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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2010 arrow June 5, 2010 Propaganda VS THE TRUTH and encounters with Hamas

June 5, 2010 Propaganda VS THE TRUTH and encounters with Hamas
June 5, 2010: Propaganda VS THE TRUTH and Personal Encounters with Hamas: 8:30 PM EST UPDATE @ END: Israeli Response and Turkish survivors recount horror

Ever since the FREEDOM FLOTILLA was attacked, I have been beyond grief, but never more inflamed over Zionist Propaganda as expressed here:


Flotilla Choir presents: We Con the World

And so, I repeat myself:


On October 16, 2006, while in the little town of Bethlehem: Occupied Territory, I met four newly elected Hamas members. 

 

Two had been elected to the Palestinian Parliament/PLC and two to the Municipality/local government.

 

PLC Representative, Anwer M. Zboun, lives in the Abiet refugee camp and has a Masters Degree in Physics.

 

Thirty-three year old Mahmoud Alkhatib, lives in Aida refugee camp and has obtained a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies.

 

Khaled Saada and Salah Shuka were elected to the Municipality/local government.

 

 

Anwer M. Zboun, greeted my Sabeel group in English and with a broad smile on his face stated, "We welcome you to our home and the Holy City of Bethlehem. We are suppose to be terrorists, are you afraid?"

 

We all laughed then Zboun continued earnestly, "We are a Palestinian resistance movement and we are not against any people. We are against the occupation. We want to rebuild what the occupation has destroyed."

 

"Hamas was born from the suffering of the Palestinian people and we belong to the global Muslim movement. It was on December 14, 1987 after an Israeli driver killed nine Palestinians that the first Intifada [uprising] began and the Islamic Resistance movement in Palestine was renamed Hamas.

 

"Hamas is a national liberation movement based on Shariha [Islamic Laws and Orders]. Hamas is not against any religion. We are not a terrorist movement we resist the occupation. Christians voted for us for many reasons and they know we are faithful to this cause: that God knows better than we ourselves know what is for our benefit. We do not force anyone to believe as we do. The public and private schools both teach Islam and Christianity.

 

"In November 1988 Arafat issued a birth certificate for the Palestinian State and under religion he stated: 'None.' This is because we are a secular state. As Muslims and Christians we live together peacefully and our attitude is citizenship is for everyone. Everybody should have freedom of belief, traditions and a personal life. Hamas does not propose anything that contradicts Christianity.

 

"Our slogan is: Remove Suffering for everyone. The issue of Israel is about the occupation. We have no problems with religious beliefs; our problem is that Israel is illegally occupying our land.

 

"Since March 2005, we have honored a unilateral cease-fire. But Israel martyred 200 Palestinians, injured 1,200 and has detained 3,500. Many are under the age of sixteen. In the last two weeks Israel has killed twenty-five Palestinian and yet we have maintained the cease-fire. Israel does not recognize us and recognition takes both sides.


"Abbas has stated that we do recognize Israel, but there must be clear borders and Israel does not yet have them. The PA recognized Israel ten years ago but we Palestinians are detained in an open air prison.

 

"We resist the occupation which is our right guaranteed under International Law. International Law demands Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, release the prisoners, and stop the assassinations, illegal wall and home demolitions.

 

"Hamas defines terrorism as a violation of the rights of others and their property. Bush defined terrorism as evil. We are weak with resources and our voice is not heard in the West, only the voice of America and Israel gets press. America asked us to hold democratic elections and we did. We thank everyone who was involved in our transparent and democratic elections. We did what the USA asked and now they are punishing our people. Democracies are supposed to respect and not intervene in what others want.

 

"We had democratic and transparent elections and how are we rewarded? By the EU and the USA who have cut funds to the poorest of people who live under occupation. Hamas suggested that the International community monitor all the financial aid to assure that it went to the people and not to Hamas. We offered this suggestion to the world and we have been ignored.

