AM I WORSE THAN A NAZI? ~~ ONE ‘RABBI’ THINKS SO

Boteach says that the lesson of the Holocaust is that we have to be on guard at the first signs of genocide. But he doesn’t mention taking action against current genocidal emergencies in Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Syria, Myanmar, and Yemen. In nearly all of those places Muslims are the targets.

Shmuley Boteach at Auschwitz Birkenau, from his twitter feed

Boteach likens Jews pushing for Palestinian state to Jews who helped Nazis

The headline and deck of this article by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at Tablet are incredible.

Hitler’s Secret Weapon Was Coercing Jews to Destroy Themselves

Will we do it again?

When Hannah Arendt wrote about Jewish leaders who collaborated with the Nazis in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), she was pilloried by establishment Jews for blaming the Jews for their own destruction. Or as Arendt said, an “organized campaign… by certain interest groups” to say that “I allegedly had claimed that the Jews had murdered themselves.”

But this is unlikely to happen to Rabbi Shmuley, even though he goes well beyond Arendt’s criticism of the “leadership” toward a general description of Jews’ roles as accomplices.

The Nazis, I have come to understand, would eradicate the Jewish nation by always holding out the possibility that, against most of the evidence, some might still live. The Jews were led to believe that if they just cooperated, their children would survive…

At almost every step of the way, the Jews were forced into cooperating with the very plans drawn up to exterminate them. The Jews, the Germans thought, could provide the manpower the Nazis lacked only if they could be persuaded that if they went along with the program they would be put to productive work.

The Nazis forced the Jews to create their own self-administering councils, Judenrats, in the ghettos. When visiting the Lodz Ghetto, I stood at the exact spot where Chaim Rumkowski gave his notorious “Give Me Your Children” speech in September of 1942. As chairman of the Lodz Judenrat, Rumkowski had decided to turn the ghetto into a factory, believing that only by being useful to the Nazis could its inhabitants be spared…

In the camps themselves, the Jews were forced into Sonderkommando units, where Jewish inmates were put to work disposing of the millions of bodies left lifeless in the gas chambers. They too were threatened with constant death, yet were twinned with a chance at life so long as they complied with the Nazi program.

Boteach has an axe to grind: Jews are now collaborating in the destruction of Israel. Even Jews who support a Palestinian state!

With Iran calling for a second Holocaust in the state of Israel—threatening constantly as they do to raze Israeli cities to the ground and wipe Israel off the map—Israel must react to its threats before they can be realized. Genocidal rhetoric in our time must be something that is resisted completely. In Rwanda too, the Hutus called the Tutsis “cockroaches” well before launching their genocide campaign.

So too with regard to Hamas and even the Palestinian Authority. We cannot cede land for a Palestinian State in the hope of demographic survival when in doing so we might find ourselves in a three-front war from Gaza, Judea, and Samaria in the West Bank, and Lebanon aimed at Israel’s annihilation. Israel simply cannot afford even the slightest risk of being deceived into walking toward its own demise, all in the promise of peace by those who speak openly of a new genocide of the Jews.

Boteach says that the lesson of the Holocaust is that we have to be on guard at the first signs of genocide. But he doesn’t mention taking action against current genocidal emergencies in Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Syria, Myanmar, and Yemen. In nearly all of those places Muslims are the targets.

In addition, it is funny that Boteach thinks he has singlehandedly discovered how the Germans got away with genocide– “I believe this journey has given me a clue. The Nazis, I have come to understand…”– when his insight about Jewish collaboration is one that many historians have documented before.

IN PHOTOS ~~ SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

With the increasing intensity of conflict at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Zionist state and the deaths of three Palestinians the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) of New Jersey  called for a protest street demonstration at the cross roads of the world: New York City’s Times Square.

Here where hundreds and hundreds  of people pass  every hour about five hundred people took to the street to shout their anger and demand a free Palestine. Older people and younger ones, mothers with their children in strollers carried the Palestinian colors.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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THE TEMPLE MOUNT ~~ ISRAEL’S MIGHT, BUT NOT ITS RIGHT

The claim that the Haram al-Sharif belongs to Israel has as much legitimacy as a rapist’s claim that the body of his victim belongs to him.

Image by Carlos Latuff

The best cartoon to describe the Israeli brutality against unarmed Palestinians…

Temple Mount belongs to Israel……but only by the standard of might, not the standard of right
By Khaled Amayreh  in Occupied East Jerusalem
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An Israeli cabinet minister has repeated the stale Zionist propaganda claim that the “Temple Mount” belongs to Israel. He is correct in a certain sense. Israel has been in control of the Haram al- Sharif (Noble Sanctuary)  as well as the entirety of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the six-Day war of 1967.  This  means that the holy site, which has been an exclusively Muslim place of worship for the past 1400 years, now “belongs” to Israel by the standards of might, not by the standards of right  But right, not might, comes first because right is a constant whereas might is a variable.
 
In fact, the claim that the Haram al-Sharif belongs to Israel has as much legitimacy as a rapist’s claim that the body of his victim belongs to him.
 
In fact, the historical and even religious claims often cited to prove that the holy  site belongs to Jews are dubious and erroneous.
 
Historical records show that King David conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites around 1100 BC.  The Jebusites, a Canaanite people believed to be, at least partly, the ancestors of modern-day Palestinians, had been in Jerusalem for some 2000 years.
 
Indeed, for fifty years of intensive excavations, Israeli archeologists  left no stone unturned   underneath  the Islamic shrine, but utterly failed to find  any credible evidence corroborating the gigantic canard that the Aqsa Mosque stands right on top of the Temple of Solomon.
 
 
A few years ago. George Wesley Buchanan, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, published a meticulously researched scholarly monograph titled “What if the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple are NOT under the Dome of the Rock?” http://www.ameu.org/Current-Issue/Current-Issue/2014-Volume-47/In-Search-of-King-Solomons-Temple.aspx
 
 
According to the research, which this writer had the honor to translate into Arabic; archaeologists have discovered no ruins in the Haram area that might have belonged to the temple.
 
 “Instead they have found an image of a soldier on a horse, a brick with the mark of the 10th Roman legion on it, and an image of Mars, the Roman god of war.
 
“They have also found in the an inscription once carved over an arch, honoring Titus, Vespasian, and probably Silva for their leadership in the war of AD 66-72.”
 
 According to the scholarly monograph, published in the Journal “Americans for Middle East Understanding” (AMEU) in 2014, another inscription that was intended to fit on the interior wall of the Haram,  honored Hadrian, the Roman emperor who defeated Bar Kochba in the revolt that ended in 135 AD.
 
  In conclusion, Buchanan  asks the most  central question:  “Is there any evidence that the Haram was ever the Temple Mount?”
 
Here is his answer: (clearly, “No!”).
 
Finally, it is true that Jews were in control of Jerusalem more than 2500 years ago.  But so what?   Most of the cities of the world were then inhabited by peoples unrelated to their current inhabitants.
 
Today, the manifestly pyromaniac Israel government, made up of Talmudic fanatics and Zionist jingoists, is striving to set Jerusalem and the entire region on fire under the rubric of Jewish Messianism and millenarianism.  This madness must be stopped immediately because madness breeds madness and blood breeds more blood.

