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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2009 arrow December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009
December 26, 2009: This Was Christmas in the 'Holy' Land and USA and Significant Actors


Christmas Weekend Sees Six Palestinians Dead

December 20 – December 26
By MIFTAH
December 26, 2009

 

 

Over Christmas weekend, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On December 26, three Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were shot point blank by invading Israeli troops into Nablus. According to Israeli military sources, the three were involved in the earlier killing of West Bank settler Meir Hai. The three Palestinians were identified as Anan Subih, 33, Raed Al Sarkaji, 38 and Raghsan Abu Sharah. According to Anan Al Atira, Nablus’ deputy governor, Subih was a former member of the Brigades and had received full amnesty from Israel after turning in his weapons.

 

 

According to Raed Sukarji’s niece, Israeli forces entered her uncle’s home and shot him in front of his pregnant wife and two children. When his wife tried to defend him, she was shot in the foot.

 

 

Also on the 26th, three Palestinians were shot and killed in Gaza. While Hamas sources said the three men were collecting scrap metal, Israeli army sources claimed they were trying to infiltrate the border with Israel.

 

 

The week has been wracked with violence. On December 24, a rabbi from the Jewish settlement of Shavei Shamron was shot and killed, apparently by Palestinian gunmen on a settler road between Nablus and Tulkarm. After the killing of Meir Hai, settler groups and Israeli Knesset members from Shas demanded that the army return the checkpoint that had been removed on that road, claiming that Israel’s “good will gestures” towards President Mahmoud Abbas had been reciprocated with “terror.” The road to Madama on the way to Tulkarm has already been blockaded, cutting off over two-thirds of village’s farmland and severing the main link to the Nablus-Qalqiliya road.

 

 

As Christmas fell on a Friday this year, the occasion coincided with the weekly protests against the wall in the West Bank village of Bilin. This year, some protesters dressed up a Santa Claus and demonstrators carried a Christmas tree laden with gas canisters and stun grenades fired by Israeli soldiers at previous demonstrations over the past five years. The Israeli army responded with tear gas. The tree was in support of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, the coordinator of the Bilin anti-Wall committee who was arrested by Israeli forces and is currently being charged with weapons possession. Abu Rahmeh has previously put on an exhibition of all the discharged tear gas canisters and grenades used by the Israeli army in Bilin, which is now a “crime” in Israel.

 

 

The Christmas spirit was still in the air though.

 

On December 24, approximately 400 balloons were released into the Bethlehem sky as part of an event organized by OneVoice, a peace movement working in the Palestinian territory. The balloons had messages written on them calling for peace and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

 

 

 

On Christmas day, a deal between Israel and Hamas for a prisoner exchange still had not been finalized but reports from the Islamic movement in Hamas have hinted that something would be reached soon. According to Hamas officials in Damascus, the movement would respond to Israel’s proposals within the next few days. Over the past week, extensive meetings and talks have been held both within Israeli and Hamas circles to come to a final deal. In exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. While Israel says it is willing release some prisoners, it is adamant that 100-130 of them are exiled either to the Gaza Strip or abroad. These, Israel says, were involved in the murder of Israel is and cannot possibly be released into complete freedom. Hamas has so far said all prisoners must be allowed to return home but have not yet rejected the proposal outright.

 

 

It also seems that Israel is not willing to release nine prisoners on Hamas’ list at all. Of these nine are West Bank Fateh Secretary Marwan Baroughti and PFLP Secretary General Ahmad Saadat. It remains to be seen what Hamas is willing to accept as a final offer. According to Izzat Al Risheq, a member of Hamas’ politburo, the movement will decide on a final response in Damascus and send it to Israel via the German mediator involved in the talks.

 

 

Also on December 25, Israeli authorities handed demolition orders to 12 families of the West Bank village of Barta’a Al Sharqiya, which is wedged between the West Bank wall and the Green Line near Jenin.

 

 

Demolition orders have been rampant throughout 2009, according to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. According to the agency, Israel has demolished 180 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, leaving 319 people without homes. All of these structures, says the report, were torn down under the pretext for their lack of construction permits.



On December 24, Egypt refused entry for Viva Palestina, a convoy of 250 trucks and ambulances full of European, Turkish and Arab donations of food and medical supplies. The convoy, which included former British MP George Galloway, was refused entry at the Nuewiba Red Sea port on its way to Gaza.



Egypt has been under harsh criticism lately, namely from the Palestinians, for the construction of a 10-kilometer steel wall along the Gaza-Egypt border, ostensibly to stop the digging of underground tunnels used for smuggling. Hamas has called for popular protests along the border, calling Egypt’s structure the “wall of oppression and shame.”



In Jerusalem, Israeli authorities banned Islamic leader inside the Green Line, Sheikh Raed Salah from entering the city for three weeks. The ruling was handed down on December 21 with the intention of extending it for an additional six months. According to the verdict, Salah was a “threat to public safety”.

 

 

 

Finally, on December 19, the director of the Israeli Forensic Institute Abu Kbeir finally admitted to what many have suspected for years – that Israel harvests Palestinian organs without family consent. The director admitted that the institute had taken organs from Palestinians in the early nineties for use on Israeli soldiers, including corneas and skin patches. Israel recently lashed out at Sweden for an article written by Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom, which accused Israel of stealing organs from Palestinians killed in the Intifada.

 

http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=21345&CategoryId=10


Website: http://www.miftah.org



On December 28, 2005, I wrote from Bethlehem:



While members of Hamas attended Holy Land Trusts historic and first Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference in Bethlehem, Ghandian activists from India and many other Internationals were denied Visa's.



Many Israeli Jews were denied permission to cross the checkpoint into the little town and occupied territory of Bethlehem too. Three Internationals were sent home December 28, 2005 after spending
Christmas in detention.



The three arrived on December 20, 2005 at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv and were interrogated for three hours, denied food and water for nine, handcuffed and one ended up in the hospital. Attorney
Gaby Lasky reported that 34 year old Vittorio Arrigoni "was injured when Israeli authorities tried to deport him and two other detained UK residents from South Africa and Australia by force. Lasky
added that the authorities failed to notify her or the consulate of Vittorio's injury and originally instructed their guards not to allow the three detainess to communicate with their attorney or concilate representatives. Vittoria was returned to detention the following day." [Dec. 26, 2005 Press release ISM Media Alerts]



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



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



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



Holy Land Trust is a Palestinian non profit organization founded in Bethlehem in 1998 with the aim of strengthening, encouraging and improving the community by working with children, families, and NGO's by developing nonviolent resistance approaches to end the occupation by peaceful means. [www.holylandtrust.org]




Dr. Mubarak Awad, Adjunct Profressor at the American University in Washington, DC, Founder of Nonviolence International, a well renowned expert in the field of nonviolent strategic action
and a Keynote speaker at the conference, stated that: "Nonviolence is an international movement throughout the world and solidarity is our most powerful tool...President Bush is the first American
President to state loud and clear that there should be a Palestinian state. The Balfour Declaration [instituted by the Bristish Government in 1917 favored the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine
but failed to mention the future of the native/indigenous Arab inhabitants of Palestine.] gave Israel a state. Because the British stated loud and clear that Israel should become a state Israel was established. President Bush stated loud and clear in the Road Map that Palestine should be a state [as of 2005]. Everyone agreed with the Road Map, so let's do it!..Recent polls of Israelis confirm that 70% of them want a Palestinian state...Peace needs bridges not walls...[and] human rights exist as long as we practice them. When we don't practice our rights we loose them."



Nidal, a 17 year old Palestinian who spent the first 14 years of his life in Dhasheish refugee camp stated: "I think one day Israel will have to forgive herself for what she has done to us."




Dec 25, 2009 The Denver Post

 

Bill Johnson Column: Priest guilty of fortitude

 

By Bill Johnson Denver Post Columnist

 

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14067987#ixzz0aiFZDmLq

 

As the seven-person jury filed from the courtroom, having just returned two guilty verdicts against him, Father Carl Kabat rose from his chair and applauded them.

 

The St. Louis priest was convicted in Greeley on Tuesday of criminal mischief and trespassing, both misdemeanors, for cutting a hole in a fence that guards a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo in Weld County last August, draping antiwar banners around the silo, saying a prayer and trying unsuccessfully to pry open its lid.

 

It is what Carl Kabat does.


He has spent the better part of the past three decades in prison for staging similar protests here and across the United States against the missiles, whose very existence he calls "simply insane."

 

Weld County Court Judge Dana Nichols sentenced the 76-year-old priest to the 137 days he spent in county jail following his arrest and gave prosecutors time to seek restitution to F.E. Warren Air Force Base for damages.

 

I don't have many heroes, but Carl Kabat is one of them. I deeply admire men of conviction, particularly those who buck the system and gnaw relentlessly at it in the pursuit of peace.

 

I was introduced to him years ago, not long after he was released from the federal penitentiary in Florence, having done 10 hard years for staging a similar missile silo protest.

 

He sat down with me for dinner, shrugged and acted as if he had just served an hour in third-grade detention.

 

"Do you know how many men I ministered to in Florence?" I remember him saying over and over as I marveled that any man would so freely give up his liberty in the pursuit of a cause so many people over the years have abandoned.

 

I caught up with him this week as he rushed to get home to St. Louis to spend Christmas with his younger sister, his only surviving sibling, and the rest of his family.

 

I asked him of his applauding the jurors, some of whom wept as they filed out.

 

"They were good people, intelligent, serious and thoughtful. They were good eggs," he said.

 

He had fired his court- appointed lawyers during the two-day trial, a preplanned move he had insisted on so he could address the jury personally.

 

"I don't know you," he told them during closing arguments, "but you are my sisters and brothers. We're all God's children, and we have to look after one another. We have to be significant actors."

 

"Significant actors" is one of Carl Kabat's favorite expressions. It means going outside of yourself, he always says, to take positive action against that which you know to be wrong.

 

He had wanted, he explained, for one or more on the panel to see the righteousness of his cause and hang the jury.

 

"What are you going to do?" he said. "I applauded them to thank them. They had given it thought."

 

We talked for a long time, about the law and morality, him recalling a time long ago that he stepped off a bus and saw a sign.

 

"It said 'black water' and 'white water.' I kick myself to this day that I didn't take a drink of black water, even one swallow. What could they have done to me?"

 

I asked him, as I always do, if he planned yet another protest anytime soon. And for the first time ever, Carl Kabat hedged.

 

"I'm 76 years old, older than my old man when he died, so I might be living on borrowed time," he said.

 

"I might have died in prison, I might die on the way to St. Louis. Either way is OK with me. I am just going to take my life and the message day by day."

 

Bill Johnson writes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Reach him at

303-954-2763 or .

 


On December 29, 2005, I wrote:


 

Nonviolence is not so much what one believes; but what one DOES.


It is not enough to be personally nonviolent, for as Gandhi said that is not much use to society until one weds society to political action.


In a workshop I attended during Holy Land Trust's Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance, sponsored by the United Network of Young Peacebuilders [UNOY] and the Netherlands Expertise Center Alternatives to Violence I learned that we are in the United Nations Decade of Creating a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for All the Children of the World.


I also learned that America abstained from voting YES and is on the Record as stating "We cannot support this initiative as it will make it harder for us to wage war."



I immediately thought of Luke 12:48: "To whom much is given much more is required."



And it is an illusion to imagine a culture of nonviolence becoming reality without the transformation of hearts and minds by those who hold political power.



During the morning's plenary session, Jeff Halper, an American Israeli and a Significant Actor is allowed to enter Bethlehem because he holds an American Passport, remarked, "It is not enough to speak TRUTH to power because power is deaf and doesn't care.



"Our aim is to end the occupation and we must see ourselves as 'actors' in this drama. Lot's of peace activists feel marginalized, the conflict is so huge. But throughout history civil society has stood up to those in power in solidarity and caused change to occur.



"It took 90 years to abolish slavery and ending this occupation will take serious focused integrated activism and strategy...I don't care what Sharon says, the facts on the ground prove his agenda of apartheid. We have maps that document the settlement blocks and these type of educational materials allow us to think outside of the box and contradict the ideology...that denies basic human rights and universal law."







   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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