Robert Inlakesh: How Israel’s 1967 war paved the way for the turmoil in today’s Middle East

On the anniversary of the Six-Day War, RT looks at how the conflict shaped the region

5 Jun, 2022

Robert Inlakesh: How Israel’s 1967 war paved the way for the turmoil in today's Middle East
FILE PHOTO. Israeli Centurion tank corps prepare for battle during the Six-Day War. © Getty Images / Three Lions
Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’. 

On the 5th of June, 1967, a conflict which lasted only six days would go on to re-shape the entire Middle East, overthrow secular Arab Nationalism and unite Tel Aviv with Washington. All of which would pave the way for Israel to be handed carte blanche by the world’s most powerful country and prompt a US policy that would go on to tear the entire region to pieces.

The Six-Day War of 1967 is often misconstrued in popular Western discourse as having represented a victory for liberal democracy.

Often presented as a battle between good and evil, the Jewish David and Arab Goliath, the real story of the third Arab-Israeli war was one of a shrewd, but brutal, political power play on the part of Israel.

One that for better, or for worse, caused a re-structuring of Middle Eastern resistance to the West, as well as of the US-led bloc’s policy in the region. 

Israel based its argument for what it deemed a necessary and “pre-emptive war” on Cairo’s decision to amass its military forces in the Sinai Peninsula, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul-Nasser’s announcement that he would close the Gulf of Aqaba. These events were enough to convince many that Tel Aviv genuinely feared a military offensive coordinated by President Nasser, with the participation of Syria. Damascus had also re-enforced its military presence near the border, with Soviet backing.

The reality was, however, that Egypt was engaged in a grueling war in Yemen, deploying three quarters of its military into the country and had lost nearly 10,000 men in the process. It was so catastrophic for Nasser that the intervention there was later referred to by historians as “Egypt’s Vietnam.” The Egyptian president clearly wasn’t ready to confront Israel and had amassed his troops in the Sinai as a show of force, in order to save face at a time when he faced pushback over the other conflict. 

As for the closure of the Gulf of Aqaba, Nasser never properly followed through on blocking the Straits of Tiran and despite the rhetoric, they were never closed for much more than a day.

Come June 5, 1967, Israel launched ‘Operation Focus’, an aerial attack which wiped out the near entirety of Egypt’s air force in a matter of minutes, ensuring what would become an overwhelming victory for the Israelis. Prior to the war, the assessment previously offered to Israel, by US President Lyndon Johnson, was that US intelligence believed that the United Arab Republic (Egypt) would not attack, and that if it did, Israel would “whip the hell out of them.”

Leonid Brezhnev, then leader of the Soviet Union, had stated in a brief, prior to the Six-Day War of 1967, that Israel had received huge amounts of armaments from the West. Brezhnev went on to express his government’s fear that the weakening of Arab nations could lead to the collapse of the anti-Colonialist movement in the Middle East. Following the war, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Palestine had been decisively defeated. However, it didn’t stop the anti-Colonialist movement in the Middle East, but instead paved the way for its reformation.

The US was thrilled with Israel’s defeat of its Arab neighbors and considered the war to have served its own interests in putting Nasser in his place and weakening Soviet allies. Washington now valued Israel as an essential part of its Cold War strategy against the USSR. What ensued was the inevitable tightening of the Israel-US relationship, which paved the way for the alliance we see today. Israel had earned its place amongst Western Nations and would go on to aid in implementing the subsequent “Kissinger Doctrine” that the US would employ in the Middle East. 

The 1967 victory was a stunning one for Israel, cementing its place in the region, but it also represented a catastrophe for the Arabs, known as the “Naksa” (Setback). Over 300,000 Palestinians had been forced from their homeland, as Israel occupied the entirety of historic Palestine, in addition to the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. Furthermore, the war had largely defeated secular Arab Nationalism and represented a death blow to the Egyptian President’s brand of it, known as Nasserism. 

Up until that point, the most popular political ideologies in the Middle East had been Arab Nationalism, Socialist Pan-Arabism and Communism. The Egyptian President, who would die of a heart attack a few years later in 1970, was the primary influencer of Arab revolutionaries that existed in the region. With the perceived failure of Arab Nationalism, there would then emerge a number of competitor ideologies with which Arab movements and leaders would choose to fight their enemies. The most prominent of which would later become revolutionary Islamism, something that Nasser had actually helped to suppress, as it manifested itself in the form of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. 

As for Palestine, the future negotiations for Palestinian statehood would go on to be based upon reclaiming the 22 percent of the country – the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip – that Israel occupied during the 1967 war. Israel would emerge as major power that would primarily serve a US agenda in the region and could act at that point, seemingly, with impunity against its enemies. 

Today, over 1,000 Palestinians are being forced out of their homes, as Israeli forces bulldoze a collection of West Bank villages known as Masafer Yatta. This is the single largest act of ethnic cleansing, ordered by Tel Aviv against Palestinians, since the 1967 war. The position that the US began to take in 1967, unconditional support for Israel, hasn’t changed and the country’s utility for Washington’s agenda in the region, and its powerful lobby in America, means its human rights violations are ignored. 

Therefore, 55 years after the Six-Day War, there is no barrier to Tel Aviv’s behaviour, and it seems to have a free pass to deal with its enemies in whatever manner it chooses, even if that ends up contradicting US policy.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Related

TO TIMES OF ISRAEL WRITER, APARTHEID IS OK, SYMPATHY FOR PALESTINIANS “LOATHSOME”

MAY 26TH, 2022

Source

By Miko Peled

JERUSALEM – Zionists like to admonish Palestinians by saying that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. But, according to Zionist talking points, Palestinians missed several opportunities when Israel was willing to graciously “give” them pieces of their own land. Moreover, it is alleged that Palestinians have missed so many of these great opportunities that they have no one to blame but themselves for their misfortunes.

BLAMING THE VICTIMS

piece by Richard Cravatts published in the Times of Israel, and later republished in other publications, is a particularly asinine example of this admonition. In his piece, “An Open Letter to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Your Fellow Travelers,” Cravatts writes: “Millions of Palestinian refugees [have been] created by your people’s repeated rejection of offers of statehood – in 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000, and other occasions….”

Blaming the Palestinians for the ongoing tragedy of the refugees is not only callous but as outrageous as blaming the victims of the Holocaust for the horrors of the Nazis. I can testify that I have heard more than one Zionist claim that the Jews whom the Nazis killed had it coming because they did not heed the call of the Zionists. Had the Jews of Europe come to Palestine to steal and live on other people’s land, the Nazis would have spared them, a theme found throughout Yoav Shamir’s 2009 documentary, “Defamation.”

The claim that Palestinians are prone to missing opportunities is one of the most common Zionist lines, and they still use it because it works – because unfortunately there exists such a lack of knowledge regarding the history of Palestine that Zionists can loudly proclaim that “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!” and go unchallenged. Another iteration of this claim is, “If only the Palestinians had the foresight to accept Zionist offers, or at least offers that the Zionists were agreeable to, things would have been so much better for them.” “Them” being the Palestinians.

Anyone familiar with the Zionist talking points has heard the claim that the Palestinians “missed opportunities” so they have no one to blame for their lot but themselves. In a recent lecture I gave in southern California, a Palestinian student asked me how to reply to this argument. His question was specifically about the Zionist accusation that Palestinians rejected the Two-State Solution.

AN OUTRIGHT LIE

We will set aside the fact that this is an outright lie for a moment. We will not get into this issue in-depth, only to say that in fact, since the 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO) has been the only party striving to achieve a Two-State Solution and that their willingness to make this enormous sacrifice cost them a great deal and made things worse for Palestinians the world over.

This argument typically comes from Zionists who live in the United States or the U.K. and who think it is OK that Israel has taken all of Palestine. They never admonish Israel for annexing the Syrian Golan Heights or East Jerusalem. They have no issue with Israel’s building entire cities on Palestinian land. This accusation comes from Zionists who believe Israel has a right to colonize all of historic Palestine.

Israel has a right to do this because, so they tell us, Jewish people around the world may (or may not) be related to a tribe that resided in Palestine some two or three thousand years ago. They tell us that this tribe, called the Hebrews, which may or may not have any historical connection to modern-day Israel and the Jewish people, is the reason it is OK for the modern State of Israel to commit unspeakable crimes against an entire nation.

LEGITIMIZING THE OPPRESSOR

What is implied in the admonitions by Zionists is that Zionism and the colonization of Palestine by Zionist Jews are legitimate and that the Palestinians refuse to accept this legitimacy. However, these admonitions present us with opportunities to raise a larger question. The question that ought to be asked is: Why in the world would Palestinians accept any offer by their colonizers? Why would any colonized nation accept anything but the total defeat of their colonizers and oppressors, especially considering that these “offers” fail to include the liberation of all of historic Palestine?

The answer is that there is no reason. The attempts at partitioning and slicing Palestine have all been part of a strategy meant to legitimize the violent Zionist takeover of Palestine and delegitimize the Palestinian rejection of it.

The aforementioned senseless, mindless Zionist propaganda piece starts by addressing Rep. Tlaib as follows:

On May 16th, you and some other members of The Squad, including Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, McCollum, and others, introduced a loathsome resolution, H. RES. 1123, which had as its purpose “Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ rights” and to “commemorate the Nakba,” the catastrophe you assign to Israel’s creation, “through official recognition and remembrance.” According to your baleful resolution, the Nakba not only took place at Israel’s founding “but [refers] to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day.”

In this typical Zionist propaganda piece, Cravatts calls the proposed legislation to recognize the Nakba “loathsome.” Amnesty International recently published a report accusing Israel of committing the crime of apartheid — a crime so heinous it is designated as a “crime against humanity.” Interestingly, the writer does not find those who commit the crime of apartheid loathsome, only the legislation recognizing the victims of the crime.

What is loathsome, however, is that the United States is complicit in the crimes against the Palestinians. It is loathsome to live in the United States and to justify, explain and provide cover – thin as it may be – for the brutal regime that has been tearing Palestine apart for over seven decades. And it is loathsome to stand by and applaud as the state of Israel continues to brutalize an entire nation while the world, and Israeli society, look the other away.

Sayyed Nasrallah Reiterates Call on Lebanese Authorities to Exploit Maritime Gas Resources to Face Economic Crisis

 May 20, 2022

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah addressed on Friday the Party’s ceremony held to mark the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Resistance military commander, Sayyed Mustafa Badreddine, indicating that the martyr was one of the symbols of the resistance generation which rebelled against the official regime in Lebanon and the region.

Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that martyr Badreddine was brave, determined, smart, innovative, and eloquent, adding that he gained all the medals of honor as a martyr, injured, fighter, leader and prisoner.

Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted a number of political and military occasions which occurred in May.

Palestine’s Catastrophe (Al-Nakba: May 15, 1948)

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the Palestinian Catastrophe is still affecting the Palestinians and all the Arabs, citing the ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

His eminence added that, in light of Al-Naksa which stormed the Palestinians, Egyptians, Syrians and Lebanese in 1967, the Palestinian people decided to resort to the resistance choice, adding that the Palestinian Resistance is now stronger than ever.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah pointed out that the Israeli enemy wanted to repeat the Nakba in Lebanon in 1982, adding that the Israeli invasion reached the second Arab capital, Beirut, after Al-Quds.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the Lebanese people were divided in 1982 into three categories: those who helped the invaders, the neutral, and the resistance groups.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the Lebanese resistance did not resort to the Arab official support as most of the regional regime had surrendered and normalized ties with ‘Israel’ publicly or secretly.

Sayyed Nasrallah maintained that martyr Badreddine was one of the resistance members that started immediately after the invasion fighting the Zionist enemy, adding that martyr Badreddine was injured in Khaldeh battle against the Israeli enemy.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the cooperation with the Arab countries may help Lebanon economically, not militarily, adding that the Arabs can never enable Lebanon to face the Israeli enemy.

May 17 Pact

Hezbollah Secretary General said that, after the Israeli invasion in 1982, the Lebanese state engaged in a humiliating negotiation with the enemy and concluded a surrender agreement with it on May 17, 1983.

Ironically, those who approved May 17 Pact are now chanting slogans of sovereignty and establishment of ties with Arab states, Sayyed NAsrallah said.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that various Lebanese parties opposed the pact and rebelled against it, including Amal Movement, adding that clerics, including Sayyed Mohammad Hssein Fadlollah, rejected the agreement.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that the resistance overthrew May 17 pact, questioning the state’s ability, willingness, and bravery to face the Israeli enemy, the US administration and all the enemies.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored the role of martyr Badreddine and his companions in liberating Lebanon from the Israeli occupation in 2000 after a large number of military operations, including Ansariyeh, which is still influencing the Zionist collective conscience.

Sayyed nAsrallah also spot light on the role of martyr Badreddine in dismantling the gangs collaborating with the Zionist enemy in cooperation with the security service, hailing the performance of the public institutions in this field and calling on the military judiciary  to issue firm sentences against the collaborators.

Qusseir Battle

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that martyr Badreddine’s last stage was in Syria battle where the plot aimed at striking the resistance axis in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, adding that the martyr attended the field in person.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that, in 2013, Hezbollah surprised all the enemies by interfering militarily in Syria, adding that liberating Al-Qusseir changed the course of the battle.

Sayyed Nasrallah addd that Al-Qusseir liberation enhanced the resistance operation to liberate all the border areas, winch protect all the Lebanese areas from the car bombs booby-trapped in Qalamoun, noting that martyr Badreddine was the commander of those battles.

Moreover, Sayyed NAsrallah recalled that some Lebanese political parties supported the terrorist gangs secretly, adding that they could not announce that publicly.

Hezbollah

Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah has been sacrificing for the sake of the nation for 40 years, adding that it is the most party committed to protecting Lebanon and preserving its identity.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that Hezbollah members do not have more than one ID or visa and do not have any choice but to live and dies in Lebanon.

