Contact Me

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hamas pigeons and help

Bowen diary: Stranded with dead
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7852218.stm

"Why? I don't know why they kill animals. I don't believe birds can harm
them. My white pigeons were shot. I know that because I found their bodies."
I guess these pigeons were working for Hamas-- or perhaps firing a rocket into Israel, since Israel doesn't kill anyone not associated (there are problems with this thinking, but I have talked about political vs military wings before) with Hamas.

Now if Israel's child soldiers go around killing animals for the fun of it, how much more inclined would they be to kill an innocent person who looked at them funny or made a sudden movement or is Arab, since Arabs are dogs in their opinion? Israel saying it doesn't target civilians is a joke. People believing Israel when it says that is a bigger joke. The question is, is it military code to do so or do the soldiers take it upon themselves to alleviate the so-called "demographic problem"?

Go back and click on the link and read the boy's story.

***
That was the Hamas pigeons; here's the help if you feel so inclined:

The staff of The Gaza Community Mental Health Program provide crucial and
irreplaceable mental health services to thousands of Gaza residents with a
special emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, women, and victims
of torture and human rights violations. For more information about the
program, see http://www.gcmhp.net/

How you can help: To help with the reconstruction of the Gaza Community
Mental Health Program, please donate online at http://www.al-awda.org .
Alternatively please address your check or money order to:

Al-Awda, PRRC
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA

Thank you for your support.

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-918-9441
Fax: 760-918-9442
E-mail: info@al-awda.org
WWW: http://al-awda.org

***

In thinking about aid, it's also good to think about ending the cycle of violence and addressing root causes so humanitarian aid is no longer needed to such a degree as it is now...

Palestine and Sweden's Third States Responsibility
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14726

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Israel and War Crimes

Israel Vows to Back Soldiers Accused of War Crimes
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=6725230


If no one in Israel faces consequences and/or the US doesn't drastically change its policies toward Israel (boycott, divest, etc) , then Hamas should be allowed to do whatever it wants.

The violence, as bad as it gets, is just a symptom. The cure lies in addressing the larger disease.

As has been said before: it's the occupation, stupid!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hamas and Israel separately announce Gaza ceasefire

Hamas and Israel separately announce Gaza ceasefire
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSLI52680720090118?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0



I’m glad Israel has decided to stop the intense siege, but Rice went too far in saying it will lead to stabilization and normalization. Before the most recent 3 week long attack, Israel had already created a massive humanitarian situation or open-air prison. That’s not normal and that’s not what we should strive for.

Grudging and generous compromise for Israel means a choice between a ground war or a “pull out” with a blockade. This is not compromise. This is not acceptable. We should be talking about borders, one vs two states, and compensation in negotiations. These are compromises. Talking about freedom of movement, getting food and aid, freedom to go to school, freedom to work, rebuilding, not demolishing homes, taking responsibility for killing so many civilians, ending the ban on self-defense, and ending the occupation and collective punishment aren’t negotiable; they are rights.

Israel is allowed to shell the coast and it isn’t called a breach. It is always assumed to be a response or retaliation. Palestinian rockets are always provocation and never in response or retaliation. Those things seem to be irrefutable facts in our country and media. But is it true?

Israel’s unilateral moves, like disengagement or ceasefire, are hailed as brilliant and something Palestinians should be grateful for. The crisis is deemed over by the Western media. A closer look at the ceasefire reveals Hamas left at the negotiating table that Israel claims they are never at. You see, negotiations would probably lead to discussions of ending the blockade, alleviating the humanitarian crisis Israel has caused, and maybe even lead to the greater underlying problem of collective punishment and the occupation. This is all very unpleasant for Israel, so a unilateral act relieves them of any responsibility and they can continue to flout international law without consequence in their little imaginary world, which all but the Occupied Territories seem to be willing participants.

And if Israel’s rights are derived from the fact that it is a democracy and Hamas is not, then Israel must take on responsibilities of a democratic state as well. It must face consequences for building on someone else’s land and possibly committing war crimes. We must also ask, why do Israelis deserve the rights afforded citizens of a state, but Palestinians (regardless of who they elect) do not? You can’t say you won’t talk to terrorists. That’s a subjective term these days anyway. Israel was founded by terrorists trough terrorism, so if you’re rejecting Hamas, you also have to reject Israel on principle. The only way forward is to talk. Talk to all involved, not just who Israel deems acceptable. Don’t demand all violence stop before talks begin. That is a circular problem. Israel wants us to stay in that circle so they don’t have to take responsibility for the death and destruction they’ve caused. They want us to be sufficiently close to the conflict to see their side and support them, but far enough away to not be able to get to a solution. A solution would mean sharing the land, the possibility of losing a Jewish majority due to a birthrate problem, and equal rights for all. Maintaining a Jewish majority seems to take priority over even the lives of their own citizens they claim to protect.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

unilateral cease-fire?

