stat counter

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sunday Offering # 18: Metta

The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.

Lebanese Army Kills 2, Wounds 35 in Peaceful Protest

Ed - 29.06.2007 19:58

Lebanese Army Fires Live Ammunition at Peaceful Protest in Solidarity with Nahr el Bared Refugee Camp 2 killed, 35 wounded, 7 critical cases shot above their waist

Today, during the second day of a three-day peaceful protest in the Palestinian refugee camp of Badaoui in solidarity with Palestinian refugees from Nahr el Bared, the Lebanese Army opened fire on the protestors in Badawi refugee camp, killing two people and injuring 35, 7 critically.

A peaceful protest began within the Badawi Palestinian Refugee Camp in north Lebanon. The protestors had signs reading “Nahr el Bared is in our soul” and “Nahr el Bared, we won’t forget you.” The protestors were calling for an end to the violence.

Energetic male youth continued the protest outside the camp, against the wishes and attempts of the organizers. As they proceeded towards the Lebanese army’s checkpoint, the army issued verbal warnings telling the protestors to stay away. At this point, women and children raced to the front to try to prevent the army from firing upon the crowd. The Lebanese army shot two warning shots into the air and then immediately responded with machine gun fire at the crowd of approximately 300 peaceful protesters. The army continued firing on people as they were attempting to retrieve the wounded.

A senior official in the Lebanese Army stated that the Army responded in this way to defend itself, and that its response was the minimal response it could have undertaken.

Caoimhe Butterly, an activist and organizer, reported on what she had personally witnessed. “The army first opened fire with 2 to 3 minutes of sustained fire. When there was a lull in the shooting, we rushed in with our hands above our heads. At this stage, the Army started firing on the road again. Thus, people retrieving the wounded were wounded.”

In response to the Lebanese Army’s claim that a “significant number” of the protestors had clubs, Butterly said, “the protestors did not have clubs. Nobody had clubs. We saw the whole demonstration. They weren’t carrying anything. We went from the beginning to the end of the demonstration. We saw it all, and no one was carrying clubs.”

Furthermore, she continued, “the protest was never out of hand. They weren’t throwing stones. At the time the Army opened fire, women were sitting on the ground at the front, and a number of people even had their backs to the soldiers. At the time the Army opened fire, people were getting quieter and had stopped shouting, as if shouting is enough to legitimize open fire.”

In response to the Lebanese Army’s claim that the protestors were 10 meters away from the checkpoint, Butterly said, “We were at a distance where we couldn’t distinguish their faces; we could only distinguish their figures. We were possibly at a distance of a few hundred meters, and definitely not 10 meters. We were far away from the checkpoint.”

Two civilians were killed, and 35 wounded, including 5 women and 7 children below the age of 15 – including one 3-year-old child. An elderly sheikh was wounded as he attempted to mediate. Seven of the wounded are critically wounded, having been shot above the waist.

The protest was held in a response to the ongoing siege of Nahr al Bared refugee camp in an attempt to highlight the worsening humanitarian situation and indiscriminate shelling endured by the up to 3,000 civilians still remaining in the camp. The protest began yesterday by initiating a three-day water-only symbolic hunger strike in solidarity with family and friends in Nahr al Bared who are presently experiencing the hunger, fear and vulnerability of facing a second month under siege. The protest included a silent procession and die-in to highlight the to-date 36 civilian casualties earlier this afternoon and an open mike and opportunity for the press to interview people throughout the day who have recently evacuated Nahr al Bared.

Eyewitness Contacts: Caoimhe Butterly: +961 70 824084 Rasha Najdeh: + 961 3 963562 press release written by: Rania Masri, 961 3 135279 Website:


Friday, June 29, 2007

Operation Tin Cup: Tony Blair Gets Knocked Down a Notch

Blair won't have power to mediate on peace

Tony Blair's ambitions for his new role as a Middle East envoy were brought down to earth yesterday after America made it clear that he will have no power to mediate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Instead, the State Department said that Mr Blair will be confined to improving the institutions of the Palestinian Authority.

One former US adviser predicted swift "frustration" for Mr Blair and likened his role to carrying a "tin cup" around the world, raising funds for the Palestinians.

Mr Blair has been named an envoy of the "Quartet" - a group charged with bringing about peace in the Middle East - comprising America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

On the day of his appointment, he told Parliament his "absolute priority" would be to "give effect" to a "two-state solution, which means a state of Israel that is secure and confident of its security and a Palestinian state that is viable, not merely in terms of its territory, but in terms of its institutions".
Then he told the Northern Echo newspaper that his "huge challenge" was to "prepare the ground for a negotiated settlement".

The Bush administration quickly contradicted Mr Blair's sweeping definition of his role. Tom Casey, the State Department's deputy spokesman, made it clear that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be handled by Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State.

"We'd like to be able to have an envoy to focus very specifically on helping with some of these institution-building tasks for the Palestinian Authority," said Mr Casey.

"But my understanding is there's certainly no envisioning that this individual would be a negotiator on behalf of the Quartet between the Israelis and Palestinians."

In her statement welcoming Mr Blair's appointment, Dr Rice described his task as creating "viable and lasting Palestinian government institutions", strengthening "the Palestinian economy" and establishing "law and order for the Palestinian people". She made no mention of mediating peace talks.In her statement welcoming Mr Blair's appointment, Dr Rice described his task as creating "viable and lasting Palestinian government institutions", strengthening "the Palestinian economy" and establishing "law and order for the Palestinian people". She made no mention of mediating peace talks.

Aaron David Miller, an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict who advised six secretaries of state, said: "If he [Mr Blair] thinks he's going to be the lead negotiator to set the stage for a political process leading to a two-state solution, it's hard for me to believe that he really believes that.

"I know that's not the role that either the President or the Secretary of State wants for him."

Mr Miller added: "There is no US secretary of state worth his salt - and I worked for six of them - who would ever allow anyone else to have that kind of responsibility."

Instead, Mr Blair's task will be confined to reviving the economies of Gaza and the West Bank and sorting out the Palestinian Authority's shambolic ministries.

James Wolfensohn, the former head of the World Bank, held this job until he resigned in disgust last year.

Israel routinely strangles any economic activity by sealing off the occupied territories and halting the movement of goods and people by using checkpoints and security barriers.

Unless Mr Blair can persuade Israel to lift these restrictions, economic recovery in the occupied territories will be impossible.

"The odds on his getting frustrated quickly are high," said Mr Miller.

"If he lacks the capacity to be tough with the Israelis on the whole host of issues relating to movement - checkpoints, crossing points and all the rest - then his role is essentially Operation Tin Cup. He will carry a tin cup around the world and raise money and not much else."


Thank You From The People's Voice


(note, for some reason regretably I cannot post Ben's excellent cartoon which can be found on the original post at The People's Voice)

Dear Readers,
This is not over yet, but we are so grateful for and overwhelmed by all your kindness and support, that we feel it now is necessary for us to express this in a public way.
We have reason to believe that quite many of you have written to Google in support of us. We thank you for this! It warms our hearts and it admittedly humbles us a wee bit. We are now more aware of how little we can do by ourselves, and how much we need our readers.
The negative forces have been a blessing for us -our hits are doing well, our network of friends has been strengthened and even extended. These forces have done us a great service. We thank them for this!

Who are they? -By the help we're getting from our friends, the picture becomes clearer by the day. We suspect there are a couple of Google News employees who have been recruited by outside forces, and who probably have ensconced themselves comfortably in the section dealing with complaints/suggestions. We wouldn't be surprised to find that they have been recruited from the same fetid waters as some of the activists that belong to a big & well-known web site and are controlled by its charming, but wicked founder. Some of you may feel reasonably sure about which one we are referring to.

