Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sabra & Shatila Massacre

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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

New “Milking Cows” in the Service of Zion

Last weekend while on the way to Bavaria, the train passed a beautiful landscape with hills and meadows. And as the train made a stop at some small local station, I looked from the window and among other things I saw some 20 cows pasturing in the distance. Opposite me sat a German family, they were also watching the cows. The children laughed and pointed at the cows saying that they spend all day eating grass. The father commented that these were milking cows (Milchkühe or dairy cows), and they eat all day to provide us with the “delicious milk our bodies need so we grow up strong”. “What happens to the cows when they don’t make milk?” One child asked. “When the cows are old and can’t give us any more milk, they give us their meat.” The father replied. At that moment the train moved on, and as the kids nearby started fighting over some children’s comic, I sat back, watched the cows as we passed them and thought about what the father had just told his kids about the cows. We passed more and more groups of milking cows, eating silently and waiting to be milked in the evening. Somehow, these cows reminded me of another type of “milking cows”.

Some years ago, after the airing of a documentary on German TV on German Israeli relations, I remember the discussions I had with some German friends and their comments on the issue. Some of them were not “into politics” as they would say, but were outraged by what the documentary revealed. The documentary talked about the secret relations between Germany and Israel immediately after the establishment of the Zionist state. At the time, and despite the fact that Germany apologized numerously for its crimes against humanity, acknowledged the Zionist state and void to support it, the Zionists state had refused the apologies claiming that the memory of the Holocaust victims and their suffering was too fresh to forgive Germany and the German people. What the documentary revealed, at least to those friends who had no idea about that whole episode of their modern history, was that while openly acting “proud”, “hurt”, and “protecting the sacred memory of the victims” and the “nation’s dignity”, the Zionist state was actually secretly receiving huge sums of money from the German government, payments that were made regularly throughout the years to build the Zionist state. And as one friend put it: they were all the time crying “we will never forgive you Germans for what your parents did” and “we won’t sell the memory of the victims” while actually they were “selling them and negotiating yet more payments”. The problem is not in receiving compensations for a wrong done in the name of the victims, but in pretending to be above it all because “the issue is bigger than money and compensation”, while taking the money in secret and demanding yet more in the name of those same victims whose suffering is “above money”. If the Zionists and Zionist state were so angry from Germany that they wouldn’t think of forgiving it for the sake of those souls, then why did they accept the funds secretly? And why continue to blackmail the whole world because of an injustice that happened some 70 years ago and at the same time this same Zionist state allows itself to apply the same Nazi practices on the Palestinians. It seems that the higher the payment, the quicker it is to forget the suffering souls and the “nation’s dignity” and put them aside.

It is truly an industry, a business where human suffering is the goods. And the European countries, the “milking cows” of the Zionists, continue to pay the price. What other nation or other ethnic group or other religious group or any sort of group that had been subjected to genocide, mass murder or crimes against humanity has been receiving compensation for more than 60 years and no stop to the compensation is to be seen in the horizon? As far as I know, only one: the Zionist state, and I truly wonder if the real (again, the real) victims, those who survived the concentration camps, really do get these compensations. Most probably they were given a check 60 years ago and their files were closed, while lawsuits and compensation payments continue to fill the bank account of Zionist leaders.

This reminded me of an email I got some 8 years ago. A friend had forwarded an email from an Israeli peace activist who was more angry than disappointed at what he referred to as “what the Israeli state had come to”. Among other things, he mentioned teaching school pupils how to misuse the Holocaust, that for example in case one was in a foreign country and needed money, one should go to the nearest European embassy, the German embassy would be the best option, and mention that one is Israeli and in need of money. School pupils are taught that because they are Jews, they are above others and that the Holocaust and the Concentration Camps are powerful weapons in their hands. I remember once an incident at one European airport. I had left Palestine to Germany to do my Masters and PhD in 2000 before the Al-Aqsa Intifada had begun and before Palestinians were prevented from using Ben Gurion airport. I was not sure if I would be allowed in, but I knew from my prior work experience at the PBC that if one left through the Jordan Bridge one was to come back through the bridge, and if one got a permit to leave from Ben Gurion, one was allowed to come back through Ben Gurion. So, and because I had been over 3 years away from home, I didn’t want to go to Jordan where I would have to spent the night before crossing the bridge, and decided to take the chance and go directly to Ben Gurion. I had to make a few hours stop at one European capital. When it was time for boarding, we were called to sit in a room and as the airport security and airline staff came, they closed the door and said that its better this way, since it allows us to stay seated while our passports and tickets are controlled and no need to stand in a line. The majority of the passengers were Israelis, this clear from the typical long beard, black hat and long black coat of religious Jews. The minute one of the staff started checking the tickets, my neighbour collected her bags and went in the toilet situated in the room. I found it strange that she chose that particular time to go to the toilet. The airline employee went on with the checking, checked my passport and ticket and went back to her place. I kept watching for my neighbour, and when she finally came out of the toilet, she sat in her place as if nothing had happened. As I wondered if the airline staff had noticed what the woman did, the employee came to my neighbour and asked her for her passport and ticket. After acting astonished for a few seconds, as if she didn’t know the tickets were to be checked, she searched a bit in her handbag and then gave the employee her passport. When she was asked for her ticket, she searched her handbag yet again (!) and then gave them some piece of paper. Because I sat nearby I was able to see what the paper was, and even if I didn’t, the employee said it loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. For it was no ticket what the woman had, but a piece of print-out of a possible reservation. Like when one goes to a travel agency and asks about certain flight times and gets a print-out of possible flights. Anyway, the woman insisted this was her ticket, while the flight employee tried again and again to explain that this was no ticket and it was visible on the heading on the paper. It was no ticket PERIOD!

Although I was extremely tired because of the travelling all day, the security checks everywhere and anxious because of the possibility of not being allowed to leave the plane in Ben Gurion and being back in Palestine after 3 years away, I sat up straight and started speculating about the outcome of this obvious charade: who was going to win: the Israeli woman with no ticket, or the airline employee who was no Israeli? Things got even more interesting when the employee told the woman that either she paid for a ticket right that moment or she left the room. The employee went back to her desk and the woman started turning to her countrymen and spoke with a few but it seems no one was interested in helping. They either buried their heads in their laptops or in a book or newspaper, although a minute ago they were all eying the women to see what will happen. When the woman saw there was no hope in her own people, she went to the employee and told her that she only wanted to go back home to Tel Aviv. She had been in vacation and had no money left and needed to go home. I was the nearest to the check-in desk, so I was able to hear everything, as I think everyone else. When the employee still insisted that the women needed a ticket, the woman then used the “nationality” card stating that she is an Israeli, and when this too didn’t work she used her ultimate card, the “I am a Jew” card, and she said it in a way that left no doubt what she was actually trying to tell the employee: let me on the plane or else! I am not a religious person, but I remember thinking: Oh God, please don’t disappoint me, please for once let justice prevail and for once let this employee not be frightened away by the mention of the words: “I am an Israeli and I am a Jew”. Well, the employee didn’t allow herself to be intimidated and asked the security men to remove the women since she had no ticket and had no reason to stay in the room.

And so it is. The American, European, Canadian, Australian and other “milking cows” have to divide their “milk” between their nations and the Zionist state, trying to satisfy both. But I think there were even times, when the Zionists came first. For how can you explain growing child poverty in some industrial European countries and at the same time the continuation of their “payments” to Israel? But unfortunately for the Zionists, like their name giver, these “milking cows” can’t produce milk forever. They have their own internal problems to deal with. With the latest financial crisis, many countries were on the verge of bankruptcy. Many well-known firms were sold and bought, many had to be closed and millions around the world lost their jobs. The alarm bells started ringing in the Zionists state. What is to be done? The search for a solution began and the answer was: new “milking cows” are to be found.

And they were found; the new “milking cows” in the service of the Zionist state.

In his speech on June 14, 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Arab world, saying:
“… We are currently facing three tremendous challenges: The Iranian threat, the financial crisis, and the promotion of peace. …. I appeal tonight to the leaders of the Arab countries and say: Let us meet. Let us talk about peace. Let us make peace.….. I call upon the leaders of the Arab countries to join together with the Palestinians and with us to promote economic peace. Economic peace is not a substitute for peace, but it is a very important component in achieving it. Together we can advance projects that can overcome the problems facing our region. For example, water desalinization.”

