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Poets Saving Palestine: I Remember My Name

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Poetry’s Panacea

Conditions on the West Bank, in Gaza, in East Jerusalem and in myriad Palestinian refugee camps are monstrous. What non-violent response can there be to the violence and hatred, the killings and the dispossession, the endlessly cruel siege of Gaza, the thuggery of settlers and the Netanyahu rants?

As if taking their cue from the English poet Shelley who said that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world, three Palestinian poets have crafted an inspiring and empowering response.

In the anthology, I remember my name, Samah Sabawi, Ramzy Baroud and Jehan Bseiso give the antidote to violence and stimulants to combat despair.

Ramzy Baroud displays an immediate clue to as to the essence of their panacea, ‘When words fail me I resort to poetry’. In La cafet he also reveals, ‘I seek solace in Forgetfulness, bleeding heart, faking a smile.’

In lines from Statuses and Headlines, satirist Samah Sabawi mocks, ‘War on terror, war of terror, war for terror.’

Jehan Bseiso conjures optimism from Everyday Nakba. ‘Each year marks death, dispossession and occupation but also birth, and the celebration of memories and resistance.’

A Means Of Liberation

Here is a refuge which stores the story of Palestine, the bestial-like collective punishment of the people of Gaza and the international community’s collusion with such cruelty. Yet from the carnage you sense that these poets might save Palestine, even the world. In her Liberation Anthem, the passionate Samah writes, ’To the people of Israel who fear our freedom, Don’t be afraid, we will liberate you too.’ Later she assures Israelis, ‘You and I are no different, We are made of blood and tears.’

Almost in the same breath but in another poem, Verses and Spices Samah acknowledges the influence of her father, the celebrated but exiled Gazan poet Abdul Karim Sabawi: ‘Growing up, my father’s poems ran through my veins like blood, A necessary life ingredient, A rhythm that kept my heart pumping.’ Lines from her poem Words should jolt any reader: ‘Without naming the crimes they commit, without saying Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid, Your words ring hollow.’

Ramzy links the suffering of Gazans to a wider world where violence is considered the only way to solve problems. His cosmopolitan perspectives show in his insistence that resistance to oppression has to be universal: ‘My fist will rise from the charred earth, In a painting by Naji Ali, Through the thick walls of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, In the streets of Hanoi, Amid the rubble of a Gazan mosque.’

In her Brainstorming Naqba, Jehan explains why for decades it has been difficult for Palestinians to be understood in a world too easily influenced by American, European and Australian politicians brainwashed by the Israeli narrative and by an international media fascinated by massacres in another country or embedded in another war. Jehan writes, ‘We are bastard children of hyphens and supplements in sentences that start with, Originally I’m from…We read Kanafini, Darwiche and Said, When we found tongues, we learned to speak from the margins of pages.’

But in Birth At A Checkpoint, Jehan’s defiance and life-enhancing irony show: ‘Israeli soldier puts his weapon down to help Um Ali spread her legs, her face is red with shame, her husband is waiting at home in Abu Dis, He doesn’t have the right pages with the blue and white stamps, he can’t cross to Jerusalem…The international community is having 9 course dinners in the Alps.’

Optimism For The Future

It is a fillip to one’s spirits to witness optimism against overwhelming odds. In editing this volume Vacy Vlazna has not only orchestrated three poets but also shows her disbelief about cruelty and her record of always protesting injustice. In common with the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, Vacy knows that ‘Justice is the bread of the people’, and that daily justice is as necessary as daily bread.

In Open Your Eyes, Ramzy provides a hopeful contrast to the monstrous racism and violence of current Israeli government policies. In the last of six verses from that poem he writes, ‘O Sun, Cast a strange hue, New kind world, A curious rhyme, Friends waiting, An empty chair, The horizon.’

In Tales of a City by the Sea, Samah reminds us why Gaza must survive and why the people will be free. ‘There is no limit to the sea’s audacity. It breaks the siege everyday, one defiant wave at a time.’

In diverse figures of speech poetry can spark imagination, raise hopes, tell the meaning of freedom and the means of achieving such a goal. On that journey, Editor Dr.Vacy Vlazna and the book’s talented illustrator David Borrington have combined to showcase three significant Palestinian poets.

(Source / 28.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 28, 2016 at 8:29 pm

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Apologists for Israel, touted in The New York Times

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The Times has ignored a number of excellent books by Jewish American and Jewish Israeli writers who are critical of Israel

The writer is wondering why The New York Times features books of pro-Israeli authors while, at the same time, it ignores many worthy others wrote about Israel.

The writer is wondering why The New York Times features books of pro-Israeli authors while, at the same time, it ignores many worthy others wrote about Israel.

By Barbara Erickson

TimesWrap -The writer is wondering why The New York Times features books of pro-Israeli authors while, at the same time, it ignores many worthy others wrote about Israel.

The New York Times this week touts Israeli-Canadian writer Matti Friedman‘s book, a war memoir and military analysis based partly on the author’s experience in southern Lebanon in 1998. The reviewer, Jennifer Senior, finds it all without blemish, calling the work “top-notch,” “persuasive” and “elegantly written.”

We learn that Friedman was stationed in a military outpost during the 22-year-old Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, that it was a dangerous place for Israeli soldiers, that Hezbollah was gaining in strength and that Israeli troops struggled to avoid the mistakes commonly made in the fog of war.

There is much to question in the way Senior puts forth the context of the conflict—the conflation of Hezbollah with ISIS, for instance, and the emphasis on Israeli losses over the far more numerous Lebanese casualties—but a more fundamental issue here is the fact that the Times has chosen to highlight this particular author.

Friedman is an apologist for Israel and has made some extreme statements. At the end of the 2014 war on Gaza, for instance, he wrote that criticism of Israel revealed “a hostile obsession with Jews” and added: “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality.”

Two months later Friedman wrote in The Atlantic that a number of journalists had the Gaza war story wrong because many were cozy with humanitarian aid workers who had bought into the Palestinian narrative over the Israeli one. The reporters had been “co-opted by Hamas,” he wrote, and they were prone to “a belief that to some extent the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills.”

In her review, Senior mentions these two articles, saying that they generated “a small tempest of controversy,” which was mitigated by Friedman’s “temperate and careful” voice. It is difficult to understand how his comments can be taken as temperate or careful, however. They seem strangely deluded. Hamas, for instance, has received almost universally bad press in the mainstream media.

With Friedman’s tendency to find virulent anti-Semitism lurking in every critique of Israel, it is also odd that Senior takes his claims that Lebanese “loathe Jews” at face value. She fails to question this conclusion even though he reports that Lebanese everywhere extended him a warm welcome.

Most egregious of all is the fact that the Times has ignored a number of excellent books by Jewish American and Jewish Israeli writers who are critical of Israel, while it has promoted Friedman’s book and others with a similar pro-Israel view, such as Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land. The aim, it seems, is to provide the facade of a united Jewish front in favour of Israel.

Here are a few of the many worthy Jewish authors writing about Israel and Palestine who have been snubbed by the Times:

  • Max Blumenthal, the author of Goliath: Fear and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013), which received the 2014 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Notable Book Award. It chronicles the Israel lurch to the far right and its crackdown on dissent. He also wrote The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (2015), a devastating and heartbreaking account of the 2014 attacks on the enclave.
  • Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. The book reveals how he liberated himself from his racist upbringing and discovered the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation.
  • Nurit Peled Elhanan, the sister of Miko and a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her book, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education (2011), exposes the profound racism in Israeli school curricula.
  • Anna Baltzer, author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish-American Woman in the Occupied Territories (2007, updated in 2014). Anna discovered that her past views of Israel were wrong during a visit to Palestine and became a committed activist on behalf of ending the occupation.
  • Jeff Halper, author of An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel (2008) and War Against the People: Israel, Palestine and Global Pacification (2015). Halper has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes.
  • Ilan Pappe, historian author of numerous books on Israel and Palestine, most notably The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), which describes events during the 1947-48 war that left some 750,000 Palestinians exiled from their homes. Pappe was forced to leave Israel after frequent death threats and now teaches at Exeter University in England.

And then there is Michael Chabon, the author of numerous books on Jewish life and the recipient of as many honours. He recently announced that he is contributing a chapter to an anthology of 24 essays by leading authors writing on the occupation of Palestine. After visiting the West Bank, Chabon stated in an interview with the Jewish newspaper Forward that the situation in occupied Hebron (AL-Khalil) was “the most grievous injustice that I have ever seen in my life.”

