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Home arrow Blog arrow May 2009 arrow May 27, 2009

May 27, 2009
May 27, 2009:Nobel Peace Prize Laureate VS Homeland Security  REVISED 10:45 AM EST
Homeland Security targets Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who fired back


Mairead Maguire was shot by Israeli forces during a nonviolent demonstration in Bil'in in 2007, but it was USA Homeland Security who judged her a criminal in May 2009.

After hosting and attending the Nobel Womens' Conference in Guatemala, to discuss, 'Redefining Democracy, Human Rights and Peace' the Nobel Peace laureate was detained for two hours, questioned, fingerprinted and photographed by Homeland Security at Houston Airport causing her to miss her flight home after the three day conference which was attended by over 150 feminist activists.

Upon her release from Security, Mairead stated, "This kind of behavior and treatment is unacceptable. They questioned me about my nonviolent protests in USA against the Afghanistan invasion and Iraqi war. They insisted I must tick the box in the Immigration form admitting to criminal activities. I am not a criminal, my nonviolent acts in USA opposing the war on Afghanistan, and Iraqi, are acts of conscience and together with millions of USA citizens, and world citizens, I refuse to be criminalized for opposing such illegal policies. Every citizen has a right, indeed a moral obligation, to nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of illegal and unjust laws, especially war. If anyone is to be criminalized for these illegal and immoral policies it is the USA Government, who must be held accountable before the International community for these acts of crime against humanity.

"I am most disappointed at this harassment which I believe is because I do not remain silent on USA Foreign Policies which I believe to be causing a great deal of suffering around the world. I stand in solidarity with many Human rights defenders, whose only crime is to stand for the dignity and right of everyone to life, freedom and human and civil liberties. Many people in the USA, voted for President Obama (and millions around the world supported him) on the promise that changes would be made, civil and human rights be upheld, and today we await the fulfilment of these promises. We hope that President Obama will not disappoint the millions of people around the World, like me, who believed in him when he said we can change things, YES WE CAN.

"The world looks to him to give moral and political leadership by upholding Human rights and International Law, and leading America to live fully by its Constitution and commitments to freedom and democracy for all. I have traveled to USA many times in the past 30 years to share the message of peace and reconciliation, but I have also undertaken my world citizenship responsibility to join with the American peace movement in protesting USA foreign policies which are causing much suffering in the World. I will continue to visit and plan to return to USA in August to join with the American Peace Movement at Los Alamos, New Mexico, in protesting USA Nuclear Weapons Programme.

"I have always been inspired by the American Peace Movement and consider an honor to be able to support them in their work for a peaceful humanity, truly in the spirit of the American people and their inspiration Constitution of freedom and justice for all."[1]

Mairead stepped onto the world stage in 1976, in Belfast. She was one of thousands of ordinary people throughout Northern Ireland, led by mostly women, who demonstrated for an end to the killings known as "The Troubles" which began in 1969. By 1998, over thirty-four hundred people were killed in the crossfire of a brutal war against British colonial interests, revolutionary republicanism, and a revolt against the age-old, oppressive bigotry and fanaticism of religious ideologies.


On August 10, 1976, Máiread Corrigan Maguire's two nephews and one of her nieces, all little children, were killed on a Belfast street corner. "A British army patrol shot and killed an IRA gunman, Danny Lennon, whose car then plowed into the sidewalk, killing the children, and severely injuring Mairead's sister Anne, who died several years later. In a land soaked with blood, their deaths came as a severe shock. Suddenly, thousands of people began to say, "Enough is enough. The killing and violence have to stop." [2]


Máiread, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, organized weekly peace marches and demonstrations were attended by over half a million people throughout Ireland and England.

Máiread has insisted "that a peaceful and just society can be achieved only through nonviolent means and that the path to peace lies in each of our hearts."

Fueled by her faith, Maried, a lone voice of wisdom, compassion and common sense stood on the streets of Belfast and said "No -- No to the IRA, No to the UDA and LVF (the Ulster Defence Association and the Loyalist Volunteer Force, unionist/ loyalist paramilitaries), No to the British government's emergency laws and interrogation centers and human rights abuses, No to injustice, bigotry, discrimination, No to any desecration of human life and dignity.' [3]


In Belfast during the 1980's and early 90's, Máiread's vision of non-violence was dismissed, ridiculed, and ignored, while those who called for retaliatory vengeance and violence were applauded. From the start, Maried understood that her dream had to reach beyond the narrow boundaries of North Ireland to embrace a non-violent future for all humanity.


