HOW THE GRINCH STOLE RAMADAN IN GAZA

Video: Ramadan in Gaza

Ramadan, a time of worship and joy for Muslims around the globe, is mixed with sadness in Gaza.

During Ramadan three years ago, Israel launched a massive military offensive that would last 51 days and claim more than 2,200 Palestinian lives.

The many families in Gaza who lost loved ones during that offensive, and the ones that came before it, feel little joy in their absence.

Successive Israeli military offensives, and a decade of blockade, have destroyed Gaza’s economy, further clouding Ramadan.

But Palestinians in Gaza try to carry on with Ramadan traditions – sharing meals with family and visiting neighbors after a long day of fasting, enjoying qatayif sweets and and carob and tamarind drinks.

Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

#50YearsTooMany ~~ ‘CELEBRATING’ THE OCCUPATION IN IMAGES AND VIDEO

Bibi: “To commemorate 50 years since Unification of Jerusalem, we’ve decided to upgrade the Western Wall!”

How one American Jew views the situation …

How zion glorifies the occupation

The former Chief Rabbi of Britain adds the following …

The reality of the horrors faced daily by the victims can be seen here …. (Click on link)

50 STORIES OF PALESTINIAN LIFE
UNDER OCCUPATION

More photos and videos can be seen at the following Twitter Site (Click on link)

#50YearsTooMany

 

Kudos to Sears for the following …..

Sears offers ‘Free Palestine’ clothing line

One of the items offered*

Screenshot T-shirts with the slogan ‘Free Palestine’ available for sale on the Sears website, June 6, 2017. (Sears.com via JTA)

MY SUBMISSION TO THE MOST ISRAELI VIDEO CONTEST

Contest invites participants to submit ‘most Israeli’ video

Ahead of the 50th year anniversary of the occupation of Jerusalem, zionist organization Im Tirtzu initiated a video contest inviting the Israeli public to submit videos describing what best defines being Israeli.
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According to Im Tirtzu, the goal of the “Hachi Yisraeli” (“Most Israeli”) video contest was to provide an opportunity to the Israeli public to express their love for Israel by presenting the values that they believe best reflect the State of Israel.
Here is our entry ….

“How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?”
― Bertrand Russell

THE TALLEST MAN IN THE WEST BANK

The tallest man in Ramallah offered to give us a tour of his cage. We would not even have to leave our table at Rukab’s Ice Cream, on Rukab Street; all he needed to do was reach into his pocket.

The Tallest Man in Ramallah

MICHAEL CHABON ROAMS THE WEST BANK WITH SAM BAHOUR

By  Michael Chabon

At nearly two meters—six foot four—Sam Bahour might well have been the tallest man in the whole West Bank, but his cage was constructed so ingeniously that it could fit into a leather billfold.

“Now, what do I mean, ‘my cage?’” He spoke with emphatic patience, like a remedial math instructor, a man well-practiced in keeping his cool. With his large, dignified head, hairless on top and heavy at the jawline, with his deep-set dark eyes and the note of restraint that often crept into his voice, there was something about Sam that reminded me of Edgar Kennedy in the old Hal Roach comedies, the master of the “slow burn.” “‘Sam,’” he said, pretending to be us, his visitors, we innocents abroad, “‘What is this cage you’re talking about? We saw the checkpoints. We saw the separation barrier. Is that what you mean by cage?’”

Some of us laughed; he had us down. What did we know about cages? When we finished our ice cream—a gaudy, sticky business in Ramallah, where the recipe is an Ottoman vestige, intensely colored and thickened with tree gum—we would pile back into our hired bus and return to the liberty we had not earned and were free to squander.

“Yes, that’s part of what I mean,” he said, answering the question he had posed on our behalf. “But there is more than that.”

Sam Bahour took the leather billfold out of the pocket of his dark-blue warm-up jacket and held it up for our inspection. It bulged like a paperback that had fallen into a bathtub. When he dropped it onto the tabletop it landed with a law-book thump. It was a book of evidence, proof that the cage he lived in was neither a metaphor nor simply a matter of four hundred miles of concrete and razor wire.

“In 1994, after Oslo,” Sam said, “my wife and I decided to move back here.” They had been married for a year, at that point, and decided to apply to the Israeli government for residency in Palestine “under a policy they called family reunification.” He flipped open the billfold and took out a passport with a familiar dark blue cover. “As an American citizen, I entered as a tourist, on a three-month visa.”

Sam Bahour was born in Youngstown, in 1964. His mother is a second-generation Ohioan of Lebanese Christian descent; his father immigrated to the United States from the town of Al-Bireh, then under Jordanian control, in 1957. After spending a few unhappy years working for relatives as a traveling salesman in the rural south (“basically a peddler,” in Sam’s words, “selling cheap goods to poor people at like a two hundred percent markup, it really bothered him”) Sam’s father settled in Youngstown, with its sizable Arab population. He bought the first of a series of independent grocery stores he would own and operate over the course of his career, got married, became a citizen, had a couple of kids, worked hard, made good.

