how about let my land go instead?

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the palestine monitor wrote up a response to the closure those of us living in the west bank are currently under because the jews have to celebrate their holiday, passover:

At 11:59 on April 6th, the IDF began the general closure of the West Bank for the Jewish holiday, Passover.

The closure is supposed to be lifted on April 18th, but according to the IDF spokesperson, it “will be carried out in accordance with security assessments”—which means, it will reopen ‘when they feel like it’.

This closure is part of other security measures planned by the Minister of Defense and is in addition to the unreasonably paranoid increase in security forces around Jerusalem.

As usual, the IDF released a familiar statement on the closure, verbatim from past years:

“The IDF regards the holiday period as a highly sensitive time, security wise. Accordingly, the IDF will increase its alertness in order to ensure the safety of the citizens of Israel, while preserving, to the best of its ability, the daily life of the Palestinian population.”

However, the only people whose daily life will be preserved are the foreign journalists, NGO workers, doctors and other medical personnel, as well as religious workers and Christian pilgrims who will be largely “unaffected by the closure”.

The IDF also announced that there will be “free movement for Christians to Holy Sites during the Easter holiday period”. They also took the opportunity to send mass emails to journalists, known to be working in the region, to tell them about these ‘goodwill measures’ in an attempt to get positive publicity about this discriminatory closure.

Muslim Palestinians will not be allowed free movement—even for work in Israel.

This Israeli ‘lock-down’ affects thousands of Palestinians whose livelihoods depend on being able to enter Israel for work. However, because of the closure, they will not be able to go to work for at least 12 days. Their daily life will be interrupted by this unnecessary, arbitrary closure.

This closure, “for security reasons” has been called collective punishment by many Palestinians.

Palestinians who need to go to Israel for medical care will still be allowed to cross, in theory. However, that is dependent upon receiving a permit from Israel—which is a mostly random process of selection.

Even the Allenby Bridge, the only crossing that connects the West Bank with the outside world (through Jordan), will be closed for at least 24 hours starting at 10am on Wednesday.

These extreme measures are in addition to the longstanding restrictions of movement that the Palestinians in the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem have had to live with—including hundreds of checkpoints, road obstacles, and road closures.

likewise the ibrahimi mosque in khalil has been closed only for jews for the weekend:

Israeli authorities decided on Thursday to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Muslim worshipers on Sunday and Monday to allow Jewish Israeli settlers to celebrate Passover at the site.

Director of Hebron Waqf (religious endowment) office Zayd Ja’bari condemned the decision as a part an attempt to take full control of the mosque and transform it into a Jewish synagogue.

Israeli settlers have taken over half of the building and for years have operated it as a Synagogue. The building is known to Jews and Muslims as the burial place of the Biblical patriarchs, including Abraham.

“The Ibrahimi Mosque is pure Islamic endowment, and non-Muslims shouldn’t pray inside the mosque,” Ja’bari insisted.

Israeli authorities often close the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers during Jewish holidays. The decision to impose these closures was part of the recommendations of Israel’s Shamgar Commission, which investigated the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians at prayer committed by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein.

the bbc offers a brief description of this jewish holiday:

Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar. Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.

Jews have celebrated Passover since about 1300 BC, following the rules laid down by God in Exodus 13.
The story of Passover

The story of Passover is told in the Book of Exodus.

The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 210 years. God promised he would release them from slavery, but not before Pharaoh had refused their release and God had visited ten plagues on Egypt to demonstrate his power. (Exodus 3: 19-20)

an israeli archaeology professor at tel aviv university, ze’ev herzog has a different take on this narrative (and others):

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.

Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people—and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story—now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells….

The Exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert and Mount Sinai: The many Egyptian documents that we have make no mention of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt and are also silent about the events of the Exodus. Many documents do mention the custom of nomadic shepherds to enter Egypt during periods of drought and hunger and to camp at the edges of the Nile Delta. However, this was not a solitary phenomenon: such events occurred frequently over thousands of years and were hardly exceptional. Generations of researchers tried to locate Mount Sinai and the encampments of the tribes in the desert. Despite these intensive efforts, not even one site has been found that can match the biblical account.

The power of tradition has now led some researchers to ‘discover’ Mount Sinai in the northern Hijaz or, as already mentioned, at Mount Karkoum in the Negev. The central events in the history of the Israelites are not corroborated in documents external to the Bible or in archaeological findings. Most historians today agree that at best, the stay in Egypt and the exodus events occurred among a few families and that their private story was expanded and ‘nationalized’ to fit the needs of theological ideology.

of course whether or not there is any archaeological “evidence” to “prove” whether these were merely stories or not, and herzog contends they are, if you believe that these fairy tales it still does not give zionists the right to colonize someone else’s land. but still even if these are just stories there are lessons to be learned let’s look at a few of the ten commandments that are, one would assume, not just words on a page, but ideals that all people, not only jews, should live by:

You shall not kill.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

of course you can read any number of posts here and see how zionist jews who have colonized palestine not only don’t follow those commandments: they break them multiple times every single day. for 122 years. the same.

one of the chants that jews sitting around the seder table say during passover is “let my people go” when they recount the story of exodus. of course it is ironic because although palestinians are not slaves of the zionist colonists, they certainly are the ones who are crying let my people go:

* let my 11,000+ people out of prison

* let my 7.5 million kin who are refugees return to their homes

* let my land go that is stolen by zionist colonists every day

* let my people out of these ghettos in which we are imprisoned

it is also interesting, today, to think about how egypt fits into this narrative. because i kept thinking about all this yesterday when laila el haddad was imprisoned in a holding room in the egyptian airport in cairo. i kept thinking about the many ironies about this phrase “let my people go.” many of us worked hard to try to find ways to help her get out, but in the end she was deported back to the u.s., after being held for over 24 hours, even though her visa is expired. it is interesting that twitter became the means of communication–for her to seek help and to report what a detention feels like–from being told you are a security risk to running out of diapers for your child. ma’an news and global voices and even amnesty international reported on this phenomenon today. laila tweeted one last tweet (see below) @Gazamom and blogged one last entry before deportation:

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the ironic thing about all of this is that the only way for her to get to gaza, which is occupied by israeli terrorists on all borders, is through egypt. but laila’s story is a clear example of how the zionist entity, and its american partner in crime, extend that border far beyond historic palestine’s borders. while zionist jews chant “let my people go” at the seder table they are always already making sure that other people cannot go. even if those people–always palestinians–are outside their country’s colonized borders. and laila said it best when she tweeted that the only thing stopping her from going home is the fact that she is palestinian. and that she wanted to go home to palestine, specifically to gaza. gaza being the world’s largest open air prison as gerry adams stated in the guardian during his visit in gaza today:

Gaza is still an open-air prison, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said today during a visit to the Middle East.

The West Belfast MP called for an end to the Israeli blockade on building materials and urged the state to enter into negotiations with Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Adams held talks in the region with Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, and is due to travel to the West Bank to meet the Palestinian Authority.

“This is a total denial of the rights of the people of Palestine. This is an open-air prison,” the Sinn Féin president said. “People can’t travel out of here, they can’t travel in.”

notice by the way that this irish man is allowed to go to laila’s home, but she is not. this is a tremendous part of the problem. not only that adams can go to palestine, but me too. i am a foreigner and i live in nablus. i have many friends from here who have never stepped foot on the soil of their own country. and it bothers me a great deal that i get to be here and they cannot. or that my friends who are here must be confined to their prison-ghetto communities and cannot leave when we are under closure, though i could if i wanted to. or that i can go to 1948 palestine and they cannot unless i smuggle them (but even then it would be difficult to do with male friends or with female friends who wear hijab). this is because zionist colonists love racial profiling. and gender profiling.

and make no mistake about it: what happened to laila was also racial profiling egyptian/american/zionist style. but i think it is more than that. no one seems to be blogging or contextualizing the fact that there were a number of palestinians–and lebanese–in egypt rounded up and imprisoned the same day because hosni mubarak was doing more dirty work for the u.s./zionist entity. too, i think that in an egyptian context it is important to remember how much of a threat they see bloggers. so many egyptian bloggers, and journalists are often under attack and imprisoned. although not necessarily related to this kind of crackdown, today the big story on twitter was about blogger wael abbas who blogs at الوعي المصري (digital egyptian) (@waelabbas on twitter).. 3arabawy tweeted and blogged what happened:

Blogger Wael Abbas and his mother have been assaulted in their house by a police major and his brother. Wael said over the phone he had one of his teeth broken, and is suffering from a head injury. A personal disagreement with his neighbor, Wael said, evolved into this mess, by the neighbor summoning his brother, a police officer, who broke into Wael’s apartment and assaulted him and his mother.

but life for bloggers in egypt is challenging, especially those who blog to agitate for change because most egyptians do not want to have this american/zionist regime. alexandra sandals highlights just a couple of these cases for menassat:

A former student at Al-Azhar University in Alexandria, Amer was arrested in November 2006 and subsequently sentenced to a four year long jail term for his alleged tarnishing writings on Islam and the Egyptian President on his Internet blog.

He’s currently serving his sentence at Borg Al-Arab prison outside Alexandria.

In his writings, Kareem had staunchly criticized the teaching methods at his university, referring to the school as the university of “terrorism” and saying that his conservative professors taught that freethinkers “end up in the dustbin of history.”

Amer’s 2007 conviction marked the first time Egypt had sentenced a cyber-dissident to prison, and his jailing sparked an outcry among human rights activists – attracting much unwanted media attention to the Egyptian authorities.

The online campaigners “Free Kareem Coalition” have up to date organized public demonstrations in support of Amer in several world capitals and initiated letter writing campaigns, among other solidarity actions.

Most recently, they launched a channel on the micro-blogging site Twitter where supporters of Amer can receive the latest updates on the case and the blogger’s condition.

Egyptian blogger Wa7damasrya, “Egyptian Girl”, has kept in close contact with Amer throughout his detainment and regularly receives letters from him. In the most recent letter she received from Amer a few months ago, the blogger said he was “doing “fine”.

Egyptian human rights organizations have, however, previously claimed that Amer was beaten up and tortured in his prison cell.

In November 2007, Amer’s lawyers from the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor claiming that their client had been subjected to torture and abuse by a fellow inmate and a prison guard.

They said Amer had contacted them claiming he had been assaulted and then transferred to solitary confinement where he was placed in shackles and repeatedly beaten for two days.

The alleged battery resulted in Amer suffering a broken tooth.

There are no indications that his four year jail sentence will be commuted any time soon.

i will leave you with the narcicyst’s fabulous new music video “p.h.a.t.w.a.” which i discovered on his blog today. i met him last year in la as he is friends with my friends mark and omar. they were on radio intifada together and i joined them for their interview about a hip hop for gaza event. the narcicyst is an iraqi rapper who is brilliant with language, and clearly with image too. and this video deals with racial profiling in other airports and harassment that arabs and muslims, in particular, deal with in north america:

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