Yaba Yaba

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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

#iranelection: the revolution will b twtrd.

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Iran post-election protests99% of the time twitter is TWOTer (Total Waste of Time). Then comes #cairospeech or #iranelection.

The Daily Dish reports that the Iraninan regime has locked down all other communications, but Twitter is live.

Follow the events on #iranelection

And on http://iran.twazzup.com/

renjie has a list of Twitterers posting from inside Iran (via Reddit)


follow them. show them that they are not alone.

Written by yishaym

June 14, 2009 at 11:37 am

Bassam – a Story of Hope: 12 July 2009, Theatro Technis, London

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(plain text follows embeded flyer)

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BASSAM – A Story of Hope

Translated from the Hebrew by DANIEL WADE

Produced and Directed by


16:00 AND 19:30

Theatro Technis
26 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TT

To reserve a SEAT please call
Theatro Technis
0207 387 6617

should be sent to:
d 9126 Aramin Scholarship
Maxine Douglan-Smith
Finance Dept
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.

Written by yishaym

May 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm

“New Year, Same Old Vicious Cycle”

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Neta Osnat says:

The last days of the year 2008 are filled with blood tear in Gaza and in the south of Israel. These bloody times are a reminder to us all of how endless and vicious the cycle of violence is.
As Combatants for Peace we are sending our sincere regrets to all the people who have been hurt on both sides, and call all parties to cease the fire and look for a peaceful resolution through dialogue, instead of violence.
Please eco our voice, let other people know there is an alternative to the madness and that there are many who still support our way and believe in peace both in Palestine and in Israel.
For updates on our activities and in order to support us by donations, visit our website at: www.combatantsforpeace.org

Democracy Now interviews Yonatan Shapira and Bassam Aramin (

And two days ago:

Written by yishaym

December 31, 2008 at 1:58 am

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Gaza Emergency Appeal

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Gaza Hospitals Already Filled to Capacity; Medical Supplies on the Verge of Depletion Since the beginning of attacks in Gaza three days ago, over 300 people have been reported dead, more than 1000 wounded, and many hundreds more are in need of immediate medical attention. With a medical system already on the verge of collapse as a result of the ongoing closure, 1.4 million civilians are in desperate need of urgent medical help from outside the Gaza Strip. PHR-Israel has the means to transfer this help within days and is seeking to raise $700,000 during the next week for purchase and direct transfer of supplies to Gaza hospitals. Palestinian hospitals in the Gaza Strip have asked us for help in securing the following items:

  • Basic Sterilization equipment
  • Needles
  • Dressings
  • Anesthetics
  • Catheters
  • Medical gases
  • Endo-tracheal tubes
  • Laryngoscope
  • Oxygen
  • Portable monitors, ventilators, ultrasounds and x- ray machines
  • Clothing for medical teams
  • 105 Essential Medications
  • 225 Additional Medical Supplies
  • 93 Laboratory items
  • Electric Shaving Machine
  • Trolleys
  • Hospital beds

As the situation stands, Palestinian doctors are performing surgeries without surgical gloves, local or general anesthetics,
gauze, sterilized equipment or sufficient oxygen for patients. All together, there are only 1,500 hospital beds available in
Gaza’s 13 publicly run hospitals. A fleet of 60 ambulances is now reduced by half. The endless flow of new wounded and the
need for beds has led to a suspension of care for dozens of other patients, including cancer, cardiac, and other chronically ill
patients, who have all been sent to their homes for the duration of the crisis. Patients are not being permitted entry to Egypt
and all referrals out of Gaza via Erez crossing have been suspended. We are turning to organizations and individuals
like you who have demonstrated your respect for the right to health by generously supporting PHR-Israel in recent years.
PHR-Israel accepts donations via check or bank transfer.

To send a check by post, make check payable to:

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

and send to:

PHR-Israel Attn: Gila Norich,
Director of Development 9 Dror St. Jaffa Tel Aviv 68135 ISRAEL.

