Adonis Diaries

Nerves hardwired in steel?

Any Psychological effects of War on Gaza’s children?

The report is of 2009. It must be even worse as the children in Gaza witnessed three such massive preemptive wars on Gaza since 2008.

Gaza child looking at what is left of her baby sister
‎هذا ما تبقى من أختها كي تدفن،فهل تبقى من كرامتكم شيئا كي تحيا؟؟؟‎

The Psychological effects of War on Gaza’s children

Report by Dr. Yousef Mousa
Published: 15/02/2009


Is Life returning to normal? What about the visible scars on children?

The Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) estimated that 1,314 Palestinians were killed in the 23 days of the military operation in the Gaza Strip.

This statistics were only updated until Jan. 18th 2009, but after the Israeli ceasefire, many corpses were found under the debris and the demolished houses in many areas (Zeytoun, Al Atatra, Ezzbet Abed Rabo, and Beit Hanoun).

The bombing and shelling caused extensive damage to civilian facilities throughout the Gaza Strip. Supplies of basic food and fuel, and the provision of electricity, water and sanitation services remain critical.

“Civilians in Gaza bore the brunt of the conflict, with 412 children and 100 women killed and 5, 450 people wounded. Ten of thousands of people were rendered homeless after their areas were damaged or destroyed during bombing raids.”

UN Report – New York

Palestinian Children – A Special Consideration:

Children represent more than 50% of the Palestinian society, and the most vulnerable group of this society

Children have been critically affected by the daily violence, such as bombing, destruction of their houses and other measures.

Damages to residential property, schools, health clinics and water and electricity infrastructure by Israelis are still widespread.

45.2% of death occurrence among children was caused mainly by firearm missiles by Israeli occupation.

Up to 80% of Palestinian children suffer from behavioral problems, including:

  • Increasing level of violence.
  • Sleeping problems, with feelings of fear and anxiety.
  • Changes in attachment to family and community.
  • Various emotional and cognitive problems such as inability to concentrate.
  • Decreasing hope in the future

Palestinian children who experience armed conflict carry the heavy emotional, social, and spiritual burdens associated with death, separation from and loss of parents, attack and victimization, destruction of homes and communities, economic ruin, and disruption of the normal patterns of living.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply concerned at the devastating effects that the current military engagement in Gaza is having on children, ” the 18-member body said in a statement issued in Geneva, where it is currently in session.

Hundreds of children have been killed or injured, many seriously. Many others have lost their loved ones. The continuous fighting and destruction of livelihoods and basic infrastructures, severely compromise enjoyment of human rights especially in relation to health, education and family life.

The psycho-social need in Palestine has been realized most acutely during the past eight years of conflict, occupation and violence. Military incursions, movement restrictions, targeted killing, arrests, humiliation, spread of the terror acts, economic situation and poverty have affected every individual from children to the elderly.

The impact has resulted in children: being unable to attend school; sick and injured persons have been denied hospital access while attempting to cross Erez checkpoints.

Maher Wahba, a psychologist with Muslim Aid said that one of the first tasks would be to address the psychological trauma being suffered by children who had lost family members and friends. “These children have suffered a lot, we have seen many cases, many psychological disorders… aggressive behaviour, many nightmares, dreams” he added.

Dr. Samir Gota, a professor of psychology at the Islamic University of Gaza, said to Asharq Al-Awsat that there has been a significant increase in the number of parents visiting psychological health centers in the Gaza Strip enquiring about treatments for psychological breakdowns after having recognized these symptoms in their children following the bombings which have affected the cities, towns and refugee camps of the Gaza Strip.

Psychological problems such as depression and aggression are common in children who have lived through conflict. This is not a new phenomenon in Gaza as many children have lived through other periods of violence, but this latest crisis will have added to the mental health problems faced by Gaza’s children. However, families in Gaza are already struggling with the basics of life; getting enough water, food, fuel and shelter. Hidden psychological problems are not something they are able to deal with.Hatem Shurrab said.

According to WHO, the Psychological consequences of conflict situation in Gaza are, as follows:

Distress responses expressed as:

Sense of Vulnerability
Emotional liability

Behavioral changes expressed as:

Domestic Violence
Increased health care use
Alcohol Consumption
Drug addict

Psychiatric illness expressed as:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Major Depression

The unpredictability of the day-to-day situation further adds to the stress and anxiety felt by not having control over ones lives.

This is the current situation in Palestine but it comes with the memories of the conflicts of the past and ultimately with the loss of land and identity. Methods of coping with chronic instability tie into religious beliefs, community lifestyle and cultural traditions. One of the most dominant effects of the continued conflict is the loss of hope.

The affects on the individual, the family, and the community will be long lasting – finding ways to overcome the traumas of the past is the only way to a brighter future.

Psychosocial programs seek to limit these effects on children, prevent further harmful events, and strengthen the coping mechanisms of children, their families, and their communities.

Palestinian children experience many forms of violence from the current war, longest occupation in the world and continuous Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Those which are most likely to cause trauma among children are the death of a parent, relative or acquaintance, torture, witnessing an act of violence, separation from one or both parents for any period of time, injury, including those resulting in deformity or handicaps, engaging in violence, poverty and severe depravation, and shelling or demolition of their house.

Emotions and reactions of children are manifested in many ways including: Problems with speech, difficulty concentrating, learning difficulties, sleep related problems, bedwetting, loss of recently acquired skills, feelings of guilt, and variety of somatic complaints. Children must have safe places for healing and emotional support to be able to overcome these problems in order to continue to live normal, productive lives.

Currently Palestine has no comprehensive mental health services for children, resulting in a high level of need of such services in the community.

I have no concrete evidence of what I claim; only the anecdotes of friends and associates. Given that aid organizations and academics have yet to fully chronically the effects of the 2008-2009 war, I think anecdotal evidence will have to do for now.

Clenched Jaws and Chipped Teeth

I have heard many occurrences of jaw problems. Some residents of Gaza are clenching their teeth to the degree that it hurts to chew. I have heard many reports of jaw aches. A couple I know say each separately wake up at night because their spouse is grinding his/her teeth so loudly.

A dentist told me that he is making many night guards and repairing chipped teeth. He claims that Palestinians are giving themselves long-term tooth and jaw damage from stress. A friend started wearing a mouth guard when he runs because he can’t stop clenching his jaw. He already chipped away half a tooth.


A friend of mine in Rafah can’t sleep. His wife and daughter can’t sleep, either, he refuses to medicate. The rest of his family take pills. They can’t sleep without them. They began to take more as the battles bombs got louder.


It is not even worth cataloging the number of nightmares I’ve heard from others. Almost everyone I know tells me about a dream they’ve had recently. I’ve had many awkward and disturbing dreams, as well. I tend to have political dreams. Throughout the 2008-2009 war, I often dreamt of myself as a member of the Palestinian cabinet trying to resolve the conflict. Some of the dreams of my friends are too disturbing to recount.

Many of them involve lots of blood, dead bodies, and death. A woman tells me that she has dreams about saving her young daughter from dark, shadowy, faceless enemies. Another man dreams that he is a member of a South African private security corporation of ninjas that descends on Gaza and secretly and quietly kills all Israeli solders and politicians.

Weight Gains/Loss

Friends have visibly changed. Some people have gained significant amounts of weight. Others stopped eating, and look sickly thin and exhausted.


Many Palestinians, myself included, argue that this conflict did far more psychological damage than the all Israeli-Arab wars. The last wars are much harder psychologically than 1948 war.

