A POEM FOR THE SEASON ~~ A QUESTION YOUR CHILD WILL ASK FOR PASSOVER

First, let me wish all of my Jewish readers, family and friends a Happy and Kosher Passover.

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

“Your Child Will Ask”

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

Your child will ask
why do we observe this festival?

And you will answer
it is because of what God did for us
when we were set free from the land of Egypt.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might hold tightly
to the pain of our enslavement
with a mighty hand?

And you will answer
we were set free from Egypt
that we might release our pain
by reaching with an outstretched arm
to all who struggle for freedom.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
because we are God’s chosen people?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
so that we will finally come to learn
all who are oppressed
are God’s chosen.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might conquer and settle
a land inhabited by others?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
that we might open wide the doors
to proclaim:

Let all who are dispossessed return home.
Let all who wander find welcome at the table.
Let all who hunger for liberation
come and eat.

Rabbi Rosen blogs at Shalom Rav

*****

Now enjoy the following ….

How Passover would be reported in today’s media

GOING BEYOND CHUTZPAH

 chutzpah_1

Does Israel want the Palestinians to thank her for not exterminating them once and for all? 

Needless to say, this is a classical example of “going beyond Chutzpah” 

By Khalid Amayreh in Jerusalem

Khalid Amayreh challenges Jews to abide by the tenets of their religion:

 

Like apartheid South Africa did to Justify its repulsive approach toward its majority black citizens, Israel is making all sorts of similarly despicable arguments to justify its decades-old evil occupation  and systematic persecution of Palestinians. 

As some of us remember, the apartheid South African regime had argued that black South Africans ought to be grateful to the White regime for giving them employment and enabling them to have a semblance of decent life. 

The White regime’s PR machine would shamelessly argue that “Our black citizens have a higher standard of living than other fellow black people anywhere in the continent.” 

When I was studying in the states in the 1980s, I remember a visiting high ranking official from the apartheid regime boasting about the high living conditions enjoyed by blacks in South Africa in comparison to the rest of the continent. 

“Ask them (South African black majority): would they prefer to live in South Africa or in Zimbabwe,” the official said. 

What is wrong with this argument is that it doesn’t really distinguish between humans and animals. In the final analysis, humans, unlike animals, don’t live by bread alone. They are also entitled to freedom and dignity. This is the crux of the matter which fascist and racist regimes love to ignore. 

Today, apartheid Israel is making virtually the same arguments to justify and defend its manifestly criminal treatment of the Palestinians. 

Thus, whenever Israel’s sinister occupation is criticized, we see that big-mouthed Israeli officials and professional hasbara liars try to make black look white and the white look black by claiming that Palestinians are better off than most other Arabs. 

Now, as the BDS movement is gaining momentum to the chagrin of the Israeli establishment, Israeli officials and other hasbara mouthpieces are becoming more brazen in their defensive but mendacious discourse. 

And, yes, as usual, lying is their modus operandi. 

They are saying the Palestinians ought to be thankful to Israel for not treating them like Bashar Assad or Abdul Fattah Sissi are treating their own peoples. 

One Zionist pundit wrote recently that were Israel to follow Arab rules, all Palestinians would have been expelled from “the Land of Israel along time ago.” 

Needless to say, this is a classical example of “going beyond Chutzpah” 

After all, since when the Hitler of Damascus, who murdered half a million of his own people, and the virulent tyrant of Cairo, who usurped power from the only truly democratically elected regime in Egypt’s history, were role models for the world to be followed or emulated? 

So, Israel, “the purported light upon humanity” wants the Palestinians to thank Israel for murdering their children on the spot in the West Bank, and not burning them alive by way of dropping barrel bombs on their homes and schools as Assad is doing in Syria. 

Yes, Israel would like to see the Palestinians “thank” her for conducting slow-motion genocide whereas “human-rights unfriendly states” would pursue fast-motion genocide” and get rid of the problem once and for all. 

But it is only sick and depraved minds that are capable of making such nefarious   arguments. 

Otherwise, we should thank the Iberians Catholics for not playing by the rules of Old Testament and exterminating every Jewish man, woman and child during the inquisition!! (Israelis are embarrassed when explaining the Tsfarad Geroush” (the Spanish inquisition” because it reminds them of something they don’t like to remember, namely the golden age Jews had undergone in Islamic Spain!!! 

According to the morbid logic we hear from some Israeli officials, we should also thank the Nazis for building the concentration camps relatively later in the course of the Second World War, because had these death camps been established earlier, a greater number of Jews would have perished. 

Yes, sickening arguments are only the product of sick minds. 

Today, in its rabid reaction to the non-violent BDS movement, Israel and its hasbara shipyard dogs, from Sydney to California, are arguing that it is the BDS campaign, not the malignant occupation, that is hurting the Palestinians. That it is the BDS movement that is impeding the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, not the ubiquitous proliferation of settlements, inhabited by fanatic cutthroats who believe spilling more innocent blood would expedite and accelerate redemption and salvation!! 

I don’t what sort of Torah are those people reading and following: The Torah of Moses or the Torah of Satan? 

Well, in the Torah of Moses, Jeremiah 7:6, the God of Israel equated oppressing strangers living amongst Israelites with the greatest sin ever in Judaism, namely the unforgivable sin associating gods with God. 

And in Exodus 22:21: The Almighty commands the Israelites, telling them in straightforward manner” Do not mistreat or oppress a stranger, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” 

Don’t tell me I am being selective or quoting things out of context. For even the Talmud, who Orthodox Jews consider the verbal Torah, states that true Jews are not supposed to oppress non-Jews living in their midst: 

Let us consider the following Talmudic story which sums up the point I am trying to make: A heathen came to Shammai with the request to be accepted as a convert to Judaism on condition that he would be taught the whole of the Torah while he stood on one foot. The Rabbi drove him away with a yard-stick he was holding. The heathen then went to Hillel with the same request. Hillel said to the man what is hateful to yourself, don’t do to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary. “Go, learn it.” 

HOUNDING THE MESSENGERS OF PALESTINE

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer in Hebron a few days ago.

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer in Hebron a few days ago.

Israel hounds Witness who  filmed gruesome murder

 By Khalid Amayreh in Hebron

 

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer  in Hebron a few days ago. 

The film showed the trigger-happy Israeli officer fire several bullets on the head of the bleeding Palestinian, who then succumbed to his fatal wounds. 

Israeli army sources alleged that the wounded Palestinian had sought to stab Israeli soldiers. Palestinian eyewitnesses disputed the Israeli narrative. 

The hair-raising images of the crime generated angry reactions throughout the world. 

The Israeli foreign ministry reportedly privately complained that the brief sketch might further tarnish Israel’s image. 

Israel is already trying to fight a deepening international campaign aimed at boycotting Jewish settlements, viewed as illegal and illegitimate under international law.

The campaign, known as  (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) has already prompted many foreign firms to terminate their operations in the settlements. 

Earlier this week, the Israeli army briefly reprimanded the murderer for a few hours. 

However, the Hebrew media has pointed out that the symbolic detention and interrogation of the murderer was a purely public relations measure, which would mitigate angry reactions and  help Israel portray herself as law-abiding country unlike other countries in the Middle East. 

According to Palestinian and Israeli human rights workers, when Israeli soldiers are caught “red handed,” e.g. brutally murdering a totally  innocent Palestinian  and without the slightest provocation, the murderer or Murderers are rebuked, not for carrying out the murderous act itself, but for having failed to ensure that no one would    film the crime. 