The New York Times listed Chabon’s novel Telegraph Avenue as a Notable Book of 2012, and his name has appeared often in its pages. It will be worth noting what kind of attention (if any) the coming book and its authors receive in the newspaper. It is not impossible that Chabon will soon join those Jewish writers meticulously ostracised from the pages of the Times for betraying the accepted boundaries of commentary on Israel.

(Source / 27.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 27, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Analysis: Failed Abbas is probed, derided and scapegoated

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on Sept. 1, 2015

By: Ramzy Baroud
“We won’t act like them, we will not use violence or force, we are peaceful, we believe in peace, in peaceful popular resistance.” This was part of a message issued by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in October, only days after a few incidents took place in which Palestinian youth were accused of attacking Israeli soldiers and settlers with knives.The message would have carried some weight were it not laden with contradictions. On one hand, Abbas’ supposed “peace” quest has only entrenched the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and all but completely isolated illegally occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.Moreover, what “peaceful popular resistance” is Abbas, 80, referring to? What war of “peaceful” national liberation has he been leading? And how could a leader, ever so unpopular, be leading a “popular resistance” anyway?Just two weeks before Abbas made that statement in which he referred to some illusory “popular resistance” under his command, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah revealed that a majority of Palestinians, 65% of respondents, want him to resign.Of course, while Abbas continues to prophesize about some non-existent peace — as he has done for most of his lucrative career — Israel continues to wreak havoc on Palestinians, using every means of violence at its disposal.Granted, Israel’s propensity to maintain its violent occupation cannot be blamed on Abbas. It is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition that should be blamed squarely for the occupation and the mistreatment and humiliation of Palestinians on a daily basis.However, such truth should not detract from Abbas’ terrible legacy and ongoing misconduct. In fact, some urgent questions must be asked in that regard:If Abbas is such a peacenik, why is his military budget so disproportionately large?According to information published by Visualizing Palestine, 31 percent of the PA budget is spent on the military and policing of the West Bank. Compare this to 18 percent on education, 13 percent on health and only 1 percent on agriculture. The latter percentage is particularly troubling, considering that Palestinian land, orchards, and olive groves are the main target for Israel, which usurps the land in order to expand its military zones and illegal settlements.The huge discrepancy between funds allocated to Palestinian security forces — which never confront Israel’s military occupation, only Palestinian resistance — and those spent to assist farmers in their “sumoud” (steadfastness) while their land is being targeted and confiscated daily, is a testament to the mixed priorities of Abbas and his Authority.Even Israel, which is obsessed with its security, and manages several fronts of war and military occupation spends only 22 percent of its total budget on the military, which is still quite high by average standards.Abbas’ “peace” is, of course, quite selective. He rules over occupied Palestinians with an iron fist, rarely tolerates dissent within his party, Fatah’s, ranks, and has done his utmost to isolate the Gaza Strip and sustain a state of conflict with his enemies in the Hamas movement.More recently, and due to mere criticism leveled at him by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a prominent Palestinian faction and PLO member, Abbas decided to choke them of funds. In Abbas’ “peaceful” world, there is zero room for tolerance.The PFLP criticism was a response to statements he made on Israeli television.In a recent interview, he insisted that security coordination with Israel is a top priority for him. Without such coordination, the PA will find itself “on the brink of collapse,” he told Israel Channel 2 on March 31.Apart from apprehending suspected Palestinian resisters, the security coordination includes searching school children’s bags for knives, according to the Palestinian leader. “Our security forces are entering schools and checking if students are carrying knives. In one school, we found 70 students with knives, and we told them that this was wrong. I told them I do not want you to kill someone and die; I want you to live and for others to live, too.”Abbas’ statement on life and death does not, in the least, address the context of oppression, the humiliation of military occupation and the prevailing sense of despair that exists among young Palestinians, caught between a belligerent, violent occupation, and a submissive leadership.Convincing them not to “kill someone and die,” involved “the security forces arresting the students who were found with knives, questioning them, torturing them, and threatening their families,” wrote Palestinian commentator Munir Shafiq.“We only need to listen to the experiences of many who were tortured by the Israeli Shabak and the Palestinian security agencies, who said that the Palestinian security agencies are harsher, more barbaric and more brutal than the Shabak,” Shafiq wrote in Arabi21. So much for being “peaceful” and “believing in peace.”Writing in Rai al-Youm, Kamal Khalf wonders if it is time to look into the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, a man who has ruled with an expired mandate for years. While refraining from any personal attack on Abbas, Khalf raises the possibility whether the PA president’s emotional and psychological well-being in his old age ought to be questioned, especially when one considers some of his latest statements: attacking Palestinian resistance, searching children’s schoolbags, and avowing his love for Israeli music.When Abbas Zaki, the well-respected member of Fatah’s Central Committee, returned from a recent visit to Tehran, he was attacked by Abbas who “accused him of receiving $50,000 from the Iranians and he demanded the money be given to him instead,” he wrote.The number of Abbas’ bizarre actions and strange statements seem to be increasing with age. It is no secret, of course, that there has been much discussion about succession within Fatah and the PA, once Abbas is no longer in the picture. Until then, such eccentricity should be expected.However, it is essential that the discussion does not entirely focus on Abbas, for he is merely representative of a whole class of usurpers who have used the Palestinian cause to advance their own positions, wealth and prestige.There is little evidence to suggest that Abbas’ current position — soft on the occupation, hard on the Palestinians — is new, or motivated by age and mental health. For the sake of fairness, the arbitrator of the Oslo accords has been consistent in this regard.Since Arafat’s death in 2004, and his advent to power through a questionable democratic process in 2005, Abbas has worked laboriously to coexist with the Israeli occupation but failed to co-exist with his own Palestinian rivals.True, it has been a decade of unmitigated Palestinian leadership failure, but it certainly took more than Abbas to manage that political fiasco. Now, at 80, Abbas seems to have become a scapegoat for a whole class of Palestinians which has worked to manage the occupation and benefit from it.
(Source / 26.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm

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Did the Arabs Betray Palestine?

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Palestinian protestors walks under a huge Palestinian flag in Gaza, on April 2016.

Palestinian protestors walks under a huge Palestinian flag in Gaza, on April 2016

By Ramzy Baroud

At the age of 21, I crossed Gaza into Egypt to pursue a degree in political science. The timing could have not been worse. The Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had resulted in a US-led international coalition and a major war, which eventually paved the road for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I became aware that Palestinians were suddenly ‘hated’ in Egypt because of Yasser Arafat’s stance in support of Iraq at the time. I just did not know the extent of that alleged ‘hate.’

It was in a cheap hotel in Cairo, where I slowly ran out of the few Egyptian pounds at my disposal, that I met Hajah Zainab, a kindly, old custodian who treated me like a son. She looked unwell, wobbled as she walked, and leaned against walls to catch her breath before carrying on with her endless chores. The once carefully-designed tattoos on her face, became a jumble of wrinkled ink that defaced her skin. Still, the gentleness in her eyes prevailed, and whenever she saw me she hugged me and cried.

Hajah Zainab wept for two reasons: taking pity on me as I was fighting a deportation order in Cairo – for no other reason than the fact that I was a Palestinian at a time that Arafat endorsed Saddam Hussein while Hosni Mubarak chose to ally with the US. I grew desperate and dreaded the possibility of facing the Israeli intelligence, Shin Bet, who were likely to summon me to their offices once I crossed the border back to Gaza. The other reason is that Hajah Zainab’s only son, Ahmad, had died fighting the Israelis in Sinai.

Zainab’s generation perceived Egypt’s wars with Israel, that of 1948, 1956 and 1967 as wars in which Palestine was a central cause. No amount of self-serving politics and media conditioning could have changed that. But the war of 1967 was that of unmitigated defeat. With direct, massive support from the US and other western powers, Arab armies were soundly beaten, routed at three different fronts. Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were lost, along with the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and Sinai, as well.

It was then that some Arab countries’ relations with Palestine began changing. Israel’s victory and the US-West’s unremitting support convinced some Arab governments to downgrade their expectations, and expected the Palestinians to do so, as well. Egypt, once the torch-bearer of Arab nationalism, succumbed to a collective sense of humiliation and, later, redefined its priorities to free its own land from Israeli Occupation. Without the pivotal Egyptian leadership, Arab countries were divided into camps, each government with its own agenda. As Palestine, all of it, was then under Israeli control, Arabs slowly walked away from a cause they once perceived to be the central cause of the Arab nation.