Gaza Cease-Fire Negotiations Stall, January 11, 2009

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99220483&ft=1&f=1001

Abbas at UN, appeals for mutual Gaza cease-fire, January 7, 2009

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1053237.html

*********

On the unilateral cease fire as of January 17 or 18:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200911718127624660.html

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=6668742

Israel achieved its objectives and more?? What were the objectives anyway? Deterrance? Inspire fear in the hearts of those who dare to support leaders Israel doesn't approve of (smacks of terrorism, doesn't it?)? Regime change? Revenge or rocket attacks? Whatever goal they claim they accomplished, what's the "and more"?? Was the civilian death toll an added bonus? 400 children dead just a perk on the side of the greater goal?

So sly of them to plan this so-called retaliation for rocket attacks for the period between the election and the inaugration. What a coincidence that the siege fell ever so neatly into that timeframe. Israel declared its ceasefire just in time for inauguration weekend. I'm sure they could have attacked during Obama's administration and still been able to kill just as many as during the Bush administration. Perhaps Obama may dare to give them a slap on the wrist (at least until AIPAC lays down the law and tells him who really runs the show in Washington), but they'll still of course be able to do whatever and kill whomever they want with our money. They will still be able to flout international law, steal our technology and sell it back to us, keep the apartied- like conditions and still be called a democracy and friend and beneficiary.

Also convenient is the unilateral ceasefire after ceasefire negotiations stalled. The negotiations would have given Israel responsibilites it really doesn't want- pull out, blockade ending, etc. When you case such a high level of human suffering, why on earth would you want to clean it up or take responsibility in any way? As with the unilateral Gaza pull out of 2005 (I think that was the year for political formaldehyde?), they think they can sidestep the law and do it their way. The US set a pretty good example for this with Iraq, so you know the Bush admin couldnm't say anything lest they have to admit any fault. Why negotiate and talk to people when you can just do it your way?

Last Bush Press Conference

The question about his past mistakes is particularly interesting for 2 reasons. First, a few years ago that same question received an answer of can I get back to you because I can't think of any (!). Second, the "disappointments" he mentions I would call monumental mistakes with far reaching consequences, the biggest stains on his legacy, while his "mistakes" he listed were pretty minor things. I could add more… I think I have a blog post or two somewhere with a list.


"Clearly putting a "Mission Accomplished" on a aircraft carrier was a
mistake.
I've thought long and hard about Katrina -- you know, could I have
done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or
Baton Rouge."

The issue wasn't when or if he came to visit! It was the whole slow and messed up response and the FEMA debacle where his cronyism got him in deep.


"There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment
during the presidency. Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant
disappointment."

Abu Ghraib and finding no WMD in Iraq after having invaded were disappointments?? Abu Ghraib was a disaster! An international scandal. Not finding WMD in Iraq (or invading before you knew) was so much more than a mistake. It proved the administration had an agenda other than the defense of our nation and finding those responsible for 9/11. It did prove diplomacy was lacking and sorely needed and that the pre-emptive policy is not effective and just wrong. We claimed to give Hussein an ultimatum then follow through with enforcing law, but given the time frame and the way we approached the UN, then went ahead without a real consensus, the whole thing became a really bad joke, a nightmare that turned us into greedy occupiers and ruthless invaders and lawless torturers.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2009/01/20090112.html

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Clinton Says U.S. Must Not ‘Give Up’ on Mideast Peace

‘Clinton Says U.S. Must Not ‘Give Up’ on Mideast Peace’
Clinton Pledges Tough Diplomacy and a Fast Start
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/us/politics/14state.html?_r=1&nl=pol&emc=pola1

US must not give up on Mideast peace?? We want to give up because of lack of progress. Progress is not achieved because we heavily favor one side and support them in a false military solution to a political problem. How can we do more good than harm?

The solution for the problem of making the US a more helpful presence is easy. The impact of us being unbiased or at least in favor of justice and human rights for all in the region will likely be too unpleasant (losing elections…the ultimate horror!!) to ever be implemented.

“Her emphasis on the civilian costs of the violence in Gaza suggested that the incoming administration might be more inclined than President Bush has been to urge restraint on the Israelis.”

For people worried about a change in policy from the status quo- DON’T!
She’s concerned (ok, maybe not concerned, but she’s emphasized) about humanitarian costs. This needs some translation as it is pretty meaningless as is. Notice how she doesn’t call for a cease-fire or end to occupation, which is actually the root cause of the humanitarian situation by the way. What she means to say is that Israel can continue to occupy and punish the captive Palestinian population, just don’t hit them too hard. Keep the body count low enough so as not to cause international outrage at our support for Israel's racist, Zionist operations. I fear any pleas for Israel to not make us look utterly foolish (which is what a call for Israeli restraint is) will fall on deaf ears-- as evidenced by Olmert’s very bold and recent comments about Bush and Rice.

Oh but I guess this “restraint” urged by Clinton would in fact be a break with the Bush administration. Maybe Clinton will rescue our Mideast policy from its current position of falling off the scale into the abyss. Don’t worry- we’ll still be on the extreme right, in bed with the Zionist militant hawkish Israeli right. I guess that’s an improvement. It’s still a long, long way from being in a position to be an effective mediator for a just and lasting peace that protects the rights of everyone in the region.

