Sunday, March 23, 2008

religious fever in jerusalem - the sunrise service of the Lutherians

(c) Anne Paq/, Jerusalem; Easter Sunday, 23 March 2008.
Jerusalem, messe au lever du soleil des Lutheriens, sur le mont des Oliviers pour le dimanche de Paques

religious fever in jerusalem - PURIM

(c) Anne Paq/tourbillonphoto; Jerusalem, 22 March 2008.

Celebration of Purim; Jewish settlers from the Old City are dancing; drunk in front of one of the entrance of Al Aqsa' compound.
Celebration de la fete juive Purim; des colons juifs de la vieille ville dancent en etat d'ebriété à une des entrée de l'esplanade des mosquée devant des Palestiniens

Anoher grimming scene in the West Bank: settlers celebrating the destruction of a Palestinian house by singing

(c) Anne Paq/, 19 March 2008, South Hebron. Palestinians in front of their destroyed house and furniture after a series of demolition carried out by Israeli army. Palestiniens devant leur maison en ruines et les meubles qu'ils ont pu sauver en 15 mn. Des colons ont celebré les démolitions en chantant et applaudissant.

> House demolition, Mnezel Village, Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
> A family of five headed by Salamia Hrezat from the Mnezel Village,
> south of Hebron, close to Ma’on and Al Taiwan became witnessed to the
> demolition of their own home along with the adjacent sheep shelter on
> Wednesday morning around 9 am. A team of seven Israeli police and army
> jeeps and a bulldozer came to the family’s home site for the third
> time around in a one year period, to demolish the impoverished
> family’s house. There were no reasons, no warnings and no documents
> given to the residents. None of the family members were wanted for any
> type of criminal incidents and they were told to stop building another
> one. The illegal Israeli settlement of Karmel is in the village’s
> vicinity and the family are always reminded that they are not allowed
> to build any structure or makeshift shelter even though they own the
> land outright.
> House demolition, Khirbit Kadirat, Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
> A family of 12 headed by Taiseer Al Hadra living in a well established
> two story structure in the village of Khirbit Kadirat lost their home
> to the demolition order undertook by Israeli soldiers. The family
> received a warning five months ago against the building of a second
> floor. The family was also told to hire a lawyer and was given a
> document that attested the demolition of the house. The building
> consisted originally of one floor built almost six years ago to which
> a second floor was added about one year and a half ago. At the time of
> the arrival of the bulldozer, the residents were given 15 minutes to
> exit the building and to pick up valuables. The entire furniture was
> taken out in the middle of the dirt road and few things could be
> salvaged.
> Verbal warnings were also given against the rebuilding of the site and
> of a new house on the land own by the family of 12. Same warning was
> also given to 30 other families of the same village. During the time
> the demolition took place, the residents of the Israeli settlement of
> Karmel celebrated by singing and clapping for the destruction of the
> Palestinians’ home.
> The mosque of the same village is also feared to be destroyed in the
> next coming day, a situation that already happened two other times.
> International supporters from the Christian Peacemakers Team
> organization as well as others turned up at the site of the mosque to
> show support as well as local residents and other supporters and to
> stop the destruction of the worship place.
> --

How Israel Taught Hamas All It Knows

How Israel Taught Hamas All It Knows
author Sunday March 09, 2008 01:28author by Mamoon Alabbasi -

Once more, as Israel continues its ruthless attacks on the Palestinian population (against both civilians and resistance fighters), mainstream media outlets direct the blame on the victims. This time the villain is none other than the democratically elected Palestinian movement Hamas.

Of course, no one is suggesting that Hamas is a movement comprised of angels that have been inspired by the words of Mother Teresa and had picked up their self-defence strategy from Ghandi. Frankly, I am not aware of any political movement that is. What is put forward, however, and has been missed by ignorant or hypocrite Israel apologists, is the fact that Hamas is least to blame in the plague that had haunted the region for over sixty years – i.e. 40 years before the resistance movement ever came into being.

So what do some have against Hamas? Or, more accurately, why is Hamas singled out?


‘Why doesn’t Hamas join the peace talks and end its armed resistance as a method of liberating the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel?’

Hamas has learned from Israel that, despite it being a good idea, it will not happen. Tel Aviv and its apologists have always maintained that the land Israel took from the Palestinians through war has become somehow legitimately theirs. Any agreement reached between the two sides will not bring back all of the occupied Palestinian territories. What’s more, it certainly won’t bring back all of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants who forced to flee for their lives after the creation of Israel. Of course if the negotiations were between two equals then any compromise reached would be reasonable. But when Israel puts international law aside and tells the Palestinians to face the facts on the ground, it is sending a signal to Hamas that ‘might is right’. The very idea that land could be ‘won’ through war in our modern age, as suggested by Israel, means that we are living in a jungle. Hamas understood that from Israel and decided to play ball. OK, so it’s badly losing, but is that the issue here? Would it be OK if it had been winning? Like Israel, for example?

Hamas also learned from Israel that those who submissively obey Tel Aviv do not get what they are promised, if they get anything at all. OK, so they are being killed in lesser numbers and won’t be starved to the same degree – like what is happening in the West Bank – but will they ever be liberated from Israeli occupation? Well, let’s see, what occupied population was ever freed from Israel by negotiations only? Naught.

In fact, the only population that managed to liberate itself from Israel’s brutal occupation was that of south Lebanon, led by Hezbollah. Now what kind of message is Israel sending Hamas? What type of example is it setting?

One might add, as Hamas claimed credit of, Israel only pulled out its troops from Gaza after resistance attacks against the Israeli military there became too much of a headache for Tel Aviv. Of course Gaza is still under occupation, but Hamas is still following the Israeli roadmap to achieve total liberation; ‘fight to be free, or die trying’.


‘Why doesn’t Hamas recognise Israel’s right to exist?’

The issue of recognising Israel comes in other forms too, with references to the movement’s wish to ‘wipe out Israel off the map’ and its militants who are ‘sworn to the destruction of Israel’. What the statement basically means is that Hamas does not recognise the UN resolution that created the State of Israel. Regardless of how did that resolution came into effect, and the historical events that preceded it and the ones that came later, critics fault Hamas for not moving on and accepting that things have changed now, for better or for worse. Many argue, with justification, that the reality on the ground has changed since sixty years ago and many Israelis know no other land as home other than Israel.

But what is not often mentioned is that the Israel that the UN created and the international community wishes Hamas to recognise is not recognised by Israel itself (Tel Aviv has a much larger Israel in mind). And the Israel that Israel itself recognises (the one that includes land grabbed through war) is not recognised by the international community. So why is Hamas being singled out for not recognising the UN drawn Israel (the one with the pre-1967 Green Line borders)? Couldn’t it mean that Hamas has learnt a thing or two from Israel?

On the same note, Hamas is slammed for wishing to ‘wipe Israel off the map’. Underline the word ‘wishing’ here because Israel had already wiped Palestine off the map. Why is Hamas being criticised for something Israel had done long ago (and still continues doing)? In fact, even the maps which Israeli children are currently studying at school have no reference to the Palestinian territories.

There are two additional points to be noted here. First, Hamas sees that instead of having Israelis and Palestinians living under Israel’s rule, it should be Jews and Arabs living under Palestinian rule in historic Palestine (i.e. a one state solution that includes – not expels – the Jews). Hamas only differs from Israel by ‘saying’ they believe in a one state solution. But in reality both want total control.

The second point is that despite the movement’s original stance, Hamas leaders have on many occasions implicitly showed their willingness to recoginse Israel’s 1967 borders – i.e. the borders recognised by the international community – if Israel ends its occupation. But Tel Aviv has not met them half way. So why is Hamas expected to recognise those who do not recognise them?


‘Isn’t Hamas an Islamist extremist movement?’

It is indeed most Ironic how some critics of Hamas scorn the movement’s religious Islamic roots and move on (sometimes in the same breath) to discuss – favourably – the state of Israel’s existence in biblical terminology. Of course everyone is entitled to his/her own religious beliefs, but since when are countries’ borders decided by disputed and often contradictory religious or mythical texts? Why should Hamas accept the extremists’ views that God somehow promised the holy land to a chosen few? If Hamas is forced to adopt extremists’ ideas, surely it can find views of its own without borrowing distorted biblical ones? So why favour one religious view over another? How can some quote the bible in a political argument related to the Middle East and expect Hamas to leave religion out of its discourse?

With some Christian-Zionists pushing for an Armageddon war that would speed up the second coming of Christ, and some Jewish fanatics (who do not believe that Christ came the first time round) waiting for their Messiah to take vengeance on everyone who does not share their sacred blood, doesn’t Hamas look a bit amateurish on the extremism side?


‘Isn’t Hamas a terrorist movement?’

Without going into the various definitions of terrorism and where resistance against occupation is different, it is important to note that nothing, I mean nothing, excuses the killing of innocent civilians. ‘The use of force or the threat to use force or violence against civilians or civilian property with the intention of intimidating or coercing’ mounts to terrorism. Has Hamas been implicated of such acts in the past? Yes. Is it alone? No, of course not. The founding fathers of Israel are a textbook example of what terrorism is all about. Hamas must have read somewhere that a nation could be built from terrorism. But one needn’t go that far back, Israel’s daily policies are a classical example of sate terrorism.


‘How do we stop the Hamas rockets?’

Simple. Israel has to teach Hamas that the stronger side of the equation (i.e. Israel) can offer a ‘just peace’ without being beaten in war. As long as there is injustice, Palestinians – with or without Hamas - will continue to resist. The recently invented homemade clumsy rockets were never the real issue behind the conflict. Throughout the sixty years of conflict, 40 of which included direct Israeli occupation, Palestinians have learned a lot about the dark side of Israel; isn’t it time that the Jewish State showed some virtuous Jewish values?

-Mamoon Alabbasi is an Iraqi journalist and editor based in London. He contributed this article to

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Funeraks in Bethlehem/ Funerailles a Bethlehem

(c) Anne Paq/, Bethlehem, 13 March 2008.

Des milliers de Palestiniens ont assisté aux funerailles des 4 militants tués la veille par les forces speciales israeliennes.

As Bethlehem mourns four resistance men, Barak says the army will continue to kill Palestinians
Thursday March 13, 2008 16:29 by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News
At least ten thousand residents of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem took part in the funeral at midday on Thursday of the four Palestinian resistance fighters who were killed by the Israeli army late on Wednesday night.
Residents gathered at midday and held prayers before carrying the four men to a grave yard located in Obiyat village, two kilometres east of Bethlehem city.

Mohammad Shehada, Imad el-Kamel, Issa Marzouk and Ahmad el-Balboul, all from Bethlehem were ambushed by Israeli troops dressed in civilian clothes and driving a civilian car, in a Bethlehem suburb, killing them instantly. Israel claimed the four men were wanted.

As Bethlehem mourned the four men, the Israeli Defense minister, Ehod Barak, stated that the army will continue to hunt down Palestinian resistance fighters in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Commenting on Wednesday's Bethlehem attack, Barak told Israeli reporters "Yesterday in Bethlehem we demonstrated once again that the state of Israel will continue to pursue and strike all killers with Jewish blood on their hands,"

Barak's comments were made during a ceremony for the Israeli army in the occupied city of Jerusalem today.

4 militants killed in Bethlehem/ 4 militants tués à Bethlehem

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills; Bethlehem, 12/03/2008.

4 militants palestiniens, dont un leader du Jihad Islamique ont été assassinés de sang froid par les forces speciales israeliennes qui sont rentrées en plein milieu de Bethleem pour effectuer leur operation de liquidation. Aussitot des centaines de Palestiniens se sont rendus à l'hopital.
Aujourd'hui les funerailles ont reuni des milliers de personnes.
Faut-il encore le rappeler, les "assassinats ciblés" demeurent illegaux du point de vue du droit international, non seulement c'est illegal mais cela ne fait qu'envenimer la situation.


Israeli forces murder four Palestinians in Bethlehem shooting
Islamic Jihad leader Mohammad Shahada killed

Date: 12 / 03 / 2008 Time: 18:35

Bethlehem – Ma'an – Israeli special forces gunned down four Palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday evening, including a leader in Islamic Jihad, witnesses said.

Islamic Jihad leader Mohammad Shahada, Issa Marzouq, Imad Al-Kamel, and Ahmad Bilboul were killed in the attack.

Marzouq and Al-Kamel were also Islamic Jihad activists. Bilboul was an activist with the armed wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades.

The Israeli forces entered the area between the Cinema neighborhood and Duheisha refugee camp and opened fire on car from another civilian car. Shahada and Marzouk sat in the back seat of the car. Al-Kamel was in the driver's seat and Bilboul in the passenger's seat.

Witnesses confirmed that undercover Israeli forces sprayed the car with bullets once, then moved closer to the car and opened fire again, as if attempting to make sure the men were dead.

Passersby pulled the bodies of the four men from the small red car, which had been parked in front of a bakery when the Israelis opened fire. The men had been waiting for their dinner.

According to one witness, the car appeared to have been "showered with bullets."

Israeli occupation vehicles quickly appeared, to ferry the assassins out of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian security services said that they transferred the four dead bodies to Al-Hussein hospital in neighboring Beit Jala.

Hundreds of Palestinians converged on the hospital, expressing their deep anger

A life of resistance

Veteran activists in the armed Palestinian resistance movement, Shahada and his comrades had evaded the forces of the Israeli occupation for years.

On Wednesday the four activists were in Bethlehem meeting with other Fatah activists in preparation for Fatah's sixth movement conference.

The activists visited the offices of Ma'an News Agency earlier on Wednesday, saying: "The Israeli occupation doesn’t want to arrest us. Really, they want to assassinate us."

As if foreseeing his own death, Shahada repeated this sentence to Ma'an's chief editor, Nasser Lahham.

Israeli bulldozers destroyed Shahada's house last Thursday night, immediately following the deadly shooting attack at a Jewish religious school in Jerusalem.

Lahham interviewed Shahada at Bethlehem's Christmas Eve celebrations on Manger Square last December.

Shahada was smiling on Christmas Eve, radiating confidence: "The Palestinian people are capable of raising the flag of liberty and completing their mission. Israel has to realize that military occupation of Palestine does not solve its problems, either now or in the future."

Asked about the US-backed peace initiative, Shahada said, "The Annapolis conference did not reach a brave level of addressing the Palestinian rights. It instead took us back to the Road Map plan trying to vision that the Palestinian problem was only one of security chaos, which every body knows is incorrect."

Finally, asked why he rejected amnesty in favor of continuing with armed struggle, he said, "It is the revolutionaries who have the right to give amnesty to the occupation, and not the opposite."

***Updated at 10:30 Thursday Bethlehem time

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the mega prison of Palestine

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills. Demonstration against Israeli military operation in Gaza, Bethlehem, March 2008.

The mega prison of Palestine
Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 5 March 2008

In several articles published by The Electronic Intifada, I claimed that Israel is pursuing a genocidal policy against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while continuing the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. I asserted that the genocidal policies are a result of a lack of strategy. The argument was that since the Israeli political and military elites do not know how to deal with the Gaza Strip, they opted for a knee-jerk reaction in the form of massive killing of citizens whenever the Palestinians in the Strip dared to protest by force their strangulation and imprisonment. The end result so far is the escalation of the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians -- more than one hundred in the first days of March 2008, unfortunately validating the adjective "genocidal" I and others attached to these policies. But it was not yet a strategy.

However, in recent weeks a clearer Israeli strategy towards the Gaza Strip's future has emerged and it is part of the overall new thinking about the fate of the occupied territories in general. It is in essence, a refinement of the unilateralism adopted by Israel ever since the collapse of the Camp David "peace talks" in the summer of 2000. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, his party Kadima, and his successor Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, delineated very clearly what unilateralism entailed: Israel would annex about 50 percent of the West Bank, not as a homogeneous chunk of it, but as the total space of the settlement blocs, the apartheid roads, the military bases and the "national park reserves" (which are no-go areas for Palestinians). This was more or less implemented in the last eight years. These purely Jewish entities cut the West Bank into 11 small cantons and sub-cantons. They are all separated from each other by this complex colonial Jewish presence. The most important part of this encroachment is the greater Jerusalem wedge that divides the West Bank into two discrete regions with no land connection for the Palestinians.

The wall thus is stretched and reincarnated in various forms all over the West Bank, encircling at times individual villages, neighborhoods or towns. The cartographic picture of this new edifice gives a clue to the new strategy both towards the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The 21st century Jewish state is about to complete the construction of two mega prisons, the largest of their kind in human history.

They are different in shape: the West Bank is made of small ghettos and the one in Gaza is a huge mega ghetto of its own. There is another difference: the Gaza Strip is now, in the twisted perception of the Israelis, the ward where the "most dangerous inmates" are kept. The West Bank, on the other hand, is still run as a huge complex of open air prisons in the form of normal human habitations such as a village or a town interconnected and supervised by a prison authority of immense military and violent power.

As far as the Israelis are concerned, the mega prison of the West Bank can be called a state. Advisor to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo, in the last days of February 2008, threatened the Israelis with a unilateral declaration of independence, inspired by recent events in Kosovo. However, it seemed that nobody on the Israeli side objected to the idea very much. This is more or less the message a bewildered Ahmed Qurei, the Abbas-appointed Palestinian negotiator, received from Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister, when he phoned to assure her that Abed Rabbo was not speaking in the name of the PA. He got the impression that her main worry was is in fact quite the opposite: that the PA would not agree to call the mega prisons a state in the near future.

This unwillingness, together with Hamas' insistence of resisting the mega prison system by a war of liberation, forced the Israelis to rethink their strategy towards the Gaza Strip. It transpires that not even the most cooperative members of the PA are willing to accept the mega prison reality as "peace" or even as a "two state settlement." And Hamas and Islamic Jihad even translate this unwillingness into Qassam attacks on Israel. So the model of the most dangerous ward developed: the leading strategists in the army and the government embrace themselves for a very long-term "management" of the system they have built, while pledging commitment to a vacuous "peace process," with very little global interest in it, and a continued struggle from within, against it.

The Gaza Strip is now seen as the most dangerous ward in this complex and thus the one against which the most brutal punitive means have to be employed. Killing the "inmates" by aerial or artillery bombing, or by economic strangulation, are not just inevitable results of the punitive action chosen, but also desirable ones. The bombing of Sderot is also the inevitable and in a way desirable consequence of this strategy. Inevitable, as the punitive action cannot destroy the resistance and quite often generates a retaliation. The retaliation in its turn provides the logic and basis for the next punitive action, should someone in domestic public opinion doubt the wisdom of the new strategy.

In the near future, any similar resistance from parts of the West Bank mega prison would be dealt with in a similar way. And these actions are very likely to take place in the very near future. Indeed, the third intifada is on its way and the Israeli response would be a further elaboration of the mega prison system. Downsizing the number of "inmates" in both mega prisons would be still a very high priority in this strategy by means of ethnic cleansing, systematic killings and economic strangulation.

But there are wedges that prevent the destructive machine from rolling. It seems that a growing number of Jews in Israel (a majority according to a recent CNN poll) wish their government to begin negotiations with Hamas. A mega prison is fine, but if the wardens' residential areas are likely to come under fire in the future then the system fails. Alas, I doubt whether the CNN poll represents accurately the present Israeli mood; but it does indicate a hopeful trend that vindicates the Hamas insistence that Israel only understands the language of force. But it may not be enough and the perfection of the mega prison system in the meantime continues unabated and the punitive measures of its authority are claiming the lives of many more children, women and men in the Gaza Strip.

As always it is important to be reminded that the west can put an end to this unprecedented inhumanity and criminality, tomorrow. But so far this is not happening. Although the efforts to make Israel a pariah state continue with full force, they are still limited to civil society. Hopefully, this energy will one day be translated into governmental policies on the ground. We can only pray it will not be too late for the victims of this horrific Zionist invention: the mega prison of Palestine.

Ilan Pappe is chair in the Department of History at the University of Exeter.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Clashes in Bethlehem

(c) Anne Paq/, bethlehem 3 march 2008.

Clashes in Bethlehem; Azza camp during protest against Israeli military operation in Gaza/ Clash à Bethlehem, camp de Azza pendant une manifestation contre l'operation militaire israélienne de Gaza.

Bloodshed in Gaza/ Massacre a Gaza

Photo gallery by Palestinian center for Human rights.

No comments needed.

when the world is going to react?!!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

message from Gaza

Sunday, March 02, 2008
The Gaza Genocide

We celebrated Yousuf's fourth birthday today. We ate cake. And we counted the bodies. We sang happy birthday. And my mother sobbed. We watched the fighter jets roar voraciously on our television screen, pounding street after street; then heard a train screech outside, and shuddered. Yousuf tore open his presents, and asked my mother to make a paper zanana, a drone, for him with origami; And we were torn open from the inside, engulfed by a feeling of impotence and helplessness; fear and anger and grief; despondence and confusion.

"We are dying like chickens" said Yassine last night as we contemplated the media's coverage of the events of the past few days.

Even the Guardian, in a wire-based piece, mentioned the Palestinian dead, including the children, in the forth to last paragraph.

In fact, a study by If Americans Knew found that the Associated Press Newswire coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict significantly distorts reality, essentially over-reporting the number of Israelis killed in the conflict and underreporting the number of Palestinians killed. The study found that AP reported on Israeli children’s deaths more often than the deaths occurred, but failed to cover 85 percent of Palestinian children killed. A few years ago, they found that the NY Times was seven times more likely to comment on an Israeli child's death than a Palestinian one's.

Is it only when Israeli deputy minister Matan Vilnai used "shoa" to describe what will come to Gaza that some media outlets took note. Here was an Israeli government official himself invoking the Holocaust, of his people's most horrific massacre, in reference to the fate of Gaza. But it was not necessarily because Gazans may suffer the same fate that they were perturbed, but rather that this event, this phrase-genocide or Holocaust- could be used with such seeming levity; that using such a loaded term may somehow lessen the true horror of the original act.

It is as though what has been happening in Gaza-what continues to happen, whether by way of the deliberate and sustained siege and blockade, or the mounting civlian death toll, is acceptable, and even encouraged
Illan Pappe has said that Genocide “is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip” after much thought and deliberation.

But the real genocide in Gaza cannot or will not be assessed through sheer numbers. It is not a massacre of gas chambers. No.

It is a slow and calculated genocide-a Genocide through more calibrated, long-term means. And if the term is used in any context, it should be this. In many ways, this is a more sinister genocide, because it tends to be overlooked: All is ok in Gaza, the wasteland, the hostile territory that is accustomed to slaughter and survival; Gaza, who's people are somehow less human; we should not take note; need not take note; unless there is a mass killing; or starvation.

As though what is happening now was not a slow, purposeful killing; a mass strangulation; But the governments and presidents of the civilized world, even our own "president" (president of what?) are hungry for peace deals and accords; summits and states; so they say, “let them eat cake!” And we do.

posted by Laila @ Sunday, March 02, 2008 0 comments links to this