A few things Sam said about his father seemed to suggest that though the elder Bahour settled and prospered in Ohio, he did not entirely lose himself in the embrace of his adopted country. When Sam was born his father had named him Bilal, after the most loyal of the Prophet’s Companions. But when non-Muslim neighbors in Youngstown shortened Bilal to “Billy,” Sam’s father—whose name was the American-sounding but authentically Arabic Sami—had his young son’s name legally changed to match his own. The freedom to return home that an American passport would afford, if only for three months at a time, had been among his motivations for marrying Sam’s mother and becoming a naturalized citizen. Some key part of the man—words like heart, mind, and spirit are only idioms, approximations—never left the house on Ma’arif Street where he had been born and raised, in the Al-Bireh neighborhood of Al-Sharafa, which belonged not to the Ottomans, the British, the Hashemites or the Israelis but only to the people who lived in them.

“I was brought up in a household that lived and ate and slept Palestine,” Sam would tell me, a couple of days after our first meeting over ice cream at Rakub’s. “I lived in Youngstown, where I didn’t know most of my neighbors, but I could tell you everybody in my neighborhood here in Ramallah. That’s an odd kind of way to grow up.”

That enchanted blue American passport, part skeleton key, part protective force-field, could work powerful three-month spells, both for Sam’s father and for Sam, once he and his Jerusalem-born wife, Abeer Barghouty, decided to try to make a life in Al-Bireh. For 13 years after his application for a residency card under the Israeli-controlled Family Reunification policy, Sam raised his daughters, built a number of businesses (telecommunications, retail development, consulting), worked for himself and his partners, for his clients and for the future of his half-born country, and lived a Palestinian life, all in tourist-visa tablespoonfuls, 90 days at a time. But in 2006, for reasons that remain mysterious, the magic embedded in his US passport abruptly ran out. Returning to the West Bank from a visa-renewing trip to Jordan, Sam handed over his passport to an Israeli border officer, expecting the routine 90-day rubber stamp. But when the passport was returned to him Sam saw that alongside the stamp, in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the officer had hand-written the words LAST PERMIT. Once this final allotment of 90 days ran out, Sam would no longer have permission to stay in the West Bank or Israel, and when he left—left his home, his family, his business, his community and everything he had worked to build over the past 13 years—he would not be permitted to return.

This is a very long post but definitely worth reading ….

Continue HERE

IN IMAGES ~~ REMEMBERING A PROUD LAND THAT ONCE WAS

Remembering the Nakba

Seventy years on from the Nakba, Palestinians seem to move from one cycle of oppression to another

A Palestinian man walks front of graffiti that reads “Returning” as Palestinians attend “camp of return” to mark refugees’ ties to lands lost in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, during a gathering to mark the 69th anniversary of the “Nakba” (catastrophe). Nakba means “catastrophe” in reference to the birth of the state of Israel 69 years ago in British-mandate Palestine, which led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who either fled or were driven out of their homes during the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

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I didn’t sell my house they stole it ..

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69 yrs later, we are still here, all over the world, keeping our keys & hope that every day passes we are getting closer to return

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To our homes in Palestine, we will return!

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69 yrs of dispossession, forced exile and oppression
We still resist & We Will Return

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Latuff adds the following

Their creation was our Nakba!

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“al-Nakbah” means “catastrophe”. Nakba Day when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled from their homeland

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Free Palestine!

STARVING FOR JUSTICE ~~ THE LATEST IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu can use all methods; torture, solitary confinement,propaganda & fake videos, but will NEVER break the will of a free Palestinian

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Also in Turkey

International support for the strikers growing daily

Xristoforos Triantafillos II holding my toon in a protest in Athens calling for Pizza Hut boycott after mocking Palestinian hunger strikers

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“We are not in search of death. We are looking for real life.”
.Free Palestine from Israeli terrorism.

ISRAELI STYLE ‘POLICE RIDE ALONG’ ~~ TEACHING 5th GRADERS TO KILL

As can be seen in this short video, the Israeli educational system has reached a new low …

Using a dummy, police officers used active fire to demonstrate how to take down an assailant armed with a knife and then verify that the assailant was dead.

Israeli Police Show 5th Graders How To Kill Palestinian Attackers

Israeli police taught elementary school students how to kill Palestinian terrorists as part of an event on Monday highlighting police-community relations in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon.

Using a dummy, police officers used active fire to demonstrate how to take down an assailant armed with a knife and then verify that the assailant was dead. Hundreds of fifth graders sat and watched the enactment.

“Has someone there lost his mind? It’s simply stupidity for its own sake, this demonstration of fire,” a parent told Haaretz. “Can’t you bring a traffic cop to demonstrate how he gives a ticket to an offender – they have to see how to dismantle magazines?”

The Israel Police defended the event in Ramat Hasharon. “We regret that there are those who choose to present in a biased manner a positive and empowering event connecting the police and the community,” the agency said in a statement.

The police have run into trouble recently due to graphic demonstrations of violent situations in front of children. Police put up a booth on Independence Day in a West Bank settlement earlier this month where children could have fake stab and shrapnel wounds painted onto their bodies.

Here’s a sampling of what else is taught in some Israeli schools …

Teaching Hatred to Jewish Children at Jewish Religious School

ISRAEL’S NATION-STATE BILL IS A CORNERSTONE FOR APARTHEID

The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.

The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass.


Israeli ministers back nation-state bill delisting Arabic as official language

A Cornerstone of Apartheid

Israel’s ‘nation-state’ law must be stopped – the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among all its citizens in law

The nation-state bill, which the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved unanimously on Sunday, is a bad bill. Nobody denies that Israel, as the bill says, “is the national home of the Jewish people,” or that “the right to the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

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The Jewish people’s right to national revival in the Land of Israel was recognized back in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and approved by the League of Nations Mandate in 1922. On November 29, 1947, this right was reaffirmed and recognized by the UN General Assembly as well.

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“We … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” reads the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, the state’s Basic Laws define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. And aside from all this, just last week, Israel celebrated the 69th anniversary of its independence.

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Nevertheless, this bill is bad, because the only legitimate way to ensure the state’s Jewishness is for Israel to be a democracy that grants full equality to all its citizens, but which also has a Jewish majority. Any situation in which Jews were a minority in Israel, and the state’s Jewishness was maintained solely via discriminatory laws and a regime that enforced them against the majority’s will, would be undemocratic, and in any event would certainly not be viable over the long run.
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The only explanation for why Israel is advancing this bill is the millions of Palestinians whom it keeps under its control in territories that it fantasizes about annexing. Because Israel is interested in applying its sovereignty to the land but isn’t interested in annexing the Palestinians who live there as equal citizens in a single state, it is forced to create the legal infrastructure for segregating Jews from Arabs and preserving the Jews’ legal supremacy. The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.
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The nation-state law is fundamentally antithetical to democracy, as it seeks to enshrine the rule of a Jewish minority over an imagined Arab majority. This is a fearful and aggressive move by a people that sees itself as a minority and is preparing to maintain control over an apartheid state that contains a Palestinian majority living under its rule. Yet even before that point is reached, the law discriminates against members of Israel’s Arab minority and legally labels them as second-class citizens.

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The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass. The only way to preserve the national home of the Jewish people is to separate peacefully from the occupied territories and liberate the Palestinian people. And the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among its citizens in law, in line with the promise of the Declaration of Independence: “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
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The above is the lead EDITORIAL in today’s HaAretz.

REMEMBERING PALESTINE ON ISRAEL’S DAY OF REMEMBRANCE ~~ IN TOONS

As Israel commemorates its fallen soldiers today, and its day of Independence tomorrow, we mourn the death of a wonderful nation.

Images by Carlos Latuff

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Today’s reality of the Nakba

The video about the new novel by author William Hanna entitled Ezekiel’s Temple Prophesy
For the interview see

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IN PHOTOS ~~ THE ROAD TO FREEDOM COMES TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

We must not co-exist but rather co-resist 

On the evening of April 24th an auditorium at Barnard College/Columbia University was packed to capacity with students waiting to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the originators of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, speak.  Earlier in the day he was given the Gandhi Peace Prize at Yale University and all were aware that the Israeli government had tried to interfere with him taking this trip.  There was also interference from the university which was not pleased to have Barghouti at Columbia that evening.

When he entered the room he was given a loud, long and enthusiastic standing ovation.  Two other speakers were on the program, Professor Premilla Nadasen, of the Barnard History Department and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace.  Both spoke well, Nadasen described her experiences growing up in an apartheid South Africa which she  said was not as bad as the apartheid in Palestine.  Vilkomerson discussed the new tactics that Israel was using, “lawfare”, in an attempt to defeat the growing BDS movement.  When Barghouti stepped up to the podium there was another lengthy standing ovation.  He began by giving the history of the non-violent BDS movement and explained their 3 demands – ending the occupation and the wall, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel (there are currently 61 laws in Israel that favor Jewish citizens over Palestinian citizens), and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in the diaspora as guaranteed by the UN.  He said that the Nakba had never ended and that there was a continual effort to colonize the minds of the Palestinian people by destroying all hope.  But hope was not destroyed.  There is still strong resistance and the success of the BDS movement has raised hope even higher.  He added that we must not co-exist but rather co-resist.  To boycott or not to boycott is a moral choice that we must all make.  And when, not if, freedom, justice, and equality exist there the BDS campaign will come to an end.  And then there was another lengthy standing ovation for Barghouti and, by extension, for the Palestinian people.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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ON SUNDAY OMAR BARGHOUTI WAS PRESENTED WITH THE GANDHI PEACE AWARD AT A CEREMONY IN NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

GOOD MORNING FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. [Volunteers came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall and impact of settlements n the environment because this is not work but resistance]. Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In this message I just want to reflect on why this is very important.

