Saturday, January 31, 2009

Palestine: How Long Has This Been Going On?

From an amazing photo essay ("Those People in Gaza: Where Do They Come From, And Why Are They So Mad?") at Lawrence of Cyberia Blog, one small portion below

Jaffa, Palestine: British Soldiers clubbing Palestinian dignitary Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husseini at the 27 October 1933 demonstration against British policy on Zionist immigration into Palestine. Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husseini died six months later, 27 March 1934, at the age of eighty-one, having never recovered from the effects of this beating. (via Walid Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora).
2. Unless otherwise noted, the photos are from Palestine Remembered, and should not be reused without attribution to that site.

Israel Love, Democrat Style

"Vicious Insolence" -- Al Schumann from Stop Me Before I Vote Again Blog

Link to original (scroll down):

Here's Hillary Clinton giving us a crystal clear statement of the Obama administration's official position on the propriety of Israel's killing of well over a thousand Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians:

[W]e support Israel’s right to self-defense. The rocket barrages, which are getting closer and closer to populated areas, cannot go unanswered. And it’s, you know, regrettable that the Hamas leadership apparently believes that it is in their interest to provoke the right of self-defense instead of building a better future for the people of Gaza.

Unfortunately none of the reporters at this press conference felt it was necessary to ask Clinton 1) if Palestinians have a similar right to self-defense, 2) what it would take to "provoke" this right, or 3) how many Israeli deaths would be justified—and rationalized by the United States, rather than condemned—once it was provoked.

Courtesy of The Distant Ocean

What a perfect example of thoughtless, reflexive servility from the courtiers and thoughtless arrogance from the throne room. Secretary of State Clinton appears completely sincere: people whose position is comparatively weak have, by virtue of their vulnerability, no right to fight back. It's not even something that can be considered. The vulnerable must make the best of enforced participation in a hollowed out proceduralism. This is not a liberal belief, at least as liberalism is explicated by its adherents. It's very much the opposite, and in that lies the foundational problem of actually existing liberalism.

Ideology is not a consumer item that one shows to friends or hides from them as dictated by circumstances and peer pressure. For it to have any significance outside an appalling display of smugly constipated propriety, there has to be at least an effort to follow through on the core convictions. In liberalism, that means the rule of law as an enlightened means of accommodating conflicting needs, applied in an egalitarian manner, in which the judges themselves are judged according to how well they protect the most vulnerable. It is not rule enforced by whatever use of violence is expedient, with laws tacked on afterwards to justify it.

Today's dime's worth of difference is that might does indeed make right, provided that's not explained to the public by a fascist shit-flinging chimp.

Business as Usual: Israel Kills Palestinian Demonstrators

In Ni'lin, spontaneous demonstrations began the same day as the bombing, with a more organized vigil Saturday night. On Sunday, December 28, a small group of young Palestinian men, along with at least one Israeli activist, were fired upon by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition from less than 15 meters away. Arafat Khawaja, 22, was shot in the back. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Ramallah that afternoon. Mohammed Khawaja, 20, was shot in the forehead. He is currently brain-dead. Mohammed Hamid, 17, from Silwad, was also killed during a demonstration on Sunday.

Other good websites from Palestine:
Sameh Habeeb (who kept us and much of the world informed) from Gaza

From an ex-Int'l Solidarity Worker now in Gaza
Tales to Tell from Gaza 2009

GISHA: Israel Deliberately Withholding Supplies
Again, we see how despite promises to facilitate humanitarian aid...despite talk of ceasefire...the deliberate suffocation of Gaza continues. Here, a press release from GISHA-the Tel-Aviv based Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

Israel Is Preventing Repair of the Electrical, Water and Sewage Systems in Gaza

Policy of Deliberate Obstruction Continues Even After the Ceasefire:

* The amount of industrial diesel Israel has permitted to enter Gaza is just 64% of the total needed to operate the power station.

*Since the fighting ended, Israel has totally obstructed the transfer of vital spare parts needed to repair the electrical, water and sewage systems.

*As a result, 1/4 million people have been without electricity in Gaza for the past month; power outages span 16-18 hours a day for the others.

*More than 200,000 people have no access to running water; the rest get water for only a few hours every 2-5 days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 – Ten days after the ceasefire, and despite promises to permit humanitarian aid to reach Gaza residents, Israel is continuing its deliberate policy of restricting supply of industrial diesel and humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip.The policy, in place for the past 15 months, is preventing the supply of electricity to humanitarian facilities in Gaza.

As a result of the restrictions on the supply of industrial diesel and the mass devastation caused by the military operation, 1/4 million people have been entirely without electricity for over a month, and more than 200,000 people are denied access to running water. Those who receive electricity -- suffer power outages of 16-18 hours per day, on average.

Ihab Abu Zaiter, a 32-year-old father of three, living east of Jabaliya, whose home was partially destroyed in the bombings, has been living entirely without electricity for the past month:“We don't buy any food that requires refrigeration; it’s like living in the Middle Ages,” he said. “We light a fire inside the house in order to keep the children warm.This is a very cold month, and we can’t sleep without the fire, but I’m afraid that the rest of the house will catch fire or that the children will burn themselves.”

PTT Pride: Erdogan at World Economic Forum cites [PTT] Gilad Atzmon

Portion below; whole thing here:

At the moment, our Turkish translators in are getting a verbatim translation of the intervention, which we will post up here as soon as it is available, but in the meantime,

Here is a translation found here:

Moderator: There was a heated debate here. This is a discussion that can
last for hours. We are already out of time.
Erdogan: One minute.
Moderator: Mr. President, well, you know
Erdodan: One minute, one minute! No! One minute.
Moderator: Ok, but I want you not to speak more than one minute.
Erdogan: Mr. Peres, you are older than me. Your voice is very loud. I know that you are speaking aloud because of the requirement of a sense of guilt. My voice will not be that loud. About murdering, you know killing very well. I am well aware how you murdered children on beaches. Two former prime ministers of your country had important sayings to me. You have former prime ministers who say When I entered Palestine over armed combat cars, I consider myself more and more pleased. I can give their names, maybe some of you wonder. Besides, I condemn those of you who applaud this persecution. Because applauding these killers who murdered those children, who massacred those people is, I believe, also another crime committed against humanity. Look, we cannot disregard a reality here. Here, I jotted down a lot of notes, but I dont have time to answer all of them. But, I will say you only two things:
Moderator: Excuse me Prime Minister, we can't start the debate again.
Erdogan: Excuse me. First, excuse me, do NOT interrupt me! First, The Old Testament says in the 6th commandment: You shall not kill! But there is murder here. Second, this is also very interesting. Gilad Atzmon, a Jew himself, says: Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty. Besides, Avi Shlaim, Professor of Oxford who performed his military duty in Israeli army, says in the Guardian the following:
Moderator: Prime Minister, Prime Minister. I wanna ask to our host.
Erdogan: Israel became a gangster state. (to the moderator) I thank you, too. For me, Davos is done for me from now on. I will not come again. You all know this in this way. You are not letting us speak. (Showing Peres) He spoke for 25 minutes, but you let e speak 12 minutes. No way!


Well, we at PTT think several things must be said:
1) More leaders should have the courage to speak out about the atrocities and to isolate Israel from sitting on a stage and endorsing their violence, which has no justification. That Erdogan did this, (and used also as his source writing by one of our editors, Gilad Atzmon), can only encourage us in our belief that sooner or later even people responsible for the guiding of a country numbering almost 63 million people, will stand up to Israel and say enough is enough. We are waiting for other Leaders to follow, the ice has been broken.

2) To state the obvious is no longer verboten. Things have to be called with their names, a State that is a menace to humanity and violent beyond all decency MUST be denounced in the loudest terms possible. We can't walk on eggshells anymore. For a leader to express the thoughts of his people (finally) rather than to kowtow to some impossible situation of sitting on the fence (and Turkey in many ways is a nation that has a lot to answer for in past and recent atrocities, as well as its position of support for the invasion of Iraq) moves a step in the right direction. It is NOT in the interests of Turkey to acquiesce all horrors and violence just to stay in the club. It is sometimes BEST to walk off when you realise the platform is there to present a justification for what cannot be justified. We believe that this brave action, widely appreciated by millions, is the first of a series. Of the entire Davos Forum, this was the moment cited in the news.. It is food for thought.

3) NO normalisation with Israel until they accept the rules of International Law. Thank you PM Erdogan, for listening to us, for using our words, and for using that international platform for expressing the views that we know millions of humanitarian people hold. You are enabling all of us.

Palestine Think Tank

Friday, January 30, 2009

Palestinian Loss Of Land 1946-2000 -- Found on Deep In The Heart of Nowhere

Boycott Israel -- Mazin Qumsiyeh

Boycott Israel
Published in Global Agenda Magazine January 2006
Deleted article originally posted at
For media and Zionist reactions and censorship: click on The World Economics Forum Controversy

Global civil society ought to boycott Israel until it ends its apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians, says Mazin Qumsiyeh

Millions of activists have come to see an organic link between the
occupation and colonization of Palestine and diverse and pressing global issues ranging from the war on Iraq to global poverty. How did we reach a point where Palestinian flags dominate anti-war rallies and the demonstrations against US-dominated world financial institutions? Why do these activists see the hypocrisy of American foreign policy with regard to Israel/Palestine as the Achilles� heel that might allow a successful challenge to its hegemony? How did we get to the point where mainstream churches and more than 30 American campuses have active divestment and boycott campaigns against Israel? Why do the US and Israel stand isolated in international fora, and in public opinion around the world?

The roots of Zionism

To answer these questions, we must first understand the history of Zionism and the roots of the Israeli/Palestinian conundrum and then look to how we might advance towards a durable and just peace in Israel/Palestine, which is a key to peace and justice elsewhere.

In early 1840, the British imperial government hired Lieutenant-Colonel George Gawler, a founder of the British penal colonies in Australia, to look into the feasibility of Jewish colonization in Palestine. In 1845 Gawler published Tranquilization of Syria and the East: Observations and Practical Suggestions, in Furtherance of the Establishment of Jewish Colonies in Palestine, the Most Sober and Sensible Remedy for the Miseries of Asiatic Turkey. In 1852 British officials founded the Association for Promoting Jewish Settlement in Palestine. This society later evolved into the Palestine Fund, the first concrete modern Zionist project.

Pioneering Zionist colonies were first established in Palestine in the 1880s. The movement gained steam in 1896 with the publication of Die Judenstaat by Theodore Herzl, a Hungarian-Jewish journalist, and the formation of the World Zionist Organization. Today, Zionists shy away from the use of the term colonization but early Zionists like Herzl and Ze'ev Jabotinsky spoke openly of Jewish colonization. Jabotinsky, whose picture and philosophy dominate the ruling Likud party in Israel, had this to say in 1923: "Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population: an iron wall that the native population cannot break through."

Evolving methods

Zionists have been skilled at evolving their methods over the years. There were three important shifts in strategy since the movement began in the late nineteenth century. The first was a change in patronage. The shift from British to American protection was most noticeable between the 1930s and the 1960s. The second was the acceptance of Fatah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization as groups to negotiate with on establishing autonomy for Palestinian in the truncated areas of the West Bank and Gaza. The third strategic shift was the idea of a Palestinian statelet comprised of the disconnected ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza, not more than a fifth of historic Palestine, occupied by Israel in 1967, a la South African Bantustans.

Yet, despite these strategic shifts, today's Zionist programme is unwavering in its original goals, goals that are shared by all major factions in Israeli politics (Likud, Labour, Shas and other religious parties). Its consensual programme includes: the rejection of complete withdrawal from all areas illegally occupied in 1967; the rejection of refugees' right to return to their homes and lands; the rejection of concepts of full sovereignty or self-determination for Palestinians, and a refusal to change Israel's basic laws that discriminate against non-Jews.

Unchanging goal

Thus, while tactics may change, the goals of political Zionism are unchanging: demand for Jewish Zionist control and maximum land with minimum Palestinians (maximum geography with minimum demography). Between 1947 and 1949, this was accomplished by outright removal of 70% of the Palestinian natives in the area that was to become Israel by 1949. More than 530 Palestinian villages and towns were completely depopulated and erased off the face of the new Israeli map. Even Israeli Zionist historians like Benny Morris now acknowledge this.

According to most historians and declassified material, Israel initiated the 1967 war to acquire more land, some of it for bargaining and some for strategic and economic reasons. Immediately, a new phase of colonization was started in the occupied areas in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). A total of 450,000 colonial settlers have moved into these areas over the past 39 years (while 2% have been withdrawn from Gaza over the past year an additional 4% has been added in other areas).

American friends

Gatekeepers in the American media ensure that political Zionism is not questioned. The only debate allowed in pages of The New York Times or on major television broadcasts is between different brands and strategies of Zionism. On the other hand, we see literally millions of people in America and around the world, using the internet, reading between the lines, and questioning the Zionist narrative. We see thousands of Jews reach the same conclusion as Gilad Atzmon, the musican and writer, Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, and Jeff Halper, an Israeli anthopologist: that political Zionism is the problem. They articulate an optimistic post-Zionist discourse based on universal justice and human rights. They pose the question: If apartheid was the problem in South Africa, why is it a solution in Israel/Palestine?

Those who advocate political Zionism cannot defend it on its own merits so they focus instead on diverting attention and distorting reality. The best example of this is ignoring the cause of the disease and focusing attention to one of its many symptoms: violence of the natives against the colonial settlers (but not the vastly more deadly violence of the colonizers on native people). The idea is that if we vilify the natives and make them look subhuman, we will not be criticized for killing them and taking their lands.

This is an old strategy to justify the pillaging. It was used by the French government in Algeria, by European colonizers in the Americas, by apartheid South Africa, by the Americans in Vietnam, and in hundreds of other places were Western economic and colonial interests came in conflict with the rights of indigenous people.

Israeli apartheid

Zionism not only supposes that Jewish people (including converts) enjoy ethnic, national or historical rights to Palestine but that these rights are superior to the rights of the native population. Unlike South Africa where black labour was needed, Zionism wanted the natives out. Simply put, the goal of Zionism was to create a state by, for, and of "the Jewish people everywhere" to the exclusion of most of the native people and then ensure that the minority that remained at all odds is not treated equally.

Amnesty International reported: "In Israel several laws are explicitly discriminatory. These can be traced back to Israel's foundation in 1948 which, driven primarily by the racist genocide suffered by Jews in Europe during the Second World War, was based on the notion of a Jewish state for Jewish people. Some of Israel's laws reflect this principle and as a result discriminate against non-Jews, particularly Palestinians who had lived on the lands for generations. Various areas of Israeli law discriminate against Palestinians. The Law of Return, for instance, provides automatic Israeli citizenship for Jewish immigrants, whereas Palestinian refugees who were born and raised in what is now Israel are denied even the right to return home. Other statutes explicitly grant preferential treatment to Jewish citizens in education, public housing, health, and employment.

Zionism represented a colonial British venture later taken up as one of many possible responses to discrimination in Europe. Other responses to discrimination like socialism and humanism were indeed available and had at least equal strength. Zionism can be seen as 19th century-style chauvinistic, ethnocentric mostly Ashkenazi (central European) nationalism response to prevalent European chauvinistic ethnocentric nationalisms. It is in that sense an assimilation by some Jews to a now outdated European colonial period.

In this sense, it is not surprising that the Zionist lobby has been pushing the US to a neo-colonial era perpetuating these outmoded forms of human relations. In a society that values equality and separation of Church and state, a concerted media campaign justifies �preemptive� invading of other countries, religious apartheid, sectarianism, ethnic cleansing, and putting walls around ghettoized "undesired" people. Zionist apologists do not find it contradictory that they talk about equality in America and Europe but support discrimination and exclusion of Palestinian refugees (for being not Jewish) in Palestine/Israel. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by groups ranging from the Anti-Defamation League to the American Jewish Committee to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to "think tanks" in our nation's capital to promote bankrupt ideas.

The relentless efforts of many to defend apartheid and separation can only be described as symptoms of cognitive dissonance at best and racism at worse. In their Orwellian world, occupation becomes "security," a relentless war of colonization and occupation becomes "advancing democracy," a "peace process," an apartheid wall becomes a "security fence," being anti- or post-Zionist is morphed into being anti-Jewish, and "moderation" becomes a code word for shredding international law and basic human rights.

Our demands

In July 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a historic document. It articulated Israel�s persistent violations of international and humanitarian laws and conventions and called upon �international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.�

The call stated that "these non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194."

We propose that global civil society take this call seriously and build a coalition open to all people for a global Movement Against Zionism or a global Movement Against Israeli Apartheid. This would have merit on its own for bringing peace with justice to all people regardless of their religion or ethnicity. It would also be a significant contribution to exposing American government-led programs of domination and hegemony in the Middle East, most aptly exposed by its support of Zionism.

Iraq Unveils Statue Dedicated to Man Who Threw Shoe at President Bush

A statue dedicated to the man who threw his shoes at President Bush has been erected in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Many Iraqis considered it poetic justice when a journalist tossed his shoes at President George W. Bush last month.

Now the bizarre attack has spawned a real life work of art.

A sofa-sized statue of the shoe was unveiled Thursday in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described the fiberglass-and-copper work as a tribute to the pride of the Iraqi people.

The statue is inscribed with a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who stunned the world when he whipped off his loafers and hurled them at Bush during a press conference on Dec. 14.

In the Arab world, even showing someone the sole of a shoe is considered a sign of disrespect.

Al-Zeidi was charged with assaulting a foreign leader, but his lawyer is asking prosecutors to reduce the charges. The trial has been delayed.

The shoe attack spawned a flood of Web quips, satire and even street rallies across the Arab world, where Bush is widely reviled for starting the war in Iraq and backing Israel against the Palestinians.

A Turkish shoemaking company also claimed its sales skyrocketed after some reports said it made the shoes that al-Zeidi tossed at Bush.

How to Kill A Palestinian -- Dr. Elias Akleh

After reporting on the brutality of the military onslaught in Gaza which the Israeli army boasted of on television, Dr. Elias Akleh outlines some of the extremist rhetoric heard in Israel. As Americans, we often hear of extremism aimed at us from Muslims, but we should also be aware of the (hopefully small) affect the ideas below are having on Israeli public opinion. Linda

Portion below, whole thing here:

One cannot help but wonder how could a group of people, who claim to be the victims of a holocaust, commit another holocaust against another nation. What is it that feeds, perpetuates and intensifies this Judaic genocidal spirit although all Arabs, including Palestinians, had offered these Zionist Jews many agreements of coexistence, peace and security? The answer comes through their media outlets, through the words of their scholarly educators, and through the teachings of their Rabbis.

“All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts” cries the religious opinion of Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, the director of the long-established Tsomet Religious Institute. He wrote that Palestinians are like the nation of Amalekites, who attacked the Israelite tribes led by Moses on their way to Jerusalem. He stated that the Lord sent down in the Torah a ruling that allowed the Jews to kill the Amalekites, and that this ruling is known in Jewish jurisprudence.

The Torah states: “Annihilate the Amalekites from the beginning to the end. Kill them and wrest them from their possessions. Show them no mercy. Kill continuously, one after the other. Leave no child, plant, or tree. Kill their beasts, from camels to donkeys.” Rosen stated that Amalekites are not a particular race, but rather all those who hate and oppose the Jews; Christians and Muslims.

