Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘intifada

2020 worst for homeless Palestinians in Israel

Tamara Nassar Rights and Accountability 5 January 2021

While people around the world were told to stay home due to the pandemic, Israel made more Palestinians homeless in 2020 than it has in years.

Israel demolished and confiscated more than 850 Palestinian structures throughout the year, displacing 1,000 people. More than half of those displaced were children.

Israel targeted almost any kind of structure Palestinians need for sustainable life, including homes, agricultural buildings, infrastructure and water sanitation facilities.

The number of demolitions last year was also the highest annual total since United Nations monitoring group OCHA began keeping records in 2009 – with the exception of 2016.

These figures do not include some 5,000 Palestinians whose livelihood was affected by demolitions and seizures throughout the year without being displaced.

Heavily armed soldiers watch Hyundai bulldozer demolish a home while two men observe nearby

Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home east of Yatta, near the West Bank city of Hebron, on 29 December. Mosab Shawer APA images

In 2020, the number of Palestinians who had to demolish their own homes in occupied East Jerusalem under Israeli orders also increased. The irony s that Palestinians are coerced to do this to avoid having to pay for Israeli wrecking crews.

Area C

The vast majority of demolitions and seizures took place in occupied East Jerusalem and Area C, the 60% of the occupied West Bank that remains under complete Israeli military rule.

Most of Area C was supposed to be gradually transferred to Palestinian Authority control following the signing of the Oslo accords in the 1990s. But that never happened.

Israel controls all planning and construction in the area under an openly discriminatory regime.

Palestinians are subjected to Israeli military orders that regulate every aspect of their lives, while Israeli settlers living in Jewish-only colonies built illegally in occupied territory are subject to Israeli civil law.

Israel forbids virtually all Palestinian construction in Area C.

“Palestinians are allowed to build in less than 1% of Area C and in only about 15% of East Jerusalem,” OCHA recently stated.

This forces Palestinians to build on their own land without Israeli permits and live in constant fear that Israeli occupation forces may seize or destroy their property.

“This system works primarily to demolish structures,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated, and is part of Israel’s long-term efforts to change the demographics in the area and ensure a Jewish majority in preparation for annexation.

Palestinians are also denied access to basic infrastructure, such as water and electricity, in those areas. Many rely on donor-funded solar panels for electricity and water storage.

But even donated structures are not safe from Israeli destruction.

In 2020, Israel demolished or confiscated about $350,000 worth of donor-funded structures, many provided by the European Union.

Apart from muted statements and photo opportunities at sites threatened with demolition, the EU has done nothing to hold Israel accountable for destroying tens of millions of dollars of projects funded by European taxpayers over the years.

Largest demolition in years

In November alone, Israeli forces demolished and confiscated more Palestinian structures in a single month on record since 2009, according to OCHA.

November also witnessed the largest single demolition in occupied territory in years, when Israel leveled most of the occupied West Bank community of Khirbet Humsa.

Israeli forces arrived in Khirbet Humsa on 3 November and demolished 76 structures. More than 70 Palestinians were made homeless, including 41 children – totaling 11 families.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the demolition “a grave crime” at the time and asserted that “the United States of America should not be bankrolling ethnic cleansing.

In the first week of 2021, Israel has already demolished 12 structures and displaced three Palestinians.

Note: The first Palestinian Intifada (civil disobedience/resistance) was done in 1936-39 because the mandated British power refused to hold municipal elections on account that the Jews represented only 20% of the population.

Can you Guess from which town the Third Palestinian Intifada (mass civil disobedience) Will Start? This article was posted in 2013.

Note: the first Intifada took place in 1936 and lasted 3 years against the British mandated power for denying municipality elections to the Palestinians, on the basis that the Jew were a minority (about 20%). Britain dispatched 100,000 soldiers to quell this Intifada and trained Jews to fight. Only the start of WWII stopped the intifada

South of the village of Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, an Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley.

This settlement was founded in 1977 by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village.

Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Kos, bubbles out of a low stone cliff.

In the summer of 2008,the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an trees for shade.

The land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, now 57 of age,

(Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.)

When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers threatened them and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized.

In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring water, but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region.

Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed.

Ben Ehrenreich wrote:

“On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison.

His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed (this young girl that defied with fists the Israeli soldiers).

Ahed had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier and this resistance won her, at age 11, a brief but startling international celebrity.

Their 9 year-old brother Abu Yazan was in tears in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s.

Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flat-breads. Slide Show

On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009.

Bassem was gone for 13 months to prison that time, released for 5 months before he was arrested again in October.

A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel.

Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot.

(All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.)

Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent. 

Is This the town Where the Third Intifada Will Start?Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times. Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. More Photos »

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July.

He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv.

When Bassem had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison.

He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears.

The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard.

They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half the injured were minors.

The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile.

And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live bullets.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home.

When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison.

In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones.

(In 2010, 99.74 % of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.)

The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law.

Thus, on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree.

They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced.

Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

There were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points.

In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation.

“Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and who coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later.

Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention.

That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press.

Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media teamBilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists.

Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right.

Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.”

Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s.

For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved.

The occupation persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend.

That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring.

Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far.

The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers.

Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish.

Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another.

Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house.

One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping.

Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast.

A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when Bassem was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited Shifra again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.”

On Fridays, Shifra said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel.

Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.)

Bassem would be jailed 7 times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike.

The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush Sr. administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo.

A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.”

An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said.

Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.

Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them.  Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame Said?

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged.

By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead (assassinated by Israeli poison), Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side.

The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work.

After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank.

The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. Bassem said: “If there is a third intifada,we want to be the ones who started it.

Bassem saw three options:

1.  “To be silent is to accept the situation, and we don’t accept the situation.”

2. Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful,

3.  “But by popular resistance, we can push Israel power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt.

Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance.

In an e-mail Eytan described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.)

Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence. Every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game. Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”)

We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night and rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. The shebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t. I can just throw stones.”

We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.”

While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.”

The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas Tamimi, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that the Israeli soldiers will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada.

The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation this time is 1,000 times worse. There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.”

Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That Palestinian  elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields.

For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats eeking a living in Ramallah who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside Ramallah, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult.

If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn? Don’t you want to make money..’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.)

In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “The P.A  have the power, more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of the shebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.)

I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside.

After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as the shebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her.

Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat Waed “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet.

Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.”

The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,but if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall.

Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.

