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Home arrow Blog arrow November 2009 arrow November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009
November 18, 2009: One year ago
What follows are a few reflections from 2008:

On November 18, 2008, I and forty seven international ecumenical Christians and other people of faith rolled out of bed before 5 AM to travel from Jerusalem to the Erez Crossing in the Gaza Strip.

We went to stand up as a united people of conscience in NONVIOLENT Solidarity with the people of Gaza and in support of all the NGO’s that have been denied access into the Gaza Strip for over two weeks.

We went in love and for love of all of God’s children;

Be they the oppressed or the oppressors,

Those imprisoned by walls and those who erect them,

Those who are denied clean water and their deniers,

Those whose fears rule their hearts and the heartbroken,

Those whose ideology, greed, apathy, and power blind them to their culpability, responsibilities and obligations.

We went with hope to arouse the consciences of the leaders of the world to seek peace through justice; equal human rights for all.

Israel and the USA both signed the Geneva Convention. That makes them BOTH legally, morally and ethically RESPONSIBLE for the 1.5 million open air prisoners of Gaza; 60% are children under the age of 18 years old!



THE Ongoing NAKBA and Vanunu

[Occupied east Jerusalem] On November 19, 2008, during the final day of Sabeel's [Arabic for The Way] 7th International Conference: THE NAKBA:  MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, Noble Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire inspired nearly 300 internationals to rise up and honour Mordechai Vanunu.


Vanunu has been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize annually since 1988 for his courage and truth telling, by providing the photographic evidence that warned the world that Israel had already manufactured upwards of 200 nuclear warheads in 1985. Israel locked Vanunu up for 18 years, has held him under house arrest since April 2004, yet Israel continues to get away with nuclear ambiguity, has never allowed IAEA inspectors into the Dimona, nor have they signed the NPT.

 
Vanunu's Supreme Court appeal fighting a three month jail sentence for speaking to foreigners-who happened to be media-in 2004, is scheduled to be heard in the New Year.   

 
Mairead said:

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to be here with you and to be invited to speak to you.   I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Naim Ateek, and all those who helped to  organize this conference.  I am deeply grateful to have the freedom to come here to East Jerusalem and the freedom to speak and meet with you.

In this the 2lst century many of us take freedom for granted, but not everyone has

Freedom here in Israel/Palestine.  I realized this, yet again,  when I told a Palestinian friend I was attending this conference and he told me that though he was born in Jerusalem he is not allowed to come into East Jerusalem. 

This brought home to me that East Jerusalem is indeed an integral part of the occupied territory of Palestine and many Arab people born here are not allowed into East Jerusalem. 

Many Arabs who do live in East Jerusalem live in fear of their homes being demolished or expulsion  by the Israeli Government  (such as the Al-Kurd family home in the Sheikh Jarab Neighbourhood of East Jerusalem where the Supreme court has ruled on the expulsion of this family from their home.) Since l967 almost 20,000 Palestinian homes have been  demolished in the West Bank. 

The expulsions, and demolitions continue almost daily, along with continuing development of illegal settlements for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem, and the West Bank.   A few days ago I visited the site in West Jerusalem where the Israelis are building a Museum of Tolerance upon an ancient Muslim cemetery, where the bones of the Muslims' ancestors are being exhumed. 


This is deeply painful to the Muslim people and I would like to appeal for this project to be cancelled.  The Israeli Supreme court, whose role it is to uphold human rights and International laws, has agreed to this desecration of  Muslim graves, and continues to rule in favour of many inhumane and illegal Policies, directed against Palestinians, and against those Jewish Citizens who have the moral courage to challenge this  discrimination and destruction of Palestinian homes.

 

In spite of all this, I myself have great hope for change in the Middle East.   I have hope because for almost a decade now I have been coming to Palestine/ Israel and in that time I have met with many deeply committed people who have dedicated their lives to working for a peaceful, just solution to what is one of the longest running conflicts in the world. To all these people I offer my support for your non-violent struggle for human rights and democracy.  


I know that all occupations, and violent conflicts, sooner or later come to an end and that here in this part of the world, occupation will end, justice will reign, and reconciliation will flourish between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

But before peace can flourish, its roots of freedom, equality, justice, must be nourished with courage and truth.

It takes courage to speak truth to power when the consequences are often suffering.   The truth shall indeed set your spirit free, but in this oppressive occupying power, the truth will also be physically, emotionally and in other ways very costly.