After a year of political negotiations, a breakthrough settlement was reached on Good Friday 1998, bringing Northern Ireland to an Easter dawn of peace.

Maried and Betty were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for what had once been unimaginable became reality and Maried continues to envision the unimaginable: justice and peace in Israel Palestine.

In Occupied east Jerusalem, on November 19, 2008, during the final day of Sabeel's [Arabic for The Way] 7th International Conference: THE NAKBA:  MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, keynote speaker Mairead Maguire inspired hundreds of global ecumenical Christians and locals, from which I excerpt:

"In this the 2lst century many of us take freedom for granted, but not everyone has Freedom here in Israel/Palestine…Many Arabs who do live in East Jerusalem live in fear of their homes being demolished or expulsion  by the Israeli Government. Since l967 almost 20,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the West Bank. The expulsions and demolitions continue almost daily, along with continuing development of illegal settlements for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem, and the West Bank.


"In spite of all this, I myself have great hope for change in the Middle East…I know that all occupations, and violent conflicts, sooner or later come to an end and that here in this part of the world, occupation will end, justice will reign, and reconciliation will flourish between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

"But before peace can flourish, its roots of freedom, equality, justice, must be nourished with courage and truth. It takes courage to speak truth to power when the consequences are often suffering.   The truth shall indeed set your spirit free, but in this oppressive occupying power, the truth will also be physically, emotionally and in other ways very costly.

"But we must challenge not only Israeli state injustice, but also challenge Palestinian armed militant insurgency groups to reject violence and use non-violent civil resistance – a political strategy which is not only morally right but in our Northern Irish experience does work.   Still there have always been people in history, willing to tell the truth at great personal cost to themselves, and it is to such people we, the human family, remain indebted.

"We are indebted especially to all those who continue to tell the truth of Nakba…in l948, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes. Today, the occupation continues also with the wall annexation of more Palestinian land, and the building of an Apartheid Racist system by the Israeli Government. 

"Another great injustice is currently being perpetrated upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government, with their blockade of Gaza.  Recently, I went with the Free Gaza Movement by boat from Larnaca to Gaza to help break the siege of Gaza. This siege is a policy of collective punishment of one and a half million Gazans by Israel because they voted for a Hamas Government.

"Collective punishment of civilians is against the Geneva Convention.  The people of Gaza have been closed off completely from the world for two and a half years now, and their community and infrastructure is slowly being destroyed.  There is a shortage of medicines, food, electricity and the basic necessities of life.  But perhaps the worst form of torture for any human being is being unable to hold and touch the people they love, and the people of Gaza are not allowed to go across the now closed borders to be with their families.  Hundreds of wives are parted from husbands in the West Bank, over 700 students cannot get out to go abroad to take up their positions in Universities, Sick people cannot get out to get hospital treatment, over 8O% of the children are suffering from malnutrition, and they have no milk for the children.

"Gaza is like a huge prison except the Israeli Occupiers' policy is depriving the inmates of sufficient food and medicines for survival, in this the worlds largest open-air prison.   The International community and UN, should resume economic assistance as they have a responsibility towards the civilian population of Gaza, which is not dependent on whether Hamas satisfies the political conditions set by Israel or whether ceasefires hold.

"In the face of all this injustice perpetrated upon the Palestinian community, The EU,  European Governments and much of the world community,  have not only remained silent but have connived with this injustice by   cutting off financial  aid  necessary for the Palestinians' survival,  and are thus complicit with these ongoing crimes against humanity. 

"After meeting with Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah   and speaking at the Hamas Parliament,  and at a meeting with over 100 political representatives, of all the political parties in Gaza, including Hamas and Fatah,  I took away with me real hope that more and more Palestinians recognize that Palestinian National Unity and non-violent civil resistance is a  political strategy that will work and give them great strength. Increasingly they are recognizing that divided Palestinian people, armed struggle and militarism will not solve their problem.

"I hope that all those of us who want Peace in the Middle East, will support the rightful struggle of non-violent civil resistance of Palestinians for an end to Occupation, a Free Palestine,  and the upholding of all UN resolutions including the UN resolution 194 - Right to return of Refugees.

"It is to be hoped now that the Israeli Government will recognize too that Militarism, occupation and repression only feeds the violence and they will enter into serious dialogue and negotiations with Hamas and other Palestinian leaders, as the democratically elected voice of the Palestinian people.