Ben Ehrenreich won a 2011 National Magazine Award in feature writing. His most recent novel is “Ether,” published by City Lights Books. Editor: Ilena SilvermanAdvertisem

Turkish Manhood and moustaches: “Imagined Masculinity” by late Mai Ghoussoub

Note: In the previous re-edit of “Imagined Masculinity” I covered 3 chapters. This is the fourth chapter edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb of March 1st, 2007 

Chapter on Turkish manhood:

“Our Bulen is now a Commando: Military service and manhood in Turkey” by Emma Sinclair-Webb is a chapter concerned with the military service rituals into manhood.

Military service is another form of masculine initiation to manhood.

In the poor counties the families and communities gather to celebrate the joining of the recruits in the military.  While the poor recruits might obtain advantages from military service in the form of health check ups, dental care and better nutrition, as well as an opportunity to get away from their restricted locality and in some cases to learn to read and write, the extension of the military service to over a year and a half has very negative impact.

The first few months are pure trauma of experiencing constant curses, contempt and punishments designed to erase any residual personality or individuality, to empty the mind and feelings, shaping the recruits into the single mould prepared by the militaristic dogma.

The recruits are made to lose their self-confidence by encouraging alienation and mistrust among themselves and that they cannot do anything correctly without the superior commander direction and control.

The recruits are given names that express their insignificance in most armies such as “Tommy soldiers” or “Mehmetcik” (Little Mehmet).

The connotations are that the recruits are uncomplicated “chap” from the lower orders in the social structure constituted by the officers, ready to “perform any act of self-sacrifice without batting an eyelid”.

The recruits are invariably schooled at feeling infantile or at best children, forming the backbone of the army but nevertheless much less than the heroic “real men” or soldiers or officers.

In most countries, in addition to prison terms, dodgers of the military service are ostracized from society; they cannot find a job, or vote, or obtain passports or leave the country. In many instance they cannot marry because of the taboo attached to their lack of masculinity or responsibility to care for a family.

In wars, over 40% of the recruits are sent to the riskiest zones to fight internal or external enemies.

If a recruit dies he is labeled a martyr or “shahid” and if he is crippled or traumatized then he receives much less health care than what a regular soldier receives in hospital facilities or psychiatric treatment.

Chapter 5: On Palestinian treatment in Israel

I will try to summarize a chapter in “Imagined masculinities” titled “Male gender and rituals of resistance in the Palestinian Intifada a cultural politics of violence” by Julie Petite. 

In the 4 years of the first Intifada beginning in December 1987 through 1990, an estimated 106,000 Palestinians were injured.  If we count the beatings this estimate could reach the number of over 200,000 or 10% of the total population of the Palestinians living under the Zionist occupation.

Most of these injured Palestinians are youth under the age of twelve .

More than 60% of the youth passed through beatings and methodical investigation and incarceration.

Anton Shammas wrote in 1988: “For twenty years now, officially there has been no childhood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  A 10-year-old child shot by the Israeli military forces is reported to be a young man of ten’”

The Palestinians consider the Israeli soldiers as cowards and devoid of any sense of honor and for good reason.

When you challenge someone you pick the one able to taking up the challenge; otherwise there is no honor in the challenge.

When the Israeli soldiers challenge the unarmed Palestinian youth the repost do not take place, there is no challenge and the encounter degenerates into mere aggression.  Such aggression deprives the Israeli practitioners to claims of honor and morality; the Israeli soldier is thus considered as lacking in the emotional and moral quality of manhood.

Most of the incarcerated youth return home and supplant their fathers in the family hierarchy and are called on to mediate disputes and lead the neighborhood politically and organizationally.

The unconcerned and apathetic youth is transformed after the beating and interrogations into an active underground member and who had the opportunity to receive education during his prison term by the educated Palestinian prisoners.

It is normal that family violence increases after the release of the Palestinian prisoners and the females take the brunt of the outburst, especially lately when the Israelis reverted into focusing on the sexual maltreatment of prisoners with the adverse consequences on the prisoners and his family after his release.

Tidbits and notes. Part 294

The masses were standing in circles and big rosy pig grunting in pain in the middle. The masses were pretty happy and hysterically laughing: They had this golden urban opportunity to hurting the pig, twisting his ears, encouraging a little dog to mount the pig and bite it…

What of this famous author Montaigne who sent his wife a letter on the occasion of the death of her newborn:

“Don’t worry dear woman…Things will work out in life, eventually…I just finished reading a letter that another famous author wrote to his wife on a similar occasion…Read this attached letter over and over, and disseminate the content to our friends and acquaintances… I feel pretty serene right now…”

Pour calmer un enfant, beaucoup de parents recourent a des supertitions et legendes imbeciles. Tous ces croquemitaines… locales font naitre dans un psychism fragile des complexes penibles

Est-ce-que les enfants ont une capacite’ elevee’ pour accueillir sans effort dans leurs reves les fantastiques superstitions locales? Ce serait un facteur majeur dans la structure ideosycratique d’une communaute’.

Dr. Baryton stayed away from any physical health intervention. He used to tell me: “Science and life form a destructive mixture. Any question you formulate to the condition of your body is a sure gap that thickness will sneak in…Any beginning of worry, obsession… is ground to let sickness in…What is already known is way enough for me to handle…”

Another round of Ponzi schemes are in total swing with Lebanese banks: Offering up of 10% interest rates for fixed deposits. During late Rafic Hariri, the Future movement leaders received up to 30% interest rates and all the foreign loans  were meant to cover up this mafia drainage. Nothing of the over $100 bn loans ever were invested for productive enterprises.

From 1999 to 2013, Native Americans were killed by law enforcement at nearly identical rates as Black Americans, tying them for the most at-risk populations in this respect.

There is a deep seated belief in each person that, at one moment in his life, he should receive the Grace and earned it.

Compassion must be shared and be spread around.

Les brigants sont bien habilles, leur violence a des allures de respectabilite’. Cette violence chic, parfumee’, une violence de trois-pieces

The darkest corner in Hell is reserved for those who decided to remain neutral during period of major moral upheaval. This corner is vast enough to accommodate the Silent Majorities around the globe

This morning I got the scare of my life. For the first time, setting up in bed made me totally dizzy and a head weighting a ton. Automatically, my head slammed the pillows. A minute later, I tried to ease myself out by dangling my feet first and I got dizzy again. The third attempt was much better. From now on, don’t ask me to rush doing anything: I’ll enjoy a much slower pace and movement in my retirement.

France has shed the last leaf in fooling the people in the Middle-East that it means safeguarding human rights and dignity. France has  decided to retain its military forces in North-East Syria as it did since 2011, and refuses to confirm that the Palestinians have rights to resist occupation. And keeps selling weapons to Saudi Kingdom and fighting in Yemen. Along with USA and England, France is a rogue colonial power.

Withdrawing his troops from Syria is the right decision to confront the interest of the Pentagon in resuming wars that has No profit politically or economically. Letting Syria defeat ISIS is definitely defeating the terrorist factions that Hillary/Obama created and supported

London’s Gatwick shut down because of 2 drones flying over and were Not yet tracked down: They grounded more than 100,000 passengers this week.

US stopgap funding bill with $5 billion for Trump’s border Wall was Not passed by the Senate. Good news, this include Not funding the Department of Homeland Security.

Japan emulating Israel tactics: Carlos Ghosn re-arrested after being released

Trump tactics is blackmailing in order to get what he wants: Either the Senate includes in the budget the $5 bn for the Mexican Wall or he will save from withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan. 

It is the European colonial powers that are benefiting from all the US pre-emptive wars around the world. The moment the US comes to its senses, it is China that will benefit: An alternative that EU won’t digest.

The Black Stone (Ka3ba in Mecca) enshrined about 360 idols brought from around the neighboring civilizations to entice pilgrims in from all around the regions of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and India. Idol Allah was the chief among them, with No practical profession, and thus failed to generate profit to owner.

The Phoenicians built the City-State of Thebes in Greece, 3 centuries before Athens existed. This famous city generated the illustrious Amphion, Hesiod, Corinna, Pindar, Epaminondas, Plutarch…

Idol Allah in Mecca could not compete with the other practical idols to generate wealth to the clan owner.
Allah of Islam destroyed the other idols and retained the monopoly

Consequent to that ransacking of Rome, most artists and learned spirit immigrated to various regions in Europe.
The new printing discovery played as a catalyst for the Luther reformists and the dispersed artists allowed the Renaissance to spread in Europe.

Those who fled Mecca with Muhammad to Yathreb had no land or properties in their new location.
Razzia in the name of spreading the Message was a lucrative business

Les peuples ont elaborés des rituels et des traditions et puis ils ont crées et institués leurs Dieux pour unifier, protéger et devenir l’idol de la communauté.  Et puis, Ils choisirent de ne plus reflechir and s’ ouvrire a d’autre choix

The USA wisest policy is make peace with Russia and invest in that venue.

The wolf you feed wins: The wolf of Evil or the Wolf of good deed

Hezbollah is feeling the heat of a serious targeting by the USA and Israel. The response is to eliminated any faked impression to them that Saudi Kingdom has any sizeable control over Lebanon new political orientation. 

Treasury secretary Mnuchin called the CEOs of six major banks over the weekend to confirm they have “ample liquidity,” in a bid to reassure markets . They’ll to discuss “coordination efforts to assure normal market operations” experiencing continued volatility.

A Nobel laureate says what we really want is satisfaction, which is entirely distinct from happiness.

American museums are failing at diversity:  more than three-quarters of artists they featured are white men.

The veil was used by nobility in all civilizations. Hard working women could Not suffer a veil.

New Muslim converts who fled Mecca to Yathreb (Al Madina) made sure their women wore the veil to discriminate against the local families who worked the land (even if these women were Not from the noble class in Mecca).
As the local women gained status and didn’t have to work the land, they jumped on the band wagon.

I’m ashamed to die until I have won some victory for humanity (Horace Mann). And what could be a victory for humanity that is Not available to animal species? Right to read and write?

Trump is emulating France mandated power over Syria in 1918: Turkey Erdogan, you may have 75,000 sq.km of Syria land, in addition to the 175,000 sq.km that France gave away in 1923.

The one difference is that between 1918-40, Syrians confronted France mandated power with no weapons and No allies. Current Syria has the most battled experienced army and quality weapons and is supported by highly experienced resistance forces. If Russia decides a “No fly zone” over East Euphrates, Turkey will have to withdraw and forget about the oil reserves and fertile lands and water.

Is it true that 120 million Native American were exterminated to create the white USA?

 

المقاومة الفلسطينية

by mohammadhamdan64

The Palestinians in cities did fight back in 1948 after the genocide committed by the 3 Zionist terrorist factions. The British mandated power made sure the Palestinians be under-armed and un-organized after suppressing their first Intifada of 1936 for 3 years

صورة تنشر لاول مرة تظهر مجاهدين يدافعون عن البلدة القديمة في القدس عام 1948م، وهي جزء من ألبوم نهبه احد عناصر تنظيم “الارغون”، الصيهوني الارهابي وكشف عن وجوده مؤخراً.

To create State of Israel, Zionist forces attacked major Palestinian cities & destroyed between 500 to 600 villages. Approximately 13,000 Palestinians were killed in 1948, with more than 750,000 expelled from their homes & became refugees. .

In my Palestinian grandfather’s story, I find reasons to endure

Like all refugees, Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub left the world unmourned.

His memories rent from the land that made them. But his story, like Palestine’s itself, will matter well beyond the next negotiation. No empire, no flag, or sovereign can change that.

Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub with his family. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub with his family. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

The Government of Palestine’s Directorate of Education, from its Samaria branch in Nablus, informed Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub that his teaching duties had been re-assigned on December 8, 1936.

The 35-year-old had 11 days to report to a new school in Deir el-Ghusoun, a village that, according to a 1931 British census, was home to some 450 households, all of them Muslim.

It was in this boys-only school that the third eldest of my five aunts learned to read and write.

While the other village parents kept their young daughters at home, my Palestinian grandfather, the teacher from Samaria, sat his at the classroom’s helm, where the lords of the British Empire held no rein.

In this post-peace era, palls cast over our long negotiation with Israel, these little histories can seem too quaint.

After all, with so many threats against our identity, so many of our people stripped of agency, we Palestinians must spar with an awful present. But in this fight, our family chronicles make for more than wistful conversation. They give us more reasons to endure.

I was reminded of this while scrolling through an archive of my grandfather’s papers, struggling to draw some perspective from the rush of eulogies for Oslo’s ninth life.

What I discovered — in his Ottoman birth certificate, his British teaching credentials, his various letters from this or that Jordanian directorate — was evidence of a life more resolute than the three sovereigns that defined it.

A letter addressed to Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub from the Deir Ballut District British Inspector. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

A letter addressed to Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub from the Deir Ballut District British Inspector. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

Ahmad was born in 1901 to Al-Haj Mustafa Ayoub, a Sufi poet from the village of Majdal Sadeq and was a subject of the vast and waning Ottoman Empire, which had by then ruled Palestine for some 400 years.

When his son was barely out of infancy, Ayoub (Arabic for “Job” the prophet) moved his family to Shweikeh, just outside the northern Palestinian town of Tulkarem. There, Ahmad completed his early schooling before enrolling in Jerusalem’s Rashidiya School.

According to a biography written by another of his grandsons, the day of Ahmad’s departure was a festive one, with neighbors and their children gathering to see the young pupil off. Back then, it seems, it was a sight to behold: a village boy bound for Jerusalem, where only a select few attended its finest institutions.

Rashidiya counts among its alumni the Palestinian nationalist poet Ibrahim Touqan, whose signature work from the 1936 “Arab” Revolt or Palestinian Intifada, (Civil disobedience that lasted 3 years and Britain had to dispatch 100,000 troop to control it) the longest sustained nationalist Palestinian uprising against British Mandatory control, eventually became the lyric to Iraq’s national anthem.

Although Ahmad completed his higher-level teaching certificate there, a British administrator ordered him back to the plains of Tulkarem, where he was to open new schools in the then-distant villages of northern Palestine.

And so he did. In nearly four decades of service to the Palestine he knew, my grandfather helped rear two generations of would-be citizens.

To this day, some of his pupils from that era, all septuagenarians themselves, will recall how ustaz (teacher) Ahmad used to strike fear in the hearts of this or that peer, dissuading others who might foolishly be inclined to mischief.

I knew Sido (grandfather) as terse and forceful, too, but I found these qualities reassuring, like the relentless rhythms of a tightly formed qasidah (poem).

In a devastating elegy to his “suffocated generation,” the Damascene poet Nizar Qabbani counsels the children of the “Arab” nation: “You don’t win a war with a reed and a flute.”

But my grandfather, like so many of his comrades from the time, fought a different kind of war. He outlived Britain’s reign and the Ottomans’ before it, and when he retired, his end-of-service certificate, dated June 19, 1961, came stamped by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Directorate of Education. In Nablus.

Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub and his wife, 1981. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub and his wife, 1981. (Courtesy of Samer Badawi)

The last time I saw Sido, he was sitting on the edge of a bed in the basement of my aunt’s home in Amman. The day marked nothing in particular — no anniversary, no celebration, no birth or death.

Yet there he was, ever the school teacher, his kuffiyeh draped over a black suit jacket, now loose over an atrophied frame.

“May I enter, Sido?” I asked in my timid Arabic. He acknowledged my presence, without saying a word, and I walked in to sit beside him. There, seven decades between us, we sat shoulder to shoulder and let the silence have its say.

He would die soon after, at the age of 92, just as Bill Clinton’s “peace” ushered in a new era of displacement and loss.

Like all refugees, Ahmad Badawi Mustafa Ayoub left the world unmoorned, his memories rent from the land that made them. But his story, like Palestine’s itself, will matter well beyond the next negotiation.

No empire, no flag, or sovereign can change that.

Related stories

How Israel bypassed the signed Oslo Accord as if it didn’t ever existed?

By Jonathan Cook September 13, 2018

There will be no anniversary celebrations this week to mark the signing of the Oslo Accords in Washington 25 years ago. It is a silver jubilee for which there will be no street parties, no commemorative mugs, no specially minted coins.

Oslo never died. It is still doing today exactly what it was set up to do

Diana Buttu, Palestinian lawyer and former Palestinian Authority PA adviser

Palestinians have all but ignored the landmark anniversary, while Israel’s commemoration has amounted to little more than a handful of doleful articles in the Israeli press about what went wrong.

The most significant event has been a documentary, The Oslo Diaries, aired on Israeli TV and scheduled for broadcast in the US this week. It charts the events surrounding the creation of the peace accords, signed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Washington on 13 September 1993 (And Clinton?).

The euphoria generated by the Norwegian-initiated peace process a quarter of a century ago now seems wildly misplaced to most observers. The promised, phased withdrawals by Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories got stuck at an early stage.

And the powers of the Palestinian Authority, a Palestinian government-in-waiting that came out of Oslo, never rose above managing healthcare and collecting garbage in densely populated Palestinian areas, while coordinating with Israel on security matters.

All the current efforts to draw lessons from these developments have reached the same conclusion: that Oslo was a missed opportunity for peace, that the accords were never properly implemented, and that the negotiations were killed off by Palestinian and Israeli extremists (Mostly Israel since Arafat was in total control of the Palestinian Liberation Organization).

Occupation reorganised

But analysts Middle East Eye has spoken to take a very different view.

“It is wrong to think of Oslo being derailed, or trying to identify the moment the Oslo process died,” says Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the Palestinian Authority. “Oslo never died. It is still doing today exactly what it was set up to do.”

Michel Warschawski, an Israeli peace activist who developed strong ties with Palestinian leaders in the Oslo years, concurred.

“I , and pretty much everyone else I knew at that time , was taken in by the hype that the occupation was about to end. But in reality, Oslo was about re-organising the occupation, not ending it. It created a new division of labour.

Palestine, Israel and the Oslo Accords: What you need to know

“Rabin didn’t care much about whether the Palestinians got some indicators of sovereignty – a flag and maybe even a seat at the United Nations.

“But Israel was determined to continue controlling the borders, the Palestinians’ resources, the Palestinian economy. Oslo changed the division of labour by sub-contracting the hard part of Israel’s security to the Palestinians themselves.”

The accords were signed in the immediate aftermath of several years of a Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories – the First Intifada – that had proved costly to Israel, both in terms of casualties and treasure.

(Actually, that was the second intifada. the first one occurred in 1935 during the British mandated period and lasted 3 years. England had to dispatch 100,000 troops to quell this mass civil disobedience. The Palestinians wanted municipal elections and England refused them this right on account that the Jews were minority, about 20%)

Under Oslo, Palestinian security forces patrolled the streets of Palestinian cities, overseen by and in close coordination with the Israeli military. The tab, meanwhile, was picked up by Europe and Washington.

In an interview with the Haaretz newspaper last week, Joel Singer, the Israeli government lawyer who helped to draft the accords, conceded as much. Rabin, he said, “thought it would enhance [Israeli] security to have the Palestinians as the ones fighting Hamas”.

That way, as Rabin once observed, the occupation would no longer be accountable to the “bleeding hearts” of the Israeli supreme court and Israel’s active human rights community.

Less than statehood

The widespread assumption that Oslo would lead to a Palestinian state was also mistaken, Buttu says.

She notes that nowhere in the accords was there mention of the occupation, a Palestinian state, or freedom for the Palestinians. And no action was specified against Israel’s illegal settlements – the chief obstacle to Palestinian statehood.

Instead, the stated goal of the Oslo process was implementation of two outstanding United Nations resolutions – 242 and 338. The first concerned the withdrawal of the Israeli army from “territories” occupied in the 1967 war, while the second urged negotiations leading to a “just and durable peace”.

“I spoke to both Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas [his successor as Palestinian president] about this,” said Buttu. “Their view was that clearer language, on Palestinian statehood and independence, would never have got past Rabin’s coalition.

“So Arafat treated resolutions 242 and 338 as code words. The Palestinian leadership referred to Oslo as a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’. Their approach was beyond naïve; it was reckless. They behaved like amateurs.”

Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University and expert on Palestinian nationalism, said the Palestinian leadership was aware from the outset that Israel was not offering real statehood.

“In his memoirs, Ahmed Qurei [one of the key architects of Oslo on the Palestinian side] admitted his shock when he started meetings with the Israeli team,” says Ghanem.

“Uri Savir [Israel’s chief negotiator] said outright that Israel did not favour a Palestinian state, and that something less was being offered. The Israelis’ attitude was ‘Take it or leave it’.

Sympathy with settlers

All the analysts agreed that a lack of good faith on Israel’s part was starkly evident from the start, especially over the issue of the settlements.

Noticeably, rather than halt or reverse the expansion of the settlements during the supposed five-year transition period, Oslo allowed the settler population to grow at a dramatically accelerated rate.

The near-doubling of settler numbers in the West Bank and Gaza to 200,000 by the late 1990s was explained by Alan Baker, a legal adviser to Israel’s foreign ministry after 1996 and a settler himself, in an interview in 2003.

Most of the settlements were portrayed to the Israeli public as Israeli “blocs”, outside the control of the newly created PA.

With the signing of the accords, Baker said, “we are no longer an occupying power, but we are instead present in the territories with their [the Palestinians’] consent and subject to the outcome of negotiations.”

Recent interviews with settler leaders by Haaretz hint too at the ideological sympathy between Rabin’s supposedly leftist government and the settler movement.

Settlers demonstrate in November 1993 against Oslo (AFP)

Israel Harel, who then headed the Yesha Council, the settlers’ governing body, described Rabin as “very accessible”. He pointed out that Zeev Hever, another settler leader, sat with Israeli military planners as they created an “Oslo map”, carving up the West Bank into various areas of control.

Referring to settlements that most had assumed would be dismantled under the accords, Harel noted: “When [Hever] was accused [by other settlers] of cooperating, he would say he saved us from disaster. They [the Israeli army] marked areas that could have isolated settlements and made them disappear.”

Israel’s Oslo lawyer, Joel Singer, confirmed the Israeli leadership’s reluctance to address the issue of the settlements.

“We fought with the Palestinians, on Rabin and [Shimon] Peres’ orders, against a [settlement] freeze,” he told Haaretz. “It was a serious mistake to permit the settlements to continue to race ahead.”

Rabin’s refusal to act

Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University in Israel’s south, says the critical test of Rabin’s will to tackle the settlements came less than a year into the Oslo process. It was then that Baruch Goldstein, a settler, killed and wounded more than 150 Palestinians at worship in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

“That gave Rabin the chance to remove the 400 extremist settlers who were embedded in the centre of Hebron,” Gordon told MEE. “But he didn’t act. He let them stay.”

Palestinians carry the bodies of dead worshippers killed by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron (AFP)

The lack of response from Israel fuelled a campaign of Hamas “revenge” suicide bombings that in turn were used by Israel to justify a refusal to withdraw from more of the occupied territories.

Warschawski says Rabin could have dismantled the settlements if he had acted quickly. “The settlers were in disarray in the early stages of Oslo, but he didn’t move against them.”

After Rabin’s assassination in late 1995, his successor Shimon Peres, also widely identified as an architect of the Oslo process, changed tactics, according to Warschawski. “Peres preferred to emphasise internal reconciliation [between Israelis], rather than reconciliation with the Palestinians. After that, the religious narrative of the extremist settlers came to dominate.”

That would lead a few months later to the electoral triumph of the right under Benjamin Netanyahu.

The demographic differential

Although Netanyahu campaigned vociferously against the Oslo Accords, they proved perfect for his kind of rejectionist politics, says Gordon.

Under cover of vague promises about Palestinian statehood, “Israel was able to bolster the settlement project,” in Gordon’s view. “The statistics show that, when there are negotiations, the demographic growth of the settler population in the West Bank increases. The settlements get rapidly bigger. And when there is an intifada, they slow down.

“So Oslo was ideal for Israel’s colonial project.”

It was not only that, under the pressure of Oslo, religious settlers ran to “grab the hilltops”, as a famous army general and later prime minister, Ariel Sharon, put it. Gordon pointed to a strategy by the government of recruiting a new type of settler during the initial Oslo years.

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Sharon and others had tried to locate Russian-speaking new immigrants in large settlements like Ariel, in the central West Bank. “The problem was that many of the Russians had only one child,” says Gordon.

Israel was able to bolster the settlement project… Oslo was ideal for Israel’s colonial project

– Neve Gordon, politics professor at Ben Gurion University

So instead, Israel began moving the ultra-Orthodox into the occupied territories. These fundamentalist religious Jews, Israel’s poorest community, typically have seven or eight children. They were desperate for housing solutions, noted Gordon, and the government readily provided incentives to lure them into two new ultra-Orthodox settlements, Modiin Ilit and Beitar Illit.

“After that, Israel didn’t need to recruit lots of new settlers,” Gordon says. “It just needed to buy time with the Oslo process and the settler population would grow of its own accord.

“The ultra-Orthodox became Israel’s chief demographic weapon. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers have on average two more children than Palestinians – that demographic differential has an enormous impact over time.”

Palestinian dependency

Buttu pointed to another indicator of how Israel never intended the Oslo Accords to lead to a Palestinian state. Shortly before Oslo, from 1991 onwards, Israel introduced much more severe restrictions on movement, including an increasingly sophisticated permit system.

“Movement from Gaza to the West Bank became possible only in essential cases,” she says. “It stopped being a right.”

That process, Ghanem noted, has been entrenched over the past quarter century, and ultimately led to a complete physical and ideological separation between Gaza and the West Bank, now ruled respectively by Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah.

Gordon observed that Oslo’s economic arrangements, governed by the 1995 Paris Protocol, stripped the Palestinians of financial autonomy too.

“The Palestinians did not get their own currency, they had to use the Israeli shekel. And a customs union made the Palestinians a dependent market for Israeli goods and empowered Israel to collect import duties on behalf of the PA. Refusing to transfer that money was a stick Israel has regularly wielded against the Palestinians.”

According to the analysts, those Palestinian leaders like Arafat who were allowed by the Oslo process to return from exile in Tunisia – sometimes referred to as the “outsiders” – were completely ignorant of the situation on the ground.

On 12 September 1993, Yasser Arafat leaves Tunis for Oslo signing ceremony in Washington, DC (AFP)

Gordon, who was at that time head of Israel’s branch of Physicians for Human Rights, recalled meeting young Palestinian-Americans and Canadians in Cairo to discuss the coming health arrangements the PA would be responsible for.

“They were bright and well-educated, but they were clueless about what was happening on the ground. They had no idea what demands to make of Israel,” he says.

“Israel, on the other hand, had experts who knew the situation intimately.”

Warschawski has similar recollections. He took a senior Palestinian recently arrived from Tunis on a tour of the settlements. The official sat in his car in stunned silence for the whole journey.

“They knew the numbers but they had no idea how deeply entrenched the settlements were, how integrated they were into Israeli society,” he says. “It was then that they started to understand the logic of the settlements for the first time, and appreciate what Israel’s real intentions were.”

Lured into a trap

Warschawski noted that the only person in his circle who rejected the hype around the Oslo Accords from the very beginning was Matti Peled, a general turned peace activist who knew Rabin well.

“When we met for discussions about the Oslo Accords, Matti laughed at us. He said there would be no Oslo, there would be no process that would lead to peace.”

They couldn’t move forward towards statehood because Israel blocked their way. But equally, they couldn’t back away from the peace process either

– Asad Ghanem, politics professor at Haifa University

Ghanem says the Palestinian leadership eventually realised that they had been lured into a trap.

“They couldn’t move forward towards statehood, because Israel blocked their way,” he says. “But equally, they couldn’t back away from the peace process either. They didn’t dare dismantle the PA, and so Israel came to control Palestinian politics.

“If Abbas leaves, someone else will take over the PA and its role will continue.”

Why did the Palestinian leadership enter the Oslo process without taking greater precautions?

According to Buttu, Arafat had reasons to feel insecure about being outside Palestine, along with other PLO leaders living in exile in Tunisia, in ways that he hoped Oslo would solve.

“He wanted a foot back in Palestine,” she says. “He felt very threatened by the ‘inside’ leadership, even though they were loyal to him. The First Intifada had shown they could lead an uprising and mobilise the people without him.

“He also craved international recognition and legitimacy.”

Trench warfare

According to Gordon, Arafat believed he would eventually be able to win concessions from Israel.

“He viewed it as trench warfare. Once he was in historic Palestine, he would move forward trench by trench.”

Warschawski noted that Arafat and other Palestinian leaders had told him they believed they would have significant leverage over Israel.

“Their view was that Israel would end the occupation in exchange for normalisation with the Arab world. Arafat saw himself as the bridge that would provide the recognition Israel wanted. His attitude was that Rabin would have to kiss his hand in return for such an important achievement.

“He was wrong.”

Yasser Arafat and Yitzahk Rabin shake hands for the first time at the Oslo signing ceremony on 13 September 1993 (AFP)

Gordon pointed to the early Oslo discourse about an economic dividend, in which it was assumed that peace would open up trade for Israel with the Arab world while turning Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East.

The “peace dividend”, however, was challenged by an equally appealing “war dividend”.

“Even before 9/11, Israel’s expertise in the realms of security and technology proved profitable. Israel realised there was lots of money to be made in fighting terror.”

In fact, Israel managed to take advantage of both the peace and war dividends.

Thanks to Oslo, Israel became normalised in the region, while paradoxically the Palestinians found themselves transformed into the foreign object

– Diana Buttu, Palestinian lawyer and former PA adviser

Buttu noted that more than 30 countries, including Morocco and Oman, developed diplomatic or economic relations with Israel as a result of the Oslo Accords. The Arab states relented on their boycott and anti-normalisation policies, and major foreign corporations no longer feared being penalised by the Arab world for trading with Israel.

“Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan [in 1994] could never have happened without Oslo,” she says.

“Instead of clear denunciations of the occupation, the Palestinians were saddled with the language of negotiations and compromises for peace.

“The Palestinians became a charity case, seeking handouts from the Arab world so that the PA could help with the maintenance of the occupation rather than leading the resistance.

“Thanks to Oslo, Israel became normalised in the region, while paradoxically the Palestinians found themselves transformed into the foreign object.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Part 9. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic (A mandated British law of administrative detention applied by Israel since its inception)

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

Another feature of the “enlightened occupation” is imprisonment without trial. Every fifth Palestinian in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has undergone such an experience.

(Actually 60% of youths have gone through this humiliating revolving prison door. As most Black people in the USA can testify to this apartheid treatment)

It is interesting to compare this Israeli practice with similar American policies in the past and the present, as critics of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement claim that US practices are far worse.

In fact, the worst American example was the imprisonment without trial of one hundred thousand Japanese citizens during World War II, with thirty thousand later detained under the so-called “war on terror.

(In Israel, it is a systematic practice. Every night, a dozen Palestinian youths are hoarded out of their bed)

Neither of these numbers comes even close to the number of Palestinians who have experienced such a process: including the very young, the old, as well as the long-term incarcerated.

Arrest without trial is a traumatic experience.

Not knowing the charges against you, having no contact with a lawyer and hardly any contact with your family are only some of the concerns that will affect you as a prisoner.

More brutally, many of these arrests are used as means to pressure people into collaboration.

Spreading rumors or shaming people for their alleged or real sexual orientation are also frequently used as methods for leveraging complicity.

As for torture, the reliable website Middle East Monitor published a harrowing article describing the 200 methods used by the Israelis to torture Palestinians. The list is based on a UN report and a report from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

Among other methods it includes beatings, chaining prisoners to doors or chairs for hours, pouring cold and hot water on them, pulling fingers apart, and twisting testicles.

(Actually, the majority of these torture techniques were borrowed from the British mandated power that applied them during the first Palestinian civil disobedience (Intifada) in 1935 and that lasted 3 years. The Palestinians have been demanding democratic elections in municipalities. Britain had to dispatch 100,000 troops and enlisted the Jews in that horror campaign)

Part 8. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Under the “enlightened occupation,” settlers have been allowed to form vigilante gangs to harass people and destroy their property. These gangs have changed their approach over the years.

During the 1980s, they used actual terror — from wounding Palestinian leaders (one of them lost his legs in such an attack), to contemplating blowing up the mosques on Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

In this century, they have engaged in the daily harassment of Palestinians: uprooting their trees, destroying their yields, and shooting randomly at their homes and vehicles.

Since 2000, there have been at least 100 such attacks reported per month in some areas such as Hebron, where the five hundred settlers, with the silent collaboration of the Israeli army, harassed the locals living nearby in an even more brutal way.

From the very beginning of the occupation then, the Palestinians were given two options: accept the reality of permanent incarceration in a mega-prison for a very long time, or risk the might of the strongest army in the Middle East.

When the Palestinians did resist — as they did in 1987, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016  (Intifada, civil disobedience)— they were targeted as soldiers and units of a conventional army. Thus, villages and towns were bombed as if they were military bases and the unarmed civilian population was shot at as if it was an army on the battlefield.

Today we know too much about life under occupation, before and after Oslo, to take seriously the claim that nonresistance will ensure less oppression.

The arrests without trial (administrative detention inherited from Britain laws during the mandated period) , as experienced by so many over the years (every night, a dozen Palestinian youths are detained for months) ; the demolition of thousands of houses; the killing and wounding of the innocent; the drainage of water wells — these are all testimony to one of the harshest contemporary regimes of our times.

Amnesty International annually documents in a very comprehensive way the nature of the occupation.

The following is from their 2015 report:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, further tightening restrictions amid an escalation of violence from October, which included attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians and apparent extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces. Israeli settlers in the West Bank attacked Palestinians and their property with virtual impunity.

The Gaza Strip remained under an Israeli military blockade that imposed collective punishment on its inhabitants.

The authorities continued to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank and inside Israel, particularly in Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region, forcibly evicting their residents. (Two of these cases are currently under way)

Let’s take this in stages.

Firstly, assassinations — what Amnesty’s report calls “unlawful killings”: about 15,000 Palestinians have been killed “unlawfully” by Israel since 1967. Among them were 2,000 two children.

 

How come the most cultured Syrian Nation failed to stop the successive occupation forces?

Note: The Syrian Nation or Levant (current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and the western part of the Euphrates River) are homogeneous people with same language, traditions, customs and high level of education and culture. Most warrior empires , since antiquity, managed to occupy the Levant and transferred its talented people to their countries in order to build a civilization they badly needed.

The flourishing dozen of City-States along the Mediterranean Sea and the major rivers were targeted for looting and trading with them. But all these City-States were autonomous and barely constituted a central power to oppose any invading warrior army. In most cases, these City-States became the most valued cities, after the Capital of the invader.

Damascus became the Capital of the Omayyad dynasty.

Aleppo was the second most important city to the Ottoman Empire.

Beirut was the legislating center for the Roman Empire

Tyr was the administrative center for most of Palestine during the Greek/Seleucid Empire

Byblos was the main trading port for Egypt

The Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persia, Greek, Rome, Byzantium, Arab, Crusaders, Mogul, Mameluke, Ottoman and French mandated power, as well as mandated England.

The geography (topography) of the land played a major part for easy invasion of well armed invaders:  Once the mountain ranges on the borders are crossed, there are but plains and open land.

The urban centers didn’t manage to conglomerate into a central State, among a spread and range of various religious sects and minorities, due to successive invasions and settlement of the occupiers with their own customs and culture and language and religious beliefs.

The guerrilla warfare being a modern concept.

Saida withstood 13 years of siege by the Assyrians and won.

Tyr withstood 6 months of Alexander siege and was defeated when the surrounding city-states supplied Alexander with a maritime fleet.

Kamal Nader wants to focus on the recent history, since the Mogul till now, and find out , “scientifically and with facts”, why this Nation failed miserably in opposing occupiers?

Actually, Syria confronted the French mandated power, and the French institutions were taught to hate the Syrian people for their opposition. France gave away to Turkey Syrian lands as vast as current Syria State.

England was confronted by the Palestinians and between 1935-38, the Palestinian waged a civil disobedience (Intifada) movement that forced England to dispatch 100,000 troops to quell the insurrection. Nazi Germany learned the torture techniques adopted by the British on the Palestinians.

Currently, the Lebanese resistance movement forced Israel to retreat from Beirut into the south. And the newly founded Hezbollah forced Israel to withdraw in 2000 from South Lebanon without any pre-conditions. In 2006, Israel was Not even able to enter more than 4 km within Lebanon and had to beg USA to agree on a cease fire, after 33 days of fighting.

Hezbollah and the Lebanese army chased out the Islamic terrorist factions of Daesh and Al Nusra from Lebanon eastern mountain chains.

Currently, The Syrian people and its army managed to defeat ISIS and most terrorist factions, and regained most of its territory. This international war on Syria was checked and the re-conquest is moving ahead.

عندما اقرأ تاريخ بلادنا وارى المجازر وحروب الابادة التي تعرض لها شعب هذه البلاد الحضارية الكريمة ، ازداد اقتناعاً واصراراً على تحقيق نهضتها وبناء قوتها في كل المجالات السياسية والاقتصادية العسكرية والثقافية والاجتماعية ، لأن ذلك يكون الامان والحصن لوجودها ولتقدمها وارتفاع مستوى حياتها .
وفي هذه الفترة من الحروب ومن تذكارات المجازر ارى اننا امام اسئلة مصيرية جديرة بالبحث الجدي والعلمي بناء على منهج بحثي رصين وجاد ، وليس من نوع المقال العاطفي السريع الأثر والسريع الزوال .
هنا اطرح عدداً من الاسئلة :
1. لماذا سقطت بلادنا امام الفتوحات والغزوات منذ المغول الى العثمانيين والى اليوم ؟
2. ما هي الصلة بين العثمانيين والمغول ؟
3 . اذا كنا قد فوجئنا بالغزوة الاولى المغولية سنة 1258 فلماذا لم نستعد لما جاء بعدها من غزوتين مدمرتين ، ولماذا استطاع المماليك هزم المغول في عين جالوت بينما الامة السورية لم تشكل اي مقاومة في وجه المغول ؟
4. لماذا جاء الصليبيون الى بلادنا ودخلوها بسهولة قبل المغول ؟
5.عندما قام والي مصر محمد علي باشا بالانفصال عن السلطنة العثمانية ودعمته فرنسا بالسلاح الحديث وارسل حملةً بقيادة ابنه ابراهيم باشا الى بلادنا فهزمت العثمانيين وطردتهم من سنة 1829 الى سنة 1840 ، كيف تصرف ابناء الامة السورية تجاه هذا الصراع ؟
6. وصلت الحملة المصرية الى تركيا وكادت تسقط الآستانة سنة 1839 بعد معركة “قونية ” حيث قتل الصدر الاعظم محمد رشيد باشا ، لماذا توقفت الحملة ولم تسقط السلطنة ؟
7.تدخلت الدول الاوروبية الكبرى ، بريطانيا وبروسيا والنمسا وروسيا واجبرت ابراهيم باشا على التراجع عن اسية الصغرى وعن سورية بعد معاهدة لندن ، واعادت احياء تركيا المريضة والمتهالكة ، فارتد الجيش العثماني علينا وانتقم منا بمجازر حصلت سنة 1840 و43 و1860 وشملت جبل لبنان ودمشق والجبال الساحلية ، فلماذا تركناهم يعملون فينا سيوفهم ولم نقاومهم ؟
8.قتلت تركيا اكثر من 3 ملايين سوري بين ارمني وسرياني واشوري وارثوذكسي ، فلماذا لم يقاوم هؤلاء ؟ ولو ان عشرة بالمئة منهم شكلوا مقاومة لما كانت المجازر تحصد هذا العدد الكبير والمذهل .كما ان اهل جبل لبنان لم يسلموا من الابادة بطريقة الحصار والمجاعة على يد جمال باشا السفاح والسفر برلك خلال الحرب العالمية الاولى .
9. لماذا لم تتدخل روسيا وارمينيا وفرنسا لوقف هذه المجازر ؟
10. اين هم ابناء هذه الامة احفاد ضحايا المجازر من حركة النهضة والمقاومة ولماذا تقتصر المقاومة على شرائح معينة بينما الآخرون يهاجرون او يتفرجون ؟
11. الغزوة الاسرائيلية الاطلسية كررت فصول المجازر والقتل اليومي وها هم العرب يدعمونها بينما ايران الفارسية الاسلامية تدعم المقاومة في لبنان وسورية عموماً والارض المحتلة فما هوسبب الفارق بين الموقف العربي والموقف الايراني والروسي ؟

اعود الى القول اننا بحاجة الى مؤتمر لدرس هذا التاريخ بمنهج علمي وبناء على المعرفة والوقائع وليس على العواطف قهل من يسعى الى تنظيم هكذا عمل كبير وعلمي ومهم ؟

ملاحظة : الرجاء من الاصدقاء على الصفحات ان يلتزموا المنهج العلمي والتأريخي في الردود والتعليقات .

Settler fined for clubbing Arab boy to death

A Jewish settler who clubbed a Palestinian child to death with a rifle butt was sentenced to 6 months’ community service yesterday in a decision denounced as an outrage by human rights organisations.

The Jerusalem district court said it decided not to jail Nachum Korman for the killing of 11-year-old Hilmi Shusha four years ago because he had only been convicted of manslaughter by negligence, and had served eight months in prison. It fined him 70,000 shekels (about £11,600).

The sentence handed down by the Jerusalem district court yesterday is especially suspect because it was determined by the same judge, Ruth Or, who acquitted Korman at his original trial after rejecting evidence from witnesses and the state pathologist.

That verdict was overturned by the supreme court, which convicted him of manslaughter and sent him back to the district court for sentencing.

Korman, the chief of security at the Hadar Beitar settlement, descended on the Shushas’ West Bank village in October 1996 to hunt down a group of children who had been pelting Jewish cars with stones.

Cousins of the dead boy, who saw the assault, said he pinned Hilmi down with his foot before delivering the fatal blow. Korman claimed he never intended to kill the child, and said he tried to revive him.

The boy’s father, Said Shusha, told Israel radio the sentence amounted to “giving people a licence to kill“.

The B’Tselem human rights organisation said the sentence was part of a pattern of institutions turning a blind eye to abuses of Palestinians by Israelis while showing no mercy to Palestinians accused of causing injury to Jews. It said such leniency prevailed long before the intifada, and mobs of Jewish settlers have often been accused of attacking Palestinian villagers in the West Bank.

“At a time when violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians is increasing, the court’s decision sends the message that Palestinian life is cheap, and that Israeli civilians in the occupied territories can continue to abuse Palestinians with impunity,” B’Tselem said in a statement.

The decision is bound to deepen criticism of systematic racial prejudice in Israel’s law enforcement system.

Also yesterday, the governing body of Israel’s 1m Palestinian citizens submitted an investigative report to the supreme court, accusing the government of sanctioning a shoot-to-kill policy against Arab protesters inside Israel in October, when 13 demonstrators were shot dead.

Meanwhile, the supreme court is considering the release of another Jewish settler, Yoram Skolnik, who was convicted in 1993 of shooting dead a Palestinian who lay on the ground with his hands and legs bound.

Israel’s former president, Ezer Weizman, granted Skolnik two reductions on his life term, and the parole board has recommended his early release for good behaviour.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian stonethrower in the Gaza Strip yesterday, hours before the start of talks in the Egyptian resort of Taba.

The talks, expected to last at least a week, are seen as a last-ditch effort by Mr Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to map out a course for future negotiations before Israel goes to the polls on February 6.

But even Mr Barak, who opinion polls predict will suffer a resounding defeat unless he can convince Israelis he is the only man who can negotiate with the Palestinians, was not holding out much hope.

“In the short time left, with the gaps that exist, the chances of bridging them is not great,” he told Israel army radio.

Note: the killing and detention of Palestinian kids have gone unabated since then. Even burning them alive to death.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2021
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