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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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FACTS ABOUT THE WALL from friends in Bethlehem

Read the truth about the Wall and what is happening today in the Holy City of Bethlehem.

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DO SOMETHING!

 
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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence

 

Home arrow Blog arrow August 2009 arrow August 25, 2009

August 25, 2009
August 25, 2009: Rainbows and Recollections

                    "I don't believe in riches; but you should see where I live."-U2


I live on ten acres in paradise in the Green Swamp
of central Florida; environmentally protected land upon the aquifer.

It rained most all day today, but when I went out to walk my dogs; Sam, a very red Golden Retriever and Jessie, an English Setter, I spied a double rainbow in the sky and recollected the only upside down rainbow I ever saw:




It was in January 2005, during my second journey to Israel and Palestine, seven Americans and a Brit, rode in a van through the Kidron Valley on the un-maintained bumpy winding narrow roads that Palestinians must go, in order to reach Jericho and the Dead Sea.


Our guide was from Beit Jala, a Christian community of the west side of Bethlehem who told us, “Do you know what is more dangerous to the Israeli government than a journalist?  A tour guide, for we always tell the truth and cannot be censored!”

I know it sounds crazy, but on that bus trip through the Kidron Valley, I saw an upside down rainbow that was inverted above the mountain tops. I wondered if it were a sign from God confirming the fact that in this Orwellian world of Israel and Palestine: wrong has become right.

After the rainbow vaporized from view, my traveling guide told me, “In Israel the only law is the law of the jungle. I have to apply for a permit on a monthly basis to enter Israel but any soldier can deny me access without giving me any reason. There are 190,000 Palestinian with Israeli ID’s but they are all second class citizens. They can vote in municipal elections but not for Parliament. They cannot get a Passport; they must apply for Visa’s...In July 2005 the first anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s historic ruling affirmed The Wall and All of the settlements are grave violations of human rights and against International Law as well as obstacles to peace. Yet Israel continues to erect The Wall and expand its settlements in the occupied West Bank.”



On my second day of my second journey to Israel and Palestine, I rode upon the treacherous and the only way to the newly recognized village of Ain Hod, home to the locally famous Albeit Restaurant. The food is so good there that even the settlers will leave their smooth well maintained by-pass roads and travel up the mountain side upon a narrow winding rocky unpaved way that edges a cliff with a 300 foot drop.


The owner of the well renowned restaurant where many settlers dine on the weekend is Mohammed Abu Haija. Soft-spoken and patient, he explained the upside down illogic of the Unrecognized Villages. In 1948 when most of the indigenous population fled their homes and property, some citizens held their ground, dug in and nonviolently endured being treated like sub-human beings.


The Unrecognized Villages are not on any map and yet these people all have Israeli citizenship, pay taxes yet receive no services. The Israeli government had deemed these scattered villages as military zones and agricultural areas so homes were demolished, and people have lived for decades without water, electricity, schools or medical care. The Israeli settlers 400 meters away have swimming pools and every comfort known to man.


On the fortieth anniversary of The Declaration of Human Rights in 1998 Mohammed and others formed the “Association of 40” and they have worked in solidarity and nonviolently through the court system to be recognized, to receive water, electricity, roads and human rights.

In 2006, in Israel, there were still 100 Unrecognized villages with over 100,000 tax paying Israeli-Arab citizens who live in third world conditions.


While I was in Ain Hod, over one hundred residents from the Bethlehem district gathered in Beit Jala to protest against The Wall being built on their land. The building of The Wall in the city of Beit Jala had begun the week prior for “security purposes”, yet its route lies deep within Palestinian territories.

A Coordinator of the Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference and Director of Holy Land Trust, Sami Awad was detained and beaten by Israeli soldiers, he stated, “The Israeli occupation is sending a clear message to the Palestinian people, they don’t want us to engage in nonviolent resistance because it truly exposes them and the injustice they are doing to the world.”


The Wall is composed of 25 to 30 foot high concrete slabs with razor wire, trenches, sniper towers, electric fences, military roads, electronic surveillance, remote controlled infantry and buffer zones that stretch over 100 miles wide that deny Palestinians access to their land, families, jobs, and resources.



