Clash of Civilizations, Europe and the Israeli Colonial War on Gaza

Written by Issam Aburaiya for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The atrocious war that the State of Israel launched on Gaza (December 2008-January 2009) is just the latest incarnation of the Jewish-colonial settler project in Palestine. It also goes without saying that this project has been always animated by and interwoven with cultural practices and representations. “Ccultures,” as Thomas eloquentlystates, “are not simply ideologies that mask, or rationalize forms of oppression that are external to them; they also expressive and constitutive of colonial relationships in themselves,” to put it otherwise, “has always, equally importantly and deeply, been a cultural process; its discoveries and trespasses are imagined and energized through signs, metaphors and narratives; even what would seem purest moments of profit and violence have been mediated and enframed structures of meaning.” Thomas’ insight attests to the even broader view of the eminent anthropologist Talal Asad regarding the relationship between colonialism and modes of colonial knowledge. The gist of this view was aptly captured by David Scott and Charles Hirschkind. “In interrogating the colonial ques­tion in anthropology,” they write that the major point for Asad was not “the attitude of anthro­pologists toward their native informants (however reprehensible that may be) but the ideological conditions that give point and force to the theoretical apparatuses employed to describe and objectify them and their worlds.” Or, to put it otherwise, what matters most for Asad, as Scott and Hirschkind put it, is “the conceptual struc­ture of the discipline and the relation of this structure to the conditions of power in which the discipline realized itself as authoritative knowledge…”

Along these lines, I would like to point out the following highly important and largely underemphasized development pertaining to recent Israeli wars, manifested mostly in the latest War on Gaza. These wars have been incorporated into and set in motion through the global cultural wars paradigm, better known as the ‘clash of civilizations’ (henceforth, CoC). This development carries deep material implications due to its distinctive representation of Israel’s enemies. The latter is presented as an exceptional and utterly unique threat and therefore requires the deployment of exceptional force and techniques. More specifically, this representation resulted so far in two major consequences. First, it seems as apiriori authorizing and justifying virtually any level and type of cruelty Israel deploys and might deploy in the future against allegedly exceptional enemies it fights, as the War on Gaza vividly illustrated. Second, it untangles the entire ‘Question of Palestine,’ from its colonial context. That is to say, the CoC paradigm, at least in its Israeli idiom, metamorphosizes the Palestinian struggle from an anti-colonial and anti-racist one into yet another facet of supposedly broader cultural war between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’ or (Islamic) ‘terror’ and the ‘free world.’

What makes Israeli’s discourse of CoC even more discussion-worthy is the fact that Israel, especially since September 11, 2001, has conceived itself and has been conceived by many policy makers, think tanks, terror experts and media commentators in the world as the exemplar in fighting ‘Islamic terrorism.’ The fact that this development enables and is enabled by the rehabilitation of an empire, emboldened orientalism, reinvigoration of racism, changing patterns of immigration, and the attacks against what is called ‘multiculturalism’ in key European nations makes its consideration all the more important. Given such importance, it is unfortunate that, to the best of my knowledge, there is not even a single piece of research that has seriously examined the Israeli discourse on the CoC. Particularly, what elements does this discourse include and foreground and what does it exclude and backward? What are the broader ontological and epistemological foundations underpinning it? What are the major features of the social context and power configuration in which it unfolds? Finally, what are the ramifications of this discourse when adopted as a guiding principle for foreign as well domestic policies, especially in multi-cultural and multi-racial nations?

In this essay, I take an initial step in this enterprise. Specifically, I provide general outlines of the ‘Israelization’ of the CoC and, highlighting its terribly crude nature, explain the sources of its increasing appeal in leading European nations and discuss how all this is changing official European position on the question of Palestine/ Israel. Finally, I bring into sharp focus the colonial context of the Israeli occupation of Palestine of which Israeli public discourse on CoC tries to gloss over.

Israelizing the CoC

The well known Anglo-Saxon Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, was the first to invoke the paradigm to best describe the relationship between the ‘West’ and ‘Islam in the Cold Warera. Yet, this paradigm was immeasurably popularized by Samuel Huntington, the late Harvard political scientist, in his now (in)famous treatise of the same title, The Clash of Civilizations. The bedrock of Huntington’s CoC is simple (or rather simplistic). “In the post-Cold War world the most important distinctions among peoples,” Huntington tells us, “are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural.” That is to say, cultural differences will eclipse ideological divides as the primary source conflicts with global consequences. Or simply, “the clash of ideologies will give way to a clash of civilizationsand between “the West and the Rest” in particular.” Hence, according to Huntington, cultural wars will be the trademark of the 21st century. However, following the September 11 attacks, the CoC paradigm has become virtually synonymous with a supposedly global confrontation between the West and its archetypical enemyIslam. More bluntly, “September 11, 2001 further consolidated an understanding of the world drawing sharp oppositions between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ and positing Islam as the “new enemy for a new world order.”

Since its first publication in 1993, Huntington’s paradigm of global cultural wars has received enormous attention not only in the United States but also in Europe and Israel. In the latter, the CoC paradigm was received with great enthusiasm and without the slightest skepticism. Furthermore, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 it has been deployed by Israeli politicians, military officers, media pundits, and to a lesser extent, by academics as a serious descriptive and analytical tool in general and assumed to explain virtually any encounter between Israel and its ‘enemies’ in particular. Against this backdrop, rewording Tomoko Masuzawa out of context, “we can say everybody in Israel today, in effect, seems to know… what CoC means, more or less, that is to say, generally, vaguely.”

Consider, for example, Benny Morris, a historian at Ben Gurion University. According to him, “the war between civilizations is the main characteristic of the 21st century. . .[and]Bush is wrong when he denies the very existence of that war.” Yossi Peled—Major General, former head of the IDF’s Northern Command and a newly elected Knesset Member (following the Israeli parliamentary elections on February 10th, 2009), echoed this position by maintaining: “Ever since the attack on the Twin Towers, I have lived with the sense that we are at the beginning of a war of cultures.” Likewise, it goes without saying that Israel conceives itself unmistakably as a part of Huntington’s West. Indeed, according to Oren Nahari, editor of the foreign news desk on Israeli public TV (Channel 1), Israel is, “the ‘wall,’ the ‘messenger’ of ‘Western Civilization’ in the Middle East.” Similarly, Benny Morris reiterates: “we are on the front line [of the clash of civilizations]. . . We are an extension of the West in the Middle East, which is also how Herzl saw the future Jewish state, and so we are the object of a large part of Islamic attack.” This (un)civilizational thinking, as I referred earlier, was unleashed in latest Israeli War on Gaza. The proclamation of the then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni following a meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy on January 1, 2009 is exemplary. In this proclamation Livni asserted that War on Gaza, “is not the Israeli problem but in a way Israel is in the frontline of the free world and being attacked because it represents the values of the free world, including France.” In other words, Israel, we are told, not only had been “attacked” and therefore had been “forced” to respond with massive cruelty. Most importantly, it was attacked due to what it is and not what it does. In the same spirit, Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the third largest political party in Israeli KnessetYisrael Beiteinu and designated Foreign Minister, suggested in an interview with Haaretz newspaper that Israel should “explai[n] to the West that we are its frontline. That if we fall, God forbid[s], the West will fall too.” Finally, Ben Dror Yemini, a leading columnist in the second most circulated newspaper in IsraelMaariv, contended that Israel should intensify its hasbara (a Hebrew word that literally means explanation or explication, though in Israeli current usage it basically means propaganda) to the world by highlighting the following: “The confrontation in the Gaza Strip is not between Hamas and Israel, but rather between al-Qa’ida, Iran and radical Islam, and the free world.”

What is thedividing line between the above two allegedly opposing worlds? According to the leading political commentator of HaaretznewspaperYoel Markus, the dividing line is terribly simple: “Jewish tradition sanctifies life, whereas our adversaries belong to a society that sanctifies death and suicide…” Haifa University historian and Head of the Herzel Institute for the Research and Study of ZionismYoav Gelber, shares wholeheartedly Markus’ view. He maintains that the CoC generally and the Palestinian-Arab conflict in particular can be, at root, attributed to the unbridgeable difference between: “a culture that sanctifies life and a culture that encourages suicide and fosters martyrs…between a culture that examines exceptions and a culture that glorifies the murderers of children as freedom fighters.” Against this background, Benny Morris thus tells us that the current global CoC is not only a matter of bin Laden and al-Qa’ida, but a more all-encompassing Armageddon: “This is a struggle against a whole world that espouses different values.”

The above mindset is, obviously, animated by and predicated on racializing Muslims in general and the Palestinians in particular. In the case of the latter such operation,

“creates a specter of a people, desperate and beyond negotiation, inflamed by political and/or religious extremism, indifferent to human life including their own (a very important com­in representations of the ‘war on terror’), willing and able to employ the young, the old, women and children in ‘battle’ (in an echo other imperial encounters with guerrilla resistance), motivated by mythical and/or religious goals and thus beyond reason or limit in their .”

In other words, the violence of ‘our’ enemies, as the Israeli narrative goes, emanates from their exceptionalist culture and religion and therefore negotiation with them is an absurdity. Furthermore, this type of enemy constitutes not only a concrete, immediate and monumental life-threatening danger. ‘Our’ civilization and values are under attack by their barbarity. Therefore, we, Israelis and Westerners, secular and reasonable (and excuse the redundancy), are all in a state of utmost exception, and incomparable measures should be deployed to defend our lives and way of life. In this order of things,

“Israel teaches occupying forces to view themselves as the embattled party under attack, forced to respond with excessive : due to facing an irrational enemy that seeks ‘our’ annihilation; part of a moral crusade to defend ‘our’ values and way of life; and in to beat back a new global threat (‘Islamic fascism’). . . [This enemy] any kind of in response. There is no limit to what can be done to fend off creatures…”

This way of thinking, obviously, underwrites assertions such as Benny Morris’ that “[t]he Americans may have been wrong to invade Iraq, and we may have been wrong to go to war with Lebanon. All this pales into insignificance when we look at the huge struggle between the crazy radicalism that wants to control the world and the West that must protect itself.” In other words, hundreds of thousands of people who were murdered or maimed with the most sophisticated military machines on the planet, in addition to the tens of thousands of those who were abducted, tortured and raped pales into insignificance in the minds of Morris and his ilk. This is, of course, not to mention the massive forced uprooting, destruction of civilian infrastructures, personal properties and the sources of livelihood that these wars had occasioned.

Still there is more in Morris’ ‘civilizational’ toolbox. In the context of monumental, one may even say metaphysical, clash between cultures, Morris wears the hat of a psychiatrist and offers the following diagnosis of the Palestinian people and society: “At the moment, that society is in the state of being a serial killer. It is a very sick society.” He also benignly concerns himself with the need to “heal” future generations of Palestinians. “Maybe over the years,” he muses, “the establishment of a Palestinian state will help in the healing process…In the meantime, until the medicine is found,” he prescribes the following ‘course of treatment’: “they have to be contained so that they will not succeed in murdering us.” When his interviewer pressed him to explain if this means, “To fence them in? To place them under closure?” His answer was positive: “Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

However, in reality Morris is breaking through an open door. His recommendations are already being implemented “on the ground,” particularly in everything concerning the death camp called Gaza. More pointedly, Israel’s continuous siege and throttle policy against Gaza and its people, writes the geographer Oren Yicogently, is in actuality a part of a broader strategy of,

“…political geography of mass incarceration increasingly evident in Israel/Palestine. Under this regime large populations are locked into specific areas against their will, and often against international law, and are then subject to the mercy of their wardens. As the [Israeli] leaders’ statements [during the War on Gaza] show, it seeks to lock them in the tiny strip and punish them with enormous force. At the same time Israel is further institutionalizing the geography of incarceration… Typically, when the conditions of imprisonment become unbearable a rebellion erupts, and is suppressed by violent collective punishment, which in turn sets the conditions for the next uprising.”

Moreover, Morris’s beast thinking, was echoed even more vehemently by Eli Yishai (Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister) during latest Israeli War on Gaza: “We have a great opportunity now in Gaza to smash and flatten them… we should destroy thousand of houses, tunnels and industries, and kill as many terrorists as possible…”

This way of thinking (and behaving) obviously cannot be sustained without, to use words of Edward Said slightly out of context, “[wi]thout a well-organized sense these people over [there] not like “us” and [don’t] appre­”our” values—the very core of traditional Orientalist dogma.. [that] spirits away… suffering in all its density and pain…” Or, in the words of Tamas Pataki, “the terrifying unconcern for the lives and livelihood of [those on the ‘other side’] would seem inexplicable without ref­erence to an underlying racist (and race-related) contempt.”