Many leading Israeli Rabbis support Rosen’s views. Israel’s former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu advocated carpet bombing of Gaza stating that “there is absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during massive military offensive on Gaza” (The Jerusalem Post, 30 May, 2007). His son Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu amplified his father’s genocidal call stating: “if they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, then we must kill 10,000 and even a million”

Many Rabbis had argued that Palestinians in Gaza are not innocent civilians and that during war time it is not individuals but nations the Israelis are fighting. (It seems that Hitler had adopted this Telmudic teaching when he persecuted all European Jews)

Israeli educators, scholars, and politicians, openly, advocate the annihilation of all Palestinians. Dr. Nachum Rakover, a legal scholar, opined “They voted for killers and sent them to kill us. To call them (civilians) innocent is a tragic comedy… civilians are partners of the killers” Eli Yeshai, Israeli official in the Orthodox Shas party argued that “extermination of the enemy is sanctioned by the Torah” Many other politicians called for the need for “wiping off Gaza from the face of earth”, and “annihilating of every moving thing there.” The right-wing Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman proposed nuking Gaza following the US example when it dropped the atomic bomb on Japan during WWII.

This “ideology of annihilation” is by no means a minority opinion in Israel, but represents a mainstream in the Jews of Israel as well as Jews in the West (US). The popular attitude is “if it was right by God to order us to commit genocide during Biblical time, why can’t it be right to commit genocide now. Has God changed his mind?” Indeed Judaic god is a racist genocidal god.

Watch and listen here to an example of how Israeli Jews are brainwashed and indoctrinated into the ideology of annihilation by their rabbis and scholars through Israeli media. Watch Max Blumenthal’s videotape of a group of messianic Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch exhibit this ideology in NYC in January 11, 2009.

The Israeli spokesman, Nachman Abramovic demonized Palestinian children stating “They may look young to you, but these people are terrorists at heart. Don’t look at their deceptively innocent faces, try to think of the demons inside each of them … I am absolutely certain these people would grow to be evil terrorists if we allowed them to grow… would you allow them to grow to kill your children or finish them off right now? … honost and moral people ought to differentiate between true humans and human animals. We do kill human animals and we do so unapologetically. Besides who in the West is in a position to lecture us on killing human animals. After all, whose hands are clean?”

Human animal mentioned by Abramovic refers to the Judaic religious belief that Jews are Gods chosen people; the elite and the pure-blooded, while all others (non-Jews, Goyims, gentiles) are animal souls incarnated into human bodies to serve the Jews. Killing a human animal is just a sport like hunting deer or birds.

Another Israeli spokeswoman, Tzipora Menache, stated that she was not worried about negative ramifications the Israeli onslaught on Gaza might have on the way the Obama administration would view Israel. She said “You know very well, and the stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House. You see, I know it and you know it that no American president can be in a position to challenge us even if we do the unthinkable. What can they (Americans) do to us? We control congress, we control the media, we control show biz, and we control everything in America. In America you can criticize God, but you can’t criticize Israel”


By Dr. Elias Akleh (Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer of Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala. Currently he lives in the US.)

Saturday: All Out for Gaza! Westlake at Noon & UW at 7 PM

Come join us to protest the Israeli war crimes in Gaza!

Over 1400 killed....

Over 6000 injured......

Over 4500 homes destroyed.....

Over 20000 Thousand people made homeless....

1.5 Million people STILL under SIEGE!!

What: Protest to Save Gaza

When: Saturday Jan 31, Noon - 2:30PM

Where: Westlake Center on 4th & Pine.


"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"

Thanks to Rana for the tip on location change!

Students for Justice in Palestine, UW present

Hip Hop Video

Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians
living in the West Bank and Gaza

Saturday January 31
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
Ethnic Cultural Center

Contact Info

French People Focus Minds of Their Politicians! Millions in Streets!

"Sarkozy gives money to the people who created this crisis, but what about the man in the street?" shouted Antoine Laurent, 20, a history student at the Sorbonne University.

Behind him a group chanted: "Stop the sackings, it's not up to workers to pay for bankers."

Link to original (via Citizens for Legitimate government):

The streets filled with flag-waving protesters and in Paris protesters clashed with police, throwing bottles, overturning cars and starting a fire in the street.

Labour leaders hailed the strikes and rallies, which marked the first time France's eight union federations had joined forces against the government since Sarkozy took office in 2007.

"This is one of the biggest days of worker action in the past 20 years," said Francois Chereque, head of the large, moderate CFDT group.

Unions said 2.5 million people took part in dozens of rallies across France, including 300,000 in Paris. Police put the figure at just over a million nationwide.

Full-blooded chants echoed out across the Place de la Bastille in Paris, with the symbol of the French Revolution at the centre of a day of anti-government demonstrations.

Although the interior ministry said that the protesters numbered just over one million, they were the biggest since Mr Sarkozy came to power in 2007 and on a par with the last huge demonstration, in March 2006, which hastened the exit of the prime minister of the time, Dominique de Villepin.

In the Place de la Bastille, booming megaphones mingled with French rock music and barbecue smoke as an ocean of protesters from the public and private sector marched to call on President Sarkozy to do more to protect jobs and wages, and change tack in fighting the economic crisis.

"Sarkozy gives money to the people who created this crisis, but what about the man in the street?" shouted Antoine Laurent, 20, a history student at the Sorbonne University.

Behind him a group chanted: "Stop the sackings, it's not up to workers to pay for bankers."

One banner read: "360 billion euros for banks, and we are keeling over."

Another read: "Hey Sarkozy, now can you see the strike!" This was an allusion to the French president's famous claim last year: "Now when people go on strike, nobody notices."

After a day of peaceful protests, violence erupted on the fringes of the Paris protest. Dozens of young men wearing scarves across their face were charged down by riot police after throwing stones and bottles, tearing up manhole covers and lighting fires in the Opera district.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

(US) NATO High Commander Issues Illegitimate Order to Kill

Portion below; whole thing (via Citizens for Legitimate government) here:,1518,604183,00.html

The approach to combatting the drug mafia in Afghanistan has spurred an open rift inside NATO. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, top NATO commander John Craddock wants the alliance to kill opium dealers, without proof of connection to the insurgency. NATO commanders, however, do not want to follow the order.

A dispute has emerged among NATO High Command in Afghanistan regarding the conditions under which alliance troops can use deadly violence against those identified as insurgents. In a classified document, which SPIEGEL has obtained, NATO's top commander, US General John Craddock, has issued a "guidance" providing NATO troops with the authority "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan."

According to the document, deadly force is to be used even in those cases where there is no proof that suspects are actively engaged in the armed resistance against the Afghanistan government or against Western troops. It is "no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective," Craddock writes.

The NATO commander has long been frustrated by the reluctance of some NATO member states -- particularly Germany -- to take aggressive action against those involved in the drug trade. Craddock rationalizes his directive by writing that the alliance "has decided that (drug traffickers and narcotics facilities) are inextricably linked to the Opposing Military Forces, and thus may be attacked." In the document, Craddock writes that the directive is the result of an October 2008 meeting of NATO defense ministers in which it was agreed that NATO soldiers in Afghanistan may attack opium traffickers.