Dr. Yousef Mousa
Executive Director
Union of Health Work Committess-Gaza
Tel: +970 8 2824272
Fax: +970 8 2869220
Mobile: +970 599 122211

It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue


Bill Maher and Conservative Agree on Israel and Gaza

July 21, 2014 “ICH” -

Does Bill Maher pretend to be an idiot? The smug talk show host, for whom the expression “progressive except Palestine” was coined, reached new depths with his contempt for Palestinians and support for their oppressors.

Short explanation:

“progressives except for Palestine (PEP)” is the term for the kind of people who are progressive in their beliefs in just about every way except when it comes to Palestine, where they become supporters of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and colonialism.

That view is typically explained by their ingrained belief that Jews have a different DNA than the rest of mankind and therefore all standard measures and norms are dropped when Jews are involved.

For example, if a non-Jew murders a person he is a criminal that should spend the rest of his days in jail but if a Jew murders a person there must be a good reason for it and he must be retaliating, therefore the victim is to blame.

If a Jewish State practices apartheid with different set of laws for Jews and gentiles and builds colonies for Jews-only, then they will tout the virtues of apartheid!

If the Jewish State locks people in a ghetto and liquidates entire families with American supplied military might, then it surely is because the victims did something wrong to deserve it!

Bill Maher is the type of progressive that if in the future Israel decides to make dog food out of Palestinians and market it in the US, he would be the first to volunteer to be the brand’s spokesperson in national ads.

Here is Bill Maher, conducting a lively debate between an Israel supporter and another Israel supporter, moderated by a third Israel supporter.

And a holy orgy of lies, distortions, misrepresentations and smugness ensues.

After watching the above spectacle it was clear to me that “progressive except Palestine” is insufficient to encapsulate Bill Maher’s world view. I had to leaf through my dictionary for a good hour in search of a better term.

Fortunately, thanks to the richness of the English language, I finally stumbled upon the fitting expression to accurately describe Bill Maher: a piece of shit.

So without further ado here are the top ten reasons why Bill Maher is a piece of shit:

  1. The famed atheist who has gone as far as making an atrocious documentary movie where he mocks people of all religions for 100 excruciating minutes, turns out to be giving his endless support and admiration to… yes you guessed it… a state that was created based on religion, has religious parties in government and still touts Judaism as its raison d’etre. Why does Bill Maher support a religion-based state? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  2. Bill Maher would shudder thinking of the United States, where he lives, as a “Christian State belonging exclusively to Christians” yet Bill Maher fawns for a state that defines itself as a “state belonging exclusively to the Jewish people” and has state sanctioned religious institutions and no separation between religion and state. Why does he have a double standard? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  3. Bill Maher touts Jewish supremacy to Arabs by pointing to the fact that Jews have won more Nobel prizes than Arabs and that must be because of a higher percentage of “Jewish atheists” (whatever that means), which explains Arab backwardness according to him and Israel’s technological advances. Yet you would never hear Bill Maher touting Apartheid S. Africa as a role model of a state and white supremacy as an ideology because whites won more Nobel prizes than blacks. Why? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  4. Bill Maher considers Israel morally superior because it could kill more Palestinians but it doesn’t. In the same way, Bill Maher would consider the US to be morally superior in Vietnam because it could have nuked the entire Vietnam but didn’t. Why is Bill Maher creating false morality arguments? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  5. Bill Maher who at some point called the US military budget “the world’s largest welfare program” and opposes such waste, doesn’t mind sending over $3 billion a year from his tax money, or around $2,000 annually for every single Israeli family, to subsidize Israel’s military. Why does Bill Maher believe our tax dollars are better spent on a foreign country than at home? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  6. Bill Maher lets one of his guests get away with a gigantic lie that Israel left Gaza and no longer controls it, even though the UN, the entire international community and even agreements that Israel signed view the Gaza strip as occupied territory, considered an integral territorial unit with the West Bank, both under occupation since 1967. Bill Maher would never claim that Warsaw Ghetto was not occupied by Germany because there were no German soldiers inside it. Why? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  7. Bill Maher tells Palestinians that they should forget their dispossession and move on, even though the majority of them still live under a repressive colonizing military occupation and some are locked in an open air prison behind walls and remote controlled machine guns. Would Bill Maher preach to Jews locked in the Warsaw Ghetto or in occupied Poland to forget and move on? Of course not. Why? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  8. Bill Maher blames Palestinian deaths on.. you guessed it… Palestinians. He upholds the mendacious claim that “Israel is defending itself” from rockets even though Israel is the occupying power and hence the aggressor. Bill Maher denies the occupied the right to resist their occupation and incarceration. Why? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  9. Bill Maher makes the claim that “Hamas would wipe Israel off the map if it could” while ignoring the fact that it is Israel that has wiped and is still wiping Palestine off the map with colonies. Why does Bill Maher support the wiping off the map done by colonial immigrants but not the natives who were wiped off the map and who want to do the reverse? Because Bill Maher is a piece of shit.
  10. Bill Maher ignores the ongoing colonial context and the Jewish state’s policies of Jewish exclusivity, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonization and “Judaisation” on the expense of Palestine’s native population.
  11.  Maher ignores Israel’s discriminatory laws, its state definition of Jews versus non-Jews, the denial of refugee rights, the violation of dozens of UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention, the millions of people under Israel’s rule without basic human rights for generations – all these monstrosities that have been going on since Israel’s foundation and that no progressive would ever support. Is it because Bill Maher is ignorant, pretending to be ignorant, or is it just because he is a piece of shit? I vote for the latter.

