los ziongeles

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driving down ventura boulevard today, which is the main street near my grandma’s house, i was bombarded with cartoon images of what dear ayah calls the “fizz fizz” (personally i prefer the image that kabobfest posted last week of a fizz fizz being chased down the street). these images line a few miles with these the multi-colored posters which are advertising a chabad telethon on a local los angeles television station, ktla, raising money for their religious ministry, which openly and actively proselytizes to recruit jews to make them more jewish among other things.

but there are other posters confronting me in los angeles this week. the other day my friend wendy and i went for a walk in santa monica and passed by a beauty supply store selling zionist colonist terrorist products, marketed by none other than sex and the city’s kristen davis:

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there was a code pink protest of selling these ahava products in los angeles the day i arrived here and here is a photograph that a friend of mine took at it:

ahava los angeles protest

i’m happy that code pink is taking up the cause of boycott through its stolen beauty campaign as the movement certainly needs more energy pumped into it and code pink has a huge base in the u.s. at the same time, i find it disturbing that medea benjamin still thinks that only the west bank and gaza belong to palestine as she says in this brief news report on ahava and how the zionist entity profits from occupying palestine (but that is true of all of historic palestine and products made all over occupied palestine whether in al majdal or in the jordan valley). here is the clip which is well worth watching to see precisely how they profit from just one company:

there is material on code pink’s website that offers information about this particular aspect of the bds campaign and also what you can do to create a boycott ahava action in your community. i recommend not using ahava products, however, if you want to replicate the spreading mud on your body aspect of code pink’s action as that undermines the boycott action you are trying to educate people about. there are plenty of other companies (remember estee lauder and all of the many companies it swallowed up are included in the boycott campaign) that produce similar sorts of products–or use regular mud.

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adri nieuwhof wrote a piece about ahava for electronic intifada a couple of weeks ago contextualizing it in terms of the zionist terrorist colony it is produced in:

Israel enjoys free trade of industrial goods with Europe under the Association Agreement it signed with the European Union in 2000. Yakov Ellis, chief executive officer of the Israeli cosmetics company Ahava, told the BBC radio program Today on 5 November 2008 that his company has benefitted from the free trade with the EU. Ahava owns stores in London and Berlin, and signed a contract in 2008 with the leading French perfumery chain Sephora, which has stores all over Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Ahava manufactures its cosmetics in the occupied West Bank, using minerals from the Dead Sea. The company’s skin care products are imported into the EU as originating from “The Dead Sea, Israel.” Israeli products originating in the West Bank are not supposed to benefit from the duty-free import to the EU.

Ahava is firmly rooted in the settlements of Mitzpe Shalem and Kaliya in the occupied West Bank. The kibbutzes of the two settlements own 34 percent and six percent of the shares of Ahava, respectively. Both Mitzpe Shalem and Kaliya are close to the shores of the Dead Sea, exploiting it for tourism.

Although one-third of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies in the occupied West Bank, Israel has closed off the entire shore of the Dead Sea and its resources to Palestinians in the West Bank. Kaliya was established as a military outpost shortly after the 1967 war in which Israeli forces occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, along with Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights.

According to the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, Ahava manufactures its products in the Ahava Dead Sea cosmetic factory in Mitzpe Shalem settlement. The company also runs a visitors center for tourists in the same settlement. In its authoritative ruling in 2004, the International Court of Justice reaffirmed the illegality of settlement construction, which includes the construction of industrial sites in the settlements. Ahava’s factory and tourist visitors center exist therefore in violation of international law.

Ahava CEO Ellis told the BBC that his company can circumvent the rule that products from the Occupied Palestinian Territories are excluded from the duty-free import to Europe, because Ahava maintains its offices near Tel Aviv, in Israel. However, the EU rules of origin of product refer to the place where the product, or most of it, was manufactured, not to the place where a company’s offices are based.

Despite this subterfuge, Ahava is bound to pay import taxes to EU countries. British customs officials expressed to the BBC their strong concerns that Israeli-produced goods made in settlements in the occupied West Bank may be circumventing import taxes en-route to British high streets.

It is not clear if and how EU member states police the free trade agreement. If the practice in the UK is common in EU countries, the situation is disturbing.

UK Member of Parliament from the governing Labor Party, Dr. Phyllis Starkey, raised questions on the issue to Business Minister Stephen Timms on 17 November 2008. Timms replied that more than 75,000 consignments from Israel entered the UK annually from February 2005 until January 2008. During this period, Israeli exporters were bound to indicate the place of production on the proof of origin documents.

i think that part of the problem of this fixation on just west bank colonies as if there are not colonies all over historic palestine filled with zionist terrorists illegally occupying palestinian land is related to the fact that people rely upon sites like the zionist “who profits” website that, of course, has a vested interest in making sure that those boycotting do not harm to the colonies that the zionists organizing in so-called “peace” groups in the rest of occupied palestine. they need to make sure that their colonies are protected so that palestinian refugees cannot return and reclaim their land and homes that belong to them and have been promised to them under united nations resolution 194. nancy kricorian’s article in alternet continues in this vein of thinking that the bds movement is only about zionist terrorist colonists profiting off the theft of palestinian resources in the west bank and not in the rest of their land. but she misses some key points as she focuses on ahava’s celebrity spokesperson, kristen davis:

While doing research on the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine, I came across the web site Who Profits, a project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace. On that site I found a list of Israeli and international companies that are directly involved in and profit from the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. It seemed strategically and morally important to select for our campaign a corporation whose practices were clearly in contravention to international law. Many of the corporations on the Who Profits list were either unfamiliar to me, discouragingly huge, or didn’t seem like obvious targets for a women’s peace group. But I saw one name that I recognized: Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. In fact, I knew there was a plastic bottle of Ahava Eucalyptus Mineral Bath Salts sitting on the windowsill next to the tub in my bathroom.

If you take a look at Ahava’s web site, you can read about the company’s environmentally responsible practices: “Our manufacturing processes are non-polluting and environmentally conscious. No animals are involved in testing phases and all of our products are encased in recyclable tubes, bottles and jars.” Ahava’s spokeswoman is fresh-faced Sex & The City actress Kristin Davis, whose commitment to doing good is evidenced by her status as an Oxfam Goodwill Ambassador and her position on the advisory board of The Masai Wilderness Conservation Fund. On the Ahava site, Davis is quoted as saying, “My personal beliefs, which include treating both animals and the environment with respect, are equally important to AHAVA.”

If you navigate around the web site you will see pristine images of the Dead Sea, enticing products with beautifully designed labels, and a photo of a water lily leaf with the caption, “This leaf has nothing to hide.” But, unfortunately, Ahava does have something to hide—an ugly secret about its relationship to a brutal occupation. The Hebrew word “Ahava” means love, but there is nothing loving about what the company is doing in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. Ahava is an Israeli profiteer exploiting the natural resources of occupied Palestine.

it is worth targeting a celebrity spokesperson, i suppose, to try to educate them and encourage them to join the boycott campaign as it seems to garner more publicity. even fox news picked up on this story, which highlights the ways in which davis’ work with oxfam is also becoming problematic given that oxfam, like code pink, fights against colonies in the west bank, but not in the rest of historic palestine:

Davis, 44, has stepped down from her post as a spokeswoman for the human rights organization Oxfam International because of her endorsement of Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics line, according to a report in the New York Post.

Ahava is manufactured by Dead Sea Cosmetics, which is based in the Mitzhe Shalem Jewish settlement in the West Bank — which Oxfam considers “disputed territory.”

Davis signed a multi-year contract with Ahava in 2007. As part of the agreement, the Emmy-nominated actress appears in the global advertising campaign, on the brand’s Web site and in various marketing initiatives.

Davis has said she is “honored” to be “part of a beauty legend that dates back to Cleopatra.” She also stressed her shared beliefs with Ahava in treating animals and the environment with respect.

But the partnership has caused quite a headache for the actress.

“This has been a huge thing,” a source told the Post. “Ahava has factories on disputed land. From Ahahva’s perspective, they are not doing anything wrong. From an Oxfam perspective, Ahava is a polarizing company and Kristin shouldn’t be involved with it.”

A representative from Ahava was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement, Oxfam said Davis has “done great work” and that they highly value her support. Still, the organization says they “remain opposed to settlement trade, in which Ahava is engaged. Both Kristin and Oxfam do not want this issue to detract from the great work we have done in the past and plan to do in the future.”

Davis’ spokeswoman told the Post that the actress is “passionate about her relationship with Oxfam, and she intends to work with them and other humanitarian causes for years to come.”

but what i find compelling is yet another argument illustrating the hypocrisy of davis. clearly she doesn’t believe in the rights of human beings, but she does speak about the rights of animals and the environment on the ahava website:

My personal beliefs, which include treating both animals and the environment with respect, are equally important to AHAVA.

so this leaves me wondering if a different argument were made, say, about the environment, would davis then cancel her contract with the zionist colonist terrorist company? because the zionist entity’s theft of minerals from occupied palestine is leading to serious environmental damage:

The level of the Dead Sea continues to drop at the rate of about one metre per year and has lost about a third of its volume, mainly in the last 30 years. Besides being a unique ecosystem and rich with minerals, the sea is known in Hebrew as the “Salt Sea” for its remarkably high salt content.

Environmentalists say excessive mineral mining from the sea, and the dehydration and pollution of its natural water source, the River Jordan, have contributed to the drop.

notice that this environmental damage is something that this irin news report dates back 30 years–which is, of course, a time in which the zionist entity came to control and destroy this sea, not to mention its general destruction of environmental resources, especially water.

ah, yes, water. which brings me to yet another los angeles-zionist entity connection. my home town’s mayor, antonio villaraigosa, decided to embark on a campaign to supposedly save the environment in california by collaborating with zionist terrorist colonists. i find this so ironic for so many reasons. first of all, as a mexican american he is well aware of the fact that california is occupied land in layers. california used to be mexico. and yet villaraigosa told aipac:

Villaraigosa said Israel’s struggle in the Middle East echoes his own Hispanic community’s “struggle for civil rights” and said that when it comes to the Jewish state, “my roots run deep” — recounting visiting his Jewish neighbors while growing up in East Los Angeles.

here is what the los angeles mayor had to say about his visit to the zionist entity last summer in an op-ed for the jewish journal:

Los Angeles has long had a special relationship with the state and the people of Israel. It is a partnership founded on innovation and common hopes; a bond defined by shared dreams for a future of peace, security, and sustainability; a connection that grows stronger each time we establish new ties with our counterparts in the Jewish state.

Over the past week, I led a delegation of civic, faith, business and community leaders on a trip that will help make Los Angeles stronger, safer, more secure and better stewards of the environment — and all Angelenos stand to reap the benefits of our efforts.

In just a few days, we signed agreements to strengthen security at our airport and enhance our counterterrorism capabilities. We initiated partnerships to protect our ports and reduce our carbon footprint. We took a series of steps to revitalize the L.A. River, expand the city’s water conservation and recycling initiatives and invest in the technologies of tomorrow. From homeland security and public safety to environmental innovation and green development, Los Angeles is set to receive the best Israel has to offer in the fields where the Jewish state leads the world — and Los Angeles will be better off as a result.

Some of the most memorable and moving moments of the mission came in our meetings with Israel’s top political leaders. President Shimon Peres told us about Israel’s drive to grow green and continue to rededicate its efforts to make the desert bloom. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert outlined the challenges of leading a democratic nation in a neighborhood of dictators and despots. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni engaged us in a discussion on the ongoing struggle for peace, while former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained what must be done to secure his country and develop a vibrant economy. Finally, the mayors of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv shared their visions for prosperity and vitality in Israel’s largest cities.

Beyond the lasting impact of our security and green technology exchange, and beyond the extraordinary sessions with living political legends, there was one experience — one set of images — that will remain etched in my memory forever.

During the second day of the mission, we traveled to Sderot — a city devastated by years of rocket attacks and red alerts, and a town representing the front line of Israel’s fight against indiscriminate violence and causeless hatred. There, in the midst of the terror we all see on the nightly news and at the epicenter of fear for so many families, children expressed their desire for normalcy before a backdrop of bomb shelters in their schoolyards. Students demonstrated a commitment to a strong education in schools forced to invest in reinforced rooftops instead of new books and materials. Parents looked on with joy and pride as their kids got the opportunity to dance and sing and perform for their guests. And when we looked into the eyes of Sderot’s youth, we could see the hope, spirit, innocence and exhilaration that emanate from the hearts of so many young people worldwide.

After this visit to Sderot and throughout the entire state of Israel, I came away with a powerful reminder of the unique character and incredible story of the Jewish people. It is a tale of resilience in the face of adversity; of a determination to succeed despite impossible odds; of a commitment to innovation; of a will to preserve their homeland; of an unflagging and unwavering faith in “tikkun olam” and “tzedakah,” in repairing the world and pursuing justice, in the values that have sustained Jews for thousands of years and made Israel a true “light unto the nations.”

After 60 years of constant threat and endless challenges, I can safely say that Israel today is stronger than ever. It is a state that remains a beacon of light and a bastion of promise for nations and communities across the globe. It is a country that believes in what’s possible and never falters in its struggle for a brighter future. This mission and these experiences brought the history of the Jewish state into focus and gave us all reason to join our brothers and sisters halfway around the world in the hope — hatikvah — that, one day soon, Israel would once again be a free nation, a secure state and a peaceful homeland.

his trip to the zionist entity, unfortunately, solidified the stance he now takes with respect to support the colonial project on occupied palestinian land. here is what he had to say about the zionist entity’s savaging of gaza to the los angeles times:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa threw his support behind Israel this afternoon, backing the country in its latest strikes against Hamas and its invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The announcement, made during a news conference, pleased Jewish leaders in Los Angeles but sparked anger among local Muslim groups.

“I’ve been to Sderot and seen the wreckage caused by a constant barrage of rocket attacks,” Villaraigosa said of the city in southern Israel. “I’ve met parents afraid to let their kids play in the streets and students unable to go to school each day. I’ve walked along empty roads, visited vacant buildings and witnessed the sheer destruction of a town decimated by eight years of missile strikes.”

The mayor wasn’t alone in his backing. He was joined by City Council members Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine. Jacob Dayan, Israel’s consulate general to the southwestern United States, thanked the mayor and council members for their support at the news conference at the Jewish Federation’s Goldsmith Center, on Wilshire Boulevard.

“At a time like this, in a fight like this, where the odds and the deck are stacked against Israel, thank God Los Angeles and thank God Mayor Villaraigosa are there to stand with Israel,” said Councilman Weiss, who represents the city’s 5th District.

The council members said they too have visited Sderot over the last few years so they could see for themselves the destruction that Villaraigosa had told them about after his trips.

The mayor took the stance that Israel is not the aggressor in this latest battle, which started 11 days ago and expanded to a ground invasion of Gaza on Saturday. The operation has left hundreds of Palestinians dead and thousands wounded in the Gaza Strip.

“No country would sit silently while innocent families are threatened and civilian lives are at risk,” he said. “Israel is no different. It must act against the Hamas leaders targeting the innocent. And it must be allowed to exercise its right and responsibility to defend itself.”

Villaraigosa said he personally has kept in touch with officials at the Israeli Consulate since the recent conflict began.

When asked why he didn’t reach out to the city’s Palestinian community personally as he did with Israeli Consulate officials and the city’s Jewish community leaders, Villaraigosa said he would be willing to sit down with members of Los Angeles’ Palestinian and Muslim communities to address any issues.

The mayor’s news conference was followed by a news conference held by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a national Muslim advocacy group, questioning why Villaraigosa would want to take a side on a battle about 6,000 miles away.

“Why is the mayor of Los Angeles dragging himself and his constituents into international conflicts in the Middle East?” the council’s executive director, Salam Al-Marayati, said in a statement. “We elected the mayor to represent all Angelenos, not to take the side of a specific group of citizens on a foreign issue.” The council’s news conference was held at the Islamic Shura Center of Southern California, on Vermont Avenue.

The center also issued a statement challenging Villaraigosa’s stance on Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

“The Islamic Shura Council is disappointed and feels betrayed by the Mayor’s one-eyed perspective on the tragedy of colossal proportions in Gaza,” the statement said. “While we grant the right for the Mayor to his opinion, we also believe he is obligated to recognize all perspectives to any situation. The Mayor failed Los Angelenos in this regard and we hold him responsible.”

The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California is an umbrella organization for mosques and other Muslim organizations, and the Jewish Federation is an umbrella group for Jewish organizations.

but back to the water issue. one of the reasons for the trip to the zionist entity last year was to sign a deal with a zionist terrorist colonist water company:

The City of Los Angeles signed an agreement with an Israeli water technology company.

On a visit to Israel last week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a cooperation agreement with the Kinarot-Jordan Valley Technology Incubator, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.

