Sunday, April 30, 2006


A readers' guide to Gilad Atzmon's "Self-Haters Unite"

There is a long and glorious history of political cartoons and caricatures. They serve a purpose of communicating an idea, perhaps even a bias, by means of entertainment and humour, but at the same time to be truly effective, they must be highly charged and immediately recognisable images. They have to be over the top and verge on the ridiculous or absurd. Daumier and Hogarth are two of the most illustrious examples of artists who had dedicated their energies to a critique of their own society, and if we look at their cartoons today, almost all of us would struggle to grasp the message, their political impact is almost nil, while their artistic value remains unaltered. The reason for this is, having lost their referent, these cartoons have no relevance to the current social and political situation, and for the fact that content and form are aspects of visual arts that are able to follow separate paths, living independently of one another. Yet, one can be certain that at the moment these two major artists published their cartoons, there was no need to decode their significance or adopt a specialised cultural language to be able to understand in an immediate way the message they were sending, they were accessible to the target public, which is usually quite wide for this genre of communication. For a cartoon to be effective, it has to in some way address a very widespread issue, it can’t be formed from an arcane code that only a select elite can decipher. It has to take the most commonly known concepts and exacerbate them, play them to the hilt, push them to the limit so that there is little room for confusion as to the direction the message is taking. They must be pregnant in relevancy.

In the article that follows, Gilad Atzmon discusses a rather particular contest that was held to create a series of “anti-Semitic” cartoons by Jewish authors. The creator of the contest claimed that it was undertaken as a reaction to the Danish cartoons that offended the Islamic public in many parts of the world. On one level, it does sound like a classic fig leaf operation, “We’ll show people that we in Israel stand up for free speech, and offensive cartoons are part of it.” And, “no one is better at self-mockery than we are.” All of this, on the other hand, really just confirms an opinion of being that one notch above the crowd, a little presumptuous in and of itself, although harmless if it is in small doses. Many societies honestly believe they are the best of all possible societies, and it’s hard to convince the citizens of a particular place that it might not be the case, and to say that a State that has the audaciousness to suggest that it is a “light unto nations” surely fits the bill would be quite an understatement. Yet there may be a darker side to this manner of operation. It implies that a message is accepted or rejected according to the messenger, a concept that is not very open-minded or liberal, but quite the contrary, is typically biased behaviour.

I don’t know if the participants of the contest had to have rabbinical certification that they were indeed Jews, as that was one of the criteria for participation, but it was certainly a mandatory condition that only what Jews came up with would be considered. Therefore, all of the results of this call were (ostensibly) from Jewish imagination. Who would be able to invent such a cartoon? No one knows what is in the mind of another person, but upon reading about this contest, especially in the Hebrew press release, which depicts the context in a harsher light than the English language blog seems to present, Atzmon has come to the conclusion that there must be something deeper than the stated goals of the creator of the contest, to “show the world Kosher anti-Semitism”. Atzmon claims that there is a level of disgust that runs within the spirit of many Jews around the world when they are considering the messages that the mainstream has when focussing on aspects of a collective known as “Jews”, and he has taken the provocative step of actually turning the label hurled at Jews who criticise, even violently, aspects of Jewishness, “the Self-hating Jew” and suggests that they stop denying it and be proud that there is a bit of ethical fibre working that is able to make the connections between exploitation of their own tragedy and profit, the legitimate desire to live freely as Jews, and the racist nationalism that this desire has created when it became Zionism, implying the dispossession of another people to achieve it. All of this Atzmon sees as being part of individuals who identify themselves as Jews, but who reject elements that are part and parcel of the current image of Jews that arises from an exasperated sense of self worth, separateness and importance. For Gilad Atzmon, there is such a thing as a “proud self-hating Jew”, and while not all of these artists could be considered part of that category, as one need not subscribe to a belief to be able to express it, he does believe that there are indeed a growing number of Jews who are willing to share their disgust with what happens in the world under the name of being for the good of the Jews. If it is only good for the Jews, they might say, what good is it really, if Jewishness is also a moral code of acting charitably towards one’s neighbours. In that case, perhaps Atzmon’s proud self-hating Jew becomes something of a moral imperative. Despite this, Atzmon recognises that the proud self-hating Jew actually hates “other” Jews a little more than he or she hates himself or herself. The self-hating Jew we see here is sure to depict an image of a Jew that resembles a very specific sort, an orthodox Jew from the old country, stuck in the 1800s and fully insular. The reasons for this may be for the economy in depicting the most stereotyped image that can be telegraphically sent, or, it could be another flavour of superiority. The question remains open.

All cultures have dominant tendencies and traits, unifying features and shared philosophies. But, when many of these are all about sustaining a State where the major problem is the relationship between Jews and their neighbours, where facts on the ground demonstrate that the State of Israel engages in oppressive practices and illegal occupation against resident non-Jews all in the name of guaranteeing special status for the Jews in Israel, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are going to be some Jews who will not accept this, and who attempt to use all the available opportunities to express their own dissent from such barbarianism. Perhaps free speech was also used by some of these participants to communicate a message that they feel is not xenophobic, but an urgent cry to bring attention to some aspects that are silenced as soon as “someone else” says them. Perhaps, for some of these artists, this was a last ditch opportunity to express some of their very legitimate concerns. This is the thesis that Atzmon, ever observant to a categorical reading of reality, is attempting to have us view.

Another common practice that many Jews might feel strong repulsion for is where there is an exploitation of “difference and uniqueness” when it comes in handy (for instance, the Holocaust is still not permitted to be compared to any other genocide, it stands as a unique and singular event in history, and it is generally considered to exclude from statistics the other victims of this same nightmare event). This generalisation that Jews are “different” is always proudly accepted when discussion is about the great level of contribution to the development of technology and human endeavour that Jewish people have been able to provide to all the societies they have been part of, but it is rejected as being racist when the “exceptional” contribution is in extremely delicate and strategic places such as communication and the mass media, politics and finance.

However, the aspect of the contest that remains more interesting than the contest itself is the milieu surrounding its aftemath. In reading on it in the Hebrew papers, Atzmon found a rejection of the idea of this as being damaging and harmful from the formal “moral guardians” of the Jewish world, no, not a Rabbinical Council, but the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Yad Vashem. It seems that the protection and presentation of the Jewish identity has to pass muster with two entities that ceaselessly promote a specific image of the Jew as a victim, “the” victim par excellence. No one is allowed to alter this image, and the reality of the Jewish State that utilises practices that are inhumane and morally questionable to maintain a dominant position in respect to Palestinians, should never interfere with the message incessantly promoted.

In fact, it seems as well that two of the four judges also distanced themselves from the contest, deciding that the submissions were so low-level that it was below their prestige to even nominate a winner. It might not be hard to surmise that successful artists would not want to end up on the bad side of the moral guardians of the Jewish world, and expressing disappointment with the results is another way of saying, “Nothing to see here, move on, move on” at the scene of a traffic accident. While the contest had received some coverage when it was launched, the mainstream press quite carefully downplayed it, to the point that one might imagine that the sensitivities of the people depicted are being protected, as if perhaps they really “can’t” take that much self-mockery after all.

And, without further ado, the article itself:



Remi Kanazi - Call a Spade a Spade

How long is a sane man expected to sit on his hands while his enemy slaps him in the face? The Palestinian people have endured a prolonged aggression by a pariah state, and yet the world not only expects them to sit on their hands, the world blames them for it.

Why are the Palestinian people expected to take the blame? Apparently, the world is infuriated by their democratically electing Hamas, a “terrorist organization,” into government. Setting aside the word terrorism and the West’s perversion of the definition—would one not have to engage in “terrorism” or even attempt to engage in “terrorism” to be a “terrorist?” According to a Shin Bet report, Israel’s internal general security service, Hamas’ military wing has not been responsible for a suicide bombing in nearly two years. Israel has not blamed a single Israeli death on Hamas in 2006. Furthermore, hard-lined Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reluctantly admitted that Hamas did not coordinate any of the rocket attacks fired from the Gaza Strip in recent months. So what’s the problem? According to Mofaz and his ilk in the Israeli government, Hamas is still a terrorist group because it’s not proactively preventing Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade from carrying out attacks against Israel.

Is this a fair critique? Hamas, who has not even taken over control of the security apparatus in the Occupied Territories, is expected to force Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to halt all attacks on Israel (which Israel refuses to reciprocate) without the resources or political capital to do so. If Hamas tried to disarm the militant groups in the territories at the height of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, complete chaos would break out. Moreover, this call is being made while the world is bankrupting the Palestinian government (in turn bankrupting the Palestinian people).

In the large sea of global politics a minnow like the Palestinians cannot survive without protection and fresh water. The disappearance of objectionable voices that once cried out for the rights of the Palestinian people is pushing those in the Occupied Territories down a very narrow path. Many in the European Union are now towing the line for Israel’s rhetoric and policies, while most of the Arab states have been “forced” to join the ride due to US pressure and sanctions.

