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

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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

BDS LIES CONTINUE AS HEADLINE NEWS IN ISRAELI PRESS

Every day there is a new report …. every day there are new lies fabricated about the Movement. When will zion realise that BDS will not end because of these lies …. it will end when the occupation ends …. AND THAT’S NOT A LIE!

Here is the latest rubbish from today’s Ynet News

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

The global boycott of Israel is growing silently

European banks are cutting ties with Israeli counterparts, while supermarkets across the world are appeasing violent protesters who attack their Israeli produce.

In April 2012, the Co-operative, Britain’s fifth-largest food retailer, declared it would no longer be importing agricultural produce from the territories or any Israeli supplier linked to produce from there. Five years earlier, retail giant Marks & Spencer announced that it was boycotting products from the West Bank, while the Tesco supermarket chain stopped marketing dates from the Jordan Valley.

And they are not alone: Over the past few years, numerous other companies from various countries around the world have announced some kind of a boycott of Israeli goods or companies.

“A consumer boycott of Israeli goods primarily affects agricultural and fresh produce, as it is marked as made in Israel,” says Israel Export Institute chairman Ramzi Gabbay. “Most of the Israeli industrial exports are unmarked so even if there is a boycott, it’s an unofficial one imposed by an individual business that prefers not to work with Israel.”

“Many international companies purchase parts of products, such as electronic components, with the final customer for the device having no idea of their origin anyway. In most instances, businesses do the profitability math before considering politics,” Gabbay adds.

BDS campaign on an American university campus (Photo: AP)
BDS campaign on an American university campus (Photo: AP)

“We are being hit hard in Europe, where there is a large Muslim population,” a director at one of Israel’s agricultural exports companies said this week.

“Unlike in the case of many industrial products, we are required to stipulate the country of origin on the fruit so that the customer can tell where the produce comes from. During Operation Protective Edge, Muslim customers went into the retail chains, particularly in Scandinavia and France, and threw our produce on the floor and sparked unrest.

“In other places, they staged demonstrations outside supermarkets. Even if the chain holds our goods and their quality in high regard, the buyer apologizes and says that the chain doesn’t want any trouble and doesn’t want to upset its public, and therefore it won’t buy from us.”

Not only agricultural produce

The boycott of Israel is not being felt only in the field of agriculture. In the banking sector, for example, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, has announced a boycott of Bank Hapoalim due to the latter’s activities in the territories and its involvement in “violations of international law.”

Norwegian bank, Nordea, has demanded clarifications from Bank Leumi and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank on the scope of their activities in the settlements. Dutch pension fund PGGM has also announced that it will stop investing in Israel’s major banks because they are “funding construction in the territories.”

Anti-Israel protesters target Woolworths in South Africa over its sale of Israeli products (Photo: AFP)
Anti-Israel protesters target Woolworths in South Africa over its sale of Israeli products (Photo: AFP)

Israeli real-estate companies and security firms are also taking a blow: In 2009, the Norwegian government’s pension fund, AP, sold its shares in Elbit Systems because of the Israeli company’s involvement in the construction of the separation barrier. AP also announced that it would not invest in the Housing and Construction Holding Company. And Norway’s oil fund, considered the largest in the world with assets of $810 billion, has decided not to invest in Africa Israel and Danya Cebus due to their involvement in construction in the settlements.

And in other areas: The world’s largest security company, G4S of Britain, has ended all its contracts with the Israeli government that are linked to security for the settlements; Germany’s national rail company, Deutsche Bahn, has pulled out of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem train line project claiming that the project includes tunnels that pass through the territories; Dutch water company Vitens has severed ties with Israel’s Mekorot; and the list goes on.

Threats and demonstrations

And sometimes the boycott takes on violent dimensions too: Shopkeepers in Australia have received death threats for continuing to sell goods from Israel; pro-Palestinian students in Australia have staged loud demonstrations at shopping malls at which owners of stalls selling Ahava products from the Dead Sea were assaulted; Israeli commercial ships have been detained at various North American ports; and Irish BDS activists have stuck labels calling for a boycott on packages of dates from the Jordan Valley.

There are growing calls among the EU states for punitive measures against Israel if construction in the territories continues, with one of the moves on the agenda being the labeling products from the territories. South Africa has already decided officially to mark products made in the settlements. Ahava, for example, has already been forced to cease its activities in South Africa due to the boycott campaign.

The main problem for Israel remains Europe: In recent years, Britain, Spain and Italy have warned business executives not to invest beyond the Green Line as they would be “running the risk of violating international law.”

Can’t help thinking back to this old song …

Yup, Israel ‘got caught!’

See THIS related report by Ali Abunimah

After UK student union backs BDS, Netanyahu falsely claim it supports ISIS

ISRAEL SEES THE BDS MOVEMENT AS AN ASYMMETRIC WAR FOR WORLD OPINION

Go to any Israeli newspaper’s site or to any zionist Website and you will surely find something about the growing BDS Movement in the headlines. It has become zion’s greatest dilemma since the creation of their state in 1948.

The latest appeared yesterday …. but the ‘war’ continues today with THIS from Ynet News.

The wring is on the wall!

The writing is on the wall!

The biggest problem with the BDS movement is that it isn’t an armed conflict but a conflict of the consciousness, an asymmetric war for public opinion, on the base of legitimacy and perceived support. The weapons are claims of human rights abuses – mostly construed, sometimes altogether fictional; the battleground is in the west – in the liberal states to which Israel belongs.

ignacio-ramonet-quote-history-teaches-us-that-in-asymmetric-warfare

BDS is an asymmetric

war for world  opinion

On June 2, 1964, in one of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem- the seven arches hotel on the Mount of Olives – the PLO was established by Ahmed Shukri and the Arab nations.

This date is critical when dealing with the emergent threat of the global BDS movement. It was three years before the occupation of Judea and Samaria, three years before the State of Israel, in hindsight, turned into a cause of instability in the Middle East. Three years before the Palestinians (according to the anti-Israel narrative) became the nation being oppressed by Israel.

The purpose of the PLO was – among other things – to carry out an armed struggle against Israel. The aim this struggle was not to establish their own independent Palestinian state, but to eradicate the independent Jewish state that had survived the war of 1948, against all odds.

This story is the basis of the current battle against BDS. Anyone who thinks that this is a movement against the State of Israel is missing the point; this battle is against the Israeli phenomenon as a whole.

The biggest problem with the BDS movement is that it isn’t an armed conflict but a conflict of the consciousness, an asymmetric war for public opinion, on the base of legitimacy and perceived support. The weapons are claims of human rights abuses – mostly construed, sometimes altogether fictional; the battleground is in the west – in the liberal states to which Israel belongs.

The term asymmetric warfare was meant to explain what happens when a large military fights guerilla movements and terror organizations. The average Israeli knows the limits of strength; Hamas uses civilians and children as human shields – everything to keep the IDF from being able to shoot.

Terror organizations don’t have rules and moral boundaries in warm and we are seeing the same characteristics in the fight against BDS. In this battle there are no rules, no moral boundaries, no truths and no lies.

In May 2002, exactly 13 years ago, an IDF drone inadvertently captured a staged funeral procession in Jenin. On the stretcher lay a young Palestinian boy wrapped in a flag, surrounded by wailing women. It was another indictment against the IDF after Operation Defensive Shield, while Israel was undergoing a slurry of condemnation from around the world for a different massacre that never happened. At least this was the case until the stretcher fell and the young man tumbled off, jumped up and disappeared behind a corner – powered by his dead legs.

After this sad occasion came Jenin, Jenin, the duplicitous movie by Mohammed Bochri that claimed to tell the story of the massacre in the eponymous refugee camp, and which quickly became a hit with the organizations active within the BDS campaign. This popularity was akin to that for claims that Israel committed genocide against the Bedouins in the Negev in 2013, in reference to the resettlement plan. The same regard was held for Yasser Arafat’s claims that Israel was poisoning the water, or his wife’s claims that Israel had poisoned him. There are always claims that turn into facts when it comes to BDS supporters.

A sovereign, democratic state cannot lie, nor invent or claim facts without real proof. There are times when officials do make mistakes, there are times when we don’t talk about it, but Israel has boundaries – and you can’t play dirty in a battle for the conscience.

It’s a paradox but the vanguard of this battle against Israel is run by educated people, liberals with the theoretical ability to be self-critical.

Every year, more than 160 campuses worldwide mark Israeli apartheid week, targeting the horrendous Israelis, sometimes including comparisons to the Nazis, or pamphlets on invented genocides.

In the spring of 2010, Berkley became the first university in which the student senate tried to declare a boycott against companies trading with Israel. A year earlier, a Norwegian holding company became the first to pull investments from Israeli company Elbit systems; additionally a retirement fund pulled its money from shares in Africa Israel as part of the boycott.

A group of artists worried by the pull from Roger Waters decided to cancel shows in Israel. The success of the BDS movement is marginal in economic terms, however carries weight in that it creates a virtual world in which good is bad and bad is good.

Some of the members of the Palestinian organizations are Jews and even Israelis who want a different leadership – not seeing that the motivation behind BDS is to create a different state.

Israel is not perfect – there is room for improvement – but the distance between the delegitimizing claims and reality is the distance between a lie and the truth. We fight it primarily by being educated on what is really happening, and what really happened in the past.

‘LIBERAL’ ZIONISM IN DEFENSE OF THE BOGEYMAN

Pundit deflects criticism onto bogeyman Israeli right, ignoring racism inherent in his own liberal-flavored variety of Zionism.

Peter Beinart says Palestinians in Israel, like these participants in the March of Return at Hadatha village on 23 April, should not be allowed “full, equal citizenship.” (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Peter Beinart says Palestinians in Israel, like these participants in the March of Return at Hadatha village on 23 April, should not be allowed “full, equal citizenship.” (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Challenging Peter Beinart’s dishonesty about the inequality in Zionism

SEPARATE ~~ BUT NOT EQUAL

Statistics released this week by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel paint a devastating picture of neglect, urban blight and underdevelopment in East Jerusalem, the historic heart of Palestinian life, all a result of nearly five decades of Israeli policies, with over 75 percent of Palestinians living below the poverty line compared to the national Israeli average of 21.8 percent.

israel_wall_tower_2_UFNlj_3868

Decades of neglect leave East Jerusalem mired in poverty, violence

By: Charlie Hoyle FOR

Decades of chronic under-funding, discriminatory planning rights, and unequal access to services have left the Palestinian community in Jerusalem mired in poverty, according to statistics published by a civil rights group, with youths subject to increased police brutality and arrests since last summer’s demonstrations in the city.

Statistics released this week by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel paint a devastating picture of neglect, urban blight and underdevelopment in East Jerusalem, the historic heart of Palestinian life, all a result of nearly five decades of Israeli policies, with over 75 percent of Palestinians living below the poverty line compared to the national Israeli average of 21.8 percent.

The group released the statistics —taken from the Jerusalem Municipality, Israeli Police, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and other official agencies — to coincide with Jerusalem Day, a largely right-wing Israeli national holiday to celebrate the “liberation” and “reunification” of the city following what is internationally recognized as the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

For Palestinians, the day is a painful reminder of their historic loss, displacement, and on going marginalization.

Despite having lived under Israeli rule for 48 years, Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, not citizens, and lack political representation at a national level. The community largely chooses to boycott local municipal elections — in 2013 around 1 percent of Palestinians voted — and are essentially political orphans, with no Israeli or Palestinian political body representing their interests.

The result is recurring neglect of the 300,200 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who form 36.8 percent of the city’s total population.

“These (Palestinian neighborhoods) are places where roads haven’t been repaired for years, where schools haven’t been built, where there is crime and garbage. In that sense you do wonder what the municipality thinks is the future (for East Jerusalem),”Ronit Sela,Director of ACRI’s Human Rights in East Jerusalem Project, told Ma’an.

In terms of public services, 36 percent of Palestinian households are not connected to the water network,43 percent of the classrooms in the municipal system are defined as inadequate, and there is a shortage of 30 kilometers of sewage pipes in Palestinian neighborhoods.

