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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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Home arrow Blog arrow August 2008 arrow August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008
WAWA Blog August 25, 2008: Prophets, Persistence, and 8 Miles from Gaza Harbour  


FREE GAZA MOVEMENT IS AT SEA AGAIN: on the 8 mile limit off Gaza Harbour

SS Free Gaza, with six Palestinian fishermen’s boats, is 8-miles off the coast of Gaza, being circled by three Israeli Dabur naval vessels.  No shots have been fired.  The fishing boats are continuing to exercise their right to fish and have not turned round, but the Free Gaza has just now turned round (10.15 a.m.).  The Oslo Accords allow Palestinian Gazans a 20-mile limit off the coast of the Gaza Strip.  Currently the Navy is enforcing a 6 mile limit, so the Free Gaza Movement has broken that naval blockade, too. [Updates from Prof. Jeff Halper who is on one of the fishing boats]
-Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Media Team Free Gaza Movement [email received 7 AM EST]



More about Jeff and Angela, excerpted from my MEMOIRS in Occupied Territory

Chapter 2: Prophets, Persistence and a Home Made for Peace


In December 2005, I met with Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in his office on Ben Yehuda  Street, in West Jerusalem next door to the Burger King. Jeff put me in mind of a cross between Jerry Garcia and Santa Clause, with his lush beard, stocky build and exhuberant warmth. Jeff grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota and actually knew Dylan when he was still Zimmerman. Bob is five years older than Jeff and he remembers Bob as, “always quiet, reserved and normal. He came to my high school graduation. His dad had wanted Bob to be a Doctor, but later admitted: ‘How was I to know he would become Leonard Bernstein?’”

Jeff stated that there was something about Israel that spoke to him and so he moved from the USA in 1973 and in 1997 established ICAHD: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

“It was at the time when the Oslo peace plan collapsed and the occupation reasserted itself. Many Israeli peace activists began asking Palestinians what the best way to engage with each other was and the answer was blowing in the wind: ‘STOP the home demolitions!’

“Since 1967 the Israeli government has destroyed over 18,000 Palestinian homes. 95% of the cases have nothing to do with security. All these homes are on Palestinian private property. The Israeli government will not grant permits for them to build on their own land, and in reality are quietly transferring the Palestinians administratively from the land. They make conditions so intolerable that the Palestinians give up and leave and this is exactly what they are after. Not only do the Palestinians receive no warning when their homes are to be destroyed they are fined $1,500.00!

“I’ll get a call at 5 AM from a Palestinian telling me the bulldozers have arrived and we activists go out and engage in civil disobedience by standing up to the bulldozers.

“We also raise funds to rebuild these homes right where they had been before. The reasons for the demolitions are: for The Wall, to establish illegal settlements, build roads and because the Israeli government wants to keep Palestinians confined to the islands [areas A and B] in the West Bank and so Palestinian land remain under the control of the Israeli government.”

American Methodists have contributed $50,000 to rebuild homes, and USA Presbyterians, Mennonites and Quakers all support the activities of ICAHD.

Jeff can no longer count how many times he had been arrested and sentenced to community service. His eyes sparkled as he told me, “When I tell the judge I am serving the community they just don’t get it!

“The Israeli government simply does not want to take responsibility and the USA government ignores the situation. Do you know why Israel does not want to become America’s 51st state? Because then they would only have two senators!

“Look, Christ was all about justice and love, Jesus was no magician and his message has been lost by Christian Zionists who want Armageddon. They have taken Jesus’ teachings and turned them into a travesty by justifying the occupation.”
 
On March 22, 2006 I returned to Jeff’s West Jerusalem office for the third time, seeking more words of wisdom after reading his recent publication, Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. On page 1 he wrote, “Missing from Israel’s security framing is the very fact of occupation, which Israel both denies exists…and that “security” requires Israel control over the entire country…rendering impossible a just peace based on human rights, international law, reconciliation.”

What encouraged me was that he wrote about the need to reframe the Israeli Palestinian conflict issue and that is exactly what I have been trying to do by focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was ratified by Israel in 1948 and was contingent upon its becoming a state.

Jeff informed me that, “Israel has no constitution but has a Declaration of Independence which promised that Israel would abide by conditions and UN resolutions. They have not fulfilled the agreement which was the basis of their independence.”

