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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2009 arrow June 28, 2009

June 28, 2009
June 28, 2009: Demolitions of Christians from the Old City of Jerusalem and a Reflection on Jenin Thanks to Maurine Tobin of SABEEL for forwarding the first report and my reflection of another formerly all Christian community in the West Bank follows:


Demolition orders reach Convent homes inside the Old City

Jerusalem- Tuesday 23rd of June, 2009

Today the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre has learned of new house demolition orders against at least four Christian families living inside the old city of Jerusalem where local Churches accommodate more than 500 homes for Palestinian families. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Catholic Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land own most of these homes. Churches are already facing difficulty in attaining renovation permits and expansion is almost impossible. One of the Church lawyers confirms that even the Churches already have court cases with the municipality of Jerusalem on similar issues. One of the Church leaders bitterly criticize the different treatment given to Jewish settlers inside the city wall where they are granted permits for expanding and renovating the properties under their control.

 

In these four cases in particular, the families were addressed individually by the Israeli municipal authorities and court cases are underway. One of the defendants, Sami Wakileh, recalls the Judge telling him, “It is a waste of your precious time. Do not dream of receiving any permit…” This means that the existing home will be demolished sooner or later. Sami's house is actually an old building that he leased from the Church and spent over a hundred thousand dollars to fix and renovate. In another case,  Bassam Ayyash, who rents a 50 square meter apartment from the Greek Orthodox Church inside the Patriarchate's convent has also received a demolition order claiming that this 50 square meter apartment is an expansion to his home! Bassam is puzzled with the persistence of the authorities in not agreeing to come and investigate the matter when he confirms, “My only home is the 50 square meter apartment."

 

Last month, ten Christian families in Beit Hanina, a suburb area of North East Jerusalem, received demolition orders for their six year old apartments in the Al-Sunbula building. Half of the building was licensed originally while permits to formulate the rest were not given. Now all the inhabitants face the same fate if the municipality carries out its threats.

 

Housing inside Jerusalem has been a burden for all Palestinian families. With an extremely difficult process and impossible permit system coupled with the high cost of living in Jerusalem , building or having one’s own apartment is becoming a dream. The Christian community struggles with the family re-unification system and residency rights restrictions imposed by the Israeli Authorities. When one Jerusalemite cannot live together with his or her spouse who is a West Banker under one roof inside Jerusalem , the ultimate effect is that less and less couples decide to get married. Father Ibrahim Faltas, the Roman Catholic Parish priest of Jerusalem , declared last week that the number of Catholic marriages this year is almost half of what they experienced during the previous years. New Jerusalem Christian families are more and more forced to leave their home city either to the neighboring West Bank or emigrate if they have the chance.

 
Yusef Daher
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P.O.Box 741, Jerusalem 91000
Tel :+972 (0)2 627 4534, 628 9858 ( Ext. 105)
Fax:+972(0)2 627 4499
Mobile 050 5545 179


My Long Strange Trip to Jenin and winding way to my Interview with members of the Underground Fatah Resistance Movement


I first visited the impoverished West Bank Christian village of Zababdeh in June 2005, with Dr. Khaled Diab, the founder of the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace. The first-and so far only- Olive Trees Foundation for Peace’s Keep Hope Alive Olive Grove and Playground is in Zababdeh. In June 2005, the grounds around the Melkite/Greek Catholic Church were rocky and barren.

Nine months later I returned with a SABEEL group and found the grounds had been transformed by the Melkite priest, Firas Khoury Diab-no relation to Dr. K. Diab, an American Palestinian Muslim.

Firas Diab built the decorative stone wall that embraces the area where one hundred trees, thick green ground cover, benches, a swing set and a slide now occupy the once desolate area.

 
He told my Sabeel group, “We need your love, we need your presence. We need your eyes and voices to share with the world the suffering of our people. We need you to come and see how we carry the Cross of Christ for we are the Living Stones; the forgotten one’s whose destiny is to love everyone, be they Jew, Muslim, Druze. We practice the love of our Lord and we ask you to tell your government we are people of peace!”


I last saw Fr. Frias Diab in July 2007 and wrote: The Long Winding Way to My Interview with Members of the Underground Fatah Resistance Movement


[Jenin, West Bank, 23 July 2007] My driver with VIP plates and I left Jerusalem at 9:45 AM and what had once been an hour and a half's drive took us nearly three, but the Palestinians we passed along the way stuck at the checkpoints might possibly still be waiting there.