The world’s turning its back on democracy and the Palestinian people is an intolerable breach of humanity. In recent weeks, America and the European Union have decided to cut a combined one billion dollars in aid to the Palestinian people. The yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Occupied Territories is an estimated 2.5 billion dollars. The GDP figure continues to drop as unemployment skyrockets in the territories—furthering poverty, malnutrition and civil unrest. The world’s economic strangulation is leaving the families of 150,000 Palestinian Authority (PA) employees to suffocate in their already ominous conditions. When the average PA worker, as noted by PLO Ambassador to the US Afif Safieh, takes care of seven or eight family members, the cutting of salaries affects nearly one-third of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The continued withholding of Palestinian tax money in East Jerusalem, in addition to the intensified checkpoints, border closures, and constant bombardments on Gaza has left Palestinian society paralyzed.

Is the isolation of Hamas justified? Not only has Hamas halted all attacks, as previously mentioned, but they’ve called for “calm for calm,” which Israel subsequently rejected because Hamas is a “terrorist” entity. Yet, Hamas’ existence didn’t stop Israel from signing the Sharm Al Sheik cease-fire (which Israel rarely abided by), but now that Hamas is in office, the Israeli tactic of isolation, unilateralism, and collective punishment has taken over concerns of diplomacy and peace. Hamas pledged to restore order to society (which would benefit the security of Israel) and indicated it would curb attacks by groups such as Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the “calm for calm” period. A new Palestinian poll found that 75 percent of the Palestinian population wants Hamas to hold negotiations with Israel—a move that Hamas has not objected to. Hamas stated on numerous occasions that it is willing to negotiate with Israel through an interlocutor such as President Abu Mazen (a man who has visibly chosen partisan politics over leadership). Hamas clearly laid out its demands to Israel (which fall in line with international law and multiple UN resolutions): full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, complete autonomy within the territories, control of its borders, and a full right of return. So let’s call a spade a spade. Israel is engaging in state-sponsored physical, economic, and political terrorism—in an attempt to choke to death a people that have been deprived air for nearly 60 years. The question remains: will those who value peace have enough sense to object or will they wait until it’s too late?

Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer, poet and performer and can reached via email at

Friday, April 28, 2006


Meshaal - Hamas is ready for peace, under these conditions


by Alix Van Buren from La Repubblica, 27 April (print edition). Translated by Diego Traversa.

DAMASCUS—In the fortress-villa from which he rules in exile, Khaled Meshaal is in a stormy mood: “That putting us under siege were our foes, America and Israel, was quite expected. But that some Palestinian elements lent themselves to supply the Trojan horse, I didn’t really expect this.”

Meshaal, Hamas’ supreme leader, sends off quiet sparks.

“Yet, those who bet on our defeat are wrong. Hamas government, Insh’ Allah, will be successful, because it has people’s support, because it’s a lawful government and has the capability of imposing a good ruling.”

In the armoured drawing-room, there is the coming and going of the messengers bringing news as heavy as the Middle-East horizon that Meshaal is depicting.

The news gives accounts of fraternal clashes in the Palestinian squares, of the test of strength between government and presidency about the control over security forces, of the arrest by Israel of new governmental leaders, and of the deadlock as to transferring, in the Palestinian territories, the funds raised in order to avoid the humanitarian and economic crisis. The White House’s ban prevents banks from keeping each transaction with the Palestinian Authority.

“We’re attempting to outflank the hindrance through the Arab League’s and aid coming from Arab governments, while one fourth of the Palestinians has been with no wages since March. As you can see, we are not the ones who are starving the population.”

Meshaal, has the victory faded away? From Fatah’s ranks, they are charging you with having already failed.

“Speaking of failure after only three weeks of ruling is quite reckless, isn’t it? Instead, the contrary is true: in spite of appearances, the block against Hamas is going to crumble. The front of international solidarity as to the political and economical support being offered to us is getting wider, we’re receiving openings from foreign Chancelleries.”

Can you provide us with some examples?

“I’m thinking of the Vatican’s envoy in the Holy Land, of other Christian members: it’s a welcome development. A dialogue, both in Palestine and abroad, with European officials and ambassadors, is underway; there’s a first approach with China, the important opening by Russia. As to Italy, we have welcomed the pronouncements by the new Prime Minister, Romano Prodi; we hope the Italian stance will be balanced. In short, I’m quite optimistic.

Yet, you see, the more we succeed in slackening the tight knot, the more the pressure increases. But America, Israel and Europe be aware: the non-stop pressure on Palestine will lead to an outburst in the region.”

Meshaal, you hurl burning words at the Palestinian Authority, you speak of a plot. Is it a foolhardy statement?

“I denounce the positions of some, and I underline “some”, who see the siege and don’t take action, waiting for the time of replacing us. The financial corruption is not a novelty. They have left us with an empty safe. The PA has at its disposal a fund for investments, from which the executive used to draw. The Hamas’ government isn’t allowed to do this. Ask Mahmud Abbas the reason why he doesn’t make use of those funds to pay the wages. If he cares for the nation’s interests, he shouldn’t deprive us of the means of ruling. May he let us re-establish the order by returning to us the authority over the security forces as provided for by law, and call toorder the armed groups plotting the chaos. May the clash befall in the political arena, not in the streets. Meanwhile, I extend my hand, I call on national unity.”

Mahmud Abbas warns that he has the power of dissolving the government.

“He is waving a threat, he means to extort some concessions towards Israel from us.”

Does Hamas keep on rejecting every negotiation?

“Listen, the negotiations, as they have been led up to now, have proved to be unsuccessful. There’s some kind of hypocrisy in those blaming us for refusing Oslo, Camp David and Wye Plantation. After all this negotiating, the peace yardsticks are known to everybody. It’s sufficient to apply them.”

What are they?

“In few words, they lie in recognizing the right of the Palestinians to live peacefully in a their own state within the borders of the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Upon this, the consensus is nearly universal.”

Your words would seem to entail Israel’s acknowledgement. Is this a twist?

“Let’s see firstly if Israel is willing to admit our rights. Hamas is conceiving a peace plan: if Israel accepts the tenet of the withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem comprised, the acknowledgement of the refugees’ right to return, the releasing of the prisoners, the dismantling of the Wall.”

Are these conditions inalienable?

“They’re our target, the principle Israel has to accept so as to start a dialogue. All this can happen according to steps to be decided through an accord. Israel must say that it is willing to negotiate this. If it wants peace, we’re ready for it. Or else, we’re going to re-start resistance.”

Nonetheless, do you confirm the choice of the truce?

“We have been complying with the tahdia, the peacefulness, as a strategic choice for more than one year. We’ll be judging the situation from time to time. The tahdia is expired, Israel has broken it and is responsible for the escalation.”

Your government has censured the slaughter in Egypt. What about you, Mr Meshaal?

“I strongly condemn it; it is an horrible criminal act, an offence to our faith. I condemn it just as the attack in Sharm el Sheik a year ago.”

On the eve, a message from Bin Laden was aired. He has also addressed Hamas.

“Everything divides us from Al Qaeda: we’ve chosen the way of polls, of legitimacy. Our resistance is against Israel’s occupation only. I hope we’ll be allowed to choose the law.”

Saturday, April 22, 2006


the Israeli violence that is silenced

Scotland, Thursday, April 18th, 2006
The Tel Aviv bombing on Monday received intensive, extensive, and poignant BBC coverage, including pictures of pieces of human flesh shredded by the force of the explosion. Below is a partial list from occupied Palestne of shellings, killings, robberies, savage beatings, attacks on schools and infrastructure, home demolitions, kidnappings, the use of sewage as a weapon, and more. Virtually all of these Israeli government, military and settler crimes went unreported. BBC viewers were told that Israel would 'retaliate' for the Tel Aviv bombing: we are seeing more of the collective reprisals, themselves war crimes, that Palestinians are used to. The Islamic Jihad bomber was not shown as 'retaliating' for any of the thousands of shells Israel has fired into Gaza in recent days; killing children. Viewers are left with the impression of a motiveless, irrational violence, probably caused by hatred of Jews.

Is killing people with high explosives a crime only when the perpetrator doesn't survive? If they go home for a cup of tea afterward and watch TV with their own children, does that make child-murder any less of a crime? Tony Blair and the BBC certainly think so.

The miracle is that so many see through the dishonesty of the BBC and other major British media.

Please join the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and campaign against crime and murder.British arms sales to ISrael doubled in the past year.

24 hours to 8am April 19, 2006

Tear-gas grenades fired at schoolchildren
Suicide bomber's parents' house to be destroyed
Israeli troops hold mothers of Occupation resisters
Israeli troops beat up & hospitalise man at work on his land
Israeli soldiers desecrate mosque
3 children injured during Israeli incursions
Journalist beaten up & hospitalised by Occupation troops
322 shells hit northern Gaza in 24-hour day & night blitz
Israeli shelling wounds child & 2 adults

24 hours to 8am April 18, 2000
Boy aged 14 killed in Israeli shelling
1 air raid – 18 attacks – 36 raids – 26 wounded
Schoolboy injured & school principal beaten up
Village school & homes occupied by Israeli Army
Many homes invaded & 10 occupied by Israeli military
Jenin – 10 children & 10 adults wounded in Israeli incursion
Settlers beat up shepherd & steal 20 sheep
Refugee girl (6) & another child wounded in Israeli raid
Man beaten up & hospitalised during Israeli incursion

24 hours to 8am April 17, 2006
9 killed in Tel Aviv bombing
Israeli army invdes Gaza, Nablus, Jenin, Qalqilya

Israeli aircraft fires missile at Gaza
Continued military operations conducted by Israel in the northern Gaza Strip - many casualties
Palestinian child killed and two injured by artillery shell near a playground in Beit Lahia.
Artillery shells fired at Sheikh Zayed town, Gaza, near a playground. Mamdouh 'Obaid, died on the way to the hospital.
Wounded: Mohammed Abu Tabaq, 14, and 'Ammar al-Kas, 15.

Tanks shell ed the northern Gaza Strip for the past several days. Hundreds of shells have hit Palestinian homes and civilian and security facilities, According to Israeli sources, 200-300 shells are fired daily at the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian civilians, including two children, have been killed and 47 other civilians, including 17 children, wounded by the Israeli shelling in the past 8 days. Considerable damage has also been caused to houses, farms, buildings and infrastructure.

PCHR (Palestine Commission for Human Rights) is increasingly concerned over the continued killing of Palestinian civilians, especially children, by the Israeli Military .Since the beginning of 2006, IOF have killed 15 Palestinian children ( 8 in the West Bank and 7 in the Gaza Strip). Thus, the number of Palestinian children killed by IOF in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the current Intifada in September 2000, has increased to 666.

24 hours to 8am April 17, 2006
9 Wounded in Israeli Incursion into Jenin
Checkpoint Pedestrians Shot at & Attacked with Tear-gas Grenades
Jewellery Taken by Israeli Soldiers in Home Invasion
139 Shells Hit Northern Gaza
Shelling Knocks Out Power Grid
2 Curfews
Jerusalem Resident Beaten & Hospitalised
Settlers Stone Vehicles

24 hours to 8am April 16, 2006
Palestinian Dies from Air Raid Wounds
Villagers' Homes Under Israeli Fire
Israeli Soldiers Beat & Injure Shepherd
Boy (14) Wounded During Israelis Incursion
Man Critically Injured as Israelis Fire on Vehicle
Mentally Handicapped Man Taken Prisoner
Boy (15) Wounded as Israelis Shoot at Civilians
Settlers Beat Up Father & Daughter & Destroy Vineyard

48 hours to 8am April 15, 2006
Boy (15) Wounded by Occupation Gunfire
Settlers Assault & Expel International Journalists
No Sleep as F16s Menace Night Skies
6 Attacks
2 Houses Occupied – Many Invaded
23 Raids

Man Wounded as Israelis Open Fire in Jerusalem
Boy (15) Taken Prisoner in Home Invasion
Settler Bikers Close Main Road
Troops Beat Up Petrol Station Attendant
Resident Wounded During Israeli Incursion
250 Shells in 23-hour Night & Day Bombardment of Northern Gaza
Israeli Navy Shelling Wounds Two Civilians

24 hours to 8am April 13, 2006
2 Palestinian Deaths
School Attacked with Stun-Grenades & Tear-Gas
Checkpoint Beating – Man Hospitalised with Internal Bleeding
Boy (17) Deliberately Run Over by Israeli Army Jeep
Israel Orders Gross Desecration of Ibrahimi Mosque
1 Air Raid – 22 Raids – 10 Attacks

24 hours to 8am April 12, 2006
Occupation claims another child's life
Checkpoint troops beat & hospitalise mentally handicapped man
3 Palestinians hospitalised in yet another checkpoint beating
Mosque worshippers stripped & forced naked into the streets
Settlers close road – raid village – set fire to vehicle
Indiscriminate Israeli fire wounds woman aged 70
231 Israeli shells slam into Gaza
25 Taken Prisoner

24 hours to 8am April 11, 2006
Shells Hit Houses 1 Death – Girl Aged 7
197 Shells Fired in Day & Night Bombardments
12 Wounded – Including Little Girl in Critical Condition
13 Attacks
27 Raids – 27 Prisoners Taken
67 Restrictions of Movement
Stolen Land to be Used for Racially Segregated Jewish Road
Israeli Shells Set Fire to Palestinian Crops
Israel Orders Destruction of 2 Palestinian Homes

24 hours to 8am April 10, 2006
3 Deaths Including Boy (17)
Israeli Special Forces Murder Palestinian National Security Officer
Taxi Driver Killed & 8 Wounded in Israeli Shelling
2 Adults & 3 Children Wounded in Day & Night Israeli Shelling
Palestinian Houses Damaged by Israeli Shells
Israeli Army Violence Helps Settlers Occupy Palestinian Home
Homes Vandalised as Israeli Troops Invade Houses
Settlers Seize More Palestinian Land

24 hours to 8am April 9, 2006
[Source of statistics: Palestinian Monitoring Group]
8 Dead (Total this Month: 18 Including 2 Children)
22 Wounded
2 Air Raids
23 Attacks
21 Raids
68 Restrictions of Movement
Man Hospitalised in Yet Another Checkpoint Beating
Families Forced From Their Homes
Occupation Troops Beat Up Shopkeeper – Vandalise Shop
Settlers Plant Olive Trees on Stolen Palestinian Land

48 hours to 8am April 8, 2006
1 Death - 3 Wounded in Same Attack
4 Air raids – 22 Attacks – 26 Raids
20 Taken Prisoner
Total Wounded – 16 {Including 2 Children}
Refugee Boy (17) Critically Wounded
318 Shells Fired Into Northern Gaza
Call to Prayer Still Silenced
61 Restrictions of Movement
Settler Gunmen Shoot Up Village
Israeli Soldiers Beat Up & Hospitalise Hebron Resident

4 Dead in Missile Strike 1 Child Aged 7 Among the Dead & 15 Wounded
20 Wounded in Total
2 Air Raids
19 Attacks
23 Raids
65 Restrictions of Movement
1 House Demolished

24 hours to 8am April 6, 2006
9 Wounded (6 of them Children) During Israeli Incursion
112 Shells Fired into Northern Gaza
Israel Silences Call to Prayer from Ibrahimi Mosque
Another Home Demolished
39 Taken Prisoner Including Palestinian Minister
18 Attacks
29 Raids
61 Restrictions of Movement

24 hours to 8am April 5, 2006
Israeli Shelling Kills Palestinian
152 Shells Fired on Northern Gaza
House Shelled – Baby (6 Months) & 3 Others Wounded
3 Air raids – 2 Wounded
16 Attacks
34 Raids – 2 Children Wounded
64 Restrictions of Movement
Man Suffers Fractures in Another Checkpoint Beating
Residents Beaten & Confined in 4-hour Home Invasion
Shelling Wounds Man & Damages Sewage Works

24 hours to 8am April 3, 2006
1 Death & 5 Wounded
10 Attacks
24 Raids
61 Restrictions of Movement
Homes Invaded – 7 Residents Tear-gassed
Settlement of Ariel Deliberately Pollutes Salfit Water Supply
Israeli Shelling Wounds Child (7) & Adult
139 Shells Fired from Israel into Northern Gaza

24 hours to 8am April 2, 2006
11 Attacks
17 Raids
66 Restrictions of Movement
Raiding Settlers Beat Up Man Aged 60
Family Home Occupied in 32-hour Ordeal
Stone-throwing Settlers Injure International Observer
Settlers Stone Schoolgirls & Houses
Over 133 Israeli Shells Hit Northern Gaza
Israeli Navy Shelling Cuts Power Near Beit Lahiya
Israelis Prevent Repair Work to Electricity Supply

24 hours to 8am April 1, 2006
4 Israeli Settlers & 1 Palestinian Killed in Suicide Bombing
7 Air raids
9 Attacks
13 Raids
7 Wounded Including a Child
7 Beatings – Boy (17) Hospitalised
Houses Damaged as Israeli Troops Break In
Settler Gunmen Steal Sheep
Settlers Beat Up 3 Villagers
69 Shells and 8 Missiles Fired Into Palestinian Territory
Missile Damages Children's Playground
Missiles Destroy Sewerage & Overpass

1 Death – Buried Alive by Israeli Bulldozers
2 Air raids – Street & Another Children's Playground Hit
15 Attacks
15 Raids
8-year-old Girl Injured in Israeli Home Invasion
Checkpoint Beating – Physically Handicapped Man Hospitalised
Checkpoint Beating – Woman's Arm Broken
Checkpoint Troops Stone Palestinian Vehicles
Israelis Fire 94 Shells & 4 Missiles
72 Restrictions of Movement

24 hours to 8am March 30, 2006
19 Attacks
28 Raids
Refugee Suffers Stroke in Terrifying Home Invasion Ordeal
Physically Handicapped Refugee Assaulted in Home Invasion
oy (13) Beaten Up & Leg Broken as Israelis Raid His Home
Settler Gunmen Open Fire on Palestinian Ministry Vehicle
Settler Vehicle Runs Over & Injures Girl (12)
Two 14-year-old Shepherds Taken Prisoner

24 hours to 8am March 29, 2006
7 Attacks – 1 Person Wounded in Hebron
30 Raids – 2 Children Wounded
60 Restrictions of Movement
Jerusalem – Settlers Occupy Palestinian Man's Home
Villager Beaten Up During Israeli Incursion
Settler Gunman Threatens Vehicles on Main Road
Israeli Soldiers in Jerusalem Beat Up & Hospitalise Palestinian Man
Israeli Settlers Beat Up Palestinian Farmers & Stone People's Homes