"Our security as the human family does not lie in militarism, nuclear weapons or war. We are all challenged to move from a Culture of violence, to a Culture of non-violence.  Last year the Nobel Peace Laureates launched a Charter for a world without violence, in which they endorsed the words of the WHO 'Violence is a preventable disease'.

"The non-violent message in this Charter is not new.  2,000 years ago Jesus said 'Love your enemies, do not kill'.  The Cross is for me the greatest symbol of non-violent love in action, and in the words of the late Fr. McKenzie 'you cannot read the bible and not know that Jesus was totally non-violent'.

[
The Ongoing Nakba 
 Read more...

In 1999, the UN established The Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for All the Children of the World. America is on the record as abstaining from its support because "it would make it harder for us to go to war."

This patriotic American Christian anarchist dissents from that attitude and supports the UN Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for ALL the Children of the world, so I am on my way to Gaza June 4th and will be praying as one among millions who are saying that 2009 is the time for the change we all want to see in the world; a free Gaza Palestine and secure Israel, and that will take a miracle and that begins with prayer.

June 4-10, 2009 is the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel and was established by The World Council of Churches, who are calling on its members, related organizations and all others to be in solidarity for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

During World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, churches all over the world are united as one voice sending the clear message to policy-makers and the public that "the fierce urgency of now" compels us all to pursue and reach a peace settlement that secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples in 2009, because:


It's time for Palestine.
It's time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.

It's time to respect human lives in the land called holy.
It's time for healing to begin in wounded souls.
It's time to end 60 years of conflict, oppression and fear.
It's time for freedom from occupation.

It's time for equal rights.
It's time to stop discrimination, segregation and restrictions on movement.
It's time for those who put up walls and fences to build them on their own property.
It's time to stop bulldozing one community's homes and building homes for the other community on land that is not theirs.
It's time to do away with double standards.

It's time for Israeli citizens to have security and secure borders agreed with their neighbours.
It's time for the international community to implement 60 years of United Nations resolutions.
It's time for Israel's government to complete the bargain offered in the Arab Peace Initiative.
It's time for those who represent the Palestinian people to all be involved in making peace.
It's time for people who have been refugees for 60 years to regain their rights and a permanent home.
It's time to assist settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to make their home in Israel.
It's time for self-determination.

It's time for foreigners to visit Bethlehem and other towns imprisoned by the wall.
It's time to see settlements in their comfort and refugee camps in their despair.
It's time for people living 41 years under occupation to feel new solidarity from a watching world.

It's time to name the shame of collective punishment and to end it in all its forms.
It's time to be revolted by violence against civilians and for civilians on both sides to be safe.
It's time for both sides to release their prisoners and give those justly accused a fair trial.
It's time to reunite the people of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
It's time for all parties to obey international humanitarian and human rights law.

It's time to share Jerusalem as the capital of two nations and a city holy to three religions.
It's time for Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities to be free to visit their holy sites.
It's time in Palestine as in Israel for olive trees to flourish and grow old.

It's time to honour all who have suffered, Palestinians and Israelis.
It's time to learn from past wrongs.
It's time to understand pent-up anger and begin to set things right.
It's time for those with blood on their hands to acknowledge what they have done.
It's time to seek forgiveness between communities and to repair a broken land together.
It's time to move forward as human beings who are all made in the image of God.

All who are able to speak truth to power must speak it.
All who would break the silence surrounding injustice must break it.
All who have something to give for peace must give it.
For Palestine, for Israel and for a troubled world,
It's time for peace. [4]

It's time for justice to roll down like a mighty stream and it will, when "enough Christians followed the gospel [for] they could bring any state to its knees." -Father Philip Francis Berrigan

Might the fierce urgency of now ignite the spirit that will transform hearts and minds, and what is needed at this time are many more like Mairead who creatively disturb the status quo with acts born of nonviolence and who speak the truth in love, with courage and hope.

"HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine


1. http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/press-releases/888-nobel-peace-laureate-mairead-maguire-detained-by-usa-homeland-security

2 http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=128&Itemid=105
3.  Ibid

4. http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/wwppi/educate.html

 
 April 21, 2009, Mairead Maguire and me on TV


 


Charlie Wolf/Stephen Linskey, an American radio show talk host based in Britain with a neoconservative Zionist agenda, got my Irish up on live TV [
 To view "Mitchell in the Middle: Obscure Way to Peace?" click: 
http://www.presstv.ir/programs/player/?id=92015 ] when he referred to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, and I as two well meaning ladies living in a fantasy world for calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine through dialogue and nonviolent reactions to violence.


On April 19, 2009 Wolf flung straw men and red herrings at Mairead and I in his vain attempt to blot out reality as the three of us addressed the topic: "Mitchell in the Middle: Obscure Way to Peace?"


Wolf deemed nonviolent resistance as "mealy mouth" and meaningless, exposing his vapid ignorance of the programs of practical nonviolent responses to the evil that is violence that have been articulated since the days of Hebrew midwives, Jainism, Buddhism, Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Muslim Badshah Khan.


"For decades, the Palestinian struggle for freedom was largely a non-violent movement. With occasional pockets of armed resistance, Palestinians in the occupied territories employed methods of general strikes, demonstrations and the like to express their demands and desires to finally live in freedom. And yet these were the years where Palestinians saw that great majority of their homeland swallowed up into what is now the State of Israel. Land was stolen with no recompense to its owners, prisons burst at the seams with prisoners who never received a trial, houses demolished by the hundreds, entire orchards of olive and fruit trees ransacked and burned. All this was carried out in the confines of an “Intifada-free” society. So, it might be suggested that Palestinians gave non-violent resistance more than a fair shot."


In Belfast during the 1980's and early 90's, Máiread's vision of non-violence was dismissed, ridiculed, and ignored, while those who called for retaliatory vengeance and violence were applauded. From the start, Maried understood that her dream had to reach beyond the narrow boundaries of North Ireland to embrace a non-violent future for all humanity.

After a year of political negotiations, a breakthrough settlement was reached on Good Friday 1998, bringing Northern Ireland to an Easter dawn of peace. Maried was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for what had once been unimaginable became reality and she continues to envision the unimaginable: justice and peace in Israel Palestine.

On January 22, 2009 I received an email reply from Mairead inquiring what she thought about the appointment of Senator Mitchell as President Obama's Special Envoy to the Mid East.


Mairead Maguire wrote:

Senator Mitchell is a good man whom I admire as he  helped  in the peace process in Northern Ireland. I remember he traveled well over 100 times from USA to Northern Ireland to help bring the various parties together and was very helpful. I am glad he has been appointed and know he will bring great compassion, fairness and perseverance to his enormous challenge.  Yes, like him I believe every conflict can be solved, where there is political will.  The conflict of the Israeli state and Palestinian state (yes I said Palestinian state as even if Israel does not recognize it the world does) can be solved by Israel ending its occupation and apartheid system and this is a problem of political will of Israel and USA to bring freedom and justice to the people of Palestine.  I hope the appointment of Senator Mitchell is a sign that the USA Administration is prepared to treat both parties fairly and equally, and to work for Palestinians Human rights and Freedom. Peace- Mairead.


Upon accepting his appointment Mitchell stated, "For those of you in the Middle East who are discouraged, I understand your feelings. But from my experience in Northern Ireland I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended. Conflicts are created and conducted by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. I saw it happen in Northern Ireland although admittedly it took a very long time. I believe deeply that with committed, persevering and active diplomacy it can happen in the Middle East."


During our TV debate, Wolf regurgitated that Hamas was responsible for breaking the 2008 cease fire and maintains a willful blindness to Israel's war crimes, state terrorism and defiance of international law and negation of human rights to Palestinians.

"Based almost exclusively on Israeli newspapers and government sources, confirms that there were no rocket or mortar attacks claimed by or plausibly attributed to Hamas during [the more than four months after 19 June 2008]. This can also be verified by surveying archives of news reports from the period. The few that were launched, none of them causing any casualties, were claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, by Islamic Jihad, by "the Badr Forces," or by nobody.

"Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called repeatedly for a cessation of rocket fire, and denounced those factions who broke the truce. A Hamas spokesman criticized Fatah for allowing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is affiliated with Fatah, to fire rockets. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces' murders and settler pogroms continued unabated on the West Bank. They included an attempt by a settler to fire a homemade rocket toward the Palestinian village of Burin, which nearly killed another settler. During the lull, then, Israeli settlers fired more rockets (i.e., one) than did Hamas.

"In a document entitled "The Hamas terror war against Israel," The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas's good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center"


Reality is the total number of rocket and mortar attacks out of Gaza went from 245 in June- to 26 total for July through October; a reduction of 97 percent.

Reality is that Israel violated the truce by its siege of terror and famine in Gaza, while Hamas refrained from launching rockets into Israel until November 4, 2008 when Israeli commando squads entered Gaza and killed six Hamas members and they retaliated with firing 30 rockets.