Gaza pounded amid push for truce

Gaza pounded amid push for truce
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7829912.stm

“…the army has clearly come in great strength and pushed quite quickly and easily into the city.”

Uhhh, yeah. A militia whose most advanced weaponry is crude homemade rockets vs. Israel and whatever the most advanced stuff the US has. Rocks vs. tanks, bullets vs. bombs from the air. The IDF moved easily into the city? No kidding!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Israel/Hamas symbiosis (or psychosis?)

A lot of reading material here-- if you don't read but one, I'd recommend the Fisk article, "Leaders lie, ..."


And before we all go the “it’s all Hamas’ fault" route, let us remember how Hamas came to be and how it became such a force to be reckoned with…

Israel supported the radical Hamas over Fatah a few decades ago in order to counter Palestinian nationalism. Even if you can’t see the future in order to see that your reaction to the monster you created will produce a (worse) humanitarian crisis (than your occupation) and unbelievable death toll and rocket attacks on your soil, this seems in direct opposition to any peace agreement that could possibly ever be reached. Instead of supporting radicals in order to suppress nationalism which is totally absurd anyway, they should have gone ahead with a just one or two state solution. Then, we’d be hearing about Palestinian politicians telling lies and making promises they can’t keep along with the rest of the world’s politicians instead of such horrible bloodshed. They didn't want a Palestinian neighbor (i.e. a peace agreement), so I guess the current situation is the alternative. I wonder if they would want a do over. Sadly, probably not. They much prefer an "excuse" of sorts to kill Palestinians, apparently. Like I said before, this isn't about peace or Hamas or rockets even. This is about Israel wiping out as many Palestinians as possible so they can have the land they still think God gave to them and only them.


http://www.amconmag.com/article/2007/feb/12/00017/

Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel: Everything You Need To Know
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn07212006.html

Israel’s Hamas
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=SZA20060127&articleId=1817

Hamas, Son of Israel
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8449

Hamas history tied to Israel
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10456.htm

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-leaders-lie-civilians-die-and-lessons-of-history-are-ignored-1215045.html
From “Robert Fisk: Leaders lie, civilians die, and lessons of history are ignored” :
We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army's "research and assessment division" announced that "no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them". Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn't want to lower ourselves to the IRA's level.

On the situation in general:
Robert Fisk: Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-why-do-they-hate-the-west-so-much-we-will-ask-1230046.html

Israeli "taking care" of Gazans...the way they know best...

Israelis 'shot at fleeing Gazans'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7828536.stm

"An initial inquiry into the allegation raised by B'tselem has concluded that the claims are without foundation.

"The IDF goes to great lengths to avoid harming Palestinians uninvolved in combat and reiterates that it is Hamas that chooses to launch its attacks against Israeli towns from within civilian areas."


Of course the initial “inquiry” concluded the claims are without foundation! “Inquiries” probably involve asking the soldiers involved what happened, if it is that in-depth at all!

The IDF/IOF obviously DOES NOT go to any lengths to avoid harming Palestinians. One could probably make a much better case that it tries to harm them, but in a way that won’t raise too much suspicion. Well, even if Israel ordered all Palestinians to gas chambers, I’m sure our government and Israel’s supporters would find a way to justify that as well. The rockets... How would you like it if...

Even if Hamas is firing from civilian areas, Israel still has a responsibility to respect innocent human life. It uses the “Hamas is using civilians as human shields” or "Hamas is 'hiding' in civilian areas” to justify its own targeting of civilians. And the fact that Hamas is in civilian areas isn’t odd- they are civilians, a militia, a product of Israel.

get me President Bush on the phone

If Olmert's right, what kind of special friend are they? If he's blowing smoke and lying to everyone's face, what kind of friend are they??

If we'd cut our ties with Israel, I'd be willing to bet our risk for a terrorist attack would be down at least- what's the lowest level? - purple? It'd be a lot lower than now, when we are best friends with a loose cannon, literally.

Rice shame-faced by Bush over UN Gaza vote: Olmert
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gD-QcI_C-CrcqfSZBh6A5_e514Zw

Admin Won’t Contradict Olmert Claim on Ceasefire
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/14/headlines#8

"In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour," Olmert said.

"I said 'get me President Bush on the phone'. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn't care. 'I need to talk to him now'. He got off the podium and spoke to me.

"I told him the United States could not vote in favour. It cannot vote in favour of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favour."


Maybe we don’t want to admit it, but this seems more in line with history than our backpedaling response- "oh, that was the plan all along."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Understanding Gaza, Thursday, Jan. 15, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

*Please forward widely. Flyer is attached.*

Understanding Gaza

A Teach-In on the Current Crisis

Thursday, Jan. 15, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Fed Ex Global Education Center, UNC-CH

This program will try to make sense of events in Gaza by providing
historical, legal and human contexts. Speakers will provide the
background behind the news, and bring into focus the faces behind the
headlines. Why is this war continuing? And what can we do to bring it to
an end?