PLAYING WITH FIRE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT OF JERUSALEM

 Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is dealing with latest tensions at the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with an odd combination of insolence, recklessness, irresponsibility  and a great deal of shortsightedness.

Israeli soldiers patrol the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

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In Jerusalem Netanyahu is playing with fire 
By Khalid Amayreh
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Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is dealing with latest tensions at the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with an odd combination of insolence, recklessness, irresponsibility  and a great deal of shortsightedness.
 
 Indeed, a fleet examination of his behavior following the regrettable shooting at the site last week, caricatures a leader who doesn’t look before he leaps.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t have succumbed, rather unhesitatingly, to the whimsical demands by millenarian Talmudic circles to restrict Muslim access to the holy place. In fact, doing so is a grave provocation to Muslims sensibilities which could cause the gates of hell to open loose.
 
Netanyahu seems to forget the fact that when Israel treads on the most sensitive nerve in Islam, at least in our region, the masses won’t heed calls for calm and self-restraint neither from the PA nor from this or that Arab king or head of state.  Al-Aqsa, after all, is the mother of all issues.  It transcends politics and geography. Don’t you see that this issue is galvanizing the Palestinian street as no other issue would? Even Hamas and Fatah are adopting a concordant discourse in the face of this flagrant Israeli provocation. Certainly, I wouldn’t want to see fanatics and provocateurs take over the stage in order to urge seven million Palestinians to morph into seven million time-bombs or suicide bombers. None the less, the task to defuse the current crisis is not the responsibility of Palestinians alone. Israel, too, if only by being the main player who possesses many vital cards, should make the first step, but without procrastination, deception pr foul-playing.
 
That is why I hope and pray that Netanyahu and his colleagues in the government will immediately return to the status quo ante lest things get out of hand.  I am not making threats, but I know my people very well. For them, there is no other issue under the sun that could provoke them more. I am sure the Shin Beth knows quite well what I am talking about.
 
Israel can always seek and find alternative ways to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the Third Holiest place in Islam. Indeed, smuggling of fire arms into the Aqsa esplanade has been extremely rare. It occurred only once or twice since 1967, and the smuggler was neither Arab nor Muslim.  In fact, there is a fierce opposition among Palestinians to the very idea of smuggling fire-arms into the Haram al-Sharif  since a manifestly stupid feat of this sort would give Israel a long-sought pretext to tamper with the delicate status quo at the site. Hence, the Palestinians would be the main if not sole losers if such a folly were to be allowed to become a phenomenon, God forbid.
 
Some people might correctly argue that Israel will continue to seek pretexts and excuses to change the rules at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
 
Well, I hope insolence and impetuousness will give way to wisdom.  Fanatics from all sides must be reined in because if they are allowed to be in the driver’s seat, they could drive the entire region into the abyss.
 
Tomorrow is Friday when tens of thousands of Muslims will converge at the Aqsa Mosque for the weekly Juma’a congregational prayer. I hope the Israeli authorities will instruct their security personnel to refrain from provoking the worshipers or denying them free access to their holy place. Let them pray peacefully.

GLOBAL SILENCE ON GAZA MUST BE BROKEN

After 10 years of Israeli siege, the United Nations says Gaza is effectively unlivable.

Israel has consigned the people of Gaza to “living in abject poverty under practically inhuman conditions unparalleled in the modern world,” the human rights group B’Tselem said last month.

Video: Break the silence on Gaza with people power

In recent weeks the situation has deteriorated even further, as Israel has sharply cut the electricity supply, bringing available energy in Gaza to the lowest level ever.

Health, water and sewage treatment systems are breaking down, making life unbearable.

“This is not a natural disaster. This is a policy choice by Israel to do this to 2 million people, and it’s a policy choice the so-called international community are supporting,” I told Aaron Maté of The Real News.

“At best the so-called international community scrambles to do an appeal to various donor governments to patch up, to do palliative care,” for people in Gaza, I told Maté. “What they don’t do is challenge Israel and hold it accountable.”

By refusing to provide people in Gaza with basic health and other services, Israel, as the occupying power, is committing war crimes, I argued.

And it’s happening in silence – even Democracy Now, a flagship progressive outlet, has mentioned the situation only in brief and infrequent headlines.

The humanitarian catastrophe is also the result of collusion between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Abbas wants to put political pressure on Hamas, which governs the interior of Gaza, by inflicting additional suffering on the 2 million Palestinians who live there.

This pressure has included curtailing medicine supplies to Gaza and refusing medical referrals for hundreds of patients who need urgent treatment outside the territory, leading to more than a dozen deaths.

“It’s up to us to challenge the institutional complicity and silence,” I told Maté. If regime media don’t make noise about Gaza, “people should be demonstrating, holding protests at the UN and Israeli embassies, at Palestinian Authority embassies, because they’re all complicit in this siege.”

Watch the video above.

Image by Latuff

MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ ‘THIS IS PALESTINE’

 

Nothing new here for anyone aware of ground zero in Palestine or has been awake the past 50 years, but footage of some heart-wrenching scenes reminds us all that there are real people behind the daily headlines and statistics.

Shared by Sam Bahour, with thanks

BDS MOM OF THE YEAR

The pro-Palestinian provocateur is under attack after a newspaper alleged that she ‘tricked’ her way into Israel last month. She says she will be ‘heartbroken’ if the authorities ban her from ever returning

Ariel Gold, center, protesting against Airbnb.Madrone Jack of Oakland, CA.

Jewish Mother and BDS Activist: Code Pink’s Ariel Gold vs. Israel’s Travel Ban
Allison Kaplan Sommer
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Ariel Gold is a one-woman example of the contradictions of the Israeli government’s travel ban law, which forbids foreign nationals who call for boycotts of Israel from entering the country.

Outspoken, provocative, pro-Palestinian and an advocate of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, Gold is a professional campaign director for Code Pink, the far-left peace and social justice NGO that works to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations.

She has demonstrated against Israeli policies, disrupted public events and been arrested – in both Israel and the United States – for her protests. She was banned from visiting the Western Wall last year after authorities found her carrying political signs and pamphlets while entering the plaza.

She is currently in Hebron, monitoring the military trial of Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro and publicizing his cause online. At the same time, the 42-year-old mother of two is an active member of her Ithaca, NY Reform synagogue, sends her kids to Jewish summer camp, and her teenage son is on a summer-long Israel program with the Reform movement.

She has Israeli cousins and proudly boasts that her family can trace its lineage back to 16th-century Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of the “Shulchan Aruch” (the codification of Jewish religious law), who is buried in Safed.

In a telephone interview from the West Bank city, Gold says she has been “under attack” since last Thursday when Israel Hayom – a widely circulated, pro-Netanyahu newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson – ran an article charging that her admission into Israel was a “failure,” and that she had “tricked” Israeli authorities by deleting every post from her Facebook page since 2012, “all of which call for a boycott.”

The article was critical of the Israeli government for allowing Gold to slip through the net, and quotes a Public Security Ministry official as promising that Gold will be barred from entering the country in the future.

Gold vehemently denies the newspaper’s charges of deception, saying she “didn’t take down a single post” from her Facebook page, noting that she had merely changed the status of posts from “Public” to “Friends” only.
She says it was “absurd” to believe she had done anything to deliberately deceive the Israeli authorities.