Some people even posted stuff about us on their blogs and in the way of giving a well-earned recognition to them, we would like to show you the links to these postings. These people are our friends. -It took a crisis to show us this clearly. We want to honor them and thank them from the bottom of our hearts. In alphabetical order they are the following:

Benjamin Heine
Desert Peace
Peace Palestine
Under The Holly Tree
We Are Wide Awake

We would like to see even more people who have access to a blog (or who actually own one) -for them to post something that refers to this situation here @ Like we said, this is not over yet. We need all of you! Thank you!
Sincerely,SE & rj(Site Editors)

Butterfly Kisses in Palestine

There is a song sung widely here in the States, “Butterfly Kisses” It’s a Christian song sung widely at weddings. It’s about a father giving his daughter away at her wedding, and remembering back when he would kneel with her at bedtime prayers and then receive from her “Butterfly Kisses”. Now we have in the first video below, a Palestinian mother whose husband was shot and killed for NO reason by the IOF, telling her daughter that her father will “come at night like a butterfly”. In the song, the father is still there for his daughter, raising her, and finally giving her away at her wedding like all fathers do who are living. Fida’s father will NOT be there to give her away, he isn’t even there to raise her OR recieve her “butterfly kisses”. Instead we have a mother trying to comfort her daughter by telling her that her father will come to her while she is asleep like butterflies flittering in the night. One is real, one is a mother comforting her daughter for a loss which last her lifetime. This is what comes to my mind. A father singing to his daughter here in America which is the entity giving power to these monsters, the IOF, He lives comfortably while those in Palestine suffer. There is blessing in living comfortably, there is NO blessing in supporting the suffering of another who deserves as a child of our creator, safety, and every human right affordable to ALL mankind. No words can express how I feel about my country doing this. No words at all. Bless you Fida, bless your mother. Bless all the children of Palestine who have lost a father or mother in this brutal illegal occupation. We all wish so much that your Babas and Yammas were with you. Yes, their love for you is a “butterfly” floating on the breeze of hope. May they come to you always and share your “butterfly kisses”.

“Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
You know how much I love you Daddy, but if you don’t mindI’m only going to kiss you on the cheek this time
(Father) With all that I’ve done wrong, I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning, and her kisses at night”

And for all the parents who have lost their children, may their "butterfly kisses" come to you on a gentle breeze. And may our loving creator hold you gently in the palm of his hand.

From Sabbah's blog: the following videos:

29. June 2007 1226hrs Part of Haitham's adventure in Zionism, War Crimes, Video, Human

Here is a new sample of the “peace loving Israeli occupation“.

The following video testimonies produced and published by B’tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) shows a sample of Palestinian daily
misererable life under the Israeli occupation:

Video testimony - Maysun al-Hayek:
In February 2002, Maysun al-Hayek and her husband were on the way to the hospital, where she was to give birth to their daughter. Suddenly, soldiers opened fire at them, killing her husband and wounding her and her father-in’-law. The soldier undressed the wounded victims and had them lay on the ground, naked and uncovered, until Red Crescent personnel arrived.

Video testimony - ‘Udai Abu Hamdiyeh:

‘Udai Abu Hamdiyeh was six years old in June 2003, when he was playing with friends near the village’s well. A soldier fired at the children, wounding him in the head.

Video testimony - Nahed a-Za’anin:

Nahed a-Za’anin markets his tomatoes abroad through an Israeli export company. Because of delays at Karni Crossing, his tomatoes lose their quality and are rejected, forcing him to sell them in Gaza at lower prices.

Video testimony -

Video testimony - Jamal Nasser:

Jamal Nasser is a resident of Tulkarm who runs a small business in Gaza. He obtained a permit to enter the Gaza Strip, but when he and his son went to the Erez checkpoint, soldiers informed him that a closure had been imposed and he would have to turn around and go home.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Google Censors The People's Voice: Fight Back

The following email was received by many bloggers. It is self-explanatory and we all ask that you act on this to link to the link given and tell Google what you think of this latest incidence of censorship. (A few months ago Uruknet underwent the same sort of campaign against them and Google reversed their decision)

Dear Reader,
We @ need your help! Anti-democratic forces have succeeded in making Google take us off its news list. It is important for web sites like ours to be listed there, so that more people will have access to alternative points of view, not just the Main Stream Media. Below you will find an extract of what we have to say about these negative forces. You will find the rest of it on our homepage. We will later post an extended article about this. As you will understand, we WILL fight back, but we do need your help to succeed in this. Please consider helping us.
“Well, they’re at it again. This time a gang of crazies at the Daily Kos have managed to convince Google News to remove our site. They may have had help from the extremists at ‘Little Green Footballs’ or ‘Elder of Ziyon’, two other sites that want to shut us down. They falsely accuse us of anti-Semitism when we are fiercely opposed to bigotry and racism in all it’s forms. It is our sincere belief that a handful of people who seek to inhibit freedom of speech cannot equal the power of the majority of the people. If you like what we are doing and want more people to see the articles on our site please write a few words or a letter to Google News. Tell them that you like the site and to please put back on Google News.”
If you would like to help out, please just enter our homepage and click on “Contact Google News” in the upper right hand corner. This will lead you to Google’s page dedicated to suggestions and / or feedback. Please just fill in your name etc. and whatever you would like to say or use the text / example below. Thank you!
Sincerely,Schuyler Ebbets &Ragnar JohannessenThe People’s
PS: Please don’t send the email addresses above to people you don’t know.
It would seem that Google has deleted from its news list. I like this web site. The main articles submitted to this site are good, interesting and represent a wide variety of opinions and points of view. The news are fresh and to the point. I would like to see back on Google again. Thank you.
[Your Name]

Just a side note. Eileen Fleming (and Haitham Sabbah, Desert Peace, Umkahlil, Ben Heine and Anna Balzer) were all banned from the Dkos. Eileen was the last to be banned and the soul monotonanous charge adnauseum against her was for posting on the People's Voice. There were SO many shenanigans going on at the Dkos with people speaking out of both sides of their mouths, but the campaign was DEFINITELY on to get rid of all the pro-Palestinian posters who carried any weight. One poster there, Eternal Hope, was DEFINITELY playing games. To make a long story short, after Eileen was banned an extremely slanderous post appeared about her on Little Green Footballs. Eileen sent me the link to see it. I linked and was forbidden, both from my desktop AND laptop which I had used when commenting on the Dkos. I could not even open the site to see it!! Just the week prior I had logged on to LGF with no problems whatsoever. I had NO problem logging on from any other computer. My concrete conclusion is that since I was the last person standing supporting Eileen and openly accusing them of some serious allegations, SOMEONE at the Dkos or possibly Eternal Hope who is a commenter there who is particularly egregious, gave LGF my ip numbers and I was banned without EVER leaving a comment there in my life. Now these same people are seeking to limit the People's Voice by campaigning Google to drop them. What do you think? I would call this censorship of the worse kind.

Sign the PSC Petition: Kick Israeli Apartheid Out of Football-Fair Play for the Palestinians

Please sign this petition.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Palestine Solidarity Campaign NEWS"
> Date: June 26, 2007 9:02:05 AM PDT
> To:
> Subject: Sign the Petition: Kick Israeli Apartheid Out of Football -
> Fair Play for the Palestinians
> Reply-To:
> Please forward widely!
> **********************
> Sign the PSC Petition: Kick Israeli Apartheid Out of Football - Fair
> Play for the Palestinians
> We the undersigned urge the Football Association (FA), the Union of
> European Football Association (UEFA) and the International Federation
> of Association Football (FIFA) to take appropriate measures to ban the
> national Israeli football team from all international fixtures until
> the state of Israel entirely complies with International Law and
> relevant United Nations resolutions to end Israeli occupation.
> For the past 60 years, Israel has been destroying Palestinian lives,
> livelihoods and homes daily, is refusing to stop the building of
> illegal settlements and the apartheid wall on stolen land.
> Palestinians love football but both amateur and professional players
> and the Palestinian Football Association are unable to function fully
> because of the occupation. Children have been killed and injured by
> the Israeli army while playing football. International and national
> football organizations must take action to support the Palestinians
> right and ability to participate at every level of the game.
> We believe that, like the sporting boycott against Apartheid South
> Africa, only international pressure can make Israel end its violations
> of international Law and human rights towards the Palestinian people
> to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Middle-East.
> (This petition will be brought to the attention of the FA, UEFA and
> FIFA ahead of the England - Israel Euro qualifier on 8th September
> 2007)
> Sign the petition here:
> ========================
> For a listing of all events on Palestine in the UK please visit the
> PSC website:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Zombie by Cindy Sheehan


by Cindy Sheehan

Another head hangs lowly,Child is slowly taken.

And the violence caused such silence,

Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it’s not me, it’s not my family.

In your head, in your head they are fighting,

With their tanks and their bombs,

And their bombs and their guns.

In your head, in your head, they are crying…

In your head, in your head,

Zombie, zombie, zombie,

Hey, hey, hey. What’s in your head,

In your head,

Zombie, zombie, zombie?

Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou…

Another mother’s breakin’,

Heart is taking over.

When the vi’lence causes silence,

We must be mistaken.

It’s the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.

In your head, in your head they’re still fighting,

With their tanks and their bombs,

And their bombs and their guns.

In your head, in your head, they are dying…

In your head, in your head,

Zombie, zombie, zombie,

Hey, hey, hey. What’s in your head,

In your head,

Zombie, zombie, zombie?

Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, oh, oh,

Oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, oh, ya, ya-a…

-The Cranberries

On the way home from Los Angeles yesterday, my daughter Carly, and I stopped in a store on the Grapevine to purchase some CDs for the longish drive (6 hours). One of the CDs we bought was a greatest hits album by The Cranberries.

It’s not me, it’s not my family. One of the songs is the above song, Zombie. The Cranberries were an Irish group that took on social issues like violence and drug addiction: serious problems in all societies, but especially their society in the 1990s. We were listening to the CD and after Zombie I looked at Carly and she was wiping tears off of her face. She said: “How can you listen to that song? You listened to it the day Casey was killed while you were cleaning the house.”

“It sure has deeper meaning to us now, doesn’t it?” I quietly replied as I started weeping.

Another mother’s breakin’ heart is takin’ over. I have been watching CNN this morning and I have learned more about the horrible family tragedy in Ohio and seen pictures of the flowers and cards left at the slain young pregnant woman’s home. I am learning of another tragedy in Utah where a prison inmate killed a police officer. There are fires in California. One news item that hasn’t appeared thus far is the 83 soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis who have been killed so far in Iraq in June because of George’s bloody surge. No one has mentioned the 20 American mothers who still don’t know their child is dead for lies. It seems that we news consumers can feel better about ourselves mourning a beautiful mother and her unborn baby killed by a callous murderer in front of their two year old son, then mourning thousands of people killed by the callous murderers in Washington, DC who care more about their corporate puppeteers than the lives they have destroyed.

It’s the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen: I was recently in Dublin and statues are erected to the leaders of the Easter Week Rebellion of 1916 when Irish Patriots rose up against a fateful British decision to forcibly conscript the Irish for the “Great War” effort. After the uprising the British Empire executed 16 Irish Patriots. However, I have a slight correction: it’s the same old theme since civilizations were formed. Imperial powers oppress, kill, demonize and marginalize people who dare to be in the way of their empires. In the 21st century you would think that “civilized” countries would be finished with killing people for profit, but sadly, it seems that we have learned and will learn nothing from all of the death and destruction caused by callous murderers who put on the cloaks of “respectability” of their elective offices and can serially slaughter in the name of the people of their states. How and why can these immoral wars continue? Because we are:

Zombie, Zombie, Zombie: One of the definitions of a zombie is a person whose behavior or responses are “wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton” ( As Carly and I were wiping our eyes and blowing our noses yesterday, enormous gas guzzling behemoths were whizzing by us on I-5 rushing from point A to point B. Some had “Support the Troops” magnets and some had “W” stickers. I wonder if any of them reflect (for even a second) on what support for W and his pre-meditated, pre-emptive act of aggression has cost some people and if anyone they whizzed by yesterday (in smaller, more modest cars) were weeping because of their robotic allegiance to a dangerous imbecile. Even more disastrously, the immense majority of our brothers and sisters who disapprove of BushCo and its foreign policy (”if you’re not with us, you’re against us”), are apathetic consumer-ing automatons that allow the carnage to continue. And the violence caused such silence.

Our lives have been fundamentally altered forever. We never know when the grief will strike or from what direction it will come. The only thing we can be assured of is that it will always be there.

On I-5 yesterday it came from Zombie.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother’s Child and Dear President Bush.

Curious George W. Raps

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Israel Discovers Compassion: We Are No Longer Indifferent To Gaza Suffering, As Long As It's Hamas-Made

The following op-ed appeared in Ynet today

Israel discovers compassion
We are no longer indifferent to Gaza suffering, as long as it's Hamas-made

B. Michael
06.23.07, 12:48 / Israel Opinion

Who would have believed it: suddenly it turns out that behind the media's blind eyes, behind the Israeli population's indifferent facade, and behind the apathetic facade of Israeli politics, there hides a merciful and sympathetic heart, an emphatic soul, and a stomach filled with gentle compassion.

Suddenly, everyone discovered Palestinian suffering. Everyone is so photogenically shocked in the face of the tribulations suffered by the occupied Gaza population, which is groaning under the boot of the Hamas occupier. Everyone is enraged and overcome with fury, frustration, and terror in the face of the difficult images. And, actually, there is no wonder. Who can sympathize better than us Jews with people being persecuted by violent thugs?

And suddenly the wounded have names, and those killed have an age, and the sufferers have a face. I heard with my own stunned ears serious-looking news anchors talking about "war crimes" in Gaza. "War crimes" they said, explicitly. They were talking about people executed by knife and others shot to death in their underwear.

Indeed, war crimes. Indeed, terrible deeds. Had Hamas members been civilized, they would have forsaken butchery by knife, which gets the carpet dirty, and used a pilotless drone. Or a shiny fighter jet. Or sophisticated telescopic sights. That way they would have spared themselves the nickname "criminals" and would have spared the enraged news anchors much pain and shock.

Another channel reported, in a shocked tone, that Hamas villains who were looking for a "wanted" Fatah man (this is exactly what they said - "wanted") torched the house he was hiding in. What cruelty. Had Hamas owned a friendly bulldozer, a likeable D-9, which would compassionately make the walls collapse on the wanted man who hides there, the entire picture would have looked different.

