IN PHOTOS ~~ FOR THE MARTYRS OF PALESTINE

THE PALESTINIANS ARE NOW WALKING IN THE DESERT FOR 70 YRS.

NYC Students For Justice In Palestine held an emergency public meeting at Washington Sq. Park Manhattan to recognize Palestinian Land Day and mourn and protest the killing of 16 Palestinians attending a mass peaceful demonstration at the Gaza Zionist border.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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See THIS related post (Click on link)

Videos of Palestinians shot walking, running and praying appear on social media, but US cables keep mum

LAND DAY ~~ REMEMBERING OUR LAND AND OUR MARTYRS

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 40 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Forty years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

 

Originally written FOR

LAND DAY IN PALESTINE ~~ THE ONGOING PROCESS

Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians and to displace them in every part of historic Palestine from the north, to the occupied West Bank, to the Naqab (Negev) in the south.

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What is Palestine’s Land Day?

Palestinians display a map of historic Palestine during a rally in the northern Gaza Strip to mark Land Day, on 30 March 2014. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

On this day in 1976, thousands of Palestinians marched in towns and villages across theGalilee region, in the north of present-day Israel, to protest Israel’s expropriation of vast tracts of land as part of its openly declared policy to “Judaize” the area at the expense of the indigenous population.

No Zionism without “evacuation” and “confiscation”

“Following the Zionist tenets, Israel has systematically and callously followed an intricate and continuous process of Arab land expropriation through the promulgation of new laws, the circumvention of existing laws, harassment and duplicity. Recognizing the naked truth, Y. Ben-Porat, a known ‘hawk’ wrote ‘One truth is that there is no Zionism, no settlement, no Jewish state without evacuation of the Arabs and confiscation and enclosure of their land,’” anthropologist Khalil Nakhleh wrote in The Journal of Palestine Studies in 1976.

Frustration and anger at Israel’s land theft from, and discrmination against, Palestinian citizens of Israel had been mounting for years.

Nakhleh adds: “To protest against the essence of this process and orders for new expropriations, the Arab population declared a general strike for 30 March 1976. In an effort to preempt the strike, army and border police, including armored units, were dispatched to the most affected Arab villages. Violent confrontations ensued, and left behind six Arabs killed, tens wounded and hundreds arrested. March 30 was commemorated as Yawm al-Ard or the Day of the Land.”

Israeli violence

“On that day, quiet demonstrations in the villages of Sakhnin, Arabeh and Dir Hanna were confronted by an aggressive police and army presence which later turned on them in violent confrontations,” historian Ilan Pappe writes in his book The Forgotten Palestinians.

Already, on 28 March, “the Minister of Police declared that his forces were ‘ready to break into the Arab villages’ – he used the Hebrew word ‘lifroz,’ which is usually employed to describe assaults on enemy lines and bases,” Pappe explains.

Pappe gives the names of those killed as Khayr Muhammad Yasin from Arabeh, Raja Hussein Abu Riya, Khader Abd Khalil and Khadija Juhayna from Sakhnin, Muhammad Yusuf Taha from Kafr Kana and Rafat Zuhairi from Nur Shams refugee camp, who was shot in Taybeh.

Turning point

The Day of the Land – or Land Day – marked a turning point as the first mass mobilization by Palestinians within Israel against internal colonialism and land theft.

Its commemoration is a reaffirmation that the Palestinians who remained in the areas on which Israel was declared in 1948 are an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle.

Land Day continues to resonate with Palestinians everywhere because it does not just mark a past historical event, but draws attention to Israel’s ongoing violent, settler-colonial process of “Judaization.”

Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians and to displace them in every part of historic Palestine from the north, to the occupied West Bank, to the Naqab (Negev) in the south.

Resources

To mark Land Day, The Journal of Palestine Studies has made available several articles from past issues, including Khalil Nakhleh’s, quoted above.

These articles recall the history of Land Day, how it was seen in the context of the Palestinian reality in its time and in the decades since.

Written FOR

WHY LAND DAY STILL MATTERS TO ‘A PEOPLE WITHOUT A LAND’

land-day-2011

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Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Thirty-eight years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. Her website is www.fidajiryis.net. Sam and Fida were both born in the Diaspora and relocated to their family’s hometowns in Palestine and Israel, respectively.

 

 

Written FOR

LAND DAY MARKED IN A LAND SLOWLY BEING ERASED

“Our roots have always been deep, but there are those who are trying to extirpate these roots by way of bulldozers and ethnic cleansing. We must foil and thwart these efforts by all means necessary.”
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Palestinians mark Land Day

 

The struggle of Palestinians against Zionist attempts to erase them, physically and culturally, continues with the focus turning again to the sacred Al-Aqsa, writes Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

 

Palestinians mark Land Day
A protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli soldiers during a protest marking Land Day near the border between Israel and southern Gaza Strip (photo: Reuters)
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Palestinians in Israel proper and the occupied territories this week marked Land Day, which commemorates the murder by Israeli troops of six Palestinians in the Arab Israeli town of Sakhnin in 1976.

The six young men were trying to stop Israeli authorities from confiscating their land for Jewish settlement expansion.

Large rallies and marches took place in several localities in the Galilee, Triangle and Negev regions, with speakers urging thousands of participants to cling to their land and keep up the struggle against Judaisation and ethnic cleansing.

Among the speakers was Arab Knesset member Ahmed Teibi who exhorted a large multitude of Arab Israeli citizens to “consolidate their existence on this land”.

“This is our homeland, this is our ancestral land, this is our patrimony; we have no other homeland. This is the message that we must communicate to the whole world, especially to the Israeli state.” Teibi said Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line (the former armistice line between Israel and the West Bank) ought to leave “no stone unturned” in order to “further consolidate our existence in our land”.

“Our roots have always been deep, but there are those who are trying to extirpate these roots by way of bulldozers and ethnic cleansing. We must foil and thwart these efforts by all means necessary.”

Other speakers reminded participants that Israel is trying to devise “every imagined and non-imagined tactic to steal our land and render us strangers in our own homeland”.

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, said Palestine had always been Arab and Islamic irrespective of Zionist lies and fabrications.

“Their lies may prevail for some time. But one day the snow will melt away and the truth shall appear and the falsehood will be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

Similarly, numerous rallies took place in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip amid skirmishes between stone-hurling activists and heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

Land Day commemorations this year coincided with another attempt by messianic Jewish settlers to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest shrines.

According to Israeli and Palestinian sources, settlers were seen reciting prayers at the exclusively Islamic shrine. Palestinian eyewitnesses also reported seeing a Jewish settler urinating in the Mosque’s esplanade.

Messianic Jewish groups make no secret of their goal of earning “prayer rights” at the Haram Al-Sharif complex, or Nobel Sanctuary.

However, for Muslims in general, “Prayer rights” spell “vicious attempts to partition the Islamic sanctuary”.

“They want to do here what they did in Hebron,” said Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, the highest-ranking Muslim cleric in Jerusalem, alluding to the partitioning by Israel of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron following the 1994 massacre, when a Jewish terrorist murdered 29 Arab worshipers and injured many more.