To make a bank transfer, our details are as follows. Please also send a note with your e-mail address informing us of your

Account Holder: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Bank: Hapoalim #12

Branch: Hashalom #662 Address: 106 Levinski Street, Tel Aviv,

Israel Account Number: 25938 SWIFT: POALILIT
IBAN: IL-70-0126-6200-0000-0025-938

US residents may make a tax-exempt donation via the New Israel Fund (NIF). Checks should be made payable to “New Israel Fund”. A note with the check should be marked “donor-advised to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, ID# 5762.” NIF Address in Washington:

New Israel Fund P.O.Box 91588 Washington DC 20090-1588
U.S.A NIF Bank details: Citibank 1000 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC20005 ABA #254070116 Acc# 66796296

UK residents may make a tax-exempt donation online via the British Shalom/Salaam Trust. Checks should be
sent, together with your name and address and a completed gift aid form to:

British Shalom Salaam Trust PO Box 39378 London SE13 5WH

For additional information on the current health crisis gathered by Physicians for Human Rights, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) on the current crisis please click here . For more information on donations or to inform us of a transfer, please contact:

Gila Norich, Director of Development: gila@phr.org.il or by phone, +972.3.5133.102

To contact Ran Yaron, Director of PHR-Israel’s Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) Department send mail to:

ranyaron@phr.org.il , or call +972.547.577696.

Written by yishaym

December 30, 2008 at 12:51 am

my high school musical

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If you haven’t seen Waltz with Bashir go quick.


I was in high school when the war started. I had a small transistor radio I used to keep under the table, with an earpiece hiding under my long hair. One ear was enough to follow most lessons anyway. I would relay the news in hand written notes to my classmates.

At first, I was as excited as any any good young patriot should be. We’ve been suffering from the terror of the PLO for so long, its time we made a stand and put things right. But after a few days the numbers started adding up. The casualty numbers, the number of kilometres we’ve gone into Lebanon, and slowly the numbers of civilians killed or driven out of their homes.

I started arguing with my classmates, and before long I was on the streets. Shalom Achsav (peace now) was still far from mainstream, and the Paris sq. Friday vigil never will be. Marching for peace in Jerusalem in the midst of a war does not earn brownie points with the locals or the authorities. Tel Aviv was easier: larger peace crowds, and some sniping remarks from the sidelines. In Jerusalem we would go down Ben-Yehuda street through a torrent of spit, flying beer cans, and angry arms. Pretty soon we developed a formation: the young & strong would lock hands in a chain, encompassing the older and more vulenrable. You can guess where I was.

As the war escalated, so did the demonstrations. But it took the Sabra & Shatila massecre to wake up the masses. Week after week, huge masses congregated in Tel-Aviv, demanding a full independent inquiry. Some say up to 400,000 in one evening – an equivalent of 5 Million in UK terms, considering the population ratio. And eventually, a committee was formed, and its verdict was that although no Israeli troops were involved, Refael Eithan, Ariel Sharon and Menachem Begin (then cheif of staff, miniter of defence and prime minister) are guilty. Within a few month the goverment fell and the war ended. It would take another 20 years for the last Israeli soldier to leave Lebabon.

As I said, Jerusalem was different. On February 10, 1983, six month after the massacre, we were marching in the usual formation. A girl from my class was there with me that evening, and when she needed to go home I offered to walk her to a safe distance from the demonstration. At 20:50 Yona Avroshmi, a young Jewish man, threw a grenade at thedemonstrators. Emil Grunzweig was killed and several others were injured.

We saw Waltz with Bashir with a couple of friends a few weeks ago. After the movie, we were dumb and numb with pain.I wasn’t there, but it felt too close to my experiences from Gaza, and to the stories I heard from friends who were a few years older. We went home and gradually started talking. No one could remember when exactly the war started. So we checked on Wikipedia. That’s when I realised that my career as a peace activist started at the age of 15. I guess that makes me a child-soldier of peace.

Written by yishaym

December 24, 2008 at 2:53 am

Are you looking at me (looking at you)?

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Installation of life size images. The image of the Palestinian should face (be on the opposite side) the six Israeli. That is, the work hangs on two opposite facing walls. Steve Sabella, 2008.

Steve Sabella's settlement

Steve Sabella

Written by yishaym

October 10, 2008 at 12:57 am

Bassam needs your help

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Some of you may remember the amazing talk Bassam Aramin gave at the goodenough college a few months ago. Bassam is now registered for peace studies at Bradford University, but since he missed the scholarship deadline, he needs help from private donations.


