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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Israel calls Gaza blockade-busting flotilla a provocation

Israel calls Gaza blockade-busting flotilla a provocation
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100526/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflictaidflotilla


Israel claimed on Wednesday that a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists seeking to bust the Gaza blockade is a provocation and that the aid it is carrying is "unnecessary".


"I don't see the need for any ship with these materials. We allow these materials into Gaza,"

"The sail is a provocative act that is unnecessary in light of the figures, which indicate that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is good and stable,"


Nonsense! Aid is unnecessary? A provocation? Garbage!


Gaza's markets of unaffordable goods conceal reality of people under siege
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/04/gaza-flotilla-humanitarian-crisis



They are detaining the civilians and will send the supplies (or some) through border crossings. Gazans are in need because of these very border crossings that have in the past banned toilet paper, toothpaste, and pasta, among other ordinary things. Many humanitarian organizations agree that Israel lets items in, but also agree that not nearly enough is let in for the need that exists.

Court documents reveal that Israel made estimates of calories Gazans need. They are getting far below what they need to thrive due to Israel’s blockade. They say the calorie count wasn’t used in policy making, but that looks mighty suspicious, don’t you think? When one party is constantly living in "fear" of a "demographic threat," that would be an awfully convenient way to ethnically cleanse a population, wouldn’t it? (that sentence makes me want to go nuts with air quotes, btw) Did this also not happen to many a Jew in Hitler’s time?? Why can’t we see this for what it is now?

"While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid," said foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.


This is humanitarian aid for an area that has many times over been declared to be in a desperate humanitarian situation. Propaganda?! Unbelievable!

They have also called this humanitarian aid a provocation. Do they mean one that will get a military response? Will this be yet another non-violent tactic met with Israeli gunfire?


No humanitarian situation? Not like it hasn’t been in the news…

Amnesty International
http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/gaza-blockade-amnesty-international-delivers-23000-signatures-to-clinton/

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/05/27/2739353/amnesty-international-report-israel-mistreats-palestinians


Oxfam
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/oxfam_in_action/emergencies/gaza_crisis.html


2008
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7191359.stm

2009
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=6573496&page=1

2010
http://reneefrompalestine.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/update-on-the-gaza-humanitarian-situation/

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11272.shtml


LOST episode 617/618 - The End

617/618 The End

So, don’t call me a hater, but I didn’t love the finale. I thought it was enough, though. I’m satisfied. I’m not as mad or anxious for answers as I was during the series. What’s answered is and what isn’t isn’t and I’m ok with that. Maybe I didn’t love it because it is the end of a great show. Or maybe the great mysteries and questions throughout made it impossible for any finale to possibly live up to the phenomena that was LOST.

In this and the previous episode, characters kept saying “we’re near the end” and “it will all be over soon”. Maybe that breaking 4th wall stuff is funny for the writers, but I have to say I didn’t enjoy it in LOST. It’s either a dying fad or it was just wrong or overused in LOST. I liked how Boston Legal broke the 4th wall occasionally. That was funny, but then the show was funnier than LOST was or was supposed to be.

A line that grabbed me was when Locke said Jack didn’t have a son? So… does David exist or doesn’t he? I don’t think so. Crazy! The whole flash sideways is really a nanosecond before one “crosses over” from just dead to eternity, if that’s what one believes. They are dead and there is no “now” as Christian told Jack. Some died before Jack and some after and they are all there together in that nanosecond. But I guess in eternity time isn’t as it is here… Hard to wrap one’s head around. When characters in the flash sideways “remember” the island time line, they realize they are dead and they can see everyone they love or who meant a lot to them, so they get kind of goofy and smiley.

Jack’s ex was… Juliet! Many fans predicted this. I was really thinking it would be Sarah, his wife from the original time line. But if Jack doesn’t really have a son, then giving Jack Juliet is ok. If he did have a son, then having a different wife/mother wouldn’t make sense. Speaking of making sense, if the flash sideways is made up of dead people, how did Keamy die and why is Sawyer concerned with catching dead people (Sayid) murdering dead people? Is that a part of the place they created as Christian said? If I was going to create a place, it wouldn’t have death, murder, injustice, (or justice for that matter), etc, that’s for sure.

Jack in the flash sideways was trying to get Locke to want to have the spinal surgery and get fixed. Jacob brought these people to the island because he thought they were leading pretty sorry lives. On both Jack and Jacob’s part, I thought that was rather judgmental, presumptuous, and wrong. Who are they to intervene in people’s lives to make it turn out how they think it should and not stay out of it and leave it totally up to them? Maybe that wasn’t what I was supposed to take from it. I think I’m supposed to see that the Oceanic 815 people really were better off meeting each other and spending that time together to work out their issues. I can see that, but that’s definitely not the only message, there.

I like that Jack and Locke were betting on Desmond and neither knew which plan would actually work.

I liked Jack’s loophole for killing MIB and how we found out about it- Locke suddenly having blood in his mouth from Jack’s punch (reminded me of Jacob’s pummeling of him). Alpert also was excited when Miles found the gray hair. Nice. I kind of think, though, that maybe the light being out made MIB mortal, but that Jacob’s job changing hands may have released Alpert since they made that deal and he didn’t become immortal when the light came back on.

Hurley’s line in “What They Died For” did mean something! I had thought it meant he was going to be Jacob, but them Jack did and I gave up on it. Hurley said something like – “glad it’s not me” when Jack volunteered to be Jacob’s replacement.

I like how Ben said “that’s how Jacob ran things” when Hurley was distressed about people being confined to the island. Some think the flash sideways are Jack’s way of running things, but I think it’s Hurley’s. Hurley was definitely in the know early on in picking people up to go to the church and Jack didn’t even know he was dead, so I don’t think that was his doing.

The ending in the church. With all the hugging and all the cast there I felt it was more of a goodbye for the benefit of the cast and perhaps fans, but didn’t sit well with me plot-wise. I would have liked to see the cast hugging or taking a bow or whatever in the credits, rather than spending that much time on it in the show. But maybe that’s just me enjoying the series as a whole more than the much anticipated plot resolution.

So, Sayid’s true love is Shannon?? I was a bit disappointed in this. I liked him and Nadia together way better than him and Shannon. I guess there could be reasons it was Shannon, other than she was with the original cast and Nadia wasn’t. ☺ It could be that she was connected to his past as a torturer, the past that convinced him he was evil, so maybe to move on he couldn’t be with her. Or, it could be that the flash sideways is from Hurley’s perspective, so he saw them as good for each other. Kind of like the Jacob thing- he brought them to the island because they had sorry lives… Another thing is that Christian said these are the people most important to them. Maybe that’s really true and not anyone’s judgment.

An interesting tidbit from Geronimo Jack’s Beard on efforts to keep the finale a secret:

The script talked about the church scene as “Sun and Jin’s wedding” and they even had a Sun look-a-like in a wedding dress come around the back of the set. They shuttled the cast around in Santa Rosa vans, too. And even with heroic efforts like those, 6 pages of the script still got out. They were legit, btw.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Palestinian non-violent resistance: Renewed boycott effort

May 24, 2010 - Mosaic on LinkTV
'Palestinians intensify settlement boycott campaign'
(New TV, Lebanon)
http://www.linktv.org/mosaic/20100524/mosaic-news-5-24-10-world-news-from-the-middle-east

This latest effort has purportedly caused some 17 or so businesses in the settlements to close their doors. I really hope this continues, there and abroad. They are encouraging Palestinians to buy Palestinian. That in an of itself is probably going to improve the Palestinian economic situation.

Could Palestinian leaders be getting a spine, a conscience? Given the US position, I doubt we knew about it or gave any sort of ok. I hope they can withstand any US pressure. This doesn't exactly make up for years of bad leadership and bowing to outside interests instead of sticking to the goal of returning home and getting basic rights back, but it seems like a welcome step in the right direction.

I first wanted to call attention to this because so many say Palestinians are terrorists or cheerleaders for terrorists; they don't peacefully protest. Wrong in the first place, but here's further proof. Peaceful protest doesn't make good news- that's why you don't hear about it, not because it doesn't happen. This time, we are sitting up and noticing probably only because Israel is upset, crying foul, victim, terrorism, hostile act, etc.