Netanyahu wants an economic peace. He says it is no substitute to real peace. Didn’t the PNA sign a so-called peace agreement with Israel? Wasn’t that 16 years ago? What did we get from that peace? And what did the Israelis get from that peace? The Israeli got exactly what they wanted from the peace process: they are still occupying our land, oppressing us, killing us, expanding their illegal settlements on our land, and at the same time they can continue meeting with the PNA, negotiating and claiming they want peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world. We Palestinians got nothing other than more pain, more suffering, being locked up in open-air prisons, can’t move on our land from one place to another without Israeli permits, are not allowed into Jerusalem, our land confiscated, our houses destroyed, our fields burnt and our trees uprooted, and we are being strangled by illegal Jewish settlements that are eating up the 20% of our land that we are “supposedly negotiating”. Not to mention the thousands of Palestinians locked up inside Israeli jails and the thousands killed by the IOF and the settlers.

And hadn’t the Israelis and the PNA signed an economic agreement, i.e. the Paris Protocol on the Economic relations (Annex IV of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement) of 1994? Wasn’t it supposed to be the basis for strong economic relations between both?

The Preamble of the Paris Protocol states:
“Both parties shall cooperate in this field in order to establish a sound economic base for these relations, which will be governed in various economic spheres by the principles of mutual respect of each other’s economic interests, reciprocity, equity and fairness. This protocol lays the groundwork for strengthening the economic base of the Palestinian side and for exercising its right of economic decision making in accordance with its own development plan and priorities. The two parties recognise each other’s economic ties with other markets and the need to create a better economic environment for their peoples and individuals.”

What came out of it? Well, while Israel’s economy is flourishing and feeding on the Palestinian natural resources, the Palestinian economy had completely collapsed, poverty reached unprecedented levels and after 16 years of negotiations we still have no control over our natural resources. The Zionists formulated and signed an agreement that was to establish the economic relations between both sides and called it an economic agreement while in fact it was overwhelmingly a political one: no definite political borders between both and no Palestinian currency. They insisted on the “customs union” model, which is based on the absence of economic borders between the countries involved, while actually the “political” borders were tightened, the closure policy implemented and hundreds of checkpoints placed all over the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the freedom of movement restricted sharply. They wanted open borders for their goods but closed the borders in the face of Palestinian goods. These borders for trade were also to remain under sole Israeli control, and Israel was to collect the import taxes and VAT for the Palestinians and transfer them to the PNA, which meant this money would also remain under Israeli control and thus could be used as means of pressure whenever needed. Contrary to what the preamble says, this protocol is actually based on the idea of a one economy, under Israeli control, with all its activities under Israeli control. It contributed nothing to the building, strengthening or the independence of a Palestinian economy. And for all these activities a permit from the Israelis is required. In addition to this, the Zionists have the right to change articles as they wish and attribute them to the Zionists’ typical excuse for not adhering to signed agreements: security. In other words, the state of the Palestinian economy was to remain hostage to the Israeli: integrated in and dependent on it, while the Israeli economy grew and prospered.

Netanyahu tells the Arabs he wants to solve the problems facing the region together with their help, such as water problems. A historical overview: Israel “acknowledged” the Palestinians right to their natural resources in the Oslo Agreements, but nevertheless continues stealing them. It acknowledges the Palestinians right to their groundwater and nevertheless continues to prevent them from digging wells and sells them their own water for high prices. And while Palestinians have to live with long periods of water shortages during the summer, illegal settlements have swimming pools. So, Arabs, for those among you who are not familiar with the Zionist language, here is a translation of what Netanyahu is telling you:

We will work together to overcome the problems facing Israel. You Arabs will provide us with oil for very cheap prices, like our dear friends the Egyptians provide us gas for very cheap prices. You will provide us with the water we need for our industry, our agriculture and our recreation. We are allowed to ask questions, change agreements unilaterally and bombard any project you initiate without our consent. You are not allowed to ask questions, change agreements unilaterally or object to any of our projects that will involve your water resources. It is none of your business that over the half of the water we use comes from occupied areas and thus used illegally. It is none of your business if we control the water of the Palestinians. It is none of your business that our average daily water consumption is even higher than that of some water-rich European nations. It is none of your business that we will use the water you so much need to still the thirst of your people to fill our swimming pools. It is none of your business what we will do with your water resources, for they aren’t yours alone anymore, you signed an agreement, remember?

And how does Netanyahu propose to solve the problem of water in the region?

- The same way the Zionists handled the Hasbani water project which was to protect the Arab natural resources from Israeli theft? i.e. by bombarding the construction site?
- The same way the Zionists handle their own water problem, by over-pumping the groundwater of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, thus sinking the water table and increasing the salt concentration in the Jordan Valley and in Gaza?
- The same way the Zionists solved their sewage and waste problem by getting rid of it in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and thus polluting Palestinian groundwater?
- The same way Lieberman proposed to bomb the Aswan Dam in 1998 in retaliation for Egypt’s support for Arafat? In other words: you will only do what we tell you or else?
- The same way the Zionists dealt with the Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when Lieberman who was Minister of Infrastructure at the time, “warned that the water supply of Palestinian residents could be completely cut off by the Israeli water system, if the Intifada persisted”[1]? In other words: if you defy us, we will let you die of thirst?

Israel wants peace with the Arab world. Hadn’t it signed a peace agreement with Egypt?

Early September 2009 Lieberman went on a tour of 5 African countries accompanied by a delegation that included representatives from the Israeli Defense Ministry, the Mossad, various weapons manufacturing companies in addition to economic specialists. The announced objectives of this tour were to promote cooperation and trade and assists African countries particularly in Water issues and “Israel’s willingness to assist counties … to find solutions to their problems: hunger, insufficient clean water, epidemics.”[2] Israel it seems intends helping African countries “solve” water problems by inflaming the conflict and increasing their arms sales:

“It is no coincidence that three of the five countries Lieberman has visited are situated at the two sources of the River Nile….. Israel is well aware of these countries’ dissatisfaction with the 1959 Nile River Treaty, which is still in force and gives two downstream countries – Egypt and Sudan – the majority of the Nile’s waters.….To reduce the potential for conflict, the Nile Basin Initiative was launched in 1999 – but its meetings have always ended in stalemate. Nevertheless some countries have already taken unilateral action: In February 2004, Tanzania constructed a water pipeline from Lake Victoria and in the same year, Ethiopia announced its plans for two dams in the Blue Nile sub-basin to irrigate 200,000 hectares for much-needed food. Lieberman’s trip is likely to embolden Israel’s new allies to undertake similar initiatives. Agreements signed with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda offer help with ‘water harvesting’ and ‘irrigation’ projects. The delegation’s emphasis on arms sales and military advice implies that Israel would boost these countries’ military capability in the event of an armed response from Egypt.
Lieberman is mostly remembered in Egypt for his bellicose 1998 proposal that Israel bomb the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egypt’s support for Yasser Arafat. Among Israel’s motives for establishing a role for itself in the distribution of Nile water is the greater control it can exercise over Egypt by influencing future agreements. It needs to keep Egypt ‘on-side’ in many ways – at the Rafah crossing, for example, in its war with Hezbollah and with regard to its growing concerns about Iran.

But the hidden objectives include boosting arms sales in this conflict region and the control of the region’s water resources. Why else would a “cooperation trip” include “representatives of many key Israeli defense firms, both state-owned and private enterprises. These included Israel Military Industries, Israel Aerospace Industries, Soltam, Silver Shadow Advanced Security Systems, Israel Shipyards and Elbit Systems. There was also a delegation from the Defense Ministry’s foreign assistance and military sales department, known as Sibat. And finally there was a team from Israel’s intelligence community, including a senior official from the Mossad, the foreign intelligence service.”[3]

According to Yossi Melman, an Israeli intelligence specialist, Lieberman’s tour was more about building intelligence links in Africa and
“boosting “defense exports,” such as the arms deals worth $500 million that Israel has signed with Nigeria in recent years”. Israeli intelligence has operated in Africa for decades, and military teams have been active in training Africa armies, often clandestinely, with weapons sold by the Jewish state. Melman observed: “Secret funding from the United States Central Intelligence Agency was channeled by American trade unions to (Israel’s) Histadrut labor federation …to finance various activities. “Among other things, the money was used to post an impressive array of Mossad agents in the African states.” These activities, Melman noted, “gave Mossad agents and Israeli Defense Forces officers an excuse to be involved in the internal affairs of African regimes.” Indeed, Israelis were reportedly involved in military coups in Uganda and Zanzibar, or as Melman drily observed “at least had prior knowledge of them.”… Melman lamented: “It is a sad truth that … almost all Israeli activity on the African continent is related to weapons exports…. “Israelis have been involved in civil wars (in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast) and in aiding dictatorial regimes such as in Equatorial Guinea and the two Congo republics.”

So, Arabs, remember that: “…. there had been 21 armed disputes over water in recent history – and 18 of them involved Israel.”[4] Thus, don’t be surprised if the Zionists have already prepared plans for taking control of your natural resources, like the Lowdermilk-Plan which they prepared in 1944 and the Hays-Savage-Plan from 1948. And while they “negotiate” joint plans with you, don’t be surprised if they were already building underground water pipelines and transporting your water to Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu went on in his speech:
“Together we can realize the initiatives that I see in the Persian Gulf, which amaze the entire world, and also amaze me. I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start. Together we can develop industrial zones, we can create thousands of jobs, and foster tourism that will draw millions, people who want to walk in the footsteps of history, in Nazareth and Bethlehem, in the heights of Jericho and on the walls of Jerusalem, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and at the baptismal site of the Jordan.”

Netanyahu cares so much about Palestinians and their welfare that he is asking the Arabs to work with Israel for the sake of Palestinians. He wants the Arabs to come and invest to help the Palestinians. Invest where? In the big open-air prison called Gaza or in the Ghettos of the West Bank? What kind of investment is actually possible inside a prison? And talking about industrial zones, didn’t the so-called “peace process” develop at least 2 Palestinian industrial zones: the Gaza and the Jenin industrial zones? Millions were invested there, and what was the result? Palestinians can’t move from one town to another inside the West Bank without having to pass Israeli Checkpoints, they can’t move from the West Bank to Gaza and vice-versa, and even in some cases their needs permits or need to show their ID cards to be allowed into their towns. He wants to create jobs; instead of the cheap laborers from Africa and China and Thailand he wants to make slaves out of the Arabs. They are much cheaper and won’t raise their heads against their Zionists masters. Isn’t this the way they are treating Arab laborers in the Zionist state and in Israeli factories in nearby Arab countries? Then, he wants to promote tourism and wants Arabs to visit Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem, while we Palestinians aren’t allowed in Nazareth, Galilee, Haifa and Yaffa and while we aren’t allowed into our capital and the heart of Palestine: Jerusalem. What he is actually saying is: Instead of going to Europe and spending thousands of Dollars there, come here, to Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem, to Haifa and Yaffa and to the Dead Sea and spend your money in our hotels and our restaurants and our shops. Come and enjoy your time here and spend your money here, and forget about the Palestinians locked up behind the Wall. If you don’t see them, then they don’t exist. Come to Jerusalem, and tour the city of peace and religious freedom and forget about the Palestinian Jerusalemites who are being kicked out of their homes or other Palestinians who are not allowed to enter the city to pray in the Aqsa or the Holy Sepulcher. And if you insist on visiting Palestinian cities like Bethlehem or Ramallah, we will take you in our tour buses, and our tour guides will accompany you and will tell you the true story of the land of Zion and protect you from Palestinian tour guides claiming the land is theirs and will protect you from Palestinian souvenirs sellers selling you useless wood figures claiming they are original products of the Holy land. We will give you original products of the Holy land, just come and make Tel Aviv the destination of your next pilgrimage. And to make sure you don’t enter the “wrong area”, we will stamp your passports and those among you who still prefer to visit the Palestinians will not be allowed to enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv or walk on the wall of Jerusalem. And in return you will allow our tourists to fill your cities, buy your hotels and bars and employ fellow Israelis instead of the locals. And because we are peaceful Israelis and are willing to forget your hostility towards us the last 61 years, you will give us economic incentives so we invest in your countries.

Netanyahu then appealed to the Palestinians:
“I appeal to you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority…… Let us join hands and work together in peace, together with our neighbors. There is no limit to the flourishing growth that we can achieve for both peoples – in the economy, in agriculture, in commerce, tourism, education – but, above all, in the ability to give our younger generation hope to live in a place that’s good to live in, a life of creative work, a peaceful life with much of interest, with opportunity and hope.”

He talks about flourishing growth in the economy, in agriculture, in commerce, tourism and education. Is he maybe referring to a flourishing growth stimulated by:

- The Palestinian land they confiscate every day?
- The fields they destroy to build illegal Jewish settlements and Jewish-only roads?
- The fields the illegal settlers burn?
- The over 660 road blocks all over the West Bank?
- The siege on Gaza, Jerusalem, Hebron and the rest of the West bank?
- The destruction of Palestinian factories and farms?
- Stealing Palestinian natural resources?
- The schools and universities they bombard or close?
- The teachers, students, doctors, workers, engineers, tradesmen, journalists, farmers and fishermen they arrest? Or maybe those they kill?

Netanyahu wants to give our young generation hope to live in a place that’s good to live in, with opportunity and hope. If 16 years of negotiations brought us Palestinians only misery, pain, suffering, more land theft and more Israeli war crimes, while bringing the Israelis more control over our lives and our land, no wonder Netanyahu wants us to continue the negotiations. He talks about the ability to give the younger generation a life of creative work. Maybe he means the creative work of deleting other nations’ history, stealing their culture and their land. Maybe he means that the Palestinians should teach their children the history of the Zionist entity, about the Holocaust while denying them the right to commemorate the Nakba. Or maybe we should learn from Zionist historians how to delete facts and invent new names and new histories, and why not in the process delete our collective memory for the sake of peace. It’s the occupation of the 21st century: negotiate, negotiate and negotiate and at the same time kill, steal and destroy in the name of negotiations.

Netanyahu’s call for opportunity and hope brings us back to the Paris Protocol. Here are some interesting points in the Paris Protocol (the bold writing is from me to underline interesting parts):

Article III – Import Taxes and Import Policy
1.a. The Palestinian Authority will have all powers and responsibilities in the sphere of import and customs policy and procedures with regard to the following:
1. Goods on List Al, attached hereto as Appendix I locally-produced in Jordan and in Egypt particularly and in the other Arab countries, which the Palestinians will be able to import in quantities agreed upon by the two sides up to the Palestinian market needs as estimated according to para 3 below.
13. In the entry points of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip:
a. Freight shipment
The Palestinian Authority will have full responsibility and powers in the Palestinian customs points (freight-area) for the implementation of the agreed upon customs and importation policy as specified in this protocol, including the inspection and the collection of taxes and other charges, when due.
Israeli customs officials will be present and will receive from the Palestinian customs officials a copy of the necessary relevant documents related to the specific shipment and will be entitled to ask for inspection in their presence of both goods and tax collection.
b. Passengers customs lane
Each side will administer its own passengers customs procedures, including inspection and tax collection. The inspection and collection of taxes due in the Palestinian customs lane will be conducted by customs officials of the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli customs officials will be invisibly present in the Palestinian customs lane and entitled to request inspection of goods and collection of taxes when due. In the case of suspicion, the inspection will be carried out by the Palestinian official in a separate room in the presence of the Israeli customs official.

Article VIII – Agriculture:
1. There will be free movement of agricultural produce, free of customs and import taxes, between the two sides….
11. The Palestinians will have the right to export their agricultural produce to external markets without restrictions, on the basis of certificates of origin issued by the Palestinian Authority.
12. Without prejudice to obligations arising out of existing international agreements, the two sides will refrain from importing agricultural products from third parties which may adversely affect the interests of each other’s farmers.
13. Each side will take the necessary measures in the area under its jurisdiction to prevent damage which may be caused by its agriculture to the environment of the other side.

Article IX – Industry
1. There will be free movement of industrial goods free of any restrictions including customs and import taxes between the two sides, subject to each side’s legislation.
3. Each side will do its best to avoid damage to the industry of the other side and will take into consideration the concerns of the other side in its industrial policy.
5. Each side will take the necessary measures in the area under its jurisdiction to prevent damage which may be caused by its industry to the environment of the other side.
6. The Palestinians will have the right to export their industrial produce to external markets without restrictions, on the basis of certificates of origin issued by the Palestinian Authority.

This was an agreement signed between the Zionist state and the PNA as part of the so-called peace process. Other than the fact that the agreement was formulated for the protection of Israel’s interests, it is worth mentioning that while the agreement was being signed Israel was closing the borders and dividing the West Bank into Ghettos. And today, when considering the Palestinian economy, which of these terms describes its state best? Free movement? Or maybe Export without restrictions? Many Palestinians need permits to be able to enter their own fields and work them, others have lost their land for illegal settlement activities. As for environmental damage caused by agricultural activities, we have only to read the reports, and there are many, on the damage caused by the illegal Jewish settlements and the IOF. Not to mention destroying land, uprooting olive and fruit trees and polluting the groundwater and the air.

And now, they want to sign similar agreements and protocols with the Arabs, their new-found “milking cows”. The difference between these and other “milking cows” is that they represent a source that has a longer lifespan and the danger of draught is minor in comparison to the American, European, Australian, Canadian “milking cows”. The Arab “milking cows” divide their “milk” between themselves (the ruling families and their supporters) and the American “friend”, and since the “people” factor is missing in this equation, the recipients, including the Zionists, will get a larger share of the cake.

- They want Arab money in their banks.
- They want Arab natural resources delivered almost free of charge in the service of the Zionist state.
- They want cheap labour, Arab slaves to do the dirty jobs which are beneath a Zionist.
- They want to invade the Arabic markets and flood them with products from illegal Jewish settlements and from Kibbutzes built on the ruins of Palestinian villages and on Palestinian fields, and want to be the sole if not the main exporter of certain goods.
- They want to grab yet more Arab land by buying lands, hotels, houses and firms in the name of economy.
- They want access to Arab archaeological sites and cities, so they can distort and forge at will and later claim the sites are Jewish and must be placed under the charge of the Zionist state.

And a final remark, directed to all Arabs and Palestinians who believe in negotiations till Judgment day: the Zionists have always claimed they don’t aspire to build a “Greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates and accused us of inventing lies and false accusations. Remember: The Zionist state refuses to declare its borders till today. And we all know that the Agorat coins (Israeli coins) carry the map of the so-called “Greater Israel”. Arab countries that have diplomatic and/or economic relations with the Zionist state and all those who defend the Zionist state as a peace-loving entity that only seeks to live in peace with its neighbours, what do they say to this? And which Arab countries are to become “part” of the to-be “Greater Zionist state”? According to the map on the official coins: those countries which already have peace agreements with Israel and others who are racing to normalize with it! If the “Greater Israel” is only a Palestinian lie, then why did Olmert only last September address the Israeli Cabinet by saying: “Greater Israel is over. There is no such thing”.[5] So all the time before that, when we were “claiming” they aspire a “Greater Israel” and they were so vehemently denying it, we were actually right and they were the liars. So, why should we believe them now when they deny it?

[3] Ibid.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

In the Beginning Was the Word; that of a Palestinian

Since the Swedish journalist Donald Boström published his article on the Israeli organ theft crimes “Our Sons Plundered for their Organs”, many Palestinians and non-Palestinians have been writing on the topic, some confirming what Boström had written, some disgusted by this yet new Zionist crime and some saying the reporter had no evidence for his claims. In addition, there was the typical Zionist & Co reaction: Palestinian lies, Palestinian propaganda, Anti-Semitism, hate, etc, etc. etc. We all know the song by now and have even memorized it. I, as almost every Palestinian who was born and grew up under the Israeli military occupation and knows its brutality first hand, know that what the Swedish journalist reported to be a fact. I wasn’t angered by the Zionist & Co attacks because we are used to them. Matter of fact, it would have been strange if they hadn’t attacked, for it would mean they agree with what we say and it would mean Zionism is after all admitting its crimes against humanity, which is in no way the case, nor will ever be, for a very simple fact: Zionism was born out of crimes against humanity, out of racism, out of hate of the other and out of the idea of the superiority of one race over all others. Simply said; it feeds and grows on hate and racism. What angered me though, were the comments of some Palestinians and Palestine supporters who either acted as if this is yet a new revelation, or had information on the subject but waited for the Swedish journalist to take the first step, or claimed Boström has no concrete evidence to his claims.

I find the Swedish Journalist to be a very courageous man at a time when courage is rare. He knew what would be waiting for him after his article was published, and nevertheless he went on with it for the sake of justice and humanity. This can’t be told about most Western and Arab media and journalists. For to them applies the holy rule: where no defence of Israel applies, silence is appropriate. In other words: if we can’t defend Israel and blame the Palestinians in this particular case, then better ignore it completely, for the less said about it, the quicker it is forgotten and with it Israel’s humans rights violations. So, with great respect to this courageous journalist, many Palestinians were praising him for his revelation. And here lies the problem. The journalists didn’t uncover a mystery, nor did he uncover something new. It is a well-known fact for Palestinian in Occupied Palestine, a fact they have been shouting out loud for decades, but they were shouting to deaf ears. During the first Intifada, it is well-known that any Palestinian shot dead during a demonstration should be carried away and buried immediately, and that if time permits, the body is only to be taken to the parents house so they can say their final goodbyes to their son or daughter, otherwise, the body is to be buried immediately. This was for one simple reason: to bury the martyr before the Israeli army could lay hands on the body. The IOF used to kidnap bodies of martyrs after shooting them, claiming a need for autopsy, when it was clear that no autopsy was needed. Why an autopsy? To figure out who the killer is and to punish him and do justice to the murdered Palestinian? No, and no. The killer is known and no autopsy is needed to prove that.

And the IOF and the Zionist state are well-known for their “just” law system, where an excuse is always ready for the wilful murdering of Palestinians. Even with evidence, it is in very rare cases that an IOF soldier or a Zionist who murders a Palestinian is ever brought before a court or punished. And in the miraculous case that such a thing happens, then the killer most probably gets away with a few months “community service” or, if he is ever convicted and admitted to jail, gets an amnesty from the Zionist president. At the same time, thousands of Palestinians are left to rot in Israeli jails and torture cells, many of them imprisoned without any evidence. And with all the bodies that came back with horrible dissection marks and lacking body organs, the news spread all over Occupied Palestine: beware, or your child might come back disfigured, shapeless and with no internal organs. The sad thing was the few Palestinians who had some evidence, or were in some way witnesses to the Israeli organ thefts, and nevertheless kept quiet until the Swedish journalist took the first step. If for one reason or another you weren’t able to report these stories 20 years ago, why didn’t you report them 10 years ago, 5 years ago? Why didn’t you mention them when Israel committed the Jenin massacre? Or when they burned Gaza with Phosphorous? Add to this the calls of certain Palestinian political parties for an investigation. Yes, there is a need for an investigation, a need that had been waiting for decades. And as we say in Arabic: good morning! I wonder where these parties were when Palestinian families were shouting that their children were being used as involuntary organ donors.

The second thing that angered me about this whole thing were the comments of some Palestinians and some Palestine supporters that there was little to no evidence to support Boström’s claims and that although it is most probably a fact, lack of evidence makes us Palestinians look yet again as liars and gives Israel yet another tool with which to attack us……………….. Well, all I can say is: since when did Israel or any of Israel’s supporters for that matter care about the existence or absence of evidence when it comes to Israel’s crimes and human rights violations? For those commentators here is a small reminder:

The Nakba of 1948

The Nakba of 1967

Deir Yasin Massacre, 9.4.1948

Kufr Qasim Massacre, 29.10.1956

Sabra and Shatila Massacre, 16.9.1982

Al- Aqsa Massacre, 8.10.1990

Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, 25.2.1994

Qana Massacre, 18.4.1996

Jenin Massacre, April 2002

Gaza Massacre, December 2008 – January 2009

These are only few of the massacres, not to mention killing school children, women and elderly, killing Palestinian activists demonstrating for their legitimate rights, imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, many of whom without court law, torturing Palestinian prisoners, demolishing Palestinian homes, curfews, military-checkpoints and closures as collective punishment, uprooting millions of trees, theft and destruction of Palestinian land for the sake of illegal Jewish settlers from the States, Russia and elsewhere and the on-going ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and Palestine.

Wasn’t and isn’t there ample evidence to Israel committing these and other crimes against humanity?

Was any Zionist leader, any member of the Zionist government or the Zionist military or the Zionist settler movement ever convicted for any of these and other crimes against Palestinians and surrounding nations? Was any Zionist involved directly or indirectly brought to justice within the Zionist state itself or anywhere else in the world? Weren’t there several investigations carried out by the UN and other international bodies and human rights organizations that proved Israel’s human rights violations and even classified several of them as war crimes? Wasn’t Israel’s made responsible for many human rights violations and condemned because of them? Did Israel ever admit to any of these crimes, not to mention apologize for committing them? Did any of the countries racing now to place yet more sanctions on Iran for example, like they did with every other country that refused to pay loyalty to the US and the Zionists state, even contemplate placing sanctions on Israel? To be honest, yes, some countries did, but thanks to the US, the UK and Germany Israel is sure to never be punished for any human rights violations. On the contrary, it is even given carte blanche to do whatever it wants. As one German newspaper put it: We cry with Israel.

But we Palestinians have no one to cry with us.

Isn’t the cry of a bereaved Palestinian mother not evidence enough for you?

Israel not only kills Palestinians, steals their organs and then blames them for it, it also uses the Palestinian population as a test field for its and the United States new weapons or those in the test phase. Where better to test their weapons than in the Occupied Territories? And if anyone dares say a word, the US is ready to defend and shut up all mouths. The Zionist state has been using unknown and illegal weapons against the Palestinians, including the use of unknown chemicals and poisonous gases, since decades:

1967: the use of Napalm:

“In the West Bank and the Golan Heights, Israeli planes bombed villages and dropped napalm. Napalm rained on areas around Arab Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the East Bank of the Jordan. Sami Oweida told the story of his family to a British professor. During the war his family left Jericho and tried to cross the King Hussein Bridge to the East Bank of the Jordan and relative safety. According to Oweida’s account:
I saw a plane come down like a hawk directly at us. We threw ourselves on the ground and found ourselves in the midst of fire…. I tried to do something, but in vain. Fire was all around. I carried my burning child outside the fire. The burning people became naked. Fire stuck to my hands and face. I rolled over. The fire rolled with me. I saw another plane coming directly at us. I thought it was the end. I saw the pilot lean over and look at us.
My daughter Labiba (four years old) died that night. Two children of my cousin also died. My daughter Adla (seventeen years old) died four days later.”

1988: the use of an unknown green gas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories:

“Former mayor of Nablus reports: “Fleets of helicopters fly over Nablus at night dropping a dense, green toxic gas over the city..” Doctors at Ittihad Hospital report several deaths and severe lung injuries from the unidentified asphyxiating chemical, “totally distinct from tear gas..” UNRWA doctors report symptoms not normally connected with tear gas. UNRWA seeks information on contents of the gas…to provide antidote…especially for the most vulnerable groups…pregnant women, the very young and elderly..””

2001: The use of an unknown gas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories:

“Israel begins a six-week campaign of “novel gas” attacks in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Troops lob gas canisters into streets, courtyards, and houses of Khan Younis city and Gharbi refugee camp. Fifty people admitted to Al-Nasser Hospital “in an odd state of hysteria and nervous breakdown..fainting and spasms.” Sixteen have to be transferred to the intensive care unit. Doctors “reported the Israeli use of gas that appeared to cause convulsions.” At the Gharbi refugee camp, thirty-two people “were treated for serious injuries” following exposure to the gas. Dr. Salakh Shami, Al-Amal Hospital reports hospital received “about 130 patients suffering from gas inhalation..” Bewildered medical personnel had “never seen the gas at Tufa.” Victims were “jumping up and down, left and right..thrashing limbs around”, suffering “with convulsions..a kind of hysteria. They were all shaking.” Victims would fall unconscious, then ‘come to’ hours later to face convulsions, vomiting, disorientation and pain.”

2004: the use of an unknown black gas in the West Bank:

“Report by Gush Shalom, Israel’s ‘Peace Bloc’ – “What the army used here yesterday was not tear gas. We know what tear gas is, what it feels like. That was something totally different…When we were still a long way off..they started shooting things like this one (holding up a dark green metal tube with the inscription “Hand and rifle grenade no.400” – in English). Black smoke came out. Anyone who breathed it lost consciousness immediately, more than a hundred people. They remained unconscious for nearly 24 hours. One is still unconscious..They had high fever and their muscles became rigid. Some needed urgent blood transfusion.”
Report by medical units serving Zawiya: “On June 10th, 2004, the two clinics in Al-Zawiya treated 130 patients for gas inhalation. The patients were children, women, old people and young men. Dr. Abu Madi related that there was a high number of cases of [tetany], spasm in legs and hands, connected to the nervous system. Pupils were dilated…Other symptoms included shock, semi-consciousness, hyperventilation, irritation and sweating….the gas used against the protestors is not tear gas but possibly a nerve gas.””

2006: the use of DIME bombs:

“It’s been almost five months since the first report that Israeli drone aircraft have been dropping a “mystery weapon” on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Since then, news media around the world have run stories depicting the strange and “horrific” wounds inflicted by the new bomb. The international press has spoken with Palestinian doctors and medics who say Israel’s new device is a kind of chemical weapon that has significantly increased the fatality rate among the victims of Israeli attacks. In mid-October, Italian investigators reported forensic evidence that suggests the new weapon may also represent the near future of US “counterinsurgency warfare”. Combined with photographs of the victims and testimony from attending doctors, this evidence points to the use of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). DIME is an LCD (“low collateral damage”) weapon developed at the US Air Force Research Laboratory. Publicly, it is slated for initial deployment in 2008. DIME bombs produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).”

2008/2009: The use of white phosphorous against civilians and in over-crowded civilian areas:

“Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the Israeli Army is using White Phosphorus in its artillery shells against the Gaza Strip. Researchers of HRW said that they observed on January 9th and January 10th, several artillery shells fired by the Israelis near Gaza and Jabalia, and that these shells apparently included white-phosphorus. Using this type of shells, in this manner, is banned by international humanitarian law, the group added. The shells are capable of burning human flesh right down to the bone and are capable of setting structures, fields and other civilian facilities on fire. The group added that using this kind of shells against the most populated area in the world, Gaza, causes magnified harm, and called on Israel to stop firing these shells.”

Back to the Boström article; One commentator on the whole issue, most probably one of those Zionist sitting somewhere in the Zionist entity or in the United States, and who are paid by the Zionist entity to attack websites and blogs spreading the truth about Palestine, accuses the Palestinians of being liars, reminds the readers that Israel had been accused of this before (the Jenin Massacre) and asks a number of questions to “prove Israel’s innocence”. For example he asks about the whereabouts of those people the Palestinians “claim” went missing after the Jenin Massacre and the whereabouts of the Israeli refrigerators that carried away bodies of dead Palestinians as Palestinians claim. He adds that Israeli police conducts autopsies in all cases of “unnatural death” including on Jews, that the IOF holds on to the bodies of “Palestinian terrorists” to let spirits cool down before funerals and that if what Boström says happened in the Nineties, why mention it now?

Well, it is more convenient to write a load of lies and not even try to search for the truth. If he bothered enough to search about former “Palestinian accusations” like the Jenin Massacre, and I believe he most probably did, he would have come across recent articles where the families of the dead and the missing are still demanding Israel to give back their children to them and reveal the destiny of those still missing. Palestinian eye witnesses testified seeing the IOF transport hundreds of bodies from the hospital which was under their control to refrigerator trucks. What had happened to these bodies and what happened to the many Palestinians who had disappeared since the Massacre? During the Jenin Massacre in 2002 I was in Germany. I remember watching the news on one well-known American news station. This station is in known for its bias reporting in favour of Israel, so one wouldn’t expect it to show a live coverage of one of the entrances to the refugee camp with a number of refrigerator trucks visible and comment on it. I remember the reporter saying that these were Israeli vans, that they were refrigerator vans belonging to hospitals. These refrigerators or whatever they are called are used to transport bodies and keep them at a certain temperature so they don’t disintegrate and to keep body internal organs in good condition. This station was in no way supportive of the Palestinians, nevertheless its reporters on site focused their cameras on these vans for one or two minutes before the anchors started talking about something else. Everyone who was watching the news that afternoon would have seen these vans. What were the refrigerators doing there? and why weren’t they ever mentioned again by that news station? Did the IOF realize that they were being “filmed” and ordered that station to report on “Palestinian terrorists” instead?