Finally, this mindset is shared and propagated by many Zionist neoconservatives in Europe and North America. Take for example the answer of the British actress, Maureen Lipman, to a question posed to her in an interview with the BBC Radio on July 13, 2006, whether the Israeli onslaughts against the Palestinians in the south and the Lebanese in the north were not somewhat disproportional to the attacks of Hizbullah and Hamas respectively. Lipman’s answer was: “’s proportion got to do with it? It’s about proportion is it? Human life is not cheap to the Israelis. human life on the other side is quite cheap actually because strap bombs to people and send them to blow themselves up.” Asad, after quoting Lipman, comments a characteristically illuminating way, “What Lipman meant by speaking of human life was, of course, not human but Jewish life. Indeed, it was not only that human life “on other side”—that is, Arab life—was quite cheap but precisely be­cause it was cheap that it could be so treated by the Israeli army.” Likewise, it should not come as a major surprise that amongst the leading voices in the United States and Canada who “openly, publicly, and with detailed analysis supported, endorsed, rationalized, theorized and sought to legalize the systematic torturing of people…” as part of the ‘war on terror’ are the Zionists Alan Dershowitz and Michael Ignatieff. Systematic torture is considered by them “‘the lesser evil’…their civilization, they argued, was in danger, and they had to defend it against barbarians.”

Clash of Civilizations, Europe and Palestine/ Israel

Israeli public discourse on the CoC and its racialization of the Palestinians seem to fall on open ears in key European nations. However, this is not due to its intellectual rigor or exceptional explanatory power. Rather, this discourse is alluring due to its convergence with very particular foreign as well as domestic agendas that enjoy a vogue since September 11, 2001. Pertaining to foreign policies,

The “rehabilitation of empire includes acceptance of Israel’s terms of reference yes, what we do is very regrettable, but it is the least bad . The ‘war on terror’ resurrects imperial ambition as a regrettable necessary ideological project and this cultural and political shift key western nations serves to further consolidate support for and Israeli accounts of the necessity of violent occupation.”

Israeli public discourse on the CoC likewise is equally alluring when it comes to the domestic issue of (Muslim) minorities’ status and demands in leading European countries. England under Tony Blair’s government is a case in point. The latter’s “of the ‘war on terror’ and its terms,” writes ,

“signaled a shift away from previous attempts to accommodate minority cultures. Now, we are pressed to believe, the is up. Multiculturalism has not worked and, in fact, could never . Instead we must learn the ugly lesson that ‘our’ culture and their ‘culture’ are absolutely incompatible – our ways of life cannot be recon­and, more than this, the presence of this alien other is a direct to our own survival…is this account of the impossibility of coexistence—because of ‘us’, but due to the murderous nature of ‘them’—that echoes and Israel’s portrayal of the Palestinians…[More specifically], [a]particular representation of the Palestinian struggle to transform political conflict into impassable cultural conflict, a matter of ‘race’, not politics. At the point when western nations as Britain are learning to erase the idea of racism by suggesting that problem is really integration—meaning that minorities must learn to get along, accept the will of the majority and not annoy or people – Israel offers a model for transforming the justified of the racialized other into evidence that this otherness is , impassable and can only be contained and disciplined in the of the enlightened western state and its (full) citizens.

Moreover, this mode of thinking seems not only to validate Israeli claims regarding the Palestinians but the Israeli discourse on Muslims minorities in Europe as well. In Israeli mainstream discourse, Europe is conceived as particularly vulnerable to the ‘Islamic threat’ (in Israel, Europe and are most often invoked as interchangeable terms; yet, again, the focus is on Europe). The Israelis, as self-appointed guardians of Western civilization, seem to believe that it is on themto remind Europe of the nature of the Islamic threat she faces. This task has become particularly urgent, according to Benny Morris, due to the “Muslim penetration into the West and their settlement there [which] is creating a dangerous internal threat.” threat, Morris further ‘illuminates,’ mirrors the challenge encountered by “the Roman Empire of the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries. . .[In both cases] [t]hey let the barbarians in and they toppled the empire from within.”

Another example in this regard is the historian at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former Advisor on Arab Affairs for the Israeli governmentMoshe Sharon.In his tellingly titled essay “, Beware!Muslim Europe in the Making” Sharon proclaims,

“Modern Muslim activists detected that Europe after World War II, began to show signs of old age frailty and weakness, and the mighty West in general proved to be surprisingly vulnerable. Islam emerged as a strong power waiting to be used. . . They soon discovered the ease with which they can use the European democratic system, the liberal ideologies, leftist intellectuals, the media, and even the governments, to achieve their objectives.”

Finally, Sharon’s colleague at the Hebrew University—Raphael Israeli, joins the chorus and further ‘illuminates’ on the Muslims’ perniciousaims and methods in Europe: “[T]hey [Muslims] use Western vocabulary (freedom, tolerance, democracy, human rights, etc.) to impress upon their [European] hosts that while they wish to play by the rules of their adoptive countries…” Muslims’ ultimate goal was and still, according to Israeli, is “to dominate through victory and enslavement of the others when the [raphic] so .”

Moreover, cardinal to the behavior of Muslims generally and their inherent (innate?) hostility towards non-Muslims in particular, we are told, is Islamic division of the world into the ‘realm of Islam’ (dar al-Islam) and the ‘realm of war’ (dar al-harb), with the governing principle of Jihad. Sharon again:

“Dar al-Harb – ‘the Land of War’ – [is] the term always used by the Muslims for all the territories not yet under Islamic rule. Legally speaking, it defines the relations between the Lands of Islam and the lands of the infidels. . .[that means]. .. all those who are not Muslims, mainly Jews and Christians. They are, therefore, regarded to be, both theoretically and actually, in a state of war with the Muslims. This war does not have to be declared, since in Muslim view, it is the only possible state of affairs between the two parties,”

According to Sharon, therefore, Muslims have no choice butto live in a permanent state of hostility and warfare with non-Muslims: “is part of the divine plan,” he laments. “Allah made it incumbent on the Muslims, the Community of the Faithful, to subjugate the whole world and bring it under the rule of Allah. . .”Sharon then reminds his readers: “should be noted again that Islam is a warring religion. . . The Muslims left their mark on world history first and foremost in this military capacity. They can do the same in this age, changing strategy and tactics, but remaining on the same course.”

Putting paramount ill-will, bad motives and racist or quasi-racist statements aside, a sophomoric knowledge suffices to demonstrate that Israeli discourse on Islam is predicated on a series of assumptions that cannot stand up to even the minimal scrutiny of social science analysis. Prime among these assumptions is the privileging, or granting of apriori superiority to religionover any other dimensions in Muslims’ identity formations, such as class, gender, national belonging, language and politics. Furthermore, Islam as presented in Israeli public discourse remarkably resembles a computer program with the Qura’n and the hadiths (the oral teachings of the prophet Muhammad) are its operating codes. Accordingly, deciphering these codes is enough to know who is a Muslim and what the latter should (or should not) do. The broader epistemology underlying this way of seeing things is, to quote Peter Worsley in another context, that “ideas can be isolated in some pure, original, embryonic, or archetypal form…; there­after, they are seen as being [simply] ‘taken up’…[and] ‘translated’ into action…” Yet, as Worsley himself recalled more than four decades ago:

‘the effective impact of a message by no means simply depends upon the internal of its intellectual structure or the coherence of its argument. depends quite as crucially upon the skill and force with which is communicated, the authority of the communicating agent, its to the wants of what Selznick calls ‘constituencies’,… in brief, the power of an ideology has as much to do with its social as it has to the ‘pure’ appeal of a set of ideas.”

In other words, major ‘global’ developments and transformations provided Israeli discourse on CoC is alluring quality. One of the major results of these transformations is a major shift in the official European position regarding the issue of Palestine/Israel in recent years. The current position is “gravitating closer to a US-Israeli framing of a war on terror, a ‘clash of civilizations,’ with a subtext of concern about the rise of Islam.” In truth, it is difficult today to identify substantial differences between the American-Israeli stance and that of the Europeans in everything concerning the Palestinian question. European governments, for instance, supported (and continues to support) the terrible siege on Gaza, provided justification, if only indirectly, for the latest Israeli War on Gaza in its unqualified acceptance of the Israeli narrative that this war was a defensive war and Israel has the right to defend itself, accepted the American-Israeli conceptualization that the fundamental problem in Gaza is not the mass imprisonment and the attempt to break the political will of the Palestinian people in order to accept Israeli colonial dictates but “smuggling weapons”, and finally major European nations enlisted their massive naval power not to, heaven forbid, impose sanctions on the occupying forces, which were engaged in wholesale killing and imposing a siege on 1.5 million people, but to end this smuggling.

Put it otherwise, the massive show of support for Israel by the BritishPrime MinisterGordon Brown, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Czech Prime MinisterMirek Topolבnek, manifested in their (in)famous meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem on January 18, 2009 in spite of the massive killings and iconic destruction in Gaza, cannot be disconnected, I would argue, from the whole issue of CoC and the ‘Islamic threat’ in and to Europe. Likewise, this meeting indicates that European support for the Palestinians is increasingly predicated on, “shallower emotional and humanitarian grounds… helping people survive, hoping economic improvement is enough, and forgetting the old issues of substance, and Israeli occupation” More broadly, what is gradually disappearing not only from Israeli and American discourses on “terrorism” and cultural wars but also from the European’s is the now “outdated” concepts of colonialism and colonial occupations.

Israeli Colonial Occupation of Palestine

Any serious examination of contemporary reality in Palestine/Israel in general and the most recent Israeli War on Gaza in particular, is merely impossible without placing them within their appropriate context: colonialism. By doing so, we can already recall that Israeli ‘political geography of mass incarceration,’ most vividly illustrated in the terrible siege on Gaza.

“…is not a new phenomenon: European colonialism widely used mass incarceration of indigenous groups, condensing them in reserves and Bantustans, to enable Whites to freely exploit land, minerals and labor. Today too, racist governments attempt to deal with the existence of ‘unwanted populations’ by applying methods of spatial containment and violent ‘punishment,’ as evident in the cases of Chechnya, Kosovo, Kashmir, Darfur and Tamil Elam in Sri Lanka. The key to this spreading political order is the prevention of the rebelling region from gaining state sovereignty, leaving it ‘neither in nor out’ of the state’s control system. As a non-state entity, resistance of the jailed to colonial power is often criminalized, leading the state’s righteous claim that it has ‘no choice’ but to further oppress the anti-colonial struggle.”

Furthermore, maintains Yiftaheal aptly,

“Gaza is a severe case, but it’s not unique. Since its establishment, Israel’s ethnocratic regime has worked incessantly to Judaize the country by confiscating Palestinian lands, constructing hundreds of Jewish settlements and restricting the Palestinians to small enclaves. This began with the military government inside the Green Line until 1966, and the establishment of a ‘fenced area’ for the Bedouins in the south, which operates until today. Since the 1990s, the ghettoisation of Palestinians continued with the marking of areas A-B-C in the occupied territories, with the advent of closures and checkpoints, and finally with the construction of ‘the wall’all helping to fragment Palestine to dozens of isolated enclaves. The long-term geographical impact of the Judaization policy has been dramaticthe Palestinians in Israel, for example, constitute 18% of the population, but control less than three percent of the land. In the entire area between Jordan [River] and [the Mediterranean] Sea, the Palestinians constitute just under 50%, but control only 13% of the land.”

Colonialism, viewed from the vantage point of those who are forced to live under their yoke, is not therefore “insignificant” (in Morris’ words) or an “exception” (in Gilber’s usage). It is rather a comprehensive and systematic destruction of any sense of normal life. Going one step further, one can argue that occupations are set in motion through “epistemic rationalization and political administration of death.” In other words, following Michel Foucault, we could say that if the main object of (bio)power is life, then colonialism can best conceptualized as (thanato)power, or power of which the main object is death. Examining the relationship between (bio)power and (thanato)power from the perspective of the colonized, the Palestinian sociologist Honaida Ghanim, clarifies:

“From the viewpoint of power’s victims, the moment that power is directed to destroying, eliminating and dismantling their group, the decision about their life becomes a decision about their death. In other , this is the moment when (bio)power is transformed into (thanato)power. In this sense, thanatopower is not an independent or form of power, but is always already a supplement of biopower, which is called to action at those delicate moments of passage from cal­life to calculating death, from managing life to managing death, from the politicization of life to the politicization of death. At this of transformation from the bio to the thanato, the old arche­form of power to ‘make die and let live’ reappears under the new form of’ giving death and bargaining living’, best reflected in our times the new form of military occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, the colonial occupation of Palestine…”

To put it otherwise, the colonies were and still are, as the case of Gaza painfully attests to, the ‘laboratories’ where virtually limitless and unrestrained violence is deployed, where the exception is the rule, hierarchy between ‘higher races,” and ‘lesser people’ (read native) is presupposed and ‘naturalized.’ “such, the colonies,” writes Achille Mbembe, “are the zone where the violence of the state of exception is deemed to operate in the service of “civilization.” That is to say,

“colonies might be ruled over in absolute lawlessness stems from the racial denial of any common bond between the conqueror and the native. In the eyes of the conqueror, savage life is just another form of animal life…The savages are, as it were, “natural” human beings who lack the specifically human character, the specifically human reality, “so that when European men massacred them they somehow were not aware that they had committed murder.”