Olmert's sweeping enthusiasm
Yet it appears that Prime Minister Olmert was the one who reached the peak of neo-humanity and compassion. From faraway Washington, and speaking to the entire world, he described Hamas abominations with such sweeping enthusiasm and with a series of such impressive synonyms that it became clear he swallowed a thesaurus ahead of the occasion. Yet then he outdid himself and declared, with genuine excitement, that we won't remain indifferent to human suffering in Gaza.

It was as if we were dreaming. The prime minister of Israel discovered Gaza residents' human suffering. The death, the destruction, and the distress. Who knows, maybe he will even end up hearing about the humiliation, despair, and poverty. And the moment he discovered all that, he could not remain indifferent.

The problem is that 20 seconds later we woke up from the dream. The prime minister made clear what human suffering he was referring to: The suffering which the Palestinians brought upon themselves, which shows us that only this kind of suffering - fresh Palestinian-made suffering - will not be met with indifference.

When it comes to the good old suffering Israel has been bringing to Gaza residents for dozens of years now, we can continue remaining indifferent as we have done for many years.

We can guess, therefore, that once the killing, destruction, imprisonment, humiliation, and persecution of "wanted" Palestinians will be back in our trusted hands, the enraged media, furious politicians, and shocked audience at home will also calm down again. The wounded will again lose their faces, casualties will again become nameless, and suffers will again lose their identity.

The homes will again be destroyed politely, those killed will again be killed in a clean and sterile manner, and the distress will again become part of anti-Semitic propaganda.

But let's not show contempt to small matters. A few minutes of recognizing Palestinian suffering constitute an enlightening change.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunday Offering # 17: The Sulha Peace Project

As we all have been witnessing the events in Palestine with bleeding hearts and eyes, none of us can loose hope that peace is possible in the Holy Land. This is a land which the three Abrahamic religions lay claim to. It is my absolute heartfelt conviction that peace is possible between these people, and that their commonalities far outweigh their differences. Below are two short videos portraying the Sulha Peace Project. When watching this video I felt tears choking in my throat for I know, I KNOW this is what our creator wishes for us as his blessed children.

Sulha, an Arabic word meaning reconciliation, a grassroots movement that aims, but more importantly succeeds in forming connections between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Each year their work culminates in a three day gathering, "On the way to Sulha"

The Sulha annual meeting is this August 14-16 at Latrun Monastery (between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) Sulha also has other chapters around the world and is seeking to grow to establish even more of these centers to promote understanding.

May this movement, and the many others who seek unity and justice grow and prosper, may they find strength in their convictions, and Heavenly Father, may you look down on them and hold them in the palms of your hands.

I dedicate this post to my dear friends, Karin, Clo, Eileen, Haitham, Steve, and Chet who I have met blogging and all the others who have crossed my path, knowing that in your heart and in all of your actions, you seek peace.

Shalom, Salam, Peace.

Part 1 (embedding has been disabled for some reason, but necessary to watch)

Part 2: The Sulha Peace Project

Friday, June 22, 2007

Life in Gaza Before-and After-the 1967 War by Mohammed Omer

Life in Gaza Before—and After—the 1967 War

By Mohammed Omer

Gaza native Mustapha Al Jamal holds his Israeli-issued ID card (Photo M. Omer).

“AYYAM ZAMAN” is Arabic for the “old days”—a time before occupation, checkpoints, dodging bullets from Israeli military snipers, seeking shelter from the steel rain of incoming hellfire missiles or from deafening sonic booms. It was a time when tanks did not prowl the streets or bulldozers crush homes and people to death. A time when fishermen fished freely off Gaza’s coast, farmers grew their crops, children attended school, lovers married, families grew and businesses prospered as they had for thousands of years. Ayyam Zaman describes an era where borders existed without a single checkpoint, razor fence or military unit in sight.

Then, on June 6, 1967 everything changed.

The Israeli people were told they were under “imminent danger,” with a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations their only hope. In truth, the Israeli government deliberately lied to its own people; the invasion had been planned years earlier. Declassified American intelligence reports for May and June 1967 prove Israel’s sole threat was the realization of peace with Egypt—because peace kills the Zionist dream of a Jewish-only greater Israel, the driving ideology behind Zionism since 1897. By 1973 several Israeli officials had confirmed that Israel was under no threat. In 1982, as Israeli invaders laid siege to Beirut, Prime Minister and former terrorist Menachem Begin described the 1967 aggression as a war of “choice.”

That the Six-Day War was launched under false pretenses serves as little comfort to the millions of people in the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights, however, who watched their lives transformed from ones of freedom to oppression in less than a week. Nor could they have known that, 40 years later, most would still be living under apartheid, increasingly at risk of starvation, and enduring an ever-more sadistic and deadly occupation, protected, endorsed and supplied by the one nation founded upon human rights and democratic values—the United States.

Yet even reality cannot steal one’s past. Elderly Gazans remember life under Egyptian rule rather than Israeli occupation. Mustapha Al Jamal, known as Abu Kamal, was born in 1932. The father of eight sons and four daughters witnessed everything from the same home he lives in today. How is his life different, then and now? “Before ‘67 we lived in peace,” Abu Kamal recalled. “All of it [Gaza] was open land. Egypt was open to us. There were no borders, no customs…I could take the train from Gaza to Cairo. We had two trains per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.’

Pausing for a moment, he gazed south, taking a long, deep breath while motioning at the horizon.

“But now,” he lamented, “Gaza is under siege. Wherever you go, anywhere, it’s closed by the Israeli occupation.”

Abu Kamal continued: “Our curriculum was Egyptian before ‘67, as was our currency. Israel eliminated the Egyptian currency and required that we use Israeli currency. Then they imposed a curfew in order to do a census of the Palestinians. We were then issued identification cards by the Israeli Liaison Office.

“Of course, we are still occupied,” Abu Kamal pointed out, sitting in his barber chair—the same one he owned over 40 years ago. “But today the occupation is much more aggressive than it was in 1967, much more aggressive. When Egypt was defeated in ‘67, Israel took the stage, seizing control of Gaza, thus ending both Egypt’s administrative and civil control, including the Palestinian police. Today I fear walking in the streets because of shooting and chaos.”

Like many people who today live in Gaza, Abu Kamal originally came from an area in what is now known as the state of Israel, the village of Yebna. Beginning in December 1947, David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and other Jewish terrorists instituted a campaign of ethnic cleansing designed to remove non-Jews from the land coveted by the Zionists. Many of the refugees ended up in Gaza, which was safe at the time.

Abu Kamal, like most of those displaced 60 years ago, hopes to return to his original home. If not him, then his grandchildren.

Nehad Al Shiekh Khalil, an historian and lecturer at Islamic University, remains ambivalent on the question of before and after. “I can’t say life was better for Palestinians in Gaza prior to or after 1967,” he stated. “However, occupation has created the worst Gaza of all times.”

When asked about major differences between pre- and post-1967, he elaborated, “For me, the most important to mention is the destruction or usurpation of Gaza’s natural resources and thus our self-sufficiency and ability to trade. For example, our water. The [Mediterranean] sea provided the backbone for Gaza’s economy, so Israel instituted policies that removed our ability to live off our resources, such as preventing fishing and refusing to allow Palestinians to trade or sell goods to other countries.” (Palestinian goods must pass through Israel by Israeli law, and Palestinians must accept whatever Israel decides is “fair market value.”)

In addition to limiting freedom of movement, restricting trade and destroying Gaza’s natural resources or access to them, Israel also has decimated a thriving economy over the past four decades. Prior to 1967 Gaza exported citrus, carpets, pottery, embroidery, textiles and woven fabric throughout the world. The elimination of Gaza’s industries transformed the small coastal strip from a wholly independent into a dependent society.

