Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Theater of the absurd

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
The theater of the criminal and absurd continue.  Merril Lynch reported that Israeli millionaires’ net assets rose from $43 billion to $52 billion in 2010. Apartheid Prime minister Netanyahu announced that he will strip Political prisoners held by Israel of basic rights like the right to continue their education.  It is believed this announcement came in response to his unwillingness to exchange prisoners with Hamas (sad note: leaked documents showed that Abbas authorities lobbied hard against any release of prisoners in exchange for a captured apartheid soldier). Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) also invaded several Palestinian communities in the past few days including setting up flying checkpoints in the middle of area A (Palestinian “security forces” withdrew upon orders from Israeli commanders).  This also happened in my village of Beit Sahour (one young man was kidnapped by the invading IOF criminals) the same day that our mayor had departed town to Jordan. Syrian troops killed 15 demonstrators Friday. Bil’in residents tried to bring down the apartheid wall separating them from their land.  NATO forces killed a Palestinian family in their raids in Libya “Palestinian ambassador to Libya Atif Udah told Ma’an radio the family was in a three-story building targeted by a NATO air attack. He identified the victims as Abdullah Muhammad Ash-Shihab, his wife Karima and his 6-month-old twins Khalid and Jumanah.”  And Fatah and Hamas seem to have backed down on their promises to the Palestinian people about forming a technocrat government and to allow for a representative PNC of the PLO.

It is difficult to know though what is happening behind the scenes: my feeling is that the growing civil society participation and pressure on all these governments and quasi-governments is putting them in a very difficult spot. But more needs to be done by us to tip the balance and uthorities still resist doing what is right. Perhaps that is why the US government, instead of demanding Israel comply with international humanitarian law, had to send three outwardly threatening statements to its own citizen about joining the freedom flotilla (see below). The European Union meanwhile while visibly showing no sign of weakening its complicity in war crimes is working feverishly behind the scenes to respond to the changing political landscape.  A high level official told me privately that what we are doing at the grassroots level is getting lots of attention behind closed doors and at the highest levels of Western capitals. I always reiterate that silence is complicity especially at this extremely sensitive period in our history. For us here in Palestine and abroad, activists are focusing on the flotilla  and on the July 8-16 initiative . We hope you will give your support. Many volunteers are needed especially to disseminate information via the internet and increase pressure on mainstream media and politicians to finally make the right choices and end the last remaining apartheid system on earth (as defined bu the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Crime of Apartheid and Racial Discrimination).

Famous novelist Alice Walker writes in CNN: Why I’m sailing to Gaza
An American Jew writes in Haaretz why he is joining the freedom flotilla
An ex Jew (now Pagan) Starhawk writes brilliantly on the Gaza flotilla
State Department Made a Travel Warning: If You Try To Sail To Gaza, Israel May Kill You
ACT NOW: Call the state Department (202-647-5291 and press 1 to leave comment) then call the white house 202 456 1111 (I did it and it takes just a few minutes and I talked to a real person)

Brilliant letter from “Boycott from within” Israeli citizens asking for boycotts

A good cause to donate to? Here are three examples

Great song released: Freedom for Palestine – OneWorld

The arc of the moral universe is long, But it bends toward justice. -Abolitionist Theodore Parker, c. 1850’s

The choice: A poem (I am not a poet so bear with me!)
Our choice is not between
Israelis vs Palestinians
Afghans vs Americans
Muslims vs Christians
seculars vs religious
collaborators vs rebelious

Our choice crystalizes when facing
A child who lost a leg ..moaning
A mother who lost a son.. grieving
A father jailed… yearning
An uprooted tree.. wilting
A Refugee … longing

in pained eyes, we look or stay away
the balance of where we sway
Between ignorance and compassion
Between love and hateful obsession
Between Justice and repression
Between might makes right
…and right makes might

Children not of “our tribe” wait silently
We must kneel to look at their faces intently
in those dark troubled eyes,
in the fleeting brief smiles
We see our reflection, our bonding
But we need to do the deciding
To find our inner voice
To finally make the choice
For dignified life not criminal apathy
To shun death and gain empathy
To shed paralyzing fears
To taste joyful tears
Now that our hearts get uncovered
Alas…love and humanity are (re)discovered
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