Bassam Aramin has been accepted to the University of Bradford’s Peace Studies Program and plans to attend in Sep, 2009! This is an especially important opportunity for the thoughtful co-founder of Combatants for Peace and his family, struggling to find a way to survive with the loss of their daughter and sister, 10 year old Abir Aramin.

We ask your help to raise the $73,875 (£37,500 – see attached budget) to bring Bassam Aramin and his family of seven to Bradford, England in time for the children to start school on Sep. 1 2009.  The fund is administered directly by the University of Bradford, without fee so and 100% of donations will go to meet the family’s needs.  Our committee, friends of the Aramin Family, is working with the University of Bradford to spread the word.

To donate, please mark the following reference number: “d9126 Aramin Scholarship” in the memo field of your check and send it to:

Maxine Daglan-Smith, Finance Department

University of Bradford

Richmond Road,

Bradford, BD7 1DP Great Britain

If you wish to donate by credit card please telephone the University of Bradford cashier’s office at 44-(0)1274-233123 to give your credit card number over the phone. Be sure to state it is for the “d9126 Aramin Scholarship Fund.”

Written by yishaym

August 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

TAFI UK on YouTube

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Seth Reynolds, aka coiled spring productions,  has done a great job producing a clip on the Abraham Fund Initiatives and its UK friends. Cheers, Seth!

Written by yishaym

August 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Bassam Aramin: The Palestinian Bar-Mitzvah

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This story came from my friend Bassam. His 14 year old son, Arab, went with his friends on a trip to Tiberias. It ended with long hours of abuse and humilation. The story has been published on karmalised and mepeace.org, and commented on by velveteenrabbi. I still choose to bring it here, unedited.

I cried when I read Arab’s story. I cried for his pain, I cried out of shame for the soldiers who pretend to represent me, and in the end I cried out of admiration for his courage. I think he, at the age of 14, is more of a man than a platoon of “national security” brutes together. I wish every child in Israel will hear his story.

(If someone can translate to Hebrew, please email me, I’ll post it here)

The Palestinian Bar-Mitzvah

By Bassam Aramin

Translated from the Arabic by Miriam Asnes

My son Arab is 14, just past the age that his Jewish Israeli peers are celebrating their bar mitzvahs. This ceremony in Jewish culture is a rite of passage that marks a boy’s entrance into the realities and responsibilities of adulthood. And last week, my son experienced something akin to the Palestinian bar-mitzvah.

It was a beautiful day on Friday the 12th of July when Arab went with his friends to the beach in Tiberias. He spent all of his time in the days leading up to the trip trying to convince me that I should let him go. At first I refused—he’s young to be traveling so far in a group without his parents. But then I remembered the
regret I still feel about the death of my daughter Abir.

Abir was ten when she was killed by the Israeli Occupation Force on January 16^th , 2007 in front of her school in Anata. That morning, when she asked her mother and me for permission to play with her friends after school, I’d refused. I told her, “Don’t even think of coming home late, come back right away so you can prepare for your
next exam.” And she answered me with the last words I ever heard from her, petulant and innocent. “Well, I’m /going/ to be late.” She was angry with me. She was late that day, but not because she met her friends. A bullet from an Israeli border patrolman found her instead, and she never came back. I regret having refused her request, not knowing that it would be her last—that she would be late despite me and despite herself.

When I saw how much Arab wanted to go, I thought of Abir and gave my permission with the condition that he look after himself and be in constant phone contact with me.

Arab and his friends Rafet, Saleh and Mohammad got themselves ready for a day at the beach, and the bus set out at 7am. There were about 45 passengers: Arab and nine of his peers, who range in age from 14 to 17; the rest were families and children and a group of girls Arab’s age, all legal residents of Israel with East Jerusalem IDs. I was pleased with how happy Arab was during the each time he called to check in. Arab loved Abir fiercely, and her death was an awful blow especially to him, the oldest of her siblings. I was so glad to hear joy in his voice again.

At 11pm Arab called me and said they had almost made it back and he’d be home in half an hour. But 11:30 came and went. At exactly 12am I called him, angry that he was late. He answered in a hushed voice with words that chilled me.

