Aug 30, 2012

Rachel Corrie

It is hard to believe that we lost Rachel Corrie in March 2003.  Our pain makes it feel like only yesterday especially when this week a consistently biased lying Israeli judge justified his unjust verdict exonerating her killers by vilifying the International Solidarity Movement (see links below). As a Palestinian who happens to also hold a US passport and most importantly as a human being, I found the silence of the Obama administration on the murder of a US citizen particularly revealing.   Such occasions make us cry but also because we start to remember others: the first three that came to my mind were Vittorio Arrigoni, Bassem and Jawaher Aburahma, then to be followed by a flood of faces and names.  When will this injustice end and the murders stop?

As for hundreds of years, colossal injustices must be and are answered by people. Not just in the case of Rachel but the tens of thousands of civilians murdered since the beginning of the Zionist invasion of Palestine. In a short while we commemorate the massacres of Sabra and Shatila where over 1300 Palestinian refugees and Lebanese were brutally murdered by mercenaries of the Israeli state in 1982 (see ).  In the subsequent 30 years, with US direct and indirect support, the killing spree continues and the ethnic cleansing continues.  7 million of us are now refugees or displaced people.  In the middle of this darkness always come bright lights like Rachel and thousands of others.

Rachel lived her ideals and taught us to live based on these ideals.   In our last fleeting thought before we die, we never consider that we should have worked for more money or more power but we do think that the good that we do in life must have meant something.  Rachel reminded us of this.  Rachel's good deeds and memory will live long after her killers and the Israeli judge die in obscurity. Her memory will live long after apartheid ends in Palestine and we have return and freedom.  In that future, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others will join hands and hearts to remember this young girl and all the other martyrs along the way to equality and justice.

A poem I wrote March 16, 2008
Of humanity

People get shot, Rachel spoke
I am afraid, she wrote
Want to Dance
I can't believe
and so many of her remain
in the world
in her words
in our hearts
But today, with a lump in my throat
what paces in my thought
That strange phrase from a holy book
"they plan but God is the best of planners"
Nervously I ask it to slow down
explain yourself to a refugee spirit
what do you plan for the wretched souls
Why Rachel
Or Hurndall
Why Hiam and Marwa?
Why Faris and Al-Durra?
And who is this divine?
In us all?
Do I learn something on this fifth anniversary
of death of another innocent
Is it misery and pain?
Love and action?
Questions or answers?
Or will all I am left with is that smell of the air of Palestine
and the soil, that soaked soil
that Rachel's last breath took in
to give us the Spring
of our understanding.

 Rachel’s mother: Clearing the Israeli army in this murder is a bad day for :my family, for human rights, and for humanity”

Video shows it was cold blooded murder

Jewish Voices for Peace deplores verdict

ISM response

Worthewhile rereading Rachel’s letters

 Commentary by Michael Gillespie

What has become of our nation? Netanyahu regime has destroyed our livelihood, dreams, values and future; turned Israel into racist, violent state by Yael Gvirtz,7340,L-4270498,00.html

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Aug 19, 2012

Man versus Cat

I have comments and news after watching accidentally two videos of cats and men

1) A cat dealing with a dead cat
2) Men proud of suffering and death of fellow men

While we should not generalize about either cats or men, increasingly some of us question the self-destructive nature of people on this earth.  What does keep us optimistic is that some groups of humans actually work to change the behavior in a positive way.  Millions do that.  I was proud to watch the great reception of the South African team which achieved several medals at the Olympics.  They were of mixed background: white and black, and various religions.  The all Zionist, all Jewish Israeli team were losers (and I am not speaking here of medals but of principles) who returned here without fanfare to an apartheid state reminds us that this cannot last.  But I dreamt of living to go welcome at the Lod Airport a winning Palestine Olympics team that includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  I know that this future of one democratic state is coming.  The example of South Africa is worth looking into.  Much struggle remains to be done in South Africa to achieve equality especially in economic issues. But we are long past the days when leaders of Apartheid South Africa met and collaborated in developing nuclear weapons and modes of repression with Jewish state leaders.

On Thursday settlers tossed a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian car carrying a family from Nahhalin.  Six civilians sustained first, second, and third degree burns: They were a mother, father, and two children and two other relatives.  On Friday, Israeli Jewish colonial settlers attempted to lynch young Palestinians in Jerusalem leaving one critically injured.  Settler attacks thus continue despite the repeated assurance that "perpetrators will be found", the Israeli government is not really exerting any effort to do so as they failed to do previously with thousands of other cases. (text in English on the burning incident) (text in Arabic but with several pictures of the victims)
When settlers attack.  A sobering study of the skyrocketing Jewish colonial settler attacks on native Palestinians

Also on Thursday, Al-Araqib village in the Negev was destroyed for the 41st time. Background information

Also on Thursday, Israeli forces attacked media professionals trying to cover a story in Kufr Qaddoum.

Israel releases latest plan for Wall that will choke and encircle the Bethlehem-area village of al Walaja and drive its remaining inhabitants out

Books I read recently and recommend
1) Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict
2) Freedom Sailors (the story of attempts to breach the siege on Gaza)
3) Born in Jerusalm Born Palestinian: A memoir, Jacob J. Nammar, Oplive Branch Press

May we all be as good as that cat

Aug 13, 2012

Restiamo umani

(English with a bit of Italiano and Français)

On Friday, we had a day of lectures and discussions on the situation of Christians in Palestine and in Diaspora.  This coincided with the launch of three books by on Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, Palestinian Christians in Israel, and Latin Americans with Palestinian roots. Over 100 Christians (and many Muslims) attended this event.  Also last week was full of events to attend including two baptisms, weddings etc. On Sunday, we attended the wedding of a cousin at our church and then went to an Iftar (breaking the fast) with camp children at Al-Rowwad Center in Aida Refugee Camp.  Christians and Muslims here celebrate with each other in spirit of camaraderie because Palestine provides an umbrella for all.  This is in contrast to the continued repression by the Jewish state of non-Jewish natives (Christians and Muslims).  Over 1.5 million Palestinians (2/3rds of whom are refugees) remains under a brutal siege in the arid strip of Gaza and we in the "West Bank" suffer the continuation of colonial activities in our land with over 600,000 Jewish settlers who have taken over our best land and natural resources.  Millions of Palestinian refugees (Muslim and Christian) are still denied their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and lands.  Over 60,000 Palestinian civilians were killed by the Israeli army over the past six decades and yet, the Zionists want us to forget all of that and focus instead on 11 Israelis who served in that army and were killed in a botched attempt to rescue them in Munich 40 years ago.  But the world is not stupid and injustice cannot be hidden and more and more people are heeding the call to Stay Human (Restiamo umani as our late friend Vittorio Arrigoni used to implore us). Thus, we have activists coming in the Welcome to Palestine third campaign and a Scandinavian ship sailing to break the siege on Gaza, and many more actions and writings for truth (see selections below).

Next 'flytilla' to arrive through Jordan: Welcome to Palestine campaign organizers say fewer activists expected during next fly-in; will arrive in Amman airport and attempt to cross over to Palestinian Authority by land
Official website (Français) and the call in several languages

Scandinavian ship sails to challenge Gaza blockade: The SV Estelle, a 53-metre vessel backed mainly by Swedish and Norwegian groups, sets sail from Oslo as organizers hope other ships will join it during its journey to the Gaza Strip

Take action: Rachel Corrie trial verdict August 28

Musica come resistenza: l'orchestra palestinese (A short video about the Palestine Youth Orchestra in Italy)

Il n’y a pas de jolies guerres

Book review: how Israeli school textbooks teach kids to hate

Action: Sign petition to protect hundreds of thousands of Muslims from persecution in Myanmar (Burma). We are collecting 50,000 signatures for petition to be delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, asking for an immediate resolution to protect the Rohingya Muslims. Join us.

Why are we in Gaza being punished for Egypt border guard killings?

Download a great presentation on the situation of Israel and Palestine (from Association Swiss-Palestine, branch Ticino)

Stay human/Restiamo umani

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People-Beit Sahour
Al-Rowwad Children Theater Center-Aida Refugee Camp

Aug 9, 2012

Il n’y a pas de jolies guerres

Il n’y a pas de jolies guerres !

15 soldats ont été tués lors d’une attaque contre un poste de l’armée égyptienne dans le nord du Sinaï. L’attaque a été condamnée par toutes les tendances de la résistance palestinienne, y compris les principales (Fatah, FPLP, FDLP, comités populaires de la résistance, Hamas) ainsi que les forces jihadistes plus marginales (Jihad Islamique). J’étais très déçu de voir quelques Palestiniens tenter d’utiliser l’incident pour marquer des points contre d’autres factions palestiniennes. Mais pour la plupart des Palestiniens, il était clair qu’il s’agissait d’une nouvelle opération israélienne « sous faux drapeau » rappelant l’affaire Lavon dans les années 1950, quand des agents israéliens ont fait exploser des bombes en Egypte, contre les intérêts occidentaux pour saboter les relations de ces pays avec l’Egypte. Cette tentative d’inciter les Egyptiens à haïr d’autres peuples (Palestiniens ou Iraniens) doit être dénoncée et combattue d’autant plus vivement qu’une lutte existentielle est en cours.

Avraham Burg, ex-speaker de la Knesset israélienne a écrit un article intitulé "Israel’s Fading Democracy" (la démocratie israélienne se meurt)
c’est un article intéressant mais je ne suis pas d’accord quand il explique qu’Israël s’est déplacé de la démocratie vers le fanatisme de droite. Je pense qu’il s’agit de la transformation d’un fascisme camouflé de basse intensité en un fascisme ouvertement extrême. Sept millions d’entre nous sont des réfugiés ou des personnes déplacées en raison de ce régime raciste. Cela s’est passé pendant des décennies et continue à se passer aujourd’hui (par exemple, voir le refus israélien de considérer le cas des Palestiniens apatrides sous son occupation)
this about Fishermen in Gaza

Et le futur semble tout aussi terrifiant si l’on observe la situation inextricable créée par les états occidentaux sous la houlette du lobby sioniste. On nous dit qu’il n’y a que deux options : des dictateurs laïques affiliés à l’impérialisme USraélien, ou des dictateurs islamistes affiliés à l’impérialisme USraélien (ces derniers étant peut-être plus difficiles à déloger car il n’est pas aisé d’attaquer des hommes malhonnêtes qui se drapent de piété religieuse) ! Il s’agit d’un jeu truqué dont l’issue ne peut bénéficier qu’à ceux qui en ont inventé les règles. Le Brigadier-Général Hertzi Halevy, commandant de la 91° division de l’armée israélienne, a menacé d’encore plus de crimes de guerre quiconque oserait refuser ces règles. « Le Liban subira des dommages bien plus grands que ceux de la seconde guerre du Liban (2006)… la riposte devra être plus dure et plus violente. Après le rapport Goldstone, les gens (dans la communauté internationale et même en israël) ont cru qu’une bataille dans une zone densément peuplée pouvait être conduite de façon moins brutale. C’est impossible. Sans utiliser une force énorme nous aurons du mal à parvenir à nos buts, et il faut que l’ennemi le sache aussi ».

La « Seconde guerre du Liban » a été menée par l’armée israélienne contre les civils du Liban. Des douzaines de villages ont été détruits. Un autre commandant de l’IDF a récemment déclaré : « Nous avons lancé sur le Liban plus d’un million de bombes à sous munitions (BASM) ». « Ce que nous avons fait est insensé et monstrueux, nous avons enseveli des villes entières sous les BASM » a dit le chef d’une unité de l’artillerie israélienne au Liban à propos de l’utilisation des BSM et des bombes au phosphore pendant la guerre.

Quant au « rapport Goldstone », il a tenté d’amadouer le sionisme en condamnant les roquettes artisanales lancées par la résistance depuis Gaza en direction de la terre palestinienne occupée et nettoyée ethniquement depuis 1948. Mais le rapport mentionne aussi le massacre par les israéliens de plus de 1400 Palestiniens (la plupart des cils et comprenant presque 400 enfants). La communauté internationale a refusé d’agir, même en présence de preuves irréfutables concernant les crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité perpétrés durant cette « opération ». Les soldats israéliens eux-mêmes ont admis l’excessive brutalité de ce qui leur a été ordonné de faire.

pour ceux qui lisent l’anglais, voici la suite du courrier de Mazin :

Aug 7, 2012

No nice wars

An attack on an Egyptian army post in northern Sinai left 15 soldiers dead.  The attack was denounced by all Palestinian resistance forces including mainstream ones (Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, popular resistance committees, Hamas) and even marginal Jihadi forces (Islamic Jihad). I was very disappointed to see a few Palestinians try to use the incident to score points against other Palestinian factions.  But to most Palestinians, it was clear from its pattern and timing that this was another Israeli false flag operation stretching back to the Lavon affair in the 1950s when Israeli agents planted bombs in Egypt against Western interests to sabotage relations between those countries and Egypt.  An attempt to incite Egyptians against others (Palestinians or Iranians) must be exposed and thwarted especially when there is an ongoing existential struggle. 

Avraham Burg, ex-speaker of the Israeli Knesset wrote an article titled "Israel’s Fading Democracy"
It is an interesting read but I disagree with his notion that Israel has moved from democracy to right wing fanaticism.  I believe it is a movement from low grade camouflaged fascism to high grade open fascism. Already 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people thanks to this regime of racism.  This happened for decades and continues today (e.g. see this about Israel refusing cases by stateless Palestinians under its occupation or this about Fishermen in Gaza

And the future looks just as deadly as we watch the mayhem created by the Western countries under the Israel lobby's thumb.  We are told we can only choose from two options: secular dictators affiliated with Israel/USA imperialism, or Islamist dictators affiliated with Israel/USA imperialism  (the latter maybe harder to dislodge since few are willing to tackle dishonest men wrapping themselves in the garb of religous piety)! This is a rigged game whose outcome either way would work for the game makers.  The commander of Israeli army 91st Division, Brigadier-General Hertzi Halevy threatened even more war crimes for anyone who dares objects to the game: "Lebanon will sustain greater damage than that done during the second Lebanon war*…The response will need to be sharper, harder, and in some ways very violent. After the Goldstone Report**, people in the international community and in Israel thought that battle in a densely populated area could be carried out in a nicer way. It cannot be nice. Without the use of great force, we will find it difficult to achieve our aim, and the enemy should also know that. "

The "second Lebanon war" was a war by the Israeli military on the civilians of Lebanon.  Dozens of villages were destroyed. It is ironic since another IDF commander stated recently: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon: "What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war”

As for the "The Goldstone report", it tried to accommodate Zionism by condemning home-made rockets fired by the resistance forces from Gaza towards the Palestinian land occupied and ethnically cleansed since 1948.  But the report also cited the Israeli killing of over 1400 Palestinians (mostly civilians, including nearly 400 children). The International community refused to act even as solid evidence was provided that war crimes and crimes against humanity were conducted during this "operation".  Even Israeli soldiers admitted to the brutal kinds of actions they were ordered to do

Roger Waters and BDS: Moral Courage and Unwavering Commitment to Human Rights
"Where governments refuse to act, people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government's policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel." – Roger Waters

Dershowitz (arch racist) supports Obama

Action: Sign to object to Romney's racist views that "cultural differences", not the occupation, are what makes the Palestinian economy weak,

Take Action: Free Palestinian farmers and agricultural workers targeted for imprisonment

The lies about the 1967 war are still more powerful than the truth

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Aug 5, 2012

فلسطين من الجو

معبر رفح وزيارة هنية للقاهرة!

عالم فيزياء المانى : إسرائيل تجاوزت الـ300رأس نووي والمصريون مازالوا يستوردون فوانيس رمضان

بيان صادر عن تجمع "فلسطينيون من أجـــل الكــــرامة" حول تقرير لجنة التحقيق في أحداث رام الله

ناجي علوش... فارس فلـسطيني لم يترجّل

فلسطين من الجو - جميلة رغم الكلام الفارغ المرافق للفيديو

رسالة جريئة للعاهل الأردني تكشف أسرار التمييز ضد المكون الفلسطيني

سنرجع يوما لفيروز

فيروز - الغضب الساطع