The agreement will allow the technology start-up to launch pilot projects at the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Los Angeles has suffered from chronic water shortages.

“Israel is a global leader in high-tech and environmental solutions. As such, we intend to utilize the know-how of our Israeli friends to deal with the challenges we face from drought and global warming,” Vilaraigosa told Globes.

While in Israel, Villaraigosa also signed a security and anti-terrorism agreement between Los Angeles International Airport and Ben Gurion Airport.

The mayor was forced this week to defend the cost of traveling to Israel with a delegation while the city faces a possible $300 million budget shortfall.

the zionist terrorist colonist company, kinrot, villaraigosa is collaborating with is located in the jordan valley, the same region of occupied palestine where ahava sits and steals on palestinian land. and like ahava kinrot steals palestinian water in order to run its operation, as well as land and a host of other resources. these zionist companies–like the zionist entity where they exist on occupied palestinian land–rupture and distort language much like the zionist entity itself by inverting reality. so a company that profits by depleting the dead sea somehow becomes an environmentally aware company.

it is not just the los angeles mayor who is helping the colonial project in palestine. it’s also wealthy zionists like irving moskowitz who has a bingo parlor in los angeles; he uses the profits to hep build new colonies in palestine, for jews only, of course. here is a piece by chris mcgreal that was in the guardian a few weeks ago on this casino in the hawiian gardens neighborhood:

For the winning punters chancing their luck at Hawaiian Gardens’ charity bingo hall in the heart of one of California’s poorest towns, the big prize is $500. The losers walk away with little more than an assurance that their dollars are destined for a good cause.

But the real winners and losers live many thousands of miles away, where the profits from the nightly ritual of numbers-calling fund what critics describe as a form of ethnic cleansing by extremist organisations.

Each dollar spent on bingo by the mostly Latino residents of Hawaiian Gardens, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, helps fund Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in some of the most sensitive areas of occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the Muslim quarter of the old city, and West Bank towns such as Hebron where the Israeli military has forced Arabs out of their properties in their thousands.

‘The majority of bingo customers don’t realise where their money is going’ Link to this audio

Over the past 20 years, the bingo hall has funnelled tens of millions of dollars in to what its opponents — including rabbis serving the Hawaiian Gardens area — describe as an ideologically-driven strategy to grab land for Israel, as well as contributing to influential American groups and thinktanks backing Israel’s more hawkish governments.

But the bingo operation, owned by an American Jewish doctor and millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, has taken on added significance in recent weeks as President Barack Obama has laid down a marker to Israel in demanding an end to settlement construction, which the White House regards as a major obstacle to peace. “Moskowitz is taking millions from the poorest town in California and sending it to the settlements,” said Haim Dov Beliak, a rabbi serving Hawaiian Gardens and one of the Jewish religious leaders in California who have campaigned to block the flow of funds to the settlers.

“The money Moskowitz puts in to the settlements has changed the game. Moskowitz has helped build a hardcore of the settler movement that may number 50-70,000.

“He’s not paying for all of it but he puts the money up front for the vanguards that get things off the ground. That ties Israel’s hands. That ties the hands of the Obama administration. If the administration wants to be serious about stopping the settlers it has to begin in Hawaiian Gardens.”

Moskowitz is an 80-year-old retired doctor and orthodox Jewish millionaire who built a fortune buying and selling hospitals. In 1988 he also bought the faltering bingo hall in Hawaiian Gardens which, under California law, can only be run as not-for-profit operation so Moskowitz brought it under the wing of a charitable foundation he had established in his own name.

The foundation, which did not respond to requests for an interview, bills the bingo operation as of great benefit to the local community through donations to a number of groups, such as the Hawaiian Gardens food bank, as well as scholarships. It has also given money for disaster relief in Central America, Kosovo and parts of the US.

But tax returns show that the bulk of the donations go to what the foundation describes as “charitable support” to an array of organisations in Israel.

and one final zionnazi tale from los angeles for the night. today santa monica hosted some zionist terrorist colonist musical act called the idan raichel project. the zionist entity’s ministry of culture (also known as the ministry of cultural theft) sponsored the event. a friend of mine involved in the boycott movement in seattle led the protest up there the other night. here is what she wrote in an email about it:

The Idan Raichel Project protest last night turned out to be interesting in a somewhat unexpected ways. I will try and summarize that evening briefly.

First, even though our local (Seattle) Palestine activism listserv is infiltrated, with some recipients on it who clearly have signed on just to find out what we’re up to, and bring on the haters to our events, this time, there were no counter-protesters.

The concert was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., this is in a venue (the Triple Door) which is not a concert hall, but a cozy restaurant with a stage, so we knew people would be trickling in early, to have a table/booth and drinks/appetizers before the performance. We were there at 5:45 p.m, handing out two different types of handbill, one specifically about the IRP (whitewashing Israeli war crimes), another about the situation in Gaza. There were quite a few of us, and I’d say we gave out the literature to most of the audience 🙂

Shortly after we had gotten there, none other than Idan himself (with his bodyguard) came out to talk to us, because someone had told him there were protesters outside the venue. I immediately recognized him when I saw a small-ish young man with brown-not-black dreadlocks coming out and looking around, and I went straight to him and asked “Are you Idan,” he said “Yes, I was told there were protesters outside, so I would like to talk to you about what I do, who I am….”

We shook hands, I told him I appreciated his coming out to talk to us, and explained that we were protesting him as part of the boycott of Israeli “cultural ambassadors” who whitewash Israeli war crimes.

He responded with “Let me tell you about the Idan Raichel Project. We are a very large group, reaching about 85 musicians at times, some are Arab, others are ultra-right wing Zionists, and we are not political, we are strictly about Israeli culture, I want to present my culture, Israeli culture, and I steer away from politics.”

I told him that, from my readings about him, he wants to project Israeli culture as a culture of tolerance and multiculturalism, and he nodded eagerly, saying he felt that his contribution was to push his society further into “tolerance and multiculturalism,” hence his inclusion of Arabs in the band. He loves introducing Israelis, who otherwise homogenize all Arabs as “Hamas,” to such wonders as Mahmoud Darwish, Fairuz, and Umm Kulthum.

We talked for quite a while, and all he kept repeating was that he is not political, strictly cultural, and I tried hard to make him grasp that the two are inseparable, and that, besides, he is fully political in many ways that we have researched. I told him that we have read his support for the Gaza assault, and he denied that. Here’s the quote, in a March 2009 article in the Forward: “While Raichel’s music bears explicit and implicit messages of love, Raichel is perhaps a bit more realpolitik than his dreadlocks suggest. He defends Israel’s recent Gazan incursion: “Israel had to protect cities in southern Israel from being bombed — and they’d been bombed not for eight hours, and not eight days, and not eight months, but eight years. For eight years, Hamas was bombing five cities in Israel. I think that the Palestinian people are victims of the Hamas organization.”

I told him about the damning Gush Shalom press release about him, and he said he doesn’t care what Gush Shalom says. I told him he should care.

At some point, we talked about settlements, and he says he only plays in settlements that, by International Law, would eventually be part of Israel. I told him every single settlement is illegal, according to International Law, and he acted like he didn’t know that. Then we somehow got onto the two-state (dis)solution, and I said something about “what, the 17% of historic Palestine that would make up the Palestinian state?” and he said he doesn’t know what percent of historic Palestine remains, to the Palestinians. I told him he should know that.

Basically, it was all denial of statements he has made (such as the one in Forward), claims of ignorance, and claims of being all about culture, not politics. Eventually, he needed to go in to his show, and offered me a free ticket, and I said no, I have not been convinced that he is not whitewashing Israeli crimes, and that I/we will continue to protest and boycott his shows until he denounces Israel’s crimes. He insisted that he refuses to make any political statement, and I quoted him Arhundati Roy: “The trouble is, once you see it, it can’t be unseen. And once you see it, saying nothing, doing nothing becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no neutrality. Either way, you are accountable.”

So…. he gave me his email address, after making me promise I would not share/publicize it, and said he would be happy to continue the conversation. I most certainly will contact him.

I do have to say, to his credit, that he is NOT arrogant at all, and that he actually asked his bodyguard to basically shut up, when his bodyguard aggressively (tone and posture) yelled at me “You support the Khamas suicide bombers.” But he is most certainly an intellectual lightweight.

He’s playing tonight also, and we will be there, to convey the message that he has not convinced us he is all culture, no politics.

love the accent my friend captured in the paragraph above. the article my friend referred to above, by gush shalom from a couple of years ago, offers a bit more context about this group which should be boycotted if they come to a city near you. unfortunately, no one in los angeles had their act together to get anything going. code pink wanted to do it, but took too long to respond to the emails. here is the article that illustrates at least one way in which this group is not just cultural, but decidedly political:

Singers Idan Reichal, Ehud Banai, Ety Ankary and the Madreygot Group are scheduled to perform at the festival planned by the Gush Etzion settlers (in the Bethlehem Region of the West Bank) during the Sukkot Holiday, in order to “celebrate” forty years to the creation of settlements there. As explicitly stated in the settlers’ own website, this is part of a campaign aimed at legitimizing these settlements in the Israeli public opinion, i.e. preventing a peace agreement which would necessitate their dismantling.

Use of the name “Gush Etzion” (The Etzion Bloc) in itself constitutes an attempt to cheat the public. “Gush Etzion” was the name of a cluster of four small kibbutzim which stubbornly resisted Arab forces in 1948 until being destroyed and around which a heroic myth developed in Israel. There might have been a legitimate claim for recreating them (had israel been willing to recreate in exchange four Palestinian villages destroyed in the same war). However, nowadays this name is applied to dozens of small and big settlements which take up enormous territory all around the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, and bear no connection or resemblance to the pre-1948 “Gush Etzion”, including the ever – expanding settlement-city of Efrat.

The one and only purpose for the creation of these settlements is to cut the West Bank to pieces, cut the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron off from each other, and deny to the Palestinians the territorial continuity which is vital for genuine statehood. On these very days, inhabitants of villages in this area such as Umm Salamuna conduct, with the help of Israeli and international peace volunteers, a persistent struggle against the Separation Fence, which cuts deeply into their land and pass it into the possession of the Gush Etzion settlers . The settlers themselves, however, are displeased with the route of the fence, and demand to change it so as to gain even far more Palestinian land.

The Israeli artists who had avoided military service, have been already for months the target of an intensive hate campaign in the media. But the artists who for monetary gain collaborate with the settlers in a project aimed at preventing any chance for peace, at perpetuating hatred and bloodshed – about them nobody is talking.

The artists Idan Reichal, Ehud Banai, Ety Ankary and the Madreygot Group have made themselves into mercenaries and lackeys of the settlers – not even out of ideology, but simply after getting considerable amounts of money. They are all scheduled to appear at the “Israeli Home” festival organized by the settlers on the forthcoming Sukkot Holiday. Idan Reichel is due to appear on the “central stage” to be erected at the settlement of Nokdim – home of the arch – racist demagogue Avigdor Lieberman.

Artists who have prostituted themselves in such a shameful way do not deserve to have Israeli peace seekers come to their performances or spend money for their CD’s.

on boycotting nestlé

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as if we needed another reason to boycott nestle (known as osem in the zionist entity) along comes evidence that it is attached directly to the israeli terrorist forces:

The global Nestle food company is, for the first time in its history, producing a new breakfast cereal in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

The new cereal was developed in Israel and is based on a technology that was originally developed for the production of Osem’s nougat-filled Bamba snack.

The new cereal will be named Crunch Rolls Nougat and is composed of cylindrical-shaped cereal filled with nougat.

The development of the technology began at Nestle’s research and development center in Sderot some seven years ago.

The technology, that is registered as a global patent, allows for the first time ever, the inflation of a corn or cereal product in the shape of a cylinder with open sides, through which the filling can be seen.

Up until now, Nestle has not produced any food products in Israel, and its products are imported to Israel by Osem.

It seems that the sweeping success of Bamba Nougat has prompted Nestle, one of the world’s leading breakfast cereal producers, to implement the new technology in its products as well.

Osem’s nougat-filled Bamba was born at the request of soldiers who would eat Bamba with chocolate paste. The project was initially launched in a limited edition as a marketing campaign, but quickly became a hit.

In the first stages, the new cereal will be sold in Israel and was expected to be on shelves this week. The company also plans to market the new product around the world.

nestle/osem in najd, palestine (colony of sderot)
nestle/osem in najd, palestine (colony of sderot)

together against tyranny lists some of the many additional reasons to boycott nestle such as (click link below for footnotes/documentation):

Nestle owns over half of the Osem Group, Israel’s giant food manufacturer, and has immensely aided in the growth and development of the subsidiary company in Israel, including promoting Osem’s international trade via Nestle’s own distribution channels.

The Nestle Purina Israel, Director and Corporate Executive at Osem Investment Ltd and CEO of Osem International Ltd., Gad Propper, is the Chairman of the Israel-European Union Chamber of Commerce.

He is also Chairman of L’Oreal Israel, 30% owned by L’Oreal,another prominent supporter of Israel.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestle’s CEO since 1997, was awarded the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the highest tribute ever awarded by the “State of Israel” in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, CEO of Nestle, is also on the Board of Directors of L’Oreal, that has a history of breaking laws to support Israel. He is also a director of Credit Suisse, which is a board member of the Swiss-Israeli Chamber of Commerce. Brabeck-Letmathe is also on the foundation board of the World Economic Forum (WEC), which in 2006 removed from its Global Agenda Magazine an article that called for a peaceful boycott of Israel until it complied to international law and human rights. In contrast to the WEC’s promotion of peaceful free speech, the article was said to be “totally in contradiction to … the Forum’s mission and values”.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, set up their R&D Center in Israel (greatly enhancing Israel through their technical know-how, expertise and distribution channels). This R&D center was built on Sderot – stolen and illegally occupied Palestinian land that was once a town called Najd. The presence of Nestle’s plant effectively sabotages the Palestinians’ right to return as stated by UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2.

Nestle and Osem own over half of the goodwill and assets of Israel’s largest infant formula producer, Materna.

Through Osem, Nestle invests heavily in Israel’s development, such as $80m in new salad plants, logistics centers for distribution, development labs, and so on.

Nestle also partners with JNF through Osem. JNF is one of the foremost Zionist organizations that for decades has persistently uprooted Palestinians and destroyed their villages and towns to make way for Israel’s illegal expansion and occupation.

palestinian village of najd, 1948 palestine (colony of sderot)
palestinian village of najd, 1948 palestine (colony of sderot)

the images here are of the nestle/osem company on the village of najd, which houses the zionist terrorist colony of sderot on which ariel sharon owns a farm and which he buried his wife on land which used to be a palestinian muslim cemetery.

lily sharon (ariel sharon's wife) buried on top of a muslim cemetery, najd, palestine
lily sharon (ariel sharon's wife) buried on top of a muslim cemetery, najd, palestine

here are a few important facts from the lebanon boycott group about why one should boycott nestle:

* In 1997, Nestle invested 10% in the Israeli food company, Osem. It soon increased its ownership to 50.1% of the company, ie. the controlling share.

* Nestle-Osem runs several factories and research centers in Jewish-only settlements on lands confiscated from Palestinians.

* Nestle’s main Israeli site is in Sderot, a settlement that was founded near Gaza in 1951 to accommodate an influx of Sephardic Jews and to spread Jewish presence uniformly throughout Israel.

* Sderot is built on the lands of the Palestinian town Najd, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948.

* Today Sderot is home to 23,000 Jewish immigrants from Morocco, Ethiopia, and the former Soviet Union, half of whom came in the last ten years.

* Now a “development zone” in the words of the Israeli state, Sderot lacks basic facilities that make for a comfortable living. With a 10% unemployment rate among adults, a full 30% of the children living in Sderot depend on charity. 25% of the recent immigrants’ children do not finish school.

* Nestle-Osem runs a 700 m2 factory in Sderot, and in 2002 the company opened a 1,700 m2 research and development (R&D) center there.

* The Research & Development center in Sderot is considered particularly beneficial to Osem’s growth as it “gives [Osem] advantages in technological know-how and increased export opportunities through Nestle’s distribution network.”

* Nestle’s Sderot R&D also contributes to the development of Israeli education: “Schools receive assistance through the Join the Industry project which introduces various aspects of Israeli industry to the classroom. Senior managers visit schools and teach classes about their industry. Schools are also welcome to visit the Company’s factories. Students receive guidance from Osem’s executives.”

* In 2002, Nestle received a grant from the Israeli government for 24% of the cost of its Sderot research center. The Israeli government gives such grants to companies that can help it transform social problem sites into nice places to live.

* Building in development zones also means building over the remains of Palestinian habitation.

 When the old stone buildings and stubborn cactus plants are covered over, so, too, it is hoped, will be the grounds for the Palestinian Right of Return.