Speakers include:

* Laila El-Haddad is a freelance journalist from Gaza. Her blog,
"Raising Yousuf and Noor: Diary of a Palestinian Mother," explores
the complex relationships between the personal and the political
as she raises her children while negotiating displacement and
occupation. _http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/_

* Rann Bar-On is an Israeli activist and graduate student at Duke
University. He has worked with the International Solidarity
Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Rann advocates
for an end to the Occupation and resistance to militaristic
Israeli government policies. He is especially interested in the
Shministim - a group of Israeli high-school students who are
imprisoned for daring to refuse to serve in Israel's occupying
army.

* Marty Rosenbluth: Formerly Amnesty International USA's Country
Specialist for Israel, the Occupied Territories and the
Palestinian Authority, he is currently a human rights lawyer
working with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham.
Through his work with Amnesty, he documented violations by all
parties to the conflict, including participating in Amnesty's
fact-finding mission in northern Israel during the war between
Israel and Lebanon in the summer of 2006 where he documented
Hezbullah attacks on Israeli civilians as well as meeting with
Israeli officials to discuss IDF attacks on civilians in Southern
Lebanon.

* Dr. Sarah Shields: Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History
at UNC-CH, she is the author of /Mosul before Iraq /and teaches
courses on the Arab-Israel conflict, Islamic civilization, the
Modern Middle East.

Organized by UNC-CH Justice for Gaza

Co-Sponsors: Solidarity with Palestine through Education and Action,
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – USA, Jews for a Just Peace
– NC, Progressive Faculty Network of UNC-CH, Muslim American Public
Affairs Council, Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, Social and Economic
Justice Minor UNC-CH, Coalition for Peace with Justice (CPWJ), WILPF
(Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), Mothers 4 Peace

Monday, January 12, 2009

The story on the UNRWA school

Here’s Israel’s excuse for firing on a school, a designated shelter for which it had the coordinates:
IDF shell kills 30 in Gaza UN school; Israel mulls appeal over Hamas fire from UN facilities
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1053233.html

"Initial checks ... show that from inside the school mortars were fired at Israeli forces," an IDF spokesman said. "In response, the forces fired a number of mortar rounds into the area."


The UN follow up:
http://www.un.org/unrwa/news/statements/gaza_crisis/chris_gaza_crisis.html
8th Jan 2009

"I have been authorised to say that in private briefings with diplomats, the Israeli army has admitted that the rockets from Jabalya (two days ago) came from outside the UNRWA school compound, not from inside it. Therefore the allegations against a neutral UN human development organization were entirely baseless. This increases pressure for an independent investigation. "


An article about the IDF “mistake” :
UN: IDF officers admitted there was no gunfire from Gaza school which was shelled
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054009.html


A wonderful Forbes article no doubt with the sole sources being the IDF statement and an active imagination:

Gaza Bedfellows UNRWA And Hamas

http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2009/01/07/gaza-hamas-unrwa-oped-cx_cr_0108rosett.html

I don’t know the percentages, but this article is partly oversimplification and part outright fabrication. I never really read Forbes, but I thought it was a financial publication devoid of political motivations, but I guess I’m totally wrong. I might as well have been reading a Zionist Israeli publication. I wondered when someone posted some links to my Facebook profile- ynetnews, haaretz, jpost, forbes, why Forbes would be included in the pro-Israel roundup. Now I know. I am curious as to why there is a political agenda or bias, but I’ll leave that to others to ponder. Maybe it’s already been done.

Pro-Israel bias is fine, it's opinion, but at the expense of facts? When we find out it's a pack of lies, it kinda hurts your case...

Abbas the sellout

Analysis: Abbas weakened by Israel's Gaza war
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090112/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_palestinians_abbas_scorned_analysis;_ylt=AkZ92iS4LCs7r2uTiPCPpbULewgF

"Available in the market, a U.S.-made product whose date has expired — Abu Mazen," reads a text message circulating in the West Bank these days.

That’ll tend to happen when you take the US and Israeli line against your own suffering people. What a sellout. What’s he trying to do? Buy political capital- from the US and Israel? What good will that do when he doesn’t get elected again? I guess the US or Israel could install him after a “my way or the highway” invasion and total destruction of the Occupied Territories. Is that what he’s hoping for?

Transfer?

There has been talk of Jordan fearing Palestinian refugees will become their problem if Israel continues along the current course and does not allow for a state to be created... LinkTV/Mosaic video ******

Livni sparks Arab 'transfer' row
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7779087.stm
"And among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Arab Israelis, and tell them: 'your national aspirations lie elsewhere.'"

This one references Avigdor Lieberman (you know, drowning prisoners, advocate of bombing crowded areas, etc)
http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=17740


Moshe Feiglin, a candidate:
He insists there is no such thing as a Palestinian people and that they and Israeli Arabs should relocate, media said, citing a text he had posted on the website of his "Jewish leadership" movement that was removed this week.

