Archive for May 14th, 2012
Op dinsdag 15 mei zal in het Luxor Theater de Israëlische Hanoch Rosenn zijn theaterstuk opvoeren. Kunst is goed voor de mensen, goed voor het volk, echter op het moment dat kunst gebruikt worden voor andere zaken, hangt er een verschrikkelijke geur aan. Zo ook hier.
De Israëlische kunst wordt momenteel algemeen mondiaal ingezet: de Israëlische regering zet toneelgezelschappen, dansgroepen, kunstenaars, bands en orkesten uit Israël in om het besmette imago van de staat Israël als bezetter van Palestina en schender van mensenrechten te verbergen en liefst te laten verwijderen. Naast het feit dat de regering van Israël dit gedrag toont en uitvoert, worden de gezelschappen ook ingezet om dit gedrag goed te praten. Hanoch Rosenn is hier een goed voorbeeld van, hij heeft aangegeven dat het begrijpelijk is dat Israël artiesten inzet om de “verkeerde beelden van de staat” te bevechten, want “ze zijn een vechtend volk als Spartanen.” De artiesten zouden zelfs meer hebben dan het leger, nl. kunst. Rosenn ziet zichzelf als ambassadeur van Israël zonder woorden.
Kunstenaars van naam en culturele instellingen ontvangen van het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken van Israël financiële ondersteuning voor wereldtournees om het imago op te vijzelen en de publieke aandacht van de oorlogsmisdaden af te leiden. Deze campagne staat bekend als ‘Brand Israël Campaign’. Met deze campagne wordt o.a. de voortdurende bezetting van Palestina en de uitbreiding van illegale nederzettingen verdoezeld; instandhouding van de muur (die op Palestijns grondgebied gebouwd is); de sloop van meer dan 24.000 Palestijnse huizen en natuurlijk de verstikkende (bijna complete) blokkade van Gaza. Daarnaast worden kunstuitingen van Palestijnse origine stelselmatig gesaboteerd en zijn Palestijnse kunstenaars slachtoffer Israëlisch geweld, willekeurige arrestaties en deportatie
Echter het is nu tijd om te laten zien, dat het zo niet verder kan. Israël moet gewezen worden op de zaken die ze doen, illegaal, mensonterend en tegen alle internationale wetten in. U kunt het nu laten zien: doe mee aan de demonstratie op dinsdag 15 mei voor het Nieuwe Luxor Theater. Laat uw stem niet verloren gaan, sta op tegen de onderdrukking van het complete Palestijnse volk, geef uw steun en support voor de Palestijnen die in onmenselijke omstandigheden elke dag moeten leven en geconfronteerd worden met wat de staat Israël echt is en doet.
GAZA, (PIC)– The justice ministry in Gaza has said that Israeli occupation crimes against the Palestinian people were not subject to a time limit.
The ministry said in a statement on Monday on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of Nakba that the Palestinian people were adamant on their rights and lands from where they were cruelly and forcibly evicted by illegal means that inflicted thousands of casualties and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The ministry stressed that it would not spare any effort and would trek all means to bring the Israeli occupation leaders to trial.
It denounced the international silence toward the Israeli crimes in violation of the international and humanitarian law.
The ministry urged the Arab and Islamic countries, human rights groups, and free people of the world to stand alongside the Palestinian people until regaining all legitimate rights.
(PIC / 14.05.2012)
Israel’s minister of environmental protection, Gilad Erdan (Likud), has demanded that the government stop supplying power to the Gaza Strip in order to prevent power failure in Israeli cities this summer. In an official letter addressed to all government ministers ,Erdan notes that 4.5 percent of Israel’s power supply is sold to Gaza.
Erdan writes (emphasis in the original):
The State of Israel is preparing itself for a power shortage during the summer of 2012. In order to continue the steady supply of power, we [the government] are presented with a decision which details measures for the prevention of a power shortage. Before the government discusses this option, I ask you to add a condition which states that prior to placing any limit on the power supply to Israeli citizens, power supply to all foreign elements will stop, most notably to the terror authority of Hamas in Gaza.
The collapse of the natural gas agreement between Egypt and Israel will probably lead to a power shortage in Israel – a temporary problem, which can be solved when Israel begins using its own huge natural gas resources in 2013. As a result, Israelis are likely to suffer a few hours of power shortage at the peak of this summer’s heat.
The 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza already suffer 12 hours of blackout a day on average. Israel bombed the Gaza power plant in 2006, and didn’t allow in the necessary materials needed for the reconstruction since. As a result, even Israel’s own Supreme Court recognized in 2007 that the survival of the people in Gaza depends on the Israeli power supply. Israel has declared before the court that power supply to the Strip would not be stopped.
According to the non-profit organization Gisha, the Israeli supply accounts for 35 percent of the power Gazans use. Due to the fuel shortage in the Strip, using power generators is also limited, and critical medical supplies is lost every year due to lack of proper storage conditions.
Israel’s minister of environmental protection, a senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, is now asking to leave 1.5 million people without the little they need to survive, so that Israeli citizens can enjoy their air-conditioning undisturbed this August.