* In total, Nestle-Osem currently has over 4000 Israeli employees at 11 plants, with the following all in “development zones”: A Factory and an R&D at Sderot (Najd); A Tzabar Salads (an Osem subsidiary) plant in Kiryat Gat (Al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya); A ready-baked cakes factory in Ahihud; A logistics center in Nachsholim (Tantoura)

* How did Tantoura “develop” into Nachsholim?

* According to Israeli historian Teddi Katz, a major massacre in 1948 forced Palestinians to flee Tantoura. The mosque and graveyard of Tantoura were later ploughed and transformed into a sea-side parking lot for Nachsholim…. Do Nestle employees park there?

* As for Kiryat Gat, it is founded on the Palestinian villages of Al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya. Iraq al-Manshiyya’s cactus and village buildings are barely visible before the factories of Kiryat Gat.

* Al-Faluja was in Arab hands until 1949 when it was handed over to Israel through a UN armistice on the condition that “those of the civilian population who may wish to remain … are to be permitted to do so. . . . All of these civilians shall be fully secure in their persons, abodes, property and personal effects.” “Arab civilians . . . at Al-Faluja have been beaten and robbed by Israeli soldiers….” and “[the Israelis] were firing promiscuously” on the Arab population.” — Ralph Bunche, UN Observer, 1949

* “Nowadays we’d call the Al-Faluja events ethnic cleansing.” Noting that native Americans won compensation in several major cases once Congress adopted procedures for dealing with such claims, [the lawyer] said, “It sounds as if there’s potential in the long run for recovery here.” –Henry Norr

* Many companies active inside ‘48 enjoy low-skilled Palestinian labor because it is advantageous to use a captive resident population that is at once socially deprived (no insurance or union), politically oppressed, and able to provide its own food and board.


* What about the Nestle factory in Karni, Gaza? Human rights organization, Btselem has reported that PA area factories host even harsher conditions and less respect for employee rights.

* In sum, Nestle: builds on stolen Palestinian lands; covers up the ruins; provides jobs and opportunities that realize the Zionist goal of a purely Jewish presence in Israel; then sells the products of such an apartheid system abroad so that the Israeli economy can flourish

* No wonder Nestle received in 1998 the Jubilee Award, “the highest tribute ever awarded by the State of Israel in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.”

* Since 1977, Nestle has been the subject of an international boycott for its deceptive promotion of artificial baby milk as a superior alternative to mother’s milk.

* Nestle has attracted criticism for its use of genetically modified ingredients, the safety of which has not been tested.

* Nestle is, also, under attack for allowing its cocoa suppliers in Africa to enslave children.

* In 2000, Nestle donated $20 million to Holocaust reparations funds, because, “As the legal successor of [Nazi] corporations, Nestlé nevertheless accepts its moral responsibility to help alleviate human suffering, all the more so since this injustice was committed in the Company’s domain.”

* We demand that Nestle end its economic and moral support for a racist social system. The company must close its Israeli factories and sell its shares of Osem.

* If Nestle knows that in Sderot/Najd, Kiryat Gat/Iraq al-Manshiyya and Al-Faluja, and Nachsholim/Tantoura it cannot ever produce enough to cover the costs of business lost in the Arab world and abroad, then it will have no choice but to divest from Israel.

* Nestle’s Israeli adventure began only after the thawing of the Arab boycott in 1993, so let the company know that our objections to Israel have not been reduced by the “peace process” but rather increased.

* Britain’s largest union, UNISON, and Christian Aid, a major Christian activist group, have decided to boycott Nestle in addition to their general boycott of Israel goods.

* How do we boycott Nestle? Don’t buy: Nescafé, Taster’s Choice, Hills Bros, Cerealac, Nido, Fitness & Fruit, Appleminis, Cheerios, Chocapic Cornflakes, Shreddies, Golden Grahams, Trix, Perrier, Sohat, Vittel, Pure Life, Carnation, Libby’s, Nesquik, Maggi, Buitoni , Milkybar, KitKat, Quality Street, Smarties, Oreo, After Eight, Lion, Aero, Polo, Toll House Morsels, Crunch, L’Oréal, Alcon Eyecare, Mint Royal, Rowntree, Rolo, Minute Maid, Petit Gervals, Contadina, Alpo, Purina, Tidy Cats, Meow Mix, Mighty Dog, Friskies, Felix

nestle in the distance on the land of najd, palestine
nestle in the distance on the land of najd, palestine

for those who want a comprehensive list of nestle products check out this link to nestle’s website where you can see what other brands are a part of nestle/osem. you can also use the site to send a letter telling them why you are choosing to boycott their products. boycotts do not work unless the company is aware of your boycott. it is also worth noting that there is a longstanding boycott of nestle for its practices around the world of encouraging women to stop breastfeeding and use its infant formula instead, which is worth for the health of the baby and often complicated by factors related to unsafe drinking water, which is needed for preparing baby formula.

قطاع نستله

عام 1977 اشترت نستله 10% من شركة ”أوسم“ الاسرائيلية للأغذية. ثم زادت ملكيتها إلى 50.1% من أسهم الشركة المذكورة، بما يتيح لها التحكم فيها

تدير شركة ”نستله-أوسم“ عدة مصانع ومراكز أبحاث في مستوطنات يهودية صرْف صودرت من الفلسطينيين

أهم موقع لشركة نستله في دولة ”اسرائيل“ يقع في سيديروت، وهي مستوطنة أنشئت قرب غزة عام 1951 من أجل إسكان موجة من اليهود الغربيين ولتوزيع اليهود بشكل متجانس على امتداد أراضي الدولة

اليوم يسكن في سيديروت 23 ألف مهاجر يهودي من المغرب وأثيوبيا والاتحاد السوفياتي، نصفهم قدِم إلى هنا في الأعوام العشرة الأخيرة

والآن سيديروت، لكونها ”منطقة تنمية“ كما تسميها دولة ”اسرائيل“، تفتقر إلى التسهيلات الأساسية التي تضمن حياةً مريحةً لساكنيها. فثمة 10% من الراشدين عاطلون عن العمل، و30% من أطفالها يعيشون على الأعمال الخيريّة، و25% من أطفال المهاجرين الجدد لا يُنْهون مدارسَهم

ولكنْ دخلتْ نستله إلى سيديروت:
وهي اليوم تدير مصنعاً هناك مساحته 700 م2 . 
وفي العام 2002 أعلنتْ نيتها فتح ”مركز أبحاث وتنمية“ بمساحة م2 1700 م2

”هذا المركز يُفيد في نموّ شركة أوسم بشكل خاص لأنه يعطيها ”أفضليات الخبرة التقنية وفي زيادة فرص التصدير عبر شبكة توزيع نستله“

كما ان المركز يساهم في نمو قطاع التعليم الاسرائيلي:

”فالمدارس تتلقى المساعدة من خلال برنامج (التحق بالمصنع) الذس يعرِّف الطلاب على جوانب مختلفة من الصناعة الاسرائيلية.
ويزور مديرون من مناصب عالية هذه المدارس ويعلِّمون الصفوف عن تلك الصناعة.

كما يتّم الترحيب بزيارة الطلاب لمصانع الشركة. ويتلقون إرشادات من مديري أوسم.“

عام 2002 تلقّت نستله منحةً من الحكومة الاسرائيلية مقدارها 24% من كلفة مركز أبحاثها في سيديروت. وتعطي الحكومة الاسرائيلية مثل هذه المنح للشركات التي تساعدها على تحويل الأماكن التي تعاني مشاكل اجتماعية إلى أماكن ممتعة للسكن.

بناء المصانع في ”مناطق التنمية“ يعني أيضاً طمس بقايا الحياة الفلسطينية قبل 1948. ولعلّ اسرائيل تأمل في أن يؤدي طمس المباني الحجرية القديمة وشجرات الصبير العنيدة إلى طمس أي مبررات لحقّ الفلسطينيين في العودة.

الخلاصة أن نستله-أوسم توظف أكثر من 4000 اسرائيلي في 11 مصنعاً، فضلاً عن (وكله في مناطق تنمية):

مصنع ومركز أبحاث وتنمية في سيديروت (النجد)

مصنع ل“سلائط كزايبار“ (التابع لأوسم) في كريات غات (الفالوجة وعراق المنشية)
مصنع للحلويات الجاهزة في أحيحود
مصنع لوجستي في ناخشوليم (الطنطورة)

لنتأمل عن كثب ما هو الذي ”تنميه“ نستله تحديداً في الدولة الاسرائيلية

كيف، يا تُرى، ”تطورت“ الطنطورة إلى … ناخشوليم؟

بحسب المؤرخ الاسرائيلي تيدي كاتز، حدثت مجزرة كبرى عام 1948 أجبرت الفلسطينيين على مغادرة الطنطورة.
لاحقاً تم جرف جامع البلدة ومقبرتها، وحوِّلتا إلى موقف للسيارات لبلدة ناخشوليم.

فهل يصّف عمال نستله اليوم سياراتهم هناك؟

أما كريات غات فبنيت على أنقاض بلدتين فلسطينيتين:
الفالوجة وعراق المنشية

صبير عراق المنشية والمباني القديمة لا تكاد تظهر أمام مصانع كريات غات

كانت الفالوجا عربية حتى عام 1949، حين سُلِّمت إلى اسرائيل بموجب هدنة باشراف الأمم المتحدة شرط أن ”يسمح للسكان المدنيين الذين يريدون البقاء بذلك… وسيكون كل هؤلاء المدنيين آمنين تماماً في أرواحهم ومساكنهم وممتلكاتهم…“

لكنّ اسرائيل سرعان ما انتهكت بنود هذه الهدنة المذكورة.

”المدنيين العرب … في الفالوجة ضُربوا وسُلبوا على يد الجنود الاسرائيليين“ وراح هؤلاء يطلقون النار عشوائياً على المواطنين العرب Ralph Bunche, UN Observer, 1949

”اليوم بمقدورنا أن نسمّي أحداث الفالوجة تطهيراً عرقياً“

وقد لاحظ أحد المحامين الأميركيين أن الأميركيين الأصليين كسبوا تعويضات في عدة قضايا كبرى بعد أن تبنّى الكونغرس اجراءات للتعامل مع دعواهم فقال ”يبدو أن هناك إمكانية في المدى البعيد لاسترجاع (الأراضي والأملاك) هنا في (الفالوجة) أيضاً“ (Henry Norr)

والآن ماذا عن مصنع نستله في كارني، غزة

هناك عدة مصانع عاملة في فلسطين 48 تتمتع بيد عاملة فلسطينية ذات مهارات فقيرة، ذلك لأنه من المفيد لهذه المصانع أن تستغل جمهوراً سجيناً، ومحروماً من أية ضمانات صحية أو نقابية، ومسحوقاً سياسياً، بل وعليه أيضاً أن يؤمن بنفسه طعامه ومسكنه!

ذكرت منظمة ”بيتسالم“ لحقوق الانسان أنّ المصانع في مناطق السلطة الفلسطينية تعاني ظروفاً أشدَّ قسوةً وانتهاكاً لحقوق الموظفين من المصانع في مناطق 48

منذ عام 1977 ونستله تتعرض لمقاطعة عالمية بسبب ترويجها المضلِّل لحليب الأطفال الاصطناعي بديلاً من حليب الأم

كما تعرضت لانتقاد عالمي لسبب استخدامها موادّ معدّلة جينياً

عُرضةٌ أيضاً للهجوم لسبب سماحها لتجار الكاكاو والذين تتعامل معهم في افريقيا باستعباد الأطفال.

عام 2000 قدمت نستله 20 مليون دولار لصندوق تعويضات ضحايا الهولوكوست (المحارق النازية) والسبب أن نستله ”بوصفها خلفاً شرعياً للشركات (النازية) تقبل مسؤوليتها الأخلاقية عن المساعدة في التخفيف من المعاناة البشرية، ولا سيّما لأن هذا الظلم جرى في أراضي الشركة“

نطالبها بانهاء دعمها الاقتصادي والمعنوي للنظام الاسرائيلي العنصري. على نستله أن تغلق مصانعها الاسرائيلية وأن تبيع حصتها في شركة ”أوسم“.

إذا علمت نستله أنها لن تستطيع في سيديروت (النجد) وفي كريات غات (الفالوجة وعراق المنشية) وفي ناخشوليم (الطنطورة) أن تنتج ما يكفي للتعويض عن خسائرها في العالم العربي والعالم أجمع بسبب المقاطعة، فلن يكون أمامها إلاّ سحب استثماراتها من اسرائيل.

لنتذكَّر أن مشاريع نستله الكبرى بدأت بعد ذوبان المقاطعة العربية لاسرائيل عام 1993. 
فلتعلم هذه الشركة أنّ اعتراضنا على اسرائيل لم يخفّ بعد ”عملية السلام“، بل على العكس زاد.

، فضلاً عن منظمة UNISON كما أنّ أكبر اتحاد في بريطانيا، وهو 
، وهي منظمة مسيحية ناشطة كبرى، قد قررا CHRISTIAN AID 
مقاطعة نستله إضافة إلى مقاطعتها لكلّ البضائع الاسرائيلية

the savagery on gaza continues…

yes, israeli terrorists continue their bombing of gaza:

Israeli warplanes killed four Palestinians in two separate airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Three were killed in an airstrike in the east of Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp, in the central Gaza Strip in the second strike.

A spokesperson for the Al-Quds Brigades, Abu Ahmad, said a brigades member, Wasim Mansour, and an NRB member were killed immediately. The NRB (National Resistance Brigades) man was identified as Mahmoud Hammad, who fought under the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

A third man, also affiliated with Islamic Jihad, died later at the Al-Aqsa Hospital in the Central Gaza Strip. He was identified as Ibrahim Bamba. A fourth was said to be seriously wounded.

According to Abu Ahmad, an Israeli reconnaissance plane monitored a group of fighters advancing toward the eastern border of Gaza. The plane then launched two missiles at the group. The operation was to have been a joint effort with the NRB and Al-Quds Brigades.

and there are promises of more:

The Israeli military is preparing a “harsh attack on Gaza,” in response to homemade rockets that are continuously fired into Israel by Palestinian fighters, multiple Israeli news sources reported on Friday.

“The army is preparing to carry out a huge and harsh attack at any moment, which is required to stop firing projectiles on Israel,” said one report, quoting senior military sources.

Last Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed a “painful response” to the homemade projectiles that Israel failed to stop with its three-week war on the Gaza Strip in December and January. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the offensive.

Israel holds Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, totally responsible for the projectiles, which are fired by a variety of Palestinian armed factions.

Palestinian fighters fired three more projectiles into Israel on Thursday night in response to the killing of four fighters in the preceding 24 hours.

and in response to this there was a lovely protest against sweden’s davis cup because israeli terrorist tennis players were competing (yes, they too, like all israelis are soldiers who participate in the wanton murder and destruction) as al jazeera’s emma hayward reports:

given this context i cannot fathom how one can think about rebuilding, but we are talking about palestinians, palestinians who are steadfast and resilient. masha’allah. here is the latest episode of “focus on gaza” with imran garda of al jazeera which discusses some of the obstacles to rebuilding:

one obstacle, of course, is the united states, which is forever imagining new ways to punish palestinians. here’s the latest sadistic scheme they’ve conjured up:

A new initiative by members of the United States Congress seeks to condition the transfer of the $900 million for the Palestinians on an end to rocket fire on Israel from Gaza, and the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged the $900 million during a conference in Egypt this week to raise money for Gaza reconstruction, in the wake of Israel’s three-week offensive aimed at halting rocket fire on its southern communities.

Shalit has been held captive in Gaza since June 2006, when he was snatched from his army base in a cross-border raid from Gaza.

The proposal followed a meeting on Capitol Hill between Noam Badin, the director of the communications center in Qassam-battered Sderot and several members of Congress and their advisors.

After the meeting, Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada drafted a petition to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which demanded that the financial aid be delayed for as long as the rocket fire continues and Shalit remains in captivity.

Berkley, a Jewish politician well-known in Congress for her support of Israel, backed the Israeli operation in Gaza during December and January, and even told Haaretz that maybe Israel had been too tolerant.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said last week that $300 million of the total sum pledged by the U.S. would go to meet “urgent” humanitarian needs in Gaza.

striking against ethnic cleansing

so apparently there is a strike today in the west bank. i found out about it only minutes after i got out of my pjs ready to go on with my day. i had a tawjihi class in balata refugee camp and then i was supposed to go to ramallah for a hip hop concert to benefit gaza. but services and taxis are hard to come by today, and apparently, shops are closed too:

West Bank cities and towns are observing a comprehensive strike following a call from the Palestinian Liberation Organization last week in protest of Israeli plans to destroy 90 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

Transportation and commercial services in all West Bank areas is reduced as many drivers and shop owners close-up in support of the strike called by Secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo.