“After ‘67,” Khalil explained, “Israel controlled Gaza’s economy and all trade, within and out. By doing so it forced Palestinians to live on foreign aid. I can state that before ’67 there existed for Palestinians civil laws defining the relationship between different authorities in Gaza City. We had an economy and civilized culture that suited the population at the time. All of this was torn down by the occupation.”

Recalled 62-year-old Umm Al Abed Abu Sada, a mother of 14, one of whom is currently in jail: “Before ‘67 we had peace of mind. My husband used to build houses of mud. Life was much cheaper. Even the dowry required for marriage was less. Now everything is so expensive and the roads are closed. I am unable to go to Egypt for medication. Before, I could go anywhere.”

On a practical note, she added, “In the past, we used to cook daily. Now, one day we cook an okay meal. During the rest of the week we eat leftovers or a meal not so good.”

Asked before leaving his barber shop if he thought life will ever return to what it was before, Abu Kamal responded by opening his hands with both palms to the sky. “Inshallah (God willing),” he replied. “I hope so.”

Mohammed Omer, winner of New America Media’s Best Youth Voice award, reports from the Gaza Strip, where he maintains the Web site <>. He can be reached at <>.


Acclaimed Palestinian Actor Mohammed Bakri Faces Trial in Israel for Docimentary "Jenin, Jenin"

Below the article posted here, is the documentary "Jenin, Jenin"

Acclaimed Palestinian Actor Mohammad Bakri Faces Trial in Israel for Documentary “Jenin, Jenin”


Listen to Segment Download Show mp3 Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD
Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri is one Israel’s most well-known citizens. But since producing a documentary on Israel’s 2002 assault on the West Bank town of Jenin, Bakri has found himself virtually blacklisted in Israeli cinema, and now, he even faces possible jail time for making the film. [includes rush transcript]

Acclaimed Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri is one Israel’s most well-known citizens. He has acted in over a dozen films made by Israeli and international directors including “Hanna K” by Costa-Gavras and is well-known as a stage actor and director. But since producing a documentary on Israel’s 2002 assault on the West Bank town of Jenin, Bakri has found himself virtually blacklisted in Israeli cinema, and now he even faces possible jail time for making the film.

In April 2002, the Israeli military killed fifty-two Palestinians, flattened over 150 buildings and closed off the camp for two weeks. Several human rights groups accused Israel of commiting war crimes. The United Nations suspended its fact-finding mission after Israel refused to allow them entry. Bakri’s documentary “Jenin, Jenin” was one of the first to tell the stories of the town’s residents during the Israeli assault.

Excerpt of “Jenin, Jenin.”Despite receiving international acclaim, the film was initially banned in Israel until a reversal by the Israeli Supreme Court. Mohammad Bakri was then sued by five Israeli soldiers who were part of the military operation in Jenin. They allege that Bakri falsified information about them. The trial is set to begin next month.

Mohammad Bakri. Acclaimed Palestinian actor. In addition to “Jenin, Jenin,” Bakri is the director of “1948,” and most recently “Since You Left.”

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...

AMY GOODMAN: Acclaimed Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri is one of Israel's most well-known citizens. He's acted in over a dozen films made by Israeli and international directors, including Hanna K. by Costa-Gavras, and is well-known as a stage actor and director. But since producing a documentary on Israel's 2002 assault on the West Bank town of Jenin, Bakri has found himself virtually blacklisted in Israeli cinema, and now he even faces possible jail time for making the film.

In April 2002, the Israeli military killed fifty-two Palestinians, flattened over 150 buildings and closed off the camp for weeks. Several human rights groups accused Israel of committing war crimes. United Nations suspended its fact-finding mission after Israel refused to allow them entry.

Bakri's documentary Jenin, Jenin was one of the first to tell the stories of the town's residents during the Israeli assault.

JENIN RESIDENT: [translated] No one in the world has committed such atrocities. They demolished the houses over the children's heads. They come with their tanks and F16 planes to fight against stone-throwers. How can you explain this? The world continues to turn a deaf ear. This is unfair.

AMY GOODMAN: A resident of Jenin, the refugee camp there, from the film Jenin, Jenin. Despite receiving international acclaim, the film was initially banned in Israel until a reversal by the Israeli Supreme Court. Mohammad Bakri was then sued by five Israeli soldiers who were part of the military operation in Jenin. They alleged Bakri falsified information about them. The trial is set to begin next month.
In addition to Jenin, Jenin, Bakri is the director of 1948 and, most recently, Since You Left. Earlier this week, Mohammad Bakri joined me here in the firehouse studio. I asked him how he came to make the film Jenin, Jenin.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Unfortunately, sometimes you are forced to do things that you didn't program to do. I’m an actor. I never thought that I am going to make a documentary. My profession is an actor on the screen and on the stage.
During the invasion on the camp, Jenin, which started on the 29 of March, 2002, I was playing in the theater, and I had made a play by Llorca. And things were -- many wrong things were happening in the West Bank, including Jenin, the camp. So we were, a lot of people, hundreds of people, Jews and Arab Israelis, who were demonstrating. We were demonstrating on the checkpoint of the north checkpoint of Jenin, the camp, with slogans like “Stop the War,” “Stop the Massacre,” “Stop” -- all kinds of peace slogans. And suddenly an Israeli soldier veered, passed over, looked at us in very bad eyes, pulled his gun, M-16, and started shooting at us. My colleague was an actor in my play, in the same play we were doing together, was shot. All his hand exploded.

And it drove me mad, because I thought to myself, if this soldier behaved like this with us, citizens, just citizens who are demonstrating, how he behaves inside the camp Jenin? In the same moment, I thought to myself, I must go there and make a film about what's going on, because nobody knew what's going on. Everybody thought that many wrong things happening there in the camp, crime.

So after two weeks -- maybe less than two weeks -- when the invasion was finished, I sneaked with the cameraman and with soundman, and I shot four days, nonstop shooting, just shooting everything I saw. I shot the houses. I shot the people. And the people were very, very -- they wanted to tell their stories, because they were still in shock. When I came in Jenin, I was shocked with what I saw. I couldn't think. I couldn't feel. I was really just humiliated as a human being, not as a Palestinian, not as a director, not as an actor, just as a human. How come people can do such things like that in the camp? So I shot the people and just filmed everything. And I met many people -- young, old, women, children -- and I just put the camera on and said, “What happened?” I didn't ask anything, just “What happened?” And everybody was telling nonstop stories about what he felt, what he saw, what he had. And the film was banned in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: On what grounds?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: It was banned. They say that this film is one-sided, one-sided point of view; the film is a propaganda; it is made by terror, supporting terror, supported by terror. And, you know, I’m a very famous actor in Israel. I made many films. My film Beyond the Walls, 1984, represented Israel in the American Oscar, so I’m very known, well-known actor and respected actor, in Israel. And suddenly I became like bin Laden in their point of view. They just massacred me in the media, all kinds, internet, TV, newspaper.
And, you know, suddenly I felt betrayed. I am a good citizen. I’m working in theater, in Israeli theater. I work in many plays and many films. And all my films are talking about coexistence and love and peace and dreams about a real good solution for everybody. I have no problem with Israelis or the Jews. I have no problem with Israel as a state. I have a problem with the occupation. And my film was against the occupation. So, until now, I am paying the price.
I know what scares me, that I ask myself -- they are pretending that Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East. OK, right, fine. So why they are doing this if we are living in a democracy? You can imagine that if Michael Moore make a film here in America, he will be in prison or he’ll by soldiers or by Marines or by the government? He made many films here in America, and I saw all his films, and it’s all of them against the mainstream. And he wasn't punished. He's not paying the price. He's a very famous and very rich man and very successful. So, I mean, where is the democracy in Israel?