Following closely the Israeli responses to the War on Gaza, as mainly manifested in the mass media, one cannot escape the impression that for the majority of Israeli generals, commentators and politicians, rewording Achille Mbembe, the Palestinian savages are, as it were, “natural” human beings who lack the specifically human character, the specifically human reality, “so that when Israeli officers and soldiers massacred them they somehow were not aware that they had committed murder.” Or, “[t]he slain children and the bodies rotting under the ruins [in Gaza], the wounded who bleed to death because our soldiers shoot at the ambulance crews, the little girls whose legs were amputated due to horrible wounds caused by various types of weaponry, the devastated fathers shedding bitter tears, the residential neighborhoods that have been obliterated, the terrible burns caused by white phosphorus, and the mini-transfer – the tens of thousands of people who have been expelled from their homes, and are still being expelled at this very minute, ordered to cram into a built-up area that is constantly growing smaller and is also under sentence of incessant bombing and shelling,” had been presented by Israeli officials in an Orwellian tactic par excellence as eventually will strengthen the “peace process.” If we return to Benny Morris and his European and American like-minded colleagues they probably will advise us to see these atrocities as necessary, though regrettable, collateral damage and reasonable price for humanizing the barbarians and defending Western civilization in the age of global cultural wars.

Dr. Issam Aburaya, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is an Associate Professor of religious studies at Seton Hall University in the US.

George Galloway’s address to Canadians


the Samouni tragedies live on

the Samouni tragedies live on
Eva Bartlett In Gaza


March 29. 2009


*Mohammed, shot dead along with his mother by Israeli soldiers.Zeitoun, Eastern GazaThe “kill Arabs” hate grafitti reported in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and numerous other news sources, and found throughout the Gaza Strip’s bombarded and militarily-occupied regions, is still scribbled on the walls of Mousa al Samouni (19) and the ten other members of his family’s home in the Zeitoun district east of Gaza city. On nearby walls are “you can run but you can’t hide” and “1948-2009″, references to the Nakba* and what many refer to as the new Nakba: the 3 weeks of war on Gaza. Into the walls of the family’s home Israeli soldiers punched five different snipers holes, behind which they propped themselves on bags filled with sand dug out from underneath tiles in the house. Like so many other houses occupied by the Israeli military, the house in which Mousa and his family lived was left a tangle of destroyed furniture, soiled clothing, and graffitied walls. At least 12 homes were bombed [residents cite 20 destroyed houses] or leveled in the area, and the orchards and chickens which generated incomes were razed and destroyed in the farming community, where the majority were living self-sufficiently.Mousa’s family had 1.5 dunams (1 dunam is 1,000 square metres) of fruit and olive trees and a modest 3,000 chicken farm, before all was destroyed by Israeli troops. Reports put around 100 farmers out of work and out of a livelihood in the Samouni quarter alone.Those houses which remained standing, like Mousa’s, did so largely because they served as sniper positions and military camps for the Israeli soldiers who desecrated the interiors and left them shells of their former home-selves.But the more glaring reminders of those days are the inescapable memories of two of Mousa’s brothers and both parents, and 44 relatives, suffering ghastly deaths at the hands the Israeli soldiers who imprisoned Mousa and his extended family in a small house before bombing it. Mousa and the elder two of his surviving 7 younger siblings, may be forced to bear the impossible burden of providing for a family instead of continuing in university or finishing high school.Mousa and the next oldest, Helmé (15), have told their gruesome story enough by now that they go through the details efficiently, pulling out photos of their dead parents and siblings, narrating meticulously how they came to be orphaned. One photo shows father and mother, Rachad and Rabab, standing smiling in front of a garden. Another has martyred Walid (17) posing in front of a backdrop of tranquility: a pond, a swan, birds, lilies… There’s no photo of Tawfiq (21), but he has left behind a wife and an infant boy.Helmé reveals the scar, several inches long, on his abdomen left by shrapnel from the bomb which brought down the house and killed his parents. A lasting reminder.Mousa leaves to sort out university bureaucracy, trying to continue with life, and an uncle, also named Helmé, takes over the narration, mentioning his personal losses: his dead wife and infant son, his dead mother and father, among other relatives. While he is able to tell the story, his sorrow and disbelief are evident. “I waited until I had money for a house before getting married. Now suddenly my house is gone and my wife and son dead.” He, too, pulls out photo mementos: his wife and his only child, asleep.dsc04447
Helmé describes the lead-up to the house-bombing of January 5th.”We were all in my house on January 3rd. It has 3 floors: my wife, son and I were on the 3rd floor, my brothers on the 2nd, and my mother and father on the 1st.

During the night, the Israelis started firing from Apache helicopters and shelling from tanks. It was terrifying. We all came down to the ground floor.”
The next morning, Helmé recounts, the firing had stopped. Relatives fleeing Israeli shelling nearby came to the house, including Helmé’s brother, Rachad Samouni, and his family.

“There were about 50 of us,” Helmé continues. “We all stayed on the 1st floor. The Israelis bombed the 3rd floor while we were still inside the house. They bombed with other explosives which blew the walls out.

Then, Israeli soldiers came to our house. My father had worked in Israel and knew how to speak Hebrew. He told them we were just children and farmers, there were no fighters. They ordered us to leave.”Helmé’s uncle, Atiya, was in his own home nearby when Israeli soldiers arrived. “Who owns this home?” Helmé reports they asked, saying that the soldiers shot Atiya point-blank when he stepped out of the house, hands up.

Helmé’s allegation that Ahmed, Attiya’s 4 year old son, was the next shot by the soldiers is supported by other witness accounts from the day. Some have the toddler running out, grabbing hold of a soldier’s legs and crying out “why did you kill my father?”. Others say that Ahmed and his mother were killed, and many other injured, when the soldiers turned their fire to the interior of the house. Ahmed didn’t immediately die but instead bled to death over the course of the day, denied access to medical care.

Helmé’s narration continues, again corroborating what others have said and written. That the extended family was taken at gunpoint to the house of Wael Samouni, that others were brought, and that they remained captive inside during the day and night, without food and water, numbering roughly 100 people.
“We stayed 1 night in the new house, not sleeping because we were so scared and because of the firing,” Helmé says. Early the next morning (January 5), his brother Salah and a cousin Mohammed Samouni went outside to collect wood for a fire, to make bread. It was quiet and they thought the soldiers might have left.
“They were out between the wall on the street and the house when 2 Apaches above opened fire, firing a rocket at them. Mohammed was killed instantly.” Salah survived, but was injured, with shrapnel fragments in his forehead, back and legs.

“When the Apache fired the rocket, I grabbed Mohammed and got him inside, bandaged his head and tied a tourniquet around his wounded leg to stop the bleeding.”

It was then that Helmé saw his wife, son and cousin had been just been killed.
Maha (Helmé’s wife) and Masouda (Mohammed’s wife) had been standing at the door with their babies in their arms. An Israeli sniper on a neighbouring roof shot Maha, their 6 month old son Mohammed and Masouda’s nearly year-old baby Mu’tassim dead. Masouda survived with light injuries.

Minutes later, says Helmé, the Israeli army dropped 2 more shells on the house.
“All around me people were lying dead, like they were sleeping.”

Maysa’ Samouni, sister in law of ophans Mousa and Helmé, described the scene after the bombings.”The persons killed around me were my husband, who was hit in the back, my father-in-law, who was hit in the head and whose brain was on the floor, my mother-in-law Rabab, my father-in-law’s brother Talal, and his wife Rhama Muhammad a-Samuni, 45, Talal’s son’s wife, Maha Muhammad a-Samuni, 19, and her son, Muhammad Hamli a-Samuni, 5 months, whose whole brain was outside his body.”

The BBC reported that the Israeli military said forces allowed medical help “to the greatest extent possible subject to the perceived risks”.

Yet this is contested by the many survivors who watched loved ones bleed to death or returned to homes to find the injured dead, denied access to emergency medical care, like the family of 4 year old Ahmed who bled to death: (the family) tried to contact the Red Cross and ambulances, but they were told repeatedly that soldiers were blocking access to the area. All the while, Ahmad and his mother were bleeding heavily from their wounds. They continued calling for medical help but kept receiving the same answer ‘We cannot reach you.’”

And from the vantage point of volunteering in the Red Crescent’s ambulances I know countless calls for help went unanswered. Leila, who was present for the belated evacuation of some of the Samouni victims, also knows otherwise: the Israeli military actively prevented medics from reaching the wounded, in Zeitoun, in Ezbet Abed Rabbo, all over Gaza.

Mousa, his brother Helmé, and their 6 younger siblings continue to live in the house which Israeli soldiers occupied and in which their brother was shot dead. An uncle, Arafat Samouni, is living with the orphaned children, along with his wife and 1 child. But this is merely moral support. Financially and emotionally, Mousa and his siblings are devastated. [please consider helping]

*The Nakba is what Palestinians call the Zionists’ bloody expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from historic Palestine, along with the destruction of over 419 villages, for the creation of Israel in 1948.

Amid dust and death, a family’s story speaks for the terror of war
Gaza bombing witnesses describe horror of Israeli strike
‘As I ran I saw three of my children. All dead’
Gaza survivor describes day 48 members of family were killed in attack [VIDEO]
In pictures: Gaza’s Samouni Street
Israeli soldiers kill ‘Atiyyah a-Samuni at home, before his family, Gaza City, Jan. ’09
Testimony: Soldiers Killed and injured dozens of persons from a-Samuni family in a-Zeitun neighborhood, Gaza, Jan. ’09
*Helmé, 15, with a photo of his murdered parents.
*17 year old Walid, murdered at his home by Israeli soldiers.

*razed fruit trees, destroyed chicken farm, devastated land and houses in the Samouni area. [photo: Tales to Tell]

:: Article nr. 52990 sent on 29-mar-2009 21:27 ECT


Palestinian Refugees – Identity Without a Homeland


Palestinian Refugees – Their Experiences / Documentary Film Video:

“As part of the Syrian Cultural Lecture Series, The Jerusalem Fund Gallery and Dr. Rafif Al-Sayed Moustapha invite you to a lecture and film discussion entitled: ‘Palestinian Refugees: Identity Without a Homeland’ with Director Adam Shapiro and Dr. Laurie King-IraniFriday, 20 February 2009

The Jerusalem Fund Dr. Laurie King-Irani and Adam Shapiro will discuss the global Palestinian refugee experience as portrayed in the new 6-part documentary film series Chronicles of a Refugee. Several segments chosen by Adam Shapiro will be screened. Filmed in over 15 countries, with more than 250 interviews of Palestinian refugees who have lived in over 25 countries, Chronicles of a Refugee is the first documentary film to look at the global Palestinian refugee experience over the last 60 years. Produced by Perla Issa, Aseel Mansour and Adam Shapiro.

Adam Shapiro is a human rights activist, dedicated to fostering dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian youth through ‘Seeds of Peace’. Together with his wife, Shapiro founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization that attempts to bring civilians from around the world into non-violent resistance efforts in Palestine. His previous works include a documentary entitled About Baghdad.

Laurie King-Irani is an Adjunct Professor at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, and is a founding member of The Electronic Intifada. Currently, she serves as Managing Editor of The Journal for Palestine Studies. She is a frequent commentator on national and international news programs, including MSNBC and CNN, on political, cultural and military developments in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region.”

Palestine Video – A Palestine Vlog

Posted by …壣€¥ç↙ at 11:03 AM



March 29, 2009 at 7:04 am (DesertPeace Editorial, Holidays, Israel, Land Day, Nakba, Occupation, Palestine)

The following is, in part, a post that appeared a year ago….


Unlike any other nation, Palestine has nothing positive to celebrate at this point in time. There are two ‘major holidays’ on the Palestinian calendar, the first being The Nakba, a commemoration of the day Palestine was literally wiped off the map by the zionists….

The second is a day simply known as Land Day, which is ‘celebrated’ this weekend.

There are poets, writers, statesmen,religious figures whose birthdays are waiting to be celebrated along with the Independence Day of Palestine….. a nation waiting to be born again…. and IT WILL!

Internationally, no opportunity must be missed that can bring attention to the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people… they must not be forgotten. They deserve to celebrate life itself, not only death.

