if it is on palestinian land and inhabited by jews: it is a colony. period.

and yes, i mean jews: the zionist entity insists on being called a “jewish state” that is an apartheid state in which jews have special rights and non-jews have no rights. of course, any jew who lives in occupied palestine is by definition a zionist. but the zionist entity’s laws specify these rights are for jews. and these jewish zionists are the colonists occupying palestinian land.

it may seem like a sign of progress to most outsiders: 2 zionist terrorist colonies in khalil were dismantled by the zionist terrorist army. but notice in this story that it alerts us to the fact that this has happened before. they have removed one of these colonies and it went right back up. this is the norm here:

The Israeli army demolished two illegal settlement outposts installed by extremist far-right wing Jewish settlers, members of a Yeshiva School from Kiryat Arba’ illegal settlement, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli army radio reported that one of the outposts (Havat Federman) was constructed by an extremist right-wing settler, identified as Noam Federman.

The Second illegal outpost Givat (Hill) Avichai, also known as Hill 18, was constructed by Yeshiva students of the illegal Keryat Arba’ settlement.

As the Israeli police and soldiers arrived at the Havat Federman, shortly before the evacuation was to take place, they found out that the construction was already removed, and all of its supplies were placed in one tent, Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported.

The Federman outpost was first dismantled on Friday October 31, 2008, and the settlers clashed with the Israeli police and attacked Palestinian residents in the Hebron area. They settlers rebuilt the outpost later on and the army did not remove it.

The Israeli police was expecting clashes with the extremist settlers but the evacuation went without noticeable clashes.

Israeli sources reported Wednesday that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had decided to evacuate the outposts in an attempt to avoid pressure by the US Administration.

But the evacuation of the outposts angered several extreme right wing members of Knesset and officials.

Member of Knesset, Michael Ben-Ari, of the National Union Party slammed Netanyahu and Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, for the evacuation of the illegal outposts and added that the “deceived the public and their voters”.

meanwhile more palestinian homes are being destroyed in al quds by zionist terrorist colonitsts:

The Jerusalem Municipality handed on Tuesday orders to demolish 17 Palestinian homes in different parts of East Jerusalem under the pretext that they were constructed without a permit.

The orders are regarding 17 homes in Al Ashqariyya, Beit Hanina, Shu’fat, Al Esawiyya and Jabal Al Mokabbir and Silwan.

Lawyers representing the residents started the legal process in an attempt to stop or freeze the demolishing orders.

The lawyers managed to temporarily freeze some of the orders and managed to delay the demolishing of a home south of the Al Aqsa Mosque until July 10.

The new orders came amidst an ongoing Israeli campaign targeting Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem, as Israel plans to demolish dozens of homes and apartment buildings under the pretext that they were built without a construction permit.

The Jerusalem municipality largely refrains from granting the Palestinians in Jerusalem construction permits in an attempt to force them out of the city while the Israeli government is ongoing with its illegal settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the Arab areas around it.

to get a sense of the political game being played here read jerrold kessel and pierre klochendler’s article in ips:

Netanyahu dug in his heels, although he tried to couch the impending set-to in a mild manner. No new settlements would be built, he told his cabinet colleagues, but settlement expansion should go on, for all the U.S. objections: “Not to address the question of natural growth is simply not fair,” the Prime Minister said.

A close Netanyahu political ally, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, added: “There is one thing to which we just cannot agree – that the government agenda will look like a witch-hunt against the settlers and the drying up of the settlements.”

And, Defence Minister Ehud Barak lined up behind Netanyahu: “It’s not conceivable that anyone seriously intends that a family with two children who have bought a small apartment will be told that an order has come from the U.S. that they may not add two extra rooms when the family grows – that’s illogical,” Barak said.

The Israeli position is most unlikely to satisfy the U.S. Netanyahu seems fully aware that this could be just the beginning of a major row with Washington. He thus appears to be preparing to parry the comprehensive U.S. ‘no’ on settlements by backing the intention of the Israeli defence establishment finally to move on so-called “illegal settlements” (small outposts that were established on the fringes of government-approved settlements in order to expand Israeli control over Palestinian territory).

The day Netanyahu came back, the army pulled down one such wildcat settlement, but within hours the settlers had rebuilt the outpost. Now, though, the Defence Ministry confirms that a comprehensive plan is being drawn up to dismantle 23 mini-settlements created since 2001 without government approval.

Israeli Public Radio quoted sources in the Prime Minister’s office as confirming that Netanyahu would “stand firm behind” Defence Minister Ehud Barak if he concludes that a showdown with the “illegal” settlers is required. This, even at the risk of an improbable showdown with his own nationalist coalition: “We are first and foremost obliged to respect the law,” Netanyahu insisted at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

Obama urged the ending of settlement building in order to lay the ground for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said there is no point in meeting Netanyahu unless he stops settlement construction and agrees to open talks on Palestinian independence.

Over the years, successive Israeli governments have sanctioned 121 settlements, with the settlers themselves putting up an additional 100 or so small outposts since the early 1990s. The overall settler population is around 280,000.

the zionist entity’s destruction of palestinian homes as a form of ethnic cleansing and it’s fake destruction of zionist colonies (which you can see in bold above are temporary). meanwhile, the hasbara propaganda machine is already at work to get obama and clinton to submit to its colonial expansionist regime. i have no doubt they will succeed.

Israel is planning to offer dismantling 26 illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in exchange for American approval that Israel keeps all of its settlements and expands the existing settlement blocs though all settlements are illegal under the international law.

Israeli officials stated that Israel would dismantle 26 illegal settlement outposts within a number of weeks in exchange for allowing Israel to expand its settlements under the pretext of natural growth.

The new so-called Israeli offer was reached during a Monday night meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Ynet News reported that Israel sent on Tuesday a delegation to London in order to hold a meeting with US officials in order to coordinate Ehud Barak’s visit to Washington.

The delegation includes representatives of the offices of Barak and Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Ehud Barak is scheduled to hold a meeting in Washington with the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and the National Security Advisor, James Jones.

On his side, Barak claims that removing the 26 illegal outposts is a “gesture of good will” towards the Palestinians.

Removing the already illegal outposts comes at a price of US acceptance to be flexible in its demand regarding Israel’s freezing of settlement construction and expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

It is worth mentioning that the former US president, George W. Bush, recognized Israel’s illegal settlement blocs in a letter he sent to the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

On his side, Benjamin Netanyahu intends to remove some outposts in an attempt to focus the talks with the US on the Iranian issue instead of settlements.

Talks on removing illegal outposts should not be a condition to getting something in return, as such outposts are not only illegal under the international law, but also under Israeli law.

As for settlements and settlements blocs built in the occupied territories, dismantling them should be unconditional; even if Israel considers them legitimate, they are still illegitimate under the international law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and constitute a war crime.

It is worth mentioning that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions clearly states that an occupying power cannot move part of its civilian population into territories it occupies.

so palestinians seem to be working on a new strategy, or at least a very small minority are. kamahl santamaria’s “inside story” the other night on al jazeera featured a discussion about zionist colonies and in the first few minutes of this you can see a report by sherine tadros in which she shoes you some palestinian families living in the illegal zionist colony of pisgat ze’ev in al quds. the discussion that follows addresses the issue of zionist colonialism on palestinian land, though as usual al jazeera pits two zionist colonitst terrorists against one palestinian (jad ishaq, danny seidmann, shmuel berkovich):

in the episode santamaria begins by saying: “Settlements, neighborhoods, suburbs, call them what you will.” well, i call them colonies. because zionism is a colonial ideology and they are a foreign presence here on palestinian land. there is no way around it. but unfortunately the world continues to think of these colonies on “occupied” land in the west bank or al quds as the only occupied colonies when the entire land of palestine is occupied and filled with such colonies. for instance, look at what zionist terrorist colonists did in naqab this week to palestinian olive trees:

The so-called Israel’s Land Authority uprooted on Monday nearly 250 olive trees and several fig trees and grapevines south of Shqeib Al Salaam Arab village in the Negev.

The authorities them loaded the uprooted trees onto trucks and took them away.

The new violation is one of numerous ongoing violations carried out by Israel against the “unrecognized” Arab villages in the Negev. The violations harm the very existence of Arabs in the region as Israel repeatedly demolished their homes and displaced the villagers.

The Regional Council of the Unrecognized Arab Villages in the Negev demanded Israel to recognize the ownership rights of Arabs in the Negev and to recognize the Arab villages there.

Ibrahim Al Waqeely, head of the Regional Council of the Unrecognized Arab villages, told the Arabs48 news website that instead of preserving the greenery, Israel is uprooting trees and terrifying the Arabs to force them out.

He added that Israel is ongoing with its illegal conducts against the Arabs in the Negev while at the same time it is ongoing with constructing malls and Jewish only areas in the area.

Al Waqeely added that the residents will replant their olives “exactly as they rebuild their homes which Israel demolishes”.

He also said that the Arabs inhibited the Negev way before Israel occupied Palestine and declared its independence.

and here is what palestinians have to endure because of zionist terrorist colonists on their land, in their midst:

Local sources reported on Monday at evening that a group of armed extremist settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds east of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The settlers came from Bait Yatir and Maon illegal outposts, installed on privately owned Palestinian lands, east of Yatta.

Some of the attacked shepherds were identified as Ismail Abu Qbeita, Issa Makhamra, Ibrahim Ali Awad, Ali Mohammad Makhamra, and Mohammad Abu Qbeita.

Resident Mohammad Abu Qbeita stated that nearly twenty armed settlers attacked the shepherds with batons forcing them out of the grazing land, and inflicting wounds on them, especially in their legs.

The Israeli army did not attempt to intervene.

and this is true when palestinian women are subjected to terrorism at the hands of zionist colonists:

A Palestinian woman sustained moderate wounds on Tuesday afternoon after she was attacked by an Israeli settler in northern West Bank.

Hiba abed Al Hak, 21, was going from her city Salfit to Ramallah through Nablus city. She was stopped at Za’tara military checkpoint near Nablus, while waiting at the checkpoint she was attacked and beaten up by the settler, local sources reported.

Medical sources reported that Al Hak was moved to hospital for treatment, medics said that she was attacked while soldiers at the checkpoint were watching.

Resident they have been attacked by settlers at that military checkpoint for the past two days.

still other palestinians find themselves prisoners in their own homes such as the khatib family in al quds because of the pisgat ze’ev illegal colony on palestinian land reported in the above al jazeera piece:

The Israeli construction of the Annexation Wall on the Khatib family land has rendered 24 members of the family on the Israeli side of the Wall, where they are being kept under house arrest. No members of the family have committed any crime, but the Israeli military keeps them under house arrest because the Israeli military constructed the Wall with the family on the Israeli side.

The family’s home and land have been annexed into the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement, and the family has thus been unwillingly “turned into settlers”. To visit the rest of their relatives and friends in their village of Hizma, they are forced to travel to an Israeli checkpoint border crossing. Their friends and relatives who have been rendered on the Palestinian side of the Wall have an extremely difficult time obtaining the permits and permission necessary to cross to visit the Khatib family stuck in Pisgat Ze’ev.

A recent exposé by the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahranoth documented the family’s situation, including interviews with family members. Kifach Khatib, the mother of the family, told Yedioth Ahranoth, “The fact that we have been turned into settlers does not mean that we gave up on our way of life. We continue to raise chickens and sheep for a living.”

But even the simple family farming lifestyle of the Khatib family has been rendered impossible by the Israeli settlers who now surround the family’s home and land. According to Kifach Khatib, the family has faced harassment and theft of animals by the Israeli settlers. The family has had to move their sheep and chickens, which are their main source of income, across the Wall to the Palestinian side, where they are depending on the goodwill of their former neighbors to care for their animals. She added, “A month ago settlers stole my best goat, and from time to time we have to cross over to the other side of the fence to feed our animals. Our Palestinian neighbors cannot raise the animals themselves – I don’t know what to do.”

The Israeli District Coordination Office, which is the main interface between the Israeli military and the occupied Palestinian population in the West Bank, told Yedioth Ahranoth that they are familiar with the Khatib family’s situation, and have issued the family permits to cross the Wall to the Palestinian side, which the Office says will allow the family to maintain a normal life.

Members of the Khatib family, which includes two disabled girls suffering from a neurological condition, say that living under house arrest under the continuous threat of harassment by Israeli settlers, is far from a normal life.

moreover because of these colonies the ground water supply is being contaminated by zionist colonists abusing palestinian land as reported in electronic intifada:

Israeli army bases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and Israel are contaminating land and water sources, says a letter addressed to Major General Gadi Shamni, commander-in-chief of the central command in Israel.

According to the 12 May letter signed by Issac Ben David, deputy director at the Ministry of the Environment, and seen by IRIN, five bases in the OPT are a major source of contamination due to poor handling of diesel fuel and oil.

The bases in question are Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem; Ramallah (West Bank); another is near Hebron (West Bank); and two are Israeli army fuel stations near Macabim and Halamish.

Ben David’s letter said: “In a recent inspection conducted by the ministry inspectors of [Israeli army] bases in [the OPT] we discovered a bleak picture of neglect and severe damage to the environment due to leakage of fuel and oil. This severely damages the soil and ground water.”

all of this destruction and audacity will continue, i suspect, regardless of anything the u.s. administration says or does as Omar Yousef Shehabi explains in electronic intifada:

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared for his first meeting with US President Barack Obama earlier this week, preliminary construction began on the Maskiot settlement in the Jordan Valley, which forms the Eastern Bantu of the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, it will be Israel’s first new settlement in the northern West Bank in 27 years.

More accurately, Maskiot was established as an army brigade encampment in 1982, abandoned in the late 1990s, reconstituted as a army preparatory school in 2005, and promised to former residents of an “illegal” Gaza settlement, Shirat Hayam, in 2006. That plan to settle 30 families roughly 15 kilometers east of the Green Line — the internationally-recognized boundary between Israel and the West Bank — was abandoned under American pressure in 2007 and resurrected in the final months of the moribund Bush presidency. Obviously, neither the roughly 50,000 Palestinians of the Jordan Valley nor their listless leaders in Ramallah play any role in this kabuki dance between the Israeli and American governments.

The Obama administration will halt construction of Maskiot once more, likely in exchange for its acquiescence to the further (and nearly complete) Judaization of Jerusalem. Specifically, Netanyahu wants to complete partition of the Palestinian West Bank into northern and southern Bantus by completing development of the “East 1” or E1 area between Jerusalem and the mega-settlement of Maale Adumim. Israel first authorized development in this area in March 1997, during Netanyahu’s first premiership. It opened a massive new police headquarters for the West Bank in E1 this month, intends to build 3,500 housing units for settlers in this area of less than five square miles, and has spent more than NIS 120 million ($30 million) on a segregated road that will connect E1 to Jerusalem for Jews, and shuttle Palestinian Arabs between their northern and southern Bantus without desecrating the holy city with their presence.

Let us remember that Netanyahu orchestrated a similar provocation early in his first premiership to advance his geopolitical agenda. On 24 September 1996, towards the end of protracted negotiations over the Hebron Agreement, Netanyahu ordered that a gate to the Western Wall tunnel be opened along the Via Dolorosa, blasted through the grounds of the Umariya elementary school (incidentally, my father’s primary school). As a result, tourists who once had to retrace their steps to exit the tunnel now exit onto the Via Dolorosa and are escorted by armed Israeli soldiers through the Old City’s Muslim quarter (think of it as a quotidian version of the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations that flaunt Israeli “liberation and reunification” of the city by parading through Arab Jerusalem and dancing atop the ruins of the Moroccan quarter in the Western Wall plaza).

how about no voice!

here is a group i would love to silence. it is called “one voice.” i say: how about no voice! apparently it is old, but someone tweeted it today so i just learned about it. this group is quite skilled in masking who they really are about (this is the first clue that it is a hardcore zionist organization dedicated to preserving the racist, zionist, colonist, terrorist state). to start with the term “one voice” is a sort of euphemism, i think, for some sort of unified solution and masks their goal of continuing the zionist colonization of palestinian land. you can get some idea of who they are from their faq page:

How is OneVoice different from other ‘peace’ groups?

We are dedicated to conflict resolution. Israelis and Palestinians at a grassroots level want to find a resolution to this conflict and agree in broad terms on the parameters for that resolution. They do not necessarily like or love each other, but they recognize that to guarantee their own freedom, security, and viability, they have to assure the same for the other side. We are committed to mobilizing people behind this belief to effect real change. We are a grassroots, non-partisan, joint Israeli-Palestinian organization – not imposing ideas from above, but helping people on the ground to find and frame their own answers.

Why do you believe in a two-state solution?

OneVoice does not have its own views on how a peace agreement should look – we are simply codifying the views of the masses, and building off of the groundwork laid by past agreements and proposals, which are accepted by the majority of Israelis & Palestinians as the basis for negotiating a two-state solution. The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, according to all major polls, agree that a two-state solution is the only way to end this conflict.

Is it really a parallel movement? Are both sides really represented?

This is the most commonly asked question by people on both sides. Each side perceives that the other lacks a contingent of moderates willing to lead their people to compromise. Exactly the same amount of money goes into programming in Israel as it does in Palestine.

What many people are unable to see, which we uniquely can, is that whether on the left or on the right, Israeli or Palestinian, the overwhelming majority on each side would choose co-existence and mutual respect over co-extermination and mutual ruination. In spite of any apprehension or skepticism they share, they ultimately express a commitment and desire to participate with us.

Is this an attempt to impose a Western solution on a uniquely Middle Eastern problem?

The OneVoice solution is coming from the Middle East; it is not being imposed on anyone. Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis were involved in its inception and now more than 600,000 are members. OneVoice is shaped according to what people who live in the region believe will work. In this regard, we provide a neutral gateway towards consensus that is not linked to any existing entrenched power. OneVoice is a non-biased, grassroots platform that derives its legitimacy from popular participation.

first of all, the notion that this is some sort of grassroots movement that palestinians support is 100% hooey. sure, maybe they have a few collaborators on board (read: those who support american-zionist colonialism here), but that does not mean that the majority of palestinians support this initiative. i can tell you point blank: they do not. there is no clear position on the most important issues, like the right of return, for instance, and they treat palestinians here as if these are only people who live in the west bank–not in 1948 palestine, not in refugee camps in lebanon, jordan, syria, not in the diaspora. of course they cannot because if they were to do so they would have to deal with the right of return. and they do not.

but what is most telling, i think, is the page that lists the board members. the “honorary board” lists palestinians who normalize and who are completely discredited and disrespected among palestinians like saeb erakat. he is as bad as his cohorts on this list like zionnazis martin indyk and dennis ross. it also lists jim zogby who, like ziad asali who sits on the trustees advisory council, do a great job promoting the zionist agenda in the u.s. the rest of the names, one can safely assume, are there to do the zionists’ bidding to ensure that palestinian refugees never have the right of return and that their bantustan situation will continue to increase. make no mistake about it: if indyk and ross are on board we can expect a disastrous outcome for palestinians. period.

then you look at their “parners” page you will notice that they have all sorts of organizations that masquerade as “neutral,” but are really fronts for zionist propaganda–organizations like middle east web as well as arab american organizations that are complicit with the zionist agenda in the u.s. like american task force on palestine. and, perhaps, the real clue is in the organizations that promote normalization (read: force palestinians to be as submissive as possible in their own oppression so zionists can steal more land and murder more palestinians); these groups include: the geneva initiative and ipcri.

how these groups got on the website is another question–whether they support its work or not, for instance. apparently, when the organization began they just put various groups on the website without asking for permission first. they did this with the middle east children’s alliance (meca), and as soon as people at meca found out and requested that they remove their name and logo. apparently, they did not understand that meant meca was not interested in their so-called “peace” initiative and someone at this “one voice” group asked them to send out some email to meca’s list. when they said no, meca got this email, which i quote with permission:

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for your elaborated answer. I find it hard to understand why would you choose not to support an organization that calls for a non violent solution based on 2 states and rapid negotiations, but I guess it is your choice.

PS. Children not living under occupation are also bedwetting and have nightmares, whether it is because of missiles flying over their heads and on their houses for the last 7 years or because of suicide bombers and terrorism. Life and the reality in the Middle east is not as one sided as you portray. The apartheid analogy is nothing more then a propaganda tool, that has nothing to do with reality, and is used to take advantage of peace-seeking people, with historical guilt, by demonizing Israel and the Israelis. What you see in the media is only the bloody stories that sell. They are not always true, and more importantly they are far from being all the story or even a big part of it.

Yours,
Sefi Kedmi

typical zionist answer: the think that the bias is against the them. yet another way of deflecting attention from the reality of their daily thieving and murderous colonial project. ben white had an excellent critique of this pseudo-“peace” initiative in the guardian two years ago, which is worth reading:

We’ve had Live 8 and Live Earth, and this week, albeit on a smaller scale, we almost had One Million Voices. Organised by the OneVoice group, the declared aim was to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in simultaneous events in Tel Aviv, Jericho, London, Washington and Ottawa to voice support for the “moderates” and call for a negotiated two-state solution.

The plans fell through, amid bitter claim and counter-claim, as artists lined up for the Jericho event cancelled, and the Tel Aviv concert followed suit. This followed grassroots pressure by Palestinians who objected to what they see as yet another attempt to promote a false peace that fails to address the structural injustices driving the conflict.

Indeed, despite the peace rhetoric – and the claim that they represent a unique popular call – OneVoice’s approach suffers from the same flaws that have bedevilled official “peace” efforts from Oslo to the Quartet. Such errors were amply demonstrated in Seth Freedman’s column, which implied that the main obstacle to peace is the “extremism” that exists on both sides.

This interpretation of the situation in Palestine/Israel is only possible through a heavy airbrushing of history and a fundamental misreading of the present. Strikingly, the Tel Aviv concert was scheduled to take place in Hayarkon Park – the same location where, almost 60 years ago, the Palestinian village of Jarisha was wiped off the map by Jewish armed forces.

Its residents shared the same fate as almost 800,000 other Palestinians, expelled from what became Israel and prevented to this day from returning home, their land confiscated. Yet official OneVoice material gives the impression that the conflict only began 40 years ago, when Israel occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

Condemning the “extremist minority” of both sides sounds laudable. Of course, “both sides” use violence, and of course, there is hatred and religious extremism among both Palestinians and Israelis. The crucial point, however, is that Israel has all the power. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, not the other way round. Palestinian cities are besieged by a modern, hi-tech Israeli army and subjected to closure, raids and bombardment – not the other way round.

Zionist colonisation is not the preserve of a fanatical fringe in Israel – it is fundamental to the state’s identity and practice. As Martin Luther King said: “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Since Israel continues to show no intention of relinquishing its role as colonial overlord, it’s no good to condemn “both sides”, as if there is equality between occupier and occupied.