The directive was sent on Jan. 5 to Egon Ramms, the German leader at NATO Command in Brunssum, Netherlands, which is currently in charge of the NATO ISAF mission, as well as David McKiernan, the commander of the ISAF peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Neither want to follow it. Both consider the order to be illegitimate and believe it violates both ISAF rules of engagement and international law, the "Law of Armed Conflict."

A classified letter issued by McKiernan's Kabul office in response claims that Craddock is trying to create a "new category" in the rules of engagement for dealing with opposing forces that would "seriously undermine the commitment ISAF has made to the Afghan people and the international community ... to restrain our use of force and avoid civilian casualties to the greatest degree predictable."

A value equivalent to 50 percent of Afghanistan's gross national product is generated through the production and trade of opium and the heroin that is derived from it. Of those earnings, at least $100 million flows each year to the Taliban and its allies, which is used to purchase weapons and pay fighters. That, at least, is the estimate given by Antonio Maria Costas, head of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime.

But the chain of people profiting from the drug trade goes a lot further -- reaching day laborers in the fields, drug laboratory workers and going all the way up to police stations, provincial governments and high-level government circles that include some with close proximity to President Hamid Karzai. If Craddock's order were to go into effect, it would lead to the addition of thousands of Afghans to the description of so-called "legitimate military targets" and could also land them on so-called targeting lists.

Were chickens firing rockets? -- Sameh Habeeb




Israel's devastating war on Gaza claimed the lives of more than 1,335 persons and left at least 5,500 other wounded. In addition tens of thousands of utilities, houses, businesses, and factories were partially or totally destroyed. The war caused psychological damage for thousands of people especially children. I reported on the war daily and my focus was on the human toll. However, I recently came across a story that changed my focus completely a revealed to me the true nature of Israel's soldiers and their intent in invading Gaza.

Since the ceasefire was enacted, I have toured throughout Gaza to document some stories and accounts. Although I wrote many articles, I decided to focus on the untold stories of the war: the brutal massacre of thousands of chickens.

On 5 January, many Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers advanced into the al-Zeitoun neighborhood south east of Gaza City. In this area, called al-Samouni, Israel killed 49 members of the Samouni family, after soldiers ordered them to gather into a single home, which was shelled several hours later.

A number of chicken farms are located only a few meters away from the Samouni house. These farms came under fire by Israeli forces and were totally bulldozed. Thousands of chickens were caught in their sheds, as the bulldozing destroyed their cages. Some died immediately, others slowly without food or water for four days.

Abu Ahmed al-Sawafari, an owner of a chicken farms owners, was sitting amidst the rubble of his destroyed farm. He explained that "I have been working on that profession for long years. I have been growing my business by all efforts. Israelis came then left causing an earthquake in the area. They have killed these chickens, they are equal to human souls. They were suffocated and died due to hunger. I wonder why the Israelis killed these chickens? Were they firing rockets into Israel?"

I continued touring farms in the area where the smell of death filled the air. Surviving chickens roamed around surrounded by thousands of their dead kin. It was an overwhelming scene leaving one to ask only: why?

If this question was directed to the Israeli army their response would be swift and predictable. They would likely contend that "rockets" were being fired from the farms, or that there were Palestinian resistance fighters in the area. However, unless the Israeli army is prepared to claim that these chickens were resistance fighters or were firing rockets nothing can explain why the self-proclaimed "world's most moral army" would engage in the wholesale slaughter of civilians and chickens alike.

Sameh A. Habeeb is a photojournalist, humanitarian and peace
activist based in Gaza, Palestine. He writes for several news websites on a freelance basis.

Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
Daily Photos:http://picasaweb.

Slingshot Hip Hop -- UW Students for Justice in Palestine

Slingshot Hip Hop Video
Saturday January 31
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Ethnic Cultural Theater (ECT), University of Washington, Seattle Campus

Slingshot Hip Hop Video

Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians
living in the West Bank and Gaza

Saturday January 31
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
Room T439, Magnuson Health Sciences Center

1925 NE Pacific St, Seattle, WA 98195
Contact Info

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why the BBC Denied Gaza's Suffering

Original link:
'What impartiality requires is not that everyone receive equal treatment, but rather that everyone be treated as an equal.’ Ronald Dworkin Taking Rights Seriously. Harvard University Press. 1977, p. 227).

BBC director general Mark Thomson can not screen footage of Palestinian suffering in Gaza without compromising his cooperation’s impartiality. At the heart of his obfuscation lays a belief that Palestinian pain is not an objective reality. It is, at best, a subjective possibility, one loaded with the potential to burst into a subversive, destabilizing force.

For activists and supporters who are frequently asked why they devote more energy to Palestine than Darfur or the Congo (the implication being of course that they are anti-Semites) Mark Thomson provides the most succinct answer. For Thomson has no problem whatsoever screening Disaster Emergency Committee films on behalf of Darfur and the Congo. The suffering endured by people in these regions is endorsed by the BBC as a universally acknowledged fact. Screening footage of the humanitarian disaster in Palestine though, sabotages Sky and the BBC’s obligation to be ‘balanced.’ If this was indeed a war, and not genocidal attack, then the BBC could counter their depictions of carnage in Gaza with images of the horrors endured in Sderot. But this is of course impossible. The visual impact of a damaged kitchen doesn’t quite cut it next to the apocalyptic hell hole that is Gaza.

Problematically, for a Zionist broadcaster who wants to appear ‘fair’, the humanitarian appeal does not come across as 'balanced' because the conflict is not 'balanced'. Again, the Palestinians are collectively punished for this annoying glitch in egalitarian reporting. Rather than responsibly portray a reality that inevitably induces a condemnation of Israel, these corporations re-brand Palestinian reality as’ journalistic bias.'

Thus, the BBC’s refusal to air this film suggests that Palestinian suffering is itself a form of propaganda. Through the lens of the BBC, the screams of kids riddled with phosphorus become anti Israeli screams. The piles of burning concrete become anti-Semitic piles of burning concrete. The howls of grief are Islamist and undemocratic. The lives of children snubbed out in an instant by Israeli bombs may have grown into adults who failed to recognize Israel’s right to exist; that is if Israel had not had the foresight to violate their right to grow up.

Perhaps the most menacing aspect of this tragic debacle is Mark Thomson himself. A quick bit of research online ploughs up a surfeit of information proving the man is far from 'impartial'. His Jewish wife, the scholar Jane Blumfeild, hails from an American family that attends Yeshivas. Evidence suggests that she recently signed a petition campaigning against the anti-Israeli content of the Washington Post. In 2005 she traveled together with her husband to Jerusalem to engage in talks with Ariel Sharon in an attempt to build bridges between the BBC and Israel. According to the Independent , this was an unprecedented gesture by any serving BBC director general. 'He has a far greater regard for the Israeli cause than some of his predecessors’ a BBC source said. All in all, it is infuriatingly impossible to imagine the reverse; a BBC director general married to a woman from a Wahabi background who petitions news organizations to write pro-Palestinian copy and visits Khaled Meshaal in an attempt to help him out with his PR.

