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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

We who Are Wide Awake are compelled by the "fierce urgency of Now" [Rev MLK, Jr.] to raise awareness and promote the human dialogue about many of the crucial issues of our day: the state of our Union and in protection of democracy, what life is like under military occupation in Palestine, the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land, and spirituality-from a Theologically Liberated Christian Anarchist POV.

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March 10, 2008

WAWA Blog March 10, 2008: I am on a ski vacation in Utah, but also NOT- not working at the same time; for The New Fourth Estate never rests although Big Brother wishes we would: we will NOT BE SILENT! Update: Finally a Presidential Candidate is talking about Gaza

Thanks to Jewish Peace News and Abu al-Sous/Palestine Remembered for today's blog...Update with thanks to Rev. Sizer for fowarding the following, by Ralph Nader who is running for the White House as an independent candidate.

The Silent Violence of Gaza's Suffering That Candidates and Congress Ignore
By RALPH NADER.  March 9, 2008

The world’s largest prison—Gaza prison with 1.5 million inmates, many of  them starving, sick and penniless—is receiving more sympathy and protest  by Israeli citizens, of widely impressive backgrounds, than is reported  in the U.S. press.


In contrast, the humanitarian crisis brought about by Israeli government  blockades that prevent food, medicine, fuel and other necessities from  coming into this tiny enclave through international relief organizations  is received with predictable silence or callousness by members of  Congress, including John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The contrast invites more public attention and discussion.


Israel has militarily occupied Gaza for forty years. It pulled out its  colonials in 2005 but maintained an iron grip on the area  controlling  all access, including its airspace and territorial waters. Its F-16s and  helicopter gunships regularly shred more and more of the areas—public  works, its neighborhoods and inflict collective punishment on civilians  in violation of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the International Red Cross declares, citing treaties establishing  international humanitarian law, “Neither the civilian population as a  whole nor individual civilians may be attacked.”


According to The Nation magazine, the great Israeli human rights  organization B’Tselem, reports that the primitive rockets from Gaza,  have taken thirteen Israeli lives in the past four years, while Israeli  forces have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in the occupied  territories in the past two years alone. Almost half of them were  civilians, including some 200 children.


The Israeli government is barring most of the trucks from entering Gaza  to feed the nearly one million Palestinians depending on international  relief, from groups such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency  (UNRWA). The loss of life from crumbling health care facilities,  disastrous electricity cutoffs, gross malnutrition and contaminated  drinking water from broken public water systems does not get totaled.  These are the children and their civilian adult relatives who expire in  a silent violence of suffering that 98 percent of Congress avoids  mentioning while extending billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel annually. UNRWA says “we are seeing evidence of the stunting of children, their  growth is slowing.” Cancer patients are deprived of their chemotherapy,  kidney patients are cut off from dialysis treatments and premature  babies cannot receive blood-clotting medications.


The misery, mortality and morbidity worsens day by day. Here is how the  commissioner-general of UNRWA sums it up, “Gaza is on the threshold of  becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of  abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and-some would  say-encouragement of the international community.”


Amidst the swirl of hard-liners on both sides and in both Democratic and  Republican parties, consider the latest poll (February 27, 2008) of  Israelis in the highly respected newspaper—Haaretz: “Sixty-four percent  of Israelis say the government must hold direct talks with the Hamas  government in Gaza toward a cease-fire and the release of captive  soldier Gilad Shalit. Less that one-third (28 percent) still opposes  such talks. An increasing number of public figures, including senior  officers in the Israeli Defense Forces’ reserves have expressed similar  positions on talks with Hamas.”


Hamas, which was created with the support of Israel and the U.S.  government years ago to counter the Palestine Liberation Organization  (PLO), has repeatedly offered cease-fire proposals. The Israeli prime minister rejected them, notwithstanding “a growing  number of politicians and security offices who are calling for Israel to  accept a cease-fire,” according to Middle East specialist, professor  Steve Niva.


There is a similar contrast between the hardline Bush regime, the  comparably hardline Democrats in Congress, and a recent survey by the  American Jewish Committee (itself often hawkish on Israeli actions  toward the Palestinians) of American Jewry.