More than 1800 of our freedom fighters are on their 11th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

 Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Every day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and unhealthy desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because they want some material interest? How many corrupt politicians we know? How many people we know turned out to be kinder and gentler and more self sacrificing than we thought? How many turned out more mean, more selfish, more sadistic? Looking at the world in this fashion (some would claim it is seeing reality) can be truly dispiriting. It can remove any remaining humanity in many people. But then comes a prisoner hunger strike! It sounds small but it touches a cord in human beings bigger than any other and I will argue it is the way to reclaim our humanity.

Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment. It is the antithesis of selfishness and greed.

800,000 Palestinians tasted life in prison and today almost 7000 are there in the colonial apartheid Israeli prisons. While everyone knows this, the hunger strike brought the prisoners’ message home to all – rich and poor, greedy and self-sacrificing, honest and liar. This message is nothing short of that we humans must reconnect to our humanity and that caring for others is the way to save humanity. In this 21st century with weapons of mass destruction and climate change, we cannot afford as a species to do otherwise. Prisoners show us the way like many decent human beings showed us the way before (think of Jesus and prophets and revolutionaries like Che Guevera). But the alarm bells for us are now alarm bells for a dying species unless we act. It is more urgent than ever in our short history on earth. We really have a choice to make and it is both an individual and a collective choice. That choice is to either accept war and greed as “natural” and follow the other human lemmings over the cliff OR resist and give of ourselves as a way to save humanity.  Mahatma Gandhi used hunger strike to refocus people away from greed and selfishness to caring for each other. Hunger is painful and people will die sooner or later unless we all act. What is at stake is very high: our own self-respect (dignity) as human beings. But as the world changed, the danger is that we can also go extinct as a species unless we manage to collectively transcend a huge baggage of greed, colonialism, and  capitalism that cannot be sustained in the 21st century. Palestinian prisoners by their silent deeds of self-sacrifice have shown us the way. As did martyrs like Basil Al-Araj who simply noted that in his extremely short last words on paper: there is no more eloquant speech than the deed of the Martyr.

Kkalil Gibran wrote in “The Prophet” 1923: “You give but little when you give of your possessions; it is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?  And what is fear of need but need itself.” The prisoners and the martyrs gave silently of themselves. For the rest of us, where we stand today and tomorrow will say a lot about who we are.

Here is a relevant article I wrote seven years ago “The Savior in Each of Us”

ASSORTMENT OF TOONS ~~ FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Collection is FROM

Organizations and individuals which side with Palestine are welcome to reproduce the following cartoons on hunger strikers!

1500 of our freedom fighters are on their 7th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

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For the 7th day, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strike.

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Good morning from Palestine .. !

From Latuff

Why we strike ….

Statics you SHOULD know about the miserable conditions at the Israeli jails..

INTERVIEW ~~ SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKERS CONTINUES TO GROW

A couple of days ago, the leader of al Fatah, Marwan Barghouti, published his shocking article on New York Times. He had just started a legendary protest, called the “struggle of the empty stomachs”. Marwan has been able to start an extended non-violent struggle of at least 1.300 prisoners in Israeli prisons, a hunger strike. The objective is to show their reality to the rest of the world, and to make people understand what is going on in this land of denied rights. In his article published by New York Times Marwan attacks the Israeli military forces by using very hard words. The Zionist regime is responsible for the total absence and/or the daily violation of human rights, for daily physical and psychological torture, and also for bad food. 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Day 5 of 1,500 Palestinian detainees’ hunger strike in Israeli occupation jails!

Interview with Khaled, during a rally to support Palestinian prisoners

by Antonietta Chiodo, ProMosaik, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

In these hours, the population wants the competent authorities to take their responsibility to sanction a state whose law is based on the exercise of violence and power against a helpless population. However, as we can see today, this population has not stopped resisting. The President of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen declared his unconditioned solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. The groups next to Hamas and the Islamic Party have not made a clear decision about whether they will participate to the hunger strike by involving their own members in Israeli prisons or not.

The day after the publication of Barghouti’s article and the extended participation to the hunger strike by prisoners, the Knesset put the leader Marwan Barghouti and other three main organizers of the protest in solitary confinement in the high-security prison in the Northern West Bank next to the city of Jenin. Since the beginning of the protests, the clashes and arrests are increasing, in particular around Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem.

Today I went into the streets and talked to a group of people during a solidarity rally for the Palestinian prisoners in hunger strike. Among them there was also an about eight years old handicapped child. Some of them wore gas masks. An ambulance was ready to intervene in case of clashes.

Everywhere the shapes of Israeli soldiers. In sight the separation wall. There are upset garbage containers which make me think about a day full of tensions. During the rally, I talked to Khaled, one of the guys participating to the protests, to ask him a couple of questions about them.

Have there been news from the prisons during these last hours?

No, since the beginning of the hunger strike, Israel has not been giving any information… we have only heard that the leaders of the protest were put into solitary confinement and that many prisoners are not even allowed to talk to their own lawyer.

Do you feel supported by the Palestinian Authority these days?

I cannot answer to this question… I cannot say anything about it… I am just a man who decided to take to the streets these days… as many women and children did… we would like to tell the world what has been happening in this land since seventy years now….  However, politics are the heart of Palestine… the whole world turns around politics, we do not want to know if one is on our part or not… since this is our life, and our freedom, and we will continue our resistance against the occupation, day after day… If you want to know if we trust Abu Mazen …. Then I can answer you: No, Palestine has stopped trusting him since a long time now.

