One can only imagine the looks on the faces of Israeli settlers living in Masharef Mountain, near the Hebrew University that overlooks Issawiya, as they watched the celebrations welcoming back Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi.
Issawi returned victorious to his village despite Israel’s desperate attempts to ban celebrations. The occupation forces delayed his release for about 10 hours last Monday, December 23, and erected military checkpoints near the village, but young men and Palestinian mothers insisted on welcoming their hero
Following his nine-month hunger strike amid the “battle of the empty stomachs,” Issawi was released along with 1,026 other Palestinians in an exchange for the return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
تنويه آخر, هو تهجم آخر على التاريخ وعلم لعلك تصل اليه للمرة الأولى ..
هل الساعة الماسونية فوق الكعبة هي الهرم الاكبر؟ هل لاحظتم الى أن اعلاها رمز لقرني الشيطان وليس للقمر بحالة الهلال!لما تم استبدال مسلة الشيطان التي يرجم عندها الشيطان ولما اختار الرسول مسلة في أسوأ بؤرة طاقة سلبية في العالم ولم يضع مثلا مربعا؟لما نلاحظ وجود المسلات في ساحات أماكن صنع القرار العالمي ,مكة,الفاتيكان, البيت الابيض..
لأسباب تعود الى تعقيدات دولية واقليمية أهمها مناعة أسوار الشام كان الوصول الى قاسيون مستحيل ,مستثمرين خليجيين عرضوا استثمار الجبل وتحويله الى …أبراج!
العرض قوبل بالرفض.
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Taking Christ out of Christmas
The fundamental ‘change’, engineered by the capitalist class in pursuit of profits, was to take the ‘Christ Story’ out of Christmas and to convert the weeks before and after into a consumer orgy. Aided and abetted by “secularist allies”, the capitalist class succeeded in eliminating any reference to the Christmas story, including the nativity scene and carols commemorating it, from public spaces. The significant social message, embedded in the Christmas story, is diluted by well-meaning cultural diversity-promoters, who demand ‘equal time for ‘Hanukah’ (a Jewish narrative celebrating war, conquest and the slaughter of ‘apostate-assimilated-Hellenized’ Jews by traditionalists-fundamentalists – an event not even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible) and “Kwanzaa” (a holiday invented in the 1960’s by a cultural black nationalist preaching “self-help”).
In place of the Christmas story, we have been given anachronistic ‘Nordic tales of tree worship’ and ‘gift giving’ by an obese bearded sweat-shop owner employing stunted slave workers *(‘Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go; we work all day, we get no pay! Hi Ho, Hi Ho!’). This has become the dominant mythology driving the consumerist – profiteering of the global commercial – capitalist production chain.
First, there was the language ‘excision’; the prefix was altered. Christ-mas became Xmas.
The X symbol left out what constituted the original narrative and circumstances surrounding the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Once the original class origins of the Christmas story were erased and the conflict between the absolutist state and civil society were abolished, the capitalist class inserted its own ‘props’ into the story: the Xmas tree became the site for consumer ‘gifts’; the Xmas ‘stocking’ had to be filled with consumer goods; the Xmas day image required the “happy family” opening up boxes of consumer goods – bought on credit at 20% interest rates.
‘Xmas’ is a time to celebrate massive profiteering, based on the indebtedness of the ‘masses’. It is a time for downsized workers to buy imported goods on credit from manufacturers who had relocated to low wage regions: Price consciousness replaces class consciousness. Picketing US retailers, who import from Bangladesh sweatshop death traps, where workers ‘earn’ $25 a month, goes against the ‘Xmas spirit’. ‘Buy and feel free’! It’s a time to be jolly!
The entire ‘Xmas’ period highlights the fact that market relations between wage-earning/salaried individuals and commercial/financial elites take precedence over productive (and state) relations between capital and labor. In “the market” the struggle is between consumers over commodities, overseen by commercial capital. In the new Xmas story the consumer is the centerpiece; the market is the mediator of all social relations. The ‘Christ story’ has been relegated to a periphery, if not totally excluded. At most, the story is reduced to a birth scene witnessed by cows, sheep and three ‘Kings’.