He goes on to defend the Zionist state by saying that such autopsies are common, whether on Jews or others and admits that autopsies are conducted in all “unnatural death” cases. What is there to investigate when a Palestinian is clearly shot by the IOF? And even if so, why are so many bodies still held by the Zionist state and others buried secretly in the secret cemeteries erected by the IOF? Today there are no less than 300 Palestinians whose bodies the IOF still holds prisoner either in secret cemeteries or in refrigerators. Why keep Palestinian bodies till now in refrigerators? Does an autopsy take 30 years, 20 years, 10 years? The only logical explanation is that the IOF has something to hide and wants to avoid returning bodies emptied of their organs. And claiming that the IOF holds on to the bodies of “Palestinian terrorists” to let spirits cool down before the funerals to avoid “riots” are held is another blatant lie, for since when does the IOF care about, let’s call it, “reducing damage”? If they wanted to avoid “riots”, wouldn’t it have been better not to kill Palestinians in the first place and even better wouldn’t it have been better to end the whole military occupation? As for the lame excuse of why Boström decided to report about this now and not in Nineties when it happened, well, I advise Zionists & Co to reread what Boström himself had to say about this, namely that he had written his report in the Nineties after returning to Sweden, but the Dagens Nyheter newspaper refused to publish it. This newspaper and others are owned by the Bonnier family, a rich Jewish family that owns the majority of newspapers, TV stations and cinemas in Sweden. In other words controls the media, except for independent newspapers such as the courageous Aftonbladet that published the report. This Zionist commentator most probably knows all these facts nevertheless chose to ignore mentioning them, and instead attacked the reporter, Sweden and the Palestinians. The problem with such Zionists & Co is that they think everyone else is stupid, that we don’t read anything except their comments and where they try to look smart and “ask logical questions”, they actually show their stupidity and their hate.

Other Zionists & Co who hurried to defend Israel and attack Boström, Sweden and the Palestinians went as far as to claim that the IOF had often saved the lives of “terrorists” who were intent on killing Israelis.

I have seen this comment often for it must be one of those “model comments” that are fit for use in all discussions regardless of topic and used to confront Israel critics. If the discussion or the article is about Israeli Massacres, you find someone saying that “the IOF saved Palestinian lives”. If it is about Gaza, you find someone saying that “the IOF saved Palestinian lives”. If it is about illegal Jewish settlements, you find someone saying that “the IOF saved Palestinian lives”. If it is about Palestinian children killed by the IOF, you will definitely find someone saying that “the IOF saved Palestinian lives”. Well, the truth is, I have to laugh every time I hear or read this lame comment. If the IOF really wants to save our lives, maybe someone should tell them that the best way to do that is to leave our land and end the military occupation!

If the IOF saves Palestinian lives,

- Then, how come that alone since September 2000 some 5000 Palestinian civilians have been killed by the IOF and over 31000 injured. Among the dead were 1170 children, 274 women and 34 on-duty medical personnel and 15 media personnel including journalists and cameramen.

- Then, how come that between 2000 and 2006 no less than 112 Palestinian patients died at checkpoints as a result of being stopped and prevented from passing these checkpoints to get the needed treatment? How come ambulances carrying urgent cases are stopped at checkpoints? How come ambulances are shot at by the IOF and attacked by Israeli missiles? How come that between 2000 and 2006 no less than 70 Palestinian women were forced to give birth at checkpoints, resulting in 35 stillbirths and the death of 5 mothers?

- Then, how come 23 % of those killed by the IOF were children? Even unborn Palestinian babies are a target to IOF soldiers, and they don’t try to hide it.

- Then, how come 356 Palestinian patients have died as a result of the Zionist Siege on Gaza? These patients, many of whom were cancer patients, had to die a slow and agonizing death because Israel refused to allow them to leave Gaza to get the needed treatment. Today, there are over 400 patients in critical conditions due to the lack of specialized medications and equipment caused by the Zionist siege.

- Then, how come the IOF uses Palestinian children as human shield?

Okay and here is one funny comment: one Zionist commentator on the Swedish article tried to draw attention to Hama s and Gaza by saying that “Hamas is also killing Palestinians, so why only attack Israel?” He wrote quoting the Israeli media that Hamas was killing its rivals in Gaza and that it had executed rebels linked to Al-Qaeda.

So ………………………………

Now, all of a sudden, the Zionists are worried about Al-Qaeda men being killed? Now, all of a sudden, Al-Qa eda men are rebels and no more terrorists?

Q: Why not?

A: When we (Americans) and our friends (Europeans and Arab regimes) kill them, then they deserve it for they are terrorists, but when our enemies (like Hamas) kill them, they (Hamas) are the terrorists for killing the Al-Qaeda “rebels”.

It is actually very easy: The status of everyone and every nation can be changed from “bad” to “good” guy and from “axis of evil” to “axis of good” the minute those “evils” acknowledge the Zionist state, protect its interest and gain its satisfaction. Yes, the status of everyone can be changed, except of course that of the Palestinians, for even those loyal negotiators who are willing to dedicate their “humble” lives for the “sacred” cause of “negotiating, negotiating and more negotiating” are “not a good-enough partners” according to Zionist standards, and will never be, even if they give up whole of what has remained of Palestine. I am somewhat sure that if tomorrow Al-Qaeda decided that the security of the Zionists state is in its own interest, the US and the EU and the Arab regimes will immediately remove the Al-Qaeda from the terror list. They will forget the terror attacks of New York, London, Amman and others, for not their own people’s security and interests count, but those of Israel.

One thing is clear: the lies of the Zionists & Co have no beginning and no end. They are as infinite as the universe.

Palestinians have been shouting “Zionist terrorism” since before the Nakba of 1948, but our word was never good enough. One very simple example is that of the Abu-Ghreib tortures. When the photos of the prisoners of Abu-Ghreib were exposed, the whole world was in uproar, how could such a thing happen in our time and before our eyes? Till today the whole world mourns the acts at Abu-Ghreib, whereas you don’t hear of any mourning over Israeli torture. The methods used in Abu-Ghreib are the same as those used by Israeli jailors and investigators since the establishment of the Zionist state, nevertheless no uproar! There is ample evidence on the role played by Israeli investigators in the Abu-Ghreib crimes and that American jailors were actually only following the instructions of their Zionist friends! Many books, articles and documentaries were published that document the torture of Palestinians, including women and children. Even families of prisoners were exposed to torture in an effort to force Palestinian prisons to admit things they didn’t do! So why was the entire world shocked, disgusted and angry over the torture in Abu-Ghreib, and at the same time continues to ignore the Palestinian prisoners. Since 1967 Israel imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, of whom 11.000 + Palestinian are still in Israeli prisons, including 355 children and 53 women? Around 1000 of these prisoners are administrative detainees, meaning that they are imprisoned without being brought before a court and without any charges. In 2007 alone a monthly average of 830 Palestinians were administratively detailed by Israel. According to human rights organizations 95% of the Palestinian prisoners were subjected to some sort of torture, in many cases leading to death or disability. 195 Palestinian prisoners died in Israeli prisons, 70 due to torture, 48 due to medical negligence in prison, and 7 due to direct killing by the prison police and 70 were killed upon their arrest.

In the beginning there was the word, the word of a country ethnically cleansed and its people either massacred or made into refugees, the word of a people defending itself against a brutal military occupation, the word of children whose childhood is stolen even before they are born. The Victor rewrites history and world powers set the rules and define what is what:

When we kill while stealing other nations land and natural resources and ethnically cleansing them, we are defending ourselves, our children and our homeland.

When you are killed while demonstrating for freedom, for your rights and for a better future for your children, you are to blame, for you are a terrorist.

When you are killed while protecting your home from being demolished, your olive fields from being uprooted and your land from being confiscated, you are to blame, for you are a terrorist.