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was signed May 14, 1948 the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired. The USA recognized Israel that very night and the USSR three days later. The Declaration affirms that the state of Israel: “Will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion...and will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, education and culture: it will safeguard the Holy places of all religions, and it will be faithful to the principals of the Charter of the United Nations.”



I met Jeff for the first time in December 2005 during Holy Land Trust’s Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference, held in the little town of Bethlehem, which is occupied territory. While members of Hamas attended Holy Land Trusts historic Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference in Bethlehem, Ghandian activists from India and many international were denied visa’s by the Israeli government. Many Israeli Jews were also denied permission to cross the checkpoint into the little town of Bethlehem, for it is occupied territory and the rationale given to Israeli’s is for their security. Three Internationals were sent home directly from the Ben Gurion airport on December 28, 2005 after spending their Christmas in an airport detention cell. The three had arrived on December 20, 2005 at Ben Gurion airport and were interrogated for three hours, denied food and water for nine, handcuffed and one ended up in the hospital.


Attorney Gaby Lasky reported that 34 year old Vittorio Arrigoni “was injured when Israeli authorities tried to deport him and two other detained UK residents from South Africa and Australia by force. Lasky added that the authorities failed to notify her or the consulate of Vittorio’s injury and originally instructed their guards not to allow the three detainees to communicate with their attorney or conciliate representatives. Vittoria was returned to detention the following day.”

All three had previously been international observers in the Palestinian territories. All are members of Access for Peace in the Middle East, a nonviolent pressure group that challenges the criminalization of peace builders and the deliberate isolation of Palestinians from international observation and assistance. Access for Peace is supported by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Nonviolence International, and European Jews for a Just Peace.

UK-based South African Robin Horsell who was also detained stated, “Israel gives spurious grounds for deportation or refusal of entry. The real reason is our support for HUMAN RIGHTS and JUSTICE.”

Sponsors of the conference, Holy Land Trust, issued the following statement: “The recent detention of the three peace campaigners, traveling to the International Nonviolence Conference in Bethlehem, demonstrates Israel’s fear of groups and individuals that are genuinely committed to nonviolent approaches to resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine.”

Holy Land Trust is a Palestinian non profit organization founded in Bethlehem in 1998 with the aim of strengthening, encouraging and improving the community by working with children, families, and NGO’s by developing nonviolent resistance approaches to end the occupation by peaceful means.
Dr. Mubarak Awad, Adjunct Professor at the American University in Washington, DC, Founder of Nonviolence International, a well renowned expert in the field of nonviolent strategic action and a Keynote speaker at the conference, stated that:

“Nonviolence is an international movement throughout the world and solidarity is our most powerful tool…President Bush is the first American President to state loud and clear that there should be a Palestinian state. The Balfour Declaration [instituted by the British Government in 1917 favored the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine but failed to mention the future of the native/indigenous Arab inhabitants of Palestine.] gave Israel a state. Because the British stated loud and clear that Israel should become a state a Jewish state was established. President Bush stated loud and clear in the Road Map that Palestine should be a state [as of 2005]. Everyone agreed with the Road Map, let’s do it! Recent polls of Israelis confirm that 70% of them want a Palestinian state… Peace needs bridges not wall [and] human rights exist as long as we practice them. When we don’t practice our rights we loose them.”

A Palestinian high school student attending the conference remarked, “I think one day Israel will have to forgive herself for what she has done to us.”

The words Jeff spoke during the Celebrating Nonviolence Resistance Conference inspired many,   “We really are only but actors in a play. When we wake up to that, and become an active participant in the human drama and pursue justice, things must change because injustice is unsustainable.”



Jeff has also consistently stated that, “Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control. The other day someone mentioned to me that all elections are bullshit everywhere and if the people in power actually thought elections would change things, they would eliminate them!


“One out of three Israeli children lives below the poverty line. It’s probably about 80% for Palestinians. Jews are like everyone else, those who have been abused grow up to be abusers. Things here have been turned on their head: its victim mentality and denial about the occupation. Once Israelis accept the fact that they are occupiers they will have to admit their State Terrorism.”