"They will have to seek the right to self-determination in Arab states. Israel will encourage the Arabs to emigrate to their countries and assist any Arab who wishes to do so," Feiglin was quoted as saying.

"Arabs don't live in the desert, they create it," he was quoted as saying in 2004.

When Palestinians talk about Israel in these terms, it is proof of Palestinian depravity. When it is Israel, we don't mind a bit and maybe we consider that a valid point of view. Drowning political prisoners, really?! These are government or aspiring government officials, not fringe elements that are discounted by the public.


And of course what was it the father of our Chief of Staff to Obama recently said?

"Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."

Son of a terrorist in the White House! And people got all hot and bothered about Obama's family having dinner with Rashid Khalidi's family and the terrorist plots probably hatched as a result!

Which is the most outrageous?

Some of the stuff coming out of Israel is just as stupidly wrong as these two items from last week that I didn’t get to post:

1. man suing for kidney
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/08/kidney-divorce-man-wants-_n_156301.html

2. Porn bailout
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/07/porn-industry-seeks-federal-bailout/

3. There is no humanitarian situation in Gaza says Livni.

3. IDF fire on UNRWA school was retaliation for militants firing from inside.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Joe" the Propagandist

Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090107/ap_on_re_us/joe_the_plumber

He may have to wait a year to buy a business, but he’s written a book and now he’s a “war correspondent”. What next for Joe? Why not Fox News? He’s got all the qualifications, as displayed here (pro-Israel bias and ignorance on the issues):

“At one stop, he agreed with a McCain supporter who asked if he believed a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel.”

He’s going to be covering the fighting from Israel?? Who’s fighting in Israel? Perhaps he means the elections there? ☺

He wants Israeli “Average Joe’s” to tell their story. Six figures is hardly average, Joe. Instead of the fighting, he will most likely be “covering” Zionist and extreme right public opinion. I doubt we’ll see any Arab Israelis or Israeli voices for peace on his little propaganda video.

Who will he interview? Rocket attack victims, ultra orthodox Jews, illegal settlers deported from Gaza, New Yorkers- not exactly average as they are the exception, not the rule- except maybe New Yorkers. If he’d follow a Palestinian around in Gaza or the West Bank, he would know the true meaning of existential threat. Palestinians make up half the population of Israel and the Occupied Territories, but I bet you won’t hear these Average Joe’s stories, unless of course they hate Hamas and will agree blame them for the Palestinian death toll and Israeli war crimes.

The big question is will he be treated to the same Israeli hospitality journalist Ben Wedeman was?
***

To all those Republicans who criticized those who dared suggest Joe misrepresented himself as average and criticized Obama for thrusting him into the spotlight: I think Joe's right where he wanted to be all along.

Don't say bomb on a plane...

...or "safe" while "looking Muslim", apparently! Or was it "engine" or "wing" or " the" that scared the woman so much?

Here are a few incidents I read about recently that were pretty ridiculous.

*** *** ***
This family was extra suspicious because the guys had beards and the women wore headscarves…not only that but wait til you hear what they were talking about!

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/01/01/family.grounded/
"We were (discussing whether it was safest to sit near) the wing, or the engine or the back or the front, but that's it. We didn't say anything else that would raise any suspicion."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7809193.stm
"Mr Irfan said when he boarded Thursday's flight, he mentioned something to his wife and sister-in-law about having to sit in the back."

After the FBI questioned and cleared them and spoke to AirTran for them, the airline still wouldn't book them a later flight.

No one else would ever discuss safety on a plane unless they were going to blow it up, right? Keep your eye on those flight attendants who do the safety demo next time you fly.


*** *** ***

“…an Arabic-inscribed T-shirt in an airport was like "wearing a T-shirt at a bank stating, I am a robber…”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090106/ts_alt_afp/ustransportairsecuritymuslimsrights_090106002219

??? No. Sorry. That's not an analogy at all. They are absolutely nothing alike. Had the T-shirt said in any language "I have a bomb" or "I'm a hijacker", that would be like going into a bank wearing a "I'm a robber" shirt.

*** *** ***

Context and the Conflict

When people here talk about Israel's actions, it's always in (a) "context", always a response, always self-defense from an existential threat (??), the victims are named and sympathy expressed openly, their "struggle" is likened to the hypothetical (and unrelated) situation of Mexico or Canada lobbing rockets over our border (ridiculous in part because we aren't occupying them, bulldozing their homes, colonizing their land illegally through settlements, raiding, assassinating political leaders, arresting 100s of their people a day, bombing their apartments, schools, power stations). The disproportionate response is justified by the fact the Hamas "uses civilians as human shields" (an unsubstantiated claim in the Lebanon invasion a few years ago) and the argument that one rocket for one rocket won't end the attacks. When we talk proportion, one rocket for one rocket is not what we're talking about (aside from the fact that context is again abandoned, the occupation and its crimes ignored)- what I mean when I say that is force should be proportionate to the threat. Dropping a bomb from an F-16 on an apartment block to "target" one suspect you think is in there is disproportionate and shows a disregard for human life and international law. When casualties are as lopsided in this recent conflict as they are in the greater conflict, you have to conclude the threat was never as great as was stated and deaths could have been prevented and achieved the same goal. Unless of course the goal is to terrorize the civilians, cause further "land vacancies" by death and evacuation, rather than stop rocket attacks.

