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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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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 May 2009 arrow May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009
May 17, 2009: Israel wipes Palestine off the Map, Proposes legislation against Memory and The Forgotten Faithful A poster from London's subway/underground tube stations that advertise the Jewish State as a tourist destination

israel tube ad may 09.jpg

The Map of Israel wipes out Palestine and incorporates the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights; all of these areas have been under military occupation by Israel since 1967.

UN Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem [Palestinian territories] as well as its illegal occupation of the Golan Heights in Syria.

Israel's 'disengagement' of the Gaza Strip in 2005 was only a redeployment of troops and its ongoing siege on Gaza has reaped severe shortages of food, medicine and clean water which has culminated in a humanitarian crisis for the 1.4 million human beings penned in as Israel continues to prevent humanitarian aid workers and construction supplies into Gaza.

Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which is a blatant contravention of international law, as is the demolishing of Palestinian homes and building of The Wall on Palestinian property.

Israel's Wall is being built upon legally owned Palestinian land in the West Bank and will soon expropriate 50% of the property as it blocks access to farmers from their land and water supply and denies the indigenous people movement to their families, resources and holy sites.

The Wall breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention’s articles on the destruction of land and/or property (article 53) and on collective punishment (article 33).

Jewish Peace News  

Israel, Ha'aretz announced the proposal of a new law in Israel banning all commemorations of the Nakba. The law was proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu, the political party of Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. The proposed legislation threatens three years imprisonment for anyone who commemorates the Nakba. (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1085588.html)

Yisrael Beiteinu's party spokesman is quoted as saying that the law intends "to strengthen unity in the state of
Israel." That statement, and this proposed law, should set off anti-fascism alarms. In the name of "unity," here is a proposal to criminalize acts of memory, collective identity, and cultural and political expression. In the name of Israel's majority group, this proposal seeks to criminalize memory and memory-makers, effectively criminalizing the group-identity of Israel's largest minority population. The very existence of a culture relies on its memory, which comprises the stories a culture tells about itself. This law would threaten the existence of Palestinians as a remembering, culture-producing, history-bearing people, and would prevent the possibility of Israel becoming a truly pluralistic society where every group's history can be told. And by forbidding the remembering of the Nakba, the law aims to erase the 1948 dispossession of Palestinians - including the destruction of more than 400 villages, multiple massacres and the creation of more than 700,00 refugees, and the confiscation of thousands of acres of land - even as this same political party's platform threatens another form of dispossession, that is, removing citizenship from Palestinian citizens (http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2009/02/growing-trend-toward-fascism.html).

Reports of the proposed law say it will punish anyone who commemorates the Nakba, not just Palestinians. In this way, the proposed law signals other recent developments in
Israel, whereby Israeli Jews are being targeted in campaigns aiming to silence their protest, similar to ways in which Palestinians - both inside of Israel and in the occupied Territories - are also targeted for silencing. (For more on this targeting and the recent persecution of the Israeli Jewish group New Profile, see here: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2009/05/rela-mazali-israels-war-against-youth.html).

The threat to imprison anyone who commemorates the Nakba is also a reminder that everyone engaged with the state of
Israel has an obligation to know and remember the Nakba. A good source for information and commemoration is the Israeli organization "Zochrot," which offers extensive education on the Nakba, both on their website (http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?lang=english) and in actual tours of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. Zochrot's "links" page also offers many different sources of information, maps, and testimonies on the Nakba (http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?id=379).

Norma Musih of Zochrot writes, "Awareness and recognition of the Nakba by Jewish-Israeli people, and taking responsibility for this tragedy, are essential to ending the struggle and starting a process of reconciliation between the people of Palestine-Israel." (http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?id=642)

As an American Jew, I think it's just as important for Americans, and for Jews, to recognize the tragedy of the Nakba, so that we, too, can understand what Palestinians have suffered and what is at stake for them in this conflict. -Sarah Anne Minkin

  http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com


The Forgotten Faithful

Followers of Jesus for nearly 2,000 years, native Christians today are disappearing from the land where their faith was born.

By Don Belt

Photograph by Ed Kashi

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/arab-christians/belt-text

Easter in Jerusalem is not for the faint of heart. The Old City, livid and chaotic in the calmest of times, seems to come completely unhinged in the days leading up to the holiday. By the tens of thousands, Christians from all over the world pour in like a conquering horde, surging down the Via Dolorosa's narrow streets and ancient alleyways, seeking communion in the cold stones or some glimmer, perhaps, of the agonies Jesus endured in his final hours. Every face on Earth seems to float through the streets during Easter, every possible combination of eye and hair and skin color, every costume and style of dress, from blue-black African Christians in eye-popping dashikis to pale Finnish Christians dressed as Jesus with a bloody crown of thorns to American Christians in sneakers and "I [heart] Israel" caps, clearly stoked for the battle of Armageddon.