If Democrats and Republicans were serious about peace in the Middle  East, they would showcase the broad joint Israeli and Palestinian peace  movements. These efforts now include the over 500 courageous Israeli and  Palestinian families who have lost a loved one to the conflict and who  have joined forces to form the Parents Circle - Bereaved Families Forum. Together, these families are expanding a non-violent initiative to push  for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Even though some of the  families have visited the United States, their efforts are almost  unknown even to U.S. observers of that area’s turmoil.


A new DVD documentary titled Encounter Point (see recounts the activities and passion of these  Palestinian and Israeli families steeped in the peace philosophies of  Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.


Do you think members of Congress will give them a public hearing? A  meeting? It would be worth asking your members of Congress to do so.


One morning, in 1992, when I was working on the staff of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, we received notice from our contacts in Gaza of a new tactic adopted by the Israeli armed forces. After numerous court cases had stalled (though not prevented) their use of home demolitions in retaliation for Palestinian individuals' alleged involvement in attacks against Israelis, the army experimented with the following alternative: claim that persons wanted for perpetrating alleged attacks are hiding in their family homes, notify the families (at about 5am) that they must evacuate immediately and use tanks to shell the homes, supposedly in order to "flush out" the wanted persons. At the time, this was a highly significant development because it trashed even the meager (and in hindsight largely misplaced) hope of defending human rights through recourse to Israel's High Court of Justice.

After formulating a press release, we spent the day negotiating with the Hebrew press, trying to get it to report this information coming only from Gazan sources (which we knew to be reliable). One of our contacts, at the news desk of a major evening paper, was closely related to a government minister and she immediately called him to verify. His answer was brief and dismissive: "I don't believe it." Not only did the paper shelve the item but over the next few days it did not report on any of the  developments following the shelling which---in this newspaper's version of reality---had never taken place.

In the following piece from Haaretz, Gideon Levy describes the version of reality currently being produced by Israel's media, one which is totally devoid of direct reports from the Gaza Strip.

For me, in 1992, knowing and understanding what was really going on meant finding, following and assessing an array of alternative sources. While Levy is totally justified, in my view, for exposing and condemning the passive and perhaps criminal collusion of Israel's media, many non-government and alternative organizations continue today, as then, to publicize directly what the established media fails to report. Aside from giving a sense of the slanted UN-reality presented by Israeli media coverage and consumed by most Israelis, Levy's article underlines the importance of the wide scope of activism collecting, reporting and transmitting systematically hidden information.

-Rela Mazali

Racheli Gai added:

It's very common (almost a cliche) to point out how open Israeli newspapers are, and how so much stuff which one dares not mention in the U.S., for instance, gets discussed in mainstream Israeli media. While this has a grain of truth - it's mostly limited to opinion pieces, and - as Levy's piece shows - isn't particularly true of ongoing coverage (or lackthereof) of the "facts on the ground".

Twilight Zone / A great darkness has fallen

By Gideon Levy
Last update - 23:35 08/03/2008 

Operation Warm Winter ended without a single Israeli journalist setting foot on the Gaza side of the Erez border crossing with Israel. Even the military correspondents, who usually recount the brave acts of our forces from inside their jeeps and armored vehicles, were not taken this time to report on the raids in Jabalya and Sajiyeh. A handful of other correspondents, those who are still interested in what the Israel Defense Forces leaves behind after its campaigns of killing and destruction, stayed home. They have been holed up in their houses for over a year and a half already.

Don`t believe the microphones you sometimes see in TV reports on Gaza, adorned with the logo of the Israeli television channels. They are meant only to deceive us. Don`t believe the meager reports in the press from Gaza that are written by Israeli correspondents. They are all done by phone, with all the limitations that involves. Not one local journalist, neither Jewish or Arab, neither Shlomi Eldar nor Suleiman al-Shafi, neither Amira Hass nor this writer, has passed through the Erez terminal since the end of November 2006.

The press in Israel is under a major blackout: The IDF is not allowing it to do its job. Gaza, an hour-and-a-half drive from Tel Aviv, is outside the range of journalistic coverage. Daring Israeli correspondents have traveled to Iraq and Lebanon, Syria and Iran, to report to their readers what is happening there - but not to Gaza. It`s as though the Strip, which is central to our diplomacy and security, and where everything that happens affects the Negev and the rest of the country, has been declared a closed military zone, as though it were beyond the Mountains of Darkness.