There are only eight post offices in East Jerusalem, compared to 40 in West Jerusalem. Furthermore, Palestinians can access only 9 infant healthcare centers in the city compared to 26 for Israelis, and poverty rates for children are 53 percent higher for Palestinian children, with 8,501 defined as “at risk.”

The dropout rate for Palestinian students in East Jerusalem in 12th grade — where students are 18 years old — is 33 percent, nearly 24 times higher than the dropout rate in the Hebrew education system, which stands at 1.4 percent, and despite forming 36.8 percent of the population — and paying residential and commercial taxes — only 10-13 percent of the overall municipal budget is invested in East Jerusalem,according to rights group Ir Amim.

“Palestinians in Jerusalem suffer first and foremost from the fact there is an on going conflict and Israeli authorities control every aspect of their lives,” Sela says.

Social workers in East Jerusalem say that the myriad of social and political problems can often affect individual Palestinian families directly, with many suffering from having one son in prison and another dropping out of school without qualifications, amid a backdrop of economic marginalization.

“East Jerusalem is not a tiny piece of land or territory, but Israeli policies have been to limit the space where Palestinians can reside, to limit the space where Palestinians can have commercial life or industry and, with the separation barrier, fragment the areas where Palestinians are living and where the center of the community is,” Sela says.

Police brutality, arbitrary law enforcement
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Alongside chronic poverty and economic marginalization, one of the major changes since ACRI’s 2014 report on East Jerusalem are the increasingly draconian police and municipal measures introduced against Palestinians following months of clashes following the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir last July by Israeli extremists.
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In the second half of 2014, ACRI reported that over 1,184 Palestinians were detained in East Jerusalem, including 406 children, with indictments submitted against 338 of those arrested.
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“Police violence is harsher and the state prosecution is asking for minors to be put under arrest for longer periods of time even before indictments. They keep them in prison custody for longer,” Sela says.
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Around 314 of the 338 Palestinians served with indictments — including 122 children — have been imprisoned since their detention as the charges for “disruption of public order” and riot-related offenses are processed, which adds up to months in jail before a sentence has even been passed.
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Israeli police forces have also provided the Jerusalem municipality with the names of hundreds of suspects wanted for alleged involvement in the demonstrations in order to increase enforcement measures against them, ACRI says, essentially a way of blacklisting Palestinian residents in civilian life.
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Some of the enforcement measures are childishly arbitrary, with ACRI reporting one example of municipal inspectors issuing a fine for the negligible offense of littering the streets with sunflower seeds.
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Other measures, however, are much more serious, with municipal officers issuing demolition orders and fines to Palestinian businesses and homes.
The Hagihon water company, theTax Authority and the National Insurance Institute are also all involved in enforcing arbitrary measures against Palestinian suspects, which were described by ACRI as “collective punishment” and the “abuse of the municipality’s enforcement powers.”
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In addition to the mass arrests — the largest number in East Jerusalem since the Second Intifada — police tactics have become notably more aggressive since last summer’s demonstrations, with the increased use of black sponge-tipped bullets since the summer, a harder, heavier, and more dangerous variant of the blue sponge-tipped bullet, which had been used almost exclusively before last year’s unrest.
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Use of the black variety of the bullets has been responsible for the loss of vision in at least one eye of five Palestinian children during the end of 2014, the youngest of whom was six-years-old.
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One youth, 16-year-old Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sunuqrut, was killed in September after being struck with the riot control measure in East Jerusalem, which is used almost exclusively against Palestinians.
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ACRI also reported that at least three journalists clearly identified as media workers were hit in the head, face and shoulder by sponge bullets during demonstrations, in contravention against orders prohibiting aiming at the upper body, or children.
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The police tactic has also caused arm fractures, jaw fractures and internal injuries such as spleen tears, with one 30-year-old Palestinian born blind since childhood in one eye left completely blind after being shot with a sponge-tipped bullet.
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Directives for use of the more dangerous black bullet were only drafted in January 2015 after a request from ACRI, a full six months after their regular use against Palestinians.
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Israeli police also regularly used “Skunk” water in Palestinian neighborhoods, spraying the putrid-smelling liquid into houses, restaurants, and cars, with many residents having to temporarily evacuate their homes until the smell subsides.
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In October and November, Israeli forces blocked the main entrances to three major Palestinian neighborhoods — almost unthinkable in the West Jerusalem neighborhoods of Rehavia or the German Colony — restricting the movement of 50,000 Palestinians.
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In April, Israeli police then used cement blocks to seal the neighborhood of al-Tur following clashes, preventing the movement of residents and hindering crucial services such as ambulances and school buses.
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Struggling to stay in the city
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Alongside chronic poverty and punitive police and municipality tactics looms the constant threat of displacement, with Palestinians struggling to remain in the city amid legislation which prohibits planning and building, and punishes violations with eviction and demolitions.
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In 2014, 98 structures were demolished and 208 Palestinians were forcibly displaced, ACRI says.Since 2004, over 2,115 Palestinians have been left homeless by demolitions in East Jerusalem.
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Around 20,000 houses — accounting for 39 percent of East Jerusalem homes — lack a building permit and therefore could be issued a demolition order by the municipality at any point, leaving Palestinian families vulnerable and unable to plan for the future.
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The residency status of 107 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem was also revoked in 2014, adding to the 14,309 since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city, meaning Palestinians whose families date back centuries in the city are no longer allowed to return.
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Despite five decades of Israeli polices designed to slowly displace Palestinians in Jerusalem, the community forms nearly 40 percent of the city’s population,leaving it unclear as to what the municipality, and indeed the government, has planned, considering that it will unlikely ever concede political control of the Old City.
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In 2014, Israel’s government approved for the first time in history a five year plan for East Jerusalem with a budget of 300 million shekels ($78 million).
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However, a third of the budget was to be allocated to “security,” with the remaining 200 million not nearly enough to reverse decades of deliberate neglect.
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“In order for real and meaningful changes to transpire, a fundamental change of attitude must take place among Israeli authorities,” ACRI said in the report.
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“They need to see the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem as human beings whose dignity must be maintained, whose lives must be protected and whose human rights must be promoted, even as the conflict continues to bleed on the streets of Jerusalem.”