 

"So now we look to the Arab and Muslim world to strengthen our local infrastructure and economy and hope to bring back investors. We know there are people in Europe and America who will not allow us to go hungry.

 

"We believe aid and support are in Gods hands and not governments."

 

 

 

 

 

June 17, 2009
Hamas Sends Peace Letter to President Obama via CODE PINK

by Medea Benjamin

The Hamas government in Gaza reached out to President Obama on the occasion of his visit to the Middle East, announcing that Hamas was willing to talk to all parties “on the basis of mutual respect and without preconditions.” CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, who carried the letter out from Gaza, said that the letter represented a significant development and an effort by Hamas to present a new face to the Western world. “While Osama bin Laden used the occasion of President Obama’s visit to deliver a scathing attack, Hamas reached out to a feminist U.S. peace group to deliver a letter to Obama urging dialogue, mutual respect and adherence to international law,” said Medea Benjamin.
 
In the letter, Hamas urged Obama to visit “our ground Zero” in Gaza and bring about a “paradigm shift” in the Israel-Palestine conflict based on enlightened world opinion and international law.
 
 “This is a people who have just been subjected to a vicious attack that left over 1,300 dead and thousands wounded, and there is not a word here about armed resistance or Zionism. They are reaching out and actively seeking a resolution to the conflict based on the findings of the world’s leading international legal bodies and human rights organizations from the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. This is a major breakthrough and the U.S. government should take advantage to begin a dialogue with Hamas.”
 
The letter was signed by Ahmed Yusef, Deputy Foreign Minister and hand-delivered to Benjamin, who was in Gaza headed a 66-person delegation representing 10 nations. Benjamin and representatives of CODEPINK are delivering the letter to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today, June 4, during Obama’s visit to Egypt.
 
The text of the letter is below.
 
His Excellency President Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.

June 3rd 2009

Dear Mr. President,

We welcome your visit to the Arab world and your administration’s initiative to bridge differences with the Arab-Muslim world.
 
One long-standing source of tension between the United States and this part of the world has been the failure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
 
It is therefore unfortunate that you will not visit Gaza during your trip to the Middle East and that neither your Secretary of State nor George Mitchell have come to hear our point of view.
 
We have received numerous visits recently from people of widely varied backgrounds: U.S. Congressional representatives, European parliamentarians, the U.N.-appointed Goldstone commission, and grassroots delegations such as those organized by the U.S. peace group CODEPINK.
 
It is essential for you to visit Gaza. We have recently passed through a brutal 22-day Israeli attack.  Amnesty International observed that the death and destruction Gaza suffered during the invasion could not have happened without U.S.-supplied weapons and U.S.-taxpayers’ money.
 
Human Rights Watch has documented that the white phosphorus Israel dropped on a school, hospital, United Nations warehouse and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza was manufactured in the United States.   Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel’s use of this white phosphorus was a war crime.
 
Shouldn’t you see first-hand how Israel used your arms and spent your money?
 
Before becoming president you were a distinguished professor of law.  The U.S. government has also said that it wants to foster the rule of law in the Arab-Muslim world.
 
The International Court of Justice stated in July 2004 that the whole of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territories designated for Palestinian self-determination, and that the Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal. 
 
 
Not one of the 15 judges sitting on the highest judicial body in the world dissented from these principles. 
 
The main human rights organizations in the world, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued position papers supporting the right of the Palestinian refugees to return and compensation.
 
Each year in the United Nations General Assembly nearly every country in the world has supported these principles for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Every year the Arab League puts forth a peace proposal based on these principles for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
 
Leading human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have also stated that Israel’s siege of Gaza is a form of collective punishment and therefore illegal under international law.
 
We in the Hamas Government are committed to pursuing a just resolution to the conflict not in contradiction with the international community and enlightened opinion as expressed in the International Court of Justice, the United Nations General Assembly, and leading human rights organizations.  We are prepared to engage all parties on the basis of mutual respect and without preconditions.
 
However, our constituency needs to see a comprehensive paradigm shift that not only commences with lifting the siege on Gaza and halts all settlement building and expansion but develops into a policy of evenhandedness based on the very international law and norms we are prodded into adhering to.  
 
Again, we welcome you to Gaza which would allow you to see firsthand our ground zero.  Furthermore, it would enhance the US position; enabling you to speak with new credibility and authority in dealing with all the parties.

Very Truly Yours,
Dr. Ahmed Yousef
Deputy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry
Former Senior Political Advisor
to Prime Minister Ismael Hanniya





How the Most 'Moral' Army in the World Treats the Little Children of Palestine

 

[Occupied West Bank, July 27, 2007] Wednesday July 25th; in the right place at the right time...


After Palestinian American Professor and justice and peace activist, Mazin Qumsiyeh spoke in Beit Sahour-a suburb of Bethlehem-at Sabeel's http://sabeel.org 2nd International Youth Conference: 40 Years in the Wilderness…40 Years of Occupation…I was led to my following interviews.



On July 14, 2007, I arrived in Israel Palestine to attend some of the Sabeel Conference and to learn about the lives of children in the Holy Land to report to the non-profit PCWF/Palestinian Children's Welfare Fund. 



After Mazin addressed over 40 international youth as to the true facts on the ground in Israel Palestine, I spoke with Omar, one of the coordinators of the Sabeel event seeking a connection to any pediatrician in the West Bank who would speak with me, as my PCWF  contact person had failed to coordinate any interviews for me.



Omar was radiant as he informed me, "Oh, you are in luck! Just yesterday Dr. M. graduated with his medical degree and he is here today!"



After introductions were made Dr. M and I sat in the Bethlehem Peace Center and he told me, "This is my first Sabeel conference, I have been busy attending Al Quds University in Abu Dis. Without checkpoints I could get there in twenty minutes, four and five years ago, it would take four hours, and sometimes I was not even allowed through the checkpoint. Nowadays, I wait 10-30 minutes to get through.

 



Dr. M trained in public and private hospitals in Ramallah, Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Bethlehem and will soon begin another internship specializing in neonatal care. "They will pay me about $100.00 a month…I have been in school for six years.



 

"One  horrible case was a baby from Jericho who was referred to a hospital in Jerusalem because their local hospital could not admit them due to the strike, so he needed to get to Jerusalem for treatment, but the permission did not arrive for three days and the babies elevated bilirubin caused permanent brain damage. Because of the USA and EU sanctions for the election of Hamas, no salaries were paid and that led to the strikes in the hospitals. Full monthly salaries have just been paid for the first time since the 2006 elections. Only the emergency rooms were always open and only for severe emergencies with minimal admissions to the hospitals.



 

"In Jerusalem there is available advanced care for more complicated cases then we can treat in the West Bank. But, the permission for the patient to go there usually takes three days to a week. Most common for the children is upper respiratory infections secondary to the poor sanitation, crowded conditions and lots of people smoke inside the homes. It's illegal to smoke in the hospital for visitors, but they still do. I have seen many cases of neonatal sepsis and respiratory tract infections; and lower respiratory tract infections are the more serious. Smoking is an important risk factor for reactive airway disease and asthma. Other common problems in children in the West Bank are iron deficiency anemia, dehydration and malnutrition.

 



"Full term infants are usually in the normal range of weight and length, but many premature infants are born with many problems that become chronic. In the emergency rooms there is always a pediatric resident available as pediatric cases are significantly higher than any other age group."



 

I asked Dr. M if he could connect me with any other physicians to tell me more, and as is typical of Palestinian hospitality and graciousness towards the stranger, he immediately made a phone call that led me to my next interview.

 



 

In a private West Bank pediatric hospital, Dr. Rafat-Allawi, of Bethlehem and four General Practice residents spoke to me for the forty-five minutes that was their break time in a 116 hour week that required them to be on call at forty hour stretches. The residents were paid $1, 400.00 a month, twice what physicians are paid in the public government hospitals.



 

Dr. Zafer Al-Qaisi, is from Jerusalem, Dr. Mohammad Abu Yousef and Dr. Sufyan Amro are both from Hebron and the lone female, Dr. Ninn Hafiri is from Beit Jala.

 



Dr. Yousef: "Three days ago, I had a critical cardiac patient that required transport to Israeli hospital, as we do not have the facilities or specialists here to treat critical cases. I had to apply for a permit; permission to travel with the child in the ambulance to Jerusalem, but was refused as the Israelis claimed I was a security risk; a threat to the state of Israel."




Dr. Amro: "Yes, a threat with his stethoscope! I had a patient that was one week old with severe heart disease and needed to go to Jerusalem for emergency care. The mother, a paramedic and I traveled with the baby in the ambulance. At the checkpoint, the Israeli soldier; a female laughed and told the mother in broken Arabic, 'You cannot pass through until you admit you are a prostitute.' The mother did not understand what she was saying and why the soldiers were laughing and joking as her baby was blue, but she said what the soldier demanded and we finally were let through. I do not know what happened with that baby and this harassment at the checkpoints is not unusual. At the checkpoints it is usual to wait 3-4 hours and because Palestinian ambulances are not allowed through, we must hire Israeli ambulances for transport. They charge 1,800 shekels [ 450.00 USA dollars] and the parents cannot even make that much money in a month of work."

 



Dr. Allawi: "The other alternative from going to Jerusalem [a few miles away] is to take the children to Jordan for care, but that trip can take two days. Before the intifada, we were able to go to Jerusalem, but not since. Yesterday, I had a child in renal failure and there is no pediatric dialysis available in the West Bank. It took over twelve hours to locate a hospital in Israel to take him, but it was too late and he is dead."

 



Dr. Amro: "There are no specialists in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority pays 80 million a year to Jordan and [Israeli] Hadassah hospitals for medical care. They could build hospitals in the West Bank and train specialists here!"

 



I asked did any of them have any faith in Tony Blair and the Quartet's initiative to build Palestinian infrastructures, especially in the medical field. They all laughed and Dr. Allawi added, "We have a very weak Health Ministry and there is no state authority. In 1994, when the PA started, its aim was that Palestine would assume authority and responsibility for ourselves and the Israelis present a false front."

 



When I commented that under International Law the occupiers are responsible for the needs and requirements of the occupied, the doctors laughed again, for it is the law of the jungle that rules the Holy Land.



 

Dr. Amro: "It's a revolving door in the West Bank. We treat these babies as best we can, the parents don't have the money to pay for the medicine and milk and the babies return to the hospital every ten days."


 

Dr. Al-Qaisi: "We see lots of children with chronic metabolic disorders and there is no money to treat them properly. They should be on special milk for at least six months; we send them home with one bottle and a week's worth of milk costs 230 shekels that the parents do not have, so they eat potatoes and tomatoes and come back here."


 

The doctors see over one hundred children a day and admit a quarter of them. In the public hospitals in places like Hebron, the physicians will see five-hundred a day and admit a fourth of them also.

Dr. Al-Qaisi: "When we [resident doctors] graduate, we can't find work in the West Bank; you graduate as a GP and you stay that way because there are no facilities to train in specialties."


 

Dr. Amro: "The US Aid, the Fulbright Society; they all give food, drugs and money, but don't support further education."


 

Dr. Hafiri: "We need specialists here; this is a major disaster not having any in the West Bank."


Dr. Amro: "The politicians live in a bubble. We live in the third world, and this is a heaven hospital, the government hospitals in the West Bank are hell! If we need blood for a child, we have to get it from Jerusalem and it takes five hours! So, we are supposed to predict six hours ahead, which child will require blood stat [immediately]."  



Dr. Allawi: "There is no plan, no aim to really change this situation. The world leaders are not serious about changing the situation and really building foundations. Some of us get the opportunity to go to the US and get specialized training, but they don't come back here."



 

But, Dr. Al-Qaisi is the exception to that rule. After the meeting, he offered me a ride back to Jerusalem in his 'classic' 18 year old Peugeot.  He had come in on his day off and was on his way home after stopping at his brother's store to pick up some eggs. When he pulled back out into the congested streets, he rear ended a taxi van and dented it slightly. After a few words with the owner of the cab and apology, we were on our way; no insurance info was exchanged and no cop was called; for in Palestine, the people give each other a break.



 

Dr. Al-Qaisi pulled out his USA citizenship and told me, "In 2004, I won a green card lottery. The USA grants 55,000 green cards a year and if you pass the security checks and all the other criteria, you can get American citizenship. I went to Toledo, Ohio for a while, but I came back home, because my family is the most important thing to me. I don't care about making  a lot of money, I want to be with my family."





On July 25, 2007, I 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 informed 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 arrive in the home of one of Zechariah’s assistant’s who informs me, “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.”

 


Israeli government office links to video mocking flotilla



By the CNN Wire Staff

June 5, 2010 4:39 p.m. EDT

 

Jerusalem (CNN) -- The Israeli government's press division is apologizing for circulating a link to a video that mocks activists aboard a ship headed to Gaza earlier this week that was blocked by an Israeli raid.


"Due to a misunderstanding on our part, earlier (Friday) we inadvertently issued a video link that had been sent for our perusal," according to a statement from Israel's Government Press Office, which distributed the link to media outlets.

 

"It was not intended for general release," the statement said. "The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel."

 

The video, titled "We Con the World" -- set to the tune of the 1985 hit, "We are the World"-- was put together by Caroline Glick, a former member of the Israel Defense Forces and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

 

In the video, up to a dozen members of the so-called "Flotilla Choir" -- some wearing a variation of traditional Arab dress -- sing satirical verses, such as: "There's no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all."

 

On her blog, Glick, who briefly appears in the video, says, "We produced a clip in English. There we feature the Turkish-Hamas 'love boat' captain, crew and passengers in a musical explanation of how they con the world."

 

"We think this is an important Israeli contribution to the discussion of recent events and we hope you distribute it far and wide," she adds.

 

Nine Turkish citizens were killed Monday after violence erupted on one of six ships in a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Gaza Strip. A number of other people were wounded. Israel said the passengers initiated the attack; the passengers blamed the troops.

 

That incident drew widespread condemnation and cast a spotlight on the dynamics of the Gaza crisis. On Saturday, Israel intercepted the final boat that was part of the flotilla, though the incident aboard the Irish-owned MV Rachel Corrie ended peacefully about 22 miles off the Gaza coast.

 

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev dismissed the the video link, saying, "The GPO sends out lots of articles. It doesn't mean they like it."

 

Regev said he first noticed the video on the New York Times website.

 

"I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny," he said. "It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it. The GPO distributes non-government items, things that we think that show our side of the story."

 

It was not the first time the Israeli GPO stirred controversy with its public communications on the Gaza flotilla.

 

Prior to the storming of the Turkish ship, the GPO sent an e-mail to journalists sarcastically recommending that while covering "alleged humanitarian difficulties," journalists should dine at one of Gaza's few restaurants.

 

"We have been told the beef stroganoff and cream of spinach soup are highly recommended," the e-mail said.

 

The message included an internet link to an old promotional video for the restaurant. The e-mail drew criticism from the foreign press and pro-Palestinian activists.

 

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, GPO director Danny Seaman defended the communication, arguing that foreign media coverage of Gaza was not balanced.

 

 


Turkish survivors recount horror


Nine Turkish activists killed in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship were shot a total of 30 times and five died of bullet wounds to the head, Britain's Guardian newspaper has reported.


Preliminary autopsy results showed the men were hit mostly with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range, the Guardian said, quoting Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine which carried out the autopsies on Friday.

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught managed to speak to some of the injured activists, who are recovering in an Ankara hospital.


See it here:


http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/06/2010656545562651.html





   
 
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Love them anyway.

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Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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