Yaba Yaba

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Archive for the ‘Hamas’ Category

“You will die with us or we will survive together”

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Fausto Biloslavo reports from Gaza for the Italian Panorama. There’s a cover story in English on his site.

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.


Written by yishaym

February 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

who’s side are you on?

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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”.

Written by yishaym

January 19, 2009 at 2:55 am

Over? We haven’t even started

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Only 30 hours after British intellectuals issue their ultimatum, Israel’s unilateral cease fire comes into effect. See David? We told you – these Israelis, they only understand one language.

So what now? Nothing. Gaza is still in ruins, its hospitals full of wounded. Israeli kids are still afraid to sleep. But the European left can sleep well tonight, and tomorrow return to contemplate the state of its holiday homes.

The last three weeks have been soaked in pain, anger and sadness. I am horrified by the pictures from Gaza and the cold facts of the carnage. I share the distress of families in southern Israel who live in constant fear. I make no comparison. Both are unacceptable. I am angry at the Israeli government for choosing a path of violence, and angry at the Hamas for leading the way to this path. This was a was on two peoples, conducted by two armies. The military actions of the Israeli government provided its citizens no more security than the absurd provocations of the Hamas provided its people dignity. I am sad for my friends, family and countrymen, who are blinded by fear and anger, to a point that then become numb to the pain of others.

But when it comes to the reactions I see around me, I am bemused and frustrated. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, in smaller portions, I’ve seen it all before. Some call it anti-semitism. I won’t even grant them this halo. No, here wearing a Kaffiah is a fashion statement, and so is boycotting Israeli goods. You know what? I’m just bloody sick of it. Sick of hearing about pro-Israeli vs. pro-Palestinian, sick of hearing “like we did with South Africa”, sick of hearing the rape of language, the intolerable ease with which frightful words are casually scattered like guji berries on your morning yoghurt. Words which should be reserved for the worst events in history. Rwanda was a genocide. Srebrenica was a massacre, as was Sabra and Shatilla.

Let me spell it out. There is no “us” and “them”, there are those who want to live, and those who want to kill. If you really care, help the people doing good on the ground. All your chanting and picketing doesn’t twitch a single donkey’s hair in the middle east. It hasn’t saved the life of a single child. Hamas will still do what it thinks it should, and so will the Israeli government. I’ll let you in on a secret: you didn’t topple Apartheid either: De Klerk and Mandella did it. All your fancy petitions and demonstrations serve one purpose: to make you feel better about yourself, allow you to feel morally superior. Fuck that. Save the money you spend on your post-demo cappuccino, and donate it to one of these. Or pay for them to publish a half-page ad in the guardian in place of your righteous hate banter.







TUC Aid appeal for Gaza

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Regardless of what you think of British trade unions, regardless of who you think carries the blame in Gaza, it takes a cold heart to remain untouched by the scale of the human tragedy.

So here’s a chance to do something useful:

TUC Aid Appeal – Give for Gaza

How to donate:

You can make an online donation to the appeal using our secure online facility, provided by JustGiving.com. Select the amount and choose the “Give for Gaza” appeal from the drop down menu.

You can also donate by cheque. All cheques should be drawn in favour of TUC Aid – Give for Gaza – and sent to TUC Aid, EUIRD, TUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS.

Where your donation will go:

All proceeds will be forwarded through the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to support emergency humanitarian relief operations carried out by them in Gaza. All trade union relief operations are co-ordinated through Red Crescent in Jordan, Egypt and Gaza and focused on the identified needs of the people affected by the events. The first ITF-PGFTU humanitarian flight is due to leave for Gaza on 08 Jan 2009. The TUC supports an immediate ceasefire by both sides, and the pursuit of a political solution to the problems of the Middle East based on two states.

For further information contact Bandula Kothalawala on 020 74671257 or by e-mail bkothalawala@tuc.org.uk

(HT Mira)

Written by yishaym

January 12, 2009 at 2:42 am

who let the dogs out?

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As in any kindergarten row, both sides are shouting “he started!”. The sensible reaction is “never mind who started, now both of you stop!”

Of course, there’s a difference: here people are being killed. Which is why its worth looking for patterns, and trying to see if we can avoid the next round.

That’s exactly what Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, & Anat Biletzki do on the huff:

Figure 2. For conflict pauses of different durations (i.e., periods of time when no one is killed on either side), we show here the percentage of times from the Second Intifada in which Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians (black), the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis (grey), and the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day (white). Virtually all periods of nonviolence lasting more than a week were ended when the Israelis killed Palestinians first. We include here the data from all pause durations that actually occurred.

Figure 2. For conflict pauses of different durations (i.e., periods of time when no one is killed on either side), we show here the percentage of times from the Second Intifada in which Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians (black), the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis (grey), and the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day (white). Virtually all periods of nonviolence lasting more than a week were ended when the Israelis killed Palestinians first. We include here the data from all pause durations that actually occurred.

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a picture of “finger the baddies”. Hamas are evil bastards, baby killers and thieves. They are just as quick to kill and steal from their own people. If they would have invested half their efforts on reinforcing shelters and stocking hospitals the death toll would have been much lower, they don’t care.

What this picture shows is a plain and obvious stratigic directive for Israel:

…if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

Maths. It works, bitches.

Written by yishaym

January 7, 2009 at 3:02 am

Short Gaza roundup

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Written by yishaym

January 7, 2009 at 2:02 am

Meshal: Hamas backs Palestinian state in ’67 borders

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Ha’aretz reports that

Hamas supports the united Palestinian position calling for the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam.

This may well be the most important piece of news this decade. Hamas agreeing to a 2 state solution removes the only real obstacle to peace in the middle east. All the rest is excuses.

(digg story)

Written by yishaym

April 2, 2008 at 11:07 am