Also see the following brilliant essay at the

Palestinian Think Tank

Israel-Palestine: A Land in Fragments

It has Always been about the Land By MIFTAH

Today marks yet another black day in Palestinian history, known to all Palestinians as Land Day. On March 30, 1976, six Palestinians from Arab villages inside the Green Line were shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting the order to confiscate 5,500 acres of land from the Galilee. Since then, Land Day has been commemorated by Palestinians inside Israel as well as Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.

Land Day is significant to the Palestinians on a number of levels. For the Palestinians who remained in their homes after the horrors of the 1948 War, it is a reminder of their existence, of the right to their own land and their own identity. The protests of March, 1976 marked the first major protest against Israeli rule by the indigenous population since the establishment of the Jewish state almost 30 years earlier. Still reeling from the atrocities Israel carried out during the war, the creation of the refugee problem, the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages, the horrific massacres and the Palestinians’ demotion to second-class citizens virtually overnight was perhaps the slow churning wheel that led up to the eventful day.

Hence, the threat of additional confiscation of land could not be tolerated and the people rose up, for the first time in unison and as one national body. People refused to go to work and the strike and protests took Israel by surprise. At the time, Israel revoked its decision and despite the six deaths and several injuries, the action was considered a success.

As it should be. Since then, Israel has whittled down Palestinian-owned land in historical Palestine from 94 percent pre-1948 to less than three percent today. However, Land Day has effectively kept the issue of Palestinian land on the agenda and in the collective minds of all Palestinians. It is also a reminder that our people inside the Green Line share a similar fate with all Palestinians whether they live inside what is now Israel, in the occupied Palestinian territories or in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. For the Palestinians, it has and always will be about land. Land, which they rightfully owned and which was illegally taken from them, either in Israel’s wars on the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 or through their more insidious measures ever since.

Israel understands just as well as the Palestinians that the conflict is about land. That is why illegal settlements continue to sprout up on occupied Palestinian land complete with their infrastructure and bypass roads that swallow up even more area. There is the separation wall, snaking through West Bank territory, cutting off Palestinians from one another and from their land off of which they live. The wall, when completed will directly affect 50 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank through its isolation or land expropriation. Then of course, there are the outright confiscations Israel declares are necessary for “Jewish communities” [i.e. settlements], checkpoints and roads, all land owned and passed down for generations by Palestinians.

For Israel, creating more facts on the ground in terms of usurping Palestinian land better serves their long-term goal of preventing any sustainable, viable and contiguous Palestinian entity in the future. Their rush to devour as much land as possible in the occupied Palestinian territories is for this very reason. The repeated impasses in the peace process are not coincidental nor are they a result of any “lack of a Palestinian partner.” They are a systematic and well-thought out policy by Israel’s Zionist establishment that aims to encroach on as much Palestinian territory as possible before any permanent settlement is finally imposed. This way, when the world grows tired of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and insists on a solution, Israel will already have completed its sinister workings and there will hardly be anything remaining over which to settle. One only has to look at the situation today vis-à-vis Palestinian land, to see how this policy has become fact. One only has to travel to Bilin and Niln each Friday to see the determination of the people not to let Israel take even more land than already gone.

In Palestinian communities inside the Green Line, it is much the same principle. In 1976, Palestinians found the strength to unite and remind Israel that their existence is not to be taken for granted. Every year since then, Palestinians everywhere hold rallies, activities and demonstrations to commemorate this day and stand witness to the ongoing struggle to retain land that is rightfully theirs.

It is not a choice. For every Palestinian, it is an obligation to hold the memory of those six who offered their lives for a greater cause close to our hearts and minds along with the tens of thousands of other Palestinians who did the same. It is a duty to fight this battle for our land to the bitter end because if not about land and existence, what are we really fighting for?

Gilad Atzmon – Lexicon of Resistance

By Gilad Atzmon • Mar 30th, 2009 at 9:33 • 

The following is an attempt to present my own personal dictionary of what seems to be the most charged terminology and concepts attached to the Palestinian solidarity and anti-war discourse.

Palestine– a piece of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years Palestine was the home of the Palestinian people: Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived in peace and harmony for hundred of years. In the late 19th century, in the light of emerging European nationalism, a few Jews had decided that Jews should not be left out. They then invented the notions of: ”Jewish people”, ”Jewish history” and ”Jewish nationalism”. They decided to settle the majority of world Jewry in Palestine.

Throughout the years the Jewish national project, i.e., Zionism, had become more and more sinister and ruthless. In 1949 70% of the indigenous Palestinian population had already been ethnically cleansed. Nowadays the majority of Palestinians are living behind barbed wire in a state of terror guarded by Israeli soldiers.

Jews– the people who happen to identify themselves as Jews. Jews are not a race, they do not follow a single belief system either. I made myself a rule. I categorically refrain from dealing with ”the Jews” as a collective or an ethnic group. Instead I restrict myself to criticism of Jewish politics, Jewish ideology and Jewish identity.

Judaism– one of the many religions practiced by the Jewish people (Jews for Jesus, Jews For Buddha, Jews For Allah and so on). Though Judaism contains some non-ethical aspects and teachings, the one and only peace-seeking collective amongst the Jewish people is actually a religious orthodox sect, namely Torah Jews. This fact is enough to make me very careful when criticising Judaism as a religion. When dealing with Judaism, I would restrict myself to criticism of interpretations of Talmudic racism and the biblically orientated Zionist genocidal plunder of Palestine.

Jewishness– Jewish ideology, the interpretations of the meaning of being a Jew by those who regard themselves as Jews. Jewishness is the core of Jewish identity, it is a dynamic notion. It is hard to pin down. While refraining from criticising Jews (the people) and Judaism (the religion), elaborating on Jewishness is a must, especially considering the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jewish people. As long as the Jewish state is shelling civilians with white phosphorous, it is our ethical duty to question: Who are the Jews? What does Judaism stand for? What is Jewishness all about?

Palestine vs Israel– Palestine is a country, Israel is a state.

Palestinians– currently the longest lasting sufferers of racist colonial abuse and state terrorism. Palestinians are the only true indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. 4,300,000 Palestinian refugees are scattered in the Middle East. There are Palestinians who managed to hold onto their land yet are denied equal civil rights, others live under military occupation. The Palestinian cause is largely the ethically grounded demand of the Palestinian people to return to their own land. The land that belongs to them and to them alone. The Palestinian cause is the demand to dismantle the Jewish state and to form a State of its Citizens instead.

Zionism– the national colonial practical interpretation of Jewish ideology. It asserts that Jews are entitled to a national home in Zion (Palestine) at the expense of the Palestinian people. Zionism is a colonial racist philosophy that practices genocidal tactics. It is a biblically orientated precept. Although Zionism portrayed itself initially as a secular movement, from the very beginning it transformed the Bible from a religious text into a land registry.

Israel– the Jewish state is a racist political concept. It is a place where Jewish supremacy is celebrated in an institutional manner. Israel is a place where 94% of the population supports dropping white phosphorus on innocent civilians. Israel is the place where Jews can pour their vengeance on the Goyim.

Palestinian resistance– the exercise of the ethical right to resist an invader, an ethnic cleanser and a racist.

Demographic bomb– Israel possesses many bombs, cluster bombs, petrol bombs, atomic bombs, WMD bombs, etc. The Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic bomb. The Palestinians are the majority of the people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This fact itself defines the temporal quality of the Idea of Jewish state in Palestine.

Zionism vs Jewishness– it is difficult or maybe even impossible to determine where Zionism stops and Jewishness begins. Zionism and Jewishness establish a continuum. As it seems, Zionism has become the symbolic identifier of the contemporary Jew. Every Jew is identified by himself and others in reference to the Zionist compass (Zionist, anti-Zionist, oblivious to Zionism, love Zionism but hate Israel, love Israel but hate falafel and so on).

Secular Judaism and Jewish Secular Fundamentalism– secularity has been a very popular precept amongst Jews in the last two centuries. The Jewish form of secularity is very similar to rabbinical Judaism. It is fundamentally monotheistic, it believes in one truth (God is dead until further notice). It is supremacist, it is extremely intolerant of others in general and Muslims in particular, it even promotes wars in the name of enlightenment, liberalism, democracy and even in the name of the victims to come.

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder– the kind of mental state that leads 94% of the Israeli population to support air raids against civilians. Within the condition of the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD), the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place. Within Pre-TSD, an illusion pre-empts reality and the condition in which the fantasy of terror is itself becoming grave reality. If it is taken to extremes, even an agenda of total war against the rest of the world is not an unthinkable reaction. Unlike the case of paranoia, wherein the sufferer is subject to his own symptoms, in the case of Pre-TSD the sufferer actually celebrates his symptoms while others are left with the role of the audience or even victim. The sufferers of Pre-TSD within the press and media lobby for global conflict. Once they are in power they just spread death around. They manage to see a threat in almost anything. The Pre-TSD sufferer would call to flatten Iran, he would defend the IDF military campaign in Gaza for his own existential fears. The Pre-TSD sufferer is rather predictable and for one reason or other always to be found in the non-ethical cause.

Jihad– the struggle to improve one’s self and society. Jihad is the attempt to reach a harmony between the self and the world. It is there to bridge the gap between self loving, loving self and the love towards others. Jihad is the answer to chosenness.

Holocaust– an overwhelmingly devastating chapter in recent Jewish past. It would be difficult to imagine the formation of the Jewish state without the effect of the holocaust. Yet, it is impossible to deny the fact that Palestinians ended up paying the ultimate price for crimes that were committed against the Jews by other people (Europeans). Hence, it would make sense to argue that if Europeans feel guilty about the Holocaust, they better take extra care of its last victims, i.e., the Palestinians.

It must be mentioned that due to some legislation that restricts the scrutiny of the holocaust in an open academic manner, the holocaust is no longer treated as an historical chapter. Instead it is regarded by many scholars as a religious narrative (namely, Holocaust Religion). Those who do not obey the religion or follow its restrictions are chased, excluded and jailed. The failure to maintain the holocaust as a vivid historic chapter turned Jewish history into a Pandora’s box sealed by prohibitions, legal restrictions and different forms of threats. In an ideal ”free world”, we would be able to look into the holocaust, to regard it as an historical chapter and to draw some lessons out of it. That would mean also questioning its meaning. In an ideal (free) world, we may as well be allowed to wonder how come, time after time, Jews ended up despised and detested by their neighbours. In an ideal (free) world Jews may have a chance to learn from their mistakes in the past. For the time being, as long as we want to keep free, we better avoid questioning the past.

The Meaning of the Holocaust– the Holocaust provides the Jews and others with two obvious lessons. One is universal and almost simplistic, it says: ”NO to racism”. As some Jewish intellectuals predicted after the war, Jews were supposed to lead the fight against racism. Seemingly, it didn’t happen. Not only did it fail to happen, but the Jewish state had become the ultimate form of racist practice. Three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the newly formed Jewish state brutally ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. As time goes by, the Jewish state doesn’t try to disguise its racist agenda, i.e., Jews only state.

The second lesson that can be drawn out of the holocaust is far less abstract, it is actually very pragmatic. It suggests to Jews ”to be aware of their deed”. It suggests to Jews ”to act ethically, or at least to pretend to do so”. Seemingly, this lesson is totally ignored. In the Jewish state young IDF soldiers wear T-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption “1 shot 2 kills”. In the Jewish state, civilians had been caught picnicking watching their army dropping unconventional weapons on their Palestinian neighbours. The Israeli reality and the forceful Jewish lobbying around the world portray a complete dismissal of any ethical judgment or moral conduct. Whether it is the genocidal practice against the Palestinian people or the lobbying for more and more global conflicts. If the meaning of the holocaust would have been internalised, different appearances of such inhuman behaviour would have been addressed and tackled.

However, within the prohibition to re-visit our history we may still be entitled to reflect over Nazi brutality towards Jews in the light of the Jewish state’s crimes in Palestine. Seemingly, there is no legislation that prohibits us from doing that as yet.

Hamas– political party that was elected in 2006 by the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Since then Israel has withheld payments owed to Gaza, causing the Palestinian economy to collapse. It has blockaded Gaza for months, starving the civilian population. And yet, Hamas proved once again that the Palestinian people are resilient. In spite of Israel’s genocidal tactics, in spite of the IDF targeting children, women and the elderly, Hamas’ popularity increases by the day and more so especially after the last Gaza conflict. It has now become clear that Israel does not possess the means of combating Islamic resistance. In other words. Israel’s days are numbered.

Gatekeepers– for many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse had been shattered by those who claimed to know what is right and what is wrong. They also claimed to know what should be discussed and what subject must be dropped. Initially, gatekeepers tried to recruit the Palestinian movement to fight antisemitism. Another bizarre agenda was to use the Palestinian people as another Guinea pig in a dogmatic socialist exercise.