We were in the refugee camp in Jenin during the height of Operation Defensive Shield, we were in Bethlehem when it was besieged, we were in Gaza when armed gangs walked around on every street corner, we were in Beit Hanun when Israel shelled it with artillery, we were in the home of Salah Shehadeh the day after the one-ton bomb was dropped on it, we were in the house of the paralyzed girl on a respirator, Maria Aman, the day after most of her family was killed by a criminal missile. One stormy summer`s day IDF soldiers even fired at our car in Tulkarm. But we haven`t been in Gaza for months.

This blackout on the actions of the IDF and the Shin Bet security services, and the fact that the Israeli press is forbidden to cover what is happening in the Strip, has been accepted with exemplary silence. The press bowed its head, submissive and obedient, as in the bad old days when it maintained other disgraceful silences, from Qibya to Kafr Qasem.

Was it too much to expect some signs of protest on the part of the media regarding the ongoing closure, whose end is not in sight? Should it accept as self-evident the explanations of the defense establishment to the effect that it is `dangerous` in Gaza and that there are warnings about journalists being kidnapped? Can anyone determine that Nablus, which can still be covered, for example, is less dangerous? How much less? And why not close the West Bank to coverage as well, and forget about journalism?

Doesn`t the powerful press have means of democratic protest at its disposal, to use to fight the evil decree? Apparently this decree is not evil in the eyes of most leading media figures. A rare coalition, almost wall to wall, seems to be very pleased with Gaza being closing off to coverage: When the readers don`t want to read, the government and t defense establishment don`t want things to be read or broadcast, and the reporters, editors and publishers don`t want to anger anyone either.

 They are all very pleased with the fact that Gaza is beyond the pale. Thus Israel has covered its eyes and looked away from what is happening on the other side of the fence, and a great darkness has fallen on the abyss.

The exclusion of Gaza from Israeli coverage is critical. Just when millions of viewers and readers the world over are having their perception of the country shaped by the terrible pictures being broadcast from Gaza, occasionally in an exaggerated manner, they are witnessing an almost total absence of coverage from the Israeli side. It is one thing to hear or read that the IDF killed, assassinated and prevented some action, and another thing to see the results on the ground. Someone - and it must be an Israeli journalist - also has to reach the stricken and bleeding places after the missile has fallen, the shell has landed, the bulldozer has destroyed, the water has run out, the fuel is finished and the electricity is turned off. Someone has to tell the Israeli reader that when the IDF announces that it dropped a bomb on `unoccupied huts,` as it did the day after the assassination of Shehadeh, it was in fact a house of several stories filled with residents, including many children.

The need to see and to know the results of Israel`s activity in Gaza as well as the terror of the Qassams, in which the local press incessantly wallows, does not have to be related to one`s political views - not at all. The need to know should be a natural need for both the right and the left. Yes, sometimes it is not easy to look at the results of our actions, but if we don`t know what has gone on, how will we judge and assess? Do we accept the idea that an average newspaper reader in Oslo and a TV viewer in London will see more than we do about what is being done in our name? Is it enough to cover Sderot while blatantly ignoring what is happening in Gaza, in order to satisfy the needs of the wise media consumer?

But the prevention of Israeli coverage of Gaza and the acquiescence of most local media to this situation, with almost no sign of protest, are only one part of the picture, the less serious part. The deliberate covering of our eyes has gone even further this time.

This past Sunday something important happened. Part of the local, popular press that shapes mass opinion - the Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv dailies, to be specific - decided that the killing of over 60 residents of Gaza in one day by our soldiers is not a story. The proof: There is no mention of it, not even implied, on the first pages of these two newspapers, their obvious showcase.

One`s eyes refused to believe it. Not a single word. Maariv`s first page showed a huge picture of a wounded IDF fighter, a threatening headline stating, `In the cross hairs: Hamas` leaders,` plus information about the number of Qassam and Grad missiles that fell on Sderot and Ashkelon, and a promise: `It`s not war yet.` As if to say: We`re only in the `promo` stage. Only on the margins of page 3, in tiny letters, was there a first mention: About 95 Palestinians killed since Wednesday. A first picture of the killing and the outcry in Gaza on page 6.

