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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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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence

 

Home arrow Blog arrow May 2008 arrow May 8, 2008

May 8, 2008
WAWA Blog: May 8, 2008: They will be eating birthday cake in Israel today, but in Gaza they do not even have the fuel to cook an egg. That is, if they could even get an egg.

Today, May 8, 2008, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. A week from now, on May 15, Palestinians will commemorate Al Nakba/The Disaster/Catastrophe.

2008, is also the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, upon which Israel's very statehood was contingent upon upholding.

I hope every reader will send up a prayer for all the peoples of the Holy Land; whether it be in celebration or mourning, and fervently pray that the worlds leaders will WAKE UP and do something ASAP to rectify the injustices and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people; which is the only way to guarantee security for Israel.


A Human Rights Crime in Gaza


By Jimmy Carter
May 7, 2008
http://www.todayszaman.com


The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where 1.5 million human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world by sea, air or land. An entire population is being brutally punished.

This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority Parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers.

Israel and the US refused to accept the right of Palestinians to form a unity government with Hamas and Fatah and now, after internal strife, Hamas alone controls Gaza. Forty-one of the 43 victorious Hamas candidates who lived in the West Bank are now imprisoned by Israel, plus an additional 10 who assumed positions in the short-lived coalition cabinet.

Regardless of one's choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions in delivering water, food, electricity and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about 1 million of whom are refugees.

Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the encapsulated area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children. Prior to the highly publicized killing of a woman and her four little children last week, this pattern was illustrated by a previous report from B'Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights organization: 106 Palestinians were killed between Feb. 27 and March 3. Fifty-four of them were civilians who didn't take part in the fighting and 25 were under 18 years of age.

On a recent trip through the Middle East, I attempted to gain a better understanding of the crisis. One of my visits was to Sderot, a community of about 20,000 in southern Israel that is frequently struck by rudimentary rockets fired from nearby Gaza. I condemned these attacks as abominable and an act of terrorism, since most of the 13 victims during the past seven years have been non-combatants. Subsequently, I met with leaders of Hamas, both a delegation from Gaza and the top officials in Damascus, Syria. I made the same condemnation to them, and urged that they declare a unilateral cease-fire or orchestrate with Israel a mutual agreement to terminate all military action in and around Gaza for an extended period.

They responded that such previous action by them had not been reciprocated, and they reminded me that Hamas had previously insisted on a cease-fire throughout Palestine including both Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel had refused. Hamas then made a public proposal of a mutual cease-fire restricted to Gaza, which the Israelis considered and also rejected.

There are fervent arguments heard on both sides concerning blame for a lack of peace in the Holy Land. Israel has occupied and colonized the Palestinian West Bank, which is approximately one-fourth (28.5 percent) the size of the nation of Israel as recognized by the international community. Some Israeli religious factions claim a right to the land on both sides of the Jordan River, and others aver that their 205 settlements with some 500,000 people are necessary for "security."

All Arab nations have agreed to full recognition of Israel if it will comply with key United Nations resolutions. Hamas has agreed to accept any negotiated peace settlement between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, provided it is approved in a referendum among the Palestinian people.

This holds promise of progress, but despite the brief fanfare and positive statements at the peace conference last November in Annapolis, Maryland, a retrogression has occurred in the process. Nine-thousand new Israeli settlement housing units have been announced in Palestine, the number of roadblocks within the West bank has increased and the stranglehold on Gaza has been tightened.

It is one thing for other leaders to defer to the US on the crucial peace negotiations, but the world must not stand idle while innocent people are treated cruelly. It is time for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel and elsewhere to speak out and condemn this human rights tragedy among the Palestinian people.

* Jimmy Carter, a former president of the United States, is founder of The Carter Center, promoting peace, health and human rights worldwide.



 




Gaza improvises under siege
Report, The Electronic Intifada, 7 May 2008

JERUSALEM/GAZA, 6 May (IRIN) - Intense political divisions in the Gaza Strip have split people on most issues, except one: the situation has never been worse, nearly everyone agrees.