NON LETHAL MURDER

First, see THIS post from last week ….

Non-lethal ammunition used by the IDF

Non-lethal ammunition used by the IDF

Now, see the results …

A Palestinian child was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet near the Shufat refugee camp on Thursday, witnesses said..

Palestinian boy, 10, critically injured by rubber bullet in Jerusalem

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A Palestinian child was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet near the Shufat refugee camp on Thursday, witnesses said.

Yahiya Sami al-Amudi, 10, was walking near a checkpoint by the East Jerusalem refugee camp when he was shot by the bullet.

He was taken to the Hadassa hospital in Ein Karem with a fractured skull, jaw, and left ear and had surgery to remove his left eye.

Medics said he is in a critical condition.

A spokesman for Fatah in the camp, Thaer Fasfous, condemned the targeting of children with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that there were “disturbances” in the Shufat area after locals threw stones at municipality workers.

Israeli border police used “non-lethal” weapons and a 10-year-old boy was moderately injured and taken to hospital, he added.

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Source

TIME ONCE AGAIN TO CLEANSE THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzie a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday.
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Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
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Following this report dealing with the realities of Apartheid you will find a post from the archives that I reblog every Passover eve…
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Just  one of many attempts to cleanse the land of Arabs ….
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Here is how Palestinians ‘celebrate’ the holiday … it’s Bibi’s Two State Solution, with one behind locked gates.
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                                                      (Click on link)

West Bank closure goes into effect for Passover 

These 'enemies' must be locked out!

These ‘enemies’ must be locked out!

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CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
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Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
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I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
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I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
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In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
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Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
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Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.

REMEMBERING WHAT ISRAEL WANTS US TO FORGET

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Today, synagogues throughout the world commemorated Shabbat Zachor (Sabbath of Remembrance). On this day the first known enemy of the Hebrews, Amalek, is remembered. On this day as well the combined Hate Lists of the ADL and the Wiesenthal Centre are dug out to confirm that Amalek still lives today.
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Yes, Amalek still lives. There is no doubt in my mind about that, BUT NOT ON THOSE LISTS. Amalek lives right here in Israel. He is remembered every day of the year by Palestinians, but especially this week, the 21st anniversary of the massacre in Hebron by a crazed American zionist.
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The week a mosque was torched in the Occupied West Bank and a Christian Seminary torched right here in Jerusalem. Both incidents the work of crazed settlers.
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He is remembered every day that a Palestinian child is lowered into the grave, yet another victim of Israeli terrorism.
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He is remembered when a family in Gaza visits the graves of loved ones killed by Israeli soldiers.
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gaza graves

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How quickly zionism forgets the war crimes committed daily against the Palestinians. How quickly the Western World forgets them as well, mostly due to media blackouts in the zionist controlled press in those countries.
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The fate of those who resist the above atrocities is also remembered …
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Yes, we remember those crimes every day of the year. And yes, we will never forget them or forgive those that committed them.
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when-you-are

MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ MISSISSIPPI THEN, STATE OF ISRAEL NOW

An oldie but a goodie …. and TIMELY! … Just replace the word Mississippi with Palestine when you listen to it.

Originally posted at Jews sans frontieres

THE TIME HAS COME TO RESET PALESTINE’S POLITICAL SYSTEM

We have all spent far too much time massaging a reality that we all see and acknowledge as strategically troubling, indeed catastrophic. Repairing the Palestinian political system cannot wait any longer. The most just cause in modern history is at stake.

Resetting Palestine’s political system

Repairing the Palestinian political system cannot wait any longer.

Separation wall in Bethany. Separation wall in Bethany. Mahmoud illean/Demotix, All rights reserved

Today, Palestinian political strategy is being driven in the total absence of a functioning political system. Israel’s forced fragmentation of our geographic reality mixed with internal political party divisions, disgust, despair and incompetence, the status quo tears apart Palestine’s societal fabric. If it remains on its current course, the train of national liberation is bound to derail, resulting in serious, if not permanent, damage to our bid for freedom and independence

Repairing the Palestinian political system cannot wait any longer.

Almost every week in Palestine a political personality or think tank invites a group of thinkers to hash out what can be done to halt the imminent crash of our political project. Efforts to bring us together when so many powers are trying to keep us in permanent disarray are of course welcome.

However, unlike many of those who take joy in merely being in the presence of leadership, I have been walking away from these never-ending discussions with serious concerns. Given the years of experience and high caliber of those sitting around the table, I’d be surprised if any of them was unaware of any piece of insight shared in the discussions. The thought that these meetings really launch any kind of strategic process to reverse the political deterioration is rather far-fetched.

Priorities for a real strategic track

Here are a few priorities we need to get us on a strategic track that is worthy of the time and effort being exerted. They relate directly to the need to repair the Palestinian political system as well as our national liberation movement.

Applying accountability – It is no longer acceptable that those responsible, politically or otherwise, for our current state of affairs should still be put forward as our saviors. Until the public sees more than a public relations effort to expose failed or criminal elements in our society, then whatever political strategy is chosen will have little legitimacy.

Addressing governance – This is the issue everyone speaks about but no one addresses. How can we seriously move forward with no political system in place? The gatherings organized every week by well-meaning community catalysts may have their place, but they cannot be a substitute for a functioning political system. The successful round of municipal elections that were held in the West Bank were a baby step forward and they must continue, where possible, until all municipal governments are not only elected, but also respect their terms in office.

However, municipal level government is not the arena where political strategy emerges. Every Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) level of leadership, every PLO organ, every Palestinian Authority governing unit must regain its credibility before the people, inside Palestine and abroad.

Elections may serve a purpose, but they are not a silver bullet. To drive this point home, I urge all Palestinians to watch a TED talk by the venture capitalist and political scientist, Eric X Li, who argues that China will “morally challenge” the universality claim of western democratic systems. The point is that there are many ways to reach collective leadership at every level of governance; what are we waiting for?

Building capacity for the UN battle – Entering the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a bold and long overdue step, but this is bound to be a long and hard process. The real impact of the new state tools available to us is how to bring the challenge to occupation down to an operational level in strategically chosen international venues. For that to happen, we need dedicated, trained and committed human resources. The quality of our current diplomatic corps leaves much to be desired. The public threat to enter 500+ international treaties and organizations rings hollow to those who know the current state of our human resources. This is a dangerous illusion. Let us take statehood seriously and mobilize human resources to rise to the occasion.

Only when we work on the three imperatives outlined above will we really be prepared to enter into a strategic planning exercise to chart our path to freedom and independence.

In the meantime, why do we waste time in dwelling on the need to choose forms of resistance? Can we not at least agree that all internationally and morally accepted forms of resistance should be supported? These include diplomatic efforts, economic resistance, civil disobedience, the ICC, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), etc. These are all tactics, not a political strategy. Once the political strategic direction is defined, then the intensity of any or all of these tactics can be revisited. But until a political strategy is defined, who is to say which tactic of resistance is valid or invalid?

The basics for a political strategy

We must go back to basics, and ask the political parties as well as the PLO leadership a few questions to be used as starting points for a new political program. For example, in 2015, do we:

  1. Accept international law and UN resolutions as our political frame of reference?
  2. Recognize the State of Israel? Not the undefinable ‘Jewish’ state, but rather the state that sits in the UN?
  3. Recognize the new State of Palestine (it’s unfortunate that we did not call it new in the UN bid for statehood, so the political distinction would be clear)? Not the State of Palestine of 1948, the state in our hearts and poetry, but rather the political state that has sat in the UN as a non-member observer state since November 29, 2012?

Seeing the answer to these and other questions, in writing, from the PLO and all the political parties would speak volumes. It would at the very least let the Palestinian people know where we are.

In addition, there are some practical steps that could immediately help restart our national liberation movement.

First, President Abbas must travel to Gaza and stay there until the reconciliation agreement is implemented. Before he goes, it is imperative that he appoint a Vice President. The issue of appointing a deputy is long overdue, but to understand the urgent need for this I urge all to read the article written by Atty. Haytham Zubi that was published in Al-Quds Newspaper on July 20, 2013 “Calm Constitutional Advice to the President” (مشورة دستورية هادئة الى سيادة الرئيس الفلسطيني).

Secondly, a PLO decision and Presidential decree must broaden the scope of the Central Elections Commission to allow them to begin the long and tedious process of registering Palestinians worldwide. It is unacceptable that there has been no serious effort to create a Population Registry of all Palestinians, not only those under occupation.

Third, a PLO decision and Presidential decree must activate a new and progressive Political Party Law to allow new political groupings to come together and legitimately enter the Palestinian political stage. We are deluding ourselves when we continue to speak of the traditional political parties as if they are all alive and well, or even exist in any meaningful way today. If political thought is not permitted to legitimately assemble and become part of Palestinians’ political tapestry, one can only expect the excluded to tear the tapestry apart.

We have all spent far too much time massaging a reality that we all see and acknowledge as strategically troubling, indeed catastrophic. Repairing the Palestinian political system cannot wait any longer. The most just cause in modern history is at stake.

The above is from Open Democracy

Read in Arabic HERE

PALESTINE ~~ STAGE OF A MODERN DAY GREEK TRAGEDY

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.

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Greek Tragedies

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.  This week we lost several friends and neighbors (Advocate Judeh Shahwan, Professor Naseer Aruri,  Human Rights activist Kayla Mueller, Ihab Rishmawi) and we mourned atrocities committed in the US, Syria and Iraq .  The racist Zionist Debbie Schlussel wrote that she has no sympathy for our friend Kayla for being “anti-American” (actually anti-Zionist control of American Foreign policy) and called  Kayla other names so obscene to be mentioned here.  A brief on Naseer Aruri just to show you the quality of the many we mourn (all of them are candles in the darkness and remain so even after death; truly inspirational)

We were not surprised that the highest court in the apartheid regime rejected the well-documented evidence of the murder of Rachel Corrie and accepted the fascist soldier’s version that it was an “accident.” Western media ignored this travesty of justice. Time for the international criminal court.  In other news in the last few days, a hate-filled criminal terrorist killed three young Muslim students in North Carolina.  That is where I lived and worked for six years and knew intimately the Muslim and Arab community and I recognized many of the faces of the mourners at the funeral videos.  After significant protest, Mr. Obama made a brief statement but it was not even close to his statement about the Paris killings.  The media was even more hypocritical either ignoring the story or calling the executions as a parking altercation! (yes I know it is unbelievable).  See these videos about this incidence

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We find the mainstream media so distorted, so biased; they are either run by Zionist racists or afraid of backlash from Zionist racists if they tell the truth.  Otherwise how does one explain the discrepancy of extensive almost round-the-clock coverage by American media of the hate crimes committed in Paris but little or no coverage of the crime in North Carolina.  What little coverage they did was distorted claiming the guy killed those three innocent young Muslims because of a “parking space” issue!  How else can we see that a story like the French police catching a Jewish Zionist who was spray painting cars of Jews as a false flag operation to increase emigration of French Jews to Palestine (transformed to the Jewish state of Israel). Why coverage mentioning this is in some obscure website not on mainstream media?  Here is a report mentioning this.

But here is the Times of Israel interested in getting Jews to migrate out of France telling us the police arrested the guy but not saying he is Jewish and that Israel expects 10,000 Jewish French to come join the land thieves.

Such hypocrisy, such lies and countless false flag operations (billions spent on psy-ops to brainwash common people), and such evil forces are all around us.  But then again I think of goodness.  I think of those who organized vigils in Bethlehem and other towns for victims like the Jordanian pilot.

I think of 14-year-old Malak (english Angel) Alkhatib.  She is a true angel who was incarcerated in Israeli gulags (fascist prisons).  She was finally released and the video of her reunion with family and supporters is touching.

LOOK THROUGH THE EYES OF A PALESTINIAN TEEN

Israeli filmmaker explores life through the eyes of Palestinian teen

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By Alex Shams
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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The short documentary “Khelil Helwa (Hebron is Beautiful)” follows a young boy from Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood as he goes about his daily life, uncovering the matrix of Israeli military control that defines every aspect of life in the occupied West Bank.For Palestinians, the footage may at first appear somewhat unremarkable, and the scenes of soldiers barking orders and even arresting the film’s 15-year-old star, Awni Abu Shamsiya, are heart-breakingly familiar.But for Israeli-American filmmaker Yuval Orr, it was the hope of showing the footage to Israeli audiences that motivated production.”I want Israelis to see more films that challenge what they think they know, or challenge the moral stance that is very easy to take at a distance,” he told Ma’an during an interview in West Jerusalem.”How many Jewish Israelis really go to Hebron if they’re not soldiers or settlers?”

‘Quiet before the storm’
The film, which was produced as part of the ActiveVision film collective, spans a mere nine-and-a-half minutes but manages to offer a complex and insightful look at daily life in central Hebron through the eyes of one of the city’s own children.”Khelil Helwa” is surprisingly unburdened by statistics, maps, or figures, allowing the potential viewer — particularly if Israeli — to sympathize with Awni’s perspective regardless of their political perspective.And while Orr concedes that this approach risks depoliticizing the inherently political nature of the struggle facing young Palestinians like Awni, he argues that it also opens up other opportunities for outreach.”All of the words that we use to describe the ‘conflict,’ the ‘occupation,’ or the ‘situation’ are extraordinarily flawed, and as hard as you try to remain objective with language, its very difficult,” he told Ma’an.

He said he did not want to “color viewers’ perspectives and allow them to shut down, or be primed for a film they are going to identify with.”

Instead, by allowing the viewer to experience Awni’s life directly and without introduction, he said the the film forces them to confront the humanity they share with the teen.

These concerns also motivated Orr’s decisions on which scenes to include in the film. He told Ma’an that he hesitated at times about whether to depict moments of violence that occurred on camera or to instead focus on the many daily struggles and humiliations that characterize the life of young people in central Hebron.

“It was important for me to have those moments of relative calm where you see the soldiers twirling their whistles at the checkpoint or yawning, because so much of life in Hebron is that. It’s these moments of intense quiet before the storm, and then shit gets crazy.”

“In moments of violence it’s very easy to draw the lines, but it’s more difficult in moments of quiet, where you feel the weight of what it’s like to live there. It becomes very difficult to deny the humanity of this kid,” he told Ma’an. “It’s a struggle to walk that line.”

Hebron is ‘extraordinarily uncomfortable’
Although Orr grew up in the United States, he studied Arabic for years in Egypt and Morocco and speaks Hebrew as well. Part of his family traces their roots in Jerusalem back more than 400 years, and he told Ma’an that he comes from a line of rabbis originally from Morocco and Spain.He admitted that the family’s roots in Palestine are so deep that his grandmother even occasionally admits to considering herself Palestinian, if he “catches her on the right day,” he said, laughing.For Orr, working on the film was part of his own journey back to Israel to confront his relationship to the occupation and the realities of Zionism.He told Ma’an that he was drawn to Hebron because of the uniquely difficult situation there.

The process of making the film itself was also full of difficulties and strange experiences, he said, as filming was frequently blocked by Israeli soldiers who forced him to turn off the camera or demanded to know what he was doing.

Once while following Awni’s journey to school, meanwhile, a Palestinian police officer stopped the filming, concerned about a man following a child with a video camera in an area where Jewish settlers frequently stalk and harass locals.

“There’s something about being in Hebron that’s extraordinarily uncomfortable,” he told Ma’an. “I wanted to personally to face that down, and to force other people to face that down as well.”

“Hebron is the worst of the worst, and the kids who grow up in that environment are the most underprivileged, the most oppressed by the system, the ones who feel the occupation on a daily basis the hardest,” he added.

‘A little spark of hope’
Indeed, Hebron is distinguished from other areas in the West Bank by the existence of Jewish settlements inside the city itself. Israeli authorities have shut down hundreds of Palestinian shops in the last few decades and paved the way for the flight of thousands in order to ensure the security of the few hundred Israeli settlers who have taken over parts of the Old City.One scene in the film tackles one of the most pressing issues facing the area, the system of mass incarceration deployed against local teens by soldiers as punishment for even the most minor offenses.Awni is seen standing on a street in the neighborhood when stopped by soldiers, who accuse him of having harassed a group of male settlers in their 20s who were walking by. The soldiers then grab him and forcibly take him away, in what was the third such arrest in his life.Orr told Ma’an that since he finished filming, Awni has been arrested yet again.

Unlike previous times, when he was put away for a few days and then released after his family paid a large fine, this time, Orr said, he is being charged with throwing stones at a checkpoint. Under a new Israeli law, for Palestinians the charge of throwing stones can mean years of hard jail time.

“It’s a terrible situation and a terrible reality,” Orr told Ma’an. “The film shows exactly how harsh it is to live under occupation, but not even, because there are so many things that will happen to him in a day, in a week, in a month, or in a year that are not in the film. He’ll tell me about a 2 am house raid (by Israeli soldiers), but I’m not capturing that on film.”

“I walk away from the film in amazement that Awni and his entire family are able to hold on to their dignity and to their humanity, in a situation that I think most people born into those circumstances would not be able to. For a 15-year-old kid, he’s incredibly wise, incredibly humane, incredibly brave, and those are also things I take away from the film and hope that others will take away as well.”

With Awni potentially facing years in an Israeli military prison, however, it’s unclear whether the qualities that have helped him persevere and which have made him so strong until now, will manage to survive much longer.

“There’s that little spark of hope that’s there,” Orr told Ma’an. “But then you break it.”

USA/PALESTINE ~~ STUDENT SOLIDARITY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POND

If you're a victim of oppression, then you are Palestinian as well. 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

If you’re a victim of oppression, then you are Palestinian as well.
‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

In America …. read THIS fantastic book review

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And in Palestine …

Birzeit students hold solidarity event with Black struggle in US

By Alex Shams

Nearly 100 students at Birzeit University in the central West Bank on Wednesday took part in a solidarity event with the African-American community in the United States in the wake of spiraling rates of deadly police violence there.

