Shaaban on Land Day: Al-Quds and Golan eyes of Arab Nation

 Mar 30, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that al-Quds and Golan are the eyes of the Arab Nation and it is the duty of all to defend them, adding “clinging to the land and sacrificing for it is the only choice for us.”
Shaaban pointed out Sunday during the inauguration of “From Golan to al-Quds” forum marking 38th anniversary of the Land Day, which was held by Al-Quds International Foundation in Damascus-based al-Sham Hotel with the participation of a number of researchers and thinkers, that those who defend al-Quds and Golan from any Arab country are actually defending themselves, their Arabism, religion and future, considering that “no-one has a favor in that as we are all targeted…and did not we believe in that, they would occupy our lands piece after piece.”
She pointed out that everybody sees how and why Syria is being targeted, “So we move back to the same equation which is clinging to the land, the principle and the value of sacrifice.”
“All those who launch assault on Syria will be repelled…hundreds of invaders had come to this land throughout thousands of years, but they were repelled and we have remained here because we believe in our land,” Shaaban added.
20140330-135021.jpg
Presidential Political and Media Advisor clarified that the war waged on Syria is not of a sectarian nature but rather it is a war launched for controlling our land , pointing out that Israel set schemes for a hundred years in advance, and the sole response to that is represented through adhering to the land, the principles and the value of sacrifice.
“We should comprehend the principle of the land deeply and comprehensively because it is a basic condition for our existence, and if we take a panoramic view of the human history we could see that the entire conflicts revolve on the lands,” she elaborated.
“The Palestinians were not mistaken when they considered that their presence in the land is the only right and genuine existence,” Shaaban said.
She lauded the adherence of the Arabs and Syrians to the occupied Golan, reminding of what the late President Hafez al-Assad said “We will not give up a grain of soil of Golan.”
Shaaban stressed that the Arab-Zionist conflict is the compass of all what is going on in the Arab land, clarifying “We will not master analysis without realizing that the Palestinian issue is the Arabs’ central issue, and targeting the Palestinians is the first step for attacking all the Arabs.”
Assistant Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command Talal Naji said the reason behind the conspiring against the Syrian people is their adherence to the Palestinian Cause and belief in the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The West wants the Arab leaders and countries to be in cahoots with them to liquidate the national rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.
He addressed the Syrian people by saying “We will always be with you until we liberate the occupied territories in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and each and every Arab land.”
“Land Day is the day of belonging to the genuine Arab national identity,” said Director General of al-Quds International Foundation Safir al-Jarad.
He highlighted the significance and symbolism of Golan and Palestine and the unity of their course of struggle in confronting the Israeli ambitions.
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Al-Jazeera Staff Expelled from Palestinian March in Protest of Blood-stained Coverage of Syria File




Out …Out the Syrian Land is Free,”

Mar 31, 2013
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM , (SANA) – Dozens of Palestinians participating in a march marking the occasion of Land Day on Saturday expelled the Qatari al-Jazeera Channel’s staff from Sakhnin City in the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948 in protest of its hostile and provocative follow- up of Syria’s file.
 

The Palestinians expressed rejection of al-Jazeera covering Land Day, annually celebrated by Palestinians to emphasize their full right in the occupied Palestinian territories, objecting to the channel’s lack of integrity and objectivity in its coverage of the Syrian crisis.
Addressing the al-Jazeera staff, they chanted “Out …Out the Syrian Land is Free,” the thing which forced them to leave the march at once.
 
Hoisting the Syrian and Palestinian flags, the participants expressed their full support to Syria, stressing that the Palestinian-Syrian cohesion and rejection of Israeli-international imperialistic conspiracy against Syria should be the title of Land Day.
 
This is not the first time that al-Jazeera staffs have been expelled by angered protestors, as Tunisians repelled al-Jazeera Mubashar (Live) staff two weeks ago during an attempt to cover a protest held on the occasion of marking 40 day after the assassination of the opposition struggler, Shukri Baleid.
 
R. Milhem / H. Said
 

Al Jazeera reporter chased off at Land Day protest

Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
أهالي سخنين في فلسطين المحتلة : جزيرة برا برا.. الأرض السورية حرة

Waking up to Zionist Al-Jazeera propaganda

Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Elias Karam and his crew was chased by a crowd of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Land Day protest in Sakhnin in the Galilee on Saturday. Karam took cover in a local restaurant until he was able to be spirited out shortly after.

Members of the crowd, some of them carrying Syrian flags, accused Al Jazeera of being one-sided, and a “propaganda outlet” that supports the Syrian rebels.