"I never remember Gaza being this bad," said one man in his early 40s. "Living here has become a game of survival." With fuel supplies nearly dry, many people no longer have cooking gas in their homes, leading some to search for alternative methods to make a meal.

"People now are starting to look through the garbage to find combustibles," a Gazan who works for a large international aid organization told IRIN.

"Even my colleagues have begun to search the garbage bins or the sides of the roads to find wood and plastics to burn so they can cook their food at night," he said, requesting anonymity so as to not embarrass his friends.

To add to the woes of the needy, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, has said it has been forced to stop food distribution today and is cutting back on other services it normally supplies, owing to the lack of fuel supplies. This is the second time in two weeks it has done this.

Ahmed, a taxi driver from Gaza City, said he ran out of cooking gas at home and he, his wife and their young daughter mostly eat raw vegetables and bread.

The rising cost of food has made matters worse: "Everything is more expensive, all over the world, but because of our situation of unemployment and blockade, it is even harder for us. I am afraid about how I will be able to feed my family," he said.

Lack of spare parts

He had to sell his taxi a few weeks ago as he could not find spare parts in Gaza to fix it. Only humanitarian aid and basic food supplies have been allowed into the coastal territory since the takeover by the Islamist group Hamas last June.

Like many others, Ahmed converted an older vehicle to run on cooking gas, as the Israeli sanctions on the enclave were not supposed to affect supplies of this fuel. However, since an attack on the Nahal Oz fuel crossing by Palestinian militants, imports have dwindled to just a trickle, and this too has run out.

"I don't have cooking gas for my food or my car. I paid US$350 for the conversion, and I still can't work. In the last month I have worked only three days," he said.

For others the situation has already hit rock-bottom.

"My father is unemployed so I collect garbage so I can sell it and bring home some money for my family," a young boy recently said while sifting through a bin with his younger brother. Together they manage to make $1.50-$3 a day.

Those who still have jobs -- not a given due to mounting unemployment -- tend to set their alarms earlier and earlier: without fuel for buses and taxis, let alone private cars, people can wait for hours before they manage to get a ride in the general direction of their destination. Bus and taxi fares have gone up two or three times what they were a few moths ago.

Some people have attached contraptions to motorcycles enabling them to carry four or five people, somewhat haphazardly. Others, particularly farmers, have rediscovered their donkeys, which can be a suitable mode of transportation when nothing else is available.

The UN agency for children, UNICEF has also reported a rise in the number of youths not attending school, apparently due to their inability to get there.

"Unsanitary situation"

"Our chief surgeon had to walk to the hospital when he was called for an emergency. It took him 45 minutes, as he could not get a ride," Hassan Khalaf, the head of Gaza's main Shifa hospital, told IRIN.

He has begrudgingly become accustomed to his staff showing up late and some patients saying they cannot come to the medical center at all. Furthermore, the hospital can no longer do its laundry properly as it ran out of generator fuel to run the washing machines.

"This is slowly becoming a dangerous, unhealthy, unsanitary situation," Khalaf said.

This is also an accurate description of a recent incident in which raw sewage flooded a street in downtown Gaza City, when the pump -- out of fuel -- stopped working during a power cut.

Millions of liters of sewage are still being dumped into the sea daily. The Gaza Coastal Municipality Water Utilities, responsible for the sewage, has been given 60 bicycles by UNICEF and this is set to become the primary mode of transport for the staff. Even the new Hamas police officers can be seen riding around on bicycles.

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


PLEASE Call Your Representative before May 12, 2008 to Please Sign the Price-Lahood Letter to Pres. Bush on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts

The US Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 will connect you to any office.

Message:  The Letter Offers Solutions to End the Crisis in Southern Israel and Gaza and Enable Progress on Peacemaking.

Talking Points:

I agree with Representatives Price and Lahood that the ongoing crisis in southern Israel and Gaza is undermining progress on the Annapolis process.  The President's trip next week is a crucial time to re- energize Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

The Price-Lahood letter offers sensible solutions to stabilize the Gaza situation and keep the peace negotiations on track, including a cease-fire to stop the violence and an end to the border blockade that meets Israel's security needs and provides humanitarian relief for Gaza.

As an American, I am deeply concerned about the continued Palestinian rocket attacks on the residents of southern Israel and the impact of Israeli military responses and border closures on the people Gaza.  I urge you to sign the Price-Lahood letter and help provide hope to the people of the Holy Land that peace is possible.

THE LETTER:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our deep concern over the ongoing crisis in southern Israel and Gaza. We fear that the status quo, with its constant threat of a new eruption of terror and violence, can too easily derail progress toward achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in 2008.

So far this year, nearly one thousand rockets have been fired by Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups from the Gaza Strip into Israel - intentionally aimed at residential communities in southern Israel such as Sderot, and reaching as far as the city of Ashkelon. We strongly condemn these attacks and support Israel's right to self defense.

We recognize, too, that many Palestinian civilians and children have been killed and wounded in Israel's military operations in Gaza targeted at Hamas and other militant groups. In addition, the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel in order to put pressure on Hamas is exacerbating an already grave humanitarian situation. In this climate, popular support for Hamas remains strong while the credibility of the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is weakened.

We are concerned that unless something changes, progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will continually be hampered by the violence in southern Israel and Gaza. We believe that for the peace process to be viable, solutions must be found to stabilize the Gaza situation, preserve the achievements made in peace talks, and maintain forward momentum. Without such solutions, popular support for the peace process among both Israelis and Palestinians will suffer, and moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, will be threatened.

Without doubt, any solution to the crisis in southern Israel and Gaza must include unequivocal international condemnation of the rocket attacks, including from Arab states. We support and encourage your efforts to reach such an international consensus through the appropriate forums.

Furthermore, any solution must end the Gaza blockade in a secure and timely manner, including the possible re-opening of the Egypt-Gaza border crossing under Palestinian Authority control. Any solution will need to address the smuggling of weapons and materials from Egypt into Gaza. We urge you to work actively with Egypt, Israel, and, where appropriate, the international community, to find solutions to this border challenge that address Israel's security needs, provide relief to the people of Gaza, and create a climate more conducive to a successful peace process.

Finally, we believe that any solution to the current situation should include exploration of a potential ceasefire, mediated most likely by third parties or even by President Abbas. Recent polling data suggests strong support for such measures among Israelis. In fact, a poll conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz in February 2008 found that 64% of Israelis support efforts to achieve an Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

We are not arguing for direct engagement with Hamas by Israel or the U.S. Hamas is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction. Moreover, such engagement could undermine Palestinian moderates. We also recognize the difficulties of reaching and sustaining a ceasefire, and the need to guard against a ceasefire becoming simply an opportunity for Hamas to rearm. For this reason, a ceasefire cannot be an end in itself. Rather, a ceasefire has the potential to halt the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and prevent the need for further Israeli military operations in Gaza for the immediate term. It can then create the space necessary to help keep the peace negotiations on track, to enable the return of kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, to address the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Gaza, and to facilitate improvements in the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

We strongly support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and believe their success is deeply connected to the national security interests of the United States.

As you continue your critically important efforts to achieve progress in implementing the Roadmap, including issues such as access, security, movement, and economic development in the West Bank, we urge you to consider the recommendations outlined in this letter. We look forward to working with you in your efforts to bring stability and peace to the Middle East.

Sincerely,
 
[The above was received in an email from Julie Schumacher Cohen, CMEP Legislative Coordinator, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) which is a coalition of 22 Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant church bodies and organizations that work together in pursuit of a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict where two viable states, Israel and Palestine, live side-by-side within secure and recognized borders.]



 
   
 
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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

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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



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