In Nablus close to 60% of shops are closed. One merchant, who decided to remain open during the day-long strike explained that he decided to remain open because of several phone calls from local residents asking whether or not the shop, which sells basic dry goods, would be open so they could do weekly grocery shopping.

Another merchant, also open, said solidarity with Jerusalem should not be expressed through strikes in the West Bank, but rather by more active means. “We are ready to go to Jerusalem to protest against Israeli procedures in the city,” he said.

In Jericho nearly 90% of shops were shut, and schools with classes on Saturdays were closed.

Ramallah streets were empty with almost all commercial areas shut down. Locals reported only pharmacies, bakeries and clinics were open in the early hours of the strike.

it is not just the settlements in the silwan area of al quds, however, it is everywhere, which is why striking is an important act of solidarity. the most recent such plans for expansion of israeli terrorist colonies were recently made public:

A key Israeli government agency has been promoting plans to build thousands of new houses in illegal West Bank settlements, government documents made public on Friday show.

Documents from Israel’s Civil Administration, the government organ responsible for nonmilitary affairs in the occupied West Bank, were obtained by the organization B’Tselem through a Freedom of Information request.

The plans, developed over the last two years, were approved by the Environment Subcommittee of the Civil Administration’s planning wing and plot out a major expansion of the Gush Eztion settlement bloc. If realized the plan will cut a swath of the West Bank adjacent to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, and annex it to the new settlement areas.

The initial construction would see 550 apartments constructed in an area beside the Allon Shevut settlement, followed by an additional 4,450. At present this area is inhabited by just 12 settler families. In neighboring Bat Ayin, currently home to 120 families, 2,000 apartments are planned.

The documents show that Ma’ale Adumim, a major settlement east of Jerusalem, has also planned to add 3,500 housing units in the E1 area, a key slice of land that, if confiscated by Israel, would slice the West Bank sliced into two zones, essentially cutting off the north from the south.

there is a great article on electronic intifada by sami abu shehadeh & fadi shbaytah about historical, current, ongoing ethnic cleansing by israeli terrorists, which was originally published in badil’s al majdal magazine. i recommend reading the entire article to get a sense how this problem in yaffa–like everywhere in palestine–continues until now, but here is an excerpt:

Zionist forces initiated a cruel siege on the city of Jaffa in March 1948. The youth of the city formed popular resistance committees to confront the assault. On 14 May 1948, the Bride of the Sea fell to the Zionist military forces; that same evening the leaders of the Zionist movement in Palestine declared the establishment of the state of Israel. Approximately 4,000 of the 120,000 Palestinians managed to remain in their city after it was militarily occupied. They were all rounded up and ghettoized in al-Ajami neighborhood which was sealed off from the rest of the city and administered as essentially a military prison for two subsequent years; the military regime under which Israel governed them lasted until 1966. During this period, al-Ajami was completely surrounded by barbed wire fencing that was patrolled by Israeli soldiers and guard dogs. It was not long before the new Jewish residents of Jaffa, and based on their experience under Nazism in Europe, began to refer to the Palestinian neighborhood as the “ghetto.”

In addition to being ghettoized, the Palestinians who remained in Jaffa had lost everything overnight: their city, their friends, their families, their property and their entire physical and social environment. Most had lost their homes as the Israeli military forced them into al-Ajami. Legislator, judge and executioner in the Ajami ghetto was the military commander; without his permission one could not enter or leave the ghetto, and rights to things like education and work were among those rights that Palestinians were denied. Arab states were classified as enemy states, and so making contact with the expelled family and friends, the refugees, was strictly prohibited. This was the nightmare lived by the Palestinians of Jaffa after the 1948 Nakba.

In the early 1950s, Jaffa was administratively engulfed by the Tel Aviv municipality that became known as Tel Aviv-Yafo; the Palestinians of Jaffa went from being a majority in their city and homeland to the two-percent “enemies of the state,” a minority of Israel’s main metropolis. The municipality immediately began drawing up plans for what they called the “Judaization” of the city, renaming the Arabic streets of the city after Zionist leaders, demolishing much of the old Arab architecture, and completely destroying the buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods and villages that were depopulated during the 1948 Nakba. The new curriculum introduced in Palestinian schools denied that the place had any Arab-Palestinian history at all, a facet of the Israeli education system that continues until today.

i think it is always important to keep in mind that this process of ethnic cleansing takes place all over palestine: in gaza, in the west bank, and in 1948 palestine. it has never ended. not for one second. sometimes it is by stealing land and forcibly removing families on that land. other times it is about mass murder, as with gaza’s samouni family. imran garda’s important new show, “focus on gaza,” on al jazeera revisits this traumatized family and explores the continuing effect of the continuing siege on gaza:

and this aggression against gaza has not ended, yet another man died due to israeli terrorist’s murderous rampage:

A Palestinian man from Gaza died on Saturday due to wounds he sustained last month during the Israeli military offensive, Palestinian medical sources reported.

Doctors said that Nihad Abu Ikmel, 29, died on Saturday at an Egyptian hospital, they added that he was send their after sustain wounds in his head.

The Israeli military offensive lasted for 22 days and ended on January 18th, it left at least 1,400 Palestinian killed and more than 6,000 injured.

you can also see the ongoing assault on gaza by watching this video from thursday night/friday morning when rafah was besieged by american-made planes and weapons in the hands of israeli terrorists:

perhaps this is why a group in argentina recently held a tribunal in which they found israeli terrorists to be guilty of genocide:

The International Tribunal of Conscience which convened in Argentine reported to the international community to the First ruling against Crimes against Genocide and on Palestinian Children in the Gaza Strip during Israeli massive offensive.

The International Tribunal of Conscience, composed of 14 prosecutors on Human Rights, 11 countries, 9 in Latin America, Africa and Asia denounces heinous crimes and the systematic advancement of infanticide against children in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army.

The International Tribunal over the Childhood Affected by War and Poverty of the Mission Diplomatique Internationale Humanitaire RWANDA 1994 was led by its International President, Sergio Tapia and International Human Rights Prosecutor of the International Tribunal of Conscience, reported Palestine News Network.

and this is why my dear friend naji ali sees such deep comparisons between what happens here in palestine and in south africa where he grew up:

I am a product of South African apartheid. Born to a Black South African father and African American mother, I lived the first eight years of my life under one of the most racist governments in the world.

I witnessed firsthand how the White South African government—through mass arrests, dispossession, denial of freedom of movement, and targeted assassinations—tried to break the will of the people. I saw how Black South Africans and their supporters would cry out, “this is nothing short of racism and ethnic cleansing.” But the standard refrain from the government was always the same: “We are fighting against communism and terror. What we are trying to do is keep the country safe from chaos.” This was code for wanting to keep the country safe for all its white citizens. But it wasn’t merely the government that co-opted this stance. The recruitment of academics and the media also helped perpetuate the myth that the state’s majority Black population would one day try rise up and kill all the good white folks.

So for me, watching the carnage that Israel rained down upon the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, creates an eerie sense of déjà vu….

In South Africa, parliamentary ministers gave the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Dov Segev-Steinberg, a severe tongue-lashing, accusing his government of perpetrating “racist” abuses against the Palestinian people “that make apartheid look like a Sunday school picnic”.

The aim of this horrible conflict was to stop Hamas resistance fighters from firing rockets into southern Israel and to remove the government from power. In both attempts it is clear that Israel failed.

Israel’s attempt to justify the bombing of a UN school, from which they claimed fighters fired upon their troops, turned out to be a lie. Tens of women and children were murdered in the assault.

Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East yet by a margin of 26-3, the Israeli Central Elections Committee decided to ban the Balad Party from running in the upcoming election. By a margin of 21-8, they also banned the United Arab List-Ta’al (UAL-T).

The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the war in the Gaza Strip.

The fortress that Israel had long set up to ‘protect its citizens’ is cracking.

No more can the world sit by as it did in South Africa and let the slaughter of innocents continue. No more can the narrative of any conflict begin with the ridiculously one sided statement that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Zionist lobbies must be countered in the United States; boycott and divestment must commence; mainstream media must be challenged; and political and military leaders in Israel who have committed war crimes must be brought to justice.

We are now in the darkest days of this conflict. Israel no longer seems to care what the world thinks of its actions. Mass slaughter of innocents is seen as a justifiable means to combat terror, and Israeli leaders make no apologies for the hell that the region’s 1.5 million residents have endured. These are the same dark days, the darkest hours that I remember going through in South Africa just before the light showed through and a new dawn arose. Just like in South Africa, where Blacks can now vote, hold public office and live and go where they choose, the dawn will break for the Palestinians too. They will emerge from these dark hours.

The only question we need ask ourselves now is how long will the dark days remain? 

and because of these egregious parallels to apartheid, because of this ongoing ethnic cleansing project, there is yet another company you all should add to your boycott list NOW…Lego:

Denmark’s ambassador to Israel, Liselotte Plesner, visited Sderot on Tuesday to take part in a celebration – held in a fortified pre-school – to honor a generous contribution by the LEGO group to WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) pre-schools.

The LEGO group contributed two large containers holding a thousand boxes of ‘duplos’ – large-sized Lego blocks. The Danish toys will be distributed among 170 WIZO pre-schools across Israel and particularly to the 35 pre-schools located in southern communities, where residents are still suffering from rocket-fire.

for those of you who have children who love this toy, i ask you to do something that will benefit your child far more than any plastic toy will do: work to make toys with your child. use fond object with which your child can build things. you will foster creativity in your child and you will help them to become mechanical and creative at the same time.

should it matter that there are no gas ovens in gaza?

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so there are no gas ovens in gaza. but really, does it matter. they are trapped in a concentration camp and they are being slaughtered by the minute. here is the definition from the oxford english dictionary of a concentration camp:

a place where large numbers of people, esp. political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution.

this definition clearly applies to gaza. and the mass slaughter by israeli terrorist forces suggests that they are doing just what was done to them. even comedian rosanne barr is saying that they are behaving like nazis.

for the last 45 minutes israeli terrorists added to their siege of gaza fire by land. israeli terrorist media is egging on their terrorist forces. so while the israeli terrorist tanks have yet to invade gaza, they are now firing from the land border, as well as by sea and air. more leaflets landed today urging palestinians to flee. and where exactly shall 1.5 million palestinians flee? there is no airport and they are being bombarded by air. no ships have come to rescue them and they are being bombarded by sea. and all land borders are closed and now they are being bombarded by land. not a square inch of gaza is being spared. nowhere is safe. a few palestinians were allowed to leave if they had foreign passports and some foreigners left as well. but there are others who refused to leave, who are staying to witness, to stay with loved ones, to resist this terrorist bombardment.

ayman mohyeldin just reported on al jazeera that he received a weekly bulletin from the united nations that stated some grim facts:

80% can no longer support self and depend on aid
15 electrical transformers bombed so access to electricity
500 palestinians in rafah have been made refugees because their homes were destroyed and they are now staying in un shelters
some goods are trickling in, the vast majority of hospitals cannot cope: blood, food, medicine supplies are in acute in shortage

here is the latest al jazeera report on the week of israeli terrorism unleashed on gaza:

i’ve been watching protests on tv all day. al jazeera is the only channel on in the university cafeteria now. the mood is somber, as well it should be. people just watch in quiet. we are all shocked. we cannot believe how much worse it is getting. and when you look at all the people in the streets in cities across the world it is amazing that world leaders either remain silent or give their full support to israeli terrorism, like george bush and barack obama. the ever eloquent ali abunimah made an important point about obama’s complicity and silence in an editorial in the guardian yesterday; i am not quoting the whole thing, but you definitely should click the link to read the rest:

But as more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured – the majority civilians – since Israel began its savage bombardment of Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. “There is only one president at a time,” his spokesmen tell the media. This convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama’s detailed interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the “coordinated attacks on innocent civilians” in Mumbai in November.

The Mumbai attacks were a clear-cut case of innocent people being slaughtered. The situation in the Middle East however is seen as more “complicated” and so polite opinion accepts Obama’s silence not as the approval for Israel’s actions that it certainly is, but as responsible statesmanship.

It ought not to be difficult to condemn Israel’s murder of civilians and bombing of civilian infrastructure including hundreds of private homes, universities, schools, mosques, civil police stations and ministries, and the building housing the only freely-elected Arab parliament.

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compare abunimah’s analysis with this satire by jerry ghenelli on what would happen if the israeli terrorists attacked the u.s.:

The government of Israel today launched a massive air assault on suspected terrorist targets along major coastal cities in the United States of America. In an operation termed “Friendly Enemy,” hundreds of Israeli F-16 fighter jets streaked across the Atlantic in precise formation and fired surgical air strikes at alleged terrorist strongholds in densely populated Muslim communities all along the northeast corridor of the United States. The American-made Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets then continued south, inflicting massive destruction in densely populated Muslim communities along many southeastern US states as well.

Reaction to the attacks on the US was swift. President Bush and President-Elect Obama both appealed for restraint, but stated emphatically, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

President Bush, who took an oath to defend the US and to preserve, protect and defend it against all foreign and domestic enemies, stated that the War on Terror must be fought anywhere and everywhere in the world, even on US soil, if necessary. “Our close relationship with Israel, our steadfast ally in the War on Terror, requires extraordinary sacrifices by the American people and requires exceptions to both US and international law,” said Bush.

this sort of silence seems ludicrous, but of course this is precisely what americans complicit in the massacre in gaza are doing. they just don’t care because palestinians are dying. if americans were dying perhaps they would care, though not if those americans were in gaza helping palestinians (remember rachel corrie?). and, of course, there are others who are silent. in his article abunimah also lends his criticism to various complicit american journalist and legislators, but importantly he also lends his critique to american professors who have remained silent, complicit like all the rest:

Similarly, we can expect that the American university professors who have publicly opposed the academic boycott of Israel on grounds of protecting “academic freedom” will remain just as silent about Israel’s bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza as they have about Israel’s other attacks on Palestinian academic institutions.

indeed i have been writing to american professors in organizations like the american studies association over the past week who offer the same lame excuses about why they still refuse to call for a boycott of the terrorist state of israel: things like believing in dialogue and freedom of expression. since when did this become more important than human lives? and i really wonder if these were jews would they behave the same way. i think not. they would all get together and rally around bulls*&^ slogans like “never again” and talk about the nazi holocaust.

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david lloyd has an amazing article that historicizes and compares the warsaw ghetto in nazi germany to the gaza concentration camp that is currently besieged by american weapons and israeli terrorism. like the abumimah piece it is important to read the whole thing, but the crux of what i find significant is this:

The right of the Palestinian people to resist is as indubitable as the right of the Jews of Warsaw to resist the Nazis, or of the Polish or French people to fight against their occupation by the Nazis. Israel is not the West’s proxy in the so-called global war against terrorism. It is a state that itself inflicts terror, and does so with a force and brutality far exceeding anything available to the most violent of terrorist organizations. It is a state whose colonial aim, to occupy and to settle land historically occupied by another people in order to provide unlimited Lebensraum for its own ethnic group, is evidenced every day in the continuing expansion of the illegal settlements on the West Bank. It is an apartheid state, whose self-declared constitution as a “Jewish State for a Jewish People” should have no more international legitimacy than South Africa’s “white state for a white people” or Northern Ireland’s “Protestant State for a Protestant people”, both of which finally fell to a combination of military and civil resistance and international opprobrium.

It is long beyond time for Israel, now the exception in every respect among nations, to be held accountable to the norms of international law. It is time for Israel to be subjected to the same scrutiny as any other state that bases its polity on sectarianism and racism, that has established one set of laws for one ethnic group and another for the rest. It is time for Israel to by judged by the international law that everywhere condemns extended occupation, condemns collective punishment, war against civilians, population transfers or ethnic cleansing, dispossession of the occupied people and the settlement of their lands. It is time for us to name Israel what it is so long as it continues to pursue the most extreme of Zionist visions: a colonial, apartheid state with neither legitimacy nor a deserved place among the community of democratic nations.