“How would Catholics react if some Jews tried to partition Saint Peters Church in Rome between Jews and Catholics?

“Yet, this is what these invaders from Eastern Europe and other parts of the world are trying to do here; namely, take over holy places that belong to another religion and another people.”

According to reliable Palestinian sources, the Israeli occupation authorities are planning to introduce “far reaching changes” at Haram Al-Sharif, which could alter the legal status of the Muslim sanctuary.

The unspecific Israeli plans seem to have prompted the latest Palestinian-Jordanian agreement, reached in Amman last week, which confirmed “Jordan’s historic role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem”.

The agreement signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday also stressed “our common goal of defending Jerusalem and its sacred sites” against Judaising attempts.

“This is a historic agreement. Abbas reiterated that the King is the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem and that he has the right to exert all legal efforts to preserve them, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque,” a statement issued from the Jordanian royal court said.

The statement went on to say: “The agreement emphasises the historic principles agreed by Jordan and Palestine to exert joint efforts to protect the city from Judaisation attempts.”

Palestinian leaders lauded the agreement as a positive step toward putting up a solid front in the face of Israeli efforts to encroach on Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

“I don’t care if Palestinians or Jordanians or other Muslims carry out this mission. The important thing is that Muslims and Arabs must do everything possible to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque,” said Sheikh Raed Salah in interview with the BBC.

“Whether those who defend and protect this paramount Muslim sanctuary are Palestinians or Jordanian is irrelevant in the final analysis,” he added.

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 allowing the Jordanian government to administer Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

However, there have been hints by the right-wing Israeli government that Israel might embark on unilateral action that would effectively wrest legal administration of the holy sites from Jordan.

And not every Palestinian is satisfied with the agreement, described by some pundits as “innocuous”.

Hizb Al-Tahrir, an Islamist party that calls for the reinstitution of the Islamic Caliphate, called the agreement “media hyperbole with no practical benefit for Muslims”.

“This agreement was signed as Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is utterly unlikely that the agreement will have any practical positive results on the ground. Only a truly Islamic state will be able to protect Islamic holy sites. Jordan has strong ties with the Zionist entity and is unfit to be a custodian or guardian of the holy places,” the party said.

Written FOR

REMEMBERING THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

Unlike some people that never stop crying, Palestinians have developed the following attitude instead of pulling out their ‘victim status card’ every chance they get;

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We didn’t cry during farewell!
For we didn’t have time, nor tears, Nor was it farewell
We didn’t realize that the moment of farewell was farewell
So how could we cry?”
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On Land Day, Palestinians Remember the Price of Freedom

Shahd Abusalama

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My drawing of “the ruins of my homeland” (Shahd Abusalama)

 

We didn’t cry during farewell!
For we didn’t have time, nor tears, Nor was it farewell
We didn’t realize that the moment of farewell was farewell
So how could we cry?”

Said Taha Muhammad Ali, one of the leading poets on the contemporary Palestinian literary scene, describing his expulsion from his homeland. He was 17 years old, old enough to remember the gloomy day when he was ethnically cleansed from his original village, Saffuriya, together with most of its inhabitants and more than 600,000 Palestinian from 512 other village, during the 1948 Nakbha. But in 1949, Taha returned to Nazareth, making it his home.

However, my grandparents and hundreds of thousands couldn’t. They had fled to Gaza. They thought that it would be a matter of two weeks and then they would be back. But ever since then, they lived and died in Gaza’s refugee camps.

Ethnic cleansing has continued in many forms. On March 30, 1976, more Palestinian land in the north was confiscated so that Jewish settlements could be built on its ruins. But Palestinian people rebelled against the Israeli occupation and confronted its forces. A popular uprising took the form of peaceful marches and a unique general strike that provoked the Israeli occupation forces, causing their murders of six heroes, together with the wounding or detention of hundreds of other people. Their only crime was that they refused to give up their land and protested non-violently, but powerfully, against dispossession.

It is significant as the first time since 1948 that Arabs in Israel organized a strong response to Israeli policies as a Palestinian national collective. That’s why this day was etched in the history of the Palestinian struggle and ever since, Palestinians have commemorated March 30 as “Land Day”, to emphasize our embrace of Palestinian land and our rejection of the criminal occupation and its illegal settlement. In Gaza, I joined several thousands of people to march toward Erez checkpoint calling for the end of occupation and for our legal rights of the land.

March 30, 2012 marks the 46th anniversary of Land Day. As I welcome this immortal day, a flood of memories flows through my mind. I can’t remember my grandfather well, as he died when I was very young. But I can very clearly recall my memories of my grandmother, who helped raise me.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky! “

Only when I got older did I learn that lullabies are songs sung to kids until they fall asleep. I never slept to a lullaby. Yet I can’t count the times I slept while listening to my grandmother telling her favorite, most touching story, the story of Nakba, the story of her stolen lands. Unlike other kids around the world, The Nakba was my lullaby.

“Behind every great man there is a woman.” This proverb could not find a better example than my father. He always said, “I have God in the sky and my mother on the ground.” She had been always his role model and the reason he embraced the resistance during his youth. Now his resistance is centered on planting his patriotic values and his love for the homeland in his children, in us, so we, the third generation, carry on demanding our people’s stolen rights.

I vividly recall how her steady, wide eyes struggled with tears every time she narrated that story. She must have repeated it thousands of times, and I am sure she would never have stopped if she were still alive. My siblings and I heard it many times. And, every time, her wrinkles evoked the same feeling, her voice shook the same way, calmly flowing with memories, then suddenly rising in anger as she said the same proverb: “The homeland is ours and the strangers fire us.”

“Your grandfather used to go every day to a high hill in north Gaza called Alkashef,” I remember her saying. “People used to see him sitting on the top, pondering his raped homeland, Beit Jerja, and crying.” Their wound was too deep to be healed or forgotten.

In Beit Gerga, my grandparents were farmers, living for the glories of the land as the majority of Palestinians did then. Every single day after their expulsion, they said, “Tomorrow we will return.” They were simple and uneducated people who didn’t understand the political games of Israel and its allies. They died before smelling their precious sand again.

The generation of the Nakba is dying. But another revolutionary generation was born, the generation of Intifadas, to which my parents belong. My father has always described his resistance, and his 15 years of youth inside Israeli prisons, as “the price of homeland and the cost of freedom and dignity.”

My father’s friend Jabber Wshah, who was released in the same 1985 swap deal, has another amazing Palestinian mother. Jabber is just as inspiring as my dad. He now heads the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and always prioritizes the political prisoners’ issue.

I love sitting with elderly people who witnessed the Nakba to listen to their stories, even if they are mostly alike. They remind me of my grandmother and my memories of her, which I cherish very much. Jabber is another example of a man born from a great woman’s womb. I met his mother once in a festival for the prisoners released in the Shalit exchange.

Her mother does not know her own date of birth, but assumes she is in her 80s. I heard her telling the story of when her son Jabber was sentenced to two lifetimes. She described how she stood, proudly and strongly, and confronted the Israeli court for being unfair to her son, then started singing for Palestine, for resistance. “I didn’t cry nor scream,” she said. “If Netanyahu is hardheaded, we are even more so. We’ll never stop resisting. Resistance will continue until we restore out rights. I had four sons in prison at that time, and I walked to prison every day for 15 years hoping to meet them.”

She made me proud to be the daughter of a Palestinian mother when she said, while pointing to her breast, “My milk was fed to my sons, the milk of our homelands.” She continued firmly, “As long as there are Palestinian women giving birth and bringing up new generations, we will breastfeed them the milk of our homeland, we will breastfeed them with toughness and resistance.” Then she smiled and said that she told a CIA officer the same thing while looking at him in the eye, adding, “The land of Palestine is for her people, not for you!”

Palestinians have spent more than six decades sacrificing, paying the price of freedom for themselves and their lands that were stolen by the Zionist entity. You can rarely find a Palestinian family from whom none were killed, or have experienced imprisonment or deportation, or have had their houses demolished or lands confiscated. Not only people have paid the price for the freedom of the lands, but even the trees, stones, and even sands.

Israel continues to build more and more illegal settlements on what is left of our lands, leaving less than 22% for Palestinians. They openly violate all international agreements, but no agreements, nor human rights organizations, can limit Israel’s daily violations and crimes against Palestinians and their lands. That’s why the Palestinian resistance will never die. Many more Land Days will happen, and they will be celebrated in one way or another, every day of every coming year, inside or outside the occupied lands, until we restore our stolen rights.

For this 46th anniversary of Land Day, I’d like to share a poem with you. I wrote it last May, speaking for every Palestinian refugee whose nostalgia grows with every passing day. This is to emphasize our spiritual attachment to our stolen lands, from which our grandparents were ethnically cleansed, and to stress our right to return.


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My drawing of our embrace of the right to return to our stolen lands (Shahd Abusalama)

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My village, in which I didn’t live a single day
Has been living inside me everyday
Since I was born, I grow and my nostalgia
Grows more and more till it tears me up
It wasn’t me who chose to live far away
And neither my grandparents did
They were beaten, cleansed and dispossessed
Into tents of exile their souls were left
Gone with their olive groves and citrus fields
Leaving a wound to never be healed
Since my grandparents fled away
They thought they would return the next day
They died, but no need to sigh
As, their heritage, their songs and memories persist
They say that elderly people die
And after that the young will forget
But no way
Until return, Palestinians will resist
Our tears of hope will never dry
And when we return to our homelands
From ashes, trees will rise high
And white doves will over fly
And we’ll caress with our bare hands
Every precious berry of sand
This dream might not happen soon
But it absolutely will one day

Source 

WHY LAND DAY STILL MATTERS

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Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis
*
Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians, as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.
*
The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territories, but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither. 
 *
On that dreadful day 36 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations
 *
In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded, and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens. 
 *
The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.” 
 *
Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population — both Muslims and Christians — ever since. 
Thirty-six years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens — code for forced displacement. 
 *
Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries. 
 *
Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages. 
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The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” with such discriminatory policies, and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel — living victims of Israel’s violent establishment — viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation. 
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The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive ? The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial. 
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For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine, who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package ? the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved. 
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Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business development consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh in the West Bank. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com. Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. 
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Written FOR
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PEACE SHOULD BEGIN IN JERUSALEM, NOT END THERE

Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause. East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. If Jerusalem is lost, the whole concept and idea of Palestinian statehood is lost, and the possibility of peace is lost. And Jerusalem is an important place for all of humanity, a holy place for Muslims, Christians, and the Jewish people. It should be the place where peace begins.
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Mustafa Bargouti: Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause

by Elsa Rassbach* 
mustafa barghouti Mustafa Barghouti at a demonstration in Bil’in, 2010. (Photo: Dan Halutz)

Every year on March 30th Palestinians around the world celebrate Land Day, which commemorates a general strike and marches in 1976 against Israeli land appropriation, an event that was a pivotal event in bringing about Palestinian national unity. This year Palestinians throughout the Middle East and in the Diaspora will commemorate Land Day by calling attention to the dangers facing Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has long denied most Palestinians – whether Muslim or Christian – access to Jerusalem, even to visit holy sites. The organizers of the Global March allege that through methods of ethnic cleansing, Israel has been forcing Jerusalem’s remaining Arab inhabitants out, thus endangering the multi-religious, multi-ethnic character of the city that is the intended capital of Palestine.

On March 30th, the Palestinians will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the West Bank, or at the Erez crossing in Gaza. There will also be a demonstration in Jerusalem itself. The Palestinians will be joined by supporters from five continents. An eminent Advisory Board includes the Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire. Solidarity vigils and actions are also planned on March 30th at Israeli Embassies and other locations in sixty cities around the world.

The Palestinian coalition organizing this Global March to Jerusalem is perhaps unprecedented in its breadth. Equally unprecedented is the Israeli campaign against the March, which has included faux Websites and Facebook pages to mislead participants regarding gathering places. After seventy supporters from India, Malaysia, Pakistan and other Asian countries visited Iran on their way to Lebanon to join the March, the Israeli press alleged that the March is directed from Iran and that violent “clashes” with Israeli forces are planned.

Among the most outspoken Palestinian supporters and organizers of the Global March is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, 58, the well-known nonviolence advocate. As General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Bargouti played a key role in recent attempts to bring Hamas and Fatah together. He is medical doctor educated in the former Soviet Union, the US and Jerusalem; he founded and leads Palestinian Medical Relief society, which provides health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2005 Dr. Bargouti ran for presidency of the Palestinian National Authority and won 19% of the vote. He resides in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Elsa Rassbach: You have joined with Palestinians from many different political perspectives and many places in the world to call for a Global March to Jerusalem. What is this initiative about?

Mustafa Bargouti: It’s an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people. It will take place on Land Day, March 30th, a day that symbolizes the unity of Palestinians in the struggle for freedom and dignity and against theft of their land. We hope to bring to the world’s attention the very grave violations that Israel is committing against Jerusalem. Both the UN and The International Court of Justice hold that annexation of East Jerusalem, which is part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is a violation of international law.

ER: But there is illegal Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land throughout the Occupied Territories and also within Israel. Why the focus on Jerusalem?

MB: Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause. East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. If Jerusalem is lost, the whole concept and idea of Palestinian statehood is lost, and the possibility of peace is lost. And Jerusalem is an important place for all of humanity, a holy place for Muslims, Christians, and the Jewish people. It should be the place where peace begins.

Today in Jerusalem you see the Israeli system of segregation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the sharpest possible way. If a Palestinian man from Jerusalem marries a woman in Ramallah, only sixteen kilometers away, he will not be able to live with her. The Israelis will never grant her the right to move to Jerusalem, but if he moves to Ramallah, he will lose his ID and his residency permit in Jerusalem. And the permit may be withdrawn for political reasons as well. Though I was born in Jerusalem and worked there as a medical doctor for fifteen years, after I ran for president in 2005, the Israeli Army thereafter has refused to allow me in. Most Palestinians including Christians and Muslims, also cannot enter.

But any Jewish person from anywhere in the world who decides to immigrate to Israel, whether from Siberia or the United States, will immediately be granted the right to live in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Jerusalem is accessible to every Jewish person. It should be accessible to everybody. Many Jewish people from Israel and other parts of the world agree and are participating in and even organizing the Global March.

ER: Among the demands of the March is “the right of return.” Why would Palestinians who live in historical Palestine support such a demand? 

MB: This demand means a lot to us, too, because there are huge numbers of refugees living in Gaza and West Bank who are denied access to the place they were forced to leave. Even Palestinians living in Israel who carry Israeli citizenship are not allowed to return home to their villages in Israel like Iqrit and Kafr Bir’im. The right of return is a right recognized by international law under a special UN resolution, 194. We do understand that its implementation will have to be negotiated, but the right itself has to be respected.

ER: Last year on May 15th, Nakba Day and also Israeli Independence Day, Israeli soldiers killed dozens and wounded hundreds of unarmed Palestinians who tried to cross over the borders of Lebanon and Syria. Could the Global March lead to a repeat of such violence? 

MB: The March will be an act of peace, an act of nonviolence, and that’s why Palestinians everywhere are united in supporting it. It reflects the consensus of Palestinians today on adopting nonviolence totally. We know that Israel is capable of terrible violence. All the organizers in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Israel/Palestine are aware of this risk. We hope that the U.S. and the European countries will pressure Israel not use violence against our nonviolence.

*Elsa Rassbach is a filmmaker and journalist. Member of CodePink living in Germany.  Part of the European organizing committee of Global March to Jerusalem.

 


Written FOR

THE IMPORTANCE AND THE MEANING OF LAND DAY


Land Day: What it Means and Why it’s Important

By Yousef

 

Today, March 30th, marks Land Day or Youm Al Ard in Arabic. Perhaps more than May 15th, when the Nakba is often marked, or June 5th, when the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is marked, Land Day is symbolic of the totality of the Palestinian struggle. It’s a day that refugees, who dwell in dismal camps dreaming of return, internally displaced or marginalized Palestinians in Israel and Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza are bound together in commemoration of what the Palestinian struggle is all about: a people’s desire to live free on their native land.

So what precisely is Land Day? An info brief here, which is worth reading in its entirety, explains:

On 29 February 1976, the Israeli government announced that it planned to confiscate 21,000 dunum (5,500 acres) of Arab-owned land in order to create eight Jewish industrial centers. While government officials claimed that this expropriation was necessary in order to develop the region of Galilee, Israel’s Palestinian citizenry perceived it as another attempt by Israel to geographically marginalize the state’s Arab community and strip it of its agricultural livelihood. Their fears were later confirmed when Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture declared the plan’s primary purpose to be the creation of a Jewish majority in the Arab Galilee.

Having experienced institutionalized discrimination since the Jewish state’s inception, the Palestinians of Israel decided to challenge this latest measure. Almost immediately after the announcement of land expropriation was made, community leaders met in an attempt to organize and communicate a unified message of objection. To deliver this message, a public demonstration was planned at the Knesset. Rather than risk a violent encounter with Israeli police, community leaders decided to cancel the protest and, instead, encourage members of their community to remain indoors making their objections known through a general strike.

Anticipating Palestinian repudiation of the measure, Israeli authorities imposed a curfew on the lower Galilee on the evening of 29 March 1976. The following morning, Israeli police and military forces entered the striking Arab villages, a move which provoked some Arab youth into a stone-throwing demonstration. To the protestors’ dismay, Israeli forces responded with live ammunition, indiscriminately opening fire upon the unarmed protestors. By the day’s end, six residents of Sakhnin, Arabeh, Kufr Kana and Taibeh were killed, 96 others were injured and 300 arrested.

Israeli authorities eventually confiscated the land in question under the guise of ‘security.’ The territory was later converted to Jewish settlements and an Israeli military training camp. The events of 30 March 1976 have not been forgotten in the minds and hearts of the Palestinian people. To this day, Palestinians, whether Israeli citizens or not, annually mark March 30 as ‘Land Day’ to demonstrate their connection to the land and to honor the memory of those who died defending Palestinian rights to the land.

Things haven’t gotten much easier for Palestinian citizens of Israel and we are holding an event on the challenges they face in particular next week which you can attend in DC or watch live from anywhere in the world.

But it’s not only Palestinians who are marking Land Day this year. Palestine solidarity activists in the United States and around the world are working to bring attention to the BDS movement on this day. The YouTube video below shows how one such group in New York decided to do just that by breaking out into a flashmob dance, reworking the lyrics to a popular Journey song, in the middle of Grand Central Station last night.


Oh yeah, the Israeli military marked Land Day as well.

PALESTINIAN LAND DAY COMES TO GRAND CENTRAL STATION

As part of the Global BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Day of Action commemorating Land Day, Adalah-NY: the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel surprised commuters in New York’s Grand Central Station with a song and dance. They performed to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, but with a little twist to remind people to boycott Israel.

BDS Flash Mob in Grand Central Station, NYC

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ PALESTINIAN NATIONAL UNITY DAY IN NEW YORK

Land Day Events shown below with videos…..

Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Upcoming Land Day Events…..

In honor of Palestinian Land Day and the Global Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) Day of Action,  here are some of our Palestine-related inspiration, check out Year of the Flash Mob.



 

YES DAVID, THERE IS ETHNIC CLEANSING IN ISRAEL

I received comments on THIS post from an Australian zionist stating that Israel is not guilty of ethnic cleansing….
If the following isn’t ethnic cleansing, then what would YOU call it?

More than 80,000 indigenous Bedouins live in the Naqab desert region, in dozens of so-called “unrecognized villages” — communities that the state has refused to acknowledge despite the fact that most of them have existed before the State of Israel was established. Moreover, Israeli politicians often refer to the areas as “empty” in order to create support for building new Jewish settlements, removing the indigenous populations in continuation of an ethnic cleansing project that is now more than 62 years old.

Interview: ethnic cleansing inside the green line
Nora Barrows-Friedman

Israel denies Palestinians in “unrecognized villages” basic services like water and electricity. (Yotam Ronen/ActiveStills)

Al-Masadiya, al-Garin, Khirbat al-Watan, Bir al-Hamam, Khashem Zana, Sawin, al-Shahabi, Wadi al-Naam and al-Mashash are all Palestinian Bedouin villages facing destruction by bulldozers and cement mixers as Israel’s transportation ministry plans to lengthen its Trans-Israel Highway southward into the Naqab (Negev) desert. This means that more than 3,000 Palestinian Bedouins could be displaced if an injunction filed by Israeli civil rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) doesn’t succeed in the high court.

Spokespeople for Bimkom (Planners for Planning Rights), the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, some of the groups filing the injunction, say that the Israeli government approved the highway construction without consideration for indigenous populations in the Naqab.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that the highway extension is part of the Israeli government’s plan for “development” of the Naqab, which also includes the construction of a massive Israeli military training facility at the Southern end.

More than 80,000 indigenous Bedouins live in the Naqab desert region, in dozens of so-called “unrecognized villages” — communities that the state has refused to acknowledge despite the fact that most of them have existed before the State of Israel was established. Moreover, Israeli politicians often refer to the areas as “empty” in order to create support for building new Jewish settlements, removing the indigenous populations in continuation of an ethnic cleansing project that is now more than 62 years old.

On a regular basis, Israeli bulldozers and squads of police invade Palestinian Bedouin villages, carrying out widespread home demolitions and leaving entire communities reduced to rubble. While such Israeli rights violations in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem have generated protest, it is less known that such policies are in place in Israel itself.

Rawia Abu Rabia, a social activist and human rights lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, represents her community and advocates for their human and civil rights as the state continues to discriminate and uproot citizens across the country. Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Abu Rabia for KPFA’s Flashpoints Radio on 13 May.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: Rawia, can you talk about the current crisis facing the indigenous populations living inside the State of Israel? Explain what these so-called unrecognized villages are, and tell us about the level of institutionalized racism, discrimination and home demolitions right now.

Rawia Abu Rabia: First, we’re talking about the indigenous Bedouin community who are part of the Palestinian people. They are citizens of Israel, although they are not treated as equal citizens. Half of the Bedouin indigenous communities have existed before the establishment of the state, for many centuries, as agricultural workers. They were internally displaced by the State of Israel, starting from the Nakba in 1948, where they were transferred to a certain geographical area. They were restricted from moving from one place to another until 1966, as part of the military regime policy that Palestinian citizens of Israel were subjected to.

Then, the state decided to organize the Bedouins and established seven governmental townships that are among the poorest towns in Israel, forcibly moving the Bedouins into this tight geographical area known for its low agricultural fertility. The purpose was to have as many Bedouins as possible on minimum land. Their ancestral lands were given to new Jewish cities and other urban areas, while they were restricted from returning to their historical villages.

Then, the state started to make different laws in order to take over new areas of Bedouin land. In 1965, Israel’s implementation of the construction and building law, which designed the master plan for Israeli cities and villages, didn’t take into consideration any of the Bedouin villages. By doing that, the state used the law and the legal mechanisms to displace the Bedouins and make them illegal. That’s why today we have about 80,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in about 35 villages that the State of Israel refuses to recognize. What I mean by lack of recognition is that the villages don’t appear on official maps. They are denied basic services: running water, electricity, and garbage disposal. People aren’t allowed to build permanent houses, and those who do risk heavy fines and home demolitions.

In 2009, 254 houses were demolished in these villages. The State of Israel and state officials ignore their existence. They are invisible citizens in the eyes of the law. The other half of the Bedouins live in the seven townships that are among the poorest and underdeveloped towns of Israel. The rate of dropout from schools in these villages is almost 60 percent, the rate of unemployment is extremely high and the level of education is very poor … the Bedouins are not entitled to the same rights as the Jewish citizens.

The saddest thing is the institutionalized racism and discrimination that is written into the law. Especially laws related to the land issues — which are designed to criminalize the Bedouins and make them illegal.

NBF: What do the laws actually say; what is written in these laws?

RAR: First of all, the laws related to land issues are discriminatory. For example, since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until today, hundreds of Jewish cities and agricultural settlements were established, while no Palestinian villages or cities were established except for the seven townships that I mentioned. Another example is the issue that this area in which the Bedouins are concentrated, is basically the only place that Bedouins can live. If a Bedouin wants to live in another place, he will face all sorts of discriminatory mechanisms, such as criteria to be accepted to live in certain towns in Israel.

I mentioned this construction and building law from 1965, the Master Plan, that didn’t include any of the Bedouin villages. So by the law, the Bedouin villages are illegal. Today, in many Palestinian villages in Israel, when people want to build homes or expand their villages, they don’t get permits from the planning authorities to do so. By doing that, they are deprived from the basic right of housing and the state doesn’t provide any alternative.

Even when the homes are demolished in the unrecognized villages, no compensation or alternative housing is provided by the state, even though, according to international law, such an alternative should be provided.

There are other laws, such as the citizenship law, [that are discriminatory]. If you are a Palestinian Israeli citizen and want to marry a Palestinian from the occupied territories or another Arab country, your spouse will not get [Israeli] citizenship. He is deprived; while if you are a Jewish Israeli, and you want to marry a foreigner from a country abroad, he can move into the process of citizenship. There is also the law of return, which is a law that says that anyone who has a mother who is Jewish can come to Israel and get Israeli citizenship, while Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 — refugees, as we all know — cannot return. They cannot get any rights, and their properties and land are declared as “absentee property” even when the people who own these lands are not absent — they’re still alive.

NBF: In April 2010, the Bedouin village of Twail abu Jarwal in the Naqab was demolished for the fortieth time in the last few years. Tell us about these kinds of actions by the Israeli government, and what happens to people during these home demolitions.

RAR: We’re talking about home demolitions — but the “homes” we’re talking about are very poor shacks and tents that are being destroyed. And these are young communities. About 70 percent of the Bedouin community is below 18 years old. These bulldozers come into these poor places, these shacks and tents, and demolish them. The purpose is meant to pressure the Bedouins into leaving their land, so the state can take control over their land.

There are other mechanisms used to take over land as well, such as the Jewish National Fund — which recently planted trees on the land of the al-Araqid tribe. These are other forms and mechanisms to take over more and more land, and to pressure people to leave their land. The Bedouins know this, and based on the bitter experience of the Palestinian people, they know that the only way that they can have a chance to keep their land is to physically stay on their land — sumoud (steadfastness). [Israel’s policies are] a very aggressive way to push people off their land without any consideration of international law, or of the declaration of the rights of indigenous people, et cetera. This actually pushes people to be hostile, and to lose any trust in the Israeli authorities; legal or otherwise. People become bitter when they see this discrimination alive, in front of them; when they see the bulldozers come and destroy their homes without any compensation or alternative, nothing.

NBF: Walk us through one of these Bedouin villages. Talk about the kinds of conditions that Bedouins are living in right now as they face home demolitions, and what kinds of services people are prevented from accessing as villagers in these communities.

RAR: Most of the unrecognized Bedouin villages lack health services and other services as well. If they want to access services in the nearest Jewish city or elsewhere, they first have to walk for miles to get to the main road. And then they have to find transportation, since there is no public transportation within these villages. The few services, the few clinics that we have in some of the villages, are results of petitions to the supreme court. None of the villages are connected to electricity at all. So when a bulldozer comes and destroys houses during the winter time — we’re talking about the desert, which is very cold at night — you can imagine that they will be left with no ways to find heating or other protection, other solutions.

NBF: We’ve been following the story of the Palestinian “unrecognized” village of Dhammash, outside of Lydd near the Ben Gurion Airport, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv. The people there are in and out of the high court, hoping to get another injunction to prevent the bulldozers from demolishing 13 homes there. Can you talk about what’s happening to communities like this, which are inside more urban areas around the state, Palestinians who are forced into displacement as the Jewish communities grow and expand?

RAR: I think that the issue of the Bedouins is not disconnected from the issues of other Palestinian communities living inside Israel. This is part of the daily situation we all face as Palestinian Israeli citizens who are treated as second-class citizens or worse. The land is the main resource that has been denied to the Palestinians.

For instance, in Jaffa, which a mixed city of Jews and Palestinians, we see how Jaffa is developing for the Jewish citizens while the Palestinian citizens are kicked out of their neighborhoods. This is the issue of the Naqab with the Bedouins, it’s the issue of the mixed towns of Jaffa or Lydd, and it’s also the issue in the Galilee, where there are many home demolition orders as well. This is the same cause. This is the feeling of the Palestinian citizens of Israel — we were displaced in 1948, and in 1967, and the process of internal displacement is still happening all the time. Especially now, with the right-wing government that is following these racist policies and pushing Palestinian Israeli citizens more and more out of their villages, and are being delegitimized as a people.

I think this is what links the whole cause. It’s the cause of being Palestinian, and being a Palestinian Israeli citizen who is being treated in an unequal way.

NBF: You met the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous People at the United Nations in New York recently, tell us what went on in the meeting and what the UN is doing to address the critical needs for the Palestinian and Bedouin communities inside Israel.

RAR: Yes, I had a meeting with the Special Rapporteur, Professor James Anaya, and I explained to him the situation of the Bedouins in the Naqab and the internal displacement, the home demolitions, and the decision of the Israeli government to triple the home demolition orders for Bedouin villages, and he’s very much concerned with the situation of the Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab. He mentioned that he will follow up with the situation. I urged him to come and visit these villages and see for himself. I could sit there and describe this to him, but the best thing is if he could come and see the demolitions that are taking place, the actions that are taking place to push people away from their land and houses. I hope he accepts the invitation and comes and visit. But he said that in the meantime, he said he will follow up the issues that I have raised with the Israeli government.

NBF: Talk about your work as a lawyer for these communities. What is it like representing their concerns as the state pretty much goes ahead and continues to de-populate, displace and discriminate on a daily basis?

RAR: As a lawyer for human rights, working at the Association for Civil Rights, I face challenges all the time. On the one hand, I face discrimination as a Bedouin citizen of Israel — when I came back from the UN on El-Al airlines, I faced a huge humiliation because I’m an Arab. But on the other hand, the only effective tool that I can use to advocate for my people is the legal tool. It’s a challenge all the time, because you have to be optimistic. My biggest dilemma is, how can I advocate for equality within a discriminatory reality? This is a big challenge — because sometimes, the supreme court makes good decisions, but sometimes, because of some discriminatory laws, it could make a decision that is not the best for my people … And I believe in the international mechanisms as well, that we have to use these to put pressure on Israel to change its policies towards the Bedouins.

People, sometimes, are very frustrated with the situation, especially when they see that the legal system is not equal … people think that the legal system is supposed to provide answers, but not in all cases. That’s the situation. We have to promote equality in an unequal reality. We don’t have any other options — we have to continue in this way.

NBF: Israeli politicians regularly describe the state as a moral democracy for all of its citizens, but it’s clear that it’s a democracy only for a preferred ethnicity, or a preferred religion. What can you say about what democracy looks like in historic Palestine today, and what’s your response to how Israeli leaders represent their policies?

RAR: Like Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi said, “Israel is a democratic state for the Jews, and a Jewish state for the Arabs.” This describes the situation … And others, like professor Oren Yiftachel, who said that it’s actually an ethnocracy, it’s not democracy. We could argue whether it is a democratic and Jewish state or not. Israel doesn’t have a constitution. It doesn’t have a separation between religion and the state. It has problematic issues related to violations of women’s rights because of a lack of separation between religious laws and the state. So, it’s a very problematic democracy. And we are also witnessing harassment of human rights activists and organizations that are the last refuge for a democracy. They are the only voice that talk about human rights violations that are taking place in the so-called democratic state.

NBF: You’re referring to your colleague, Ameer Makhoul of Ittijah – Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and others in the last few weeks who have been detained, prevented from leaving the country. And Makhoul’s story was under gag order in the Israeli media. What more can you say about this crackdown on Palestinian civil rights activists and organizations, who are trying to represent the interests of the indigenous populations there?

RAR: I think the gag orders are problematic and they’re happening more often. It’s very concerning, as Israel wants to see itself as a democracy. A democratic state is not supposed to let things happen in the dark. We’re very much concerned with these gag orders being issues easily. Actually, Adalah [the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel] and the Association for Civil Rights are asking the courts to remove these gag orders. And people know about these cases already. It’s a globalized world; people are reading about what’s happening on the Internet, they hear about it anyway, so [the gag orders] are kind of absurd.

But I think this is also part of the steps that are being taken against Palestinian leaders in order to silence them as they advocate for their cause. We’re doing our work according to the legal system, and this is a way to silence these voices.

Nora Barrows-Friedman is the co-host and Senior Producer of Flashpoints, a daily investigative newsmagazine on Pacifica Radio. She is also a correspondent for Inter Press Service. She regularly reports from Palestine, where she also runs media workshops for youth in the Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.


Source

PALESTINIANS CALL FOR EQUALITY ON LAND DAY

Palestinian Land Day call for equality

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have marked the 28th anniversary of Land Day with renewed demands for equality and an end to Israel’s occupation.

Numerous rallies, parades and demonstrations were organised on Tuesday in Arab towns and villages in Israel to mark the prominent annual anniversary.

Land Day marks the 1976 Israeli killing of six Palestinians in northern Israel as they protested the confiscation of large swathes of Arab land.

One of the largest rallies took place in the northern Israeli town of Arrabeh, where one of the six youths was killed.

There, speaker after speaker reiterated the all-too familiar demands of the Arab community in Israel, namely civil equality and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

“This is an occasion to demonstrate the unity of the Arab community in Israel,” said Adil Abu al-Haija, mayor of the town of Tamra.

He accused Israeli governments of denying the 1.3 million-strong Arab minority – about 20% of Israel’s population – equal rights granted to other Israeli citizens.

“There can be no real coexistence without equality before the law,” he said.

Another large rally took place in the Galilee town of Kfar Kanna where demonstrators carried the portrait of Shaikh Raid Salah, the jailed leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Israel is holding Salah and three of his colleagues without trial or charge for the last nine months for allegedly supporting anti-occupation attacks.

Palestinians say he provides relief material to impoverished Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Speaking during the rally, Shaikh Kamal al-Khatib, deputy-chief of the Islamic Movement, said there is an “absence of justice and equity in this state”.

“In order to enjoy full equality in Israel, you’ve got to be a Jew. We are being discriminated against because of our religion.”

The crux

Palestinian Knesset member Abd al-Malik Dahamshi lashed out at successive Israeli governments for “adopting a policy of dispossessing our people of their land”.

“Land is the crux of the matter, and without our land, we can’t really realise our rights as citizens in this country.”

Dahamshi also blasted the Sharon government for “tormenting and systematically persecuting the Palestinian people”.

“Obviously, we can’t expect much from a government that supervises the killing of men, women and children. They don’t even spare the life of an old paralysed man,” he said, alluding to the assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin last week.

Institutionalised discrimination

The Arab community in Israel has always been subjected to de-facto discrimination since the creation of Israel in 1948.

They are in many respects subjected to the same discrimination and brutal treatment experienced by their brethren across the Green Line since 1967.

This includes excessive land confiscation, rampant home demolitions, violent repression of peaceful demonstrations and arbitrary arrests.

According to the advocacy organisation for Israeli Arabs, Musawa, the Israeli authorities demolished as many as 340 Arab homes throughout Israel in 2003 and another 72 in the Negev region and 269 in the Triangle and Galilee regions.

A few weeks ago, Israeli planes sprayed large areas of Arab crops with pesticide, a recurrent measure aimed at driving farmers away from their land.

Danger?

In recent years, especially since Ariel Sharon’s government took power three years ago, Israeli officials have escalated their verbal attacks on the Palestinian community.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu recently referred to the Arab minority’s high birth rate as “a danger to the Jewish nature of Israel”.

Sharon himself suggested that the inhabitants of such Arab towns as Umm al-Fahm should be “transferred” to the West Bank to “sooth our demographic problem”.

Eifi Eitam of the National Religious party and Benny Elon of the National Union have called for “ethnically cleansing the Arabs from the land of Israel”.

Facing these worries, the leaders of the Arab community are trying to explore every conceivable avenue to consolidate their attachment to their ancestral homeland.

However, Israel’s harsh response to the Intifada seems to have convinced many in the Arab community that they will not be able to obtain equality until Israel ends its occupation.

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THEY DIED SO THAT WE CAN LIVE, AND THEIR SPIRIT LIVES ON

Land Day 2010
“In memory of those who fell on Land Day. They died so that we can live, and their spirit lives on”. Text on the memorial site at Sakhnin (Photo: Makbula Nassar, 2003)

For a quarter of a century, the Palestinian minority in Israel has celebrated Land Day on 30 March 30 as a protest against Israel’s discriminatory policies toward its one million Palestinian citizens and to underline its collective and individual rights. Land Day, or Yoam al-‘Ard in Arabic, is also a commemoration of the bloody confrontations with state “security” forces that took place in 1976 when six Palestinians were killed and some 100 injured.

The main action this year was in the town of Sakhnin in areas occupied since 1948.  Over 10,000 attended the events from throughout historic Palestine.

LAND DAY ~~ REMEMBERING THE MARTYRS

Lest We Forget
Land Day Martyrs

Reham Alhelsi

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Click HERE for a background of Land Day


30.03.1976

1 Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin (23 yrs old) from Arraba, shot dead by the IOF

2 Khadija Qasem Shawahneh (23 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

3 Raja Hussein Abu Rayya (30 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

4 Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalaila (24 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

5 Muhsin Hasan Said Taha (15 yrs old) from Kufr Kanna, shot dead by the IOF

6 Ra’fat Ali Az-Zheiri (21 yrs old) from Nur Shams refugee camp and was shot dead by the IOF in Al-Taybeh

30.03.1988

1 Sliman Ahmad Al-Jundi (17 yrs old), from Yatta, Hebron, shot dead by the IOF

2 Mohammad Faris Az-Zein (17 yrs old), from Al-Yamoun, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

3 Husni Mohammad Shahin (22 yrs old), from Al-Yamoun, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

4 Mohammad ‘Arif Qasim Salah (22 yrs old), from Burqa, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

5 Khalid Mohammad Salah (23 yrs old), from Burqa, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

6 Wajiha Yousif Rabi’ (50 yrs old), from Deir Abu Mish’al, Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

7 Abdil-Karim Mohammad Musa Al-Halayqah (25 yrs old), from Ash-Shayyukh, Hebron, shot dead by the IOF

8 Shakir Mohammad Ali Malsiyeh (20 yrs old), from Deir Bzeigh, Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

9 Mousa ‘Azmi (30 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

10 Iyad ‘Azmi (21 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

11 Ma’rouf Mahmoud Nu’man (27 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2000

1 Sheikha Yousif Abu Salih (72 yrs old), from Sakhneen, suffocated by gas fired by the IOF

30.03.2001

1 Ayish Ghazi ‘Mustafa Zamil (19 yrs old), from Deir Al-Hatab, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

2 Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Maraheel (16 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

3 Sufian Sa’eed Abdel Rahman Saloum (31 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

4 Murad Salih Ahmad Sharay’ah (21 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

5 Khalid Shihadeh Deeb Al-Nahleh (27 yrs old), from Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

6 Mohammad Abdel Muhsin Khalid Al-Wawi (20 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2002

1 Ahmad Fathi Mahmoud ‘Ajaj (23 yrs old), from Seda, Tulkarim, killed by IOF missile

2 Azmi ‘Adel Mahmoud ‘Ajaj (21 yrs old), from Seda, Tulkarim, killed by IOF missile

3 Ahmad Abdel Jawad (22 yrs old), from Nablus, killed by an explosion

4 Isma’il Ibrahim Deeb Isa (56 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

5 Hussein Husni Hussein Al-Ashqar (27 yrs old), from Qalqilia, shot dead by the IOF

6 Fathi Jihad Fathi ‘Amerah (18 yrs old), from Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

7 Majdi Abdel Jawad Abdel Jabbar Khanfar (21 yrs old), from Silet Ath-Thahir, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

8 Muhannad Ibrahim Fayyad Salahat (16 yrs old), from Bethlehem, shot dead by the IOF

9 Nuha Ziyad Ahmad Ikte’ (8 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

10 Khalid Fathi Mohammad ‘Awad Allah (32 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

11 Sa’id Abdel Rahman Mohammad Mahdi (60 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

12 Omar Musa Mohammad Diab (54 yrs old), from Jericho, killed by IOF missile

13 Ahmad Kallab (61 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

14 Shahir Abu Sharar (33 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

15 Abdel Rahman Tawfiq Abdallah Is’id (58 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2003

1 Mahmoud Ali An-Najjar (18 yrs old), from Jabalia, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

2 Rami Jamil Mutlaq Ghanim (20 yrs old), from Deir Al-Ghusoun, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

3 Mahmoud Mohammad Rashid Al-Mashharawi (22 yrs old), from Ash-Shaja’iyyah, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

4 Mohammad Farouq Tafish (16 yrs old), from Jabalia, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2004

1 Fatima Mohammad Shreiqi Al-Jallad (7 yrs old), from Khan Younis, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2005

1 Mu’tasim Al-Aqea’ from Qablan, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2006

1Ahmad Mahmoud Ahmad Masharqa (23 years old), from Hebron, shot dead by the IOF

30.03.2007

1 Kamil Kamal Kamil Mousa (21 years old), from Al-Maghazi, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

Source

BART SIMPSON COMING TO ISRAEL FOR HIS BAR MITZVAH

It has become a custom for many American Jews to bring their 13 year old sons to Israel to perform the rites of passage known as a Bar Mitzvah.
The fictional family, the Simpsons, are no different as can be seen in the following….

Sacha Baron Cohen to guide the Simpsons around Israel

Several episodes of the hit animated series The Simpsons have dealt with Jewish issues, and even the Middle East conflict over the years. However, it wasn’t until the series’ 21st season that Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie will finally visit Israel and meet a bitter and angry Israeli tour guide, played by Sacha Baron Cohen (whose characters Bruno and Borat have made him a household name.)

In the episode, tentatively set to air in the U.S. on March 28, 2010, the Simpsons find themselves in Israel, and Homer develops Jerusalem Syndrome and becomes convinced that he is the messiah.

Simpsons producer Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly that Baron Cohen will partake in aggressive dialogue with Marge Simpson. “He’s trying to get Marge to give him good grades on the comment card, and she goes, ‘You people are pushy,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean, you people? You try having Syria for a neighbor! What do you have -Canada?'” Jean said in an interview.

The episode, named “The greatest story ever D’ohed,” is scheduled to coincide with Palm Sunday. “It’ll be a show that all faiths can come together and be offended by,” Jean promised fans of the show.

Source

“WOMEN IN THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT ARE STUPID” ….. AND RABBIS ARE SMART?

The rabbinical ‘sages’ of Israel have done it again….

A woman belongs in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant! If she wraps herself in a prayer shawl and prays at the Western Wall she is STUPID! And these idiots had mothers? One really has to wonder about that…..

Last week Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, said during his weekly sermon that the women in the feminist movement are “stupid” and act the way they do out of a selfish desire for equality, not “for heavens’ sake.”

Rabbi Ovadia also said about the groups’ custom to pray at the Western Wall that “there are stupid women who come to the Western Wall, put on a tallit (prayer shawl), and pray,” and added that they should be condemned.


The above was taken from the following report….

Police arrest woman for wearing prayer shawl at Western Wall

Police on Wednesday arrested a woman who was praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, due to the fact that she was wrapped in a prayer shawl (tallit).

The woman was visiting the site with the religious women’s group “Women of the Wall” to take part in the monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer.

Police were called to the area after the group asked to read a prayer aloud.

Police said they arrested the women in the wake of a High Court ruling, which states that the public visiting the Western Wall is obligated to dress in accordance with the sites’ dress code.

Chairman of the women’s group, Anat Hoffman, responded by saying that this is the first time in the history of Israel that a woman has been arrested because she wrapped herself in a talit and read from the Torah.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, associate director of Israel’s reform movement, said that all over the world women are entitled to wear the tallit, and only in the land of the Jews are they excluded from the social custom and even arrested for praying.

“Israeli police should be ashamed of themselves,” Kariv said.

Last week Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, said during his weekly sermon that the women in the feminist movement are “stupid” and act the way they do out of a selfish desire for equality, not “for heavens’ sake.”

Rabbi Ovadia also said about the groups’ custom to pray at the Western Wall that “there are stupid women who come to the Western Wall, put on a tallit (prayer shawl), and pray,” and added that they should be condemned.


Source

PALESTINE LIVE ~~ LAND DAY 2009

Unlike any other nation, Palestine has nothing positive to celebrate at this point in time. There are two ‘major holidays’ on the Palestinian calendar, the first being The Nakba, a commemoration of the day Palestine was literally wiped off the map by the zionists….

The second is a day simply known as Land Day, which is ‘celebrated’ this weekend.
There are poets, writers, statesmen,religious figures whose birthdays are waiting to be celebrated along with the Independence Day of Palestine….. a nation waiting to be born again…. and IT WILL!

Internationally, no opportunity must be missed that can bring attention to the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people… they must not be forgotten. They deserve to celebrate life itself, not only death.

Also see the following brilliant essay at the

Palestinian Think Tank

MIDDLE EAST POP QUIZ

Image by David Baldinger
Middle East Pop Quiz

By Charley Reese

It’s time for another pop quiz on America’s favorite region of the world ­ the Middle East. Let’s get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.
* Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?
Israel.
* Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Israel.
* Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?
Israel.
* Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?
The Arab countries and Iran.
* Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?
Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
* Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?
Israel.
* Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?
Israel.
* Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?
Israel. The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who’s the dog and who’s the tail?
* Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?
Israel. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.
* Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?
Israel. There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don’t own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: “targeted killings.” A British journalist told me once, “The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones.”
* What are the top five countries from which we import oil?
Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.
* Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?
Israel.
* Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers’ gift?
Israel.
* Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?
Israel.
* Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?
Israel.
* On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?
Israel.
* What country do the people in the region consider the world’s biggest hypocrite?
The United States.
* Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?
Iraq and Israel. A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.
_____
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969-71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column three times a week for King Features, which is carried on Antiwar.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.

THE LAND THAT ‘CELEBRATES’ THE NEGATIVE

Unlike any other nation, Palestine has nothing positive to celebrate at this point in time. There are two ‘major holidays’ on the Palestinian calendar, the first being The Nakba, a commemoration of the day Palestine was literally wiped off the map by the zionists….

The second is a day simply known as Land Day, which is ‘celebrated’ this weekend.

There are poets, writers, statesmen,religious figures whose birthdays are waiting to be celebrated along with the Independence Day of Palestine….. a nation waiting to be born again…. and IT WILL!

Internationally, no opportunity must be missed that can bring attention to the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people… they must not be forgotten. They deserve to celebrate life itself, not only death.

Below is a report of just one of the many Land Day demonstrations that took place yesterday…. one that the parents of our beloved Martyr Rachel Corrie attended…..

Nonviolent protest in W Ramallah: Parents of Rachel Corrie speak, 17 injured, including journalists

ImageRamallah / PNN – During the weekly nonviolent demonstration in Bil’in Village, Israeli soldiers brutally attacked the crowds, injuring 17 people, including seven journalists.

The villagers left the mosque after Friday prayers today in a massive march called by the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in the village to mark the thirty-second memorial of Palestinian Land Day. Among the foreign supporters was the family of Rachel Corrie, the American girl killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, 2003.

The demonstrators took to the village streets chanting slogans denouncing the occupation, and headed towards the Wall. After crossing to their land the army sealed gate and waited behind cement blocks They then suppressed the nonviolent march by using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, wounding 17.

The Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in Bil’in reported that among the injured were several journalists, including Guevara Budeiri of Al Jazeera, a Kuwaiti correspondent, a photographer, a journalist with an Iranian television agency, a sports photographer, and several others: Mohamed Ali Abu Sadin, Wael Fahmi, Iyad Bernat Chairman of the People’s Pact, Huwaida Arraf one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Issa Abu Rahma, Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, Mohammed Ahmed Hamed, Ibrahim Abdel-Fattah Bernat, Abdel Raouf Abu Rahma and Abdullah Mohamed Yassin.

Demonstrators were holding banners that reflected their rejection of Israeli occupation, and the desire to unite to face land confiscation. “We stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of the colonialist cancer,” one demonstrator’s banner read. They were also talking about the hope for the collapse of the Wall, the release of political prisoners from Israeli prisons, and Palestinian Land Day.
The demonstrators called on the participants in the Arab Summit to take seriously the situation, and to transit from words to deeds, as the people live under siege and starvation, killings and confiscation of land and building of settlements, barriers and grave Israeli violations on Palestinian lands.

Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, cited Rafah and his continuing support for the Palestinian people. “I am in Bil’in for the second time. This village has become a symbol of nonviolent resistance. I call for solidarity with the people of Palestine in resisting the conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation to prevent the establishment of their state.”

Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, said, “We talked about the suffering of the Palestinians during our visit two years ago. We were in Israel two days ago, and we saw how life is easy there. We always compare between the life there and here. It is difficult for us to forget.”