Palestine and the Arab World

Arab democracy and resistance

On the ground … “they killed Mustafa”

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This is an account I got a couple of hours ago from a friend on the ground in Jerusalem today

In a meeting in Bethlehem this morning, a colleague sitting across the meeting table gets a phone call. His facial expression changes, and he becomes very distressed. I ask him what’s wrong, he says: “They killed Mustafa, my colleague Adel’s son. We have to wrap up, we have to go.” I immediately went on both Israeli and Palestinian news sources, and the discrepancy in reporting was evident. Israeli press depicted Mustafa as a terrorist who tried to stab an Israeli policeman at Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem, whereas Palestinian press along with eye witness reports tell a different story altogether. Mustafa was shot after he refused the policeman’s order to remove his hands from his pockets. Pictures of Mustafa, lying in his pool of blood, his body stripped of its clothes by Israeli police, confirm the Palestinian story, there is no knife or screwdriver around.

On my way home from Bethlehem, I sense a feeling of anxiety in the streets of Jerusalem. There are Israeli police, border control, and commando units every 100 meters. I get closer to a key junction on road 1, and I see an Israeli man waving a large Israeli flag with an orange strip of cloth on top. The orange cloth depicts the color associated with Israeli settlers. As I drive further towards my neighborhood of Beit Hanina, I pass more cars with Israeli flags flying outside their windows. One Israeli driver was holding one large flag in his left hand, while his right was on the steering wheel. One gets the sense that it’s a national holiday in Israel.

When I get to Beit Hanina, I get down to buy some bread from our local baker. As I stand on the counter, an old man walks in distressed and anxious. I look at his face and ask him what’s wrong. He looks at me and says: “Have you ever seen anyone get shot in front of you?” I tell him, fortunately no. He says: “I saw it, just now, they were chasing her, five of them, taunting her, trying to pull her hijab, frightening her, she was petrified.” I tried to calm him down, but he continued: “The moment she crossed the road, a border policeman jumped out of nowhere and fired five shots point blank into her body. It was an execution, it was merciless and I can’t get the image out of my head.” The old man was talking about Farah Bekir, a 17-year-old student from the nearby Abdallah Ben Al-Hussein High School. It later occurred to me that the Israeli man that was waving a large Israeli flag was standing at the very same spot where Farah was shot, celebrating her shooting wave after wave.

At this time, my phone rings. It’s my wife ****, telling me to avoid driving through the nearby settlement of Pisgat Zeev. She tells me that they just shot a 12-year-old Palestinian boy on suspicion of trying to stab an Israeli settler. I check my phone for news, and the picture of the 12-year-old Palestinian boy lying in a pool of his blood traumatizes me. I thought to myself, if they can shoot children without blinking, I can be next in line at any moment if some Israeli decides to accuse me of attacking them, stealing their cat, or any other arbitrary or invented crime. It appears that the police and military rules of engagement have been relaxed to the point where almost any Palestinian who is seen as acting in a suspicious manner can be killed on the spot. This is in line with a recent Facebook post written by an Israeli peace activist working for ICAHD USA confirming that, according to his sources in the Israeli government, the Israeli leadership has given the green light to policemen and soldiers to shoot first and ask questions later. Anyone who shoots a Palestinian is instantly rewarded with praise from the Israeli public, lauded as a national hero who has done his share to save the people of Israel.

I open the door to my home, and there I see my beautiful three-week old baby girl, ****, waiting for me. I grab her, kiss her, and thank God that I managed to get home safe and sound this time, but I am worried. As a Palestinian young man, I am in danger of being shot at any moment in time in my own city, especially if my behavior is interpreted by an overzealous, trigger-happy, and praise-craving Israeli policeman as suspicious. The scary bit is, that God forbid this happens, no one from the Israeli government, police, or public will bother to launch an investigation or ask questions. This has been the case with every extrajudicial killing of Palestinians that has taken place in the past two weeks. The killing of Palestinians has become as routine as drinking water in Israeli society, and it is being celebrated by the vast majority of the Israeli public as Gideon Levy wrote in his recent Haaretz article entitled “Israel’s lawless death penalty without trial buoyed by cheers of the masses.” Like that man who stood on the main street, where Farah was shot, waving the Israeli flag, taunting the non-Jewish residents of the city, celebrating her shooting. This is Jerusalem today, this is a day in the life of a Palestinian Jerusalemite.


Written by uprisings230950

October 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

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Stand with the stone throwers …

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These two men are undercover Israeli police officers ‘arresting’ an alleged stone thrower in East Jerusalem.

An undercover Israeli police officer holds a weapon as another detains a Palestinian suspected of throwing stones during clashes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi al-Joz, March 16, 2010. Palestinians mounted violent protests in a ?day of rage? in Jerusalem and a US-Israeli crisis over a Jewish settlement project deepened with the cancellation of a US peace envoy's visit.

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October 12, 2015 at 10:34 am

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Barghouti: the occupation is the cause of all the current violence

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Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem writing in the Guardian 10th October 2015

Marwan Barghouti in court in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003

Marwan Barghouti in court in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003. ‘The real problem is that Israel has chosen occupation over peace,’ he says. Photograph: David Silverman/Getty Images

Jailed Palestinian leader calls on international community to tackle root cause of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti on Sunday delivered an impassioned plea to the international community to tackle the root causes of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, as he praised the “new Palestinian generation” for resisting the Israeli occupation.

In an article for the Guardian written from his cell in Hadarim prison – his first for an international publication since 2002 at the height of the second intifada – Barghouti said he was pleading with the world as then to “to deal with [the violence’s] root causes: denial of Palestinian freedom”.

There will be no peace until Israel’s occupation of Palestine ends Marwan Barghouti said he was pleading with the world as then to “to deal with [the violence’s] root causes: denial of Palestinian freedom”.

The intervention by Barghouti – whom many Palestinians view as a potential future president – comes before a meeting later this week by representatives of the Quartet – United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia – attempting to mediate a peace deal, and amid a mounting toll of death and injuries on both sides.

In comments supporting the recent wave of protests, he wrote: “This new Palestinian generation has not awaited reconciliation talks to embody a national unity political parties have failed to achieve, rising beyond political divides and geographic fragmentation.

“It has not awaited instructions to uphold its right, and its duty, to resist this occupation. It is doing so unarmed, while being confronted by one of the biggest military powers in the world.”

Barghouti also warned that Israeli actions – in particular around the flashpoint religious site the Haram al-Sharif known to Jews as the Temple Mount – threaten to “transform a solvable political conflict into a never-ending religious war that will only further undermine stability in a region already experiencing unprecedented turmoil.”

5Fifty-six-year old Barghouti – who was an important figure in both the first and second intifadas – was arrested by Israel in 2002 in the middle of the second intifada and convicted on five counts of murder two years later.

Refusing to recognise the Israeli court, his lawyers insisted he was only a political leader. He enjoys widespread respect among all Palestinian factions and, despite being held in an Israeli prison, is often mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed to Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority.

Recent visitors have suggested Barghouti would put himself forward as a candidate from prison if Abbas steps aside.

Referring to the rise in tensions, Barghouti writes: “The escalation did not start with the killing of two Israeli settlers,” referring to the shooting of a husband and wife in front of their children. “It started a long while ago and has been going on for years. Every day there are Palestinians killed, wounded, arrested.

“Every day colonialism advances, the siege on our people in Gaza continues, oppression and humiliation persist. As many want us today to be overwhelmed by the potential consequences of a new spiral of violence, I will continue, as I did back in 2002, pleading to deal with its root causes: denial of Palestinian freedom.”

He adds: “Some suggested that the reason why a peace deal could not be reached was late President Yasser Arafat’s unwillingness or President Mahmoud Abbas’s inability, while both of them were ready and able to sign a peace agreement.

“The real problem is that Israel has chosen occupation over peace and used negotiations as a smoke screen to advance its colonial project. All governments across the globe know this simple fact and yet so many of them pretend that returning to the failed recipes of the past could allow us to achieve freedom and peace.”

Despite being imprisoned, Barghouti is regarded as a hugely important Palestinian political figure. He was responsible for drafting the 2006 Prisoners’ Document, in which jailed leaders of all major factions called for a Palestinian state to be established within pre-1967 borders.

He also helped draw up the Mecca Agreement that aimed at uniting a national unity government for the Palestinians in 2007.

Barghouti’s comments came as French president François Hollande warned that the escalation in violence in the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem was “extremely worrying and dangerous”, adding: “Everything must be done to calm the situation and end this cycle (of violence), which has already caused too many victims.”

Written by uprisings230950

October 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm

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Mindless violence or another example of a criminal state?

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Military responses to Palestinian resistance …  

This film says more about the state of Israel than it does about the Palestinian resistance.  This is an occupying army.  it is the way Israel behaves day in and day out.  This is a mild incident compared with some of the film in the public realm.

What this shows is that the Israeli Occupying Forces have to be brought before the International Criminal Court.  So far the ICC have been quick to put thugs on trial from sub-Saharan states that have little power.  The ICC is going to be tested very soon because the days to an Israeli Military man being at the Hague with leaders like Livni and Netanyahu are being counted down.

Israel has soiled international norms.  They have abused power that was snatched whilst the world was looking the other way.  But there will be no more repeats of 1948 or 1967.  Now everything is in the public realm and that means the day is coming when dope smoking creeps like those in this film will answer for their violence.

What is important is that filmmakers should get the face of these of these men on film.  It should then go everywhere and of course it should be used to bring the leaders and members of the IOF to Court.  Our day will come …

Written by uprisings230950

October 10, 2015 at 7:44 pm

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Do not forget Gaza …

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Why is no one talking about Gaza?

Gaza is in an appalling situation.  Tunnels have been closed and little goes through Rafah.  No one seems to be considering the fact that the reason we had tunnels in the first place was because nothing nearly like what was needed was going in through the crossings.  The international community have not even come up with 10% of what was promised.  Of course no one is surprised there but the situation right now is a scandal.  What we are seeing is Gaza being punished yet again.

But Gaza will not go down.  The people of Gaza will not go away.  Gaza is Gaza.  Why is President Abbas not visiting Gaza?  Why is international aid not forthcoming?  What is going on is an offence to humanity, which of course is the modus operandi for Israel.  No one expects barbarians to behave in any other way.  The world now expects nothing from Israel.

We should however expect more from each other in support for Gaza.  1.8 million people in Gaza are going through hell and no one is even talking about the situation.  Who the hell cares about the Israeli elections.  Israel is beyond the pale.  It is Gaza that should be the focus on international action now.  Lobby politicians in the United Kingdom.  Write to the newspapers and of course build the boycott.  Discuss the situation with International Criminal Court.  Lobby wherever it is possible.

Written by uprisings230950

March 6, 2015 at 9:36 pm

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The tortoise and the fast running, long eared thing …

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Whatever we may think of the ambiguities around Palestinian statehood, the issue is just not going away.  The Olso process failed.  it did not make the problem go away.  Palestinians were undoubtedly put off the scent for a while.  But it was temporary. How could it be otherwise?

The question of Palestine has been represented as a question for far too long.  The hallucinations and threats of Israel have to put aside.  We have been moved by Zionist hysteria for far too long.  This is understandable in some ways.  Europe has treated the Jewish people appallingly.  No other people have been subject to similar treatment.  This we can never forget.

But we now have to move things on.  Palestine has been marginalised because of crimes committed by another people at another time.  The reasoning has to shift, along with these …

On no one’s reckoning can settlements be acceptable.  Here we have physical blocks of injustice.  How can the Palestinians be expected to live “around” these settlements?  How can the international community look the other way?  To not face up to the illegality of the settlements puts international politics back to the dark ages.

Settlements and the Palestinians right to self-determination now cannot be waived aside …

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January 4, 2015 at 9:14 am

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War in place of politics

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What is the international community supposed to do in situations where politics and meaningful dialogue are replaced by war?  The US and British answer is send in more weapons, kill less publicly but support war as a way of doing politics.

At some point the rights of the Palestinian people are going to have to be recognized and the end-game will be changed.  The Palestinian people have more than demonstrated their determination not to be squeezed from the frame.  There is absolutely no way that their claim to self-determination is going to go away; so why does the international community refuse to stand up to Israel and the USA?  Why do we see this endless game of death continue?

Ordinary people in the United States and Europe have to demand change in the approach of their own politicians.  There has to be full discussion of sanctions.  No one should allow this pointless misery “for everyone” to continue.  Build the boycott on both sides of the Atlantic …

Written by uprisings230950

January 4, 2015 at 8:50 am

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