The 1967 war also brought an end to the dilemma of independent Palestinian action, which was almost entirely hijacked by various Arab countries. Moreover, the war shifted the focus to the West Bank and Gaza, and allowed the Palestinian faction, Fatah, to fortify its position in light of Arab defeat and subsequent division.

That division was highlighted most starkly in the August 1967 Khartoum summit, where Arab leaders clashed over priorities and definitions. Should Israel’s territorial gains redefine the status quo? Should Arabs focus on returning to a pre-1967 situation or that of pre-1948, when historic Palestine was first occupied and Palestinians ethnically cleansed?

The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 242, on November 22 1967, reflecting the US Johnson Administration’s wish to capitalise on the new status quo: Israeli withdrawal “from occupied territories” in exchange for normalisation with Israel.  The new language of the immediate post-1967 period alarmed Palestinians who realised that any future political settlement was likely to ignore the situation that existed prior to the war.

Eventually, Egypt fought and celebrated its victory of the 1973 war, which allowed it to consolidate its control over most of its lost territories. A few years later, the Camp David accords in 1979 divided the ranks of the Arabs even more and ended Egypt’s official solidarity with the Palestinians, while granting the most populous Arab state a conditioned control over its own land in Sinai. The negative repercussions of that agreement cannot be overstated. However, the Egyptian people, despite the passing of time, have never truly normalized with Israel.

In Egypt, a chasm still exists between the government, whose behavior is based on political urgency and self-preservation, and a people who, despite a decided anti-Palestinian campaign in various media, are as ever determined to reject normalization with Israel until Palestine is free. Unlike the well-financed media circus that has demonized Gaza in recent years, the likes of Hajah Zainab have very few platforms where they can openly express their solidarity with the Palestinians. In my case, I was lucky enough to run into the aging custodian who cried for Palestine and her only son all those years ago.

Nevertheless, that very character, Zainab, was reincarnated in my path of travel, time and again. I met her in Iraq in 1999. She was an old vegetable vendor living in Sadr City. I met her in Jordan in 2003. She was a cabby, with a Palestinian flag hanging from his cracked rearview mirror. She was also a retired Saudi journalist I met in Jeddah in 2010, and a Moroccan student I met at a speaking tour in Paris in 2013. She was in her early twenties. After my talk, she sobbed as she told me that Palestine for her people is like a festering wound. “I pray for a free Palestine every day,” she told me, “as my late parents did with every prayer.”

Hajah Zainab is also Algeria, all of Algeria. When the Palestinian national football team met their Algerian counterparts last February, a strange, unprecedented phenomenon transpired that left many puzzled. The Algerian fans, some of the most ardent lovers of football anywhere, cheered for the Palestinians, non-stop. And when the Palestinian team scored a goal, it was if the bleachers were lit on fire. The crowded stadium exploded with a trancing chant for Palestine and Palestine alone.

So, did the Arabs betray Palestine? The question is heard often, and it is often followed with the affirmative, ‘yes, they did.’ The Egyptian media scapegoating of Palestinians in Gaza, the targeting and starving of Palestinians in Yarmouk, Syria, the past civil war in Lebanon, the mistreatment of Palestinians in Kuwait in 1991 and, later, in Iraq in 2003 are often cited as examples. Now some insist that the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was the last nail in the coffin of Arab solidarity with Palestine.

I beg to differ. The outcome of the ill-fated ‘Arab Spring’ was a massive letdown, if not betrayal, not just of Palestinians but of most Arabs. The Arab world has turned into a massive ground for dirty politics between old and new rivals. While Palestinians were victimised, Syrians, Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis and others are being victimised, as well.

There has to be a clear political demarcation of the word ‘Arabs.’ Arabs can be unelected governments as much as they can be a kindly old woman earning two dollars a day in some dirty Cairo hotel. Arabs are emboldened elites who care only about their own privilege and wealth while neither Palestine nor their own nations matter, but also multitudes of peoples, diverse, unique, empowered, oppressed, who happen at this point in history to be consumed with their own survival and fight for freedom.

The latter ‘Arabs’ never betrayed Palestine; they willingly fought and died for it when they had the chance.

Most likely, Hajah Zainab is long dead now. But millions more like her still exist and they, too, long for a free Palestine, as they continue to seek their own freedom and salvation.

(Source / 26.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 26, 2016 at 6:44 pm

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What have they done to Dima Al-Wawi?