(www.group194.net / 14.05.2012)
- Palestinians pass a burnt out truck as they flee some five months after the creation of the state of Israel. As Israel celebrates its anniversary, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians around the world will remember the ‘Nakba’ or ‘Catastrophe’ of 1948.
For 64 years the Palestinians have patiently and steadfastly continued their struggle for justice, enduring the longest occupation in modern history.
Recently, however, other events throughout the region have dominated the world’s press. First, the ‘war on terror’, then the invasion of Iraq, apprehension about a nuclear Iran, and now the turmoil of the Arab revolutions.
Has the Palestinian cause been side-lined, or even forgotten, in the clamour for democracy and the horror of so much violence?
Six Palestinian hunger-strikers lie close to death having refused food for up to 76?? days, but even in the Arab press their sacrifice is not given the attention it deserves.
Indeed, the Arab press has relegated most stories about Palestine to the inside pages, not only because of the drama of the Arab revolutions but also out of disillusionment with political infighting, the weakness and corruption of the ineffectual Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the shortcomings of its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Disappointment too, perhaps, that the Palestinians haven’t yet joined the revolutionary club and taken to the streets of the West Bank and Gaza in their thousands.
But the Nakba (catastrophe) is not forgotten, because the Palestinian question is deeply embedded in the Arab psyche, and the Palestinians flag is still the flag that is flown to demonstrate Arab solidarity from Tahrir Square to Benghazi.
Nevertheless, we must be watchful: the absence of the Palestinian voice in the media and global consciousness suits Israel very well.
Robbed of identity
The Israeli propaganda machine has become adept at obscuring the Palestinian cause with other stories while its own atrocities against the Palestinians continue unnoticed. While one illegal colony after another is built on Palestinian land, and the gargantuan apartheid wall continues to snake its way through Palestinian olive groves and orchards, imprisoning both Arabs and Jews in mutual hatred and mistrust.
There is still no Palestinian state — the very least that was acceptable — and latterly, to add insult to injury, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs to recognise this portion of their homeland as a ‘Jewish’ state. To be robbed not only of their territory but of their very identity.
The two-state solution is dead because, for all his protestations to the contrary, Netanyahu does not want peace. Netanyahu took his time replying to Abbas’ letter and when he did, it was only to reject the Palestinian president’s demand to halt colony building and to repeat the call for an unconditional return to talks. He has continued with the colonies while many of the world’s strongest governments and their representatives at the UN stand silently by.
Also, and most dangerously, Israel has been allowed to develop its own nuclear capability completely unchecked and unsupervised while whipping up an international panic about Iran. And in a great historical irony, as Israel gears up for war with Iran, it is provided with nuclear submarines by Germany.
Thankfully, Germany has also produced Gunter Grass, the 84 year old Nobel laureate, who has enraged the Israelis with a poem he published last month called What Must Be Said in which he warns that Israel is the most powerful threat to ‘already fragile world peace’.
Grass says that the Nazi’s ‘incomparable’ crimes against the Jews, and fear of being accused of anti-semitism had prevented him from criticising Israel for decades but ‘I will be silent no longer,’ he told an interviewer, ‘because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West’.
As expected, the octogenarian has been savaged by Israel, and the fact that he was a member of the Hitler Youth as a very young boy has been used against him — but this horrible psychological experience of mass hysteria and evil informed his book The Tin Drum which is one of the great anti-war literary works.
That Grass speaks out is indicative of a welcome new mood in the international community which is not, perhaps, reflected in the mainstream media.
Online, independent news outlets and citizen journalists are able to tell the truth about what is happening in the Occupied Territories, and their accounts are shared around the globe.
Hundreds of thousands in the Arab world and in the West demonstrated against the 2008/9 massacre in Gaza, and again when the Israelis murdered peace activists as they attempted to bring aid to Gaza in a flotilla of little boats.
More of the world’s citizens than ever are ‘sick of the hypocrisy’ and more conscious than ever that, ultimately, the failure to find a just settlement for the Palestinians remains central to the region’s instability.
Sadly, the PNA, which is entrusted with representing the Palestinians, has been unable to make any diplomatic capital out of this support
On this 64th anniversary of the original catastrophe, Abbas should dissolve the PNA and resign. This would be the best martyrdom effort against Israel and would involve no bloodshed.
Palestinians have tried everything to reclaim their land and dignity: guerrilla warfare, decades of fruitless peace talks, human bombs, and now a mass hunger strike by 1,600 prisoners… but to date it has all been in vain, America and other world powers continue to support Israel unconditionally.
I believe the third intifada is on its way. There is no alternative. It is only awaiting a spark. Just as Tunisia’s Bouazzizi was the spark that ignited the Arab revolutions, if one of the heroes of the hunger strikes dies the Occupied Territories will erupt and maybe this time, the blood of the martyrs will not be shed in vain.
Abdel Bari Atwan is editor of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.