Ahad Haadam

 I grew up in Israel and served as an IDF officer. It took me years to realize that we had been brought up on lies, myths and propaganda and that Palestinians are no different from native Americans, blacks in S. Africa and other indigenous populations who were abused and dispossessed by European colonialism.

Demolishing the Zionist myths and propaganda is the first step towards de-constructing the exclusionary colonial state and achieving historic justice and lasting peace.

I can be reached at ahadhaadam at yahoo dot com.

See also – A Brief History of Gaza: It seems outlandish that anyone would believe this absurd Orwellian language that turns oppressor and occupier into victim and victim into aggressor. So let’s review briefly Gaza’s history and put things in perspective:


This Young Man Lost 3 Family Members in Gaza.

Here’s Why Their Stories Matter.

 posted July 18, 2014

We were sitting at Lincoln Park in West Seattle, with a handful of friends who had gathered for a picnic potluck, awaiting others who would be joining us shortly.

A Facebook message came through on my Smartphone from my friend Yousef Munayyer:

Hey Jen, just saw some news about a young man from the Shurrab family in khan yunis being the latest victim, Name is Tayseer. Have you heard from Amer recently?

It’s been almost two years since I was last in Gaza. But every day, especially during these times, Gaza is in me.

Amer Shurrab. Photo courtesy of Jen Marlowe.

Amer Shurrab was, as a matter of fact, sitting across the picnic table from me at that very moment. He had come for a few days’s visit from Monterey, Calif., where he is finishing his MBA.

Though we had planned the visit weeks before the shit hit the fan in Gaza, the timing of it felt oddly right. I think it felt somewhat comforting to Amer to be surrounded by people who had some notion of what he was going through, and the beautiful Pacific Northwest was allowing some respite from the obsessive news-checking and strangling stress that is inevitable when one’s family is under bombardment.

We had just returned to Seattle after spending the last two days in Olympia with Rachel Corrie’s family. (Rachel, a peace and justice activist from Olympia, had been crushed to death in Gaza in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer as she stood in front of a Palestinian family’s home in order to prevent its demolition.)

In between deep acknowledgment of the horror of the situation in Gaza, some of it spoken and some of it silent, we spent several hours on Mount Rainier.

Just a few hours earlier, Amer took his first ride in a kayak. And then, as we were waiting for other Seattle friends and activists to come and meet Amer, which had been the impetus of organizing the picnic potluck, Yousef’s message came through over Facebook.

I walked around the picnic table where everyone was introducing themselves and gently touched Amer on the shoulder, asking him to step aside from the group with me. He did, and I showed him Yousef’s message.

“Is he a relative?” I asked.

Amer’s face instantly clouded with fear and worry. “It may be my cousin Mohammed Tayseer,” he answered.

He immediately pulled out his phone, and walked up a path towards the woods so he could call his family with some measure of privacy. I stared at him for a moment as he sat on the railing of the path, head bowed down, cell phone pressed against his ear, and could think only about the incident that led to Amer and I reconnecting after many years of not having been in touch—the incident in January 2009 during Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” when two of his brothers were killed and his father injured.

In the months and years since that horrific event, I had grown very close to Amer, holding him in my heart as family. I had visited his family in Khan Younis twice—the second visit, tragically, was just two days after his father passed unexpectedly, due at least in part to the grief and stress related to the murder of his sons.

And now. And now, here was Amer, on the phone to confirm if the most recent killing in Gaza was another member of his family.

Amer continued to sit on the rail, head down, but his arm with the phone was dropped limply by his side. I approached.

“Was it your cousin?”

It was.

I went back to the group at the picnic table. Amer needed a few minutes alone, he told me, and he would join us when he felt ready.

The mood of the gathering shifted instantly. Where there had been casual, light conversation, there was now mostly silence laden with sadness, anger, dread, and, overlaying it all, worry for Amer, who was now sitting on a log by the water’s edge, head still bowed.

The only clear thought echoing through my mind in those next minutes: This is so unfair. This is so fucking unfair.

Amer’s father outside the car in which he was shot and two of his sons (Amer’s brothers) killed by the Israeli military in January 2009.

How I remember their humanity

Since the attack on Gaza started a few days ago, I have been frightened not only by the bombing, and people fleeing their homes in anticipation of a bloody invasion, but by the dehumanization of the very real humans in Gaza.

It’s happening as people label them “terrorists” or “Hamas supporters,” or placidly suggest that they are victimized only by Hamas using them as “human shields.”

It’s happening as they are spoken of only as numbers and statistics; and as people post photos of small children with heads blown open or limbs blown off, causing us to look at these children not in their human childness but as gory images.

I have been trying to resist this dehumanization, if only for a moment, by describing the Palestinian human beings I know in Gaza.

I’ve been going there for 14 years, first when I was working with a peace organization (which is how I first met Amer), and now for the work I do as a writer and documentary filmmaker.

I know pharmacists in Gaza.

I know doctors.

I know people who work for the United Nations, who work for humanitarian organizations, who work for human rights organizations.

I know people who run youth programs and I know teachers.

I know mothers who love their children with a fierce protectiveness.

I know a father whose 9-year-old son was executed while he was holding him in his arms—and who then struggled with how to raise his surviving children without being surrounded by trauma and violence.

I know a father who bought his little girls bunny rabbits so they would have something small and cuddly to hold; so his daughters could retain their own humanity and have a chance at growing up emotionally intact.

I know accountants.

I know taxi drivers who have invited me to their homes for lunch and introduced me to their families; whom I have dodged bullets with and brought cigarettes to during long months of siege.

I know small children who, while living in tents in horrible conditions, wake up in the morning and have their faces scrubbed clean by their big sisters and the sand brushed out of their hair with what little water there is so that they can go to school looking fresh and have a chance at learning.

I have friends who are new mothers and new fathers, just figuring out how to meet their infants’ needs.

Many of the young men and women I know I remember as teenagers: We used to gather at pizza restaurants in Gaza, and in later years gathered at beach-side cafes and smoked arghillas—reminiscing, talking, laughing.

It’s been almost two years since I was last in Gaza. But every day, especially during these times, Gaza is in me.


I saw a rather large group approach and walked toward them to see who was joining us. It was my friend Kara and her husband Hakim, who is from Gaza. With them were Hakim’s 6-year-old sister Hiba and his mother.

Hakim had been working on bringing them to the U.S. from the Gaza strip for months but had managed to get them out, in the end, just a day before the bombardment began. Other friends from Gaza, one from the same neighborhood that Amer is from, joined us shortly afterward.

Standing on the Side of Peace: One man’s journey changed everything I knew about the Middle East conflict.

I sent a quick prayer of thanks for the new arrivals. There were people here who shared Amer’s pain. Hakim and his friends Anas and Mohammed lit coals on a barbeque and started to grill meat patties and chop peppers and tomatoes. Hiba found some sidewalk chalk and began to draw a stick figure of a smiling little girl under a big colorful tree next to a house.

Amer came back from his perch by the sea and soberly joined the group which had now tripled in size. It had the Gazan dialect of Arabic chatter intermingling with English and the wafting odors of grilled meat prepared with Middle Eastern spices.

Hiba gave Amer a rock she had specially decorated for him with the sidewalk chalk. People began to eat.

In some way, we needed to directly confront, as a group, what had just happened to Amer’s cousin, what was happening to every family in Gaza. We had to find a way to hold space for the pain and the loss. And to honor those who had been killed these last eight days, those who loved them, and those who were living in terror that they, or their family members, would be next.

And so, as the sun set and the mountains turned a deep purple, our group of 17 (six of them from Gaza) gathered tightly together around the picnic table.

Passing around a smartphone with the information loaded, we read aloud, one by one, the names and ages of every one of the 194 human beings who have been killed (at the time of this writing) in Gaza—as well as the one Israeli killed—since the assault began. A reminder that those killed are not numbers. They are people. Many of them children. Some of those children even younger than Hiba. Each one with a family. Each one an entire world.

The web-based list had not been updated in the last hour. Amer’s cousin was not yet on it. But we didn’t need a website to know his name. “Mohammed Tayseer Shurrab,” Amer said in a strong voice when the last name on the smartphone had been read.

Insha’allah, he added, this would be the last name. Insha’allah, the list would grow no longer. Then, as the mountains deepened from purple to black, Amer led us in a prayer for the dead. We held silence together for a moment. Anas and Hakim spoke about what this simple act of solidarity meant to them.

Then, we shifted our circle from around the picnic table to around Hiba’s chalk drawing. It was by the narrowest of threads that the 6-year-old girl was not, at that moment, shuddering under fierce explosions from bombs dropped by warplanes and drones.

The drawing: A smiling girl. A home. A tree.

What every child deserves to draw.

What every child deserves to know.

Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based human rights activist and filmmaker and the author of three books, The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker; Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival; and I Am Troy Davis. For more information, visit Donkeysaddle Projects.


Nine brands you can start boycotting

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are big news in 2014.

If Scarlett Johansson’s Sodastream fiasco didn’t grab your attention, perhaps the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities did, or Netanyahu’s increasing talk of million-dollar PR campaigns, legal offensives and diplomacy efforts to counter the BDS threat.

Opinion pages are filled with debate.

John Kerry has warned Israel that it could be facing a delegitimization campaign “on steroids” and voices from all sides are speculating that a boycott movement against Israel could be about to break into the mainstream.

But what would that actually mean in supermarkets and shopping baskets?

The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from — occupation policies.

These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon — and they may not be the ones you’d expect.

1. Sodastream

Via: AP

Thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s recent adventure in international politics, most of us now know about Sodastream’s role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank.

The fizzy drinks makers are produced in Ma’ale Adumim, one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that cuts through Palestinian land, seizing resources and making the development of an independent Palestinian economy look impossible.

“The Israeli army forcefully expelled 200 Palestinian families from their homes to make space for the construction of Maale Adumim,” says Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the BDS National Committee. “Recently, it announced a plan to expel another 2,300 Palestinians to make way for the settlement’s growth.”

2. Jaffa Oranges

Via: AP

Brands like Carmel Agrexco and Mehadrin, which export the famous Jaffa brand of oranges, make big profits from farming on Palestine’s land.

Many of the companies’ fruits and vegetables — which include avocados, sweet potatoes and pomegranates — are grown and packaged in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, where 94% of land is under direct Israeli control.

As well as violating international law, commercial farming in the area deprives Palestinians of agriculturally-rich farmland and seriously limits access to water, which local people are often forced to buy by the tank at vastly inflated prices.

3. Ahava

Via: AP

Ahava means love in Hebrew, but the story behind is unromantic.

The company’s major factory — and its plush visitors’ centre — is based in Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in the occupied West Bank that also owns 37% of the brand.

The location gives Ahava privileged access to the minerals and mud of the Dead Sea, which form the big-selling ingredient in their face masks, body scrubs and moisturisers.

The company makes about $150 million a year from the sale of these miraculous products while Palestinians continue to be effectively barred from utilising the resources of the Dead Sea.

4. Golan Heights Wine

Via: AP

According to its website, this winery is located in Israel’s prime location for world-class vineyards.

However, that place is the Golan Heights: occupied territory seized from Syria in the War of 1967. Then, most of the 140,000 Syrians that lived in the Golan were displaced and have not been allowed to return, and today the area is home to some 20,000 settlers.

Although the Golan Heights Winery is one of Israel’s biggest exporters, it’s far from the only producer of settlement wine.

The Carmel, Tshibi and Barkan wineries all own vineyards in the Golan Heights, while Teperberg 1870 and Binyamina operate in the West Bank.

5. Victoria’s Secret

Via: AP

Victoria’s Secret is targeted by BDS campaigners because of where the brand sources its fabrics.

America’s largest brand of lingerie gets its textiles from Delta Galil Industries, a company with a warehouse in the Barkan Industrial Zone, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

It also runs stores in Ma’aleh Adumim and Pisgat Ze’ev — both in occupied territories.

Settlements like these destroy the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and are widely considered to be the biggest obstacle to the success of the peace process.

Victoria’s Secret, however, is not the only company to buy its materials from the settlement industry: Delta Galil also supplies to companies like Walmart, Calvin Klein, Nike and Columbia, among others.

6. Sabra Hummus

Via: AP

Food appropriation is a big deal in the Middle East, where the adoption of falafel and hummus as Israel’s national snacks is a point of contention for Palestinians.

Sabra, however, is a BDS target for other reasons: The USA’s top hummus manufacturer is owned by Strauss Group, an Israeli company with strong ties to the IDF.

The corporation has “adopted” the Golani Brigade, an “elite unit” of the Israeli Army with a reputation for bad behavior that ranges “from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians,” according to Haaretz.

Golani troops were on the front line in Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-9 assault on Gaza which killed some 1,400 Palestinians.

Strauss, apparently, provided the lunches, exclaiming on its website that it provides “food products” for missions and “personal care packages for each soldier.”

After U.S. BDS groups targeted Sabra in 2010, Strauss removed the wording from its Corporate Social Responsibility pages. But it has said nothing of withdrawing its support for IDF troops.

7. Medjool Dates

These super-sweet dates are a Palestinian staple, traditionally eaten to break the Ramadan fast.

But today, over half the global harvest of medjool dates is produced by Israel, often on settlements in Palestinian land and especially in the Jordan Valley.

There, illegal labor practices have been recorded on a significant scale.

In 2008, 7,000 Palestinian children were found to be working on settlement date farms. What’s more, the provenance of settlement dates is often concealed with a “produced in Israel” label — Hadiklaim, one of the biggest settlement producers, markets its products under the brand names Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Tops and King Solomon.

8. Eden Springs Water

Much of Eden Springs’ bottled water — which is widely marketed to universities, local authorities and other institutions — comes from the Salukia spring in the Golan Heights.

Israel’s occupation of the Golan has been condemned by the U.N., and, as Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reminds us, international law only gives occupiers a limited right to use the water resources of occupied territory.

Despite that, settlers in the Golan can use as much as 17 times more water per capita than the area’s other inhabitants — a state of affairs that is not helped by the commercial exploitation of springs.

9. Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Packard’s slogan is a predictably Silicon Valley coinage: “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.”

For Palestinians, however, some of the things HP does matter more than others. The firm owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.

HP equipment is used by Israeli prisons and the army, and the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City project in Ariel.

Bethan Parry

Bethan is a writer and editor currently based in Palestine and Israel. She’s written for a range of publications in the US, UK and Middle East, was previously a staff writer for The Day, where she wrote analysis on everything from fiscal policy …

Assassinated Lebanese missile engineer graduate in US university: Hadi Kasab

Remember graduate student Hadi Kasab?

The young Lebanese who was on track to graduate last month with a master’s degree from MIT’s Computation for Design and Optimization program and who was found dead in his dormitory room in March?

Well, this is the report that was finally published by the university on his death:

State officials release causes of graduate student deaths

The deaths of graduate students Hadi Kasab and Eliana Hechter, whom MIT lost this spring, have since been ruled suicides.

Hechter, a first-year medical student in Harvard and MIT’s joint Health Sciences and Technology program, died by hanging in April, the Cambridge Day reported in May, citing state police records.

Kasab, who was on track to graduate last month with a master’s degree from MIT’s Computation for Design and Optimization program, was found dead in his dormitory room in March.

According to his death certificate, Kasab died of cyanide poisoning.

This determination was released in June.

For Kasab’s family in Lebanon, the wait for answers had been prolonged by a backlog of toxicology tests at the state medical examiner’s office, The Boston Globe reported.

Information about MIT’s counseling services can be found at

—Leon Lin

Why would someone like this brilliant young man commit suicide?
Does the Lebanese government care to know?

US votes against the world to shield Israel at UN Human Rights Council

Shame on the US

29 of the 46 countries voted to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes by Israel.

Vijay Prashad posted on FB:

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki:

“Israel is perpetrating huge crimes in Gaza. It is killing whole families. Israel must be held accountable for its crimes.”

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Asoke Mukerji said,

“We remain hopeful that a sustainable ceasefire will be reached between the two sides, linked to the resumption of the peace process, for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue.” India is “deeply concerned” with the civilian casualties. India votes yes.

That is a very important sign.

The pressure from the BRICS and from the pro-Palestinian bloc prevailed (see my less hopeful analysis from last week,

Who abstained:

Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Romania, Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

The yes votes came from part of the old Socialist bloc, the old NAM bloc (including India) the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic States, the new South American assertion and the two major veto powers (Russia, China). A very important step for a broad consensus against Israel’s wars, and for Palestinian freedom.

The US was the lone State to vote “No for human rights and yes for crimes against humanity”

How Cicero (106 Av JC-43 Av JC) summarized social structure

John Saad posted on FB this July 18 · Beirut ·

Théorie de Cicéron (106 Av JC-43 Av JC)

1 – Le pauvre : Travaille,
2 – Le riche : Exploite le 1,
3 – Le soldat : Défend les deux,
4 – Le contribuable : Paye pour les trois,
5 – Le vagabond : Se repose pour les quatre,
6 – Le poivrot : Boit pour les cinq,
7 – Le banquier : Escroque les six,
8 – L’avocat : Trompe les sept,
9 – Le médecin : Tue les huit,
10- Le croquemort : Enterre les neuf,
11- Et le politique : Vit des dix.

Note: A few physicians were upset. Mind you that medical treatment was prehistoric during Cicero time and people died as physicians “took care” of their illnesses.




July 2014
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