Another reason to look at this is the ridiculous reaction by the settlers. They are complaining of being victims of economic terrorism! Really? When Palestinians embrace non-violence and choose a boycott rather than strapping bombs to their bodies, this is objectionable??? So when Israelis and others in the wake of a suicide bombing said Palestinians will never get anywhere with violence, they should "try" peaceful means (as though they don't or haven't)-- what exactly did they mean? Rolling over and dying, or at the very least, lining up voluntarily for wholesale incarceration of the entire population??? Will peaceful protest get Palestinians statehood and rights like everyone claims? Or will Israel react the same as if the boycott was a suicide bombing? If they try and counter boycott, they will be in violation of international law. But what's one more, right? What law? We will see.

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Funny line from this blog...

Settler groups, who you can imagine may see a Palestinian sneezing and call it germ warfare, have decided that this boycott amounts to "economic terror".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/26/palestinian-boycott-jewish-settlement-goods

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MIFTAH, a great site. Here's an article on this boycott:

http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=22132&CategoryId=5


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A more pro-Israel look:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3892107,00.html


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More on boycott:

http://bdsmovement.net/

http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-israel.php

http://www.bigcampaign.org/

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Australia joins Britain in sticking it to Israel over Dubai debacle

Go Australia!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10145459.stm


We in the US would never do such a thing. "Punish" a friend for acting against our interests? And by punish I mean fire them for breaking the rules. What kind of friend does that anyway? Anti-Semites of the worst kind. And don't forget the self-hating Jews.

Australia's foreign minister said these were "not the actions of a friend".

How dare they accuse Israel of not being a friend? Don't they know that Israel is always right, always a victim? Even when they trample other peoples' rights and lives. Never forget. Never again. Never again let it happen to anyone because we value human life/rights- or never let it happen to Jews again; we will trample anyone in our path?

Sarcasm aside, it's pretty sad that I think this quote is profound and worth posting, but such is the state of the US relationship with Israel. It has become so big that it dwarfs even our own interests, laws and safety.


Edit June 2010: Ireland also expels an official over this mess.
http://www.france24.com/en/20100615-ireland-expels-israeli-diplomat-over-dubai-hit

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And Israel sticks it back to the world... banning Chomsky, yet another intellectual on their "list."

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/after-denied-entry-to-west-bank-chomsky-likens-israel-to-stalinist-regime-1.290736


Now Chomsky, too? Add him to the list. Some democracy!

After denied entry to West Bank, Chomsky likens Israel to 'Stalinist regime.'

"The official asked me why I was lecturing only at Bir Zeit and not an Israeli university," Chomsky recalled. "I told him that I have lectured a great deal in Israel. The official read the following statement: 'Israel does not like what you say.'"

Chomsky replied: "Find one government in the world which does."

"The young man asked me whether I had ever been denied entry into other countries. I told him that once, to Czechoslovakia, after the Soviet invasion in 1968," he said, adding that he had gone to visit ousted Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek, whose reforms the Soviets crushed.

Republicans want to cut spending? Let's do it!

It would be pretty funny if cutting funding to Israel went up as a suggestion on Eric Cantor's site. Doubt it's going to show up; there is probably a block on things "against" Israel. If you want them to follow the law, is that really "against"? Oh well.

This website allows citizens the opportunity to suggest government programs to cut. You guessed it--let's tell Congress that it's time to cut more than $3 billion in military aid for Israel's illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory. Let's force Congress to address this misuse of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/YourIdea.htm

http://tiny.cc/tjve0


I wrote:

CUT ALL FUNDING TO ISRAEL! At least until they comply with international (and US) law and allow Palestinians equal rights, including right of return.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mornings In Jenin

Mornings in Jenin also known as The Scar of David
by Susan Abulhawa

http://www.morningsinjenin.com/

This book is in many ways profoundly sad, but it was awesome and beautiful too. It is about time there is a book from the Palestinian perspective. It will be new territory to many, but if you're going to discuss Israel or the Middle East at all, you've got to have this perspective along with the others. It has been neglected too long.

Imagine if the Jews had to experience the holocaust several times in one lifetime and each generation had to endure such crimes- and on top of that imagine if the Nazis were able to convince people they were the victims. That is this book. That is the Palestinian experience. Massacre and loss in the past, ethnic cleansing in the future. Jews at least endured it only once, were rescued, and picked up the pieces. Palestinians have to endure it continually and many still insist they are the cause of the bloodshed.

This is the missing piece. I hope more fiction and non-fiction is written in the Palestinian narrative. Growing up, we read The Diary of Anne Frank and discuss and respect the Jewish experience- both their trials and triumphs; we graduate learning virtually nothing about the people the holocaust victims killed to make their dream come true beyond maybe some slurs and stereotypes from TV and the peanut gallery in class.

Palestinians are often spoken about, but not given a chance to speak in discussions on US-Israel relationship or the Nazi Holocaust or the Middle East in general. Even thogh the characters are ficitional, I hope this book goes a long way to educate people on the Palestinian perspective so that we remember to include that narrative (not specifically the one in the book, but of actual Palestinians) when talking about Palestine and Israel.

This book follows one family mainly and travels through time from before 1948, 1967, Lebanon 1982, and Jenin 2002.

If you want to understand the Palestinian experience like we in the US know and feel for the Jewish experience, this is the book to read. It's characters are fictional, but events and certain historical figures are accurate. Many of the things that happen to this family I have seen many times in the news and humanitarian reports. While I don't know if it is possible that all these events have actually happened to one family, it seems representative of the experience as a whole from what I have read. There is the 1948 Nakba, the truces and pacts with Jews that were violated, the feeling of temporary refugee status, the attempts to return in the years after '48, children born as refugees in the first camps and later more permanent camps, the sad realization that the tents had become concrete. Then there is 1967 with the military occupation when people are refugees a second time in their lives, the loss of much of ones family and all of ones rights and land for a second time after picking up the scant pieces after 1948. Then there is 1982 in Lebanon where unarmed civilians were brutally murdered in the worst ways after the PLO had already been chased out- women raped, people lined up and shot in the head, pregnant bellies sliced open, even babies shot- which was unbelievably declared self-defense. The book ends dramatically in 2002 with the massacre in Jenin with very few of the family we are following alive.

I thought the parallel of the Arab baby being stolen to complete a Jewish family's dream for a child was a good touch. The Jewish woman wasn't able to have kids due to the horrors she suffered by the SS and she felt entitled to this stolen child as if it was God's will or something- she refused the details of how her husband stole the child. This is a great parallel to 1948 and how Jews felt entitled to Palestinian land and were lied to that this was a "land without a people for a people with no land" and that is or was taboo in Israel to talk about what really happened- the Jewish terorrist groups that murdered and pillaged their way to a state and continue to this day. When the child grows up and finds out who he is, he feels neither Jewish nor Muslim, Palestinian nor Israeli, which brings him closer to his real Arab family and could represent Palestinian Israelis or Palestinian refugees in the literal and figurative displacement.

This book makes you think about why it was ok for Palestinians to pay for Nazi crimes, why it's not ok for Palestinians to defend themselves or have basic rights, why on earth is it considered tantamount to anti-Semitism when you compare the Holocuast to the Nakba despite the obvious similarities, or how could Holocaust survivors commit the same types of crimes against so many other humans.

Two more things stand out.

I have often thought the words thank you lacking myself and I have never known another culture or language. I have wondered what else I could do or say to express my true gratitude. Amal also noticed this upon her arrival in America from Palestine. I have to say I want to learn Arabic more now. Here are some example thank yous from the book.

May Allah bless the hands that give me this gift.
Beauty is in your eyes that find me pretty.
May God extend your life.
May Allah never deny your prayer.
May the next meal you cook be in celebration of your son's wedding ...of your mothers recovery, etc.

Also, I thought this description below was brilliant. Amal, the main character, born a refugee, tutored in West Philidelphia while in college.

"Opportunity took a detour around Thirtieth Street, and Liberty for All slouched in its chair like a lazy student."


Palestinian Solidarity Day is May 15. Read a book!


This site is a place to collect things to do with susan abulhawa, compiled by Mark Miller:
http://susanabulhawastuff.blogspot.com/