It is time for us to cease the appeasement of Israel. Even the most ardent of appeasers of Nazi Germany never supplied Germany with arms or foreign aid, with fighter planes with which to bomb civilians, never labeled the resistance to Nazism “terrorism”, never actively participated in the German stranglehold on the ghettos where it confined its subject populations. “Constructive engagement” did not work with South Africa; numerous U.N. General Assembly resolutions that have expressed the virtually unanimous international condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its wars against its neighbors have not worked. It is time for the truth about Israel to be disseminated, even against the most effective control of the western media by Israel’s lobbyists. It is time for all who care about justice and peace, for human rights, for the fate of the innocent and the oppressed, the stateless and the dispossessed, make our voices heard. Let it not be said that in their most extreme hour of need, the Palestinian people were abandoned by the world, as the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were abandoned in 1943.

in yet another brilliant analysis israeli historian ilan pappe writes for electronic intifada a piece that calls for targeting the enemy–zionism and its constant history of genocide and ethnic cleansing–through boycott, divestment and sanctions as was the main effective tactic in south africa under apartheid. as with the other articles i’m quoting, this is essential reading so i encourage you to click on the link to read the entire piece:

Similarly, we may be able to find the popular, as distinct from the high brow academic, way of explaining clearly that Israel’s policy — in the last 60 years — stems from a racist hegemonic ideology called Zionism, shielded by endless layers of righteous fury. Despite the predictable accusation of anti-Semitism and what have you, it is time to associate in the public mind the Zionist ideology with the by now familiar historical landmarks of the land: the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel during the days of the military rule, the brutal occupation of the West Bank and now the massacre of Gaza. Very much as the Apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology — in its most consensual and simplistic variety — allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern that cannot only be discussed in the academic ivory towers, but has to be part of the political discourse on the contemporary reality in Palestine today.

Some of us, namely those committed to justice and peace in Palestine, unwittingly evade this debate by focusing, and this is understandable, on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) — the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Struggling against the criminal policies there is an urgent mission. But this should not convey the message that the powers that be in the West adopted gladly by a cue from Israel, that Palestine is only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the Palestinians are only the people living in those territories. We should expand the representation of Palestine geographically and demographically by telling the historical narrative of the events in 1948 and ever since and demand equal human and civil rights to all the people who live, or used to live, in what today is Israel and the OPT.

By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Challenging by nonviolent means a self-righteous ideological state that allows itself, aided by a mute world, to dispossess and destroy the indigenous people of Palestine, is a just and moral cause. It is also an effective way of galvanizing the public opinion not only against the present genocidal policies in Gaza, but hopefully one that would prevent future atrocities. But more importantly than anything else it will puncture the balloon of self-righteous fury that suffocates the Palestinians every times it inflates. It will help end the Western immunity to Israel’s impunity. Without that immunity, one hopes more and more people in Israel will begin to see the real nature of the crimes committed in their name and their fury would be directed against those who trapped them and the Palestinians in this unnecessary cycle of bloodshed and violence.

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another israeli professor, oren ben-dor contextualizes the siege of gaza in terms of the refugees living in gaza and their original villages that they have a right to return to. here is part of how he explains israeli terrorism in counterpunch:

Thus, what is in fact being “preserved” is the unwillingness, or rather the inability, of Israelis to question their own state’s apartheid foundation. The concealing mantra about Hamas’s rocket firing versus Israel’s legitimate self-defence cynically conscripts both the Palestinians of Gaza and the Israelis of Sderot. Shielding the Jewish state’s unwillingness to deal with colonial and racist Zionism is more important than all of them.

Accepting the right of Israel to securely exist as a Jewish state has now become the bench mark for political moderation. Obama is already singing the song. Egalitarian anti-Zionists who challenge that right readily fail the test. This anti-Zionist voice is inclusive and moderate. It insists that injustices to Palestinians stem from the very premise of statehood that Israel is based on. Injustices to Palestinians encompass the whole of historic Palestine in a way which cannot be partitioned so that they become visible only in the territories, including Gaza, which Israel occupied in 1967. Let us, then, break the idle chatter about self-defence that merely levels “criticisms” against Israel but by that legitimises it: the origin of the violence in Gaza is intimately linked to the manner the Israeli state came into being and to the continuing toleration of the apartheid premise at its very essence. Israel should not be “reformed” or “condemned” but replaced with a single egalitarian structure over all historic Palestine.

Israel needs a continuing cycle of violence. As long as this cycle is provoked through daily oppression, Israelis can sustain that haven in which they can unite behind their inability to examine their apartheid mentality. Violence maintains a zone in which that existential threat of old stifles any possibility for genuine empathy and egalitarian self-reflection. At the same time, violence is a necessary means for entrenching the purported legitimacy of what is claimed to be the only alternative to this violence. That alternative is no other than the “surprisingly” failing, “sane”, “reasonable” and “moderate” “peace process” towards two states, a process which aims to legitimise the apartheid state once and for all. The discourse has been hijacked in such a way that the urgent calls for the immediate cessation of violence resuscitate that non-starter, the essentially unjust two states project that will ensure the continuation of violence.

jennifer lowenstein also has a great piece on counterpunch detailing exactly why this massacre in gaza has nothing to do with hamas. here is what she says at its conclusion:

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

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it is now nighttime in palestine. in the last few hours bombing has intensified. you can see huge explosions going off behind the journalists on al jazeera. israeli terrorists just bombed a mosque in beit lahia with american-made weapons and planes. it just happened so i don’t know the full scale, but it happened during prayer. the mosque was filled with men praying. 11 people killed so far, 22 critically injured. this is what said abdelwahed describes what night is like in gaza;

Its totally dark. More than 80% of the Gaza city is covered by utter darkness. One cannot see his finger in the dark! Meantime, outside, there are drones buzzing overhead, choppers roaming in the sky. Inside again, children are unwilling to go to bed despite their bed time! They are fearful of nightmares, bad dreams, bombing, explosions, and what not! The routine sounds of the air crafts has been going on for more than six days and nights. And when it suddenly disappears…

… BANG …

continuous bangs! … series of explosions. … other horrible explosions. … blasts … flames in the distance. … children jump up from their beds. Scared … frightened. … anxious … they do not know what to do! They want to hide anywhere, but there is nowhere to go too? It sounds like the bang was under their mattresses. What to do again? Just nothing but wait! How can you convince your child to wait? And to wait for what? Next, one hears ambulances sirens and fire brigades. Thus, one comes back to himself to realize that he is in Gaza and he is operating a small generator to write this message to the world in the new year 2009.

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fida qishta from rafah wrote a beautiful diary published in today’s guardian that chronicles her week of siege by israeli terrorists and then she asks:

A short message to the pilots in the Israeli F-16s: does it make you feel happy to kill Palestinian children and women? Do you feel it’s your duty? Killing every child and woman, man and teenager in Gaza? I don’t know what exactly you feel, what exactly you think, but please think of your mother and sister, your son and daughter.

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and in the midst of this bloodbath, life goes on in some ways, as my dear friend jen marlowe wrote today about her friend abeer who is about to have a baby:

Abeer was excited when I called her today.

“It’s my time, Jen!” she told me breathlessly. “The baby might come today or tomorrow-any moment now!”

Last time I saw Abeer, a year ago, she had shown me pictures of her fiancé, a teacher, and last time we spoke, months ago, she told me she was pregnant. But I had no idea how far along she was and that she was about to give birth now.

Now, of all times.

Abeer lives in the Gaza Strip. She has been waiting for her water to break the last four days as missiles rained down, killing over 380 Palestinians.

I wanted to express whole-hearted joy. This will be Abeer’s first child, her parents’ first grandchild. But I felt panic at the news. Gaza is enduring the bloodiest, most vicious attack in the over forty years of Israeli occupation. I couldn’t imagine Abeer, whom I’ve known since she was fifteen years old and visited many times in her cramped home in Khan Younes refugee camp, giving birth to the sound of explosions in the background.

Abeer expressed some trepidation herself. “I’m frightened,” she told me. “The situation in Gaza is really terrible. And bringing a child into the world is such a huge responsibility. How can I guarantee my baby’s safety?”

world protest continues. shelling continues. bombing continues. no one’s safety can be guaranteed, even a new baby. that is the point of terrorism: civilians are targeted. in mosques. in ambulances. in schools. in hospitals. on farms. in their homes. nowhere is safe. this is a concentration camp. for all you people who cry “never again,” why do you remain silent now? what will it take for you to do something? perhaps we should gather millions of jews in gaza and then perhaps someone would do something?

there are now 457 martyrs. 2,300 injured in 8 days.

for those who are still seeking to understand what is happening and sift through the american-israeli terrorist propaganda you can read this on if americans knew website (they also have many pamphlets and flyers related to other facts about palestine that you can download).

also there is a new petition from the faculty for israeli-palestinian peace, though this is a totally lame organization, it is yet one more way you can lend your voice of protest.

the wall comes down…and the bombs continue to fall on gaza

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i have been watching al jazeera’s hoda ab del hamid report from an area near “sderot,” that zionist settlement on the village of najd near gaza. behind her are a series of tanks preparing for a ground invasion. this is horrifying in and of itself. but what is even more horrific is the fact that the israeli terrorist forces (itf) were singing and dancing behind her while the journalist was giving her report. meanwhile the gaza strip has continued to be besieged all day long. and there does not seem to be any end in sight:

and yet al jazeera continues to give voice to israeli terrorists propagating lies in the midst of the civilian carnage facilitated by american-made materiel:

if you want to understand, very simply, very powerfully what the israeli terrorists mean when they say “hamas terrorist” just check this simple, brief post from angry arab today, who, like the rest of us, is particularly enraged today. as well we should all be.

there was another airstrike by the itf just now. and in the past few hours they besieged the rafah border with aerial bombardment because of the tunnels located there. the essential tunnels bringing much needed basic supplies as well as resistance weapons:

Shells hit Gaza tunnels Sunday evening killing two, injuring 22 and prompting hundreds to race for the new gaps in Egypt’s border wall. Refugees were met with Egyptian security who used force to repel crowds.

The airstrikes damaged the border wall between Egypt and Gaza and at least 40 tunnels, which bring food and fuel into the coastal area. Much of the fuel caught fire during the attacks and large fires broke out along the border.

The chaos provided cover for hundreds of tunnel workers and Rafah residents to attempt an escape from the bombarded Strip.

Early reports say no Palestinians made it over the border wall.

The strikes mark the 36 hour point in the Israeli Operation Cast Lead, which has seen 295 killed and close to 900 injured.

but a few minutes ago i just got an email stating that the wall has come down yet again:

The wall between Gaza and Egypt has been torn down, according to International Human Rights Observers witnessing and documenting the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

British International Solidarity Movement activist, Jenny Linnel, was in Yibnah Camp in Rafah, and confirmed that the Palestinian resistance has torn down the wall that separates Gazan Rafah from Egyptian Rafah.

“They have blown up part of the wall. The Israeli’s bombed the border half an hour ago. Soon after there was a loud explosion and the wall came down. Hundreds have passed through the border,” says Linnel.

“We heard shooting and we have seen an ambulance. We have heard that someone is hurt. People are saying that the Egyptians have been shooting at people crossing the border.”

Human Rights Defenders from various countries are present in Gaza and are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli attacks. Due to Israel’s policy of denying access to the Occupied Gaza Strip for international media, human rights activists and aid agencies, they have arrived in the strip on the Free Gaza Movement’s boats. These voyages have repeatedly broken the Israeli blockade .

meanwhile protests continue here in palestine as does the zionist terrorists’ brutal response as in khalil:

Medical sources reported in Hebron that 20 Palestinian civilians where injured on Sunday during protests in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The protests where organized against the Israeli continued attacks on Gaza, which started on Saturday morning and so far have left 284 Palestinians killed and at least 900 others injured.

Doctors at the Hebron governmental hospitals told media that the injures where mostly caused by the army rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

and in beit lahem:

Two Palestinian civilians where injured, on Sunday when Israeli troops attacked a protest in the village of Al Ma’ssara located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Protest where organized against the Israeli continued attacks on the Gaza Strip. So far 284 Palestinians where killed and at least 900 others injured during the Israeli military continued air attacks on Gaza that started on Saturday morning.

Local sources said that local villagers marched to the nearby military post carrying flags and banners demanding the halt of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, soldiers’ fire rubber bullets at the protester injuring tow civilians, Medical sources said that wounded two sustained light wounds.

and in nil’in and bil’in death, injury, and kidnapping:

Palestinian sources reported that a Palestinian youth was killed and at least four others injured during Israeli army attacks on Palestinian protests organized in several villages near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, to protest the Israeli continued attacks on Gaza….

Arafat Al Khawaja, 22, was reported dead after an Israeli army soldier shot him in the head with a live round. Eyewitnesses told IMEMC that Al Khawaja was taking part in a nonviolent protest in the village of Nil’in near Ramallah, when troops attacked the unarmed civilians leading to clashes with local youth. Medical sources said that another two young men from Nil’in where critically injured in the clashes. Witnesses say that local youth are still involved in clashes with the army in Nil’in.

Meanwhile, in the nearby village of Bil’in, local farmers organized a protest in solidarity with Gaza and were attacked by Israeli troops injuring three local youth. Medical sources said that the three sustained minor wounds. Eyewitnesses report that local youth are continue to clash with the army.

Israeli troops also attacked a protest organized by the villagers of Budrus, also located near Ramallah city today. Sources there reported that during the clashes two local youth were injured in the head by army fire and described their wounds as critical, while a local boy was kidnapped by the army.

but there is some good news today: syria has canceled its talks with the zionist regime. hopefully this position will be made permanent:

A Syrian government official said Sunday that Damascus has decided to suspend its indirect peace talks with Israel, in the wake of the mass offensive Israel launched in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, which left over 280 Palestinians dead and scores more wounded.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said “Israel’s aggression closes all the doors to any move toward a settlement in the region.”

and there is more good news from jordan of all places:

The al-Arabiya network of the United Arab Emirates reported Sunday that three Jordanian members of parliament burned an Israeli flag during a special parliament session protesting the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, the MPs initially planned to step on the flag, but then decided to set fire to it as some of their colleagues applauded.

Another Jordanian lawmaker held a placard saying the Hashemite Kingdom should expel the Israeli ambassador. The MPs then held a moment of silence I honor of those killed during the Israeli offensive.

and in the streets of baghdad today there were also protests as well as this news from the iraqi (albeit puppet) parliament today:

The Iraqi Parliament on Sunday called on Arab and Muslim countries to “rally ranks” in the face of Israel over the attacks on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

“Arab and Muslim nations have to rally ranks to stand against these criminal acts and immediately end operations to stop the Palestinian bloodshed,” according to a parliamentary statement as received by Aswat al-Iraq.

The statement called for “solving the (Palestinian) issue via peaceful and diplomatic means”.

“The brotherly Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are coming under sinful aggressions by the Zionist occupation army, which left hundreds of Palestinian martyrs and wounded brothers on Saturday,” it added.

Palestinian cities in Gaza came under powerful air strikes on Saturday that left hundreds of civilian people killed or wounded in a measure Israeli authorities said came in response to missile attacks by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Israeli settlements.

Parliament’s statement further called on the United Nations and Security Council to intervene to stop these violations.

and who is it who most recently fired rockets in response to this overwhelmingly disproportionate killing machine of the zionist-american terrorists? fatah (you know, the one that functions as the puppet for the both of them):

The armed wing of Fatah claimed responsibility for firing two homemade projectiles on Sderot and Ashkelon on Sunday, according to a statement.

“This shelling came in retaliation to the ongoing holocaust in Gaza, which claimed the life of hundreds,” the statement said.

and then the leftist pflp:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)’s armed wing claimed responsibility for firing five homemade projectiles on the nearby Western Negev and southern Israeli town of Ashkelon on Sunday.

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said in a statement that the shelling, which was apparently carried out in partnership with the Al-Aqsa Brigades, was aimed at an Israeli military post in eastern Rafah.

The Brigades affirmed that the projectile was fired “within the continued response to Israeli crimes in Gaza.”

meanwhile in historic 1948 palestine other forms of resistance becoming even more steadfast:

In the presence of all national alliances, an urgent meeting for the Follow up Committee was held today declaring Sunday 28 December 2008 a general strike in protest of the Israeli massacres committed against Palestinians in Gaza. The meeting called for the organization of demonstrations and marches in every Arab town in al-Naqab [Negev], the Triangle, the Galilee areas and coastal towns as a symbol of the rage and severe grief of the Palestinian nation upon the loss of hundreds of its citizens in Gaza.

It was decided that the High Follow Up Committee remains on alert to hold further meetings to take steps in resistance and to stop the consistent aggression and break the siege on Gaza including the opening of all border crossings especially that of Rafah.

The following political message stemmed from the meeting:

* Considering the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza an assault against Palestinian People everywhere and our duty is to resist it and break the siege.

* Recognizing Israel and its political and security forces as a criminal state committing acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against our people in the Gaza Strip. This with the assurance that the current Israeli parliamentary election campaign is fueled by the Palestinian bloodshed.

* Saluting the determination and will of Palestinian people in the face of the aggressive Israeli scheme to break their steadfastness and human dignity.

* Condemning the international complicity with the official Israeli aggression, and considering its silence and complicity as partnership in the crime. the meeting also stressed the absolute rejection of holding the Palestinian people or the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) responsible for the situation and while exempting Israel from its total responsibility.

* Calling upon the international community to take its legal and moral responsibility, to sanction Israel and boycott it as a state that pursues terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity with premeditation.