AMY GOODMAN: Mohammad Bakri, I’m looking at a BBC News report saying five Israeli reserve soldiers suing an Israeli Arab film director they accuse of libeling troops who fought in the battle for the Jenin refugee camp, they accuse Mohammad Bakri of libelously portraying them and their comrades as war criminals in the film Jenin, Jenin, which was recently banned in Israel. The soldiers are also suing two Israeli cinemas which screened it after its October release, demanding about half-a-million dollars. One of the reservists told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, “We received an emergency call-up order, went out to fight, in order to defend our homes. We fought slowly, day after day, in order to avoid harming the civilian population. This film portrays us as war criminals.” Your response?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: I know that under the name, under the slogan “fighting the terror,” the are fighting their homeland. They are not fighting their homeland. They are fighting for the settlements. They are fighting to defend the occupation. They mustn't be there. They mustn’t be in the West Bank. They mustn’t be in Gaza. This land was occupied in 1967. So I don't accept this as the Palestinian terror.

And I am against all the suicide bombing, which happens all over the world, not only in Palestine. I’m a human being, and I think that this is not the right thing to do. This is not human to punish innocent people, wherever they are.
But in the same time, when this happened, the Israel army is punishing the whole Palestinian community, and the people who are here usually are the innocent people. So this is not the right way. This is not the right way to fight against occupation, by suicide bombing. But this is not the right way also to fight the terrorists, by this, by demolishing the whole houses and by that very cruel invasion.

AMY GOODMAN: The second film, Since You Left, explain it.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Well, the second film, Since You Left, is telling about my life during 2002 until now. Since the time I made Jenin, Jenin until nowadays, I’m telling my friend, who was my best -- my mentor, my best -- in my point of view, the best Palestinian writer, who wrote [Saeed] the Pessoptimist, novel, very famous novel, which was translated to many, many languages, including Japanese and Chinese and English and French and Italian and German and etc. I adapted this book since 1986, do a one-man show, and I am traveling all over the world with this one-man show, made it here in the symphony space just three months ago. And I found myself telling him what happened to me and to my country, since he left, since he passed away.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your lawyer and what you are now going through, this unusual relationship you have with him.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: I love this lawyer. I mean, I love him. I respect him. I have great feeling to him.

AMY GOODMAN: He’s very well-known in Israel?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: He’s the most well-known. He now is defending the president of Israel, who was accused of raping girls. The president of Israel. You can imagine.

AMY GOODMAN: Sullivan.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: He is my friend. He is my partner. He’s part my dream, changed this reality. And he is from the Holocaust. He was a victim of the Holocaust. His mother was in the Holocaust, and he's telling me that in the film. And it's one of the most moving moments in the film, when he's telling me how he felt, how his mother left him and abandoned him after thirty years. Suddenly she became apathetic, and she wouldn’t give him love. And suddenly he felt so betrayed, because he loves mother and he wanted his mother to be, you know, as always. So for me, he is my link to the dream. He is my link to the hope, and I wonder if -- I hope that we can affect the Israeli society and make many, many, many films, and not only one.

AMY GOODMAN: So you return to go on trial. You return to Israel?


AMY GOODMAN: What do you expect will happen?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Well, I am optimistic. I hope that -- look, I feel, myself, like in the Kafka book, because these soldiers who sued me, they are not shown in my film, in Jenin, Jenin. They are not mentioned by name, and I don't know who are they. I don't know who is standing behind them. And I don't know what they want from my life. Believe me. And this is --

AMY GOODMAN: They don't have to say their names?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: No. They made three films in Israel. One is Jenin, Jenin: Massacring the Truth -- my film -- The Way to Jenin and Diary of Soldiers in Jenin, three films about -- like an answer to Jenin, Jenin. All these three films were shown in the main channel in Israel -- channel one, channel two -- more than one time. All was not banned, and all was against my film. My film was banned and was not shown in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: Has the ban been lifted now?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: No. It is released, but nobody wants to see it, because everybody believes, because of the Israeli media, that this is blood libel. This is not true, it’s a lie. I swear in my heart that there is not one word -- one lie in the film. And if it was lie, I was not doing that. I am an actor, and I look in your eyes, and I’m telling you what I feel. I cannot lie to you. This is my way of world, and this is my film Jenin, Jenin. They don't like it, because it is the other side of the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: It has been shown around the world.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: No. It wasn't.

AMY GOODMAN: Outside of Israel?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: No, no. It was not shown in any TV in the world. It was programmed to be shown in the 1st of April, 2003. And I have a contract with Arte, the French-German satellite. And the 30th of March, day before, they called me by telephone, and they told me, “We are very sorry, but your film will not be shown tomorrow.” I said, “Why?” They said, “Well, um, uh…” And until now I don't have an answer. So the film was banned in Israel and was banned in the world. And I have the feeling that Israel occupied the world.

AMY GOODMAN: You are an Israeli Palestinian, Israeli Arab. Explain what that means to people outside of your country.

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: I’m It's to be a citizen in your country and to be in a corner in the same time. I’m Palestinian and I am Israeli. I love my country. I love my people. I love the Israelis. I love the Palestinians, as a people, like that.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you born?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: I was born in a small village in North Galilee. I’m still living there. As again, I believe that many good Israelis don't know what's really going in the territories. And I believe some of them don't want to know. Don't want to know. I want them to know. That's the aim. That's the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing. And if I was going to make Jenin again, I would doing the same thing exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: You have come here. You have performed here. What do you think of the US coverage of what's happening in Israel and the Occupied Territories?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Brainwashed. They don't know anything about what's going on. They don't know anything. And I don't blame the Americans. I blame the government.

AMY GOODMAN: As we watch what's happening unfold in Gaza and the West Bank, and now the sentences -- two peoples, three states -- what are your thoughts?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Totally desperate of what's going in the West Bank and in Gaza. And again, I think that if you put two brothers, very good brothers, in one room for one year and you don't let them go, they will kill each other. If they don't have food, if they don't have dignity, if they don't have freedom, if they don't have anything which worth life and living, they will kill each other. And now, this is what's happening there.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the role of the artist in times like these? What role do you see yourself playing as one of the most famous actors in Israel?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Not to keep silent. To tell and to show, and not to be apathetic. And to be involved, not remote. To be honest.

AMY GOODMAN: When you go back for this trial, could you be found guilty and imprisoned?


AMY GOODMAN: What is the sentence you face?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: If I’ll be found guilty, I will say I don't believe in this law and I don't believe in this justice and I prefer to go to prison and not to pay one penny to these lies.

AMY GOODMAN: Why not stay outside, not return?


AMY GOODMAN: Why not stay outside, not return?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: I misunderstand.

AMY GOODMAN: Why not -- why do you go back? Why not stay outside of the country? Not return? Not face jail?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: No. No, no. I want to be in my country. This is my country.

AMY GOODMAN: You have six children?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: Six children.

AMY GOODMAN: How are they and your wife dealing with this?


AMY GOODMAN: What kind of effect does it have on them?

MOHAMMAD BAKRI: They are concerned. They’re afraid, afraid because it is a political trial. It is not real trial. It's fiction. I feel like in Kafka, I told you. And when you read Kafka, you are afraid. Something wrong is happening, and you cannot explain why that’s happening. And I believe that a lot of people know that this is fiction, this is, you know, like a conspiracy. But how can you prove that? If I will be found guilty, I don't know what to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Acclaimed Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri.

"Jenin, Jenin" the documentary:
Part 1 is below, the rest of the links to watch this tragic documentary, a MUST see, are here: (for some reason I am not able to embed it, but this documentary is a VERY important film to watch)

Part 1

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Beach Reading: CIA to Air Decades of Dirty Laundry

The Washington Post reports today, "The CIA to Air Decades of Dirty Laundry"

If you need some beach reading, THIS would surely be an interesting read!!

The link to the entire article is above, but here's just a small section of what you might be reading. Links to where the information can be obtained are given within the article.

Undercover CIA agents were placed inside U.S. peace groups and sent abroad as credentialed members to identify any foreign contacts. This came at a time when the Soviet Union was suspected of financing and influencing U.S. domestic organizations.The program included "information on the domestic activities" of the organizations and led to the accumulation of 10,000 American names,

"Secrets of the CIA" (44 minutes in length)

Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills Need Your Help

Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills Need Your Help

Facing an Imminent Threat of Expulsion


While all eyes are on the crisis in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians who live in Susya, in the hills to the south of Hebron, are in imminent danger of being expelled from their homes. They are surely not the only ones who might be evicted from their ancestral lands in the upcoming months -- the inhabitants of the small village Nuaman just south of Jerusalem, for example, are also under imminent threat -- but they are among the most vulnerable people living under Israeli military rule in the West Bank.

The inhabitants of Susya have already experienced the harsh sword of expulsion. About two decades ago, over a dozen families were driven from their homes so that Israel could establish an archaeological park on their land. Shortly before their expulsion, a Jewish settlement, also called Susya, was set up nearby also on lands taken from these same Palestinians. Several Palestinian families were thus forced to leave the area, while those that remained are presently living in ramshackle huts and tents on a small rocky hill between the archaeological park and the Israeli settlement.

For years, however, they have been living in constant jeopardy. The settlers and the soldiers regularly terrorize them, often severely beating them, sometimes shooting at them, and preventing them from accessing their fields or even the water wells they depend on for survival in this arid region. Moreover, the so-called Civil Administration­that is, the Israeli occupation authority­has, in the past, issued demolition orders against all their modest homes and dwellings.

It is quite amazing that even though some of Susya's residents have been expelled by the military and the settlers several times, they have always managed to return to their lands. They continue to eke out a frugal living from their herds of goats and sheep and by farming the few fields that have been left to them.

For some years, these Palestinian residents alongside the joint Israeli-Palestinian group Ta'ayush and international groups like Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove have been waging a political battle to keep the Palestinian residents of Susya in their present homes. These struggles include petitions to the Israeli courts. Unfortunately, a few days ago the Supreme Court threw out an appeal against the demolition orders on technical, bureaucratic grounds. Consequently, within a month the homes of the Susya's Palestinian residents can be legally demolished.

Those who know the reality in the territories know that it is almost impossible for Palestinians to get building permits, and casuistic arguments like those brought against our friends from Susya are regularly used to further a policy of violent expulsion. We are, however, continuing to fight this battle in the courts, and we are in the process of submitting new applications for permits. So long as we can keep the legal process alive, we gain precious time. If we fail, Susya will be destroyed­and with it, perhaps, a series of other small Palestinian villages in this area. The Palestinian inhabitants of Susya will become refugees.

The situation is dire, and the threat of expulsion immediate. To fight it, we are incurring significant legal expenses. In the short term we will need approximately $10,000 simply to defray the lawyers' costs. Ta'ayush is an organization of volunteers and has no resources of its own. We call upon you to help us to save an innocent civilian population that is about to fall victim to the concerted effort of the Israeli authorities to exile them from their lands and homes.

Contributions can be sent to Tali Schaefer, P. O. Box 250778, New York, NY 10025. Checks should be made payable to Ta'ayush.

It is also possible to deposit directly into the Ta'ayush account at Bank Hapoalim, Swift Code POALILITA (Ramat Aviv Branch): 12-606-396608. Please note on the check that the money is for South Hebron legal struggle and send an email to Catherine Rottenberg indicating that you have sent a contribution. Every little bit helps.

Source: Counterpunch

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dr. Mona El-Farra: Los Angeles, July 7,2007

Los Angeles Public Forum: 'Crisis in Palestine'
Guest Speaker from Gaza, Dr. Mona El-Farra

Saturday, July 7, 4:00 pm
USC Campus, Taper Hall of Humanities
3501 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA
Map & Driving Directions Public Transportation
(Street and covered parking available)

Join the ANSWER Coalition and the Palestinian American Women's Association for a special public forum on the crisis in Palestine with a guest speaker directly from Gaza.

Featured guest speaker
Dr. Mona El-Farra, Palestinian medical doctor in Northern Gaza. Dr. El-Farra currently is a health development consultant for the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza and Vice President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza.

Dr. El-Farra is currently touring the United States to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people. This July 7 event is the only Los Angeles public event featuring Dr. El-Farra. Come hear her discuss the current crisis in Palestine, the harsh realities of daily life under Israeli occupation and health issues facing Palestinians in Gaza. Donʼt miss this important opportunity to learn first-hand about the Palestinian struggle. Bring your friends, family and co-workers to support justice for Palestine.

Other speakers include
Richard Becker, ANSWER Coalition West Coast Regional Director; Middle East expert
Samera Sood, Palestinian American Women's Association, Board Member
Muna Coobtee, National Council of Arab Americans, Executive Board; PAWA, Board Member

Download flyer Endorse the event

For more info call 213-251-1025 or e-mail


A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
137 N. Virgil Ave., #201
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Join us every Tuesday for the Answer activists meetings!

From Desert Peace: THANK YOU!!

The following appeared on Dissident Voice... no introduction necessary...

Palestinians Must Have Hope to Move Forward

by Mona El-Farra / June 21st, 2007

As a physician from Gaza, I have treated far too many Palestinians wounded by Israeli troops. Now a day has come that I thought I would never see.

Throughout our 59-year struggle to obtain our freedom, we Palestinians debated strategy and tactics. Political factions competed for popular support. But never would I have believed that we would turn guns against each other. What brought us to this point?

In 2006, Hamas won free and fair elections on a platform that promised clean and efficient government. But Israel and the West meddled with our democratically elected choice by imposing devastating economic sanctions. How would Americans feel if a foreign power expressed its dissatisfaction with your elected government in this way? Our economy and our livelihoods have been destroyed, reducing many of us to poverty.

At last, we exploded with a desperation born of decades of oppression, lack of opportunity and loss of hope. We brutalized each other over the crumbs of power. The shame is ours — but the responsibility is shared between reckless Palestinians and external powers that turned the screws on our people.

Israel might have removed its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in September 2005, but it still controls Gaza from the sea, air and land. The borders are mostly closed according to the whim of Israel, transforming Gaza into an enormous open-air prison for its 1.4 million people, half of whom are children. Too many of these youngsters suffer from the stifling effects of violence and hunger. Their future is dangerously circumscribed by the chaos and uncertainty that envelops us.

To thrive, Palestinians need access to the sea and to commerce. Most importantly, our people must be imbued with a sense of hope.

Sanctions imposed after the election of Hamas made hard lives harder, but we must not forget that even under the “moderate” leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas we did not control trade in and out of Gaza.