 
2008 BIL’IN GRASSROOTS NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE MOVEMENT – A LIGHT OF HOPE WHICH DESERVES INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

By Mairead Maguire,
Nobel Peace Laureate

It is difficult to sustain a grassroots non-violent movement.   The sceptics argue nonviolence doesn’t work, the militants argue only violence gets results, and many just sit on the sidelines to see which way the wind will blow.  

In Bil’in every Friday the wind blows, and it blows across the olive groves and into the homes of Bil’in villagers and lungs of young children playing in their gardens.  

On this wind is the tear gas from the  metal gas cylinders fired by the Israeli military at the Palestinian villagers, the Israeli peace activists, politicians and International activists who have walked to the  wall to protest its annexing of yet more of the Bil’in villagers’ land. 

I wonder to myself, as I watch the children, what this weekly inhalation of gas is doing to their young lungs, equally I wonder to myself what it is doing to their minds as they listen to the ambulances rushing up the road to assist the people injured with the gas,  plastic bullets, and tragically sometimes, most recently, live bullets.

It’s the women and children who are suffering so much in this situation.  During my stay in a Palestinian home, where I was treated with such unbelievable kindness, I was saddened as I watched the  Palestinian mother, who suffers from migraine headaches, no doubt brought on by stress, struggle to bring up her family in the midst of violence, real hardship of unemployment, and little hope that things will ever get better.  


One of her young sons,  Mohammad, showed me his tin of plastic bullets, CS canisters, and bullet shots, one of which was actually collected inside his own home and which hit his mother in the face narrowly missing her eye.  

Mohammad pointed to his mother’s scar on her face and then to the plastic bullet, which had been fired into their home by Israeli soldiers.  

The  question for me  is ‘what is this kind of military repression upon the Palestinians doing to the mental and physical health of the  Palestinians? 

Also what is this violence doing to the Israeli soldiers and the Israeli people, who in their heart of hearts know that injustice is injustice and the occupation is wrong. 

Also what it is doing to the minds of the wider Palestinian society, many of whom know that the ‘armed struggle’ suicide bombings, Qassam rockets into Sderot, and other such acts of violence, is wrong.’?

I found a lack of hope amongst many Palestinians/Israelis and people asking what can be done  to break this mad cycle of violence and counter-violence?  

For me, that is why the grassroots non-violent movement of the people of Bil’in (and in other areas of Palestine) together with the Israeli peace movement, is so important.   

It is a courageous movement of people, both in Israel and Palestine, who recognize there will be no military or paramilitary solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.  They recognize that this can only be solved  by the civil community, together with all inclusive, unconditional dialogue and negotiations, by all  political leaders willing to take risks for peace.  

Such a movement deserves  our help, and that is why for the past two years I have gone to attend the Bil’in Nonviolence Conference and Peace Walk, to join in solidarity with the Bil’in villagers, andPalestinian/Israeli/International grassroots activists to protest the Wall.  (This  wall has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice).

For over 3 years now, every Friday, the villagers of Bil’in (outside Ramallah in the occupied terrorities of Palestine) have gathered in their mosque to pray, and afterwards walk down the road to the fence which marks the route of the wall at the end of their village.  

They are nonviolently resisting the continuing building of the wall both by weekly protests and also through the Israeli courts. 

In 2007 the villagers of Bil’in won an Israeli high court of Justice decision to remove the Israeli wall that separates the village from its land;  However, the Israeli army refused to comply with the order for ‘security reasons’. 

The court ruling also forbids the settlers from expanding the settlement of Mitetyaho Mizrah which is build on the village land. However on 26th May, 2008,  Israeli settlers  installed six mobile homes on the villagers land sending out a clear sign that they are going to expand their illegal settlement.  The villagers tried to stop the installation of the mobile homes but the Israeli soldiers prevented them and protected the settlers as they erected the mobile homes.

The Third Bil’in Conference held June 4-6th, 2008 addressed many issues, including the extension of the settlement and building of the mobile homes.  The Villagers Lawyer updated them on developments but pointed out that the installation of the mobile homes changes facts on the grounds and this could well change the original Israeli court decision against the villagers.   Attending the Conference was Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the representative of President Abbas, members of the PLO Executive  Committee, members of the Palestinian National Council and representatives of various political parties and civil society groups.   

It was a very successful three day conference with several hundred people participating, many coming from l2 different countries, and including Louise Morgantini, Deputy Speaker of the EU Parliament. On the second day, the participants split up into groups to visit surrounding areas of occupied Palestine, such as Bethlehem, Hebron.  