Once we cleared Beirzeit, I took my first deep breath of fresh air and rested my eyes upon miles of mountain vistas of thousands of olive trees and a few Bedouins whose only shelter was a ripped plastic tent, and who were out grazing a small herd of sheep. There were scattered Arab homes, some quite palatial and then the familiar clumps of red roofed settlements built on the mountain tops and one mount occupied by a half dozen caravans/trailers: the first sign of a new colony.


When we got to the checkpoints, and only because we had the ‘right’ license plate, we were allowed to bypass the queue of scores of Palestinian cars and hundreds of individuals who waited underneath a metal enclosure like sardines in a tin can who are denied the freedom of movement.  I wondered why there weren’t at the least explosions of temper, for if such a scene happened in America, there would be an incredible outrage.


Racism is visible on the front of every motor vehicle, for Palestinian plates are green with white numbers; Israelis are yellow with black and VIP cars white with black. The latter two get waved on through, but green and white means you wait, wait, and wait.


When we approached the checkpoint at Wad Elbedar Valley, my driver confessed his anxiety, “I am very afraid of the Israeli’s but also this is dangerous territory; Nablus, Jenin and Qalquiylia.”

I smile and tell him, “Relax, we are doing nothing wrong and I am on a mission from God.”

The soldier who looked about twelve took my passport as I smiled my biggest smile at him.

“Where are you from?”

“America, I help pay your salary. Where are you from?”

“Israel.”

“You were born here?”

“Yes, Haifa.”

“Nice place.”

“Yes, very nice and what are you doing here?”

“I am visiting a priest in Zababdeh.”

“Okay, enjoy.”

“Thanks, bye bye.”


My driver then tells me, “The original plan was to take you only part way and then pass you onto a Palestinian driver, but you would be sitting in the line for hours, just like every Palestinian.”


In the West Bank there are no road signs, so at every fork in the road, my driver repeatedly flagged down taxi’s who all willingly stopped and graciously directed us the way we should go.


Ten minutes from Zababdeh, the priest I was to meet, pulls out in front of us and leads us the rest of the way to his home and church grounds, where the very first and only Olive Trees Foundation Olive Grove and Children Park took root in 2005. I have been to the property three times now, and my first time was as the Christian delegate for the non-profit Olive Trees Foundation for Peace, dedicated to raising awareness about the trees destroyed by The Wall and raising funds to help replant them.


After we greeted each other, I asked, “How did you just so happen to be on the road when we were passing through?”

“The Holy Spirit directed me,” he replied with a smile.


My second visit to the priest’s home and church was on March 14, 2006, as a member of a Sabeel [Arabic for The Way] reality tour through the West Bank. That was the very same day that the Israeli Defense Forces/IDF stormed the Jericho prison and the Al Aqsa Brigade issued a warning and demanded that all USA and British citizens immediately vacate the West Bank or they would be abducted.


Ahmed Sa’adat and four other Palestinians had been detained at the Jericho Prison since 2002, despite a court decision ordering their release. They were accused of assassinating the former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001. They had been detained under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the supervision of guards provided by the UK and USA in accordance with an agreement reached between the British, USA, Israel and the PA.


It was immediately after the withdrawal of the American and British troops that the raid took place. The guards had announced their intention to withdraw from the prison but they made no alternative arrangements for their absence. The IDF then began their assault in the absence of any alternative safety-nets. After the American and British forces abandoned the Jericho prison and the IDF showed up demanding Saadate come out with his hands up, rumors began flying throughout the West Bank that the Third Intifada had begun.


Our group had also planned to be in Jericho the very next day, but as John Lennon sang, "life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." We did.


Our group learned the news of Jericho while we were breaking bread with the Christians in the village of Zababdeh. Our Sabeel group had been advised by the locals that although we were perfectly safe with them, we should leave the West Bank ASAP and forget about our plans to visit the Jenin Refugee Camp and our meeting with Badil: the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.


Before we left for Nazareth instead, we learned that there are 5,000 Christians left in all of the northern West Bank. 3,500 are in Zababdeh and over one million Muslims surround them.  The priest affirmed, “We all have lived in peace together for centuries. We need your love, we need your presence. We need your eyes and voices to share with the world the suffering of our people. We need you to come and see how we carry the Cross of Christ for we are the Living Stones; the forgotten one’s whose destiny is to love everyone, be they Jew, Muslim, Druze. We practice the love of our Lord and we ask you to tell your government Palestinians are people of peace!”

