I took this photograph the other day on my way home from school. It is a view of Nablus from the entrance of An Najah University. It looks a bit unreal, but the sky was amazingly beautiful that day. Very blue and the shadows on the mountains looked amazing. After this I headed to my neighbor’s home for a lovely iftar meal. They live upstairs from me, but they live on the top floor (the sixth, I think). And our building is on top of a mountain. We went out onto their balcony and watched the sunset and what I did not realize is that you can see the Mediterranean Sea from here. I was pissed I did not bring my camera, but I will next time it is clear so I can take some shots. Apparently, before the first intifada you could drive to the beach and get there in 30 minutes. But now most people either can’t leave or don’t leave. It’s amazing how many of my students have never even been to cities nearby like Jenin or Tulkarem. But I understand why. I also feel like dealing with Huwara checkpoint is more hassle than it’s worth.
Today I was invited to a student’s home for iftar. She lives in Marda, a village near Nablus. I went there a few years ago, but I was very excited to return. After school we took a service down to Huwara checkpoint, which was packed. It was around 4 pm, which meant that everyone was very hungry and anxious to get home. Huwarra was packed today. We were smothered in the heat in very long lines, with hundreds of people (see above photograph). Men, especially, were waiting for an inordinate amount of time before they could barely move an inch. The women’s line was far slower than usual. But when we finally got to the front the Israeli Terrorist Soldiers told us that we all had to go back. But we were packed. There was no where we could go. And then one soldier stood up on something above us, cocked his gun, and everyone thought he was going to shoot us while we were waiting. Women started ducking. One of the women asked me to go up and speak to the soldiers, so I did. I asked him why he was making us all turn around when everyone was waiting patiently. He said that they were not, and was generally ornery. I called him a name he didn’t like and he tried to take my passport. When I said no he started to call the police and said that the name I called him was illegal (it’s not–I double checked) and said that either I can go to jail, or I could go back to Nablus. I turned around to go back. My student came back, too, and we tried to find another way to leave. The only way to leave Nablus without going through Huwara, it seems, is to go on a Jewish-only road, by a settlement, where they shoot at Palestinian cars for fun. And, it would cost $50 to go this route. We decided to reschedule our iftar. I went home.
So what I’m wondering is this: I read a few weeks ago that Israelis were supposedly going to change their behavior a bit to “make things easier” on Palestinians during Ramadan at the checkpoints. For the Israeli Terrorist Forces (ITF) apparently, this just means not eating, drinking, or smoking at the checkpoints. It doesn’t mean “make things easier” by not terrorizing Palestinians. That seems to be compatible with Israelis during Ramadan, or at any other time for that matter. When I was at my neighbor’s house for iftar the other night he mentioned that Tony Blair came to Nablus a few months ago. He told me at the meeting of various Nabulsi leaders, from all sorts of political backgrounds, that they agreed to speak with one voice. They had one goal and one point to convey to Blair: REMOVE HUWARA CHECKPOINT. For them, this was the hurdle that affected all aspects of life–right to education, access to medical care, livelihood to name a few. Here is what Blair had to say about it to the news media:
During Thursday’s visit to Nablus, Blair met with Palestinian business leaders, who announced the city would host an investment conference in October. Monib al-Masri, one of the West Bank’s wealthiest men, said the group hopes to draw 200 to 300 investors, but added that removing checkpoints is vital. “I told Mr. Blair today that nobody will come here if Hawara and other checkpoints are there,” he said.
Blair said he’s pushing to get checkpoints removed, but that it requires patience. Israel has genuine security concerns, he said, and more time is needed to rebuild trust destroyed during years of violence. However, Blair also suggested that Israeli decision makers perhaps lack an understanding of Palestinian hardship.
Israelis living in “bustling, Mediterranean, basically wealthy” Tel Aviv are barely conscious of the difficulties caused by the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus, he said while for Nablus residents the checkpoint is “one of the most important things in (their) lives.”
“What we are saying is that in time they (checkpoints) have got to be removed, but in the meantime, for goodness’ sake, make them work effectively,” he said.
I can understand why other foreign leaders may not understand the checkpoints and don’t really do much to intervene. But Blair had to come through–and did indeed come through–Huwara checkpoint to get to Nablus. He saw it. And yet he somehow things that Huwara should only be dismantled “in time” and that now they should be working “effectively.” Yet another man with no soul. I have no respect for people who can see this inhumanity and not be outraged and demand that change is made at once. Especially those who might be in a position to actually do something.
Meanwhile, those in a position to do much harm, to cause much damage, as they have in the past seem to receive little attention for the lies they spread. All attention on the UN General Assembly this week has been on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What the world should be focused on, however, is the racist, lying, bigot who spoke yesterday. Otherwise known as Shimon Peres. I cannot bear to quote him here because it is 100% full of lies and the is the most hateful kind of lies: those that are used to cover up, deceive, and hide massacres, ethnic cleansing, and the reality that Zionism is racism. But I will quote from an article on Sabbah’s blog that shows Peres for what he is. The context is the massacre in Lebanon that he helped to orchestrate in in 1996:
Peres himself is a mass murderer par excellance. In 1996, during his brief stint as Prime Minister following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, he ordered the Israeli army to bomb the UNIFIL headquarters at the village of Qana in Southern Lebanon.
And while the resulting pornographic massacre shocked the conscience of the world, Peres and his colleagues were busy deflecting blame and concocting excuses. Interestingly, Peres has never apologized for the horrendous crime, nor has Israel ever thought of compensating the families of the victims. The phrase “mea kulpa” apparently doesn’t exist in the Zionist lexicon.
And this, still from Sabbah’s blog, is interesting because it was written a couple of weeks ago, but clearly could have been a response to the UN speech Peres gave:
Indeed, for Peres to invoke the ideals of human rights and democracy against Israel’s tormented victims, the Palestinians, is very much like having the likes of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin lecturing their own victims on the sanctity of human life.
After all, there is no difference of moral substance between the nefarious Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, as is the case in the Gaza Strip, and the Nazi behavior during the Second World War.
Actually, the main difference lies not in the quality of the evil committed but rather in its sheer size.
Let us not be duped and deceived by this lying old man who knows well deep in his heart that were it not for the inherently unjust international system, he and other Israeli leaders would be shipped, like drugged wild animals, to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to stand trial for their diabolic acts of murder and terror.
Peres and nearly all other Zionist leaders since Ben Gurion have always been despicable murderers and liars. They still are.
The Nazi comment is apt. If we were watching Hitler at the UN instead of Peres extolling these virtues and covering up his crimes I don’t think he would have received quite the same reception. Yet another example of the ways in which Jewish supremacy functions. Things that are not okay for the rest of the world are somehow okay for Jews. If this is not the same as racist white supremacy then I don’t know what is.
Or one final consideration by Joseph Massad in an excellent article from last year called “Israel’s Right to Be Racist”:
Jews are always in danger out in the wide world; only in a state that privileges them racially and religiously can they be safe from gentile oppression and can prosper. If Israel removed its racist laws and symbols and became a non-racist democratic state, Jews would cease to be a majority and would be like Diaspora Jews, a minority in a non-Jewish state. These concerns are stated clearly by Israeli leaders individually and collectively. Shimon Peres, for example, the dove of official Israel, has been worried for some time about the Palestinian demographic “danger”, as the Green Line, which separates Israel from the West Bank, is beginning to “disappear … which may lead to the linking of the futures of West Bank Palestinians with Israeli Arabs”. He hoped that the arrival of 100,000 Jews in Israel would postpone this demographic “danger” for 10 more years, as ultimately, he stressed, “demography will defeat geography”.
For Peres, as for most Israeli leaders, “demographic threat” or “demographic bomb” equals “transfer,” Israel’s way of masking its ethnic cleansing projects over the last few decades. And yet such a man is hailed at the UN when he should be locked up as a war criminal. How disheartening it was to see that he received no protest and yet Ahmadinejad did.