On Monday, the Israeli occupation authorities briefly detained Imad Abu Shamsiyya for filming the event using his cellular mobile phone. 

However, it was apparently too late for the Israeli army to retrieve the film which had already found its way through  the world-wide web. 

Earlier, dozens of settlers surrounded Abu Shansiyya’s home in downtown Hebron, threatening to kill him if he “ ever did it again.” 

Abu Shamsiyya on Monday appealed to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmould Abbas to protect him and his family from settler attacks. 

“These people are barbarians and savages who could embark on the unthinkable.” 

Abu Shamsiyya added that the “Israeli army and government stand virtually powerless to rein in these  hateful criminals. The reason for this is that the government itself and the army, to a large extent,  are more or less controlled by the settler camp.”

In the past few years, settler terrorists crossed several red lines, including burning alive a Palestinian boy near Jerusalem, burning the home of a Palestinian family, the Dawabsheh family,  resulting in the death of both parents and their child, and vandalizing several Muslim and Christian places of worship. 

Last week, settler terrorists burned the home of a Palestinian witness who saw the deadly incident of burning the Dawabsheh family home. 

Many settlers apparently harbor a decidedly  genocidal mindset vis-à-vis Palestinians and non-Jews in general. They believe that the partial or complete physical extermination of the Palestinians, following the Biblical style,  would expedite the appearance of the Redeemer or Jewish Messiah> 

The Redeemer, according to Some Talmudic sages and Jewish mystics,  would then bring about lasting salvation to Jews and the world and create a worldwide empire ruled from Jerusalem. 

ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ITS OWN VERSION OF BDS

Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.

You can beat this ban by buying Palestinian products …. Click HERE and HERE

Image by Latuff

giftfrompalestine-campaign-opboycottisrael

Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products

Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman did not immediately respond for request for information about the protest.Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.The director of marketing for the Hamoda company, Fadi Abu Hilweh, told Ma’an on Saturday evening that Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks of the five companies since Wednesday.

*

Hamoda head Ameer Haddad told Ma’an that Hamoda — along with the companies al-Juneidi Dairy and Food products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries — all parked their trucks near the prison to protest the ban and “the horrible consequences of this decision.”Haddad added that the companies export their products to Jerusalem under agreements with Israel and that there was no grounds for the ban.
*
He said the companies would continue protesting until Israeli authorities canceled the decision.Abu Hilweh said the companies were not officially notified of any decisions to ban their products in Israel and were “surprised” when Israeli soldiers at Beitunia commercial crossing denied their products entry to Israel on Wednesday.
*
He added that about 50 percent of the five companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.
*
If this ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) a year.Hamoda has already notified its milk providers to halt supplies until the ban is resolved. Abu Hilweh said the five companies would have to discharge large numbers of workers if the ban continued.
*
He added that he was surprised when Israeli authorities informed the companies that the decision to ban products was a “political” decision and “the Palestinian Authority was notified of the decision six months ago.”
*
An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, who requested anonymity, told Ma’an that the ministry was not notified of any such decision.“
*
The ministry is looking into the case, which is a flagrant breach of Paris Protocols,” the official said, referring to an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.
*
Palestinian lawmaker and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli decision by banning Israeli products from entering the Palestinian market.
*
According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.
*
A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 86 percent — said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
*
SOURCE

ZIONISM … CAUGHT ON TAPE AND IN RAP

If you DON’T support the BDS Movement, then THIS is what you DO support …

Video distributed by Ryan Dawson, with thanks

*

The following 2 posters were displayed at Columbia University Saturday evening

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

*

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

THE PLIGHT OF OUR BETTER HALF IN PALESTINE TODAY

On this day we celebrate International Women's Day. 
Below you can read of the situation and plight of women 
in Occupied Palestine.

*
460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_iwd2

International Women's Day
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The struggle of women here continues unabated. Many people like me believe
sincerely that had women been in charge here, we would have had a free
Palestine by now. My mother who is 84 years old showed us by example what
giving and self-sacrifice and love of people and land means. My wife and
three sisters are likewise examples of what we all should aspire to do:
kind, dedicated, and hard-working human beings. Like millions before them
and millions contemporary with them, these women make life livable while
many men (and a few women) engage in hurting others and pushing for
conflicts and war. Words are too mediocre and inadequate to express our
feelings but I simply want to say to all the women working for peace and
justice: thank you and to pledge that we will work with you for more
progressive change in our societies. As males, we must challenge the system
we inherited of giving privilege to men (Patriarchal societies we live in).
This must be in deed not in words.


For the local situation of Palestinian women today, I urge you to read this
remarkable new issue of the excellent magazine “This Week in Palestine”
dedicated to our better half.
 

NEW VIDEO ~~ MEET THE CHILDREN OF THE CAMP

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Children from Bethlehem’s Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps talk to Mondoweiss about their life in the camps. Filmmakers Sheren Khalel and Abed al Qaisi wanted to know exactly how much the children understood about the military occupation going on around them, and how normal they believed their lives were. With their parents permission, Khalel and al Qaisi asked five children from the streets of the two camps what they thought. All of the answers were spontaneous and unrehearsed, and as it turned out, the kids understood — and have experienced — quite a lot.

Many of the children talked about tear gas, soldiers, and being scared of going outside. All of the children have seen family members killed, injured and detained by Israeli forces — as is the life in the occupied West Bank’s many refugee camps. Still, the children have high hopes, telling Mondoweiss they want to be doctors, lawyers and engineers when they grow up.

SPOOF OF THE DAY ~~ ISRAEL DESTROYS TO BUILD

Israel destroys homes for Bedouins, builds homes for Jews 

Image by Carlos Latuff

CZRZnS8UMAAY5dD

Israel confirmed on Thursday it was planning to appropriate a large tract of fertile land in the occupied West Bank, close to Jordan, a move likely to exacerbate tensions with Western allies and already drawing international condemnation.

The appropriation, covers 154 hectares (380 acres) in the Jordan Valley close to Jericho, an area where Israel already has many settlement farms built on land Palestinians seek for a state. It is the largest land seizure since August 2014.

“Israel is stealing land specially in the Jordan Valley under the pretext it wants to annex it,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters. “This should be a reason for a real and effective intervention by the international community to end such a flagrant and grave aggression which kills all chances of peace.”

The United States, whose ambassador angered Israel this week with criticism of its West Bank policy, said it was strongly opposed to any moves that accelerate settlement expansion.

“We believe they’re fundamentally incompatible with a two-state solution and call into question, frankly, the Israeli government’s commitment to a two-state solution,” Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

In a development likely to further upset Europe, Israeli forces demolished six structures in the West Bank funded by the EU’s humanitarian arm. The structures were dwellings and latrines for Bedouins living in an area known as E1 – a particularly sensitive zone between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

“This is the third time they demolished my house and every time I rebuilt it, this time also I will rebuild it and I am not leaving here. If we leave they will turn the place into a closed military zone,” said Saleem Jahaleen, whose home was razed.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM ‘THE ISRAELI GENERAL’S SON’

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

An open letter to president Obama

By Miko Peled

President_Barack_Obama_reads_briefing_material_2fd89

*

When America voted for you the first time, many people were very optimistic. A man with an African Muslim father, an African Muslim name and what seemed like a caring heart and a brilliant mind. That was both refreshing and promising. You came into office with big promises, your first inaugural address was heard around the world with ears anticipating change, but as it turns out it was merely a crescendo of rhetoric. You promised hope to the poor and disenfranchised in this country, reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim world and even peace and justice in Palestine.