Were there many clashes during these rallies? Do you think others will follow today?

We protest the whole day, also in the evening. They usually attack us in the afternoon or after sunset. As you can see, we have no arms. We just have flags… but we resist. Because resisting is the thing we can do best…. And it is not a coincidence that the majority of people participating to these rallies comes from the refugee camps, in particular from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp.

Do you think that Marwan Barghouti’s initiative will be really helpful?

Yes, I am absolutely convinced that it is a light, an open window so that the world can look into here… so that all can see how strong we the Palestinians are… we prefer dying than continuing to be oppressed and tortured. Our situation has been unchanged for seventy years now… So our fellows have started this struggle, and we have to support them because they are brave men and true examples for us.

 

Written FOR

MUCH ADO ABOUT THE PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE

Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons

Carlos Latuff shows his solidarity with Palestinian prisoners who launched a mass hunger strike in Israeli jails, yesterday.

Palestinians in Israeli prisons begin hunger strike!

Israel, the mother of terrorism has called this article an act of terror. Please read and distribute as far and wide as possible.

Op-Ed in the New York Times

By

Photos of prisoners during a demonstration demanding the release of the Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, in Ramallah, West Bank, this month. Credit Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

HADARIM PRISON, Israel — Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.

Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.

Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.

Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions. It has committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions against the Palestinian people; the prisoners, including men, women and children, are no exception.

I was only 15 when I was first imprisoned. I was barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on my forehead. The interrogator mocked me afterward, saying that I would never procreate because people like me give birth only to terrorists and murderers.

A few years later, I was again in an Israeli prison, leading a hunger strike, when my first son was born. Instead of the sweets we usually distribute to celebrate such news, I handed out salt to the other prisoners. When he was barely 18, he in turn was arrested and spent four years in Israeli prisons.

The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.

Israel has built nearly all of its prisons inside Israel rather than in the occupied territory. In doing so, it has unlawfully and forcibly transferred Palestinian civilians into captivity, and has used this situation to restrict family visits and to inflict suffering on prisoners through long transports under cruel conditions. It turned basic rights that should be guaranteed under international law — including some painfully secured through previous hunger strikes — into privileges its prison service decides to grant us or deprive us of.

Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. Some have been killed while in detention. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions. Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel’s policy of imposing collective punishments.

Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses.

Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.

How to account for this unbelievable state of affairs?

Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for Palestinians in the military courts is nearly 90 percent.

Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation.

Instead, though, Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom.

Israel has tried to brand us all as terrorists to legitimize its violations, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture, punitive measures and severe restrictions. As part of Israel’s effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers.

Israel is not the first occupying or colonial power to resort to such expedients. Every national liberation movement in history can recall similar practices. This is why so many people who have fought against oppression, colonialism and apartheid stand with us. The International Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Prisoners that the anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada and my wife, Fadwa, inaugurated in 2013 from Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island has enjoyed the support of eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates, 120 governments and hundreds of leaders, parliamentarians, artists and academics around the world.

Their solidarity exposes Israel’s moral and political failure. Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace.

HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATES ~~ 1500 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE

Today 17 April 2017, nearly 1500 political prisoners in Israeli jails went
on an open-ended hunger strike until their demands of basic humane
treatment in prison are met. 

Image by Carlos Latufff

 

HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATES

Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD


Today 17 April 2017, nearly 1500 political prisoners in Israeli jails went
on an open-ended hunger strike until their demands of basic humane
treatment in prison are met. This includes family visits, stopping abuse,
availability of medical treatment, knowing their sentence (administrative
detainees held for months and sometimes years without charge or trial),
etc.  There were many activities to honor them and show solidarity. For
example we in Al-Rowwad Culture and Art Society held the festival of return
(3aidoun) in their honor, there were demonstrations at the wall (inhaled
much tear gas) and we have a candle-light vigil later tonight in
Bethlehem’s manger square. Please keep prisoners issues alive so that they
stay alive and are treated with dignity they deserve. These events happen
in between our usual work at the museum (research, education,
conservation). 15 elementary school children visited as did several local
people. Our team of international volunteers (seven today) continue and are
working hard. Look for us on facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural
History.

Why we are on hunger strike in Israel's prisons (more)


U.S. Drops Its Biggest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Afghans, Already Traumatized by
Decades of War. In Afghanistan on Thursday, the United States military
dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever—the Massive Ordnance Air
Blast, or MOAB, nicknamed "The Mother of All Bombs." The 21,600-pound bomb
reportedly unleashed an explosion equivalent to 11 tons of TNT with a
mile-wide blast radius…..

[They keep telling us it is “non-nuclear” (why not non-biological,
non-chemical?). It was described the Afhani officials as devastating to
people and the environment. This came after Trump refused independent
investigations and claimed he knows Syrian government used chemical weapons
and bombed Syria. He is now the typical neocon….]