Both while the reporter was inside the restaurant and afterwards, scuffles broke out between pro-regime and anti-Assad groups, with some beating each other with sticks. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and the crowd cleared out. A few people were lightly wounded and treated at the scene.

At no point did police arrive during the fracas, which lasted a little over half an hour.

The fights took place as protesters commemorated Land Day, which marks the 1976 protests against the government’s land appropriations, during which six Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli forces.

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On the Land Day, the 2011 Nakba-Naksa Days and the war on the Armed Resistance

Flashback:
 

 Hassan Hijazi and Izat aziz Muswada and tens of thousands of Palestinians marched to Palestine on  2011 Nakba and Naksa days to confirm that Palestine must be the compass of the Arab Spring.

 

Izat aziz Muswada  joined thousands of others as they marched to the ceasefire line between Syria and occupied Gollan Hieghts, he crossed the mine fields on the cease fire line in Majdal Shams, he and his fellow demonstrators were warmly welcomed, and he quickly began plotting a way to return Jerusalem… the IOF arressted him on Huwara checkpoint near Nablis on his way towards Jerusalem, putting an end of his dream of reaching Jerusalem and praying in Alaqsa.  He was detained his for few days before being expelled back to Syria.

After three weeks, on Naksa day Izat decided to try again. Unfortunately, his dream of returning home ended quickly and violently.

Hassan Hijazi did it, he reached Yafa (Java) .

“I don’t want to go back to Syria,” Hijazi told the Jewish media, I want to stay here in my village, where my father and grandfather were born.”

“Syria is a good country for Palestinians and I don’t know what the Israeli government would do to us. I want to stay here and bring my family here” , he noted.

Hijazi said that despite US and Israeli allegations, the protest at the border was not organized by Syrian President Bashar Assad as an attempt to divert attention from the domestic crackdown against anti-regime protesters. 


When asked what he thought of President Assad, who has ordered a violent crackdown against anti-regime protesters, Hijazi said solemnly, He is a good president.”

On 16/05/2011, after the 2011 Nakba day, Ismail Haneyya, speaking at a ceremony after several Gaza fishermen received new boats, said that Palestinian and Arab blood that was spilt during Nakba marches suggests that Nakba is being marked with a new spirit, and that the Palestinians have begun to ”bury the Nakba” for good.

“Palestine will see a peaceful flood of people that will eliminate [Israel’s] arrogance”  he added
“Gaza has been under siege for the past four years, but on Nakba Day, [Israel] has been besieged from all sides.”

 

One month later the rotten Oslo Palestinian leadership in ramallah, the BDS, NGOs, and the Sectarian leadership in Gaza which was preparing to rent its guns to the so-called Arab Spring changed accused Syria and Iran for trying to turn the escalating internal protests against Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, exploiting the “popular protests” in the Arab world.

Consequently, the relatives of the Naksa day martyres attacked the PFLP-GC headquarters in the camp and burned a number of cars in front of the building, a clinic and a kindergarten.  They also attacked a senior PFLP-Habash operative named Maher al-Taher, blaiming PFLP-Habash for inciting the young men to go to the Golan Heights “to serve the political interests of others.

In shorts the above event paved the way for the ongoing Yarmouk Nakba, and cofirmed that the conspiracy Syria is nothing more than a conspiracy against the Palestinian people and their right of return on one hand, and the other hand, isolate Syria from the Palestinian cause on , by pulling the right of return card and the Syrian veto on any Arab conspiracy against Palestine.

Around two years ago,  Ismail Haneyya, claimed “On Nakba Day, [Israel] has been besieged from all sides.”

On this anniversary of Earth Day, Gaza is still under Siege, mainly, by the Iblis Botherhood ruling Cairo, Yarmouk camp is occupied, by the friends of Hamas,

and Syria continues to resist and defend Palestine and true Islam resistor, against Wahhabism /Brotherhood gangs, and their masters in the NL Aviv and Washington.



Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
Land Day: Arab48 raising Syrian Flag in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013
أهالي سخنين في فلسطين المحتلة : جزيرة برا برا.. الأرض السورية حرة
.

Syria will be the victorious and Palestine will never die

————–

Palestinians Revive Land Day, Assert Adherence to Resistance

Local Editor
The Palestinian people are reviving on Saturday the 37th anniversary of the Land Day in and outside Palestine in massive rallies.

37 years have passed on the “Land Day” which Palestinians commemorate annually to reassure their ownership of Palestine. This day was founded in 1976, when the Israeli occupation decided to expropriate thousands of Palestinian lands, specifically in Galilee.