Unsurprisingly, those with intimate firsthand experience of this apartheid are under no illusions about the usefulness of toothless “peace processes”. Earlier this week, the UN human rights envoy for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, John Dugard, condemned the Quartet for failing to safeguard Palestinian rights. The BBC’s Tim Franks noted that many diplomats and officials based in the region “would agree with Mr Dugard’s political analysis” yet refrain from agreeing publicly.

The language of moderation is all the rage, from OneVoice to Condoleezza Rice, from the aborted peace concerts to the forthcoming November peace conference. It’s a seductive dichotomy; on the one side are those who light the flame of peace, who strive for a “mass awakening” to the “forces of light and friendship and love”. On the other side are the extremists who threaten, smear and mislead; they are wickedly intransigent – they stifle, snuff out hope and burn flags.

But what is a “moderate”? In recent times, “moderate” has been applied to some rather unlikely characters in the Middle East. For the US, UK and Israeli governments, these include states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. None of these permit much genuine freedom of expression; all of them oppress opposition movements. In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

It seems “moderation” has nothing to do with whether you refrain from the torture of political activists or the flogging of “deviants”, and everything to do with your obedience to US policies and Israeli interests. That is what unites the Saudi royals, the Egyptian president and the Jordanian king.

Meanwhile, groups like ISM, and Another Voice are condemned by Freedman and OneVoice as “extremists” out to “eradicate the other side”, and accused of making unnamed and unspecified threats. Yet these groups are committed to the defence of human rights and international law, and are made up of tireless Israelis, Palestinians and internationals. Their categorisation as “extremists” then, is actually a reflection of their refusal to accept sugar-coated apartheid or well-meaning platitudes that serve the status quo.

It may be an uncomfortable truth, but peace for both peoples comes no closer if the fundamental power disparity between Israel and the stateless, occupied and dispossessed Palestinians is obscured. Confronting the vested interests that perpetuate Palestine’s conquest may not win you awards from Jordanian monarchs or praise from the US state department; but it ultimately brings you a lot closer to peace.

as for kedmi thinking that apartheid does not apply, i think we would do well to look at omar barghouti’s recent article on the subject, which i quote from, in part, below:

Israel’s repressive and racist policies in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory have been recognized as constituting apartheid by a host of opinion leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president, Jimmy Carter, and former UN Special Rapporteur for human rights, Prof. John Dugard, among others. In the same vein, former Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, wrote in a 2002 article in Ha’aretz describing Israel’s regime in the OPT, “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. … In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories….” [36]

However, the applicability of the crime of apartheid as defined in UN conventions to Israel itself has, for the most part, been either inadvertently glossed over or intentionally ignored as an explosive subject that has every potential to invite the vengeful wrath of powerful pro-Israel lobbies. Regardless, one cannot but examine the facts and analyze Israel’s system of governance accordingly.

The strongest argument given by — sometimes well-meaning — experts who dismiss the apartheid label for Israel is that the analogy between Israel and South Africa is not exact and, in many respects, Israel’s oppression is even more severe, demanding a different designation altogether. The problem with this argument is that it assumes, quite incorrectly, that apartheid is a South African trademark and, therefore, that every regime accused of practicing apartheid must be shown to be identical to South Africa’s apartheid regime of yesteryear. Apartheid, however, although brought to world attention and given its name by the racist regime in South Africa, has been recognized by the UN for decades as a generalized crime with a universal definition.

The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1976 defines apartheid [37] as “similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” which have “the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, in particular by means such as segregation, expropriation of land, and denial of the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality and the right to freedom of movement and residence” (Article II). The similarity to South Africa is cited not as a condition but in recognition of its status as a historic precedent.

As a recent in-depth strategic position paper [38] published by the Palestinian BDS National Committee states, Israel’s origins, laws and policies against the Palestinian people fit to a large extent the definition of apartheid. The conceptual origins of Israel’s unique form of apartheid are found in Zionism, a racist European ideology that was adopted by the dominant stream of the Zionist movement (World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund, among others) in order to justify and recruit political support for its colonial project of establishing an exclusive Jewish state in historic Palestine. Political Zionists dismissed the indigenous population of Palestine as non-existent in the famous Zionist slogan of “a land without a people;” making this a self-fulfilling prophecy, Zionist forces forcibly displaced 750,000-900,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed hundreds of the depopulated Palestinian villages in an operation termed “cleaning the landscape” that lasted until 1960. [39]

Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people amounts to apartheid precisely because it displays many of the main features of the crime as defined by international law:

1. Racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people who became citizens of the State of Israel was formalized and institutionalized through the creation by law of a “Jewish nationality”, which is distinct from Israeli citizenship. No “Israeli” nationality exists in Israel, and the Supreme Court has persistently refused to recognize one as it would end the system of Jewish supremacy in Israel. The 1950 Law of Return entitles all Jews — and only Jews — to the rights of nationals, namely the right to enter “Eretz Yisrael” (Israel and the OPT) and immediately enjoy full legal and political rights. “Jewish nationality” under the Law of Return is extraterritorial in contravention of international public law norms pertaining to nationality. It includes Jewish citizens of other countries, irrespective of whether they wish to be part of the collective of “Jewish nationals,” and excludes “non-Jews” (i.e., Palestinians) from nationality rights in Israel.

2. The 1952 Citizenship Law [40] has created a discriminatory two-tier legal system whereby Jews hold nationality and citizenship, while the remaining indigenous Palestinian citizens hold only citizenship. [41] Under Israeli law the status of Jewish nationality is accompanied with first-class rights and benefits which are not granted to Palestinian citizens.

3. The Israeli Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, for the exclusive benefit of Jews. In 1998, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CESCR, expressed [42] grave concern about this law and stated that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination, because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties to non-Jewish citizens of the State.

4. Return of Palestinian refugees and Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs), as required by international law, has been prevented by means of force and legislation on racist grounds. Simply because they are not Jews, Palestinian refugees were excluded from entitlement to citizenship in the State of Israel under the 1952 Citizenship Law. They were “denationalized” and turned into stateless refugees in violation of the law of state succession. Their land and other property were confiscated by the State. The approximately 150,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 Nakba were placed under a military regime (1948 – 1966) similar to the regime currently in place in the OPT.

For decades, racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in every vital aspect of life has been the norm. From land ownership to education to health to jobs to housing, the indigenous Palestinians have been denied equality by the State’s laws and policies. For instance, they are not allowed, to buy or rent land in about 93% of the state lands of Israel. [43] To this date, polls consistently show overwhelming majorities of Israeli Jews standing in opposition to full equality with the indigenous Palestinians in the state. [44] So the fact those Palestinians can vote, unlike their black African counterpart under South African apartheid, becomes almost a formality, a tokenism of sorts, clearly designed to project a deceptive image of democracy and fend off well-justified accusations of apartheid. [45]

Even in cancer research [46], Israeli apartheid is strongly present. In June 2001, the Health Ministry published a map of the geographical distribution of malignant diseases in Israel during the years 1984-1999. The report did not include a single Palestinian community in Israel, with the exception of Rahat, ostensibly due to “budgetary problems.” This research is particularly important because, in Israel, only when a correlation is shown between the presence of polluting sites and the incidence of malignant disease is it possible to prevent installation of new hazards, or demand tighter environmental standards. By intentionally omitting Palestinian towns in its extensive cancer mapping, the Health Ministry has indirectly given a green light to polluters to relocate to Palestinian towns inside Israel — not to mention in the OPT. The results of such health apartheid are ominous. In the past three decades the rate of malignant diseases in the Palestinian population in Israel has risen 3 to 4 times higher than among the Jewish population. A spokesperson for the Israeli Center against Racism commented, “The report has produced two different groups. One, an overprivileged group, whose lives are dear to the state and to the Health Ministry; a second, whose lives are of no importance to the state.”

This discrimination must be seen in the wider context of Israel’s perception of Palestinians by leading Israeli politicians, intellectuals, academics and mass media outlets as a “demographic threat” that needs to be dealt with resolutely; thus the rise of openly fascist parties in the recent parliamentary elections. Echoing a popular view in Israel, a ranking academic, Major General (reserve) Shlomo Gazit from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, preaches: “Democracy has to be subordinated to demography.”[47] And now, the fanatic right Israeli leader, Avigdor Lieberman, and his supporters are saying democracy has to be subordinated to loyalty to Jewish supremacy.

The complicity of Western governments in all this horrific violation of international law and basic human rights has led many analysts to view the role of the West as profoundly flawed, both morally and legally. The comprehensive impunity enjoyed by Israel has allowed it to project itself and to act as an uncontrollable “mad dog” — an image advocated by Moshe Dayan decades ago and endorsed most recently by Israeli military historian, Martin Van Creveld [48] — in an attempt to make the Palestinians submit to its colonial will, to accept slavery as fate.

This criminal impunity and categorical denial of rights, more than anything else, were the main motivation behind the Palestinian BDS campaign.

Since 9 July 2005, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions have been advocated by virtually the entire Palestinian civil society everywhere as an effective form of solidarity that has a real potential to bring about an end to Western complicity with Israel and, therefore, to Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid. During and ever since Israel’s criminal war on Gaza, Palestinian civil society has stood more united than ever in urging people of conscience all over the world to hold Israel accountable for its crimes by treating it as South Africa was under apartheid rule. In response, unions, academic groups, faith-based organizations, political parties, social movements and others have adopted creative, context-sensitive and sustainable BDS campaigns, from South Africa to Norway, from Australia to Canada, from Britain to Venezuela, and even from the podium of the President of the UN General Assembly. [49]

Israel’s state terrorism in Gaza, enabled by virtually unlimited support from the US and Western governments in general, was a key catalyst in spreading and deepening BDS around the world, prompting advocates of Palestinian rights to feel that our South Africa moment has finally arrived. Israel is now widely perceived, at a grassroots level, as an international pariah that commits war crimes with impunity and that needs to be held accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights.

for readers who are too racist to take the word of a palestinian, how about a jewish south african man who lived through apartheid in south africa and who has witnessed it in palestine as well? ronnie kasrils also published a piece this week comparing the two regimes:

It is by no means difficult to recognize from afar, as Verwoerd had been able to do, that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. Verwoerd’s successor, Balthazar John Vorster visited Israel after the 1973 October War, when Egypt in a rare victory regained the Suez Canal and Sinai from Israel. After that Israel and South Africa were virtually twinned as military allies for Pretoria helped supply Israel militarily in the immediacy of its 1973 setback and Israel came to support apartheid South Africa at the height of sanctions with weaponry and technology – from naval ships and the conversion of supersonic fighter planes to assistance in building six nuclear bombs and the creation of an arms industry.

For the liberation movements of southern Africa, Israel and apartheid South Africa represented a racist, colonial axis. It was noted that people like Vorster had been Nazi sympathizers, interned during World War II – yet feted as heroes in Israel and incidentally never again referred to by South African Zionists as an anti-Semite!. This did not surprise those that came to understand the true racist nature and character of Zionist Israel.

Time and space does not allow further elaboration, but it is instructive to add that in its conduct and methods of repression, Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith – even surpassing its brutality, house demolitions, removal of communities, targeted assassinations, massacres, imprisonment and torture of its opponents, collective punishment and the aggression against neighboring states.

Certainly we South Africans can identify the pathological cause, fuelling the hate, of Israel’s political-military elite and public in general. Neither is this difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians – women, children, the elderly amongst them. In fact was this not the pathological racist ideology that fuelled Hitler’s war lust and implementation of the Holocaust?

I will state clearly, without exaggeration, that any South African, whether involved in the freedom struggle, or motivated by basic human decency, who visits the Occupied Palestinian Territories are shocked to the core at the situation they encounter and agree with Archbishop Tutu’s comment that what the Palestinians are experiencing is far worse than what happened in South Africa, where the Sharpeville massacre of 69 civilians in 1960 became international symbol of apartheid cruelty.

for those of you who want to know what palestinians want and what serves their interests you can check out these websites:

one state democratic group

and

global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement

PS: i meant to post this last night but it slipped my mind. the reason this old organization is on my mind now is because it is in the news:

Sir Paul McCartney officially joined the International Board of Advisors of the OneVoice movement, a grassroots organization aiming at broadcasting the views of what it calls the “overwhelming majority” of moderates in both Israel and Palestine.

The Board of Directors already includes actors Danny DeVito and Jason Alexander, as well as international dignitaries and political figures like Dennis Ross.

McCartney met with OneVoice Israel Chairwoman Irit Admoni Perlman during his visit to the region in September and was later asked to join the board, according to the statement.

“They told me that the vast majority of people in both societies are moderates and simply want a better life for their families and themselves,” a statement from the organization quoted McCartney as saying, “This gave me great hope that, one day, people like them will help to bring about a peaceful resolution to the troubles in the area. I am, therefore, happy to lend my support in this way to the cause of peace.”

notice that not only did mccartney ignore the boycott and come to the israeli terrorist state, but he also ONLY met with an israeli terrorist, not any palestinians. but his group represents both sides–as if there can be two sides when you have the colonizer and the colonized.

racism, apartheid, and osloization

i’m preparing lecture notes for next week’s lecture notes for my postcolonial literature class. i’m teaching mbulelo vizikhungo mzamane’s novel the children of soweto. the novel is a moving portrait of the soweto uprising in 1976 that was led entirely by the youth. the youth were opposed to the enforcement of afrikaans as the language of instruction in south african schools. the thing that is interesting about the novel is that mzamane is one of the student leaders from that resistance movement so it is autobiographical and an historical chronicle of the events as they unfolded. it would be like of one of the youth leaders of the first intifada wrote a novel about it. because the soweto uprising was very similar to the first intifada–stone throwers against tanks and all. here is how he describes one of those instances:

Sizwe was two years older than Nomsa. He and Sandile went to school in the township. During the day they had been involved in a demonstration, together with children from other primary and secondary schools in the township. They marched through the streets, singing old liberation songs and others they had composed themselves, to protest against the enforcement of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in certain subjects throughout African schools. The students planned to converge at the township’s largest soccer stadium to voice their opposition to the scheme.

The police met them in the streets, before they could reach the stadium, and asked them through loudspeakers to disperse. They told the students that in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act, which the children had never heard about, they were breaking the law by staging a protest march without obtaining permission from the police first.

“You are here. Give us your permission then,” someone in the crowd shouted. And the chant caught on, “Give us your permission then.”

The police then used teargas to try and disperse the students. Far from scattering about in a disorganised fashion, the students soon developed a technique for containing the teargas. Armed with cloths and buckets of water requisitioned from nearby houses, they covered the canisters with wet cloths as soon as they hit the ground. In this way many of the canisters were prevented from exploding. Thus unable to break the march the police resorted to shooting. At first they aimed above the heads of the crowd, but as the students surged forward resolutely they fired at their front ranks. Some students retaliated by throwing stones at the police. In the ensuing scuffle a few people were injured, including some police and onlookers, and several children were shot dead. (53-54)

there are so many other parallels in the novel–from collaborators within the ranks of south african resistance to the media’s total distortion of why these youth were resisting in the first place. and, then, of course are the curfews, closures, arrests, and torture.

south africa, like the zionist entity, were founded on ideologies of racial or religious supremacy. it is worth recalling what ali abunimah’s brilliant book, one country: a bold proposal to end the israeli-palestinian impasse has to say about the colonization of south africa:

The origins of the Afrikaner identity date back to April 6, 1652, when the Dutch East India Company established a colony on the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. Nelson Mandela explains that April 6 was “the day white South Africans annually commemorate[d] the founding of their country–and Africans revile[d] as the beginning of three hundred years of enslavement.” This anniversary is redolent of May 14, the day in 1948 that Israel declared independence but which Palestinians observe as al-nakba–the catastrophe–the beginning of their exile and subjugation. In the late seventeenth century, colonists arrived at the cape from the Netherlands, Germany, France, and other parts of Europe, many escaping appalling religious persecution and massacres in their home countries. In the 1830s, the Afrikaners or Boers (as these colonists eventually called themselves), chafing under British rule and in search of more land, set off to conquer the interior. These arduous journeys on foot and in covered wagons became known as the Great Treks and ended with the establishment of three independent republics. During the Boer Wars in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the British crushed the Boer republics, generating enduring Afrikaner bitterness. The “Anglo-Boer War burnt itself into the collective consciousness of my people, the Afrikaners, like no other event in our history,” [F.W.] de Klerk has said. The British scorched-earth policy destroyed farms and killed livestock, and ended Boer independence. Worst of all, the British “interned our women and children in what became known as concentration camps.” (The term “concentration camp” was first used in this context.) Of the entire Afrikaner population–a few hundred thousand at the time–tens of thousands are believed to have died in the camps.

Afrikaners were determined never again to submit to foreign rule or forgo their independence and security. In 1910, the predominantly British-settled colonies of the cape and the former Boer republics int he interior formed the Union of South Africa, which excluded all indigenous African peoples, as well as Indians and other Asians, from any political power. Then, when the Afrikaner-dominated National Party won the whites-only general election in 1948, they ushered in a new era of more formalized discrimination–apartheid. As Mandela observes, the 1948 Nationalist election victory was, in the “cosmology” of Afrikaners, “like the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. This was the fulfillment of God’s promise, and the justification for their view that South Africa should remain a white man’s country forever.” Afrikaners compared the Great Treks to the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, and saw their republics as a “new Israel,” built on land redeemed from godless “Canaanites.” Out of the undeniable suffering and trauma of the Boer Wars, Afrikaners constructed an ideology in which they were in a state of permanent victimhood. They acted with the belief that God was on the side in a struggle for self-preservation against external forces whose sole motivation was their destruction. (136-138)

the histories and the methods of resistance in palestine and south africa have been quite similar. but the main difference between the two situations is that nelson mandela refused to sign any agreement, any document until all conditions had been met. he wasn’t stupid enough to trust the colonizing entity in south africa. he wanted to see them put their words into action, such as releasing political prisoners. and he had enough integrity to make sure the other prisoners were released before him. here in palestine the oslo accords were signed without the zionist entity ever having to give up anything. and they never have. instead, they’ve created more suffering, more oppression, and increased the apartheid conditions.

today on z net haidar eid has a really important and smart article that addresses the way that oslo has destroyed palestine on so many levels, which i quote in full below:

One of the most important outcomes of the Gaza massacre (2009) has been the unprecedented tremendous outpouring of popular support for the Palestinian cause; something the signatories of the Oslo accords (1993) must have not been happy with. The return of the pre-Oslo slogans of liberation, as opposed to independence, have, undoubtedly, created a new dilemma, not only for Oslo political elites, but also for the NGOized, Stalinist Left.

The process of “Osloization”i.e, a combination of corruption, Ngoization, and a selling-out of revolutionary principles and sloganeering, fused with the fiction of the two-prison solution, has been dealt a heavy blow in the 2006 elections. Judging from statements made, not only by PA officials, but also by the Left, and even the Hamas government, the ultimate goal of the current river of blood has become the establishment of a Palestinian state in any dimension, i.e. the two-state solution. The contradiction between the tremendous international support, the revival of the BDS campaign, the outpouring of demos against Apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, and the reiteration, by most political orgs, of the two state mantra is a strong indication of the need for an alternative program that makes the De-Osloization of Palestine its first priority.

In order to understand the Oslo Accords and the extreme damage they have caused to the Palestinian cause, one needs a historical contextualization of the so called “peace process”, or rather what many critical thinkers have called the peace industry. This understanding is a necessary step towards a process of De-Osloization, a term I will get back to at a later stage.

The Oslo accord was claimed to be the first step towards self-determination and an independent state. But it is clear now, 16 years after the famous hand shake on the White House lawn, that no state in the short run will be established because of the mere fact that Oslo simply ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people. In other words, these accords have offered Zionism what it has always been striving for. Golda Meir’s infamous statement that there are no Palestinians is a case in point here.

And yet, to claim that ‘Oslo’ and ‘Camp David’ were great missed opportunities and ‘breakthrough’, and that the so-called ‘peace process’ was in track until the Palestinians (i.e. colonized victims) blew it is a deliberate ideological distortion of reality claimed in order to prepare Palestinians for more concessions. Real comprehensive peace was not created in Oslo and Washington; rather what was created is an American/Israeli plan to resolve the conflict after the destruction of Iraq and the collapse of the Soviet Union and their attempt to construct a “new Middle East”—to use Condoleeza Rice’s words–a Middle East characterized by imperialist-Zionist hegemony and supported by despotic regimes. The Oslo accord was born dead because it did not guarantee the minimum national and political rights of 10 million Palestinian. As long as there are refugees, cantons, detainees, blockade, settlements, ‘legal torture’ of prisoners, dispossession, assassinations and occupation, comprehensive peace cannot be achieved. It is an illusion in the minds of those who signed the Oslo accords.

These accords have led to the creation of a limited “administrative autonomy” in the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. The local population was given “the right” to form an authority that they could call “national.” Now the question is what makes the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) beyond questioning? What is the ‘legitimate’ ground upon which it was established? Very simple: The Oslo Accords. It has now become very obvious that despite the famous hand shakes on the White house lawn and in Annaplois, and the optimistic talk of the ‘New Middle East,’ these accords, in contradistinction with UN and Security Council resolutions, have not guaranteed the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, or the return of the refugees, nor even the demolishment of the Jewish settlements, and compensation for those Palestinians who have lost—and still losing—their homes, lands and properties; nor the release of all political prisoners, or the opening of all checkpoints, which have become daily nightmares for residents of the WB and GS; …etc. In spite of all the hand shakes, kisses, and friendly press conferences, Israel launched one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the conflict against the civilian population of Gaza, killing in 22 days more than 1400 people, including 438 children, 120 women, 95 old people, 16 medics, 5 journalists, 5 foreign women, and in which it destroyed more than 40.000 institutions and houses, leaving many families homeless. That, of course, was not mentioned as an objective of the Oslo Accords, but nothing either was mentioned in them that would prevent such bloodletting from taking place.

This is the political reality that Palestinian officials who signed the agreement do not like to be reminded of. In fact, what has been created in parts of Gaza and the West Bank is a very strange entity—an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. Gaza 2009, therefore, is the mirror-image of Oslo. When we bear in mind that 75-80% of Gazans are refugees, the results of 2006 elections become more comprehensible not only in its anti-colonial context, but also in socio-political terms. What Oslo has created in Gaza, and the West Bank for that matter, is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, a Third Worldish military court (commended by the Clinton administration), corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.