“There are a lot of soldiers here. The police stopped the bus, we don’t know why, and we’re in Jerusalem —the soldier is asking us not to talk on the phone, I’ll call back later.” And he hung up the phone. I didn’t know why they went all the way into Jerusalem proper and where exactly they were in the city, and I was in this terrible state of not knowing what was happening to my son, trying to call him and getting no answer until an hour and a half later
when he answered the phone and said quickly, “we are now in the Israeli police station, they’ve detained everyone from the bus, they are checking us all and I am not allowed to talk to you now and they’ll let us go soon”—and again he hung up.

There are no words for the state I was in during those hours, waiting for his next call and dreading it would not come. Then at 2:30am he called again to say that they were at the Maskubiyah detention center in Jerusalem . I asked him why they were being detained, and he said he did not know. I told him, “Go up to the solider and tell him, you have to talk to my father, he does not know where I am.”

He replied that he was scared to do so, they’d already beaten many of the kids there because they had talked and talking was not allowed. “But I trust you, Dad.”

I told him he was brave, and that he shouldn’t be scared of the soldier. “Talk to him in Hebrew,” I said. I made sure to teach all my children Hebrew from a young age. I could hear Arab go up to the soldier and tell him, “Please, can you talk to my father?” But the solider told him to shut his mouth and hang up the phone.

“If your father wants to see you tell him to come here,” he said.

I was beside myself. I yelled in my loudest voice, “You murderers! Where is my son? Do you want to kill him as you killed his sister a year ago?” I told Arab to turn on the speakerphone so the soldier could hear what I was saying, but he had a better eye on the situation and said to me, “Dad, don’t be afraid. I am okay. They are going to let us go in a bit like they said, I’ll talk with you soon.” And he hung up.

At exactly 3am the Israeli Occupying Forces let the group go, and I waited on pins and needles until 3:40am for Arab to come home. He was exhausted, so I told him to please go to sleep and we could talk in the morning. The most important thing was that he was okay.

The next day I returned from work in the evening to find Arab and Rafet in the house, and I heard what had happened.

In the industrial neighborhood of Wad Al-Joz in Jerusalem , a group of Israeli special forces troops on motorcycles along with police and army reinforcements were stationed on the path the bus from Tiberias was taking to get its passengers, all legal residents of Israel , home. They demanded that the driver stop immediately. One of the soldiers got on the bus and said, “Anyone who moves his head, I’ll put a bullet in it.” Arab said to me, “At that moment all I could think of was Abir, who really /was/ shot in the head by a bullet.”

The soldier continued, “We are from national security.” He then told the young men, about ten of them, to begin taking off their clothes in the bus, in front of the women and girls. Then he took them out one by one and had them lie down on the filthy street, littered with stones and pieces of glass. They began with Ahmed, who was 16 years old. Then all the young men had to strip and get out of the bus and lie on the ground. One of them was injured in
the stomach by a piece of glass. Arab asked me, “How can they ask the men to undress in front of the women? They don’t have morals!”

I asked him, “Do you think they perhaps have at least some basic morals?”

His answer was definitive: “None at all.” I explained to him that humiliation by forced nakedness didn’t just happen to his friends: it is a longstanding problem in the Israeli military. When we were in their prisons without any way to defend ourselves, our guards would take sadistic pleasure in seeing us naked, in humiliating us.

Arab, the youngest of the boys, stayed in the bus with the women and children. Then one of the female soldiers got on the bus and called out to another soldier who he couldn’t see, “Avichai, come bring the dog.”

Arab said, “At first I thought that Avichai was Avichai Sharon,” my friend and colleague in Combatants For Peace who also is a part of the partner organization Breaking the Silence, an organization that publicizes the barbaric and criminal practices of the Israeli Occupying Forces in Hebron. Arab wasn’t so scared of the idea of a military dog because he thought that the Avichai that he knew would be its master. But then he saw that this Avichai was not our
friend, and he didn’t resemble him in any manner except his first name. This soldier would let out the dog’s leash in the direction of women and children and then pull him back at the last second. He looked pleased with himself when the leader of the trip, Um Shams, fainted, and he also smiled when two children, ages 4 and 5, urinated out of fear and terror. The soldiers checked everyone, even taking off the diaper of a baby who was under one year old. “They’re even afraid of our unweaned babies,” said Arab in amazement. “They cursed us with all the ugly expressions and slurs they could think of. One of them said that all Arabs are trash—they are racist!” All the passengers on the bus had the absolute legal right as residents of East Jerusalem to travel anywhere within
Israel that they please.