Due to the growing success of Palestinian and Islamic resistance, the power of Gatekeepers is now reduced to none. Though gatekeeping operators still insist upon exercising their powers, their influence is totally restricted to primarily Jewish cells.

Antisemites– in the old days, antisemites were those who didn’t like Jews, nowadays, antisemites are those the Jews don’t like. Considering the growing chasm between the Jewish state and its lobbies and the rest of humanity, we have good reason to believe that before not too long, the entirety of humanity will be denounced as antisemitic by one Jewish lobby or another.

Antisemitism– a misleading signifier. Though it refers largely to anti-Jewish feelings, it gives the impression that these feelings are racially motivated or orientated. It must be clear that Jews are not a race and do not establish a racial continuum. Thus, no one hates the Jews for their race or their racial identity.

Bearing in mind Israeli crimes and Jewish lobbying around the world, anti-Jewish feeling should be realised as a political, ideological and ethical reaction. It is a response to a criminal state and its institutional support amongst world Jewry. Though resentment to Zionism, Israel and Jewish lobbying is rather rational, the failure to distinguish between the ”Jew”, and Zionism is indeed very problematic and dangerous especially considering the fact that many Jews have nothing to do with the Zionist crime. However, due to the extensive Jewish institutional support of Israel, it is far from easy to determine where the ”Jew” ends and the Zionist starts. In fact, there is no such demarcation line or spot of transition. The outcome is clear, Jews are implicated collectively by the crimes of their national project. One obvious solution for the Jew is to oppose Zionism as an individual, another option is to oppose Zionism in the name of the Torah, it is also possible for the Jew to shun the tribal ideologist in himself.

Self loving– the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally right, moral and unique. This is the secular interpretation of being chosen.

Self Hatred– the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally wrong, immoral and ordinary. This state of being may also be a point of departure of a spiritual ethical quest.

Chicken Soup– is what is left once you strip Jewish identity of Judaism, racism, chauvinism, White Phosphorous, supremacy, cluster bombs, secularity, Zionism, Israel, intolerance, Nuclear reactor in Dimona, cosmopolitanism, genocidal tendency, etc. The Jew can always revert to chicken soup, the iconic symbolic identifier of Jewish cultural affiliation. The Jew is always more than welcome to say: ”I am not religious nor am I a Zionist, I am not a banker, nor is my name Madoff. I am not a ”Labour friend of Israel” nor I am a Lord or look like a cash machine. I am just a little innocent Jew because my mama’le used to feed me with chicken soup when I was slightly unwell.” Let’s face it once and for all, chicken soup is not that dangerous (unless you are a chicken). My grandmother taught me that it was very healthy. In fact I tried it once in winter 1978, I had the flu then. It helped, I feel better now.

Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.

ADL Slams Archbishop Who Said More Catholics Than Jews Died in Holocaust


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) hascondemned the words of a Brazilian Catholic Archbishop who suggested in a magazine interview that “more Catholics than Jews have died in the Holocaust, but this is usually not told because Jews own the world’s propaganda.”

In a statement released Wednesday, the ADL said the remarks by Archbishop Dadeus Grings of Porto Alegre, Brazil, highlight the continuing fallout from the case of Bishop Richard Williamson, who declared that no Jews were killed in the gas chambers during the Holocaust.
“We warned last month that every day that goes by in which Bishop Williamson fails to publicly recant his Holocaust denial only gives license to others to engage in Holocaust denial,” stated ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman. “Now we seeanother Catholic cleric distorting the Holocaust.”
“The church must take strong and public action against these Holocaust deniers who represent the Catholic Church to the world,” continued the statement. “It is especially important that Pope Benedict make it clear that there will be consequences for those clergy who engage inHolocaust denial.”

Our holocaust was worse than your holocaust ,na na,nana,na!!!

Posted by DotConnector at 07:42

Route 181 – Fragments of a journey in Palestine-Israel


March 28, 2009

Route 181 is a 3-part documentary by two filmmakers, Michel Khleifi and Eyal Sivan, both from Palestine-Israel. Travelling along the partition lines passed in Resolution 181 in 1947 by the United Nations dividing the British Mandate of Palestine into two countries – Israel and Palestine, the two filmmakers listened to the stories and views of different people on their way.

Here are details of a screening in Boston, US. A good review can be found here. Umkahlil has another good one:

Khleifi and Sivan say that theirs was a labor of love, and it is evident throughout the film. Surely, this film, albeit undistributed, ranks as a great documentary. The universal message, which is shown graphically in the beginning when the map of Palestine is ripped apart along the demarcation line of 1947, and is re-emphasized by the Solomon metaphor, is that the only hope for Palestine is through truth, reconciliation, and unification.

Below is Part 1 of the documentary in Arabic and Hebrew, with subtitles. In this version, subtitles are in Spanish. It’s the only version I could find on the net. A version with English subtibles is available here.

Part 2 & Part 3

These, too, are educational:

  • Checkpoints
  • Israeli settlers as human shields
  • How did we get here (in French)
  • Checkpoints – Quelle honte!
  • did you see PA Thugs arresting Palestinians in the westbank ??

    Contributed by Fatima

    صور مخجلة لاختطاف نائب في بلدية نابلس.. بلطجة هي الكلمة المناسبة

    29/01/2007 22:45


    Reham Alhelsi – They can’t take that away from me: "settlers" stealing Palestinian land from under our feet


    Commemorating 60+ Years of the Systematic Murder of Palestinian Land. The first part of a three part series for Land Day

    As I stood on the roof and watched Jerusalem stretch in front of me, with the sun reflecting on the golden Dome, I felt angry and felt how unfair the world is. I was born in Jerusalem, went to school there and practically grew up there knowing almost every corner, every street and every alley in it. I have more memories in Jerusalem than any other place in the world, all cherished ones. But now, I am not allowed into the city anymore because I am Palestinian. As I stood there, with tears in my eyes, I envied every Palestinian with an American or European passport, because they can come and visit Jerusalem. I envied every foreigner who can visit the city whenever they choose. I even envied the birds singing on the cypresses before me, because they could fly over Jerusalem and fill their eyes with its beauty and their lungs with its air. In my childhood, Jerusalem was the only major Palestinian city I knew well and loved. In the eyes and mind of a child, to me Ramallah was a cold city, Bethlehem was the “village” nearby, Nablus and Hebron were the places “to visit my uncles in Israeli prisons” and Jericho was too hot. Only Jerusalem was perfect: with its bustling Old City, the old bus station, Salah Al-Deen Street, Al Musrarah, the walk to the Notre Dame, the walk down Wadi Al-Joz and up to Al-Tur and the walk up to Ras El Amoud. I walked on the roof and saw the mountains on the Jordanian side, clearly visible during mild weather. Late afternoons, coming back home from school, one would witness a breathtaking sight going down the steep street in Sawahreh: a marvellous mixture of simple houses, some with old traditional domed roofs, barley fields or olive groves spreading against a curtain of mountains. Between the mountains and the last of the houses a strip of blue was visible. We always thought it to be the Dead Sea. Well, I personally still like to think of it as the Dead Sea. It was a combination of colours that rarely showed itself, but when it did, it was truly breathtaking.

    To the south I could see Mount Herod in the distance. I have watched this artificial mountain since my childhood and always wondered at its shape. It always looked far away to be reached, but at the same time so close, an integral part of the view surrounding my home. I used to think about the impossibility of climbing that mountain, because it had steep sides, one would keep slipping and would never reach the top. I did “climb” that mountain years later, during the work on a TV documentary on Bethlehem. During the 2002 IOF invasion of the West Bank, my parents told me that Israeli fighter jets used to pass over Sawahreh on their way to Bethlehem. After a few minutes, the sound of explosions would rock the sky, as the IOF bombarded Bethlehem and the surrounding towns, villages and refugee camps. Since hearing this, every time I see Mount Herod I can’t help thinking of Israeli jets on their way to destroying yet another part of Palestine and kill innocent unarmed civilians. In Sawahreh, Israeli jets roaring in the sky were always a common thing. Some of Sawahreh’s vast lands had been confiscated for so-called “security reasons” and were used as a training area for the IOF. We would often hear sounds of explosions and the house would shake, or hear Israeli jets coming and going. One time, my sister, my brother and I thought that they were preparing for war, and since we had no army of our own, had no jets or tanks or bombs to protect ourselves, we held a meeting to decide on the best way to protect the family. The only solution we could think of was to build an underground shelter. I don’t know where we got the idea of a shelter from, since Palestinians have no shelters, but most probably from one of those WWII films the Israeli TV kept showing. We did start digging, using our hands and small pointy stones, but realized after a while what a lengthy and hard process that was, and instead decided that in case a war does break out we would use the water well as a shelter, i.e., after removing all the water.

    One would think what a beautiful view, Jerusalem on one side, Bethlehem on the other with mountains and an imaginary sea in the background. Unfortunately, this scenery is interrupted by the Jewish illegal settlements Maale Adumim and Kidar, spreading themselves on Palestinian hills. Many Palestinian villages and town are surrounded by illegal Jewish settlements. Some are surrounded by settlements from one, two or three sides. Others are surrounded by illegal settlements and the Apartheid Wall. Sawahreh is surrounded by the illegal settlements of Maale Adumim from the northeast and Kidar from the east and by the Apartheid Wall from the west. Kidar settlement is the closest to us. Before the first intifada, Kidar settlers used to come and walk through our main street, among Palestinian houses. So sure they were of themselves, acting as if the land belonged to them. I remember once we were playing in the land, when a group of settlers walked up the street. We stopped playing and just watched them. I didn’t understand settlers and settlements much at the time, but I remember knowing that these people had no right to walk on our streets. We used to spend our holidays in Dheisheh refugee camp, where the IOF would shoot to kill little children, and then we would come back to Sawahreh, where settlers were walking our street. Those close to Kidar used to sell home-made white cheese and yoghurt to the settlers, who thought us too quiet and peaceful, so they called us “Kiryat Shalom” or the village of peace. It was something I always felt ashamed of, knowing that the settlers thought us too peaceful to bother with, while their army and their fellow fanatic settlers were attacking Dheisheh and killing people there. If the illegal settlers of Kidar were so very interested in peace with us, why did they steal our lands to expand their settlement, knowing that our livelihood depended on these lands? You can’t have peace with your occupier, because the only peace they will offer you is a masquerade, not a real and just peace. In Palestine, power cuts are a regular thing, and whenever we had no electricity and had to study using candle light, which often hurt our eyes, I used to look through the window and watch Sawahreh, Abu Dees and Ezariyyeh drown in complete darkness, while Kidar and Maale Adumim would be lighted like a Christmas tree. Even as a child this made me think of how unfair the situation was and that these settlers and these settlements don’t belong here.

    I remember as a child how “far away” Maale Adumim seemed. But as I grew up, so did the illegal settlement. The danger of this expansion never really registered in my mind until one night I dreamt that I opened the window of my bedroom to find myself looking into the courtyard of a Jewish house. The settlement had eaten the land all the way from where it stood till our house, and our house and the land surrounding it was next. I woke up sweating and my heart beating fast. So real was the threat, I realized at the time, that I knew it was not a mere nightmare. The next day I went at the back of the house to the spot where one could get a direct view of Maale Adumim and tried to calculate how much time we had before my nightmare became reality. I thought we still had time to act, but I was mistaken. Since the 1990’s the settlements have been expanding and are eating more Palestinian land at an unprecedented pace. In this area there are several illegal Jewish settlements such as Maale Adumim, Alon, Almon, Kidar, Kefar Adumim and Mishor Adumim, with a combined population of some 40,000 settlers. The largest, Maale Adumim was established in 1975 on confiscated Palestinian land and lies 14 km to the east of Jerusalem. It has a population of 35,000 illegal Jewish settlers and a jurisdictional area of 50 km². Road networks have been also established to connect Maale Adumim and neighboring settlements with Jerusalem and with the Jordan Valley. Palestinian land would be confiscated, declared a “closed military zone” and later used for illegal settlement expansions.

    On the day of my arrival to Palestine for a short visit, I watched in shock as I passed Maale Adumim at how huge it has become. Within the space of two years, since my last visit, it had doubled in size, to say the least. Standing there on the mountain top, with a wall surrounding parts of it, it reminded me of a fortress from the middle ages. Although I am a fan of fortresses, this one brought only anger and disgust. The lands opposite it, which I distinctly remember were planted with olive trees, had become bare land, the trees uprooted and the land destroyed to make way for more illegal settler houses and roads. At the entrance to Maale Adumim stood a single olive tree, as huge as life and older than any illegal settler on this land. It was clear that this tree had been uprooted from some Palestinian field, maybe even from our confiscated land, and replanted here. Macabre, I thought and could only shake my head at the sad view of that lonely olive tree. Olive trees are like Palestinians, they grow in groups, surrounded by family and friends. That tree stood there alone, a reminder to every Palestinian that this is what the so-called peace process had done to us, and that if this process is allowed to go on, every single Palestinian will end up like that tree, alone and uprooted.