On July 23, 2007 my plan was to finally see the Jenin refugee camp and within three minutes of my arrival the priest’s best friend, a Muslim drove up and invited me to go and see the facts on the ground in the 100% Muslim, Jenin refugee camp with hope to meet some of the Fatah underground.

In the car, the priest tells me, “There are 2,500 Christians now left in Zababdeh and just over 1,000 Muslims and we have always gotten along. Whenever I have a problem here, I go to Jenin and get help there.”


We traveled past the five years young American Arab University where medical and law students from Israel and Palestine study together. The priest informs me, “We are suffering now. The Israelis denied to renew the visas for the American teachers because they do not like them opening America’s eyes. The teachers tell all about the suffering, hunger and anger of the occupied.”


Jenin refugee camp is home for nearly 20,000 Palestinians who share one square kilometer of land. Within seconds of stopping the car on one of the winding narrow alleys, an elderly woman in the typical Muslim dress approaches us with a broad smile and immediately invites us all to her home for coffee and lunch.


People who actually know Palestinians are well aware of their hospitality and desire to feed one. We thankfully decline as we are on the way to meet 40 year old Krozow, number two  leader of El Katib; the underground resistance movement within the Fatah party.


In English, Krozow translates to “good fighter” and Fatah stands for Palestinian Liberation Movement. A new logo has replaced the former depicting two hands holding two guns; to two hands, with one hand holding one gun and the other hand holding an olive branch in memory of Arafat’s pledge at the UN, “Don’t let me drop this olive branch, don’t let me drop this olive branch, don’t let me drop this olive branch!”


Krozow was 16 the first time he was sent to prison for throwing rocks in 1985. He was released in ’88 and resumed his resistance to the occupation and was sent back to jail from 1990-1994, when he was released under the Oslo accords.


Krozow greets us warmly and his beautiful smiling children keep entering the room to look at me, for red blonde hair is a rarity in occupied territory. Krozow patiently and lovingly hugs them all and picks them up in a bear hug and with a broad smile, deposits them back outside the living room door. He returns with water, then after another child enters the room, he repeats the ritual but this time returns with coffee, the third time with orange soda.


He informs me, “Last week Israel and Abbas agreed that 232 persons here would hand over our weapons. We did and Israel agreed that they would not attack the camp. Yesterday the soldiers came and shot out the street lights. The children watched from the windows and saw it all. They also saw when the Israelis shot and burned up an ambulance and the man inside died. What can children think when they must see these things?


“The camp is a warm place because children dream of freedom. My son is 4 years old and he knows all about weapons. All his words are about the Israelis attacking us and Apache helicopters that drop bombs. Children all over the world get to go play outside, but here all they see are soldiers who come every day to terrorize.


“We are not violent people, but we do resist the occupation, as is our right. What if Russia came to occupy American, wouldn’t you fight? I support Abbas, but he believes in negotiations, I believe in resisting the occupation. Abbas is the political Fatah, they drive Mercedes and roll up their windows and shutout the suffering of the people. I am dedicated to the people and to protecting them from the IDF. We are people under occupation and we would all love to have our children grow up free and live like children anywhere else in the world, who can play outside, go swimming and not have to see soldiers all the time. The Israeli’s tell the world we are violent, but we are only against their occupation. What if Russia came and occupied America, wouldn’t Americans resist?


“Hamas sends people out to Israel and targets civilians. The underground Fatah movement does not do that, we defend our home ground against Israeli forces. I take care of my family, home and community. I do not target innocent people.


“Last week Abbas told us to surrender our weapons and the PA would take care of the people. I surrendered all I had except for this one hand gun, for my personal safety against the Israelis. Every night I leave my home and sleep in the Mukatar [Palestinian government building in Jenin City].


“We have every right to live like the Israelis. My dream is for a viable Palestinian state, but they have cut up the West Bank and the only way to solve the problem is to give Palestinians the right to live like human beings everywhere else in the world, the right to our land, to move with freedom, the right to a good life like the Israelis.


“I have no hope for the immediate future, but I have hope for my children that American taxes will stop going to buy Apache helicopters that bomb them. My dream is that there will be a political agreement between Israel and Palestine and so all children can live in peace. Our relationship with Christians is we are brothers. We are looking to have peace with all the sons of Abraham.”



I stand to thank him for his time and his mobile phone rings. It is Zechariah the number one commander of the underground El Katib Fatah resistance movement and he has agreed to speak with me, in the proverbial “five minutes.” In Palestine five minutes can easily take hours, but I sit back down and Krozow brings the fruit out. After a forty minute wait another phone call and the message received is to leave the camp and drive to where Zechariah is staying that day.



The priest tells me, “Zechariah is number one on the wanted list by the Israelis. He is the top man in Jenin and spends his day solving many of the social problems. His mother and brother were both murdered by the Israelis and his three brothers are in prison. Abbas has asked for his support, for Abbas is very worried about Hamas. Hamas has a very different way of thinking and we don’t hate them, but we hate the way they deal with the issues. No one is born a killer and violence only makes more violence. The stupidest thing Palestinians did was pick up weapons. The second stupidest thing they did was target innocent people.”


We arrived in the home of one of Zechariah’s assistant’s and I am informed, “My roof is higher than the roof of Oslo. Your government is controlled by the Zionist agenda. What Americans see on TV and read in the paper is controlled by the Zionist agenda and it is not the truth of what we live and what we are like and what we want. We are living an existence under occupation for 40 years now. All occupied people have been liberated, except the Palestinians. America liberated herself from Britain and we have every right to a free life. We are a resistance movement and Israel calls it terrorism, but we call it resisting occupation.


“The resistance has no strategy to fight Israel and destroy it, or end their existence. Our resistance message to the whole world is that we are people existing under occupation and we can only exist by resisting.



“The more powerful one is the one who must make peace and that is Israel, it is up to them. The weak cannot bring peace and we are not talking peace between nations but between governments. The Holy Land always had all three religions; this land is holy to all the sons of Abraham. Religions idea is suitable for one state, but the political situation doesn’t make it possible. There is no disagreement between the Christians and Muslims here, but we do disagree with the Christians in the U.S.A. who do not come here and see the truth!


“It is wrong news that Jenin is a terrible place to come and visit. What happened in Gaza with Alan Johnston [kidnapped journalist] is not the true Palestinian culture. We are hospitable and it is not our culture to kill.


“My message to the American government is that Arab people do not trust you. You asked for democratic elections and you don’t support the suffering people, you support only Israel. Palestine is a very holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims and there is no future for the West Bank if it remains under occupation. What we want is freedom from occupation; we want our land, water and refugee rights.”


After coffee and fruit juice, but no sign of Zachariah who was busy dealing with many of the social problems of the people of Jenin, I thanked the ten men who had gathered with me and my three escorts in the living room for their time and information and my driver and I headed back to Jerusalem and some more eye opening checkpoint experiences.


At the Wad Elbedar Valley checkpoint the line of cars extended around the mountain, but my driver passed by and pulled in front of the first in line and we were almost immediately waved into the checkpoint area and after the usual questions of where I am from and why had I come, the soldier handed me back my passport with, “Welcome to Israel.”


After passing through the checkpoint we joined four lines of cars at least a mile long waiting to be funneled into one. It took 30 minutes for us to reach the road home, but the other four lanes of cars waiting to go where we had come from, never moved at all. The people passed their time visiting each other and laughing. I asked my driver to ask one of them how long they had been waiting, “They don’t pay attention to the time, this is normal procedure.”


When we reached the Nablus checkpoint the cars stretched at least a half a mile long and there was no side road for NGO’s and VIP’s, so my driver went down the rocky pitted path and reached a phalanx of rolled barb wire. Somehow, he was able to maneuver around it and turn onto the road first in line at the checkpoint. We waited ten minutes but the soldiers never waved us on, so I got out and walked over to them. They appeared stunned as I approached and announced, “Hi, I am U.S.A. and need to get back to Jerusalem. Can’t you wave us through already?”


As soon as I did, we got the wave and with my biggest smile I handed over my passport as he asked, “Why are you here?”


“To visit with a priest.”


He replied with a smile, “Have a nice day.”










On June 4, 2009, President Obama will speak on the world stage from Egypt hoping "to use the occasion to deliver a broader message about how the United States can change for the better its relationship with the Muslim world."

He began last week, at the State Department, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in front of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, that the Obama administration, "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions [the administration has communicated its position] very clearly, not only to the Israelis, but to the Palestinians and others, and we intend to press that point."

Netanyahu responded with remarks released by his office, "We will not build new settlements. But it is not fair not to provide a solution to natural growth."

Under international law, every one of the 120 Jewish only colonies-spun as 'neighborhoods'- are illegal and there are currently 300,000 Israeli colonists who inhabit them.

The day before last week's Netanyahu/Obama meeting, Israel announced the building of a new settlement; Maskiot, in the Jordan Valley, which is the first new settlement to be officially established in 26 years.

An Israeli settlement freeze is the first step required to prove that America can be an honest broker for peace –through justice-and that will reinvigorate negotiations that will lead to diffusing many other regional problems.

Israeli officials are also now complaining that they are now willing to meet with Abbas unconditionally, but the Palestinians are setting the preconditions. Palestinian officials stated Abbas would not meet with Netanyahu to begin peace discussions until there is a halt on all settlement growth and Israel acknowledges the right of the Palestinian's to have their own state.

Georgetown University Middle East expert Daniel Byman stated, "Over the past 15 years, settlements have gone from being seen in Washington as an irritant, to the dominant issue." He pointed out key figures in the Obama administration; George Mitchell, who headed the Mitchell Commission, and recommended a halt to settlements and national security advisor Gen. Jim Jones, are in agreement that the settlements are a major obstacle to a peace settlement that will hold.
 
The good news is that members of Congress are coming to understand that America's national security interest and Israel's require an end to the conflict-and that requires addressing all obstacles and righting all injustices. Momentum for Obama's position is building led by high profile Jewish American Congressional members, such as Representative's Gary Ackerman, Robert Wexler, and Howard Berman, who are all well-informed on foreign policy and comprehend that peace in the Holy Land is essential to American national interest as well as the only way for Israel to ever be secure.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he was extremely impressed with the Obama administration's resolve after his private meeting with Obama at the White House which was followed by an expanded meeting in the Oval Office with Obama, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Clinton, and other U.S. officials.

Obama said in a joint press conference with Abbas that, "We are a stalwart ally of Israel and it is in our interests to assure that Israel is safe and secure. It is our belief that the best way to achieve that is to create the conditions on the ground and set the stage for a Palestinian state as well. And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was that each party has obligations under the road map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state.
 
"On the Palestinian side it's going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We've seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank.  Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process."
 
 
Obama has insisted, "The absence of peace between Palestinians and Israelis is an impediment to a whole host of other areas of increased cooperation…I want to see progress made, and we will work very aggressively to achieve it…I believe that many Israelis share the same view that time is of the essence, and we can't continue with the drift. We need to get this thing back on track…I think it's important not to assume the worst but to assume the best. Obviously, Prime Minister Netanyahu has to work these issues in his own government."

Obviously both leaders have much work to do, for as Jeff Halper, American Israeli, Mid East commentator and founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against house Demolitions, wrote on May 25, 2009:

"Although the Obama Administration may truly desire viable two-state solution and even understands all Israel’s tricks, it is also clear that without significant pressure it cannot be achieved. And here is where the real problem arises. Israel’s trump card has always been Congress, where it enjoys virtually unanimous bi-partisan support. And Obama’s own Democratic Party, which received almost 80% of the Jewish vote in 2008, has always been far more “pro-Israel” than the Republicans. It may well be that Obama and Mitchell will try to take American policy in a new and more assertive direction and the leaders of his own party will balk, fearful of not being re-elected."-NETANYAHU CHOOSES WAREHOUSING


Religious Zionists, fundamentalists and the ideological right believe that Israel should stretch from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and include the West Bank, which they refer to as Judaea and Samaria and consider "liberated" by the 1967 Six Day War, for many politicians thought grabbing territory would improve Israel's bargaining position in future peace talks.

Theodor Meron, the legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry immediately after the Six Day War advised that the building of settlements would be illegal under international law because it contravened various conventions prohibiting the settling of civilians on occupied territory. "Meron, who went on to become one of the world's most eminent international jurists, has never wavered from that view. The US has been somewhat equivocal over the years about the legal position. But the large majority of Western countries (including Britain), the UN, and the International Court of Justice, which restated its view in a 2004 advisory opinion on the military's separation barrier, say that settlements are illegal, whether in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. And the 2003 Road Map, with the backing of the US, called for a total freeze on settlement construction. Israel's government and judiciary, however have never accepted that view." [Donald Macintyre, The Independent, May 29, 2009]


In 1971, Ariel Sharon bragged to Winston Churchill III: "We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart."

The outposts, which Israel now agrees to dismantle, are even blatantly illegal according to Israeli law, and they were all aided by various government departments who provided electricity and water to the squatters who established mobile home parks on high ridges close to existing settlements as their way to claim more land for future development. The settlements created many facts on the ground-such as apartheid roadways-roads that Palestinians are forbidden to drive upon and a military infrastructure and wall which have effectively carved the West Bank into separate cantons/Bantustans, preventing the indigenous people access to their land, resources, families and holy sites.

However, citizen actions are increasing as residents, Israelis and internationals persist to nonviolently demonstrate against the route of the wall in agricultural villages, such as Bil'in and Ni’lin, where weekly demonstrations against the route of the construction of The Wall, began in 2004, when the International Court of Justice deemed it illegal and demanded it be removed where ever it did not follow the Green Line. The demonstrators have no issue if Israel wants to build a wall on Israeli property, the people rise up in order to shine the light on Israel stealing the indigenous people's property to erect a wall that denies them access to their resources, jobs, families and holy sites.

The conflict became personal for the USA on March 13, 2003, when Rachel Corrie, an altruistic young America stood up and was run over by Israeli forces who then demolished a pharmacists home in Gaza with a USA made Caterpillar bulldozer. Israel investigated and exonerated their own forces; the USA Congress has done nothing at all.

On March 13, 2009, Tristan Anderson, an altruistic young America, was critically injured by Israeli forces who shot a large hole in the right part of his forehead with a tear gas canister, causing severe damage to his right eye and the need to remove part of the right frontal lobe of his brain which had been shattered by bone fragments.

Tristan was shot because he had taken a stand against the route of the construction of the wall that cuts through the village of Ni’lin that is making way for even more settlers to move in. Tristan was shot with a "Ruger rifle and a high velocity tear gas canister. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail and has a propeller to accelerate the weapon mid-air. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and it has caused numerous injuries." [1]

The bullet can only be heard by a low sweeping noise in the air as it passes. The low caliber allows the bullet to easily enter the body and cause internal bleeding. The bullet can enter a body from approximately 50 meters.

"In 2001, Maj.-Gen. Menachem Finkelstein, then judge advocate general, ordered that use of the Ruger rifle be stopped. The decision followed the killing of several children in the Gaza Strip by Ruger-rifle fire, and an order by OC Central Command to cease using the rifle, which was given after finding that soldiers often used it without justification against demonstrators. On 27 December 2001, Ha’aretz quoted a senior military official as saying that “the mistake was that the Ruger came to be seen as a means to disperse demonstrators, contrary to its original designation as a weapon like any other.”- B’tselem

"The Israeli army has also begun to use a more dangerous high velocity teargas projectile, labelled “40 mm bullet, special/long range” in Hebrew. The canister is black, heavy (130 grams without the propeller) and can reach more than 400 meters due to a propelling device. The gas-canister explodes only after it hits the ground. No tail of gas or audible cue makes this canister more likely to cause injuries, as demonstrators cannot anticipate when it is being used. Additionally, acceleration from the propeller and weight of this canister cause a greater impact when hitting a demonstrator. Use of this high velocity tear-gas projectile has caused the critical injury of Tristan Anderson." [Ibid]

If the United States is serious about halting the illegal Israel settlements, money remains the currency with the loudest voice.

"The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs will likely "mark-up" President Obama's FY2010 budget request, which includes $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel. This request for an increase in military aid to Israel comes despite the fact that Israel consistently misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.  However, over 150,000 Americans for justice and peace have sent letters to Congress letting them know that we oppose this budget request and want to see an end to the military occupation of Palestine. We also demand that any aid to Israel be conditioned on Israel achieving stated U.S. policy goals. To sign and send that letter too, please click:

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27254

As President Obama flies out of Egypt, this reporter makes her way to Gaza and onto Nil'in, embedded with altruistic Americans connected with CODE PINK, who have been invited by the United Nations (UNRWA) to visit schools, hospitals and to work with Gazans to build an International Friendship Playground.

Learn More:

 http://codepinkalert.org/article.php?id=4820

 

 

 

1. http://palsolidarity.org/2009/01/4699

2. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27254

   
 
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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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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.

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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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"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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