24 hours to 8am March 28, 2006
12 Attacks – Resident Shot Dead in Home Invasion
26 Raids – 8-year-old Refugee Child Wounded
Man Beaten Up During Israeli Incursion
Refugees Beaten During Incursion into Refugee Camp
Palestinian Shepherds Under Fire from Green Line
Villagers Forced to Sign to Hebrew-Written Documents

24 hours to 8am March 27, 2006
1 Death
6 Air Raids
8 Attacks
28 Raids
Two Wounded in Missile Strike on School
Israel Closes Al Aqsa Mosque Compound
Israel Orders Destruction of Mosque & Kindergarten
Man Hospitalised in Yet Another Checkpoint Beating
Two Men Hospitalised After Savage Beating
Settler Gunmen Beat Family Members with Clubs & Rifle Butts

24 hours to 8am March 26, 2006
Boy (16) Shot Dead on Green Line
1 Air Raid
8 Attacks
19 Raids
Hundreds of Fruit Trees Destroyed for Segregated Jewish Road
Settlers Destroy Olive Trees
Settlers Invade & Trash Home – Beat Up Children & Father
Israeli Navy Fire Off Rafah City Beach

48 hours to 8am March 25, 2006
24 Attacks
39 Raids
13 Wounded

53 Restrictions of Movement
Home Invasion; Contents Trashed & Holy Qur'an Burnt
3 Palestinians Beaten Up
Resident Shot & Wounded During Israeli Incursion
Israeli Death Threats to Residents of Northern Gaza
Israeli Navy Fires on Beach at Rafah

House Partially Demolished in Israeli Incursion
Boy Critically Wounded by Abandoned Israeli Mortar
Israeli Violence Represses Protests – Many Beatings & Injuries
Child Shot & Wounded During Protest Meeting
Israeli Army Beats Up Boy Aged 14
Occupation Troops Rampage in Hebron
Settlers Destroy Palestinian Olive Trees

24 hours to 8am March 23, 2006
2 Dead
14 Attacks – 27 Raids
26 Taken Prisoner Including Wounded Child
2 Houses Demolished
3 Land Thefts
1 Curfew
60 Restrictions of Movement
Villager Savagely Beaten & Hospitalised
Palestinian Security Officer Hurt in Another Checkpoint Beating

24 hours to 8am March 22, 2006
Refugee Shot Dead in Israeli Incursion & Home Invasion
7 Attacks
27 Raids - 1 Wounded
36 Taken Prisoner
1 House Demolished
59 Restrictions of Movement
Israeli Navy Fires on Fishing Boats & Nearby Beach

24 hours to 8am March 21, 2006
10 Attacks – 7 Wounded – 19 Raids
20 Taken Prisoner – 16 Detained
3 Additional Annexation Wall Building Sites: Total 31
56 Restrictions of Movement
Many Terrifying Night Home Invasions in 9 Towns & Villages
Cruel Violation in Land Trapped by Israel's Annexation Wall

24 hours to 8am March 20, 2006
Woman Beaten & Hospitalised in Checkpoint Beating
9 Attacks
1 Wounded in Shelling of Northern Gaza
28 Raids
22 Taken Prisoner
53 Restrictions of Movement
Cash Taken from Home During Home Invasion

24 hours to 8am March 19, 2006

Correction to yesterday's report: the little girl shot dead by Israeli troops was described as being twelve years of age. In fact Akbar Zayed was eight years old.
2 Air Raids
1 Attack
22 Raids
64 Additional Restrictions of Movement
Checkpoint Detainees Subjected to Prophet Mohammed Insults

48 hours to 8am March 18, 2006
9 Attacks – Israeli Troops Shoot & Wound 2 Children
3 Injuries
20 Raids
54 Additional Restrictions of Movement
Checkpoint Soldiers Shoot & Wound Taxi Driver
Two Residents Beaten During Home Invasions

12-year-old-Girl Dies in Enemy Assault on Yamun
14 Wounded
13 Attacks
24 Raids
52 Additional Restrictions of Movement
1 House Partially Demolished

Yusra Jamous
in ur blood
Zajel Youth Exchange Program

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Interview with Said Siam, PA's Interior Minister

by Fabio Scuto

from La Repubblica (Italy) print edition 20 April 2006
translated by Diego Traversa

JERUSALEM—Said Siam, Internal Affairs Minister of the Hamas-led government, doesn’t recoil even a bit when accounting for the slaughter which took place last Monday at a bus station in Tel Aviv, costing the lives of nine people, referring to it as a “reaction to the military occupation”.

Siam, speaking with La Repubblica, rebuts that the approval amongst the Palestinians towards the Hamas’ government is rapidy increasing, even though yesterday in Gaza there were only one hundred people at the solidarity manifestation for Hamas.

On the other hand, he states that the international community means to starve out his people by eliminating the PNA’s funds and blackmailing the Palestinians so as to “make them pay the choice of voting Hamas in the past elections.”

Minister Siam, the Tel Aviv slaughter and the lack of Hamas to censure the attack will beget a harsh Israeli reaction. Is this what you want?

“Quite the contrary. The Israelis are already carrying out against our people every kind of aggression, both military and economic ones. Therefore, the Palestinians can’t waste too much time. The Israelis hoped that the Palestinians would lay the blame on Hamas for this aggression, yet our people know well who is to blame for everything that is happening. This is why someone has started again getting himself blown up amidst the Israelis.”

Hamas had spoken of a possible truce with Israel, why has your government not censured the attack just as, instead, Mahmud Abbas did?

“Hamas is concerned with a truce more than anyone else, in order to start its own agenda that is able to grant security and welfare to its own people, but it seems that the Israelis are not that interested in the success of the Palestinians. That attack at the bus station was the natural Palestinian backlash against the Israelis’ violent acts.”

Do you think that striking defenceless civilians is “a natural reaction”?
Don’t you believe that the solidarity for the attack will result in the cutting off even more of your government and the Palestinians?

“First of all, for us those are not terrorist attacks or however you call them, they are the answer by the victim before the people who are the persecutor. Secondly, the world is already punishing the Palestinians, the people, for making their own democratic choice and it does this through blackmail, it is boycotting and starving us. Hence, it needs no other excuses to isolate us. It’s me who asks you: don’t you think that the world should punish who has been occupying our land for such a long time and carrying out every sort of aggression against our people?”

The sole support to your government has come from Syria and Iran, two countries black-listed by the international community whilst the great Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan, and also the Arab League have forsaken you. How do you think you will go on?

“It’s not time to be overly nice, we welcome willingly every kind of support, be it Arab, Islamic or western ones, since this help goes to the Palestinian people and not to Hamas. On the other hand, Qatar has decided to give donations, as well as Algeria. At any rate, let the citizens from the countries boycotting the Palestinians judge the choices of their own governments.”

But the Palestinians are starving. Without western aid you can’t go on. Are you sure of having the support from all of your people about these choices?

“When our people appointed us, they knew well that they would be patient with Hamas at the government. They elected us to win back their own dignity and rights which they have been deprived of by the Israeli enemy before the eyes of the whole world. Our people have never had a heavenly life, to us distress is not something new. Our folk ask us to defend their dignity and their rights, food will come after. I’m convinced that our people are ready to thoroughly follow us, without kneeling and asking alms.”

The political clash between Mahmud Abbas and the Prime Minister Haniyeh is getting harsher with each passing day. Will things turn from words to arms?

“The political clash is a genuine fact. Mahmud Abbas is the lawful president appointed by the Palestinians. He believes in negotiations with the Israelis as a solution, a way to achieve our rights, but he has failed. It’s Israel, along with US and EU, which hasn’t helped him, certainly not us. About interior policy, we have many shared points and we’re going to stress them. We’ll settle whatever quarrel through dialogue, without any military clash, and, against every expectation of yours there will be no armed clash.”

Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo, member of Tlaxcala ( the network for linguistic diversity. This translation is on Copyleft.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Sam Bahour - Hamas is being forced to collapse, amid humanitarian crisis

15/4/2006 As many predicted, including myself, the newly elected Palestinian government led by Hamas has already started to show an impressive level of pragmatism, however, Israel and the U.S. seem to not be interested. As a matter of fact the U.S., in specific, is leading a global campaign to isolate the Palestinian government in such a haphazard way, that they are also causing a troubling level of despair among the average Palestinian citizen as well.

The Observer (UK) recently reported on Mr. Yihiyeh Musa, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who said Hamas had moved into a "new era" which did not require suicide attacks. He was quoted as saying, "The suicide bombings happened in an exceptional period and they have now stopped," he said. "They came to an end as a change of belief." (April 9, 2006). One would think this is good news, especially after the death and destruction such bombing caused. This, one would imagine, should be even better news for Israel and the U.S. given they both have continuously linked such bombings to the reason that the never-ending peace process was unable to actually reach its destination, peace.

But cautious optimism was not the case. Instead, the U.S. wasted no time in dehumanizing the newly elected Palestinian parliamentarians and cabinet ministers. The war of words has been nearly non-stop since Hamas´ victory with all levels of government in D.C. making the case that Hamas can´t change and there is no reason to let them try. Next was a cessation of funding to the Palestinian government and a request for all other countries of the world to follow suit. Then Israel severed all Israeli bank ties with the Palestinian banking system, government related and non-government related. Only yesterday was a U.S. Department of Treasury decree making it illegal for Americans to do business with the Palestinian government. We wait to see tomorrow´s nooses.

All of this as Palestinians watch in dismay, trying to maintain a dignified life under a humiliating military occupation. The international community demanded Palestinians hold free and fair elections at all levels of government, so the Palestinians did just that, and superbly given their reality. But after voting a reflection of their bitter reality of being caged in open air prisons in their own homeland, the U.S. is now punishing them for not voting as the U.S. wanted.

Most Palestinians today are asking simple rhetorical questions, if the past government was, and it was, corrupt -- financially, politically and administratively -- and we voted them out of power, why can´t the U.S. see this as a positive development? What does the U.S. want, to bring back a proven corrupt government that made a mockery of international aid, including U.S. funds?

Also, if Israel has blocked every attempt for Palestinians to solve their issues at the negotiating table, can´t the U.S. understand that the voting Hamas in office was a simple non-violent way to tell the world, end this occupation or take some of your own medicine?

Conditions on the ground have never been so tense. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has always been a political conflict, is being converted, thanks to the U.S. and Israel, into a humanitarian crisis. The fear is that hungry persons react in unpredictable ways.

The greater fear is that if the U.S. and Israel are successful in collapsing the Hamas government and Hamas in turn decides to abandoned democratic means to express itself, we will be back where we started from, suicide bombings killing innocents and setting the agenda from outside any known political framework. Does this serve U.S. and Israeli interests? We are all wondering!

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American businessman living in the Israeli- occupied Palestinian city of El-Bireh, the sister city of Ramallah.
He is co-author of HOMELAND: Oral Histories of Palestine and Palestinians (1994) and may be reached at


public service announcement - things aren't born from nothing

Since AP, NPR and others are sending out incomplete reports, we thought your news organization would like to make use of the following information:

Bulletin on Suicide Bombing Contact:
If Americans Knew: 310.441.8580 / cell 415.847.1782

In the last two and a half weeks (since the previous suicide bombing) Israeli forces have killed at least 26 Palestinians -- at least 5 of them children -- and injured 161 Palestinian men, women and children. A college student lost her right eye today after being shot by an Israeli sniper last week. There have been 369 raids by Israeli forces, mostly into the West Bank. Gaza has undergone sustained shelling by Israeli forces and continued closures, resulting in increasing lack of food and medical supplies. According to UN reports, between March 30 and April 12th, Israeli forces launched 2300 artillery and tank shells and 34 missiles into Gaza. Since the current Palestinian uprising against Israeli military occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land began in fall 2000, approximately 3,863 Palestinians and 1,084 Israelis and have been killed. Among these have been approximately 720 Palestinian children and 124 Israeli children.

Today, in separate actions, several Palestinian youths were shot, one in the neck. Israeli forces are continuing their ongoing invasions of Nablus and other West Bank cities.

Today is Palestinian Prisoners Day. 9,400 Palestinian men, women, and children are in prison. According to numerous human rights reports, Palestinian prisoners are frequently tortured.

Defense for Children International reports that 4,000 Palestinian children have been arrested in the past five years, 400 of them currently in prison, including a fifteen-year-old girl, who has been in prison for over a year after being shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers. DCI reports that the arrests are increasing. Additional Information from Defense for Children International:

According to DCI: "The process of arrest and detention of Palestinian children is a process of systematic abuse and mistreatment which flouts international legal standards and denies the basic human rights of detainees first as children and secondly as prisoners...[children are] handcuffed and blindfolded, humiliated and threatened and often beaten and kicked from the moment they are arrested up to and often throughout their interrogation and detention. They are deprived of sleep, food and access to the bathroom until so-called confessions are coerced out of them..."

At 5.30pm on Monday 10 April 2006, at least six artillery shells fired by the Israeli military fell on the family house of Mohammed Rabe'eya Ghaban in Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Shrapnel from the shells pierced the skull of Mohammed's eight-year old daughter Hadeel, killing her instantly. The shelling also resulted in the injury of eight other family members, including Hadeel's brothers and sisters:
Rawan Ghaban 1 and a half years old
Rana Ghaban 3 years old
Munir Ghaban 4 years old
Amneh Ghaban 9 years old
Ghassan Ghaban 11 years old
Bassam Ghaban 15 years old
Tahrir Ghaban 17 years old
The children's mother, 35-year old Sofia, was the eighth family member wounded in the attack.
Several neighbours were also injured including:
Jaqueline Mo'ein Maarouf 11 years old
Mariam Maher Al-'Assi 15 years old
For more information:


Friday, April 14, 2006


Double Standards

No, not a polemical post! Just a really great site I found that I would suggest people visit and add to their favourites. It's got a little bit of everything.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Mahsanmilim - An important new site

Please visit this important new site "From the West Bank" by Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt.

There are films to see, many stories and reports to read there.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


War on Terror changes its name

New name for 'war on terror'
By Matthew Davis BBC News, Washington

The Bush administration is abandoning the phrase "war on terror" to better express the fight against al-Qaeda and other groups as an ideological struggle as much as a military mission.

While the slogan - first used by President George W Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - may still be heard from time to time, the White House says it will increasingly be couched in other language.

In recent days, senior administration figures have been speaking publicly of "a global struggle against the enemies of freedom", and of the need to use all "tools of statecraft" to defeat them.
The shift in terms comes at a time when the US public is increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq - and sceptical about its links to the fight against terrorism.

One White House official told the BBC the move did not mark a change of approach, but was intended to give a broader perspective to the "evolving nature" of the struggle.

'Economic influence'
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke in the new language on Friday, praising a retiring Navy officer who had served as "our country wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization".

The next day, national security advisor Steven Hadley co-wrote a piece for the New York Times in which he set out the current thinking.

"Military action is only one piece of the war on terrorism," Mr Hadley wrote. "At the same time, however, we must bring all of the tools of statecraft, economic influence and private enterprise to bear in this war.

"Freedom-loving people around the world must reach out through every means - communications, trade, education - to support the courageous Muslims who are speaking the truth about their proud religion and history, and seizing it back from those who would hijack it for evil ends."

The country's top military officer spoke in a similar vein on Monday. General Richard Myers told a meeting at the National Press Club: "The long-term problem is as much diplomatic, as much economic, in fact more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military. "And that's where the focus has to be in the future."

Tough talking
Earlier this month, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook criticised the language employed by the US president, saying that instead of isolating terrorists, he had upset Muslims around the world.

Mr Cook - an opponent of the war in Iraq - told the BBC: "I think the problem with George Bush's approach is that he does keep talking about it as a war on terror as if there is a military solution and there isn't."

But while the president has continued to talk of "taking the fight to the enemy", his recent speeches have also emphasized freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas.

A White House official said: "We are constantly reviewing how we can best protect our citizens from terrorism and we need to adjust our approach to achieve this.

"The 'war' is more than a military response, it is a battle of ideas and a struggle against extremism, and all aspects of the US Government and its allies around the world need to be called upon in fighting it.

"In Afghanistan, the extremist Taleban regime no longer has a base of operations, a clearly identified location that requires a war - there is now a democratically-elected government there.
"It's a different situation again in London where you've got, say, a second generation British Muslim influenced by the preachings of a radical cleric."

Slow evolution
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General James T Conway, a senior US military commander, told a Pentagon briefing there had been "philosophical discussions" with US allies over the use of the phrase.

"We've been told, actually, that "global war on terrorism" translates pretty well into the various languages," he added. "So I think that continues to make it a part of the discussion."

A Pentagon spokesman said the title of a new manual for combatant commanders suggested a slow evolution in the recasting of the mission away from its military aspect.

The National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism, issued in March, directs commanders to focus on eight areas essential to terrorists. These include areas like funding and ideological support, safe havens, communications and movement.

The phrase "war on terrorism" was first widely used by the Western press to refer to the efforts by Britain to end a spate of attacks in the British mandate of Palestine in the late 1940s.
Later, it was frequently employed by US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. But since the 9/11 attacks it has become a slogan for the protracted, US-led struggle to terrorists and the states that aid them, usually expressed as "the global war on terror".

Sunday, April 9, 2006


US & EU cut aid to PA - it amounts to a boycott against the Palestinian people

From ISM Italia (thanks Fausto)
The Pressure exerted by the US and the EU, against the right of the Palestinians to choose their own government through democratic elections is continuing and worsening.

The decision on the part of the EU in suspending financial aid (see enclosure 1) to the Palestinian National Authority constitutes a grave violation, a brutal threat, a true and proper boycott.