Local Issues

Hezbollah Secretary General called on all the parties to cooperate in order to cope with the socioeconomic crisis, underlining the prices hike and scarcity of commodities locally and internationally due to the Ukrainian war.

Sayyed Nasrallah cited David Schenker, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who described the pro_US groups and figures in Lebanon as egoistic and narcissistic.

Sayyed Nasrallah also quoted economic experts as saying that 64 countries in the world will collapse in 2022, adding some of those countries are Arab and have normalized ties with ‘Israel’.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Lebanon is on the collapse list, urging the various parliamentary blocs to prioritize coping with the socioeconomic crisis, away from any other issues, including the resistance weaponry.

Hezbollah leader also called for rebridging ties with Syria, away from any narcissistic attitude, adding that Lebanon needs this step more than Syria.

This paves way to address a basic crisis in Lebanon represented by hosting more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, according to Sayyed Nasrallah.

Sayyed Nasrallah further urged the Lebanese authorities to start extracting the maritime gas resources, adding that the only hope to overcome the economic crisis is selling the Lebanese gas amid the prices hike.

Finally, Sayyed Nasrallah called on all the Lebanese parties to assume their responsibilities to face the exceptional conditions dominating Lebanon and the world.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The Nakba Is Ongoing, It Didn’t End In 1948

19 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Robert Inlakesh 

For us to simply classify the Nakba as a single historical event, would be an incorrect framing, as the collection of atrocities visited on the Palestinian people by the Zionist regime represents an ongoing attempt to solidify the dominance of “Israel’s” settler-colonial project.

If “Israel” had already completed its project, it would have declared its borders, it has never done this and is still in the process of carving itself a State out of the Levant

By now most people familiar with the Palestinian cause know well of the horrific ethnic cleansing campaign that took place between 1947-9, during the creation of the regime that calls itself “Israel”. Little however, know much about the ethnic cleansing ongoing today, or perhaps their knowledge is limited to isolated cases.

The Nakba, or ethnic cleansing of Palestine, is often defined as a historical event in which over half of Palestine’s villages, towns, and cities were destroyed, and 450 towns and villages depopulated of their Palestinian inhabitants, amounting to the forced ethnic displacement of around 800,000 people. The word Nakba means “catastrophe”, which is what is used to refer to that time, but when we speak of al-Nakba in English, what we are doing is using a term with which we refer to a historical event often meaning the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 

Recently, Palestinian-American congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, introduced a House Resolution which would see the United States government recognise the Palestinian Nakba. “This Sunday [Nakba Day] was a day of solemn remembrance of all the lives lost, families displaced, and neighborhoods destroyed during the violence and horror of the Nakba. The scars bourn by the close to 800,000 Palestinians who were forced from their family homes and their communities, and those killed are burned into the souls of the people who lived through the Nakba,” said Tlaib. Although this would certainly be a major achievement to gain such recognition of Palestinian suffering, in essence meaning that the US government would be admitting the historic crime that the Zionist terrorist forces committed prior to declaring themselves a State, it is important that we not disconnect the past from the present.

The goal of today’s Israeli regime is very much the same as it was back in 1947, to occupy as much land as possible, with as few Palestinians on it as possible. In order to achieve such a goal, the settler-colonial project has taken different forms and used various tactics over the past 74 years, yet that same goal remains intact. 

The 1950’s saw large-scale incursions into the Gaza Strip and the further displacement of more refugees during this process, whilst those Palestinians who remained inside what would become “Israel”, were kept under military rule. Often known as the 1948 Palestinians, who today have Israeli citizenships, this portion of the Palestinian population consists of many who were considered to be “present absentees” by the Israeli regime, which translates to; the people who fled their villages and remained in what became “Israel” but were refused their right to return to their original villages. Israel quickly made use of laws implemented by the British occupation regime in Palestine, like ‘Article 125 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations’, which Israel used as a legal basis for making Palestinian villages “closed military zones”, hence preventing the displaced natives from returning to their houses. Israel also implemented the 1950 Absentee Property Law, which is broad in its definitive language and would be used to declare displaced Palestinians as “absentees” in order to steal their homes. Between 1948 and 1950, it is also believed that Israel ethnically cleansed a further 40,000 Bedouin Palestinians, whilst also destroying more Palestinian villages along the Lebanese border and expelling thousands more Palestinians until 1956.

In 1967, during what was called the ‘Naksa’ (setback), again the tactics slightly changed, Israel had decided to illegally occupy all of historic Palestine and even beyond, expelling 300,000 Palestinians from their homes in the process. In 1969, roughly 100,000 more were forced to flee villages around the Jordan Valley area after successive Israeli air raids and military assaults against both Palestinian and Jordanian villages. 

Without summing up all of the cases of ethnic cleansing throughout the 74 years of the Zionist regimes settler colonialist expansion, it suffices to say this, the very same tactics and laws are being used by “Israel” today to do the exact same thing they did in the past. 

In the Naqab, where the majority of Palestinian Bedouins live today, Israel is attempting to ghettoize the people there. This means forcing them into a small number of so-called “recognised villages” and ethnically cleansing some 40 unrecognized villages, this is a throwback to the suffering of the people of the Naqab during and after 1948, when Zionist forces rounded up the remaining 11,000 Bedouin’s – of a community that were 100,000 prior to 1948 – and forced them to live in an area called al-Siyaj, where they were under strict martial law rule until 1965. Israel is today using the Jewish National Fund to work on “agricultural projects”, similar to what occurred in 1948, in order to usurp the lands of Bedouins. 

In the West Bank, the largest portion of “Area C”, is considered to be where “closed military zones” are, meaning that Palestinians are forbidden from entering these areas. In Area C (60% of the West Bank) it is also near impossible for Palestinians to get a building permit to construct a new home. The plan to ethnically cleanse the 1,000 Palestinian residents of the village of Masafer Yatta is just the latest in a long line of plans to expel Palestinians from their villages in the West Bank. Nevertheless, Israeli illegal settlers are granted a near carte blanche to establish outposts and settlements wherever they please, despite the fact that even by Israeli law many of these outposts are illegal. Israel is also using the “Absentees Property Law” to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homes in East al-Quds today, as we see in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, in addition to areas in Haifa and Jaffa. 

I had the pleasure of working on producing a short documentary with Redfish, called ‘The Palestinian Nakba: In Memory and the Present’, in which we interviewed survivors of the 1948 Nakba, as well as Palestinians from the younger generations who are surviving it today. Unfortunately, this short documentary report has been censored in all corners of the internet. Due to Redfish – like many other platforms that report information from an alternative and critical perspective – having been booted off of Youtube and other social media platforms, the voices and stories of Palestinians are by proxy being silenced. It is this sort of content that attempts to portray the true story of the Nakba from a Palestinian perspective, yet the public are being robbed off this knowledge.

For us to simply classify the Nakba as a single historical event, would be an incorrect framing, as the collection of atrocities visited on the Palestinian people by the Zionist regime represents an ongoing attempt to solidify the dominance of “Israel’s” settler-colonial project. To say that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was simply taking place around the time of 1948 would be, in a way, bowing to the Zionist concept that their “State” model won and that the Palestinians have already been defeated. The Palestinian resistance is most certainly not defeated, this is an ongoing struggle and an ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign, which fits into “Israel’s” settler-colonial ambitions. Naming one single event as The Nakba is correct, but when isolating the concept of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to atrocities visited on Palestinians singularly during 1948, we begin to paint a different picture of what the true picture is.

Many of the same legal concepts, language, arguments, and tactics that were used to ethnically cleanse Palestine in 1947 are today being used to do the same thing and the examples of this are clear for all to see. This is an ongoing battle, one of a people – the Palestinians – who are fighting to expel an invading and occupying usurper entity – the Zionist regime. If “Israel” had already completed its project, it would have declared its borders, it has never done this and is still in the process of carving itself a State out of the Levant, therefore everything “Israel” is doing today is part of its expansionist mission and for it to stand as a ethno-supremacist “State” it must cement itself on all the land it illegally occupies. Israel has not achieved its goals and the Palestinians are not defeated, therefore the ethnic cleansing of Palestine only ends when one side wins.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

18 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Hussam AbdelKareem 

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917.

74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

“Al-Nakba” is the Arabic term used to commemorate the creation of the “State of Israel” on May 15, 1948. “Al Nakba” literally means “catastrophe”, which best describes how Arab peoples feel about the creation of the Hebrew “state” in Palestine at the expense of its legitimate owners; the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1948, the principles of right and justice were, literally, butchered at the hands of the Zionist gangs and militias known as Haganah, which later turned into the “Israeli Army”. The Jewish Zionists in Palestine, who emigrated mainly from Eastern Europe, were preparing for this day for decades. The Zionists knew very well that they were not welcomed in Palestine and will never be accepted by Arab nations, so conquering the land by force was their sole path to achieving their goals in Palestine. War with the Arabs, in the Zionists’ eyes, was inevitable. Extensive military planning and preparations were undertaken by the Zionists in Palestine since their early arrivals at the beginning of the 20th century and particularly after Great Britain took over Palestine at the end of World War I.

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, confirming Great Britain’s commitment to establishing a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine. The Zionists were receiving full support from the colonial power, which was true to its pledge. Waves of Jewish immigrants arrived from Europe to strengthen the Zionist project in Palestine, and by 1947, when the Palestine partition plan was passed at the UN, the Zionists had a 75,000 semi-army force, which was further aided by another 20,000 Jewish militants in the following year when they waged their war on the Arabs in Palestine in 1948. When the British withdrew their forces from Palestine in 1948, they handed their military installations, camps, and equipment to the Haganah, thus leaving behind them a fully armed and well-trained Jewish army ready to fight the Arabs in Palestine who were practically deprived of weapons and even the slightest means of defense.

The Zionists, who were owning a mere 6% of the land in Palestine in 1948, launched their “war of independence” against the Arabs, which ended in declaring their Jewish “state of Israel” after conquering about 80% of historical Palestine by force and bloodshed. The war was brutal, and the Zionists exhibited utmost forms of savagery and cruelty. Many massacres against civilian Arabs were committed in several cities and villages in Palestine. In one of the most horrible massacres, 254 civilian villagers, including women and children, were killed in cold blood at the hands of Zionist terrorists in the town of Der Yassin, near Jerusalem. Other brutal crimes were also committed in Haifa, Tantura, and Lydd, and the Zionist terror campaign resulted in about 800,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing their homes and lands and becoming refugees in neighboring Arab countries, namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Total destruction was inflicted by the Haganah on 531 Arab villages all over Palestine. About 85% of the Arabs who lived within the borders of the to-be “State of Israel” were forcefully expelled. It was ethnic cleansing in its ugliest forms.  

The world was watching while these Zionist crimes were happening in Palestine and did practically nothing except some relief efforts and humanitarian aid. Even when “Israel” officially decided to confiscate the Palestinian refugees’ homes, lands, and properties in 1949, the UN did not bother to intervene. Actually, it was no surprise, as the UN was under the domination of the Great Powers of the post-World War II era, particularly the UK and USA, both supporting the new Jewish “state” which was planted in the heart of the Arab world.

After the 1948 war ended, “Israel’ firmly refused to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their country and demanded they be settled permanently in the other Arab countries. Furthermore, “Israel” refused to admit to the crimes committed by its troops and even declined to acknowledge its responsibility for uprooting the Palestinian Arabs and turning most of them into stateless refugees in miserable camps. The Israeli narrative about the Palestinian refugee problem is that they “voluntarily” left their homes and lands! And “Israel” refused to pay any financial compensation to the refugees whose properties were illegally confiscated and taken over by Jewish settlers. In 1967, another wave of displaced Palestinian refugees was added to the 1948 one to make the problem even worse. Again, the world did nothing apart from some expressions of sorrow for the humanitarian suffering of the refugees. With the help of its patron, the US, “Israel” escaped any accountability for its crimes and actions.

Seven decades have passed, with successive generations, and the status of the Palestinian refugees is still the same; not allowed to return to their historical homeland, not compensated, and not recognized as victims of historical injustice!

“Al-Nakba” will remain the term to be used to describe what happened on May 15, 1948, as long as the Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation continues. It’s a shame that the world allows such a tragedy to go on this long. It’s a shame that “Israel” is left without accountability.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

It’s Palestinian, not Israeli Flag, that Should Be Raised at Toronto’s City Hall

May 10, 2022

Toronto Mayor John Tory raises the Israeli flag on Israel’s ‘Independence Day’. (Photo: via Tory Twitter page)

By Paul Salvatori

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, is disingenuous. Honoring Israel’s ‘Independence Day’ at City Hall this week, he emphasized:

“There have been days, far too many of them where Jewish Torontonians felt insecure just walking down the street on the way to school. And that is not right. It should never be the case in this city or anywhere that people on their way to worship or just going about their lives should feel insecure or unsafe because of the faith that they have or because of their background in any way, shape or form.”

Is that what we really should be thinking about when we talk about Israel? Given all we know—confirmed by numerous and recent findings by United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other credible organizations—that Israel actually is: a criminal state, unrelenting in its violent oppression and colonization of the Palestinian people? What does that, at all, have to do with antisemitism? Why is Toronto still celebrating Israel?

What makes Tory’s statement all the worse is that a few days prior to it he singled out, on Twitter, the Al-Quds (pro-Palestinian) demonstration, suggesting its potential for violence:

This plays directly into the Zionist narrative that Palestinians are always suspect, a ‘terrorist’ risk that must be controlled, surveillanced, managed. If Tory were the “progressive” mayor he pretends to be, he would have expressed solidarity with the demonstrators, calling for an end to the current Israeli regime (never to be conflated with the Jewish people as the Israeli lobby does). That’s what someone who genuinely cares about human rights does. They support anyone, anywhere, being oppressed for who they are—in this case Palestinians for being Palestinian.

A Palestinian friend of mine in Toronto told me privately that whenever they see the Israeli flag they feel afraid, anxious, and automatically recall horrid stories told to them by their parents such as when the Israeli state illegally destroyed their mother’s home. As much as this saddens me it is not surprising.

Israel has traumatized the Palestinian people. Mayor Tory, as well as any principled public official, must reckon with and not turn away from this reality. They do so however every time they participate within the imaginary world of Zionists where Israel is an “exemplary” democracy, the perpetual victim of Palestinian attacks and have never been responsible for the slaughter and massacre of Palestinians. This is an outright lie that must be denounced, even if our so-called “leaders” won’t, be that out of fear of what Israeli supporters will do or contempt for the Palestinian people themselves.

Tory’s statement is also upsetting not because it is untrue. Antisemitism exists in Toronto and there’s absolutely no place for it. Rather, in foregrounding antisemitism (and saying nothing about Palestine) when talking about Israel, he misuses his power. Specifically, he impresses onto the public the message that when you think of Israel do not think of it as a colonial force or system of apartheid that disadvantages Palestinians. No. Think victims. A true friend of Israel would never frame it as the oppressor.

Where this kind of thinking gains currency it naturally creates an uninviting or even hostile situation for Palestinians, as well as their allies. Where they rightfully protest Israel’s criminality they’ll be slammed for it, silenced and called names like “antisemitic.” Writing this I’m reminded of a story by a friend and fellow Palestinian ally, Ted Schmidt. For wearing a Palestinian button someone on a Toronto elevator told him, “You should be killed.” Where is Tory, other Toronto politicians, speaking against such hostile anti-Palestinianism, all too common in the city? Why should Toronto be a safe place for only my Israeli brothers and sisters but not those of mine who are Palestinian? How can we, in good conscience, ever accept that?

If Tory is serious about honoring all Torontonians he will not shy away from, in addition to the Israeli flag this past Independence Day, raising the Palestinian one on May 15: Nakba Day. This will signal to Palestinians in Toronto and elsewhere that Toronto is serious about their receiving justice, remembering the Nakba catastrophe itself that—at the hands of violent Zionist forces—displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. This was to make way for the establishment of Israel itself in 1948 while preventing Palestinians from ever being able to return to their homes again.

It is also a test of sincerity. Tory and the City of Toronto more generally are expressly committed to truth and reconciliation efforts with Canadian Indigenous peoples. This, on the surface, means they are aware of the atrocities inflicted by colonization and want to rectify that, best as possible. If they are sincere about this they will show the same regard to Toronto Palestinians, who either experienced the Nakba firsthand or are descendants of those who have. The anti-colonial spirit is not selective. It does not oppose colonization in certain circumstances but not in others. It is neither bound to geography, Canadian or otherwise.

I stand with you Mayor Tory in combatting antisemitism. Will you stand with myself and many other fellow Torontonians, to combat the ongoing colonization of Palestine?

If so, raise the Palestinian flag at City Hall too.

– Paul Salvatori is a Toronto-based journalist, community worker and artist. Much of his work on Palestine involves public education, such as through his recently created interview series, “Palestine in Perspective” (The Dark Room Podcast), where he speaks with writers, scholars and activists. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

XXI Century: The Abolition of Israeli Expansionist Colonial Anachronism

13 Nov 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Susana Khalil

There will be no free and peaceful Arab-Persian world as long as the Israeli colonial Euro-Zionist regime exists.

I. By way of dialogue

1907      

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, British colonialism prepared a scientific report (Bannerman), in order to prolong itself as an empire. The report says that the Arab world is an obstacle to the European colonial order, and for this, it is necessary to articulate our disintegration, division, and separation. Imposing politicians to serve imperial interests. To combat any movement of unity, whether intellectual, cultural, ethnic, historical, political, religious, economic, scientific, military, etc. And to achieve this it must be through the establishment of an “agent state”, with a foreign population affectionate to Europe and its interests.

MUSTAPHA: That is absurd, it is impossible to achieve that, and even less so within the Arab idiosyncrasy. It’s ridiculous, it’s nonsense.

1915

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, the French and British colonialists are making a secret agreement called Sykes Pico. Creating borders to divide our Arab lands between them.

MUSTAFA: Let’s abolish any colonizing savage.

1917

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, you remember when in 1907 I told you about the Bannerman Report. British colonialism has just passed The Balfour Declaration. It is for the establishment of a Jewish “Home” here, in our Palestine.

MUSTAFA: Home? It’s a trap and they will never, never achieve it. The Arab spirit will never allow these Europeans to impose colonialism under the mantle of the Jewish religion in our Palestine. Today we must free ourselves from this British colonial yoke and our Palestine will be free.

1947

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, do you remember when in 1917 I told you about the Balfour Declaration? A newly created international organization, I think it’s called the UN, the United Nations. It has voted a resolution for the creation of the “State of Israel” in our Palestine. They gave it 64% of our homeland.

MUSTAFA: I don’t believe that a newly created international organization has that power. It is absurd and impossible.

May 14, 1948

ABDALLAH: Mustafa my love, I knew your sister was beheaded. The European Zionist movement has proclaimed, The Declaration of the Creation of the “State of Israel”. Terror, panic, macabre killings, this is genocide, Al-Nakba. The British handed over our Palestine to the Jewish Europeans.

MUSTAFA: We will go to war, we will liberate our Palestine. The Arab world will rise up. Long live Arab love.

1967

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, Israeli colonialism in 1948 took away part of our Palestine, and today, they have colonized all of our historic Palestine. And they have also taken territories from Egypt and Syria.

MUSTAFA: We must continue to fight my beloved Abdallah.

1978

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, the dictator of Egypt, Anwar El Sadat, has recognized the colonial regime of “Israel” in exchange for the return of the Egyptian territories in the Sinai that were taken by colonization in 1967.

MUSTAFA: Abdallah, Anwar El Sadat is a traitor and all these Arab dictators are traitors, that’s why they are in power. We must fight and we will win.

1987

ABDALLAH: Mustafa my love…The Intifada…how beautiful and divine is this popular uprising against colonialism. It’s a popular uprising, it has no leaders, it comes from the entrails of the people. It is magical, it is wonderful, it is loving… Mustafa my love. It must not stop, it must go on until victory until the liberation of our Palestine.

MUSTAFA: Yes, the Intifada must not stop. How divine is the Revolution, how sweet is this love, Palestine, Palestine, Palestine! My two great-grandchildren are imprisoned and they destroyed my brother’s house. The world is watching our pain. When Israeli colonialism falls, all the Arab dictatorships will fall, and above all the bloody Gulf dictatorships.

1993

ABDALLAH: Mustafa they have stopped the Intifada. The PLO in Oslo recognizes the colonial regime of “Israel”. They talk about two states. They do not talk about the right of return of Palestinian refugees. They only give us 22% of our homeland. It is a hoax, it is a trap.

2000

MUSTAFA: Abdallah, Israeli expansionist colonization has been defeated in Lebanon, it has had to withdraw from Lebanon. This is a victory for our Lebanese people. They withdrew without imposing any conditions. Long live Hezbollah and long live the armed resistance! This is the greatest victory we have achieved.

ABDALLAH: Yes Mustafa, it is a victory, it is the unquenchable faith and determination in the struggle. And thanks to the union, the union between Hezbollah and Iran, we Palestinians, in Oslo, accepted humiliating conditions. Colonialism was supposed to give us 22% of the territory and far from withdrawing, they have taken more of our homeland.

2003      

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, the Zionist lobby is asking the United States to invade Iraq, they created the attacks of September 11 to justify this cruel invasion, slandering that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction.

MUSTAFA: It is about dismembering the Arab world bit by bit.

2010

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, there is a popular revolt in Tunisia against the tyrant Ben Ali, that puppet of France. This is going to have a domino effect in the Arab world. Oh, I have fear and hope.

MUSTAFA: Abdallah, remember that the Intifada was popular and then it was hijacked and now we are worse with this Palestinian Authority which is a collaborator of colonialism. We have to be very careful, we cannot be naïve.

2020

ABDALLAH: Mustafa, the Gulf monarchies already shamelessly recognize the colonial “state of Israel”, they do it to perpetuate themselves in power, they are making astronomical economic investments. The shedding of our Palestinian blood is the throne of these macabre Arab traitors. They are falsifying Islam and making it look like the enemy is Iran. These traitors do not see that by defending Palestine they are protecting their own nation, as colonialism will come after for them, they are putting the sovereignty of the Arab peoples at risk. I thought these traitors were smarter.  

MUSTAFA: Yes, I also thought these miserable traitors were smarter.

2062

MUSTAFA: Abdallah, our noble cause of Palestinian liberation is no longer in the conscience of the international community, as it once was. Today we are a tourist attraction of the Israeli colonial regime. In Jerusalem we sell Tatriz (embroidery), we dance Dabke, we sell our typical culinary dishes, as typical of the colonial regime of “Israel”. Arabs come from the Gulf and say they are happy to be in “Israel”, in the land of their “cousins”.  

2073

MUSTAPHA: Abdallah, “Israel’s” expansionist colonialism has occupied part of Jordan…

II. The Mutilated Arab-Persian History

Walking through the streets of Damascus, Syria.

– Uncle, uncle, Habibi, good morning, where is the train station? I have to go to Jerusalem for a few days. Then I have to go to Baghdad and Iran. By train, it is cheaper and I will be able to see all those landscapes and villages…

III. Zionism, radiography of the end of the Arab-Persian world. This is impossible, absurd, nonsensical, and ridiculous.

“When the truth is too weak to defend itself, it will have to go on the attack.”

 

– Bertolt Brecht 

At this stage of the Zionist colonial process, in its advance to put an end to the original Palestinian people, there are two aspects that I want to point out in this article: the return to armed struggle as an alternative for national liberation and the end of “Israel’s” colonial regime.  

After the imposition of “Israel’s” colonial regime in Palestine from Europe, which was seen and felt like an impossible, absurd, nonsensical, and ridiculous project from the point of view of logic; today, from logic, the same will be said when it is considered that the Arab-Persian and Kurdish world and culture can be plundered, falsified… modalities of dispossession for its disappearance.

It could be said that there will be no free and peaceful Arab-Persian world as long as the Israeli colonial Euro-Zionist regime exists. But that is not the point, the point is that the Arab-Persian world is threatened to disappear.

Since the Oslo accords, fewer Palestinians are talking about the liberation of Palestine, about the independence of historic Palestine. Fewer Palestinians are expressing their struggle against the colonial yoke and anachronism of “Israel”. And especially the Palestinians in the Diaspora, because Western repression is so strong. The Palestinians have submitted and are dragging themselves to the Western Euro-Zionist agenda by only debating on one or two states. While colonialism has it clear and is moving to put an end to the original Palestinian people.

There are honest Western souls devoted to solidarity with the Palestinian people, sincere beings, but I am opposed to them, I’m opposed to the ones who demand the right for “Israel” to exist in our historical Palestine. The concept of peace does not come from the comfort, fear, functionalism, immediacy, and naivety of a trade unionist, feminist, academic, intellectual, politician, student, artist, activist. There is implicit colonialism there, even if they act in good faith.  

Every native people has the dignified right to abolish their respective colonizer and that is always a contribution to humanity.

This would be an artificial and dead struggle, if it is not fought from the raison d’être of the Palestinian cause, from the essence and root of the Palestinian cause, that is, the struggle of a native people against a colonial yoke, today, in the 21st century.

As anti-Zionists, we must be a philosophical and moral challenge to the obscurantism of the academic-intellectual priesthood.  

I find it degrading, contrary to the spirit of the human thinking verb, to exclude, ban, censor, repress, and silence from the world of debate the end of “Israel’s” colonial regime in Palestine, on the pretext that we must think about peace. One has to be realistic, especially because of the fear of not being accused of anti-Semitism. Everyone has the right to express his or her belief that this colonial regime should exist in Palestine. What should not be accepted is that this point should be banned from the universe of debate. 

In the liberation of the Palestinian people against the colonial yoke and anachronism of “Israel”, it is intrinsic to never, ever expel the so-called Israeli, otherwise, it would be a philosophical and moral betrayal. The figure known as an Israeli would become a Palestinian citizen. That is what the statutes of the extinct League of Nations demanded, where thousands of thousands of Jews applied.

If you tell me that this is impossible and that I must be realistic, I say: don’t be creative people with complex and articulate cowards. Let us be able to position justice, to transcend intellectuality.  And as Ernesto Guevara said: Let’s be realistic, let’s do the impossible.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The Flight from Kabul and the Legacy of General Soleimani

Visual search query image

18 Aug 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohammad Marandi

Iran has strong reason to believe that the sudden withdrawal of western forces was designed to create instability and chaos in Afghanistan.

Roughly 20 years ago, after the Taliban’s crushing defeat in Afghanistan and the complete withdrawal of support from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia under US pressure, the Quds Force began a dialogue with this seemingly diminished organization. At that time, many thought this to be a meaningless endeavor as the political landscape across the region was changing dramatically. The fact that the Taliban murdered 11 Iranian diplomats and a journalist inside the Iranian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, would have made this new direction seem grossly inappropriate in the eyes of many in Tehran, if publicized.

The US invasion of Afghanistan, and subsequently Iraq, forced the Americans to stomach the presence and role of powerful Iranian allies in both countries. The US-led occupation forces lacked a coherent long-term strategy as well as allies, while important opposition leaders and military and political organizations were based in Tehran. In Afghanistan, the US had to turn to a coalition of political parties or the so-called Northern Alliance, which was struggling under tremendous pressure in their resistance against a foreign-backed brutal and ruthless Taliban.

Therefore, when the Taliban was defeated and remnant forces fled the country, Iranian allies took key positions in the Afghanistan government. There seemed to be no need or justification for dialogue with this seemingly spent force. However, General Qasem Soleimani believed that the Taliban continued to have popular support among a significant segment of the Pashtun tribes and populations in southern Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, and he felt that the only path to long-term regional stability was for all the parties to engage in dialogue.

General Soleimani also believed that under such circumstances, the only force that was prepared to significantly drive up the cost of the US-led occupation, a key strategic Iranian objective, was the Taliban. He knew that under such circumstances the occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan would gradually become extremely problematic and unpopular in western countries and that ultimately, such a huge burden would hit western economies hard and force them to withdraw their forces from both countries.

The objective of the Quds Force was to create mutual understanding and to encourage the more moderate factions within the fragmented Taliban to gain the upper hand. General Soleimani believed it was inevitable that foreign forces would at some point be forced to leave the country, and that following the country’s liberation, it was essential that Afghanistan isn’t pushed by the withdrawing occupation forces into another devastating civil war.

2011 was a significant turning point in the relationship, and high-ranking delegations began visiting Tehran. As time went by, the relationships became warmer and even personal, so much so that when General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and their companions were murdered at Baghdad International Airport by the Trump regime, a high ranking Taliban delegation traveled to Tehran and visited his house to pay condolences to his family.

While accusations of Iranian military support for the Taliban against Afghan government forces are completely baseless, there was one significant and revealing instance where the Taliban asked for Iranian assistance. Both Iranian intelligence and the Taliban knew that US-linked factions within the rapidly collapsing ISIS were extracted from Syria and inserted into Afghanistan. The Taliban asked the Quds Force to help it defeat what it saw to be an existential threat. Iran informed the Afghan government, which wasn’t particularly happy with such cooperation, but they didn’t object.

Ultimately, the Taliban made 4 commitments to the Quds Force. It would maintain stability on the border with Iran, it would not compromise on its opposition to the presence of any foreign forces, it would not target other ethnic groups or sects, and that “brothers wouldn’t kill brothers.” While there are differing factions with very different views within the Taliban, the Iranian have assessed that during these years the current Taliban leadership has been committed to its promises.

This relationship has helped the Islamic Republic of Iran become an effective mediator in recent weeks and months, to ensure that the withdrawal of occupation forces doesn’t lead to civil war, and to prod the new government to be inclusive of all Afghans. Iran has strong reason to believe that the sudden withdrawal of western forces was designed to create instability and chaos in Afghanistan. The US believes that if it can’t have Afghanistan, then the country should become a source of persistent trouble for Iran, China, Russia and even India. Meanwhile, significant sums of money are currently being sent by Saudi Arabia and 2 other regional counties to support extremist takfirist factions within the Taliban. Iran isn’t naive, but doing what it can to prevent tragedy is a responsibility. If that doesn’t work, the Quds Force will vehemently support those resisting extremism and terrorism.

Iran is constantly working and negotiating with the different parties inside Afghanistan as well with neighboring countries, plus China and Russia, to block the efforts of those who are pushing for a return to the dark past. Iran’s imminent membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will enhance its capability to coordinate international efforts in this regard.

General Soleimani is no longer among us, but his legacy continues to inflict blows on the dying US Empire.  

19 Aug, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Seyed Mohammad Marandi

When the People Rose up: How the Intifada Changed the Political Discourse on Palestine

December 16, 2020

December 8 marks the 33rd anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada. (Photo: File)

By Ramzy Baroud

December 8 came and went as if it was an ordinary day. For Palestinian political groups, it was another anniversary to be commemorated, however hastily. It was on this day, thirty-three years ago, that the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising) broke out, and there was nothing ordinary about this historic event.

Today, the uprising is merely viewed from a historic point of view, another opportunity to reflect and, perhaps, learn from a seemingly distant past. Whatever political context to the Intifada, it has evaporated over time.

The simple explanation of the Intifada goes as follows: Ordinary Palestinians at the time were fed up with the status quo and they wished to ‘shake off’ Israel’s military occupation and make their voices heard.

Expectedly, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) quickly moved in to harvest the fruit of the people’s sacrifices and translate them into tangible political gains, as if the traditional Palestinian leadership truly and democratically represented the will of the Palestinian people. The outcome was a sheer disaster, as the Intifada was used to resurrect the careers of some Palestinian ‘leaders’, who claimed to be mandated by the Palestinians to speak on their behalf, resulting in the Madrid Talks in 1991, the Oslo Accords in 1993 and all other ‘compromises’ ever since.

But there is more to the story.

Thousands of Palestinians, mostly youth, were killed by the Israeli army during the seven years of Intifada, where Israel treated non-violent protesters and rock-throwing children, who were demanding their freedom, as if enemy combatants. It was during these horrific years that such terms as ‘shoot to kill’ and ‘broken-bones policies’ and many more military stratagems were introduced to an already violent discourse.

In truth, however, the Intifada was not a mandate for Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian official or faction to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people, and was certainly not a people’s call on their leadership to offer unreciprocated political compromises.

To understand the meaning of the Intifada and its current relevance, it has to be viewed as an active political event, constantly generating new meanings, as opposed to a historical event of little relevance to today’s realities.

Historically, the Palestinian people have struggled with the issue of political representation. As early as the mid-20th century, various Arab regimes have claimed to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, thus, inevitably using Palestine as an item in their own domestic and foreign policy agendas.

The use and misuse of Palestine as an item in some imagined collective Arab agenda came to a relative end after the humiliating defeat of several Arab armies in the 1967 war, known in Arabic as the ‘Naksa’, or the ‘Letdown’. The crisis of legitimacy was meant to be quickly resolved when the largest Palestinian political party, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO. The latter was then recognized in 1974 during the Arab Summit in Rabat, as the ‘sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’.

The above statement alone was meant to be the formula that resolved the crisis of representation, therefore drowning out all other claims made by Arab governments. That strategy worked, but not for long. Despite Arafat’s and Fatah’s hegemony over the PLO, the latter did, in fact, enjoy a degree of legitimacy among Palestinians. At that time, Palestine was part and parcel of a global national liberation movement, and Arab governments, despite the deep wounds of war, were forced to accommodate the aspirations of the Arab people, keeping Palestine the focal issue among the Arab masses as well.

However, in the 1980s, things began changing rapidly. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 resulted in the forced exile of tens of thousands of Palestinian fighters, along with the leaderships of all Palestinian groups, leading to successive and bloody massacres targeting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The years that followed accentuated two grave realities. First, the Palestinian leadership shifted its focus from armed struggle to merely remaining relevant as a political actor. Now based in Tunis, Arafat, Abbas and others were issuing statements, sending all kinds of signals that they were ready to ‘compromise’ – as per the American definitions of this term. Second, Arab governments also moved on, as the growing marginalization of the Palestinian leadership was lessening the pressure of the Arab masses to act as a united front against Israeli military occupation and colonialism in Palestine.

It was at this precise moment in history that Palestinians rose and, indeed, it was a spontaneous movement that, at its beginning, involved none of the traditional Palestinian leadership, Arab regimes, or any of the familiar slogans. I was a teenager in a Gaza refugee camp when all of this took place, a true popular revolution being fashioned in a most organic and pure form. The use of a slingshot to counter Israeli military helicopters; the use of blankets to disable the chains of Israeli army tanks; the use of raw onions to assuage the pain of inhaling teargas; and, more importantly, the creation of language to respond to every violent strategy employed by the Israeli army, and to articulate the resistance of Palestinians on the ground in simple, yet profound slogans, written on the decaying walls of every Palestinian refugee camp, town or city.

While the Intifada did not attack the traditional leadership openly, it was clear that Palestinians were seeking alternative leadership. Grassroots local leadership swiftly sprang out from every neighborhood, every university and even in prison, and no amount of Israeli violence was able to thwart the natural formation of this leadership.

It was unmistakably clear that the Palestinian people had chosen a different path, one that did not go through any Arab capital – and certainly not through Tunis. Not that Palestinians at the time quit seeking solidarity from their Arab brethren, or the world at large. Instead, they sought solidarity that does not subtract the Palestinian people from their own quest for freedom and justice.

Years of relentless Israeli violence, coupled with the lack of a political strategy by the Palestinian leadership, sheer exhaustion, growing factionalism and extreme poverty brought the Intifada to an end.

Since then, even the achievements of the Intifada were tarnished, where the Palestinian leadership has used it to revive itself politically and financially, reaching the point of arguing that the dismal Oslo Accords and the futile peace process were, themselves, direct ‘achievements’ of the Intifada.

The true accomplishment of the Intifada is the fact that it almost entirely changed the nature of the political equation pertaining to Palestine, imposing the ‘Palestinian people’, not as a cliche used by the Palestinian leadership and Arab governments to secure for themselves a degree of political legitimacy, but as an actual political actor.

Thanks to the Intifada, the Palestinian people have demonstrated their own capacity at challenging Israel without having their own military, challenging the Palestinian leadership by organically generating their own leaders, confronting the Arabs and, in fact, the whole world, regarding their own moral and legal responsibilities towards Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Very few popular movements around the world, and throughout modern history, can be compared to the First Intifada, which remains as relevant today as it was when it began thirty-three years ago.

 – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Naksa

Naksa

It seems like yesterday that we watched Israeli tanks rolling down the hills towards our sleepy town of Beit Sahour 45 years ago today. As a child it was the most frightening sight. The second stage of the Zionist expansion on the land of Palestine unleashed terror that our generation had not experienced but my parents generation had during eth Nakba when between January 1948 and the end of 1949, some 530 villages and towns were ethnically cleansed. The changes I witnessed the 45 years since the “6 day” invasion of 1967 have been nothing short of monumental. Those hills that the tanks rolled down on are all now filled with colonial settlements that scar the ancient landscape. The Israeli quarries have literally dug up other hills and trucked stone and soil away to build the “Jewish state” while destroying Palestinian lives. But I do not want to take time here to write of these violations. I think anyone can find thousands of documents and reports from independent human rights groups and international agencies describing the horrors of colonization, apartheid, and occupation in this “holy land”. Nor will I address how people who teach their children about Jewish suffering over the ages teach them that it is OK to inflict this suffering on native/indigenous people. Nor do I want to write on this occasion of the treachery of western countries who profess human rights and international law actually become complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Nor do I want to address the treachery of Arab leaders (yes including some Palestinians) who were complicit in helping make 7 million of us refugees or displaced people. I do want to talk about us, the people, and especially about mental occupation.

Occupiers/colonizers are of course always dependent not just on military might but also on propaganda and psychological manipulation to reach their goals. For example, from the late 19th century, the Zionists successfully infiltrated the minds of their victims with notions like “Arabs” and/vs. “Jews”. With this one simple concept, Zionists succeeded in 1) equating a linguistic group with a religion and elevating Jewishness to a supposed national structure (“a people”), 2) removing Arab Jews as a viable group whose allegiance lies naturally with their fellow Arabic speaking people, 3) fostering anti-Jewish feelings (mistakenly called anti-Semitism) to help their cause in conflating Zionism with Judaism. Before that they coined and popularized the term anti-Semitism to confuse the Europeans and claim they are Semites. From those early efforts in the 19th century, the people of the world were subjected to sustained intensive efforts at brainwashing.
We actually understand these propaganda efforts as natural and expected in efforts to propel racist ideologies. What we do not understand is why many native Palestinians accepted defeat and even adopted the Zionized version of history. Even some of our school textbooks perpetuate the mythologies that keep the Zionist nightmare a reality. It is easy to keep it alive when we, the victims keep the myth of the exodus from Egypt to Masada to the falsified history of Josephus to the suppression of our Canaanite ancestry to the notion that Jewishness is somehow biological. Some of this is due to those who are religious confusing metaphors and myths with historiography. Some of it is due to ignorance: e.g. ignorance of the fact that the Philistines were actually Canaanite people and not from Crete or that both ancient Arabic and Hebrew were dialects of Canaanite Aramaic. Some of it is pure foolishness; for example that somehow we can “return” Palestine to an idealized (fictional) Islamic or Jewish state. Would it not be better to admit the wrong that was done to the native people, do some restorative justice, and begin to discuss among ourselves how we Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and others can live TOGETHER in a country in full equality? How about a new joint political movement to reform and to dismantle the dysfunctional Israeli and Palestinian political structures so as to build a new reality? Aren’t 64 years of Nakba and 45 years of Naksa long enough? There are 11.5 million Palestinains in the world and billions of fellow human beings who know what is right to contentd with at best half a million deluded Jewish Zionists (and the equally deluded Christian Zionists who support them). What perevents justice (ie. peace) is apathy and ignorance. Is it not time to shed these?
Cover-up of the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. We should remember the victims of the Israeli attack 45 years ago and the cowardice of the US government which succumbed to the Israel lobby and buried the incident http://www.ussliberty.org
The 2011 Humanitarian Overview addresses the key advocacy priorities identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the main humanitarian coordinating body for UN agencies and NGO partners in the the occupied Palestinian territories. http://www.ochaopt.org/annual/
Rabbi Brian Walt: Affirming a Judaism and Jewish identity without Zionism
Israel is new South Africa as boycott calls increase
After Madonna began her world tour there last week, campaigners urge cutting of cultural ties
Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds, Dublin 2-6-2012
ACTION: Consider introducing resolutions for boycotts, divestments and sanctions at your union, church, organization, group, political party, association. You may also start a petition to have your town, city council, state or other governmening entity divest from Israel and companies that support the Israeli apartheid system. To help, we put together some relevant information on this link
http://www.qumsiyeh.org/calltobds/ and will try to keep it updated for use in promoting BDS (send me anything you think should be added)
Here are other links with lots of information
 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Returning to Jerusalem

Source: google images

Izzat Aziz Maswadeh was among the thousands of Palestinians who on Nakba commemoration day, 15.05.2011, continued the collective march of return to Palestine and to Palestinian homes and villages. Izzat was one of the thousands of Palestinian refugees who continued the march that is as old as the Nakba itself, the march of return that started as early as the first days of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, when many Palestinians were murdered by Zionist terror gangs while trying to return to the homes from which they were expelled. Since then, thousands of Palestinians have been killed or held captive while trying to return to their homeland, to their homes and villages… thousands were killed on the way to Haifa or Beisan, Jerusalem or Ar-Ramleh… killed while trying to cross the borders to occupied Palestine from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. They were all part of the collective march of return to Palestine and they all had one aim, one wish, one dream: to return.

Izzat Maswadeh was part of this march. He dreamt of his home, his ancestral home, of his birthplace Jerusalem. He wanted to be reunited with his family, reunited with his birthright…
Izzat Maswadeh tried to return to Jerusalem… he failed the first time but succeeded the second.

Izzat was born in Jerusalem in 1977, moved to Jordan then to Syria, after which Israeli occupation authorities revoked his residency right, denied him his birthplace and separated him from his family. He was father to a 5-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. His father, who lives in Izariyyeh, occupied Jerusalem, said that Izzat dreamt of returning to Palestine and to his hometown Jerusalem all his life.

Izzat’s first attempt to return to Jerusalem was on 15.05.2011, Nakba commemoration day. He was among a small group that was able to cross the so-called cease-fire line and enter the occupied Golan Heights. On his way to Jerusalem, he managed to reach as far as the Huwwarah military checkpoint near Nablus, before he was stopped and detained for a number of days and expelled to Syria.

On that day, at least 4 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured when Israeli occupation soldiers opened fire at the unarmed marchers. In an interview conducted after his successful return to Palestine, Izzat said that the idea of entering Majdal Shams in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was born out of the heat of the moment. He described how he and another 7 of his fellow marchers were standing in front of the barbed wire that divided the Golan Heights, and how one of the marchers had the idea of cutting the barbed wire and crossing over to Majdal Shams. But the often told tales of the electrified wire that divides the Golan Heights put fear into the hearts of the marchers and prevented this.

As they stood discussing whether to take a risk with the barbed wire or not, they were interrupted by a 17 year old boy who just ran towards the barbed wire, obviously not caring what would happen to him, and hit it with his shoulder causing it to fall down. When the other marchers saw that nothing happened to the youth, they started jumping over the barbed wire, removed it and moved to the second barbed wire and removed it as well. Izzat recalled how while removing the second barbed wire, residents of Majdal Shams were coming towards them and helping them.

Men and women would leave their children at the platform and come to greet the marchers. They told the marchers they were their guests, that they would protect them with their souls but that the Israelis are occupiers and are able to “annihilate” them for what happened. So it was agreed that the marchers stay for 2 hours under the protection of the villagers and that the village elders organize their leave back to Syria through the Red Cross.
When it was time to go back to Syria, Izzat thanked the people of Majdal Shams saying that with this action, the marchers wanted to convey a message and they did. Until that moment, according to Izzat, the idea of returning to Palestine hadn’t crossed his mind. But then, a 14 year old refused to go back to Syria and around 200 people came to take the body of martyr Qais and chaos erupted until one of the elders intervened and said that the martyr should be taken to his family. Izzat recalled: “then I pondered over how that young man came to die for Palestine and not for the Golan, although ultimately we are one nation.”[1] And as the marchers went back to Syria, with the elders walking in front of them to protect them from the Israeli occupation soldiers, Izzat decided that it was time to return to Palestine: “I heard someone talking on the phone and saying “it’s incredible, there are 180 wounded”, here I couldn’t bare it anymore and I had the idea about returning to Palestine through means of transportation in Majdal Shams. I couldn’t take a bus because they had signs in Hebrew, so I took a taxi since it was the fastest and safest solution…. the idea I had in mind at the time was not only to enter Palestine but also to go to Jerusalem and pray in Al-Aqsa, then to bring the media, introduce myself and announce the return of 150 people to Jerusalem, in order to cause panic and destabilize the Zionist entity. The image of the Israeli army confused and its forces deployed everywhere started forming in my mind, and the preoccupation of the public opinion with this issue, causing a revolt of the Israeli people on their government… This is the goal for my return to Palestine.”[2]

On 15.05.2011, while Palestinians in occupied Palestine and in the Diaspora commemorated the 63 anniversary of the Nakba, Izzat and a couple of other Palestinians succeeded in returning to Palestine. They returned to their homeland, the homeland from which their fathers and grandfathers were expelled 63 years earlier. Unarmed young Palestinians, born in the Diaspora, away from their ancestral homes and lands, denied their homeland, decided it was time to return. They walked through mine fields, they crossed barbed wires, they defied fully-armed Israeli occupation soldiers with one wish: to return to Palestine.

Izzat returned to Palestine, touched her soil, smelled her air and embraced the land he’s so often heard of, so often dreamt of. When the Israeli military started house-to-house searches for the returnees in Majdal Shams, Izzat pretended to be a reported and headed towards Palestine. “I was stopped at the entrance of the village and was asked in a language I didn’t understand, but surely he was asking about IDs so I said I am a reporter and was allowed to pass…. Here the features of my homeland started to become clearer… it is the most beautiful feeling that I ever had in my life, for I am seeing my homeland of which I have always dreamt, and no words in the world are sufficient to express this feeling, and I can only say that it is “my homeland” that summarizes all the meanings of love, longing and beauty and magnificence.”[3]

Checkpoints were erected everywhere, and two other marchers, Majd and Rasha, were detained on their way to their hometowns. Izzat was stopped at the Huwwara checkpoints and “there was no possibility of getting off the taxi or returning, or even telling the taxi driver, and that point was the end of my journey to Palestine, and the end of the dream and the goal I had.”[4] This wasn’t the end of the dream, but the beginning… he was determined to return to his home, reach his birthplace… his march to Jerusalem has begun and there was no turning back, nothing was going to stand in his way to his home.

From the moment he was detained on 15.05.2011, Izzat was subjected to physical and psychological torture on the hands of Israeli occupation soldiers. After the interrogation, which depended mostly on psychological pressure, he was taken in a car, handcuffed and blindfolded towards the occupied Golan Heights. In a number of interviews before his martyrdom, Izzat spoke of his detention by Israeli occupation forces: “After being detained, the most beautiful journey began, which is playing with the nerves of the Zionist entity. And this victory is more beautiful and stronger than military victory. When they took me to the interrogation room, I waited half an hour for the arrival of interrogators from Tel Aviv. Then 12 interrogators entered and I was cuffed and stripped off all my belongings and clothes”… “for me, I spend the interrogation days laughing at them, because I considered myself inevitably dead, and they were taking turns interrogating me. 3 days without food or water or sleep. For me, an unarmed young man facing the Zionist entity that frightened us military and politically for 63 years, and if I made a small move, weapons would be pointed towards me, although I am unarmed and was searched thoroughly more than 20 times, here I realized that the fear a Palestinian causes them is not his weapon but in his belief that grows within him[5]

On 05.06.2011, while millions of Palestinians commemorated the 44th anniversary of the Naksa, Izzat had a date with destiny, he had a date with Jerusalem… he had planned to return to Palestine for a second time… he tried a second time to reach Jerusalem … and this time Izzat succeeded.

Israeli occupation forces were waiting for the marchers. After what had happened on Nabka day, the Israeli occupation army was determined not to allow unarmed Palestinian refugees to make a laughingstock of the “invincible army” a second time. They prepared for a massacre, similar to the ones they committed on the Palestinian borders with Lebanon and Syria. And a massacre it was; at least 24 unarmed marchers were killed on that day while trying to return to their homeland when Israeli occupation snipers aimed to kill. Izzat was one of the first Palestinians to try and return to Palestine … and as he attempted to enter Majdal Shams, he was shot dead…

To many, Izzat’s attempt ended at that point… Izzat’s attempt was a failure, for he failed to reach his destination; Jerusalem…. But to Palestinians, Izzat’s attempt to return to Palestine and to Jerusalem was successful…

The Zionist entity definitely saw it as a failed attempt, and thought that by killing Izzat and his comrades, others wouldn’t dare repeat the attempt. But they failed to see that Izzat did in fact reach Jerusalem, for his attempt removed another hurdle from the road towards Jerusalem, and that despite the massacres committed on 15.05.2011 and despite the numerous Israeli threats, thousands of Palestinians had marched to Palestine on 05.06.2011 and thousands, tens of thousands, millions will continue the march until total liberation.

To many, Izzat’s attempt ended when he fell at the border, when his heart stopped beating at the barbed wire… But to Palestinians, Izzat continued the march to his beloved Jerusalem, to his home…he is here, in Jerusalem, he has returned… and with his soul, he lights up the path, like thousands before him, for those who will continue the march …. and with his blood, he paves the way, like thousands before him, for those who will continue the march…

Izzat succeeded, because he managed to frighten the fully-armed occupation soldiers. He was a young man, armed only with the belief in his just cause, he was armed only with the love and yearning to a home that is his, he was only a Palestinian, marching towards his home, his legacy, and unarmed in the face of the killing machine that is the Zionist entity ….

Izzat succeeded, because he exposed, yet again, the true face of the “peace loving only democracy in the Middle East”, he exposed the murderous Zionist entity which claims “self defense” when killing unarmed marchers.

Izzat succeeded, because he exposed, yet again, the lies of Zionists and Co who keep claiming that if Palestinians resorted to unarmed resistance, the Zionist entity wouldn’t “feel threatened and forced to defend itself”, he exposed all those who defend a terrorist army that kills unnamed civilians seeking freedom.

Izzat succeeded, because he exposed, yet again, the hypocrisy of the world that claims to support human rights, justice and non-violent resistance everywhere, but continues to act blind, deaf and mute when it comes to Palestinian rights and the crimes of the Zionist entity.

Izzat succeeded, because he rose up, held his soul in the palm of his hand and marched, and marched, and allowed no barbed wire to stop him, allowed no Israeli occupation soldiers to stop him, allowed no collaborators, no concession-lovers, no negotiation-worshippers to stop him, allowed no bullet to stop him … and marched and marched till he reached Jerusalem.

Izzat was determined to return to Jerusalem and pray in Al-Aqsa, and his message to fellow Palestinians was clear:”What I experienced in a few days on Palestine’s soil assured me that Palestine is closer to us than we think, and that the enemy they have been frightening us with for over 63 years is a coward and can’t stand in the face of our will.“[6]

Izzat and his comrades who managed to return to Palestine, and the thousands of Palestinians who marched on Nakba and Naksa days in occupied Palestine and in the Diaspora, the millions of Palestinians around the world who commemorated the Nakba and the Naksa, sent a clear message to the Zionist entity, to the whole world, to Arab dictators and to Palestinians who want to give up the Right of Return and who want to accept a prison on less than 20% of Palestine and call it a “state”. Their message is: the young have not forgotten and never will…. the right of return is sacred, inalienable and non-negotiable and all Palestinian refugees will return to their demolished villages and rebuild them, will return to their usurped lands and replant them, will return to every single village and town and liberate them, from the River to the Sea.

This video, posted on You Tube, shows the march of return that took place on 05.06.2011. At the beginning one can see Izzat Maswadeh minutes before his martyrdom. He is saying: “We are returning… returning, returning, to our country we are returning, this is our country and we won’t relinquish it and won’t leave it, the blood of the martyrs won’t go in vain, the blood of the martyrs is precious…. “


Interview with Izzat and his funeral

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

No place for Palestine on America’s "Muslim" Brotherhod

No place for Palestine

Ibrahim, Secretary
Opponents of the regime in Syria knows that any legitimate ytoslonha, in this country, you need to have a clear position on the Palestinian issue. Talk here is not on the line is contained in a statement, or a paragraph as is contained in another donated by an expert, but from a position of … not the way the stream «future» in Lebanon and its secretariat. The question of Palestine is not a marginal issue when folks Levant.
Is the main reason for the suffering of more than 3 million Palestinians live in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, which is the main reason for the wars launched 60 years ago continues to this country. The main reason why our spending tens of billions on armaments to confront the Zionist aggression, which is the main reason for wars and seduce us-sponsored internal and is the main reason for betraying the entire groups, not just individuals, in Lebanon. He justified such conservative country that they do not want to bear the tax conflict with Israel. The main reason for the oppression suffered by Syria since more than 50 years and continues to be punished by the Zionist West, because of its support for strong resistance, not because of human rights in Syria. The main reason for the spectre of war hover over each hour that you want Israel Jordan home alternative.

 Thus, it is believed that he could cite the words in a public statement saying that it stands alongside the rights of the Palestinian people, and this is enough to take from others, the author of this belief is either stupid, or client, and the result after our experience with 14 March in Lebanon are, there is no difference at all. Since the outbreak of protests in Syria, which is difficult to shoot in the revolution, no one banner, one logo in connection with the question of Palestine. But that all the media noise made us opportunistic power movement «Brotherhood» was not interested in this item, on the contrary, all attention was focused on how to deepen the internal crisis in Syria and accusing system that wanted to kill people and a point on the line. And when it comes to talk about the issue of Palestine, the Golan was not sold as a system called shot, and other silly talk. Since dissolved Nakba, shocked and inform metvkro revolutions» brotherhood «that image may take public attention, and can ignore this event. When forced to comment on the enemy’s crimes against demonstrators from refugees, had moved to the attack on the Syrian regime because it tries to exploit the blood of the Palestinian people to a character drawn in Syria …

And incidentally, what all these bungalows fully what the Zionists also.

 When the due tribute to the United States, setback, and the Arabs, to contain the situation. Jordan didn’t need system to encourage work yashkh is, and is now the source of life, but if he thought this country to be included in the GCC is to not use them as military and security tools to suppress people «black» death kingdoms.

In Egypt, the brotherhood has given «» again, with the understanding with us power in the army, as the marchers to Palestine outside the priorities, with the de minimis rule work in Lebanon to execute instructions, leaving only Syria for refugees. There was betting that the system will repeat what others have done to appease the West. But it reopened the border again to make the occupied land to refugees. Rather than say him thanks, «returned» buoys revolutionaries to carry on.
Amid all this, not one Syrian opposition, especially from the ashaus notification «brothers», one word applauds what happened. But they focused on people who reject Syria camps, they also antvdawa factions there.

 The unfortunate result is that the opposition forces who claim leadership of the revolution in Syria, was not interested in is resistance and Palestine and donors for their support by all means, in particular through cursing Bashar Al-Assad, but they are also outside the working atmosphere for resistance and Palestine. However, think that people will each morning to hear their lectures … Good riddance such revolutions … Such a notification webaes webaes this type of a

لا مكان لفلسطين
ابراهيم الأمين
يعرف معارضو النظام في سوريا أن أي شرعية يتوسّلونها، في هذا البلد، تحتاج إلى موقف واضح من المسألة الفلسطينية. والحديث هنا ليس عن سطر يرد في بيان، أو فقرة ترد في آخر وصفة تبرّع بها خبير، بل عن موقف عملاني، لا على طريقة ما يقوم به تيار «المستقبل» في لبنان وأمانته العامة. فقضية فلسطين ليست مسألة هامشية عند أهل بلاد الشام.

هي السبب الرئيسي لمعاناة أكثر من 3 ملايين فلسطيني يعيشون في لبنان وسوريا والأردن، وهي السبب الرئيسي لحروب شنت ولا تزال منذ 60 عاماً على هذه البلاد. وهي السبب الرئيسي في إنفاق بلادنا عشرات المليارات على التسلح لمواجهة العدوانية الصهيونية، وهي السبب الرئيسي لحروب وفتن داخلية ترعاها الولايات المتحدة، وهي السبب الرئيسي لعمليات خيانة قامت بها جماعات بأكملها، لا مجرد أفراد، في لبنان. برر هؤلاء فعلتهم بأنهم لا يريدون للبلد أن يتحمل ضريبة الصراع مع إسرائيل. وهي السبب الرئيسي لكل القهر الذي عانته سوريا منذ أكثر من خمسين سنة، ولا تزال تعاقب على أيدي الغرب الصهيوني، بسبب دعمها لقوى المقاومة، لا بسبب حقوق الإنسان في سوريا. وهي السبب الرئيسي لشبح حرب أهلية يحوم كل ساعة فوق الأردن الذي تريده إسرائيل الوطن البديل.

وبالتالي، من يعتقد أنه يمكنه إيراد عبارة في بيان عام يقول فيه إنه يقف الى جانب حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني، وهذا يكفي لكي يأخذ شرعية من الآخرين، فصاحب هذا الاعتقاد إما
مخبول وإما عميل،

والنتيجة بعد تجربتنا مع 14 آذار في لبنان هي هي، لا فرق أبداً.
منذ اندلاع الاحتجاجات في سوريا، التي يصعب إطلاق صفة الثورة عليها، لم ترفع لافتة واحدة، أو شعار واحد له صلة بالقضية الفلسطينية. بل إن كل الضجيج الإعلامي الذي تولاه التيار الانتهازي ـــــ الأميركي في حركة «الإخوان المسلمون» لم يهتم بهذا البند أبداً، بل على العكس، فكل اهتمامه منصبّ على كيفية تعميق الأزمة الداخلية في سوريا، واتهام النظام بأنه يريد قتل شعبه ونقطة على السطر. وعندما يأتي الحديث عن موضوع فلسطين، يتهم النظام بأنه باع الجولان ولم يطلق رصاصة واحدة، وغير ذلك من الكلام السخيف.

ولمّا حلّت ذكرى النكبة، صدم متفكّرو الثورات وإعلام «الإخوان» بأن هناك صورة قد تأخذ من انتباه الجمهور، ولا يمكن تجاهل هذا الحدث. وعندما اضطروا إلى التعليق على جرائم العدو بحق المتظاهرين من اللاجئين، انتقلوا الى الهجوم على النظام السوري لأنه يحاول استغلال دماء الشعب الفلسطيني بغية حرف الأنظار عما يجري في سوريا… وللصدفة، فإن ما قاله كل هؤلاء طابق تماماً ما قاله الصهاينة أيضاً.

 

وعندما حانت ذكرى النكسة، عملت الولايات المتحدة، ومعها عربها، على احتواء الموقف مسبقاً. نظام الأردن لم يكن يحتاج الى من يشجعه على عمل يعشقه هو، وصار الآن مصدر عيشه، إلا إذا ظن أبناء هذا البلد أن ضمهم الى دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي هو بهدف غير استخدامهم كأدوات أمنية وعسكرية لقمع شعوب «ممالك الموت الأسود».
أما في مصر، فقد تولى «الإخوان» مرة جديدة، بالتفاهم مع التيار الأميركي في الجيش، اعتبار المسيرة الى فلسطين خارج الأولويات، فيما عمل الحكم التافه في لبنان على تنفيذ التعليمات الأميركية، ولم يبق للاجئين إلا سوريا. وكان هناك من يراهن على أن النظام سيكرر ما فعله الآخرون لاسترضاء الغرب. لكنه أعاد فتح الحدود مرة جديدة لكي يتقدم اللاجئون نحو أرضهم المحتلة. وبدل أن يقال له شكراً، عاد «ثوار العوامات» من جديد ليحملوا عليه.

ووسط كل ذلك، لم يخرج معارض سوري واحد، وخصوصاً من أشاوس إعلام «الإخوان»، بكلمة واحدة تحيّي ما حصل. بل ركّزوا على أن أبناء مخيمات سوريا يرفضون الأمر، وأنهم انتفضوا أيضاً على الفصائل هناك.

النتيجة المؤسفة هي أن قوى المعارضة التي تدّعي قيادة ثورة في سوريا، ليست مهتمة بأمر المقاومة وفلسطين، والذين يتبرعون لدعمها بكل الوسائل، وخصوصاً من خلال شتم بشار الأسد، إنما باتوا هم أيضاً خارج مناخ العمل لخدمة المقاومة وفلسطين. ومع ذلك، يعتقدون أن الناس ينتظرونهم كل صباح لسماع محاضراتهم… بئس ثورات كهذه… وبئس إعلام كهذا وبئس هذا الصنف من المتفكّرين

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

He returned on Nakba Day, Martyred on Naksa Day, Millions will follow

He returned on Nakba Day, Martyred on Naksa Day, Millions will follow

 

 

تكبيرIzat aziz Muswada (36 years), born in Jerusalem in 1977, his family moved to Jordan and then to Syria.His father moved back to Jerusalem shortly afterward, but Izat and his mother return was denied for staying away more than three years, they were told they had lost their residency permits.Since then, Return to Jerusalem was his great dream.

On Nakba day he 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.

 

“He decided to lie and managed to convince a journalist from Jerusalem that he was a reporter with the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.He traded on the name of his family, that of a well-known Jerusalem clan, and his knowledge of the city to convince the journalist to vouch for him to a nervous taxi driver.”

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.

“My few days in Palestine confirmed to me that Palestine is so near, the enemy who frightened us for 63 years is a caward and can’t stand against our determination.” thus said Izat after his return to Syria.

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

As he and his fellows tryied to cut through a line of barbed wire to reach the border fence, Israeli troops opened fire.

Syria refugee’s dream of return ends in tragedy

Published yesterday (updated) 10/06/2011 18:16
Israeli policemen guard along the border fence as Druze residents
of Majdal Sham stand on the hill looking at mainly Palestinian
protesters crossed from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights,
on May 15, 2011, to mark Nakba day. Bloodshed broke out as
Palestinian refugees across the region marched on Israel’s borders in a
mass show of mourning over Palestinians’ dispossession
in 1948. [AFP/Menahem Kahana, File]

JERUSALEM (AFP) — When Ezzat Maswadi burst across the ceasefire line from Syria into the occupied Golan Heights, he thought his chance to return to Jerusalem — the city of his birth — had finally come.

But the return that Maswadi had longed for was not to be, and his attempts to reach the Holy City would eventually lead to his death, three weeks later, in the fields between Syria and the Golan town of Majdal Shams.

Born to a Palestinian family in Jerusalem in 1977, Maswadi grew up in the nearby town of Al-Eizariya until 1984, when his family moved first to Jordan and then to Syria.

His father moved back to Jerusalem shortly afterward, but Maswadi and his mother were told they had lost their residency permits under an Israeli law which quietly revoked the residency of anyone who stayed away more than three years.
So Maswadi stayed in Damascus, fearing he would never be able to go home, until he heard that Palestinian refugees in Syria were planning to march towards Israel on May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s creation amid the mass dispossession of Palestinians.

Palestinians mark the occasion as the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” when hundreds of thousands of them fled or were expelled from their homes in the war that accompanied Israel’s declaration of independence.

On the day of the protests, a clear, warm Sunday, Maswadi joined thousands of others as they marched unimpeded to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, just across from Majdal Shams in the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

A handful of Israeli troops stationed in the area, apparently caught short, watched in horror as Maswadi and other protesters moved quickly across heavily-mined fields, cut through a fence and entered Majdal Shams.

He and his fellow demonstrators were warmly welcomed, and Maswadi quickly began plotting a way to get back to Jerusalem.

To do so, he had to circumvent Israeli checkpoints set up to catch infiltrators from Syria and find a taxi driver willing to take him three hours south to Jerusalem.

He decided to lie and managed to convince a journalist from Jerusalem that he was a reporter with the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

He traded on the name of his family, that of a well-known Jerusalem clan, and his knowledge of the city to convince the journalist to vouch for him to a nervous taxi driver.

“An Israeli soldier stopped me at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Majdal Shams, and said words to me that I didn’t understand but I’m sure he was asking for my identity card,” Maswadi wrote in an online account shortly afterward.

“I told him I was a journalist and he allowed me to cross.”

He started to believe he would make it home, and eagerly peered out of the window as the car drove south, marveling at the scenery.

“The features of my country began to become clear. It was the most beautiful feeling of my life, to see the country I had dreamed of. All the words in the world can’t describe how it felt,” he wrote.

“I can only say that it was ‘homeland’ with all that that means — love, longing, beauty, magnificence.”

But Maswadi’s journey was about to grind to a halt. He ran into another Israeli checkpoint, and this time his ruse was discovered.

“They surprised us with the checkpoint and I couldn’t go on or return or even tell the driver the truth. This was the end of my journey to Palestine, the end of my dream and my goal,” he wrote.

Maswadi was held by Israeli security officials for an unspecified period of time before being expelled back to Syria.

His driver, a Palestinian from occupied East Jerusalem, was jailed for five days, then put under house arrest for another five days before being released on condition he did not return to the Golan for the next three months.

For Maswadi, being expelled was devastating, but he quickly decided to try again — this time on June 5, when Palestinians mark the “Naksa” or “setback” of the 1967 Six-Day War.

This time, Maswadi’s dream of returning home would end quickly and violently.

As he joined hundreds of other protesters trying to cut through a line of barbed wire to reach the border fence, Israeli troops opened fire.

That day, 23 people were killed and hundreds more injured, according to figures given by Syrian state television.

Israel acknowledged the deaths of 10 protesters, but said all of them died in a second protest in Quneitra, several kilometres further south, when Molotov cocktails thrown by the demonstrators set off Syrian mines in no-man’s land.

But Maswadi’s father Aziz has no doubt about how his eldest son died.

“He was killed by Israeli bullets in Majdal Shams,” he told AFP from the family’s home in Al-Eizariya. “It was his dream to return to Jerusalem.

“They told me that the bullets perforated his body,” he said, adding that his son had been buried in Syria.

Sobbing, Aziz Maswadi said he was denied permission to travel to Syria for the funeral in Damascus. “My son is a martyr, I wanted to see him one last time.”

With hassan Hijazi

عزات عزيز عزات مسودة (٣٦ عاما) من مواليد القدس وسكان سوريا حاليا.. شاب فلسطيني حالم ، تمنى طوال حياته العودة لفلسطين ، وحقق حلمة بعزيمة واصرار لم تستطع الحدود ان تقف في طريقة ، فشق طريقة بالدم الى وطنة فلسطين ، حقق جزء من امنتية ووطات قدماه ثرى فلسطين الطاهر ، الا ان الاحتلال منعه من الوصول الى القدس التي لطالما حلم بالوصول اليها

 

عزات مسوده استشهد مع العشرات اثناء محاولتة العودة مره اخرى لفلسطين في ذكرى نكستها التي تصادف الخامس من حزيران ، حيث اطلق جيش الاحتلال النار باتجاه الجموع التي خرجت من الاراضي السورية باتجاه الجولان المحتل ، فسقط عشرات الشهداء ومئات الجرحى .
مصادر اعلامية متعددة قالت ان الشهيد كان من بين الشبان اللذين شاركوا في مسيرة العودة في الخامس عشر من شهر أيار الماضي ، التي انطلقت باتجاه حدود فلسطين التاريخية ، وتمكن الحالم الفلسطيني عزات مسوده من اختراق خط وقف اطلاق النار قرب مدينة مجدل شمس الدرزية في الجولان المحتل ، وتخطى حقول الالغام وبنادق الاحتلال وتحصيناته ودخل وتجول في عدد من المدن الفلسطينية في الداخل المحتل ووصول الى الضفة الغربية ، الا سلطات الاحتلال وحسب المصادر الاعلامية اعتقلته على حاجز حوارة قرب نابلس وهو في طريقه الى مسقط راسه في القدس، والتي كان قد اعلن تصميمه على الوصول اليها، وابقته رهن الاعتقال لعدة ايام ، قبل ان تبعدة الى مهجرة من جديد الى سوريا.
قبل ايام من استشهادة قال عزات مسوده في لقاء مع احدى وسائل الاعلام إن خطته كانت بالوصول إلى القدس والصلاة في المسجد الأقصى على أن أدعو الإعلام وأخبره بحقوقنا في العودة إلى أراضينا.
ويتابع مسودة : ما عشته خلال أيام قليلة فوق ثرى فلسطين أكد لي أن فلسطين أقرب إلينا مما نعتقد والعدو الذي أخافونا منه على مدى 63 عاماً جبان ولا يستطيع الوقوف أمام إرادتنا.
عزات مسوده ، هذا الشاب الفلسطيني الحالم بوطنة المخلص له بكل جوارحة برهم صحة ما قيل منذ زمن ان حق العودة لفلسطين المحتلة لا يسقط بالتقادم ، وانه مهما مرت الايام بقساوتها ، لن تمحى من الذاكره فلسطين تاريخها وحضارتها .
حتما ستعود فلسطين

 

The Impossible Distance: A Choice to Kill

The Impossible Distance: A Choice to Kill

06mideast-span-articlelarge.jpgChris Floyd


Empire burlesque, June 6, 2011

I watched them marching toward the border. Row upon row of them in the hot, bright sun. They marched without guns, without tanks and missiles — although some, like the shepherd boy David, did pick up a few rocks to hurl into the impossible distance.

I watched them stream down the green hill toward the heaps of dirt and wire. I saw them, old and young, walk toward the occupied land. I saw them come closer — close enough for the heavily-armed occupying force to have them in range.

From a distance — behind the barbed wire, with the occupiers, where the cameras that showed the scene were set — I heard the dull pops and parps of the guns as they fired. I saw the marchers kept streaming down the hill, although the first wave was now breaking in disarray. I heard the guns again. I saw some marchers fall, others scramble back, and still more coming down.
Pop. Pop. Parp. The dull sounds, intermittent, careful. The bullets whizzed across the distance — the impossible distance, which no stone could traverse. The bullets threw up clouds of dirt, they struck flesh. I saw bodies twisting and going down. The march became a rescue party. The dead and wounded were lifted onto sheets and stretchers as the bullets kept coming: dull, intermittent, careful. Pop. Pop. Parp.

Finally, as many lay dead, many lay bleeding in bright, hot sun, finally, across the distance, from behind the barbed wire and hot-barrelled weapons, I watched the canisters of tear gas sailing through the air, trailing streams of smoke. They landed on the dirt and the green grass, and spewed their painful, irresistible fog.

Now, at last, the marchers — who had kept coming in the face of the bullets — turned and fled. Carrying the dead, the dying and bleeding, they ran back up the green hill.

Then suddenly the scene shifted to an anonymous government office, where a comely young spokeswoman, speaking crisp, American-accented English, explained that these unweaponed marchers walking in the hot, bright sun posed such an overwhelming threat to the heavily-armed occupying forces behind the walls of barbed wire that there was no alternative, no other choice, but to open fire across the impossible distance that no stone could traverse, to fire into the unarmed crowd, to fire again and again, to watch them twist and fall into the mounds of dirt. No choice. No alternative.

Her appearance on the screen lasted almost as long as the time given to the marchers and their dead. The reporter, who was standing near the border, behind the barbed wire, who had seen it all with his own eyes, dutifully concluded his piece with geopolitical context — one side says this, the other says that, plots and machinations lie behind every public outpouring. But even given all that, even he — speaking as the marchers were fleeing from the noxious clouds behind him — even he could not avoid the obvious question: Why use the tear gas last? Why shoot first? Why fire into the bodies, into the unarmed marchers, and kill them, when all along you were equipped with the proven means to disperse them without death and blood?

It seems, then, there was a choice for the occupying force. And they made the that choice. The choice to kill, to speak with death and blood across the impossible distance.

:: Article nr. 78399 sent on 06-jun-2011 23:32 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=78399

Ex-Minister Mrad to Al-Manar Website:Syria Will Overcome Crisis

Hussein Assi
Former Minister Abdul Rahim Mrad to Al-Manar Website:

  • We Will Oppose Our Allies if They Accept to Marginalize Bekaa
  • Representing Tripoli through Four Ministers Is Mere Heresy
  • Mufti Qabbani Must Urge Change in Religious Institution First
  • Taif Accord Is Not Holy Book; Experience Was Not Successful
  • Betting on Jumblatt’s Change of Beliefs Is Delusion
  • Syria Will Overcome Crisis, Achieve Victory God Willing

The head of the Union party, former minister Abdul Rahim Mrad, expressed hope that optimism over the efforts to form the new government could lead to the birth of a “satisfying” cabinet, and noted that the formation stage was not pleasant.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar website, Mrad said that Prime Minister-Designate Najib Miqati was vague in his position towards the Sunni opposition. He slammed the possibility of appointing four Sunni ministers from Tripoli as heresy, and stressed that it was unacceptable to deprive the Bekaa region from its right to be represented in the government. Mrad warned of the possibility to leave the new majority and join the opposition in case “our allies accepted to marginalize us and the Bekaa in the upcoming government.”

CABINET FORMATION STAGE NOT SATISFACTORY

The former minister told Al-Manar website that it was not the first time optimism prevailed in the cabinet formation process. He expressed hope “this recent wave” would be serious, and therefore, would lead to the formation of the government. However, he hoped the new cabinet would be really satisfactory, as he expressed dissatisfaction at the formation process.

Mrad said if the reasons behind the delay in the cabinet formation process were internal, then these reasons have ended. “However, if they were external and related to US Ambassador Maura Connelly, then we will have to wait to see whether the American veto has expired or the green light has been given,” he added.

Mrad said that the meeting which joined the premier-designate Najib Miqati with the head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun had set the foundation. “As we all know, most internal problems were between Aoun and Miqati. However, the positive atmosphere should have been completed through a meeting between Miqati and President Michel Sleiman, which has not happened yet,” he noted.

MIQATI AMBIGUOUS… WE WILL NOT ACCEPT HERESY

Asked about the Sunni opposition nub and whether it was resolved, Mrad said that the premier-designate was very ambiguous in this regard.

He declared his full rejection to appointing four ministers from Tripoli to resolve the matter. He was referring to press reports saying that Miqati could accept appointing the new majority candidate Fayssal Omar Karame, from Tripoli, on condition Miqati’s ally MP Ahmad Karame, who’s also from Tripoli, be appointed. The cabinet already includes two other Tripoli figures, Minister Mohamad Safadi and Miqati himself. “This is complete heresy,” Mrad stressed.

“We are of course with the nomination of Faysal Karame in the government. However, we will not accept that the Bekaa region be marginalized and ignored,” Mrad pointed out. “The Bekaa region must be represented in the cabinet. Otherwise, we will consider ourselves as an opposition,” he warned.
The former minister explained that the new majority included many national forces that should have a place in the government. He noted that the national parties, (in reference to Hezbollah, AMAL Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party) could not be simply ignored and neglected, after they made every concession they could.

Asked about the latest stance made by the head of the Lebanese Democratic Party Talal Areslan, in which he rejected the post of Minister of State and demanded a more effective portfolio as a condition for his participation in the cabinet, Mrad expressed belief this issue was resolved and that a portfolio was given to Areslan.

CHANGE SHOULD START IN DAR AL-FATWA

Mrad, a Sunni political figure, commented on the latest stance of Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohamad Rashid Qabbani, in which he urged the people to take to the streets and call for change, Mrad said that “change must start in the religious institution. Mufti Qabbani should call for change in his religious institution first,” he said.

Mufti Qabbani also stressed the Taif Accord “is the base and the problem resides in the hearts, not in the agreement, the loyalty, or the opposition. “The Taif accord is not a holy book,” Mrad pointed out. “The experience, during the past twenty years, was not successful,” he added. “It is right that the accord was not fully adopted. However, many gaps have surfaced and they should be discussed, but in healthier conditions,” he went on to say.

SYRIA WILL TRIUMPH AT THE END

Turning to the Syrian issue, Mrad said that the Western pressure on Syria were not surprising. “They were even excepted as Syria is the only Arab regime that is facing the US-Zionist scheme,” he said. “It is also the only regime that resisted despite the pressure and did not back up in its continuous support to the Resistance,” he added.

Mrad expressed belief that the Syrian regime was still strong and that it would face the internal crisis with firmness and steadfastness. He said Syria will triumph at the end despite all foreign interferences and some media, especially the Arab ones.

Asked whether the foreign interferences include some Lebanese sides in light of the Future party MP Mohamad Kabbara issued a statement this week in which he declared he could not be unbiased with regards to the situation in Syria.

Mrad said that the statement was only one of dozens of proofs of this party’s involvement in the developments in Syria. “They are betting on the Syrian regime’s collapse. But their dreams will not come true,” he said, while stressing that “facts prove the Future party’s involvement”, in reference to the arms smuggling operation at the northern border with Syria.

THIS IS WALID JUMBLATT…

On the visit by the head of the National Struggle Front MP Walid Jumblatt to Syria and his meeting with President Bashar Assad, Mrad said it was part of Jumblatt’s tour that took him to Qatar last month. He said that the PSP leader confirmed, through his visit, two things. “First, he stressed that Syria was able to overcome its crisis and that he did not change his national principles. Second, at the internal level, he confirmed that he did not change his convictions and that whoever was bargaining on such change was deluded,” he explained. “After all, this is Walid Jumblatt,” he went on to say.

Asked about the events of the Nakba and Naksa Days (May 15 and June 5) at the borders with occupied Palestine, Mrad rejected the hypothesis claiming that these events were aimed at taking the attention from what was happening in Syria. He said “they signal a new movement in the region, given that the United States is preparing a plan for a weak Palestinian state, with complete neglect to the refugees, Al-Quds, and settlements. “The Palestinians will not be satisfied at all with such scenario,” he said.

Mrad saw in the Naksa Day events (June 5) an expression of the determination of Palestinians. “They stressed they wanted to return to their land and they will not accept naturalization or their basic right of return be neglected,” he said.

Asked whether these events marked the launch of a new Arab Intifada, Mrada said: “We hope so. I don’t know when things will be mature. But change is coming.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The Impossible Distance: A Choice to Kill

06mideast-span-articlelarge.jpgChris Floyd


Empire burlesque, June 6, 2011

I watched them marching toward the border. Row upon row of them in the hot, bright sun. They marched without guns, without tanks and missiles — although some, like the shepherd boy David, did pick up a few rocks to hurl into the impossible distance.

I watched them stream down the green hill toward the heaps of dirt and wire. I saw them, old and young, walk toward the occupied land. I saw them come closer — close enough for the heavily-armed occupying force to have them in range.

From a distance — behind the barbed wire, with the occupiers, where the cameras that showed the scene were set — I heard the dull pops and parps of the guns as they fired. I saw the marchers kept streaming down the hill, although the first wave was now breaking in disarray. I heard the guns again. I saw some marchers fall, others scramble back, and still more coming down.
Pop. Pop. Parp. The dull sounds, intermittent, careful. The bullets whizzed across the distance — the impossible distance, which no stone could traverse. The bullets threw up clouds of dirt, they struck flesh. I saw bodies twisting and going down. The march became a rescue party. The dead and wounded were lifted onto sheets and stretchers as the bullets kept coming: dull, intermittent, careful. Pop. Pop. Parp.

Finally, as many lay dead, many lay bleeding in bright, hot sun, finally, across the distance, from behind the barbed wire and hot-barrelled weapons, I watched the canisters of tear gas sailing through the air, trailing streams of smoke. They landed on the dirt and the green grass, and spewed their painful, irresistible fog.

Now, at last, the marchers — who had kept coming in the face of the bullets — turned and fled. Carrying the dead, the dying and bleeding, they ran back up the green hill.

Then suddenly the scene shifted to an anonymous government office, where a comely young spokeswoman, speaking crisp, American-accented English, explained that these unweaponed marchers walking in the hot, bright sun posed such an overwhelming threat to the heavily-armed occupying forces behind the walls of barbed wire that there was no alternative, no other choice, but to open fire across the impossible distance that no stone could traverse, to fire into the unarmed crowd, to fire again and again, to watch them twist and fall into the mounds of dirt. No choice. No alternative.

Her appearance on the screen lasted almost as long as the time given to the marchers and their dead. The reporter, who was standing near the border, behind the barbed wire, who had seen it all with his own eyes, dutifully concluded his piece with geopolitical context — one side says this, the other says that, plots and machinations lie behind every public outpouring. But even given all that, even he — speaking as the marchers were fleeing from the noxious clouds behind him — even he could not avoid the obvious question: Why use the tear gas last? Why shoot first? Why fire into the bodies, into the unarmed marchers, and kill them, when all along you were equipped with the proven means to disperse them without death and blood?

It seems, then, there was a choice for the occupying force. And they made the that choice. The choice to kill, to speak with death and blood across the impossible distance. 

:: Article nr. 78399 sent on 06-jun-2011 23:32 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=78399

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Breaches of international law lay behind unrest on Golan Heights

Breaches of international law lay behind unrest on Golan Heights

While much of the Western media have ignored the recent bloodshed on the Golan Heights, the limited reports that have been released appear to misunderstand the background to the present confrontation. Richard Lightbown explains the history. Many media reports of the confrontations on the Golan Heights on 5 June did not accurately represent the background to the protests. The Guardian reported on 6 June that the clashes occurred “on the Syrian border” and their analysts referred to “deliberate antagonism of Israel by the Syrian regime”.
Breaches of international law lay behind unrest on Golan Heights Breaches of international law lay behind unrest on Golan Heights 600x472

On the same day a report on BBC’s “Today” programme referred to “a disputed border” before stating that Syria “had lost the Golan Heights to Israel”. A review of the history and current status of the area, therefore, appears required reading for some foreign correspondents.

The Syrian Golan Heights (as the UN refers to the region) was recognized as Syrian sovereign territory by an Armistice Agreement signed between Israel and Syria under UN auspices in 1949. Because of its rich volcanic soils and water resources, the Golan has long been coveted by Zionists. Attempts were made starting in 1891 to buy land there, and Zionist President Chaim Weizmann wrote to British Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1919 expressing designs for the region to form part of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. (Dr Weizmann wrote to oppose the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 by which Britain and France had agreed the carve up of the Ottoman Empire after the World War I. These imperial designs interfered with Zionist schemes for the Levant.)

Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter requires the respect of every state’s territorial integrity. Newly admitted to the UN in 1949, Israel began almost immediately to encroach beyond its boundaries as agreed under the 1949 Armistice. Fortifications were built in the UN-administered demilitarized zone, while illegally deployed Israeli soldiers obstructed UN observers and even threatened to kill them on one occasion. Arab residents of the area were evicted and their homes looted and destroyed. The UN Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution in May 1951 demanding that Israel allow the residents to return. Other resolutions against Israeli violations of international law followed in 1953, 1956 and 1962, all to no avail.

Prior to the 1967 invasion there were many clashes between Syrian and Israel forces. The former Israeli defence minister, Moshe Dayan, later opined that more 80 per cent of these clashes were deliberately provoked by Israel, explaining that kibbutzim covetous of Syrian land had pressed the Israeli government to invade the Golan Heights. Another Israeli, Mattityahu Peled, who served as a member of the General Staff during the 1967 war, also stated in a newspaper interview that all the incidents were Israeli initiated.

At the time of the invasion during the 1967 war there were 137,000 Arab residents in the area that was occupied. Following the attack, 130,000 of them were expelled from their homes in two cities, 130 villages and 112 farms, all of which were destroyed. (The Golan capital of Quneitra had been a city with 25,000 population. When liberated by Syrian armour in 1973, troops discovered all the buildings destroyed or uninhabitable. This included houses, shops, mosques and the hospital.)
UNSC Resolution 242 of 1967 requiring “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” was ignored by Israel. On 14 December 1981 the Knesset passed the Golan Heights Law, which extended Israeli laws to occupied Syrian areas. The UN Security Council responded to this breach of customary international law by passing Resolution 497 declaring the Israeli legislation “null and void and without international legal effect”. The resolution demanded that the legislation be rescinded. No other country has recognized this de facto annexation, but Israel made no attempt to comply with its legal obligations.

However, the remaining local population had no intention of being absorbed into the occupying state. Following the invasion some 7,000 residents occupying six villages in the north of the Golan were permitted to stay. This was part of a divide-and-rule policy by Israel. The Arab residents of the villages are mostly of the Druze religious community and the rulers of the Zionist state have been trying to develop a Druze buffer zone subservient to Israel in the border region between Lebanon and Syria. These people were required by Israel’s rogue legislation to give up their Syrian citizenship and adopt that of Israel. A six-month general strike followed, and most of the new Israeli identity cards were publicly burned. The Israeli government eventually gave way to the protests and most of the residents still retain their Syrian nationality. Israeli attempts to eliminate the Arab national identity have also been opposed. Indoctrination by unqualified teachers instructing the Hebrew language, Israeli literature and Israel’s version of history is still strongly resisted within this community.
The long-standing Zionist greed for the Golan has been realized through the establishment of 33 settlements in the region, and a programme is ongoing to extend this process of colonization (in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention). Only these settlements are allowed to irrigate their crops, giving the colonizers a major competitive advantage over the Arab farmers. Israel also extracts more than its fair share of water from the Jordan River System. Studies published in 2006 indicate that while Israeli territory contributed 11.4 per cent of the total water to the system, the Israeli state extracted 50 per cent of the total. (Syria contributed 31 per cent and extracted 18.5 per cent. Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon all extracted less than their contributions.) The study found Israeli abstraction to be inequitable and unreasonable, and in contravention of international water law.

Within Israel it is generally held as an article of faith that holding the Golan is a guarantee of Israeli security. It is true that in both the wars of 1967 and 1973 the Golan was conquered by armour. Yet this does not take account of modern warfare methods. During the war between Israel and Lebanon in 2006 Merkava tanks were destroyed by Lebanese missiles. (In 2004 the then Israeli chief of staff said in a newspaper interview that the Israeli army would be able to defend any border. Israeli air power, after all, is omnipotent in the region and can inflict serious damage.)
Unrest at the boundaries of Israeli-occupied territory may well serve a Syrian government under pressure for regime change. But the roots of this unrest are long-standing genuine grievances against the expansionist and tyrannical policies of the Israeli state. Western media sources seldom comment or reflect this reality, nor do they seem to be aware of the legality of the occupation and its artificial boundaries. In so doing they render a disservice to the victims of criminality, while failing to uphold the highest standards of professional journalism.

Much of the data for this article are derived from papers presented to the London International Conference on the Golan in 2007.

By Richard Lightbown
Source

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Palestinian Forum in Britain announces ready for Palestine Day early July


Palestinian Forum in Britain announces ready for Palestine Day early July

[ 09/06/2011 – 12:11 PM ]  

LONDON, (PIC)– The Palestinian Forum in Britain has announced completion of logistical and administrative arrangements ahead of Palestine Day scheduled for July 2 and 3 in the capital London and the second largest city Manchester.
The major annual gathering comes to mark Nakba and Naksa Days, in memory of the 1948 and 1967 Zionist occupations of the Palestinian territories, and the movement of change for freedom across the Arab world, said PFB public relations official Zahir Beirawi. It also comes to confirm the exiled Palestinians’ commitment to their right to the Palestinian territories.
Palestine Day 2011 will include cultural and artistic functions and lectures, the most prominent being those by Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948-occupied Palestine, and Dr. Ahmed Nofel from Jordan.
The day marks the largest gathering of Palestinians and pro-Palestinians in the UK, as more than a thousand attend annually.

[ 08/06/2011 – 07:00 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)– Mushir al-Masri, who heads the Hamas bloc on the Palestinian Legislative Council, has said that the spilled blood of those killed by the Israeli occupation forces on borders with Lebanon and Syria during Naksa Day marks the beginning of a new phase in ending the Israeli occupation.
The statement came Tuesday during a rally honoring the some 25 Arabs and Palestinian refugees shot dead by the IOF at Golan Heights when trying to permeate the border created by the Israeli occupation state.
”[The incident] demonstrates that the [Muslims] have entered a new stage and the people are armed with the truth that is never forgotten,” Masri said, speaking at the rally in Gaza.
”The young don’t forget,” Masri said, referring to the new generation of activists who have succeeded their predecessors who first came under Israeli occupation.
”They remember their land and homes and the stories of their fathers and grandfathers,” he said, adding: ”The right of return is legal and sacred and the right of every generation until they return to their homes from which they have been expelled.”
Some five million Palestinian refugees have sought asylum abroad after the Israeli occupation of 1948.
On Naksa Day, hundreds of refugees and supporters made a symbolic attempt to cross borders and reclaim the property they lost in the Israeli occupation. Syria put the number of those killed in the Israeli onslaught against them at 25, with hundreds of injuries.
Meanwhile, Israeli Knesset member Lia Shemtov (from the Yisrael Beitenu) has officially urged the IOF to use diarrhea-causing gas instead of tear gas to stop refugees that try and get past borders in future protests.
She reasoned that Arab demonstrators have become accustomed to the scent of tear gas and have managed to live with it, a situation that requires additional measures to disperse them.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Video: Marchers rescue injured people, bodies in occupied Golan Heights

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Sun, 06/05/2011 – 11:44


A video posted on YouTube by the website Baladee.net shows marchers trying to evacuate injured and possibly dead people in the Golan Heights today after Israeli forces opened fired on marchers commemorating the 44th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of area which is part of Syria.
Media reports say that more than a dozen people have been killed and scores injured as Israeli forces opened fire on the marchers.
The video, which appears to have been shot from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights toward the frontier line with the Syrian-controlled side, shows unarmed people in civilian clothes crawling over an earth mound and into an area of long grass and recovering several bodies of people who were injured or may have been killed.
Earlier, Israel broadcast threats by loudspeaker that it would shoot at protestors, and for several days Israeli commanders have promised a lethal response to mass civil protests.
The UK newspaper The Telegraph has also posted video showing Israeli forces shooting at marchers:


Another video showing scenes of a mass march toward the Israeli-controlled frontier on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Pakradouni to Al-Manar Website: Targeting Syrian Stability Pushes Region to Wars

Hussein Assi

Former Minister Karim Pakradouni to Al-Manar Website:
Syrian Regime Won’t Fall… But Things Will Take Some Time

  • Golan Incidents Bore Syrian – Palestinian Message
    Targeting Syrian Stability Means Pushing Region into Wars
    Some People Seek to Weaken Miqati so that Hariri Returns
    Cabinet Crisis to Continue Until Matters Are Seriously Handled
    Berri’s Step Responsible as We Must Protect Our Economy!

The former head of Lebanon’s Phalange party, former minister Karim Pakradouni, said that Naksa Day events in the Golan heights June 5, bore two messages: a Palestinian one reflecting the Palestinians’ despair of the negotiations’ choice and a Syrian message stating that targeting Syria’s stability is tantamount to threatening the stability of the whole region, and therefore, pressuring Syria could turn into a regional war.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, Pakradouni said he was confident the current Syrian regime would resist all forms of pressure. But he expressed belief that what’s happening was organized and prepared, and therefore, would take some time. “The regime will not fall. However, settling issues would take some time,” he noted.

Locally, Pakradouni stressed the need to hold a meeting between the leadership of the March 8 bloc and Prime Minister-Designate Najib Miqati. He said that the current style of “indirect” meetings was not suitable and that the imminent future would reveal how the head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun was not the reason behind the delay in the cabinet formation process. He spoke of external pressure and stressed some politicians were seeking to weaken the premier-designate to pave the way for the head of the caretaker government Saad Hariri to return to the premiership once again.

While hailing Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to hold a parliamentary general session as a responsible initiative, he said that he personally favored the amendment of the Taif agreement, but that this was not a top priority at the time being.

PRESSURING SYRIA COULD TURN INTO REGIONAL WAR

During his interview with Al-Manar Website, Pakradouni said the Golan events on the fifth of June sent a double message. “

“First, there’s a Palestinian message reflecting the Palestinians’ despair with the so-called peaceful negotiations with the Israeli enemy. But, at the same time, there’s also a Syrian message stating that pressure targeting Syria could drag us into a regional war,” he explained.

On the 44th anniversary of Naksa (setback) Day, Palestinians and especially in Syria marked this anniversary on Sunday with protests near the Golan Heights in which the Israeli occupation fired on the protesters and martyred 23 people.

The former minister said he was not surprised by the American support to the Israeli enemy following the Golan events. “This support has been on the table since the establishment of the so-called Zionist entity,” he emphasized. “Whoever says that the United States could distance itself from Israel is simply deluded,” he added. “The American commitment to Israel’s security is a red line. Indeed, what concerns the US in our region is the security of Israel and then, oil.”

Asked whether the Naksa Day events were aimed at taking the attention from what’s happening in Syria, Pakradouni said it was more a message. “It’s not a tactical issue as it is a message. Syria is sending a strategic message to the US and Israelis, that targeting its stability is tantamount to threatening the whole region. Syria is a stability factor for the region. Therefore, the fall of the regime in Syria would embroil the whole region in a stage of non-stability, chaos and wars,” he warned.
Pakradouni stressed the Syrian regime still had many winning cards. He said he was confident the regime will not fall, but expressed belief that what was taking place was very well organized and prepared, and therefore would take some time to fix.

MANY OBSTACLES HIDDEN BEHIND AOUN

Turning to developments in Lebanon, Pakradouni warned that whatever targets Syria would have its repercussions on Lebanon. He said that what was happening in Syria puts Lebanon’s stability under a serious threat, regardless of whether the government in Lebanon was formed or not.

According to Pakradouni, the cabinet crisis was a translation to the current deadlock, whether in the region or in Lebanon. He didn’t expect an imminent solution unless politicians decided to handle issues “seriously.” He stressed the need to hold a meeting between the March 8 leadership and Prime Minister-Designate Najib Miqati to discuss the crisis in depth. Pakradouni also criticized the indirect way of directing the crisis, and said that such style was good at the beginning, but not today as the crisis has exceeded 100 days.

The former minister hinted that General Michel Aoun was not responsible for the current delay in the cabinet formation process. He spoke of many obstacles “beyond Aoun,” and said the imminent future will reveal that the Free Patriotic Movement leader was not behind the delay.

Pakradouni said he was also convinced there were foreign obstacles and external pressures standing in the way of the cabinet’s birth. He stressed “some politicians were still seeking to push the PM-designate to fail in his mission, to pave the way for the head of the caretaker government Saad Hariri to return. Those include the March 14 bloc as well as all those who were opposed to the toppling of the government of Saad Hariri, starting with Saudi Arabia and the Americans. Miqati is facing this very complicated situation.”

He said the new majority needed to put a plan to deal with the situation and end the cabinet formation process as soon as possible.

BERRI’S INITATIVE… RESPONSIBLE

While warning that keeping Lebanon without a government or under a caretaker government was very dangerous, Pakradouni hailed Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to hold a general session at the parliament next Wednesday as “responsible.”
Last week, and despite fierce opposition from the part of the March 14 bloc, Berri called for a parliamentary session on June 8 to discuss legal proposals and draft laws.

Pakradouni said the June 8 session was constitutional. He added that “article 69 of the constitution stipulates that whenever the government is considered resigned, the Parliament becomes exceptionally convened until the formation of the government.”
“Therefore, Berri’s call is one of the rights of the Parliament Speaker, in addition to setting the meeting’s agenda,” Pakradouni noted. “Yet, the most important thing in Berri’s call is extending the term of the Central Bank governor,” Pakradouni noted. “This is a responsible step from a statesman who insists on protecting Lebanon from a possible void at the level of the Central Bank governorate, similar to the ministerial void.”

“Whatever were the reasons, we must protect our economy through fulfilling the Speaker’s call to renew the term of the Central Bank governor,” he said.

TIME NOT SUITABLE FOR TAIF AGREEEMENT AMENDMENT

The possibility to amend the Taif Agreement was raised with Pakradouni at the end of his interview with Al-Manar Website. He said that, in principle, everything was open to discussion including the amendment.

However, Pakradouni said the amendment was not priority right now, although he was personally in favor of it. “We wonder whether amending the Taif Accord was priority at the current stage or are there other priorities such as the need to form the government, face the international tribunal, and safeguard the stability in the region facing revolutions here and there?” he asked.

%d bloggers like this: