By Bob Finch | January 6, 2009
The Nakba is commonly perceived around the world and even, unfortunately, by Palestinians themselves, as a discrete historical event which happened in the late 1940s when Jewish terrorists established a Zionist state in Palestine. However, looking back at what has transpired in Palestine over the last six decades, it would be more accurate to describe the Nakba as an ongoing political process in which the racist state has continually implemented its policy of ethnically cleansing and moved ever closer to its long term goal of becoming a Jews-only state.
Adam Horowitz linked to an article suggesting that the Jews’ current military operation in Gaza could be regarded as a new Nakba as if, with the passing of time, this too will be seen as another discrete historical phenomena. “Palestinians reported that many families have left their homes in Beit Lahiya’s al-Atatra neighborhood and are staying with relatives in “safer” areas. Hundreds of residents, who are afraid to travel in their own cars for fear of IDF strikes, could be seen leaving the neighborhood on foot toward central Jabalya. “It was a difficult site and reminded us of images we saw on television during the 1948 Nakba (displacement of Palestinians following Israel’s inception),” one resident who left his home told Ynet. “The sense is that of a new Nakba.”" (‘Gazans say experiencing ‘another Nakba’ January 05, 2009).
Philip Weiss has added to the perception of the Nakba as a discrete historical event by demanding that more effort should be given to commemorating the political disaster that befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. Given the way that the Zionist dominated media in the western world has pushed the Nakba into an historical ‘hole of oblivion’ it seems laudable trying to remind the global community about what befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. However, treating the Nakba as an isolated historical event which happened long ago in the mists of time gives the impression that the racist Jewish state has never since resorted to such an odious war crime as ethnic cleansing.
In a recently published article Ilan Pappe fell victim to such a fallacy in an otherwise invaluable essay. He pointed out that Zionism is an ideology based on ethnic cleansing and that current events in Gaza were being airlifted out of their historical context. “It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as discrete events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system.” And yet in the preceding paragraph he’d talked of the Nakba as precisely such a discrete historical event! “And yet, we cannot allow 2009 to be just another year, less significant than 2008, the commemorative year of the Nakba, that did not fulfill the great hopes we all had for its potential to dramatically transform the Western world’s attitude to Palestine and the Palestinians.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ ).
Pappe rightly argues that it is imperative that the historical context of the slaughter in Gaza is understood. “Therefore, it is the role of an activist academia and an alternative media to insist on this historical context. These agents should not scoff from educating the public opinion and hopefully even influence the more conscientious politicians to view events in a wider historical perspective.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ January 02, 2009). But what seems to elude Pappe is that the best way of providing such an historical context is by suggesting that every single Jewish attack on Palestinians over the last sixty years has been part of an ongoing Nakba whose ultimate goal is a Jews-only state in Palestine. In other words, it is imperative to see the Nakba as an ongoing political process not a one-off historical event.
From its formulation Zionism was intent on removing all Palestinians from Palestine. This had to be done either by murdering Palestinians, terrorizing them into leaving their homes and their own country, or by making the areas in which they lived uninhabitable whether by stealing water resources, damaging sewage systems, or simply by militarily pulverizing Palestinian infrastructure and buildings. The Zionist project is intent on ethnic cleansing and everything the Zionists have done since they established their racist state has been to move remorselessly towards a Jews-only country.
The assumption underlying the two Nakba thesis (if for the moment we accept the proposition that Gaza is a second Nakba) is that the period in between these two political disasters was a time of peace and tranquility when the Zionists made little effort to implement their ethnic cleansing ideology. Of course, in reality during this period the Jewish separatists were all too successful in advancing their piecemeal ethnic cleansing campaign. They have stolen a massive proportion of Palestinian land during this period but always taking care to keep within the bounds of what is acceptable to political and public opinion in the Western world.
But, it might be argued, if the Zionists were really pursuing their goal of ethnic cleansing then surely they would not only have stolen huge amounts of Palestinian land, they would also have dramatically reduced the Palestinian population. At present the population of Palestinians and Jews is roughly equal. But this demographic equality is highly deceptive. The Jews have been pursuing their ethnic cleansing campaign by pushing Palestinians into smaller and smaller enclaves. This leaves the Palestinian population extremely vulnerable to economic blockade and military attack. Jewish society can be visualized as a broadly based pyramid spread out over large areas of Palestinian land. In comparison Palestinian society can be visualized as an inverted pyramid. All the Jews have to do is quietly make these ghettoes less and less inhabitable and eventually these intense concentrations of Palestinians will collapse leading to mass emigration. The Zionist policy seems to have been first, steal their land, then corral Palestinians into ghettos, then make these ghettos increasingly uninhabitable until Palestinians are confronted only with the option of emigrating.
The differences between the political implications of these two characterizations of the Nakba are profound. The implication of the Nakba as an historic event is that Palestinians have a chance to create peace with the Jews because Jews haven’t been vile enough to pursue ethnic cleansing. The implication of the Nakba as ongoing event is that Palestinians do not have any chance of creating peace with such racist monsters and that any peace efforts they make, or hopes they may have, are an error, and a dangerous one because it leaves them highly vulnerable to annihilation. Of the two diametrically opposed perspectives the latter seems far more realistic, far truer to historical realities. The Zionists have never had any intention of allowing the Palestinians to create a Palestinian state. They stopped the Palestinians from forming a state in 1948 and ever since they have sabotaged all peace negotiations between the two sides to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Jennifer Loewenstein is but the latest commentator to reach this obvious conclusion. “The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders.” (Jennifer Loewenstein ‘If Hamas Did Not Exist Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State’ January 01, 2009). But it has to be suggested even this view does not get to the whole truth. Jewish racists have no intention of allowing Palestinians to remain in Palestine.
The great advantage of treating the Nakba as a continuing political process is that the so-called ‘Jewish Holocaust’ is precisely what the Nakba is deemed to be: a discrete historical event. (I say ‘so-called’ because I dispute the way the holocaust industry has transformed this event into humans’ greatest ever tragedy and not because I dispute the facts outlined by those such as Hannah Arendt). The Nakba is more important politically than the Holocaust for the simple reason that it is an ongoing political process affecting real people and not a distant historical event. It is remarkable, and exasperating, that on the one hand the Jews have resurrected a dead historical event and are able to use it as an important factor in current political events while, on the other hand, Palestinians have allowed their ongoing tragedy to lapse into a long forgotten historical event which is entirely without political relevance. The Jews have hyped up their historical tragedy to such an extent that in the Western world it is deemed to be more politically significant than the Jews’ ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians. Indeed, this historical event continues to be the Jews’ best propaganda weapon for justifying whoever they might wish to slaughter whether they are Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, or Iranians. The Nakba should be accorded moral superiority over the ‘Holocaust’ since it affects millions of real people whereas the Holocaust is a mere chapter in human history. There is therefore no moral equivalence between the two because the Holocaust is a long gone historical event whilst the Nakba is a current event.
Pappe is correct, “By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” But the best means of doing this is by talking about Israel continuing to inflict a Nakba on the Palestinians for the sake of a racially pure Jewish state in Palestine. Every time Palestinians are held up at checkpoints they are being forced to endure another manifestation of the Nakba; every time pregnant Palestinian women are denied medical facilities they are suffering because of the Nakba; every time that Palestinians are assassinated this is because of the Zionists continuing Nakba on the Palestinians. Jews have turned ‘the Holocaust’ into a potent conceptual weapon which now bears considerable propaganda clout: the Zionists pretended they were being threatened by another holocaust by Saddam Hussein’s and Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The Palestinians don’t have to hype up their Nakba in the same lurid way. All they have to do is show that the Nakba still continues after six decades. The Nakba should be treated as something that started in the late 1940s not that it finished soon after.
Over the last six decades or more, the efforts of Jewish racists to create a racially pure Jewish state have been highly successful. They have slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinians. They have stolen the overwhelming majority of the land in Palestine not to mention virtually all of its resources. They have waged wars against their Arab neighbours causing, whether directly or indirectly, the slaughter of millions of Arabs. On the international front their political triumphs have been even more overwhelming. This rogue state pursuing Nazi policies has managed to convince the Western world to join its racist ‘war against terrorism’. This war against Islamic people was invented and then branded by Jewish supremacists who have persuaded the Western world to buy the brand. Conversely, Western politicians have totally failed to abolish the Jewish apartheid state and bring it within the fold of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, democratic, societies in the Western world. On the contrary, Western countries have adopted the rogue state’s racist ideology. Zionism has become the world’s dominant ideology determining the world’s political agenda. It is hyping up Islamophobia in order to pressure the Western world into engaging in world war three against the Islamic world.
Jewish racists have been laughing all the way to the land bank. Surely Zionist success in portraying the Nakba as an historical event of no current political importance is their greatest ever political conjuring trick. What is so frightening about the current dominance of racist Zionist ideology throughout the Western world is that even the victims of Jewish racism seem convinced that Jewish racists are not involved in ethnic cleansing and that the Nakba was a one-off event which has never been repeated.
- Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- THE 1948 PALESTINIAN NAKBA- An exile the world conveniently forgot (burniejourney.wordpress.com)
By Gilad Atzmon | January 3, 2009
Communicating with Israelis may leave one bewildered. Even now when the Israeli Air Force is practicing murder in broad daylight of hundreds of civilians, elderly persons, women and children, the Israeli people manage to convince themselves that they are the real victims in this violent saga.
Those who are familiar intimately with Israeli people realise that they are completely uninformed about the roots of the conflict that dominates their lives. Rather often Israelis manage to come up with some bizarre arguments that may make a lot of sense within the Israeli discourse, yet make no sense whatsoever outside of the Jewish street. Such an argument goes as follows: ‘those Palestinians, why do they insist upon living on our land (Israel), why can’t they just settle in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or any other Arab country?’ Another Hebraic pearl of wisdom sounds like this: ‘what is wrong with these Palestinians? We gave them water, electricity, education and all they do is try to throw us to the sea’.
Astonishingly enough, the Israelis even within the so-called ‘left’ and even the educated ‘left’ fail to understand who the Palestinians are, where they come from and what they stand for. They fail to grasp that for the Palestinians, Palestine is home. Miraculously, the Israelis manage to fail to grasp that Israel had been erected at the expense of the Palestinian people, on Palestinian land, on Palestinian villages, towns, fields and orchards. The Israelis do not realise that Palestinians in Gaza and in refugee camps in the region are actually dispossessed people from Ber Shive, Yafo, Tel Kabir, Shekh Munis, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem and many more towns and villages. If you wonder how come the Israelis don’t know their history, the answer is pretty simple, they have never been told. The circumstances that led to the Israeli Palestinian conflict are well hidden within their culture. Traces of pre-1948 Palestinian civilisation on the land had been wiped out. Not only the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, is not part of the Israeli curriculum, it is not even mentioned or discussed in any Israeli official or academic forum.
In the very centre of almost every Israeli town one can a find a 1948 memorial statue displaying a very bizarre, almost abstract, pipe work. The plumbing feature is called Davidka and it is actually a 1948 Israeli mortar cannon. Interestingly enough, the Davidka was an extremely ineffective weapon. Its shells wouldn’t reach more than 300 meters and would cause very limited damage. Though the Davidika would cause just minimal harm, it produced a lot of noise. According to the Israeli official historical narrative, the Arabs i.e., Palestinians, simply ran away for their lives once they heard the Davidka from afar. According to the Israeli narrative, the Jews i.e., ‘new Israelis’ did a bit of fireworks and the ‘Arab cowards’ just ran off like idiots. In the Israeli official narrative there is no mention of the many orchestrated massacres conducted by the young IDF and the paramilitary units that preceded it. There is no mention also of the racist laws that stop Palestinians from returning to their homes and lands.
The meaning of the above is pretty simple. Israelis are totally unfamiliar with the Palestinian cause. Hence, they can only interpret the Palestinian struggle as a murderous irrational lunacy. Within the Israeli Judeo- centric solipsistic universe, the Israeli is an innocent victim and the Palestinian is no less than a savage murderer.
This grave situation that leaves the Israeli in the dark regarding his past demolishes any possibility of future reconciliation. Since the Israeli lacks the minimal comprehension of the conflict, he cannot contemplate any possible resolution except extermination or cleansing of the ‘enemy’. All the Israeli is entitled to know are various phantasmic narratives of Jewish suffering. Palestinian pain is completely foreign to his ears. ‘Palestinian right of return’ sounds to him like an amusing idea. Even the most advanced ‘Israeli humanists’ are not ready to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. This doesn’t leave the Palestinians with many options but to liberate themselves against all odds. Clearly, there is no partner for peace on the Israel side.
This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for more than a long while. It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message to the stolen land, homes fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’. But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore’.
Let’s face it, realistically the situation in Israel is rather grave. Two years ago it was Hezbollah rockets that pounded northern Israel. This week the Hamas proved beyond doubt that it is capable of serving the South of Israel with some cocktail of ballistic vengeance. Both in the case of the Hezbollah and the case of the Hamas, Israel was left with no military answer. It can no doubt kill civilians but it fails to stop the rocket barrage. The IDF lacks the means of protecting Israel unless covering Israel with a solid concrete roof is a viable solution. At the end of the day, they might be planning just that (link).
But this is far from the end of the story. In fact it is just the beginning. Every Middle East expert knows that Hamas can seize control of the West Bank within hours. In fact, PA and Fatah control in the West Bank is maintained by the IDF. Once Hamas takes the West Bank, the biggest Israeli population centre will be left to the mercy of Hamas. For those who fail to see, this would be the end of Jewish Israel. It may happen later today, it may happen in three months or in five years, it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ but rather a matter of ‘when’. By that time, the whole of Israel will be within firing range of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli society will collapse, its economy will be ruined. The price of a detached villa in Northern Tel Aviv would equal a shed in Kiryat Shmone or Sderot. By the time a single rocket hits Tel Aviv, the Zionist dream will be over.
The IDF generals know it, the Israeli leaders know it. This is why they stepped up the war against the Palestinians into extermination. The Israelis do not plan upon invading Gaza. They have lost nothing there. All they want is to finish the Nakba. They drop bombs on Palestinians in order to wipe them out. They want the Palestinians out of the region. It is obviously not going to work, Palestinians will stay. Not only they will they stay, their day of return to their land is coming closer as Israel has been exploiting its deadliest tactics.
This is exactly where Israeli escapism comes into play. Israel has passed the ‘point of no return’. Its doomed fate is deeply engraved in each bomb it drops on Palestinian civilians. There is nothing Israel can do to save itself. There is no exit strategy. It can’t negotiate its way out because neither the Israelis nor their leadership understand the elementary parameters involved in the conflict. Israel lacks the military power to conclude the battle. It may manage to kill Palestinian grassroots leaders, it has been doing it for years, yet Palestinian resistance and persistence is growing fierce rather than weakening. As an IDF intelligence general predicted already at the first Intifada. ‘In order to win, all Palestinians have to do is to survive’. They survive and they are indeed winning.
Israeli leaders understand it all. Israel has already tried everything, unilateral withdrawal, starvation and now extermination. It thought to evade the demographic danger by shrinking into an intimate cosy Jewish ghetto. Nothing worked. It is Palestinian persistence in the shape of Hamas politics that defines the future of the region.
All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others. Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.
Once again Jews will have to wander into an unknown fate. To a certain extent, I myself have started my journey a while ago.
 Jews only law of return- http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1950_1959/Law%20of%20Return%205710-1950
Palestine Information Center – December 5, 2013
GAZA — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that any conciliatory agreement resulting from the current negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the occupation is non-binding for the Palestinian people.
Zahhar made his remarks during a special session held on Wednesday by the Palestinian legislative council to discuss the report that was submitted by its political committee on the negotiations between the PA and the Israeli occupation regime.
Zahhar called for forming a national front opposing the peace negotiations with the occupation and addressing their detrimental impacts on Palestinian rights and constants.
“The Palestinian negotiators are illegitimate, they neither represent the national consensus nor have the majority that allows them to speak on behalf the Palestinian people,” the Hamas official stated.
He affirmed that the Fatah faction took the Palestinian cause to a dangerous level in its negotiations with the Israeli occupation and waived many Palestinian rights, noting that the results of the negotiations had been settled in advance by the US sponsor in favor of the occupation.
Fatah chose to obey America in order to protect its presence as a representative of the people and insure financial support, he stressed.
Continuation of negotiation condemned
Dr. Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza, condemned the continuation of negotiation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities despite the national consensus on its rejection.
During his participation in a workshop concerning the current Palestinian situation, Radwan said that the Palestinian situation is “painful” in light the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian behind Israeli bars, escalated Judaization schemes, and security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces, in addition to the Islamic nations preoccupation with their internal problems.
Radwan praised the workshop, which contained participants from all Palestinian political parties, considering it a contribution to national reconciliation.
Radwan pointed to the Israeli settlers’ escalated break-ins into al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli forces’ protection in total disregard of Muslims’ feelings and freedom of religion.
He said that the continued Israeli violations in al-Aqsa Mosque aim at imposing a new fait accompli in al-Aqsa Mosque and toward building their alleged Temple on its ruins, stressing that what is happening to Jerusalem is a shame on leaders of the Islamic nations.
He praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem who continue to defend al-Aqsa Mosque.
Radwan said that the unfair Israeli siege on Gaza aims at undermining Palestinian resistance, praising Gazan people’s steadfastness.
Radwan called on the Fatah movement to implement Doha and Cairo agreements that stipulate the formation of a national unity government and achieving national reconciliation.
Commenting on a statement by one of the participants, Radwan stressed that resistance is a “red line”, adding that it is a strategic option for the Palestinian people.
Freedom is guaranteed to all Palestinian people under the rule of law, he finally said in response to a question by one of the participants.
- Israeli forces detain three Palestinians trying to enter Al-Aqsa (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Extremists Invade Yards Of The Al-Aqsa Mosque (imemc.org)
CNN reports on Israeli PM Netanyahu’s reception at the Vatican and plans for the Pope to visit Israel in May.
Recalling the shabby treatment of religious leaders on previous visits to the Holy Land, let us hope Pope Francis takes a firmer line than his predecessor and insists on seeing Gaza and ministering to his terrorised flock there.
In May 2009, when Benedict was Pope, the Vatican told the Israeli press that the Holy Father would refrain from visiting Gaza. The word ‘refrain’ was a peculiar one in the circumstances. “The Pope will refrain from visiting Gaza….” smacks of abstinence, as in refraining from sexual intercourse. Setting foot in Gaza was as sinful as sneaking into a brothel, it seems. Israel’s hoodlums of course were keen to prevent him seeing how the tiny, overcrowded enclave had been devastated 16 months earlier by their murderous blitzkrieg codenamed Cast Lead. And the Pope went along with it.
Gaza’s isolated and besieged Catholic community were none too happy with the Pope’s attitude, judging by the reaction of their redoubtable old priest Fr Manuel Mussallam. “We will ask him why he came, what he intends saying to the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims and why he isn’t coming to Gaza,” said Fr Manuel. “We’ll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied.”
Time for the Pope to join BDS?
Having decided to go to Palestine (via Israel) it was imperative for the Pope to include Gaza or it would look like he didn’t give a damn about the appalling persecution in the very land where Christianity was born. He might as well hammer one more nail into Christendom’s coffin. Then again, should he be going to Israel at all while Jerusalem, Bethlehem and many other places dear to Christian and Muslim religious belief are under the jackboot?
Indeed, has it finally come to the point where the Pope ought to do the decent thing and boycott Israel… join the BDS movement? Admittedly, it’s a tough call given the Catholic Church’s considerable interests out there.
But we have seen enough wimpish conduct by Christian leaders while Israel defiles the Holy Land. The previous November, while the regime was planning its vicious assault, codename Operation Cast Lead, on Gaza’s Muslims and Christians after softening them up with two years of blockade and starvation, we were treated to the spectacle of the Archbishop of Canterbury joining the Chief Rabbi on a visit to Auschwitz to show joint solidarity against extreme hostility and genocide. The Archbishop called it “a place of utter profanity” and spoke of the collective corruption and moral sickness that made the Holocaust possible.
Would the pair show the same spirit of righteous solidarity by visiting Gaza? The scale of horror might be different but the moral sickness is just as obscene. And this being the Holy Land the profanity is many times worse.
The Pope too had been to Auschwitz to pray for the people murdered there. “I had to come here as a duty to truth and to those that suffered,” he said and spoke of the Nazis’ mania for destruction and domination.
Very commendable. But he wasn’t so keen to come and pray for those suffering in Gaza, victims of much the same kind of criminal insanity. Nevertheless, he turned up at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western (Wailing) Wall, and hobnobbed with the chief rabbis… but not with his brave priest and the shattered congregation in Gaza. What had happened to his ‘duty to truth’?
After my visit to Gaza in late 2007, 18 months after Israel’s merciless squeeze began, I wrote:
Fuel is running out, so are basics like washing powder. Shattered infrastructure and food shortages mean serious public health problems. Power cuts disrupt hospitals and vital drugs cannot be kept refrigerated. Thousands look death in the face as medicare collapses.
A friend emailed:
“Today in Gaza we have no cement to build graves for those who die.”
The subjugation and dispossession of Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land continues. It remains a mystery to me why our largely Christian democracy in Britain slavishly supports the Middle East ethnocracy that’s doing this…
The last six years have seen things go from bad to worse – much worse. Palestinians in the Holy Land, and especially Gaza, need to be shown that the Christian Church cares about them even if nobody else does. So where are these extravagantly robed and mitred Men of God when needed?
No repetition of the Benedict debâcle, please
Archbishop Rowan Williams, visiting in 2010, did manage to get into Gaza. But as far as I could discover he made no public statement about the wretched conditions there, nor did he reveal his findings to the House of Lords where he had the support of a large gaggle of bishops. This despite his claim to be “in a unique position to bring the needs and voices of those fighting poverty, disease and the effects of conflict, to the attention of national and international policy makers”.
And despite his declaration that “Christians need to witness boldly and clearly”.
And despite his urging greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis to ensure that the people of Gaza were not forgotten.
The Israelis, I heard, refused him access to Gaza from the start and only at the last minute allowed the Archbishop an hour or so, just enough for a quick visit to the Ahli Hospital and nowhere else. For that concession one wonders if he had to sign a gagging order.
His website, however, described how he, like the Pope, hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and paid respects to Yad Vashem and the Holocaust. He also talked with the President of Israel, who no doubt enjoyed his guest’s frustration at being prevented from seeing the horrors that had been inflicted on Gaza.
And news of any get-together with senior Islamic figures on the ground was conspicuously absent, leaving a question-mark over his commitment to inter-faith engagement.
Why on earth did he agree to fraternise with Jewish political and religious dignitaries when it was clear that his wish to carry out his Christian duty in Gaza would be obstructed? Does Lambeth Palace not realise that meekly accepting such insults only serves to legitimise the Israelis’ illegal occupation and gives a stamp of approval to the brutal siege of Gaza, the daily death-dealing air strikes against civilians, the persecution of Muslim and Christian communities and the regime’s utter contempt for international law and human rights?
One can only hope the Vatican realises it too and avoids a repetition of the Benedict debâcle.
The Israelis walk all over fawning sycophants masquerading as Western political leaders. Our spiritual leaders, however, are supposed to be made of sterner stuff and to have the moral backbone to face down evil.
With the U.S. Congress safely in his back pocket, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has turned his charm offensive on the Vatican. How is that working out for him?
It does not look promising. The Prime Minister forgot the first rule of charm school: Target your prey gently. Avoid all punches to the mid-section.
The international Jewish News Agency (JTA) reported on Monday’s meeting between Netanyahu and Pope Francis:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Vatican audience with Pope Francis reportedly invited the pontiff to visit Israel. No date has been set for a visit by Francis to Israel, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. Netanyahu on Monday presented the pope with a book about the Spanish Inquisition written by his father, the late historian Benzion Netanyahu.”
An invitation to drop by for a visit to Tel Aviv along with a gift to the Holy Father recalling the dark moments of the Spanish Inquisition? Bad form, Mr. Prime Minister.
The book delivered to the Pope was written by Netanyahu’s father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, who died recently at the age of 102. The pride of a son could be one justification for the gift. The book, The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th Century Spain, is considered the elder Netanyahu’s finest work.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was quick to note the incongruity of a book as a gift to the Pope which denounces the sins of Pope Francis’ 15th century predecessor, one that “largely revolves about Spanish Catholics questioning, torturing, and punishing Jewish converts to Catholicism,” a practice first legally sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV in 1252.
The Seattle PI adds:
“The elder Netanyahu’s impact on his politician son is well-known within Israeli circles. In 1998, David Remnick of the New Yorker wrote that while Ben-Zion Netanyahu’s opinions frequently differed from his son, the pessimism of his right wing worldview influenced his son’s hawkish policies. ‘His dilemma is always to what degree he can, or should, remain true to the ideals, the stubbornness, of his father,’ Remnick observed. The book given to the pope, Remnich adds ‘reflects that deep pessimism.’”
If the Pope accepts Netanyahu’s invitation and presents his own tit-for-tat gift to Netanyahu, there is a document in the Vatican library he could copy and take with him to Tel Aviv.
From what we are learning about this new pontiff, that Vatican document is not a gift Francis is likely to consider. Tit-for-tat does not appear to be the style of this pope.
Nevertheless, the document resting in the Vatican library files is one the Pope might read closely before he engages in further dialogue with the Israeli leader.
This Vatican document is referenced in an important new book by Scott Anderson, Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.
So important is this book that it received two laudatory views in the New York Times, one month apart.
In his Times review, Alex von Tunzelmann capsules the narrative of the book:
“Scott Anderson, a veteran war correspondent and an author of both fiction and nonfiction, gives Lawrence’s story a new spin by contextualizing him in a group biography. He weaves in the lives of three contemporary Middle Eastern spies: Curt Prufer, a German conspiring with the Ottomans to bring down the British Empire; Aaron Aaronsohn, a Zionist agronomist of Romanian origin, settled in Palestine; and William Yale, an East Coast aristocrat and an agent of Standard Oil who ended up in the service of the American State Department.”
A month later, Janet Maslin is back with her review, equally laudatory. She writes:
“As to why such acclaim elevated one renegade Briton and his feat of creating a guerrilla Bedouin army, Mr. Anderson writes that the short answer may seem anticlimactic. His reason: ‘This was a time when the seed was planted for the Arab world to define itself less by what it aspires to become than what it is opposed to: colonialism, Zionism, Western imperialism in its many forms.’”
In their reviews, both Alex von Tunzelmann and Janet Maslin avoid mentioning a key moment in Scott Anderson’s book. It is an important episode Pope Francis should be reminded of should he choose to visit Tel Aviv.
The episode, described by Scott Anderson (pages 298 to 305, your Holiness, if I may be so bold) describes a successful propaganda campaign orchestrated by, among others, Aaron Aaronsohn, described by reviewer Alex Von Tunzelmann as “a Zionist agronomist of Romanian origin, who had settled in Palestine.”
Scott Anderson tells the story in his superb history of the period, Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.
The In in the title is underlined to distinguish it from Lawrence Of Arabia, the 1962 David Lean film.
Here is how the Anderson narrative is developed, summarized and quoted in part:
In the spring of 1917, the Turkish Ottoman ruler of Syria was Djemal Pasha. When the British army was poised to strike Gaza City in February, Djemal Pasha ordered the evacuation of Gaza City’s entire population, a total or around 20,000 citizens. He wanted to clear the area for his army to move in and defend Gaza. After defeating the British in a cleared out Gaza, Djemal Pasha and his German commanders looked north.
They suspected that the British would next attack Jaffa (now a modern Tel Aviv). The city had a population of 40,000, of which around 10,000 were Jews and around 4,000 were Arab Christians, living alongside Arab Muslims. After the defeat in Gaza, the Ottomans were afraid that the British would attack Jaffa from the sea, using the city’s smooth beaches for easy access.
The British defeat at Gaza came on March 26, 1917. Two days later, assuming the British would turn north, Dejmal ordered the evacuation of the entire population, Christians, Jews and Muslims. He gave the residents a week to prepare to move out. When Jewish leaders protested that the sacred Passover holiday was about to begin, Dejmal extended the evacuation order for an additional eight days.
Anderson writes: “By clearing the city, Djemal Pasha unwittingly set in motion one of the most consequential misinformation campaigns of World War I.”
Ignoring the fact that Jews were joined by Christians and Muslims in the forced evacuation, the Zionist propaganda machine went into action, building the movement of the Jaffa population into an attack on all Jews of Palestine. The British Jewish Chronicle newspaper led the way with a May 4 story that carried the subhead: “Grave Reports — Terrible Outrages — Threats of Wholesale Massacre.”
The Chronicle story continued:
“But even worse is threatened. For the Turkish Governor, Dejeml Pasha, has proclaimed the intention of the authorities [sic] to wipe out mercilessly the Jewish population of Palestine, his public statement being that the Armenian policy of massacre is to be applied to the Jews.” That message swept “through Jewish communities in Britain, the United States and continental Europe and drew anguished appeals to their governments that some kind of action be taken.”
William Ormsby-Gore, a Conservative member of Parliament who had been favorably impressed with Aaron Aaronson, the Jewish spy leader in Palestine, cabled British War Cabinet member Mark Sykes (of Sykes-Pico fame) May 4:
“I think we ought to use pogroms in Palestine as propaganda. Any spicy tales of atrocity would be eagerly welcomed by the propaganda people here, and Aaron Aaronsohn could send some lurid stories to the Jewish papers.”
Aaronsohn gave Sykes the names of 50 Zionist leaders throughout the world, urging him to spread the word of the “dire threat” against the Jews of Palestine. Soon, The New York Times printed its story with this headline: “Cruelty to Jews Deported in Jaffe.”
The Turkish government was slow to respond to the false accusations, including one that claimed, falsely, that all the Jews had been evacuated from Jerusalem.
Finally, facing worldwide condemnation based on Jewish propaganda which spread rapidly, Dejaml Pasha pointed out that the entire population of Jaffe, 40,000 residents, had been evacuated, only 10,000 of which were Jewish and 4,000, Christians.
Scott Anderson concludes his account of the successful misinformation campaign surrounding Jaffa’s Jewish population in 1917: (p. 304)
“Spain, Sweden and the Vatican, all neutral entities in the conflict, sent envoys to investigate what had happened [in Jaffa]. Both the Spanish and Vatican envoys quickly concluded that the reports of Jewish massacres and persecutions were without foundation, while their Swedish counterpart went even further.
“‘In many ways,’ he wrote, ‘the Jewish community of Jaffa had fared far better — and certainly no worse — than the resident Moslem population in the evacuation.’ Shortly afterward, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem also reported that the accounts of violence against the Jaffa Jews were ‘grossly exaggerated.’
“It didn’t matter, of course. In war, truth is whatever people can be led to believe and Dejaml Pasha had just handed his enemies a ‘truth’ that would change Middle Eastern history… The fiction of what happened in Jaffa in 1917 — a fiction repeated as act by most historians writing on the period since — would now become the ur-myth for the contention that the Jewish community in Palestine could never be safe under Muslim rule, that to survive it needed a state of its own.”
Pope Francis does not have to make a gift to Netanyahu of either the Vatican 1917 Jaffa report or Scott Anderson’s book, should the two leaders meet in Tel Aviv. What he can do is prepare for his meeting by reading both the Vatican document and Lawrence In Arabia.
Having read the document and the book, he will be prepared to confront the Prime Minister with some hard truths about a history that is more recent, and certainly more pertinent to this moment, than the 15th century Spanish Inquisition.
The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights issued its monthly report Sunday revealing that Israel soldiers shot and killed 13 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in November, while more than 374 Palestinians, including eight women, have been kidnapped.
Ahrar said that, similar to previous months, the southern West Bank district of Hebron witnessed the largest number of Israeli violations, while the army also kidnapped 95 Palestinians.
The Center stated that eight Palestinian women, including two teenagers, were among the kidnapped in Hebron. All kidnapped women, except the two young women, were released later on.
In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped 85 Palestinians, including a journalist identified as Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who works for the Al-Quds daily; he was taken prisoner at the Ben Gurion Airport after concluding a visit to Egypt.
In Jenin, the army kidnapped 47 Palestinians, while 45 Palestinians were kidnapped in Nablus, 34 in Bethlehem, 30 in Ramallah, 18 in Qalqilia, 10 in Tulkarem, and one Palestinian has been kidnapped in Jericho.
Israeli soldiers also kidnapped nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including three who allegedly tried to cross the border fence.
The Israeli Navy continued its attacks and assaults against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped four fishermen in Palestinian waters after the soldiers opened fire on them and their boats.
Soldiers also kidnapped a Palestinian patient from the Gaza Strip after he headed to the Erez terminal on his way for medical treatment at a hospital in Jerusalem. Israel granted him a permit to head to Jerusalem, but the soldiers still kidnapped him.
Ahrar added that soldiers also kidnapped a Palestinian from Gaza after he allegedly approached the border fence and “hurled a grenade” at an Israeli military vehicle.
In Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped two Palestinian women, both teachers, and a young woman was kidnapped at an Israeli military roadblock near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. She is a college student from Nablus.
As for Palestinians killed by Israeli military fire in November, Ahrar said that Israeli soldiers shot and killed 13 Palestinians, including four from the Gaza Strip.
The four killed in Gaza have been identified as Rabee’ Baraka, 23, Khaled Mohammad Abu Bakra, 35, Mohammad Rashid Dawoud, 26, and Mohammad Issam Al-Qassam, 23; all were killed after the army bombarded Gaza on November 1st.
In the West Bank, detainee Hasan Toraby, 22, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, died of cancer at the Al-‘Affoula Hospital after Israel failed to provide him with the needed medical treatment, and only moved him to hospital after having a very serious deterioration in his health condition.
On the night of November 7, resident Bashir Habaneen, 28, a university teacher from the northern West Bank city of Jenin, was shot and killed by soldiers at the Za’tara roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
On the same night, Anas Al-Atrash, 22, from Hebron, was killed at the Container roadblock, near Bethlehem.
On November 26, soldiers assassinated three Palestinian from the southern West bank city of Hebron. The three have been identified as Mohammad Nairoukh, Mahmoud Najjar, and Mousa Fansha.
On November 28, Mahmoud Awwad, 24, from the central West Bank city of Ramallah, died of serious injuries he suffered in March. He was shot in the head and remained in a coma until his death.
On the same day, a Palestinian child identified as Nour Mohammad Affana, 14, died at an Israeli military roadblock as the soldiers closed the roadblock and prevented an ambulance, transporting her to a hospital in Bethlehem, from crossing.
On November 30, Israeli officers shot and killed Antar Al-Aqdra’, 24, from Qablan town, as he was working in the Petah Tikva area, north of historic Palestine. Twelve workers were taken prisoner.
Furthermore, Ahrar said that Israeli soldiers have escalated their attacks and assaults against Palestinian political prisoners, forced several detainees into solitary confinement, and denied family visits to dozens of detainees.
Palestinian researcher, former detainee and the head of the Ahrar Center, Fuad Al-khoffash, said that Israel’s violations, including deadly attacks and arrests, are ongoing, while extremist Israeli settlers carried out dozens of attacks, as part of organized assaults against the Palestinians, their lands and property, in the occupied West Bank, and occupied Jerusalem.
A message from Ken – December 1, 2013
Well my first show on The People’s Voice will air on Sunday from 1600-1800 GMT.
It is a great programme with Gilad Atzmon and I having a conversation about the control of language and Jewish power, politically incorrect through and through.
I am also very happy to debut the series of stories about families in Gaza I met in 2011 when I lived there for 6 months. These are powerful, emotional stories and I must thank brother Ashraf Elwakhery for being the man who finally edited all the raw footage. There are 24 stories about 21 families and we are starting off with the heartbreaking story of Zeinat Samouni, it brings tears to my eyes to watch this story every single time, if you are not moved by what this beautiful woman and her children have been through then you have clearly lost your humanity. And lastly, I am very happy to have sister Noor Harazeen as our TPV Correspondent in Gaza, she will be giving us regular reports and also giving us an update about Zeinat and her children.
Please share this far and wide, please tune in, the show is called ‘Ken O’Keefe’s Middle East’, it will repeat later in the day, prime time in the US and other places throughout the week. We may have call in opportunities, stayed tuned for info for that.
The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing.
This time, the collective punishment of Gaza arrives in the form of raw sewage that is flooding many neighborhoods across the impoverished and energy-chocked region of 360 km2 (139 sq mi) and 1.8 million inhabitants. Even before the latest crisis resulting from a severe shortage of electricity and diesel fuel that is usually smuggled through Egypt, Gaza was rendered gradually uninhabitable. A comprehensive UN report last year said that if no urgent action were taken, Gaza would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020. Since the report was issued in August 2012, the situation has grown much worse.
Over the years, especially since the tightening by Israel of the Gaza siege in 2007, the world has become accustomed to two realities: the ongoing multiparty scheme to weaken and defeat Hamas in Gaza, and Gaza’s astonishing ability to withstand the inhumane punishment of an ongoing siege, blockade and war.
Two infamous wars illustrate this idea: The first is Israel’s 22-day war of 2008-9 (killing over 1,400 Palestinians and wounding over 5,500 more) and the second is its more recent war of Nov 2012 – eight days of fighting that killed 167 Palestinians and six Israelis. In the second war, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi was still in power. For the first time in many years, Egypt sided with Palestinians. Because of this and stiff Palestinian resistance in Gaza, the strip miraculously prevailed. Gaza celebrated its victory, and Israel remained somewhat at bay – while of course, mostly failing to honor its side of the Cairo-brokered agreement of easing Gaza’s economic hardship.
In relative terms, things seemed to be looking up for Gaza. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was largely opened, and both Egypt and the Hamas governments were in constant discussions regarding finding a sustainable economic solution to Gaza’s many woes. But the ousting by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of President Morsi on July 3 changed all of that. The Egyptian military cracked down with vengeance by shutting down the border crossing and destroying 90-95 percent of all tunnels, which served as Gaza’s main lifeline and allowed it to withstand the Israeli siege.
Hopes were shattered quickly, and Gaza’s situation worsened like never before. Naturally, Cairo found in Ramallah a willing ally who never ceased colluding with Israel in order to ensure that their Hamas rivals were punished, along with the population of the strip.
Citing Gaza officials, the New York Times reported on Nov 21 that 13 sewerage stations in the Gaza Strip have either overflowed or are close to overflowing, and 3.5 million cubic feet of raw sewage find their way to the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. “The sanitation department may soon no longer be able to pump drinking water to Gaza homes,” it reported.
Farid Ashour, the Director of sanitation at the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities, told the Times that the situation is ‘disastrous’. “We haven’t faced a situation as dangerous as this time,” he said. But the situation doesn’t have to be as dangerous or disastrous as it currently is. It has in fact been engineered to be that way.
Gaza’s only power plant has been a top priority target for Israeli warplanes for years. In 2006 it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, to be opened a year later, only to be destroyed again. And although it was barely at full capacity when it operated last, it continued to supply Gaza with 30 percent of its electricity needs of 400 megawatts. 120 megawatts came through Israel, and nearly 30 megawatts came through Egypt. The total fell short from Gaza’s basic needs, but somehow Gaza subsisted. Following the ousting of Morsi and the Egyptian military crackdown, the shortage now stands at 65 percent of the total.
In an interview with the UN humanitarian news agency, IRIN, James W. Rawley, the humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, depicted a disturbing scene in which the impact of the crisis has reached “all essential services, including hospitals, clinics, sewage and water pumping stations.”
Israelis on the other hand, have been doing just fine since the last military encounter with Hamas. “The past year was a great one,” the Economist quoted the commander of Israel’s division that ‘watches’ Gaza, Brigadier Michael Edelstein. Due to the massive drop in the number of rockets fired from Gaza in retaliation to Israeli attacks and continued siege (50 rockets this year, compared to 1,500 last year), “children in Israel’s border towns can sleep in their beds, not in shelters, and no longer go to school in armored buses,” according to the Economist on Nov 16.
“But Israel’s reciprocal promise to help revive Gaza’s economy has not been kept,” it reported. Israel has done everything it its power to keep Gaza in a crisis mode, from denying the strip solar panels so that they may generate their own electricity to blocking Gaza exports. “In the meantime, Gaza is rotting away.”
Desperate to find immediate remedies, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued new calls to Mahmoud Abbas for a unity government. “Let’s have one government, one parliament and one president,” Haniyeh said in a recent speech, as quoted by Reuters. A Fatah spokesman, Ahmed Assaf, dismissed the call for it “included nothing new.” Meanwhile, the PA decided to end its subsidy on any fuel shipped to Gaza via Israel, increasing the price to $1.62 per liter from 79 cents. According to Ihab Bessisso of the PA, the decision to rescind Gaza’s tax exemption on fuel was taken because sending cheap fuel to Gaza “was unfair to West Bank residents,” according to the Times.
But fairness has little to with it. Reports by the Economist, Al Monitor and other media speak of Egyptian efforts to reintroduce Gaza’s former security chief and Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan to speed-up the anticipated collapse of the Hamas government. Al Monitor reported on Nov 21 that Dahlan, a notorious Fatah commander who was defeated by Hamas in 2007 because of, among other reasons, his close ties with Israeli intelligence, had met with General al-Sisi in Cairo. Evidently, the purpose is to oust Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But the question is how? Some “suggest that a Palestinian brigade mustered in al-Arish could march on Gaza and, with Egyptian support, defeat the broad array of Hamas forces created in the last decade.”
With Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood out of the picture, at least for now, Gaza is more vulnerable than ever. Some of Abbas’s supporters and certainly Dahlan’s may believe that the moment to defeat their brethren in Gaza is now.
- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is: My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).
Gaza’s new music sensation Watar Band has just released their latest song and it is making a lot of noise! The song Dawsha which literally translates to noise is a reminder to the world that creative rhythm and harmony still exist in Gaza despite the chaos and the depressive realities that prevail not only within the tiny strip but in the region as a whole.
I interviewed Watar Band’s lyricist Hassan Nigim about the song, the band and the triumphs and tribulations of making music in Gaza:
Samah Sabawi: Thanks Hassan for talking with me. I understand this is a very busy time for you as you prepare to release your video clip for Dawsha. Tell me how important is this work for you?
Hassan Nigim: Thanks for the interview Samah, we appreciate your support. I believe this work is very important even though it started as a hobby, I have worked hard to improve my skills and have been blessed with the support of my friends especially the Egyptian poet ( lyricist) Khaled Tag Al Deen who wrote many songs for super star singers like Amr diab, samira saed, Nawal Alzoghbi, Hamaki, and others. His support has been instrumental and we’d like to thank him for being the first to share our song on his FB fans page.
SS: What inspired you to write Dawsha?
HN: I got my inspiration from people’s experiences and from my own personal experiences as well. I wrote the lyrics for Dawsha when I came home to Gaza this year after completing my university degree in Egypt. I wanted to describe how we live and what we feel and do in a few simple words. The song is not just about us in Gaza but it is also about how we in most of the Arab World live these days…
SS: I noticed the song express both hope and despair at the same time. Was this contradiction deliberate?
HN: Yes. It’s important to give people hope that one day they can find love and freedom and that they can reach their dreams.
SS: There are no women in your band. What is it like for female artists in Gaza especially within the music scene?
HN: True, there are no women in our band but there is a female artist who sang with our band at the Centre Culturel Français (CCF) concert, Sara abu Ramadan, she sang a French song. We also had five young girls singing a part of the song Dawsha and you can see them in the video clip. There are more and more talented girls in Gaza who have started to learn music, but for sure there are still some people who hold on to old traditions and who are not supportive of women in music.
SS: What would you say is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of making music in Gaza?
HN: The biggest obstacles that stand in our way at a personal level as well as an artistic one are daily problems everyone else encounters in Gaza like electricity shortages… but on top of that, I would say we don’t have much support from the media and we need that in order to publicize our work. As it stands, we do our own publicity. We also don’t have professional producers here, we don’t have enough instruments for our band, and we don’t have advanced studios to do the recordings in.
SS: Describe how an average week in your life looks?
HN: All of us in Watar Band are well educated. I’m a Biomedical Engineer, we have 2 doctors, an IT engineer and music teachers. We all have jobs even though as you know in Gaza it is hard to find employment, but we are hard workers and most of us have lived in different countries and were educated outside Gaza. An average day in a week is usually full. First we go to work, then we play sport and after that we meet for coffee and discuss our plans, projects and music. We would like to practice daily, but unfortunately we often face hurdles that get in the way. Some are personal problems with work and family commitments … etc. But the biggest hurdle is usually finding a place to practice. So whenever we get a chance to practice at the music school here in Gaza we make sure we don’t miss that chance. Sometimes we have to wait a long time for the opportunity to come. For example, when we worked on Dawsha, the melody came to us while we were sitting in a restaurant but we waited a long time to get access to the studio before we could record it.
SS: What message does your band want to send to the world?
HN: We want to say to the world that love, peace and freedom are in our thoughts and in our dreams. We want the world to see the positive side of our people the beautiful side of our country and culture. We want them to know that we have the right as human beings to live in peace, love and freedom. We also want to give hope to our people and to the whole world that this dream is possible.
Dawsha was composed by Alaa Shuplaq and Khamis Abushaban, arranged by Anas Alnajar, with lead singer Alaa Shuplaq on vocals. Solo Classic Guitar was performed by Dr. Mohanad El Hadad, solo Electric Guitar performed by Mohammed Lomani with Eyad Abulila on drums. The video clip was directed by Ahmed Nasr.
-Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer, playwright and commentator currently residing in Australia.
- Easy to understand why Israel is now referred to as the “Jewish Terror State” (uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com)
- Join Gaza’s Ark on November 30th as hundreds of Palestinian children sail mini-Arks from the port of Gaza out to sea (fidest.wordpress.com)
- Gaza becoming uninhabitable as blockade tightens, says UN (theguardian.com)
The agreement between the US and Iran is the best news coming out of the Middle East for some time. As Iran is not developing nuclear weapons it is not giving away too much, although it still went a long way to meeting US demands. Israel is furious. Netanyahu has done his best to prevent this point being reached and will be striving hard to make sure it goes no further. He will be appealing to Congress over the head of the president, the traditional tactic of Israeli prime ministers when they can’t get their own way. Israel’s lobbyists will be fully mobilizing for what is being represented as the greatest challenge to Israel in its history.
This is a major blow to Israel and a well-deserved slap in the face for Netanyahu. He has lost no opportunity to humiliate the US president so there is probably a personal element in all of this amidst the grander strategic considerations. But the outcome is good for the Middle East and good for the US. The agreement sets up the development of a relationship which will reconfigure geostrategic realities. By signing it the US is implicitly accepting Iran’s right to maintain its own special relationship with Syria and Hizbullah. The Syria experience has clearly been a sharp learning curve. In the name of political transition the so-called ‘Friends of the Syrian People’ have unleashed the hounds of hell at the geographic heart of the Middle East. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is only the worst of the pack. The US administration has been backing away from its involvement and now clearly accepts that Bashar staying in power is the best option.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are dismayed at the refusal of their erstwhile allies to push the assault on Syria any further. Now they have the agreement with Iran to contend with and they are furious. Some of the commentary in the Israeli media is nothing short of demented. These two states have now formed their own axis of resistance – resistance to change, resistance to peace, resistance to the end of occupation, resistance to the White House and resistance to common sense. The recent bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut can safely be regarded as the work of one of them if not involving both. The Saudis are completely obsessed with destroying Shi’ism and Shia across the region. If they keep going like this their own special relationship with the US is going to suffer as well but they have already dropped hints that they don’t care.
Now that the Americans are talking to Iran they might start wondering what all the fuss was about. They are getting on with the Iranian negotiators, who are far more civilized and sophisticated than shills like Netanyahu and louts like Avigdor Lieberman. Furthermore, while Israel is an occupying state that has repeatedly gone to war to defend its ill-gotten gains, Iran, as commentators are pointing out, has not launched an aggressive war for more than two centuries, so which country shapes up as the most stable ally for the US in the region?
Saudi Arabia is another story. It is one of the most reactionary states in the world. It buys people, politicians, entire governments and newspaper editors. Money is its true god. Much of the revenue from its oil has gone into arms purchases from the US and European governments, all of which know that if they want this bonanza to continue they have to remain silent in the face of Saudi Arabia’s flagrant abuses of human rights. If there ever was a case for ‘regime change’ it is surely smack bang in the middle of Riyadh.
The agreement with Iran opens the way to significant commercial, political and strategic benefits for the US. It may well not be to Russia’s liking. By comparison, Israel is a dead weight around America’s neck from any perspective. It bleeds the US Treasury of more than $3 billion in arms and economic aid every year. It spies on the US and regularly defies the US. It has killed US servicemen in pursuit of its own strategic ends. It opens no doors and is of no commercial or economic benefit to the US and the days when it might have served some purpose as an armory during US military actions in the Middle East have probably gone for good. The American people have made it perfectly clear they do not want their government to be involved in any more wars in the Middle East and peace certainly offers the US far greater rewards than war.
The nuclear issue always was a distraction. The real issue for Israel is Iran’s growing influence across the region and its refusal to back away from its strategic alliance with Syria and Hizbullah despite economic sanctions and regular threats of war. The ruins of Gaza are testimony to Israel’s determination to destroy anyone and any thing standing in its way. Palestine is the wellspring but dig deep enough into the ruins of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and you will find Israel at the bottom. It will see the whole Middle East flattened rather than retreat from the territory it has seized through its wars of aggression. Since the war of conquest of 1948 it has launched six other wars against Egypt, Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, apart from shorter incursions, assassinations and aerial attacks such as those launched on Syria this year. By comparison the only war involving the Islamic republic of Iran is the one launched by Saddam Hussein in 1980.
Israel cannot afford to alienate the US. It needs American economic aid and weapons and it will need US support if it ever gets into a war which it can’t win. Israel’s defeats at the hands of Hizbullah confirm a picture of relative military decline over the past three decades. Even Gaza with its miniscule defences has been able to withstand the fury of Israeli assaults. The fortress state is beginning to crumble at its foundations and if Israel continues to alienate even its friends the day will come when it finds itself alone with its nuclear bombs.
This is an existential moment for Israel. It refuses to change, expecting its friends endlessly to accommodate its outrageous behavior. The White House is sending signals that it has had enough and indeed the agreement with Iran may even mark the beginning of the setting of the sun on the US-Israel ‘special relationship.’
- Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
By Ghali Hassan | December 30, 2008
“It is our duty to back the State of Israel”
A common phrase used by major Jewish organisations.
At least 400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were deliberately murdered and thousands are maimed and wounded when Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache attack helicopters began premeditated massive aerial bombing attacks on the densely populated and Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip on Saturday 27 December 2008. It was a classic act of Jewish (State) terrorism.
In order to inflict terror and maximum civilian casualties, the Israeli attacks begun during traffic police graduation ceremony and just as thousands of Palestinian school children were coming home from schools. Vital civilian infrastructures, including hospitals, mosques, houses, schools and universities, including women dormitories have been destroyed.
According to an independent eyewitness in Gaza, five innocent girls were killed in their sleep when Israeli helicopter attacked a mosque. “There is no such thing as precision strike in a densely populated Gaza”, said the eyewitness. Let’s be honest, the attacks against 1.5 million Palestinian civilians (mostly refugees), 750,000 of them are children, have nothing to do with “self-defence”. Israel is not “defending itself”; Israel is committing deliberate war crimes in violation of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Convention. The concentration camp has been under two-year-long total blockade. The blockade designed as a collective punishment (not peace) of the 1.5 million Palestinians and had already caused a humanitarian catastrophe before the anticipated Israel’s terror blitz.
The Israeli blockade policy in Gaza has effectively destroyed the economy and the living condition of the Palestinians. It had impoverished and starved the whole civilian population of Gaza. While this policy is illegal under International Humanitarian Law and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the U.S. and its European allies have encouraged Israel and Egypt to continue enforcing the blockade. The policy constitutes an indiscriminate collective punishment, a war crime and genocide. As a result, hundreds of innocent civilians have died in what Israeli leaders call “truce” (ceasefire) in which Israel practises violence and acts of terrorism with impunity. Israel broke the ceasefire in order to flex its muscle before Israel’s coming elections and to derail any prospect of peace. It was only after the Jewish State murdered 23 Palestinians that HAMAS fired the ineffective home-made Qassam rocket towards Israeli positions. Israeli Jewish leaders use HAMAS – the only democratically-elected people’s movement in the Arab World – as a pretext to justify terrorising the entire Palestinian population.
It is important to note that Israeli leaders would not have committed such heinous acts of terrorism without the full complicity and backing of the U.S. administration, the European governments, and the dictatorial regime of Egypt and Mahmoud Abbas’ thuggery. Palestinian leaders in Gaza have rightly accused the Egyptian brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and collaborators in the Palestinian Authority of colluding with Israel against the Palestinian in Gaza. Indeed, the treacherous Egyptian regime – propped-up and financed by the U.S. – has been a willing complicit in the Gaza blockade. Just before the massacre took place, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Cairo to consult with the dictator of Egypt.
This is not the first time the Jews have committed acts of terrorism in Palestine. Historically, the Palestinian people have suffering under Jewish terrorism for more that sixty years. The Jewish State was founded by heinous aggression and war crimes in 1984. It is just that Jewish terrorism is deliberately covered-up and justified as “self-defence” by Western media. With the exception of a few honourable voices, condemning the subject of Jewish terrorism remains taboo.
Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law Professor at Princeton University was recently denied entry into Israel. He was accused of comparing the policies of the Jewish State with that of Nazi Germany. It is ironic, because comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany are very common in Israel itself.
However, Professor Falk chose his words carefully when he described Israel’s policies towards Palestinians as a “crime against humanity” that should be stopped by international action. Falk urged the UN to invoke “the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect a civilian population being collectively punished.” He also called for an International Criminal Court investigation of Israeli military and civilian officials for potential prosecution. “The recent developments [the two-year-old blockade and other war crimes] in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.” Falk was lucky. Other Americans who dared to criticise the Jewish State were destroyed by a single shot of “ant-Semitism” and lost their jobs before they have committed political suicide.
While the parallels between the Jewish State of Israel and Nazi Germany are frightening, they are not surprising. Zionism grew out of German National Socialisms (Nazism). There are few important differences: (1) Unlike Nazi Germany, Israeli war is entirely against defenceless innocent civilians population resisting the illegal occupation of their homeland; (2) Unlike Nazi Germany, in addition to its superb propaganda system, Israel is supported by a global propaganda campaign led by the like of the BBC, CNN, Fox News, the Murdoch Press, and other Western media outlets which works tirelessly to portray Israel as a victim and propagate Israel’s Zionfascist ideology; and (3) Unlike Nazi Germany, Israel – in addition to possessing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons – is unconditionally supported (financially, militarily and politically) by major Western powers, including the U.S. and Britain. In short, Israel is untouchable. Moreover, like Nazi Germany, the Jewish State of Israel is committing war crimes by a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing and extermination of a particular ethnic-religious group of people, the Palestinian people.
As Jean Ziegler, Professor of Sociology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and a Member of UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee said recently; “Behind the headlines of military conflict and escalating [Israeli] violence, there is a continuing physical, social and psychological destruction of a whole and very ancient [Palestinian] society”. The West’s “never again” rhetoric that followed the Second World War seems to be applicable to Jews only. Isn’t it time for the “international Community” to implement its solemn rhetoric?
We know that unlike other peoples, Jews have repeatedly cited the “Jewish holocaust” to gain sympathy and to raise it as a tool to extort money and weapons and political support from Europeans. They have no sympathy for Palestinian victims and Palestinian suffering. Every time Israel commits mass murder of Palestinian women and children, Jews (with a few exceptions) around the world remain silent. In order to deflect attention from Israel’s terror, Israeli Jews and major Jewish organisations have been promoting and “exploiting the wave of Islamophobia [particularly] in the U.S. and Europe, to engage them in this war on the Palestinians, doing their part in suffocating, starving, and weakening the Palestinian people, as Israel caries its mission of destruction”, wrote the late Israeli scholar Tina Reinhart. They are complicit in the Jewish State’s crime against humanity.
A report published in July 2008 by the National and International Relations Department of Palestine in Ramallah revealed that the Israeli military killed 466 Palestinian citizens during military operations carried out in the Palestinian territories during the first half of 2008, including 75 children under the age of 18 and 23 women. At least 200 Palestinians have died as a result of the unjust collective punishment and blockade imposed on Gaza, preventing Palestinians from leaving to receive adequate treatment abroad. “A genocide is taking place in Gaza … an average of eight Palestinians die daily in the Israeli attacks on the Strip. Most of them are children. Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed”, wrote the Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe.
Furthermore, in the illegally Occupied Territories, Jewish settlers have unleashed new waves of terror attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron. On Thursday, settlers shot at Palestinians, set fire to homes and olive groves, and defaced mosques and graves after Israeli troops evicted a group of settlers from a disputed Palestinian-owned home near a biblical site. Persistent acts of terrorism by Israeli occupation soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers against the Palestinian farmers have destroyed millions of olive trees and farms decimating the livelihoods of Palestinians. “As a Jew, I was ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs in Hebron. There is no other definition than the term ‘pogrom’ to describe what I have seen,” said the now discredited Israeli PM Ehud Olmert whose government is not only behind the policy of house demolishing but also behind the Jewish settlers’ terror against the Palestinians. In fact the Jewish settles are an effective weapon of the Jewish State to terrorise the Palestinians. The aim is to terrorise the Palestinian and forced them to leave their land.
As Palestinian houses are demolished, the illegal Jewish settlers’ population in the West Bank has grown three times higher than that of the rest of Israel during the past 12 years. An Israeli annual report shows that the illegal Jewish population in the West Bank more than doubled during that time, with a growth of 107 percent. The report also shows that the settler population has surged from 130,000 in 2005 to 270,000 by the end of 2007. Other illegal settlements in the West Bank have witnessed expansion between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of their areas in 1996.
Since 2007, more than 8,000 homes have been built in the West Bank and in the heart of annexed East Jerusalem, the capital of “future” Palestinian state, which is being intensively “Judaised”. Jewish extremist settlers are literally taking over Palestinian homes with impunity. A report by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) described the situation in the Israeli occupied West Bank as “reminiscent, in many and increasing ways, of the apartheid regime in South Africa”. The report also revealed that many of the 430 Palestinians killed and 1,150 wounded in the West Bank alone by Israeli soldiers and death squads in 2008 were innocent by standards.
A study published by the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem (ARIJ) said that the Israeli occupation increased the area of Jewish settlements in the West Bank by 85per cent between 1996 and 2007. The study added that Jewish settlements are the cornerstone of the Israeli policy of Judaizing the occupied Palestinian lands. According to the study the process building the Jewish settlements in various parts of the West Bank and in particular in the Jerusalem district started immediately after the occupation in June 1967 to impose changes on the ground in an attempt to get control of most of the occupied Palestinian lands.
The study concludes that the Israeli occupation seems to have no intention to stop the settlement activity as these settlements doubled since the Oslo accords. This is in addition to the thousands of Dunums of Palestinian lands being confiscated to build the Apartheid Wall and Jewish-only roads to serve the settlements and further isolating Palestinian communities from one another and limiting the expansion of Palestinian towns and villages.
The illegal expropriation of Palestinian lands and the building of Jewish-only settlements have continue thanks to massive injection of fund and investment by wealthy individual Jews and Jewish organisations in the US, Australia and Europe. For example, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a global corporation, had illegally expropriated most of the land of 372 Palestinian villages, which had been ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces in 1948, to build exclusively Jewish settlements. Like many wealthy Jews, Joseph Gutnick, an Australian wealthy Jew has poured millions into building Jewish settlements on expropriated Palestinian land with Israel’s blessing. Of course, Israel continues to use all kinds of terrorist acts to dispossess the Palestinian people of their lands.
Instead of being sanctioned to stop violating international law and the Geneva Convention, Israel is being rewarded by the U.S. and Europe with closer economic, academic, trade and defence links and privileges. “All we hear is a hollow laugh coming from behind the Apartheid Wall and the seething and starving prison camps for Palestinians under siege in Gaza and the West Bank”, writes Abe Hayeem of Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine. On the other hand, Israel remains an extremist, right-wing, nationalistic and corrupt society which have rejected every step to live in peace and coexistence with its neighbours.
The ongoing massacre of innocent Palestinian civilians is not the first Jewish-perpetrated massacre and certainly won’t be the last. Israel follows a Nazi-like racist policy based on physical extermination and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian population.
Like Nazi Germany, Jewish Israel should be condemned, forced to renounce terrorism and end the occupation of Palestinian lands. The deliberate murder of innocent Palestinians is a classic act of Jewish State terrorism. There is no terrorism like the State of Israel terrorism. It remains to be seen if the world community needs a third world war to stop Jewish State terrorism.
Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.