When you are killed while teaching kids in classes, treating patients in hospitals, planting your field, harvesting your olive trees, fishing in your national waters or reporting on Zionist crimes, you are to blame, for you are the terrorist.

And when you are killed while trying to live despite all this Zionist terrorism, you are still the terrorist. For you are the Palestinian and your word counts to almost nothing in this unjust world.

When Germans are asked about the Nazi terror, first comes the “We didn’t know”, then comes the “Never again”. Unfortunately, till today, many Americans, Europeans and particularly Germans still prefer to turn their eyes away, to close their ears and minds and to keep silent on the war crimes committed by the Zionist state. To those I say: The Palestinians have been spreading the word on the Zionist crimes since the first illegal Zionist settler set foot on this land. The Palestinians have been subjected to Zionist terror on a daily basis: massacres, land and property theft, imprisonment, where alone the Palestinian identity is enough to make one a legitimate target of the Zionists and their murderous IOF. Listen to the Palestinians, they are the witnesses of today’s injustice and if you choose not to listen to what the Palestinians have to say, remember that the day will come when your children or grandchildren will ask you if you knew what was going on in Occupied Palestine and why you kept silent over Israel’s crimes. What will you answer them?


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Tale of 3 Palestinian Villages

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Palestinian Villages Destroyed during the Nakba

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Friday, 11 September 2009

The Picture-less Frame

As a child, I spend all school holidays in Dheisheh refugee camp. Neighbouring my grandparents’ house was a tiny UNRWA house: one of those tiny rooms built by the UNRWA for the Palestinians kicked out of their origi-nal homes and made refugees by the Zionists. At first the refugees lived in tents, which were later placed by small rooms when it became clear that a return to Palestine was not to happen in the near future. The small house consisted of 2 small rooms; one used as bedroom and the other as a sitting room. The front yard had a cemented floor, a ceiling and was fully walled from 1 side and half-walled from 2 sides, which would have made changing this front yard into a third room an easy task. But instead of a room, my grandmother had some flowerbeds and flower pots decorate the whole place, in addition to a grapevine that spread all over the ceiling and beyond it to my grandparents’ house. The flowers were beautiful and my grandmother would water them every day, care for them and would plant new flowers instead of those killed by us while playing. A few steps led from the front yard to a small piece of land where my grandmother had planted a couple of trees. Here, contrary to my grandmother’s garden opposite this one, there were much fewer trees, the grass grew long and it was full of all sorts of insects. There was a toilet there, one of those outside toilets which no one used, and it scared us because it was dark inside and because we feared falling in that hole in the middle. This small garden was surrounded by cactuses, which marked its borders. I remember once looking out of the sitting room of my grandparent’s house towards this piece of land and seeing my grandmother standing by the cactus wall. She was plucking its fruits while murmuring something I couldn’t hear. Remembering what grandmother told us about her original village Jrash and how cactuses were part of the Palestinian landscape, I am sure she was remembering her days there. During autumn and winter, my grandmother often went collecting mushrooms there, and I would accompany here. She knew exactly where to look, and would search for them in the strangest places and would find them there waiting for her. Once back home in Sawahreh, I searched our land looking for mushrooms, and when my mother asked what I was doing and I told her, she said that I won’t find any there. I didn’t believe her and continued looking, for at the time I couldn’t understand how in one part of Palestine you could find mushrooms but not in another part. Anyway, I found none, but whenever I am there I would keep my eyes open for mushrooms. During my last visit there and while we were picking the olive trees, I came across a few mushrooms which were huge and looked suspicious. I didn’t cook them, but was happy when I showed them to my mother. My grandmother used to fry the mushrooms we collected with some olive oil and onions, and it was such a delicious dish that till today this is one of my favourite dishes and I eat mushrooms almost with everything. I even add mushrooms to my Maqluba (upside down), which is a traditional Palestinian dish.

The little house was simply furnished with a bed, a couch, a table a few chairs. That was all. My uncles took turns living there, depending on who among them was not inside Israeli jails. Whoever among my uncles was living there at the time would often welcome his friends there, and we would play in the yard and listen to their murmuring and their laughter coming from the window. I loved that tiny house, for it always represented happiness in midst a lot of sadness: the fact that one of my uncles was free, the laughter there of these young men who spent more time in Israeli cells than in their own homes, the fact that we were mostly there during the summer holiday which meant that my aunts came from Kuwait and Jordan for a visit and we would be spending the whole summer playing with their children, and finally my grandmothers’ flowerbeds. But of all that was in and around that tiny house, only one thing always fascinated me there: on the bedroom wall there was a huge poster of mountains covered with snow and surrounding some small blue lake that reflected the blue sky. I was fascinated by the beauty of that poster and used to lean on the window and look at that poster and wonder if such a place really existed. It could have been a well-done painting or an Illusion, and since then I often thought of that place and imagines myself wandering around that lake. To me, it was a sort of untouchable place, a sacred place, a paradise, and a place so beautiful that it can never be real.

Back in Sawahreh, I would always make comparison between both places. While in Sawahreh the hills and valleys stood free and extended to the horizon, Dheisheh was tiny and overcrowded. Houses in Sawahreh had vast front yards with flowers and some vegetables and herbs. These were open areas and even with the somewhat crumbling stone borders, we could play wherever we wanted. In summer we ran up and down the hills and in winter we played hide and seek and other games in the nearby olive fields. There are lots of old stone structures that actually had no definite structure anymore, yet it was so mystical that we would imagine ourselves in another world, another time. We used to play there and when it rained we used them as shelter, where we sat telling stories till the rain stopped and we could go back home. There are lots of caves there as well, many of which had unnatural inhabitants, we were told, and many villages went inside these caves to never come out again. They were home to ghosts, monsters, murderers, tramps and imaginary heroes, fighters who would one day wake up and liberate Palestine. In Dheisheh, the trees were always a surprise, maybe because it was not expected to find trees in overcrowded places. But it was so. Whether it was my grandparents’ house or those of other relatives or friends, they all had trees in their tiny gardens or in their houses. The UNRWA had built small rooms for each family, but with time and as families expanded and grew, the houses expanded as well. One of the houses where I used to play as a kid was that of a close relative. It had a tiny door that would not prepare the visitor to what was inside. It was somewhat similar to old Syrian houses one sees in Syrian historical drama, where there is an open yard in the centre with a fountain or a tree. But, I think as far as I remember, those Syrian yards were open, while the few Palestinian yards I saw in Dheisheh and in Jerusalem were closed. With closed I mean that they had a ceiling. Back to my relative’s house, there was a huge tree in the middle, and we used to play beneath that tree. Sometimes I wonder if there was ever really a ceiling, for the tree was huge and could have covered up the sun and the sky. On one hand it felt safe playing there, knowing that the IOF soldiers were patrolling the refugee camp on an hourly basis. We were relatively safe inside, no Israeli soldiers shooting at children and no settlers attacking homes, and we could play all day long under that tree. On the other hand, it felt as if one was imprisoned in that small space. For it was nothing like playing in the open fields under the sun.

When I visited those relatives last winter, I sat in the living room and while my mother’s aunt and uncle and my aunt talked about family matters, I looked around the room which was filled with Palestinian embroidery. Despite the beautiful colours I felt sad, for this room was previously the yard where the tree stood and where we played as children. There was no more tree there and no more yard, just an everyday home like the ones you would find anywhere in the world, an ordinary two-story home with a sitting room, a kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms, but no closed yard with a tree. Outside, they had a tiny garden with all possible local herbs and flower bushes and a small UNRWA room in the corner. I told my mother’s aunt that I was looking for UNRWA rooms and she wanted to show me theirs. I had been taking photos of old UNRWA rooms because they were disappearing from the refugee camp, and to me these rooms are yet another witness to the great injustice done to Palestine: Palestinians thrown out of their beautiful homes and villas and forced to live in overcrowded 2-room ”sheds”. The tiny room was filled with old stuff, some maybe 61 years old or even older. Among several things, I remember a wooden board with blankets and mats, an ancient cupboard, an old suitcase and on the wall there was a Saj (iron sheet used for baking bread). One strange item was a picture frame that stood empty. There was no photo inside, only the frame that seemed as old as the Palestinian Nakba itself. As my great aunt went on talking, I tried to take in all that was there in that room, but my eyes kept wandering back to that picture-less frame. What did it mean and why was it empty? Where is the photo? Was it a photo of a beloved family member or of a dear place? What had happened to it? Did my aunt lose it as they were ethnically cleansed by the Zionists? If they had no use for it, why was it hanging on the wall? Many questions were filling my head and one particular question kept buzzing: where is the photo? I tried uselessly to find an explanation, to understand why she had kept that empty frame. Without success.