The implausible tone of this scenario betrays the catastrophic reality behind Sky and the BBC's position. It is very clear that, as much as these media institutions champion their Voltaire-esque spiel about covering both sides of every story, at the end of the day their 'objectivity' is merely Israeli objectivity.

Gerard Kaufman MP elaborates Probably the (BBC's) attitude has been: 'Oh this is just too much trouble and it's too much trouble because of the pressure of the Israelis. This very active and not very pleasant Israeli diplomatic representation in Britain’.

With over a million people dependent on aid to survive, the decisions of both corporations, continues the legacy of pathological barbarism carried out by the Jewish state. The Jerusalem Post and some other editorials go slightly further and refer to the DEC film as an 'advert' as if just trying to save lives were a sales tactic. Thankfully ordinary human beings are finally able to see through their transparent rhetoric and are doing to their TV licenses what Israel did to Gaza, burning them into obliteration.

IAEA Chief Shuns BBC over Gaza Aid Appeal Ban

The head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency Mohamed ElBaradei spurred an interview request by the BBC in protest over the networks refusal to air an appeal for emergency aid to Gaza, the IAEA said Wednesday.

“He was so disturbed by the management’s decision not to air this humanitarian appeal that he decided to cancel the interviews and to not take part and also to make this publicly known,” Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, told

The BBC and Sky news, Britain’s only 24-hour news station, both refused to aid the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 13 respected charities that work in the most conflict-ridden areas in the world.

Three commercially owned terrestrial stations, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 aired the appeal Monday night and by Tuesday donations to DEC had doubled to more than £1 million.

Fleming said ElBaradei had seen the three-minute video, which shows images of destitute Palestinian women and children weeping while rummaging for food and shelter amid the rubble caused by Israel’s 22-day offensive on the Strip. It does not blame Israel or any other party for the devastation that left at least 412 children dead and 1,855 injured.

She said the chief had made his decision to cancel the scheduled interview before seeing the video but having heard the controversy, and that he had since viewed the appeal “which just solidified his decision.”

“He just believes when human beings are victims of any conflict that they should be able to receive humanitarian assistance and by airing such appeals you’re not making any statement about who was right and who was wrong,” said Fleming.

The Egyptian-born ElBaradei won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work at the IAEA and is to step down in November after three terms.

Media activists, religious groups and humanitarian campaigners around the world have condemned the refusal by the publicly-funded BBC not to broadcast the charity appeal for emergency funds for the people of Gaza over objectivity concerns.

Protests were held outside the BBC’s offices in London and the Archbishops of the Church of England, government ministers, opposition spokesmen and more than 11,000 viewers and 50 lawmakers have called for the BBC to reconsider its decision.

(; courtney C. Radsch)

Gazan Children Denied Treatment Abroad -- Jonathan Cok

JERUSALEM // For four days running, an ambulance has driven 15-year-old Amira Ghirim from Shifa Hospital in Gaza to the Rafah border in the hope that she will be allowed to cross into Egypt and then on to France, where she has been promised emergency surgery.

Amira’s left arm and thigh were crushed and her internal organs damaged by falling rubble when a shell hit her home in the Tel al Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza City in the final days of Israel’s offensive. The attack killed her father, brother and sister, leaving her an orphan.

But, despite her urgent need for surgery, Amira has been turned away at the border each time, said her aunt, Mona Ghirim. “Each morning we arrived at the crossing and the Egyptian soldiers cursed us and told us to go away.”

Ms Ghirim said Amira’s condition has been deteriorating because of the long periods out of hospital. Yesterday, after hearing news that the border would remain shut, they decided to abandon the journey. “She is very ill and these futile trips are not helping.”

Amira is one of four children who have been offered potentially life-saving surgery by a team of doctors in France. But she and the other children appear to be victims of a bureaucratic wrangle involving the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Egypt.

Mohammed Salem, the head of a medical group based in France known as Pal Med, was among the doctors accompanying the children through the crossing last Friday. He said the doctors had been allowed through, but the ambulances carrying the children were blocked. When the doctors tried to return, they were denied entry into Gaza.

“We do not know why the children were refused,” he said. “We had organised all the relevant papers and documents. We were told once we passed through Rafah that the ambulance carrying the children would be allowed to follow.”

The reason appears to be a sudden change of policy by the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah, which issued a statement the day before the four children tried to leave Gaza saying that it believed there was “no more reason to refer any more children for treatment abroad”.

Nearly 1,300 Palestinians were killed and a further 5,300 injured during Israel’s 22-day attack on Gaza.

In the days immediately after Israel’s declaration of a ceasefire on Jan 18, hundreds of seriously wounded Gazans were transferred through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Many are being treated in Egyptian hospitals, and others have been sent abroad.

But in recent cases, Egyptian officials appear to have preferred to abide by the wishes of the Palestinian health ministry than create diplomatic friction.

Two of the four children, Hazem Abu Odeh, 12, and Iman Khadum, nine, need surgery to stop bleeding from their kidneys.

The fourth, Alla Abu Dagan, 16, suffered multiple fractures and abdominal wounds from a shell blast.

A diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Amira and the other children had probably been caught in a political row resulting from the split between the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, and the Hamas government in Gaza.

“The PA wants to show it is exercising authority in Gaza, too. It is using its control over the international medical aid reaching Gaza as a way to show it is in charge and making things happen,” the source said.

The Palestinian health ministry was unavailable for comment.

Ms Ghirim said her niece had been through a terrible trauma. “After the house was shelled, she crawled out of the building to get help, but found the street deserted. She slept out in the open and told me she could hear the voices of soldiers speaking Hebrew all night.

“In the morning she crawled 500 metres to another house to hide. She stayed there until she was eventually found when the owner returned home. He said she was in a shocking condition, covered in blood and dust.”

International medical organisations have been carrying out their own assessments of conditions inside Gaza over the past few days. The World Health Organization is due to issue a report in the coming days.

A team of 12 Israeli Arab doctors from Physicians for Human Rights returned on Sunday. They warned that Gaza’s health care system had been stretched to its very limits and that wounded patients were at risk of dying.

Riyad Haddad, a surgeon at the Carmiel Medical Centre in Haifa, said: “There has been a lot of medical aid, but the treatment doctors are able to offer has been severely compromised by Gaza’s many months of being cut off from the rest of the world.”

He said technicians lacked training to operate modern hospital equipment, doctors had not attended medical seminars on the latest developments in their fields, and there was a severe shortage of trained nursing teams.

He also said that Gaza lacked the psychologists needed to deal with the vast scale of mental trauma inflicted on the population.

Of the thousands of injured, more than 600 would be left with permanent disabilities, he said. “Gaza badly needs proper rehabilitation centres to cope with that number of disabled.”

Dr Haddad said many of Gaza’s doctors he spoke with had reported unusual and difficult-to-treat injuries that appeared to be the result of Israel using experimental weapons during the offensive.

He also warned that unexploded ordnance was already claiming the lives of children, who were playing with munitions lying among the rubble. Last weekend the International Committee of the Red Cross said unexploded ordnance posed a “major new danger” to the civilian population.

Gaza may yet face major epidemics such as cholera that could claim many more lives, Dr Haddad said. “Although most of the bodies have been recovered from the rubble, you can see and smell that there are dead animals – sheep, goats, dogs and cats – everywhere.”

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Israel Attemting to Rid the World of Antisemitism -- Mr. Fish

via Palestinian Think Tank

LA Jews Shut Down Israeli Consulate to Protest Siege on Gaza: jan 14 2009!!!

Anarchists Against the Wall -- in Seattle, Feb. 11

Shachaf Polokow
Speaks in Seattle

An Israeli member of Anarchists Against the Wall, Schachaf will talk about the work of that group and his experiences in solidarity with Palestinians in Nilin and other villages in the West Bank

When: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Where: Friends Center, Social Hall 4001 9th Ave.

Doors open at 6:30 to socialize and share snacks and sweets with Schachaf
Donation $10.00 or what you can afford

This Is a fundraising event to raise money to support the work of AATW and to help meet legal costs for both Palestinians and Israelis arrested in the course of non-violent protests against the Separation wall being built on Palestinian land.

We believe that our participation as Israelis has significantly contributed to the viability of the popular resistance by reducing the amount of violence the Israeli army uses. As violent as the repression currently is, there is no doubt that it would have been far worse if not for the presence of Israelis at the demonstrations. AATW

Sponsors: American Friends Service Committee, American Jews for a Just Peace-Seattle, Palestinian Solidarity Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine.Jewish Voice for Peace-Seattle, International Socialist Organization-Seattle,

For more information: Judith Kolokoff 206-282-8023

Rabbi told Israeli Troops 'to Show No Mercy' in Gaza

JERUSALEM (AFP) – An Israeli human rights group on Monday called for the immediate dismissal of the chief military rabbi, claiming he gave soldiers fighting in Gaza pamphlets urging them to show no mercy.

Yesh Din said it had written to both Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, urging them to "take this incitement seriously and fire Chief Military Rabbi" Brigadier General Avi Ronzki.

It said a pamphlet distributed to soldiers taking part in Operation Cast Lead stressed that the troops should show no mercy to their enemies, and that the pamphlet borders "on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people."

"When you show mercy to a cruel enemy you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers," Yesh Din quoted the pamphlet as saying.

It said the pamphlet quotes at length statements by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a spiritual leader of the Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank who opposes any compromise with Palestinians.

"The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country," the pamphlet quoted Aviner as saying.

The rights group said the pamphlet contains "degrading and belittling messages that border on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people. These messages can be interpreted as a call to act outside of the confines of international laws of war."

The Haaretz newspaper reported on Monday that far right-wing groups also gave out pamphlets bearing racist messages on military bases.

It said one urged soldiers to "spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us..."

"Kill the one who comes to kill you. As for the population, it is not innocent," the daily quoted the pamphlet as saying.

Jan. 25th "die-in" to End Gaza Siege -- Seattle Pike Place Market

In Gaza, Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War-Vittorio Arrigoni

Sadly it looks like Vittorio is right in the story below that the EU is holding up aid until Abbas controls gaza.
For the living, no truce can make up for the daily battle for survival. They have no running water, gas, electrical power, and no bread and milk to feed their children. Thousands of people have lost their homes. Humanitarian aid seeps through the passes in drips and drabs, and you get the feeling that the benevolence of the killers' accomplices is only temporary. Tomorrow, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's Secretary General will travel to Gaza, and we're pretty sure that John Ging, Chief of the Palestinian Refugees' Agency, will have many stories to tell him after Israel bombed two UN schools, assassinated 4 of their workers, bombed and destroyed the UNRWA centre in Gaza City (which reduced tons of medicine and food supplies destined for the civilian population to ashes).

Gaza's mountains of rubble continue to spit corpses back up to the surface. Yesterday, between Jabalia, Tal el Hawa in Gaza City and Zaitun, the Red Crescent paramedics, with some help from the ISM volunteers, have pulled out 95 corpses from the ruins, many of which are in an advanced state of decay. Walking through the streets of the city and no longer feeling constantly terrified by the thought of a bomb surgically aimed to decapitate me, I still tremble at the sight of stray dogs gathering in a circle, imagining what could reveal itself before my eyes as their meal. The relieved men go back to hang out in their mosques and cafés, but their attitude of feigned normalcy is easy to detect. Many of them have lost a relative or have nowhere to live.

They pretend to go back to their everyday routine to boost their wives and children's spirits – somehow, even this catastrophe must be dealt with. This morning we drove with some ambulances to the most devastated neighbourhoods in the city, Tal el Hawa and Zaitun. Questionnaire in hand, we went door to door and compiled a list of the damage suffered by the buildings , and wrote down the families' most urgent requirements: medicine for the elderly and sick, rice, oil and flour, basically the essentials to feed themselves. All that we've been able to give them so far are metres of nylon, to be used in lieu of their shattered windowpanes to block out the cold.

ISM colleagues in Rafah informed me that the municipality has handed out a few thousand dollars – mere pennies – to the families who've had their houses completely razed to the ground by the bombs, the very same that according to Israel, had been dropped to destroy the tunnels. After the end of the conflict with Lebanon, Hezbollah donated millions of dollars in cheques, to refund the homeless Lebanese citizens. In Gaza, under siege and embargo, Hamas is barely able to refund its people with what "will scarcely be enough to rebuild a barn for livestock", says Khaled, a Rafah farmer.

The truce is unilateral, hence Israel unilaterally decides not to respect it. Khan Yunos, a Palestinian boy, was killed yesterday, and another was injured. East of Gaza helicopters have showered a residential area with white phosphorous. The same happened in Jabalia. In Khann Younis today, the war ships fired their cannons at an open plain, thankfully without harming anyone. But while I write, the news of storming tanks has just reached me. We're not aware of any Palestinian rockets having been fired in the last 24 hours...

International journalists are clamouring for news all along the Strip, as they only managed to get in today. Israel granted them a pass only now that the massacre is winding down. Those who got here in the thick of the battle have seriously risked being killed, as I was told by Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Corriere della Sera. Israeli soldiers shot potholes into the car that he was traveling in . Standing by the blackened skeleton of what remains of Al Quds hospital in Gaza City, an astonished BBC reporter asked me how the army could possibly have swapped the building for a terrorists' den.

I said: "For the very same reason that children running away from a burning building were put in sight of the snipers on the roofs, who don't hesitate to kill them, spreading their grey matter all over the road", to which the journalist furrowed his brow further. The enormous difference between us eye-witnesses and first-hand victims of the massacre, and those who hear about it through our stories, is now further highlighted. From Rome I'm told that the EU intends to freeze the funds assigned for the reconstruction of Gaza as long as it's governed by Hamas. The European Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, has made her point clear on this score. "The aid for the reconstruction of the Strip", stated the European diplomat, "will only arrive if Palestinian President Abu Mazen will once again re-establish his authority over the territory."

For Gaza's Palestinians this is an explicit invitation from the outside to engage in civil war, or in a coup d'état. It's equivalent to legitimising the massacre of 410 children, who died because their parents chose democracy and freely elected Hamas. "The EU is diligently echoing the criminal policy of collective punishment imposed by Israel. Why not entrust the funds to the UN? Or some governmental organisation?" "The Unites States are free to elect a war-monger like Bush, Israel can choose leaders with bloodied hands like Sharon or Netanyahu, but we, the people of Gaza, aren't free to chose Hamas…", suggested Mohamed, a human rights activist who never voted for the Islamic movement himself. I have no arguments to contradict him.

The surviving Palestinians learn from their dead; they learn to live while dying, right from the tenderest age. Truce after truce, the general perception here is that of a macabre pause between one massacre and another during which to count the dead, and peace has never felt so elusive. Scouring Gaza City on board an ambulance with the siren switched off for once, the war is still everywhere, among the ruins of a city robbed of its smiles and now populated only by frightened gazes, eyes that insist upon scanning the sky for planes still endlessly flying overhead. Inside a home we visited with some paramedics, I noticed some pastel drawings on the floor. It was clearly a child's hand that had abandoned them after evacuating the house in a mad rush. I picked one of them up – tanks, helicopters and a body in pieces. In the middle of the drawing a child with a stone had succeeded in reaching the sun's height and was damaging one of the flying death machines. It's been said that in a child's drawing, the sun represents his desire to be, to appear. The sun I saw was crying tears of blood in red pastel. Is a unilateral truce enough to heal such traumas?

Stay human
Vittorio Arrigoni

Monday, January 26, 2009

CBS's Bob Simon on the Israeli Occupation -- He Deserves A Peace Prize for Truthtelling

Hamas offers year-long truce with Israel -- Press TV

Hamas offers a year-long truce with Israel and opening of the crossings into the Gaza Strip through indirect talks mediated with Egypt. Link
An official from the movement said on Monday that Hamas accepts a one-year truce "with guarantees that Israel shows commitment to lift the siege and completely reopen crossings", Xinhua reported.

A delegation from Hamas is currently holding truce talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials over an 18-month Israeli blockade of Gaza, a ceasefire and an exchange of prisoners with Israel.

Ayman Taha, a Hamas negotiator, said on Monday that Tel Aviv is considering the opening of the Gaza crossings as well as releasing 1,000 prisoners in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

"Israel hinted it might accept an 18-month truce with Hamas for reopening Gaza crossings and partially lift the blockade and not completely, but Hamas rejects it," Taha told reporters in Cairo and insisted that "the siege should be completely lifted."

Egypt brokered a six-month ceasefire that ended on Dec. 19, just one week before Israel launched its 23-day military incursion into the Gaza Strip.

Hamas did not accept the truce because Israel kept the blockade on Gaza.

Israel unleashed Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, allegedly to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,330 Palestinians died during the offensive, while some 5,450 others were reported wounded.


Count of views : 665

26 Jan: Will there be time to recover? Tales to Tell from Gaza

Punk's Not Dead and Neither is Gaza

Portion below; whole thing here:

Back in Gaza city late last night, we met by the sea to welcome back A, who returned through the Rafah border the day before, after his kidnap off a Gaza fishing boat by Israel late last year. It was hard to give him much of a festive welcome with the stories we had to tell.

Mo spoke of the Al Fukhary area, near his home, where due to lack of electricity for radios or phones, no-one had heard a thing about the danger of the phosphorous bombs, and thought they were just fireworks. Many people went out to see what they were, and received serious burns. C said that doctors treating phosphorous burns have been burnt themselves, she had unconfirmed reports that some even needed finger amputations.

And so many more stories, even just one or two steps from me.

Jilal, from Jabalia Red Crescent, who - like so many, many men - worked for ten years to afford his house, now destroyed.

Majed, my nurse friend from Al Awda hospital, whose aunt is in hospital with a fractured leg; her house fell on her.

Dr Halid’s wife and two little daughters, alone in their small tin-roofed house in Magazi refugee camp while he was cut off from them in Gaza city. They sheltered in the room they thought safest, but it was struck by a rocket. They moved to another room, it was struck by a second rocket. A final rocket struck the third room they tried. Now the family is living with Dr H’s father.

Basma from the UHWC, who tells me about the family that called her, crying, to say they had no home and no possessions and were going to have to sleep on the street that night.

Hamse, our 21 year old security guard with whom all the other internationals (who are not so stroppy about police guards as I am) made friends. He survived the first day attacks that killed so many police, but was killed later. He leaves a 5 month old daughter.

Dr Waleed, Medical Director Al Quds Hospital; his friend has a leg amputation with continuing complications. She woke in the night with the feeling she should move her family out of the room they were in. After shifting them, she went back there herself and the room was hit.

V interviewed Dalal, the 12 year old whose entire family died while she was with her grandma. Her house is destroyed, all that is left her is her cat.

And Amira, who crawled, injured, to the house of my friend Haider Eid ’s cousin. Haider wrote about her on Electronic Intifada:

14-year old Amira Qirm, whose house in Gaza City was shelled with artillery and phosphorous bombs - bombs which burnt to death 3 members of her immediate family: her father, her 12-year-old brother, Ala’a, and her 11-year old sister, Ismat. Alone, injured and terrified, Amira crawled 500m on her knees to a house close by – it was empty because the family had fled when the Israeli attack began. She stayed there for 4 days, surviving only on water, and listening to the sounds of the Israeli killing machine all around her, too afraid to cry out in pain in case the soldiers heard her. When the owner of the house returned to get clothes for his family, he found Amira, weak and close to death.