Archive for the ‘Palestine’ Category
Yesh Gvul is “an Israeli peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature”. Yesh Gvul grew out of the first Lebanon war protest. They are one of the longest standing organisations supporting refuseniks, and they supported me before and during my term in prison.
The new Israeli government has decided to crack down on refusenik organisations. As part of this campaign, the leaders of Yesh Gvul are being investigated for “incitement” charges. Here’s the latest update from Peretz Kidron:
From: Peretz Kidron
(plain text follows embeded flyer)
A BENEFIT PERFORMANCE OF
“BASSAM – A Story of Hope”
by IDAN MEIR
Translated from the Hebrew by DANIEL WADE
Produced and Directed by
SUNDAY 12TH JULY 2009
16:00 AND 19:30
26 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TT
TICKETS FROM £15.00 AT THE DOOR
To reserve a SEAT please call
0207 387 6617
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND
DONATIONS TO THE FUND ENABLING BASSAM TO TAKE UP HIS MA STUDIES PLACE
should be sent to:
d 9126 Aramin Scholarship
University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford. BD7 1DP
Bassam Aramin’s 10 year old daughter Abir was killed outside her school on January 16th 2007. Despite this appalling tragedy, Bassam has steadfastly and publicly maintained his belief in non-violence as the way to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is co-founder of Combatants For Peace bringing former fighters from both sides to promote this message; he coordinates sports in the West Bank for the Peres Centre for Peace; he is President of Al-Quds Democracy & Dialogue.
“BASSAM – A Story of Peace” was originally performed to acclaim at the Cameri Theatre, Tel Aviv.
All proceeds from the UK performances will go to the Scholarship Fund to enable Bassam to improve his knowledge and skills as a professional in conflict resolution. If you can’t make the performance, please make a donation.
In an interview with Haaretz only days after Abir’s death Bassam said: “I’m not going to exploit the blood of my child for political purposes… I’m not going to lose my common sense, my direction, only because I’ve lost my heart, my child. I will continue to fight in order to protect her siblings and her classmates, her girlfriends, both Palestinians and Israelis. They are all our children.”
Bassam Aramin is my personal hero and friend. A man I admire, a symbol of hope and an icon of the human spirit. For years Bassam has been campaining with the same unyielding passion and commitment for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for a just and honest enquiry into the death of his 10 year old daughter. Come and support him, and be inspired by his story.
A far from theoretical danger: since the end of December, 181 Palestinians have been summarily executed, kneecapped or tortured because they opposed Hamas.
The Andalous building in the Al-Karama neighborhood of Gaza City is reduced to a skeleton of concrete. The Israelis have hit hard, and this middle-age Palestinian couple has nothing left but to pick up the rubble of an apartment not yet paid for. They escort us on what remains of the indoor stairs, on the condition that Panorama uses only their family nicknames. “We knew that it was going to end up like this. Since the early days of the attack the muqawemeen (the guerrilla fighters of the Palestinian “resistance”, AN)
had positioned themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth floors, with the snipers. Every now and then they tried, to no avail, to shoot down one of those UAVs that the Israelis use”, says Abu Mohammed, shaking his head. In the building, not yet finished, lived 22 families: more than 120 civilians, including women
and children. The Israelis had begun calling the tenants’ cell phones ordering them to vacate the premises. Then, the militiamen got a more explicit message: a fighter dropped a bomb on the empty courtyard on the other side of road without causing victims, but opening a huge crater. “A delegation of householders beseeched the militiamen to leave” resumed the tenant. The answer was: “You will die with us or we will survive together”.
On January 13 the Israeli F16’s hit the building at 9:30 P.M. “At night we would go to sleep at our relatives’ homes: we were saved, but no longer had a home and we still have to repay 9 years of the loan” says Om Mohammed in despair, a veil on her head. The Islamic Bank does not grant exceptions.
Please, let’s all stop calling Hamas a resistance movement. The people of Gaza have two oppressors: the Israeli goverment, and the Hamas.
The goodenough college is celebrating Arab Cultural week. Last night there was, among other things, a sale of Zaytoun products, as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people. I’m a big fan of fair trade, and my sentiments on the Palestinian issue are known. So I bought a jar of Za’atar. This morning I opened it and was stunned by a strong wave of sensetions. Just cracking open the lid filled the kitchen with scents of my childhood. As if in a time warp, I saw myself walking in the Judea hills, smelling the wild theme rubbing against my shows. Feeling the dry thisle scratching my knees. I remembered saturday walks in the old city, dad buying us “Beigale” with Za’atar rolled up in little newspaper cones. My Jerusalem in exile.
The Jerusalem of my childhood may have never existed: the thisle grows on ruins, my Beigale is really Ka’ak, and that says it all. But there’s no denying the smell of Za’atar. It has its right of self-determination. It catches me unawares and takes me where it will.
Anyway, I had a look at the label. It says “produced by Palestinian farmers from the Gallilie”. Oh well, I thought, I gusess I just pays a little bit VAT to finance Netanhayu’s goverment.
Last week I was invited to participate in Tariq Ramadan’s “Islam & Life” show on PressTV. The title of the show was “Palestine: the ethics of Resistance”, but in fact the main topic of discussion was the boycott campaign in the UK. I shared a panel with Faizal Dawjee, who was introduced as a former journalist from South Africa, and Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, secretary of BRICUP (pronounced like hicup).
There was no pretence of balance – PressTV identifies itself as the first Iranian international news network, Tariq Ramadan has his clear views on the subject, and the panel had two pro-boycotters on one side and myself on the other. Nevertheless, there was an honest, respectfull and open debate. I was given the oportunity to resopnd to every argument by my peers, and ample time to present my positions. Whether I did a good job of that is for you to judge.