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Dima Al-Wawi is a 12 years old Palestinian girl. She was just released from an Israeli prison. Look at her eyes and ask: what have they done to her?

What do you see when you look at Dima Al-Wawi’s eyes? What was she subjected to, how was she treated, did she really confess? Look at her eyes and ask: how many children are imprisoned in Israel? How can anyone with a shred of humanity accept such a violation to the rights of children?

Each year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers
In an article published by The Guardian in 2012, Harriet Sherwood wrote: “Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers each year, mostly accused of throwing stones. Since 2008, Defence for Children International (DCI) has collected sworn testimonies from 426 minors detained in Israel’s military justice system. Their statements show a pattern of night-time arrests, hands bound with plastic ties, blindfolding, physical and verbal abuse, and threats. About 9% of all those giving affidavits say they were kept in solitary confinement (…) Few parents are told where their children have been taken. Minors are rarely questioned in the presence of a parent, and rarely see a lawyer before or during initial interrogation. Most are detained inside Israel, making family visits very difficult.”
Human rights violation
“Human rights organisations say these patterns of treatment – which are corroborated by a separate study, No Minor Matter, conducted by an Israeli group, B’Tselem – violate the international convention on the rights of the child, which Israel has ratified, and the fourth Geneva convention. Most children maintain they are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, despite confessions and guilty pleas, said Gerard Horton of DCI. But, he added, guilt or innocence was not an issue with regard to their treatment.”
Dima Al-Wawi upon her arrest by masked soldiers

They confess simply to get out of solitary confinement 

“We’re not saying offences aren’t committed – we’re saying children have legal rights. Regardless of what they’re accused of, they should not be arrested in the middle of the night in terrifying raids, they should not be painfully tied up and blindfolded sometimes for hours on end, they should be informed of the right to silence and they should be entitled to have a parent present during questioning. (…) Solitary confinement breaks the spirit of a child. Children say that after a week or so of this treatment, they confess simply to get out of the cell.”

Dima Al-Wawi upon her release ten weeks after her arrest
Dima Al-Wawi’s eyes
French singer Renaud wrote: “Question d’histoire d’abord / Où est la Palestine ? / Sous quelle botte étoilée ? / Derrière quels barbelés ? / Sous quel champ de ruines ? / Question d’histoire encore / Combien de victimes / Combien milliers d’enfants / Dans les décombres des camps / Deviendront combattants ?
First a question about history / Where’s Palestine? / Under which starry boot? / Behind which barbed wires? / Into which fields of ruins? / Again a question about history / How many victims? / How many thousands of children / Into the rubble of the camps / Will become fighters?

Is the answer in Dima Al-Wawi’s eyes?

(Source / 26.04.2016)



Written by altahrir

April 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm

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Expert warns of settlement plan separating Nablus from Ramallah

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An Israeli soldier stands guard near a Jewish-only settlement

File photo of An Israeli soldier stands guard near a Jewish-only settlement

Khalil Tafakji, a Palestinian expert on Israeli settlements, warned on Sunday of a plan to build settlements with the aim of separating Nablus from Ramallah, two major West Bank cities,Felesteen newspaper reported.

Speaking to Mawtini, a local Palestinian radio station, Tafakji said: “The state of Israel is a state of Israeli settlements, including a group of Palestinian communities connected with each other through tunnels. This is the reality in the Palestinian [West] Bank.”

He pointed to the Israeli project to confiscate hundreds of dunams from the lands of Jalood, Termis’ea and Al-Mogheir based on military order 50 which was issued in 1983.

“This order stipulates the connection between the Israeli settlements and separating Nablus from Ramallah,” he said.

“This isolates the Palestinian residents in these areas and undermines the Palestinian control over the Palestinian lands,” he added.

Tafakji explained that the continuous violence of Israeli settlers against Palestinian farmers, the closing of streets and the confiscation of land in these areas is part of this project.

He also revealed that Israel is planning to build 1,690 new settlement units in the West Bank city of Qalandia and will also expand the industrial zone, noting this is part of a new settlement project which was decided on in 1994.

(Source / 25.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

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Welcome to Palestine 2017, a legal imperative

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‘Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act,’ Albert Einstein

Mr Hambidge encourages the Palestinian statehood bid heading to the United Nations in 2017 to go ahead despite international conspiracy against the Palestinians and their land.

