Category Archives: Palestine

Action Alert: Palestinian Declaration


PLEASE SIGN THIS DECLARATION IF YOU AGREE WITH ITS CONTENTS:  (send Hahida Izzat  your name and country if you approve)

Palestinian Declaration

An invitation to ALL Palestinians and their supporters to unite under the banner of LIBERATION, affirming our alienable rights and clarifying our aims and aspirations to ourselves and to the world
For the sake of historical truth, and for defending, preserving and protecting the rights of future Palestinian children, we present this document:
  • Whereas, no foreign government, international institution or individual, has any form of legitimacy or jurisdiction to dispossess any other Nation by distributing their land and property,
  • Whereas, all colonial dealings regarding Palestine, whether by the “League of Nations” or the subsequent land confiscations by British colonial forces, as well as coerced transactions by early Zionists, did not invalidate the irrefutable fact that Palestine is the sole indigenous representative of all people of Palestine, settled and anchored culturally to the land since time immemorial,
  • Whereas, the religious component of Palestine’s cultural heritage is the central heritage for 31% of people who are Christians, 23 % who are Muslims, and  0.2 % who are Jews. Therefore, Jewish Zionists arguably attempted to usurp and destroy the heritage of almost 55% of humankind, namely Christians and Muslims, contrary to historical Palestinian society, known for its social cohesion, irrespective of religion, and for protecting all monuments and all worshipers of all faiths, prior to the Jewish-zionist invasion,
  • Whereas, we the Palestinian Nation, the sole indigenous people of historic Palestine, had neither been consulted with, nor did we agree to or undersign any partition of our homeland, Palestine, when the UN put partition to the vote in the General Assembly in 1948. The UN has never done so again,
  • Whereas, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution (181) recommending the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan, allocating to “Israel” a defined area significantly smaller than the areas was overridden by Zionist Terror groups such as Irgun and Haganah, using ethnic cleansing, genocidal massacres, and massive destruction of over 530 Biblical villages and cities in the spring of 1948,
  • Whereas, the admission of “Israel” to the UN was conditional on its implementation of Resolutions 194, i.e., ceasing aggression and allowing the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as well as implementing Resolution 181 of the partition plan, (which Israel did not commit itself to any specific action or timeframe, and later rejected the resolutions all together),
  • Whereas, the decision to partition Palestine was never passed through the UN Security Council, which renders it non-binding, (serving only as advisory),
  • Whereas, Zionism, as materialised and manifested by the Jewish state of “Israel”, is a colonial settler ideology, advocating the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and confiscating their properties, abrogating their basic rights, and establishing an exclusive Jewish state in Historic Palestine,
  • Whereas, seven decades on, Jewish-Zionist terrorism, massacres, torture, imprisonment of civilian populations, torture of children, collective punishment, theft, land robbery, destruction of cultural heritage, ethnic cleansing, and slow-motion genocide, have only intensified,
  • Whereas, their offspring have had a full century (since the beginning of the first Jewish-Zionist invasion) to learn to coexist peacefully; yet they, along with the new-comers, choose to continue on the same path of aggression, oppression, exclusivity, and racism,
  • Whereas, the vast majority of Palestinians have been living in forced exile, forbidden to exercise their basic Human Right of Returning to their homes in their own homeland, and denied their basic human right of holding their National Identity,
  • Whereas, the entire humanity has the moral maturity which makes it unacceptable to acquire land and property by wars of conquest and aggression,
  • Whereas, we the Palestinian Nation have been victims of almost one century of insanely sadistic cruelty, assassinations of pregnant mothers, torture of children, psycho-terror, loss of land, loss of peace, security and independence, loss of health, destruction of our architectural and archeological cultural heritage, loss of collective and personal property, loss of economic means (i.e. loss of earning and sustenance), all at the hands and policies of a foreign and psychopathic body of Jewish Zionist terrorists and their international network of accomplices, for more than seven decades,
  • Whereas, myriads of Jewish-Zionist funds and foundations continue to raise and collect sums in the billions from international Jewish communities, to finance (either overtly or covertly) the destruction of our nation and our homeland, by means of a full spectrum destruction, be it genocide, be it destruction of landscape, be it destruction of architectural and cultural heritage, be it imprisonment and torture of children, be it systematic programs of assassination of social and political leader, be it use of toxic weapons,
  • Whereas, calling “Israel” a mere apartheid system which could be “fixed” with some cosmetic arrangements, such as granting Palestinians “Israeli” citizenship to “upgrade” their status from “occupied” to “slaves” in their own homeland, and demanding marginal improvement of the treatment of Palestinians, does not constitute in any form or shape a realistic approach enabling a viable project wherein even the most elementary basis of Justice could be established,
  • Whereas, participating in absolving individuals guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and other ongoing crimes since over seven decades, and whitewashing these crimes, is not only a betrayal to all things human and moral, but also is the fertile ground for justifying future repetition and amplification of such crimes,
For those reasons, we hereby, the undersigned Palestinians and our supporters affirm the following:
Palestine is located from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan and cannot be divided, leased, given away or sold.
Palestinians, whether living in any part of historic Palestine or in forced exile, are one people and shall not be divided.
The Palestinian Nation is the only one owning the land of Palestine, with the human right of full and unrestrained sovereignty over our historic land, Palestine.
That the “Nakba” with its massacres and daily atrocities, continues to this day, beginning with the forceful uprooting of our people by terror organizations such as Irgun and Haganah in 1948. The lapse of time since the beginning or this “Nakba” (the word means “catastrophe”) does not diminish our inalienable rights in Palestine, including the inalienable right to return to our homes and properties, and to participate in the re-building and development of our society and its institutions, and adopt any political, economic and Judicial system we Palestinians would chose.
Our people inside and outside of Palestine form one Nation, and yearn for their reunification in their ancestral homeland, Palestine. Contrary to the defamation we have been subjected to, we have always been an extremely tolerant nation, and we yearn to restore this quality to our land and country, for the benefit of all humankind, irrespective of religion or cultural origin.
We Palestinians, just as any other nation under attack and occupied, have the ultimate and unabridged right to define our aims, choose our strategy and tactics of resistance suitable for achieving our liberation from our oppressor, and the reinstatement of our rights, and establishing diplomatic and commercial relations with neighboring countries and beyond.
Palestinians have the moral and legal right to pursue the legal prosecution of the usurpers and destroyers of our land within the recognized international laws.
It is ominously dangerous for everyone’s security, to refuse to prosecute perpetrators of terrorism, crimes against humanity, atrocities, and the systematic fomenting of wars and racial and religious hatred. It is ominously dangerous to step back from such prosecution under the ludicrous grounds that the perpetrators would merit leniency on grounds of being Jewish.
Only the Palestinian people through our legitimate institutions and elected representatives can speak for our rights and aspirations.
No organization, party, group or individual is empowered to cede our rights to historic Palestine. In fact, we explicitly express here our intention, as soon as we recover our rights, to prosecute anyone who engaged or attempted to cede land and rights without having any mandate to do so.
Only the Palestinian people gathered in Palestine and in exile can determine their future and the future of the country.
We the signatories of this document, call for either the creation of a new Liberation Party, or the rejuvenation of the PLO, as the only recognized and accepted legitimate organization of the Palestinian people. Such an organization must be strengthened to unify the people and their capabilities, in order to be justified to speak on their behalf, and structure our fight for liberation.
This party, (whether the PLO or otherwise), must unambiguously stand for, and implement a program for liberation of all of Palestine. It must be democratic, accountable, transparent and truly representative of the entire spectrum of the Palestinian Nation.
The aims and aspirations of Palestinians are not confined to a symbolic change of “Zionist regime” or a declaration of abandonment of Zionism by the Jewish-Zionist occupiers, but rather to the FULL liberation of Palestine and the restoration of all our inalienable rights
We call for a just and peaceful solution; we acknowledge that the only real road to peace is the full and unconditional liberation of Palestine, (which also means liberation from the supremacist ideology that is imposing its cruel occupation) and liberation from the racist Jewish-Zionist experiment, Liberation from the violence of colonizers and liberation from the perpetrators. That will inevitably mean a return to the original, peaceful society Palestine was before the Zionist invasion, albeit embracing all technological and societal developments. Our true and sincere aspirations are long lasting peace, justice and freedom.
We believe that restoring Palestine for all its people will lay out the true foundations of Palestinian society, and inscribe us harmoniously in the international community, contrary to the present day occupation entity, “Israel,” which is the root cause of so many difficulties and excesses in the world community, whether in the UN or elsewhere, where “Israel” and its multinational lobby groups are fomenting wars and racial-religious friction, making international cooperation extremely difficult.
As Palestinians, we are grateful and appreciative of the hard work of all our supporters; however, we are under no obligation to hold back our march for freedom, to curtail our aims or to abandon our rights for the sake of accommodating and not offending some of the Jewish supporters who still believe that “Israel” has the right to exist as a Jewish state inside the 1948 borders.
Palestinians have the ultimate right to choose their vision for their future, of a free Palestine, including the type of government, writing of our constitution, constructing and implementing legal and systems, all of which stems from and corresponds to our ethics and reflects and protects our culture.
A Palestinian legal team of professionals and advisors must be established to prepare the legal framework and procedures, upon which laws of immigration and citizenship are defined, on the basis of which Palestinian citizenship are granted, including defining who has a Right to Remain in liberated Palestine, depending on the place of birth and providing s/he is able to respect Palestinian law, and adopt a conduct respective of the community around.
All Palestinian refugees and their descendants have the unconditional right to come back home; we, the rightful indigenous owners are also entitled to the reinstatement of ALL confiscated (stolen) land and property, compensation for all our losses over the many years of exile, and we are also entitled to Palestinian citizenship wherever we are.
We Palestinians have not given up before, and have no intention to give up now. We will continue to pursue the course of JUSTICE and LIBERATION by all means deemed necessary and appropriate, by upholding universal humanist ethics, within the frame of International Law.

Thus, our vision for a just and peaceful settlement entails:

REVOKING ISRAEL’S UN MEMBERSHIP:
The settler/colonial occupation is in breach of all foundational UN Charters, and has violated and defied more UN resolutions and charter principles than any other country. This illegitimate entity has none of the qualifications necessary, neither moral nor legal nor political, required to obtain and maintain UN membership. Its current membership represents a mockery of international law, and is a disgrace to humanity. Israel’s UN membership should have never been granted in the first place. The revocation of Israel’s UN membership is a necessity, as a step towards the rehabilitation of the already-battered framework of International Law. Concurrently, all of Israel’s institutions, laws, policies and practices must be abolished, since they discriminate against people based on religion and ethnicity.
FULL LIBERATION of HISTORIC PALESTINE:
Palestine, known as “The Holy Land”, must be free from racist atrocities. Contrary to all failed attempts, road-maps and fake negotiations which serve as dilatory measure enabling more land grabs and atrocities, the concept of full liberation and full sovereignty for Palestinians carries only advantages; including the ability to prosecute them for crimes against humanity. To bring reason to the Holy Land, it is necessary to first recognize the fact that the Jewish-Zionist occupation is the sole reason there is strife in this land in the first place, and secondly, it is necessary to look back at the status pro ante, to discover that a liberated Palestine whose institutions will inevitably reflect Palestinian culture and social fabric, will be endlessly more apt to be a good standing member of the UN, and a good neighbor and partner to the world.
FULL SOVEREIGNTY of the Palestinian Nation over their ancestral country:
The Palestinian Nation has like any other nation has the aspiration and the right to select a political system, to adopt a constitution and re-construct the country. For the sake of international peace and security, it is time to return Palestine to its peaceful owners.
PROSECUTION OF WAR CRIMINALS:
A Palestinian judiciary and immigration system, will respectively prosecute former Israeli criminals and their associates, and/or grant or decline (on an individual basis), a Right to Remain in Palestine, based on criteria solely to be defined by said Immigration and Integration Services. This system should be put into place immediately.
RETURN, RESTITUTION and COMPENSATIONS:
Palestinian refugees have the unconditional Right of Return. Palestine and the Palestinian Nation at large, are entitled to full and unconditional restitution of the land and property whenever possible, coupled with appropriate compensation for more than seven decades of deprivation and slow genocide, cultural destruction, and a whole array of atrocities and usurpation.
PALESTINIAN CITIZENSHIP and NATURALISATION:
In the future democratic state of Palestine situated from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, Palestinians are the rightful citizens. Palestinians include those who live in the occupied homeland, and include all refugees living abroad and their descendants, all those have unrestricted right to Palestinian citizenship. For former Jewish Israelis, plans should be set on course to grant or decline on an individual basis a right to remain, based on criteria defined by an Immigration and Integration Service. Such criteria could take into consideration place of birth and the irrefutable proof of non-participation in the former Israeli occupation apparatus and its crimes, and the demonstration during a certain period, of the candidate’s ability and willingness to be law-abiding; respecting land, culture and his/her compatriots irrespective of religion or race. Subsequently the right to remain would be followed by unrestricted Palestinian citizenship, with equal rights. The whole procedure would be within the future framework of Palestinian Laws of Immigration and Naturalization. Undoubtedly, Palestinian immigration policies will adhere to international norms.
We hereby, call upon our friends and supporters -who hold the tragedy of Palestine, the dispossession of Palestinians of their own ancestral land dear at their heart-, to reflect upon the meaning of justice in the context of a history saturated with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We consider any negotiations that do not lead to implementing the above as null and void. Also, we consider any and all individuals and institutions that do not adhere to our call as illegitimate representatives of our people and rights.
Thus, we call upon our people and institutions to rally behind this APPEAL and to work diligently to implement it.
We, also call upon our friends and supporters to join us in our declaration and our endeavors.
Furthermore, we call upon Jewish organizations and individuals, to take their responsibility seriously, we invite them to actively participate in restoring justice, righting the wrong, and facilitating the peaceful resolve of this chronic injustice by engaging positively, effectively and wholeheartedly to bring real change of “facts on the ground”, thus offering a remedy for healing of the Holy Land and its people, once and for all.
Moreover, we suggest they create a new Jewish fund, with agreement of every donor, to support the full and unconditional liberation in an effort to begin the lengthy process for Restitution, Reparation and Compensation for the Palestinians. A long overdue process, that will inevitably erase the seven decades long and ongoing Jewish crimes against the land of Palestine and its indigenous people.
LET US UNITE TO STOP THE MACHINE
LET US UNITE TO STOP THE SELL OUT

Signatures:

1) Nahida Izzat (AKA Exiled Palestinian) ………    Al-Quds/ Palestine
2) Mariam George ………………….. Palestine
3) Nadia Gheith ………………….. Palestine
4) Ibsal Assi Assi ………………….. Palestine
5) Ibtisam  Harb (Ibti Smile)………………….. Palestine
6) Abed Nakhleh
7) Peter Alan Foley ……………………………UK
8) Daniel Dewulf
9) Tanya Mango
10) Robert Elias Abu Shanab
11) Steven Wertheim
12) Deema Ash
13) Shawn Ryan
14) Ivan Maffei
15) Marlene Newesri
16) Rahma Yassin
17) Roger Tucker     ……………………….. Mexico
18)  Jacqueline Conway
19) Gennifer Hope
20) Aliyah Rehman ……………………………UK
21) Daniel john Morgan ……………………………UK
22) Sofia Rehman ……………………………UK
23) Mazhar Rehman……………………………UK
24) Ian Ligertwood  ……………………………UK
25) Hassan Al Nimer ………………………….. Palestine
26) Mick Breen
27) Greta Berlin
28) Amaneh Margaret Brown
29) Raya Jaser ………………………Palestine
30) Aman Syr
31) Redaa Ameeroedien
32) Abdool Karrimbaccus Subratty
33) Lothar Jung
34) Brian Edouard Curdy
35) Sri Utami
36) Indo Alam
37)  Dean Sofić
38)  Reem Ghaith
39) Bader Yousef
40) Maria Rita Pirastu
41) Michel Iffrig
42) Maher Azzam  ………………….. Palestine
43) Wim Wimman
44) Sana Amawai……. Yaffa/ Palestine
45) Roohi Aamir Noor Khan
46) Greta Berlin
47) Samira Ahmad

Weekly Report on Israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine

PCHR Weekly Report: 11 civilians wounded, 59 abducted; 350 trees cut by Israeli troops this week

 Friday April 12, 2013 01:06 by PCHR-Gaza  

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 04- 10 April 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, wounding 11.

Young protester abducted by Israeli undercover unit during protest in Al-Eesawiya village (PCHR photo)
Young protester abducted by Israeli undercover unit during protest in Al-Eesawiya village (PCHR photo)
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to open fire at Palestinian fishing boats, restricting the permitted fishing area to 3 nautical miles instead of the 6 nautical mile limit that was agreed in the ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in November 2012.

A photographer for the Popular Resistance Movement against the Annexation Wall and Settlements in al-Nabi Saleh village sustained burns to his face. 10 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and 1 woman, were abducted during protests in support of prisoners in the Israeli jails.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

Israeli forces conducted 78 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 55 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were abducted during those incursions. Among the abducted was the former prisoner, Tha’er Halahla.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a woman, in the West Bank. They were all wounded during peaceful protests organised by Palestinian civilians against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities and in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were abducted at checkpoints.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence continued to open fire. On 06 April 2013, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at houses and agricultural lands in al-Qarara village and around al-Sreij gate. No casualties were reported.

Israeli forces continued to chase fishermen at sea. On 08 April 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing 2 nautical miles offshore. As a result, the fishermen returned to shore, fearing that they would be wounded or abducted. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported. A similar incident occurred on 10 April 2013.

It should be noted that, on Thursday, 21 March 2013, Israeli forces announced that the nautical mile limit would be reduced from 6 to 3 nautical miles. Israeli forces had permitted fishermen to sail up to 6 nautical miles offshore following the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in November 2012.

Israeli forces continued to open fire in the border area in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces opened fire at houses and agricultural lands in al-Qarara village, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. During the reporting period, Israeli forces completely closed the commercial border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They closed Karm Abu Salem crossing for 4 consecutive days because of Jewish holidays. This closure negatively affected the entry of goods, construction materials and medical consignments in the Gaza Strip. It also had a negative impact on the living conditions of Palestinian civilians.

Israeli forces also imposed comprehensive security restrictions due to the Jewish holiday of Passover. As a result, thousands of Palestinian workers were denied access to their work in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, Palestinian traders were denied access to Israel and/or travel via the border crossings between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On Saturday, 06 April 2013, a unit of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by three military vehicles, raided agricultural lands surrounding the Um Akhwas area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The soldiers were deployed in the area and prohibited Palestinian farmers and shepherds from working on the land, declaring that the land had been confiscated. The soldiers ordered the farmers and shepherds to leave the area and declared it a closed military zone. When the farmers and shepherds refused to leave their lands, the Israeli soldiers assaulted them, beat them severely and attempted to arrest some of them, but international peace activists intervened and stopped them.

On Sunday, 07 April 2013, a group of settlers from “Tekoa” settlement, established southwest of Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem, raided the afore-mentioned village. The settlers wrote “Paying the Price” and drew the Star of David on Bilal Bin Rabah mosque and Salah al-Din al-Ayouby mosque in al-‘Amour neighbourhood, in the south of the village. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Mohammed al-Badan, Head of the Youth Council in the village, said that the settlers damaged the car tyres of vehicles.

On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, a group of settlers, from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost, established on land belonging to Palestinian civilians in Tal al-Remyda area, central Hebron, confiscated a tract of land belonging to a 48-year old man, extended an agricultural irrigation system and supplied it with water through the afore-mentioned settlement outpost, and planted it with vegetable seeds.

On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Planning and Building Department in the Israeli Civil Administration, raided al-Dirat area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They presented a 42-year old man with a notice ordering him to halt construction work on a tin structure, built on a 100 square metre area, which was being used as a barn for cattle, under the pretext that it had been built without first obtaining a permit from the Israeli authorities.

On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a truck, raided the Emdimna area, located between al-Thaherya and al-Ramadeen villages, south of Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the farmlands and cut down 100 olive trees and 250 almond trees, which were 5 years old, with saws, confiscated them and loaded them into the truck.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli forces, accompanied by a number of military vehicles, a bulldozer, and a vehicle of the Planning and Building Department in the Israeli Civil Administration, raided al-Dirat area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They bulldozed a 70-cubic-metre water well, belonging to a 45-year old man, claiming that he had not obtained a permit.

On Wednesday morning, 10 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by an officer of the Israeli Civil Administration, raided the Um Hadida area, east of Nahalin village, southwest of Bethlehem, and placed notices on the lands of two Palestinian civilians, aged 60 and 71. The notices ordered them to evacuate their 3 dunums of land.

Also on Wednesday, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, raided the Kherbat Qalqas area, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer presented a 48-year old man with a demolition notice for his family residence, under the pretext that it had been built without a permit. The 2-storey house was built established on an area of 200 square metres and shelters his family of 11 people.

Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:

In the West Bank, in an example of the systematic use of excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded Belal Abdul Salam Hassan al-Tamimi, 47, when they sprayed pepper spray in his face. It should be noted that al-Tamimi is a photographer for the Popular Resistance Movement against the Annexation Wall and Settlements in al-Nabi Saleh village. Many more civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Palestinian civilians organised many peaceful protests in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially those on hunger strike. Israeli forces used excessive force against the protesters; as a result, 10 civilians, including 3 children and 1 woman, were wounded. In addition, many civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

On 04 April 2013, an 18-year-old man was wounded by a bullet to the right cheek during a peaceful protest near the annexation wall in the southern part of Beit Luqia village, southwest of Ramallah. In addition, 2 children were wounded in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, during a similar protest in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of the village.

On 05 April 2013, a 16-year-old boy was wounded by a plastic-coated bullet to the back of the head during a protest organised at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. In addition, 1 child was wounded in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, during a similar protest in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of the village.

At approximately 12:00 on Friday, 05 April 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians, activists with the Popular Committees against Settlement Activity and the Hebron Defence Committee, and international human rights activists gathered in al-Haraiek area, southeast of Hebron, for a peaceful demonstration calling for the route linking Hebron to its southern villages to be reopened; it has been closed for the past 12 years. These villages are al-Rayhia, al-Thaheria, Doura, and al-Fawar Refugee Camp. Upon arrival at the steel gate which blocks the road leading to Bypass Road 60, Israeli forces surrounded the area and declared it a closed military zone, ordering the demonstrators to leave immediately. The soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstration. A number of protesters fainted as a result of tear gas inhalation.

Friday protests were also held in the towns of Bil’in, Naileen, Nabi Saleh (where a 45-year old photographer sustained burns in the face after being sprayed with pepper spray), Al Masara and Kafr Kaddoum.

On 06 April 2013, a 45-year-old woman was wounded by a plastic-coated bullet to the back while she was standing in front of her house in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.

On 07 April 2013, a 17-year-old boy was hit by a tear gas canister to the head during a peaceful protest in the Um Rokba area, south of Bethlehem. On the same day, an 11-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the right side of his face during a protest organised at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

On 09 April 2013, an 18-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the right leg, while an 11-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the left side of his head during a protest organised at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these was a recommendation that the United Nations provide international protection to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the Gaza Strip.

In addition, the PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

For the full text of the report, click

 
 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

What Christians Don’t Know About Israel

Note:  This article was written in 1998 by the late Grace Halsell.  Sadly it remains relevant today.
 
April 10, 2013 “Information Clearing House” –   American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.
The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.
 
I am one of those. I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, allegorical, spiritual Israel. This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window- type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies.
 
In my early 20s, I began traveling the world, earning my living as a writer. I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School.
And typical of many U.S. Christians, I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, mystical Israel I heard about as a child. When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. “We eat politics, morning, noon and night!”
 
As I would learn, the politics is about land, and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2,000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, I saw, heard, smelled, experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians.
 
My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, but also I came to a deeper, and sadder, understanding of my own country. I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, in Middle East politics, we the people are not making the decisions, but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. And typical of most Americans, I tended to think the U.S. media was “free” to print news impartially.
 
‘It shouldn’t be published. It’s anti-Israel.’
 
In the late 1970s, when I first went to Jerusalem, I was unaware that editors could and would classify “news” depending on who was doing what to whom. On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. About one in four related stories of torture.
 
Israeli police had come in the night, dragged them from their beds and placed hoods over their heads. Then in jails the Israelis had kept them in isolation, besieged them with loud, incessant noises, hung them upside down and had sadistically mutilated their genitals. I had not read such stories in the U.S. media. Wasn’t it news? Obviously, I naively thought, U.S. editors simply didn’t know it was happening.
 
On a trip to Washington, DC, I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, then head of the public radio station WETA. I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. And I’d make them available to him. I got no reply. I made several phone calls. Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, a Ms. Cohen, who said my letter had been lost. I wrote again. In time I began to realize what I hadn’t known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, it would be news. But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost” at WETA.
 
The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Bill Griffin, who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, was a former Roman Catholic priest. He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. As I researched the book, making several trips to Israel and Palestine, I met frequently with Griffin, showing him sample chapters. “Terrific,” he said of my material.
 
The day the book was scheduled to be published, I went to visit MacMillan’s. Checking in at a reception desk, I spotted Griffin across a room, cleaning out his desk. His secretary Margie came to greet me. In tears, she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. When we were alone, she confided, “He’s been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Griffin, she said, had no time to see me.
 
Later, I met with another MacMillan official, William Curry. “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, to let them read it for mistakes,” he told me. “They were not pleased. They asked me, “You are not going to publish this book, are you?” I asked, “Were there mistakes?” “Not mistakes as such. But it shouldn’t be published. It’s anti-Israel.”
 
Somehow, despite obstacles to prevent it, the presses had started rolling. After its publication in 1980, I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Back then, there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, demolition of Palestinian homes, wan ton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians.
 
The Same Question
 
Speaking of these injustices, I invariably heard the same question, “How come I didn’t know this?” Or someone might ask, “But I haven’t read about that in my newspaper.” To these church audiences, I related my own learning experience, that of seeing hordes of U.S. correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, Moscow, London, Tokyo, Paris. Why, I asked, did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, with a billion people?
 
I also linked this query with my findings that The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post — and most of our nation’s print media – are owned and/or controlled by Jews supportive of Israel. It was for this reason, I deduced, that they sent so many reporters to cover Israel — and to do so largely from the Israeli point of view.
My learning experiences also included coming to realize how easily I could lose a Jewish friend if I criticized the Jewish state. I could with impunity criticize France, England, Russia, even the United States. And any aspect of life in America. But not the Jewish state. I lost more Jewish friends than one after the publication of Journey to Jerusalem — all sad losses for me and one, perhaps, saddest of all.
 
In the 1960s and 1970s, before going to the Middle East, I had written about the plight of blacks in a book entitled Soul Sister, and the plight of American Indians in a book entitled Bessie Yellowhair, and the problems endured by undocumented workers crossing from Mexico in The Illegals. These books had come to the attention of the “mother” of The New York Times, Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger.
 
Her father had started the newspaper, then her husband ran it, and in the years that I knew her, her son was the publisher. She invited me to her fashionable apartment on Fifth Avenue for lunches and dinner parties. And, on many occasions, I was a weekend guest at her Greenwich, Conn., home.
 
She was liberal-minded and praised my efforts to speak for the underdog, even going so far in one letter to say, “You are the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered — from her point of view — the “wrong” underdog.
 
As it happened, I was a weekend guest in her spacious Connecticut home when she read bound galleys of Journey to Jerusalem. As I was leaving, she handed the galleys back with a saddened look: “My dear, have you forgotten the Holocaust?” She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state. She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians.
 
I realized, quite painfully, that our friendship was ending. Iphigene Sulzberger had not only invited me to her home to meet her famous friends but, also at her suggestion, The Times had requested articles. I wrote op-ed articles on various subjects including American blacks, American Indians as well as undocumented workers. Since Mrs. Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, the dichotomy became apparent: most “liberal” U.S. Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one — the Palestinians.
 
How handily these liberal Jewish opinion-molders tend to diminish the Palestinians, to make them invisible, or to categorize them all as “terrorists.”
 
Interestingly, Iphigene Sulzberger had talked to me a great deal about her father, Adolph S. Ochs. She told me that he was not one of the early Zionists. He had not favored the creation of a Jewish state.
 
Yet, increasingly, American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. While the ethical instructions of all great religions — including the teachings of Moses, Muhammad and Christ — stress that all human beings are equal, militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count.
Over five decades now, Zionists have killed Palestinians with impunity. And in the 1996 shelling of a U.N. base in Qana, Lebanon, the Israelis killed more than 100 civilians sheltered there. As an Israeli journalist, Arieh Shavit, explains of the massacre, “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.”
 
Israelis today, explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, “are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become “the Bible.” And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.
In the teachings of Christ, there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. He sought to heal the wounded, to comfort the downtrodden.
 
The danger, of course, for U.S. Christians is that having made an icon of Israel, we fall into a trap of condoning whatever Israel does — even wanton murder — as orchestrated by God.
 
Yet, I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights.
 
While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, they worry about grassroots America — the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Thus far, most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn’t know about Israel. They were indoctrinated by U.S. supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. That being the case, it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
This is gradually changing, however. And this change disturbs the Israelis. As an example, delegates attending a Christian Sabeel conference in Bethlehem earlier this year said they were harassed by Israeli security at the Tel Aviv airport.
 
“They asked us,” said one delegate, “Why did you use a Palestinian travel agency? Why didn’t you use an Israeli agency?” The interrogation was so extensive and hostile that Sabeel leaders called a special session to brief the delegates on how to handle the harassment. Obviously, said one delegate, “The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. They don’t want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel.”
 

60 Minutes on the Exodus of Christian Palestinians

Jimmy Carter Unveils Truth About Israel

     

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

‘Demise of Christianity in Palestine’

‘Demise of Christianity in Palestine’

‘Demise of Christianity in Palestine’
(private collection, Kuwait)

Palestinians mark 65th anniversary of Deir Yassin massacre

 Tuesday April 09, 2013 22:50 by IMEMC News Staff  

In Palestine and around the world on Tuesday, Palestinians and their supporters held vigils and events to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the massacre of over one hundred Palestinian civilians in Deir Yassin village, in what is now Israel.

Deir Yassin massacre (image from Palestine Solidarity Project)
Deir Yassin massacre (image from Palestine Solidarity Project)
April 9th, 1948 marks the date of one of a number of massacres committed by Jewish militia members trying to establish the Israeli state on Palestinian land. The massacre created an atmosphere of terror, that led many more towns and villages of Palestinians to flee from their homes.

The Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem describes the Deir Yassin massacre as follows: Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village of some 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover. In all over 100 Palestinian men, women, and children were systematically murdered.

Joseph Weitz, the founder of the Jewish National Fund (which owns the vast majority of land in what is now Israel, wrote in 1940 that Plan Dalet should consist of the following: “Mounting operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories: Destruction of villages – setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris – especially those population centres which are difficult to control continuously; Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Dina Elmuti, whose grandmother was a child at the time living in Deir Yassin, and survived the massacre, wrote in an article today on The Electronic Intifada, “Fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sons were lined up against a wall and sprayed with bullets, execution style. Beloved teachers were savagely mutilated with knives. Mothers and sisters were taken hostage and those who survived returned to find pools of blood filling the streets of the village and children stripped of their childhoods overnight.

“The walls of homes, which once stood witness to warmth, laughter and joy, were splattered with the blood and imprints of traumatic memories. My grandmother lost 37 members of her family that day. These are not stories you will read about in most history books.”

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has documented the destruction of over 450 Palestinian villages between 1947 and 1949, and the forced displacement of over 750,000 Palestinian people from their homes in what is now Israel

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The right of return is a core issue for Palestinians ; let’s realize it

 

4 April 2013

130404-right-of-return.jpg

Realizing the right of return requires a transition from remembrance to action.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)

This weekend a group of area students including myself will be hosting a groundbreaking conference at Boston University addressing the complex realities of the implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return. The goal of this conference is to shape a new narrative that is focused on how to bring about return from a practical standpoint.

“I do not accept the version that [we] should encourage their [the Palestinians’] return … we should prevent their return … we must settle Jaffa, Jaffa will become a Jewish city… we must prevent at all costs their return” is what David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, proclaimed after the establishment of the state on Palestinian land in May 1948.

Israel was in fact born after a deliberate Zionist campaign to clear the area of its native inhabitants which resulted in the expulsion of approximately 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and land that they had nurtured, farmed and lived on for hundreds of years. These events are now known by Palestinians the world over as the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” of 1948, and for them, Ben Gurion’s words carry a tragic meaning.

Legacy and pride

My grandparents personally experienced the suffering caused by the Nakba as they hail from Yazur, a village that was located approximately four miles east of the ancient coastal city of Jaffa, now part of of Tel Aviv. Yazur was one of the many villages that were systematically depopulated of their native Palestinian inhabitants during the Zionist forces’ onslaught on the area in 1947 and 1948.

My grandfather had owned and farmed several plots of land in his village and traded citrus fruits. Since Palestine at the time was a predominantly agrarian society, the loss of land entailed more than a loss of territory for him, but also a weakened sense of identity, legacy and pride.

My grandparents were forced to flee Yazur and sought refuge first in the relatively calmer town of Hebron in the West Bank. They were initially under the impression that they would return after a short period of two or three weeks, but later learned that after the establishment of the State of Israel, Palestinian refugees were denied the right to return to their homes. My grandparents eventually settled in Jericho, a West Bank town with a warm climate similar to that of the coast and, like Yazur, famous for its citrus fruits.

My grandfather and his family returned only one time to Yazur — after the 1967 War during which Israel completed its conquest of historic Palestine by occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip. My family were able to travel their village only as visitors, as all claims to their land and property were not recognized by the Israeli authorities. They found that their homes had been destroyed and replaced by new structures owned by Israelis.

Sorrow

My grandfather fell ill after this trip due to the sorrow and disappointment experienced by witnessing the state of his village. Despite their longing for return, the restrictions on even visiting their home increased immensely after the first and second intifada, and both my grandparents passed away in Jericho never to have lived in Yazur again.

For my grandparents, Ben Gurion’s utterance rang true. Their generation of refugees never returned, and Jaffa and Yazur became a part of Israel. Yet Palestinian steadfastness and attachment to the land from which they were expelled was never conquered despite deliberate Israeli efforts to extinguish them.

Millions of Palestinians in increasing numbers across the world commemorate the Nakba every year on the anniversary of the State of Israel’s founding and hold dearly the Right of Return. Yazur and every other village that was depopulated or demolished is remembered and celebrated.

The campaign of ethnic cleansing that accompanied Israel’s founding made more than half of the total Palestinian population refugees, and the Right of Return thus materialized into an integral and inseparable component of the struggle for liberation and equality.

In fact until justice is achieved, the Right of Return is a central and unshakable component of contemporary Palestinian identity. This inalienable right will thus never be forgotten despite repeated attempts on the part of Israel to obstruct its implementation and prevent its discussion by promoting falsehoods about the origins of the refugee issue.

Action

The Right of Return however, requires a transition from imagination and remembrance — which has generally characterized the discourse so far — towards action. With growing recognition and awareness of the injustices perpetrated against Palestinians, the academic/institutional conversation and examination of the Right must begin to move beyond pointing out the numerous legal and moral justifications for the Return, and instead build plans for practical implementation.

Despite claims to the contrary there are no insurmountable demographic, cultural or spatial obstacles to materializing a Return. This point must be highlighted and used against views that only focus on the obstacles.

Tthe Right of Return Conference will provide a platform for these ideas. The goal is to expand the discourse relating to the Palestinian plight for justice by incorporating the practical methods and implications of Return.

By bringing together leading voices from across the Palestinian Diaspora as well as numerous academics and activists who are instrumental in the global movement for Palestinian rights, we hope to spur new ideas from around the world and create a space for developing the mechanics of the Right of Return’s implementation. We hope the Conference’s output will be an important step in the creation and development of a new narrative that can be used to overcome the political obstacles to Palestinian return, restitution, justice and liberation.

Raed Habayeb is a member of the Right of Return Conference Organizing Committee. He is a MBA student at Boston University and also holds a master’s degree in government and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering.

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Palestinian Amer Nassar, aged seventeen: A last poem

 

Amer Nassar
 

Last night and overnight, two unarmed teenagers, cousins Amer Nassar (17) and Naji Abdul-Karim Balbeisi (18) were shot dead by Israeli Defence Force troops.

The two were from the village of Anabta, near the town of Tulkarm, in Palestine’s West Bank. Tulkarm was founded in the 13th century, its name derived from the Aramaic “Toor Karma” meaning “mount of vineyards.”

Amer died from a bullet in his chest at 22.30 on Wednesday night, according to eye witnesses. Hearing shots, three boys from the village went out and found Amer lying on the ground, with soldiers standing over him. When they tried to reach him, the soldiers opened fire, injuring one, Fadi Abu-A’sr, in the arm, and subsequently hospitalized.

The three say that ambulance crews were prevented from reaching Amer for thirty vital minutes, with threats to shoot anyone attempting to intervene. Deiyaa’ Nasser, who did attempt to reach Amer:“was arrested by the Israeli Army and taken to an unknown location.”

Naji Abdul-Karim Balbisi, was found as dawn broke this morning, lying in a field. He was reported to have been shot from behind.

Tensions have been high in Gaza and the West Bank since the death of Maysara Abu Hamidya in Israel’s Soroko prison on 2nd April. Sixty five year old Abu Hamidya was a former high ranking officer in the Palestinian Authority (PA) prior to his arrest, which took place when the IDA invaded the West Bank, destroying PA Headquarter buildings, in May 2002.

Palestinian authorities have claimed that the prison was withholding treatment for his cancer. On Monday released prisoner Ayman Sharawna alleged that Hamdiya was in a life threatening condition in the prison infirmary – with his hands and feet shackled.

The Director of the Palestinian Prisoner Society has held the Israeli regime fully responsible for his death.

So, as Palestinians mark another onslaught, the massacre in the Jenin refugee camp (April 1st-11th 2002) the mourning, heartbreak, lost lives and lost youth grind on. But so does the spirit, in young and old.

Seventeen year old Amer Nassar left a poem. When others of his age write on Facebook of their dreams, aspirations, exams, plans, dates, travels, on 15th March, his last entry, he wrote (translated):

“Point your bullet where ever you like in my body
I will die today, but my homeland will live tomorrow
Be careful, Palestine is a red line.”


He did not die on March 15th, but just two weeks and three days later, at the hands of “the most moral army” and the “only democracy in the Middle East.”

(The writer is indebted to the resident of Palestine who drew attention to and translated Amer’s poem and to the International Solidarity Movement, for their careful details of another tragedy.)
– Felicity Arbuthnot is a freelance journalist specializing in social and environmental issues with a special knowledge of Iraq.

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