But, unfortunately you have been a failure and a disappointment. As a black man, you had an unprecedented opportunity to address the issues of Blacks, but you didn’t. You showed no care for Black lives or for the lives of Blacks in America. You said little and did even less to stop the killing of Black men and the mass incarceration of Blacks. You said nothing and did nothing regarding the over due payment of reparations to the descendants of slaves, men and women upon whose backs the US economy was built. And, if any proof was needed, the outcry of the Black Lives Matter movement shows that your priorities were elsewhere.

As things stand today, even with a President whose middle name is Hussein, there has never been a worse time to be an Arab and a Muslim in America. As Commander in Chief you brought death and destruction on Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria. You did little to promote peace or justice in Palestine.

In your inaugural address you said: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Yet you warmly held hands with Saudi dictators who silence dissent by death. Then in Egypt you allowed a military coup to depose the democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi, who now awaits execution while reinforcing the clenched fist of the dictator Abdel Fatah El-Sisi by allowing the flow of billions of dollars of foreign aid money into his pockets.

In your inaugural address you promised us: “America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.” But even as you were preparing this address, going through these very words, Israel was bombing Gaza senselessly, causing the death of over one thousand innocent civilians and the injury of countless more, and you said nothing. In Palestine, the prime example of a place where people seek a future of peace and dignity, you allowed Israel to continue to bomb and kill with the full financial, military and political backing of the United States.

As President, for the last seven years you have given Israel your full support to kill, maim, arrest and torture men, women and children. The number of Palestinians made homeless, the number of Palestinian children arrested and abused and the number of Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their homes is getting higher by the minute, yet you supported Israel.

Mr. President, in the summer of 2014, when Israel murdered thousands of Palestinian civilians, and young Palestinians in Gaza fought bravely to defend their homes and their families, futile though it may have been, instead of supporting those who seek peace and dignity, you chose to provide Israel with more arms and more money.

Though you claimed, “for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken.” Then you allowed Netanyahu to disgrace you, to walk, like Cesar marching into Rome, his hands stained with Palestinian blood into Congress. He was a victor, while you cowered away in some corner and let him spew his hateful lies. Where, Mr. President was your spirit then?

But though you were a disappointment, though you have failed us, there is one window of opportunity available to you, if you wish to redeem yourself. For the past seven years, five innocent men sit in federal prison falsely charged and wrongly convicted on charges of material support for a terrorist organization. These five men are referred to as the HLF-5, or the Holy Land Foundation Five. If you take the time to review this case, you will see what I and many others have seen and said, that in this case, the entire judicial system had been taken hostage, the constitution, the laws that govern the land, the regulations by which government agencies are supposed to function have all been placed on hold in order to convict five innocent men.

In reviewing this case you, Mr. President will see what many have us have seen and continue to see, that pressure by Israel, post 9/11 hysteria, prosecutorial over reach and a cowardice of the members of the judiciary have led five good innocent men into a living hell. Five family men, men who came to this country and contributed to their community, men who wanted nothing but to help others, must now live caged like criminals.

President George W Bush using executive order 13224 shut down the Holy land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in this country, in December of 2001 and now you must reverse this order, reinstate the Foundation, exonerate the five men in federal prison and order that an apology be given to them, their families and the entire Arab and Muslim community in America. Then you must order that they be compensated and the money taken from them be returned with the appropriate interest.

The closure of HLF brought misery not only to the five men and their family. It brought fear and anxiety to America’s finest communities, the Muslim and Arab communities. Furthermore, this closure ended crucial help to the poor, the fatherless, the homeless and the needy in Palestine. In the words of Mohammad Abumoharam, a local social worker in Gaza, “I cannot possibly find words to convey the level of poverty and suffering that exists in Palestine in general and in Gaza in particular. HLF has been able to significantly alleviate the suffering of thousands in Palestine, giving them some hope for a better life.” The closure of the HLF and the freezing of their assets by the government stopped all that.

Until the seizure of its assets on December 4, 2001, the Holy Land Foundation provided charitable and humanitarian aid to refugees, orphans, victims of human and natural disasters, and other poor and needy persons and entities throughout the world, without regard to faith or political affiliation. Among its other charitable and humanitarian work, Holy Land has organized aid to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; it has provided assistance to victims and relief workers at the Oklahoma City bombing site; to victims of flooding in Oklahoma and Iowa; to victims of riots in Los Angeles; to tornado victims in Fort Worth; to the needy in Paterson, New Jersey; to earthquake victims in Turkey and India; to victims of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts; to victims of the conflict in Chechnya; to victims of flooding in Mozambique; and to refugees, orphans, and other persons and entities in need in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Mr. President, this case is an embarrassment to the United States government, the US Department of Justice, and the entire US judicial system. In one year you will be out of office. At fifty-five you will have been a two term president, the first half African half American President, and you are undoubtedly going to be one of the richest men on earth. What will be your legacy? You sir, have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility to release without delay, Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammad El-Mezzaine, also known as the HLF-5. Please do not disappoint us again.

Sincerely,
Miko Peled

 

Source

STAR OF GOLIATH ~~ RE-MIXED VIDEO

This song cycle with images encapsulates modern Holy Land history and imperial machinations, with attention to varying Jewish and Palestinian views on Israel and the struggle for Palestinian survival and sovereignty. The piece was produced in 2005, the visuals re-mixed in 2015. The journals that were the basis of the text are at 

THE NIGHTMARE WE KNOW AS ZIONISM

Daily life getting worse by the minute ….

Israeli soldiers frequently storm the neighborhood and often spray sewage and tear gas at residents and in their homes. Predawn military raids are regularly carried out, where young men are detained and Israeli forces ransack homes while families are sleeping inside.

351706C

Israeli crackdown turning life in al-Issawiya to ‘nightmare’

As Israeli authorities increase restrictions on Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, residents of al-Issawiya say humiliating inspections by Israeli forces have turned their lives into a “nightmare.”

“The Israeli occupation is trying to practice a policy of humiliation at the military checkpoints in the main exits of al-Issawiya,” said Hani al-Issawi, a member of a local committee to defend land in in the town.

“Residents are not allowed to leave the village in groups. Every single person must undergo inspections,” he added.

Men, including the elderly, are forced to pull up their shirts up and sometimes take their trousers down upon entrance and exit to the neighborhood, while many undergo physical inspections.

Female residents of the town are often searched by female soldiers who decide whether to carry out physical inspections or to check their bags and identification documents.

Israel forces on Oct. 14 closed roads leading into the neighborhood with concrete barriers, setting up make-shift military and police checkpoints for all residents to pass through.

The move was made shortly after Israel’s security cabinet announced that Israeli police are now entitled to “impose a closure on, or to surround, centers of friction and incitement in Jerusalem, in accordance with security considerations,” according to Israeli media reports.

The same day, Issawi said: “The Israeli occupation forces closed most of the village’s entrances with concrete blocks and earth mounds.”

As some 19,000 residents of the neighborhood are forced to use a single exit for pedestrians and another for vehicles, Muhammad Abu al-Hummus a member of a local follow-up committee in the town told Ma’an: “They are being inspected, sworn at, and humiliated at these exits.”

“Every morning, queues of schoolchildren, workers and employees are seen waiting in front of the checkpoint,” he added, saying that inspecting a single person takes two to give minutes.In addition, schoolchildren need to take two buses to their schools: one that reaches the end of the closed road, and a second that the children reach after passing through the make-shift military checkpoint by foot.

Around 3,400 Palestinian schoolchildren leave the neighborhood every morning for schools in Jerusalem, while around 3,200 schoolchildren from neighboring areas attend schools inside al-Issawiya, including two schools for people with special needs, Abu Hummus said.

Issawi told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers have “emptied their schoolbags and deliberately thrown books on the ground.”

In response to the Israeli crackdown, Palestinian factions in the neighborhood announced general strike on Tuesday.

The strike was announced shortly after Huda Muhammad Darwish, 65, died after being delayed from reaching a hospital at a checkpoint leading out of the town.

The elderly woman had suffered breathing difficulties following clashes in the neighborhood, in which tear gas was fired. Her family tried to rush her to hospital, but locals told Ma’an that Israeli troops ignored that there was a sick person in the car, delaying them at the checkpoint.

While punitive measures have increased over the last week in response to a series of stabbing attacks that have left at least nine Israelis dead since Oct, 1, Issawi pointed out that Israeli forces had started “collective punishments” against the neighborhood months ago.

Israeli soldiers frequently storm the neighborhood and often spray sewage and tear gas at residents and in their homes. Predawn military raids are regularly carried out, where young men are detained and Israeli forces ransack homes while families are sleeping inside.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem last week called the Israeli government’s response to the recent escalation in the area as “the very inverse of what ought to be done” toward ending recent violence.

Al-Issawiya is one of several Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that has come under such restrictions. Israeli forces on Sunday began installing a large concrete wall to separate the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir from the illegal Israeli settlement of Armon Hanatziv.

While a similar order was made for al-Issawiya, Israeli media reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that plans to erect separation barriers around the town be scrapped, after pressure from members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

 

More photos at SOURCE

ATTITUDES THAT LEAD TO DEATH

 Or ~~ A NIGHT DEVOID OF STARS

BIQOdNNCUAEZilh

The situation in Israel/Palestine is spiraling out of control by the minute. Killings on both both sides continue with no immediate end in sight ….

The question is WHY?

I went through my archives this morning and found three posts which speak of attitudes that lead to hatred, that lead to death; I am reposting them to give you a better picture of what is going on here ….

WE LIVED IN PEACE TILL THE WHITE MAN CAME

(Originally posted in April, 2014)

rock-throwing_1748101i

On Friday evening I was approached by a local resident in the French Hill area who with anger in his voice he said that “a ‘creature’ threw stones at one of our buses …. we must do something about the situation”. My response was that “I never saw a ‘creature’ throw stones, was it a cat or a dog”? “NO! It was one of YOUR Arabs from Issawyia”! “What can we do about that”??

I answered with,”first we can end the occupation and second people like yourself can start referring to the Arabs as human beings and treat them as such”!

The resident in question is a recent immigrant from the United States. Not too long ago, after ‘coming down’ from a bad ‘trip’ on pot at a beach in Miami, he found God (the opiate of the people) , packed his bags and moved to Israel. Before his (and others of his ilk’s) arrival to the French Hill area we lived in peace with our neighbours in what was truly a  showcase of coexistence …

Co-exist

On the other hand, this short video gives a glimpse of what life is like on the other side of the wall in the neighbouring village of Issawyia …

*

Surely this situation will lead to animosity, even hatred, towards the Jewish residents in the area …. but there are ways to deal with the situation. Stone throwing at innocent civilians is definitely NOT the solution and will only lead to a continuation of the growth of hatred on the Israeli side of the wall. Let us come together and prove to the White Man that peace IS possible. Then the wall will come down and hopefully the White Man will return to his true home on the beach in Miami. We definitely do not need or want his ilk destroying the peace process before it even starts.

*

LIFE IS TOO SHORT

(Originally posted in July, 2010)

The time has come in my life where I just won’t waste it listening to certain opinions or be with the people that have them… call me closed minded if you wish, but you would be way off base.
 
 
Case in point
 
I live in a fairly mixed and progressive community in Jerusalem.  Mixed as there are both religious and secular Jews living here as well as hundreds of Palestinians. We have maintained our own level of Peace throughout what have been very turbulent years in the city.
 
English is the official ‘second language’ in this area which is a big attraction to new immigrants from the States. One such person moved in not too long ago…. one very strange person. He is the type that gets an idea in his head and proceeds to spout it out for the remainder of the week, literally ‘testing the waters’ to see if anyone was in agreement with him. People were tolerant towards him probably out of pity as he was here only with his wife and completely estranged from his children that remained in the States.
 
I was one that offered my ear to his ramblings, hardly ever agreeing with them….. BUT last week he crossed the line. He started spouting off about the violence displayed in baseball and how terrible that was….. but ended his rant with “Israel should learn something from that game, we should have bombed all of the ships in the Flotilla and killed them all”! I was beyond words, shocked would be too mild a word to express my feelings at the moment. I simply responded that “this is the end of this conversation” and walked away from him.
 
Last night he approached me again …. but I cut him off before he started talking by telling him that “whatever friendship we might have had ended last week when you expressed the most outrageous opinion I ever heard”. He was not expecting that from me, but should have as he is aware of my views regarding the situation in general in this country. He silently walked away from me, probably with the hope that I won’t be telling others about his madness.
 
Simply put, it’s bad enough having to witness the crimes against the Palestinians in this country, crimes that I can (and do) speak out against constantly…. but there is no reason in the world why I should have to listen to certain opinions regarding those crimes. Life is way too short to waste it on one ignorant person, there are others with open minds that one day might work together with us to make a real difference.
 
Hopefully this person will have learned something about ‘resting his gums’ so to speak. Either that or realise that his views are totally unacceptable in certain areas and leave, in which case not a tear would be shed by anyone in the community.
*
And finally ….

‘THERE’S A GUY IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD THAT LOVES ARABS’

(originally posted October, 2012)

*
OMG! Can you believe that???
That is what I was told the other morning by a neighbour who recently visited a small town near Tel Aviv …
He went further to identify the ‘guy’ as Steve. OMG! C’est Moi!!!
*
My cover has been blown …. what to do??
*
It seems that for most of my adult life I have been accused of many things by a wide mixture of both zionists and Islamophobes, but this ‘accusation’ takes the cake. I have always taken pride in the fact that I consider myself a hate free person. The only people I have a problem with are those that hate, so call me an anti hate person. Does that make me an Arab lover? Yes, I have Arab friends and neighbours that I love, but I also have Jewish neighbours and friends that I love. Why then was I not labeled ‘the guy in your neighbourhood that loves Jews’? Perhaps because it is a known fact by all who know me that I am a supporter of Palestinian rights and support the creation of a Palestinian State on the lands that were stolen from them by the zionists. If that makes me an Arab lover, then I guess I am guilty as charged.
*
But why the accusation in the first place??? Simple explanation …. it’s an accusation based on ignorance. One of my favourite quotes comes from a non person, Yoda of Star Wars fame … Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” I have seen enogh suffering in my lifetime and refuse to be a part of seeing it continue, so I will continue refusing to hate.
*
Below is an excerp from a post I did a few years ago about life in my neighbourhood….
*
Clash of the Cultures
*

You see everything in Jerusalem. It draws tourists from all over the world, every race, every religion, every political persuasion. Our own local population is quite a mixture as well…

We have Muslim women who dress like this woman…

We have Jewish men that dress like these men…

It was once thought that ignorance is bliss… that is certainly not the case today and there is no excuse for much of our ignorance, especially when it pertains to our fellow citizens.

