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Home arrow Blog arrow January 2008 arrow January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008
WAWA Blog January 17, 2008: Bad News, good and bad news reporting on Gaza, words of wisdom from SABEEL, Dorothy/New Profile, and WAWA

The following are from email's from Dorothy in Israel, SABEEL's WAVE of Prayer and I repeat myself:

Sabeel Wave of Prayer Thursday, January 17, 2008
 
We pray for the people of Gaza during this latest Israeli military incursion. Twenty three Palestinians have been killed in the last two days including the three members of the Yazji family who car was hit by a misdirected missile.  We mourn the loss of life and pray that the Israeli government will remember the promises made last week during Bush's visit that everyone here should make every effort to move the peace process forward with negotiations rather than military might.

We pray for those around the world who risk persecution and imprisonment in order to speak truth to power. We offer thanks for the results of Mordechai Vanunu's recent court appearance. Mordechai was not sentenced to jail time for talking to foreign journalists, but was instead ordered to perform community service.

We pray for our upcoming Sabeel programs that will begin our year of commemorating the Nakba of 1948. We lift in prayer the upcoming young adult trip to Haifa and to destroyed villages in the North, and the Sabeel visioning meeting that will take place in Nazareth next week. We hope that these events will help create a framework for a year of memory and remembrance, and pray that this is a year not only of looking towards the past but of moving towards a future of justice, peace, and reconciliation.

We raise les Amis de Sabil in France and their new organizational structure in prayer. We thank God for their commitment to seeking a just peace in Palestine and Israel.



By the sixth century before Christ, the conflicts in the land were already old news, and Jeremiah warned the people that all God could see was violence and destruction. Sickness and wounds were all around...For every misunderstanding, every condemning thought, every negative vibration, every tear torn from a heart, every time one grabbed and wouldn't let go, and they only did it because they did not know. The Divine is within all creation and within all women and men.

And every tiny kindness you have ever done, every gentle word spoken, every time you held your tongue, every positive thought, every smile freely given, every helping hand that opens, helps bring in the kingdom. And the kingdom comes from above and the kingdom comes from within.

 IMAGINE a kingdom of sisterhood of all creatures and all men.-WAWA


FROM ISRAEL:


Dear All,

 

My first reaction to hearing (on the radio) the news about Daniel Barenboim receiving a Palestinian passport and citizenship and his reaction to both was ‘how wonderful; would that more Israelis do the same’—i.e., accept Palestinian citizenship, if invited to do so.

 

But after a moment I realized that something was wrong: Palestine is not a state, and therefore cannot have citizens.  It cannot even have residents without the ok of Israel.  This is a result of the Oslo agreements.  They were greatly beneficial for Israel, because through them Israel rid itself of all responsibility towards Palestinians.  Health care, education, and all the rest were now the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, even though the military occupation had not ended.

 

One sole item, however, remained in Israeli hands: residency rights.  How Arafat ever agreed to this when signing the Oslo agreements, I do not understand.  What country in the world allows another nation to decide who can/cannot reside within its territory?  Nevertheless, such is the state of affairs, as Amira Hass relates below.

 

In practical terms this means (among other things) that people of Palestinian descent, but who for one reason or another have lost their right to live in Palestine, are at Israel’s mercy whether they may enter or not.  Thus a few months ago I wrote you about the man (a brother of a personal Palestinian friend of mine) who had been born in Palestine but had lived for years abroad, tried for 3 months to obtain a visa (from Israeli authorities) to visit his terminally ill mother, and with help from others, but did not receive it until 10 days after his mother had been buried.  I could relate numerous other similar cases, and worse.  Only yesterday I learned of a Palestinian who suffered a heart attack and died last week when he was denied entry.

 

But then, who cares about Palestinians?  Not Israel and not many Israelis.  Thus treating them like dirt is of small consequence.  Today a young woman (21 years old) was released from prison after serving a year (of course she had been charged, but that does not mean that the charge was justified or true).  Her older sister and family are close friends. The family had tried to learn where she would be taken to upon her release and at what time she would arrive there.  After not succeeding to obtain the information, they appealed to me for help.  Try as I might, it was impossible to acquire this information. I spoke to several human rights organizations, each of which said it could not help me.  I spoke to 4 different ‘desks’ at the prison (a 5th did not answer), having been informed at each that it was the wrong ‘desk.’  Finally a female voice at the prison told me that this information was unavailable, because, ‘suppose the prison gave it out, and the person who requested it wanted to kill the person released, wouldn’t that be terrible?’  I suppose so.  But why can’t the prison advise the family, or at least advise the PA, which then could advise the family?  Eventually I found out from a lawyer that normally prisoners are dropped off at the Tul Karem checkpoint.  The family waited there from morning till about 4:00 PM.  Finally the young woman arrived.  The family was so ecstatic to see her, they did not complain.  But why is it necessary to treat people in this manner!  And this attitude is not restricted to Palestinians, as the second item below reveals (i.e., “State: Israeli residents' endurance to rocket fire must be enhanced”).

 

Jews everywhere should be made aware of Israel’s attitude towards the security and well-being of its citizens!  While on the one hand the Israeli military and government (two hands of the same body) endanger the lives of Israeli citizens by incursions into Gaza and the West Bank, the citizens are told to improve their endurance to rocket fire and perhaps worse!  Is this the safe harbor that is supposed to furnish security for Jews in danger?  In point of fact, Jews are safer almost anywhere else in the world than in Israel, as the 2nd item reveals.

 

Dorothy

 

Ha’aretz Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Last update - 03:56 16/01/2008
Honorary citizenship of the moon

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/945076.html

By Amira Hass


"Daniel Barenboim, the world-renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has received Palestinian citizenship" and a Palestinian passport, the Haaretz English edition reported on Monday, using a Reuters story. The Ynet version said that the Palestinian Authority had granted Palestinian citizenship to Barenboim, whereas The New York Times reported that the Argentinian-born Israeli pianist and conductor had agreed to accept Palestinian citizenship and an honorary Palestinian passport.

The passport was given at the conclusion of a concert in Ramallah, in appreciation of the way (and this is the present writer's version) in which Barenboim has for years linked musical initiatives to his clear opposition to the Israeli occupation; of his willingness to come and visit Ramallah at a time when most Israelis see it as a bastion of terror; and of the way in which he became friendly with prominent Palestinians who were not popular with most Israelis, like Edward Said.

He received citizenship, he agreed to receive citizenship, citizenship was granted. What difference does the wording make? It could just as well have said that the PA granted Barenboim citizenship of the moon, since the PA has no authority to grant citizenship (or in its more correct definition: Palestinian residency) to anyone. Not to Yasser Arafat, not to Mahmoud Abbas and not to an 80-year-old refugee woman who lives in Ein el Hilweh in Lebanon and continues to miss the almond tree that her grandfather planted in the village of Lubia (today's Kibbutz Lavi).

Arafat and Abbas, like several thousand other Palestinian Liberation Organization activists who returned to Israel in 1994, received their "Palestinian citizenship" and their Palestinian ID card (written in Arabic and Hebrew), because Israel permitted it. Because an Israeli civil administration clerk in the typed their details into the computer of the Israeli Interior Ministry, so that the ministry would permit the Palestinian Interior Ministry to print the ID card in its printing house, so that the data would appear on the computer screen of the last of the soldiers at the smallest of checkpoints.

The PA has no power to grant Palestinian residency to those who were born in pre-1948 Mandatory Palestine, nor does it have the power to grant residency to those born after 1948, within the borders of the State of Israel. It does not even have the power to restore residency to about 400,000 people who were born in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after 1948, and Israel did everything possible over the years so that they would lose their right of residency: It issued injunctions limiting their right to stay abroad, prevented their return from abroad in time, did not take into account those who were not present during the population census of August 1967.

Tens of thousands of them are living today in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in their homes, in their villages, but without official papers: They had temporary travel documents from various Arab countries when they went to study or work abroad. They returned to their homes as tourists. The temporary documents are no longer valid, and they are prisoners for all extents and purposes in their cities of residence. If they are caught at the checkpoints they will be expelled. Only through an exhausting process of "family reunification," which is controlled by Israel, can several of them become "citizens" of their homeland. During the past seven years only recently has the process been approved, for about 3,500 people, out of at least 65,000 in a similar situation.

The PA does not even have the power to change the residential address from Gaza to Ramallah unless an official in the Civil Administration (and behind him a member of the Shin Bet security services, and behind them the Israeli interior and defense ministries) approves. So does the "PA grant citizenship to Barenboim"?

In spite of the wealth of information published in recent years, especially in Haaretz, about Israel's control of the Palestinian Population Registry, the facts are not absorbed. The PA is seen as a "state" with the sovereign right to grant "citizenship." For Israelis in particular it is hard to understand the extent of our domination over the Palestinians: After all, every Jew in the world has a right to come to Israel, and within a few days to become an Israeli citizen and to live not only in Israel proper but in any illegal settlement and any illegal and unauthorized outpost.

 




Ha’aretz Wednesday, January 16, 2008

 
State: Israeli residents' endurance to rocket fire must be enhanced

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/945424.html


 By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent


The State Prosecution told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday that it was more imporant to enhance Sderot residents' endurance toongoing rocket fire than to reinforce homes in the area.

The prosecution's statement came in response to a petition of 30 Sderot residents, who demand reinforcing 800 homes in the western Negev town so that they would be able to sustain Qassam strikes.

Meanwhile, over 40 Qassam rockets and three mortar shells struck the western Negev on Wednesday.

On behalf of the State Prosecution, attorney Dina Silber claimed that "since other parts of Israel are already, or will be in the near future, subject to rocket fire - Qassams, Katyushas, shells or mortars - the state could not afford to work under the false impression that this policy would be applicable to the Sderot area only."

Silber also said that "the question that the government should address and focus on is that of the stamina of the residents in confrontation areas. Their endurance, and not reinforcement of houses, is the main feature of the issue at hand; reinforcement is all but one element of the protection of the home front against rocket fire."

The state also maintains that if a decision to reinforce Sderot houses is taken it will send "shockwaves" that would "constitute a significant precedent as to homes in numerous other parts of the country, which are or soon will be subject to rocket fire."

On 23 December the cabinet approved an anti-missile system, Iron Dome, and on 6 January it approved an aid program for communities bordering on the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset plenum on 27 December that in the course of January NIS 50 million will be allocated to "enhance the resilience of the residents of communities bordering on the Gaza Strip," by means of reinforcing houses and public buildings.







Dear Alixia,

Has it occurred to you that there was a period of relative quiet prior to the IOF attack, and that the military leaders and government knew very well that by their incursion and killing that they would provoke an attack on Sderot and the surrounding areas?  Blame Olmert, Barak, and their fellow kind.  And also blame the Americans for supplying Israel with military equipment that make it the 4th most powerful military in the world!  We need peace, not arms. And yes peace is possible, if Israel's leaders will someday prefer lives to expansion.

Dorothy
 


    From: Alixia

    Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 5:34 PM
    Subject: More than 40 Qassams fired at Sderot Tuesday

    More than 40 Qassams fired at Sderot Tuesday, bomb shelters opened; meanwhile, more social workers, psychologists dispatched to help residents.
 
   http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3494754,00.html
 
    While continuous terror from the Hamas-controlled territory remains a serious threat to Israeli lives in the western Negev, it hardly rates a mention in day-to-day coverage of the region, resulting in shoddy, one-sided journalism.

    A snapshot of reports from some international media exposes some of the worst offenders:

        * Incredibly, The Scotsman
http://news.scotsman.com/world/Hamas-chief39s-son-among-19.3675814.jp


failed to acknowledge the latest Qassam barrage at all, while at the same time omitting the crucial detail that the majority of those Palestinians killed in the Israeli raid were armed Hamas terrorists.

        * The Times of London
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/
world/middle_east/article3191814.ece

also muddied an otherwise good piece of reporting by not giving enough detail regarding the nature of the Palestinian casualties.


        * In a dreadful case of moral equivalence, The Daily Telegraph's http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=
TFWOL5CABJX2ZQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=
/news/2008/01/15/wisrael115.xml


Tim Butcher makes it clear just how lightly he perceives the suffering of Israeli civilians targeted by Palestinian missiles:

        Fewer than a dozen Israelis have been killed by the rocket fire in recent years, while hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in reciprocal attacks.

  The AFP
     http://afp.google.com/article/
ALeqM5igIL-D8W66aiyhU4TOpyxDMxtMew


barely acknowledged the issue of Qassams while the BBC
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/
2/hi/middle_east/7188807.stm


muddled the situation even further, leaving the mistaken impression that Sderot had been spared from attack for many months:

        Hours after the Gaza City raid Hamas claimed to have fired 17 mortars at two small border crossings with Israel and three rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot, the first time in several months that Hamas has targeted the town.

    Of course, while Hamas may not have taken credit for recent Qassam attacks up until Tuesday, it has given its blessing to any number of Palestinian terror groups willing to fire missiles into Israel on a daily basis.

        *
          While the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/
news/nationworld/world/
la-fg-gaza16jan16,1,2280265.story?coll=
la-headlines-world&ctrack=4&cset=true


got that piece of information right, it managed to bury all mention of the Qassams right at the bottom of its extensive coverage of Tuesday's violence.
        *
          The prize, however, for media distortion and sheer idiocy goes to the UK's Mirror. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories
/2008/01/16/israel-kills-19-in-gaza-bloodbath-89520-20287040/


 Headlining the story "Israel kills 19 in Gaza bloodbath", this tabloid newspaper would have served its uninformed readers better by not covering the story at all. Instead, the entire issue is neatly summed up in the space of two paragraphs:

        Tanks and helicopter gunships pounded the region in the bloodiest fighting since Hamas militants took over in June. Leader Mahmoud Zahar's son Hussam, 24, was one of 19 killed in the attack, which may have scuppered planned peace talks.

        A farmer in Israel was shot dead by a Hamas sniper and the group launched rockets over the border.

    How's that for context?

   
 
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