When people talk about Palestinian rocket attacks, it is without any context whatsoever as though Israel generously "pulled out of Gaza and gets rockets in return". Palestinian resistance to occupation and struggle for independence and self-determination is never mentioned, though the denial of these things is a root cause of violence. Israel's infamous pull out was stated to be "political formaldehyde" by a top official, yet it has been often cited recently as a concession for peace they should be grateful for. The pull out is cited, yet Israel still controls airspace, borders, and sea which is essentially the definition of occupation. Really, they just wanted to dump the obligations involved in Occupation, which it never lived up to anyway.

People ask all the time now, would we tolerate rockets being fired on us, but NEVER ask, would we tolerate even one element of the brutal, and at times illegal, occupation??? I mean, for example, what if someone set up a trailer in your backyard, burned your house down (with or without your family inside) and moved their family in? You and some friends retaliate, your neighborhood gets flattened, and the blame is on you because after all, you started it. Never mind that you threw a rock and tanks "responded". Proportionality doesn't matter. Context doesn't matter. Palestinians don't matter. The only thing that matters are Israeli demands. After all, if you voice concern over Israel's actions, you might lose an election-- and that would be the real tragedy.


Why Do So Few Speak Up For Gaza?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-scheer/why-do-so-few-speak-up-fo_b_155814.html


Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust
By Richard Falk

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cease fire for aid for a crisis that doesn't exist???

If Israel can lie about facts that are so obvious, why does anyone believe anything they say (i.e. they are working for peace)?

The crisis doesn’t exist and supplies are getting in (it’s just that no one sees them?) and yet Israel has conceded 3 hours of their genocidal vengeance to allow humanitarian aid for the nonexistent humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Makes sense. At least as much as anything else they do.


“In Geneva, the international Red Cross said Gaza was in a "full-blown" humanitarian crisis.”


“Israeli leaders say there is no humanitarian crisis and that they have allowed the delivery of vital supplies.”
Two quotes are from : http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090106/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians


Not exactly the first time Israeli official statements have stood in such obvious contrast to the facts… What I wonder is do they actually believe that garbage or do they know they have to convince people that night is day?

No humanitarian crisis?? They caused the initial humanitarian crisis by their continued occupation, blockades, attacks and most recent escalation. Blockading and bombing a captive population already in crisis makes it worse, it doesn’t make food, fuel and medical supplies miraculously appear! And three hours to get necessary supplies in today?? That’s a cruel joke. I’m glad Israel finally decided to let aid in, however brief, to the crisis that doesn’t exist.


What better way to control the discourse? A media blackout. The freedom (?) of Israeli press is an interesting subject anyway, but this is blatant and extreme. I guess there really is no other way to justify Israeli aggression than to silence the other side.
http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php?sid=431362

These links added 1/9/08:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/middleeast/07media.html?ref=business
http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052604.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamal-dajani/gaza-cnn-missing-in-actio_b_156223.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/06/gaza-israel-international-media-excluded

Israeli Voices for Peace
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090106_israeli_voices_for_peace/?ln

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why?

Why do I care? Should I? Some people ask me about the conflict and maybe they are really wanting to know the answer to that question. Maybe Palestinians wonder, too. Or maybe it makes sense to them. I don’t know. I’ve thought about it some.

I’m white. I’m not Palestinian nor have I been to the Middle East. I’m an American. I come from a very Blue family. I should be buying what Israel and the US are selling. I should be like my fellow Americans and not care about Gaza.

Some might say, she married a half Palestinian guy and has to care. He grew up here and isn’t really an activist. We live here. Perhaps he’s the reason I began to ask why, but not the reason I hold the opinions I do. He did ask me a question very early on when we dated about what I thought about the conflict- what did my religion say about who’s right, who do I think has the right to the land. I told him I didn’t know (I wasn’t a news addict by any stretch at that point), and we talked about other things, but my curiosity was piqued permanently. Whether or not we were to get married some 10 years later was irrelevant (as my research continued during a “relationship hiatus”). I now wanted to find out what the Bible said about this, what our government’s position was, what are the facts on both sides. Who would end up being justified by their actions and should I as a Christian stand behind Israel as some people have said? Needless to say, I encountered a lot more than I bargained for. I made some early decisions about what I was reading and hearing and formed some opinions I still have today, but there was so much to consider that I don’t know that I can say today that one’s right and the other’s wrong absolutely. You can look at individual issues and say suicide bombing, settlements or house demolitions are wrong or against international law. What is justified by “self-defense” on either side is not as conclusive. Then you get into one’s self-defense at the expense of the other; one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. Hamas rocket attacks are wrong, but is the scale of the Israeli attacks justified? Where would Palestinians be if none of them fired back at Israel - would the world know half as much as we do about this or would there be any Palestinians left to tell the tale? Would Israel or the international community give them a state of their own for sitting back and taking whatever Israel dished out with no retaliation? This is only the tip of the iceberg.