    The plan to expand Maale Adumim, known as the “E-1” Plan, which was initiated by Rabin in 1994 and approved in 1999, led to the confiscation of yet more Palestinian land. This Plan is an important part of the “Greater Jerusalem” scheme, which includes Maale Adumim, Beitar, H´Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, the Ariel bloc, the Hashmonain bloc and the Jordan Rift, and aims at annexing large areas of the West Bank to Jerusalem. This plan expands the jurisdictional boundaries of Maale Adumim and its satellite settlements to the Israeli Jerusalem municipal boundaries, linking Jerusalem with surrounding settlement blocs and linking the Maale Adumim bloc with with other settlement blocs such as Pisgat Ze’ev, Pisgat Omer, Neve Ya’acov and the French Hill. Also, a wall is being built around Maale Adumim and its satellite settlements, which will completely encircle East Jerusalem and 61 km² of Palestinian land. The “E-1” Plan aims to completely cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian Territories, disconnecting the geographic contiguity of Palestinian Territories by dividing the West Bank into two parts, thus ensuring that no viable Palestinian state would ever come to existence. Last year, roads were paved and a bridge, main junctions, public squares, police stations, checkpoints and side walls were built in the “E-1” area. This area will cover some 13,000 dunums confiscated from Palestinian villages around Jerusalem and is to house an additional 15,000 illegal settlers. Two Israeli-only roads will connect settler roads southeast of Bethlehem with roads to the northeast, including connecting Maale Adumim and other Jerusalem settlements with the Ramot Ashkol settlement. For the construction of these roads, tens of houses in Sawahreh, Abu Dees and Al Tour are to be demolished. To prevent Palestinians from entering Jerusalem or using Road Nr. 1 that passes through the E-1 and Road Nr. 60 that passes through East Jerusalem, an “alternative” road is being constructed for Palestinian use and is to connect the Southern West Bank with its Northern part. For the construction of this road, the IOF issued a military order in 2007 confiscating 1,128 dunums of Palestinian land from villages between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, i.e. Sawahreh, Abu Dees, Nebi Musa and Al Khan Al Ahmar.

    Blocking the southern entrance of Sawahreh is the “Container” checkpoint, which is now being expanded to become a permanent border-like crossing. Passing the checkpoint, one would not imagine what beautiful landscape lies behind the Israeli stone blocks and control tower. Locally, we call it “Barriyeh”, the wilderness or the prairies. Green meadows decorated with red poppies wherever one looks. My favourite spot there is a low area, surrounded by hills and naturally-formed stone structures. Here, running was not possible because of the tall vegetation that covered the place. We would imagine ourselves swimming and race each other or play hide and seek. Then, when we would feel hungry, we would have something to eat under the olive trees. Relics of family history decorate caves in that area and cherished memories of childhood lie behind the checkpoint, making them off-limit to us. The last time I went there was just before leaving for Germany and I had not set foot again. Our lands there, including the olive fields, which were a source of income for my family, were confiscated in 2003. Today, only those few who originally had their houses behind the checkpoint are allowed in, but no one knows how long before their houses will be demolished for some reason or other so as to close the area completely.

    The “Container” checkpoint is a passage between the north and the south of the West Bank. It is one of more than 630 Israeli checkpoints and road barriers all over the West Bank, aiming to restrict Palestinian movement on Palestinian land. Travelling to the south, one would have to take the “Wadi Al-Nar” road. Wadi Al-Nar, the Valley of Fire, is most probably called so because of its steepness and the danger of driving there. It was a dirt road connecting Sawahreh with Ubediyyeh, rarely used except maybe by villagers travelling on donkeys. With the signing of the so-called peace process, Jerusalem was closed to most Palestinians and this road was used instead as a link left between the south and the north. If one is stuck behind a truck on that road, the meaning of “Valley of Fire” becomes clear, for when driving up the road, one has the continuous feeling that the truck will turn over any minute and everything behind that truck would be squeezed underneath it. As children we would follow the shepherds with their herds whenever we could. We would eat figs, search for snake nests in caves and play at the old ottoman stone circles. Every time we were there on the hills, we would go exploring a bit further. It was mostly steep hills, where we learned to slide slowly down a hill, using our left foot as a break. Here, there were no illegal settlements and no IOF soldiers, or at least they were not visible. When it was time to go home, instead of taking the direct way, we would go all around the hills, passing the “sacred river” to the old Sawahreh houses and further back home. The “sacred river” as we called it, was a small “river” running through the Wadi Al-Nar. Greenery was along both sides of this river, giving it a genuine river look, like those we used to see in cartoons. The vegetables growing around the riverbanks were double the size of the ordinary vegetables we would buy from the supermarket. Later, and to our great disappoint, we found out that the reason for the extraordinary growth of these vegetables was the waste water. This “sacred river” was actually the flow of waste water from Maale Adumim and other settlements in the area. Not only was their waste water contaminating our lands, their solid waste was being dumped and burned on our lands as well. Several studies have shown that illegal Settlements comprise a major environmental threat. Waste water and industrial waste from settlements is dumped on Palestinian lands, contaminating the soil and the water supply. Palestinian plans to treat waste water are usually rejected by Israel, and in one incident Israel insisted that a treatment facility for Tulkarem be built on the other side of the Green line, for no other reason than to use the treated water for its own interest.

    During my last visit to Palestine, I wanted to see these hills again and enjoy the beauty of a Palestine that was free of illegal settlements and IOF checkpoints. It was late afternoon and as I looked around me I saw Mount Herod in the distance, with Palestinian villages decorating the hills all the way from there to Jerusalem. And opposite them, Palestinian hills extended all the way to meet the Jordanian mountains in the horizon. There was no Apartheid Wall, no IOF checkpoints and no settlements. Although I knew they were there, breaking the natural bond between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, they were not visible from where I stood. I saw the old stone houses with the traditional domed roof, a herd of sheep with a shepherd who was playing the flute, the sunset adding a magical touch to the whole landscape, and there, at that moment I felt what it would feel to live in a truly free Palestine. I started taking photos and wondering how long before the Israelis would wipe out this landscape and all traces of Palestinian existence here. I went home, thinking that the Palestine I grew up in is not the Palestine of today. The Palestine of today is the rest of the so-called peace process with its illegal settlements, the Apartheid Wall, the IOF checkpoints and “Herrenstraßen” that are eating Palestine from inside, like a cancer, destroying the land piece by piece. I remembered that lonely olive tree in front of Maale Adumim and hoped that those still disillusioned by the “peace process” would wake up and act before it was too late.


    Reham Alhelsi is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian. She has worked extensively in the Palestinian Broadcasting Company and since 2000, when she moved to Germany, has trained at various radio and TV networks including Deutsche Welle, SWR and WDR. She is currently writing her PhD in Regional Planning with a focus on Palestinian Land Management and local government.

    This year, Arabs and Palestinians honored the city of Jerusalem as 2009’s "Capital of Arab

    This year, Arabs and Palestinians honored the city of Jerusalem as 2009’s “Capital of Arab Culture: Jerusalem in Our Hearts….

    Al-Quds 2009

    Al-Quds 2009

    This year, Arabs and Palestinians honored the city of Jerusalem as 2009’s “Capital of Arab Culture.” Each year, Arab cultural ministers name one Arab city as the “Cultural Capital,” last year’s designate being Damascus, Syria. The title came this year with a fanfare of activities throughout Palestinian cities, crowned off by a huge VIP event in Bethlehem where prominent artists and Arab cultural figures throughout the Arab world conveyed their sentiments of solidarity and support via video conference and Palestinian folkloric groups performed live.

    So it would seem that the designation is not and should not be politicized. Naming an Arab city a cultural capital is about preserving its heritage and its Arab identity, passing on the torch of our culture to newer generations that may not be as well versed in it as others. It is a sort of revival, an honor bestowed upon the Arabs’ most revered cities and homage paid to its rich history.

    Enough said. For these very reasons, Israel was adamant to stop the festivities. Much along the theme of the children’s story “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” Israeli authorities chased children with red, white, black and green balloons – the colors of the Palestinian flag – in an attempt to halt them from being released. It did not allow the Palestinian flag to be raised in occupied east Jerusalem nor did it let young Palestinians gather together in song and dance in the streets of the Old City.

    In any case, the celebrations were already a few months late. Planned for January, 2009, the festivities had to be postponed because of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the results of which were devastating. At the time, the organizers decided to reschedule the launching for March.

    Needless to say, the irony of the situation cannot be lost on the fact that the festivities were launched from Bethlehem rather than the city being honored. Dignitaries from several Arab countries flocked to the city just south of Jerusalem along with scores of Palestinian officials, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians carrying West Bank IDs are not allowed into Jerusalem, so the Arab cultural capital could not be celebrated properly by its own people. Instead, the organizers chose the Palestinian city closest to the capital to hold the day-long events.

    In Jerusalem, residents of the eastern sector of the city tried to compensate but were pushed back by Israel’s iron-strong military force. Even before the actual day of the launching, March 21, Israeli forces raided a hotel where organizers were staying, confiscating documents, a laptop and ID cards. “No show of Palestinian sovereignty” in Israel, was their excuse.

    On the day, over a dozen organizers and participants were arrested by Israeli authorities, including Hatem Abdel Qader, a consultant to the president on Jerusalem affairs, charged with organizing the balloon launch. When approached for official permits to hold the event in Jerusalem, the organizers were duly rejected by Israeli authorities.

    Miraculously, however, Israel could not put a damper on the people’s enthusiasm. In the streets of the Old City, groups of two musicians (Israel banned anything larger) sat playing Arabic instruments to the tune of classic Arabic songs. Small crowds gathered around the young musicians including foreign tourists who were clearly enjoying the change of pace. Directly to the side, a group of Israeli soldiers and police stood ready for action, their eyes hawkishly eyeing the crowds and their fingers clenched tautly around the triggers of their guns.

    Still, the mood was unbelievably cheerful. The sound of authentic Arab and Palestinian music ringing out throughout the Old City walls brought immense joy to those who stood listening. It was also a moment of pride for many Palestinians who have grown accustomed to Israel squashing any sign of Palestinian culture in the occupied city.

    So, just like the Grinch who tried to cancel Christmas by stealing all of its trappings and who nonetheless could not kill the Who family’s spirit, so did Israel fail in Jerusalem. True, there were not the grandiose events one would expect from an event of such magnitude, but the Palestinians drew their strength from the outpour of solidarity from others. On the big screen of Bethlehem’s conference center, Arab artists such as Marcel Khalifeh and Durayd Lahham stressed Jerusalem’s Arab identity and their solidarity with the Palestinians. Palestinians in Jerusalem remain undeterred, launching the balloons in spite of the heavy Israeli military presence around them and song and dance broke out sporadically throughout the eastern sector of the city whenever a moment could be stolen away from the prying eyes of Israel’s army.

    If nothing else, Jerusalem was heard. There have been many times when Palestinians in the city have felt sidelined during political negotiations and geographically isolated because of Israel’s policy of severing the city from its Palestinian surroundings. But on March 21, Jerusalem was in the spotlight. Its name as an Arab cultural capital was broadcast on television, splashed across newspapers and magazines and uttered by millions. Throughout the coming year, the world will be repeatedly reminded that Jerusalem has a long and deep Arab history and culture. It will be reminded that its eastern sector is still under Israeli occupation and it will be reminded that a political solution must be found for its culture to flourish.

    Israel may have been able to stamp out the more visible markings of the day, but one thing is for certain. In spite of all its oppression, this day confirmed that Jerusalem is and always will be forever in our hearts.

    posted by annie at 6:25 AM

    Anti-Semites on the Rise in Europe


    Oi God please help us. It is a disaster. This meshegine klezmer Atzmond is appearing at Oxford University! Just next week he will be talking about anti-Semitism with one of our most committed media zuker pushke, David’le Aaronovitch. At first i thought it was a joke. I was sure Atzmond was there so everybody can practice throwing West Bank tomatoes at his head, but then I saw his picture all over their web site. And they don’t even mention the other 2 speakers, just Atzmond! I can’t believe it…. I know what will happen. This sax-loving, self-hating meshigine will tell all those clever-clog, big brains that Jews better look in the mirror, as if he doesn’t know this is what we hate the most! Oi oi oi…after everything we suffered, why must he do it?

