Tuesday 30 December 2008

Occupation 101

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict -- 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.

The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The roots of the conflict are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

The film covers a wide range of topics -- which include -- the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880's, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy.

Open letter from Palestinian Refugee Family living in the Gaza Strip, SOS

Your Excellencies,

The world looks and watches in silence, while the closure of the Gaza strip is still ongoing leaving 1.5 million people facing a severe shortage in the basics of life. With serious economic and humanitarian impacts on their lives, they even lost their faith on the international, Arabic worlds.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is intensifying, with hunger and malnutrition reaching alarming levels. Children are searching the dump compounds looking for food, or other stuff that they can sell and benefit of, instead of living their lives as other children in the world.

The Israeli government is preventing essential supplies from reaching the imprisoned population inside by continuing the closure of all terminals since more than 18 months. 1.5 million People – majority of them are refugees- are denied the ability to feed themselves, and to support their families, or even to receive any medical services as they are cut off from the outside world.

UNRWA as a welfare organization finds itself responsible for not only Palestinian refugees but also non refugees who can not find any source of decent living. With the current deteriorating situation in Gaza due to the severe closure, UNRWA food warehouses in Gaza are completely empty and closed their doors in the face of thousands of families that totally depend on the food assistance distributed by UNRWA. Since Israel started its closure of Gaza UNRWA is facing a severe budget problems, therefore its services has been affected, and many thousands of refuges are deprived from receiving any food distribution, or other essential services. Without UNRWA services, the people of Gaza will face starvation and hunger which lead to more violence, and radical opinions.

It’s hard to imagine that in the 2lst century a complete nation can be punished under the eyes and silence of a modern world, it is hard to imagine that in the 21st century families spend their night hungry, and children spend their nights studying on the dim light of a candle. It is even worse to imagine that in the peak of the world modernization, a whole nation locked in a small place and denied a freedom of movement.

Israel theoretically ended the occupation of Gaza, but the truth is that Israel is controlling the aspects of lives of the 1.5 million living in Gaza.

Our son Mustafa -9 years old- insisted to participate in this open letter saying;” what is the benefit from teaching us human rights in school, while on reality we do not practice any, I have the right to play, to be free, and to have electricity “he comments with his nice smile “I dream of a decent life, and fruit. My dream is to travel and see the world, It is not my fault that I was born as Palestinian refugee living in Gaza, it is just my fate which I have nothing to do with. It is not only me, but it is all other Gazans kids. I am always frustrated since there is nothing to do Why me?! And why us?! Please answer my questions!”

Ahmed-8 years’ old- added “ I want to play freely without hearing any shooting sound” “ I want to watch TV all the day since there is electricity, I wish I could forget my worst dream where I got killed”

Our little daughter Salma-2.5 years’ old- in her simple words say” there is no Kahraba-electricity-, and she freaked out whenever she hears any loud sound”

Even our little boy Mohammed 4 months old can not find any yogurt, or baby formula to help him while his mother is at work. Sometimes I and my wife blame ourselves for bringing our children into this world.

My wife-Najwa- writes and said” My letter is addressed to the world, outside the borders of the Gaza strip, where I am sure that every thing is different and a life.

I am a Palestinian refugee; my parents are refugees too, as well as my grandparents. I have been raised in a place called a refugee camp, in the southern of Gaza strip, and now after I got married I still live in another place in the middle of Gaza strip called a camp too. My husband is a refugee too as well as his parents and grandparents, I have four kids, and in their ID mentioned a refugee too. A definition of those who lost their homeland, and lived in another place that is not theirs.

We lost our homeland, and forced to live in these camps where houses are so close to each other, the streets are so small and dark, unpaved, hard to be sunny even at the middle of the day. No infrastructure, nothing. If you want to say something at your home, other will hear it.

Though the life inside the camp was not promising, but I can tell memories of my own, nice memories, of how our life was not easy but we enjoy it, unlike my kids.

We urge you all to do something to save our kids and their future, and treat us as human beings who have the right to have a decent life.

Please, accept our highest consideration and respect.

Best regards,

Taher El-Assar, Najwa El-Assar (Sheikh Ahmed), Mustafa El-Assar, Ahmed El-Assar, Salma El-Assar, Mohammed El-Assar

Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip.


The Secretary General of the United Nations

The President of United States

The EU Commissioner

The Prime Minister of United Kingdome

The President of the Arab League

The Prime Minister of Japan

The Prime Minister of Israel

UN slams Hamas, Israel over Gaza crisis

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemns both Hamas and Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, expressing concern over rising number of civilian casualties.

"I am deeply alarmed by the current escalation of violence in and around Gaza. This is unacceptable," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at a press conference at the UN's headquarters in New York.

He also condemned the "excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza" while recognizing "Israel's right to defend itself" against Hamas rocket attacks.

The UN chief expressed concern over the harm caused to children in Gaza and highlighted the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict.

"I am also pained at the death, injury and damage to United Nations personnel and premises as well as to others associated with our programs," he added.

Ban further criticized world powers for not doing enough to stop the fighting. He urged regional and international partners to "use all possible means to end the violence and encourage political dialogue, emphasizing peaceful ways of resolving differences."

He called on Arab foreign ministers-- who are to meet soon in an emergency session-- "to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse," and noted that "other world leaders must also step up efforts to support a longer term resolution of the issue."

Yemeni protesters storm Egypt Consulate

Hundreds of demonstrators have stormed the Egyptian Consulate in Aden to protest against Egypt's role in Israel's offensive against Gaza.

According to a Yemeni security official, the protesters, who were mostly students from the University of Aden, "vandalized furniture before they were removed peacefully from the building."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, further added that the demonstrators attacked the front gate, threw computers from windows, and climbed the two-story building to the roof and set fire to the Egyptian flag on Tuesday.

There have been no reports of casualties as it was unclear whether consular staff were in the building at the time of the protest.

More than 360 Palestinians have lost their lives and 1600 others wounded after Israel launched air operations against the coastal sliver on Saturday.

Four Israelis have also been killed and eight others injured in the past four days.

On Tuesday, the Israeli forces voiced readiness to begin a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli rabbis: Thou shalt kill civilians

Four leading Israeli rabbis have sanctioned the murder of civilian population in the Gaza Strip amid the Israeli onslaught on the region.

"When a population living near a Jewish town sends bombs at the Jewish town with the purpose of killing and destroying Jewish lives there, it is permitted, according to Jewish Law, to fire shells and bombs at the firing sites, even if they are populated by civilians," read a ruling issued by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe and Rabbi Meir Mazuz.

The four added that a warning should be issued prior to any attacks; however, they reiterated that the army's response to rocket or mortar fires may be immediate "even if there is no time for a warning."

The rabbis argued that the army should announce that it would bomb any civilian community from which a rocket is fired to force the local residents into confronting those who fire rockets or mortars at Israeli targets.

Rabbi Mazuz is a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.

The ruling seems to give a free hand to Israeli commanders to attack Gaza's civilian population and persuade those troops who have reservations to kill civilians due to humanitarian considerations.

Tel Aviv launched an "all-out war" against the enclave allegedly to put an end to rocket attacks by Palestinian factions on Israel. IAF warplanes and helicopters have so far pounded over 300 targets, including schools and TV stations across the coastal area since Saturday.

Israeli tanks and troops were also deployed along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The attacks have left at least 385 people killed and 1,800 others wounded, Palestinian medical sources told Press TV.

According to UN officials, 57 civilians, including women and children, are among the victims.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, however, has downplayed the high number of civilian deaths saying civilian casualties are a quite normal outcome of war.

The Hanukkah Massacre in Gaza: The Sacrificial Lamb to Israeli-American-Arab Interests

“What thou hast done to thyself none else did,
Thou has caused pain to the spirit of the Prophet
Ignorant of the witchery of the Frank (the west),
Behold the mischief hidden in his sleeve!
By his diplomacy all nations prostrate,
Unity of the Arabs crushed to pieces,
As long as they are caught in his vicious trap,
The Arabs shall not enjoy a moment's peace."

–Muhammad Iqbal, famed Pakistani Poet, “The Glory of Iqbal”, by Shakyh Abdul-Hanan Ali Nadwi

“The Arabs are right when they paint America as a great Zionist conspiracy.” –Douglas Rushkoff, New York University and other Schools, “Wrestling with Zion”, Grove Press, 2003
Author of: Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism”, among many other books)

"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices."
– Edward R. Murrow, the famed CBS Journalist and Anchor

While the Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, Bush the Christian offers one last massacre gift to Israel during Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, where the only Jewish light seen over Gaza is Bush’s green light to dispose of Palestinian civilians and the lights of missiles and rockets fired from the latest American war planes courtesy of the ignorant but complicit American taxpayer.

As of this writing 284 Palestinians have been murdered, over 700 injured (many in critical condition); most are innocent civilians living in the most densely populated area in the world—Gaza. This is the highest one day total of dead and injured by Israel’s terrorism since its founding in 1948. Given Israel’s total siege of Gaza for over 18 months preventing any food, water, medicines, and fuel to enter, the injured are taken to the only hospital in Gaza where the siege ensured that not enough medical supplies are available to save the dying infant, the pregnant mother or the elderly grandparent.

Bush and Rice after receiving the highest awards and most expensive gifts, including over $350,000 of Jewelry for Condi Rice from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations, and Jordan, justify Israel’s slaughter with the usual mantra that Israel has the right to “retaliate and defend itself”. For eight years Bush and Rice have not only defended Israel’s massacres but actually provided military and financial support as it launched military strikes across its borders attacking the Occupied Territories, the 2006 indiscriminate bombing for 34 days of Lebanon including the dropping of 1.5 million cluster bombs three days before the ceasefire, to the bombing of the alleged Syrian nuclear facility.

And what did the new and improved “hope and change” President elect Obama say regarding the genocide in Gaza: “NO COMMENT”.

Israel’s slaughter has taught Obama a lesson even before he takes office—don’t mess with Israel or you’ll be burned. He’s shackled by his strong support of Israel during his candidacy and by his Jewish occupied White House. Obama will begin his term fearful of the Israeli lobby and devoid of any chutzpah to alter events in the MidEast, especially in reigning Israel’s wanton power to strike at will, even against Iran, having been castrated by a foreign lobby, much like the dog he seeks for his daughters.

The American-Israeli-Arab alliance became the “axis of evil” to eliminate all Islamic resistance and political parties in the Middle East, all under the pretext of a “war on terror” and the establishment of democracy and liberty in the Middle East, something this evil alliance truly fears lest it leads to the overthrow of Arab tyrannical dictatorships, ends America’s cheap access to oil, and the unification of the entire Arab Muslim world against Israel’s military hegemony in the region.

"Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name."
–Madam Rolande -from the guillotine platform during the French Revolution

Gaza—Oh, Gaza—you bleed, you die, you’re buried in total obscurity from a world that has surrendered you to Israel to do as it wills. Given that America, Israel, and the Arab governments have all declared you an “enemy entity” and all Gaza Palestinians as “enemy combatants” you’re total annihilation is justified in the eyes of this evil axis.

While Israel is the actual murderer, Pro-American tyrannical Arab regimes are the enablers, the second green lighters if you will. In public they issue the usual “condemnations”, “laying the blame and responsibility on Israel”, calling for an urgent Arab summit and demanding a halt to all military actions, calling upon the Security Council to meet knowing very well that both the United Nations and Arab League are American proxies, all the while in private they support Israel’s genocide against Hamas and Hezbollah despite the massacre of thousands of civilians.

During the inhumane strangling siege of Gaza, Egypt closed its borders to either provide supplies to the starving Palestinian children or allow the sick and injured Palestinians to enter Egypt for treatment, meanwhile providing gas to Israel. Not one single Arab government came to the humanitarian rescue of the beleaguered Palestinians, in effect supporting the Israeli-American determination to eliminate Hamas at any cost.

Two days prior to this slaughter Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister and Kadima Party candidate for Prime Minister, visited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israel’s closest Arab ally, to announce that Israel will launch an offensive to eliminate Hamas. Did Mubarak give his Arab green light to this slaughter? Secondly, Mahmoud Abbas, “President” of the West Bank, visited Bush in the Oval office. Did Abbas, the Israeli American darling, give his approval for this slaughter?

As customary in Israeli elections candidates compete as to who is the greater genocider of Palestinians, who will continue the mass construction of illegal settlements, sabotage any international peace efforts, and lay the groundwork for the eventual expulsion of Palestinians from their occupied land. Given that Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s rightwing extremist candidate, promises the greater genocide of Palestinians, Livni, his opponent, must project a stronger determination to be the Palestinian Terminator.

Among Livni’s candidate proposals is to expel Israeli Arab citizens from their homes (again) and settle them in the future Palestinian “state”; in effect proposing another ethnic cleansing. (Haaretz 12/11/08)

In the middle is Ehud Barak, the Labor Party Defense Minister, who endured intense political criticism for his “soft” approach to Gaza’s rockets, thus this Hanukkah massacre to bolster his political position. He states that this will be a long and painful military onslaught until Hamas is in effect eliminated from Palestine. To further increase his popularity he promises a massive ground invasion.

This is the same Barak who stated the following when he was Prime Minister during the Second Intafada:

"If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force..."
– Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000

Although Barak, a military hero, did recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian resistance by saying:

"I would have joined a terrorist organization."
– Ehud Barak's response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Haaretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.

But what about the Arab League of Despots, Tyrants, and Corrupt Traitors of Islam and Arabs?

As usual, the Arab League has called for an immediate summit of Arab leaders to discuss the genocide in Gaza. So far less than half of the leaders have agreed to attend although they may send low level representatives. Arab leaders are more competent in fighting each other than fighting foreign domination or deadly occupations. Where have the trillions of oil dollars gone? Where have the hundreds of billions of dollars of purchased American weapons gone—gathering dust in the Arabian Desert? Such weapons are meant as symbolic deterrents against each other and Iran but are meaningless in any war given that the Arab military forces are just as illiterate, incompetent, lazy and corrupt as their leaders.

But let’s assume that there is an Arab Summit to pacify the Arab street. Here’s what will happen.

Several leaders won’t attend because of their hurt feelings from words spoken by other leaders, because America says so, and because they want to save face due to the consistent abject failure of Arabs to do anything meaningful internally or externally. There are 57 Muslim nations and 50 Muslim Ambassadors in Washington D.C. with only one Israeli Ambassador. Can you guess who has the real power in D.C? Who’s on television defending the genocide, who’s writing op-eds in the major papers, who’s on radio, who’s launching the most aggressive public relations campaign to justify the genocide? Obviously it’s not the 50 Muslim Ambassadors who are totally absent from the American political, social, and media scene. They are true reflections of their leaders in their total incompetence. But wait, you can find them in D.C. at strip clubs, exclusive night clubs, parading with beautiful women, and...well, you get the picture. They are on an “Alcoholic Jihad” while the majority of American Muslims and American Muslim organizations are laying low with their cowardly heads buried in their comfort niches content with launching a “Jihad by Email” in the usual hallmark of reactive actions. Like their brethren natives back home, American Muslims despite their wealth and high education are AWOL, disconnected from the suffering of Muslims around the world fearful of losing their jobs, of being harassed, or worse, ending up on a “list”.

Back to the Arab League:
If they meet, here’s their patented Arab bellicose communiqué:

“We condemn Israel’s aggression, demand the world interferes and stop all military actions, call for the full support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians based on U.N. Resolutions 242, 338 and a lifting of the siege of Gaza, encourage Obama to adopt the Arab Peace Plan and his direct involvement to resolve the conflict (obviously not their responsibility), demand Israel allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, and indirectly criticize Hamas for this Israeli massacre.”

The final part of the Communiqué will read (my interpretation):
“If Israel persists again on killing another thousand Palestinians, the Arab League will call for another Summit to discuss that genocide too.”

Israel was founded by terrorism with support of the British and American “democracies”. It lives by terrorism, and God willing will end by terrorism. A nation that massacres its neighbors and mankind by the sword shall perish by the sword, that according to the Old Testament (Exodus 21:14) and the New Testament (Matthew 26:52).

Israeli-Zionist society is predicated on a concept of religious/national exclusivity, resting on the distinction between “Jew” and “Non-Jew” that is institutionalized into all the formal state structures and on a concept of democracy as no more than rule by the majority without any protection of the right of minorities. Israel’s approach to conflict resolution is based on the premise that “might makes right”, coupled with a complete disregard for internationally recognized standards of state behavior and, as noted, a particularly cavalier disregard for the principles and resolutions of the United Nations….Indeed—the Machiavellian power machinations of persons, such as Henry Kissinger—who gave Israel carte blanche in the Middle East to assure its effectiveness as a “surrogate power” for American interests—or the craven subservience and political expediency of those members of Congress who have wanted the money and votes domestic pro-Israeli forces could deliver...the common denominator amongst all the American peace efforts is their abysmal failure.”

—Cheryl A. Rubenburg, Associate Professor of International Relations, Florida International University in “Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections”, p. 195

My dear Palestinians, you are alone in this world forsaken even by your own incompetent disunited power hungry leaders whose allegiance is not to you but to foreign interests. They are ignorant and disillusioned in their belief that there is an actual governmental institution that each seeks to dominate. Abu Mazen has thrown his lot with the Israeli-American-Arab alliance that seeks to eliminate the freely elected Hamas in Gaza. While Hamas has shown its total political failure, unable to comprehend that “irrational exuberance”, and enthusiasm served with foolish bellicosity is no match for Israel’s 3M domination of the western world’s foreign policy: Money—Media—Military Power. Although Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement its policies and methods of resistance are utterly stupid and counterproductive. The time, place, and circumstances that allowed other national resistance movements to succeed is totally lacking in Palestine: unity of purpose and collaboration—easy access to financial aid and military weapons from foreign powers—well trained militias and competent charismatic political and military leaders—successful short and long term strategic plans—and most importantly, a savvy knowledge on media manipulation and public relations. These elements are what made the Zionist terrorist groups successful in their theft of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of its people. Neither Fatah, Hamas or any other Palestinian party or group is blessed with these elements. It’s incredulous that there are multiple Palestinian parties disunited in purpose and often are fighting each other than their occupier.

Hamas, created with Israel’s aid and blessings, has failed its people in providing them with their most basic needs or providing the political and public relation leaders able to articulate and communicate the legitimacy of their cause to the outside world. Hamas, when will you learn that the world lives and dies by the “image” of events? Israel can kill and within seconds have articulate spokespersons on television justifying their actions, yet you’re unable to develop any relations with any worldwide media to present your case. In this, you’re joined by the entire Arab Muslim world.

Stop the madness of the useless rockets that recently killed two Palestinian girls. They do nothing but provide Israel the excuse and the support of the international community to massacre the innocent. The entire world including Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab Muslim world join America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations (the four stooges of the Road Map) in blaming you for Israel’s slaughter even if Israel attacks Gaza preemptively. Fight with intellectual vigor, with intelligence, with a media savvy campaign, develop articulate English speaking spokespersons, utilize the internet, but stop the counterproductive bellicosity and stupid rockets. In today’s world “image” wins western hearts and minds, especially of Americans. You’re facing the most powerful “evil empires” in the world, America and Israel, and you can’t win.

I beg you, for the sake of the four-year-old Palestinian girl shot through the head by an Israeli sniper, bury her in peace and bury your rockets and pompous words and begin a resistance of non-violence. You’ll pay a heavy price but all independence struggles demand huge sacrifices.

In few Arab and Muslim cities protestors are expressing their anger against America and Israel. I say to them and to all Muslims, first clean your house of the tyrants, hold on to God’s covenant, and patiently develop your economic and military strength and you will ultimately succeed in liberating your lives, lands, and resources from America’s imperialism that uses its military as an instrument to satisfy the selfish unlimited consumption of its people.

“Indeed, Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
(Quran 13:11)

The massacre of the Palestinians continues unabated with blood, tears, and screams going unseen and unheard by a callous world. The Arab leaders have done their part—most have issued “press releases” to urge a return to the cease fire that Israel broke and indirectly blame Hamas for forcing Israel’s hand, the hand that has never stopped killing and expelling Palestinians since 1948. No Arab leader has publicly appeared to condemn this atrocity.

Israel’s brilliant media strategy is to prevent western journalists from entering Gaza to document the dead and charred bodies lining the streets while allowing free access to the Arab media to further inflame the Arab Muslim world against American policies and interests, perhaps leading to terrorism against Americans and their institution, thereby justifying Israel’s “war of terror upon the innocent”. You see America, these Arabs and Muslims are hate-filled terrorists indoctrinated by Islam’s teaching of killing Jews and Christians.

The dead Palestinians are martyrs who will enter Paradise, but it is us, the living, who will continue to endure hell on earth at the hands of the Israeli-American-Arab axis of evil with their smart bombs and stupid policies.

“As for those who take the deniers of the truth for their allies in preference to the believers - do they hope to be honored by them when, behold, all honor belongs to God alone?" (Quran 4:139)

Our constant hope is that in the end Divine Justice will prevail against the murderous oppressors.

Long live Palestine and its yearning for freedom and independence from the “axis of evil”.

A Poem for Gaza

Rami Kenazi

I never knew death until I saw the bombing of a refugee camp
Craters filled with disfigured ankles and splattered torsos
But no sign of a face, the only impression a fading scream
I never understood pain
Until a seven-year-old girl clutched my hand
Stared up at me with soft brown eyes, waiting for answers
But I didn't have any
I had muted breath and dry pens in my back pocket
That couldn't fill pages of understanding or resolution

In her other hand she held the key to her grandmother's house
But I couldn't unlock the cell that caged her older brothers
They said, we slingshot dreams so the other side will feel our father's presence
A craftsman
Built homes in areas where no one was building
And when he fell, he was silent
A .50 caliber bullet tore through his neck shredding his vocal cords
Too close to the wall
His hammer must have been a weapon
He must have been a weapon
Encroaching on settlement hills and demographics

So his daughter studies mathematics
Seven explosions times eight bodies
Equals four Congressional resolutions
Seven Apache helicopters times eight Palestinian villages
Equals silence and a second Nakba
Our birthrate minus their birthrate
Equals one sea and 400 villages re-erected
One state plus two peoples…and she can't stop crying
Never knew revolution or the proper equation
Tears at the paper with her fingertips
Searching for answers
But only has teachers
Looks up to the sky and see stars of David demolishing squalor with hellfire missiles

She thinks back words and memories of his last hug before he turned and fell
Now she pumps dirty water from wells, while settlements divide and conquer
And her father's killer sits beachfront with European vernacular
She thinks back words, while they think backwards
Of obscene notions and indigenous confusion

This our land!, she said
She's seven years old
This our land!, she said
And she doesn't need a history book or a schoolroom teacher
She has these walls, this sky, her refugee camp
She doesn't know the proper equation
But she sees my dry pens
No longer waiting for my answers
Just holding her grandmother's key…searching for ink


An Earthquake on top of your head

Dr. Eyad Al Serraj

A wounded girl is carried to hospital after Israel's attack on Gaza Photograph: Majed Hamdan/AP

Dr Eyad Al Serraj, a practising psychologist in Gaza City, describes his family's terror as the Israeli attack began

The bombing went on for about 10 minutes. It was like an earthquake on top of your head. The windows were shaking and squeaking. My 10-year-old was terrified, he was jumping from one place to another trying to hide. I held him tight to my chest and tried to give him some security and reassure him. My 12-year-old was panicking and began laughing hysterically, it's not normal. I held her hand and calmed her and told her she would be safe. My wife was panicking. She was running around the apartment looking for somewhere to hide.

We live on the ground floor so we headed to the basement.

Not very far from our home is the headquarters of the police and there was a massive bomb. The chief of police was killed. Two streets away there was another bomb and more people were killed. The office of the president is about one kilometre from our house and it was also bombed.

We went downstairs to the basement and tried to hide ourselves from the shelling. The child of one of our relatives, who lives in our building, finally came home from school. We hadn't been able to find her. All the phone connections were jammed. She came home and she was in a very serious state of shock. She was pale and trembling and she was describing dead bodies in the streets. On her way home she passed Hamas people in uniform and they were dead.

I had been very apprehensive when I woke up this morning. I had some bread, some cheese and a glass of tea. Like all the people in Gaza I felt that something was going on and something very serious. When Israel allowed the delivery of food and fuel [when it ended the blockade of Gaza yesterday] I said to myself and my friends that Israel is really planning a massive strike. They don't want to be blamed for starving the people.

I was sitting in the living room with my family trying to figure out what to do today for lunch, it's our main meal. What to cook and how to cook, whether we have enough to eat. There was no rice so I wanted to have lentil soup and my wife said "No, there's no lentils in the market." I said "What else can we do?" She said "I bought some cans of food." We were discussing this when suddenly the whole thing erupted. Suddenly there was a big explosion.

Right now I feel very anxious about what's going to happen. I'm worried about how many more people are going to die.

Damaged Gaza aid boat docks in southern Lebanon - 30 Dec 08

URGENT! Israeli Navy Attacking Civilian Mercy Ship! TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!

The Dignity, a Free Gaza boat on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, is being attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters. The Dignity has been surrounded by at least half-a-dozen Israeli warships. They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage. Contrary to international maritime law, the Israelis are actively preventing the Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe haven in either Egypt or Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding that the Dignity return to Cyprus - despite the fact that the ship does not carry enough fuel to do so. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship has yet been seriously injured.

There are 15 civilian passengers representing 11 different countries (see below for a complete list). At approximately 5am (UST), well out ininternational waters, Israeli warships began surrounding the Dignity, threatening the ship. At 6:45am (UST) we were able to establish brief contact with the crew and were told that the ship had been rammed by the Israeli Navy in international waters, and that the Israelis were preventing the ship from finding safe harbor. We heard heavy gunfire in the background before all contact was lost with the Dignity.

It is urgent that you TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the Dignity and endangering the lives of its passengers!

CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5062 3264

CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 33697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December, bound for war-devastated Gaza with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. A tour request, the ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, to certify that there was nothing "threatening" aboard - only emergency medical supplies.


Civilians aboard the Dignity being threatened by the Israeli military:

(UK) Denis Healey, Captain Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years, beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while at school and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as a crew member on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in August.

(Jordan) Othman Abu Falah Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the on going military on slaught.

(Australia) Renee Bowyer Renee is a school teacher and human rights activist. She will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development with Free Gaza.

(Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus. She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

(Sudan) Sami El-HajSami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights section at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(UK) Dr. David HalpinDr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(Germany) Dr. Mohamed Issa Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remainin Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(USA) Cynthia McKinney Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 GreenParty presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the on going conflict.

(Cyprus) Martha Paisi Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist. She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts.

(UK) Karl Penhaul Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital News gathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the on going conflict.

(Iraq) Thaer Shaker Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the on going military onslaught.

(Cyprus) Dr. Elena Theoharous, MPDr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the on going conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

"...The evil only exists because the good remain silent..."

Mustafa Barghouti

Mustafa Barghouti Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative

The Israeli campaign of 'death from above' began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.

The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from over following on Israel's promised that this is 'only the beginning' of their campaign of state terror. At least 290 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.

What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.

1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.

While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.

Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.

2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.

Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank. In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the cease-fire.

Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only eighty have been allowed in - with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70% of the time. Throughout the supposed 'cease-fire' Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with a total of 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.

Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel who refuses to re-enter talks over a cease-fire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change - whatever the cost.

3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with 'peaceful Palestinians'.

Before the on-going massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis Peace Process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested - mostly from the West Bank, and checkpoints rose from 521 to 699.

Furthermore, since the onset of the peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.

Only this morning, Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin, and has injured dozens more over the last few hours. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with 'good Palestinians', who are they talking about?

4. Israel is acting in self-defense.

It is difficult to claim self defense in a confrontation which they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self-defense is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the last two days have been clearly premeditated. Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic. They did so to insure that casualties would be maximized and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.

It is also misleading to claim self-defense in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power. Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world. Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.

5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.

Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false as many other civilian sites have been hit by airstrikes including a hospital and mosque.

In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely 'collateral damage' or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.

6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.

First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying public ally, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas - whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.

The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel's mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.

7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.

Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the War of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence can be ended with the occupation and the granting of Palestine's national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.

With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these airstrikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.

The leaders Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up.

'It's time to fight', they say, 'but it won't be easy.'

To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barak did not even wear make-up to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes…what leaders…

We all know the truth: the suspension of the electioneering is exactly that - electioneering.

Like John McCain's suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to 'deal with' the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.

The candidates have to appear 'tough enough to lead', and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.

'Look at me,' Livni says in her black suit and unkempt hair, 'I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don't you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?'

I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barak, or the constituency they are trying to please.

In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.

It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barak, Livni and Olmert, looking 'tough'. Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

In closing, there is another reason - beyond the internal politics of Israel - why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.

Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.

'The evil only exists because the good remain silent'

From Occupied Palestine. . .

Eine Kleine Nacht Murder: How Israeli Leaders Kill for their People's Votes

"...In Israeli politics, Arab blood is translated into votes. It would obviously be very reasonable to charge Livni, Barak and the current IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi with first-degree murder, crimes against humanity and the obvious breach of the Geneva Convention. But it would be far more intelligible to take into account that Israel is a ‘democracy’. Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi are giving the Israeli people that which they want: it is called Arab blood and it must come in vast quantity..."

Gilad Atzmon

In order to grasp the latest devastating murderous Israeli expedition in Gaza one must deeply comprehend the Israeli identity and its inherent hatred towards anyone who fails to be Jewish and a hatred against Arabs in particular. This hatred is imbued in the Israeli curriculum, it is preached by political leaders and implied by their acts, it is conveyed by cultural figures, even within the so-called ‘Israeli Left’.

I grew up in Israel in the 1970’s people of my generation are nowadays the leaders of the Israeli army, politics, economy, academia and the arts. We were trained to believe that ‘a good Arab is a dead one’. A few weeks before I joined the IDF in the early 1980’s, General Rafael Eitan, the Chief of Staff at the time announced that the “Arabs were stoned cockroaches in a bottle”. He got away with it, he also got away with the murder of many thousands of Lebanese civilians in the 1st Lebanon war. In a word, Israelis manage to get away with murder.

Luckily enough, and for reasons that are still far beyond my comprehension, at a certain stage I woke up out of that Hebraic lethal dream. At one point I left the Jewish state, I evaded the Jewish hate mongering, I had become an opponent of the Jewish state and any other form of Jewish politics. However, I am utterly convinced that it is my primary duty to inform every being that is willing to listen about that which are we up against.

As much as Zionism was there to transform Jews, and by “giving them a State of their own” make them like any other people, it failed miserably. The Israeli barbarism as we have seen this week and too many times before is far beyond bestiality. It is killing for the sake of killing. And it is indiscriminate.

Not many people in the west are aware of the devastating fact that killing Arabs and Palestinians in particular is a very effective Israeli political recipe. The Israelis are indeed confused people. As much as they insist upon seeing themselves as a ‘Shalom seeking’[1][1] nation, they also love to be led by politicians with an astonishing record of unlawful murderous activity. Whether it was Sharon, Rabin, Begin, Shamir or Ben Gurion, Israelis love their ‘democratically elected leaders’ to be belligerent hawks with their hands dripping with blood and backed by a solid record of crimes against humanity.

We are weeks before an election in Israel and as it seems, both Kadima PM candidate Foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Labour PM candidate Defence minister Ehud Barak, are trailing well behind Likud PM candidate the notorious Hawk Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. Livni and Barak need their little war. They must prove to the Israelis that they know how to engage in mass slaughter.

Both Livni and Barak have to provide the Israeli voter with some real exhibition of devastating carnage, so the Israelis can trust their leadership. This is their only chance against Netanyahu. Seemingly, Livni and Barak are throwing tons of bombs on Palestinian civilians, schools and hospitals because this is exactly what the Israelis want to see.

Unfortunately, Israelis are not known for mercy and grace. Instead they are appeased by retaliation and vengeance, they are cheered by their own limitless brutality. When an Ex-Israeli Air Force Chief Commander Dan Halutz was asked how it feels to drop a bomb on a highly populated neighbourhood in Gaza, his answer was short and precise. ‘It feels like a light bump on the right wing’. Dan Halutz’s cold deadly manner was enough to secure his promotion into the IDF Chief of Staff post shortly thereafter. It was General Halutz who led the Israeli army into the second Lebanon war, it was this man who perpetrated the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and large parts of Beirut.

Seemingly, in Israeli politics, Arab blood is translated into votes. It would obviously be very reasonable to charge Livni, Barak and the current IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi with first-degree murder, crimes against humanity and the obvious breach of the Geneva Convention. But it would be far more intelligible to take into account that Israel is a ‘democracy’. Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi are giving the Israeli people that which they want: it is called Arab blood and it must come in vast quantity. This repetitive murderous practice, conducted by Israeli politicians reflects on the Israeli people as a whole rather than just a few politicians and generals. We are dealing here with a barbarian society that is politically driven by bloodthirstiness and lethal inclinations. There should be no mistake, there is no room for these people amongst nations.

Why the Israeli are people so remote from any notion of humanism is a big question. The generous and naïve humanists amongst us may argue that the Shoah left a big scar in the Israeli soul. This may explain why Israelis are obsessively cultivating that very memory with the support of their Diaspora brothers and sisters. The Israelis say ‘never again’ and what they mean is that Auschwitz should never reoccur, this somehow allows them to punish the Palestinian for the crimes committed by the Nazis. The realistic amongst us do not buy this argument anymore. They start now to admit that it is more than possible that the Israelis are so incredibly brutal just because this is how they are. It goes far beyond rationality or pseudo-analytical assumptions. They say, ‘this is what the Israelis are and there is not much we can do about it anymore’. The realistic amongst us come to admit that killing is how the Israelis interpret the meaning of being Jewish. Gravely, many of us come to admit that there is no alternative humanist secular Jewish value system to replace the Hebraic murderous one. The Jewish state is there to prove that Jewish national autonomy is an inhuman concept.

I grew up in post-1967 Israel. I was raised in the wake of the Israeli mythical victory, we were trained to worship the “Israeli who shoots from the hip” the platoon commando who shoots his Uzi automatic rifle in the direction of the Arabs and manages to win against four armies in just six days.

It may have taken me two decades too long to understand that the Israeli who ‘shoots from the hip’, was actually the master of indiscriminate killing. Barak was one of those 1967 heroes, he was a master indiscriminate killer. Apparently, the Israeli cabinet has just approved his plan for the biggest raid on Gaza since 1967. Livni is more or less my age, as we read the news, she internalised the message. She is now accumulating the necessary credentials as an indiscriminate murderer. Both Barak and Livni are taking Israel and Palestine into an election campaign of slaughter. Arab and Palestinian blood is the fuel of Israeli politics.

I may just suggest to Livni and Barak that it may not help them in the polls. Netanyahu is a genuine authentic hawk. He doesn’t have to pretend to be a murderer, and as much as I despise him, he has yet to take Israel into a war. He probably understands better than them what power of deterrence is all about.

A Small Note to my followers & blog readers.

I've been busy with attending the Emergency Gaza Protests and just have not had time to post articles.
I hope we all keep Gaza and the people of Palestine in our prayers.
Protests are happening ALL week across the UK, do your bit and attend a few!