Yedioth goes even further, as if to say: Everything that Maariv can do, we can do better. Not a word on the first page about the dozens of Palestinian dead. Only a huge picture of a wounded soldier being evacuated by helicopter (when in Gaza the ambulances do not even have gas to allow them to evacuate their wounded). The headline: `Hundreds of fighters deep in Gaza,` a promise that `this is not `the` major operation,` a confession from the mother of one of the two soldiers who were killed (`I dreamed that they were informing me that my son had been killed`), and the number of rockets landing in Sderot and Ashkelon. The first mention of Palestinian dead appeared only on the margins of page 3, in small letters.

`A city without defenses` - that is, of course, Ashkelon. There is nothing else in the region, and not a single picture, please note, not a single image in Yedioth of the killing and suffering in Gaza in all the pages of the newspaper - except for a tiny photo of a demolished house. Among all the photos of Sderot and Ashkelon, the heart-rending confessions and the human-interest reportage about the fear and the relatively light destruction in these two cities, there was no room to print even one photo of bleeding Gaza? Of one wounded child? Of one fearful mother, as in Sderot? One picture that would illustrate to some degree, at least, the dimensions of the mass killing we have sowed? One picture like those that adorned the first pages of most of the newspapers in the world that day? No. Not here. Not in `the newspaper of the country.`

These two newspapers now boast new, relatively young and promising editors. The days of Rafi Ginat at Yedioth and Amnon Dankner at Maariv are over. Instead we have highly regarded editors who give us reason for hope: Shilo De-Beer at Yedioth, and Doron Glazer and Ruti Yuval at Maariv. What did they think when they opened their papers on Sunday morning? That this is professional journalism?

That this is the proper service they owe their readers? That they don`t deserve to see with their own eyes at least a hint of what happened in Gaza?

This is how one shapes the opinions of the public - and also how one brainwashes it. Penetrating op-eds convince the already convinced, and only the flow of information determines one`s awareness. The local popular press, almost free of censorship, highly professional and in part also selling well, opted for the gravest thing of all: self-censorship, of the kind that will never arouse any signs of opposition.

One day, when the historian or researcher burrows in the archives of these newspapers and tries to understand what happened here, he won`t be able to understand a thing. He will only know that we had a press here that betrayed its role.

Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Shlensky
Alistair Welchman

Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, go to

Why Palestinians fight for their rights? 

I am often asked by many Westerners and Zionists:

Why Palestinians fight the peace loving Israeli?

Why all this terrorism against the innocent Jews who suffered centuries of persecution?

In details, we have replied to these questions and more at our popular Zionists Frequently Asked Questions. In that respect, it is worth noting what David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldman before he died:
"I don't understand your optimism.," Ben-Gurion declared. "Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it's simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipes us out".

"But how can you sleep with that prospect in mind," I broke in, "and be Prime Minister of Israel too?"
Who says I sleep? he answered simply. (The Jewish Paradox by Nahum Goldman, p. 99)

New Jewish immigrants looting Palestinian houses (Ein Karim-1949)

I agree with many thing Ben-Gurion said in this quotes, especially about him having sleepless nights; thieves do not sleep well. As usual thieves are always afraid of retribution, they're always worried; they're captivated with fear which is exactly how the average Israeli feels. On the other hand, Palestinians and Arabs may disappoint him about couple of things:

It has been three generation since Nakba, and Palestinians still hold on to their looted homes' keys (inside Israel) more than ever. It has become an honor to inherit that key from one generation to another.

Ben-Gurion will be amazed how many Zionist Arab leaders (several of them Palestinian leaders) are ready to sell Palestinian rights so they can retain their positions of power and financial gains. Any person around the world has the right to defend his home and family when attacked, however, in the West a Palestinian does not have that right despite that his home and farms were stolen by Holocaust survivals. Westerners (especially Europeans) for centuries took turns gang rapping their Jewish citizens, and because of that their guilty conscious burns them from the inside out. This guilty conscious (beside the powerful Zionists lobby) are the reasons why the West covers up Israeli war crimes and continues to paint Israeli apartheid as "the only democracy in the Middle East". Somebody else has to pay for their crimes against their Jews so long it is not a Westerner who pays the price; this way they can sleep well at night.

History will tell that not only the West have wronged Palestinians by making them pay for their crimes, but also they have wronged their Jewish citizens twice: Once for the many Holocausts they have committed against their Jews, and the second for locking them into an endless struggle with stubborn Arabs who will not sell their rights for any price.

Our DATE is 59 years LATE, we shall return.


Abu al-Sous (Salah Mansour)
Chicago - USA


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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

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

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

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

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

© 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 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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