    It is amazing this Azmond, every time we are sure we finished him off, he just grows bigger and bigger. He is like a cultural Schwarzenegger, totally indestructible. We tried to get him branded a racist in the Goydian, but they devote half a whole page on him. Everywhere I look I see his ugly, self-hating, watermelon face smiling back at me. Even the Turkish Prime Minister want to kiss his t*****es…..

    And now this?! Oxford, the most famous Yeshiva in the planet!? Someone told me Oxford is even more clever than Brighton polytechnic.

    United Against Oxford

    Meshigine -Lunatic
    Klezmer – sounds like folk music with no beauty.
    Zuker Pushke -sweetie pie
    Yeshiva– University open for male Jews only

    T******es – something too rude for an Auntie to say

    Posted by Auntie Ziona at 2:32 PM

    Saudis bend over,… while Mubarak fails to grasp the Damascene moment,,,"


    In AP, here

    At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have an ulterior motive. With Obama also pursuing dialogue directly with Iran, Washington’s Arab allies want to make sure their interests are not left out if the United States and Iran reach any reconciliation..……

    During the meeting, oil-rich Saudi Arabia offered Assad a financial package to offset Iranian aid to Syria, if it breaks with Tehran, a Saudi royal adviser told The Associated Press. Abdullah also promised Assad that the kingdom will mobilize Arab support to back Syria in negotiations for a peace deal with Israel, aimed at winning back the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in 1967.

    “What we said was, ‘Come back to the Arab fold, and after that everything you need can come,'” said the Saudi official, who was briefed on the March 11 meeting. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door talks.

    Assad had a further condition: Arab help to ensure than an international tribunal does not name Assad or his close associates in the case of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Saudi adviser said……

    Holding out, Assad proposed that the sides find a way to manage their differences – basically, agree to disagree civilly.

    But Egypt’s Mubarak took a tough tone, pressing for Assad to commit immediately to Egyptian and Saudi demands. He bluntly warned Assad that there would be no generous Arab overtures until Syria shows a real change of behavior, an Egyptian official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door talks.

    The mini-summit appeared on the verge of collapsing. But the emir of Kuwait, who was also attending, stepped in and persuaded the two sides to continue talks in the coming weeks, said the Egyptian official, who was also briefed on the meeting. So far, there has been no sign of a breakthrough. …… the Egyptian-mediated talks with Hamas have since broken up without an agreement. “

    Posted by G, Z, & or B at 3:12 PM

    Stephen Harper & Whores For Israel reaffirms support for Israel

    Stephen Harper & Whores For Israel reaffirms support for Israel

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper passionately vowed Thursday night that his government would always stand behind Israel, at the same time denouncing what he called “a rising global tide of anti-Semitism.”
    More like a rising global tide of outrage towards the murderous racist Natzi State of Israel.

    Harper’s speech to members of the Jewish community in this Toronto suburb came amid planned court action by a British MP George who was banned from entering Canada.

    I won’t even bother to quote the Zionist propaganda shit dribbling from the mouths of Harper’s weasel puppet government.Suffice it to say that Canada is an embarrassing disgrace on the world stage.

    Harper’s speech didn’t mention his government’s refusal to allow British MP George Galloway from entering Canada.


    Sacked for Writing Against the Egypt Regime


    Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani interview former editor ABDELHALIM KANDIL.

    CAIRO, Mar 26 (IPS) – For years, Abdelhalim Kandil has been one of Egypt’s most high-profile opposition journalists, known for writing hard-hitting articles critical of the ruling regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

    Kandil boasts an impressive track record, having worked as editor-in-chief of a number of the country’s most widely-read independent and opposition newspapers, including Al-Arabi Al-Nassiri (2000-2006), Al-Karama (2006- 2007) and Sout Al-Umma (2008-2009). Kandil is also general coordinator of Egypt’s pro-democracy Kefaya movement.

    On Mar. 16, Kandil was abruptly removed from his position as editor-in- chief of Sout Al-Umma by the newspaper’s publisher, Essam Ismail Fahmi, after he wrote a series of articles critical of some state officials and of the government’s political and economic policies.

    Excerpts from an interview with him:

    IPS: Why were you forced from your position as editor-in-chief of Sout Al- Umma?

    Abdelhalim Kandil: I was removed from the post because I attempted to publish three articles that were extremely critical of the ruling regime. Ultimately, however, none of them were published in Sout Al-Umma – although they did appear online – because the government forced the publisher to remove them from print.

    The first article criticised the Egyptian government’s close and often secretive relationship with Israel; the second urged the army not to participate in government campaigns against the political opposition; and the third accused high-level state officials of liability in the 2006 Red Sea ferry tragedy (in which more than 1,000 Egyptians drowned due to negligence on the part of the ferry owner).

    For all of these articles, the publisher of Sout Al-Umma came under pressure from security agencies and other sensitive state organs. For the last article, the pressure was applied directly by the presidency.

    The publisher, Essam Ismail Fahmi, said that I could not work as editor-in- chief of the newspaper while simultaneously working as general coordinator for the Kefaya pro-democracy movement. But I must point out that I was working with Kefaya even before I took the position at the paper, and my political work never adversely affected my journalistic responsibilities. In fact, in the nine months that I ran Sout Al-Umma, the paper’s distribution grew by three times, according to official figures.

    I don’t feel any ill-will towards Essam – it was very courageous of him to hire me in the first place. The government pressure campaign against him began as soon as I took over as editor-in-chief, and, ultimately, the pressure on him ended up being more than he could bear.

    I’m prepared to suffer the consequences for what I write. Thank God, really, because much worse could have happened.

    IPS: How much oversight do government censors generally have over Egypt’s independent press?

    AK: There are no major privately-owned newspaper print houses in Egypt. Therefore, almost all opposition and independent broadsheets must be printed by state-run print houses, which gives official security agencies a chance to closely monitor them.

    If government censors don’t like what they see, they can pressure the publisher to remove the offensive content. This is what happened to my three articles.

    IPS: What is the current state of Egypt’s independent press in terms of journalistic freedom? What ‘red lines’ still hamper journalists?

    AK: Just as the state has succeeded in containing Egypt’s political opposition parties, it has also succeeded in containing the opposition press.

    We used to say that Egypt had an effective opposition press even if there weren’t any effective opposition parties. But since 2000, when Egypt’s Socialist Labour Party was closed down – along with its newspaper, Al-Shaab – there has not been any genuine opposition journalism. Opposition writers have been forced to avoid red line issues – namely, criticism of the president and his immediate family.

    Most independent papers do enjoy a margin of journalistic freedom. However, the majority of these are owned by big business magnates who often enjoy close working relationships with the government. And these papers, too, are closely monitored by security agencies, which can indirectly influence what appears in print.

    For example, two leading independent papers, Al-Masri Al-Youm and Al- Dustour heavily covered the nationwide general strike held on April 6 of last year (organised to protest runaway inflation and the lack of political change). But although a second strike is being planned for this April 6, both papers are writing precious little about it this time around.

    In all of the newspapers that I have run, I have found the same pressure originating from the same quarters. This is due largely to the fact that in Egypt the same state officials remain in their positions year after year without end.

    In terms of press freedom, I doubt Egypt will see any genuine improvements until after the death of the current ruler.

    IPS: Is the state curtailing press freedom in response to rising popular displeasure with the government and its political and economic policies?

    AK: In light of the current global economic crisis, the government has become extremely sensitive to criticism, and appears to be fearful of a rising popular discontent fuelled by a vigorous opposition press. For this reason, the government has continued to closely dictate the boundaries of local press freedom, and has the capacity to issue administrative orders to close down newspapers critical of it. Therefore, I expect the scope of press freedom to decrease in the immediate future.

    However, the government cannot entirely dictate terms to the general population, which appears ready to explode – not for political reasons, but because of Egypt’s grim economic prospects. Egypt is already seeing a new labour strike almost every day because of rising inflation and increasingly difficult economic conditions.

    Egypt’s political opposition, meanwhile, is trying to take the anticipated popular explosion and turn it into a viable, grass-roots force for political change. Egypt is now at a crossroads, though, and – given the difficult political and economic circumstances – anything could happen.

    IPS: Do you plan to continue writing in other venues?

    AK: For now, I will continue writing articles for (London-based daily) Al-Quds Al-Arabi. I am also thinking about returning to (independent weekly) Al-Arabi Al-Nassiri, maybe as early as next month.

    I’m not sure, however, if I want to run another newspaper in Egypt. I don’t want to bring government pressure down on another publisher, who will eventually be forced to invent reasons to fire me.

    At the end of the day, I write for the people and not for the satisfaction of the ruling regime. And I intend to continue doing this for as long as I can. (END/2009)

    Send your comments to the editor

    Jewish Harems in Talmud Law

    Jewish Harems in Talmud Law

    ZARAH — A co-wife, a married woman in relation to the other wives of her husband.

    Soncino Talmud Glossary

    Polygamy is a Jewish institution. It is practiced, albeit underground, in Israel today. If the present trend to Orthodoxy among Jews continues, we can expect open polygamy to return soon.

    Even for the most Westernized Jews, polygamy (polygyny) is difficult to confront. They obviously feel uncomfortable with the subject: we see them minimize it, excuse it, and defend it (for example, see The Jewish Encyclopedia, Appendix A).

    Writing about marriage, the Very Reverend the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, the late Dr. Joseph H. Hertz, states:

    The Biblical ideal of human marriage is the monogamous one. The Creation story and all the ethical portions of Scripture speak of the union of a man with one wife. Whenever a Prophet alludes to marriage, he is thinking of such a union — lifelong, faithful, holy. Polygamy seems to have well-nigh disappeared in Israel after the Babylonian Exile. Early Rabbinic literature presupposes a practically monogamic society; and out of 2800 teachers mentioned in the Talmud, one only is stated to have had two wives.

    Monogamy in Israel was thus not the result of European contact. As a matter of fact, monogamy was firmly established in Jewish life long before the rise of Christianity …

    — Rabbi Dr. Hertz (1)

    The Talmud Challenges Rabbi Dr. Hertz

    Most rabbinical scholars (including Rabbi Dr. Hertz) attribute the organization of the Mishnahs to Judah the Prince. The year of his birth is given as 132 or 135 A.D. A number of these Mishnahs organized by Judah the Prince address legal problems that arise from the practice of polygamy. That suggests that polygamy was very much alive in the centuries before and after the birth of Jesus.

    That polygamy was an ordinary part of Jewish life is also suggested by Rev. Dr. Israel W. Slotki’s Introduction to the Tractate Kethuboth. Rev. Dr. Slotki states this of Chapter X:

    CHAPTER X determines the priority of the claims to the recovery of their kethubahs and to exemption from oath of two or more wives who were married to the same husband, the relative rights of their respective heirs, and the legal position in the event of the surrender by one of the women of her claim to distrain on the buyer of her deceased husband’s estate.

    — Rev. Dr. Slotki (17)

    (Note: When excerpting quotations from the Talmud, we sometimes omit non-germane text and footnotes. Omission of text is indicated by an ellipsis (…). To see the full text and footnotes, follow the hot link at the end of the excerpt. It is our pleasure to make available on line a number of Talmud tractates, so that you can see the excerpt in full context. We indicate unprintable Hebrew characters, words, and phrases with the symbol [H].)

    This Mishnah addresses a man with two wives: More

    Posted @ 21:28

    Devouring Jerusalem


    Khaled Amayreh plots the ever more aggressive tactics Israel is adopting in its efforts to Judaise occupied East Jerusalem

    In its increasingly rabid efforts to consolidate control of traditionally Arab-East Jerusalem, Israel this week moved to suppress Palestinian cultural activities associated with the city being declared the capital of Arab culture for 2009.

    On 19 March heavily armed paramilitary police violently dispersed a meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, confiscating posters, leaflets, placards and computers.

    Israeli police also raided schools, social clubs and community centres to foil activities celebrating Arab culture in the occupied city which Israel considers its “united and undivided capital”.

    Several organisers, including East Jerusalem lawmaker Hatem Abdel-Qader, were arrested on charges of disturbing peace.

    Israeli security forces cordoned off East Jerusalem by deploying soldiers at all entrances to the city. They turned back visitors, including several delegations from Arabian Gulf states, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

    Frustrated by the draconian Israeli measures the Palestinian Authority, the main organiser of the festivities, decided to transfer the main event to Bethlehem, a few kilometres south of Jerusalem. Hundreds of PA officials, foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and diplomats arrived on 21 March to listen to a speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Abbas reasserted his commitment to establishing a viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, on all Palestinian land Israel occupied in 1967.

    judaization in al quds

    judaization in al quds

    “We will continue to reject the Israeli policy of Judaising Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem]. And we will not hold peace talks with any Israeli government that rejects the two-state solution,” said Abbas, alluding to Israeli designate-Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

    The Palestinian leader, who recited a few verses of the Quran pertaining to the status of Jerusalem in Islam, pointed out that Jerusalem was the key to peace in the region and the world, saying that peace will not prevail unless and until the Israeli occupation ends completely.