I suppose a desire to find out the truth or facts is a reason to care, but there is more. The conflict is more than fact sheets and a blame game.

When you see pictures of dead Gazan kids online or on TV, maybe you think it’s a shame, maybe you think they got what they deserved for being related to a suspected Hamas supporter, going to school or shopping in a place where possible Hamas supporters also go. You see them. Collateral damage. It happens. This is war, after all. Maybe you pity them, maybe you don’t. It’s not the same as seeing the dead on 9/11 or fallen soldiers in Iraq. Those people look like us. Heroes, they are called. Those brown people are suspect: they resemble Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden more than us.

When I see those pictures, which I try to avoid, I want to throw up. I see human beings. Contrary to popular belief and media coverage, they do in fact have names and families, just like us. I see the eyes of my children; I see my husband, father-in-law, brothers and sisters-in-law, journalists I like to read, people speaking out against injustice, people working for peace, people surviving conditions that I don’t know that I could with a sense of humor. Perhaps it’s easier not to identify with them in any way. Vilify them to ease your conscience. That way there’s no blame (except for those others), but no justice either, and hence no peace.

But I'm as bad as everyone else, so this rant is for me, too. I care, I identify with Palestinians through family. Why not blog about Darfur? Do they not look enough like me do deserve my attention? Then again, are we telling them other refugees that it's their fault they are being attacked and blockaded? The Palestinian situation is a bit unique.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pacifism

This is something I heard today. I suppose I've never thought about pacifism quite this way. I guess I tended to think some people were more peaceful than others or something like that, which now looks really silly in print... This explanation looks at it as more of a personal struggle and choice, rather than a movement to oppose this or that war. I have heard many a discussion on meekness in Bible classes about how it's not weak or timid- after all Jesus was meek- it's rather power under control. Christians, well, people in general don't have the same attitude toward pacifism. It is seen as a far left hippie philosophy or cowardly. Some great examples of opinions on a similar subject are voiced in an NPR story on the support for a US Department of Peace. Peace in that story (except those in the group supporting the Dept) was decidedly a wimpy notion that would reduce our standing in the world and make us a bunch of "wusses."

Are Christians supposed to be pacifists? Was Jesus a pacifist? I don't know. But regardless, I think pacifism is a respectable idea. And since Christians are to seek peace, it certainly couldn't hurt... I'm not going any farther than that. Those are fightin' words to some and I don't really have strong enough feelings or evidence to passionately defend one side or the other.

The “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”: Legendary Folk Musician, Activist Utah Phillips, 1935-2008

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/1/placeholder_utah_phillips

Ammon came to me one day and said, “You’ve got to be a pacifist.” And I said, “How’s that?” He said, “Well, you act out a lot. You use a lot of violent behavior.” And I was. You know, I was very angry, very angry person. “And you just act out a lot. And if you brought a lot, you’re not any good at it. You’re the one who keeps getting thrown through the front door, and I’m tired of fixing the damn thing. You’ve got to be a pacifist.”

He had a more fundamentalist way of looking at it. And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Well, I could give you a book by Gandhi, but you wouldn’t read it. So”—but he said, “You’ve got to look at nonviolence like—your capacity for violence like an alcoholic looks at booze.” Alcohol—booze will kill an alcoholic, unless he has the courage to sit in a circle of people that are like that, put his hand up and say, “Hi. My name is Utah. I’m an alcoholic.” But then you can—once you own the behavior, you can deal with it. You know, you can have it defined for you by the people whose lives you’ve messed with, and it’s not going to go away. Twenty years sober, you’re not going to sit in that circle and say, “Well, I’m not an alcoholic anymore.” You’re going to put up your hand and say, “My name is Utah. I’m an alcoholic.”

He said, “It’s the same with violence. You acknowledge your capacity for violence, you see, and you learn how to deal with it every day, every instant, in every situation for the rest of your life, because it’s not going to go away. But it will save your life.” See, it’s a different way of looking at pacifism. I have to be a pacifist, you see.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza

This post was info from a mailing list I'm on.
Info about this mailing list:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything about this list: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/epalestine
To unsubscribe, send mail to: epalestine-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net
To subscribe, send mail to: epalestine-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear friends,

I know we are all being inundated with information from and about Gaza, so I will do my best to be as selective as possible. Thus, I will include more than one issue in the same post.

The Israeli killing machine continues. I can't stand the tallying anymore! These are real people, real children, with names, parents, grandmas, grandpas, siblings, and families!