Instead of recalling Israel to adhere to international law according to the decision of the International Court of Justice of 9th July 2004 on the Wall of Apartheid,

Instead of strongly demanding that the Israeli government end its military operations, targeted assassinations, incursions in refugee camps and checkpoints that are becoming true borders between the Palestinian Bantustans,

Instead of impeding that Palestinians be starved (see enclosure 2),

Instead of assuming an autonomous position to that of the USA,

The European Union:

Aligns itself to the American positions on “the global war of terrorism”
Sides with Israel and the USA
Is complicit with the war crimes that Israel continues to perpetrate against the Palestinians

ISM-Italy invites all to send a letter of protest to:

Javier Solana, Chief of Foreign Relations for the EU, e-mail:
Elmar Brok, president EU foreign affairs commission, e-mail:
Francis Wurtz, president European Left e-mail:
cc ISM-Italia, email
The following text may be used as a suggestion:

“I undersigned, …………., as a European citizen, ask that the EU not take against the Palestinian people such a grave decision like the one of cutting financial aid. This sort of decision is one that constitutes a grave violation, a brutal threat, a true and proper boycott.

I as a European citizen instead ask of the EU that it demand of the Israeli government about to be formed that it adhere to international law, international human rights norms, that it cease the illegal construction of the wall, end military actions and incursions against the Palestinian people, all of which are taking place against the deafening silence of the international community.”
Name, Surname, residence, passport number


Enclosure 1

U.S. cuts $300M in aid to PA; Hamas slams EU move to cut aid
By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies
Haaretz 08/04/2006

WASHINGTON - The inter-agency review of American aid to the Palestinians was completed Thursday, resulting in the cut of some $300 million in aid to the Palestinians, according to a fact sheet distributed by the State Department.

According to the fact sheet, the administration will cut or suspend $45 million in direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority, $130 million in infrastructure projects (roads, water infrastructure, construction), $20 million in private enterprise development and revitalization, financial markets reform, trade programs, and information technology sector support, $17 million in electoral, political party, local government, and legislative support programs, $13 million in civil society development, $10 million in rule of law and judicial programs, $7 million in technical assistance and vocational training, $4 million in community policing, $165 million in ongoing and planned projects subject to further review.

The total cut will be a little bit more than $400 million, but the administration is planning to use $105 million in available funds from the projects that were canceled, as to "augment ongoing humanitarian and democracy building programs" - meaning the real cut will be around $300 million.

The U.S. and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization and each bans official dealings with it. Hamas won parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories in January and it formed a government that took power this month. The U.S. began a review of its aid package to the Palestinians shortly after the election, and has already eliminated direct aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The U.S. has long channeled most of its assistance to the Palestinians through indirect means, to humanitarian efforts such as food, maternal and child health programs and education and also for projects that only indirectly benefited the Palestinian government. These include such projects as roads, water works and training programs for judges, electoral workers and others.

The U.S. will redirect about $100 million from canceled projects to humanitarian assistance, the official said. Some of the remaining pot of approximately $140 million will be eaten up in the process of ending or disengaging from those projects, but it is not clear where all the money will go.

The official said the State Department will consult with Congress on the next move. Congress has already approved all the spending under review, and has not yet considered how to apportion new money now that Hamas is in place.

Hamas slams EU move to halt aid
Hamas on Friday condemned a decision by the EU to freeze aid to its newly formed government and said the move would only make Hamas more popular.

"They are punishing the Palestinian people for practicing their [democratic] choice," Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said.

"This is a continuation of hasty decisions ... that will increase the suffering of the Palestinian people and provide a cover for the Israeli occupation."

The remarks were among the strongest Haniyeh has made against the EU, which regards Hamas as a terrorist group. He has previously urged European countries to sit down for dialogue.

The EU Commission said it had halted payments to the government because the new cabinet had not recognized Israel's right to exist or renounced violence. Hamas' charter officially calls for Israel's destruction.

"For the time being, there are no payments to or through the Palestinian Authority," Emma Udwin, a spokeswoman for the Commission, the EU's executive arm, said on Friday.

She told a news briefing the Commission was adopting a "policy of maximum prudence" which did not prejudge decisions by foreign ministers of the bloc when they meet on Monday.

"Unfortunately, we can't see any clear signal that would make it possible for us to continue financing [of the Palestinians] in the same way as we did in the past," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. "We have to prepare certain changes in the way of financing."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar said he would write to EU foreign ministers as early as Saturday.

"I am afraid it may wreck the credibility of the European Union in the Arab and Islamic world ... The conditions made in return for the aid were unjust," Zahar told Reuters.

Haniyeh, whose cabinet took office last week, said the EU's move would backfire.

"This decision will strengthen the Palestinian people's support for the government because they will feel the government is being targeted because it wanted to protect their rights," he said.

In an effort to try to talk EU and other Western nations around, Haniyeh said he would send some of his ministers abroad, although he gave no timeframe.

Besides the EU, the United States has ordered its diplomats and contractors to cut off contacts with Palestinian ministries.

EU diplomats said the aid freeze covered all direct aid to the Palestinian government and payment of public employees' salaries with EU funds through the World Bank, but not humanitarian aid through international and non-government organizations.

Zahar said he hoped the 25-nation EU might adjust its position at Monday's foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg.

The Hamas-led government is facing a cash crunch partly because of Israel's decision to halt the monthly transfer of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The shortage of funds has forced the new government to delay paying salaries to employees, including security forces. Hamas said this week it had inherited an authority that was more than $1.3 billion in debt.

Aid out of Hamas' reach
The United States has earmarked $234 million in aid to the Palestinians for 2006, none of it going directly to the Palestinian Authority.

The European Union and its member nations earmark about $615 million in yearly aid. A breakdown based on figures from the U.S. government, European governments and the European Commission:

UNITED STATES: Of the 2006 total, $150 million (-123.2 million) goes to construction, training government officials and other projects, plus $84 million in humanitarian assistance paid through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: $148 million in 2006, including $21.6 million in direct aid to the caretaker Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. It gave $345 million in 2005.
GERMANY: $76 million, plus $56.6 million given through nongovernmental organizations and UN agencies.
FRANCE: $73.9 million, including $30.8 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, $6.2 million to the World Bank, $6.2 million to UN agencies.
BRITAIN: $61.6 million, half of which goes to UN agencies.
NETHERLANDS: $40.6 million, with $6.2 million of it going to the Palestinian government and the rest to UN agencies and aid groups.
SWEDEN: $30.3 million to UN agencies, plus $35.7 million given through NGOs.
ITALY: $27 million.
BELGIUM: $13 million.
DENMARK: $4.1 million.
FINLAND: $7.4 million - half to Palestinian Authority projects, the rest to UN agencies.
GREECE: $6.8 million, through aid groups.
IRELAND: $4.9 million in aid, of which $923,400 in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, the rest via aid groups, UN agencies.
LUXEMBOURG: $3.7 million, through aid groups.
SPAIN: $2.5 million, to World Bank trust fund for the Palestinian Authority.
LATVIA, LITHUANIA, HUNGARY, ESTONIA, and CYPRUS: Combined total of about $876,000.No figures available from Austria, Czech Republic, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Enclosure 2

There is no hunger in Gaza By Gideon Levy
Haaretz Last update - 08:35 09/04/2006

For the information of all the anxious: There is no hunger in the territories. No baby has died of malnutrition; no child is walking around with a swollen belly. There is no lack of flour, and from Rafah to Jenin rice is available. Let the tongue-cluckers relax: The talk about a "humanitarian disaster" is exaggerated. The international relief and aid organizations are trying in despair to cry "wolf," to alert the Israelis and the world and enlist them in the cause to save the Palestinian people, knowing that only exaggerated talk might move anyone. They might be right, but their calls are coming too soon, and also much too late.

The use of the term "humanitarian disaster" is actually proof of the dehumanization of the Palestinians. There's no flour? "Humanitarian disaster." There is flour? Then there's no disaster. There's an assumption that all the Palestinians need is a daily serving of food so they won't be considered disaster victims. It's enough that they have water and food in their troughs to conclude that their situation is fine. But human beings, including the Palestinians, have a few other basic needs as well.

The real humanitarian disaster in the territories began a long time ago, and it is not hunger. Those who regard the neighboring people as human beings know this very well. It is true that the dimensions of the disaster are worsening, but that's been taking place over years, and the food index is not the only measure. The cessation of the flow of funding since the rise of Hamas might threaten to depress the economic situation even further, but the thought that if they only have enough food, their needs will be satisfied and our conscience can be clear, is outrageous.

There's no need to waste words on the scope of poverty in the territories. Sixty-five percent of Gazans and 48 percent of the West Bankers now live under the poverty line, according to a UN report from last December, issued before the decision was made to freeze the transfer of their tax money to them. There is no need to be an expert in economics to understand that if 37 percent of Gazans with jobs - more than 73,000 people - were employed by the Palestinian Authority and now their livelihoods are threatened due to a lack of money to pay their wages, the situation will only get worse. Palestinian society, which has a very high level of solidarity, will know how to deal with that disaster. Because of the food handed out by UNRWA and the other organizations, there won't be hunger any time soon in Gaza, even if the number of those suffering from malnutrition does increase.

But even if they have bags of flour and rice, the living conditions of the Palestinians are chilling. They live in prison. Their daily routine includes humiliation that is no less terrible than malnutrition. Anyone who has to beg for permission to leave his village, to spend hours crowded in line at a checkpoint just to reach his destination, anyone whose bedroom is brutally invaded in the middle of the night by the occupation army, whose time and life is considered valueless, and whose basic human dignity has been trampled into dust, cannot find any consolation in the fact that flour and rice is available. Those who think that all it takes is providing a quota of flour to be free of any responsibility for the fate of the people they occupy, are suffering from a serious case of moral blindness. Does the fact that a Palestinian youth is not hungry in any way blunt the fact that he cannot dream, cannot aspire to a career, an orderly education, a vacation or simple pleasures of life? Does the fact that his belly is not completely empty cover up for the miserable present and the hopeless future?

The departure of Israel from Gaza does not remove a speck of the responsibility it has for the fate of Gaza's imprisoned residents. Israel, which forbids Gazans from going to the West Bank - a violation of signed agreements - and prevents the provision of supplies from both Israel and Egypt, has never left Gaza, not even for a moment. The world and people of conscience in Israel do not need to wait for the first Palestinian child to die of hunger to raise the hue and cry. Enough Palestinian children have been killed because of too easy trigger fingers or disgraceful health services. The responsibility is not with the international relief agencies, but on Israel's shoulders. But Israel's conscience in recent years operates only according to one index, the index of protest from Washington. If Washington remains quiet, everything can be covered up.

Those who have been silent until now can remain enveloped in their silence. Those whose conscience doesn't torture them and whose sleep is uninterrupted by Israel's behavior in the territories can continue resting in peace. There is no "humanitarian disaster." Israel will find a solution to the food crisis, and the stores in Gaza won't lack for flour. But those who regard the Palestinians as only requiring basic food should remember that even in the zoos, where the animals presumably don't lack for a thing, people are often shocked by the conditions of their imprisonment.

Saturday, April 8, 2006


Suad Amiry - "Israelis had in mind PA governing people without territories"

Interview with Suad Amiry*
Milan, April - Professor of architecture at Birzeit University, Suad Amiry is founder and chairwoman of the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah. She was a member of the Palestinian delegation that held bilateral peace-negotiations in Washington from 1991 to 1993, sponsored by the US government. Already well-known in the field of architecture, last not least through her recent publication "Throne Village Architecture", Amiry became famous through her "war-diaries", accounts of every-day life under Israeli military occupation summed up in "Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries", which will soon be followed by the likewise bitterly witty "If That is Life".

Arabmonitor met her while she was on a tour through Italy.
You have become a famous writer for having described Palestinians' life under the Israeli check-point regime. How has that regime affected the Palestinian economy?

"What you are defining as the check-point regime is an exacerbation of the reality of our life since over 35 years by now. Israel is a colonial power and the occupation that is going on since 1967 on our side of the Green Line is effectively keeping us under curfew ever since, restricting our mobility, preventing people from getting employment or making a living in the various trades and professions. But above all, the occupation has destroyed the Palestinian agriculture and traditional Palestinian way of life.

Consider that since the outbreak of the second Intifada alone, as many as one and a half million olive trees have been uprooted or cut down. Add to that the massive land confiscations for the purpose of founding and expanding settlements, for the building of roads and of the separation wall and also for the appropriation of the West Bank's aquifers and you have an idea of the destruction waged on the Palestinian landscape itself.

As you know, the olive tree is the life-line of Palestinian agriculture. Around the cultivation of the olive orchards an entire way of life evolved through centuries. The wholesale destruction of our olive and fruit orchards is destroying the very face of Palestine and is aimed at destroying our capacity to resist as Palestinians as sons and daughters of this land.

The check-points and closures are aimed at depriving us from the fruits of our own land and our own labour. Consider the effect of a routinely held months long curfew on any one of our cities, during which our agricultural products couldn't be moved to the market.

After the curfew is lifted, Palestinian products are gone; the only products on the market are the Israeli ones, because during the curfew their trucks are the only ones that freely have access to all the Palestinian markets.

All the while, those landowners whose properties did not yet get confiscated for security purposes were prevented by the roadblocks and curfews from tending to their land and forced to slaughter their livestock which they were prevented from bringing to the grazing grounds.

Add to that the construction of the so-called separation barrier sneaking right through our landscape and separating farmers from their fields and pastures and families from one another, and you get a picture of what is happening to our landscape and to our lives."

As a former member of the Palestinian delegation to the US, do you feel betrayed by the States?

"No, I couldn't feel betrayed, because I never actually expected much to come out of such negotiations. The United States have always backed Israel's interests and aims and furthered Israel's projects. There was no reason to believe that they wanted negotiations with the Palestinians for any other reason than securing the well-being of the colonial power on our backs.

It was Yasser Arafat who believed that negotiating with the colonial power under the protection of the United States in the role of mediating power would have permitted the Palestinians to defend their own aims and rights and get backing for the constitution of their own sovereign country. It was the whole atmosphere of expectation created around the Oslo Accords by the media that led the Palestinians to grasp at the straw of negotiations, inducing them to believe that this was the path they had to walk to free themselves from the occupation, to gain independence from the foreign military power encroaching on our land.

Today a one-people world emerged in which popular liberation movements, who had previously played a protagonist role in the decolonization process, lost ground. The Palestinians were unfortunate enough not to have succeeded in obtaining their liberation in time, that is, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, during the long period of the two-peoples' world in which there was a margin for movement. We are now living in a one-people world and it will be enormously difficult, and certainly not depend on us alone, to recreate a margin of movement for liberation."

Did people vote for Hamas at the recent parliamentarian elections because it is believed to be more steadfast?

"The main explanation why so many people who never had been militants in the Hamas movement voted for is that we have become very flexible, and this by necessity. Everybody's asking himself why so many Christians, communists and women concerned about women's rights voted for Hamas.

The answer is: Palestinians know there is no military solution to our problem, but they know also that peaceful resistance didn't bring them any gains either. As you know, every week there are peaceful demonstrations against land confiscations, against the advancing of the separation wall that destroys our people's lives, livelihoods and hopes, while the Israeli government reacts to the peaceful demonstrations in a violent manner, with military force. A considerable number of people have been seriously injured and even killed during peaceful demonstrations, while armed Israeli settlers are being let loose against the demonstrators and the Western media turn a blind eye on Israeli violence against Palestinians.

Therefore, the generation of adults who advocated either military action or peaceful resistance against the occupation, is disavowed in the eyes of the younger generation, but not only.

People have confidence in Hamas because Hamas proved to be the movement that really got things going on the ground by supplying assistance and creating structures that materially supported whole families, independently of their particular religious inclinations or political affiliations. In this sense, by merit of its relentless activities, together with its uncompromising stance against Zionism, Hamas has come to embody the quest for justice. The vote for Hamas at the parliamentarian elections was, in my view of things, a vote of protest against the deadlock into which the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have been driven after decades of either armed or peaceful struggle for their liberation."

The reaction of the USA, the EU and Israel to the victory of Hamas was to threaten diplomatic isolation and financial starvation. What's the message for the Palestinians living under occupation?

"All I can say is that it was a democratic process that brought Hamas to power. So how can those who advocate democracy for the Middle East, now point their fingers at the Palestinians and single them out for punishment for having participated in a democratic voting process, only because its results are deemed unwelcome? And how can the recognition of the results of our election polls are conditioned on Hamas' recognizing Israel?

The Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority both recognized Israel, but what they got in return was catastrophic for the Palestinians. Therefore, the question should not be whether Hamas recognizes Israel, but whether Israel recognizes the Palestinians' rights to their own independent, sovereign state within the internationally recognized boundaries."

Do you think Hamas will be transformed by its electoral victory?

"Of course; inevitably. Hamas will have to shoulder government responsibility and meet many institutional obligations, last not least the responsibility for an extended "army" of civil servants working in the educational, the health-care and the law-enforcing fields whose salaries must be paid, as those salaries, especially in our present suffocating economical conditions, are becoming more and more the only economical back-bone of our society.

An increasing number of families survive on only these salaries. I think that going through the day-to-day work, Hamas will be pushed on the same path as the PLO in the past. I think that within some two years, Hamas will be in the same position in which Fatah is today."

What was more disastrous for the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority: Hamas' victory at the election polls or the Israeli assault on the prison of Jericho and the US-British betrayal behind it?

"I don't want to compare the two events. Hamas' victory and the assault on the Jericho prison are two different events. Jericho was a highly symbolic operation, aimed at inflicting a maximum of humiliation on the Palestinian people.

Let's not forget that the United States and Great Britain hold a great responsibility for what happened. There was an agreement with the Palestinian National Authority, mediated by the United States and Great Britain, according to which the custody of the Jericho prisoners would not pass to the Israeli armed forces, but was to stay with the Palestinian police who would carry out the custody under observation through British and US officers.

Having broken this agreement taken with the Palestinian Authority is downright outrageous, amounts to a conspiracy and there is no rationale whatsoever for humiliating the Palestinians in the way we have seen on all the TV screens of the world. Israel thinks that humiliating Palestinians is a means to break their moral spine. Furthermore, for Israel it's a way to express its contempt for international and traditional standards of acceptability.

In the light of international and traditional standards of acceptability, even war has its rules, its code of dignity. By pointing at systematic humiliation as a means of warfare, Israel denies the humanity of its adversary and becomes the main source and fosterer of extremism in the Arab world, considering that humiliation is the most effective means to provoke violent response and even suicidal reactions."

Islamic movements have become the expression of popular mass-resistance. Can the secular Palestinian resistance redefine its position within these new parameters?

"One of the major mistakes of the PLO came from its failure to grasp the significance of populist movements and to work with them. In saying this, I wouldn't exclude myself, to be honest. All of us have gone ahead for a long time tending to our jobs and roles without reaffirming our positions.

As we became involved in bureaucratic assignments, in non-governmental organizations' commitments and in institutional responsibilities, we overlooked grass-roots activities, their meaning and impact on the ground, therefore leaving a wide and important space to Hamas. Now, the challenge is on us, the secular movement, to make up for this failure for which the election polls presented us the bill."

Which are the prospects for a future cooperation between Hamas and the Islamic liberation movement of the Palestinians of '48?

"There is cooperation with the Islamic movement especially from Umm al-Fahm, but otherwise and in general, cooperation with the Palestinians of '48 is still scarce and sporadic."

Do you believe the Palestinian National Authority should dissolve and hand responsibility back to the Israeli occupation government?

"During the last year I started thinking about that and meanwhile I reached the conclusion that the Palestinian Authority should indeed, dissolve. Since the Oslo Accords (September 1993) and until now, the Authority was part of a national project, the core symbol and tool for the project to establish a national, Palestinian leadership in the process of acquiring control over the territory and building public institutions through which control on the ground enfolds. At the end of the process, after the final status negotiations that were to conclude the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian National Authority was meant to have become our government, the government of a sovereign state. However, what the Israelis had in mind was an entirely different thing.

The Israelis had in mind an "authority" that would govern the Palestinian people, but not the Palestinians' territory. While keeping encroaching on our territory and building more and more illegal settlements, they boasted that through the Oslo Accords, over ninety percent of Palestinians were governed directly by their own national, Palestinian authority.

Taking away the ground under people¹s feet with all its resources, but leaving responsibility for the lives of people, their schooling, health care, security policing in the hands of a local authority, funded by foreign donors, made the establishment of such a local authority become the most inexpensive form of maintaining and deepening the military occupation in Palestine. In the face of this outcome, the logical step would be to dissolve the Palestinian National Authority and hand responsibility back to the occupying power. But it is up to the political forces that won the recent parliamentarian elections to take such a decision and to rally for support of it. It's up to Hamas to promote such a decision which would involve renouncing to rule over the people through the administrative machine of the Palestinian National Authority. It would mean a strategic renouncement. Let's see, whether they are up to it."

Do you believe that Hamas should join the PLO and redefine its positions from within this wider Palestinian movement?

"Yes, definitely. The main difficulty is that Hamas never wanted to be part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, but defined themselves as part of a supernational movement. Hamas wanted to constitute an alternative to the PLO. In the meantime Hamas, when asked whether it would adhere to previous accords between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, pointed out that the negotiating partner with Israel is not the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In the light of the present circumstances and their own acknowledgements, I hope they will revise previous positions and join ranks with the other Palestinian factions inside the PLO." Daily Newsletter of the Jerusalem Times Press Service
Friday, April 7, 2006


Nurit Peled-Elhanan - Important words of a bereaved Israeli mother

International Women's Day Address to the European Parliament (2005)
by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Dear Friends,
Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the mother of Smadar Elhanan, 13 years old when killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem in September 1997. Below is Nurit's speech made on International Women's Day in Strasbourg earlier this month. (last year Ed Note) Please listen to the words of a bereaved mother, whose daughter fell victim to a vicious, indiscriminating terrorist attack. I wish her words will enter the hearts of all peace seekers in our troubled and divided world.

For better days,
Professor Avraham Oz
Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature
University of Haifa

by Nurit Peled-Elhanan
Thank you for inviting me to this today. It is always an honour and a pleasure to be here, among you (at the European Parliament). However, I must admit I believe you should have invited a Palestinian woman at my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in my county are the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my speech to Miriam R`aban and her husband Kamal, from Bet Lahiya in the Gaza strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking strawberries at the family`s strawberry field. No one will ever stand trial for this murder.

When I asked the people who invited me here why didn't they invite a Palestinian woman, the answer was that it would make the discussion too localized. I don't know what is non-localized violence. Racism and discrimination may be theoretical concepts and universal phenomena but their impact is always local, and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse, torture and death, are all very local, and so are the scars.

It is true, unfortunately, that the local violence inflicted on Palestinian women by the government of Israel and the Israeli army, has expanded around the globe. In fact, state violence and army violence, individual and collective violence, are the lot of Muslim women today, not only in Palestine but wherever the enlightened western world is setting its big imperialistic foot. It is violence which is hardly ever addressed and which is half heartedly condoned by most people in Europe and in the USA.

This is because the so-called free world is afraid of the Muslim womb. Great France of "la liberte égalite et la fraternite" is scared of little girls with head scarves. Great Jewish Israel is afraid of the Muslim womb which its ministers call a demographic threat. Almighty America and Great Britain are infecting their respective citizens with blind fear of the Muslims, who are depicted as vile, primitive and blood-thirsty, apart from their being non-emocratic, chauvinistic and mass producers of future terrorists. This in spite of the fact that the people who are destroying the world today are not Muslim. One of them is a devout Christian, one is Anglican and one is a non-devout Jew.

I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every day, every hour, I don't know the kind of violence that turns a woman's life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken into at any moment of day and night, who are ordered at a gun-point to strip naked in front of strangers and their own children, whose houses are demolished, who are deprived of their livelihood and of any normal family life. This is not part of my personal ordeal. But I am a victim of violence against women insofar as violence against children is actually violence against mothers.

Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan women are my sisters because we are all at the grip of the same unscrupulous criminals who call themselves leaders of the free enlightened world and in the name of this freedom and enlightenment rob us of our children. Furthermore, Israeli, American, Italian and British mothers have been for the most part violently blinded and brainwashed to such a degree that they cannot realize their only sisters, their only allies in the world are the Muslim Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghani mothers, whose children are killed by our children or who blow themselves to pieces with our sons and daughters. They are all mind-infected by the same viruses engendered by politicians. And the viruses, though they may have various illustrious names--such as Democracy, Patriotism, God, Homeland--are all the same. They are all part of false and fake ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to empower the powerful.

We are all the victims of mental, psychological and cultural violence that turn us to one homogenic group of bereaved or potentiallybereaved mothers. Western mothers who are taught to believe their uterus is a national asset just like they are taught to believe that the Muslim uterus is an international threat. They are educated not to cry out: `I gave him birth, I breast fed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future is less worth than a piece of land.`

All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies. And all of us were brought up to bear all this silently, to contain our fear and frustration, to take Prozac for anxiety, but never hail Mama Courage in public. Never be real Jewish or Italian or Irish mothers.

I am a victim of state violence. My natural and civil rights as a mother have been violated and are violated because I have to fear the day my son would reach his 18th birthday and be taken away from me to be the game tool of criminals such as Sharon, Bush, Blair and their clan of blood-thirsty, oil-thirsty, land thirsty generals. Living in the world I live in, in the state I live in, in the regime I live in, I don't dare to offer Muslim women any ideas how to change their lives. I don't want them to take off their scarves, or educate their children differently, and I will not urge them to constitute Democracies in the image of Western democracies that despise them and their kind. I just want to ask them humbly to be my sisters, to express my admiration for their perseverance and for their courage to carry on, to have children and to maintain a dignified family life in spite of the impossible conditions my world is putting them in. I want to tell them we are all bonded by the same pain, we all the victims of the same sort of violence even though they suffer much more, for they are the ones who are mistreated by my government and its army, sponsored by my taxes.

Islam in itself, like Judaism in itself and Christianity in itself, is not a threat to me or to anyone. American imperialism is, European indifference and co-operation is and Israeli racism and its cruel regime of occupation is. It is racism, educational propaganda and inculcated xenophobia that convince Israeli soldiers to orderPalestinian women at gun-point, to strip in front of their children for security reasons, it is the deepest disrespect for the other that allow American soldiers to rape Iraqi women, that give license to Israeli jailers to keep young women in inhuman conditions, without necessary hygienic aids, without electricity in the winter, without clean water or clean mattresses and to separate them from their breast-fed babies and toddlers. To bar their way to hospitals, to block their way to education, to confiscate their lands, to uproot their trees and prevent them from cultivating their fields.

I cannot completely understand Palestinian women or their suffering. I don't know how I would have survived such humiliation, such disrespect from the whole world. All I know is that the voice of mothers has been suffocated for too long in this war-stricken planet. Mothers` cries are not heard because mothers are not invited to international forums such as this one. This I know and it is very little. But it is enough for me to remember these women are my sisters, and that they deserve that I should cry for them, and fight for them. And when they lose their children in strawberry fields or on filthy roads by the checkpoints, when their children are shot on their way to school by Israeli children who were educated to believe that love and compassion are race and religion dependent, the only thing I can do is stand by them and their betrayed babies, and ask what Anna Akhmatova--another mother who lived in a regime of violence against women and children--asked:

Why does that streak of blood, rip the petal of your cheek?

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