“It’s not hard to see things I’ve done and written about online. You just Google my name. I mean, I publicly disrupted Ashton Kutcher last fall, asking him to use his position on Airbnb to stop it from operating in the settlements – it wasn’t just in Haaretz and the Times of Israel, but it was in People Magazine!”

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Videos of the Kutcher incident are easily found on YouTube, as is the video of a campaign appearance by Chelsea Clinton that Gold disrupted last year, and articles she has written on the Mondoweiss website harshly criticizing Israel and its policies.

“If I was to try to erase my political opinions on Israel and Palestine on the internet, it would take me years,” she joked.

When she was questioned at Ben-Gurion airport in late June, Gold says she was open about what she did and where she worked, noting that the email she gave officials had a Code Pink address.

The security personnel questioning her “didn’t ask me about BDS at all,” she says. “They asked if I supported violent resistance against Israel. And I said I absolutely did not. They asked me where my feelings were, and I told them that I believe in justice and I believe in peace and I believe in nonviolence.”

Had they asked her about boycotting Israel, she says she would have told them she believes “that BDS is a nonviolent approach to bring Israel into accordance with international law and international standards for human rights.”

What she teaches her kids

She has worked at Code Pink for two years, previously volunteering with them as an activist.  Her political activism on the Palestinian issue began during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008, when she joined Jewish Voice For Peace and became its chapter coordinator, she says.

Gold was raised secular and says she felt she had missed out when she attended her cousins’ Bar and Bat Mitzvot. She connected with her Judaism as a young adult, joining a synagogue and becoming part of a Jewish community, and made a point of sending her own children to Hebrew school and Jewish camp.

“But I also taught my children to think critically, and [to] think critically about the actions of the State of Israel, and that Palestinians [are] deserving of equality and freedom and justice – and I have taken them to protests alongside me since they are toddlers,” she adds, including a 2015 action against AIPAC where she was arrested.

“I felt a lot of love for Israel when I began to explore Judaism. But from the time I heard about the occupation, it was horrible and wrong,” she says, calling her emotions in coming to terms with Israel’s actions toward Palestinians “a grief process.”

Gold says she doesn’t know why Israel Hayom singled her out but speculates she could be under scrutiny because of her work over the past year spearheading Amro’s cause, and advocating for him with the U.S. government.

Amro was indicted by the Israeli army last September for a range of offences, including spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them, and entering closed military zones. His lawyers have argued that his prosecution constitutes political persecution and is intended to stop his activism.

Gold says proudly she was “instrumental” in the lobbying efforts by a coalition of advocacy groups that resulted in a June 28 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signed by 32 members of Congress, asking him to use his influence with Israel to encourage its government to “reconsider the charges against Mr. Amro, internationally recognized as a principled, nonviolent human rights advocate.”

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Issa Amro.

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The number of signatures is the highest-ever on a document advocating for a Palestinian cause, Gold adds. She believes it is this political work (which Code Pink has done in coordination with other groups) that is why the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has sent two representatives to monitor Amro’s trial.
But Gold’s social media activity and provocative actions could just as equally have been the reason – she has been posting numerous photographs and videos criticizing Israeli policies during her stay, including an interview with Amro, and the photograph published in the newspaper where she stands in front of a checkpoint holding a sign declaring “This is Apartheid #codepink”

During her time in Hebron, Gold says she has instigated several “lively Jewish debates” with Israel Defense Forces soldiers standing guard. At various points, she notes, she has been told she was restricted to either the areas exclusively for Jews or confined to the areas for Palestinians, depending on whether she was perceived as a Jew or a pro-Palestinian activist.

She says she isn’t angry or hostile with the soldiers. “These are all very young soldiers and I think they are in difficult situations, and I think they are overwhelmed by what they are doing.” She has harsher words for Hebron’s settlers, whom she alleges have followed and harassed her, insulted her and said “I came here to have sex with Arabs.”

The Israel Hayom article reported ominously that the Public Security Ministry was “investigating what should be done about Gold,” adding that she will be prevented from entering the country in the future, in accordance with the travel ban.

Gold says the prospect of being barred from Israel and the territories – and the entire concept of the travel ban – “appalls” her, and she has considered approaching the authorities and asking them not to stop her from entering the country despite her politics.

“It is incredible here,” she says. “I love my friends here and I love the land here. I will be heartbroken if I can’t return.”

Just in case, she adds, she is going to make a point of visiting her relatives and the grave of Rabbi Caro in Safad, since “it may be the last time I see it.”
Approached by Haaretz, a spokesman for Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says Gold’s case is “being investigated.” He said no decision has been made as to whether she can remain or return to Israel.

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Source and more photos and videos HERE

ISRAEL’S FAKE HSTORY

There is no contradiction between a site being Palestinian and Jewish at the same time. But for Netanyahu there is.

The many outraged Israeli politicians are creating fake news, manipulating history in fake ways, and blaming it on UNESCO

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel charges UNESCO with ‘Fake history’

Israel charges UNESCO with ‘Fake history’

“This irrelevant organization promotes FAKE HISTORY”, wrote Israel’s Foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon two days ago concerning UNESCO, after the latter voted on a resolution to include Al-Khalil (Hebron) and the Al-Ibrahimi mosque (Tomb of Patriarchs) as Palestinian World Heritage sites.

The blast from Israeli officials didn’t stop there. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the organization “anti-Semitic”, the supposed liberal President Reuven Rivlin said that “UNESCO seems intent on sprouting anti-Jewish lies”, and even Labor’s Merav Michaeli called the resolution “insane”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, faithful to his ways of persuasion, took to twitter and made a video, where he says:

“Yet another delusional decision by UNESCO. This time they’ve decided that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Palestinian site, meaning not a Jewish one and listed it an endangered site. Not a Jewish site? Who is buried there? Avraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rivka, Leah, our patriarchs and matriarchs.”

Today, Netanyahu resorted to the bible, reading from Genesis 23, which describes Abraham’s purchasing of the Cave of the Patriarchs. Netanyahu did so ostensibly in order to rebuff claims that the site is ‘not Jewish’. 

But pause there.

There’s nothing in the UNESCO resolution that suggests that the site does not have Jewish connection. In fact, UNESCO explicitly affirms the historic importance of the place as “a site of pilgrimage for the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam”. As Orly Noy notes in her article of today titled ‘There’s nothing anti-Semitic about UNESCO’s Hebron vote’:

“I wonder how many of these politicians bothered reading the resolution before they ran to Twitter to trash it.”

Indeed, UNESCO was not disputing religious connections to the place. What seems to have infuriated the Israelis is that it is considered a PALESTINIAN heritage site.

But UNESCO recognized Palestine back in 2011, as have about three-fourths of the United Nations member states. Al-Khalil (Hebron) and the Al-Ibrahimi mosque (Tomb of Patriarchs) are in Palestine. What’s the big deal?

As we see from Netanyahu’s words, the idea of the place being a ‘Palestinian site’ is anathema to it being a ‘Jewish site’. But this is just disingenuous. Orly Noy provides a sobering comparison:

“Esther and Mordechai’s Tomb in Hamadan, Iran is recognized by the Iranian authorities as a Jewish site, yet no one would dream of calling it an Israeli site. Just as the Church of the Multiplication in northern Israel is a Christian site, yet is located in Israel and therefore an Israeli site.”

In other words, there is no contradiction between a site being Palestinian and Jewish at the same time. But for Netanyahu there is.

So what does Netanyahu do after he distorts the wording of the resolution? He takes to reading from the bible. This is the same trick that David Ben-Gurion usedwhen the British Peel commission asked him in 1936 about whether he had a deed or contract of sale that gave him the right to take the place of the native Arabs who have lived here for generations: Ben-Gurion picked up a Bible and declared, “This is our deed!” 

And there’s more. Because what is Netanyahu reading? The story about Abraham, who bought the cave for the burial of his wife, Sarah. But Abraham wasn’t ‘Jewish’, really – that term evolved much later. If Abraham is a ‘forefather’ in a spiritual sense, he is the forefather of the three Abrahamic religions, all of which the UNESCO resolution affirms. So, ironically, Netanyahu’s religious preaching, seeking to prove the ‘Jewish connection’ (which UNESCO doesn’t dispute), ends up defeating his attempted point and strengthening UNESCO’s: Yes, the place is important for Jews, but not only for Jews.

The myopic, Jewish-centric ideas that Netanyahu presents betray the exclusivist intents of the Israeli government. It cannot seem to differentiate between state and religion with respect to Israel, and when it comes to Palestine will not accept Palestinian statehood or sovereignty. So it is the Israeli official narrative that is the exclusivist one, not the UNESCO narrative.

The many outraged Israeli politicians are creating fake news, manipulating history in fake ways, and blaming it on UNESCO.  

WHAT WILL ISRAEL DO WITH 7 MILLION PALESTINIANS?

We are thoroughly inured to poverty, pain,  agony, and harsh life,  so no matter what Israel does to us short of physical extermination,  we will remain a thorn in its side until Israel’s comes to terms with our humanity and human rights, including the right to absolute  equality.  After all, Ismael was not a child of a lesser God.

What will Israel do with 7 Million Palestinians?
By Khalid Amayreh
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The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has published the latest data on Palestinian demography in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  According to the published data, the Palestinian population of the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip) has reached 4.95 million. And if we add up the estimated 2 million Palestinians living in Israel proper, the overall number of Palestinians living within mandatory Palestine will be around 7 million.   If not already, the population is expected to reach that figure in a few years.  This is not wishful thinking or day-dreaming. It is reality.
 
Moreover, the estimated seven million people are expected to double their numbers in three or four decades.  Am I dreaming? I don’t think so. After all, people will continue to mate and sire children. Sixty years ago, my late father and late mother started our family.  Now their progeny exceeds a hundred people.
 
I know that the size of the Palestinian population alone will not make Israel budge and reconsider its military occupation and apartheid.  Today’s Israel, especially under the present quasi-fascist government, made up of   extreme nationalists and Talmudic fanatics (Likud and ha-Bayt ha-yehudi- present-day Gush Emunim) is too arrogant, too insolent, too impetuous and too intoxicated by their arrogance of power to really think wisely, even rationally. That is why it is utterly unlikely that the three jingoes (Netanyahu, Bennett, and Lieberman) will soon sober up from their false euphoria and begin to see reality on the ground.
 
Instead, they will continue to profusely  pass provocative racist laws consolidating the “Jewishness” of Israel, mainly at the expense of non-Jewish inhabitants.
 
Needless, to say, these laws are, in the final analysis, self-defeating feats reflecting Israel’s  historical predicament and gigantic failure to reach a just, dignified and durable peace with the Palestinians. In a certain sense, these racist laws, even if passed by an overwhelming majority in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) are also merely a  defensive reflex caricaturing Israel’s fear and uncertainty about the intermediate and fairly distant future.
 
Besides, since when was the consolidation of Jewish culture and roots dependent on the promotion of racism and apartheid as well as on meting oppression and discrimination out to non-Jews.  I strongly believe that Israel is insulting and doing a great disservice to Jewish ethics (the soul of Judaism) by indulging in these repugnant measures against the Palestinians.  These  measures will eventually be proven anti-historical. Indeed, the ancient Prophets of Israel had warned their followers repeatedly against oppressing “the strangers living amongst you for you were strangers yourselves in the land of Egypt”
 
Now, Israel will continue to bury her head in the sand following the proverbial ostrich.   But the denial tactic will take Israel nowhere except perhaps bringing the Jewish state closer to the hour pf truth.
 
I am in no way, out of naïveté.  seeking to underestimate Israel’s ability to do mischief and embark on tormenting the Palestinians even further and further, all in order to make them grovel at Israel’s feet, begging for surrender!  Yes, Israel could do the unthinkable to prevent history from taking its natural course?
 
None the less, the Palestinians won’t and wouldn’t surrender to Israeli brutality and repression, however nefarious this might be. We have learned the lesson of the Nakba.   This means that the vast majority of Palestinians would prefer dying, yes dying, here in Palestine, rather than leaving our ancestral homeland and living in exile..
 
Besides, we are thoroughly inured to poverty, pain,  agony, and harsh life,  so no matter what Israel does to us short of physical extermination,  we will remain a thorn in its side until Israel’s comes to terms with our humanity and human rights, including the right to absolute  equality.  After all, Ismael was not a child of a lesser God.

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ PALESTINIAN YOUTH GIVE A ‘WARM WELCOME’ TO INVADING FORCES

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Israeli invading forces receive a ‘warm’ welcome from Palestinian youths.

BEX ALERT IMAGE AND VIDEOS OF THE DAY ~~ NETANYAHU’S DEFINITION OF PEACE

This is what he said recently …

I envision a middle east where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together, side by side, in peace. Our region needs more tolerance, not less.

This is what he meant by “living together side by side”

And just this week ….

He obviously cannot speak of peace without making a fist …

PALESTINIANS CANNOT DEPEND ON THE ARAB WORLD FOR THEIR FREEDOM

We Palestinians will not allow Arab despots to tread on our dignity and honor. We will not entrust our just cause to those who didn’t and wouldn’t hesitate to murder their own people to please Israel and obtain a certificate of good conduct from the Zionist Golem and its guardian- ally, the United States.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians will not entrust their just cause to Impotent Arab regimes 

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

 

Having successfully decapitated whatever erstwhile prospects for the “two-state solution,” thanks to the massive  metastasizing of Jewish settlements all over the West Bank, Israel is now trying to so the impossible to retain as much as possible of the usurped Palestinian homeland, ostensibly in the context of a sham “peace deal”, not with the Palestinians, the most directly concerned party, but with Arab dictatorship.

 

The new-old game is as simple as it is cunning. The centerpiece of Israel’s latest illusion, we are told, focuses on pimping the corrupt, impotent and manifestly illegitimate Arab regimes to do what Israel consistently failed to do, namely getting Palestinians to accept the de facto liquidation of their just and enduring cause under the false rubric of regional peace. The ultimate goal, as one Israeli strategist put it, is to relieve Israel of the burden to resolve the Palestinian problem by placing the burden on the Arab regimes.

 

I have no doubt whatsoever that the new Zionist gambit .will meet the same fate and same failure that the numerous other Israeli schemes. such as the Village Leagues and attempted settling of Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries,   had met since 1948.

 

In fact, the latest scheme should be viewed as an expression of the increasingly nagging realization on the Zionist establishment’s part that Zionism has more or less reached or is about to reach the ultimate  historical dead-end. I am talking about the six-million strong Palestinians now living in mandatory Palestine who will double their numbers in less than two generations. We know what happens to a snake, even a monstrous python, when it swallows a prey too big for it to digest. The reptile simply explodes.

 

True, the Zionists are not stupid, but they are absolutely unwise. And when the absence of wisdom is made to coalesce with characteristic Zionist insolence, intransigence, and arrogance of power the outcome could be a gargantuan disaster for everyone involved including the Jews themselves.

 

So, now Israel is trying to bully or cajole the humpty-dumpty Arab regimes, via the American Connection, to save Israel from itself, e.g. the historical predicament it has willfully reached.

 

Well, I have bad news for the Zionist entity. The comical and fragile Arab regimes, whose only “legitimacy” stems from America’s acceptance and protection will not be around for ever. They are cheap slaves who have no willed of their own, to put it in a nut shell. And the Palestinian people will not entrust their fate to these self-worshiping tyrants who might think that the world began with them and would end when with their death.

 

Does anyone in his right mind think that Abdul Fattah al-Sissi, who has transformed Egypt from a country with the weight of a 100 million people into a failed state with the weight of a beggar, will be around for ever? In the final analysis, Sissi and his ilk will only succeed in reserving a seat of ignominy in history.

 

The same thing should apply to the decadent, hedonistic Sheikhs who might be duped to think that putting all their eggs in the Israeli baskets is the best insurance policy that would ensure the longevity of their dynastic fiefdoms.   In fact, I can say rather candidly that there is nothing more precarious for the future of Jews in this region than forging a sinful partnership between Israel and these hated and corrupt regimes, which we all know can not survive even for one day without oppressing and tormenting their own people in order to stay in power.

 

Finally, Israel, thanks to its long experience with the Palestinians, should know better than thinking the Palestinians would just go with the flow and eventually succumb to Arab carrots and sticks…

 

Yes, the Palestinians may not be irresistible. But they are not just another “sheepish” Arab people as many Zionist orientalists might think.

 

We are different, and that is the reason the Palestinian cause has remained alive all these years despite Israel’s real but slow-motion holocaust which would have torn up any other community to smithereens.

 

We Palestinians will not allow Arab despots to tread on our dignity and honor. We will not entrust our just cause to those who didn’t and wouldn’t hesitate to murder their own people to please Israel and obtain a certificate of good conduct from the Zionist Golem and its guardian- ally, the United States.

 

We shoot the traitor just as we shoot stray dogs in the street, and be it as it may. And if we can not for whatever reason, we, at the very least,   reject the traitor’s policies, ideas and instructions with the utter contempt he   deserves…..even if the filthy rich Sheikhs happen to be the traitor’s bankroller and Donald Trump his bodyguard.

 

This is why I strongly advise and urge Israel to try to make true peace(not a foul play) with the average Hebronite, the average Nabulsi and the average Gazan. I mean ordinary Palestinians who have been through it all from creation to destruction. That would better for all of us.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FROM ECUADOR ~~ ON VIDEO

As Israel begins to build its first new settlement in the West Bank for years, Latin Americans express their rejection of the treatment of Palestinians.

Ecuadoreans March in Solidarity with Palestine

 

Mother Palestine also resists the new settlements

Image by Carlos Latuff

THE ENDGAME ~~ ANALYSIS OF THE PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

I  know that resistance against an evil  foreign military occupation is a legitimate right and even a sublime national duty.  However, Palestinians must approach this matter of resistance with utmost discretion, because it is never enough to be right as one has to be wise as well, and wisdom has a thousand doors!

THE ENDGAME:   It is either One democratic state for all or perpetual open-ended conflict

By Khalid Amayreh

 
It is no longer possible to deny the clarion reality  that Israel has succeeded, with or without American consent, in decapitating virtually all realistic prospects for the creation of a viable  and territorially- contiguous Palestinian state on the West Bank, e.g. an  entity that would have East Jerusalem as its capital.  The massive Jewish settlement expansion and aggrandizement all over the occupied West Bank has simply eliminated all possibilities for a true Palestinian state worthy of the name. We who live here in the West Bank see things on the ground and therefore know what we are talking about.  Please don’t lecture us on the reality we live around the clock.
 
This is not the view of one frustrated or  disillusioned Palestinian as some day-dreamers, who are detached from reality, would probably think. In fact, this is the candid impression of most serious pundits , Israeli and Palestinian alike, as well as American and European.
 
There are several reasons why a true and dignified peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is ruled out. 
 
Israel today is ruled by a fully-fledged fascist and jingoistic government controlled by Jewish supremacists who reject  any notion for a balanced peace settlement   with the Palestinians involving “territorial concessions.”  Moreover, the Israeli Jewish society continues to drift rather steadily toward brash fascism and pornographic racism.  Even the Israeli justice system, the erstwhile last remaining “glimmer of hope” has been infiltrated rather heavily by Nazi-minded ideologues who are indoctrinated in Talmudic Jewish supremacy and who believe that the lives of non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular have no sanctity.  We are talking about racist Talmudic thugs who think that non-Jews living “in the land of Israel” must either be expelled and massacred in the Biblical style! Or enslaved as woodcutters and water carriers,  also in Biblical style.
 
In short, it is absolutely futile to count on the possible emergence in Israel of a genuine and pro-active peace camp, let alone a peace government,  in the foreseeable future.  This is, of course, in addition to the fact that the relentless and unceasing settlement expansion has put an end to all realistic and reasonable hopes for the establishment of a true Palestinian state, considered the ultimate basic requirement for a genuine and durable peace.
 
As to the United States, it is no secret that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, America is a real lame duck and   loses its independent will to  Israel, a foreign state  that willy nilly, occupies the driver’s seat in Washington,   with Washington utterly powerless even  to object or say a simple “NO”.  This isby means  a new story.  One of the best books which illustrated America’s shocking submission and subservience  to Israel is the Zionist Connection by Alfred Lilienthal, written in the late 1970s.
 
I am not doing to delve too much into the “adulterous” American-Israeli affair. But I do want to point out that it is futile to expect the US to force Israel to walk in the path of peace as the entire American political establishment continues to be thoroughly enslaved by Zionist money and influence. 
 
More to the point, there are those who would argue rather rightly  that the US had nearly seven long decades to achieve peace in the Middle East but to no avail. Hence, it would be naïve to expect Washington to undergo a sudden transformation  of mentality or awakening of  conscience. This would be like expecting a perfectly peaceful coexistence between ferocious wolfs and meek lamps.  Hence, I can conclude rather safely that getting the US to force Israel to return to the armistice lines of the 4th of June, 1967 is out of question.  It is a total illusion.
 
As to Arab states, it is equally pointless to count on them to help the Palestinians regain their usurped rights.   Most Arab regimes, as we all know, have no will of their own as these regimes grovel disgracefully at Washington’s feet. After all these autocratic regimes are not responsible to their peoples and they value the “legitimacy” that comes from America’s acceptance more than the legitimacy that should come from their people’s acceptance.  They  are  no more than cheap, ignominious slaves of Washington. Needless to say, a slave by definition has no freer will of his own.
 
Even Iran can not fare much better.  The intimate dark embrace between Iran and the manifestly nefarious regime of Bashar Assad has exposed Tehran’s fanatical and genocidal Shiite regime as  absolutely  unprincipled, thoroughly sectarian and unethically expedient.  Iran is only using the Palestinian cause as a propaganda tool to spread Shiism in the Arab-Muslim world. That is the crux of the matter.
 
So what is in the offing? No one knows for sure.  But a careful examination of reality suggests that the de facto  elimination of a prospective Palestinian state will leave us  with two main broad alternatives: First, the hypothetical creation of a unitary democratic state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean where  Palestinians and Jews could live together  in peace as equal citizens.  It is utterly inconceivable , however,   that Israel would willingly agree to the emergence of  such a state since this sort of entity would effectively spell the end of Zionism and put an end to Israel as a Jewish state. 
 
Moreover, the Palestinians’ higher birth rate could eventually (in a few decades) cause Jews in Israel-Palestine to become a demographic minority.  (Palestinians already constitute 50% of the population in mandatory Palestine, including Israel Proper, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip). Hence, the so-called one-state solution, though the best possible historical solution, at least,  from this writer’s view point,  can not really be viewed as an absolute or inevitable alternative.
 
I don’t know for sure what Israel will do with six million Palestinians who will double their numbers in less than forty years.   What I do know and am sure of is that is that Israel is hoping for a “miracle” that would eliminate or at least neutralize  the Palestinians demographic “peril.”  In fact, I strongly  believe that a visibly and explicitly fascist Israel could embark on the “unthinkable” to prevent history from taking its natural course.  After all.  genocide is part and parcel of the Jewish-Talmudic mindset. This is why, the Palestinians must be very very vigilant and alert because nothing can be taken for granted.   I am not a prophet of doom and gloom, but  matters of survival can’t be subjected to chances.   The Palestinian people have survived despite history and we continue to survive thanks to the good will of the international community. That is why we must constantly strive to enhance and expedite every conceivable element that could help us consolidate our survival as a people. This must include  building real bridges with peace-minded elements in Israel.  In the final analysis, we are against Israeli oppression, racism, and aggression, not against Jews as Jews.  That is why  we must strive tirelessly to woo as many Jews of good-will as possible to our side.  This is good for  both us and  them and for  peace.
 
A final word: I  know that resistance against an evil  foreign military occupation is a legitimate right and even a sublime national duty.  However, Palestinians must approach this matter of resistance with utmost discretion, because it is never enough to be right as one has to be wise as well, and wisdom has a thousand doors!
 
But we must immediately stop  targeting innocent Israeli civilians even as revenge for the targeting by Israel of our innocent civilians.
 
Targeting innocent civilians, especially knowingly and deliberately,  is always immoral, self-defeating and utterly damaging to our cause.  Ours is a just and noble cause. We must not tarnish it with senseless acts of terror.  Does any Palestinian in his or her  right mind think that murdering a pregnant lady in full view of her children  will benefit our cause and make  people hasten to embrace our struggle against occupation, racism and apartheid.
 
 
Finally,  the second (and last)  alternative is perpetual  open-ended  conflict. This is by all means  a nightmarish and hair-raising scenario.   I hope,  for the sake of our  (Jewish and Palestinian)  children and their children that our leaders will prove themselves more farsighted than they have been.  Otherwise, future generations would curse the moment they were born.

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ THE BRAVEST LITTLE BOY IN PALESTINE

Good morning from Palestine!

VIDEO THAT THE ZIONISTS DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE

It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.

Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.

Why Is A Pro-Israel Group So Desperate To Keep You From Watching This Video?

When it comes to Palestinians, the American Jewish establishment is in the ignorance business. The average American synagogue has never hosted a Palestinian speaker. The average “pro-Israel” activist has never read a book by a Palestinian author. The American Jewish philanthropists who fund Birthright send thousands of young American Jews to Israel each year, on a program that systematically excludes the voices of 50% of the people who live under Israeli control.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that for major American Jewish organizations, ignorance is an export. It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.

Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.

You can watch the panel online. The first speaker was Omar Shakir, the Israel-Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. In dry, rather clinical, terms, Shakir discussed some of the consequences of the fact that West Bank Palestinians are subjects, not citizens, of Israel. He noted, for instance, that in Area C, which encompasses roughly 60% of the West Bank, it is “nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit to build a home.” When Palestinians build without a permit, the Israeli government often demolishes their homes.

Following him was Brad Parker, a staff attorney at Defense for Children Palestine. Observing that, according to the most recent statistics, Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 in its jails, often for stone throwing, Parker explained that the Israeli military frequently arrests Palestinian children at night. They are often bound, blindfolded and transported to a military installation, where they wait until morning before being interrogated without a lawyer and without their parents knowing where they are. They “essentially disappear for 24, 48, 96 hours.” Then they are generally prosecuted in military courts where the conviction rate approaches 100%.

Following Parker was Yazan Meqbil, a young West Bank Palestinian attending college in the United States, who talked about growing up in a house repeatedly slated for demolition. “Every single day,” he said, “I used to wake up hoping my house will not be demolished.” Meqbil ended his remarks by saying: “Palestinians, we all have a dream, to be free, to live like normal human beings. To not be afraid whenever we leave our homes.”

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ DARK DAYS OF RAMADAN IN GAZA

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Abbas has no shame being Israel’ gatekeeper while it’s turning Gaza into a concentration camp where people are locked up living in harsh conditions

In photos: Gaza left to suffer in the dark

Gaza City’s Beach Street, a busy thoroughfare connecting the southern and northern areas of the Strip, is often in total darkness. During power cuts the lights go out along Gaza’s most trafficked streets, plunging the roads into darkness and causing accidents.

Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip have endured a chronic electricity crisis since Israel imposed an economic blockade on the territory 10 years ago.

The territory’s electricity infrastructure has been targeted and damaged during successive Israeli military offensives, and Israeli import restrictions have hindered repair.

An Egyptian crackdown on tunnels through which cheaper fuel was smuggled into Gaza exacerbated the situation in 2013.

Rolling blackouts now last 20 hours per day after Gaza’s sole power plant shut down when it exhausted its fuel supply in mid-April. Resupply has been delayed due to an ongoing dispute between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza over high taxes on diesel fuel and the collection of payments from electricity consumers.

Currently, there are only four hours of electricity per day in Gaza, and that is about to decrease as Israel moves to cut its electricity supply to the territory by 40 percent.

Hospitals have become dependent on generators and solar-based sources that can keep vital equipment running for a few hours when there is no electricity.

Power cuts disrupt the operation of water pumps and wells, with water supply to households currently standing at four to eight hours every four or five days.

Wastewater plants have been forced to shorten treatment cycles, causing 120 million liters of untreated sewage to flow into the Mediterranean Sea each day.

The crisis has led the International Committee of the Red Cross to warn that Gaza is on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

Reportage by Mousa Tawfiq, a journalist based in Gaza and photos by Mohammed Asad, a photojournalist based in Gaza.

Mahmoud Banat, 47, used to run one of the biggest appliance repair and retail shops in Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp. “I took this profession from my father. I’ve done my best to keep up with new technology and the daily improvements in this field.”

Banat said the chronic power cuts in Gaza have caused damage to appliances, and some residents have bought equipment to protect their devices from potential harm caused by outages.

“As you can see, my shop is full of broken and disabled televisions and electrical devices. People are suffering and losing a lot of money to fix their devices. People prefer energy-saving televisions that can be powered with generators and batteries. Some types of televisions consume a lot of power and they aren’t widely used these days.”

Banat’s business hasn’t benefited from the situation.

“When the electricity crisis began in 2006, I started to face difficulties at my shop as I couldn’t work during the power cuts,” he said. He sold his shop and moved into a smaller one, where he currently only does repairs, and no longer sells appliances.

“It’s a disastrous situation. My life is completely destroyed and I have five children; two of them are university students.”

In addition to harming Mahmoud’s business, the electricity situation has put pressure on his wife, Najwa Banat, 42.

“We suffer from a water crisis as there is no electricity to run water pumps at the houses,” she said while preparing a cup of tea.

“I can’t do any housekeeping. I have to get up after midnight to wash clothes and clean the house. I make sure to keep the candles away from the hands of my children. I’m always stressed and feeling uncomfortable. We live in a very difficult situation surrounded by hardships and daily challenges.”

In 2010, Ahmad Rajab, 26, opened his barbershop in Gaza City.

“Eight years ago, when I finished school, my family didn’t have enough money to pay my university fees. Some of my relatives advised me to learn a simple trade that people always need. I decided to master the skill of shaving and I had a diploma from a certified training center.”

From day one, Rajab had to contend with the electricity crisis.

“At the beginning, I bought a small generator to use during power cuts. When we were using the Egyptian fuel, I needed $6 a day just for fuel. Nowadays, with the Israeli fuel, which is three times more expensive, I need $18. I don’t think that I’ve ever earned more than $20 a day.”

“I bought those rechargeable shavers for $100. They are not cheap, but it is my only choice to keep working.”

“I hope to have a better tomorrow and for this crisis to be solved. We have begun to believe that it’s our destiny to not have a better life. It’s like a nightmare without end.”

Hussam al-Sousi, 24, took his mother and two sisters to Gaza City’s corniche to escape from darkness and boredom. They found that the corniche was darker than their house.

“We came here for some relief, but it is all the same. We are very lucky to have the car headlights,” he said.

Hussam, a law school graduate, works at his father’s garment factory.

“Even our work is affected. We used to work in the morning. Now, we organize our work according to the electricity. Sometimes we have to work after midnight using generators with expensive fuel.”

For Hussam’s mother, Sanaa al-Sousi, 45, the power cuts cause other woes: “My daughters’ midterm exams were in the last week. They had to get up very early to study [when the electricity was on]. Studying by candlelight gave my youngest daughter Leila a headache. I don’t know what we are going to do if the crisis lasts until the final exams.”

For Leila, 8, there are additional consequences: “There is no ice cream in the shops. I don’t know what I’m going to eat during summer.”

“I sell grilled and boiled corn on the beach. I work here during summer because the beach is full of people, while in winter, I sell vegetables in a small booth at the market,” said Mahmoud Ghanim, 26. “I’m a father of two sons and my wife is pregnant with a girl. I have no choice but to work hard.”

Ghanim, who lives in Beach refugee camp, said that he had to leave school at the age of 15 to work with his father as a fisherman. His family’s trade has been badly affected by the Israeli naval blockade and constant violence against Gaza fishermen by Israeli forces.

“It wasn’t an easy choice, but I couldn’t risk my life for a job that could barely feed my children,” he said.

Ghanim found his own solution to be able to work during the dark nights – a solution which cost him the equivalent of a week’s earnings.

“Before the current crisis, I didn’t face any problems at nighttime because Beach Street was always illuminated, but now we are in darkness. I paid $40 to buy a battery, a charger and a power-saving light to use when there is no electricity.”

Suha Ashour, 68, has been going to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for dialysis treatment for a decade.

“In 2007, I had a heart attack. The medical treatment and the consequences of the heart attack affected my kidneys. I have to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis sessions.”

Ashour, a mother of six, said that the four-hour sessions are exhausting, especially during summer.

“After the sessions, when I return home, I feel suffocated and I can’t stay in hot weather. My sons brought me an air conditioner, but most of the time there is no electricity and it’s very difficult for me at this age to stay in such circumstances.”

Ashour said hospital staff have warned her and other patients that their dialysis treatment may be disrupted by power cuts.

In 2012, the neonatal unit at al-Nasr children’s hospital in Gaza installed a solar power system to ensure the running of their equipment. The unit receives 100 to 200 patients per month and any power cut can put infants’ lives in jeopardy, according to its coordinator Dr. Shireen Abed.

“We deal with very sensitive cases aged between zero and 28 days. Our unit receives three to five patients per day and all the equipment needs electricity: incubators, monitors and ventilators,“ she said.

“When the solar power system needs periodic maintenance, the situation becomes catastrophic. We transfer the neonates to other units to be attached to the required devices. The power cuts pose a real danger to the lives of our children in the unit, but the solar system provides us with the needed power.”

“I can’t imagine the situation without this solar power system,” she added.

Palestinians in Gaza have used backup generators to provide electricity to their houses and shops. But the high price of the Israeli fuel, $2 for a liter, is out of reach for many in the territory, where unemployment rates are the highest in the world.

“People didn’t use batteries or solar cells in their houses before 2014, they used generators,” said Ziad al-Rayashi, 32, the owner of a batteries and solar cells shop in Gaza City. “Using the generator for eight hours each day costs an average family more than $480 a month. No one can afford it.”

Al-Rayashi sells alternatives that don’t require fuel.

“Engineers invented new methods. We use car batteries to generate electricity by charging the battery and using it for lighting and watching television.”

A car battery charging system cost $1,200 a year ago, according to al-Rayashi. This price was far out of reach for the average Gaza resident – especially after the last cuts to civil servants’ salaries by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank – so retailers slashed prices to increase demand. He now sells the system for $650.

Despite the price drop, people prefer smaller battery charger systems used just for lighting and Wi-Fi. “This more simple system costs $40 and it can barely light a room, but people can’t afford the bigger one,” al-Rayashi said.

“We do our best to provide our people with the cheapest devices, despite all the difficulties we face. We pay a lot of taxes to the Israeli side to get our goods from their ports and crossings.”

Though Gaza gets more than its fair share of sun, the use of solar power is very limited.

“It’s cleaner and better, but very expensive. The most simple solar power system costs $1,700 just for lighting and television. The upper class are the only people who can buy this system,” al-Rayashi said.

University student Khalid Mahdi, 19, and his friend Hussam al-Khatib, 20, play billiards at a small shop in Gaza City.

“We escaped from the poor LED lighting at our houses to find the same lighting at the billiards hall,” Mahdi said.

“Playing billiards is a hobby and we do our best to practice it regularly, but we can barely see the balls with these lights,” he added. “Every Gazan has these lights at his house and complains of their bad quality. But we don’t have other choices.”

“We are university students. We can’t study with bad lighting and we can’t practice billiards for the same reason,” al-Khatib said.

Most buildings and workshops have big generators which are usually put in the street, causing noise pollution. Yet even towers have stopped using them due to the long hours of power cuts and the cost of the fuel needed to power the generators.

Police officer Ahmad Musallim, 42, lives on the eighth floor of the Sea Tower in Gaza City.

“The generator works for 10 minutes every two hours for the elevator, and from 6 pm to 9 pm every day. If a person wants the elevator [outside the fixed time], he must pay 5 shekels [approximately $1.50] to turn on the generator.”

“My children go to school. After six hours of class, they have to walk up eight flights of stairs. I wish I could do anything to help them.”

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness,” said Fatima Qudaih, 42, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

“The long power cuts prevent us from using the water pumps. It’s the nightmare of every housewife here in Gaza. We can’t wash clothes or dishes.”

“My son takes some jerrycans and fills them at a nearby water station. It’s more expensive and much more difficult to use,” she added.

Wafaa al-Najjar, 63, and her sister Samiha, 60, use a clay oven to bake and cook at their home in Khan Younis.

“We used to use an electric heater for baking, but now we use this oven, especially since cooking gas is expensive,” Wafaa said.

The sisters use tree branches from their farm for the fire. “We live in a rural area. Women in these areas are strong and rely on themselves. We know that our life is difficult, but we do our best to keep going. We simply don’t have any other choice,” Wafaa said.

According to Samiha, the bread baked on the electric heater tastes better, but the one made in the clay oven reminds them of their mother.

Ahmad al-Jahjouh, 52, a carpenter in Gaza City, said that his work is “paralyzed” with only four hours of electricity each day.

“Sometimes the four hours of electricity are during the night. At first, I was coming to my shop with my workers and we worked after midnight. But the neighbors complained because of the noise, which I fully understood.”

“I used to have 20 workers in this shop. Now, it’s just me and my two sons. We produce nothing. And even when we use the generator, our profit is negligible.”

“I have nothing to say. I don’t sleep and I’m very tired. We have been suffering for years and our patience has run out.”

 

FROM

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE RAMADAN IN GAZA

Video: Ramadan in Gaza

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

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

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

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

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

Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

AFTER 50 YEARS ISRAELIS MUST DISRUPT THE ‘NORMALCY’ OF THE OCCUPATION

One of the most disturbing aspects about the reality in Palestine is its normalcy.

It has become normal to see Palestinians shot and killed, even children. The faces of young Palestinians showing up daily on social media, boys and girls shot by soldiers, accused falsely of attempting to stab a soldier.

It has become normal to see Israeli soldiers shooting skunk water and tear gas, and snipers using live ammunition at unarmed protesters who want the land that was once theirs and the freedom they never had.

Image by Latuff

Why Israelis must disrupt the occupation

And it has become normal for us to engage in the endless, fruitless debate on whether Palestinians throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers who invade their homes constitutes violence, or whether or not Zionism – which produced this violence – is a racist ideology. And all the while the suffering and the oppression of millions of Palestinians go on almost uninterrupted.

It is no secret that Israelis and Palestinians live two separate realities.

Even when we privileged Israelis go to the village of Nabi Saleh on a Friday to participate in the weekly protest, at the end of the day we are free to leave the village, leave the occupation and return to our safe, clean, well-paved spheres. Unlike the Palestinians we leave behind, our homes will not be raided, our roads will not be blocked and our children will not have to hide for days or weeks from the threat of being shot, arrested and tortured.

We return home sweaty and tired, covered in tear gas and skunk water and we feel we did our bit. But what bit did we do? What is the role of the privileged Israeli activists within the resistance and why are we accomplishing so little?

To begin with we need to admit that this is resistance and ask whether we are willing to take part.

On any given Friday there may be about 10 Israeli activists, be it in Nabi Saleh or Bilin, currently the two main locations for Friday protests in the occupied West Bank. Some Israelis walk in the back, some in the front.

Shadows?

Some like to say they are merely documenting. Most, like shadows, don’t seem like they know their place and don’t want to interfere. Few confront the Israeli forces. So the question that begs to be asked is, what are we accomplishing?

If we don’t use our privilege to push the envelope and to confront the Israeli authorities, then we are indeed mere shadows.

My latest visit to Nabi Saleh was on 26 May, exactly two weeks after Saba Abu Ubaid, 23, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a protest there.

The march began, as always, with people walking down the hill from the mosque after noon prayer, carrying flags and chanting. There were about 30 or 40 people (though in the charges that would be brought against me, the Israeli police claimed there were 200 protesters), mostly Palestinians with a few regular Israelis and other foreigners.

After a few minutes we were confronted by the Israeli forces who informed us we were to disperse.

How does one begin to describe the outrage? Fully armed soldiers on occupied land telling the people whose village they invaded that they must disperse. But in Palestine, this is normal so there is little outrage.

“Shoot them in the legs”

The usual pushing and shoving began and was then followed by the firing of tear gas, skunk water and, before too long, live ammunition. Considering what had taken place there just two weeks earlier, seeing snipers take their positions and take aim at the kids on the hills was cause for serious concern. I heard someone whose name badge identified him as Raja Keyes order the snipers to “shoot them in the legs.”

Nabi Saleh residents began sitting in front of the snipers to block their sights. More tear gas, more skunk water and more snipers followed.

Keyes was right next to me when he walked to a group of women and children watching the events from the side of the road and, with a smile on his face, threw a tear gas grenade at them. One of the mothers ran up a terrace to interfere with the snipers and was pushed around by soldiers. I ran up towards her, went around a young officer who tried to stop me and by the time I reached her they came for me.

Four or five officers, including Keyes had me in a tight grip. The officers were from Magav – although often described as “border police,” Magav is a unit within the Israeli military.

By that time, the officers had good reason to resent me and want me out of the way.

The photos and videos of my arrest made their way to social media, so suffice it to say they were not gentle and I was not compliant. (My arrest is at about 12:10 in the video below of the day’s events, made by Palestinian activist Bilal Tamimi.)

At one point after I was arrested, Keyes introduced himself formally to me as “force commander” and asked for my ID, which I did not have.

Later on, when I was taken away in the armored vehicle, he was seated in the front and I proceeded to tell him that he was no “commander” and he was not heading any “force” but rather they were all a gang of armed bullies.

But this is not about me or any other single activist. It is about the role that we Israelis can play which is unique because Israeli law provides us with a shield that Palestinians and international activists do not have.

It is not our role to play unbiased spectators or to document, nor is it our role to just follow along. We can get in the faces of the commanders and the soldiers and disrupt their work. In fact, one of the comments made constantly by the commanders is that we are “disrupting their work, and will be arrested for that.”

My response is that this is precisely the point! Why show up if we let them go about their business? When we are arrested we are always charged with disrupting officers on duty, even when we don’t, but that is exactly what we must do.

Along Highway 443 – sometimes known as the “apartheid highway” – there is a sign in Hebrew that says: “By order of the commanding general, Israelis are prohibited from entering the villages along this road.” When activists do go to the villages to protest, they challenge this command. But still, the shield that our Israeli ID provides us can be used to disrupt the normalcy of the occupation everywhere.

Israelis, even dedicated, well-meaning ones, do far too little and we use far too little of our privilege to challenge and combat the injustice meted out against Palestinians. Most Israeli activists won’t even call for refusal to serve in the Israeli army because they consider that too radical.

No one likes to be arrested, particularly when it involves a night or two in jail, sharing a smoke-filled room with no ventilation and no company save cockroaches and two-bit criminals who hate activists even more than they hate Arabs.

If we are to play a role in the overthrow of injustice, and if we are to one day see an end to the oppression of more than half of the people with whom we live, then we must use our privilege and act to end the normalcy and the oppression.

IN VIDEOS ~~ DENIAL AND REALITY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

First the denial …..

Now the reality …..

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue at this Israeli military checkpoint before dawn each day.

Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills.org

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