By winning the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars, and by getting international, Arab and Palestinian recognition, Israel–as an Apartheid settler-colonial state—has hoped to move into a new stage; a stage that requires the formation of ‘new consciousness’ amongst colonized Palestinians. Herein lies the danger of Oslo; Osloization, within this neo-Zionist context, means the creation of a new paradigm through which you wash out the consciousness of your supposed enemy-the ‘Other’-and replace it with a one-dimensional mentality, through the construction of a fiction (two states for two peoples) whose end is unattainable. Even the fascist Lieberman has started singing the same song.

Put differently, to aim at creating the two-state Palestinian is to aim at creating false consciousness led by assimilated intelligentsia, some of whom have a revolutionary past record. Singing the slogans of “the two state solution,” “two states for two peoples,” “return to the 1967 borders,”–or even “a long-term Hudna” (as proposed by Hamas) — is intended to guarantee the subordination and conformity of the Palestinians, especially those with revolutionary ideas. Gone are the right of return of 6 million refugees and their compensation, and the national and cultural rights of the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

This goal, however, never sees the antithesis it creates as a result of displacement, exploitation, and oppression; it ignores the revolutionary consciousness that has been formulated throughout the different phases of the Palestinian struggle. Nor does it take into account the legacy of civil and political resistance that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. Hence the necessity of the formulation of Palestinian alternative politics. To be conscious of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and of the huge class gape that the Oslo Accords have created has definitely been the beginning of De-Osloization represented in the Al-Aqsa uprising and the outcome of the 2006 elections. This is an oppositional consciousness that the signatories of Oslo did not take into account. Both events represent an outright rejection of the Oslo Accords and their consequences.

The Gaza Strip, however, is seen by the PA as one of three building blocks of an independent state, although it is geographically separated from the second block, i.e. the West Bank. The third block is, Jerusalem, is under total Israeli control. None of the Palestinians in the occupied territories believe that the ‘semi-autonomous’ zones in the GS and the WB -that is, the ones that fall under category A—can lay the foundation for an independent state. What Oslo has led to is, in fact, a South Africa. When black South Africans needed to move from their townships to big ‘white’ cities, they needed to get a ‘pass’. During ‘peace time,’ Palestinians, not only those who work in Israel, but also those who wanted to visit the WB form Gaza, or vice versa, needed to apply for a ‘permit’. Beside the permit, Palestinians needed a so-called ‘magnetic card,’ which is a computer card that has a password to its holder’s security file. No one could work in Israel, or visit the WB, or even go to a hospital inside the ‘green line’ without a ‘permit’ and a ‘magnetic card’. If one was granted such invaluable cards, one was still not allowed to visit any other area except the one s/he was entitled to visit. If one was ‘caught’ at another area, one’s permit and card were confiscated immediately, not to mention the torture one was exposed to. Nowadays, no one is even given such luxurious ‘permits’ and cards. How was apartheid South Africa different?

The tribal chiefs of the South African Bantustans used to believe that they were the heads of independent states. Luckily, the ANC, despite its many compromises with the National Party, had never accepted the idea of separation and Bantustans. The official Palestinian leadership on the other hand, at the end of the millennium, boasts of having laid the foundation for a Bantustan, claiming it to be an independent state in the make. Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate prize Zionism can offer to its ‘Other’ after having denied her/his existence for a century, and after that same ‘Other’ has proved that she is human. For Zionism’s continued presence in Palestine, the ‘Other’ must be assimilated and enslaved without her/ him being conscious of her/his enslavement. Hence the granting of ‘semi-autonomous’ rule over the most crowded Palestinian cities, and hence the logic driving the Oslo Accords.

Oslo, then, brought an unprecedented level of corruption into Palestine; and security coordination with Israel, under the supervision of—irony of ironies—an American general, has become the norm. Repeating the two-state mantra, carrying the Palestinian flag, singing the national anthem and— more importantly—recognizing Israel, regardless of the rights of two thirds of the Palestinian people, are what Oslo is all about.

The lesson we learn from Gaza 2009 is to harness all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without dismantling the PA and realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramallah are a façade not unlike the South African Independent Homelands with their tribal chiefs. The classical national program, created and adopted by the Palestinian bourgeoisie has reached its end unsuccessfully. Most political forces, including the governing party in Gaza, fail to explain how 6 million Palestinian refugees will return to the Israeli State of the Jews and an independent Palestinian state will be created at the same time.

Hence the necessity for an alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the two-prison solution, a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement that has been given an impetus by Gaza 2009. De-Osloizing Palestine is, therefore, a precondition for the creation of peace with justice.

part of this osloizing process that eid analyzes above is the continual dispossession of palestinians from their land. in gaza it happened in a very obvious way. it was clear to those who watched al jazeera, the only international media allowed into the gaza strip. and that savagery continues with israeli terrorists bombing gaza every day, which no longer reported in the international media:

The Israeli military confirmed that it bombed smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday.

Witnesses in Gaza said that the bombing took place in Rafah Refugee Camp, along the border with Egypt.

The Israeli military said the strike was in response to four homemade projectiles and one mortar shell that landed in Israel. No damage or injuries resulted from those attacks.

The tunnels in southern Gaza are used to import goods made scarce by an Israeli blockade that has been imposed on Gaza since 2007.

and what seems to me to be a clear–and horrifying–indication that hamas is in the process of becoming osloized:

Gaza’s Hamas rulers issued rare criticism Thursday of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel from the strip, saying now is the wrong time for such attacks.

The Islamic militant group has fired thousands of rockets at southern Israel in recent years. But Hamas said Thursday that it was not behind recent attacks and that it was investigating who was responsible.

there are no rockets coming from the west bank. and there may not be bombs falling on the west bank, but the continual ethnic cleansing in the west bank and in 1948 goes on unnoticed for the most part. there is, of course, a bit of international coverage of the ethnic cleansing in al quds, which is possibly why there is a temporary ban on the demolition order of homes in silwan:

The Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem decided to temporarily freeze a decision to demolish 35 apartments in Al Abbasiyya neighborhood in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan.

Lawyer Ziad Qi’war, representing the families, said that the order gives the Jerusalem Municipality seven days to respond to appeals filed by the residents.

There are more than 240 Palestinians living in the buildings slated to be demolished.

Qi’war added that the appeal accuses the Jerusalem Municipality of practicing racism against the Jerusalemite Palestinians, and of not providing services to the residents in this area.

The residents said that the Municipality does not want to sit with them in order to listen to their points of view.

Qi’war called on all civil, legal and political groups to unite their efforts in order to achieve a ruling that completely voids the demolishing orders.

Israel intends to demolish nearly 180 homes in Al the Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods of Al Bustan, Al Abbasiyya, Ras Khamis, and Al Tour.

of course this is when the israeli terrorist colonists send in the colonists without uniforms to go in and attack palestinians:

Palestinian sources reported on Wednesday that a group of extremist Jewish settlers attacked dozens of Palestinian homes and stores in East Jerusalem.

The settlers were marching in the city and chanting slogans against the Arabs and the Palestinians, and calling for expelling them from the Holy City.

The Israeli police did not attempt to intervene and allowed the settlers to continue their march, which encouraged them to attack Palestinian property, local sources reported.

The settlers chanted “death to Arabs” and other racists slogans while marching in Arab markets and the alleys of the Old City.

The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that the different settlers groups marched in different parts of the Old City under heavy protection and presence of the Israeli military and police.

The police closed main roads in the Old City barring the Palestinians from using them in order to allow the settlers to march.

WAFA said that dozens of extremist Jews arrived in the Old City by special buses since early morning hours of Wednesday, and held prayers at the Western Wall before marching in the alleys of Jerusalem.

They were accompanied by settlers living in East Jerusalem, especially from outposts in Sheikh Jarrah area, and several outposts in East Jerusalem.

in contradistinction, there is very little about the rest of the west bank. consider these latest developments:

in aqraba near nablus:

The Israeli Army handed miltary orders to several residents of Aqraba village, southeast of the northern West Bank City of Nablus, informing them of a decision to demolish six homes and a mosque in the village.

Local sources in the village stated that the order comes to enable the expansion of Israeli settlements surrounding the village, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

The sources added that nearly 90 percent of the village’s land is used as grazing ground, but the Israeli authorities are attempting to annex the land for settlement construction and expansion.

There are four Israeli settlements surrounding the village, all built on land annexed from the villagers. Settlers have carried out repeated attacks against the village and its inhabitants, killing four villagers over the past few years.

Recently, one resident was killed and another was wounded in a roadside bomb placed by the settlers, the Palestinian Information Center said.

Last week, Israeli Authorities handed fifteen military orders to the residents of Aqraba, informing them that Israel intends to demolish 15 homes, barns, tin-houses for sheep, and water wells located in Khirbit al-Taweel area, which belongs to the village.

in qalqilia a farmer suffered a heart attack after witnessing israeli terrorists destroying his olive trees:

Palestinian medical sources in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported that a farmer suffered a heart attack two days ago after the Israeli army uprooted his olive trees in the village of Ras Tira, near Qalqilia.

The army was uprooting the trees to allow the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the area.

The farmer tried to stop the soldiers and defend his land, and suffered a heart attack while arguing with the troops and the bulldozer driver, local sources reported.

Also, the Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that five human rights activists from the United states, Sweden, and Denmark were taken prisoner by the army after joining a non-violent protest against the uprooting of trees in Ras Tira, Wadi Ar-Rasha, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported.

Residents from the area, joined by activists, were protesting the uprooting of olive trees as the army started implementing the change of the route of the Israeli Apartheid Wall in the area.

As the trees were being cut, villagers and activists demonstrated while the troops fired tear-gas at the them and the villagers, WAFA said.

The new Wall route will lead o more destruction and uprooting of the villagers’ farmlands and orchards.

It is worth mentioning that the Wall and the Alfe Menashe settlement completely surround the villages of Ras Al Tira, Wadi Ar Rasha, and Dhaba’.

or how about in 1948 palestine?:

Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of Beer Sheba in 1948 occupied Palestine on Thursday demolished two Palestinian houses at the pretext of lack of construction permit.

Local sources in Beer Sheba said that hundreds of policemen escorted the bulldozers during the demolition process.

They pointed out that the same force uprooted 100 olive trees.

The step was taken on the same day that cattle owners plan a demonstration in the same city to protest additional taxes and unfair distribution of grazing lands, the locals underlined.

of course, the united states doesn’t want to look at the racism inherent in the zionist entity’s apartheid regime. that is why it has chosen to boycott the world conference on racism in geneva (known as durban 2). (you see, obama does not care about discussing and ending racism any more than bush.) the main issue for boycotting the conference in 2001 was the discussion of zionism as a form of racism as well as the discussion of reparations for slavery. this time around the issue of slavery reparations seems to irk obama as does the discourse on the terrorist state of israel. but the draft document that the obama administration objects to does not talk about zionism as racism. instead, it focuses on israel as an apartheid regime. still, they refuse to attend. ramzy baroud explains:

The US conditioned its participation of the April conference in Geneva (Durban II) by removing any specific censure of Israel, and ensuring that Israel is not ‘singled out’ for criticism. Although US sensibilities constantly expect, but demand the singling out of any country, leader or group it deems rouge, war criminal, or terrorist, Israel is treated based on different standards. “A bad document became worse, and the US decided not to participate in the conference”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported in reference to the draft documents being finalized before the conference.

The original “bad” document apparently dubs Israel “an occupying state that carries out racist policies”, a description which is consistent with international law, UN resolutions and the views of leading world human rights defenders – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk,the current UN’s envoy, among many others.

The ‘bad document’ might have ‘became worse’ with new references to the Gaza bloodbath, which killed and wounded nearly 7,000 Palestinians in 22-days.

From an American – and unfortunately, Canadian and Italian, so far – viewpoint, such inhumane practices don’t warrant a pause or mere words of condemnation. The same, of course, doesn’t apply to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba and other ‘unfriendly’ nations. The US decision must be particularity disheartening to African nations who saw in the advent of Barack Obama some vindication. The US first black president, however, saw it fit to boycott a conference that intended to discuss the issue of slavery and repatriation, to once again prove that race alone is hardly sufficient in explaining US internal and external policies.

in response to this some people have organized a campaign to try to get obama to reconsider. while their letter is not perfect, i do think attending the conference sends the right message to the zionist entity that they cannot bully the world by threats of anti-semitism. their racist regime must not only be critiqued, but ended. here is the letter and if you click the link you can sign their petition:

January 20, 2009

Dear President Barack Obama,

As people of conscience in the United States struggling for a socially, economically and ecologically healthier world free of racism, colonialism, and militarism, we write to respectfully urge you to attend the upcoming Durban Review Conference on Racism from 20-24 April 2009.

Your election marks a historic moment in a nation founded upon the slavery and genocide of people of color. We, along with millions everywhere, are full of hope that this legacy will finally be redressed. First Nation, people of African descent, working class people, immigrants to this country, and people from colonized countries throughout the world all have suffered for far too long. We hope that your inauguration will usher a new dawn on which the US government will respond to calls to tackle historic and current injustices that stand in the way of change.

You were brought to power by an unprecedented chorus of grassroots voices, a unique gathering of activism and resources. We honor your experiences as a grassroots organizer working for change in the lives of working class people of color. Like many others who voted for you (or wanted to but couldn’t because we are not US citizens), we were inspired by your call for dialogue on foreign policy, and your opposition to the politics of torture and preemptive wars. We rejoiced in your victory – our victory – against racism and war.

Your participation in the Durban Review Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance (Geneva, Switzerland, April 2009) will reaffirm your commitment to these principles. We are aware that great pressure is being exerted on your administration to boycott the Durban Review Conference; that congress has passed a resolution in support of this boycott. Lobbyists on behalf of the State of Israel are wrong to claim that the first Durban Conference was anti-Semitic because it held Israel accountable for its racist laws and policies. Nothing could be farther from the truth: anti-Semitism today is fueled by U.S. policies that apply double standards in its relationship to Israel and allow Israel to violate international law with impunity. The failure to distinguish between criticizing Israeli government policies and anti-Semitism on the one hand, and perpetuating, the misleading image of Jews as united in support of Israel’s unconscionable violence against the Palestinian people, on the other, feeds into anti-Jewish hatred and incites anti-Semitism today.

Israel must obey international law like any other state. Israel has to end its occupation of Palestinian lands, its dismemberment of the country into Bantustans, its apartheid-like laws and policies against Arab people, and its theft of Palestinian land and resources. Only recently, the majority of the international community has raised its voice in protest as Israel waged a savage war against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The U.S. has for too long condoned Israel’s disregard for international law, settlement buildup, and bad faith negotiations. There has never been a more urgent time for the U.S. to join the international community to effect a serious change.

We stand in with the world’s majority who demand an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza and who had the courage to break ties with Israel—the leadership of Latin America, the Arab World, and Turkey; the UN General Assembly and its President, D’escoto Brockmann; Sir Gerald Kaufmann from the British House of Commons, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and the millions of voices demanding that Israel comply with international law.

To ignore Durban is to align with those who justify Israel’s racism, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid-like policies; and to allow its siege of Gaza. A boycott of the Durban global dialogue towards a united and principled stand against racism could only send the wrong message that the U.S. is not committed t to overcoming its history of racism and the impact that history has had in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as on communities of color within the United States. A United States boycott of the Durban Review will squarely put the U.S. in opposition to the global aspirations to transform current conditions of racism and xenophobia.

US boycott of the Durban Review will precipitate a speedy disillusionment in the US and around the world with the commitment of your administration to developing policy that is qualitatively different from those of the previous administration. Ignoring the message of Durban would also undermine and alienate the organizers of the conference who are looking to the principled engagement of your administration against those whose power is based on promoting and enforcing racist divisions within their populations. We hope that your administration can show that the United States is ready to participate in international dialogue aimed at ending its legacy of colonization, slavery, racism and xenophobia. We are conscious that, because of your history and experience, you are well aware of the nature and impact of US policies in the Global South.

From amplifying the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina, through the terrorizing of immigrant communities, and to the continued destruction of indigenous lands, peoples and cultures, harmful U.S. government policies also reflect the culpability of the United States in perpetuating racism and injustice throughout the world. The lavish funding for war and the generous military and political aid to regimes that disrespect human rights have been part and parcel of a governmental outlook that is oblivious to the needs of health care, education, employment and housing.

To fulfill the hope you have inspired and which brought you to office, we urge you and your Administration to:

* Participate in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva from 20-24 of April 2009.

* Consider deeply felt and urgent demands of the Durban Review for US acknowledgment and repudiation of past racist crimes and injustices, in particular against First Nations and African people, as well as of current racist and xenophobic policies enforced by the US within and beyond its borders.

* Engage in critical dialogue on the de-institutionalization of racism within the US, and the ways in which war economy can be diverted into peace economy.

* Shift the US policies toward recognizing the legitimate concerns of participants from communities devastated by war and occupation and listen with an open mind to their demands for justice, dignity and peace.

In your speech at a Howard University Convocation in 2007, you asked the audience to:

Be strong and have courage in the face of injustice. Be strong and have courage in the face of prejudice and hatred. Be strong and have courage in the face of joblessness and helplessness and hopelessness. Be strong and have courage, in the face of our doubts and fears, in the face of skepticism, in the face of cynicism, in the face of a mighty river.

We ask you to be strong in the face of these challenges and to trust the strength of your grassroots base. We ask you to stand up against those who would keep this country and the world shackled by to policies that harm us all. Stand with us as we join hands to support you as a President of a United States that can leave behind racism, colonial oppression and war and that rejoins the world community for justice, dignity and peace.

on gaza delegations

israeli-terror-gaza

the savagery that the zionist entity unleashes on gaza regularly may be quieter in the international media, but of course it has never died down. today, for instance, there were palestinians shot at from israeli terrorist warships in the mediterranean sea:

Three Palestinians were when Israeli warships fired on a car driving near the beach at the As-Sudaniya neighborhood northwest of Gaza City on Tuesday evening.

According to Muawiya Hassanein, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, medics evacuated three moderately-injured people to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The Israeli military says that it launched an airstrike on three men who fired a homemade projectile into Israeli territory in the western Negev desert. Minutes later another projectile landed in the area, the military said.

A military spokesperson said she was not aware of naval forces firing on the Gaza Strip.

the siege on the air, land, and sea borders imposed by the zionist entity, but maintained and supported by egypt, the european union, and the united states has made it impossible for more ships to sail to gaza to break the siege. so now people are challenging the closure at the rafah border. of course, for palestinians the border is closed; they may not leave, and often may note enter either. but people from the empire may enter. so now people are coming to gaza via car. it was rather incredible watching george galloway’s viva palestina convoy travel from england to gaza. it reminds me of my fantasy of all these borders being open, of people in this region being allowed to travel freely. it reminds me of stories friends tell me, who are old enough to recall, what it was like when they could just drive to beirut from palestine, for instance. or anywhere inside palestine for that matter. here is what the viva palestina folks posted on their website:

We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds,we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you.

After another morning of intense negotiations, a deal was reached to allow all of the members of the convoy to go through. In the end, Viva Palestina had to make the sacrifice of agreeing that some vehicles will have to cross the border from the Al Ouja Israeli controlled crossing point. This includes our mascot, the fire engine and the boat. This was due to the restrictions imposed by Egyptian law governing the Rafah Crossing.

A tearful Talat Ali told me that ‘Rafah is the most beautiful crossing in the world’, he also said that the time , effort and sacrifices put in by all the Viva Palestina family meant that history has been made today – on the day the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born.

and george gallowy made a very powerful speech when he arrived honoring the resistance in gaza and the heroes of gaza, which is beautiful:

paul woodward has an article about the convoy’s passage, which is worth reading, especially for the way it shows solidarity and the type of solidarity the people on the viva palestina convoy offered–one that supports the democratically-elected government, one that supports resistance, and that does not support normalization:

After negotiations with the Egyptian border authorities, aid brought by the Viva Palestina convoy will be split into medical and non-medical category.

While trucks carrying medical aid are to enter through the Rafah border, the rest of the non-medical goods is to enter from Awja, a border crossing controlled by Israel and lies 43 miles away from Rafah.

“The convoy goods will split in order to allow medical aid through Rafah border and the rest will pass through Awja,” General Muhammed Shusha, governor of north Sinai, told AlArabiya.net.

However, all Viva Palestina convoy members including leaders Galloway and Sabbah al-Mokhtar will enter Gaza through the Egyptian border with Gaza.

“Under no circumstance will members of Viva Palestina convoy coordinate with Israel,” Mokhtar told AlArabiya.net. “We shall all gain safe passage into Gaza from the Egyptian/Gaza border tomorrow as agreed upon with the Egyptian border authorities,” he said….

Bringing together volunteers from different ethnicities and religions, Viva Palestina hopes to bring aid to 1.5 million residents in Gaza who still subsist under a 19-month crippling siege Israel refuses to ease almost one month after its all-out assault.

“The material we are carrying is only a drop in the ocean but the goodwill of volunteers and the people from the countries we have passed through is tremendous,” Mokhtar, one of the leading members of Viva Palestina involved in negotiations with border officials, told AlArabiya.net.

“This convoy is extremely diverse consisting of men, women, Muslims and non Muslims from across England,” he added.

“We truly care and we’ve driven across continents to prove it,” is the message 500 ordinary volunteers plan to deliver to Gazans, according to the Viva Palestina website.

“This is a movement of the streets,” Galloway told AlArabiya.net.

Such a movement wrought unexpected results as Algeria and Morocco opened the border between them for the first time in 15 years since 1994— something which Condoleezza Rice failed to do—to allow the convoy through in clear testament to people power outdoing politics.

i talked to caoimhe last night who told me that she was at the rafah border when the convoy arrived. she said that it was both exciting and at the same time so demoralizing knowing that palestinians cannot come in and out anywhere near as easily. she told me that many of the people came were working class british muslims who were crying upon arrival they were so filled with joy. the group that traveled with viva palestina that arrived in gaza, from everything i’ve read and everything i’ve heard from coaimhe clearly came armed with knowledge and solidarity with the people of gaza and their right to resist. by contrast, code pink’s mission to gaza was remarkably different in tone and style. they were on democracy now! yesterday with amy goodman (can someone please tell amy goodman that the u.s. is not giving one damn dime of the $900 million to gaza?)

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We’ll be here for five days. We have come with a sixty-person delegation, I think the largest mostly US delegation to visit Gaza. And our purpose was to connect with the women for International Women’s Day to show our support and to educate ourselves so that we can go back to the United States and work hard on our policies. And we’ve been told by so many of the people we met with that one of the greatest obstacles to any kind of improvement in their lives is the United States government. So we know that our real work happens when we get back home.

AMY GOODMAN: And the response, Medea, to the $900 million that the US has promised? Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just in Egypt at that donors conference.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: People say, “Well, that’s all well and good, but what about the $3 billion that the US keeps giving to Israel to destroy us, to bomb us?” We’ve been here just these last couple of days, and there is supposedly a ceasefire, and yet we know that the bombing has continued along the Rafah border, and you hear the sonic booms, and people still live in a state of fear. So they say, “The best thing you can do to help us rebuild is to force Israel and Egypt to open the borders, allow a flow of goods and services back and forth, and then we can rebuild our own country.”

AMY GOODMAN: And the news of the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad submitting his resignation, paving the way for a possible formation of a Palestinian unity government with Hamas, the response in Gaza right now, Medea?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: People feel that there is a popular pressure for unity, and it’s that popular pressure that is paving the way for this unity government, and then the pressure will be on Israel. And hopefully, the United States government will have less of an excuse once there is a popular government, and then we’ll start forcing Israel to do some real negotiating. But they also are saying that they don’t want Israel to get away with the impunity for what it did, and they want some accountability.

AMY GOODMAN: Alice Walker, can you tell us why you chose to go to Gaza at this time?

ALICE WALKER: Well, because I really love people, and I wanted to be here with the women who have lost so much in their lives. They’ve lost their homes. They’ve lost their children. And they just seem to be people I wanted to spend International Women’s Day with, so I made sure to call up Medea and get on the—in the group.

i have not really been a fan of alice walker’s since she got all spiritual and new agey about ten years ago or so. i still love her early fiction and poetry, but after tricia and i went to a reading of hers in the early 1990s we both felt like she lost it. you can see this sort of sentiment in the statement she made about why she went to gaza above. it is sort of a strange answer, which she basically reiterated on press tv:

“It’s very important that they understand what is happening, and that we hold our own administration accountable,” she said.

Tel Aviv waged war on Gaza on December 27. Three weeks of ensuing airstrikes and a ground incursion left nearly 1,350 Palestinians — at least 1100 of whom were civilians — dead and around 5,450 people injured.

The war has also cost the impoverished residents of the sliver at least $1.4 billion in damages to the infrastructure.

“I feel that what is happening in the Middle East is very important because the situation is so volatile,” Walker told Associated Press via telephone from the Rafah border crossing.

“I love people, and I love children and I feel that the Palestinian child is just as precious as the African-American child, as the Jewish child,” added the author of The Color Purple.

this idea that palestinian and jewish children (i am assuming she means in the zionist entity and not her daughter…) are equal is deeply problematic. would alice walker think that the children of slaves and the children of slave masters in antebellum u.s. be equally precious? if that doesn’t give you a sense of what i mean check out what code pink does at the rafah border and compare it to the powerful punch that galloway delivers above. no comparison.

you can read about code pink (a “peace” group in the u.s.) and on their blog pink tank. one of their delegation members, ann wright, was on laura flanders’ grit tv today and she, too, is all about “peace.” to talk about “peace” in palestine without mentioning the refugees in gaza or elsewhere, without mentioning justice for palestinians, colonialism, the need to liberate the land is both ignorant and ineffective. you can watch the clip on palestine vlog. to be sure, benjamin’s desire to educate more americans about what they saw, as i am sure all of the code pink delegation will do when they return to the u.s., and their desire to put pressure on the u.s. government is necessary and important. but i also think that part of understanding the context means understanding, respecting, and supporting palestinian resistance in various forms.

by another way of contrast listen to what the children of aida refugee camp in beit lahem are asking us to do during this global month to educate the world about israeli apartheid and boycott, divestment, and sanctions:

Dear Sir,
We are students of your school who have hereby signed this letter. We ask for your permission to give us the chance to express our point of view concerning a very crucial and important subject which is our campaign for Boycotting Israeli products. We ask that our school supports our campaign by also boycotting all Israeli products.

By doing so, we hope that we can help to put an end to dominance and Occupation and to have our Palestine full of development, prosperity, and above all, freedom.’

The above text is part of a letter written by a group of children from Lajee Center, a group of children who are employing strategic tactics to defend their rights and their country. Whilst bombs were being rained down on Gaza, these 14 and 15 year old children decided they must work together in defence of Palestinian rights. They decided that active participation in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel (BDS) was the path they must follow.

The Headmaster of the UN Basic Boys School in Aida Camp, Mr Ahmad Swaylem, had already over 12 months previously taken the decision to ban Israeli products from his school, but he received the request from his students with pleasure and respect and applauded them for their stance.

The letter was then taken by students from the UN Basic Girls School in Aida to their headmistress, before other children who attend schools outside of the camp followed this lead. The children of Aida Camp were taking a moral and principled stand…

i wish everyone would listen to these kids, even here in falasteen. we were supposed to have a lecture on boycott, divestment, and sanctions tomorrow at the university. apparently someone thought it would be better to have someone from the u.s. consulate come lecture palestinians about abraham lincoln instead (we only have one big auditorium). that is just what we need…i can see it now…trying to pretend like america is so great, look at what abraham lincoln did, he freed the slaves. nothing about the fact that all the u.s. did was transfer slaves from the plantation to the prison.

prisons in the u.s., and then, of course, the prison that is gaza supported by the u.s. and it seems that the success of these international convoys and delegations is encouraging others to follow just as people did with the free gaza movement boats to break the siege on the world’s largest prison:

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza asserted on Tuesday that their “lifeline” convoy project would not be the last, according to a statement.

The first convoy reached the Gaza Strip on Monday, after two days of negotiations with Egypt.

Dr Arafat Abu Madi, the head of the campaign, said in a statement that the success achieved by the convoy, which traveled some 8,000 kilometers from Europe to Gaza’s Rafah crossing, was “a triumph for conscientious people of the world, and will have consequences.”

“Europeans are exerting efforts to establish an important political pillar in the issue of lifting the Gaza siege,” Abu Madi said.

He highlighted that pressure should be placed on the Israeli occupation by Europe and the international community in order to “end aggression against the Palestinian people for the third consecutive year.”

Madi also pointed out that people “would always find a way to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, despite Israel’s efforts to prevent it.”

He pointed out the successes of anti-siege ships such as the Lebanese Brotherhood vessel.

“Those people of conscious will always be able to send a message affirming the Palestinian people are not alone,” he said.

oh so many reasons for resistance…

ha’aretz journalist amira hass has a good piece in the london review of books this week that offers some context on the prison that is gaza, its origin, and its relationship to the situation in the west bank, which is worth quoting in its entirety:

Israel has finally breached the few limits it formerly set up for itself as an occupying state, and defied all the restrictions of international law that would require it to provide for the safety and welfare of the occupied population. It claims that disengagement ended the occupation and that Gaza is now an independent entity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, disengagement did not begin in 2005 with the evacuation of the settlers and the withdrawal of soldiers. It began in 1991, when, four years into the intifada, Israel instigated its closure policy (similar to the pass system under apartheid) and denied the Palestinians freedom of movement between the West Bank and Gaza, and within Israel. Unopposed by the international community, closure eventually turned into a policy of demographic separation, dividing Palestinians from Palestinians and Palestinians from Israelis.

The immediate consequence of the separation policy was to disconnect Gaza from the West Bank (and Palestinian East Jerusalem), from its population, its education centres and health services, from jobs in Israel and from family members and friends. No wonder Israel now defines Gazans who live in the West Bank as ‘illegal sojourners’ unless they have an Israeli permit to be there. The tight siege imposed in Gaza over the last two years has merely exacerbated the situation. The separation policy of the 1990s (along with the rapid expansion of Jewish colonies in the West Bank) was designed to destroy the foundation of a future Palestinian state.

Israel suppressed the second intifada with lethal means that it did not dare use in the first, not just because the Palestinians had now acquired guns, or because of the suicide bombings, but rather because since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Israel has treated the ‘other side’ as sovereign and independent – when it wants to. As if the PA enclaves were not under occupation. Thanks to this very effective propaganda, most Israelis believe that the creation of the PA resembles the founding of an independent state – an ungrateful one at that, attacking little, peace-seeking Israel. They find it easy enough to ignore the fact that Israel continues to control – both directly and indirectly – all parameters of sovereignty and independence: land, borders, resources, water, population registry, economics, construction, education, health and medical services.

The unilateral disengagement from Gaza and the fact that Hamas spun it as a victory – the result of armed resistance – allowed Israel to claim that the occupation of Gaza had ended….

What the siege has done is reduce an entire society to the status of beggars, denying it nearly all productive activity, suffocating it in an open-air prison, disconnected from the rest of the world. The denial of the right to a livelihood, and the denial of freedom of movement: that is the essence of the siege, the foundation block of the separation policy. The closure policy is an assault on the human dignity of the Palestinians, and especially those in Gaza. Now, Israel has shown that the cage can also be a deathtrap.

one issue is, of course, the blockade that keeps palestinians dependent upon aid. but, of course, even the aid is not allowed to enter; mel frykberg explains that pasta somehow has become suspicious. (is there some sort of pasta grenade i don’t know about?):

Red-faced and unusually tongue-tied Israeli officials were forced to try and explain to U.S. Senator John Kerry during his visit to Israel last week why truckloads of pasta waiting to enter the besieged Gaza strip were not considered humanitarian aid while rice was.

Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, visited the coastal territory on a fact-finding mission.

The purpose of the visit was to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground and the level of destruction wrought by Israel’s three-week military assault on Gaza, codenamed Operation Cast Lead.

During his visit to Gaza it came to the senator’s attention that Israel had prevented a number of trucks loaded with pasta from entering the territory.

UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) officials explained to Kerry that Israel was only permitting limited amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the definition of what the Israelis consider humanitarian was restricted.

“Pasta is not regarded as humanitarian aid and is not allowed in to Gaza while rice is,” an UNRWA official told Kerry.

Kerry then questioned Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak directly about the logic of the restriction on pasta. Following his intervention, the truckloads of pasta were eventually permitted to enter Gaza.

Over a hundred aid trucks are currently entering Gaza on a daily basis. This is more than the number of trucks that were permitted entry during the ceasefire with Hamas which lasted nearly five months until Israel launched a cross-border military raid into Gaza on Nov. 4.

However, according to the UN, the overall level of imports remain well below the 475 trucks allowed in daily before Israel’s blockade of Gaza in June 2007 when Hamas took control.

Aid organisations say the current number is insufficient to meet the market’s needs as well as the shortfall resulting from months of severe restrictions.

The Palestine Trade Centre (Paltrade) estimates that in order for any sort of economical revival to begin, exports should resume immediately and a minimum of 850 truckloads of market-triggered imports per day should be allowed entry.

most days it’s like this though–it doesn’t matter if it is rice or pasta, nothing is allowed inside:

<blockquote>Israel unexpectedly closed the Kerem Shalom terminal, the main crossing point for humanitarian aid and commercial goods in Gaza on Friday.

meanwhile, for those who think the israeli terrorist aggression against gaza is over, last night, like most nights, they continued their bombing:

Israeli warplanes bombed smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday night, the second such strike in several hours.

The strikes on the Brazil neighborhood of the city of Rafah caused no injuries, according to the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanein.

if israeli terrorist colonists would do as the french colonists in algeria and leave palestinians to build their own state on their own land wherever they choose then we would see more projects like the couscous co-op started in ein al-sultan refugee camp near eriha. these women, who have had a lot of success with their project, so much so they are not dependent upon aid any longer, tried to work with their sisters in gaza, but of course the israeli-terrorist siege has made that impossible as gen sander writes in electronic intifada:

The women unanimously agree that since they’ve been working at the couscous co-op their lives have improved dramatically. For the first time “we’re no longer dependent on humanitarian aid,” said Abu Shrar. Not only are they now independently taking home their well-earned wages, but they are finally able to simultaneously provide opportunities once inconceivable to their children, and fix-up their run-down homes. Furthermore, their self-confidence has grown alongside their social status, which has been propped up by virtue of their fortitude, self-determination and goodwill.

A similar success once seemed promising in the Gaza Strip, where six women’s fair trade couscous cooperatives shared the same dreams and aspirations as those of the Jericho co-op. More than two years ago, however, all six co-ops were forced to shut down thanks to the crippling Israeli blockade that prevented them from importing production requirements and exporting their produce. The closures had a direct impact on more than 400 persons whose lives depended heavily on their continued existence. More recently, after Israel’s brutal three-week assault on Gaza, one of the co-ops in Sheikh Radwan was damaged beyond repair.

indeed, two activist, alberto arce and miguel llorens, in gaza have produced a new documentary called erased, wiped off the map, to show just how brutal this aggression and invasion has been not only on people and their livelihoods, but on the entire society. for those who speak spanish and/or arabic below is the film (the link above will take you to an english-language version).

the title of the film is interesting given the way it alludes to the oft-repeated zionist mythology that arabs want to “throw jews into the sea.” of course, the reality is that zionists have been doing this to palestinians for decades now, but no one seems to notice or care, even when they are quite blatant about it:

A small number of young men soon to be drafted into the IDF from Hesder yeshivot around the country gathered at the Jerusalem Theater on Monday evening to hear speakers from the national-religious camp espouse the virtues of fulfilling “the commandment of war.”

The event, the first of its kind, was organized to salute young religious men about to be inducted and attracted just over 100 youths.

IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Avichai Ronsky told the youths it was a privilege to be able to take part “in the commandment of war and the preparations for fulfilling it.”

“Embrace this commandment with all your hearts. It is a right previous generations could not realize,” Ronsky said.

The IDF chief rabbi said Jewish armies, from the battles between the Israelites and the tribe of Amalek to the present day, had always been manned by virtuous soldiers.

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau delivered a speech expressing hope that Israel would embark on preemptive wars rather than wait for “the enemy to come here… and see the whites of our eyes.”

“King David taught the people of Judah how to use the bow and arrow… Jacob our patriarch blessed his son Judah and told him to fight Israel’s enemies, to attack them and not fight defensively… The descendants of the tribe of Judah will do the same,” Lau said.

“Do we have another home? Somewhere else to go? This is our only home. Therefore, we have no choice but to fight… a preemptive war… not to wait for the next Operation Defensive Shield,” Lau said, referring to the 2002 IDF operation in the West Bank launched after a string of suicide bombings in Israel.

“If we could throw down our sword, it would be the dream of our lives. We pray for this three times a day, that God will bless us with peace. But so long as this does not happen, we cannot lay down our sword,” Lau added.

Rabbi Haim Druckman, who heads Bnei Akiva, said that “fighting our enemies is a commandment. To serve in the IDF is a commandment. We must remember that we could not carry out this commandment for 2,000 years. How happy we must be that we live in this great and special time, a time in which we have returned to our land, seen the founding of our state, the ingathering of exiles.”

it is really frightening how normalized and mainstream israeli terrorist rhetoric has become. as with their military, terrorist aggression, they do whatever they want and no one bothers them. their fascism has become completely mainstream, supported, even popular as in this article by sharon weill and valentina azarov from electronic intifada:

Avigdor Lieberman’s party advocates the banning of Arab political parties that called for “a democratic state for all citizens,” and the repression of what it sees as the “treachery” of the Arab citizens. According to its website, Yisrael Beiteinu demands an “unapologetical patriotism” and “requires citizens to affirm their loyalty to the state and readiness to serve in the army or in the National Service in order to be eligible for any state benefits.”

The party declares in its platform its intention to make Israel a purely Jewish state, and at the same time, “[i]ncreasing the Jewish Presence in Yehuda, Shomron, [in other words, the West Bank] the Golan [the occupied Syrian Golan Heights] and East Jerusalem” as well as working towards the “separation of Gaza from the West Bank.”

According to the party’s website, “Ideally, ‘the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,’ but we are not living in ideal times. History has shown that there is a dangerous potential for conflict wherever members of two different religions dwell in the same territory. … Members of this [Arab] minority are likely to serve as terrorist agents on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Many have already made explicit their lack of loyalty to the state. This situation could potentially lead to the collapse of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and perhaps as an entity all together. Therefore in our view, the only possible solution is the exchange of territory and populations, with the goal of the separation of the Jewish and Arab nations, respectively” (emphasis added).

Lieberman has made a number of utterances inciting racism against a Palestinians with Israeli nationality. A recent press conference organized by Lieberman’s party in Haifa barred Arab journalists from participating. As Haaretz reported on 6 February, during a recent visits to schools in northern Israel, Lieberman was welcomed with calls of “death to the Arabs” and with proposals to “revoke the Arabs’ nationality.” It was recently revealed by Haaretz that Lieberman was once a follower of the Kahane Kach movement, an extreme right wing movement that was outlawed in 1988.

Ideas that were once considered too racist to be legitimately expressed are now part of the mainstream political discourse. At the same time other opinions are silenced. This is a serious warning that the situation in Israel resembles more and more that of the apartheid-era South Africa.

and yet palestinians are never allowed to resist. their resistance is always crushed by words and israeli-american terrorism as dina jadallah-taschler explains in dissident voice:

The facts are simple enough. And yet that is not at all how current media narratives present the struggle. It is never referred to as one for liberation and freedom. Resistance to the oppressive occupation and to the expansionist and dispossessing Israeli state is never presented as a right, despite the self-evident moral and legal principle, that as the (occupying) aggressor, Israel cannot justify violence against resistance to its own initial aggression. And yet, in this last massacre, Gazans who are starving, imprisoned, mostly refugees from the original displacement that happened with Israel’s creation, and who have qualitatively modest (but technologically improving — distance/reach) weapons, are the ones being blamed for “starting” or inviting the attack on themselves. This is objectionable on several levels. Fundamentally, the framing of the story that equates Palestinian resistance with the fourth strongest army in the world is inherently deceptive. Additionally, it blames the victim for resisting annihilation.

But once again, because it is the strong who determine what is legal and what is not, the Palestinian struggle for national liberation and their resistance against their oppressors are illegal by definition and are presented as “terrorism.” The right of self-defense has been appropriated by the dominant, occupying, aggressing side and simultaneously denied to its victims. It is becoming increasingly apparent to the resisting Palestinians that this excessive use of legality is simply a means to preserve pre-existing power asymmetries that will perpetuate their oppression. It is ultimately aimed at their extinction as a people. It is the root cause of their resistance: for they refuse a peace built on injustice, no matter how much misinformation is produced disguise the facts.

The Oslo Peace Process must be evaluated from this perspective. It was started more than 15 years ago but has led to no tangible benefits for the Palestinians. On the contrary, it has led to their increasing dispossession and subjugation. It co-opted the PLO leadership and made the Palestinian Authority into a police arm of and chief appeaser/concessor to Israel, the occupier. The Process has served as legal cover for continued oppression. It is no different from the NATO announcement to “protect” Israel, or the Rice-Livni Accords, or the United Nations Resolutions that are never enforced.

All these entities and agreements give a cover of multilateralism and legality to what is essentially aggressive expansionism and intentional dispossession. Similarly, Israel’s “withdrawal” from Gaza in 2005, narratively presented in mainstream media with so much angst for the trauma of the occupier, does not remove the initial aggression of the original and consistently brutal occupation. Even when one allows for the prison that is Gaza to be considered “unoccupied,” the fact remains that Palestinians are one people and that the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to be occupied. This is even acknowledged in the Oslo Accords, which defines them as “a single territorial unit.”

Moreover, Israeli expansionism continues, and even accelerates, in the shadow of the peace process and of the headline- grabbing events in Gaza. Just in the last week, Israel has announced the annexation of extensive areas of Palestinian-owned land, where the villagers have been non-violently protesting the apartheid wall. For three days the Israeli army invaded the village of Jayyous declaring it a “Closed Military Area” and arbitrarily arrested 65 Palestinians: “The Israeli wall confiscated about 600 dunums of lands and 8,600 dunums were isolated behind the wall, where the town’s area is 12,500 dunums,” leading to the loss of thousands of jobs lost as a result of the wall and the isolation of agricultural land.4 Similarly, on 1/26/2009, the Israeli High Court approved the complete destruction of the village of Tana, east of Nablus, in order to expand the settlement colony of Makhurah. In addition, an expansion to the Effrat settlement colony near Bethlehem was also announced, swallowing an additional 170 hectares of “state land.” All this is happening in the West Bank, ostensibly the co-operating segment under the dictatorial and oppressive control of the Palestinian Authority. And it is definitely not conducive to economic independence, let alone the mirage of prosperity that was promised to come with the pursuit of a negotiated and non-violent “settlement.”

The argument is frequently made that Hamas is a “terrorist organization” because it targets civilians. But that is a question that is both not for the militarily strong to ask and also ignores completely Israel’s far greater and more consistent targeting of civilians. In this last attack on Gaza, despite an earnest and far reaching hasbara/propaganda effort by Israel to change perceptions, the extent of the destruction was too blatant to repress. Any fair assessment of damage to civilians will plainly see the disproportionate suffering of the weaker party. It also must account for the slow strangulation and eradication of Palestinians even when there is no “war.” The means of destruction are so entrenched and persistent so as to become too banal for Western media to report on. The “targeted assassinations” that inevitably kill civilians, the ever-growing “settlements”/colonies, the land expropriations, the apartheid “separation” Wall, the roadblocks, the economic blockade and de-development, and so forth have effectively ended any hope of a two state solution. In fact, the Palestinians’ pursuit of the peaceful route of “settlement” through the peace process, recently “negotiated” at Annapolis, has resulted in a 20% increase in settlement expansion in the West Bank and a 36% settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, just in the last sixteen months.

yes, palestinians cannot resist. but israeli terrorists can continue with yizhak rabin’s formula of breaking the bones of palestinians at will:

A Palestinian man from the village Asreera Al Qibllya, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was severly beaten by the members of Israeli border-guards at a checkpoint while he was taking his ill son to a local hospital.

Khalid Abu Khalaf, 38, said after receiving treatment at the Rafidia Hospital, that his son Shadi, 3 years 6 months old, is suffering from a neurological disease, and was transferred by the Palestinian Ministry of Health to Al Maqased Hospital In Jerusalem for treatment.

The father tried to obtain a permit from the Israeli side through the Palestinian District Coordination Office, but Israel rejected the application.

“My son’s situation requires hospitalization; therefore I tried to take him with me to Al Maqased Hospital in East Jerusalem, I tried to avoid the military checkpoint but the soldiers spotted me, and stopped me,” the father said. He added “I tried to explain to them that was taking my son to hospital. I showed them the medical reports, but they did not listen; instead they started kicking me and hitting me with batons.”

The father said that the soldiers, beat him in front of his son and broke his arm, causing his son to cry of fear, which worsened his condition.

“Later, they forced me and my son into their jeep, the father stated, the dropped us on the other side of the checkpoint, and we had to return to Nablus, I went to the hospital and found out that my hand was broken,” the father added.

Khalid was very concerned about the situation of his son, which is getting worse, and said that his son needs to be examined twice every month for follow-up as directed by his physicians.

gaza in context

carlos latuff on inside story/al jazeera
carlos latuff on inside story/al jazeera

last night i watched “inside story” with imran garda on al jazeera and was happy to see, finally, some historical context, some useful thinking about the massacre in gaza and the roots of this problem–particularly for the jockeying of power over the palestinians not only by israeli terrorist colonists, but also by regional players who are the pimps and pawns for the west. the historical material i’ve transcribed below, but i strongly recommend watching this discussion, which thankfully has no israeli terrorists spewing their lies, hate, and propaganda; without them one can get at a much richer, much more contextualized analysis. garda interviews journalist robert fisk and mahdi abdul hadi of the palestinian academic society for the study of international affairs in al quds. incidentally, carlos latuff’s latest cartoon was apparently drawn for “inside story,” and al jazeera more generally, to show the lack of media access to gaza, one of the many forms of control the israeli terrorist regime uses to hide its war crimes.

imran garda: is sharm al shaykh a serious summit? the summit that is going on, that is being discussed on sunday? or is it just face-saving for egypt?

mahdi abdul hadi: well, it’s more than face-saving for egypt. it covers europe and the palestinian authority as well as israelis. we witness why the israelis want to unilaterally call for ceasefire and this morning again hamas came with the ceasefire for one week in order to see what lies ahead. sharm al shaykh summit covers 3 aspects.

1. that egypt is again claiming its role as a leader in the region and it has a say;

2. to bring europeans–those who have been very, politically hypocrites looking for israeli security and safety and did nothing, absolutely nothing for the last 22 days of the massacre of the palestinians in gaza. and now they are meeting people halfway for their own society. people are demonstrating in every capitol in europe, as well as looking for humanitarian aid to transfer the palestine question to humanitarian aid. as well as the united nations who accepted to be in one seat in the quartet doing absolutely nothing and run behind condoleeza rice’s decisions. egyptians are trying to balance between the doha conference and the coming kuwait conference–to tell the arab regimes: “i’m here and i have a say.” number one i tried to convince the israelis to hold the ceasefire and they are meeting us halfway while the israelis took the decision a long time ago exactly as mr. robert fisk was saying. in time for obama’s administration, and two to save face for israeli public opinion, and three not to sign a deal with hamas. and they want unilaterally in order not to recognize hamas as they did it exactly with hezbollah in 2006.

the sharm al shaykh conference today is–egypt is saying today–“i’m here, i have a say.” two, europeans are saying “we missed it for 22 days, but we can compensate for humanitarian aid.” three, united nations is saying “we can assist and facilitate.” four, the israelis are all going to open the door for all those hypocrites to say we can do something for those miserable, defeated, beaten, humiliated, destroyed palestinians in gaza.

imran garda: egypt must have fumed when it saw the scenes coming out of the doha summit . here you had hamas on a pedestal. you had khaled mesh’al speaking first alongside all these heads of state, given the legitimacy it so craves and it hasn’t gotten from the israelis and now egypt must have been going ballistic over that.

robert fisk: well, dr. abdul hadi doesn’t mince his words. but i think he’s got it pretty well right. i mean, you gotta realize it’s the fate of autocrats who take money and military assistance from the west as much as the arab potentates, arab kings and princes and presidents do, to have to come to heel and find they are playing second fiddle from time to time. i agree with you on the worthlessness of sharm al shaykh. no one is talking about opening all the borders of gaza to food and fuel, which is what the palestinians want. i think it’s very interesting and i wonder if dr. abdul hadi knows the date today because it is exactly, to this day, the 90th anniversary of the opening of the paris peace conference of 1919 which created the modern middle east through the versailles treaty and crated the whole mess that we’re in now. in fact, on 18th of january 1919, one of the first items on the agenda of the french, and the british, and the germans, and the czechs, and the turks–all of whom are at sharm al shaykh today–was the borders of palestine. well, welcome to the ghosts of the past. i’ll bet they’ll be in sharm al shaykh listening.

imran garda: bashar al assad said at doha that the arab peace initiative of 2002 is dead now. that was his strong declaration. how significant is that statement from the syrian president?

mahdi abdul hadi: just allow me one footnote very quickly to mr. robert fisk. i tend to agree with you as a student of history. 1919 definitely imposed a mandate on the whole arab world and on the region. palestinians were demanding self-determination. and palestinians were demanding to be a part of arab united countries. today we don’t have a paris peace conference of 1919. today we don’t have a madrid conference. we don’t have any of these above conferences. people are waiting to see this young man, obama, and i hope they will not be very much disappointed with him vis-a-vis his agenda in the middle east. israelis jump before anyone else to impose the agenda. security for israel and involving nato and all these european heads of state meeting today in sharm al shaykh to maintain law and order or security for israel first. and then look for the palestinians today as humanitarian aid. and maybe using their assets in order to have a say in daily affairs of palestinian society and try to save mahmoud abbas from sinking in what has really been happening for the last 22 days. to give him sort of legitimacy and recognition after he lost it already from his people. now coming back to bashar al assad’s statement, doha summit was very clear in preparing the agenda for kuwait summit. and that’s why the egyptians today are hosting the sharm al shaykh conference to tell everyone we are concerned not only about the economy, but the palestinian issue and we can have a say in shaping the future of palestine with mahmoud abbas and not with somebody else. doha conference or doha summit put on the agenda that people who are meeting today, wherever they are, under any circumstances, cannot talk any more about the arab initiative of 2002–nor the question of normalization with israel while palestinians are bleeding. this is basically one. number two, to introduce and recognize hamas as sharing the saying of the palestinian future–legitimately elected, responsible, and resistance and having now a say. not only by a statement of mesh’al in doha, but telling the arab summit that tomorrow, in kuwait, you cannot be alone in defeated, divided, weak, no vision, no leadership of fatah and the wider society. these people are resistance and these people are paying the price. and they should be recognized. and the third level, definitely, for europeans who are meeting today in sharm al shaykh, if we want to talk about economy and development, we have to talk from a regional perspective and not limiting it only to gaza. and this is exactly what doha did: it prepared the homework, prepared the draft resolution for kuwaiti summit in order to challenge those who are still wishing to work on the peace process as the old state. today we are entering a new chapter in palestine and the region. the man in the street will not accept the status quo as before. and israelis are very much exposed as liars, as cheaters, as killers, as occupiers, and playing the game of maintaining the status quo and taking the land and transferring the palestine question in terms of people to the arab house: egypt and jordan.

imran garda: interesting that you mentioned the 90th anniversary of the paris peace summit. i wonder in years to come–90 years from now–when people look into the history books and see not only rival factions, but they see rival summits, it will look ridiculous won’t it?

robert fisk: well, we know the man who was at the paris peace conference, who was trying to bring peace to the world, and that was president wilson of the united states, with clemenceau of france there as well, and lloyd george for london. whether we’ll know who nicolas sarkozy is–or gordon brown–in 90 years time–gordon who? nicholas who? look, i think you’ve got to see, i think this summit is intended to enhance mahmoud abbas, who cannot frankly be enhanced. but i think there is an issue that we’re not really dealing with here and that is that i don’t think that hamas won this war. one of the things that struck me in particular is that hamas seemed to think that in its rhetoric that it is the same as hezbollah. and it’s not. that’s a serious error. they do not have the same ability to fight the israeli army as hezbollah had. and what is particularly interesting is their total lack of security. there remains inside gaza, clearly, a forest of collaborators, informers, and spies either working for fatah or working directly for the israelis who were able to give away the addresses of every home and hideout of hamas members and that’s why senior members were killed by the israelis. so what we need to look at is not just hamas as a political organization, but how it really didn’t do very well against the israelis militarily. and i think that it is important to remember these things because hezbollah has a place in the politics of lebanon because militarily it’s worth something, whatever you think of it yourself, whereas hamas i’m not so sure. we’re able to talk about the election in which those pesky palestinians voted for the wrong people, they voted for hamas, but we must also remember the coup in gaza which killed 151 palestinians. i’m not sure that hamas is going to come out of this with its shield shining bright in the sunshine.

imran garda: mahdi abdul hadi had echoes of 1948. he said there might be another partition now. sadly, there might not be a 2 state solution as you had mentioned, but a 3 state solution is something that might be in the cards. what do you make of that?

robert fisk: well that’s pretty well what we’ve got, isn’t it? we’ve got 2 rival governments on the palestinian side, and one government that might be about to lose power to the other one on the israeli side. look, i think it’s a broader argument than just this. the problem is that all these great and good men gathering in sharm al shaykh these wonderful potentate statesmen from the west in particular. they should be dealing with the real issues of the middle east which is really about the subject called justice. instead of that they’re dealing with food and tunnels. for god’s sake. really. what i think that in the middle east, after so many years here, more than 3 decades, is that what everyone tells me they want in the middle east is justice. whether it be about the justice or injustice of dispossession. whether it be about the crust of secret police and secret prisons and torture, which most of the arab regimes impose on their own people with our western support, of course. that’s what people ask for. they don’t ask for human rights, though they’d like some. and they don’t ask for democracy, though we keep throwing it at them and beating them when they don’t vote for the right people. but they want justice and that is what sharm al shaykh should be about. and it’s what doha should have been about. and it’s what kuwait should be about. and again it’s not. the two arab summits are about rivalries between arabs and the sharm al shaykh summit is to clean the hands of western politicians. that is the problem.

one thing that this discussion ignored, however, which most people discussing palestine all too often ignore is that, yes, of course, what we’re looking at is a 3 state solution. that has been true for a long time now. but that 3rd state is not the illegitimate zionist regime; rather, it is the palestinians in 1948 palestine who are always absent. whose voices are far to rarely listened to. who always feel left out of discussions, sold out equally by the palestinian authority, by the united nations, by the west, and by the zionist regime. when abdul hadi, later in the program, talks about how the israeli terrorist regime is crushing palestinian national leadership and pride in the west bank and gaza, he doesn’t mention how this is working in 1948 palestine. i would have loved to see jonathan cook or someone from adalah or the arab human rights association speak to represent this community, especially given its tremendous support for palestinians in gaza throughout the last few weeks and especially because if we want true liberation of palestine they must be included and must be participants in that struggle. i feel like the way they get left out so often is akin to the way in which indians are left out of discussions of south africa which often gets reduced to a black-white issue and it’s not. here, for instance, is what palestinians in 1948 are experiencing as a result of their public support and solidarity with palestinians in gaza:

According to Israeli police reports, at least 763 Israeli citizens, the majority of them Palestinian and 244 under 18 years old, have been arrested, imprisoned or detained for participating in such demonstrations. Most have been held and then released, but at least 30 of those arrested over the past three weeks are still being held in prison.

Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations in Haifa, tells IPS that these demonstrations “are part of the uprising here inside the Green Line, to share responsibility and to share the challenge with the people in the Gaza strip.”

As an organiser of many of these solidarity demonstrations inside Israel, Makhoul himself was arrested by the Shin Bet (the Israeli secret service). “They called me, came to my home and held me for four hours,” he tells IPS. “They accused me of being a terrorist and supporting terror. They said that they are watching me and monitoring me.” Israel, he said, “has become a terror state.”

The Shin Bet has accused Makhoul and the hundreds of others arrested of “being a rebel, threatening the security of the State of Israel during war time.”

Makhoul believes that such threats are being implemented by Israel’s security forces “(in order to) break our will and the spirit of our people. But I think our spirit is much, much stronger here in Haifa and in Gaza than the Israeli oppression.”

i also wonder why all the news media and analysts and these conferences continue to talk about mahmoud abbas as if he is still president. his term expired on january 9th and yet the world still treats this normalizer as if he’s president. ma’an news, of course, acknowledges that he is citizen abbas not president abbas any longer. i think the only place that gave this any note was angry arab on the day his term expired. and then again two days later noting how the western regimes still accept abbas as president without noting his expiration date. i wonder if this will be true tomorrow: perhaps these same countries will go on thinking bush is still president of the u.s. too? apparently, abbas is still trying to form some sort of a unity government. as if he can breathe new life into his failed “leadership” of normalization with israeli terrorists, which of course only lead to more massacres, more confiscation of land, more checkpoints, more dispossession. and ban ki-moon proving that he is ever the tool of the west wants to help bolster abbas. i refer you to fisk’s comments on “inside story” as to the impossibility of “enhancing” abbas. but i also refer you to fisk’s recent op-ed in the independent making some of the same points, but importantly also sarcastically chastising ban:

And history was quite forgotten. The Hamas rockets were the result of the food and fuel siege; Israel broke Hamas’s own truce on 4 and 17 November. Forgotten is the fact Hamas won the 2006 elections, although Israel has killed a clutch of the victors.

And there’ll be little time for the peacemakers of Sharm el-Sheikh to reflect on the three UN schools targeted by the Israelis and the slaughter of the civilians inside. Poor old Ban Ki-moon. He tried to make his voice heard just before the ceasefire, saying Israel’s troops had acted “outrageously” and should be “punished” for the third school killing. Some hope. At a Beirut press conference, he admitted he had failed to get a call through to Israel’s Foreign Minister to complain.

It was pathetic. When I asked Mr Ban if he would consider a UN war crimes tribunal in Gaza, he said this would not be for him to “determine”. But only a few journalists bothered to listen to him and his officials were quickly folding up the UN flag on the table. About time too. Bring back the League of Nations. All is forgiven.

What no one noticed yesterday – not the Arabs nor the Israelis nor the portentous men from Europe – was that the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting last night was opening on the 90th anniversary – to the day – of the opening of the 1919 Paris peace conference which created the modern Middle East. One of its main topics was “the borders of Palestine”. There followed the Versailles Treaty. And we know what happened then. The rest really is history. Bring on the ghosts.

the other thing that i think is important in this discussion is the remarks both fisk and abdul hadi made in relation to the fact that people, generally, seem to continue to look to palestinians as a charity case rather than a group of people whose liberation movement needs sustenance. king abudullah of saudi arabia is but one example who speaks meaninglessly about palestinians, who has blood on his hands because he stands by in collusion with israeli terrorists and yet thinks his millions will repair the damage. of course i also donate both time and money, but i have to say that i find it a form of dehumanization that palestinians are looked at in this manner. by far too many people and by far too many regimes. all these disgusting leaders who DID NOTHING for 22 days and yet now they want to donate. it was the same with lebanon. they stood by in their complicit silence during the bombing and then wanted to pour money into lebanon. the people of south lebanon and the people of gaza do not want your crocodile tears nor your charity i guarantee you. they want your support for justice, as fisk says, and what that means is the liberation of palestine, and their right of return home. instead, what we are getting is more israeli terrorist control over rebuilding efforts as well with the approval of the the west and the arab regimes in the region all of whom continue to submit to the will of israeli terrorism.

i think it is worth thinking about some of that history from 1919 to the league of nations and the british mandate, and how it played out vis-a-vis the analysis of historian rashid khalidi. for as the europeans carved up the region leaving with it the scars of various states of colonialism, including in most places that are no longer directly controlled by the british or the french, forms of neocolonialism and internalized colonialism, they sowed the seeds of eternal dispossession and injustice. here is what khalidi says about how the mandate emerged and played out by foreign colonial powers in his book the iron cage: the story of the palestinian struggle for statehood (note: the emphasis is mine):

The Mandate for Palestine included the entire text of the Balfour Declaration, named for the British foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, notably its provisions relating to the establishment in Palestine of a “national home” for the Jewish people. It included six articles (2, 4, 6, 7, 11, and 22) relating to the obligations of the mandatory power to foster and support this endeavor. In both documents, the Palestinians were never once cited by name, whether as Palestinians or as Arabs, and were referred to only as “non-Jewish communities,” possessing solely civil and religious rights; their national and political rights were mentioned in neither. By contrast, national rights were ascribed to the “Jewish people,” and the League of Nations Mandate made it a solemn responsibility of Great Britain to help the Jews create national institutions. The mandatory power was specifically called upon to extend all possible assistance to the growth and development of this national entity, notably by encouraging Jewish immigration and “close settlement on the land.” The tiny Jewish community of Palestine, composing about 10 percent of the country’s population at the time, was thereby placed in a distinctly privileged position. By contrast, the Arab majority, constituting 90 percent of Palestine’s population, was effectively ignored as a national or political entity. While the Mandate’s twenty-eight articles included nine on antiquities, not one related to the Palestinian people per se: they were variously and vaguely defined as a “section of the population,” “natives,” or “peoples and communities.” As far as Great Britian and the League of Nations were concerned, they were definitely not a people.

In consequence of the imposition of this peculiar constitutional structure, the Palestinian people and their leaders faced a cruel dilemma throughout the Mandate period. Starting soon after the British occupation, they repeatedly pressed Great Britain to grant them national rights, notably self-determination, and the political rights, notably representative government, they justifiably considered were their due. They claimed these rights on the basis of the American president Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, Article 4 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, Allied promises to support Arab independence during World War I, and their natural rights as a people. Each time they did so, however, they were told that they were obliged to accept the terms of the Mandate as a pre-condition for any change in their constitutional position. But these terms denied Palestinians any of these rights, or at best subordinated them completely to the national rights of the Jewish people. Acceptance of the Mandate by the Palestinians would thus have meant their recognition of the privileged national rights of the Jewish community in what they saw as their own country, and formal acceptance of their own legally subordinate position, indeed of their nonexistence as a people. (32-33)

you can see the roots of apartheid from beginning in this history: from the mandate era a jewish minority took control over the land, over the indigenous population. this history speaks to abdul hadi’s comments of specters of the past not only from 1948, but from 1919, 1920 and on down the line. it also demonstrates britain’s continuing hand in this matter. this is why i keep saying that i find it so difficult to watch everyone spinning their wheels, to watch history repeating itself again and again–each time the only difference is that the situation gets worse for palestinians.

for more recent lessons of history i refer you to the blog pulse, which has a really important documentary about the 6 day war in 1967 with an historical corrective in the video it posts, but here is what they say by way of introducing the film clips:

These excellent Dutch videos are an important historical corrective to one of the widely propagated founding myths of the state of Israel, that in 1967 its Six Day wars, which saw Israeli theft and occupation of Palestinian territory, were defensive. These eyewitness accounts and testimonies puts paid to the canard of an ‘existential threat’ that the Israeli political establishment continues to claim — rather, right from the start, the reverse has been true.

A Dutch UN observer in 1966-67, Jan Muhren, describes how he witnessed how Israel provoked their Arab neighbours in the run-up to the Six-Day War on Dutch Nova TV (clips below). The former UN observer in Gaza and the West Bank has said Israel was not under siege by Arab countries preceding the Six-Day War, and that Israel provoked most border incidents, which Muhren surmises was part of its strategy to annex more land.

As the second clip shows, Moshe Dayan admitted as much to Israeli journalist Rami Tal, in an interview only released after Dayan’s death. Dayan corroborates Muhren’s eyewitness accounts that over 80% of the border incidents were Israeli provocations.

meanwhile as the world continues to play with the puppets in the region and with the people’s lives on the ground in egypt, kuwait, qatar, palestinians still have the gruesome task of searching for their loved ones beneath the rubble in gaza. as a result the death toll continues to rise:

Medical sources in the Gaza Strip told Ma’an on Monday that three Palestinians died from wounds obtained during the three-week offensive.

They were being treated at Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Ambulance crews also uncovered at least 12 corpses of Palestinians killed in the fighting, many of whom may have bled to death awaiting medical care.

Another 50 injured Palestinians were transferred to hospitals in Egypt through the Rafah border, according to the de facto Health Ministry’s Dr Mo’awyeh Hasanein, who directs the Ambulance and Emergency Care Department.

Paramedics found some 100 bodies under the rubble of collapsed buildings and homes on Sunday, when Israeli forces began their withdrawal.

Inhabitants continued to return to their homes on Monday, surveying the damage and examining the rubble for recoverable belongings.

According to the latest statistics from medical sources in the Strip, at least 1,315 Palestinians were killed during the three-week assault on Gaza, while about 5,500 were wounded. Medical officials say a majority of the injured are women and children, and that almost all are civilians.

importantly, contrary to opinions i hear in jordan, palestinians in gaza do not blame hamas. this is true with people i know there, who i speak to on the phone and who i talked to regularly throughout this bloody massacre–friends, mind you, who tend to not be affiliated with any particular political party, but who rightly see this as a reminder of the need for unity and the need to see this as one resistance, one nation, especially because this is a war against all palestinians in gaza:

Initial estimates state that 15 percent or 20,000 of the Gaza Strip’s buildings have been damaged, with nearly 30,000 Palestinians forced to find shelter in UN Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) shelters and with family.

Nearly 1,300 Gazans lost their lives, around a third of these children, with a total of more than half of the deaths civilian. The number of injured is pushing 4,000.

“People are extremely angry and the level of hate against Israel is very high. I have lived and worked in Gaza for many years and I have never seen such hatred from the population,” said Qleibo.

Gazans are not blaming Hamas, contrary to Israel’s wishes. “People laugh at Israel’s claims that this was a war against the Islamic resistance organisation and not one aimed at civilians.

“They see this as a war against all Palestinians. The number of civilians killed and maimed and the destruction wrought was way too extreme,” said Qleibo.

in response to this massacre in gaza people continue to respond with boycott, divestment and sanction ACTIONS as opposed to the empty words of political leaders around the world. the latest is from bahrain:

Sixteen Bahraini political organizations have formed an alliance to implement a series of activities and promote initiatives to defend the cause of the Palestinians. It is expected that one of the objectives of the joint effort will be the reopening of the Israel-boycott office, that had been closed by the government in 2005 as a requirement for the signing of a free trade agreement with the United States. During the 23 days of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip a growing number of parliamentarians already called for a revision of the government’s decision in 2005.

Furthermore, the sixteen Bahraini organizations plan to set up a national plan of action spearheading calls for rallies and holding seminars and conferences to debate Palestine-related issues and mobilize Bahraini citizens and expatriates to express their solidarity with Palestinians in various forms and through a series of events. The plan was announced by Ali Ahmad, a parliamentarian for the Islamic Menbar, who hosted the meeting of the sixteen organizations. He was seconded by Ibrahim Kamal al-Deen, chairman of the left-wing Waad society, who announced: “We will send a letter to King Hamad Bin Eisa al-Khalifa to convey the popular view that we are against any step towards the normalisation of ties with the Zionist entity and against any contact with its people and institutions. We will also plead for the reopening of the Boycott office and for an end to the move to launch a regional forum that includes the Zionists”. The sixteen organizations released a joint statement in which they called upon all Arab and Islamic states to “assume their responsibilities and sever all forms of relations with the Zionists”, adding “the least they can do as a result of this genocide is to recall their diplomats to protest at the crimes perpetrated by the Zionists against the helpless people in Gaza”.

and rania masri and i have a new version of our call to american academics to boycott the zionist regime on electronic intifada. here is a reminder of our main demand:

We urge our fellow academics to not only support this statement in theory, but also in practice by pushing for academic boycott on your campuses. Supporting the human rights of Palestinians is not anti-Semitic; it is about human rights: Palestinian human rights. If this were any other captive population besieged for nineteen days with US-made materiel, we would be outraged and acting. So we are asking you to act now. It is our tax dollars at work that enables this massacre to take place. Let us make apartheid, in all its forms, only present in history books.

some american academics are building momentum, though not necessarily with respect to boycott because most of them still continue to value israeli speech over palestinian lives. and in lebanon rania continues to seek signatures for the lebanese call not only to boycott but to enforce anti-normalization laws against those lebanese professors who choose to normalize with israeli terrorist professors whose institutions and whose scholarship produces the knowledge necessary to continue to create their bloodbath:

We thus stand, as academics in Lebanon, in urging our colleagues, regionally and internationally, to oppose this ongoing scholasticide and to support the just demand for academic boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Specifically, we ask our colleagues worldwide to support the call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to comprehensively and consistently boycott and disinvest from all Israeli academic and cultural institutions, and to refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joining projects with Israeli institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.

We further call on the enforcement of Lebanese anti-normalization laws with Israel, and thus for the prosecution of individuals and institutions in Lebanon that violate those laws and conduct collaborations, associations or investments in Israel or with Israelis.

please click on the link above if you are a professor in lebanon and you want to sign the petition.

analogizing gaza; or, what’s in a name?

palestinians_mocking_peace_mr_fish

quiqui is on a roll today on kabobfest. first she asks us: when it will be time for us all to overthrow our governments? then she asks us, sarcastically, how’s that “ceasefire” is working out given the fact that more palestinians were murdered by israeli terrorists today. she cites this story from ma’an news:

A Gazan farmer is dead and his son injured by Israeli fire less than ten hours after Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning, medical sources confirmed.

The farmer was identified as 24-year-old Abd As-Samad Abu Rejlieh, who was shot as he went out to his lands to inspect the damage from the 22-day Israeli incursion.

Israeli fire also hit a mother and her daughter in their home in the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun, both were injured.

Since the ceasefire went into effect at 2am Sunday morning, one is dead and several injured. Medical crews continue to dig bodies out of Gaza rubble.

this so-called “ceasefire” is bringing with it some dangerous dimensions such as further collusion between american and israeli terrorists in the form of american soldiers (as if we didn’t have enough to deal with in the form of american jews who are illegal colonists and soldiers at checkpoints all over the west bank):

Just before Saturday’s decision by Israeli officials to declare a ‘ceasefire’ in Gaza, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni received a signed assurance from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US government would provide security and intelligence personnel to assist the Israeli military in its ongoing military occupation of all Palestinian land.

and gordon brown signed a similar agreement after speaking with a forked tongue–at once criticizing livni for her terrorist targeting of civilians in gaza and at the same time offering her even greater military support to continue her terrorist project:

In a statement Sunday by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister criticized Israel for targeting civilians in a ground and air assault that has left over 1200 dead in 3 weeks. But at the same time, officials in the British government were busy signing agreements with the Israeli military that would commit British intelligence and security resources to supporting the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

the cynic in me wonders if brown’s collusion is related to the natural gas resources recently discovered in gaza:

The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.

and of course the israeli terrorists have not yet left gaza and who knows what their plans are since no “ceasefire” was negotiated between parties, nothing has been written down. but there are israeli colonist terrorists making their own plans in relation to this gaza occupation:

More than three years after being forcibly expelled from their homes, a group of former Gush Katif residents is demanding that the Israeli government allow them to return.

we’ll see how long this so-called “ceasefire” lasts. in any case it has enabled palestinians in gaza to return home and see the damage and pull out the bodies. here are some al jazeera reports showing people beginning to assess the damage. first imran khan reports from zeitoun:

sherine tadros went to the samouni house, the site of the massive massacre of the samouni family; she met the few surviving members of the family in the hospital and now she went to the site of the bombing where israeli terrorist tanks were still encircling the area and terrorizing the people:

as you can see in tadros’ report the bodies are still being pulled out of the rubble and so far today 95 new martyrs have been recovered from the rubble:

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Sunday that medics and residents located the bodies of 95 Palestinians who were killed during the Israeli offensive and their bodies were buried under the rubble of shelled homes and facilities.

The sources added that 1305 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive and more than 5450 were wounded. Among the killed residents were 417 children, 108 women, 120 elderly, 14 medics, 4 reporters and five internationals.

eva barlett describes what it was like to go out and to assess the damage and destruction today:

Today was the first day that medics and journalists were able to reach areas occupied by the invading Israeli troops. Palestinians by this point, by weeks ago, were desperate for any semblance of a normal life, though normality here is far from normality anywhere else. They were desperate to return to their homes, survey the damage and if possible repair it, find displaced family members, or their corpses, as well as neighbours, friends.

Not everyone returned home to stay; many could be seen returning to where their homes were, or had stood, to retrieve anything worthwhile. Donkey carts and taxis were piled with blankets, clothes, cooking pots, cupboards, pieces of furniture, people…

I went straight to Ezbat Abed Rabbo, the area east of Jabaliya which had been cut off since day 1 of the ground invasion, over 2 weeks ago. The Red Crescent had been receiving calls to evacuate the injured and dead since day 1, and were prevented, at gunpoint, by gunfire, from reaching those needing evacuation. We heard the cries of those who managed to escape, their stories of being locked in homes at gunpoint, losing family members to point-blank assassinations or house-bombings.

And although the area was crammed with troubled, panicked, residents, many of them injured, without water, without food, with homes occupied by Israeli soldiers, I worried particularly about one man: the father of my friends.

We had no idea if he was alive, though we knew he’d stayed in the area. My panic was great, daily, I felt like I had said goodbye to a grandfather.

I bee-lined for his house, though had a hard time doing it since the streets and the land were turned upside-down, torn apart, filled with carcasses of houses and animals.

He was there, miraculously, noble in his traditional gown, long beard, hat. But he looked shattered.

“He cried for us,” his son told me. “He didn’t know if we were alive or dead.” So the confusion and desperation was both ways. Utterly cut off from one another, we were but mirror examples of families and loved ones all over the Gaza Strip. And we were luckier, because we are all alive. Except his wife, my friend’s mother, who was killed on the very first day of attacks. But now everything is relative and we cling desperately to the positive, for its all there is to cling to.

I have so much to tell, so many photos that don’t do justice to the suffering, heart-break, trauma, psychological damage, and despondency of people here. So many smells ingrained in my memory, that when sniffed will bring images of dead children, burned houses, chemical fires.

Slamming doors will forever remind of the missiles slamming the earth, the life below.

And just visiting the few areas I saw today, so many people, so desperate to tell their stories, tell of their anguish. For some the anguish is immense: pulverized homes, killed family members, corpses unretrieved, sanctimony and all that is sacred defiled. For others, the suffering is in the tragedy of shattered dreams, of every personal item destroyed or lost. It all matters, and they were all desperate to tell me. And I to listen. But quickly their words became a blur, a swirl of agony. My basic Arabic began to fail me as I wrote their ailments, their losses.

I will go back, to take careful inventory of the destruction, physical and emotional. Many of those who returned to where their homes were have to return to overcrowded schools with memories of slaughters even within school premises.

While the bombs may have stopped, for now, the terror remains. F-16s still flew low, terrifyingly low, today, so loud, so unpredictable. No one here has any reason to believe any words Israeli leaders proclaim. Only reason to believe in the worst. But out of necessity, we must hope for the best.

there are many photographs and there is film footage on eva’s website, which document the unreal devastation. it gives you a sense of precisely why people will continue to feel terrorized regardless of whether or not israeli terrorists are physically present inside gaza or whether they merely are controlling the air, land, and sea borders.

there have been a number of writers thinking about the relationship between this latest massacre in gaza in relation to the holocaust in nazi germany. and this is one of many holocausts or nakbas or massacres or genocides–pick your strong word of choice–over the course of sixty one years of israeli colonialist terrorist history. there are many who warn against such labels because of the historical or legal inaccuracy of such analogies as robert fisk does in his op ed this week, though he does make an interesting comparison in relation to international criminal courts or war crimes tribunals and gaza:

I should add that I had a sneaking sympathy for the Syrian foreign minister who this week asked why a whole international tribunal has been set up in the Hague to investigate the murder of one man – Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri – while no such tribunal is set up to investigate the deaths of more than 1,000 Palestinians.

nevertheless a number of blogs have published a photo essay this week asking readers to think about the visual parallels between the warsaw ghetto or nazi germany and palestine. i am only posting one photograph from each category so i encourage those interested in seeing the rest to click on the link.

arrests4

checkpoints3

civilizedchildre12

destroyinghomes2

walls1

westernpropaganda2

british labor minister, sir gerald kaufman, whose family survived the holocaust, found it important to make this analogy–between the holocaust and the massacres in gaza. and i don’t think that doing so is to make some sort of historically inaccurate claim. what kaufman is saying, for instance, is that the behavior we are witnessing is like nazi behavior.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians — the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that “500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists. Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah. It is too late for that. They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine. Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I visited him. Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006. Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

the blog pulse posted this video of sam husseini questioning tzipi livni in washington dc and added this analysis and film footage from the real news:

The times they are a-changing! Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni called a ‘terrorist’ at the National Press Club. And then the brilliant Sam Husseini steps in to raise the the all important question (which I have raised on several occasions here) that if the alleged blockade of the Gulf of Tiran by Nasser in ‘67 was sufficient casus belli for an Israeli assault on Egypt, then why isn’t the Israeli blockade of Gaza sufficient pretext for Hamas rockets?

This is unprecedented: Israelis have hitherto received a free ride from all of the US (and most of UK) media. Likewise, the moderators here appeared happy enough to let Livni bloviate until things started getting unruly. How did the NPC uphold its commitment to free speech? By cutting their mics.

and of course the word nakba is used again and again and again by palestinians who continue to experience nakba after nakba. here is the latest evidence of a new gaza nakba:

tents-in-egypt

Under cover of announcing humanitarian relief for injured Palestinians, it is now emerging that Israel is planning the transfer of tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt.

Evidence of the Israeli transfer plan has been sent to London based Islington Friends of Yibna** [IFY]. Earlier today, Sat 17 Jan 09, IFY received a photo of tents [see attached] outside the main hospital in Egyptian Rafah, near the border with Gaza.

The white tents with no markings are being erected by the Egyptian Army, starting last night, Fri 16 Jan 09. The photo was taken this morning [Sat 17 January 09]. The soldiers stated that 5,000 tents were planned for refugees from Gaza.

Further information is available from our contacts in the Egyptian side of Rafah [Rafah was divided by Israel after it occupied Gaza and Sinai in 1967; Israel divided Rafah when Sinai was returned to Egypt].

From our contacts in Yibna Refugee Camp in Gaza we have learnt that, in the north east of Rafah, near the Egyptian border, Israeli tanks have surrounded and sealed off the Al Sarayh neighbourhood, for more than the last 48 hours. There are many injured people trapped there, the Israelis are not allowing access for the Red Cross and many people are dying of their wounds, isolated and with no medical treatment.

We have grave concerns that Israel will target the Al Sarayh neighbourhood to be the first to be transferred and that this might be within the next 24h.

one reason for the use of particular words or to create certain analogies is to shake people up–to wake them up enough to do something. to get them to see that regardless of the differences there is a tremendous human travesty, a massacre upon massacre upon 61 years of ethnic cleansing. john pilger had an interesting article on the subject of diction and also the silence among many of those who dare not to speak out:

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is an American writer on Palestine. She has a Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. “Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic,” she wrote on 31 December. “But I’m not talking about World War Two, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad (the president of Iran) or Ashkenazi Jews. What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the past 60 years … Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.” She quoted Rachel Corrie, the young American who went to Palestine to defend Palestinians and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer. “I am in the midst of a genocide,” wrote Corrie, “which I am also indirectly supporting and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Reading the words of both, I am struck by the use of “responsibility.” Breaking the lie of silence is not an esoteric abstraction but an urgent responsibility that falls to those with the privilege of a platform. With the BBC cowed, so too is much of journalism, merely allowing vigorous debate within unmovable invisible boundaries, ever fearful of the smear of anti-Semitism. The unreported news, meanwhile, is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can.

Then there are the academics, the deans and teachers and researchers. Why are they silent as they watch a university bombed and hear the Association of University Teachers in Gaza plea for help? Are British universities now, as Terry Eagleton believes, no more than “intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries”?

Then there are the writers. In the dark year of 1939, the Third Writers’ Congress was held at Carnegie Hall in New York and the likes of Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein sent messages and spoke up to ensure the lie of silence was broken. By one account, 3,500 jammed the auditorium and a thousand were turned away. Today, this mighty voice of realism and morality is said to be obsolete; the literary review pages affect an ironic hauteur of irrelevance; false symbolism is all. As for the readers, their moral and political imagination is to be pacified, not primed. The anti-Muslim Martin Amis expressed this well in Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: “The dominance of the self is not a flaw, it is an evolutionary characteristic; it is just how things are.”

i am thankful every time i read a piece chastizing academics for their silence, and thus complicity, in this gaza massacre that will continue now regardless, albeit it will just look different. it will be less visible. but there was yet another final blow today from the israeli terrorists and i bet you very few academics–or anyone else for that matter–will be outraged by this:

PACBI learned today from its Steering Committee member, Dr. Haidar Eid, that the headquarters of the University Teachers Association-Palestine, in Gaza, was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces during their indiscriminate, willful destruction campaign in the Tal el-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday.

This latest wanton attack on an academic organization is far from being an exception. It is only the latest episode in what Oxford University academic Karma Nabulsi has termed “scholasticide,” or Israel’s systematic and intentional destruction of Palestinian education centers. In its current war on Gaza alone, Israel has bombed the ministry of education, the Islamic University of Gaza, and tens of schools, including at least 4 UNRWA schools, after having largely destroyed the infrastructure of teaching throughout the year and a half of its illegal and criminal siege of the densely populated Gaza Strip.

The UTA headquarters is a detached two-story building that is clearly marked with the Association’s name. The bombed structure, which now stands without a roof, has sustained heavy structural damage and may be in danger of collapsing any time.

but a few are speaking out publicly. here are some israeli academics who i will refrain from calling terrorists as they are calling for bds:

The leaders of the western world are wringing their hands in despair at the sight of the horrors inflicted on Gaza (Gaza crisis, 16 January). The UN general secretary, the French president and others are holding intensive discussions with some of the leaders of the Middle East in an attempt to put an end to the carnage in Gaza. Word, words, words.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinian civilians get killed, thousands are bleeding to death, tens of thousands are uprooted and wandering in vain in search of some shelter to protect them. The Israeli army bombs hospitals and Unrwa relief centres, and, defying international convention, it uses white phosphorus bombs against civilians. “What else can we do?” these leaders keep asking. Well, here is what you can do: move from words to deeds. Only immediate, decisive and strict sanctions against the state of Israel and its limitless aggression will make it realise that there’s a limit.

We, as Israeli citizens, raise our voices to call on EU leaders: use sanctions against Israel’s brutal policies and join the active protests of Bolivia and Venezuela. We appeal to the citizens of Europe: please attend to the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation’s call, supported by more than 540 Israeli citizens (www.freegaza.org/en/home/): boycott Israeli goods and Israeli institutions; follow resolutions such as those made by the cities of Athens, Birmingham and Cambridge (US). This is the only road left. Help us all, please!

omar says the list of signatories is longer than what appeared in the above guardian article. here is a full list of their names:

Signatories (provided by authors — only partial list appeared in the Guardian)

Gish Amit
Adv. Abeer Baker
Iris Bar
Yoram Bar Haim
Prof. Daphna Carmeli (Haifa University)
Prof. Yoram Carmeli (Haifa University)
Keren Dotan
Ronit Dovrat
Dr. Judith Druks (City University, London)
Rona Even
Dr. Ovadia Ezra (Tel Aviv University)
Prof. Rachel Giora (Tel Aviv University)
Neta Golan
Tamar Goldschmidt
Adar Grayevsky
Dalia Hager
Haim Hanegbi
Rosamine Hayeem
Ala Hlehel
Aya Kaniuk
Lana Khaskia
Prof. Vered Kraus (Haifa University)
Yael Lerer
Dr. Aim Deuel Luski (Tel Aviv University)
Eilat Maoz
Moshe Machover
Prof. Charles Manekin (University of Maryland)
Dr. Ruchama Marton
Dr. Anat Matar (Tel Aviv University)
Rela Mazali
Prof. Yitzhak Y. Melamed (John Hopkins University)
Dorothy Naor
Dr. David Nir
Annie Ohayon
Noam Paiola
Michal Peer
Sigal Perelman
Amit Perelson
Jonathan Pollak
Prof. Yehuda Shenhav (Tel Aviv University)
Dr. Kobi Snitz (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology)
Ruth Tenne
Adv. Lea Tsemel
Michael Varshavsky
Oded Wolkstein
Sergio Yahni

and other good news: bolivia is taking the lead in the criminal court process:

Bolivia is seeking to take Tel Aviv to International Criminal Court over the brutal atrocities the Israeli forces have committed in Gaza.

The Andean state says it is intended to make regional allies take a unified stance against “the Israeli political and military leaders responsible for the offensive on the Gaza Strip” and make it to stand trial at the international body in the Hague, said Sacha Llorenti, whose portfolio covers civil society.

Moves to begin the legal process will begin “probably next week,” Bolivia’s deputy justice and human rights minister Wilfredo Chavez told journalists during the visit to Geneva, AFP reported on Friday.

and similar bds progress is being made in new zealand:

“The New Zealand Government must do all it can to stop the inhumane bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Government” CTU President Helen Kelly said today.

In response to calls for support from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and the International Trade Union Confederation, the NZCTU is calling on the New Zealand Government to take a number of practical actions including:
• Revoking the credentials of the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand.
• Cutting contacts with Israeli military and intelligence officials outside of official UN sponsored peacekeeping or observer liaison.
• Ensuring that New Zealand does not import goods manufactured, in whole or in part, in the Occupied Territories.
• Ensuring that the New Zealand government does not make use of Israeli products or services in its procurement provisions.
• Taking steps to ensure that New Zealand sourced goods and services are not used by Israel to further its occupation of Palestinian lands.
• Ending the ‘Working Holiday Scheme’ for young Israelis.
• Attending meetings specific to, and advocate within, international organisations for the rights of the Palestinian people.
“These actions are similar to those taken by the Government in relation to Fiji and are an appropriate and proportionate response to the totally disproportionate actions of Israel against the people of Gaza” Helen Kelly said.

and kudos to qatar for taking steps towards anti-normalization with the zionist state. may other arab countries follow its lead:

Qatar has closed Israel’s trade office in the small Gulf Arab state and ordered its staff to leave because of the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

The Qatar News Agency says the head of the Israeli trade office was summoned Sunday morning and given a memorandum containing the decision to close the office, according to the Foreign Ministry.

now we just need people to build these actions against normalization with the zionist entity and do the same with the u.s. which is equally complicit in all of these war crimes:

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, between 2004 and 2007 the U.S. Defense Department gave $818 million worth of fuel to the Israeli military. The total amount was 479 million gallons, the equivalent of about 66 gallons per Israeli citizen. In 2008, an additional $280 million in fuel was given to the Israeli military, again at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. The U.S. has even paid the cost of shipping the fuel from U.S. refineries to ports in Israel.

In 2008, the fuel shipped to Israel from U.S. refineries accounted for 2 percent of Israel’s $13.3 billion defense budget. Publicly available data shows that about 2 percent of the U.S. Defense Department’s budget is also spent on oil. A senior analyst at the Pentagon, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, says the Israel Defense Force’s fuel use is most likely similar to that of the U.S. Defense Department. In other words, the Israeli military is spending about the same percentage of its defense budget on oil as the U.S. is. Therefore it’s possible that the U.S. is providing most, or perhaps even all, of the Israeli military’s fuel needs.

What’s more, Israel does not need the U.S. handout. Its own recently privatized refineries, located at Haifa and Ashdod, could supply all of the fuel needed by the Israeli military. Those same refineries are now producing and selling jet fuel and other refined products on the open market. But rather than purchase lower-cost jet fuel from its own refineries, the Israeli military is using U.S. taxpayer money to buy and ship large quantities of fuel from U.S. refineries.

it’s not rocket science: stop the f*&#$)@ bombing of gaza

carlos latuff
carlos latuff

i think that it is a miracle that people in lebanon and palestine are not entirely psychotic having to deal with the deja-vu of israeli terrorist aggression again and again and again. i’m reading, watching july war 2006 all over again. once again the world–with far louder cries and screams from the streets now compared to then–demands that israeli terrorists stop their aggression. the united nations general assembly passed a meaningless resolution–except that it express the will of the world–and the motherf*&#^@! israeli terrorists whine and complain that the world is ganging up on them. yes, and your problem with that is? as well they should. but no one can do anything but express themselves through language, documents. and then no change. and once again they ignore united nations resolutions. once again they massacre with impunity, without any care for international law. okay, you say, that is normal this is how israeli terrorists behave, this is the very definition of the racist ideology of zionism.

but still: why am i having to hear on the news again and again and again about israeli terrorists meeting to decide on a “unilateral cease-fire.” what does that even mean?: “unilateral cease-fire”? here’s a novel idea: STOP THE F*&#$)@ BOMBING. that is how you create a cease-fire. the details don’t matter. we know that israeli terrorists will continue to invade and bomb at their will so whatever the document says does not really matter. just look at tzipi livni and condoleeza rice today in washington signing away agreements about the rafah border and palestinians’ access to weapons. i have news for you: palestinians working to liberate palestine will always find a way to get weapons. and thank god for that. but still the bombing rages on. i just saw sameh on al jazeera and he made it very clear that they are not stopping: they are increasing the bombing (anyone recall how israeli terrorists littered south lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of its war on lebanon? okay, now it is white phosphorous, but same difference. same trauma.

complicity with israeli terrorism; or, why we need to support gaza resistance

the death toll has risen in gaza yet again. there are now 786 martyrs. over 3,162 wounded. 257 of these martyrs are children. al jazeera reported that the death toll is rising, in part, because during the so-called “lull” today palestinians went out and searched for the dead. and new war crimes out of the same play book israeli terrorists have used in palestine and lebanon in the past. there are now 15,000 palestinians who have become internally displaced people (idps) (though i do not know how many of these idps were already refugees). 7 houses were demolished by israeli terrorists over night. 21 medics have been murdered. israeli terrorists systematically demolished palestinian homes along the so-called border between gaza and 1948 palestine, which is occupied by israeli terrorists. the intensity of the bombing has increased. and so have the piles of international outcry, all of which have done nothing. this is yet another reason to rethink our responses and organize to support palestinian resistance as safa joudeh offers us an important example of how palestinian resistance fighters in gaza are united, an important model and reminder of how the rest of us should be united–behind the resistance, supporting the resistance in whatever way we can:

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad movement, The Izzedin al-Qassam brigades of Hamas, the Salah al-Din Brigades of the Popular Resistance Committees, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah have all come together as one united front and at a high, almost affirmed risk of peril, are out protecting our streets and our homes, ready to die if that means preventing the death of one more helpless child. We are united and we have accepted our fate recurrently, but the people of Gaza — almost 80 percent of them refugees — will not be massacred and displaced yet again by people from the outside guided by tyranny and greed.

There are estimations out there as to the collective count of the united military resistance fighters from the Palestinian factions, the number is thought to be a few thousand. The Israeli troops within and around Gaza at this moment are approximately 33,000, with more reservists being called in within the next day. The disparity is not only in troop numbers, however. The Israeli forces are supported by the Israeli navy and the Israeli air force. The ground forces include artillery, tanks, engineering forces and intelligence agency support. The Israeli soldiers are equipped with the most modern weaponry and intelligence devices.

Palestinian fighters, on the other hand, have to make do with their homemade projectiles and a bare minimum of basic weaponry in order to defend themselves and their people against the Israeli military might.

At the moment, and in the midst of the aggression, it is hard to make sense of the current situation or make future predictions. It’s hard to come to grips with the numbers and the extent of our losses. It’s hard even to remember a time when basic necessities such as food, water, warmth and daylight weren’t a luxury. At this point, bare human instinct is at work — the need to protect your loved ones, the need to ensure shelter and the instinct of fight or flight. We have fled for too long, Gaza is our last refuge and our home after we were displaced from what is now called Israel. All this happened 60 years ago. What more could they want? We have nowhere left to go. They have disregarded every single international law there is. Now is the time to defend ourselves, now is the time for resistance.

and here is an update on the situation in gaza on day 13 of this israeli terrorist assault on gaza and why resistance should be more necessary than the bread we may or may not have to eat:

here are some of the many reasons over the past two days that show us why resistance is important. why we must take seize power and allow palestinians and lebanese to control their own destiny rather than always look to the white man, to the global north for their approval, acceptance, support which will never come. consider, for instance, the international committee of the red cross that has now joined its voice to the global outrage, to no avail:

Four exhausted children have been discovered cowering in a house next to the bodies of their mothers by staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which today accused the Israeli military of “unacceptable” delays in allowing medics safe access to injured Gazans.

The Red Cross workers found the small children, who were so weak they could not stand, sheltering next to the bodies of their mothers in a house in Zeitoun, southeast of Gaza City. Another man was found alive, but again too weak to stand. At least 12 bodies were lying on mattresses.

In another house nearby they found 15 survivors, several of whom were wounded. There were three more bodies in a third house. On Wednesday, a Palestinian volunteer with the Red Crescent who was in the same convoy described seeing dozens of dead bodies. Among those killed when the houses were shelled on Monday were three small boys, all from the Samouni family.

The Red Cross said Israeli soldiers were posted just 80 metres away and had several positions nearby, including two tanks.

It was a “shocking incident,” said Pierre Wettach, head of the Red Cross delegation for Israel and the Palestinian territories. “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded,” he said.

The Red Cross had been asking the Israeli military to allow them access to Zeitoun since Israel’s ground invasion began on Saturday, but only a three-hour lull in the fighting on Wednesday allowed them to make the dangerous journey.

The Red Cross said Israel had breached international humanitarian law by not allowing access to the wounded and said it “considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable”.

of the dead and injured al mezan is documenting these developments, but of course we don’t have all the names of the martyred yet. nevertheless as they come i will write their names. i refuse to allow their names to become merely numbers:

1. North Gaza District: At approximately 11:45am yesterday, Wednesday, 7 January 2009, IOF fired artillery shells at the Ezbet Abed-Rabu eastern Jabaliya, destroying the house and killing three child sisters. They were identified as:

* Three-year-old Amal Khalid Abed-Rabu;
* Four-year-old Samar Khalid Abed-Rabu; and
* Seven-year-old Suad Khalid Abed-Rabu.

At the same time, IOF troops opened fire at an ambulance in the same neighborhood when its crew was trying to collect the body of a civilian, 42-year-old Samir Rashid Mohammed. Yesterday, medical sources announced the death of six people who had been injured previously in north Gaza, including two children, an old man and two women. They were identified as:

* 15-year-old Adham Ismail Matar;
* 16-year-old Islam Abdul-Dayim;
* 20-year-old Ahmad Ijneed;
* 21-year-old Ibrahim Salman;
* 23-year-old Wafa Abu Jarad; and
* 87-year-old Mohammed Abu Rukba.

Moreover, medical teams found the dead bodies of two men and a woman:

* 31-year-old Wojoud Rajab Abu Darabee;
* 55-year-old Mohammed Ali al-Sultan; and
* Musbah Ayioub,
whose age has not yet been verified.

At approximately 4:40pm on Wednesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Jasser al-Batsh in Jabaliya, destroying it and injuring one person.

At approximately 6pm yesterday, also Wednesday, Israeli aircrafts fired a missile at a civilian car, killing five people: the driver, his three children and a relative. They were identified as:

* 44-year-old Khalid Ismail al-Kahlout;
* 15-year-old Mohammed Khalid al-Kahlout;
* 12-year-old Habeeb Khalid Al-Kahlout (who was handicapped);
* 10-year-old Tawfeek Khalid al-Kahlout; and
* 20-year-old Hassan Khalil al-Kahlout.

Two other passersby were injured in this attack. Al Mezan’s investigations indicated that al-Kahlout was going to buy bread for his family.

Later, at approximately 7:40pm on Wednesday, IOF stopped an ambulance that belongs to al-Falah Charity in Ezbet Abed-Rabu and confiscated it. IOF also shelled the Sheikh Zayid apartment compound at 9:15pm, causing damage to numerous apartments and forced its residents to evacuate their homes.

At approximately 8pm yesterday, also Wednesday, Israeli aircrafts fired missiles at the house of 42-year-old Taysir Mohammed Zomlut, killing him, his 10-year-old son, Mohammed, and his mother, 88-year-old Khadeeja. The house was destroyed completely and two neighboring houses were damaged.

At approximately 12:05am today, Thursday 8 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Mahmoud Rwishid, which is located in the middle of Jabaliya refugee camp. The house and five neighboring houses were completely destroyed. Israeli aircraft also raided six houses in Jabaliya and Beit Lahia between 12:05am and 12:50pm today. As a result, the six houses and 11 other houses were completely destroyed. Another 26 houses were severely damaged. IOF also raided the Anan Mosque in Jabalia and destroyed it. Eighteen people were injured as a result of the bombardment of these houses.

At approximately 9:30pm today, the IOF fired missiles into a crowd near the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, killing three passersby and injuring two. The victims were identified as:

* 25-year-old Mohammed al-Hindi;
* 24-year-old Anwar Jaber Abu Salem; and
* 27-year-old Abdul-Nasser Odeh.

At 10:50am today, medical teams found the body of 30-year-old Bassam Shaban Kouta in the vicinity of Erez Crossing. The victim was a driver at UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] and was killed from IOF fire as he was on his way to lift humanitarian aid. Two hours later, IOF artillery shelling of the Sheikh Zayid apartment compound killed a five-year-old girl, Basma Yasser al-Jilawi.

2. Gaza City District:

Al-Shifa Hospital has continued to receive the bodies of people killed as a result of the ongoing Israeli attacks. Some of those were collected a few days after they were killed. Others died of their injuries some days later.

At approximately 1:20pm, on 7 January 2009, the bodies of 12-year-old Radwan Mohammed Ashour and his 11-year-old brother Abdul-Rahman were admitted at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The two brothers were killed while in their house at approximately 8am on the same day as a result of IOF artillery shelling close to their house in al-Zeitoun neighborhood, in eastern Gaza City. The bodies of following people were also received at the hospital on the same day:

* 21-year-old Ahmed Hasan Abu Zour;
* 20-year-old Ahmed Salah Mousa;
* 20-year-old Azmi Diab;
* 21-year-old Majed Sobhi Moshtaha; and
* 20-year-old Alaa Masoud Arafat.

At approximately 11:50pm, on the same day, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital announced the death of 16-year-old Mohammed Samir Hajji as a result of injuries he had sustained on 12 December 2008.

In the late hours of the same day, IOF aircraft raided and completely destroyed the al-Taqwa and the al-Nour al-Mohammadi mosques which are located in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City.

At approximately 2am, on 8 January 2008, IOF aircrafts bombarded the two-story house of 52-year-old Mohmoud Mohammed al-Huwwari, in al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The attack destroyed the targeted house and the house of Khader Rajab completely, and caused damages to four nearby houses. The attack also killed 22-year-old Omar Khader Rajab, and injured six others.

At approximately 2am, on the same day, the corpse of a 50-year-old woman, Fadwa Khalil Kheil, was admitted at al-Shifa Hospital. She was blown to pieces as a result of the IOF artillery shelling that targeted her house in al-Zeitoun neighborhood on 5 January 2009.

At approximately 3am that same day, medial sources at al-Shifa Hospital announced the death of seven-year-old Ahmed Jaber Huweij from wounds he had sustained on 27 December 2008 following IOF shelling that targeted the house of Hmeid’s family. Jaber’s father and two of his brothers were killed in the same attack.

At the same time, the body of 42-year-old Hatem Waleed Ghazal was also admitted at al-Shifa hospital. He was killed by a live bullet fired by IOF sniper in Yafa Street in al-Tuffah neighborhood, in eastern Gaza City.

At approximately 6am, on the same day, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital announced the death of a 30-year-old woman, Rawia Rajan Awad, as a result of injuries she had sustained earlier. Moreover, medical sources announced the death of 14-year-old Aed Ammar Kheira from wounds he had sustained on 4 January 2009.

3. Middle Gaza District: At approximately 7pm yesterday Wednesday, 7 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided a blacksmith workshop owned by Mahmoud al-Taweel in the al-Bureij refugee camp. The workshop was completely destroyed.

Thirty minutes later, Israeli aircraft raided a house and a blacksmith workshop owned by Abdul-Hamid Fadil, also in al-Bureij refugee camp. The four-story house, the workshop and three neighboring houses were completely destroyed. Another 10 houses were damaged. Moreover, two men were killed in the attack. They were identified as:

* 27-year-old Hammam Mohammed Issa; and
* 22-year-old Ahmed Yousef Hussein.

At approximately 8pm on Wednesday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Abdul-Raziq al-Nadi. Three heavy missiles destroyed the two-story house, which was inhabited by 20 people.

At approximately 8:55pm Wednesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the police station and the neighboring municipality building, destroying them and three other houses completely. Several other houses and an non-governmental organization office were also damaged.

4. Khan Younis District:

At approximately 11pm, on 7 January 2009, IOF aircrafts targeted a group of youths who were near al-Tatouri factory in al-Amal neighborhood, west of Khan Younis, killing 22-year-old Salem Hmeid Abu Mousa, 22-year-old Hassan Rateb Saman and injuring other bystanders.

At approximately 11:50pm, on the same day, IOF aircrafts bombarded the police station which is located on Salah al-Din Street in Maan area, east of Khan Younis, destroying it completely. At approximately 4:30pm that same day, IOF aircraft bombarded the police station in Bani Suhaila destroying it completely.

At approximately 1:15, on 8 January 2009, the IOF penetrated the vicinity of Abu al-Alaa al-Maary School in northeast al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, and opened gunfire and missiles at agricultural and open areas. The shelling resulted in the killing of 60-year-old Atwi Awwad Abu Nazeef.

At approximately 12pm, on the same day, IOF aircraft raided a group of women, killing 22-year-old Maather Mohammed Hmeid, and 32-year-old Faten Sneid. The death toll in Khan Younis district between 1pm yesterday and 1pm today reached has reached five, including two women.

5. Rafah District:

At approximately 9:50pm, on 7 January 2009, IOF aircraft fired two missiles at the three-story house of Ahmed Mohsen Hasan Fuju, which is located in al-Jnina neighborhood in Rafah, destroying it completely. The house was inhabited by four families, a total of 20 persons. The attack also destroyed totally the adjacent two-story house of Hmeid Mohammed Mohsen Fuju, which was inhabited by three families, a total of 11 persons.

The number of people killed in Rafah since the beginning of the Israeli operation till 7 January 2009 has reached 39, including 13 children and a woman, while the number of people injured has reached 320, including 203 men, 61 women, and 65 children.

here is al mezan’s report from yesterday naming the martyrs and giving us context for their brutal murders by israeli terrorists using their american-made weapons:

At approximately 3:15pm Monday, IOF artillery hit the house of the al-Jatali family, which is located near Erez Crossing. The father, 35-year-old Mousa Mohammed al-Jatali, was killed immediately in the house. His three sons, Islam (nine); Hamza (four); and Abdul-Rahma (two), were injured.

In the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, Israeli tanks opened fire at two Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances at approximately 5:30pm, also on Monday. The two ambulances, which were on their way to collect injured and killed people in the al-Atatra area, were damaged by the shelling, despite their coordination with the IOF through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At approximately 8pm on Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Mahmoud Yousef Lubad in Block 12 in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and causing damage to six houses. Forty-year-old Basil Abu Ghaben was killed. His body was found under the rubble in the morning.

At approximately 11:30pm on Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Fuad Mansour in Block 12 in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and killing an old women, Khadija Zomlut, 70. Two children and one woman were also injured: Hilmi Zomlut, one years old, his brother Mohammed (15) and Nisreen Zomlut (30).

Ten minutes later, the IOF fired about 30 artillery shells towards the al-Jama neighborhood in the east of Jabaliya, destroying ten homes, injuring one person and forcing about 100 of the residents to evacuate their homes.

At approximately 12:30am Tuesday, 6 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Abdullah Kadoura Salih in Block Six in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and killing four of its residents. They were identified as:

* 12-year-old girl Raneen Kadoura Salih;
* 55-year-old Abdullah Salih;
* 45-year-old Mahzyia Salih; and
* 21-year-old Samia Salih.

Ten of the house’s residents were also injured in the attack, including three children.

At approximately 12:40am on Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Hatim Wadi in Jabaliya camp, destroying it and damaging four houses around it. Two people were killed in this raid:

* 33-year-old Hamdi Hammad; and
* 50-year-old Ismail Abu Nasser.

Twenty others were also injured in the attack.

At approximately 4:37am Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Manar al-Kurdi in Block Two of Jabaliya camp, destroying it and killing two of its residents; a child and an old woman:

* Three-year-old Adam Mamoun al-Kurdi; and
* 60-year-old Hajar Ismail Insiwi.

Four others were injured, including a child. The same house was raided again, just as ambulance crews arrived at the scene, injuring 10 rescue workers.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Kamal al-Kahlout in Jabaliya camp, destroying it and killing a child: 17-year-old Huzayfa al-Kahlout.

At approximately 8am, an IOF drone bombarded a car, injuring 24-year-old Emad Mohammed Shalak and 21-year-old Tariq Farajallah, and the driver 24-year-old Jalal Afana, whose leg was later amputated.

In Gaza City, IOF has launched numerous attacks on houses, destroying many of their residents. Al Mezan has not been able to verify the consequences of each attack in these areas; however, killed and injured people continue to arrive at al-Shifa Hospital. Al Mezan has received many reports about civilians who were killed under the rubble of their homes. Al Mezan has verified the following attacks and casualties in Gaza City:

At approximately 12:50pm yesterday, Monday 5 January 2009, IOF artillery targeted the house of al-Milh in the east of al-Zeitoun neighborhood, killing two women and causing several casualties. The two women were identified as:

* 80-year-old Khadra al-Milh; and
* 25-year-old Lobna al-Milh
.

About two hours later, IOF artillery hit the house of Nafez Eliwa in al-Shejaiyeh neighborhood, killing a mother and four of her children. The victims were identified as:

* The mother, 37-year-old Amal Zaki Eliwa;
* Muntaser Eliwa;
* Hazem Eliwa;
* Mumen Eliwa;

* The fourth child, a girl, has not yet been identified; however, Al Mezan knew that the children were under the age of 15.

At approximately 2:20pm, on 5 January 2009, the IOF fired artillery shells at the house of the al-Sirsawi family in eastern al-Zeitoun neighborhood, destroying it completely while its inhabitants were inside it. Five-year-old Ayia al-Sirsawi was killed in the attack. According to eyewitnesses, more family members are still under the rubble of their house.

At approximately 2:15pm, on the same day, the IOF fired artillery at the house of the Allaw family, which is located in al-Tuffah neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, killing 12-year-old Mohammed Talal Allaw, and his 11-year-old brother Momen while they were playing on the roof of their house.

At approximately 1:30pm, on the same day, the IOF shelled also the house of the al-Harazeen family in az-Zeitoun neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, with artillery, killing 20-year-old Alaa Ibrahim al-Harazeen, and 21-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Harazeen. Eye witnesses reported to Al Mezan that there were still victims under the rubble of the house.

At approximately 5:30pm that same day, the IOF opened fire randomly at houses in al-Zeitoun neighborhood during an incursion of a special force into the neighborhood. The shooting killed 15-year-old Hanadi Basem Khalifa with a live bullet to her head.

At approximately 6:10pm, IOF aircrafts hit one of al-Saada towers (apartment-building compound) in Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, south of Gaza City, killing 50-year-old Fayiz Yousif Hasan, while he was in his house close to the tower, and injuring two others.

Further, at approximately 11pm, the IOF launched eight air raids at the al-Saraya security compound in central Gaza City. The compound includes Gaza Central Prison and security apparatuses. The attacks destroyed the compound completely and caused severe damages to neighboring houses. Several residents of the areas were injured.

At approximately 12am, on 6 January 2009, the IOF tanks shelled the house of 50-year-old Awni Abdul-Fattah Jaddou, which is located in al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The shelling killed three of Jadou’s sons, and injured four others from the same family. Those killed were:

* 18-year-old Lotfi Abdul-Fattah Jadou;
* 24-year-old Ghazi Abdul-Fattah Jadou; and
* 20-year-old Hashem Abdul-Fattah Jadou.

Furthermore, IOF aircrafts raided UNRWA’s Asma School the Beach refugee camp. This school was used by UNRWA to shelter civilians who were displaced from the areas where they live in the eastern areas of Gaza City as well as the al-Atatra and al-Salatin areas in Beit Lahia town. The attack killed three youths who were identified as: 27-year-old Rawhi Jamal al-Sultan, 23-year-old Hussein Mamoud al-Sultan, and 19-year-old Abed Samir al-Sultan.

At approximately 6am on the same day, Israeli aircrafts bombarded the four-story house of 60-year-old Fayiz al-Daya, in al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. The attack destroyed the house completely while its residents were in inside it. Eyewitnesses and survivors reported that 30 members of the al-Daya family were killed. Four bodies had been taken out from under the rubble and sent to al-Shifa Hospital at the time this release was issued. Al Mezan has also received the names of 26 other members of this family, who are believed to be under the rubble. Those who were identified are:

* 60-year-old Fayiz Mosbah al-Daya,
* 25-year-old Sabreen al-Daya;
* 34-year-old Iyad Fayiz al-Daya;
* Five-year-old Falastin Fayiz al-Daya; and
* 55-year-old Khitam al-Daya, who is the wife of the house’s owner.

In another attack, at the same time, the IOF fired artillery shells towards houses near the Abu Jebba gas station in al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The shelling killed 52-year-old Abdul-Wahab Ahmed Hasanein, while he was in his house. Twelve others were injured.

Between 1pm on 5 January 2009 and 12pm on 6 January 2009, 40 bodies were admitted to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Al Mezan was able to identify some of them as:

* Five-year-old Aya al-Sirsawi, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 19-year-old Mohammed Mustafa Kmeel, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 22-year-old Mohammed Al-Ghazali,
* 20-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Nazli,
* Three-year-old Wiam Jamal al-Kafarneh, from Beit Hanoun town;
* Montasir Eleiwa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
* Hazem Elawa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
* Momen Eleiwa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
* Mohammed al-Khouli, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* 37-year-old Amal Eleiwa; from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
* 36-year-old Mahrous Shuheibar, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* Basem Morjan, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 20-year-old Ala Ibrahim al-Harazeen, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 21-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Harazeen, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 15-year-old Nada Mosbah Sad, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* Adham Moteir, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* Five-year-old Nada Mardi, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* Ramadan Fefel, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* 58-year-old Laila Ismail Sulaiman, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* Mohammed Samir Salem, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* 74-year-old Hassan Khalil Arafat, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* 80-year-old Khadra Abdul-Malek, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 15-year-old Ahmed Shaher Khteir, from Beit Lahia town;
* Nine-year-old Jihad Samir Rheim, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 12-year-old Mohammed Mahmoud Allaw, from al-Tuffah neighborhood
* 11-year-old Momen Mahoud Allaw, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
* 80-year-old Khadra al-Milh, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 25-year-old Lubna al-Milh, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 52-year-old Abdul-Wahhab Ahmed Hasanein, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 50-year-old Fayiz Yousif Hassan, Tel al-Hawa;
* 60-year-old Fayiz Musbah al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 55-year-old Khitam al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* 34-year-old Iyad al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
* Five-year-old Filastin al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood.

Medical sources announced the death of 47-year-old Asad Hamouda, who was injured on 4 January 2009. In addition, were a child from the Eliaw family, and another from the Sheheibar family whose names remain unknown.

In the Central Gaza district, the IOF opened artillery fire at Block Four in the al-Bureij refugee camp. At approximately 9:40pm Monday 5 January 2009, artillery shells hit the house of Jihad Ali Abu Jbara, 53, killing him, his two sons Basil (29), and Usama (21); and two children in the neighboring houses: Naji al-Hamalawi (16), and Ibrahim Akel (17). Ten other people including four children were also injured in this attack.

At approximately 10pm on the same day, Israeli aircrafts raided the police station in the town of Deir al-Balah. Israeli navy vessels shelled a crowd and houses in the town’s refugee camp at 2:30am Tuesday, killing 10 people. They were identified as:

* 21-year-old Hashim Afana;
* 27-year-old Khalil al-Hasanat;
* 20-year-old Husam Abu al-Sibah;
* 25-year-old Zyad Nassar;
* 35-year-old Ahmad al-Hasanat;
* 33-year-old Mohammed Abu Shira;
* 22-year-old Hasan Mismeh;
* 18-year-old Ala Ismail;
* 18-year-old Mohammed Eid and
* 23-year-old Mohammed al-Banna.