A quote from a beloved Star Wars character, Yoda is…“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
It was expanded by an unknown writer to say…”IGNORANCE leads to FEAR which causes HATE which leads to ANGER, which ends in SUFFERING.”
I prefer the second quote and it is fitting to the following episode I wish to relate here…

There was a woman walking towards the bank in my neighbourhood the other day. She was dressed like the woman in the photo. A man, on his way to the coffee shop passed her, he was dressed like one of the men in the other photo.

She covers her face so it would not be seen by men other than her husband, he, by his garb represents the ultra orthodox section of Judaism, is not supposed to look at other women. But he did, and he panicked. He ran from that woman as if he saw the devil himself. Why, because of ignorance. He had no idea why her face was covered. He was afraid. Most likely his fear will lead to hate and that will lead to suffering.

We cannot continue to live in our little isolated worlds. We have to open our windows and see who else dwells there. That alone will be a start to end this type of behaviour. It might even lead to peace.*

The Guardian’s Comment is free ran the following about my neighbourhood a few years ago … after reading it you will understand why I chose this particular area as my home. It will also clue you in to the fact that I am not the only guy in my neighbourhood that ‘loves Arabs’.

Thank God, Thank God Almighty I am not alone!

FEAR BUILDS WALLS

Could the harmony that has developed from an influx of Arab families in an area of Jerusalem set the tone for the rest of the country?

By Seth Freedman

Many critics of Israel’s security wall assert that its construction has driven another nail into the coffin of possible integration between the local Jews and Arabs. However, thanks to an unexpected phenomenon arising from its erection, certain Jewish parts of Jerusalem are experiencing an influx of Arabs into their areas – and the early indications are that their assimilation is progressing relatively smoothly.

The district of French Hill, which is technically over the Green Line but in reality bears little resemblance to the typical “settlement” stereotype, has seen a steep rise in the number of Arabs seeking to move into its neighbourhood in recent years. Not wanting to be caught on the “wrong” side of the security wall, many Arab families have sought homes on the Israeli side of the barrier, in order to ensure their Israeli IDs aren’t revoked, as well as to avoid hours-long delays at checkpoints as they commute to and from work.

With prices in the Arab villages of East Jerusalem soaring in the wake of a flood of eager buyers, those with fewer funds available have opted to move into Jewish parts of the city, including French Hill and nearby Pisgat Ze’ev. Their arrival hasn’t been to everyone’s liking, with the usual suspects up in arms and demanding that other residents band together to keep the Arabs out and ensure that the neighbourhoods remain strictly Jewish.

One such charming individual was quoted as saying: “As a Jew I am happy to be a racist,” claiming that it was the only way to preserve his children’s future in the face of the Arab invasion. Fortunately, however, his odious attitude is very much a minority one – at least, as far as I could tell from a visit to the area.

On arrival in the town centre, it was plain to see that the more level-headed and sedate residents have no problem with their neighbours and fellow shoppers. Jews and Arabs alike thronged the cafes, jostling for position in the bright sunshine as they downed cappuccinos and mint teas at the outdoor tables. The local bank was doing equally brisk business, and customers in kipot (skullcaps) stood in line behind others in Arabic headscarves with no hint of tension present.

Sitting behind the counter at Cafe Malcha, the Jewish owner spoke proudly of the mixed group of customers who pack his shop every day. “There’s no problem here. Jews and Arabs sit together, everyone’s friendly, and they come from all over, including the centre of Jerusalem and the surrounding [Arab] villages.” He pointed out that it is mainly the secular Jews and Arabs who socialise with one another, “since the religious on both sides are far more cautious.”

Iyal, a 19-year-old Arab who waits tables at the cafe, agreed with his boss that French Hill is largely devoid of any racial tension. “I’ve worked here for years”, he said, “and I never see any racism in the area”. Sitting outside was a group of five Arab workers, chatting loudly to one another in Arabic and clearly at ease in their surroundings – belying the image that some reporters portray of French Hill as being a hotbed of anti-Arab racism.

However, that’s not to say that under the surface there doesn’t linger some degree of antipathy between the area’s ethnic groups. Isawiya’s youth have something of a poor track record when it comes to their treatment of any Jews who enter the village. Many Jews go there to shop, or get their cars repaired, and are often pelted with rocks and stones by the local children, which does nothing to enhance relations between the two sides. At the same time, local Arab residents have made no bones about their desire to keep their neighbourhoods all-Arab, forbidding the sale of homes to Jewish buyers for fear of losing the Arab identity of their districts.

Similarly, one Jewish girl I spoke to had a great deal of venom in her system when it came to the local Arabs. “I can’t trust them enough to live alongside them,” she said flatly, before going on to assert that “they all want to kill us simply because we’re Jews, so why should we let them move into our neighbourhoods and get the chance to?” When pressed, however, she conceded that her work as a local receptionist has brought her into contact with plenty of Arabs, “and the ones I know aren’t like that at all. I suppose I shouldn’t generalise about them, actually.”

Despite it going against her defensive mentality, it is clear that the experience of working alongside Arab colleagues and discovering what they’re like as individuals – rather than collectively tarring them as “the Arabs” – has produced a chink in her armour. While I still wouldn’t want her in charge of the peace process, given her overriding penchant for painting the Arabs as bloodthirsty Jew haters, the fact that she softened her position at all during the course of our conversation indicates that the process of assimilation is bearing positive fruit.

And, in the words of another local I spoke to who said: “I can barely tell who’s Jewish and who’s Arab round here”, the success of French Hill’s multicultural exercise might well set the tone for the rest of the country one day. Of course, things aren’t going to change overnight – Arabs are still treated with a great deal of suspicion by many Israelis, at both street and institutional levels, but that shouldn’t stop the moderates on both sides forging on with their goal of overcoming the prevalent racist attitudes.

There is an aphoristic piece of graffiti sprayed near thecheckpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem that reads: “Fear builds walls,” which is as true as it is depressing. However, one unlikely byproduct of the security barrier’s construction could, ultimately, end up eradicating at least some of the fear that exists between the two communities, thanks to the Arab migration into Jewish neighbourhoods that it has created. And that, despite the overarching negativity that surrounds the building of the wall in the first place, is well worth clinging on to for those seeking at least a modicum of hope from a seemingly hopeless situation.

DAYS OF RAGE IN PALESTINE ~~ WHO ARE THE REAL VICTIMS?

Image by Carlos Ltuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Someone on FaceBook shared a post from my archives yesterday resulting in over 2,000 hits. It pretty much clarifies why the present situation in Israel/Palestine is raging out of control. 

Anyone who still might think that Israel is the victim may think twice after seeing the following photo essay which was originally posted here in January of 2009 …

COMPARATIVE HOLOCAUSTS ~~ PHOTO ESSAY

This photo essay was put together by the head of the Norweigan Embassy in Saudi Arabia. It origanilly appeared on MWC News.

THE GRANDCHILDREN OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS FROM WORLD WAR II ARE DOING TO THE PALESTINIANS EXACTLY WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM BY NAZI GERMANY …

BUILDING WALLS & FENCES TO KEEP PEOPLE IN PRISON


Hitler Yesterday ~ Israel Today










CHECK POINTS NOT TO ALLOW PEOPLE BASIC FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT









ARRESTS & HARASSMENTS









DESTROYING HOMES & LIVELIHOODS



GIFTS (WITH LOVE) FROM THE CHILDREN OF PEACE-LOVING & CIVILIZED COUNTRIES












THE CLASSIC PROPAGANDA MACHINE – YOU WILL FIND THE PICTURE IN BLACK & WHITE IN ALL AMERICAN AND SOME OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES HISTORY BOOKS, ENCYCLOPAEDIAS, LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS… THAT DEPICTS A YOUNG JEWISH BOY WITH HIS HANDS UP WHILE NAZI TROOPS POINT THEIR GUNS AT HIM AND HIS FAMILY IN ORDER TO EXPEL THEM FROM THEIR HOMES… (IT’S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU SYMPATHIZE WITH THE VICTIMS & TO SUPPORT THEIR CAUSE FOR JUSTICE & A HOMELAND)
THE ISRAELIS PRACTICE THE SAME TACTIC



HOLIDAY SPOOF ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR PALESTINE

Netanyahu wishes all Palestinian Muslims a Shana Tovah (Good Year) Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu wishes all Palestinian Muslims a Shana Tovah (Good Year)
Image by Carlos Latuff

*

Israeli forces storm Aqsa Mosque in third day of clashes

Full report HERE

Israeli police use stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in a street of the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem's Old City during scuffles with Israeli riot police on Sept. 15, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli police use stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in a street of the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City during scuffles with Israeli riot police on Sept. 15, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

ARAB SUPPORT IS KEY TO PALESTINE’S LIBERATION

We Palestinians don’t expect miracles from the Arabs. We don’t expect them to liberate Palestine from the River to the Sea. We don’t even expect them to liberate al-Quds Ash-sharif and al-Masjidul Aqsa from the clutches of Zionism.

However, there are certain tasks the Arabs could easily do to enable our people to survive and be steadfast as we have done since the Nakba 67 years ago.

Rich Arab states, such as the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, can and should allow more Palestinians to seek employment opportunities in their respective countries. The Palestinians are skilled, educated and can be trusted to perform their duties without endangering the internal security of these states.

Palestine-flag

Palestinians need support to remain steadfast

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

Nothing could help the Palestinian cause more than enabling ordinary Palestinians to put up a resilient steadfastness in the face of a sinister Zionist strategy aimed at uprooting the national existence of the Palestinian people from their ancestral homeland.

Yes, steadfastness is the name of the game in Palestine, especially in light of the virtual liquidation by Israel of any remaining realistic prospects for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Steadfastness is therefore the crux of the matter in Occupied Palestine because without it, Israel would be able in a matter of few years or decades to drive many or most Palestinians into a permanent exile.

Needless to say, the Jewish state has failed to achieve this criminal goal not because it refrained from employing the most nefarious means imaginable to “get the job done,” but rather because Palestinians consistently showed an extraordinary level of endurance and steadfastness in the face of Zionist-Jewish oppression, which in many cases transcended reality.

Hence, the same level of steadfastness and resilience that enabled the Palestinian people to survive all these years, despite the enormity of Zionist repression, must be maintained and consolidated rather constantly.

Easier said than done

But withstanding Israeli oppression and maintaining the required level of steadfastness have certain requirements which must be met and maintained.

Otherwise steadfastness, and therefore national survival, would remain confined to the theoretical or even rhetorical sphere.

Yes, the unwavering will to remain steadfast in the face of Israeli brutality is an almost built-in character among most Palestinians. Indeed, many would say Palestinians are innately steadfast and inherently resilient, irrespective of Israeli brutality and terror.

None the less, even this legendary “innate steadfastness” cannot always be taken for granted. That is why effective measures ought to be taken to maintain, enhance, and even maximize the Palestinian ability to remain steadfast as well as shield this steadfastness from unrelenting Israeli measures intended to extinguish every Palestinian light and kill every glimmer of hope amongst a people that has survived in spite of history.

What are the Palestinians’ needs?

We Palestinians don’t expect miracles from the Arabs. We don’t expect them to liberate Palestine from the River to the Sea. We don’t even expect them to liberate al-Quds Ash-sharif and al-Masjidul Aqsa from the clutches of Zionism.

However, there are certain tasks the Arabs could easily do to enable our people to survive and be steadfast as we have done since the Nakba 67 years ago.

Rich Arab states, such as the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, can and should allow more Palestinians to seek employment opportunities in their respective countries. The Palestinians are skilled, educated and can be trusted to perform their duties without endangering the internal security of these states.

Palestinians are Sunni Muslims and wouldn’t be duped or used by sectarian regional powers to undermine the security of the Gulf States.

On the contrary, Palestinians could be utilized to safeguard the security of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia and they would happily agree to contribute to the consolidation of that security.

At the end of the day, the Palestinian national cause would eventually benefit from the stability and security of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

And certainly the opposite is also true.

Besides helping Palestinian find employment opportunities, either inside Palestine or in the region, oil-rich Arab states should help subsidize college education in the occupied territories. We all know, for example, that college tuitions constitute a huge financial burden for many Palestinian families which are often forced to exhaust their savings and assets to send their children to college.

Indeed, there are many painful stories about Palestinian college-age students who have been forced to work at Jewish settlements because their poor families couldn’t afford to send them to college.

We must not hide this embarrassing fact from our rich Arab and Muslim brothers because in the final analysis, the consequences of poverty often override national commitment.

Moreover, helping poor college students in the West Bank and Gaza Strip get undergraduate education doesn’t mean a huge financial burden for oil-rich Arab states.

In fact, a modest sum of 20-30 million US dollars per year would resolve the entire problem of college education in occupied Palestine. More to the point, it would allow the young Palestinian generations to remain in their ancestral homeland, thus scoring a definitive historical victory over Zionism.

I realize that there are voices unenthusiastic about invoking anything Palestinian these days.

But such voices are likely to be plagued with ignorance, maliciousness, ill will or moral and religious bankruptcy.

I say this because the Palestinian issue remains and will always remain the core national and Islamic problem for Arabs and Muslims everywhere. It is the mother of all problems, par excellence.

In fact, the Palestinian issue is too paramount to be marginalized, or left to “others” who would exploit it for their own sectarian ends.

In the final analysis, Arab states (and peoples) would succeed in everything else if they succeeded in carrying out their duties and commitments toward the Palestinian cause but would fail in everything else if they failed in shouldering their duties toward the Palestinian cause.

Indeed, sixty-seven years of official Arab failure should be more than enough to indict the Arab regimes.

IF YOU LOVE ISRAEL YOU MUST CONDEMN ITS HATRED OF HUMANITY

It’s crucial, though, to speak out. Friends of Israel who want it to live up to its best ideals, to be a Jewish state in the truest sense, must not be intimidated into silence. Israelis who share our values need our voices behind them.

Israeli-Flag-AIPAC

Time To Fight Hate — and Fight It Loud
From an Editorial in The Forward

The evening of July 30 should have ushered in a joyous day on this year’s Jewish calendar. That Thursday night and Friday, July 31, was Tu B’Av — the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av, and the Jewish festival of love. It’s traditionally a holiday dedicated to putting aside our habitual mourning over history’s disasters and celebrating love in all its earthiest, most human dimensions, from romance and marriage to bonds of friendship. But this year the holiday brought us only new disasters and new mourning.

In the space of a few hours that began on the afternoon of July 30, two horrific crimes of murderous hate were committed in Jerusalem and the West Bank, respectively, both of them apparently in the name of a twisted version of Judaism. The first was a deadly rampage by an Orthodox Jew who plunged into the crowd of marchers in Jerusalem’s annual Gay Pride parade, stabbing randomly, wounding six people. One, 16-year-old Shira Banki, later died of her wounds.