The conversion of Christmas into the massive Xmas-market event broadens its consumer appeal, increases sales and profits. Potential consumers from all religions (and the non-religious) can join the consumer orgy. It is not about values, ethics or beliefs – it’s about buying, selling, debt and accumulation. To be a successful commercial event ‘Christians’ must suppress the politics and ethics of the Christ story, which is dramatically opposed to the immersion in the marketplace.
The Politics of the Christmas Story
The protagonists of the Christmas story, Joseph and Mary, are a working class household living at a subsistence level. Joseph, a carpenter, is partially out of work and earns a minimum wage. They live frugally, spend their meager earnings on essentials and travel cheaply on a donkey. To escape a repressive government they migrate in search of security, hoping to find a new home. The pregnant Mary and her unemployed husband Joseph look for sympathy and solidarity among the poor. They knock on doors but the landlords send them away. Only a poor farmer offers them a place – they can share a barn with the sheep and cows.
In the face of an uncertain future and a troubled present, Mary and Joseph receive material support from local residents in Bethlehem . Three wise men (the Magi or mathematicians from Persia ) are internationalists who travel to greet the new family. They show great concern for the new born baby Jesus by perhaps offering hiss family a scholarship so he can study mathematics and science…. The coming together of local neighborhood people and the three educated “outsiders” to celebrate the birth of Christ and offer support to the homeless family, dispossessed migrants, has been an event for wonder and celebration.
Bethlehem billboards and newspaper ad campaign launched by www.IfAmericansKnew.org
The Christmas story, the trials and travails of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus resonate with millions of American workers today: especially those who have lost employment and been dispossessed of their homes. The Christmas story resonates with the tens of millions of immigrants persecuted and jailed by tyrannical states. The Christmas story resonates with the millions of people of color who are “stopped and frisked” by a militarized police.
The Christmas story does not resonate with the owners, investors and publicists of big commercial enterprises who have converted the multitude into worshipers of their little plastic cards. Taking ‘Christ out of Christmas’ and destroying the joy and fellowship and solidarity of shared humanity embodied in the celebration of the birth of Christ is essential in order to continue to accumulate wealth. Putting the ‘Christ story’ back into Christmas is a step toward defeating consumerist consciousness and recreating social solidarity, so necessary for ending injustice.
“It was to highlight the situation, the crimes of the Israelis against fishermen here,” said Amjad al-Shrafi, treasurer of the General Union of Fishermen. “We wanted to send a message about the blockade against the fishermen and how we cannot fish freely.”
The protest, organized under the title Free the Holy Land Sea, ended two days later with the delivery of a letter to the nearby office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, demanding international protection for fishermen.
Over three days, hundreds of well-wishers visited a crowded tent decorated with banners and posters supporting fishermen. The organizations represented on its walls ranged from human rights centers to prisoner support groups.
“One of our main goals was to push governments around the world to force Israel to give fishermen free lives and let us sail without any limits,” al-Shrafi said. “It’s our right to sail freely in our waters.”
“Another was to pressure the Israeli forces to release the boats and fishermen they have captured.”
Palestinian fishermen in coastal waters off the Gaza Strip frequently come under fire by Israeli naval forces, which target their boats on both sides of a boundary imposed by Israel.
Israel deploys its gunships into Palestinian waters using an information technology infrastructure administered by Hewlett-Packard (“Technologies of control: The case of Hewlett-Packard,” Who Profits, December 2011).
Through its subsidiary, HP Israel, the US corporation won a contract to run the Israeli navy’s computer and communications network in August 2006 (“HP Israel wins navy IT outsourcing contract,” Globes, 14 August 2006).