American police are now regularly getting training from Israeli apartheid
officers. Is it any wonder then they drag people out of airplanes and shoot
blacks in the street? Here is an interesting opinion piece in the
Washington Post. Crucified man had prior run in with authorities:

I guess this is how we are writing up the victims of crimes now. I did not
realize that when you boarded a plane you gave away the right to have your
past remain your past, but a theme of life these days is that only people
who have never done anything wrong, or are in some way related to Donald
Trump, deserve to go through their lives unmolested. In accordance with
this new house style I am writing up an incident whose anniversary some
people are celebrating this week.  The gentleman arrested Thursday and
tried before Pontius Pilate had a troubled background.


Open Secrets: The UAE’s Deals With Israel

 

A CRITICAL LOOK AT PASSOVER

How can you celebrate a festival if you look at the occupation, the continuous land grabbing and oppression in Palestine by the descendants of Jewish refugees from Egypt?

Before the “Salvation of Zion”, the “Geulat Zion”, there is the “Salvation of Palestine” from illegal Zionist Occupation!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

In times of Islam hatred and of a philosemite Anti-Semitism, the beloved “Matzo Balls,” a wonderful Jewish traditional dish, gets stuck in my throat. How can you celebrate a festival if you look at the occupation, the continuous land grabbing and oppression in Palestine by the descendants of Jewish refugees from Egypt? Who can you say “Next year in Jerusalem” at the end of the supplications?

What does this mean? In which Jerusalem? In the Jerusalem under continuous Jewish occupation and Judaisation? No, I cannot and do not want to accept this! Without any doubt, it is important to transmit traditions, but a tradition denying the occupation, land grabbing, and humiliation at the expense of an occupied people, is a crime.

This well-known supplication about Jerusalem is the beginning of a religious, Zionist “tradition.” And from the beginning, already before the Holocaust, without taking the losses into consideration, this Zionist tradition pursued the goal to conquer a “Jewish State” for a “people without land, and a land without people”. This Zionist idea of Herzl will be celebrated in autumn with Netanyahu being invited to Basle. Yes, exactly to Basle! I am asking myself how this “Occupiers’ King Bibi” can be invited to Basle. Has he emigrated to Switzerland? Imagine the scenario of “Erdogan being invited to Germany.” How much greater would the agitation be than about the Turkish election campaign appearances?

Next Monday evening, Jewish citizens all over the world will sit on one table to celebrate the first Seder Evening of the Pessach festival, by commemorating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. And at this moment, hundred thousands of illegally occupied Palestinians, trapped in their reservations, will involuntarily think about their exodus. Four years ago I wrote a comment about the Pessach festival in Palestine.

In 2013 I wrote “we were refugees in Egypt”; and at that time, Netanyahu praised the “success” of the almost concluded barrier construction to Egypt, by roaring: “There is no other Western country which was able to stop the mass immigration of illegal migrants. And we have ensured that no ‘infiltrant’ can reach the Israeli cities.” Infiltrant!

What about it in 2017? The “Jewish State” drove forward in the ethnical cleansing and judaisation on such a massive scale that it is just a matter of time before all Palestine will be “Muslim-free.” In the meantime, there are other walls to Gaza and prisons for black refugees, and there is US-president Trump planning a giant wall construction to keep out Mexican refugees. And it was him who ordered a “Muslim travel ban,” which has no equal. He falls seamlessly into the ranks of the Zionist racist wall and separation politics against Muslims, refugees, and foreigners. This “Christian-Jewish” alliance will put the fear of God into us!

The “Jewish State” upheld as model for the integration of refugees, and whose security and oppression measures are considered exemplary, surpasses anything you have seen before. In the end, the alleged “unique democracy” in the Middle East signed the International Convention of Refugees, obliging it to comply with international legal standards. However, where there is no claimant against this manifest racism, there is no judge. All this is just a paper waste, a ridiculous paper tiger for the Jewish Apartheid State, this ethnocracy only for Jews!

These Western value hypocrites do not only support this Jewish occupier and Apartheid State, but they even think about imitating its internationally criticized actions. No, this israelization of Germany must be stopped!

It is not enough that the Israel lobby prevents us from our freedom of speech and opinion because we critically talk about Israel’s unjust policies. The German authorities even deny the German constitution because they kowtow to the dictates of the Israel lobby. The reason of state for the safety of Israel is opposed to all democratic traditions. How can you stand up for the safety of an Apartheid and occupier state and be guilty of such a perversion of justice? How can this be, if we have a German Merkel government coalition always speaking about values and human rights, showing them to other governments, while spurning them.

If Chancellor Merkel and other politicians continuously speak about the “Two State Solution” we have to ask ourselves: Do you really believe in what you are saying, or has this well-worn phrase become a battle cry, just showing the indifferent helplessness of a mistaken and cowardly politics toward the “Jewish State” because of the “special” relationship the Netanyahu regime brutally profits from to play the eternal victim, surrounded by terror? How long will this game go on? What must happen to change the minds of people? The Holocaust justifies all means to create an “unholy” home for Jews at the expense of Palestinians, the native population. Zionism knows only one final goal: a judaistic ethnocracy, just for Jews. Nobody cares about the refugees convention or the nakba, the catastrophe of Palestinians. In this Zionist world view, there is definitively no place for “native people” or “infiltrants.”

This idea fatally fits in with the efforts of the agitators of the Christian Democratic Party, from Jens Spahn to the “Burka delegate” Julia Klöckner, to engage for an Islam Law which would not be compatible with our constitution! Should we ask for another delegate in the CDU, engaging for “homosexuals?”

Since 2013, in the country of the Holocaust victims the arbitrariness against Palestinians and unwelcome refugees /“infiltrants” has been so strengthened that all human rights violations and crimes against international law are justified in the context of war against terror and in the “anti-terror” alliance.

Some days ago, for the first time, more than two decades after the negotiations of Oslo and their signature in 1993, the Netanyahu regime announced the construction of a new settlement, and the increased extension of existing ones. This Chutzpah dimension of a new, unlimited indifference is possible knowing that the hypocrite Western community of values will just critizise a bit, and then be silent for ever. And so the myth of the helpless and threatened state will be maintained.

After this announcement, Netanyahu confirmed his “desire for peace” and affirmed that he will prevent the construction of “unauthorised” settlements. In the meantime, in the illegally occupied West Bank, more than two thousand new settlers‘ residential units were authorised, and ninety hectares of Palestinian land were declared as “public” Israeli land. However, all this was completely ignored, like the dispossession of Bedouins, the murder, and the air strikes.

The fact that all settlements are illegal, is ignored thanks to the Hasbara propaganda and all the lies of the Israel lobby. Even US-President Obama had passed a UN resolution without the usual veto confirming according to international right that all settlements are illegal. After all the “pro-Israel” gifts, it was like an farewell present. As expected, his successor Trump opposed to this definition. His deputy Mike Pence has announced that Trump is already working on the future relocation of the US ambassador Friedman from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to officially work from there.

And it goes into the same direction, that the UN report written by the two experts Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley which clearly proves why Israel is an Apartheid State and a regime deliberately backing the division (hafrada) of Palestinian groups. With these intrigues, the Zionist regime always gains the advantage of unlimited power.

It is an abject and shameful tragedy that ironically the new UN general secretary and former leader of the Portuguese socialists, Antonio Guterres, folded to the massive pressure of the Israel lobby and was forced to take distance from the report and also insisted on the cancellation of the report from the list of documents of the UN commission. This blackmailing caused the withdrawal of the UN secretary member, the executive secretary, and former Jordan minister Rima Khalaf, a brave woman refusing this arbitrariness. When Guterres hypocritically opposes to the settlement construction, he has to ask himself, if he is not co-responsible, and he should think about resigning!

For this reason, my past desire is more actual than ever before for the coming Pessach celebration. It does not suffice to do Holocaust politics, to polemicize with the Torah in the hand, to pray the Haggadah, and at the same time to continue to occupy Palestine, to grab land, to dispossess people, and to deny own wars and crimes. The Apartheid Wall must fall. And the illegal occupation must be ended immediately. I call for all diaspora Jews to face the truth and to stop this injustice, instead of blindly supporting the “Jewish State” which just feels strengthened and confirmed to go on with this terrible politics.

My after-dinner speech for the future Seder evening will be: “Next year, in a free, democratic State of Palestine”, since before the “salvation of Zion,” the “Geulat Zion,” there is the “salvation of Palestine” from the illegal Zionist occupation! Since only this is the real “Geulat Zion,” the “salvation of Zion” for a Free Palestine.

 

 

Originally posted AT

REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN ANGEL, RACHEL CORRIE

March 16th marked the anniversary of the Israeli killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, 14 years ago.

14 years ago today, Israeli bulldozers killed ISM activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza

On March 16, 2003, Rachel was killed by an Israel Occupation Force (IOF) armored bulldozer in Rafah during the second Palestinian intifada.

Rachel had come to Gaza to try and establish a sister city project between her hometown Olympia, Washington and Rafah, Gaza. She was a peace activist connected to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who tried to prevent the demolition of Palestinian houses which were being carried out by the Israeli army.

After a three hour long confrontation between ISM activists and the Israeli army’s demolition forces, she was killed, less than two months after arriving in Gaza.

Israel claims that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Rachel because of the limited field of view from within the bulldozer. Humans rights groups claim that the driver had seen her and deliberately continued driving, disregarding her fellow activists who were shouting and waving their arms, which resulted in Rachel’s death.

The Israeli army’s investigation of the incident concluded that the death was an accident because the driver of the bulldozer had limited visibility and therefore couldn’t see Rachel. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations criticized the military investigation, claiming that it was not transparent, credible or thorough enough.

In 2006 Bradley Burston, Haaretz columnist said “We should have saved Rachel Corrie’s life that day… Right now, somewhere in the West Bank, there’s an eight-year-old whose life could be saved next week, if we’ve managed to learn the lesson are resourceful enough to know how to apply it.”