The Wall will completely separate Bethlehem and her sister villages of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala from the northern parts of the West Bank.

Because of Bethlehem’s significance to and historic ties with Palestinian East Jerusalem, Bethlehem’s economic demise may well mark the beginning of the end of a viable Two-State solution.

If The Wall is completed in this area, 4000 dunums of the areas most fertile land will be isolated in order to accommodate for the expansion and the building of the colonies/settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo. This means Beit Jala will have no potential for expansion.

This growing ghettoization of Bethlehem is not only destroying ancient communities, but the influx of nearly 900 new settlers, and plans for 30,000 new settlers to colonize the occupied West Bank, violates the Road Map, which prohibits settlement expansion. The Wall and all of Israel’s settlement colonies are illegal under International Law.

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Come, let us go and see this thing that has happened in Bethlehem…

In 2000, during the Second Intifada, which is Arabic for “Uprising” photographer Debbie Hill captured George of Beit Jala-that is he who adorns the banner of my website- standing in the rubble of what had been his bedroom the night before.

His photo ran in the Florida Catholic newspaper, and when I looked into his eyes, I heard in my heart: “Do Something.”

It persists.

I had no clue what I could do, but I put a copy of that photo in a frame and set it upon my home altar: which is a bar high table in the upper room of my home, surrounded by candles and eclectic icons. I pass by his photo dozens of times a day, and all I do is sigh and groan, for I “do not know what I ought to pray, but the Spirit intercedes with groans and sighs, deeper and more meaningful than any words.” -Romans 8:26



In the year 2000, in Beit Jala, which is a five minute car ride from downtown Bethlehem some hopeless militants infiltrated the previously peaceful Christian village to shoot into the illegal colony of Gilo a few miles away.

The Israeli Defense Force retaliated and the bedroom of George was decimated.

The shrapnel that pierced the wall of his sanctuary read “Made in USA” and was delivered from American made Apache helicopters that buzzed over his head.


I first met George of Beit Jala in June 2005, shepherded by an Internet connection, George Rishmawi, a Palestinian Christian.

My first trip to Israel Palestine was via my connection to the
Interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help replace the olive trees The Wall has brought down.

I have been drawn to return six more times since, to bear witness and report about the Christian Exodus from the Holy Land.


During my initial visit with George of Beit Jala, I learned that he, his sister and mother all suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome, but most governments just consider that collateral damage. George’s father told me he has no bitterness about what happened even though the snipers had not even been near their home. The most difficult thing for him was the lack of employment opportunities in Bethlehem and being dependent on relatives and friends to feed his children.



In June 2005, George and his sister Ghada were both painfully shy and neither was doing well in their school studies. But, when I visited them six months later, they both greeted me with the typical Mid East greeting to a friend; a hug and kiss on both cheeks. George was doing better in school, but Ghada was still frequently depressed and struggling. When I revisited them in March and November 2006 I was awed by the resiliency of childhood; both were laughing, playing with cousins and friends and making A’s at the private Christian school they both attend, tuition paid by anonymous Americans.

I saw them again last June and they were OK; but Beit Jala only had running water once a week.




The only way to security for Israelis and justice for Palestinians, is to end the occupation and ensure that all people have equal human rights. 

No enduring peace, no security, and no reconciliation is even possible without the foundation of justice.

Justice requires mercy and is always nonviolent.



A Short History of Intifada’s:

The First Intifada began in 1986 and was a spontaneous and mostly nonviolent phenomenon. On October 1, 1986, the Israeli military ambushed and killed seven men from Gaza believed to be members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

Several days later an Israeli settler shot a Palestinian school girl in the back. On December 4, 1986 Shlomo Sakal, an Israeli plastics salesman, was stabbed to death in Gaza. On December 8, there was a traffic accident in which an Israel Defense Force truck crashed into a van, killing 4 Palestinians from Jabalya, sparking anger and street fights against Israeli policemen and soldiers.

On December 8, 1986, an uprising began in Jabalya where hundreds burned tires and attacked the Israel Defense Forces stationed there. The uprising spread to other Palestinian refugee camps and eventually to Jerusalem, the eastern part of which was and is still occupied by Israel.

On December 22, 1986, the United Nations Security Council condemned Israel for violating the Geneva Conventions due to the number of Palestinian deaths in these first few weeks of the intifada.