The fishing area permitted by Israel, which doubled in size as part of the ceasefire agreement ending eight days of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and retaliatory fire by Palestinian resistance groups in November 2012, now officially reaches six nautical miles from the shore.
But fishermen say the Israeli navy often shoots at them and sometimes captures them and their boats well within the zone it ostensibly allows them.
Fishermen and supporters hold posters with images of colleagues captured by Israeli forces, in Gaza City on 19 December 2013.
“We were far from the prohibited zone, 500 meters away,” said Saddam Abu Warda, a 23-year-old fisherman whom the Israeli navy captured along with his 18-year-old brother Mahmoud around 9am on 10 November.
“They were shouting, ‘You must get out of here in five minutes.’ We had to cut the net to pull it out of the water. Then they started to fire bullets close to our hasaka [small boat]. As they came close to us, their boat looked like a big building with lights.”
The Abu Wardas’ small boat had no engine. “We tried to escape by paddling quickly,” Saddam Abu Warda said. “They forced us to take off our clothes and raise our hands. They were firing bullets in the air and in front of our hasaka. One soldier was shouting, ‘You have to leave your hasaka and get in the water.’ I was shocked. I couldn’t move. I didn’t know why.”
Finally, gunfire forced the brothers into the cold water. “They didn’t stop firing bullets over our heads,” Abu Warda said. “I was far from my brother. He started shouting, saying, ‘I am injured.’ He wasn’t able to keep swimming. I swam back to my brother to try and save him. His blood was [spilling] in the water. Then two small boats came close to us. They pulled my brother from the water. They didn’t take me.”
When Abu Warda reached the Israeli gunship, he lost consciousness after soldiers bound, hooded and kicked him. He awoke in a detention facility in Ashdod, a port in present-day Israel beside his brother Mahmoud, whose right abdomen was stitched by military physicians. The brothers said that Israeli bullets caused the wound.
During an interrogation after he awoke, an Israeli soldier tried to convince him otherwise. “I told him, ‘Three of your gunboats were around us. They were firing bullets. My brother’s blood was everywhere in the water. He was injured by your soldiers.’”
After a lengthy interrogation that continued both in Ashdod port and after their transfer to a detention center by the Erez crossing between Gaza and present-day Israel, Israeli forces released the Abu Wardas into the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun around 10pm — 13 hours after their capture. Their boat and its equipment remained behind.
“We have three hasakas in the Ashdod port,” Abu Warda said of his family’s prior losses to the Israeli navy.
The Abu Wardas’ experiences echo many more documented in a new report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). The PCHR, which supported the Free the Holy Land Sea campaign, is translating the document — already published in Arabic — into English.
Over four years, from 1 September 2009 through 31 August 2013, the Israeli navy killed two fishermen, wounded 24, and captured 147, according to the report. The navy also seized 45 boats and destroyed or damaged 113 more.
The report also records the losses incurred by about thirty bombings of four fishing ports during Israel’s November 2012 attacks on the Gaza Strip, including damages to an additional 80 boats and destruction of a health clinic and a youth center used by fishermen.
“There was severe damage to different fishing facilities during the military offensive,” said Khalil Shaheen, director of PCHR’s economic and social rights unit.” At the ports in Gaza City, Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah, different facilities were targeted and destroyed.”
“The report also documents the impact of the total damage to fishermen and the fishing sector,” Shaheen added. “One of the main impacts was the loss of 85 percent of income in the fishing sector, as the result of access restrictions and the naval blockade.”
Casualties have continued to mount in the four months since the period covered by the report ended. The PCHR publishes regular reports on human rights abuses in Gaza. These reports indicate that Israel has shot at fishermen at least 37 times since September, as well as seizing six boats.
“I would like to thank all the solidarity campaigns who were involved in this action and show solidarity with Palestinian fishermen,” al-Shrafi said.
“We ask that the international community continue to pressure their governments, to ask for dignity and a free life for us.”
Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He co-edited The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange. He blogs at joecatron.wordpress.com and tweets @jncatron.
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