The second was the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian family’s home in the village of Duma, just south of Nablus. It was apparently — so Israeli law enforcement authorities believe — carried out by a gang of militant Orthodox Jewish settlers. Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe was killed in the flames. His parents and 4-year-old brother were gravely wounded.

The crimes have left us bereft, heartbroken. Jews around the world, and people of goodwill everywhere, are stunned that such hateful violence can erupt in a nation that prides itself on its love of peace. Thousands of Israelis gathered in protest rallies across the country in the days that followed, to declare that actions such as these have no place in the Jewish state.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Sadly, their words don’t seem to match the actual case. It appears those actions have indeed found a place. The question isn’t how they could possibly occur there, but why they are indisputably occurring there, and what to do about it.

Cynics ask a different question: Why, in a region wracked with the most appalling violence, is so much attention focused on a handful of incidents in Israel? Why single out the flaws of Israel, a relative island of tranquility in the turmoil of the Middle East, while Syria and Iraq drown in their own people’s blood?

And, for good measure, why insist on pointing out the suspects’ Orthodox affiliation? After all, we don’t identify every Reform or Conservative Jew who’s arrested by the congregation he or she attends. Why only Orthodox suspects?

The answer to the last question is simple: Both the assailant who attacked the Gay Pride parade and the presumed arsonists in Duma were acting in the name of their versions of Judaism, offshoots of Orthodox Judaism. Most Orthodox Jews may want to argue that they are not legitimate Orthodox Judaisms, that they don’t grow out of the same theology. But they do, and that fact must be faced. And because they are variants of our shared religion, we claim the right to protest. We won’t allow Judaism to be hijacked, and we insist on the right to say so.

The answer to the other question — why focus on Israel’s troubles when others’ are greater — is not as simple. It is true, as the cynics imply, that some of the fascination with Israel’s warts arises from hostility toward the Jewish state. There are those who take a perverse delight in spotlighting every flaw they can find, however great or small, because they think it proves their claim that Israel’s very existence is flawed.

On the other hand, it’s also true that some defenders of Israel try to portray every criticism of Israeli behavior as an attack on the Jewish state’s very legitimacy, in order to avoid having to answer the critics. They turn the campaign against delegitimization of Israel into an all-purpose whitewashing of reality. Rather than acknowledge what’s broken and help to fix it, they try to silence the critics and pretend all is well.

Most who counsel silence do so out of an exaggerated sense of Israel’s fragility. They worry that any breeze might blow down the house. They’re wrong, but not sinister. There are those who simply dismiss criticism because they secretly sympathize with the haters’ motives — homophobia, Greater Israel irredentism — if not with their criminal methods. More often, though, the impulse is more benign. It’s important to know the difference.

It’s crucial, though, to speak out. Friends of Israel who want it to live up to its best ideals, to be a Jewish state in the truest sense, must not be intimidated into silence. Israelis who share our values need our voices behind them.

It’s important, too, to understand what’s at stake, and what isn’t. Yishai Schlissel, the Gay Pride assailant, acted alone. The rest of his Haredi/ultra-Orthodox community dismisses him as a “psychopath,” as numerous Haredi journals have put it. It’s true that the homophobia that drove him is embedded deep in Haredi Judaism. Finding a common language between that growing community and Israel’s tolerant, liberal majority may take generations, or it may come suddenly, as has happened in America in recent years. Either way, it’s an urgent dialogue, not a war.

The Duma assailants are a different story. All available intelligence indicates that they’re part of a shadowy network of militant settlers, an offshoot of the mainstream settler movement. These people plan to continue and escalate their attacks with the aim of bringing about the Apocalypse. They want a war. They must not be allowed to have it.

A POEM FOR GAZA

To the children who lost their lives, and the parents who had to bury them.

Gaza City, June 2015. /Mohammed Asad (APA images)

Gaza City, June 2015. /Mohammed Asad (APA images)

Poem: Hashtag Gaza

Bring your camera.
Bring your candles and spotlights to highlight.
Bring your focus to hashtag anniversary.

Everyday Gaza.

Bring your reporters, your journalists, your moving infographics.

Write:

“Abu Muhammad sits on the balcony, cradling the head of Muhammad.
Sorry.
“The photo of the head of Muhammad.”

Talk about bomb shelters and war sirens in Sderot and Tel Aviv.
Call it “Neutrality”

Talk about your 5 dead and your iron dome.
Call it “Objective Reality”

Bring your billion dollar pledges and your aid caravans
Your excel sheets, monitoring reports and donor requirements.
Call it “Accountability”

Write:

“Abu Muhammmad sits on the balcony hopelessly smokes a hopeless cigarette talks about lack of hope.”

This one is human interest story.

And when we invite you into our rubble homes for tea and bread you call it “Generosity.”

And when we are strong about our suffering you call it “Resilience.”

Write:

51 days.
2,000 dead.
10,000 wounded.

Abu Muhammad says:

My boys took a ball to the beach.
Came back bodies.
How can we remember what we can’t forget?
Jehan Bseiso is a Palestinian poet, researcher and aid worker currently based in Cairo.

ISRAEL APPLAUDS THE WORLD’S SILENCE

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

martin-luther-king-silent

Israel seizes Gaza-bound boat in “act of piracy”

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Israeli forces boarded and commandeered the Marianne on Monday, one of four boats that were bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the tight Israeli siege of the occupied territory.

At around 2 am Gaza time Marianne was surrounded by three Israeli navy boats while in international waters more than 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, organizers Freedom Flotilla III said in a press release.

“After that we lost contact with the Marianne and at 05:11 am (Gaza time) the IDF [Israeli army] announced that they had ‘visited and searched’ Marianne,” the press release states. “They had captured the boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite the Netanyahu government’s recent denial that one exists.”

Organizers called the seizure of the boat and its passengers an “act of piracy.”

Israel’s Haaretzreports that the boat is being towed to Usdud (Ashdod), a port in present-day Israel, where the passengers “will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.”

The 18 passengers aboard the Marianne include Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzuki, Spanish member of the European Parliament Ana Miranda and Professor Robert Lovelace, retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation in Canada.

Many Palestinians in had eagerly awaited the flotilla, hoping that it would call international attention to the siege which Israel imposed eight years ago.

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Three other boats – Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II – that also made up the flotilla have headed back to their ports of origin.

In total, 47 passengers from 17 countries were aboard the boats, which carried medicines, solar panels and above all a strong message of solidarity for the 1.8 million Palestinians still besieged in Gaza one year after Israel began its 51-day destructive assault that killed more than 2,200 people.

An independent UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack, published last week, found extensive evidence of war crimes approved by Israel’s leaders at the “highest level.”

Violence incitement

Ghattas joined the flotilla despite violent threats and incitement from fellow lawmakers in Israel to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he could be prosecuted.

Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s purportedly centrist Yesh Atid party, for instance denounced the flotilla as a “provocation against the state of Israel.”

“This is a flotilla of a group of terror supporters a heinous flotilla that needs to be stopped,” Lapid added. “We need to act against the flotilla the same way we do when dispersing a violent protest and these guys need to all be arrested.”

In a Huffington Post column on Sunday, Ghattas defended his right to take part in the flotilla.

