Saturday, March 8, 2008
Mazin Qumsiyeh - Non-violence or Non-existence
We wanted to write more about the tour with a blog of all the great things we did and saw this past week (e.g. the great questions from hundreds of students in WA and OR). However, it is worthwhile to focus on this issue of violence and existence in more detail considering the news from occupied Palestine in this weekly message and add relevant good articles. While we are never shocked by the distorted US media coverage of what is going on, we are sometimes surprised by the audacity of editors and journalists. For example, compare the coverage of the killing of 8 Israelis in occupied Jerusalem with the coverage of the killing of 126 Palestinians in Gaza in the seven days before that; including many children (four playing soccer, babies in mother's arms, etc). BTW, only Israeli papers like Haaretz explained the history of the "school" that the Israelis were killed at (a training school for terrorist Rabbis). It might be worthwhile to put out some quotes on the so-called "cycle of violence" between the occupier/colonizer and the occupied/colonized (and people forget this aspect, the etiology of the disease, when they focus on the symptoms/the violence):
"The curse of Gaza is as powerful as death: if the entire occupation is a tragedy, the occupation of Gaza is its essence: 360 square kilometers, some 1.5 million people, 1 million refugees, and the responsibility is all ours. From the beginning there were those who warned us of the curse, and not only Sapir; even Moshe Dayan used words of caution. It did no good. The euphoria is contagious, the war rolls on, and a wise people is a foolish one. In the Zionist enterprise's march of folly, Gaza stands out as a major milestone, a signpost of weeping. The foundation stone of our tears."
"Many westerners justify Israel's actions because they believe that Israel, as a sovereign country, has the right to defend itself. The truth is, so long as the government of Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and denying the people their freedom, dignity, and human as well as political rights, international law gives them the right to resist and to defend themselves. "
The United Nations Human Rights Council today labeled Israel’s response to recent rocket attacks from Gaza a war crime and 'collective punishment against the civilian population'
"As long as there is occupation and the brutality and violence it entails, we will mourn Israeli and Palestinian lives. In this context, media coverage that portrays violence as part of a short-term cycle of attack and retaliation obscures the facts, including the role the US has played, through covert action, in fomenting civil war in Gaza, as recently revealed by a groundbreaking report in Vanity Fair. As long as the United States continues to support Israel's decades-long practice of illegally appropriating land, destroying homes, and using disproportionate force--a policy which has proven to be both morally bankrupt and self-destructive for Israel--neither Palestinians nor Israelis will ever know peace."
She had lived just 20 days on this earth before being shot in the head by Israeli occupation forces who attacked the house of friends she and her family were visiting. Needless to say, she had not been firing rockets at Sderot when she was killed. One of the house's inhabitants was found the next day, shot dead and his head crushed by an army jeep, an apparent victim of an extrajudicial murder by Israeli forces."
"We need to find a legal and legitimate way to kick those few Palestinian Arabs in east Jerusalem who make it their choice to aid and take part in terrorism back to Ramallah,"
"We at Tikkun feel equally grieving for the people killed by vicious and immoral terrorists at the Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav (the ultra-nationalist religious center that developed the ideology which inspired religious Zionists to believe that they had a God-given right to settle and hold on to the territories without regard to the consequences for the Palestinian people already living there) as we do for the victims of Israeli terror (which in the past week killed 120 people, many of them children, many of them sitting in their homes when Israeli troops randomly fire-bombed and murdered them, as documented by the same international human rights organizations that today condemned the attack in Jerusalem by terrorists)."
“Condemning the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, and for other purposes...”
But perhaps the most poignant comment on violence in Palestine/Israel is these statements from Nurit Peled-Elhanan whose daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber:http://www.qumsiyeh.org/nuritpeledelhanan/
(Must Read) The Day the Earth and Sky Traded Places: Gazan Holocaust By JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN http://www.counterpunch.org/loewenstein03042008.html
An Interview with Aharon Shabtaï "Israel's most acclaimed Hebrew poet." He explains need for cultural boycott of Israel: "Israel, 'Guest Of Honour' In Paris And Turin, Does Not Deserve To Be Invited," By Silvia Cattori & Aharon Shabtaï, 26 February, 2008, Countercurrents.org. http://www.countercurrents.org/cattori260208.htm
Racism in Israel on the rise: Association for Civil Rights in Israel publishes annual report; reveals country overwhelmed by racism, restriction of personal freedoms, discrimination, especially towards Israeli-Arabs. Report not surprising, say Arab MKs, By Aviram Zino http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3480345,00.html
After failing to anticipate Hamas's victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever. READ MORE.....http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804
Analytic Report "REVEALED: THE US PLAN TO START A PALESTINIAN CIVIL WAR, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2008 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9366.shtml
WASHINGTON, DC -- Calling the Siege of Gaza an international emergency, the Green Party is urging Congress to reject President Bush's FY2009 budget request for $2.55 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel, and reiterated the call for a cut-off of all US military aid to Israel."The Siege of Gaza is an ongoing atrocity, with mounting civilian casualties, especially children, killed and maimed by Israeli Defense Forces," said Holly Hart, secretary of the Green Party of the United States and member of People for Justice in Palestine, responding to the mass killing of Palestinians during the past weekend. "Greens are demanding an end to the siege and to the occupation of Palestinian lands, to Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians, and to targeted assassinations, all of which violate international law."
Greens noted that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces has doubled since the Annapolis peace talks sponsored by the US in November 2007. In some areas of the West Bank, home invasions by IDF since January 1 have resulted in the kidnapping and detention without charges of nearly 400 civilians, including children.
1.5 million Gazans, mostly refugees from Israel in 1948, live in an open-air prison, unable to exit, and with electricity, fuel, and water under Israeli control.
"Peace talks are a sham as long as Israel refuses to discuss the construction of new housing units for Jewish settlers throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank," said David J. Kalbfleisch, a Green congressional candidate in Illinois' 10thdistrict http://www.electdave.org/.
The One Candidate Worth Our Vote: Nader the Best Antidote to American ImperialismBy KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON http://www.counterpunch.org/christison03012008.html
Mazin QumsiyehWheels of Justice Tour: Nonviolent education and action against war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine for justice and universal humanrights http://justicewheels.orghttp://qumsiyeh.org