* Condemning Arab Official complicity used by Israel to cover for its predefined aggression and condemning the general Arab weakness and calling them to shut down their embassies in Israel and boycott it. We call upon Egypt to open all crossings with Gaza and break its siege.

* Condemning the complying Arab and Official political voices which held the Palestinian leadership in Gaza responsible for the Israeli aggression and calling the head of the Palestinian National Authority to immediately stop the negotiations with Israel used to further fuel the Palestinian split in the West Bank and in Gaza.

* Assuring the call for national Palestinian unity and its total support of the Palestinian struggle and resistance in the face of Israeli aggression.

* Paying tribute to the heroic steadfastness of our people and supporters in the Arab world and elsewhere and the masses in the homeland that stood in the face of the bloody aggression and supported the steadfastness in Gaza.

* Calling on the masses of our people to exercise the highest degree of readiness to contribute, on individual and collective levels, in the national relief campaign, which includes the donation of medical supplies, food and blood donation in support of Gaza and in contribution to the breaking of the siege.

* Calling on the masses of our people and supporters in the world to share the worry and to have more readiness to escalate the struggle in order to defeat the Israeli aggression and provide protection for our heroic Palestinian nation.

The Higher Follow Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel is the highest representative body of the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. It includes all Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) as well as elected mayors and local officials.

don’t leave palestinians resisting in the cold. rise up as sayyed hassan nasrallah is urging the people of egypt and the arab world to do now. as palestinians in 1948 are asking you to do now. to ask their governments to take an honorable position and to resist those governments that are draconian. the world must heed this call. we must do this because as nasrallah speaks 9 more bombs just fell on gaza. now there are 292 dead palestinian martyrs. we must use this for a global intifada. use this moment to rise up and resist.

on impotence and and resistance against a massacring, terrorist, zionist regime

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the dead are still being counted. when i woke up at 9:30 am there were 279 dead and 900 wounded by israeli terrorist forces (itf) with the aid of american military materiel. this is a time when i thank god i am no longer an american taxpayer. when i feel, in all my impotence, that this is one small thing that gives me some peace of mind. but of course my little salary and what was extracted from it is a drop in the bucket. a couple of hours later at 11:47 am there were 282 dead as the itf bombed gaza city and rafah. the images on al jazeera are harrowing. at yet i’ve seen it before. in gaza. in nahr el bared refugee camp. in south lebanon. in jenin refugee camp. all last night as i tried to sleep–a luxury given the fact that there is not aerial bombardment in nablus–i did hear the itf making a few overflights. the bombing in gaza went on until 2 am in gaza and then began promptly this morning at daybreak. the fuel terminal has been bombed in gaza. on the egyptian side of the rafah border i saw a slew of egyptian ambulances lined up waiting to take in palestinian patients. but the egyptians have not opened the border for medical patients all claims to the contrary. civilians are not only being killed they are being targeted. just watch ayman mohyeldin’s crucial reporting from al shifa hospital in gaza late last night:

just now unrwa spokesperson christopher gunness was interviewed on al jazeera. in a nutshell he said (my attempt at quick transcription):

our 18 health clinics are open, but in a dire situation due to the strangulation of hospitals of essential hospital supplies for months now. we are overwhelmed. we hope that 10 trucks of medical supplies are on their way; 5 for unrwa; 5 for the ministry of health. this is all in response to a terrible situation in which civilians are being killed. yesterday 7 unrwa students were killed instantaneously by shrapnel and 20 others were injured. the hospitals are overwhelmed. we welcome an investigation of civilian casualties. the facts must be out there; they must speak for themselves. although israelis are disputing civilian casualties, the explosion took place right outside unrwa headquarters, so whatever was targeted was very near the students. it is inevitable that civilians will be killed if you have an onslaught of these proportions, if you have a population as densely populated as gaza. it is absurd to think otherwise; it is a certainty with civilians killed with these sorts of attacks. there should be some degree of accountability.

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i went downtown an hour ago as friends had organized what was supposed to be a 3 hour sit-in at martyrs square. but by the time i arrived–only 1 hour into it–they were gone even though friends called me while i was on my way. apparently there were speeches after prayer and then they marched to the hospital in rafidiya to donate blood. although how this blood could reach gaza i don’t quite know. but a sit-in, a march, blood donation, even my writing all, to a certain extent, are things we do because we feel impotent. on the one hand we want to show our solidarity with the people of gaza. on the other hand, we cannot go there. we cannot help from here. so we do something because it is better than nothing. because it makes us, somehow, feel less impotent. not really. the city is quiet. 3 days of mourning has been called for. all shops, other than pharmacies and bakeries are closed. a few people were selling fruit and vegetables on carts. nablus is quiet. not even the usual horn honking.

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last night sami told me that there were demonstrations in the old city of al quds until 11 pm. those throwing stones were arrested later into the night. today there are protests planned elsewhere in palestine and all over the world. even palestinian political prisoners are now on hunger strike. i woke up to an onslaught of emails about these protests from various friends, organizations, and facebook groups. in spite of all these protests–all targeting various sorts of sites of power, those to blame–it is just too overwhelming to deal with who is to blame. last night yassin told me he’s writing a new rap song dealing with all the parties involved: the zionist entity, the united states, hamas, fatah, the palestinian authority, egypt, jordan, saudi arabia, the gulf states, the european union, the united nations, the media. how do the people take back their power? rania reminds us, importantly, of the core idea of palestinian liberation, which has somehow gotten lost along the race for arab regimes to normalize with the zionist state and the united states:

Supporting Palestine and Palestinians is not only through boycotting Israel. But, clearly, also through liberating ourselves from our dictatorial, unrepresentative, corrupt, traitorous governments.

psychotic, delusional, deceitful, murderous zionist leaders say that they continue to claim that they are using “restraint” and that they are not killing civilians: they are not only saying that they are not targeting civilians. they are also lying and saying no civilians have died (note: watch the above al jazeera video NOW). moreover, they are continuing with their deadly propaganda, to accompany their deadly american-made missiles, trying to deceive the world that they are not the ones who began this war (note only 1 zionist settler died in the last 24 hours of massacring palestinians); here is shimon peres:

Hamas is to blame for the current situation in Gaza, President Shimon Peres said Sunday, responding to “Operation Cast Lead” whose aerial strike left 270 people dead – mostly Hamas operatives – and destroyed Hamas infrastructure heavily. “In all of Israel’s history, I don’t remember a war more useless or irrational than the one that Hamas is waging against us,” he said.

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in contradistinction like the numerous past wars of aggression on those the zionist entity colonizes and its neighbors, this war has been planned for 6 months as you can see from this ha’aretz article:

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces “Cast Lead” operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas’ security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

you can see the clear deception from piece above. and yet al jazeera keeps giving a platform to zionist murderers. i keep wondering why al jazeera continues to allow zionist terrorists to speak on its programs? why do they allow them to come on and continue–until this very moment–motherf(*&^%$ zionist army representatives, who are terrorizing the people of gaza, to claim that there are still no civilians who have been murdered, massacred. these people do not deserve a platform. they deserve retaliation.

i wonder, too, why the united nations lets itself be impotent. are any members of the un security council going to honestly tell us that if the same situation in reverse–a massacre of this size, of this disproportionate nature–in any one of their countries or in the colonized land of plaestine where zionists live that there wouldn’t be a binding un security council resolution? instead, here is the khara they come up with:

The United Nations Security Council urged an immediate halt to all military activities in the Gaza Strip and called for the humanitarian crisis faced by Gaza’s 1.5 million residents to be addressed.

Neven Jurica, Croatia’s ambassador to the UN and president of the council, read out a non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that called on the parties involved in the conflict “to stop immediately all military activities”. The statement, however, did not mention either Israel or Hamas by name.

what i want to know is why can’t the united nations security council write a document of substance such as the one that palestinian human rights organizations are calling for?:

The number of deaths resulting from these attacks indicates a willful targeting of the civilian police forces in these locations and a clear violation of the prohibition against willful killings. Willful killings are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 147 and therefore, a war crime. Both the time and location of these attacks also indicate a malicious intent to inflict as many casualties as possible with many of the police stations located in civilian population centers and the time of the attacks coinciding with the end of the school day resulting in the deaths of numerous children.

The ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip has left medical facilities in the Strip incapable of meeting the needs of the hundreds more who have been injured which will likely lead to an increase in the number of deaths. According to Israeli officials, these attacks are only the beginning of an open military campaign in Gaza. It is therefore imperative that the international community not stand in silence while Israel moves forward with impunity.

Despite repeated calls from the Palestinian human rights community with regard to Gaza, the international community has failed to act. We are now on the brink of an explosion of violence as result of this failure and are pushed once again to call for action.

In light of the above, Palestinian human rights organizations urge:

* The UN Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel’s fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

* The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing pivotal importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.

* The High Contracting Parties to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.

* EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel.

likewise those in the boycott campaign are calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions NOW given the history of massacres that gave birth to zionist occupation of palestine 60 years ago and has continued unabated since then:

Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the same way it has established itself — perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing….

While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and protected from international censure Israel’s apartheid and colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on 9 December, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward Israel’s criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message: the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel’s war crimes than their US counterpart.

The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially, for Israel’s impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United Nations is inexcusable.

Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way forward for the world’s nations in dealing with Israel:

“More than 20 years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar nonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel’s massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

notice that in the above two documents created by human rights workers and organizers we see very specific language with a plan of action. meanwhile in the united nations’ document the language is vapid. hamas is not named by the united nations in the above quote about the resolution–nor is the zionist entity–in this bulls*&^ document that ostensibly allows the bloodshed to continue (deja vu anyone? lebanon 2006?) clearly we all know who is being talked about. and in the endless parade of zionist terrorists on al jazeera we see them continuing to blame hamas. but who was the first to resist and retaliate this morning?: the democratic front for the liberation of palestine (dflp): they are leftists. they are not hamas. and fatah’s al aqsa martyr’s brigades share the sentiment and the right to resist with both dflp and hamas:

Fatah’s military wing announced that it will resume bombing operations inside Israeli cities and has threatened to hit and destroy the Israeli military and security entities. They also called a state of alert in order to retaliate for Israeli attacks in Gaza. “The Israelis can choose either to depart or to die on this holy land,” a Sunday statement by the Al-Aqsa Brigades said.

this is not about hamas vs. the zionist colonizing terrorist regime any more than it was when they said their war was against hezbollah; it wasn’t: it was against lebanon in general. likewise the harassing phone calls people in gaza are receiving and the loudspeakers telling them to evacuate from their homes is reminiscent of the zionists’ recent wars against gaza and lebanon:

Israeli forces called to Gazan families through loudspeakers demanding that they evacuate their homes before intense Israeli selling began in the northern Gaza Strip.

As the Abu Sultan family in the Jabalia refugee camp prepared their belongings Israeli fire rained down on their home killing several family members and injuring others.

Witnesses of the massacres on Saturday decided to challenge the Israeli order to evacuate and gathered in areas under attack to sit on roofs with families whose homes face imminent destruction.

likewise those who live in gaza certainly are not experiencing the massive bombings as a so-called “targeting” of hamas as safa joudeh explains:

What did Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mean when he stated that we the people of Gaza weren’t the enemy, that it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad which were being targeted? Was that statement made to infuriate us out of out our state of shock, to pacify any feelings of rage and revenge? To mock us? Were the scores of children on their way home from school and who are now among the dead and the injured, Hamas militants? A little further down my street about half an hour after the first strike, three schoolgirls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a missile struck the Preventative Security Headquarters building. The girls’ bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.

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a number of other eyewitness accounts and reports have been published on websites like palestine chronicle and electronic intifada. here are some of the reports over the last 24 hours. the ever-eloquent ali abunimah sums up the situation especially with respect to the complicity of the united states:

“I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing.” Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel’s latest massacres were broadcast around the world.

A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas. The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel’s attacks, and others will follow.

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training. An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school.

Shmerling’s joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is “self-defense” against “terrorists” and therefore justified. Israeli bombing — like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan — is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.

The rationalization for Israel’s massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in “retaliation” for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rocket attacks).

But today’s horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel’s method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.

What the media never question is Israel’s idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.

blogger laila el haddad, who is from gaza city, who is currently in the u.s., wrote about calling her family at home to check on the situation:

“We are OK. We went to donate blood and to see if they needed any help” says my father, a retired surgeon.

“We were in the market when the strikes began. I saw the missiles falling and prayed; the earth shook; the smoke rose; the ambulances screamed,” he said, the sirens audible in the background.

My parents live in the the Gaza City center, and the Israeli war planes attacked people and locations all around their house, walking distance in fact. More than 50 “targets” by 60 warplanes. And nearly 200 Palestinians. Like a game, if you say it enough times, it does not sound real anymore. Fifty targets, 60 warplanes, 200 people. Very sanitary.

“There is a funeral passing every minute. The bodies are piling up.”

Gaza’s air is saturated with the acrid smell of burning human flesh. There is panic, as one would imagine dogs would panic in an overcrowded cell when several of their own are violently, abruptly killed. But that would create an outcry.

The rains of death continue in Gaza.

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yes, it is raining death in gaza, though as abunimah points out, so crucially above, it is just more blatant now. it is more obvious. it is great seeing so many people take to the streets in all their rage, but where have they been over the course of the last year when the death was quieter? less visible? a strong statement from various human rights organizations

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in london’s the independent newspaper today sami abdel-shafi in gaza city writes of a scene that is at once unimaginable, and yet quite imaginable for those familiar with all of the previous, continuous massacring that zionist history is replete with:

I am safe, and yet I feel like a walking dead person. Everything around me shows it. It is hard to write something of any coherence while exposed to cold winter air and to the smell that lingers after the detonation of Israeli bombs. They must have been massive. During the bombing I opened all the windows around my apartment to avoid them imploding as a result of the vacuum shocks sweeping through Gaza City after each enormous bang. While the bombing continued, I jumped down two flights of stairs to my father’s house, to make sure he was OK. Should I open up all his windows too? That would expose the old man to the risk of illness. We have no medical care or medication. However, the risk from shattering glass was greater, so I opened them all.

Mobile phones did not work, because of electricity outages and the flood of attempted calls. I flipped the electricity generator on so that we could watch the news. We wanted to understand what was going on in our own neighbourhood. However, this was impossible. Israeli surveillance drones flew overhead, scrambling the reception. All I could do was step outside, where I found crowds of frantic people, lines of rising smoke and the smell of charred buildings and bodies that lay around targeted sites nearby. Somebody said the bombs had been launched in parallel raids over the entire Gaza Strip. What was the target here? Perhaps a police station about 200 metres away. Other bombs annihilated blocks less than a kilometre away, where one of the main police training centres stood. When the strikes began, a graduation ceremony for more than 100 recruits in a civil law enforcement programme was under way. These were the young men trained to organise traffic, instil civil safety and maintain law and order. Many of them were killed, it is said, in addition to the Gaza Strip’s police chief.

News came by word of mouth. There had been more than 150 deaths and more than 200 people were injured or missing under rubble after the first two hours of bombing. Israel had said it would continue the offensive and deepen it if necessary. Likewise, it was said that Hamas had launched more rockets at southern Israeli towns, causing one death and four injuries. Gaza had never seen anything like the numbers of dead bodies lying on its streets. Hospital morgues were already full. The dead were piled on top of each other outside.

Bombs targeting a Hamas security force building badly damaged an adjacent school, and several children were injured. We heard of many other targets around the Gaza Strip. It reminds me of the “shock and awe” campaign the Allies launched over Baghdad in 2003. But shock and awe did not bring stability or peace.

