled out the initiative, Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated the importance of seeking a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement.


“An Israeli program for a comprehensive regional accord is the main line of Israeli policy for the coming years, and secures Israel’s future in the region,” Barak said in closed meetings.


He added: “Israel needs to formulate with the United States the details of this initiative, which also includes guarantees for Israel’s security interests, the security components and Jewish character of the state – without the right of return.”


In Lieberman’s first comprehensive interview on foreign policy since taking office, the foreign minister said the Obama Administration will put forth new peace initiatives only if Israel wants it to.


U.S. President Barak Obama, meanwhile, wishes to take up parts of the Arab peace initiative, and to request Israel and the Arab states begin implementing them gradually. The Americans believe that this will increase the trust and encourage progress on the direct Israeli-Palestinian track.


Haim Ramon, a lawmaker from the centrist opposition party Kadima, Wednesday called Lieberman’s positions ridiculous.


“They do damage to Israel because they unnecessarily cause tension in the relations with the U.S.,” he said.


Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz issued a similar condemnation of the foreign minister’s comments. “Lieberman is behaving like an elephant in a china shop, and is causing strategic damage to the State of Israel,” he said.


Pines-Paz said Lieberman was damaging the dialogue between Israel and the Obama administration. “In light of Lieberman’s remarks, it is not certain whether there is any point in a Netanyahu-Obama meeting.”


He was referring to the White House announcement on Tuesday that Obama has invited Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian leaders for separate talks in the next few weeks on the Middle East peace process.

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