(gulfnews.com / 14.05.2012)
LIFTA, Jerusalem (IPS) – “There is the beginning of my life. My father would call for prayer, ‘Allahu Akbar’,” says 72-year old Yacoub Odeh, pointing to a collapsed house perched high on the hill. “The whole village would hear him.” Odeh was then eight years old: “I’m the son of yesterday.”
Sixty-four years on, Lifta conjures up the Naqba – the “great catastrophe” that befell the Palestinian people during the war that led to Israel’s inception. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes or were forcibly expelled by the nascent state’s forces and, like Odeh, became refugees.
Lifta languishes in ruins, strewn on the seam between Israel’s west and Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem. For many Palestinians, the village symbolises the memory of lost land and national destitution. There, Odeh revisits freedom and peace.
Locked behind the safe walls of his childhood, he fondly caresses the living stones. “Our door faced the morning sun.” Many houses still stand up majestically; all that remains of Odeh’s home is wild fennel and half-buried walls.
Prior to Israel’s independence war, Lifta was a cluster of 500 homes, a wealthy community of 3,000 living in harmony. “The water spring, the gardens, the fields, the mosque, the olive press – such was my world.” Odeh invokes the idyllic echo of “people dancing and singing.”
“How not be haunted by that fateful day of February 1948? We were under siege. I’d hear the Zionist gangs shooting,” he remembers.
When over a hundred Palestinians were murdered by Jewish militiamen during an assault on the nearby village Deir Yassin, the horror set off a wave of panic. “Suddenly, my father carried both my sister and brother,” Odeh recalls. “We crossed the valley, climbed the mountain; we took only what’s in our minds, our memory.”
Within weeks, not a soul remained in the 2,000-year-old village. “In one moment we became refugees.” Within one year, the majority still living on the land that became Israel became a minority denied of the right to the land.
Large holes were pierced in ceilings and floors to render the abandoned village inhospitable. The Odehs never returned to live; no one did. But the Liftawis never turned their back on their dream of coming back home.
Odeh brushes the rosy limestone. Being a refugee is often to live in exile out of one’s soul, but not for him. “I’ll never forget nor forgive until I regain my right to be free in Lifta, in Palestine.”
Year after year on “Naqba Day” (May 15), Palestinians demonstrate their aspiration to what they insist is their “undeniable right of return”. Refugees hold up symbols of keys of long-lost homes.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), there are now more than four million registered refugees scattered across the Middle East, in protracted limbo.
To most Israelis, the historical demand is deemed an “existential threat”. Compliance to the “right of return” would destroy their state from within, they counter, for the absorption of millions of Palestinians would irrevocably alter its Jewish majority.
Odeh would like to reassure them. “There’s enough place for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. We must live together – like our grandfathers lived together.” Some hope the spectre of such sentimental one-state solution will eventually prompt Israel to negotiate a political two-state solution, and Palestine to absorb the bulk of the refugees.
Odeh personifies the forlorn history of his people. Soon after their forced displacement, his father died “of a broken heart”. The family resettled in east Jerusalem.
He worked as a film librarian in Kuwait, studied law in Beirut, became a militant for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was 27 when Israel conquered east Jerusalem.
Back home, he resisted the occupation. Sentenced in an Israeli court to three consecutive life terms for “terrorist activities”, in 1985, he was liberated in a prisoners’ exchange.
Now a human rights activist, he’s a self-appointed custodian of the village memory.
Heaven for homeless hippies by choice, haven for soldiers on furlough in search for serenity, Lifta is one of the last empty villages standing after the 1948 war.
Five hundred such Palestinian villages were then destroyed. What usually remain are terraces, mildewed stones and weeds marking forsaken graveyards, aging fig trees grown wild, prickly pears and wailing walls.
Following Odeh in the footstep of his roots to the doorstep of a roofless memory, the visitor won’t escape the utter beauty, the dignity that the place exudes; the scars that nature has inflicted with time; the infringements of the modern city; the nostalgia of paradise lost.
Odeh sighs, “I remember how I’d go catching my mother’s dress…”
In 1959, the coveted piece of real estate was decreed a natural reserve. Wanting to emulate the preserved village of Ein Hod now home to an Israeli artistic community, Israel Lands Authority urban planners tried to develop Lifta into a luxury neighbourhood.
But former dwellers backed by Israeli human rights organisations appealed to the District Court. In February, the plan was shelved – for now.
“We want to preserve Lifta as is, to renovate it as historical museum open for all,” insists Odeh. “Why do they want to destroy this cultural heritage – to build villas? Lifta must be kept as eyewitness.”
While Israelis treat Palestinian memory as a security hazard, Palestinians mourn their loss; glorify their memory; yearn to resuscitate a utopian past.
“Palestinians, Christians, Jews, Muslims, it’s not important. What matters is to put an end to the occupation, create one democratic state,” Odeh says. And, in a murmur: “History won’t forever go in the wrong direction.”
History sometimes stutters, but Israelis won’t allow it to repeat itself.
Meanwhile, Odeh returns to his home, a few kilometres away from “home“.
(www.group194.net / 14.05.2012)