In 2005 a one-woman drama called ”My Name Is Rachel Corrie” ran at London’s Royal Court Theater, and received a warm reception. In April 2015, the drama was staged Off Broadway in the East Village in New York.

Two years ago a symbolic gravestone with her name was installed in Tehran cemetary in Iran, alongside twelve other symbolic gravestones.

There is a street named after Rachel Corrie in Ramallah, West Bank.

 

Source

 

Italian activist Nicola Arboscelli stands in front of graffiti memorializing American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was killed 14 years ago today, on March 16, 2003, Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Abid Katib/ Getty Images)

 

ANTI APARTHEID VIDEO GONE VIRAL

Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid in Palestine

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‘Apartheid has been here for ages. It doesn’t really bother us’ — Israeli comedian says in closing act

The Israeli comedian Assaf Harel and the host of the show “Good Night With Asaf Harel,” used the monologue of his series finale on Monday to dive into a speech where he said Israel had reached a state of “apartheid” long ago.

“Ever since the right-wing took power, more and more voices are warning of apartheid. Are you kidding? Apartheid has been here for ages. Ages,” Harel said.

More HERE

BANKSY WELCOMES YOU TO THE WALL IN BETHLEHEM

‘The Walled Off Hotel’ in Bethlehem, with a view of the separation barrier, will officially open March 11th and comes complete with dozens of pieces of art work by British artist Banksy; artist is known for politically-charged work and has visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in the past.

FROM

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Welcome To The ‘Wall,’ Banksy Style

Under an army watchtower and across the street from the concrete wall Israel has built in parts of the occupied West Bank, street artist Banksy has opened a guesthouse in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

In the revered birth town of Jesus, the Walled Off hotel stands three storeys high. Its bedroom walls and hallways are decorated with the mysterious artist’s stencil graffiti work — one shows an Israeli soldier and masked Palestinian youth having a pillow fight, and a statue of a chimpanzee bell-boy stands at the entrance, clothes falling out of the suitcase he holds.

The hotel, converted from a pottery workshop, has been styled to resemble “an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times,” a statement from the artist said, in acknowledgement of the historical role Britain played in the Middle East.

But the decor has been spiced up with statues choking on tear gas, cherubs hanging from the ceiling, their faces covered by oxygen masks and oil paintings of refugee life jackets washed ashore.

The hotel was set up in secrecy over the last 14 months — Israeli military authorities in the West Bank did not immediately respond when asked if they had been aware in advance.

Banksy, whose real name is not known, described his guesthouse as having the worst view of any hotel in the world: Every room overlooks the barrier which is a symbol of oppression for the Palestinians.

Israel began building it in 2002 at the height of a Palestinian uprising in which Israeli cities were rocked by frequent Palestinian suicide bombings.

Palestinians dub it an “apartheid wall” and an Israeli attempt to grab land in the West Bank, which they want along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, for a future state.

The Banksy statement said the hotel “offers a warm welcome to people from all sides of the conflict and across the world” and was financed by the artist.

Gentle music from a self-playing pianola fills the candle-lit dining room where a framed painting of Jesus looks up at three warplanes, stenciled on the wallpaper above.

The hotel also has its own art gallery and an exhibition dedicated solely to the wall, which features contributions from Palestinians and Israelis.

The Walled Off is Banksy’s biggest project since the 2015 “Dismaland” theme park at the English seaside, where staff carried balloons proclaiming “I’m an imbecile” and model boats full of refugees floated in a pond.

—Reuters

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Dominic Evans)

AMERICAN MUSLIMS ONCE AGAIN HELP JEWS REST IN PEACE

‘Whatever extremists try to destroy, we’ll rebuild,’ Muslim American activist says after Philadelphia cemetery vandalized, vowing to try to divert funds raised for St. Louis to help.

Muslim Activists Vow to Help After Second Act of Vandalism at Jewish Cemetery

Muslim American activist Tarek El-Messidi teamed up with fellow activist Linda Sarsour last week to raise funds to rebuild the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, where hundreds of headstones were desecrated. On Sunday, the attack hit much closer to home, as a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, his home town, became the target of a similar attack, with up to 500 tombstones being hit.

Speaking to Haaretz on his way to the Mt. Carmel Jewish cemetery, El-Messidi, 36, says he wants to see how some of the funds raised last week can be diverted to help rebuild the Mt. Carmel cemetery in Philadelphia.

Full report and video HERE
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Meanwhile …..

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, in Israel …..

Israel accused of destroying Muslim graves in East Jerusalem to make way for park

‘The Israeli Nature Authority – backed by large numbers of Israeli forces – stormed the historical cemetery and knocked down eight graves,’ says Islamic preservation committee head

Click HERE to see video

Israeli authorities have demolished several graves in occupied east Jerusalem’s historical Bab al-Rahmeh cemetery next to a long fought-over mosque, a Palestinian official has said.

Parts of the ancient cemetery were confiscated in September 2015 by Israeli authorities to make way for a national park according to local sources.

More HERE

Do you remember reading about zionist activists trying to stop this? I don’t!

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