For those people visiting first time they were shocked by the heavy militarization, and growing apartheid system within the occupied terrorities.  To see the continuing  building of the wall and further Israeli settlements, particularly around Jerusalem, and fresh rubble of demolished Palestinian homes, is truly a shock to the system.  Even after many visits to  Israel/Palestine it was still for myself  a profound  feeling of unbelief and shock that such injustice upon the Palestinian people can go unchallenged by the International Governments, as the Israeli occupation and military apparatus, continues to be  financed by the American Government. 

Talk of Peace Process by the Israeli Government sound hallow in light of the facts on the ground where they continue to ignore USA and UN resolutions and build settlements, etc., (The siege of Gaza and collective punishment to the point of hunger and starvation of the people of Gaza, by the Israeli Government, is both illegal and inhumane, and the siege must end, and ceasefires recalled by Hamas and Israeli military. 

The British Government and the EU, must act to help the people of Gaza,  and challenge Israel that as it calls for ‘security’ it is in fact doing much to undermine ‘security’ with its ongoing repressive policies.)

The Conference stated as one of its goals the unification of the Palestinian people, in order to apply pressure on Israel for the implementation of the July 9th, 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice, and UN resolutions which have largely been ignored, and take a firm stand regarding the Israeli defacto annexation of Jerusalem, the apartheid wall, and the continuing enlargement of settlements.  

The conference also asked the Palestinian people to boycott all Israeli good and channel all its efforts in the struggle against the occupation towards peaceful popular resistance that has been proven to be the most strategic and successful in opposition to the wall, and thereby increasing the peaceful resistance that has its roots in the Palestinian struggle as exemplified in the first intifada.

  The conference also asked International and  European supporters to put pressure on their EU leaders to stop the proposed upgrade in their relationship with Israel in light of their violations of international laws.  Many other actions such as boycott, disinvestment in Israel, , etc., were proposed as methods International supporters can use to highlight continuing illegal occupation.
[see http://www.bilin-ffj.org   for updates].

At the conclusion of the Conference the participants went to watch a soccer match between the Internationals and the local Palestinians.  Minutes into the match the Israeli Occupation Forces shot tear gas into the makeshift football field and we all  suffered from the effects of tear gas and had to leave the area.

Later we all walked to the Wall for a non-violent protest.  Again the Israeli Soldiers fired tear gas and plastic bullets into the crowd.  Many of us,  including  village women,  Minister  Mustafa Barghouti, Deputy Speaker EU Parliament Louise Morgantina, suffered gas inhalation,  and an Italian Judge,  was hit with a gas canister and hospitalized.  (Last year as well, at the same place, I was hit with a steel tipped plastic bullet and overcome with tear gas.  I subsequently received an apology from the Israeli Government).

I believe this violent repressive treatment by the Israeli military, of the non-violent peace movement is counter-productive as it feeds the anger and strengthens Palestinian military resistance, just at a time when many Palestinians are turning to support the non-violence resistance.  After a long drawn out military resistance it is hard for many Palestinian militants to accept the military struggle is coming to an end.  

Consequently, those brave people who have taken up the  non-violent struggle now, are doing so  with a passion and an absolute commitment to stay with nonviolence no matter what the cost, no matter for how long. 

They  passionately believe the solution is there and peace will come.  

However, they need help. 

They need the help of International Governments to convince the Israeli Government that they have Palestinians partners for dialogue and negotiations and to grasp this opportunity now. 

The Palestinians also need to see change on the ground, and that change is within the power of the Israeli government to deliver.   Upholding the Israeli Court ruling to remove the wall that separates the Bil’in villagers from their lands would give hope that nonviolence works and strengthen those villagers who have put their lives on the line to say NO to violence, Yes to nonviolence as the way forward for the Palestinian people and their Israeli brothers and sisters.

I have great hope for the future of Palestine/Israel, and my hope comes from people such as the courageous villagers of Bil’in, and the Israeli Peace activists.   I believe by standing together to reject the bomb, the bullet, and all the techniques of violence, and saying ‘yes’ to building justice and peace  for themselves and their neighbours, they bring closer the day of peace for Palestinians and Israelis.

Salaam, Shalom,
Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate (http://www.peacepeople.com) Bil’in, Palestine (June, 2008).


Mairead's [and one from me ] Eye Witness Report from Hebron  Read more...

 
 


   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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Vanunu's Message to

Hillary Clinton re:
The Apartheid Wall



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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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posted 3/25/2009

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