 

They come because this is where Christianity began. Here in Jerusalem and on lands nearby are the stony hills where Jesus walked and taught and died—and later, where his followers prayed and bled and battled over what his teaching would become. Huddled alongside Jewish converts in the caves of Palestine and Syria, Arabs were among the first to be persecuted for the new faith, and the first to be called Christians. It was here in the Levant—a geographical area including present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Pales­tinian territories—that hundreds of churches and monasteries were built after Constantine, emperor of Rome, legalized Christianity in 313 and declared his Levantine provinces holy land. Even after Arab Muslims conquered the region in 638, it remained predominantly Christian.

 

Ironically, it was during the Crusades (1095-1291) that Arab Christians, slaughtered along with Muslims by the crusaders and caught in the cross fire between Islam and the Christian West, began a long, steady retreat into the minority. Today native Christians in the Levant are the envoys of a forgotten world, bearing the fierce and hunted spirit of the early church. Their communities, composed of various Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant sects, have dwindled in the past century from a quarter to about 8 percent of the population as the current generation leaves for economic reasons, to escape the region's violence, or because they have relatives in the West who help them emigrate. Their departure, sadly, deprives the Levant of some of its best educated and most politically moderate citizens—the people these societies can least afford to lose. And so, for Jerusalem's Arab Christians, there is a giddiness during Easter, as if, after a long and lonely ordeal, much needed reinforcements have arrived.

 

In a small apartment on the outskirts of the city, a young Palestinian Christian couple I will call Lisa and Mark are preparing to enter the fray. Lisa, still in jeans and a T-shirt, is struggling to get their 18-month-old daughter, Nadia, into a white Easter dress. Mark, in his pajamas, is trying without success to prevent their three-year-old son, Nate, whose mood ricochets between Spiderman and Attila the Hun, from trashing the brand new pants-and-vest outfit they've wrestled him into—or the TV, or the painting of child Jesus on the wall, or the vase of flowers on the table. Mark, a big, hot-running guy, grimaces in exasperation. It's on a chilly morning in March, and he's already sweating profusely. Yet it's Easter, a time of optimism and hope, and a special one at that.

 

This is the first Easter, ever, that Mark has been allowed to spend with the family in Jerusalem. He is from Bethlehem, in the West Bank, so his identity papers are from the Palestinian Authority; he needs a permit from Israel to visit. Lisa, whose family lives in the Old City, holds an Israeli ID. So although they've been married for five years and rent this apartment in the Jerusalem suburbs, under Israeli law they can't reside under the same roof. Mark lives with his parents in Bethlehem, which is six miles away but might as well be a hundred, lying on the far side of an Israeli checkpoint and the 24-foot-high concrete barrier known as the Wall.

 

Mark finds it depressing that "80 percent of the Christian guys I grew up with have left for another country to find work." Yet he understands why. A trained social worker with a degree in sociology, Mark has been looking for a job, any job, for almost two years. "You're surrounded by this giant wall, and there are no jobs," he says. "It's like a science experiment. If you keep rats in an enclosed space and make it smaller and smaller every day and introduce new obstacles and constantly change the rules, after a while the rats go crazy and start eating each other. It's like that."

 

For anyone living in Israel or the Palestinian territories, stress is the norm. But the 196,500 Palestinian and Israeli Arab Christians, who dropped from 13 percent of the population in 1894 to less than 2 percent today, occupy a uniquely oxygen-starved space between traumatized Israeli Jews and traumatized Palestinian Muslims, whose rising militancy is tied to regional Islamist movements that sometimes target Arab Christians. In the past decade, "the situation for Arab Christians has gone rapidly downhill," says Razek Siriani, a frank and lively man in his 40s who works for the Middle East Council of Churches in Aleppo, Syria. "We're completely outnumbered and surrounded by angry voices," he says. Western Christians have made matters worse, he argues, echoing a sentiment expressed by many Arab Christians. "It's because of what Christians in the West, led by the U.S., have been doing in the East," he says, ticking off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. support for Israel, and the threats of "regime change" by the Bush Administration. "To many Muslims, especially the fanatics, this looks like the Crusades all over again, a war against Islam waged by Christianity. Because we're Christians, they see us as the enemy too. It's guilt by association. "

 

Mark and Lisa, like Arab Christians everywhere, conduct an ongoing argument about whether to leave their homeland for good. Mark has one brother in Ireland, another in San Diego, and he lived in the U.S. for a few years. He got his green card and was working in California when he and Lisa were married, in Jerusalem, in 2004. She tried living in San Diego for a while but was homesick for her family, so the couple moved back after Nate was born.