“Christian Fundamentalism is a very big problem. John Hagee and Falwell have established Christians United for Israel and they are the Christian AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. There’s a big meeting happening in D.C. which Israel supports with big money. They are the ones you need to interact with.”

We conversed on how I should go about this and then I ask Jeff to look into the future and he responded, “I think things will blow before people will wake up about the injustice which is just not sustainable. That is the hopeful part about this conflict; it will end, for injustice is unsustainable.”

 


After I left Jeff I walked down to the Zionist International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem which is a group of fundamentalists who financially support Israel’s policy of Aliyah: the immigration and absorption of Jews. I hoped to ask them about supporting the UN Resolution affirming the right of return to Palestinian refugees but no one was available to speak to me. I left my card and hoped someone there would read the WAWA blog and interact with me. I returned there again in March 2006 to try to engage them in a conversation again, but so far: no takers.


Every right thinking Christian understands that Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism which is detrimental to a just peace within Israel Palestine. These fundamentalists share a worldview that preaches a gospel identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. This is not the Gospel Christ preached, for he taught we must love, forgive, do good to all and it is the peacemakers who are the children of God.

After all, who would Jesus bomb or torture? Nobody!

Christian Zionists emphasize-and hope/pray for- apocalyptic event that will lead to the end of history and they totally ignore Christ’s love and compassion for all. Their theology is the fastest growing cult in America, partly because mainline churches have remained silent about the forty year occupation of Palestine.

Sabeel, [Arabic for The Way] the Jerusalem based and rapidly spreading international peace and justice movement promotes a theology of liberation and denounces oppression and occupation. The following is excerpted from Challenging Christian Zionism which was compiled after their 5th International Conference.

“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teachings that undermine the biblical message of love, justice and mercy. We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with extremist elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently seeking to impose their unilateral preemptive strategies and militaristic rule over others, including Palestine and Iraq. As a result of the April 14, 2004 Bush-Sharon memorandum of understanding, the crisis in Israel and Palestine has moved into a new phase of oppression of the Palestinian people. This will inevitably lead to unending cycles of violence and counter violence that are already spreading throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world. We reject the heretical teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these extremist policies as they advance a form of radical exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.

“Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation and instead to pursue the healing of the world. We call upon the Christians in churches on every continent to prayerfully remember the suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are victims of occupation and militarism. The recent construction of the Israeli wall on Palestinian land precludes a viable Palestinian state.

“Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principals as an alternative way: we affirm that all people are created in the image of God and called to honor the dignity and respect the equal rights of every human being…We call upon people of good will everywhere to reject the theology of Christian Zionism and all parallel religious and ideological fundamentalisms that privilege a particular people at the expense of others.

“We are committed to the power of non-violent resistance to defeat the occupation and attain a just and lasting peace…With renewed urgency we warn that the theology of Christian Zionism is leading to the moral justification of empire, colonization, apartheid and oppression.

“The ideal and best solution has always been to envisage ultimately a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel where people are free and equal, living under a constitutional democracy that protects and guarantees all their rights, responsibilities and duties without racism or discrimination-one state for two nations and three religions...Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation and a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of the land...and working for peace makes us children of God

Christian Zionism is the fastest growing cult in America and also a political ideology. The nature of the movement and its impact on foreign policy was the subject of the 22nd Capitol Hill public hearing presented by the Council for the National Interest, which issued the following statement in October 2005:

“A new Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation shows that 31 percent of those surveyed in the national poll strongly believe or somewhat believe in the ideas behind Christian Zionism, defined as “the belief that Jews must have all of the promised land, including all of Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the messiah.”   Other polls bear similar messages, that 53% of Americans believe that Israel was given by God to the Jews (Pew), and that 59% of the American public believes the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelations will come true (CNN/Time.) 

“The international implications of such beliefs are profound, as an increasing number of Americans believe that God sets foreign policy goals.  Rev. Robert O. Smith, Lutheran pastor at the University of Chicago, one of the speakers at the hearing, discussed the development of this belief that dates to the 19th century and how it has received a powerful new impetus with the founding this year of a new group of the Christian right called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).  And yet while it works closely with Jewish Zionist organizations in the US, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to promote the continued occupation of Palestine by the Israel (land God has given the Jews), it works just as effectively in dehumanizing the original inhabitants of the Holy Land, both Muslims and Christians.

“Another speaker, Rammy Haija, who teaches at Radford University, drew attention to the necessity in the Christian Zionist dogma for the Israelis to retain control not only of the whole of the occupied territory but also all of Jerusalem. Christian Zionists have pushed the militarist policies of both Israel and the U.S. in an effort to secure the Holy Land in preparation for the coming of the “promised land.”  As part of this strategy, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is deemed absolutely necessary.

“The irony of the alliance between Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists is that the one ideology promotes the ultimate destruction of the other. As Smith pointed out, the “Christians United for Israel” is all about Israel, not about the Israelis, and only a little surface digging into Christian Zionism shows how anti-Semitic it really is.  So much so that Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the ceaseless champions of Zionism in this country, has called the Christian right one of the direst threats to American Jews.  This has not prevented top Israeli officials from paying homage to the Christian right, including Ariel Sharon (before he descended into a comatose state brought on by the withdrawal of the settlers from Gaza, Pat Robertson opined), the Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, and a host of others. The ability of CUFI and other far right Christian religious leaders like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to raise money for Israel, including Israeli settlements, is well documented.

“Christian Zionism, Smith concluded, has a fundamental lack of earthly concerns, is divorced from reality, and undermines the work of politics. Its practical impact is the killing of people in the Holy Land.  The recent statement by the Christian religious leaders of Jerusalem that warned against Christian Zionism’s policies of racist intolerance and perpetual war was much needed, but it should have come from America’s religious leaders.”



The indigenous Christians of the Holy Land have decreased from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1948. 90% of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land never even meet any Palestinian Christians; thus they are known as The Forgotten Faithful.

On November 2, 2006, I and over 330 Internationals gathered in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Conference center to begin our journey and education of the past and to face the present realities.

Prior to 1948, 70% of West Jerusalem was Palestinian. From ‘48 to ‘67, Jerusalem was divided into Israeli West Jerusalem and Palestinian East under Jordan’s control. When Israel captured and occupied the West Bank in 1967, the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem were also redefined. Israel annexed the greater Jerusalem area but did not ‘adopt’ the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem as Israeli citizens.

Today, Palestinians living in Jerusalem are classified differently from those in the West Bank. They are called permanent residents, they can vote in local elections but not in Israeli national elections. Most do not bother to vote as a statement against the occupation.

Today, West Jerusalem in nearly 100% Jewish. The Palestinians in East Jerusalem pay the same taxes as those on the West side, but receive only 8% of the total municipal budget. Orthodox Jews pay no taxes. Palestinians make up 1/3 of the total Jerusalem population, but pay over 40% of the taxes. One is immediately aware when one walks from the East to the West that one is truly in two different worlds. On the West side of town there are many parks, the roads and streets are well maintained and sanitation pick up is predictable. Twenty-six of the thirty-one City Council members of Jerusalem are Orthodox Jews. The East side of Jerusalem is more like the lower east side of New York.

While the Israeli government considers Jerusalem the capitol of Israel no foreign country does. There are no international embassies in Jerusalem, except for the fundamentalist International Christian Zionist one.

The Wall that was begun after the Second Intifada has expanded the municipal boundaries established in 1967 and the Israeli settlements/colonies are growing unabated. According to International Law all the settlements are illegal and the world is silent. In the 1930’s Ben Gurion said that the settlements will define the boundaries of Israel.


On March 17, 2006, the 7th day of my third journey to Israel Palestine, Jeff Halper, greeted my group of nearly one hundred Internationals attending a Sabeel reality tour through the West Bank, in the East Jerusalem YMCA conference room with, “I don’t want to depress you too much but the issue of the occupation is a global issue that transcends boundaries and Israel Palestine impacts all global realities...We have a country created by the UN and supported by the USA that has a brutal occupation while International Law defines occupation as a temporary situation.

“The USA is complicit in starving the Palestinians and it is going to get worse. We have a situation in which America and Israeli actions are illegal. Three weeks ago in the USA the Pentagon issued the QDR: Quadrennial Defense Review which is a twenty year plan to contain China and commit to a long war with the Islamic Empire. The USA sees Iran as the center of its war against Islam and wants to make the entire world safe for the USA and wants to contain any power who will rise and challenge America...The USA will shield itself so it can continue to extract 35% of the earths resources. The American lifestyle is not sustainable.

“When you incorporate occupied territories, highways, settlements and use resources it is all illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention which states the status quo must be retained so that negotiations can happen. Unilateral actions are illegal. The occupying power is responsible for those under its control.

“Tony Blair said 70% of all the conflicts in the world can be traced back to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. What gives us hope is that as this conflict worsens maybe Europe will figure out that American policies are against their interests and intervene...This conflict impacts the global community and especially everyone in the USA.

“If we do fix this conflict it would be a tremendous step forward in global reconciliation...This whole issue is based on Human Rights and it is a global issue requiring global intervention. …Israel is not a democracy, it is an ethnocracy: full rights to Jews, but not Palestinians.”



After our group said goodbye to Jeff and hi to Angela, an ICAHD volunteer, we went for a reality tour of east Jerusalem. We witnessed the remains of many demolished homes and saw the tents where the home owners now live.

Angela informed us, “There are forty-two illegal settlements in the Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters of Jerusalem. The only green area for children to play will soon have a high rise for the settlers which will be 7 meters taller than the walls of the Old City...Out of site of most Israelis is the Hebronization of east Jerusalem. The Wall has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice but America continues to allow it to grow. The wall is way over the Green Line proving it is not about security but about grabbing Palestinian land. Israel’s policy of Quiet Transfer: getting rid of the Palestinians is a huge humanitarian crisis.

“There is an advertisement that runs in the USA that reads: “Have a Holiday Home in Jerusalem.” The ad does not mention this home is 100% ILLEGAL! It is clear how the wall zig zags that it is not about security but about grabbing the maximum land with minimal Palestinian occupation.”

The border guards at the Cliff Hotel pulled the gate closed when we attempted to leave the area and would not give our guide their names as is required. After about a five minute wait I commented with a smile looking directly at the guard at the gate, “These soldiers are only kids and they look like babies!” A moment later the guard smiled back at me and opened the gate, but they never said a word.

Angela stated, “The Cliff Hotel had been confiscated by the border police to detain Palestinians for interrogations. One man had been thrown out the second floor window and had been burned with cigarettes. There has yet to be a police investigation.”



When I returned to Israel Palestine in October 2006, over sixty internationals gathered in Jerusalem for another ICAHD tour. Jeff informed us, “It has been said that the Israeli’s do not love this land, they just want to possess it. There have been three stages to make this occupation permanent. The first was to establish the facts on the ground; the settlements. There are ˝ million Israeli’s and four million Palestinians here. They have been forced into Bantustan; truncated mini states; prison states. It is apartheid and Bush and Hillary are both willing collaborators. In 1977, Sharon came in with a mandate, money and resources to make the Israeli presence in the West Bank irreversible.

The second stage began in April 2004 when America approved the Apartheid/Convergence/Realignment Plan and eight settlement blocs. This is just like South Africa! The Bush Sharon letter exchange guaranteed that the USA considers the settlements non-negotiable. The Convergence Plan and The Wall create the borders and that is what defines Bantustans. Congress ratified the Bush plan and only Senator Byrd of West Virginia voted no and nine House Representatives.


“Israel has set up a matrix of control; a thick web of settlements guaranteed to make the occupation permanent by establishing facts on the ground. Israel denies there is an occupation, so everything is reduced to terrorism. It is our job to insist upon the human rights issue, for occupied people have International Law on their side.”

International Law guarantees the rights of the occupied to rise up with violence against their occupiers. What ISM, ICAHD and Sabeel promote is Creative Nonviolence. I asked Jeff if the settlements were in actuality colonies; meaning foreigners had invaded and set up residence in another’s territory. He agreed and added that, “When Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan, and the East side was 6 sq. km. Since 1967, Israel has added 64 km. The West side was 38 sq. km until ‘67 and is now 108 sq. km’s. Israel plans to develop 17 settlements. Israeli policy is to maintain a 72% Jewish and 28% Arab population. Palestinians cannot get building permits to build upon their legally owned land. The Arab land has been re-zoned as green space, and the green space will be re-zoned for the settlements. Every single Palestinian home in Jerusalem has a demolition order. The entire West Bank has been zoned as agricultural land by Israel, and that will also be re-zoned again for more settlements.”