Mr Hambidge encourages the Palestinian statehood bid heading to the United Nations in 2017 to go ahead despite international conspiracy against the Palestinians and their land.

By Clive Hambidge

Days of Palestine, London -The ship carrying the precious cargo of a Palestinian Statehood Bid, intended for late 2017, navigates through the choppy waters of Israel’s polluted sea of propaganda, US obduracy and a forever abstaining UK, complicit to a universally recognised, unlawful and brutal Israeli occupation.

This must not deter we the people in our duty to support this putative bid or allow its legal and political implications to drift, be devolved or becalmed in the parameters of our consciousness indeed offshore in the shallows of a collective conscience.  The Palestinian Statehood Bid is the freedom flotilla bound this time for the UN Security Council.

France threatens a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State as it condemns on-going settlements activity. This should be supported by vociferous multilateral campaigns issuing from the 8 Nation States who at 10.26pm on 30th December 2014 voted in favour of the original bid; and who probably agreed (as I do) with Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin who incompliantly stated that Moscow “cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process.” Good for him, shame on the UK.

The peremptory norms are clear, as I remind the Nation States who used the power of veto 2014 (and others that abstained) that according to the Human Sciences Research Council: “If a State aids or assists another State in maintaining that unlawful situation, knowing it to be unlawful, then it becomes complicit in its commission and itself commits an internationally wrongful act.”

A submission to the UN Security Council must go ahead for as stated and reiterated by Mahmoud Abbas: “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalisation of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one.”  The charges of colonialism, apartheid (and now genocide) against Israel, as a “belligerent Occupying Power in OPT” since 1967, have been demonstrated to a conscionable world community and more than satisfactorily by legal scholars.

Reparation, self-determination, right of return and putative criminal charges brought against Israel for crimes against humanity and genocide by Palestine are necessarily limited because the weight or bias of international law stands firmly with States and State self-interest.  Palestine therefore and thereof has historically sought refuge in and through human rights standard bodies. With little effect.

Generations of Palestinians have known only too well of their plight and the laws that should have protected them from Israel’s violent narrative of expropriation. Generations of Palestinians have resisted this unilateral annexation rightfully and lawfully.

Prohibited under international law, the systematic unilateral annexation of Palestine by Israel as an occupying force and the geographical permanent status Israel has created as facts on the ground are legally untenable.

In 2007 Professor John Dugard, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur in the OPT posed the question: “What are the legal consequences of a [Israeli] regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people?” The answer is tragically clear: collective punishment of a besieged and violated population. This constitutes a contiguous and damning litany of planned “inhuman acts” committed by Israel against innocent Palestinians since 1948 (stepped up in sophistication and barbarity since 1967) have remained unpunished.

Self-determination crucial to the Palestinian cause is violated by colonialism. Self-determination as determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is “one of the essential principles of contemporary international law.” All states should promote self-determination. As they do not at the governmental level, we as the sovereign subjects of Nation States (in my case the UK) have a duty to unequivocally promote Palestinian self-determination.

The 1973 Apartheid Convention is defined in part by: “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict teaches a particular hagiography, the shaping of a pervasive, systemic architecture of asymmetry. We must understand and teach others by our pro-active stance that the 1948 Nakba saw a violent land grab in the course of which 678 Palestinian localities were destroyed, 400 villages disembowelled, 85 per cent of the Palestinian population (an estimated 750,000) became refugees. And of historical Palestine 78 per cent was stolen. Thus the establishment of Israel in historic Palestine was a Zionist coup d’état as Britain turned her anti-Semitic face the other way.

As stated in Philo and Berry’s More Bad News for Israel, (is there anything else?), the overwhelmingly disadvantaged Palestinians are/have been “fighting a war of national liberation”; for the remaining 22 per cent, ever since, with one arm tied behind by their backs by the cabal of US, EU, UK support of Israel’s deadly expropriation project. The subjugated and oppressed Palestinians have been standing in an American (AIPAC controlled) wind tunnel where their anguished “cry freedom” has been roared down. Nevertheless; the taken 85 per cent remains alive in the topography of the collective psyche of a wounded but stoic Palestinian people, and alive to international law.

(Source / 24.04.2016)

Written by altahrir

April 24, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Posted in Opinion others

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