I told my son, “Some of them are, but not every Jewish Israeli is like that. There are a few who aren’t affected by this racism, but nevertheless it colors Israeli society. It’s no wonder that the United Nations determined that Zionism was a racist movement over 30 years ago.” True, that decision was overturned, but the racism has
remained deeply ingrained. Most don’t consider the continual discrimination against Palestinians, be they residents of the West Bank and Gaza , residents of East Jerusalem , or Israeli citizens to be racism. They try to spin it as necessary “for ongoing security reasons.” But at least some people in Israeli society see the shameful truth as it is, without attempting to whitewash it. And they are not alone. Recently a delegation of human rights activists, lawyers and judges from South Africa , a country which suffered under the yoke of Apartheid, visited our region. They declared that what they saw in Israel was more than just racial segregation—it was government-sponsored racism, discriminatory policies against Palestinians.

Arab kept asking me why the Israeli soldiers were doing what they were doing to the Palestinians. At one point I thought he was about to explode in anger. And then his voice changed, and he said something very unexpected. “I wish that you had been there with us, Dad. I’m sure you would have taught them a lesson, and spared all of us that indignity. You would have spoken to them in Hebrew and made them understand that they were wrong, like you always do with soldiers at checkpoints, like when that soldier yelled at us at the Wad al-Nar checkpoint when we were going to visit the Galilee . Then, you spoke with him and he ended up apologizing to you and wishing that we could all live together in peace.”

Then he said something even more surprising. “I want you to take me with you when you go to one of your lectures in Israel so I can tell the Israelis about the practices of their soldiers on that night.” I asked him if he was serious—Arab has always questioned my willingness to talk with the other side and sit down with Israelis
in forums like those Combatants for Peace provides. But he insisted, saying, “They have to know what happened so the parents of those soldiers can forbid their children to act that way towards women and children again.”

The final indignity of that Friday night was when Saleh, Arab’s friend, had to go to the bathroom and asked many times if he could get up from his prone position on the asphalt to go relieve himself. Avichai refused his request each time. Saleh talked quietly with Rafet, who has a limited range of motion in his hand and left foot, and they decided that Rafet would ask if /he /could go and Saleh could volunteer to help him. At last Avichai gave his permission to let Rafet go to the bathroom on the condition that Saleh would not relieve himself. Saleh did not know this protector of the security of the State of Israel was following them on their base errand until he was squatting in the middle of his “terrorist operation,” trying to relieve himself, and Avichai began using his hands and feet to hit him across the face and head as a lesson to others as to what happens when you fail to carry out a military order. Let me remind you, Saleh and Rafet are legal residents of the State of Israel.

What happened is deeply embarrassing and shameful, but it is the truth. I asked Arab, “Did they apologize to you when they finally let you go?”

He said, “Sure they did. They said to us, ‘Looks like you were naked on the beach in Tiberias by day, and naked on the “beach” of Wad al-Joz by night. Now scram.’” He repeated these words to me with an ironic expression on his face that I have never seen before. And I thought, with an equal measure of irony, “Today, he is a man.”

Written by yishaym

July 20, 2008 at 11:51 pm

How do you use a website to bring people together?

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By letting them build it:

Nada Saif from Yemen is collaborating with Itamar Elharar from Israel, with the help of Najwan Odeh from Palestine, to assure technical support. In charge of textual content development are Shireen Farrag from Egypt and Samir Essousi from Morocco, making effective use of the Community Website [http://mytecc.ning.com/] managed by Joana Barbosa from Portugal, Quality-Assured by Yakot Khateeb, an Arab Palestinian in Israel; statistics are processed by Mahmoud Abdou from Egypt on worldwide developed Open Source platforms, under the supervision of Roi Shillo from Israel. Senior managers are Sima Yazdani and Fred Mednick from Teachers Without Borders, supported by Justin Ball and David Wiley, UNDP/ICTDAR team: Ziad Haddara from Lebanon and Najat Rochdi from Morocco, and Cisco team, represented by Zika Abzuk and Orgad Lootski.

Written by yishaym

July 18, 2008 at 12:32 am