Orwellian doublespeak has also been employed in the USA to turn the illegal colonies: for all the settlements are considered illegal according to International Law, into “neighborhoods”. A new highway has already begun to link all the settlements in a ring around the Old City of Jerusalem. The Eastern Ring Road will have bridges for Israelis but is just another wall against the Palestinians.

As we rode past acres of olive trees that had been chopped off by the Israeli army, on our way to the house made for peace, Jeff stated, “I don’t just have a political problem with this Judiaization of the Old City, it is ecologically and environmentally offensive.”

I add it also is spiritually impoverished. The raping and pillaging of what is claimed holy ground refutes and denies the biblical meaning of dominion. The ancients understood dominion meant to nurture, love and protect and the destruction of Palestinian homes, the stealing and destroying of their legal property, is an abomination. Less than a half hour drive from the Old City of Jerusalem one will witness this most unholy stark landscape of acres upon acres of olive trees that have been cut down to two foot stumps. Bedouins no longer graze the land and the few who remain in scattered ghetto camps will soon be transferred to a new ‘home’ upon a garbage dump. International Law states that Occupation is to be temporary, maintain the status quo and not to pilfer the resources of the occupied. The massive rock quarry we passed on our way to the house made for peace, was just one more example of how the occupiers ignore and deny International Law.

We concluded the day at the Beit Arabiya Peace House, which is at the crossroads of Areas A, B and C.

Beit Arabiya is the name of the home of the Arabiya family with seven children that has been demolished four times by the Israeli government and rebuilt four times by the efforts of ICAHD and the JCHR/Jurist Center for Human Rights, a Palestinian NGO focused on legal advocacy for Palestinians in the Jerusalem area.

The home has become a meeting place for Israelis, Palestinian and International peace activists and is the cornerstone and intersecting point of Areas A, B, and C. The smallest of the three is Area A, which is under Palestinian authority. Areas B and C are under Israeli control and where Israel demolishes homes. Since 1967 over 15,000 Palestinian families in the occupied territories have been left homeless due to home demolitions. According to Jeff Halper, the reasons for these home demolitions are purely political: to confine the 3 ˝ million residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza into small, crowded, impoverished and disconnected enclaves.

The Beit Arabyia home/Peace Center’s closest neighbor is a soon to be dismantled Bedouin camp. The Israeli governments policy of “Quiet Transfer” will mean extinction for the nomadic Bedouins for they have been denied the inalienable right to move about to graze their dwindling herds. On a hill in front of the Arabyia home/Peace Center is the newly erected Sheen Bet [similar to USA FBI] prison and interrogation center. A new portion of the Ring Road which will connect the illegal settlements/colonies runs between the two and The Apartheid Wall is in full frontal brutal view.

Upon the wall of the home is a mural donated by the North American Workers Against the USA occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The mural depicts Rachel Corrie, the American who was run over by a Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza when she stood up to defend the home of a Physician with five children, and a pregnant Palestinian woman of ten who was also killed in Gaza. The angelic images of the two women float above a depiction of a USA made Caterpillar bulldozer tipped to one side and flanked by tanks and weapons of destruction. On both sides of the weapons of destruction are many people. A railroad track reminds the viewer that prior to 1948, Jews and Palestinians once worked together in peaceful solidarity to build a railroad.

The Arabyia home/Peace Center is the cornerstone of the village of Anata and the Shufat refugee camp, in the very area where the prophet Jeremiah in the 6th century B.C. critiqued the violent conflicts in the Mid East, which were already old news: “I hear violence and destruction in the city, sickness and wounds are all I see.” [Jeremiah 6:7] 

The Arabyia home/Peace Center is a visible persistent witness of hope and solidarity that stands because of the cooperation and unity of of locals, Israeli’s and Internationals with one mind, one heart and with The Great Spirit on their side.

Mohammad Alatar, film producer of “The Ironwall” addressed our group after we broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family: “I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted Israel it would not harm Israel. After the USA and Russia, Israel is the third largest arms exporter in the world. It is a moral issue that the churches must address.”


 
   
 
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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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Hillary Clinton re:
The Apartheid Wall



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Articles Can Be Read Under VANUNU ARCHIVES  

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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