Much of the Palestinian violence was low-tech; dozens of Palestinian teenagers would confront patrols of Israeli soldiers, showering them with rocks, and accelerated to the use of Molotov cocktails, over 100 hand grenade were thrown and more than 500 attacks with guns or explosives. Many Israeli civilians and soldiers were killed this way.

The Israeli Forces also possess the latest weaponry and defense technologies, thanks to America.


In 1988, the Palestinians initiated a nonviolent movement and began to withhold taxes, but Israel crushed the boycott by imposing heavy fines while seizing and disposing of the equipment, furnishings, and goods from Palestinian stores, factories, and homes.

In 1988, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolutions condemning Israel.

In July 1989, the first suicide/homicide bomber erupted inside Israel’s borders: the infamous Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 massacre. No further attacks of this scale occurred until after the Oslo Accords.

By the time the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, 1,162 Palestinians, 241 of them children, and 160 Israelis including 5 children died. During the first thirteen months of the first intifada, 332 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed.

The first intifada was not a military endeavor in either a conventional or guerrilla sense: it was a spontaneous grassroots mass movement.

The second intifada was touched off by the controversial visit of Ariel Sharon, on September 28, 2000, to the Temple Mount; the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and a site that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

This wave of violence erupted because of the frustration of Palestinians towards the failed peace process and the deteriorating economic situation in the territories. Yassar Arafat cleverly diverted any blame directed at himself as the cause for these problems, to Israel, unleashing Palestinian frustration and desperation which resulted in escalating violence.

Hundreds of innocent civilians have perished because of the insane cycle of a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye.


The death tolls both military and civilians of the entire conflict from 2000 to 2006 are estimated to be 3,651 Palestinians and 1,007 Israelis; although this number is criticized by some sources for not differentiating between combatants and civilians.

During the conflict from September 2000 to January 2004, 36.2% of Palestinians killed were non-combatants caught in crossfire, while 77.6% of Israelis killed were non-combatants who died in bombings or sniper fire.

Of the Palestinian victims, at least 215 were killed by fellow Palestinians, 118 of them on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. 63 foreign citizens were killed: 53 by Palestinians and 10 by Israeli security forces.


Reverend Martin Luther King proclaimed and I believe that, “Peace is not some distant goal we seek, but a MEANS by which we achieve that goal.”


But, how to get all the daughters of Zion and all of Abraham’s sons to put down their weapons of destruction and make amends?

There is plenty of blame to go around, and as a tax paying American, I am responsible and connected to the over 100 billion USA dollars that have been sent to Israel since 1948, so I speak out for dissent is what keeps democracies healthy.


It is my faith as a Christian and my faith in America’s foundations that fill me with hope that the words of Tom Paine can be realized in the 21st century, for “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”

All we need is the desire that is inflamed by hope that peace can be reality and in solidarity pursue peace by working for justice.

The indigenous wisdom of the American Indian inspires and inflames me:

“Hopi” means Peaceful People, and the truest and greatest power is the strength of peace. Because Peace is the Will of the Great Spirit. But do not think that just because the True Hopi People have been told by the Great Spirit never to take up arms that the True Hopi People will not fight, even die for what we know to be the right way of Life.

The True Hopi People Know how to fight without killing or hurting. The True Hopi People Know how to fight with Truth and Positive Force In The Light Of the Great Spirit.

The True Hopi People Know how to educate by clear thoughts, good pictures and by carefully chosen words. The True Hopi People Know how to show to all the world’s Children the True Way of Life by setting an example and by working and communicating in a way that reaches the minds and hearts of all people who are truly seeking the methods of a simple and spiritual Life which is the only Life that will survive.

The true Hopi People preserve the sacred knowledge about the way of the earth because the true Hopi People know that the earth is a living, growing person and all things on it are her children.”



Nonviolent solidarity as an international movement throughout the world is a most powerful tool and is the only weapon people of good will have to deflate the hate that breeds terrorism.

Peace needs bridges not walls and human rights only exist for any, when all do indeed have them.




Related:


The Democrat Demimondaine and Consummate Pandering Politician: Hillary Clinton

 
   
 
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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

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BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

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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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