    Addressing the Arab-Muslim world, Abbas said: “I urge our Arab and Muslim brothers to come to the rescue of Jerusalem, protect Jerusalem from the act of rape to which the city is being subjected… Jerusalem is being Judaised by force, its Arab identity is being obliterated, its history is being falsified, its people are being oppressed and tormented. Its homes are being demolished. Jerusalem is the beginning and the end, it is the ultimate address of peace. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”

    Addressing Israel, Abbas said: “Peace can’t be made through the building and expansion of settlements, brute force and military insolence. What happened in Gaza recently reflects the Israeli mindset, and with such a mindset, it is clear there can be no peace.”

    Abbas’s desperate but defiant words epitomised the situation across the occupied Palestinian territories but especially in Jerusalem, where Israel is planning to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes.

    The planned destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood in the heart of the city has been described by PA officials as “demographic decapitation”.

    “They are indulging in ethnic cleansing in broad daylight. They are chasing Palestinians out of their homes. They are trying to decapitate Arab existence in East Jerusalem, step by step, home by home, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, while they continue to lie about their desire for peace,” said Rafiq Al-Husseini, a senior aide to Abbas.

    Asked by Al-Ahram Weekly what the PA was going to do to prevent Israel from carrying out the wholesale destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood [the goal is to build a park and recreational facilities for Jewish settlers in the surrounding areas], Al-Husseini said the PA would try to mobilise the international community to stop Israeli crimes.

    During her recent visit to the occupied territories US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the planned demolitions as “unhelpful” and “incompatible with Israeli commitments under the roadmap”.

    Israeli officials were unimpressed by Clinton’s warnings. Jerusalem’s Jewish mayor, Nir Barkat, described her words as “a lot of air”, claiming she had been misled by the Palestinians.

    Barkat, an extreme right-winger, vowed to destroy Arab homes en masse, saying that “what we do in our capital is none of America’s business”.

    Israeli efforts to obliterate the Arab-Islamic-Christian identity of Jerusalem began immediately after 1967. Four days after seizing the city Israeli army bulldozers razed the Maghariba and Sharaf neighbourhoods. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighbourhoods were expelled at gunpoint. Two mosques, two religious schools or Zawiyas and 135 houses were destroyed.

    Several months later Israel seized the Harat Al-Maghariba for “public use” and built a large plaza in front of the Buraq — the Wailing or Western — Wall. The heart of Al-Maghariba and the adjacent, smaller Harat Al-Sharaf were both Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) properties dating back to the time of Salaheddin Al-Ayoubi (Saladin).

    According to Palestinian sources Israel has demolished as many as 700 homes in the old town alone, forcing many inhabitants to seek shelter outside the boundaries of the city, e.g. in the West Bank.

    Since 1967 Israel has confiscated 34 per cent of East Jerusalem for “public benefit” and designated 44 per cent of the occupied Arab town as “green space”. Nine per cent of the city was confiscated for the purpose of building settlements, leaving only 13 per cent of the original, built up Arab area, for the Palestinians.

    In addition Israel has adopted a number of aggressive measures aimed at forcing the town’s Arab inhabitants to leave. These include imposing excessive taxes on real estate, including homes, withholding vital municipal services from Jerusalem’s Arabs in order to force them to relocate and denying residency rights to as many as 20,000 Arabs living in the city.

    The Israeli authorities have continued to deny Arabs building licences, exacerbating a housing crisis in the Old Town and surrounding Arab neighbourhoods.

    The systematic destruction by Israeli municipal authority of “illegally-built” homes pushed thousands of Jerusalemites to the brink of despair.

    Adnan Al-Husseini, the nominal Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, described Israeli measures in Jerusalem as a “full fledged demographic war”.

    “The Israeli goal is very clear. It is to force as many Palestinians as possible to leave the city and sell their property to Jewish interests.”

    Al-Husseini said Israel was following a variety of tactics to achieve its strategy, including psychological and economic pressure, heavy taxation, physical coercion and harassment and financial incentives to force Arabs to sell their properties. Jerusalemite Arabs were clinging to their city, he said, despite Israeli efforts to curtail Arab demographic growth.

    The Palestinian population of Jerusalem has grown extensively since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. Today, the total population of Jerusalem (East and West) is estimated at 720,000, including 475,000 Jews (66 per cent) and 245,000 Arabs (34 per cent).

    As many as 260,000 of the Jewish population of the city (54.7 per cent) are living in 34 colonies established in and around East Jerusalem since 1967.

    Maali Adomim, Pisgat Zeev, Har Homa and Gush Itzion are among the largest of these settlements.

    Israeli demographic experts predict the Palestinian population will make up 40 per cent of the town’s total population by the 2020. It is to forestall this possibility that Israel has been making frantic efforts to confiscate more Arab land in order to build Jewish settler units.

    According Israeli sources tenders for building more than 25,000 settler units have been issued since the Annapolis conference in 2007.

    Earlier this month the Israeli group Peace Now revealed that the Israeli government was planning to build more than 73,000 units in the occupied West Bank, most of them in existing settlements surrounding East Jerusalem.

    The group, which monitors settlement expansion in the West Bank, said the new plans would lead to the doubling of the Israeli settler population and scuttle any prospects for the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state.

    Among the most dangerous and explosive aspects of Israel’s efforts to Judaise East Jerusalem is the ongoing excavation and digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.

    According to Waqf officials, digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque is seriously undermining the foundations of Islamic shrine and the nearby Dome of the Rock.

    Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, warned that it was only a matter of time before a “major disaster” occurred as a result of Israeli diggings in the vicinity of the Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) esplanade. He accused the Israeli authorities of constructing subterranean tunnels beneath Islamic holy places without any consideration for the safety of Islamic shrines. “I can say without the slightest exaggeration that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing the danger of collapse as a result of these excavations.”

    Islamic Palestinian leader Raed Salah was even more dramatic in voicing his concerns. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing urgent danger. A medium earthquake could cause the collapse of the mosque.”

    Salah was arrested by Israeli police on Monday, 23 March, charged with “disturbing the peace” and “inciting against Israel”.

    In recent years the Israeli security authorities have allowed extremist Jews to enter the Haram esplanade and perform Jewish prayers and other rituals.

    In 1967 the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque “once and for all”.

    The story was told by Narkis shortly before his death in 1997 and quoted by Avi Shlaim, an Israeli historian, in The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

    “There was an atmosphere of spiritual elation. Paratroopers were milling around in a daze. Narkis was standing for a moment on his own, deep in thought, when Goren went up to him and said ‘Uzi, this is the time to put a hundred kilograms of explosives in the Mosque of Omar and that’s it, we’ll get rid of it once and for all.’ Narkis said ‘Rabbi, stop it.” Goren then said to him, ‘Uzi, you’ll enter the history books by virtue of this deed.’ Narkis replied, ‘I have already recorded my name in the pages of the history of Jerusalem.’ Goren walked away without saying another word.”

    Two weeks later the Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Moroccan Gate).

    Numerous efforts by Jewish extremists to destroy the Islamic shrine have been reported over the years.

    © Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

    Israel defends use of flesh-eating weapon

    Israel defends use of flesh-eating weapon

    Press TV

    Tel Aviv hits back at a humanitarian report that suggests the Israeli army had ‘illegally’ shelled Gazans with white phosphorus shells.

    The New York-headquartered Human Rights Watch said in a recent report that Israel’s indiscriminate and deliberate use of white phosphorus against Palestinian civilians amounts to war crimes.

    “The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures,” read the report.

    According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli officialdom had violated the international laws of warfare by using the controversial weapon — which burns flesh to the bone.

    Israeli military officials responded by calling the report “baseless” and said the White phosphorus shells — which is prohibited “in all circumstances” under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons — were used in accordance with international law.

    “These shells were used for specific operational needs only and in accord with international humanitarian law. The claim that smoke shells were used indiscriminately, or to threaten the civilian population, is baseless,” the Washington Post quoted Israeli military officials as saying.

    Tel Aviv attacked Gaza on December 27 with the declared goal of “self-defense” and toppling the Hamas government. More than 1,350 Palestinians, including a large number of women and children, were killed in the conflagration.

    More than two months after Tel Aviv declared an alleged ceasefire, further revelations of the Israeli army’s massive violations of human rights has set the wheels turning on an international war crime case.

    During the offensive, Israel reportedly shelled three clearly GPS-designated UN schools and opened fire on hospitals, ambulances, medical personnel and civilian homes.

    After categorical denials that it used white phosphorus on the densely-populated Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers finally admitted that they had pounded the Palestinian coast with at least twenty white phosphorus bombs.

    The most shocking revelation, however, came on January 4 when Israeli troops evacuated some 110 Gazans — half of whom were children — into a single-residence house in the Zeitoun neighborhood and warned them to stay indoors.

    Twenty-four hours later, the soldiers shelled the home incessantly, killing more than 30 of the people inside the house.

    A UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, recently declared that most Israeli actions against the shell-shocked population of Gaza “appear to have all the elements of war crimes”.

    Tel Aviv has not ratified the 1998 Rome Statute; therefore, Israeli leaders cannot be brought before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

    Signatories to the Geneva Convention, however, can prosecute those involved in the three-week assault on Gaza as culpable for war crimes.

    Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 11:34 AM

    Palestinian Refugees: Identity Without a Homeland

    Film Showing and Discussion:

    As part of the Syrian Cultural Lecture Series, The Jerusalem Fund Gallery and Dr. Rafif Al-Sayed Moustapha invite you to a lecture and film discussion entitled:

    “Palestinian Refugees: Identity Without a Homeland”


    Director Adam Shapiro and Dr. Laurie King-Irani

    Friday, 20 February 2009
    The Jerusalem Fund

    Dr. Laurie King-Irani and Adam Shapiro will discuss the global Palestinian refugee experience as portrayed in the new 6-part documentary film series Chronicles of a Refugee. Several segments chosen by Adam Shapiro will be screened.

    Filmed in over 15 countries, with more than 250 interviews of Palestinian refugees who have lived in over 25 countries, Chronicles of a Refugee is the first documentary film to look at the global Palestinian refugee experience over the last 60 years. Produced by Perla Issa, Aseel Mansour and Adam Shapiro.

    Adam Shapiro is a human rights activist, dedicated to fostering dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian youth through “Seeds of Peace”. Together with his wife, Shapiro founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization that attempts to bring civilians from around the world into non-violent resistance efforts in Palestine. His previous works include a documentary entitled About Baghdad.

    Laurie King-Irani is an Adjunct Professor at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, and is a founding member of The Electronic Intifada. Currently, she serves as Managing Editor of The Journal for Palestine Studies. She is a frequent commentator on national and international news programs, including MSNBC and CNN, on political, cultural and military developments in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region.

    Posted by Palestine Center at 5:48 PM Links to this post

    Oliphant Israel-Gaza cartoon called ‘hideously anti-Semitic’


    Jeremy Gantz
    Published: Wednesday March 25, 2009

    The latest cartoon by the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world has raised the ire of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.

    The ADL’s director called the syndicated cartoon, published Wednesday and reprinted below, “hideously anti-Semitic.”

    “Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously anti-Semitic,” Abraham Foxman said in a statement released Wednesday. “It employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart.”

    As of late Wednesday, Oliphant had not responded publicly to the ADL’s criticism of the cartoon.

    Israel in late December launched a three-week offensive in Gaza which left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and countless of homes destroyed. The offensive was a retaliation for Palestine rocket attacks on Israeli territory. Rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli military responses have occurred sporadically since the end of the offensive.

    On Monday, a United Nations expert called called for a probe to assess if the Israeli forces could differentiate between civilian and military targets in Gaza. A U.S. State Department spokesman called that official’s views “biased.” The cartoon by the Pulitzer-Prize winning Australian native was published by the Washington Post, Slate, and Yahoo! News, among other publications and websites.

    Oliphant, who has published 20 books collecting his drawings, is no stranger to controversy, having once said that political correctness “drives me crazy.” His cartoons upset the Asian American Journalists Association in 2001 and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2005.

    But while Oliphant’s work has made him enemies, it has also won him accolades: He has won the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award, along with a Pulitzer.

    Oliphant’s cartoon comes barely one month after a New York Post cartoon depicting a dead chimp triggered protests. Protesters believed the chimp represented President Barack Obama and demanded the newspaper be shut down. Post Publisher Rupert Murdoch later apologized for the cartoon.

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