Entitled, “Similar Struggles: Racism in Palestine and Abroad,” the event was organized by the Right to Education Campaign at the university and featured lectures from professors as well as a number of students who recently returned from a tour of the United States where they visited Ferguson, Missouri — the site of months of protest against police violence — and met with community organizers across the nation.

Organizers said the activity was one of the “most successful” events organized by the campaign, highlighting how the topic spoke directly to the experiences of Palestinian students.

“Following the uprisings of Black communities across the US, a lot of us here in Palestine began to see the similarities between these communities’ oppression by the militarized state and our own oppression as Palestinians under Israeli colonialism,” organizer Deema al-Saafin told Ma’an in an emailed statement.

She said that the event was part of an effort to “create and sustain solidarity with other struggles,” adding: “We aimed to emphasize that change begins with liberating the mind first, and to build solidarity we need to actively resist derogatory terminology and stereotypes between each other and the way we address other people of color.”

She said the event featured three professors, Ahmad Abu Awad, Rana Barakat, and Hanada Kharama, who addressed racism as an ideology, the institutionalization of racism, and how racism becomes embedded in linguistics, respectively.

In addition, students who took part in the recent Right to Education tour shared their experiences meeting with activists from communities of color in the United States and “how deeply connected our struggles are against the same systems of oppression,” al-Saafin said.

Another organizer, Reema Asia, stressed that the event was important for educating students about struggles faced by their peers abroad: “Through the discussion that took place, the students at the university will have a better understanding of the situation of Black communities not just in America, but around the world. You simply cannot be an ally to a people without having an idea of what it is they are fighting against.”

Al-Saafin told Ma’an that the event was part of the larger effort of building solidarity through knowledge, and that the Right to Education campaign hoped it would help bolster their work to create linkages between the struggles faced by Palestinians and other marginalized communities around the world.

“We hope that this event and those in the future will emphasize the fact that as Palestinians and as students, we have to actively fight injustice everywhere … Our liberation is simply incomplete without the liberation of all oppressed peoples,” she said.

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It’s all ONE STRUGGLE!

Also by Latuff

Also by Latuff

IN PALESTINE FREEDOM’S JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE

REMEMBERING ZIAD ABU EIN

Image by Gianluca Costantini

Image by Gianluca Costantini

Speaking shortly before his death, the minister told reporters why he was at the protest. “This is the army of the occupation and they are stopping Palestinians from acting on their rights. We came to our Palestinian land to plant trees and olive trees. They attacked us immediately without anyone throwing a stone or attacking them. This is a terrorist occupying army that stops Palestinians from enacting on their rights,” Abu Ein said.

Continue 

Ziad Abu Ein reportedly inhaled large amounts of tear gas and was assaulted by Israeli forces [AFP/Getty Images]

Ziad Abu Ein reportedly inhaled large amounts of tear gas and was assaulted by Israeli forces [AFP/Getty Images]

And from Carlos Latuff …

Israel celebrates International Human Rights Day killing Ziad Abu Ein

Both images 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD added the following …

I was scheduled to meet with PA Minister Ziyad Abu Ein a few days later but he was killed yesterday by the Israeli colonization forces while he and over 100 Palestinians were trying to plant trees on private Palestinian land threatened by illegal Jewish colonies. One of his subordinates, another decent man who also belongs to Fatah told me I should meet with him because he is “different from other Palestinian Authority men”. He explained that Abu Ein is one of actions not speeches. My sister remembers him as a friend of her husband Hazem who was also a member of Fatah revolutionary council. I am ashamed to say that while I agreed to the meeting, privately I remained skeptical. Now that meeting will not happen unless it is in the afterlife. My Fatah friend and my sister were proven right about the decency of the man and Minister Ziyad joins tens of thousands who lost their lives while ACTING in the resistance to the colonial settler state of Israel. Others sitting comfortably in fancy PA offices will claim he is “the comrade” and will make speeches. I am certain Mr. Abu Ein would not want that, he would want to be honored by actions not words.

One can only hope that this tragic loss will not go in vain, that it would help awaken the decent people within Fatah so that they now remove the main block to our liberation: the Oslo accords and the security coordination that springs from it. My late friend Edward Said labeled these agreements as “the second Nakba”.  If change does not happen then the words of “leadership” that does not participate in demonstrations will remain as hollow as their words after the massacres in Gaza or after the assassination of Yasser Arafat. I have a dream that Mr. Mahmoud Abbas will wake up one morning and gather 500 of his staff and assistants (easy to do) and go to remove the illegal apartheid wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I am sure he will be joined by thousands (me included) and that Israeli occupation forces will not be able to stop us.

It is not true to say that the PA is under different constraints or that they know things we don’t (including potential retaliation by the US/Israel). There must be freedom to discuss and reshape our future by ourselves without the attempts to silence the truth. At an environmental education conference, only one speaker tried to explain (correctly) that the Oslo accords gave a Palestinian cover to the Israeli theft of our natural resources like water and for the Israeli freedom to “develop” area C including industrial polluting settlements etc. This speaker was attacked mercilessly by some PA figures and by many subsequent speaker who had to distance themselves from him to carry favor with the PA. Privately though, many PA figures (including loyal Fatah members) are disturbed by the direction we are traveling. One even told me privately at the same meeting that we do not want to become known as the Vichy government of Palestine.

Some of those are clearly speaking out in private to Mr. Abbas because he occasionally complains of dissension within Fatah. There is clearly a struggle within the PA and we hope that the murder of minister Ziyad Abu Ein will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, that it will tip things towards those decent Fatah people who realize that salaries and cars are not a substitute for a free Palestine (let alone for a conscience). That way the blood of martyrs like Abu Ein will not go in vain. After all, freedom is not freely given and there must be sacrifices.

And for the rest of us mere mortals and not in any official positions: we must guard ourselves not to fall into the traps of enabling corruption or enabling lies to persist or (God forbid) following the subservient opportunists. The road we choose is important. Here are relevant quotes I like:

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” Dante

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy 

TURMOIL IN JERUSALEM DUE TO THEIR STUPIDITY ( THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT’S)

Nothing more, nothing less!

Nothing more, nothing less!

Almost every conversation in East Jerusalem over the past few weeks has ended with the statement: “They are stupid” – meaning the Israeli government is stupid to behave in such-and-such a way toward Palestinian Jerusalem.

How easy it is to prevent escalation in Jerusalem

Palestinians are generous when they attribute Israel’s policies to the stupidity of its leaders.

Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli border police in East Jerusalem, November 5, 2014. Photo by AP

Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli border police in East Jerusalem, November 5, 2014. Photo by AP

Almost every conversation in East Jerusalem over the past few weeks has ended with the statement: “They are stupid” – meaning the Israeli government is stupid to behave in such-and-such a way toward Palestinian Jerusalem. If they would just make it easier to obtain construction permits, they say, if they would add just a few percentage points to the budget, if they would not beat demonstrators so savagely, if they did not trump up traffic violations, for example, then the clashes would not spread like wildfire.

This is the consecutive third week with no age restriction on people attending Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and everything went quietly. Got that? No humiliations and restrictions, no rioting.

The definition of the government’s actions as stupid is a fairly common act of generosity on the part of Palestinians, the generosity of the native-born. It is the generosity of those who are well planted in the villages and neighborhoods that have turned into slums, sealed ghettos; neighborhoods that are a mixture of wide roads for the Jews, open areas where Palestinian construction is prohibited, kitschy villas and ordinary apartments that cost 400,000 dollars, because the housing shortage is so severe. If you are Palestinian, that is.

Stupidity is beyond the control of the stupid person. The poor fellow was born that way. Stupid people can be replaced and their stupid actions set right. Those who say “this is stupidity” do not say it is malice; those who diagnose stupidity do not say it is a premeditated crime. It is a demonstration of generosity when the words used to describe Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem have run out. How many times can we say apartheid, discrimination, silent transfer, expulsion, racism, exclusion, dispossession, assault, impoverishment, weakening?

Stupidity? Here are a few fundamentals of Israel’s policy in Jabal Mukkaber:

In 1967, the village of A-Sawahra was divided into two parts. One portion remained inside the West Bank, while its western portion (including Jabal Mukkaber) was included within Jerusalem’s borders and annexed to Israel. But the inhabitants continued to be members of the same tribe, marry within the tribe and bury their dead in the same cemetery on the western side.

The settlement of Nof Tzion, on the outskirts of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem. Photo by Eyal Toueg

The settlement of Nof Tzion, on the outskirts of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem. Photo by Eyal Toueg

In 1993, traffic restrictions and checkpoints began to divide the eastern portion of the village from its western part. Since 2000 and after the construction of the separation fence, the barrier between members of the tribe and members of the same families has become hermetic.

As the BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights nonprofit organization wrote in its survey of East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, Jabal Mukkaber is under the most extreme construction restrictions of all the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Most of the area is off-limits for construction, and in the few places where it is allowed, no building permits are issued. The amount of open areas (not slated for development) set by the plans that apply to the neighborhood is exceptional, even compared to other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. The planned system of roads is so meager that it leaves most of the neighborhood utterly inaccessible.

In the western Sawahra neighborhood, which is close to the separation barrier, only one-quarter of the area is zoned for residential purposes. The housing shortage is so severe that young people are postponing their wedding dates or remaining in their parents’ homes. The areas slated for expropriation from Sawahra for the purpose of paving the eastern ring road, most of whose users will not be from the neighborhood (read: Jews), are larger than the total area of the neighborhood’s roads.

On top of the expropriations carried out in the 1970s for constructing the East Talpiot neighborhood, Nof Tzion, a well-planned, well-kept settlement for Jews only, was built a decade ago in the heart of the neglected half-village of Jabal Mukkaber. The planning goes back to the 1980s. Fifty dunams (some 12 acres) were originally under Jewish ownership. Sixty-five dunams (16 acres) of land were expropriated from Jabal Mukkaber for the large neighborhood, which would be suitable for the waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union. The buildings are six stories high – about 130 percent of construction – while the Palestinians on the other side are allowed only 25 percent, or two floors.

There is no stupidity here. This is a crime of discrimination being committed deliberately, with malice aforethought. It is no invention of Benjamin Netanyahu or Nir Barkat or Naftali Bennett. The intellectual property rights belong to the governments of Labor and the “moderate” Likud.

To say that the Israeli governments are stupid after 50 years – or almost 70 years – of living under their rule is an act of psychological repression, with a bit of hope for redress. The last thing that can be said of the country’s leaders and high officials is that they are stupid. To say that we, the Jews, are stupid is to throw us a last rope of rescue from ourselves and our policies.

Expired tear gas

Residents of Isawiyah and Jabal Mukkaber noticed that the canisters of tear gas that the Israel Police generously have been firing at them to subdue their demonstrations were stamped with the date 2005. Text on the canisters also read that they were suitable for use five years from the date of manufacture. So they fear that the tear gas is even more harmful than usual and will damage their health and that of their children, sick people, elderly people and pregnant women, particularly when it is fired among the residential buildings.

But the Israel Police, in its response to Haaretz, wanted to reassure the worried targets of the tear gas: “The expiration date written on the gas canisters does not refer to the gas that is used, but instead to other parts of the canister.” The police say further that the gas does no harm, but merely causes irritation of the mucous membranes.

MORE SPOOFS ON FERGUSON/PALESTINE

Both ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Ferguson is Palestine Palestine is Ferguson

Ferguson is Palestine
Palestine is Ferguson

*

Just another Black man in Ferguson

Just another Black man in Ferguson

*

Foxman upset with the Ferguson/Palestine comparison ….

American football player compares Ferguson to Palestine

ADL criticizes Reggie Bush for social media post that asked ‘What happened to humanity?’

 

See Ynet Report HERE

The post that offended the ADL
The post that offended the ADL

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