Saturday, 18 July 2009

Gaza e o linguagem da forca

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Gaza and the Language of Power

Civil society must not wait for Obama or any other to save slowly starving population.

By Ramzy Baroud

Nearly six months have passed since the Israeli army ceased pounding the tiny stretch of land that is the Gaza Strip. Since then, Gaza continues to appear on the news once in a while, as a recurring subject of human misery.

The tireless efforts of British MP George Galloway, and the courageous endeavors of the Free Gaza movement have managed to push Gaza back into the spotlight, even if momentarily and with political context which is lacking at best.

Aside from that, the three-week Israeli onslaught in Gaza, starting December 27 – and the catastrophic conditions endured there – have served the purpose of a footnote in many news reports. The event is generally cited as such: “Israel moved against Hamas in Gaza to quell the firing of militants’ rockets, resulting in the death of such and such number.” Hamas, according to media conventional wisdom, is the “militant group that ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces in a bloody coup in mid 2007.”

Sadly, ones worse fears have actualized, where the post-Gaza massacre world and the one which existed prior are exactly the same. Israel is trying to prove that political and military might overpower all human rights reports combined, and that public opinion - which turned against Israel as it wantonly killed and wounded thousands – will eventually turn back in Israel’s favor. One does not need to be an expert in the art of propaganda to predict the public relations model that would allow Israel to deceive millions into believing that the belligerent state is in fact a victim in a sea of hostile Arabs hell-bent on subjugating the Jewish State. Thus it was hardly a deviation from the script when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a most shrewd term to depict his governments’ refusal to respect international law regarding the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, all considered illegal under international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention. He said during his recent trip to Germany that the West Bank will never be “Judenrein” a Nazi term meaning “cleansed of Jews”.

And once again, Israel is resorting to its traditional propaganda (such as equating Palestinians with Nazis), drawing on people’s historical sympathies, guilt and ignorance of false analogies.

More, Israel’s National Security Advisor Uzi Arad is in fact reviving the discredited Israeli rhetoric that Israel has no partner in peace, in comments made to Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Friday, July 10. He questioned whether there is in fact a Palestinian leadership that is capable of delivering peace with Israel. If such a Palestinian state would exist, say in 2015 – according to Arad – it would be a “fragile structure. A house of cards.” But he chose to omit that Israel purposely besieged and weakened the democratically elected Palestinian leadership in Gaza, while painstakingly propping and legitimizing Abbas. using with astounding mastery, the carrot and the stick metaphor.

Only Israel can cleverly spawn a dependent, weak leadership, and accuse the Palestinians of not being a worthy peace partner; only Israel can murder thousands of Palestinians and demand security from its very victims; only Israel can caution of a Nazi past, yet cage Palestinians in concentration camps, punish them for recklessly subscribing to the wrong God, or foolishly falling into the wrong race.

It has six months since the unprecedented and savage war against Palestinians in Gaza, and here we are making the same argument, referencing the same deceit and quoting the same outrageous claims. During those same months, unsubstantiated Israeli accounts were countered with carefully composed reports by highly regarded organizations, such as the Red Cross, among others. Bombarded Gaza neighborhoods “look like the epicenter of a massive earthquake,” said a recent Red Cross report, entitled: “Gaza: 1.5 million trapped in despair.”

UN human rights envoy, Richard Falk summed up Israeli behavior in more direct terms, on Thursday, July 9. “There will be no peace between these two peoples, until Israel shows respect for Palestinian rights under international law,” Professor Falk said.

Israeli leaders however pay no heed to international law. In fact there is little evidence that Israel’s history was shaped, in any respect, by international standards, neither those pertaining to war nor peace. Israel only understands the language of politics and power. It is a state that has been constructed, and sustained upon Machiavellian wisdom. Advisor Arad is perhaps the most visible manifestation of the logic that propels the Israeli state. In his recent interview, he demanded that once a state deal is reached with the Palestinians, Israel should be granted a NATO membership as a “quid pro quo”. To counter nuclear threats by others, he said, Israel must have “tremendously powerful weapons”. Considering that Israel already has nuclear arms, one has to wonder to what other “tremendously powerful weapons” Arad is referring. Arad must’ve been encouraged by US Vice President Joe Biden who said in a recent interview with ABC’s “This Week” that “If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursed now (by the US and its allies), that is their sovereign right to do that.”

Once again, it is the brute logic that “might makes right” pursued by those with the bigger guns, that continues to menace the Middle East, with Gaza being the most devastating example.

One must remember that Israel never heeds to statements, and is hardly moved by reports and random condemnations. Only pressure, constant and focused, will grab the attention of Israeli policymakers. Only the language of an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions will translate in Tel Aviv to a legible political language. As for Gaza, civil society must not wait for President Obama or any other to save the slowly starving population, but must take every possible and urgent effort to help an oppressed yet proud community to redeem its basic rights and freedom.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London)

Criancas palestinianas nas prisoes isralelitas privadas dos direitos humanos mais basicos


Prisons expert: Palestinian children in Israeli prison are deprived the most basic of human rights

Gaza / PNN – There are 345 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons where physical and psychological torture are both practiced.

Since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000 some 7,800 boys and girls have been arrested. The number since the occupation of 1967 is in the tens of thousands.

The figures come as part of a report by prison expert Abdel Nasser Ferwana issued today that says children constitute 3.6 percent of the total number of Palestinian political prisoners. “The future of these children are at risk and face harsh torture and degrading treatment,” he said. “Children are subjected to systematic violations and the continual deprivation of their most basic rights, among them sickness without medical care.”

Children are treated similarly to adults: arrested at checkpoints or snatched from homes and are subjected to middle-of-the-night searches that use dogs. The difference is the destruction of the formative years and the denial of the right to education. Ferwana noted the targeting of the next generation to ensure that it comes into its own without proper education or socialization, and with deep-rooted psychological problems.

International law does not prohibit the imprisonment of children for short periods of time but does not condone the deprivation of liberty.

Um messagem numa garafa!


A message in a bottle

[Beit Lahia, Gaza; July 15. Image via Getty]

Palestinian children pose for a picture near a building destroyed during Israel's massive 22-day assault in the Gaza Strip last December-January on July 15, 2009 in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza. Israeli soldiers in the Gaza war were told to shoot first and worry about the consequences later, and used Palestinian civilians as human shields, an activist group's report said on July 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

Boicotar o apartheid> delegacao de estudantes na palestina


Boycott apartheid: student delegation to Palestine
Doug Smith, , 17 July 2009

For the first time since the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against institutions supporting Israeli apartheid, students from North America and Palestine came together in Ramallah to share their ideas and experiences. Consisting of eight days of travel and a four-day workshop, the North American student delegation spent their two weeks getting connected with the struggle in Palestine in order to better articulate the BDS movement in their respective cities. The visiting students met face to face with those who are living and resisting the systematic oppression of Palestinians by the state of Israel.

The travel portion brought the students nearly everywhere giving them a chance to see the distinct realities of what it is to be a Palestinian; be it in Hebron living next to violent settlers, in Haifa where they live as second class citizens or the Negev where a majority of Palestinian villages are not recognized by the state and therefore do not receive basic services such as running water. All the while the group respected the boycott as much as possible booking all accommodations and transportation with Palestinian businesses in every city, even those within Israel.

Aside from personal connections, they attended several meetings with Palestinian organizations like Badil - Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (also instrumental in the BDS campaign), Baladna (developmental and capacity building agency for Arab-Palestinian youth in Israel) and Adalah and Addameer (two rights-based organizations working mostly in the court system), solidifying direct lines of cooperation for future campaigns on and off campus. They also met with some Israeli activists working from within on promoting the boycott, the right to return, refusal to serve in the military and corporate complicity.

The delegation consisted of representatives from Palestinian-youth community and student organizations from three Palestinian universities and several cities within Israel, which totaled around 25 with their North American counterparts.

The obvious non-represented group of students were those from universities in besieged Gaza to whom we spoke via an all-too-short video conference session in Birzeit University. Their message was clear in that they felt that the cruel military blockade needed to be dealt with as an urgent matter however that talking about the BDS campaign was a way in which this could be done without efforts being spread too thin on certain specific issues.

The workshops themselves had their positive and negative sides in so far that the challenges faced and achievements gained on Palestinian and North American campuses are quite different. The discussions resulted less in concrete plans and strategies, but much more in an understanding and future direction between the youth Palestine solidarity movement from the inside and abroad. Some of the biggest challenges Palestinian student activists faced were the seeming impossibility of running a successful boycott in some areas where the Palestinian economy is totally dominated by Israel (Birzeit University being the only exception) and the opposition from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has considerable influence on campuses, to any Gaza solidarity work due to the political situation. However unlike in North America students in Palestine do have a large base of support in nonpartisan civil society and the community at large that the visiting students are trying so hard to build in their own countries.

In stark opposition to the coming together that was the delegation, the group as a whole was given a tour of the apartheid wall by the Stop the Wall campaign and was able to see the land confiscations and strategic settlement expansions that accompany it. Due to the fact that this construction is ongoing, it gave the group a collective sense of what will happen if Israel's racist polices of apartheid are not opposed.

The group also met with other Palestinians instrumental in the BDS campaign such as Omar Barghouti. The delegation was only the first of others that will be sure to follow in the near future now that the foundations are laid.

Doug Smith is a Montreal based student organizer, writer and activist currently working in solidarity with the Palestinian call for BDS on campus as well as in the community.

Soldados dizer que receberam ordem para disparar primeiro e preocuparem-se depois durante a guerra de Gaza

fonte:Ynet News

Soldiers say received orders to shoot first, worry later in Gaza war

Breaking the Silence activist group presents report of testimonies from Gaza offensive in which soldiers say destruction, civilian casualties were direct result of IDF policy. Army: Testimonies are general, anonymous, and unreliable

A number of IDF soldiers who took part in Israel's recent
Gaza offensive say they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants. Accordingly, they say, the force went into Gaza with guns blazing.

In print and video testimony published on Wednesday by the activist group Breaking the Silence, the 30 soldiers say the army's imperative was to minimize its own casualties to ensure Israeli public support for the operation.

Os premios de Obama para israel nao sao "pressao"


Obama's prizes for Israel are not "pressure"
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 16 July 2009

US President Obama in the Oval Office puts "pressure" on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the other end of the line, June 2009. (Pete Souza/White House)

On 13 July, President Barack Obama received 16 leaders of the most prominent pro-Israel organizations at the White House. The gathering was an effort to assuage American Jewish concerns about US pressure on Israel over a settlement freeze in the occupied West Bank.

One participant argued that in the past any progress toward peace has only been made when there was "no light" between American and Israeli positions. "I disagree," the president responded according to one witness, and pointed out that during eight years of the Bush administration, "there was no light between the United States and Israel, and nothing got accomplished."

Obama reaffirmed his commitment to achieving a settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict and emphasized the short window and special opportunity that he had to produce one given his outreach efforts to Arabs and Muslims.

All of this will reinforce the faith of those convinced that Obama's policies mark a decisive shift from his predecessors, a rupture in the Israeli-American relationship, and can produce what has eluded all others: a workable and agreed two-state solution.

Obama has consistently stressed his belief in the "unbreakable" US-Israeli relationship. Considering his actions and words so far, there is little reason to doubt him. But unless he is prepared to go much further than anyone has publicly contemplated in pressuring Israel, his peace initiative has negligible chances of success.

For months the focus has been on Obama's demand that Israel agree to a complete cessation of settlement construction, including the subterfuge called "natural growth." It was during a similar "freeze" in the early 1990s that Israel built thousands of settler housing units on occupied land. Arab optimism and Israeli anxiety were amplified as Obama and his Middle East Envoy George Mitchell said repeatedly that this time they wanted a total halt.

Yet the firmness shows signs of erosion. Israeli press reports spoke of a "compromise" taking shape in which Israel would be allowed to complete thousands of already planned housing units. Although those reports were denied by the United States, several participants in the White House meeting said Obama alluded to an unspecified compromise in the works.

Anything short of a complete cessation of settlement construction will mark an achievement for Israel; what is important is not the number of units the United States may approve, but the principle that this administration, like its predecessors, will license Israel's illegal colonization. Once that principle is established, Israel may present more faits accomplis and build at will.

And even if Israel does agree to a verifiable cessation, the US has structured the matter as a quid pro quo in which Israel is not required to do anything without receiving a reward. The president has appealed to Arab states to normalize ties with Israel if it freezes settlements, including opening diplomatic missions and allowing overflights by El Al aircraft (recall that when en route to bomb Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, Israeli warplanes reportedly falsely identified themselves as commercial aviation). Given how little leverage the Arab side has, it would be totally disarmed if it conceded any such gestures in exchange for so little.

Israel's settlements violate numerous UN Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It should no more be rewarded for ending settlement construction than Iraq should have been rewarded for withdrawing from Kuwait after Iraq invaded in 1990. While today US-occupied, war-torn Iraq is still paying Kuwait billions of dollars annually in compensation for a seven-month long occupation that ended almost two decades ago, the US is offering Israel prizes not for ending a 42-year-old occupation but merely for ceasing to commit some crimes.

This can hardly be described as anything other than a net gain for Israel, especially since the settlement project is reaching its natural conclusion. There are already 500,000 settlers in the West Bank, who with their infrastructure consume more than 42 percent of the land. Nothing Obama has ever said indicates he will deviate from his predecessors' policy of recognizing these facts and demanding that Palestinians agree to let Israel keep settlements already built.

While all the attention is focused on the freeze, Israel maintains its siege of Gaza -- despite Obama's calls to loosen it -- and continues to build the West Bank wall five years after the International Court of Justice ordered it torn down. The United States itself continues to undermine chances for intra-Palestinian reconciliation, and therefore credible negotiations, by fueling the smoldering civil war between US-backed Palestinian militias on the one hand and resistance factions led by Hamas on the other.

On the outside Israelis may be crying about US "pressure" but on the inside they must be quietly smiling.

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. This article was originally published by bitterlemons-international

Friday, 17 July 2009

Relatorio MAAN: Soldado israelita ameaca violar a mae de um rapaz detido


Report: Israeli soldier threatened to rape mother of detained boy

Bethlehem - Ma'an - "Shut up or I will f*** you," a Christian Peacemaker Team observer quoted an Israeli soldier yelling at the mother of a boy bound in military custody near Hebron on Monday.

CPT observers near the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron detailed an attack on an unarmed 16-year-old boy that also saw his mother threatened and death threats launched at his father, who attempted to file a police report against the actions. The boy volunteers for the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem as a cameraman and has undertaken nonviolence training.

"At 4:30pm on Monday 13 July two Israeli soldiers attacked a 16-year-old Palestinian boy 150 yards from his home," the CPT report said. "The attack happened as the boy was walking to his home carrying heavy electrical cables necessary for repair work on his family’s house. Two workers who were with him left to raise the alarm."

According to CPT the boy had been harassed several times by Israeli soldiers. When his mother and cousin arrived on the scene to defend the boy, soldiers threatened his mother with sexual acts. They were convinced to take the boy to his home, and were met there by a small group of settlers, who live illegally in the West Bank city.

"The soldiers cuffed the boy’s hands behind his back, blindfolded him and again forced him to sit" behind the house where settlers were glaring down from adjacent rooftops, the report said. "One or more people kicked and hit him again, but because of the blindfold he could not see whether his attackers were soldiers or settlers."

The boy's father and friends arrived at the home, having been alerted by his mother, and began filming the incident. "The officer observed that Palestinians were filming the incident and removed the blindfold and handcuffs and released the boy. He gripped the boy by the jaw and warned him, ‘If you say anything to internationals or the police, I will kill you,'" the report said.

That evening the boy received hospital treatment for his injuries, and the following day his father spent four and a half hours at the police station making a complaint, in support of which he passed over video of the incident, CPT said.

9600 palestinianos nas prisoes israelitas!!!!


Israel detains 9,600 Palestinians, including children, women -- report

GAZA, July 15 (KUNA) -- The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reached up to 9,600, including 345 children and 85 women, a Palestinian researcher said in a statistical report on Wednesday.
Since 1967, Israel has arrested nearly 750,000 Palestinians including 69, 000 who were detained in Al-Aqsa uprising, said researcher Abdul Naser Farawna in his report.
Farawna was formerly detained by Israel and he specializes in Palestinian prisoners' affairs.
Meanwhile, the number of prisoners is estimated 9,600, including 345 children, 58 women, 535 officials, and 36 parliament members (MP) and they are distributed over 20 prisons for further interrogation, the report added.
Israel detains 18 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, according to a law claiming the prisoners were illegitimate militants, the report said.
A total of 18 married women are detained, including one called Fatema Alzeq from Gaza, whose son Yusuf lives with her inside the prison. She gave birth to Yusuf in January 17, 2008.
The report indicated that three prisoners are sharing jail calls with their husbands.
In the report, Farawna warned of the consequences of detaining over 1,000 sick prisoners, who are in severe need of medical care and treatment. Among the sick are those who suffer from cancer, permanent illness, and disablities.
Since 1967, a total of 197 prisoners died in Israeli prisons.

A descolonizacao de Israel

A escritora palestino/americana Sousan Hammad escreve no Counterpunch sobre a necessidade do boicote ao estado de Israel e dos paralelismos entre Israel e a Africa do Sul.

The Boycott Century?

Decolonizing Israel


“An underdeveloped people must prove, by its fighting power, its ability to set itself up as a nation, and by the purity of every one of its acts, that it is, even to the smallest detail, the most lucid, the most self-controlled people.”

–Frantz Fanon, “A Dying Colonialism”

There is an echoing sentiment here in Ramallah that Israeli milk is more “tasteful” and “nutritious” than Palestinian milk. The same goes for wine, apples, dates, juice, and just about everything else…except for maybe olives. In fact, Palestinian shopkeepers even stock Israeli-made milk at the front of their store while Palestinian milk sits in a far-to-reach crate collecting dust in the corner.

Palestinians do this for two reasons: one is they truly believe their senses, the other, and possibly more understanding, is because selling Israeli products yield a much higher profit.

A recent study by the Swiss Development Center, an organization that aims to promote Palestinian products, found that Palestinians within the higher socioeconomic strata tend to buy more Israeli goods than those in the lower strata. In French colonial-Martinique, mothers would sing to their children in French instead of their native language because it was more “civilized” to speak the colonizer’s language.

Appropriating the colonialist brand seems to imply prestige – a product, perhaps, of the inferiority complex – but if you push this aside as a psychological epiphenomenon that is a result of colonialism and consider the economic dependency Palestinians are forced to live with, one way to overcome the subjugation of the colonialist-settler (thus racist and discriminatory) policies would be to boycott Israeli products. Besides forcing Palestinians to consume their own products, it would promote and develop a domestic industry and manufactured goods. If it takes a pyramid to list all the nutritional benefits of Palestinian produce, then onward with the label! Whatever it may be, the Palestinians must ascertain that they can have a functioning society without being indebted to Israel.

This is, essentially, what the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is about. Using Apartheid South Africa as a model, a coalition of Palestinian groups felt compelled to combat Israel’s economic power over Palestine, and, in 2005 the BDS movement was created.

Besides placing political pressure on corporations to divest from Israel, BDS focuses strongly on its consumer boycott efforts, which according to the BDS website, is to put “pressure on companies whose exports are linked to some of the most evident aspects of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

One of the many campaigns of BDS is to target stores that sell Israeli products and persuade them to stop stocking them. While much of the campaign is based on Israel’s exports to the West, activists here in the West Bank also try to deter Palestinian shopkeepers from selling produce that is grown in Israeli settlements. (Again, these yield more profit for Palestinians.) It is highly unlikely, though, that Palestinians will collectively and instantaneously dump their Israeli products for Palestinian manufactured goods and produce because an activist tells them so. They want to know if there is proof of sustainability.

A BDS Victory

Enter the story of Veolia and the light rail.

In 1902, Theodore Herzl wrote in his book, Altneuland, that the future of Jerusalem would be made of “modern neighborhoods with electric lines, tree-lined boulevards” and that Jerusalem would become “a metropolis of the 20th century”.

Materialized a century later as the Jerusalem light rail project, the father of Zionism’s idea of an electric-lined-boulevard is halfway in construction. When, and if, completed, the light rail will conveniently accommodate Jewish-Israelis, connecting West Jerusalem to Jewish settlements. The light rail travels through Palestinian neighborhoods, but makes no stops and as one Israeli blogger put it “…all the windows have been reinforced to be resistant to stones and Molotov cocktails.

But officials are now facing a major setback: In June, Ha’aretz reported that Veolia, a French transportation company that was to operate the light rail post-construction, abandoned the project because of the “political pressure” it was facing: a direct implication of the BDS “Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign”.

Said an exultant Omar Barghouti , a BDS founding member:

“Veolia's reported intention to withdraw from the illegal JLR project gives the BDS movement an important victory: success in applying concerted, intensive pressure on a company that is complicit in the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, enough to compel it to withdraw from an illegal project. This may well usher in a new era of corporate accountability, whereby companies that are profiting from Israel's illegal colonial and racist regime over the indigenous people of Palestine will start to pay a real price in profits and image for their collusion.”

The pressure from human rights activists and lawyers throughout Europe battered Veolia, costing it multiple contracts – a loss that amounted to more than $7 billion. From Stockholm to Bordeaux, companies dumped Veolia on account of its stake in a project that violates international law. Veolia, along with Alstom – the engineering enterprise behind the light rail – were taken to a French court by Association France-Palestine Solidarité along with attorneys from the PLO legal counsel. AFPS filed the complaint against Alstom and Veolia in 2007, arguing that the 8.3-mile project violates international law since East Jerusalem is not sovereign Israeli territory. “Our main argument is that the light rail project is intended to serve illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and thus it’s part of illegal settlement infrastructure and by being involved in project, the French companies are violating international law,” says Azem Bishara, an attorney with the Negotiation Support Unit in Ramallah.

When the Arab League organized a boycott of Israel after its colonization of Palestine in 1948, Arab countries refused to deal with Israel by boycotting their products, services and even refusing to allow Israelis into their country. Lebanon and Syria are the only countries that allegedly adhere to the boycott today, as they have yet to sign trade agreements with Israel. The Israeli Chamber of Commerce reported Israel was losing an average of 10 percent in export revenue per year when the boycott was in its prime. This spearheaded the fight by the American Jewish Committee to pressure Congress to pass an anti-boycott legislation. In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter, who now advocates the window-dressing of Palestinian national independence, signed a law that would impose a fine on American companies that cooperated with the boycott.

It seems safe to assume that this legislative effort by AJC indicated that it, at least, believed the Arab League boycott was having some effect.

Although it was with similar calculations and campaigning that U.S. and European companies pulled out of South Africa over 20 years ago, how do we know companies like Veolia won’t be targeted by anti-boycott Israeli investors? Whether or not Veolia goes through with its withdrawal, the question remains: is it really a victory? And how can an effective boycott promote economic independence so that Palestinian milk will no longer have to be in the dustbin of stores? These are questions the boycott campaign has to confront.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Documentario: Gaza em 1950 ou 2009?

Sands of Sorrow e um documentario sobre os refugiados palestinianos e sobre as suas condicoes de vida dois anos depois da fundacao do estado de Israel.

fonte: youtube

o sonho arabe!

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

British lawmaker George Galloway is planning a new aid convoy to the besieged Gaza Strip that would include Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. According to a report published by the Ma'an news agency, Galloway is currently in Egypt and is organizing a new solidarity convoy to Gaza - the Lifeline 2. The convoy is scheduled to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Some 200 American solidarity activists will join the convoy. The anti-siege convoy is likely to arrive at the Egyptian side of the crossing on Tuesday evening, and will enter the blockaded Gaza Strip by Wednesday. The British House of Commons lawmaker also stressed that he will continue to organize solidarity convoys to the war-battered coastal sliver in a quest for lifting the Israeli siege which has plagued the terrain. According to a newly released report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Palestinians living in Gaza are 'trapped in despair.' Israel's two-year blockade has resulted in a complete economic breakdown of Gaza and more than 70 percent of the population is wrestling with destitution. Galloway said that Israeli lobbyists had forwarded three requests to the US Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for measures to stop the convoy. However, the requests were rejected. (Reference for text: Press TV. Photo: Reuters/file)

( Post Date: 15:00 07/14/2009 )

Soldados Israelitas admitem violações dos direitos humanos em Gaza


Israeli soldiers testify on army's immoral behavior in Gaza war

y Katherine Orwell - 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

A group of 29 soldiers, that served in Israel’s recent assault in Gaza, anonymously spoke out about the war crimes they committed in Gaza. Breaking the Silence, a group of ex-soldiers, that has been trying to break the taboo around speaking about the army’s behavior, collected their testimonies and published them in a report on Wednesday.

A man takes a look at his destroyed house in Gaza - Photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi
A man takes a look at his destroyed house in Gaza - Photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

The testimonies reveal the use of "accepted practices," the destruction of hundreds of houses and mosques for no military purpose, the firing of phosphorous gas in the direction of populated areas, the killing of innocent victims with small arms, the destruction of private property, the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields, and most of all, a permissive atmosphere in the command structure that enabled soldiers to act without moral restrictions. The testimonies demonstrate that the soldiers were not given directives stating the goal of the operation and, as one soldier testifies, "there was not much said about the issue of innocent civilians."

The soldiers confessed shooting at Palestinian civilians, because of “permissive and vague” rules of engagement. Israeli officials have always stressed that the army had exhausted all the possible means to prevent civilian casualties during the Gaza war, but the testimonies of the soldiers claim the exact opposite.

"We were told soldiers were to be secured by fire-power. The soldiers were made to understand that their lives were the most important, and that there was no way our soldiers would get killed for the sake of leaving civilians the benefit of the doubt," said one soldier in the report.

Many soldiers said that they fought without seeing "the enemy before their eyes." "You feel like an infantile little kid with a magnifying glass looking at ants, burning them," one of the soldiers testified that "a 20-year-old kid should not have to do these kinds of things to other people."

The testimonies are in line with Palestinian testimonies and the outcomes of investigations by international human rights groups such as Amnesty International, stating that Israel committed war crimes with its indiscriminate and disproportionate behavior.

A limited UN investigation blamed Israel in six out of nine attacks on UN facilities in Gaza, resulting in casualties among civilians that had sought refuge there. A fact-finding team commissioned by the Arab League stated there was enough evidence to indict Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that "the Israeli political leadership was also responsible for such crimes".

At the same time Israel denies all the allegations and sets every report aside as biased and untrustworthy. A spokesperson of the military says the testimonies constitute “hearsay and word of mouth”, doubting the credibility, since the testimonies were made anonymously. Israel bases its defense on an internal investigation it carried out itself, that came to the conclusion that the army fought lawfully, even though in a few incidents errors did occur.

The testimonies of the soldiers largely state the opposite: Israel’s immoral behavior was not incidental, but systematic.

One testimony refers to a policy that is called “the day after”. The soldier states that this policy meant that whole areas near the borders with Israel would be razied, to leave behind a “sterile” empty area that would make future military operations easier. Under this policy houses were demolished without any justification, other than that they were located in strategic areas.

"The testimonies prove that the immoral way the war was carried out was due to the systems in place and not the individual soldier," said Mikhael Mankin from "Breaking the Silence. “This is an urgent call to Israel's society and leadership to take a sober look at the foolishness of our policies."

1414 Palestinians were killed in the three-week assault on Gaza, of which 1177 or 83 per cent were civilians. The UN states that 50,000 homes, 200 schools, 39 mosques and two churches were damaged or destroyed.

Israel oferece aos palestinianos dias de compra, nao um estado!


Israel offers Palestinians day shoppers, not statehood
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 15 July 2009

The reality of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promises of "economic peace" for the Palestinians is nowhere under greater scrutiny than in Jenin, the northern West Bank city being aggressively promoted as a potential model of cooperation with Israel.

Once known as the City of Martyrs for the high number of suicide bombers it despatched into Israel, Jenin was the site of a savage fight in 2002 as the Israeli army reoccupied much of the West Bank.

Israelis find it hard to forget that this was where they suffered the biggest loss of life in a single battle -- 23 soldiers killed retaking the city. Palestinians find it hard to forgive the bulldozing of Jenin's large refugee camp, and the killing of 56 inhabitants in a few days.

But today Jenin, the first Palestinian city to be sealed behind Israel's separation wall, is being feted -- at least by Israel -- as a successful experiment in peacemaking.

The Palestinian gunmen who once roamed the streets are gone, replaced, by day, by lightly armed Palestinian security forces trained in Jordan by a US general, Keith Dayton.

Israeli soldiers, meanwhile, have unfettered access to the city between midnight and dawn, though nowadays, say local people, the army rarely makes incursions.

For Netanyahu, Jenin represents his best hope of persuading Washington that an "economic and diplomatic peace," as he referred to it at the cabinet meeting on Sunday, rather than full statehood, will satisfy the Palestinians.

The process of easing restrictions began before Netanyahu's tenure in March. Last year, Ehud Barak, then as now the defense minister, called Jenin a "great success" in what was widely interpreted as a test of Palestinian readiness for limited statehood on Israeli terms.

Palestinian security forces were allowed into the city in May last year. Since then Israel has removed several of the checkpoints that cut Jenin off from the rest of the West Bank in a bid to boost trade.

Last week, Israel extended that policy by announcing that the King Hussein Bridge, the Palestinians' only connection to Jordan and the Arab world, would be open 24 hours a day.

In addition, the Israeli government has backed the creation of a German-sponsored industrial park next to Jenin that could one day provide thousands of jobs. Four more such parks, all foreign funded, are planned for other West Bank cities, which are supposed to follow Jenin's lead.

And a few hundred men from Jenin are being given permits to work inside Israel, most of them as manual laborers, while a handful of entrepreneurs have permission to do business in Israel.

But the most immediate effect on Jenin's economy -- even if a relatively minor one -- has been felt from the decision to allow Israel's own Palestinian citizens to cross into the West Bank on day trips.

Israeli estimates suggest that on Fridays and Saturdays, when Jewish towns are closed for business, hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel -- or Israeli Arabs as they are called by the government -- make the journey through Jalameh crossing to Jenin.

Nonetheless, business is not exactly booming, concedes Khaled Rabaya, the sales manager of Herbawi, a five-story department store that opened in May on the hopes of an improved economy.

"Jenin is not being suffocated like it was before," he said. "Things are getting better slowly and we hope they will get better still."

But even Rabaya had to admit that the number of shoppers wandering the aisles of European imported goods, from sofas to dinner plates, were easily outnumbered by the sales assistants.

Most people in Jenin cannot afford luxury items, while Israel's Palestinian citizens, even if attracted by cheaper prices, are constrained by restrictions that allow them to enter only on foot.

Ali Kmaid, a taxi driver shuttling Palestinian citizens of Israel the two kilometers from Jalameh to Jenin, said the city was desperately hoping that the crossing would be open to cars from October, as has been promised.

The most obvious change in Jenin is to the refugee camp, which is no longer the devastated space of a few years ago. It has been rebuilt with funds from the Persian Gulf, though the Israeli army insisted on planning constraints: the roads are wide enough for a tank to navigate them.

If few of Jenin's inhabitants question the financial benefits of Israel's more liberal policy, there is a widespread belief that "economic peace" is being tailor-made for Israel's benefit in much the same manner as the rebuilt camp.

"If Netanyahu thinks we'll be satisfied with a few more Israeli shoppers, he's kidding himself," said Mohammed Larool, a melon seller. "Our rights as a nation are more important than my selling a few extra melons."

Khaled Hamour, 26, who runs the Mankal restaurant in Jenin, said the prosperity felt by businesses was relative. "Things have been so dire here that just a little relief feels like a major change."

But "as long as the settlements are still here, our farmers are being shot at, and we have no control over our borders, then economic peace is hollow."

Shir Hever, an Israeli economist based in Jerusalem, said he was skeptical Jenin's industrial park would ever open, or that the fruits of economic peace would be more than temporary.

"Netanyahu has no long-term plan for peace," he said. "This is a delaying tactic and an attempt to improve Israel's image internationally without making significant concessions."

He added: "There is also a political message for Jenin and the rest of the West Bank in this policy. It says: remember you're lucky not to be in the same situation as Gaza. Don't resist or you'll end up like them."

A decade ago, Jenin was packed on weekends with thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jews. But the long waits, intrusive security checks and need to pass through endless metal turnstiles -- all too reminiscent of Israel's treatment of Palestinian workers in the days when they were able to leave Gaza -- may be putting off many Palestinian citizens.

"Israel is counting on Palestinians inside Israel being prepared to help Palestinians in the occupied territories," said Tareq Shehadeh, a tourism official in Nazareth who has been invited to Nablus this week to lecture on cooperation across the Green Line.

"But they won't go into the West Bank if they are treated like terrorists every time they do so."

Samia Ziadat, from the Arab village of Mqeibleh in Israel, was waiting her turn to pass through the security checks with her five young children, after a brief visit to see her sick husband in Jenin.

"I have no choice but to go to Jenin, but it surprises me anyone is willing to endure this humiliation unless they have to."

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is

A version of this article originally appeared in
The National, published in Abu Dhabi.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

quem nos responsabilizara?


"Who will hold us accountable?"
Natalie Abou Shakra, The Electronic Intifada, 15 July 2009

A Palestinian boy stands near tents erected for families whose homes were destroyed during the Israeli assault on Gaza last winter. (Matthew Cassel)

I will never forget the image of the elderly woman whose son was dying in a hospital in Egypt. She only wanted to be with him. Crying, her hand touching the glass window of the office of the Egyptian intelligence services, she pleaded, "Please, please. I beg you, show mercy, let me go in." Another woman sat by the State Security office, looking up at an officer blocking her path. "You promised to let me in," she said with her soft, tired and drained voice. "Please let me in" she repeated calmly with her tired voice, then she looked at me with wide, tearful, sad eyes.

I came to Gaza a week before Israel's winter invasion began. After seven months, I spent two days at Rafah crossing with the Egyptian authorities refusing to allow me to return to Lebanon, despite having all the necessary coordination documents, approval and permission from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Egyptian authorities made people wait in the arrival hall at the Rafah crossing, sitting on filthy floors where names for either the entry to Egypt or to return to Gaza were called by the voices of aggressive Egyptian police officers, or state security or intelligence personnel. After hours of waiting, two officers headed towards us: "you are being returned to Gaza." "No!" we would reply, "We have coordination documents!" But, the officers and intelligence personnel grew angrier and threw the papers in our faces humiliatingly: "This means nothing! Move on! Hurry!"

After being asked numerous times "what were you doing in Palestine for seven months," I answered the intelligence officer simply, "what you didn't do." Another officer asked, "How did you come to Gaza?" "By the boats" I replied, referring to the Free Gaza Movement ship that brought me. "So, now you know why you ... can't leave," he answered back.

It was a simple message to the Free Gaza Movement and anyone hoping to break the siege: they and the Palestinians will be punished. Yet, it must be done, something must be said, this injustice cannot be allowed to stand in silence, whatever the price. And there is a huge price to pay -- that of not being able to go back.

As I was explaining the situation to someone on the phone, a sick, elderly Palestinian man fell to the ground unconscious. I approached as a state security officer began dragging the elderly man across the floor. I was intercepted by Said, the intelligence officer, who pointed his finger at me and said in a cruel and wicked tone, "I will make sure you will never get out of here." I countered, quoting the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, "all that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks." He replied in a vindictive tone, "Really? Who will hold us accountable?"

I watched as my International Solidarity Movement (ISM) colleague Jenny was dragged across the floor by security officers screaming, "Get off of me! Get off of me!" I watched her disappear behind a wall as I clung to a window and the officers came for me. I looked at each of the men in the eye, knowing I had to humanize them to humanize myself. I asked them, "You have a daughter my age? I am 21." There was no reply. I tried again, "Would you accept your daughter being treated this way? I am your daughter, and your daughter and your daughter." I was pulled away by my wrists and dragged along the dirty floor, and the man dragging me said, "You are lucky my shoe is not in your mouth."

At Rafah, I saw a voiceless Palestinian man in a wheelchair being pulled and shaken. I watched women begging on their knees, children and the elderly sitting on dirty floors. And all us were dragged by the Egyptian security officers and thrown out.

At Rafah I also saw laughter and love. A little girl on a bus asked her mother, "Can we gather a shekel from each to give to the Egyptians to pass through?" I watched as people shared bread and water, share laughter as well as pain and tears. Yes, we laughed. Laughter and love under the bombs, to laugh and love under racism, degradation, humiliation, by monsters clad in the uniforms of a brotherly Arab state.

Coming from Lebanon to Gaza initially seemed surreal. Larnaca, Cyprus was the checkpoint, and the sea was the road to Palestine. In the beginning, breaking the siege was all that came to mind. It was almost three years to the medieval, hermetic siege that the apartheid state of Israel had imposed on Gaza's million and a half residents. All I thought of then was: Israel, the occupation, the monster. But, the monster, as I later became aware, was not one but many, who were all devouring the souls of Palestinians in Gaza. The official Arab regimes were sharing the crimes that Israel was committing. These regimes, especially Egypt, are not complicit -- their participation is direct, clear, observable, noticeable, felt and lived directly, and therefore has transcended complicity into direct participation.

In Gaza, I have lived the "quintessential Palestinian experience." I have lived a nakba, a man-made disaster, a disease of hatred, racism to the bone. In Gaza, I have lived under occupation, a brutal, savage blockade. The epitome of the Palestinian experience comes in what historian Rashid Khalidi says is lived "at a border, an airport, a checkpoint ... at any one of those modern barriers where identities are checked and verified." It is what the eminent Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani described in Men in the Sun. It is Laila El-Haddad's description of how she and her children lived suspended, humiliated, and stranded in a Cairo airport waiting and wanting to return home to Gaza.

It is the experience of every Palestinian. I became a Gazan -- I am now a refugee, a prisoner. I am now, as El-Haddad explained, holding a passport "that allows no passage. A passport that denied me entry ... to mark me, brand me, so that I am easily identified and cast aside without questions; it is convenient for those giving the orders. It is a system for the collective identification of those with no identification."

I came to stand with the suffering, besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. I came to learn from their resistance, in all its forms, and to fight hand in hand with local activists in acts of non-violent civil resistance. After all, I came from a supposed "resisting Lebanon" and therefore, resistance was no stranger to me. I came to Gaza to confront the occupation and know it through a window other than that of the biased petrol-dollar media of our times. And I did.

I learned that the Arab regimes were Israel's best friends in the region, not out of love of the colonizer, but out of the intense hatred they hold for the Palestinians and their own people. Oh, Palestinians, you are on your own! Where has the cause of Jerusalem gone? It was certainly not in the eyes, hearts and minds of those intelligence agents and members of the security services based at the Rafah crossing, one of Gaza prison's gates. All I could find there was hate.

The psychological and physical torture Palestinians are subjected to at the Rafah crossing is a clear message from the Egyptian authorities. It is intended to frighten and punish the Palestinian people and all those who stand in solidarity with them. The Egyptian authorities at the crossing violated our basic human rights, a daily reality for Palestinians. The degrading and the humiliating manner in which we were treated also violated our rights as women.

During my time in Gaza, as in July 2006 in Lebanon, I endured a hellish assault and massacre designed to break a people but which once again only revealed the criminality of the apartheid regime and the complicity of the international community. Gaza is our South Africa, our Guernica. The Palestinian people exceed their unworthy leadership, and if there is a victory it is that of the people who endured, who drank tea above the rubble of their destroyed homes, who still stand up high, steadfastly against their uprooted olive trees, against occupation, betrayal, complicit silence, and neglect.

Natalie Abou Shakra is an activist from Lebanon and is affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement and Free Gaza Movement. She defied Israeli orders for Lebanese citizens not to go to Gaza and was able to get in with the Free Gaza movement's SS Dignity on the 20 December, 2008.

Ashkelon: a historia do conflito do medio oriente

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Ashkelon: The Story of the Middle East Conflict

Al-Majdal and its citizens suffered the fate of many Palestinian villages.

By Dan Lieberman

The modern Israeli city of Ashkelon, 20 kilometers north of the Gaza border, presents a picturesque setting along the Mediterranean coast. Sparkling white beaches matched by white-faced apartment buildings, green lawns and several wide boulevards depict a tranquil and content city. Ashkelon, the city with the biblical name, is not peaceful. Grad rockets from Gaza have struck the city on several occasions. By arguments of war, the damage has not been extensive, but no damage can be ignored; one fatality and dozens wounded. With the damage repaired, nothing out of the ordinary mars the senses in the Ashkelon of June 2009.

More noticeable is that Ashkelon has an important story, a narrative that describes the Middle East conflict. The story begins with the Canaanites of 1800 B.C.

Ashkelon’s archaeological park has a treasure; a Canaanite gate from the walled city that gave the modern city its name. The Canaanites constructed a port on the Mediterranean Sea and used the sea together with city walls to provide a unique defense against invaders. The archaeological park contains artifacts from the Canaanite and succeeding civilizations; Philistines, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Arabs, and Crusader, all of whom eventually ruled the area until the Mamluks destroyed Ashkelon in the year 1270 A.D.

Missing from the list of conquerors of Ashkelon are the Israelites. No substantiated history or archaeological finds indicate Israelite administration of the coastal areas. This lack of coastal identification is surprising because, if the biblical claims of the extent of David and Solomon’s realms are true, wouldn’t these empires include seaports and fortifications close to the defendable Mediterranean Sea? A Canaanite gate from 1800 B.C. is still extant, but not a single identifiable structure from the reported eras of David and Solomon has been uncovered along the coast.

Which brings us to the year 1596 A.D. In that year, the Arab village of al-Majdal in the Ottoman Empire, located close to the ruins of ancient Ashkelon, had a population of 559 inhabitants. An industrious village, known for a weaving industry that produced silk for festival dresses, Al-Majdal’s population grew to 11,000 by 1948. The poetic naming of their fabrics: 'ji'nneh u nar' - 'heaven and hell', 'nasheq rohoh' - 'breath of the soul' and 'abu mitayn' - 'father of two hundred, signified the pride and originality of the Al-Majdal weavers.

Al-Majdal and its citizens suffered the fate of many Palestinian villages that hoped to escape the hostilities, but became engulfed in the 1948-1949 war in the Levant. Its residents sustained more than the usual injustices that were committed after the passage of United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution 181, the Partition Plan for Palestine.

Not well recognized is that the territory awarded to the Palestinians in Resolution 181 extended along the coast to present day Ashdod, 38 kilometers above Gaza. Al-Majdal had been awarded to the new Palestinian state. Also, not sufficiently explored is the reason that the Egyptian army, after its entrance into the war, refrained from entering deeply into territory awarded to the Jewish state. Egypt’s army captured the Yad Mordechai kibbutz, which was eight kilometers south of Al- Majdal, and stopped at present day Ashdod. Its army crossed the Negev (awarded to Israel), and attacked Jewish settlements in the advance. The Egyptian military proceeded to defend Beer Sheeva, which had also been awarded to a Palestinian state, and continued through Palestinian territory to safeguard Hebron and other parts of the new Palestine state. Egyptian military attacked Tel Aviv by air and sea, but the Egyptian army did not capture territory awarded to Ben Gurion’s government. Reasons given for the Egyptian failure to seize territory awarded to Israel include: damage done to the Egyptian army in a battle at Ashdod halted its advance, four Messerschmitt aircraft delivered by Czechoslovakia to Israel alarmed Egyptian soldiers, and battles with Negev kibbutzim deterred the Egyptian army. All of these reasons are conjectural and are not convincing.

Despite the over expressed statement that the Egyptians, together with other Arab armies, intended to “throw the Israelis into the sea,” the Egyptians did not have the military strength to accomplish the task, and the path taken by Egyptian troops indicate more of a defense of the new Palestinian state rather than occupation of the new Jewish state. The inescapable reality is that the Israelis figuratively threw the Palestinians “into the sea,” or at least into refugee camps, by being complicit in the leaving and expulsion of 750,000 of the 900,000 Arabs who inhabited the British Mandate and by barring their return to the lands and homes they had possessed for centuries. History needs a more in depth analysis of Egypt’s intentions in entering the war.

With war raging in their midst, the citizens of Al-Majdal retreated 15 kilometers to a haven in Gaza. On November 4, 1948, Israeli forces captured the city. In August 1950, by a combination of inducements and threats, Al-Majdal’s 1000-2000 remaining inhabitants were expelled and trucked to Gaza. According to Eyal Kafkafi(1998), "Segregation or integration of the Israeli Arabs - two concepts in Mapai". International Journal of Middle East Studies 30: 347-367, as reported in Wikipedia, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan promoted the expulsion while Pinhas Lavon, secretary-general of the Histadrut, “wished to turn the town into a productive example of equal opportunity to the Arabs.” Despite a ruling by the Egyptian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission that the Arabs transferred from Majdal should be returned to Israel, this never happened. I was told that only two Arab families live in Ashkelon today.

The nightmare for the expelled residents of Al-Majdal did not end with their arduous trip to Gaza. Without going into detail, the years from 1950 until the present have been years of internment in refugee camps, brutal occupation, constant strife, military raids in their neighborhoods, destruction of facilities, denial of everyday life, denial of livelihood, denial of access to the sea, denial of access to the outside world. In 1994, after the signing of the Oslo accords, Israel constructed a 60-kilometer fence around the Gaza Strip and from December 2000 to June 2001 reinforced and rebuilt parts of the fence. Israel might be correct in presenting the fence as a necessary deterrence to infiltration, especially for terrorist acts. Personal terrorist bombings on southern Israel have declined dramatically but have been replaced by terrorist rocket bombings. Infiltration by Israeli forces into Gaza did not decline and bombings of Gaza homes and citizens continued. Whatever the reason, the lives of the surviving Al-Majdal refugees and their descendants evolved from being wards of the United Nations to virtual imprisonment in an overly crowded environment.

The 2008 Gaza war became a coda to the horrific drama that plagued the Al-Majdal and other Palestinian refugees. The massive destruction inflicted upon the Gaza people is well documented and can be reviewed by searching the Internet. The accusation by Amnesty International and other agencies of war crimes committed by Israel is incomplete. Eye witnesses verify intentional destruction of small industrial businesses, educational institutions, animal husbandry and withholding of irrigation that resulted in extensive strawberry crop losses; evidence that Israel also targeted the Gaza economy.

No discussion of Ashkelon is complete without reference to its neighboring Erez Crossing. For those entering northern Gaza, the crossing’s concrete walls and huge terminals, the traces of the 60-kilometer fence around the Gaza Strip in the distance, and an overhead balloon, hanging in the sky like a full moon, evidently surveying the entire area, shock the senses. A description by someone who exited Gaza through the checkpoint was complicated and difficult to be absorbed. A definitive description appears in a BBC report by Paul Wood, BBC Middle East correspondent in Gaza City, May 14, 2002. Retrieve the report at: Middle East diary: At the Erez Crossing.

The Soviet Union previously set the bar for tyrannical control. Those who passed through a Soviet checkpoint between East Germany and Berlin during the Cold war know the fear and uncomfortable feeling of this control. Enter a barren room and look around in puzzlement. Finally, after several minutes, a slit in the wall opens and a voice announces: “Die papieren bitte.” Place the papers in the slit and wait in the room without knowing the time length of the wait. Realize that the room is wired and all words are being heard while hidden eyes observe all movements. It’s a sweating and terrifying experience. The exit from Gaza through Erez seems magnitudes more terrifying. Israel has raised the bar.

But what happens when a Palestinian attempts to enter Israel from Gaza? A story related from a person whose credentials are impeccable and words can be trusted, went like this.

A Palestinian who had moved to Canada and had a Canadian passport, returned temporarily to Gaza. A friend in Ashkelon (who told me the story) invited the Palestinian with the Canadian passport for a visit. It took several weeks to prepare documentation, submit the necessary papers and obtain approval from the Israeli military for the visit. With everything certified the Palestinian proceeded to the Erez Crossing for exit to Israel. His friend waited at the checkpoint, and waited and waited. The Palestinian did not arrive. Six weeks later, the drama unfolded.

Israel security stopped the Palestinian, not because Israel suspected he had compromised its security - just the opposite – Israel compromised his security. If the man agreed to inform on his associates in Gaza, Israel would make life easy for him, allow him to travel and receive conveniences. He was finally released after six weeks of being held incommunicado. Other Palestinians, when crossing the border, have complained of similar insidious activities.

The creation of modern Ashkelon and its consequences contain elements that have been subdued in public discourse but have been a major contributor to the Middle East conflict and a guide for one side of the struggle. We have Israel seizing control of an ancient area, which had for millennia been controlled by others. UN Resolution 181, which awarded the area to the Palestinian state, has been violated in the seizure. The original inhabitants are expelled without cause. The Arab town of Al-Majdal is mostly destroyed and memories of an Arab presence are erased. The town’s name is slowly changed, evolving from Al-Majdal to Migdal-Gad, Migdal-Ashkelon and finally to Ashkelon; as if the city descended directly from the original bronze era seaport. The victims are consistently oppressed and reduced to impoverishment Foreigners occupy the properties of the dispossessed. Sorrow, pain and feelings of helplessness burst into violence against the injustice and oppression. Although the violence is minimal the retaliation is major. Al-Majdal has no escape from suffering.

Ashkelon has a story. It is the story of the Middle East conflict.

- Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter.
Dan has written many articles on the Middle East conflict, which have circulated on websites and media throughout the world. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

Soldados Israelitas admitem violações dos direitos humanos em Gaza

A organização de veteranos de guerra israelitas Break the Silence recolheu o testemunho de 26 soldados israelitas que afirmam que durante a guerra contra a Faixa de Gaza em Janeiro de 2009 se cometeram inúmeras violações dos direitos humanos.
O jornal Público noticia o evento, mas o El Pais recolhe alguns desses depoimentos num artigo publicado hoje. O porta-voz do exército israelita desvalorizou estas declarações pelo facto dos soldados emitirem as declarações sob anonimato. Muitos pensam que, como o porta-voz do exército, vêm na não revelação do nome dos inquiridos uma confirmação da não validade das suas declarações. Julgo porém que a razão desse anonimato tem que ver com receio por parte destes homens e mulheres de alguma represália dos seus superiores ou dos seus companheiros, como frequentemente acontece em estruturas sociais hierarquizadas e autoritárias.

Odiar em Tel Aviv- censorado por Youtube


Feeling the Hate in Tel Aviv -- The Sequel to the Video YouTube Censored

O breakdance em Gaza


Breakdance breaks out in the Gaza Strip
Rami Almeghari, The Electronic Intifada, 14 July 2009

The Camp Breakerz performing in the Gaza Strip. (Camp Breakerz)

It was a summer Wednesday evening and Muhammad al-Ghreiz, 22, was getting his eight-member team ready for a breakdance show at the al-Baydar restaurant on the beachfront just south of Gaza City. Six months ago, Gaza's beaches were under heavy Israeli bombardment from air and sea, but now this area, near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Netzarim, was about to hear an altogether different kind of sound.

Breakdance, the hip hop dance style that began on the streets of New York City more than 30 years ago has become popular with youth all over the world, even breaking through the tight Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The audience began to flow in to the restaurant and a band played some classical Arabic music while cheerful children ran around the swimming pool.

After a number of other acts, the evening's MC surprised the audience by announcing that the next performers would be breakdancers from the Nuseirat refugee camp and surrounding areas.

Al-Ghreiz and the other b-boys leapt on to the stage wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Camp Breakerz" -- the name of their group. Their moves caused excitement among the audience -- many went right up to the stage, and others took pictures with their mobile phones of an exuberant scene.

At one point in the 10-minute set, the group formed a circle, as one of their members danced in the middle. Afterwards, al-Ghreiz explained that the circle symbolized the siege on Gaza. "Our teammate in the middle stood for the children [of Gaza]," al-Ghreiz told EI. "As you saw, the circle was broken by our fellow dancer, indicating the Palestinian child's strong determination to live normally as other children around the world."

Camp Breakerz was established in 2005 by Muhammad al-Ghreiz and another friend from the Nuseirat refugee camp, Ahmed Ismail. Both are recent graduates from nursing school. Ismail is currently a temporary assistant nurse at the al-Shifa hospital of Gaza, while al-Ghreiz is on the waiting list for a position.

In 2004, al-Ghreiz and his family returned to Gaza from Saudi Arabia where they had been living. "I used to breakdance in Saudi Arabia," al-Ghreiz said. "In 2005 I got to know Ahmad, who had also returned from Saudi Arabia, and we began training in my house in the Nuseirat refugee camp." Eventually others joined them and they grew into Camp Breakerz.

The Camp Breakerz pose for a photograph after their performance at the al-Baydar restaurant in Gaza City. (Rami Almeghari)

Ismail recalled some of the difficulties he and al-Ghreiz faced when they first began, especially reactions from people around them. "As you know, this is a conservative, Muslim society," Ismail said, but gradually people began to support what they were doing. "We began to convince them that what we do is part of a sport, and a nice art that can deliver a message."

There were other challenges as well. Ismail suffered from pain in his pelvis that made it difficult to continue dancing, but he stayed with the team, supporting them in other ways. The group has never been able to afford an office, or had a permanent place to train.

Until January Camp Breakerz often trained at the al-Ahli sports club in the Nuseirat refugee camp. "Unfortunately, the entire club was completely destroyed during the last war and we are now on our own," Ismail said, in reference to the 22-day Israeli attack which destroyed thousands of private homes, public buildings and facilities and killed more than 1,400 people. Now they are back to training at al-Ghreiz's house in the camp.

The team members -- who range in age between 15 and 25 -- contribute some of their own money, according to Ismail. Appeals to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities for support have proved fruitless even though the break-dancers perform at the invitation of many such groups.

Ahmad Ismail stresses that Gaza's b-boys are are developing their own original style: "The most important part of what we do is education ... Our main message is to reflect our own unique Palestinian situation. We educate our team members not to be blind imitators of western-style dancing."

"Puma" is the nickname of Fahed Abdulrahman, one of the oldest team members, who had long been interested in joining the group. "I am from Bedouin Palestinian folk," he told EI, "however my family had no objection to breakdance. They encouraged me, as I and my fellow dancers are growing." Abdelrahman hopes the group will continue to expand, adding, "We have no limited ambitions, every day we have news ideas."

Ahmad al-Hourani, 16, said that when he began break-dancing his cousins told him, "this is disco [a term generally used to describe western-style dancing], and that is against our Palestinian traditions." But they too came around, recognizing it as a skilled and worthwhile activity. "I dream of becoming a great breakdancer," al-Hourani said, "when I dance, I feel I have achieved something."

The breakdancers have performed all over the Gaza Strip in the past four years. Many shows were at special ceremonies, such as Mother's Day, the inauguration of an amusement park or a zoo, or at community-based organizations.

As the show at al-Baydar restaurant ended, and the audience left, some pointed at the crew in the black T-shirts, and others uttered words of amazement or appreciation. Muhammad al-Ghreiz reflected on what his group's work means: "The Palestinian people are still alive and that we have an art form that can send out a message of peace to our brothers and sisters around the globe."

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Related Links

'reckless' por navegar em águas internacionais

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

'Reckless' to Sail in International Waters

Why does London perpetuate the blockade by colluding in Israel's unlawful conduct?

By Stuart Littlewood – London

I thought I would share this with you.

Britain's foreign secretary David Miliband - or rather, someone on his behalf – has written to me about the government’s response to Israel's hijacking of the mercy ship Spirit of Humanity on the high seas and the outrageous treatment of six peace-loving British citizens (including the skipper), en route to Gaza not Israel, who had their gear stolen or damaged and were thrown into Israeli jails. The letter contains the usual wet and meaningless expressions like deplore and press and raise the issue, which are the familiar hallmark of Foreign Office mentality.

And I’m told it is "reckless" to travel in international waters. It should, of course, be safe – and would be if the high and mighty Western allies, always talking big against terror, were to enforce maritime law and rid the Eastern Mediterranean of marauding Israeli pirates.

Miliband’s spokesman says: "The Israeli Navy took control of the Spirit of Humanity on 30 June, diverting it to Ashdod port in Israel. All those on board, including six British nationals, were handed over to Israeli immigration officials. British consular officials had good access to the British detainees and established that they were treated well. The Israeli authorities deported the detainees on 6 July."

Treated well? That’s not what the peaceful seafarers say. They were assaulted, put in fear of their lives and deprived of their liberty for fully a week - a long time in a stinking Israeli jail.

Miliband’s spokesman: "The Foreign Secretary said in the House of Commons on 30 June that it was 'vital that all states respect international law, including the law of the sea. It is also important to say that we deplore the interference by the Israeli navy in the activities of Gazan fishermen'."

Such fine words. Where is the action to back them up? Gaza’s fishermen suffer increasingly unjust restrictions and are still fired on.

Miliband’s spokesman: "When the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on 1 July he raised the issue with him and asked for clarification about whether or not the Spirit of Humanity had been intercepted in international waters. We will continue to press the Israeli authorities for clarification."

It's well over a week and Lieberman hasn't clarified anything. There’s a surprise! Was the Israeli ambassador in London summoned and given a dressing down? Has London demanded compensation for the Britishers’ losses and damage? Has the boat and its cargo been returned? Have arrangements been made for the aid to be delivered? Our Zionist-leaning government apparently takes pleasure in Britain’s repeated humiliation. Not long ago the British consul-general in Tel Aviv (a woman) was strip-searched by Israeli security perverts.

Miliband’s spokesman: "We regularly remind the Israeli government of its obligations under international law on a variety of issues, including with respect to humanitarian access to Gaza as well as Israel's control of Gazan waters and the effect this has on Gaza's fishing industry."

Ever get the feeling they've switched off their collective hearing aid? What is the point of obligations if they never have to be met? Miliband and the rest should hang their heads in shame, particularly over the Gaza fishing scandal.

Miliband’s spokesman: "As I said on the phone, our Travel Advice makes clear that we advise against all travel to Gaza, including its offshore waters; that it is reckless to travel to Gaza at this time; and that medical and other essential specialist staff needing to travel to Gaza should coordinate their entry to Gaza with the major international humanitarian organizations already on the ground."

Why does London perpetuate the blockade of Gaza by colluding in Israel’s unlawful conduct? Where are the consequences and penalties for breaching international law and all codes of human decency?

On the other point, Gaza's Ministry of Health is surely best placed to know what's needed.

Miliband’s spokesman: "Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Consulate General in Jerusalem have also similarly advised those wishing to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza to do so through existing humanitarian organizations which can advise, particularly with regards to medicines, [and] which items if any are currently required."

Private suppliers should be free to deliver aid through whatever channels they wish.

Miliband’s spokesman: "The UK has been unequivocal in its calls for Israel to lessen restrictions at the Gaza crossings, allowing the legitimate flow of humanitarian aid, trade and reconstruction goods and the movement of people. This is essential not only for the people of Gaza, but also for the wider stability of the region."

“Unequivocal”? “Essential”? More splendid but empty words. The needs of the crushed and devastated and half-starved people of Gaza have been urgent for 3 years, ever since Britain ganged up with the Zionist axis to bring Gaza to its knees.

Miliband’s spokesman: "Recent events in Gaza are a tragic reminder of the importance of progress on the peace process."

No kidding....... They are also a tragic reminder of the West's perverse failure in its duty to enforce compliance with international law, human rights and UN resolutions.

Miliband’s spokesman: "The UK, with the support of our international allies, will continue to pursue vigorously a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution, involving a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state."

But never vigorously enough. The world is still waiting after sixty-one years. And let's change those worn-out words around. How does a secure Palestine alongside a viable Israel sound?

Britain and its allies need to try a new tack… like first establishing the rule of international law and forcibly breaking the siege. It’s so blindingly obvious.

Meanwhile, doesn’t the gut-churning, cowardly shambles that is Gaza make you proud to be British? Or American? Or European?

- Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to Visit:

policia israelita ataca um adolescente palestiniano com problemas cardiecos sem motivo aparente


Palestinians: Border Guard officers beat Hawara youth

Residents of Nablus adjacent village say 16-year-old teen was beaten by Border Guard officers for no reason, cite repeated abuse by forces stationed in the area. Border Guard Command investigating

Ali Waked

A Palestinian youth suffering from a heart condition was reportedly beaten by Border Guard officers in the West Bank village of Hawara, near Nablus, Ynet learn Tuesday.

Jihad Huwari, 16, told Ynet that, he and his cousin were stopped by a Border Guard patrol on Sunday. The officers allowed the cousin to go ahead, but asked Huwari to present his ID. "They took it and began to insult me and laugh and then one of them hit me with the barrel of his rifle."

uma vinheta da maravilha!

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Matter of the Heart

The Kadima people have invented a catchy slogan: '100 days, 0 achievements'.

By Uri Avnery

Every German child knows the story of the Captain of Koepenick.

The scene is 1908 Germany, with the Second Reich at the peak of its power, ruled by a Kaiser who is almost always decked out in a splendid military uniform.

A shoemaker named Wilhelm Voigt is released from prison, after doing time for fraud. He needs a passport to get a job, but felons cannot obtain a passport.

The shoemaker goes to a masquerade shop and puts on the uniform of an army captain. He commandeers a squad of soldiers that happens to be passing in the street. They do notice some irregularities in his outfit but dare not disobey an officer.

The “captain” marches the soldiers to the little town of Koepenick, a suburb of Berlin, arrests the mayor and confiscates the safe, which contains blank passports. Later the police have no great difficulty making out who committed the outrage, and it is not long before he is arrested.

When an adjutant announces the news to the Kaiser, the court holds its breath. After a tense moment or two, His Majesty bursts out laughing. All of Germany laughs with him, along with the rest of Europe.

The “Hauptmann von Koepenick” became a legend, because his adventure threw into relief the very essence of the regime: in the militarist Germany of the time, just before World War I, military rank meant unquestioned authority.

Perhaps it is true that every country has an episode of this kind, highlighting with one stroke the main foibles of its regime. In Israel it was – until this week – the affair of the “Ramat Gan Light Bulb”.

In March 1982 the Economy Minister Yaacov Meridor, a leading member of the Likud, announced that a scientist by the name of Danny Berman had come up with an invention that would cause a revolution throughout the world. By a simple chemical process he was able to produce energy sufficient to light all of Ramat Gan with one single light bulb. Ramat Gan is a sister town of Tel Aviv, and almost as big.

Yaacov Meridor (no relation of the current minister Dan Meridor) was not just anybody. He had been the commander of the Irgun before the arrival of Menachem Begin, and later had set up major economic enterprises in Africa. He was the No. 2 Likud leader and it was no secret that Begin considered him his heir and successor.

Before Meridor’s announcement, a senior reporter of my news magazine, Haolam Hazeh, came to me and told me breathlessly about the wondrous invention. I responded with one word: Nonsense. My years as an investigative magazine editor had honed my nose for detecting phony stories. But the whole country was ecstatic.

In the following days, the revolutionary invention was exposed as a simple fraud. Berman, the genius who posed as a former Air Force officer, was exposed as an impostor with a criminal record. Meridor lost his political future. But a small band of True Believers, including my senior reporter, continued to swear that Berman was indeed a misunderstood genius.

How could a completely nonsensical story, without any foundation at all, capture a whole country and elicit general acceptance, at least at the beginning? Very simple: it expressed one of the deeply-held beliefs of the Israeli public - that Jews are the most intelligent people in the world.

That, by the way, is a conviction held both by many Jews and by anti-Semites. The infamous tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which discloses a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, relies on this belief.

There are many theories which profess to explain the alleged superiority of the “Jewish Brain”. One asserts that in the thousands of years of persecution, the Jews were compelled to develop their brainpower just in order to survive. Another theory goes like this: in medieval Catholic Europe, the most intelligent men became priests or monks whose vocational celibacy prevented the transmission of their genes to offspring, while it was the habit in the Jewish communities for rich parents to marry their daughters to the most outstanding young scholars.

This week, the Ramat Gan Light Bulb was trumped by an even more magnificent invention: the Heart Sticker.

The economic supplement of Haaretz published a sensational scoop: a virtually unknown Israeli company had sold a third of its shares to a Taiwan-British corporation for 370 million dollars, raising its own value to a billion. All this owing to a revolutionary invention: a small sticker that, when put on the breast, can foretell a heart attack a crucial half hour before it actually happens. The sticker sends out warnings by cellular phone and satellite, thus introducing the possibility of saving countless lives.

That evening, one of the chiefs of the happy firm appeared on TV and disclosed that the wonder-sticker could do much more: for example, it could measure the amount of sugar in the blood without invading the body.

My nose immediately began to twitch.

And indeed, a day later the media started to investigate the matter, revealing one curious fact after another. Nobody had actually seen the wonder sticker. No patent had been registered. No cardiologist or other expert had examined it. No scientific paper had mentioned it. And, it seems, no scientific experiment had been conducted.

The Taiwan-British company had sent no representative to Israel to examine the invention for which it had allegedly paid a huge sum. The negotiations had been conducted entirely by email, without any personal contact. The lawyers involved refused to show the signed agreement.

When reporters contacted the foreign company, they denied any knowledge of the matter. It appeared that the inventor had registered a computer domain with a similar name and thus actually sold the shares to himself.

At this stage, the house of cards started to fall apart. It was revealed that the inventor had twice done time in prison for fraud. But his partners still insisted that the matter was serious and that within days, if not hours, the genius of the invention would be revealed to all, and the critics would be compelled to eat their hats.

The hats remained uneaten, and the partners deserted the ship one after the other.

What transformed the affair from an amusing “sting” operation into a matter of national importance was the readiness of the whole country, for a whole day, to accept the story as another proof of Jewish genius.

No less typical was the identity of its heroes. No. 1 was the inventor himself, who continues to protest that this time, this of all times, he is not an impostor. No. 2 was his partner, the businessman, who was or was not an accomplice to the fraud. But the interesting characters are the other two main protagonists.

No. 3 has been for many years the closest friend of Binyamin Netanyahu, and especially of his wife, Sarah (known to everybody by the childish diminutive Sara’le). At the height of the scandal he resigned his job as CEO, after failing to obtain a copy of the famous contract. If it is assumed that this friend of Netanyahu’s is indeed innocent, his level of intelligence must be subject to grave doubts. However, it may not be intelligence that the Netanyahu family looks for in close friends.

That is even more true for No. 4: Haggai Hadas. The exact nature of his involvement is not entirely clear. At the beginning, he vigorously defended the invention and seemed to be involved from head to foot, but when the thing blew up he desperately tried to distance himself from it.

Why is this any more important than the usual gossip? Because Haggai Hadas, apart from enjoying Netanyahu’s confidence and being, reportedly, a personal friend of his wife, has served in the past as chief of the operations department of the Mossad, the third most important post in the spy agency. He could by now have been the Mossad chief, if the incumbent had not actively prevented everybody else from coming even close.

Some weeks ago, Netanyahu appointed Hadas to one of the most sensitive positions in the security establishment: to coordinate all the efforts to free the “kidnapped” soldier Gilad Shalit.

If we do not want to assume that this man, a confidante of the Prime Minister and a former senior officer of the Mossad, who has been responsible for life-and-death decisions, was an accomplice to a vile fraud, there is no escape from the conclusion that his judgment is grievously impaired and that he fell into a trap that any person with common sense could have spotted a mile off.

How can such a person possibly be entrusted with such a sensitive task as the negotiation for a prisoner exchange with Hamas, in which sophisticated Egyptian mediators are involved?

And what does this say about the judgment of Netanyahu, who appointed him to this task, especially assuming that his wife had demanded it?

This week also marked a milestone: the end of the first 100 days of Netanyahu’s second term as Prime Minister.

The Kadima people have invented a catchy slogan: “100 days, 0 achievements”.

To start with, Netanyahu appointed a bloated government in which a third of all Knesset members serve as ministers or deputy ministers, many of them without any apparent duties. Two of the three most important ministries were allotted to totally unsuited persons: the Treasury to an economic toddler and the Foreign Office to a racist who is openly shunned by many of the world’s most prominent leaders.

Then there came a series of laws and measures that were announced with great fanfare, only to be dropped very quietly. The latest example: the levying of VAT on fruits and vegetables, which was abandoned at the last moment.

But the epitome of inefficiency was the inability to put together the Prime Minister’s staff. The Advisor for National Security, Uzi Arad, is not interested in peace with either the Palestinians or the Syrians, and wants to deal only with the Iranian issue. (This week President Barack Obama issued a public and unequivocal prohibition on any Israeli military attack on Iran.) The Chief of Cabinet, the Director General of the Prime Minister’s office, the Political Advisor and other members of the staff detest each other and do not make any effort to hide it. The Press Advisor has already been replaced, and this week a female friend of Sarah Netanyahu was appointed as advisor for “Branding the State” (Anyone know what that means??)

In the meantime, Sara’le has returned to the spotlight. A former airline stewardess who met Netanyahu in an airport duty-free shop when he was still married to his second wife, she was universally disliked and served as a butt of jokes during her husband’s first term. This time, efforts were made to keep her in the background. When the Prime Minister still insisted on taking her with him to Washington, Michelle Obama avoided meeting her. When he was due to visit several European capitals, she was struck from the list at the last moment. But it seems that she is very active behind the scenes, especially as far as crucial senior appointments are concerned.

Perhaps this country really does need a wonder sticker?

- Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He contributed this article to

Palestine Blogs - The Gazette Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.