Al Mezan’s field worker in the Central Gaza district reported that a 22-year-old woman, Ayyat Farajallah, was injured in her chest from Israeli fire when she was at her house’s door in the Wadi Gaza village. IOF troops, who are stationed north to the nearby al-Zahraa, opened fire at the woman. Continuous shooting from these troops has forced the residents of the village to evacuate and seek safe shelters elsewhere. This woman was about to leave the village with her family when she was shot.

At approximately 12:10am Tuesday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Salah al-Aydi in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, destroying it and injuring three civilians in the area. A 26-year-old woman, Islam Abdul-Jawwad was critically injured in this attack.

At approximately 10:30am also today, IOF fired artillery that exploded near the house of Mahmoud Abu Shaar, 27, in the Wadi al-Salqa village in central Gaza. The man was killed with his 24-year-old wife Fidaa Abu Shaar. Their infant, Tamer, who is six months old, was injured.

At approximately 1:15am today, Israeli aircraft fired two missiles that struck a garden and an open field in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the Central Gaza district. Several houses in the area were damaged.

At approximately 8pm yesterday, Monday 5 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts also fired a missile that landed near al-Nour Mosque in Abassan town, east of Khan Younis City in South Gaza district. It caused severe damage to the mosque and several other houses in its vicinity. Israeli aircrafts also bombarded numerous open fields close to neighborhoods in Khan Younis, causing damages to houses in the al-Amal neighborhood and the towns of Abassan and Khuzaa. Three women were injured in these raids. Moreover, Israeli naval vessels opened fire towards the al-Mawasi area in the west of Khan Younis, injuring three civilians, including two children.

At approximately 9:10am today, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Khaled Abu Odeh in the al-Amal neighborhood, destroying it and a neighboring house completely, and causing damage to several houses in its vicinity. Five people were injured in this raid; including a cameraman of the al-Aqsa satellite channel, two children and one woman.

IOF’s artillery shells landed in eastern Abassan town at approximately 11:20am today. One shell landed near the house of Hasan Ikdeeh, killing a five-year-old child, Marwan Hasan Ikdeeh, and injuring his 13-year-old sister, Lama.

the list above is long. but it is not complete. the morgues are full and no longer have refrigerated space for the dead. those who search for the dead, who pick up the wounded–the medics–are being killed, are being targeted as this footage from al jazeera demonstrates:

these are medics like arafa hani abed al dayem who volunteered as a medic, but who was a science teacher. he was targeted and murdered by israeli terrorists. you see, medics are dangerous: they save palestinian people’s lives. equally dangerous are those who drive cars or trucks for the united nations; they are targeted by israeli terrorists as well:

Israeli troops shot and killed a United Nations truck driver in Gaza on Thursday.

Witnesses said the UNRWA driver was shot near the Kerem Shalom border crossing at the northern end of the Strip. A bystander was injured in the shooting. The attack occured two days after Israeli artillery killed 45 civilians at a UN compound in northern Gaza.

what makes it so obvious that israeli terrorists target those who work for the united nations is that the united nations shares its coordinates and whereabouts with the israeli terrorists so when they bomb such drivers, schools, clinics, and buildings they know exactly what it is they are doing:

John Ging, the head of the UN relief agency in Gaza, said that the casualties in the convoy attack were Palestinian civilian contractors hired to bring supplies from the crossing points.

“They were co-ordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops,” he told Al Jazeera.

“It has resulted tragically in the death of one and the injury of two others.”

Richard Miron, the UN spokesman, said the Israeli army had been notified in advance about the movements of the UNRWA convoy.

All convoys to Erez and the Kerem Shalom, which has been the main crossing point used for bringing humanitarian supplies into Gaza, were suspended after the incident.

“This underlines the fundamental insecurity inside Gaza at a time when we are trying to address the dire humanitarian needs of the population there,” Miron said.

of course in either scenario it is the palestinians in gaza who are being punished–either they are being bombed out or they are being starved out. either way the choice is death for palestinians: the slow kind of death of hunger or the quick kind from the american-made weapons.

meanwhile the world health organization, in concert with the united nations and the icrc, condemned israeli terrorists who are compounding the crisis by besieging not only the people but also the medical facilities, the electricity…:

According to information obtained by the WHO, the ongoing Israeli air strikes, shelling and ground offensive have limited the movement of the patients and the medics to a serious level that blocked medical services and the delivery of medical supplies.

The organization stated that 21 medical personnel were killed in the Gaza Strip and that thirty other were wounded as the army did not only shell ambulances but also shelled hospitals in medical centers. The army also shelled at least eleven ambulances.

The WHO added that the number of medial governmental facilities that are still running in the Gaza Strip is 29 out of 56 centers and medical facilities.

The WHO statements focused on the following main points;

1. Gaza Strip needs urgent supplies of life-saving equipment to treat the increasing number of wounded residents.

2. Due to the ongoing bombardment and ground offensive, the movement of the patients and medical personnel is limited; evacuation of critically injured residents to hospitals outside of the Gaza Strip is prevented by Israel.

3. Hospitals in Gaza do not have enough beds in emergency rooms and admissions. Hospitals are using make-shift trauma and intensive care units and even those beds are nearing exhaustion of capacity. “There have been reports of injured people lying on the ground in health facilities”.

4. Health workers are working around the clock since Israel started bombarding Gaza on December 27. They are very exhausted and need urgent replacements to be able to provide live-saving services to the critically injured residents.

5. Power failures are affecting the medical services, hospitals have to use generators, including some hospitals that use generators around the clock, main supplies are cut, medical supplies are running out, power failures have negative effects on infection control, blood transfusion, instruments used for sterilization, basic sanitation and hygiene in hospitals, operating theatres and intensive care units. The hospitals are also expecting a dangerous increase of life-threatening hospital-borne infections “such as gangrene, septicemia, tetanus, etc.) and complications (such as shock) can also be expected”. The statement reads.

and while the world protests and demands a cessation to the israeli terrorist bombardment of gaza, the united states continues to arm the zionist entity with weapons to murder palestinians in gaza using greece (add them to the list of who is complicit please):

As the Israeli military continues to pound the crowded, impoverished and imprisoned population of the Gaza Strip with the full force of its military might, Israel’s strongest ally, the United States, announced plans to ship large amounts of ammunition to the Israeli forces – as it did during Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, when the Israelis ran out of (internationally-banned) cluster bombs, and the US shipped them tens of thousands more.

The US Military Sealift Command on Dec. 31st published a solicitation for bids from shipping companies to ship two boats, each containing 168 TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalent container units) of ammunition, from Greece to Israel.

The description of the vessels required was brief:

“Required: Request US or foreign flag container vessel (coaster) to move approximately 168 TEU’s [standard twenty-foot containers] in each of two consecutive voyages both containing ammunition.”

Bids were requested by January 5th, but it is unclear whether bids were submitted or a contract awarded as of January 8th.

According to the US Military’s solicitation, “Funds are not currently available for this procurement. In the event funds remain unavailable, this procurement will be cancelled without an award being made.”

it is behavior like this that means that every american legislator in washington dc has blood on his/her hands. we know this because whenever israeli terrorists massacre large numbers of palestinians or lebanese we can count on the senate and the house of represenatives to join in their loud, cheering support over the death of more arabs:

The U.S. Senate voiced strong support on Thursday for Israel’s battle against Hamas militants in Gaza, while urging a ceasefire that would prevent Hamas from launching any more rockets into Israel.

The chamber agreed on a voice vote to the non-binding resolution co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican party leaders in the chamber.

“When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel, by reaffirming Israel’s inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza, as well as our support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said before the vote.

Noting that Israel was bent on halting Hamas rocket fire into its southern towns, Reid said: “I ask any of my colleagues to imagine that happening here in the United States. Rockets and mortars coming from Toronto in Canada, into Buffalo New York. How would we as a country react?”

Co-sponsor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican said before the vote: “The Israelis … are responding exactly the same way we would.”

The House was expected to pass a similar resolution.

sure there is one lone voice, dennis kucinich who is offering a different perspective on this in a letter to condoleeza rice, but again, to what effect?:

I am writing concerning Israel’s military offensive against Gaza, which began on December 27th. I support Israel’s security and its right to exist in peace, without the fear of rocket attacks from Hamas. Moreover, I abhor the violence being visited upon the citizens of our firm ally. However, no nation is immune from the legal conditions placed on the receipt of U.S. military assistance. I believe that with the current escalation of violence in Gaza, a legal threshold has been reached, warranting a Presidential examination and report to Congress. I hereby request an examination of Israel’s compliance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (AECA).[1]

While neither the AECA nor the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) define “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense,” I believe that Israel’s most recent attacks neither further internal security nor do they constitute “legitimate” acts of self-defense. They do, however, “increase the possibility of an outbreak or escalation of conflict,” because they are a vastly disproportionate response to the provocation, and because the Palestinian population is suffering from those military attacks in numbers far exceeding Israeli losses in life and property.

Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza has inflicted a significant toll on Palestinian civilians and society. Israel’s recent aerial and ground offensive against Gaza has killed nearly 600 and injured over 2,500. The Associated Press reported: “children are paying the price. . . . The United Nations has said the death toll includes 34 children. . . . But the broad range of Israel’s targets–police compounds, fire stations, homes of militants, Hamas-run mosques and university buildings–means most shelling is occurring in residential areas.”[2] The extensive destruction of such civilian institutions violates Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the wanton destruction of property and collective punishment of a civilian population. There have also been reports of bombings of United Nations (UN) schools, despite the fact that Israeli Defense Forces were allegedly given coordinates of the facilities prior to the current escalation in violence.[3][4] The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2006 has further exacerbated the extent of collateral damage, as hospitals and morgues have been unable to cope with the magnitude of deaths and injuries as a result of the current escalation in violence and hospitals lack proper supplies needed to treat the injured. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2006 has further exacerbated the extent of collateral damage, as hospitals and morgues have been unable to cope with the magnitude of deaths and injuries as a result of the current escalation in violence and hospitals lack proper supplies needed to treat the injured. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2006 has further exacerbated the extent of collateral damage, as hospitals and morgues have been unable to cope with the magnitude of deaths and injuries as a result of the current escalation in violence and hospitals lack proper supplies needed to treat the injured. The extensive destruction of such civilian institutions violates Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the wanton destruction of property and collective punishment of a civilian population. There have also been reports of bombings of United Nations (UN) schools, despite the fact that Israeli Defense Forces were allegedly given coordinates of the facilities prior to the current escalation in violence. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2006 has further exacerbated the extent of collateral damage, as hospitals and morgues have been unable to cope with the magnitude of deaths and injuries as a result of the current escalation in violence and hospitals lack proper supplies needed to treat the injured.

I believe that Israel’s use of defense articles provided by the U.S in the current Gaza military attacks may constitute a violation of the AECA. At a minimum, the conflict is sufficient to warrant an immediate report to Congress as required by 22 U.S.C. §2753. Please contact my office by close of business on January 7, 2009 with the date the report will be submitted.

you can watch dennis kucinich here on al jazeera (and some mofo zionist too) discussing this issue in congress and you can see that, while it may feel good for a minute to have some white man advocating in support of palestinians: to what effect? what is the use of this?

meanwhile americans and others who are trying to figure out what to do that can be of help: (little clue here: liberating ALL OF HISTORIC PALESTINE), palestinians in gaza continue to be beiseged, and too often forgotten. sameh habeeb has recently been under attack for the tremendous efforts he is going through to write about israeli terrorism every day. he does this at great risk to himself and his family as he reminds us on his blog:

I have got three calls from anonymous persons stop blogging or I would be killed. Yet, I would keep on this track. Some of you do wonder how I send news in such conditions. I really suffer a lot to send you this update due to lack of power. I go around 4 kilo meters a day in this cruel war where I charge my laptop battery to be able to send this work! This is very risky since shells rain down and drones hover over me! I will keep this up.

This is a new report for the 13th day of Gaza War and the outcomes of Israeli invasion. For more reporting, breaking news, interviews and accounts in Gaza, you could reach me on my contact info below. Please try both numbers below because there is a big problem in communication resulted in Israeli power cuts.

13 days. no reprieve. we need resistance, serious resistance, now.

is unity only something you see on tv?

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things look so different on television. i should know better, of course, having grown up in los angeles. having had parents involved in the film industry. having lived outside the u.s. long enough to endure questions about what it is like in the u.s., people always thinking that life is just like what they watch on mbc or one tv. i’ve seen so many protests on television now of people around the world supporting gaza, supporting palestine. i’ve been hearing stories from baha’a about their continual tent in front of esqwa in beirut protesting. about hiba’s beautiful, creative idea to stage a unique sort of protest in bourj al barajneh refugee camp in beirut:

Beginning on Friday, 2 January, 2008, a solidarity tent for Gaza will be set up near Airport Road at the entrance of Bourj Barajneh camp. A number of activities will take place, including:

• Open phone lines to Gaza for those who wish to send their words of encouragement and solidarity to those in Gaza

• card making activities for children who wish to draw cards for children in Gaza

• a mock funeral for the consciences of the Arab regimes who have failed to respond to the calls of their own people in condemning the Israeli government’s recent acts of aggression, along with a reception area for those who wish to offer their condolences for the families of those who have lost loved ones

• a donation box for those in Gaza, whose proceeds will be delivered via an NGO who has access to Gaza.

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around the world, especially today in muslim countries, following friday prayer, there were numerous protests that thankfully directed some of the anger at the u.s. al jazeera highlighted some of the protests and here is what they said about those in palestine:

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday, after calls by Hamas for a “day of wrath”.

“We will sacrifice our soul and our blood for Gaza,” chanted the demonstrators, shouting pro-Hamas slogans and calling on fighters to “hit Tel-Aviv”.

In Jerusalem, protesters clashed with police after Friday prayers.

With a view to curb protests, Israel sealed off the West Bank for the day as well as key parts of Jerusalem. Men aged under 50 years were prohibited from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque.

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my understanding was that in nablus we were going to make sure that our protest was not about one particular political party, but rather about unity. that we agreed only one flag–the palestinian flag–would be welcomed. i even put away my pflp kuffiya and wore a palestinian embroidered scarf instead so as to wear something that is clearly palestinian and clearly not from a political party.

i decided to walk downtown while everyone was in the mosque. the sky was very blue today with lots of big billowy white clouds. it’s really cold, but it felt good to take a long walk, especially given how quiet everything was. it gave me some time to clear my head. by the time i got to martyr’s square the protest had already started and it was definitely the biggest one yet. i walked into the main area and looked around for alia who had just called me to say she was on her way downtown, too. i was disappointed immediately, however. it was the same old thing. lots of men give lots of speeches. it doesn’t feel real. it feels like they care more about themselves than the people of gaza. it feels like they just want to be on a platform speaking in front of the public. and, of course, they had a fatah flag over where they were speaking.

both alia and i decided–at that moment–that women should stick to organizing protests as they are far better, more unified. it was just chanting last time and all chanting that was inclusive. (note: that does not mean i think that women are better at everything: i think some of the most hateful political leaders who should all be locked up are people like tzipi livini, condoleeza rice, hillary clinton). but here it seemed, at least on wednesday, that the women’s union did an amazing job of unifying people. (and, yes, that was a very exhausted me on al jazeera at that protest the other day.)

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i turned around and saw alia behind me with her mom and walked over to them. shortly thereafter we started hearing competing voices. there were other people trying to initiate chants–the same as the other day. so we walked towards them. we started to see lots of palestinian authority security forces everywhere around the square. we started to see other groups below a bit who were doing their own chants. there were at least three groups of different chanters shouting over each other. this did not bode well. but i followed alia and her mom down to where the women were chanting. it was clear that this was a group of primarily hamas women from the color/style of their hijab as well as the hamas flags and baseball hats everywhere. we both thought this was good because no hamas people have come to the other protests as far as we know. but i spoke too soon.

now let me be very clear: i totally support hamas’ right to govern as they were democratically elected. i also support their right to resist israeli terrorist colonialism by any means necessary as is their right under international law. but i do not support hamas–or pflp or dflp or fatah or mubadara–when they are fostering infighting among themselves. as one of my friends said today, “we’re giving them what they want on a golden platter.”

we kept walking over towards the other women and now we noticed that the battle of the chanting became even stronger. our group–which is a mix of students and faculty none of whom want anything to do with this factionalism–wanted to chant things like “wahde, wahde watania” (see my post from wednesday with the other chants on the mp3s that i posted), which means “one nation.” there was this interesting gesturing between the two groups as we grew closer where our group, as well as other people around us who i didn’t know, kept trying to do a sort of call-and-response with the hamas group by getting them to join in. but they were busy trying to drown us out with their chants. at moments it seemed like they joined in and like there was a positive gesturing back and forth. and when they offered religious chants that were not hamas-specific we also joined in. but then it would spiral back into hamas chants.

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shortly thereafter we began to march around the square and towards rafidiya. we just barely made it around the bend when we caught up with saed who had made an enormous and beautiful palestinian flag which a bunch of boys were running down the street with. but as we were marching in a tightly-packed crowd there were arguments that were boiling beneath the surface. we could hear various fights and arguments, and one seemed to be quite heated, but my friends and i walked passed it. but shortly after we did we heard gunfire. it seems that no one was hurt, but then we saw palestinian authority security forces dragging various men away into their paddy wagons to take them to jail. one of the men we saw was a friend of my friend bisan who was with us. her friend is a local tv camera man, a journalist. he was later released, but we watched him from across the street after his release and it seems that they were deleting his film footage.

[incidentally ma’an news neglected to report on this aspect of today’s protest.]

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needless to say the day left us all demoralized. demoralized on top of deep rage and depression about what is going on in gaza. i had asked saed and alia the other day if we could do something other than speeches–something like just simply read the names of the martyr’s from gaza. or make a graveyard full of tombs on martyr’s square with every martyr’s name on it. these martyrs, when you read their names (see below i posted the first 187 known) never say what political party they were in, if any. it says their name and age and maybe where they are from. and all of them–whether refugees or from gaza city are palestinian. just like people here. god, there needs to be unity: but how does one get unity? how do you achieve this when you are asking those around you to simply chant a unifying chant and people refuse? certainly, the violence that erupted out of this is unwarranted on both sides. at the same time, why can’t the utter despair and tragedy bring people together? why can’t this massacre unify the people? israeli terrorism doesn’t hit hamas “targets” all claims to the contrary. it hits all people all parties. they don’t care whether someone is hamas or not. they just want to bomb gaza back to the stone age with the help of american-made planes and weapons.

[note: al jazeera just announced that palestinian authority police said protests in the west bank can only take place if factional flags are not present; only the palestinian flag may be used.]

meanwhile there are 428 martyrs and 2,200 wounded. no ground invasion yet, though there was intense bombardment today. a mosque, a chicken farm, ambulances were all hit today. israeli terrorists are dropping leaflets again, as they usually do, warning the people in gaza, seeking collaborators in gaza:

Israeli airplanes dropped leaflets calling for Gazans to inform the Israeli military of the whereabouts of projectile launchers in return for aid and assistance.

The papers were found by the thousands all over Gaza Friday morning, and bear the signature of the Israeli military forces.

The leaflet reads:

Dear people of the Gaza Strip,

Bear the responsibility for your fate!

The Projectile launchers and the terrorist elements pose a threat on you and your families.

If you wish to provide help and assistance to your people in the sector, call the number below to provide us with the needed information.

The future of the massacre is in your hands
Don’t hesitate!

We will be glad to receive any information you have and it is not necessary to give us your personal information.

We will keep it as a secret.
Call us at the following number: 02-5839749
Or e-mail us at: Helpgaza2008@gmail.com

To provide us with any information on the terrorist factions.

Note: To protect your safety we ask you to be secretive when you call us.

Head of the Israeli defense forces.

Israel has used similar tactics on several occasions, most recently during their 2006 war in Lebanon and earlier in 2003 during an attack on the West Bank. The fliers are meant to shake the civilian population and crush the spirit of the ‘home front.’

Israeli military personnel have also cut into broadcasts on the Voice of Al-Quds radio station in Gaza and broadcast announcements to Gazans on air that convey the same message as the leaflets.

At the same time the Al-Qassam Brigades, affiliated with Hamas, were able to cut into Israeli military radio channels and broadcast statements in Hebrew warning soldiers from entering the Gaza Strip.

the flyer, like those i’ve seen fails to understand that palestinians don’t see themselves or their neighbors as “terrorists”: they know that the terrorist is the israeli in the american-made airplane dropping bombs on their heads. and let’s take a look at who the martyrs are: they are predominantly children!

Sixteen out of the 28 killed in Israeli airstrikes since New Year’s Eve were children; nine were from the same family, five of the adults killed were women.

The percentage of Israeli casualties that are children in 2009 is 57%.

On Friday the bodies of the Rayan family children were buried, and Palestinian medical sources confirmed the deaths of three more Palestinians under 17.

Seven Palestinians have been killed since midnight Thursday bringing the death toll to 428 and the injured to 2,220 on day seven of the Israeli operation.

finally, there is a bit of good news coming out of europe today:

The European Union should use today’s emergency meeting of foreign ministers to suspend a new co-operation agreement between the EU and Israel, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has said.

The proposed agreement, due to be voted on in the European Parliament next month, would give Israel access to EU funding programmes which in some areas are only enjoyed by full members of the EU.

Commenting, Nick Clegg said:

“The continuing bombardment of Gaza is intolerable and self-defeating. It goes far beyond Israel’s right to defend itself.

“There is not a terrorist organisation in the world that has been bombed into submission. Innocent people are being killed and injured by a military operation that will only serve to further inflame extremism, and weaken the moderate Palestinian and Arab opinion which Israel’s long term security depends on.

“Who will Israel negotiate with in future when its own actions are pushing more and more Palestinians into the arms of extremists?

“With the US Administration hobbled by the transition between Presidents, it is time for the EU to act. The EU has enormous potential leverage in the Middle East as the major donor of aid to the Palestinian community and the main market for Israeli exports.

“Yet for too long the EU has been an economic giant which acts as a political pygmy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. EU Foreign Ministers have the chance this evening for once to take action and not just issue words.

“EU Foreign Ministers must immediately suspend the proposed new agreement with Israel. The deal cannot proceed until there is a transformation of the conditions on the ground in Gaza.

“EU Foreign Ministers must also reiterate to Hamas that their rocket attacks are equally self defeating and unacceptable. They should make clear that they would be prepared to talk to Hamas but only if it permanently renounces terrorist violence. Only then would the EU be in a position to support a unified Palestinian leadership covering both Gaza and the West Bank, an essential ingredient for any lasting peace.”

but unless it completely suspends the agreement in keeping with the demands of the boycott campaign this may only be a bit of temporary good news.