Three hours ago I was able to speak to my friend Maha in Gaza, the person that my Israeli "mom," Deb Reich, wrote about in the article I posted yesterday. Our call abruptly ended when she was interrupted by her neighbor to learn that there is a rumor that the Al-Omma University building in al-Rimal, Gaza City, which is 3 houses away from her families, has been targeted for an air strike. Israel has been terrorizing people for the last few days by actually calling and advising of an oncoming strike. They like to brag that this is forewarning - an expression of their humanity. What they like to forget to note is that hundreds of residential homes have received these calls and were not yet targeted. Maha and her family, and her brothers family (9 children in all), now sit in a candle lit room, freezing cold, awaiting the fallout of the attack. I got through to her again 20 minutes ago, her voice, trembling, while she advised they still sit, huddled in a single room they believe is least exposed, and wait while they listen to the thumps of attacks taking place further away.

Before I pass you today's material, I want to note something you may have not seen. As Israel and the US planned this latest insane round of genocide, while the world was celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year, what was the President of the US doing -- pardoning, posthumously, Americans that broke US law 60+ years ago to supply aircraft to Jews fighting for the state of Israel. I had a hard time believing it too.

See:
Bush pardons Israel bomber seller
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7799170.stm

One can only guess that in the fog of Gaza, Israel is pressing for the living Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to also be pardoned. Then again, maybe they will use pressing for his release as a litmus test to incoming President Obama.

Gaza population - 60% children under 15!!! Children now damaged for life, if the live the ground assault,

Sam

---
Is Israel deliberately strengthening Hamas?
By Amira Hass


http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1037879.html

---
Vittorio Arrigoni from Gaza
As I always try to do, I share with you first the voices of those on the ground. This one is from Vittorio Arrigoni, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. I have been unable to remove her words from my mind since reading it.
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2009/01/01/vittorio-arrigoni-writes-from-gaza/

Cynthia McKinney, Free Gaza Movement
Next is a piece by Cynthia McKinney, a former United States Representative, who was on the last boat, DIGNITY, that the Free Gaza Movement attempted to send to Gaza, but was turned back by Israel after the Israeli navy rammed the boat. http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=23f1fef7bddd36ec5a63da9f6677a15f&offset=

Israeli Air Force pamphlets
(ACTION ITEM) Gaza awoke today with pamphlets scattered everywhere by the Israeli air force, see:
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=34493 . The Israeli military is marketing their blind, insane destruction services to anyone who is willing to advise them of a target. How pitiful can a military be? They ask Gazans to call 02-583-9749 (for those outside of Palestine that's +972-2-583-9749) or email helpgaza2008@gmail.com .
May I suggest they hear from all of us about what we think of their war crime campaign against Gaza.

For those that have short-memories, two consice lessons:
Israel over-reaches

By Nadia Hijab
http://imeu.net/news/printer0015233.shtml

Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State If Hamas Did Not Exist
By Jennifer Loewenstein
http://www.counterpunch.org/loewenstein01012009.html

Of course, more Israeli opinions:

The Self-Defense of Suicide By OREN BEN-DOR
http://www.counterpunch.com/dor01012009.html

If you (or I) were Palestinian Yossi Sarid
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052057.html

Flyer
(ACTION ITEM) For those of you organizing demos, you may want to consider using this leaflet put out by If Americans Knew: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/download/GazaDec08.pdf

Audio
Finally, if you want to hear (or use in your demos by putting his voice on the loudspeakers) an inspiring talk by South African Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu on Palestine/Israel from a few months back go to:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/ctl/CTL_Podcast_Jan_2nd.mp3


This post was info from a mialing list I'm on.
Info about this mailing list:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything about this list:
http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/epalestine
To unsubscribe, send mail to:
epalestine-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net
To subscribe, send mail to:
epalestine-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

Friday, January 2, 2009

Are Palestinians in general or Hamas the source of "existential" fears in Israel- death toll always proves it's the former

Israel could just walk in and capture Hamas leaders, as the Palestinians have no real military force. The issue really comes down to how Israel views human life and Palestinians. Since it is obviously justifiable to them to massacre 400 to kill just one top Hamas official that they could capture if they were half as skilled, funded, armed, etc as they are hailed to be, one has to conclude that they don’t believe Palestinians are human or else believe their own lives more valuable than Palestinian civilians‘. In a capture, perhaps their military death toll would increase by a few more, but the civilian death toll would absolutely be significantly reduced by hundreds. Why sacrifice one Israeli when you can drop a bomb and sacrifice none, right? Never mind that you will murder hundreds of innocents in the process. If they have specific targets in mind, this bombing of universities, houses and businesses is unquestionably unjustifiable. ***
***

Gaza: Where Civilians Become Targets
Israel accuses Hamas of hiding 'terrorist infrastructure' among civilians, but does that justify the slaughter of innocent Gazans?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/29-8
by Andrea Becker

Israel's spokespersons may
constantly repeat
that these attacks are "targeted", but targeted attacks
don't kill this many civilians. They don't destroy and cause chaos and panic in
entirely residential areas. If we accept - by silence or without questioning -
that anything and everyone can be defined as "terrorist infrastructure", then we
are designating all civilians in Gaza as being targets. And the targeting
continues.
***
Video from makeshift treatment room:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTpWEtGgDJM