west bank and gaza
Father Roy writes: This one is a good one to circulate. I highlighted three words. Peace, Roy
Source: The Washington Post
By Zahi Khouri, Published: August 9
I am a proud American. I am a hardworking businessman and job creator. I am a faithful Christian.
And I am Palestinian.
Much as my multiple identities might drive Mitt Romney to head scratching, it is he who needs a lesson in, to borrow his recent words, “culture and a few other things.”
Were he to spend a day with me in the Holy Land, I could take him to the Jerusalem neighborhood where my family home has stood for five centuries. I could show him the orange trees in Jaffa that my family helped introduce to the world in the 1930s.
That’s right: Jaffa oranges are a Palestinian, not Israeli, trademark. Yet like so many “cultural” markers claimed by the self-professed Jewish state, even the fruit trees my people have tended for centuries have been expropriated.
Romney might be duped into thinking that oranges, falafel and hummus — staples of Palestinian cuisine for generations — are Israeli products. But how dare he claim that a state built at the expense of another people’s history and accomplishments is guided by “the hand of providence”?
Israel did not make the desert bloom. Instead, thanks to a deal struck with the British viceroys of Mandate Palestine, it made away with a land, a set of institutions and, indeed, a culture that was not its own.
It did so at the expense of my people. Like more than three-quarters of Palestine’s population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel’s creation in 1948. Even though we had to abandon our successful businesses and centuries-old homes, however, we did not become the “uncultured” victims that Romney’s caricature suggests.
Most of us went to other Arab countries, where Palestinians became known for our business acumen and management know-how, and helped to build nascent private and public sectors. Ask our fellow Arabs in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region and they will tell you: Palestinian culture, with its premium on education and hard work, has been a force for hope, development and prosperity.
Despite their circumstances, Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation share the same culture and proudly claim the same remarkable achievements. I, for one, returned to Palestine in 1993 to launch the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in the West Bank. It was granted a Best Country Bottling Operation award in May by Coca-Cola, a testament to my colleagues’ ingenuity and determination. But these traits alone cannot overcome the stifling effects of Israel’s occupation.
If Romney got one thing right, it’s that Israelis far outdo Palestinians in net wealth. In fact, his estimates of the disparity were too conservative: Israel’s per capita gross domestic product is roughly $32,000 to the Palestinians’ $1,500.
Remarkably, that $1,500 figure is roughly half of what Palestinians claimed in 1993, when the Oslo accords were signed. In other words, the U.S.-sponsored peace process has made us poorer.
How is that possible?
Palestinians have no say in our economic development. Every resource — water, land, soil, minerals, airspace, humans — is controlled and commandeered by Israel, which then deigns to sell us back a small portion.
In the West Bank, for example, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, about 2.5 million people.
Palestinians have no control over our borders. This means we cannot import or export without being subject to discriminatory measures by our occupier. It also means that, without Israeli permission, we cannot hire experts to enhance our employees’ skills or send employees for overseas training.
Worse, we are restricted within the territories ostensibly under our “control.” At any given time, there are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks and other barriers to movement within the occupied West Bank — an area smaller than Delaware — hindering Palestinians and their goods from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.
Palestinian development of all kinds is severely hindered by the Israeli occupation. Yet Palestinians have not given up. Palestine has one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. Our youth continue to graduate from our universities, opening businesses and gaining skills. Our private sector innovates and grows.
All of this is happening on the 22 percent of historic Palestine that is the West Bank and Gaza. If Romney had any historical perspective, he would dispose of his racist judgments about Palestinian culture and instead imagine our potential without Israel’s imposed hindrances.
Father Roy writes:
Peers, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a tangible focal point:Jerusalem. The word “Jerusalem” means “City of Peace”. An international debate over the future status of Jerusalem is now in progress, on-line as well as off-line. To hear from the Palestinian side, read MIFTAH’s latest mailing pasted below. To learn the extent to which Israeli officials are incensed that the debate has grown international, watch this short video: BBC Refuses To Name Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital (04:47).
The Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian, states the obvious in the language of diplomacy: ”Jerusalem remains the key to peace. Ultimately it is what happens to Jerusalem that will determine whether a viable peace is achieved or not. Unless the International Community can build peace based on a just foundation, it is difficult to imagine a permanent resolution of the conflict.” Karen Armstrong explains why this is true in an article published in Time Magazine: Why Jerusalem Was Central To Muhammad. For additional reading: www.sabeel.org… and www.cmep.org….
President Obama literally caused global warming when he told an AIPAC conference that Jerusalem must remain “undivided” and ”Israel’s eternal capital. America’s President missed a peacemaking opportunity that day which would have been consistent with even his own foreign policy. All the President needed to say was that Jerusalem must remain “undivided and SHARED”. Peers, let’s think about the matter. Let’s think more and more deeply. It’s not too late for President Obama to correct his mistake. All he has to do is finish his sentence. Let’s Contact The White House and insist that he do. Please read on.
I appreciate that this article is not directly about Israel or Palestine but the Middle-East is an intricate web with complex relationships of inter-dependence. Certainly the Western interest in Syria has little to do with the suffering of the human beings involved but is far more related to the weakening of the Shiite alliance (Syria-Hezbollah/Lebanon-Iran). Rightly or wrongly, the US and the Saudis and Israel and their friends see the collapse of the Assad government as something that will lead to regime change in Iran. Ahmadinejad is the real target. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
This article by Michael Collins is brilliant in its blunt expose of the lies we are being fed. Of course it’s basically the same spin we’ve been swallowing on Israel/Palestine for years.
July 30, 2012
How we know what we know about Syria
By Michael Collins
How do we know what we know about Syria? The press relies on a one man operation for news from Syria. The UN has a Saudi friendly NGO claim “crimes against humanity.” NATO and the oil oligarchies own the spin. we are lied to systematically.
Obama administration support for Syrian rebels is based on a United Nations authorized report from November 2011. In that document, Syria is accused of committing “crimes against humanity.” The report’s co-author is a board member at a Washington, D.C. based think tank that just happens to have the former chairman of ExxonMobil, a consultant for the Saudi Binladin Group, and a former CIA executive on its board of directors.
Much of the U.S. and European press on the so-called civil war originates from a tiny organization in the United Kingdom called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (the Observatory). The one man operation is run by a longtime opponent of Syrian Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
For the most part, this is how we know what we know about Syria.
The “human rights” rationale
The United Nations Human Rights Council authorized an independent committee to study human rights in Syria in 2011. The committee didn’t visit Syria, claiming that the three members lacked access. Instead members set up a safe house in Switzerland, brought in individuals who claimed to have fled Syria, and took anonymous testimony on human rights concerns. This was the basis of the November 23, 2011 report to the UN HRC criticizing the Assad regime.
The report co-author, Karen Koning AbuZayd, is on the board of directors for the Middle East Policy Council in Washington DC. The board’s vice chairman is the former head of a non-government organization that received over $50 million in 2011from U.S. Agency for International Development and other government agencies. The council received a $1 million grant from a Saudi prince in 2007.
The council strongly supports regime change in Syria as evidenced by the selection the spokesperson from the rebel Syrian National Council as a presenter for its July 23 Capitol Hill briefing for Congress.
The UN HRC failed to report on foreign fighters in Syria, foreign funding of the rebels, and human rights violations by the rebels over the past year, including terrorist suicide bombing. The report is selective, biased, and one sided. It is also the basis for of sanctions plus NATO and Gulf oil oligarch aid that turned an armed conflict into a civil war.
News from the front, Coventry, UK
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory is a one man operation located in Coventry, United Kingdom. Rami Abdul Rahman dispatches reports to the Western media from his apartment. He claims to have 200 sources on the ground in Syria. The sources don’t know other sources and their names are a secret that only Abdul Rahman knows. He has not been there since his self-exile in 2001. He claims to be self-funded. He was part of the resistance to Assad and supports the Free Syria Army. Rahman is hardly objective yet his operation serves as the preeminent source for much of the Western media reporting on Syria.
Here are some recent examples of the Observatory in action. Their allegations are often cited in the first or second paragraphs of stories on the conflict,
MSNBC uses the Observatory for day to day reports on battles and outcomes: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group, reported helicopter attacks on the central Salaheddine district of Aleppo and fighting elsewhere in the city.” MSNBC, July 28
Bloomberg cited the Observatory for summary statistics on total deaths in the conflict on both sides: “International and regional efforts have failed to end the violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 and has left at least 19,000 people dead, including about 5,000 government troops, according to the Observatory.” Bloomberg, July 27
Even Aljazeera uses the observatory as a primary source: “Civilians crowded into basements seeking refuge from the bombing, with the SOHR’s Rami Abdel Rahman describing the clashes as the uprisings fiercest“. Aljazeera, July 29
The Western media apparently ignores itself. Reuters, which uses Observatory reports, did a profile of the organization and concluded that “it is virtually impossible to verify any data trickling out of the country.” The media also ignored a major investigative article in Alakhbar, January 26. It provides more than enough reasons to question the death toll estimates, action reports, and the stability of the Observatory.
If regime change is such a great idea, why twist the truth and torture logic?
The ruling elite want to keep its Saudi oil connection pumping and the contracts from the Gulf States alive. It is about oil and money. But it’s about much more than that.
The Money Party (aka ruling elite) has one set of tactics for achieving their goals — intimidation, subversion, war, and destruction. These are very blunt instruments. Why not? Who will stop them? Assad is pro-Iranian, he’s in power, and he won’t leave. So, what to do? Take control of the storyline, create a rationale for the anti-Syrian campaign, and get your minions in the two parties and the corporate media to execute the strategy.
While the country and much of the world languishes in a real depression, the leaders waste time on projects like this. As we face the imminent decline in the ability of the environment to support the human population, there’s no real effort to address that issue. The leaders are just too busy with Syria.
What will The Money Party do if it doesn’t get its way right away? Does the term false flag ring a bell?
February 1, 2007: “If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq (Syria), the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a defensive U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan”" (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Senate Foreign Relations Committee countering George W Bush’s push for an attack on Iran – See Quds Force II – the Storyline Repeats Itself)
Michael Collins is a writer in the DC area who researches and comments on the corruptions of the new millennium. His articles focus on the financial manipulations of The Money Party, the abuse of power by government, and features on elections and election fraud. His articles can be found a here. His website is The Money PartyRSS
The following article by Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis was published in Haaretz today. Remember Palestinian Land Day!
Why Land Day still matters
Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis
Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians, as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.
The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territories, but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.
On that dreadful day 36 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.
In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded, and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.
The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”
Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population — both Muslims and Christians — ever since.
Thirty-six years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens — code for forced displacement.
Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.
Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.
The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” with such discriminatory policies, and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel — living victims of Israel’s violent establishment — viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive ? The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.
For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine, who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package ? the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.
Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business development consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh in the West Bank. He blogs at www.epalestine.com…. Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee.
It brings joy to my heart to hear one of Australia’s church leaders speak out so unequivocally on behalf the Palestinian people!
Unfortunately the norm is that the church (along with most of the governments of the ‘Western’ world) fears to speak out against any of the actions of the state of Israel, and so the Palestinian people are left to suffer alone. What a blight upon the church this is!
Why are we so shamefully silent? I suppose it’s largely because we fear being labelled as anti-Semitic, and this is understandable, for the church does have a deplorable history of anti-Semitism! Even so, as the Apostle John says, “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18), and it is time that the rest of the church follows the lead of Bishop Pat Powell and shows some genuine love for our persecuted Palestinian sisters and brothers.
Anti-Semitism is a disgusting phenomenon and there is no place for it in the church. Even so, the Palestinian Occupation is the work of a government and not a race of people, and it is time for Christians everywhere to say forth-rightly that we can oppose what the Israeli government is doing to the people of the West Bank and Gaza without this compromising our love for the Jewish people!
A call for peace and justice in the Holy Land
by Bishop Pat Power
The Canberra Times
27 March 2012
Israel must stop abusing Palestinians so trust and respect can prevail.
Hardly a day passes without me being appalled by the plight of the Palestinian people and the apparent indifference of much of the Western world to the injustices suffered by these beleaguered people. I have to admit that before visits to the Holy Land in 1973 and 1988, my sympathies were with Israel whom I saw as a fledgling nation surrounded by hostile Arab neighbours.
The scales fell from my eyes on those visits where I saw a heavy military presence in Jerusalem and other towns, armoured vehicles rumbling up and down the streets, threatening war planes flying overhead and on one occasion just escaping from a tear-gas assault in a busy alleyway in Jerusalem.
In the years since then, successive Israeli governments, with the seeming complicity of the United States, have become more and more emboldened in their violence towards the Palestinian people.
The destruction of Palestinian homes, tearing down beautiful olive groves, building a dreadful wall which isolates Palestinians from one another and makes already difficult movement almost impossible, not to mention the barbarism committed against the people of Gaza in recent years are all examples of a major aggressor scorning any effort to find peace based on justice. Why else would Israel be so consistently in breach on United Nations resolutions?
At the end of February, I accompanied Ali Kazak, former Palestinian representative to Australia, to an International Conference on Jerusalem, held in Doha, Qatar. The conference was convened by the United Arab League and hosted by the Emir of Qatar and attended by over 350 people from all over the world.
I was surprised to find among the participants a number of Jewish rabbis who belong to a group called Jews United Against Zionism. I was able to tell them of the number of Jewish people here in Canberra who have spoken out against atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinian people. I was proud to stand beside Bishop Michael Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the first Palestinian to be appointed to that role. He unsurprisingly spoke strongly in defence of the rights of his people and of the violence to which they are being subjected.
The Doha Declaration at the end of the two-day conference made a wide-ranging appeal for the protection of Palestinian people in Jerusalem and the upholding of their rights.
”We reiterate that the forced eviction of the Jerusalem population by means of the Judaization plans, denying the rights, obliterating the history and heritage, usurping land, and confiscating properties are violations of International Law.
Therefore we are calling on the International powers that are silent about Israeli violations to assume their responsibilities and oblige Israel to implement all international resolutions relevant to Jerusalem. Additionally, we are calling on all relevant agencies of the UN to assume their responsibility towards Jerusalem and its population, ensuring their enjoyment of their city, complete civic, economic and social rights, preserving its sanctities, historical landmarks and human heritage.”
Australia’s new Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, in his maiden speech gave some moving historical examples of religious tolerance. It is my hope that he will raise the awareness of our federal parliamentarians of the need for greater understanding of the injustices being suffered by the Palestinian people. Dialogue which is so urgently needed at the political, racial and religious level will never succeed while there is denial of the ”facts on the ground”.
I tire of seeing our parliamentarians of all political persuasions unquestioningly supporting Israel’s usurping of fundamental Palestinian rights. Much of the tension with Iran would be lessened if that country were to see the Palestinian people being justly treated by Israel and the rest of the international community.
In a paper submitted to the Conference, I concluded: “The 64 years of pain and suffering the Palestinians have endured are enough. The Catholic Church and other Christians have consistently cried out for peace and justice in the Holy Land. The Arab League has rightly demanded that Israel end the occupation and withdraw to the 1967 borders. Jerusalem needs to be secured as a city for all faiths with Muslims and Christians from outside Jerusalem being given the opportunity to pray in the Holy City. Provision needs to be made for the millions of Palestinian refugees by providing right of return and just compensation in accordance with UN Resolution 194.
”I plead for patience and restraint on the part of the Palestinian people, for good will, a sense of justice and practical peace-making actions on the part of Israel and a firm resolve on the part of the international community to broker a peace which is based on justice and respects the dignity and rights of all the people involved. I pray for the climate of trust called for by Pope Benedict and I pray that the God of Abraham will bless these steps towards a peaceful solution in the Holy Land.”
Pat Power is the Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn and long-time supporter of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Original Link: www.canberratimes.com….