Bigots in “a discriminatory Jewish state as a white Southern extremist in a Confederate state, seek to diminish the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their representatives in the parliament,” Ghattas writes.

“More than anything, it is obvious that the situation of Palestinians in Gaza will inevitably lead to another round of bloody war, perhaps even more horrifying than the one we had less than one year ago,” Ghattas adds. “Still, my very outspoken colleagues in the Knesset would not even consider lifting the blockade as a means to avoid future war.”

“No siege on Gaza”

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

The fact that 18 civilians aboard a yacht cannot sail to Gaza, and that there has been virtually no reconstruction in Gaza since Israel’s attack last year would tend to undermine Netanyahu’s contention.

According to Haaretz, after boarding the boat, Israeli army gunmen were “to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming [the captives] to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria.”

“Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime,” the letter would reportedly state.

Netanyahu’s statement did not specify which UN “committee” he was talking about, but this was a likely reference to the 2011 “Palmer report” commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into Israel’s attack the previous year on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey rejected the report into the assault that killed 10 of its citizens on the Mavi Marmara in international waters and imposed sanctions on Israel.

The inquiry was heavily criticized for bias. The four-member committee that wrote the Palmer report was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and vice-chaired by former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, a notorious human rights abuser close to Israel.

The inquiry commissioned by Ban was in addition to an official UN Human Rights Council fact-finding missionwhich found that Israel’s attack on the 2010 flotilla was illegal.

Determined

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of ‘no tolerance,’ meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” flotilla organizers said in their statement.

“Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean.”

They also urged governments”to ensure that all passengers and crew from the Marianne are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state.”

“We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel,” the statement concludes. “People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.”

This video, published on 20 June, shows Marianne calling at the Italian port of Messina for a solidarity visit.

Complicity kills!

Complicity kills!

#SailingToGaza ~~ THE BASTARDS TRY TO STOP US AGAIN

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

‘Juliano’ attacked on its way to break the siege on Gaza

Statement by The Freedom Theatre
June 27th, 2015

Passengers of the Freedom Flotilla III bound for Gaza have announced that one of the boats, named Juliano after the co-founder and director of The Freedom Theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis who was assassinated in 2011, has been sabotaged. Divers damaged the boat’s propellers, causing it to take in water and the boat barely made it into port in Greece before it sank. On Saturday June 27th, passengers reported that the flotilla was followed by an unidentified patrol boat and a military aircraft.

Israel has engaged in a massive campaign to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza, threatening the participants in a similar fashion as during earlier attempts to break the illegal siege on Gaza. In 2010, Israeli troops attacked a similar flotilla in international waters, killing ten of the activists onboard and detaining many others.

Juliano Mer Khamis oftentimes declared that he was 100% Jewish and 100% Palestinian. He spoke of the necessity of a bi-national state where true democracy and justice may rule. Juliano’s work and vision inspired many people worldwide to act for justice in Palestine. The Freedom Flotilla does the same.

The sabotage of a boat named after a freedom fighter that believed in art as the most righteous form of resistance, proves to what length Israel is willing to go to silence criticism and activism against the occupation and apartheid system.

The boat Juliano is part of an international Freedom Flotilla Coalition calling for an end to the inhuman siege on Gaza, which violates the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people. The Flotilla comes less than a year after Israel’s brutal war against the Gaza strip in which more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed.

The Freedom Theatre welcomes the Freedom Flotilla initiative just like we welcome any other form of legitimate resistance against the Israeli oppression. No single person, organisation or movement can overcome the Israeli occupation and apartheid, but by considering us all part of a joint movement, supporting and complementing each other, we can and will succeed in bringing justice and peace to Palestine.

In just a few days the Freedom Flotilla will reach international waters outside the coast of Gaza, carrying more than 50 people from over 20 countries. The boats are also carrying urgently needed supplies and most importantly a message of solidarity to the besieged population of Gaza.

The Freedom Theatre wishes the flottilla a safe and successful journey to Gaza! Long live the Freedom Flottilla, long live Gaza and Palestine!

Website: https://freedomflotilla.org and https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org
Twitter: @GazaFFlottilla, @ShiptogazaSE

*

More from USTOGAZA …

Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza

Boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from 20 countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the naval blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters.

Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our passengers Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of the Israeli Knesset, who called in an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow our mission to reach the port of Gaza.

Israel’s right-wing is now moving to penalize MK Ghattas for his participation in a legitimate political action of people from all around the world, while Deputy MFA Hotovely has announced international diplomatic action against the Freedom Flotilla III. Lawyers around the world are making legal moves against the mission, just as they did in 2011. We regret that “the only democracy in Middle-East” thinks this is the best course of action, instead of addressing the real problems of occupation, blockade and division of Palestine, as well as the openly legal discriminations against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

We remain undeterred, because our purpose is not to act against Israel, but against occupation. Our actions would not be needed, if governments worldwide and international bodies like the EU and the UN would take steps to ensure accountability of Israeli governments for war crimes and collective punishment against the 1.8 million Palestinian population in Gaza Strip. We welcome voices from Israel who publicly state that the State of Israel is not threatened by the action against the blockade.

The international community should stop turning a blind eye on the blockade and occupation and take steps urgently towards the direction of ensuring the opening of the port in Gaza, the only port of Palestine to the rest of the world.

CHILD ABUSE ~~ WHAT THE UN REFUSES TO SEE

Israeli Military Torturing Palestinian Children ~viewer discretion~

Palestinian children’s rights group says ‘ill-treatment is still widespread, systematic and institutionalized’ in IDF detention system; IDF source denies allegations.

Israel cages Palestinian children in outdoor during freezing weather By Latuff

Israel cages Palestinian children outdoors during freezing weather
By Latuff

NGO accuses Israel of systematic abuse of Palestinian kids

A West Bank-based children’s rights group on Wednesday accused Israeli security forces of widespread abuse of Palestinian minors in the West Bank.

The IDF swiftly denied the allegations, outlined in a report by a group called Military Court Watch (MCW).

The study estimates that since Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, “up to 95,000 children” have been detained by Israeli forces in the territory.

The report, submitted to the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, looks at 200 cases in which minors were detained since 2013.

In its conclusion, MCW found that in spite of recent developments in the military detention system, “ill-treatment is still widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”

Citing the testimonies, it said 187 of them had their hands bound during the first 24 hours of arrest, 165 said they were blindfolded and 124 complained of physical abuse.

“Aggressive behaviour, threats and violence are also sometimes utilized during the interrogation, including threats to beat, rape, hold in solitary confinement, electrocute or shoot the minor,” it said.

Only eight of the 200 said they were given access to a lawyer prior to interrogation and just seven had a parent present during questioning.

A source in the IDF Prosecutor’s Office told AFP there was no legal requirement for either a lawyer or a parent to attend questioning; not for Palestinians and not for Israeli suspects.

But a defendant facing trial was provided with legal counsel and the parents had the right to attend court hearings, the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Regarding allegations of threats and physical abuse, he said defendants or their parents were free to make complaints in open court but “almost never” did.

He said the entire interrogation process, conducted in Arabic, was videotaped and the recordings were made available to the defense.

In the report, a copy of which was seen by AFP, MCW said a “significant number of minors” had been arrested during the night in “terrifying military raids on their homes”.

Most children were arrested in areas close to Jewish settlements or to roads used by settlers, which are often a target for children throwing stones.

From

THIS post from last night is a must read

Israel doesn’t abuse children, it just murders them

By Khalid Amayreh

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,257 other followers