Palestinian demonstratorDespite the peacefulness of the demonstrations, the Israeli military’s response was violent and led to several deaths and injuries.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement issued a statement, published by Paltoday, in which it stressed the importance of adhering to the land and sanctities, assuring that “defending them is a sacred duty which we derive from Islam.”
The Islamic Jihad added that “the choice of resistance and challenge is the only path for getting back our seized right.”

For its part, Hamas Movement stated that “the Palestinian people have the right to stay in their land and to get back all the lands occupied since 1948,” indicating that “occupation does not justify Zionist attempts to seize those lands, build settlements, and displace natives.”

Hamas added in a statement issued Saturday that “the public uprising of our people … on the 30th of March, 1976, assured their ultimate rejection to the Zionist plans to rob their lands and try to judaize them.”

“This occasion has formed a new stage in the confrontation of the Zionist enemy, which is public uprisings. From here, we stress the importance of armed resistance at this current phase, as well as the change of the balance of power in the conflict against the Zionist enemy,” the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement added.

In parallel, Fatah Movement considered “this occasion is considered to all the Palestinians, in Palestine and place of exile, a clash of cultural conflict, a conflict between the owners and defenders of the land… and the culture of extermination, expansion, and renouncement of other peoples’ rights, which the Zionist occupation symbolizes…”

Fatah added in a statement that “Land day is like an alarm to Israel’s policies which target land and people in order to achieve the settlement dream and the establishment of a Jewish state.”
“For us, this day will always symbolize the culture of steadfastness and victory,” it added.

Source: Agencies
30-03-2013 – 13:52 Last updated 30-03-2013 – 15:18


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Israeli forces attack annual "Land Day" protests

Palestinians take part in a rally marking Land Day in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on 30 March 2013. (Photo: AFP – Mahmud Hams)
Published Saturday, March 30, 2013
 
Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber coated bullets at Palestinians marking the annual Land Day in towns across the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, local media reported.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an News Agency that hundreds of Palestinians gathered in agricultural lands near the West Bank village of Jayyus to plant trees in commemoration of Land Day before Israeli troops stormed the area.

The soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the Palestinians, injuring dozens who inhaled the thick fumes.
In Ramallah in the central West Bank, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets near the Qalandiya checkpoint which separates Ramallah and Jerusalem, a Ma’an reporter said.

In southern Gaza, east of Rafah, Israeli troops fired tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators, injuring several of them.

Palestinians also marked Land Day near Erez crossing and in the town of Beit Hanoun, both in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces had deployed heavily across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and on the northern border with Lebanon, since Friday in preparation for the yearly demonstrations.
Palestinians worldwide have marked every March 30 Land Day since Israeli police killed six Palestinians from inside the Green Line in 1976 who were protesting the theft of thousands of dunums of Arab land.

In Bethlehem, activists marked Land Day near Rachel’s Tomb where they raised Palestinian flags. Lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, joined the commemoration.

“Each day for our people is a land day during our battle with the occupation who steals our land and our future,” Barghouti said. “The only way to respond to the plots against our land is by escalating popular resistance across homeland.”
(Ma’an, WAFA)

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Land Day: Why It Matters

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoIn 1948, Israel stole 78% of Palestine. In 1967, they took the rest. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains the longest unresolved one of our time.

Long denied justice awaits. Western complicity with Israel prevents Palestinians from living free. So did Arafat’s Oslo surrender. Abbas and PA cronies continue working against their own people for whatever benefits they derive.

On Land Day, Listen to the Land
Palestine’s an isolated prison. State terror is official Israeli policy. So is attacking nonviolent Palestinian protesters. Edward Said once said, “Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst be living at this hour.”

He’d blanche at how bad things are now. We all should and do something about it. Change depends on it.

Occupied Palestine is the region’s epicenter. Israeli police state terror suffocates Palestinians for not being Jews. An inexorable quest for dominance and corrupted self-interest deny justice.

Nonetheless, Palestinians persist. Living free on their own land drives them. Every March 30 they commemorate what’s important to remember every day.

Since 1976, Palestinians worldwide observe Land Day and why it matters. Nationwide protests and general strike action erupted. At issue was Israel’s land confiscation policy and brutal occupation harshness.

Celebrating The Land; Celebrating Palestine
Israel declared demonstrations illegal. Palestinians ignored the threat and rallied. Thousands of Israeli security forces confronted them violently. Six Palestinians died. Dozens more were injured. Hundreds were arrested.

That’s how police states operate. Nothing changed to this day. Professors Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal said Land Day 1976 was special. Palestinians showed “daring confidence and political awareness” lacking earlier.

This time they weren’t “passive or submissive.” They “initiated and coordinated” nationwide political activity. Security force violence confronted them. Nonetheless, Palestinians showed they’d no longer be ignored.

Thirty-six years ago, Israel announced a plan to confiscate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes.” Palestinians had enough and resisted. They vowed to defend their land and rights.

They’re important. So are Arab identity and heritage. Occupied Palestinians and Israeli ones united. They protested against Israel’s plan to replace them with Jews.

In early 1975, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced a project to Judaize the Galilee. “Developing the Galilee,” he called it. The idea was to transform it into a majority Jewish region, construct eight industrial estates, and develop its economy overall.

On March 1, 1976, General Yisrael Koenig, in charge of Israel’s northern region, prepared a secret report. It planned removing Arabs from the area, confiscating their land, and Judaizing it.

It warned about Arabs becoming the majority population. He called it a serious threat to Israel’s character. Israelis today warn of a “demographic bomb.” It’s when Palestinians will outnumber Jews. Longstanding Israeli policy aims to prevent it. “De-Arabization,” it’s called.

Key is displacing Palestinians from their land, stealing all valued parts, expelling as many non-Jews as possible, consigning those remaining to worthless, isolated bantustans, and erasing an Arab heritage.

In 1976, Koening recommended encouraging Jewish immigrants to populate the Galilee and Negev regions. At the same time, he wanted Arabs removed to accommodate them.

Rabin issued an order to confiscate about 21,000 dunams in Deir Hanna, Sakhnin and Arabeh. Land Day protests resulted. It was a milestone, a turning point in Israeli/Palestinian relations. For the first time, masses across Palestine and Israel challenged what no one should tolerate.

 It was also a catalyzing event. It united them to resist occupation and repression. The price of freedom involves resistance. One day alone isn’t enough, but Land Day is important.

Untill our Liberation and Return
Dozens of cities worldwide commemorate it. Diaspora Palestinians participate. So do supporters. On Land Day 2012, Haaretz said clashes erupted in Jerusalem, at checkpoints, and at the border crossing near Rachel’s Tomb.

Other rallies occurred across the West Bank and Gaza. Thousands rallied in Deir Hanna. Defense Minister Ehud Barak deployed security forces to confront them. Border crossings were closed. Palestinians and supporters participated in a “Global March to Jerusalem.”

Clashes erupted. Dozens of Palestinians were injured. At least one death occurred. Maan News reported on how the day unfolded. Thousands participated but less than expected.

Nonetheless, unity won the day. “Not just in the occupied territory but in Arab states and elsewhere, all for this goal.” Activist Abir Kopty said “(u)nity is so important for us, for Palestinians.”

Commenting on how PA security forces worked jointly with Israeli ones, she added: “It’s a shame. What else can I say? Just a shame.”

According to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, 34 protesters were arrested. Amnesty International‘s Ann Harrison said:

“News that Israeli forces are firing live ammunition on Land Day demonstrators near the Erez Crossing in Gaza, and that scores have been injured in protests in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem is extremely worrying, particularly in the light of frequent and persistent use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters.”

“We are also concerned at reports that Palestinian Authority security forces have tried to prevent protests in areas under their control, while Hamas security forces have beaten protesters in Gaza. All those involved in policing demonstrations should respect freedom of assembly and must adhere to international policing standards.”


Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nabil Kauk said:

“The nation’s right to the whole of Palestine is not dead. Palestine is not waiting for the Arab summit or international decisions. The Palestinian nation relies on the guns of fighters in Gaza, in Ramallah and in Bint Jbeil.”

Gaza protests continued all day. Israel border guards confronted them with live fire. Over two dozen were wounded, several seriously. Israel claimed warning shots only were fired.

Witnessing clashes firsthand, Ebaa Rezeq said Israeli forces opened fire after protesters managed to remove part of a border area metal fence. “People are falling here like flies,” he said. “Blood everywhere.”

Leehee Rothschild said ambulance sirens “combine(d) with the screams to create a horrible cacophony.”

“Once again, I’m struggling to find the words to describe eyes which are blinded by clouds of tear-gas, and the foul smell of the skunk water that creeps through the nose. All senses are consumed, and the rubber coated bullets are buzzing around, they’re shooting them from canons now, ten at once.”

Bloody Friday won’t easily be forgotten. Nor will other days marked by Israeli state terror. Hardly any pass without it. Why else do Palestinians resist to be free?

One day they will be because courage that resolute pays off. Remembering the six Land Day victims provides inspiration. A Sakhnin cemetery monument bears their names and inscription saying:

“They sacrificed themselves for us to live.” Two sculptors created the monument, one Jewish, the other Arab. Perhaps it’s a good omen.

A Final Comment

Israeli border police use pepper spray as they detain an injured Palestinian
protester during clashes on Land Day after Friday prayers outside Damascus
Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City March 30, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
On April 25, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined, “Occupied Lives: Marking Land Day, marking lives,” saying:

Peaceful Palestinian demonstrations faced Israeli violence. One death was reported. Dozens more were injured, including 18 children. Commenting on the day, Mahmoud Khaled Mahmoud Abed Nabi said:

He “was shot in the chest. The bullet entered on the left of my chest and exited from my right side. It was fired from a watchtower in the fence.”

The incident occurred at Beit Hanoun checkpoint near Israel’s border with Gaza.

“I had been to demonstrations before, marking different events,” said Mahmoud. “Land Day is a very important day because we have to defend our lands, which continue to be occupied by Israel. We have to sacrifice to protect them.”

“All the young people were going to the area to protest, because it is such a well-known day, even internationally. I marched with others and went beyond where the Gazan authorities were stopping people, and we headed towards the border.”

Mahmoud said soldiers shot tear gas, shouted threats through loudspeakers, and “started firing bullets directly at us. There were no warning shots.” They shot a few at a time. Those injured were taken out by motorbike.

He said his wounds were serious. He’s in pain and not improving. The bullet passed near his heart. He explained his family can’t afford costly antibiotics he needs to take. Infections are developing. He has difficulties breathing and sometimes throws up blood.

He was severely wounded earlier when Israeli soldiers shot him and a friend gathering wood during Cast Lead. Neither one fully recovered. Now this. If he survives, he worries about his future. “I cannot work in this condition,” he said. The pain’s too much to bear.

Israeli violence destroys many lives. Many survivors aren’t the same. International law mandated right to life didn’t help them.
 
State terror is official Israeli policy. Palestinian resistance won’t quit until it ends. One day it will. Bet on it.

Palestine…. A Moment of Reflection

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:25 AM

Global March to Jerusalem In Lebanon

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The Khiam prison is now open

*the thick fog in rural southern Lebanon hills was an ally to Lebanese resistance against the Zionist occupation soldiers in their hilltop military bases.
I go south to stay with M and his family, and over the next week see a number of Lebanon’s significant sites of resistance and victory over the Zionist occupation of southern Lebanon, including a former prison known for its torturing of prisoners, and various villages where Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance party, waged a resistance that eventually, in May 2000, drove the Zionists out of Lebanon. The sites and scars of the 34 day 2006 Israeli bombardment of Lebanon are remembered throughout the south and much of Lebanon. But unlike Gaza—where the over 4000 completely destroyed homes have still not been rebuilt thanks to a strangling siege which bans construction materials (among a great many other things)—Hezbollah was able to largely re-build the 15000 homes, 94 roads and over 70 bridges destroyed by IOF bombings [also destroyed: electrical power plants, 20 gas and fuel stations, 350 schools, food factories, dams, churches, mosques, hospitals, ambulances…] As we traverse the many villages and hamlets of the south, M notes person after person martyred by IOF bombings or during resistance, and points out villages where re-built homes disguise the IOF bombings six years ago.
Aside from the major southern city of Saida,and the smaller An Nabatiya further south, the area is largely rural, with overlapping hills and winding roads curling through valleys, Christian and Shia’a Muslim villages interspersed seamlessly. Olive, fruit and nut trees abound — as they formerly did in occupied Palestine before being bulldozer, stolen, burned and bombed by the Zionists — and roosters crow throughout the early morning. In the village, everyone are family or friends and families are tight. Every evening, relatives and friends drop in to visit M, talking and teasing for hours over tea, coffee and shared dinners.
The mountain backdrop provides both stunning scenery and history: many of the hilltops were occupied by IOF bases, optimal points from which to survey, shoot, and enforce the IOF occupation. M points out hilltop after hilltop where sometimes the remains of IOF bases can still be seen, and which—even without the visible reminder—locals have engraved in their memories. “During the daylight and tense periods, you couldn’t move along the roads and paths because the IOF would target you,” M says.
Many days the fog lies thickly over all but the base of the hill-mountains, some days so thick you can’t see beyond 10 meters. It was the resistance’s ally: “They’d move up the mountain in stages, using the fog as cover,” he says, explaining how resistance would take days under the cover of fog to climb up the hillside towards IOF military occupation bases, carrying everything they needed on their backs.
Until I go to Mleeta (site of Hezbollah resistance to the Israeli occupation, now a museum), I don’t grasp the significance of this: everything, from basic provisions to resistance weapons to desktop computers and infirmary equipment, was carried on their back; they endured harsh conditions and lived in simplicity for years in order to liberate Lebanon of the Israeli occupation, which they successfully did, driving the Zionists out in May 2000.
And yet, as we sip coffee on the balcony or walk through the hills, the sporadic roar of IOF fighter planes startles me: I’m well-accustomed to this violation of airspace and life from the fly-overs in Gaza, often accompanied by terrorizing sonic boom blasts…but this is Lebanon, the occupation is over. What are these planes doing still flying in Lebanese territory? “It’s psychological warfare,” M answers. Cease-fire in place since the end of the Israeli bombing in 2006, IOF warplanes and UAVs still taunt Lebanon.
Khiam, the torture prison:

We head further south, descending cool hills into the comparative heat, passing rolling fields of flowers, grazing sheep, olive trees. Serene and pastoral, it is the same terrain as Palestine, minus the Zionist presence. Here, when not being bombed by the IOF, life and the land can flourish as it is not allowed in occupied Palestine.
 
Beaufort Castle)—site of the Global March to Jerusalem and Palestinian Land Day celebrations in Lebanon on March 30—towers with a view and position to repel invaders from all directions. Used as an IOF base during the Zionist occupation of southern Lebanon, the castle—towering hundreds of metres above the Litani river—was ultimately a site to which Hezbollah resistance climbed up and waged attacks against the IOF occupiers.
To our west, perched mountain-ridge, Qalaat el-Chaqif (the
They went up there. Imagine.
Look at all that rock,” M muses.
Continuing south, we pass the Litani river and on to Khiam, a mixed Shia’a Muslim and Christian village. A roadside sign points out El Madrasa Issa Ibn Mariam (School of Jesus, son of Mary). “You see, in the heart of a Shia’a village there are Christians living uninterrupted,” M tells us. He’s already pointed out the scattered Christian villages around his area and the mutual Christian and Shia’a support for Hezbollah for their resistance to and victory over the occupying Israeli army.
Our car twists up the road through the village, the snow-topped Jebal el Sheik (Mount Hermon) emerging and dominating the eastern landscape, and arrives at the former Khiam prison. A chipped, hand-written sign announces:“the prison is open.”

The prison, M says, was built by the French in ’33, originally a military post, but from 1984 to 2000 was used by the occupying Israeli army as a prison for both women and men. His brother, imprisoned there in ’84-’85, motions to the small cement building at the entrance to the prison on which a sign reads: “A room for meetings every three months after the entrance of the Red Cross.” No, he says, when I ask if he was ever visited by the Red Cross. As we enter the former prison, he begins pointing out familiar rooms, like the torture chambers and the cells. We pass a large sign, the faces and names of 10 martyrs of the prison, killed through torture, he says. Among the ten is a man in his fifties, head covered in traditional white scarf and face like that of a farmer.



*torture victims and rooms in Khiam prison

A former prisoner, now a guide for the open prison, tells us that another 6 prisoners died as a result of their illnesses which their keepers would not allowed to be treated.

I was a prisoner here for 4 years,”he says. “I was released on ‘Liberation Day’.” On 25 May, 2000, with the expulsion of occupying Israeli forces, prisoners were set free. “In 2006, the Israelis bombed Khiam heavily, for revenge, to destroy this symbol and real history of the power of the resistance.” They were, he explains, pissed off at their 2000 expulsion. The bombing destroyed many of the complex’s buildings and killed 4 UNIFIL posted at Khiam who right up until their deaths had been pleading for the IOF to stop bombing.

The Guardian reported:
Israel suffers some of its most severe criticism from the west after an air strike kills four UN observers at Khiyam in southern Lebanon, despite 10 warnings from UN officials that they were in the building. UN secretary general Kofi Annan calls the strike “apparently deliberate” and asks Israel to investigate the attack.

Behind the prison, with a view overlooking occupied Palestine kilometres away,a monument to the martyred UNIFIL soldiers reads “in the service of peace”. A swath of trees grows near the actual site of the bombing, “but the resistance didn’t want to take land belonging to civilians, so they built the moment over here,” roughly 20 metres away.