I didn't ask about the missing photo, and I don't know why. Maybe I feared bringing up sad memories, for I know well how much my mother’s family and others suffered and what they went through on the hands of Zionist terrorists during the Nakba of 1948.

My grandmother said once: there is no place like Jrash. My youngest aunt and two uncles are only some 5 to 6 years older than me, so whenever I was in Dheisheh as a child, they were my play companions. One of the earliest and loveliest memories I have of Dheisheh is one of us four lying on the front yard of my grandparents’ house, before the house was expanded and the yard disappeared. We lay there near each other and watched the sky. It was a summer day and I still can see the blue sky and the white beautiful clouds wandering slowly. As we watched the sky, we tried in turn to figure out what the clouds looked like or what kinds of things they reminded us of. We imagined shapes and figures that were not there, and tried to see the goat in a cloud that looked more like a ship. And as we played our guessing game, they talked about Jrash. They often did. It was part of my growing up, for as I grew up, Jrash “grew up” in my mind and developed. With every passing year and with every story, memory or sentence I heard, the picture I had of Jrash received more lines, more colour and became more distinct, until the picture of what Jrash looked like some 70 years ago was “almost” complete. I say “almost” because it can only be complete with me seeing Jrash with my own eyes. They all used to talk of a place most of them never saw, of Jrash, the home from which they or their parents were ethnically cleansed in 1948 by Zionists terror groups. The only photos I know of Jrash are 2 taken after the Nakba of 1948: one photo in black and white and one in colour. In the 2 photos some rubble is visible indicating the remains of the 44 village houses destroyed by the Zionists, otherwise nothing more is left of what was once a home to some 220 Palestinians. When I first saw that second picture and recalling everything I had heard about Jrash, I couldn’t help shed a tear. For it is one thing to hear about the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing, the killing, the wiping off of a whole village, and another to see the seemingly innocent “crime scene”; beautiful green meadows and hills. It was somehow the same beautiful Jrash of which many sing, minus its spirit: the people who own the land. The Zionists did their best to erase all traces of their crimes: the massacres that were carried out, the houses destroyed and the trees uprooted. But they failed to erase the most important evidence: our memory of what once was and what will one day once again be. When my grandmother spoke of Jrash, she saw her parents’ home, her own little home, her garden, the olive trees, the almond trees, the fig trees, the cactuses and her apple tree. When my grandfather spoke of Jrash, he saw the 44 little houses, the harvest, the goats and the sheep, the olive fields, the green meadows and hills. When they talk about Jrash, their voices are full of love, longing and with a sparkle in their eyes. They talked of happy days and of happy people, of simple people, of content people who love their home and their land. Looking at that second picture of Jrash, I saw a beautiful landscape that was deserted and that looked sad. The little houses with their flower gardens are gone, the fields are empty, the trees uprooted and the simple, happy and content people are made into refugees and scattered all over the globe. A sad photo of a sad young woman, called Jrash, in her beautiful thoub sitting on one of those hills and waiting, watching, looking out to welcome her people when they come back.

And as the case is with the parts of one body, Jrash hills extend to meet the hills of Sawahreh, spreading as far as the eye can see and connecting the western borders of Jerusalem with its eastern borders. The Palestinian landscape is one and only one continuous landscape, defying ethnic cleansing, land theft, genocide and the forgery of history. There is nothing like Sawahreh, my father often says. He was born and grew up in what is now part of the Maale Adumim illegal Jewish settlement bloc. On my last visit to Palestine, and on the way to Ramallah, as we passed Maale Adumim my father pointed to a spot and said all of a sudden: I was born there, exactly there. He said it in a light dreamy voice that I had to look at his face and I am sure he was seeing his family, his parents sitting outside in the evening and talking, his siblings playing, the goats and the horses, and his school books which he cherished so much. There is nothing like Sawahreh, he would say, and would sometimes go wandering down the hills or to our lands in the Sawahreh barrieh or the “praries” as we like to call them, and would come back as if he had just paid a visit to paradise. I don’t know why my father chose that particular day to mention that particular spot. He and my mother often told us stories about their childhood, about growing up in Palestine, about all those who were worthy of the name Palestinian and about others who sold their souls and honour. Maybe it was the realization that this time it was some Palestinians who are participating in this third Nakba of Palestine, seeing Maale Adumim grow into some sea monster with 1000 claws that are destroying Palestine, seeing all those illegal Jewish settlement built on stolen Palestinian land, seeing all those illegal Jewish settler roads dissecting Palestine and seeing Jerusalem in the far and not being able to go there, seeing all this and realizing that this is done with the approval of some Palestinians who think they have the right to determine our destiny, to give up our legitimate rights and to sell Palestine for such a cheap price as a fake title and a fake authority.

Sawahreh wasn’t ethnically cleansed. It is still there, or at least partially, for the Zionist state has confiscated much of Sawahreh’s land, including that land belonging to my family. They plan on extending the Maale Adumim bloc, building alternative roads for us so that the “Herrenrasse” wouldn't spoil its day by seeing our faces while driving on our streets and our lands. Jrash and Sawahreh are so different, yet so similar. They tell the story of Palestine: while one has been ethnically cleansed and its existence erased from the map, the other is being turned into a prison surrounded by Israeli military checkpoints and a huge wall and being eaten up by illegal Jewish settlements.

I once saw a documentary on a German TV station about one German Jewish family that had escaped Nazi Germany to the United States. On their first visit back to Germany in the Nineties, an elderly woman stood in front of a nice-looking house with a garden and said with tears in her eyes that this is her parents’ house; this is where she was born and where she grew up till they were forced to leave. She said that others have taken their home and were living in it, and the accompanying reporter asked if she would like to go inside and see the house. At that moment I turned off the TV because I couldn't watch anymore. With every single word that woman was saying I was seeing a Palestinian mother, a Palestinian father, a Palestinian child, a Palestinian grandmother, MY grandmother being kicked out of her house! I tried to find consolation in the fact that at least this victim was decent enough to go to the States and not to go and live in the house of a Palestinian, unless of course she has a second house in the Zionist state, as many European and American Zionists do. They are allowed double and triple passports and residences on our usurped land and on what they call “former home”. If they consider these countries “former home”, and demand continuously compensation for all that they lost there, accept a second citizenship from these countries and even have homes there, why don’t they just go back to these homes and allow the millions Palestinian refugees who have no home but Palestine to go back to their homes? But no, it is much more profitable to stay in the Zionist state and keep crying “old home” and demand compensation, while millions of Palestinians carry refugee papers and travel documents and are kicked out of one country after the other.

When I first went to Germany to pursue my higher studies, the first thing I did was to ask Arab students who were long before me in Germany about posters for Palestine, and when I got some I immediately filled my room in the student house with posters of Palestine, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was then and only then that I was finally able to sleep. During a trip to the Swiss Alps, the group I was with made a stop at the top of some mountain. It was full with people, mostly tourists, and everyone around me was hurrying to the left and to the right and taking pictures. I walked around to see what was attracting these people. The mountains around us were marvellous, but what was it that these people were running to see? As I reached where everyone was standing, I was speechless for a second. It was the same view on that poster in my uncle’s bedroom in Dheisheh. The blue lake surrounded by white tipped mountains. I stood there, a Palestinian who had often dreamt of this place, imagining it to be something unreal. And as the people around me took photos and spoke loudly of the beauty of the view, I stood watching. And as I stood watching, I thought of Sawahreh, I thought of Dheisheh, I thought of Haifa, Jaffa, Akka, of Bethlehem and Ramallah and Hebron, of Nablus and Jenin, of Gaza and Nazareth, I thought of Jrash and I thought of Jerusalem. I thought of that empty picture frame and I understood, I finally understood.

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