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

We are indebted especially to all those who continue to tell the truth of Nakba.  In this the year of the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, in l948, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes.

Today, the occupation continues also with the wall annexation of more Palestinian land, and the building of an Apartheid Racist system by the Israeli Government.   

Another great injustice is currently being perpetrated upon the Palestinian people

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

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

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

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

 

I was shocked and saddened by the suffering I witnessed, but I took hope from the warmth and resilience of the people of Gaza.  They want dialogue and unity with other Palestinians in the West Bank, and dialogue with the Israeli Government based on justice and equality. 

After meeting with Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah   and speaking at the Hamas Parliament,  and at a meeting with over 100 political representatives, of all the political parties in Gaza, including Hamas and Fatah,  I took away with me real hope that more and more Palestinians recognize that Palestinian National Unity and non-violent civil resistance is a  political strategy that will work and give them great strength. 


Increasingly they are recognizing that divided Palestinian people, armed struggle and militarism will not solve their problem. I hope that all those of us who want Peace in the Middle East, will support the rightful struggle of non-violent civil resistance of Palestinians for an end to Occupation, a Free Palestine,  and the upholding of all UN resolutions including the UN resolution 194 - Right to return of Refugees.

As part of this non-violent civil resistance struggle, I support the Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign and the Campaign to end USA's military support ($10 million dollars per day) to Israel which helps funds the military occupation of Palestine and other moves for Boycott. 

I also believe the Swiss Government, as repository for the Geneva Convention, should convene  its members to discuss Israeli non-compliance of its obligations under the Geneva Convention.  Also the Assembly of the United Nations should move to suspend Israel from its U.N. memberships, until it complies with all UN resolutions required of it.

It is to be hoped now that the Israeli Government will recognize too that Militarism, occupation and repression only feeds the violence and they will enter into serious dialogue and negotiations with Hamas and other Palestinian leaders, as the democratically elected voice of the Palestinian people.  These negotiations should be within the framework of international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights law, and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice and Security Council resolutions.


This year also the State of Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary.

I recognize the right of all people including the Jewish people to a peaceful existence.   I also recognize the state of Israel but believe many of the Israeli Government's domestic and foreign policies are racist and uphold an apartheid system.

I believe such policies do not reflect the profound wise Jewish values of justice and peace.   In an interdependent, interconnected world, where countries are made up of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, groups, we are challenged to build Government structures which reflect the plurality of all citizens and whose laws are inclusive of all members of that society.

Governments cannot marginalize or have second class citizenship for whole sections of the population, as such injustice will result in violence.  We learned this lesson in Northern Ireland, and are now moving towards a power-sharing all inclusive Government.    

I believe to have genuine peace, the Israeli Government needs to move from a Jewish state to a power-sharing democratic state which is equal and inclusive of all its citizens and not just its Jewish citizens.

There is great hope for peace in Israel/Palestine,  as this is a political problem with a political solution and the Israeli Government and USA, by treating Palestinians on a Fair basis, and with real political will can help solve this historical conflict which has resulted in this inhumane occupation.


I recognize there is a deep fear of ethnic annihilation amongst many Israelis, but we, as the human family, must all learn to deal with our fears non-violently, and realize our best hope for human security is not in occupation but in implementing just and equal policies for all the people, and making friends with our enemies.


Our security as the human family does not lie in militarism, nuclear weapons or war.  

Another courageous voice who reminded us of this is Mordechai Vanunu.


Mordechai told the world Israel had nuclear weapons.  He was concerned that possessing such weapons endangered Israel as it too could become another Hiroshima.  For his act of truth telling he was punished by the Israel Government and continues 22 years later to be held in East Jerusalem unable to leave Israel or speak to foreigners or foreign  press. 

For those of us who work to see a Nuclear Free Middle east, a nuclear free world, we remain indebted to Mordechai for his sacrifice on all our behalf, and we hope that Israel will uphold it International obligations to human rights and let Vanunu go free, and give leadership in the Middle East by abolishing its Nuclear weapons.


We are all challenged to move from a Culture of violence, to a Culture of non-violence. 

Last year the Nobel Peace Laureates launched a Charter for a world without violence, in which they endorsed the words of the WHO 'Violence is a preventable disease'.

I would encourage you to study this and campaign for your Governments, religious Institutions and NGO's to consider endorsing this Charter.


The non-violent message in this Charter is not new.  2,000 years ago Jesus said 'Love your enemies, do not kill'. 

The Cross is for me the greatest symbol of non-violent love in action, and in the words of the late Fr. McKenzie 'you cannot read the bible and not know that Jesus was totally non-violent'.

Also to remember the words of one of the early Christians 'I am a Christian, I cannot be a soldier'.

What a great contribution we can all make to the world in helping bring peace, if we only take the message of love and non-killing seriously and live by it.   Then we could with our brothers and sisters of all faiths and none, build a no killing, Non-violent Middle East and world together.


Peace, Salaam, Shalom, Shanti,
Mairead Maguire
http://www.peacepeople.com  

 


Preceding Mairead, and the standing ovation for Vanunu, Reverend Tony Wolfe, a Presbyterian pastor from California expressed the thoughts and hopes of all those who attended the conference:

We are more than 200 Christians from five continents who have come together to commemorate the tragic events that occurred 60 years ago in the lives of the people of Palestine.  While we have come to hear from and to offer our solidarity and support to the indigenous Palestinian community in both Palestine and Israel, we have also heard from brothers and sisters in the Muslim and Jewish communities as they too have borne witness to the injustices visited upon the Palestinian population of this land.  They have seen more than 531 villages depopulated and destroyed, and the creation of more than 750,000 refugees who have not been allowed to return to their homes since 1948.

We recognize the irony in the coincidence that this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The establishment of peace with justice requires that the full truth be told about the events of 1948 and the subsequent displacement of hundreds of thousands more Palestinian citizens in 1967, a process which has continued to the present day.  The human rights of the Palestinian people continue to be crushed under a military occupation that dehumanizes both oppressed and oppressor.  We share our conviction that it is only an acknowledgement of the full truth behind and within this current state of oppression that will lead to true freedom for all parties in the conflict.

Truth is essential for peacemaking.

We acknowledge the truth that our silence about the status of the Palestinian people equals complicity in this ongoing tragedy.  The status quo is a crime against humanity.  As Christians, we can no longer be silent.  Things worsen as each day passes.


The so-called peace process is rather a consistent and persistent process of death and destruction, both physically and spiritually.


The Nakba--the catastrophe that has been imposed and is still being imposed on the people of Palestine--continues unabated and unrestrained.  The truth of it is silenced or ignored both in our churches and in our media.  This must change if we are to be true to Jesus' call to be peacemakers.

We have been encouraged by the thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who have practiced methods of nonviolent resistance in seeking to bring an end to the current conflict.  We lift up the practice of nonviolence as the most practical means of achieving peace in this situation where the balance of military power is so overwhelmingly one-sided and where the reliance upon violence only continues to make matters worse.

We are concerned by the use of the Bible as an instrument of colonialism and exploitation by those who would enlarge the conflict.  We reject the exclusivism presupposed in such an interpretive approach to biblical truth.

We seek the reconciliation of all peoples throughout the world, and therefore call on our brothers and sisters in the worldwide church to speak out and act out the ministry of reconciliation.

We have been touched by the faces of children wherever we have gone.

We have come to realize that an entire generation of children is being crippled because they have no access to the nutrition needed for normal growth and development, and thus endure spiritual and social alienation, violence and lack of opportunities which none of us would tolerate even for a day in our own communities.

We remember the call of the Nobel peace laureates that the first decade of this new century be devoted to nonviolence. We hear anew the call of Jesus to "let the little children come unto me," to let them be placed in the center of the current picture of marginalization, thus challenging the international community with their vulnerability and their need for protection.

Therefore, we call upon all our churches and governments:

·         to work with renewed energy for an end to this endlessly spreading military occupation;

·         to insist on full implementation of all United Nations resolutions and all human rights requirements in international law which pertain to Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and the right of return for Palestinian refugees;

·         to insist on greater freedom of movement and more humane conditions in the occupied territories;

·         to insist that Israel accord equal rights to all its citizens, Jewish and Palestinian alike;

·         to divest themselves from investments in companies that enable the occupation;

·         to insist that Israel lift its ongoing siege and collective punishments which prevent the free movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid in and out of Gaza; and finally

·         to support the work of Sabeel in its efforts to build bridges of nonviolence between people in all the monotheistic religions represented in the region.

 

We have heard the call of urgency from our fellow Christians in this holy land.


As in Jesus' own day, so Bethlehem lies under military occupation today surrounded by a prison wall.  Our memories of the birth of The Child of Bethlehem 2000 years ago are contrasted and challenged by the reality of the children and the parents and the grandparents of Bethlehem today.  As followers of that holy child, may our spirits meet in Bethlehem's streets as we join in prayers and actions for light and life!


May we seek creatively to disturb the status quo with acts born of the Spirit of courage, love and truth.





On November 23, 2008, I wrote:

Two-time a Refugee and a Tent in Occupied East Jerusale
m

[Occupied East Jerusalem] Less than a five minute walk from my room at the Ambassador Hotel, Fawziya Khurd and international supporters began living in a tent, because the Israeli police enforced a court order to throw her and her spouse, Mohammed out of their home, which they had been living in since 1956. The day before my last visit, Mrs. Khurd/Um Kammal [mother of Kammal] became a widow when Mohammad expired secondary to the stress of home eviction by Israel.

At 3:30 AM on November 9, 2008, Reverend Richard Toll was awakened in his hotel room in the neighborhood when the Israeli Occupying Forces/IOF broke down the door of the home of the Al Khurd family. Rev. Toll told me [during the final day of Sabeel’s 7th Annual Conference: The Nakba: Memory, Reality and Beyond] that he was jarred awake by a woman’s pain filled scream that was indescribable.

 
The Al Khurd family have lived in their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood since the days when east Jerusalem was under Jordanian control. The United Nations upon contract with Jordan, allotted them the land after they became refugees when they were expelled from their home in west Jerusalem by Zionists during the 1948 war.

Hasib Nashashibi, of the Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights-an NGO coalition of Palestinian Muslim and Christians- explained to me, “When Jordan controlled this land and the UN granted privileges to the Palestinian refugees including those from west Jerusalem, such as education, health care, and relief and development; they also allowed the refugees to give up not all privileges and receive a home and land deed instead. Jordan never fulfilled their obligation to send the written documentation that these west Jerusalem refugees are land owners and not tenants. Now the Israeli’s are trying to make them refugees for the second time!”

In 2001 a group of settlers broke into the west wing of the Khurd family home while the couple were at the hospital due to Mr. Khurd's ill health. Mr. Khurd went back to the hospital suffering from the emotional stress and physical problems and died the day after his wife welcomed me with a smile and invited me in to share a meal with the neighbors and many international supporters.

Family and neighbors offer Mrs. Khurd sanctuary but the internationals sleep in the tent every night to maintain a presence on the rented land and to support the other twenty-seven Palestinian families in the neighborhood who have received orders from Israel to evacuate their dwellings-in one home alone 52 people are currently residing.

A few days ago, three internationals were arrested, interrogated and then released. They returned to the neighborhood, but were not on site during my visits.

Background:

Since East Jerusalem’s occupation by Israel in 1967, the Oriental Jews Associations and the Knesseth Yisrael Association have been waging a brutal take over of the Khurds’ home, claiming that the land originally belonged to Jews.

In 1972, they succeeded to register the land in their name with the Israeli Land registrar.

In 1999, settlers burst into the home and set up an occupation in a wing of the house that

belonged to the couple’s son, Raed.

The Khurd family hired lawyers and have spent a fortune in court battles.

In 2006, the Israeli court finally revoked the claim of ownership by the settlers.

On February 25, 2007 the Israeli Supreme Court issued an order to evict the settlers; but it was never enforced!

The settlers-most of them are from America- have been stealing homes from Palestinians in the neighborhoods around the Old City of Jerusalem which if not challenged and prevented, will pre-empt any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The settlers current desire is to cleanse more than 500 Palestinians from the neighborhood and build 200 apartheid apartments for Jewish only colonists.

This hurdle of injustice by the Israeli Government has lit a fire in the international community.

One of them is Axel Weissenfels, from Austria, a government that allows their young people to opt out of military service and choose nonviolent civil service in foreign countries instead.

Axel informed me, “I have been in occupied east Jerusalem for nine months now and will probably stay beyond my one year commitment. I am working for the Society for Austrian Arab Relations in the Old City in the Art Foundation, doing workshops with the children. We gave the children in the neighborhood cameras and we will soon display an exhibit of their work right here on this site. I have slept here the last three nights on a mattress [on the hard rocky ground].

“America should know how their tax dollars are being spent [$7-10 Million per day] which go to continue the military occupation of Palestinians. The Palestinians are simple and righteous people; they do the correct things and all they want is to live in peace.

“If the USA would stop paying all those millions to Israel the occupation would end and America would have the money for health care and caring for their poor.”

 Adnan Husseini, Governor of east Jerusalem, while on his way out of the tent, sent this message to America, “We hope that the U.S.A. will focus more attention to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and help us have peace. When Palestine receives justice the international community, Israel and U.S.A. will also have peace. The American people are excellent people and we wish the New Year will change this situation for the benefit of everyone. All the best to America and good luck!”

We the people of America do not need luck; we need to wake up and understand that Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.

In Israeli law, all of Jerusalem, including the eastern half of the city, is considered to be the “indivisible” capital of the Jewish state and has set up a block against Palestinian negotiators to make a deal on the division of Jerusalem.

Settlers are claiming land all over occupied East Jerusalem based on title deeds that pre-existed 1948, when Israel became a state and began to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestinians, destroyed 531 Palestinian villages and 750,000 Palestinians became refugees.

President George W. Bush became a willing collaborator in this on going injustice in his infamous 2004 exchange of letters with Ariel Sharon. Bush affirmed that Israel would not be expected to return to the armistice lines of 1949. Instead, Bush declared that Israel would be able to hold on to its “population centers” in the West Bank. This is the empire’s Orwellian spin to attempt to justify the established settlement blocs; every one of them are illegal under international law!

Among the failures of Annapolis is the incessant construction of colonies on the land of Palestinians.

Palestinians are denied building permits to build upon their legally owned land.

Ehud Barak, Defense Minister and leader of the Labor Party, personally approved hundreds of new apartments for the settlers within the last few months.

“Michshol Hafrada” is Hebrew for "The Separation Wall" and that translates to Apartheid Wall in Afrikaan.

The Apartheid Wall has divided Palestinians from Palestinians and has stolen their aquifers, denies them access to their land, jobs, families and holy sites and consumes over $1.25 Million USA Tax dollars every day- a 2006 estimate!

Looking at a map of the so called Holy Land today it is clear to see that Palestine has been divided into enclaves; Bantustans!

 
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out

And to whom I was likely to give offence.

Something there is that does not love a wall,

That wants it down.-Robert Frost

Over a quarter of a million Jewish colonists live in East Jerusalem-and according to international law-all the settlements are illegal as is the Apartheid Wall.

Jewish only colonies have been implanted to divide the indigenous Palestinian neighborhoods throughout occupied territory. Over 100,000 indigenous Palestinians are trapped by the Apartheid Wall and are tortured at over 600 checkpoints that deny them access to their land, jobs, families and holy sites.

Evictions and home demolitions have become the status quo in the so called Holy Land, for since 1967, over 18,000 dwellings -averaging eleven people per unit- have been bulldozed by Israeli forces because they interfere with settlement expansion.

Israel attempts to justify their immoral actions with three distinct categories:

1. Collective Punishment-homes of suspected terrorists-in reality that is anyone who opposes the occupation- and the families of suicide/homicide bombers. These punitive actions amount to 15% of the over 18,000 homes destroyed since 1967.

2. Administrative demolitions for lack of building permits- which Israel refuses to issue-account for 25%. In occupied east Jerusalem one out of four Palestinian homes have a demolition order.

3. “Security” reasons-the blanket response to all of Israel’s injustices and illegal actions.

Backed by USA blind allegiance and silent collusion with the Israeli courts and government, it will take international outrage to unite and change course, for the Obama Administration is being filled with Zionist Hawks!

I made my first visit to the Al Kurd family tents on November 19, 2008 and met a few Italians who had come to entertain the oppressed and nonviolent people of the neighborhood.

Alex and Francesco, are two clowns from the street theater project called Charlatani Without Borders. They had arrived in occupied territory two weeks prior to offer some creative relief from the misery of military occupation. A chain link fence surrounded the property and there were two tents at that time.

When I returned on November 22nd, I learned that the Israeli forces had bulldozed the chain link fence down and one of the tents that that the nonviolent internationals had been staying in.

 
The site is only a few hundred yards from the Al Khurd’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and Israeli authorities attempt to justify their actions by claiming the tents were erected without permission on state land.

What will it take for the world to say ENOUGH!?!





On November 24, 2008, I wrote:

Dear Security: Secure This! 

[Tel Aviv] Last night I left occupied east Jerusalem for the seventeen hour return home trip to my sanctuary in Florida. I am home now and I am whipped!

I wore my NAKBA t-shirt and was greeted with a smile by my first inquisitor at Ben Gurion Airport, who inquired, "May I have your passport? Why did you come to Israel?"

I readily replied as I handed it to her along with my WeAreWideAwake.org business card, "I came to Israel in order to go to occupied Palestine to learn more about Al Nakba and report it all on my website."

"Al Nakba?"

"Yes, Al Nakba, which is Arabic for The Catastrophe, The Disaster; the other side of the story of what happened when Israel became a state, in 1948. No coincidence, I think that UN Resolution 194 affirms the Right of Return to Palestinian's who became  refugees when Zionists grabbed even more land than 'civilized' white men partitioned to them."

"Oh, I see…Did anyone give you anything, anything at all? I must ask as even a harmless looking item can be made explosive."

"Nobody in occupied Palestine gave me anything except food, drink and good company. The only thing explosive about me are the words that I pound out on my computer, for I am a citizen journalist, not corporate controlled media."

"I see. Please wait here."

I did, and she went to converse with three colleagues a few yards from me. Within a minute, they were all looking at me. Ten minutes later, she returned with a smiling man who held my passport and business card and introduced himself as "Security."

I smiled and replied, "Happy to know you, I am Eileen."

"What was your reason to visit Israel?"

"Well, you can read all about it on my website, and I hope you will. I have been to Hebron, Erez Crossing and occupied east Jerusalem. I came to learn more and report the truth as I dissent from the way my American tax dollars are spent. Seven to ten million U.S.A. tax dollars every single day, go to support the military occupation of Palestine, and that ticks me off!"

He maintained his smile as he nodded to the woman who applied white stickers on my bags and onto the back of my passport. I was told to proceed to the first x-ray machine for Phase Two of Security:

A bank of x-ray machines in the center of a long rectangular counter.

I was waved over to the long side where four employees stood and not one smiled at me.

I was politely ordered to open up all my bags and with plastic gloves on their hands they emptied out all my neat packing and swabbed every surface and examined every item.

I asked with a smile, "So, what exactly are you swabbing for?"

"Security."

"Yes, I have heard that one before, but please tell me more. What exactly are you looking for in my cosmetics and dirty laundry?"

"We cannot say."

"Why not?"

"Security."

After my laptop was thoroughly swabbed I was politely asked to start it up and open up a program. I did as I was told as I inquired, "Why?"

"Security. I must take your computer away now."

Oh great I thought as she disappeared from my site for at least five minutes. I am not one to give into paranoia, but I am having my laptop checked out by a geek asap.

After I was allowed to repack all my belongings, I embarked upon Phase Three of Security:

The Strip Search.

I was told that I must be checked for metal and once again, was led to the same door I had been led through twice before, marked SECURITY.

I knew the routine and as soon as I got behind the curtain I removed my shoes and belt and sat down until they were run through another x-ray machine.

When my 'companion' returned I stood without being told with arms extended from my sides and I was wanded all over and then thoroughly patted down; every inch of my body.

Once again the wand whined with intensity as it passed over the buttons on my jeans.

As before, I was told to sit down and wait while my companion went to fetch an unsmiling woman who entered the cubicle and introduced herself as "Security."

She ordered me to drop my jeans to my knees.

My abdomen and pelvis were wanded once again.

After passing inspection I was led back to my belongings and my 'companion' wrote down my passport number on a log sheet. Then I was led to the Continental desk labeled "Security" to receive my boarding pass and accompanied to Customs as I wondered, why doesn't SECURITY secure the human rights of human beings and Resolution 194?

 




    "Everywhere except in America, the Palestinian narrative is well  known."-Rashid Khaladi 

                                         And that is WHY I wrote:



 


 

On June 1, 2009, Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate wrote:

"I have just finished reading your wonderful book ‘Keep Hope Alive’. I found it most inspiring and can see in your story the influences of your Spiritual journey – Merton, Dorothy day, Fox, St. John of the cross, Francis!!  All of whom I share as they are, I believe, great guides to the Spiritual journey.  The book brought me closer to you Eileen – and I was Moved by your great heart and compassion for all those who suffer – Especially the Israelis and the Palestinians and people of Gaza.Thank you for your faithfulness to them (and for helping to provide and Plant so many Olive trees – a real symbol of hope for the Palestinians."


"Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow; I would plant an olive tree today." - St. Francis of Assisi


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

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

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

Order Books at
www.EileenFleming.org

Vanunu's Message to

Hillary Clinton re:
The Apartheid Wall



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"Memoirs of a Nice
Irish-American
Girl's Life in
Occupied Territory"

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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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


Read more...

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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