Alternative Information Center (AIC) staff member Mohammad Abu Humus was taken from his home at 3am today by masked members of the Israeli security forces, who stormed and searched his home with drawn weapons. Abu Humus was subsequently brought before a judge, who acquiesced to the police request and extended his detention for 11 days.
All of the material and evidence concerning Abu Humus is classified. Abu Humus is accused of involvement in unruly protests against Israeli military actions in Gaza, which he categorically denies, and the classified nature of the evidence for such a minor accusation calls into question the true motives of the Israeli authorities in the detention and interrogation of Abu Humus.
Abu Humus, 43 years old and a resident of the East Jerusalem village of Issawiya, is a long-time political and social activist in East Jerusalem. He is married to Wafa and has four small children, two daughters: Irfat (11) and Shahd (10) and two sons: Anas ( 8 ) and Majd (3). He has worked with the AIC since 2006
Attending the court hearing today were Abu Humus’ wife Wafa, members of the Alternative Information Center and additional residents of Issawiya, who came in support and solidarity with Abu Humus.
Wafa noted that “our children were terrified by the masked men with drawn weapons. I asked them how they expect us to live with them in love and respect, when they act like this? They don’t leave us any room for love,” added Wafa sadly.
Since the beginning of Israel’s military attacks on Gaza, more than 300 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been detained, arrested and taken for interrogation by the Israeli security services. For the past several days, Israeli forces have entered Issawiya every night, detaining prominent political activists.
The Alternative Information Center requests that you:
- Contact the Israeli Attorney General, Mani Mazuz, in addition to the nearest Israeli embassy or consulate, and demand that the right of all citizens and residents of Israel to express their opinions and opposition to Israeli policy be respected, including that of Mohammad Abu Humus, in accordance with international human rights law. Attorney General Mazuz: Fax: +972 (0)2 646 7001
- Contact your nearest Israeli Embassy. Find your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate: http://www.science.co.il/Embassy.asp
- Send a message of solidarity to Mohammad Abu Humus: firstname.lastname@example.org
An anonymous open letter to President Obama, from a member of Machsom Watch.
MachsomWatch, in existence since 2001, is an organisation of peace activist Israeli women against the Israeli Occupation of the territories and the systematic repression of the Palestinian nation. We call for Palestinian freedom of movement within their own territory and for an end to the Occupation that destroys Palestinian society and inflicts grievous harm on Israeli society.
Contributions to MachsomWatch can be made by
Direct Bank Deposit
Women’s Fund for Human Rights
33 Achimeir Street
Tel Aviv 69492
Tax deductible donations may be made through
Cheque to the “New Israel Fund”, earmarked for “MachsomWatch”
New Israel Fund
New Israel Fund
I had a long chat with Mark today, and with a few other friends. Cooled me down a bit, and helped me understand why I’m so angry. It has also raises a few questions.
When something horrible happens, we feel empathy with the victims. Since we usually do very little to help, we also feel guilt. When I observe the anti-Israeli reactions in Europe, I wonder: are you dealing with the issue, or are you dealing with your guilt? Its really quite simple to answer, all it requires is a bit of honesty. Just write down what you’ve done about the situation, and what are the probable consequences of your actions. Not what you would wish the consequences would be: what you believe is their real most likely effect. Don’t tell me, this is between you and yourself.
Remember one thing: however dire the state of affairs, there is always a course of action which offers a chance for positive change. This, for me, is the axiom of human existence. The circle of hope. Without it, we might as well all blow ourselves up. If the tally for your chosen action does not fall within the circle of hope, abandon it and look for a new path.
Mark was disturbed by people’s obsession with categorising fellow humans, for him (and for me) this is hard to understand, and the root of great evil. He said: I observe people all the time, always looking for the common. I recalled how history and science have shown that it is normal people who commit the greatest atrocities, and that the first step that enables this is xenomorphism (my term, don’t know what would be the proper one): defining a group as “others” who pose a threat. Once you divide the scene into “us” and “them”, and identify “them” as a threat, you can do anything to them. Resolution and reconciliation will start from breaking down this dichotomy. A Palestinian from Ramallah will not bomb Gaza, even if he opposes Hamas with all his heart. Likewise, an Israeli soldier will not shoot a setteler even if he sees him as the cause of all his troubles. You do not kill your own. Peace can only come from the acknowledgement that we have one land, one fate. It could be manifested in two states, that’s detail. But it has to rest on an appreciation of the common, and the unique.On an acceptance that all tears are equal, all blood weighs the same. If its all one bug Us,then violence is not an option.
That’s when I realised how wrong the protests, and the media coverage, are.
It doesn’t matter if you’re marching “for Israel” or “for Palestine”. Either way, you’re marching for the dichotomy. Reinforcing the image of two tribes. One good, one bad. I don’t care who’s the good and who’s the bad in your story. Its just a bad story.
Then there’s the issue of Hamas. The resistance movement. Even the BBC, which has been amazingly restrained and thoughtful in its coverage, often talks of Hamas’ “resistance”. This puzzles me. I thought “resistance” implies some acts of resisting the occupying forces. So where where the Hamas resisters when the Israeli army combed the streets of Gaza? Surely, if they would have offered any resistance, they Israeli army would have suffered more casualties. As I undestand it, most of the 10 Israeli soldiers killed where victems of accidents and friendly fire.
Yes, Israel has the right to protect itself, the Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation. Over the last three weeks neither right was exersiced.
Update, 21 Jan:
Bob from Brockley has a good roundup on the comedy of British anti-Israeli protest. My favorite is the chair of Sheffield Palestinian Solidarity tearing down a placard that reads “no to IDF no to Hamas”.