Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - March 2010
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Day Trip to the Ghetto of Hebron
Tali Shapiro, P U L S E 3/1/2010
Thursday was an international day of action to re-open Shuhada street in Hebron city, and mark the Cave of the Patriarch Massacre. A group of friends, from the Tel Aviv area, spontaneously decided we should go, so the five of us hopped in a car, hoping to join our friends from Jerusalem, who filled up a bus. We’ve all heard about Hebron, but nothing can prepare you for it, and nothing I can write, here, can truly depict what it means to be there.
In order to understand the technicalities of what is known as the Occupied Territories, you have to know about their inner control and administration divisions, set at the Oslo Accords. The occupied territories are divided into areas A, B and C. Area C is officially under Israeli control and administration. It covers the majority of settlements and cuts through and around areas A and B (creating 227 A/B islands) and keeps miraculously growing. That said, it doesn’t stop the Israeli army (and deportation unite) to come into oficially-Palestinian-controlled area A and abducting Palestinians and Internationals. Area B is the epitome of long-term occupation; A land where Palestinian Authority has “civil control” and the Israeli army has “security control”.
Hebron is in area B, but it gets even messier; In 1979, 40 settlers from the adjacent Kiryat Arba settlement (home to the ethnic cleansing advocate, Meir Kehana) took over a building known as Beit Hadassah, in the center of the city. Ever since then the population of Jews in Hebron reached the not-so-astonishing number of around 500, about 0.03% of the population. In 1994, after American born, Kiryat Arba settler , Kach party member, Baruch Goldstein, massacred between 29-52 (depends who you ask) people in the Mosque of the Cave of Patriarchs, Shuhada street, a main market street in Hebron was closed off to Palestinians. In 1997, then and now Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, redivided this area B city into areas H1 (=area A), which inhabited around 120,000 Palestinians and H2 (= area C), which inhabited around 40,000 Palestinians, half of which have fled after the redivision, for rather obvious reasons. more.. e-mail
MIDEAST: Picking Pebbles to Live Somehow
Eva Bartlett, Inter Press Service 3/2/2010
GAZA CITY, Mar 2, 2010(IPS) - They come by the hundreds every day to sand dunes and rubble sites to sift for pebbles, stones and sand that can be used in making concrete blocks. They lean into trash bins across the Strip, and wade through piles of rubbish scavenging for plastics, metals, and any bits worth reselling.
They venture dangerously close to the border fence to unlock metal and steel rods from their demolished home heaps. They are Gaza’s recyclers, and in a Strip where unemployment hovers at nearly 50 percent and poverty soars over 80 percent, environmental considerations are far from their minds. They do this work out of necessity.
Yousef, 14, leads two of his younger brothers in their daily hunt for concrete materials off the highway between Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah.
"We live in Khan Younis and it takes about 30 minutes to get to this site. But we stop anywhere along the road to look for gravel," he says, stooping to sort rocks. One of his brothers works in Gaza’s tunnels, another has no work. "I’ve got five sisters, too. There’re 12 of us altogether, and my dad has no work."
Like many unemployed men in Gaza, Yousef’s father used to work in Israel, until Israeli authorities closed Gaza’s borders. Now, he infrequently works day labour for farmers when there is work, but the pay is low.
Moatassan, Yousef’s three-year-old brother, piles pebbles onto the donkey cart, adding his bit to the family income. "Each cartful is worth about 30 shekels (eight dollars)," Yousef says. "We can usually do two carts a day." more.. e-mail
Mazuz and Arab Citizens of Israel (PDF)
Haneen Naamnih, Adalah 2/15/2010
Numerous public figures have praised the outgoing Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, asserting that during his term in office he strengthened the principle of the rule of law. Mazuz himself has described the period as a “golden era” in relations between the Israeli police and the state prosecution system. Retired Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin praised Mazuz for demonstrating that no person was above the law in Israel. However, these words of acclaim, as well as the criticism of the Attorney General and his decisions, have by and large disregarded Mazuz’s stance toward Arab citizens of Israel.
This month the Knesset passed a law that grants blanket clemency to all of those accused of staging illegal protests against the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, against the backdrop of Mazuz’s continued support for this policy.2 During the course of “Operation Cast Lead” in December 2008 and January 2009, many Arab citizens of Israel demonstrated against the attack. However, while their protests did not entail a breach of the “public order,” in stark contrast to the violence employed by Jewish demonstrators protesting against the disengagement from Gaza, the state prosecution, with Mazuz’s backing, arrested and systematically indicted dozens of demonstrators, around half of whom were minors. Most of the accused were detained until the end of the proceedings against them.3
One of Mazuz’s most egregious failures as Attorney General was his decision to close the investigation files against all police commanders and officers suspected of being implicated in the killing of thirteen young Arab men during the protest demonstrations in October 2000. In his decision, issued on 27 January 2008, Mazuz wrote, “Indeed, the result in which thirteen people were killed in these events is a harsh and disturbing one. However, there is one criminal law and it has stringent rules with regard to criminal responsibility and indictment.”4 However, Mazuz’s actions demonstrate that in Israel there is in fact not a single, uniform system of criminal law, but rather two tracks: one for Jewish citizens and another for Arab citizens. In protest against Mazuz’s decision, a mass march was held in February 2008 in the Arab town of Sakhnin.... more.. e-mail
Picking pebbles to survive in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 3 Mar 2010 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - They come by the hundreds every day to sand dunes and rubble sites to sift for pebbles, stones and sand that can be used in making concrete blocks. They lean into trash bins across the Gaza Strip, and wade through piles of rubbish scavenging for plastics, metals and any bits worth reselling.