 

Living as Arabs in the U.S. after 9/11 was an eye-opener for them. "It's funny," Mark says, "what Americans think about things. They've never heard of Arab Christians. They assume all Arabs are Muslim—terrorists, that is—and that Christianity was invented in Italy or something. So when you say, I'm an Arab Christian, they look at you funny, like you just said, The moon is purple. I had one lady ask me, 'What does your family think about you being a Christian? I suppose they must have been very upset!' "

 

 

…Back in Jerusalem Mark and Lisa are acutely aware of the role that Arab Christians might play in the geopolitical dramas of today. But they live in a hothouse world, where go-betweens are in constant danger of being trampled—by Muslims, by Jews, or by Western Christians, who (not unlike the crusaders) look right through them as they race past to stake their claim on God's holy ground.

 

On Easter morning, Mark and Lisa make a handsome couple in their Sunday clothes, leading Nate and Nadia by the hand up the sidewalk to the family car, a middle-aged, maroon Honda. It's a proud moment, their first Easter together in the Holy Land, and Lisa, noticing the thick coat of dust on the car, asks Mark to give it a rinse. He fetches a hose and connects it to a faucet they share with their neighbors, who come out on the porch and stand, watching, in their kaffiyehs and head scarves. In an animated voice, Lisa explains to the kids that Daddy's giving the car a bath for Easter. Right on cue, with a playful flourish, Mark squeezes the nozzle on the hose.

Nothing comes out. He checks the faucet, squeezes again. Still nothing. So there he stands, empty hose in hand, in front of his kids, his neighbors, and a visitor from overseas. "I guess they've opened the pipes to the settlements, " he says quietly, gesturing to the hundreds of new Israeli housing units climbing up the hills nearby. "No more [water] for us." Lisa is still trying to explain this to the kids as the car pulls away from the curb.


Is that a sin? I ask.

"Yes, it is," she says. "And that makes me a sinner. But I confess my sins when I go to church, and that helps. I'm learning not to hate. In the meantime, I go to confession."

"Hate destroys the spirit of those who hate," says Father Rafiq Khoury, a soft-spoken Palestinian priest who hears his share of confessions at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. "But even in the midst of all these troubles, all this violence and despair driving Christians away, you can see new life in the faces of young people and experience the hope that is God's gift to humanity. That is the message of Easter."

Yet even at Easter, Arab Christians seem to be the forgotten ones.

One night in East Jerusalem, I accompanied Lisa and Mark to Good Friday services at the huge Church of All Nations next to the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark, who can't stand crowds, stayed outside with Nate in the cool night air, but Lisa has celebrated this Mass since she was a child and wanted to go inside. The crowd was sparse, and we took a position well back from the pews, standing a few yards inside the church doors. Lisa had Nadia in a stroller. As we stood there admiring the church's ornate altar and vestibule, the Christian hordes circulating through Jerusalem suddenly descended, like an Old Testament plague, on the church.

 

Hundreds of pilgrims churned through the church's double doors, filling the cavernous space with warm bodies and pushing us deeper into the church. The temperature rose rapidly, and air was suddenly in short supply. I checked Lisa's face and saw a look of alarm as she gripped the stroller and tried to anchor herself against the river of humanity flowing into the church. Dutch, German, Korean, Nigerian, American, French, Spanish, Russian, Filipino, Brazilian, the crowd surged forward, searching hungrily for a greater proximity to God.

 

Suddenly Lisa's decision to bring Nadia along was looking like a mistake. At eye level, people were seeing the vacant space created by the stroller and aggressively pushing to fill it, not realizing there was a sleeping child down below until they were practically falling onto her. Lisa's eyes widened as we fought to protect Nadia from the crush of bodies. As if wading through chest-deep water, we tried to clear a path for the stroller to the church doors. A number of foreign pilgrims reacted poorly to this tiny Arab woman moving in the wrong direction, and things got a bit physical as we made our way through the crowd. As we passed through the doors, the crowd thinned out slightly. Lisa leaned in, straining to be heard over the chaos around us. "Do you see how it is?" she asked, gasping for air on the hill where Jesus spent his last night on Earth. "This is our home. And it's like we're not even here!"

 http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/arab-christians/belt-text/4

Full Article @

 

"I hate the Israelis," Lisa says one day, out of the blue. "I really hate them. We all hate them. I think even Nate's starting to hate them."

 

 


 


On May 14, the annual day for commemorating the Nakba, the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians with the establishment of the state of

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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

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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



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