“There is a seeming reflex,” United Nations peace envoy Alvaro de Soto said in a report, “in any given situation where the UN is to take a position, to ask first how Israel or Washington will react rather than what is the right position to take.”

Washington’s bias toward Israel is significantly responsible for the appalling situation in which we find ourselves.

Yes, we Palestinians must accept blame for our perilous situation. However, Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr has correctly declared, “If you have two brothers, put them in a cage and deprive them of basic and essential needs for life, they will fight.” The fact that we would sink to this level is perhaps the surest sign of the terrible damage meted out to us over the years by dispossession and occupation.

When one is in a hole, it is imperative to stop digging. If we are to win our freedom, surely it will not be done with one brother digging the grave of another. The violence, therefore, must stop. That is our first responsibility as Palestinians and we must meet it immediately. And the United States and the international community must end the sanctions that deprive us of our basic needs and our hope for a better future.

The Israeli leadership brandishes our plight as evidence that we cannot govern ourselves nor be trusted as “peace partners.” White South Africans similarly claimed that black South Africans were incapable of self-governance. In the last years of apartheid, more than 250 blacks were killed in black-on-black violence each month. Yet decency and equality eventually prevailed in South Africa. Apartheid was vanquished and the world learned that black-on-black violence was an outgrowth of apartheid — not an indication that black South Africans were incapable of self-rule and undeserving of rights.

We, too, have the right to be free. But we must first free ourselves from fighting over the scraps of power.

Like oppressed people everywhere, we yearn for our rights. Out of this ugly period, we must promote a new vision of equality for all peoples living on this land, regardless of race or religion.

Eye to Eye: Turmoil in Gaza (June 19,2007)

Eye to Eye: Turmoil in Gaza (CBS News)

In Iraq, Spc Eli Israel pledges to resist war

In Iraq, Spc Eli Israel pledges to resist war E-mail

Army Spc Eli Israel

Courage to Resist. June 21, 2007

On June 19, Army Spc Eleon “Eli” Israel put himself at great personal risk by making the courageous decision to refuse further participation in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The 26-year-old from Arlington, Virginia told his command that he will no longer be a combatant in this illegal, unjustified war. Eli believes that the U.S. government used the attacks of September 11, 2001 as a pretense to invade Iraq and that “we are now violating the people of this country (Iraq) in ways that we would never accept on our own soil.” Eli is stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with JVB Bravo Company, 1-149 Infantry of the Kentucky Army National Guard and intends to seek a discharge as a conscientious objector.

Yesterday, Eli’s urgent message from Baghdad buzzed around the Internet:

I have told them that I will no longer play a ‘combat role’ in this conflict or ‘protect corporate representatives,’ and they have taken this as ‘violating a direct order.’ I may be in jail or worse in the next 24 hours. Please rally whoever you can, call whoever you can, bring as much attention to this as you can. I have no doubt that the military will bury me and hide the whole situation if they can. I'm in big trouble. I'm in the middle of Iraq, surrounded by people who are not on my side. Please help me. Please contact whoever you can, and tell them who I am, so I don't ‘disappear.’

After receiving support and advice from a number of organizations, including Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eli has sent this update today:

Thank you for your support. I am currently "OK", thanks in no small part I'm sure to the voices that have spoken up in the name of peace. I don't know what the military's next steps are going to be, but my deeply held beliefs prevent me from participating in this or any other war....

I have been in Iraq for over a year. I have served in combat. I have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, for my actions in Combat. I have been recommended for other medals, that I will now probably never see (nor do I want)....

It would have been a lot "easier" for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more weeks, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience, and I thank all of you for your being here for me now.

Spc Eli Israel notes, 'They missed again' following mission

Over the last few months Eli has been blogging from Iraq via MySpace to friends about his experiences. His MySpace tag line proclaims, "I have seen 'war', and I want no part of it." No doubt that it was voices such as his that led the Army to crack down on “unauthorized” military bloggers recently—and ban MySpace altogether from military networks.

Here are a few excerpts of Eli's recent posts to friends:

I could spend the rest of my time here (shooting, getting shot at, and watching my friends get killed and maimed) "wondering" why the Bush/Cheney administration lied to me. But I really don't think that I have to understand in full what their interests were in order to understand that they were not my interests, either as a soldier or as a civilian.

I want you all to know, that most of us that are over here, came to Iraq, with the very best of intentions, and really thought that the Iraqi people wanted us here. Now that I'm here, I realize that they want to work it out themselves, and I know we should respect that.

One guy lies about the reason for sending me to Iraq, and then tries to keep me here even after he's caught. Another guy actually believes that we can make up reasons as we go, and still wants to believe the original lie. The third guy realizes it was a lie, but thinks it's the people who were told the lie—and who paid the greatest price for it (those wearing uniforms)—that should be blamed for not making the lie out to be "OK" in the end. This war is and was lost, but not by the military.

I'm attune enough to know that even the kindest Iraqi families that manage a "wave" to me as I pass by (when not done in fear), do it because my smile lets them know that I'm only doing my job, and that I'll try my best not to let my weapons of war hit their children when I have to defend myself that day.

Army Spc Eli Israel
Army Spc Eli Israel

There are a lot of military personnel here who are trying their best to protect as many Iraqis as we can while we are here, and trying to do as much good as humanly possible until we do leave. Many U.S. soldiers here have risked their lives protecting Iraqi families, and even shielded Iraqi children with their own bodies in the midst of street wars. You can be proud of that. Don't let the blow to our self-image that the current problems have caused make us forget that we are a good people, and it is us, the true Americans, who are going to fix this and make it OK.

Eli is taking an incredible risk by speaking out and pledging to refuse orders in Iraq. As Eli has been working as a body guard to high ranking officers and civilian VIP’s, it’s unlikely that the military will keep him in such high-profile role, regardless of what other actions they take against him for his courage to resist.

We need to do everything we can to ensure that the Army respects his rights and does not illegally retaliate against him.

Supporters are asked to contact Eli’s senator Mitch McConnell to ensure that his rights are respected. Senator Mitch McConnell, 361-A Russell, Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510. Phone: (202) 224-2541. Fax: (202) 224-2499

Portions of this article by Iraq Veterans Against the War.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Carter: U.S., Israel, European Union Seeking to Divide Palestinians

DUBLIN, Ireland — Former President Jimmy Carter accused the U.S., Israel and the European Union on Tuesday of seeking to divide the Palestinian people by reopening aid to President Mahmoud Abbas' new government in the West Bank while denying the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.

Hamas fighters routed Fatah in their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The split prompted Abbas to dissolve the power-sharing government with his rivals in Hamas and set up a Fatah-led administration to govern the West Bank.

Carter said the consensus of the U.S., Israel and the EU to start funneling aid to Abbas' new government in the West Bank but continue blocking Hamas in the Gaza Strip represented an "effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples."

"All efforts of the international community should be to reconcile the two, but there's no effort from the outside to bring the two together," he said.

DUBLIN, Ireland — Former President Jimmy Carter accused the U.S., Israel and the European Union on Tuesday of seeking to divide the Palestinian people by reopening aid to President Mahmoud Abbas' new government in the West Bank while denying the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.

Hamas fighters routed Fatah in their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The split prompted Abbas to dissolve the power-sharing government with his rivals in Hamas and set up a Fatah-led administration to govern the West Bank.

Carter said the consensus of the U.S., Israel and the EU to start funneling aid to Abbas' new government in the West Bank but continue blocking Hamas in the Gaza Strip represented an "effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples."

"All efforts of the international community should be to reconcile the two, but there's no effort from the outside to bring the two together," he said.