Refusal to surrender: "My Father was a Freedom Fighter" reviewed
Electronic Intifada: 3 Mar 2010 - Palestinian-American author, journalist and editor of the Palestine Chronicle , Ramzy Baroud's latest book My Father was a Freedom Fighter is an antidote to the US, European and Israeli media's decontextualization and dehumanization of Palestinians. It's also an instant classic, one of the very best books to have examined the Palestinian tragedy. Robin Yassin-Kassab reviews for The Electronic Intifada.
"I can't live without this place"
Electronic Intifada: 3 Mar 2010 - "The Israeli police used a bullhorn and shouted 'death to Arabs!' toward me once," Abed Rabbeh remembers, his hands wrapped around a small ceramic cup of tea. "Another time, they tried to tell me that my grandfather was born in Dheisheh refugee camp and that I have no roots in this land." Nora Barrows-Friedman reports on one man's struggle to stay on his West Bank land.
the hardest jobs
In Gaza: 3 Mar 2010 - * gathering gravel and stones to be used for construction (IPS) - They come by the hundreds every day to sand dunes and rubble sites to sift for pebbles, stones and sand that can be used in making concrete blocks. They lean into trash bins across the Strip, and wade through piles of rubbish scavenging for plastics, metals, and any bits worth reselling. They venture dangerously close to the border fence to unlock metal and steel rods from their demolished home heaps. They are Gaza’s recyclers, and in a Strip where unemployment hovers at nearly 50 percent and poverty soars over 80 percent, environmental considerations are far from their minds....
Palestine is Full of Heroes
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Mar 2010 - By Tariq Shadid Although people in our modern times have been educated to believe that having the 'right' ideas, methods or ideologies is what causes revolutions, history teaches us that drastic changes usually happen when the majority of the people rally behind a certain leader, more than behind an ideology. While Palestinian society continues to be torn apart by factional strife, and people increasingly see each other as adversaries based on differences of opinion or conviction, what they really need is not a new philosophy, but simply a truly charismatic leader. We may idealize human intellect and enlightenment, but in practice, human social biology usually proves to be stronger than ideology. While most people today believe that their strength lies in the success of their perceived Utopian model of society, and that the ideas of a prominent persona are more important than his personal characteristics, their behavior is often indicative of the opposite. Being herd animals, changes usually happen when the majority of the human herd flocks behind a leader who is perceived as charismatic, strong, sympathetic and courageous. The Effect of Charisma In democratic societies, politicians seem to be very aware of this human behavioral phenomenon, especially during campaign time. A good example is the victory of Barack Obama in the American elections of 2008. We can all clearly see that the policies of the new administration, with its promises of 'change', barely show any significant differences – especially in foreign affairs – when compared to the much reviled...
Native Indian Genocide: Parallels in Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Mar 2010 - By Yuram Abdullah Weiler "One of the greatest crimes against humanity occurred right here in the United States of America. Support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a start to right this great wrong," declared the American Indian Movement in a press release on 24 September 2009. Perhaps my natural sense of outrage and revulsion at the injustices and atrocities inflicted upon indigenous peoples by the U.S., Zionists and other colonizing powers is inherited from my mother. Before she died, she told me that ancestors on her father’s side of the family traced their roots back to the Iroquois nation. The United States of America, of course, voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only a country that denies the rights of its own Native Indians could object to the right of self-determination for other indigenous peoples. Likewise, only a country that had itself executed genocide on its own native peoples on a massive scale could be such an ardent supporter of the Zionist regime, which is currently engaged in a native Palestinian genocide. How massive was the Native Indian genocide committed by the Euroamerican colonizers? According to the late Professor Howard Zinn, of the 10 million Native Indians who lived north of present-day Mexico when Columbus arrived, less than a million remain. Other scholars put the indigenous population in 1492 as high as 18 million. Based on a nadir population of 250,000 around 1900, the American Indian holocaust perpetrated by...
Fighting Israeli Apartheid
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Mar 2010 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed - Dubai I am not sure about others but I really look forward to readers' reaction after sharing my ramblings with them every week. Each attempt to put across one’s point of view, for what it’s worth, is followed by a breathless wait for the verdict. While many do not understandably agree with my worldview, some of the responses are so interesting and thought-provoking that I desperately want to share them with the larger audience. For instance, check out some of these letters I got in response to my piece on the assassination of Hamas commander in Dubai, which has Mossad fingerprints all over it with the ever widening ring of suspicion now encircling all of the globe. A European reader based in Norway, upset over the Western governments’ policies in the Middle East and their reaction to the broad daylight killing, wrote back saying: “Rather than the West ‘bending over backwards to humor Israel’ (my words in the article last week) it is my contention that the West bends ‘forwards’ in order to facilitate Israel in ****ing them. Don’t they have any shame?” Another Scandinavian reader, based in the neighboring Sweden, commented: “I am disgusted by our complete disregard for the victims of terrorism when carried out by Western states and their allies. We have seen its proof once again in the Dubai killing. However, the truth will prevail in the end – of that I’m sure.” A British reader echoed these sentiments saying: “The...
Articles Archives - March 2010
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