The ruins of the prison, and other ruins I see throughout the day, are like those of Gaza: melted roofs on piles of rubble, metal support beams jutting out at painful angles. Beyond the ruined and partially standing prison buildings, a 10x10m crater from the one ton and other gargantuan bombs the IOF dropped, the same craters I saw in Gaza. In Gaza, some of the craters were twice as large, but I’m told that the case is likewise in Lebanon, with the added insult of the millions of cluster bombs the IOF dropped in the final three days of its 34 day 2006 assault on Lebanon. [Human Rights Watch reports: “The UN Mine Action Coordination Centre South Lebanon (MACC SL) has estimated that Israel fired cluster munitions containing as many as 4 million submunitions,” citing “as many as one million hazardous unexploded submunitions that (litter) fields and orchards and dozens of towns and villages in south Lebanon, threatening the returning civilian population.”]
Later, driving along the road from Khiam, we pass a sign for the de-mining of these deadly, illegal cluster bombs.
Our former prisoner/guide gives us the tour: over the years, the prison held 5000, including 500 women, in 4 small cell blocks and numerous torture rooms of varying sizes.
We pass the shell of a 1 ton bomb, mounted on a stand, a reminder of the 2006 Israeli assault. Between an array of Israeli tanks and numerous missiles and rocket launchers, 2 examples of the resistance’s missiles stand amidst the prison rubble and IOF weaponry graveyard, a Hezbollah flag fluttering above them, the missiles and the flag reminders of their victory.
Despite the gross imbalance of power (Israeli high-tech military tanks, jeeps, warplanes and US-made bombs), during Israel’s occupation of much of Lebanon and during the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, the Hezbollah resistance—lacking such military might—were able to face and drive out the IOF. Flanking the path to the cells, rows of poster-sized photos depict ‘Liberation Day’, when prisoners were released and families united: wives hug husbands and sons kneel at their mothers’ feet (likewise for the female prisoners held at Khiam).

The guide walks up to a metal, ladder-like pole—behind which a tangle of razor wire marks the prison walls—and re-enacts the exhausted sag of a prisoner strapped naked by one arm to the pole for hours, too tired to stand, unable to sit, and tortured all the while.
Prisoners were also hung upside-down, completely naked, from the metal pole, says the guide. “They put a tight cover over our heads. Soldiers would pass by and hit us, kick us in the head. In winter — it’s very cold here,it snows — the prison guards would douse us with hot water and cold water while whipping and beating us…hot, cold, hot, cold… and when the prisoner was completely soaked the guards would bring an electrical charge and electrocute us.”

A, one of M’s brothers, endured the various means of torture. Good-natured and humourous, he isn’t ashamed to display his scars: as I film him re-living his imprisonment and torture, he smiles humbly and shoves his stubby, melted fingertips forward for me to see, results of repeated electrocution.
At the same metal pole, A demonstrates another torture position, standing with both arms strapped up high.
They strapped me to this pole from 8pm to 2 am every night for 8 months. While I was locked to this pole, they beat me with a whip and batons all over…on my back, my shoulders, my legs…After that, from 2 am they’d take me to another room, where another 6 prisoners were and start shocking us. I was tortured by my own pain and that of my cellmates (hearing the screaming of other inmates is yet another form of psychological terror).”
At the same time, families of the imprisoned suffered as they knew of the torture going on — word traveled from those released or of those who died of torture.
Collaborators would come by the house, offering to get a prisoner released if paid for it,” M tells me. Another type of psychological torture…giving false hope when release was impossible.
The “visits,” when family members would stand outside the Khiam prison to view their loved ones who were rooftop-only, occurred thanks to bribes to prison guards.
Our guide, while explaining the prison life, speaks with the familiarity of one who has given this speech before, and one who has endured untold cruelty at the hands of his captors. Nonetheless, he doesn’t describe in detail what his the prison guards did to his wife, saying only, detachedly: “They used to bring our wives and sisters and torment us by being vulgar to them, threatening them…When I hadn’t given in after 5 months of detention and torture, they brought my wife, took off her headscarf, and stripped her naked…I can’t talk about the rest.”

The guide and A take us to a telephone booth-sized cement isolation cell, oven-like during summer months, freezing during the winter.
“I was held in this room, a 1m x 1m cement block, for 2 months. They’d put a bag over my head and leave me in this concrete cell day and night, with a bucket for a toilet,” says A.

The soldiers would bang the metal door with metal rods ever so often,” he says, the guide demonstrating with a rock. Even from outside the cell the clanging is painful; inside, every ten or fifteen minutes it would have been excruciating. “I wasn’t allowed out of this cell for 2 months; no exercise, no fresh air.”
He points upward to a small hole in the ceiling, his only source of light and air, and a conduit for rain to flood into his cell.
But there was worse.

The guide leads us to another room, where a file cabinet sized metal box sits. He opens the box door and mimes being cuffed behind the back. “This was called the ‘chicken house’. They’d put a bag over my head and kick and kick me until they could shove me inside.” He slams the metal door shut, picks up a rock and bashes the top of the box repeatedly.” They’d do this for about 2 or 3 hours, only they used a metal rod not a rock, much louder.”

Bending over, he draws a line with his hand, cutting the box halfway to that of a container just above knee height. “There was another box made of cement. They called it the ‘sardine’ box,” he says, clapping his hands together as though crushing something, effectively how one would feel stuffed inside the ‘sardine’.

Back near the prison complex entrance, we enter a display room where a miniature model depicts the prison (before the IOF bombed it). A display case houses various instruments used to torture prisoners, including one similar to a car battery, used to electrocute prisoners.

They put a wire around a finger of each hand, around the waist, and on the head,” A demonstrates with his mutilated fingertips. Also on display, a panel of hand-made stitching and prayer beads. The guide pulls out a denim backpack with zippers. “I was arrested in these pants. Later, I made them into a backpack to carry my things in.” He points out flowery wall-hanging of coloured beads. “I worked the names of my wife and children into it,” he says. [I am reminded of Palestinian prisoners I’ve met in occupied Palestine who crafted similar things, using olive pits to make prayer beads…or incredible projects like Anwar (a medic in Rafah, Gaza Strip) who crafted an ornate sailboat and the Dome of the Rock, using pieces of wood, beads and the ample time of being imprisoned by the occupation.]


Another display holds remnants of IOF bombs used on the prison, including an American-made “smart bomb” M notes. The walls are adorned with various photos of former prisoners, resistance martyrs, and one, the guide laughs as he points it out, of IOF soldiers sinking into Lebanese mud.

He shows us IOF uniforms left behind, and pulls out a IOF jacket, pointing to the Hebrew letters for “IDF” then pointing to a photo in which Hezbollah resistance spelled “IDF” in Hebrew using IOF boots. As he reaches the glass-encased model of the prison, he takes the IOF jacket and begins shining the glass. “We use this for cleaning,” he laughs, “but it doesn’t clean anything.”

Later, back at M’s with various siblings and relatives sitting around talking, the Khiam visit comes up and they start talking of the imprisonment of their loved ones. M’s mother—a feisty and very kind woman—suffered not only the imprisonment and torture of M’s brother A but of her husband and various relatives. Recalling those years, they argue over dates of loved ones’ imprisonment, one man using his own period of imprisonment as a reference to figure out the date of his cousin’s.

A relative tells me of his imprisonment in Palestine and in a different prison complex called Ansar, closer to Nabatiya:
On June 6, 1982, the Israelis invaded Lebanon again. On July 7, the Israeli army took me from my house when I was sleeping. I wasn’t a member of the resistance, but I was vocal about supporting Palestinians. They took 30 other the same night, taking us to a prison in (occupied) Palestine, as the Khiam prison wasn’t in use yet.

After 1 month, we were transferred to Ansar prison, which consisted of 31 prison camps, 500 prisoners per camp. It wasn’t just Lebanese and Palestinians, there were Syrians, Bangladeshis,…many foreigners in Lebanon at that time were rounded up and treated like the Israelis treat Palestinians. After 6 months, they separated the foreigners and sent them back to their countries, leaving just Lebanese and Palestinians in the prison.

They tortured us during the initial stage of our imprisonment. They’d beat us with sticks and shock us with electricity… to try to make us confess something.

Our food was sparse. We got half an egg per person or half a piece cheese and 1 piece toast per meal. When we were allowed to bathe, we had to use cold water year round. And we had to go to bathroom in front of everyone, in buckets.

After a long time, they realized they had nothing on us and didn’t want to care for us, so they began releasing us as it cost them money to imprison us.

I was 20 years old.


more:
There are approximately 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails. Palestinians, living under occupation and oppression for nearly 64 years, have been targeted for mass imprisonment and detention by the Israeli occupation. Nearly every Palestinian family has been touched by political imprisonment – a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, cousin, uncle, aunt. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians from those areas have been held as political prisoners – one out of every four Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. Forty percent of Palestinian men in the West Bank and Gaza have spent some time in occupation jails.
NO CHARGE? NO TRIAL? NO JUSTICE!
320 Palestinians are currently held under administrative detention, including 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. It is renewable indefinitely for repeated periods of up to six months. Palestinians held under administrative detention are not charged with any crime, nor are they brought to trial even before the Israeli occupation’s rigged military courts.

Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli occupation and before that time, under the British Mandate. The Palestinian hunger strikers whose cases have attracted much recent attention, Khader Adnan and Hana’ Shalabi, were both held under administrative detention.

The Canadian government is complicit in Israel’s ongoing use of mass imprisonment against the Palestinian people when it vocally supports Israeli aggression in the UN and around the world.
Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment, the frequent use of isolation, ransacking of cells, confiscation of media, and denial of access to education among Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is central to the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation. Palestinian prisoners are not only victims of an unjust and oppressive legal/military structure – they are part of an entire people seeking their freedom and liberation, including the end of occupation, the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and full rights for all Palestinians.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

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