These bombs were launched by Israel, as we had known they would be. The world watched the situation simmer then boil over, but did nothing. There are some who believe that hell is divided into different classes. The ordinary people of Gaza have long been caught in the tormenting underworld. Now, if the world does not heed what has happened here, our situation will worsen. We will be trapped in the first class of hell.

mohammed on kabobfest, who is from gaza, but who is living in ramallah writes about the slaughter of his people:

Back home, the TV was never off, and the full scale of the horror still hadn’t settled in. The news broadcast continuous images of severed limbs, headless bodies, piles of dead bodies, children, women, men. More than 70 of the bodies arrived at the hospitals torn apart. 15 bodies were so disfigured they still have not been identified. The hospitals, already out of hundreds of necessary medicines, were running out of blood even as hundreds rushed to donate. I managed to call my uncles again. Mohammad’s voice was hollow, scratching, like he was forcing the words out. He told me his kids had finally gone to sleep, but in the late December cold he had opened all the windows in his apartment. With the airstrikes hitting everywhere and anywhere, everybody risked having their windows blown out. As he noted, if they were to get blown out, there is no glass in Gaza as a result of the siege to replace them. He told me everything seemed to be a target; there were no police stations left in the entire Strip. Even the apartment building housing the offices of a civil society institution working for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails had been completely leveled. I asked him if anybody he knew had been wounded or killed. He paused for a bit before telling me he had lost 20 friends. He said he wanted to go down to Khan Younis tomorrow to pay his respects in the funeral processions, because some of them had been buried today without ceremony. There is no space in the hospitals to hold the dead, so they were buried en masse.

i could go on and on. i have been writing for hours now. reading for hours. every time i write, a new report. bombings continue. protests continue. when will israeli embassies be closed and ambassadors kicked out as azzam tamimi just called for on al jazeera? when will they be sanctioned. when will they be kicked out of the united nations? when? when? when? all day long i have heard zionist terrorists in the skies above doing their sonic boom in order to terrorize palestinians in the west bank. and apparently they are going into lebanon’s airspace today as well. meanwhile resistance in nil’in, near ramallah, leaves one palestinian dead and 6 injured:

In Ni’lin, weekly Friday protests continued into Saturday and Sunday, when clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli soldiers. The clashes saw one killed and six others injured. The injured, including Mohammad Al-Khawaja who was shot in the head, were transferred to a Ramallah hospital and the slain man was identified as A’raft Al-Khwaja.

those who are unfamiliar with what a massacre looks like on the ground here is some important footage you must watch:

when will people act to stop this onslaught of death? i know my posts are long, but i hope people will read. i hope people will click on links and read further. i hope that people will take to the streets. i hope that people will unleash ALL forms of resistance NOW. i hope people will stop normalization with the zionist entity NOW. i hope that people will extend that to the united states who enables all of this bloodshed. there is a petition in the united states you can sign from the u.s. campaign to end the israeli occupation; it’s not much, but it is a start. but it is not enough. my dear friend baha’a who is from yaffa, who has been protesting in the streets of beirut for the last couple of days says that the lebanese threw tear gas canisters at protesters in beirut. this has got to stop. somebody do something. anything. NOW. NOW as the zionists are preparing for a ground invasion.

الهواء

i’ve been thinking far too much about hawa or wind, air this week. mostly because of these insane winds that have created a kind of orchestra that i heard for the last 48 hours outside my home. ironically as i learned this new arabic vocabulary word i encountered it in a stanza of one of suheir hammad’s amazing new poems, “break (water)”:

trust only stars habibi a mirage a gold tree on chain sparks trees on lips
smoke hawa over sunrise hennessy under pillow batata okra dawn
clave iron clove fist silver oasis oriki bata cinnamon offering ana
break into language insurgent

but i have also been thinking about hot air–both the kind i wish were blowing on the hills of nablus now and the type emanating from lebanese politicians’ lips. an nahar has carried a series of comments by various lebanese officials about the possibility of entering into negotiations with the zionist state. here is the first one that appeared two days ago:

Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh on Tuesday indicated that Lebanon might go into negotiations with Israel if French President Nicolas Sarkozy guaranteed withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied Lebanese territory.

In answering a question as to whether Sarkozy’s forthcoming visit to Beirut on Jan. 6 could facilitate Lebanon’s engagement in negotiations with Israel, Salloukh said: “If President Sarkozy can guarantee to us Israel’s withdrawal from Shebaa Farms, Kfar Shouba Hills and the Lebanese sector of Ghajar village, then why not.”

“Lebanon is cautious regarding negotiations with Israel, be they direct or indirect, fearing they might lead to collapse of UNSCR 1701,” Salloukh explained.

He said “no serious discussion” of the Middle East crisis is expected before the second half of 2009.

thankfully, hezbollah responded immediately to this ridiculous proposition:

Hizbullah on Tuesday reiterated its outright rejection of direct talks between Lebanon and Israel and said national dialogue over a defense strategy is essential and should “persist.”

Minister of Labor Mohammed Fneish, a ranking Hizbullah member, told reporters after talks with Premier Fouad Saniora “direct negotiations with Israel are out of the question and totally unacceptable.”

“Going into negotiations reflects readiness to make concessions. We are not prepared to make concessions regarding our rights,” Fneish added.

National Dialogue under President Michel Suleiman with the aim of agreeing on a defense strategy is “essential and should not be linked to a timeframe. What is important is for dialogue to persist,” Fneish added.

and now, uncharacteristically, siniora seems to be echoing the sentiment that negotiations won’t happen–though the phrase “at the moment” makes one pause:

Premier Fouad Saniora said Lebanon has no interest in holding peace talks with neighboring Israel at the moment.

“I see no interest for us right now to discuss direct negotiations or indirect negotiations with Israel,” Saniora said in an interview with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation broadcast on Wednesday.

“No one has challenged our claim of authority and ownership of the land that Israel occupies. So we see it as premature to take a decision in this regard as yet,” he added.

Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000 after more than two decades of occupation, but Lebanon claims it is still occupying land on the border, including Shebaa Farms, a mountainous sliver of land rich in water resources.

Lebanon’s former power broker Syria began Turkish-mediated indirect peace talks with Israel in May, eight years after the previous negotiations broke down over the fate of the strategic Golan Heights plateau.

friends tell me that this is a bunch of hot air. i hope they are right. lebanese should know better than to enter into negotiations or any sort of recognition of a zionist state that has treated lebanon as its own private battleground since 1948. moreover, the reports about possible continuing negotiations between the zionist state and syria make this prospect of lebanese negotiations even more troubling as it would be akin to putting the nail in the coffin for palestinians. all we need to do is look to egypt and jordan’s so-called “peace” treaties with the zionist state and we can see what the fate for palestinians would be as a result of such an agreement. after more than sixty years it should be painfully obvious that the zionist state has never understood anything other than aggression whether stealing land or massacring people.

it doesn’t matter what their rhetoric is because in their colonial discourse what they means the opposite (i.e., peace means war). take the zionist state’s asking for a new “truce” with gaza a week ago. they did this while firing missiles on innocent people in gaza. here is what tzipi livni had to say to hosni mubarak in cairo today:

Rejecting a call for restraint by Hosni Mubarak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday told the Egyptian President that Israel will act to halt “unbearable” rocket attacks by Gaza militants.

“We cannot tolerate a situation in which Hamas continues to target Israel, Israel’s citizens, and this situation is going to be changed,” Livni told the Egyptian leader.

The pair met in Cairo shortly after the cabinet approved a military response to escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Mubarak, for his part, told Livni that Egypt expects Israel to exercise restraint in the face of Gaza rocket fire.

Livni added: “Hamas needs to understand that our desire to live in peace doesn’t mean we will allow the ‘[rocket] fire to continue – Israel will do everything necessary to protect its citizens.”

notice how quickly “truce” becomes war for zionists. and of course they’ve never stopped bombing people in gaza before, during, or after the “truce.” and apparently other egyptian officials have no problem with a new invasion of gaza:

Egypt has informed Israel that it would not object to a limited Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday.

The paper claimed that Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleimann, met last week with Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security department, and rejected Gilad’s request that Cairo use its influence to persuade Hamas to extend a truce with Israel that expired last Friday.

At the same time, the paper said, Suleiman told Gilad that Egypt would not object to a limited Israeli operation in Gaza aimed at toppling the Hamas government.

this is precisely the sort of thing that i fear if lebanon entered into negotiations with the zionist state. to see egyptians condoning an israeli invasion of gaza is, i suspect, what we could expect from lebanon and syria if things were to change. of course this is ironic given that all of these countries have been subjected to the israeli terrorist forces (itf) aggression themselves so they should know better. and even before seeking support of egypt the zionists already voted yesterday to begin a new war on gaza:

The Israeli cabinet okayed a major military operation against the Gaza Strip, Israeli media outlets reported Wednesday evening.

The electronic website of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli official as saying, “Our response will be substantial and painful to Hamas.”

Before the military measures were announced Israeli warplanes targeted a Palestinian group of activists in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip killing Hamas militant Yahya Ash-Sha’ir in his twenties, and injuring three others.

A fourth Palestinian was injured, photojournalist Mustafa Bakir, as he documented the shelling in Rafah. Bakir works for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa satellite TV station.

what should be realized in all of these clips from newspapers above is that the focus is on hamas. this is a really distorted view of what is actually happening on the ground. there are many resistance groups using their legitimate right to resist under international law and only one of those groups is hamas. any given week if you read through ma’an news, for example, you will find that al aqsa martyr’s brigade (which is fatah) or pflp or dflp (both communist) are also engaged in resistance operations against the zionist state. and yet journalists continue to fixate and focus on hamas. here are a few such examples from this week:

An armed group affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) launched a homemade projectile at the Israeli town of Sderot on Tuesday evening.

An armed group affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) launched two homemade projectiles at the Israeli town of Sderot on Tuesday afternoon, it said in a statement.

The attacks were claimed by the DFLP’s National Resistance Brigades, as well as the National Resistance Committees’ Salah Ad-Din Brigades, in a statement.

The military wing affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the National Resistance Brigades, claimed responsibility on Tuesday morning for firing two mortar shells at the Kissufim military post east of Al-Qarara in the southern Gaza Strip.

Twenty minutes earlier, according to a statement the group released, they fired a homemade projectile at Kerem Shalom crossing.

the above items are just from this week, but you can also find from previous weeks similar pflp and fatah actions. and, yes, of course, hamas is also engaged in resistance as is their right:

The military wing affiliated to Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades released a statement on Thursday morning briefing the group’s military activities over the first twenty four hours of an operation they called “Oil Stain” which started Wednesday morning.

According to the statement, a total of 87 shells have been fired at Israeli targets bordering the Gaza Strip including 54 mortar shells, 31 homemade projectiles which Hamas calls “Qassam”, and two Soviet-made Grad missiles.

Al-Qassa Brigades threatened to enlarge the “Oil Stain” to get more thousands of Israelis “under fire”. The group asserted that its fighters are “far greater than surrendering to Israeli threats and that they became much more prepared to counter Israeli aggression and to defend themselves than in the past.”

In a different regard, Hamas announced death of six of its activists on Tuesday and Wednesday in Israeli airstrikes.

i find this isolating of one particular group, when many others participate in/support the same acts, troubling for so many reasons. it reminds me, for instance of the israeli invasion of lebanon in the summer of 2006 when israel’s rhetoric was all about its war against hezbollah, but of course all the people were subjected to their brutal bombings. moreover, there are many sunnis, christians, communists, and druze who support hezbollah’s resistance so framing this as some sort of isolated group not connected to the society is deeply problematic whether you’re talking about hezbollah or hamas. not incidentally, israel’s partner in crime in all of their war crimes, the united states, decided to send a new york man to jail for broadcasting al manar television on satellite dishes (n.b.: israelis have al manar on their satellite dishes).

equally problematic is the bulls*&^ olmert was peddling on al-arabiya television yesterday. i mean, who does he expect to believe his double speak? viewers of al arabiya know better: they know that to interpret all of this crap all they have to do is invert it to its opposite to find some semblance of the truth. they are smarter than that. they know that it’s not just hamas but palestinians in general involved in armed resistance. they know it is the right of palestinians to engage in this resistance. they know that it is the zionist regime and not palestinians–hamas or otherwise–who is intent on murdering innocent civilians. nevertheless, this is the bunch of hooey that olmert was attempting to sell the viewing audience:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appealed to the Gaza Strip’s residents on Thursday, urging them to stop Hamas. “We don’t want to fight the Palestinian people, but we won’t let Hamas hurt our children. We have a lot of power, which we are not eager to use. Gaza’s residents, don’t let the Hamas murderers, who are acting against the values of Islam, put you in danger,” Olmert said in an interview with the UAE-based al-Arabiya television news channel.

The prime minister went on to say that Israel left Gaza about three years ago, not in order to return.

He turned to the Strip’s residents and added, “I’m talking to you as a father, as a grandfather, and I know there’s nothing I want less than putting my children and grandchildren in danger.

“Is killing innocent children the spirit of Islam? Is it firing missiles at kindergartens and on civilians? I don’t think this is the spirit of Islam. Hamas is the main reason for your suffering, for the suffering of all of us.”

Olmert told the residents that this was “a last call” to stop the rocket fire.

“I know how much you want to wake up in the morning in peace, take your children to the kindergarten or to school, just like we want to, just like people in Sderot and Netivot want to,” he said.

“Hamas is the residents’ enemy – not only in Israel but in Gaza too. I think about the tens of thousands of children and innocent people who will be put in danger as a result of Hamas’ activities.”

He directed a rhetorical question to the viewers as the Israeli prime minister, saying, “Can I afford more missiles on Israel’s residents? Seeing children and civilians get hurt and doing nothing? Of course not.

“Hamas is firing at us and at the power station providing electricity to Gaza. Stop them. Stop your enemies and ours. Tell them to stop firing at innocent people.

“I’m not here to declare a war. I’ve said this in the past: As long as I’m prime minister I plan to reach peace, not to fight the Palestinians. But Hamas must be stopped, and this will happen.”

As for the humanitarian situation in the Strip, Olmert said Israel won’t let Gaza’s residents sink into a crisis and that they would not suffer from a shortage of food or medications.

meanwhile, the zionist regime started dropping leaflets along the border telling palestinians that their only lifeline–the tunnels along the rafah border–are about to be bombed:

Israel announced on Thursday a ultimatum for smuggling tunnels’ owners on the Egypt-Gaza border lines.

Leaflets dropped by Israeli warplanes on the border lines read that all those working on tunnels must leave the place in 24 hours, before the Israeli air crafts destroy the tunnels.

This is the first time in the past few years that Israel declares so, as the tunnels trade on the border lines has flourished over the past 18 months, with Israel closing all Gaza’s border crossings, allowing limited quantities of commodities from time to time.

and of course in all of these zionist threats against people of gaza, made through the cloak of threats against hamas, palestinian christians in gaza are not faring any better:

The Gaza Strip is home to about 4,000 Palestinian Christians, many of whom will not be celebrating Christmas this year. Gaza Latin Church pastor Manuel Musalam said yesterday he was canceling midnight mass prayers in protest against Israel’s siege of Gaza. It was also a protest against the Israeli decision not to grant permission to Gaza Christians who sought permission to visit the holy city of Bethlehem, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Thousands of pilgrims from around the world have flocked to the West Bank town of Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas, Al Jazeera said.

The Palestinian ministry of tourism said it expected about 40,000 people to visit Bethlehem over the next week and the Palestinian Authority deployed hundreds of security forces in the area to safeguard the celebrations.

“The Catholic leader in the Holy Land Thursday prayed for Mideast peace, telling the faithful at the traditional birthplace of Jesus the silent night of Christmas overpowers the voice of guns,” AFP reported.

all gazans, whether they are christian or muslim, whether they are from gaza or refugees from 1948 palestine fare the same fate just as when israel bombs lebanon whether you are a member of hezbollah or not you suffer the same fate. and one of the repercussions of the zionist siege on gaza is that palestinians have had to return to the “stone age” in order to do simple tasks like cooking:

In their struggle for survival amid Israel’s on-going economic blockade, people in Gaza have found a new weapon. In the absence of electricity or cooking gas, families have gone back to the age-old cooking fire—burning whatever they can get their hands in order to feed themselves and their children.

Restaurants in Gaza too have gone back to Stone Age techniques to keep their business from failing. And even the Food Bank, Gaza’s only food charity, is now cooking on makeshift fires to be able to feed Gaza’s poor and homeless.

Om Osama is a 40-year-old housewife and mother of 12 children living in Northern Gaza. In order to cook the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner, she says she took some of her children’s clothes to throw on the fire.

“It is the only way I can manage to cook anything these days”, she says. “My kids need food and my husband is doing his best to provide it. I am not ashamed of doing this—I’m only trying to feed my family. How am I supposed to do so with no cooking gas or even wood?”

Wood for cooking has in fact become a luxury item in the Gaza Strip. “Rich people can buy wood,” says Om Osama. “Even more lucky people can afford to buy gas, but that is not the case for us.”

and yet christmas or not the world does nothing. it goes on without thinking or feeling about or with the people in gaza or in refugee camps or in 1948 palestine. worse: the united nations in spite of all the ways in which the zionist regime has consistently thwarted, since its inception, any attempt at justice for palestinians. in electronic intifada ali abunimah and hasan abu nimah explain this in the context of the recent un security council resolution 1850 and the damaging effect it may have:

The resolution “Calls on all States and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and to support the Palestinian government that is committed to the Quartet principles and the Arab Peace Initiative and respects the commitments of the Palestinian Liberation Organization …”

This translates as a call to continue boycotting the democratically-elected Palestinian government that is now caged in the Gaza Strip, while the so-called international community continues to grant legitimacy and money to the “government” headed by Salam Fayyad and appointed by Abbas in violation of Palestinian law, after the failed US-sponsored attempts to overthrow the elected government in June 2007. Abbas’ own term as Palestinian Authority president expires on 9 January. By all indications he will simply remain in his chair illegally. Lacking all democratic legitimacy, Abbas will now be able to point to the UN resolution as his basis for clinging to power just because he, unlike the elected government, has capitulated to the Quartet’s one-sided conditions.

In short, the Security Council has decided that it, not the Palestinian people, has the right to choose Palestinian leaders. This is not only a usurpation of a fundamental aspect of Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but an assault on democracy everywhere.

While masquerading as an attempt to support peace, resolution 1850 is replete with other cynical gestures. Corrupt Palestinian Authority officials and external peace process industry consultants and non-governmental organizations will no doubt be thrilled by the Security Council’s call on “States and international organizations” to “maximize resources available to the Palestinian Authority,” and to continue to fund the failed “Palestinian institution-building program.” This is also an indirect way to legitimize the efforts of outside powers to arm and train the militias loyal to Abbas whose purpose is to crush Palestinian resistance to the occupation.

The Arab League’s irrelevance is confirmed when the resolution merely notes in passing “the importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.” And, the declaration that “the two-state solution” is the “only” possible solution is an effort to cover up decades of failure, and silence the growing debate about democratic alternatives.

It is disappointing that Russia, after it was subjected to the same kind of arbitrary and illogical decisions from the West after Georgia’s surprise attack on South Ossetia last August, should collude in the further erosion of Palestinian rights and UN authority. But that was probably the price Russia had to pay for a petty reward: the resolution promises yet another sterile “international meeting” of the Quartet in Moscow next year. It is not the first time that Palestinian rights have been traded for such insignificant benefits for others.

With its latest intervention, the Security Council sought to bestow legitimacy on Israeli occupation, colonization and those who abet its oppression. Instead it simply exposed ever more shamelessly its own illegitimacy and subservience to powers who have no regard for international law and for the rights of those it is supposed to protect.

is this really what we have to expect in the coming year(s)? more of the same? worse? or is it all hot air?

borders, boycott, and the continuing ethnic cleansing of palestine

Strike day two. I went to the university today–yesterday as today–at the usual time. But it was a ghost town. There were not services and buses full of students unloading at the gates. Even the coffee shop was closed. Rami’s felafel stand was empty–no customers. I found out today that there are 13,000 who travel to Nablus–out of some 19,000 students overall–for classes at An Najah National University. But no one is traveling now, at least not students, because of the strike. Faculty are still required or asked to make an appearance each day for a few hours. It has given me some extra time to read and to run some errands. Yesterday I went downtown for a few hours to visit a bookshop, pick up some fresh bread and dates, and go to the bank. As I was sitting down with my banker, a lovely young man whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few months, we got into a conversation about politics. Somehow we started talking about Hezbollah and he expressed his disapproval of them. “They’re Shi’a, you know, they’re not really Muslims,” he said. Another division. Layer them on. Like Palestinians don’t have enough divisions inside Palestine based on political parties, class, whether or not one is from a village or a city, whether or not one is Christian or Muslim, whether or not one is a refugee, whether or not one is from 1948 or 1967 Palestine (and news about Israeli recruitment of Palestinians in 1948 for their terrorist army does not bode well in this regard). Let’s add another. The U.S., Israel, Europe have created this monster of divide-and-rule colonialism that infects the brain at such a dizzying rate. It’s overwhelming. This is a time when we need solidarity among people at every level across political, class, ethnic, national lines. It feels exhausting sometimes having to challenge these points of view whenever I encounter them. I feel like I encounter them far too often.

amer-shomali

The only way I seem to be able to deal with these hurdles is to keep Rania’s ever optimistic, ever inspirational voice in my head. I keep trying to think of ways people can think of coming together through boycott, for instance. I wondered today if there is a way to connect this strike–the need of faculty members to seek a better wage with the need to support other economies in Palestine. There was a report today about the staggering rate of Israeli imports into Palestine that furthered this thinking:

An overwhelming 74% of goods imported into the Palestinian territories come from Israel, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported on Monday.

PCBS’ figure is based on the vouchers of the value added tax (VAT), which is collected by Israel, for 2007.

Imports increased by 9% compared with 2006, including a 19% increase in imports of petroleum products and electric power compared with 2006, the increase in chemical products and medicines was 15%.

Palestinian imports totaled over three billion US dollars.

Exports totaled 392 million US dollars, reflecting a 7% increase over 2006.

One argument too many Palestinians use to resist boycotting Israeli products is a defeatist one. They say that it’s impossible because to live one necessarily has to use goods and services from the Israeli colonial occupiers. This is true. For instance, the water and electricity in our homes or workplaces comes from them. We pay bills to them even though they steal the water from Palestine they sell back to us. Or there are also some products that are produced by Palestinians but that are made with Israeli raw materials because they cannot be found here. But this is precisely why one must boycott whenever and wherever one can: since we have so few choices in our lives here, we must boycott Israeli products wherever possible (and I would add we should boycott American products as well–but as you may imagine if it’s impossible to get people to agree to boycotting Israeli products, boycotting American products is even more of a challenge).

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Rania reminded me of some good news that could be related to the boycott campaign against Starbucks, especially because there are so many awesome forces working against them:

Starbucks has seen its fourth-quarter profit almost wiped out by the cost of closing under-performing outlets and falling customer numbers.

While, of course, those of us who refuse to spend money at American businesses that give substantial profits to the Zionist state, there are other reasons why people boycott Starbucks as well:

The protests are designed to call attention to a number of issues, including Starbucks’ use of genetically engineered ingredients in their brand-name products, as well as the company’s refusal to brew and seriously promote Fair Trade coffee.

Of course, we don’t have Starbucks here in Palestine–thank God!–though as I’ve commented before people continue to purchase Nescafe (or anything from Nestle), which is worse in many respects. One of the many crimes of Nestle, which is also known as Osem in Israel and here, is the fact that one of its main factories is on the village of Najd, which is one of the 531 Palestinian villages ethnically cleansed by Jewish colonists in 1948. The photograph below is one I took of Osem in Najd (the name of the village has been ethnically cleansed, too, as it is now called Sderot).

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When there are choices, however, as I stated above, one should make those choices and there is a choice as can be seen in this photograph. I found Al Wald instant coffee, which is made in Jenin. This company is Palestinian owned and of course does not profit off of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Given that ethnic cleansing began as soon as the Jewish colonists/terrorists arrived here has continued unabated since then there must be solidarity on all levels: economic, political, cultural, social. In particular there must be solidarity surrounding the continued expulsion of Palestinians from their home as in the case of the al-Kurd family from their Sheikh Jarrah home in Al Quds this week. As I wrote the other day, this campaign the cancer that is Israel is spreading into Palestinian lands house by house, olive tree by olive tree. The forced removal of the al-Kurd family from their home reveals a rather interesting conundrum for Israeli settler colonists who took over the home:

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The story of the al-Kurd house is long and disputed and involves complicated legal and political battles. Mohammad al-Kurd and his parents were one of several families of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war who were housed in the Sheikh Jarrah district in 1956, a time when it was under Jordanian control.

His family came from Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, and his wife’s family was from Talbeyieh in west Jerusalem. Under an agreement with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees the families gave up their food ration cards and were given the properties under 33-year leases, which would revert to full ownership as long as they paid a token rent and kept the properties in good order.

It appears, however, that the land was previously owned in the late 19th century by Jews – it is close to an old Jewish tomb long popular with pilgrims. In 1967, when Israel captured east Jerusalem, the property was taken by the custodian for absentee property, an Israeli institution that had also taken control of all property left behind by the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced out in the 1948 war.

Two Jewish groups began a legal process to reclaim ownership of the property and in 1972 the court gave control of the land to the heirs of two rabbis who appeared to be the 19th century owners.

The al-Kurd family say their Israeli lawyer made the agreement without their knowledge.

The couple became ‘protected tenants’, liable to pay rent to their new Israeli landlords but they refused on principle.

“Why should I pay rent for my own house?” said Fawzieh al-Kurd, 57, who sat yesterday by a tent on a patch of wasteland not far from her house. In 2001, several settlers began to occupy an outer part of the house and remain in place today – despite court orders to evict them.

As soon as the couple was evicted at 4am on Sunday, a group of Jewish settlers moved in. They remain there today while armed police officers and private security guards patrol the surrounding area where several settler families live.

“The Israeli government did what they wanted to do,” said al-Kurd. “Because we are Palestinians they have to humiliate and insult us like this? Don’t we deserve to live in peace on our land?”

The United Nations relief and works agency (UNRWA) said it opposed the eviction of the al-Kurds and of all Palestinian refugees.

“Throwing an elderly couple out of their house in the early hours of the morning is shameful,” said Chris Gunness, a spokesman. “UNRWA will continue to offer the family assistance but nothing we offer can compensate for the loss of a home.”

Although Israel’s absentee property laws were applied on the al-Kurd family in favour of the original Jewish owners they are rarely, if ever, applied on properties in Israel that were owned by Palestinians before the 1948 war.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, of the Israeli group Rabbis for Human Rights, acknowledged that the al-Kurd land may have belonged to Jews before 1948 but told the Associated Press: “Do any of us Israelis really want to go back to the situation where everyone owns what they owned in 1948?”

The fact that the al-Kurd family is a family of refugees from Yaffa and west Al Quds makes this case all the more interesting. Indeed, I actually think we should take up Rabbi Ascherman’s question and pursue it. If Israel is the democracy it claims to be, and if legal cases set precedents, then why not now argue that, okay, there is now a legal case stating that those who owned land in the 19th century are the rightful and lawful owners and therefore all Palestinians should reclaim their land. I fully think that this should pursued. And, in the meantime, we should see who it is living in the al-Kurd family’s home or on their land in Yaffa and West al Quds. If it is a Jewish family, let’s find a way to evict them so the al-Kurd family can claim their right to return under international law. This seems fair to me. But, of course, Israel is not a democracy, except in rhetoric, and of course the Zionist state subsists on hypocrisy and double speak.

The situation in Al Quds is made all the more interesting because as I type, people in Jerusalem are voting for a new mayor. Supposedly only the top two candidates support the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land in Al Quds through illegal settlement expansion. There are two interesting Al Jazeera stories on this election, the first one compares the three candidates and gives you a sense of how normalized and institutionalized racism is in Israeli society:

The second story from Al Jazeera focuses on Arcadi Gaydamak, who supposedly is trying to win Palestinian votes in the election, though most Palestinians are boycotting it entirely since regardless they have no power over the colonial regime occupying their city and always stealing more land:

One thing that strikes me from this second clip are the images of the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon when Gaydamak apparently funded tents for Israelis during the war. Check these out. Do you have any idea what happens to Lebanese under siege? There are no bomb shelters. There are no resort-like cabanas masquerading as refugee tents. It’s really sick and disgusting as it looks as if they are having a beach party while at the same time Gaza and Lebanon were being bombarded back to the stone age.

The ever expanding settlements of Al Quds, like the rest of Palestine, should be a symbol of why there should be increased resistance to this immoral colonial regime. As I’ve written over the past few weeks, there is certainly a growing movement of boycott around the world–especially in Europe–but it is problematic to say the least to isolate and boycott only goods from illegal Israeli settlements. Boycott must be comprehensive and total as the entire land of Palestine is occupied. Omar Barghouti makes this case very lucidly:

Politically speaking, though, and even if distinguishing between produce of settlements and produce of Israel were possible, activists who on principle – rather than out of convenience – advocate a boycott of only the former may indicate that they themselves are merely objecting to the Israeli military occupation and colonization of 1967 and have no problem whatsoever with Israel as a state that practices apartheid, or institutionalized racial discrimination, against its own “non-Jewish” citizens and that denies Palestinian refugee rights, sanctioned by the UN. Even if we ignore those other grave injustices committed by Israel, and irrespective of what solution to this entire oppression any of us may uphold, one cannot but recognize the inherent flaws in this argument.

When a state X occupies another “state” Y and persistently violates UN resolutions calling for an end to this occupation, the international community often punishes X and not some manifestation of X’s occupation! Governments aside, international civil society organizations have repeatedly boycotted entire states implicated in prolonged belligerent occupation, apartheid or other severe human rights violations, and not just parts of those states. Was there ever a movement calling for boycotting the bantustans alone in South Africa? Are there calls for boycotting only the Sudanese army and government officials present in Darfur today? Did any of the free-Tibet activists ever call for boycotting only those Chinese products made in Tibet?

Forgetting for the moment the fact that it was born out of ethnic cleansing and the destruction of the indigenous Palestinian society, Israel is the state that built and is fully responsible for maintaining the illegal Jewish colonies. Why should anyone punish the settlements and not Israel? This hardly makes any sense, politically speaking. Despite their noble intentions, people of conscience supporting peace and justice in Palestine who accept this distinction are effectively accommodating Israeli exceptionalism, or Israel’s status as a state above the law.

Finally, and most crucially, there is a moral problem that must be addressed in this approach. Ignoring Israel’s denial of refugee rights and its own system of racial discrimination against its “non-Jewish” citizens, the two other fundamental injustices listed in the BDS Call, is tantamount to accepting these two grave — certainly not any less evil — violations of human rights and international law as a given, or something that “we can live with.” Well, we cannot. Why should European civil society that fought apartheid in South Africa accept apartheid in Israel as normal, tolerable or unquestionable? Holocaust guilt cannot morally justify European complicity in prolonging the suffering, bloodshed and decades-old injustice that Israel has visited upon Palestinians and Arabs in general, using the Nazi genocide as pretext.

Indeed. What about the slow genocide–and denial of that–happening in Gaza? We know what happens to those why deny what happened during World War II to the Jews–and of course I would never advocate that. It happened. But why does that necessitate the specter of the Nazi holocaust whenever one states the facts of Palestine–its past or its present? Look at what the ITF is doing in Jayyous, because they do not only uproot families, but also olive trees:

Less than a week after an Occupation High Court decision to change the route of the Apartheid Wall in Jayyous, Occupation forces began destroying farmland in the south of the village to make room for the construction of the Wall. They are currently in the process of cutting down some 200 olive trees that have already been marked for uprooting.

Look at what the Israeli media said about the effect of its denial of fuel to Gaza:

As fuel terminals close in response to recent Qassam attacks, Gazan residents suffer blackouts due to shutting down of power stations. Vilnai: ‘Pity we’re falling for this propaganda; if there is one kilowatt in Gaza it’s in a rocket-manufacturing workshop’

In contradistinction, here is what the BBC has to day about the same situation (and the last time I checked, the BBC was not a Hamas propaganda outfit):

Residents said Gaza City was plunged into darkness as the plant’s last two turbines were shut down late on Monday, a day after the other one was stopped.

Today, the Zionist state has allowed some fuel into Gaza, but it is limited and it is likely that the same situation will repeat itself before long and Gaza will yet again suffer darkness and cold.

And make no mistake: this will continue. In spite of Hamas’ repeated claim that they are willing to settle on 1967 borders, Livni made it clear that she is not interested on this, in spite of UN Resolution 242, or the fact that this has been the main negotiating point since the horror that has been the so-called “peace process” (otherwise known as the war process for those who live here). Here she shows her true colors (perhaps emboldened by Barack Obama’s selection of Rahm Israel Emanuel?):

Kadima Chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni distanced herself Tuesday from outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent assertion that Israel needs to return to its pre-1967 borders.

“I as Kadima Chairwoman am not committed to the outgoing prime minister’s comments – but to Kadima’s platform, and this is what determines exactly how we will hold negotiations,” said Livni, speaking in an interview with Army Radio.

Olmert called on Monday for withdrawing from the territories and “returning to the area that was Israel until 1967.”

Livni continued: “Between myself and Olmert there have been differences. When I wrote the platform of Kadima, upon its establishment, Olmert spoke in terms of ‘consolidation.’

“You can’t just throw the key to the other side and hope for the best, especially not in Judea and Samaria.”

She was referring to the plan for a pullout from the West Bank touted by Olmert when he headed Kadima’s 2006 electoral bid. Livni herself will be seeking to bring the ruling Kadima party victory in the upcoming general elections in February.

However, Livni did affirm the importance of continuing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, and of reaching a final agreement based on territorial compromise.

“We want to maintain a safe state in Israel and this cannot be done on all of it. We need to finish the conflict with the Palestinians and look out for the security of our citizens,” she told Army Radio.

Let’s be clear: I am by no means advocating that the border is the 1967 border. Not one inch of Palestine can ever be negotiated away. Truth, international law, and human rights will win in the end. But, Livni’s claims are important in the sense that it reveals in a very obvious way how Israelis are never interested in peace and always interested in continuing expansionism as is the case with every colonial regime over the course of history. But like South Africa and India and Algeria and Haiti and so many other former colonies one day Palestine will be free and the fact that Israelis make it so easy by revealing their true colors so clearly for all the world to see makes our jobs that much easier.