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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2008 arrow June 15, 2008

June 15, 2008
WAWA Blog June 15, 2008: Eye Witness reports from Hebron, the first by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, mine follows, and A Middle East Pop Quiz concludes.




WHAT IS THE UK GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DOING AS ISRAELI MILITARY TARGETS AND DESTROYS MUSLIM CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS IN HEBRON?

By Maried Corrigan Maguire


On 5th June, 2008 whilst attending Conference in Bil’in on Nonviolence, I was invited by friends, who are members of Christian Peacemakers’ team based in Hebron, to go with them to see what is happening in Hebron.

On arrival in Hebron we met with the Administrator of the Hebron Orphanages. He explained that the Israeli army is threatening to close 14 schools and orphanages in the Hebron district.  


Eight of these schools and orphanages belong to the Islamic Charitable Society, while the remaining six belong to the Muslim Youth Society.(On 26th February the Israeli army forces handed over military orders of closures and confiscations of two bakeries, administrative buildings, a warehouse, three schools and two orphanages.  All of these owned by the ICS.)

He took us to see a  newly built school owned by ICS , (cost of one million) which  was due to be opened in August, but is now closed.  The Israeli Military has welded the gates of the school closed and the reason given, as for all these closures are, ‘security’.   Beside the school we visited a large warehouse and met the caretaker.  He explained that in March the Israeli Military arrived at 3 a.m., and left at 9 a.m., they tied him up and proceeded to pack and removed all the food and clothing in the Warehouse and destroy the interior of the buildings, smashing everything in sight.  The contents of the warehouse were for the orphans and the poor and the premises run by Islamic Charitable Society.  We then visited a burn’t out bakery (there was another destroyed  Bakery but time did not permit a visit).  Again the Israeli military destroyed the entire interior, burning completely the huge baking oven.  This bakery cooked over 3,000 loaves of bread, and were subsidized by charity, to feed the orphans and poor.  


The jobs created by these Islamic Charitable projects, are gone and in the short time not able to be replaced.   We also visited a Boys’ and Girls’ Orphanage both under military orders of closure.  The ICS will challenge these closures in court, but in the meantime the Israeli military are systematically during the night, raiding and destroying the buildings.  The fear now is that the Orphanages and school will be raided and destroyed. 


In an attempt to stop this Islamic Charitable Society have invited people, including Internationals to sleep overnight in these buildings in the hope that the presence of Internationals might deter the Israeli military nightly raids of destruction.   I join 4 friends in sleeping overnight in the Girls’ Orphanage, and we were alone in this building, as the children have gone to friends for the Summer school period.  Luckily the Army did not arrive, but what will happen when there are no internationals to sleep over?


And the world sleeps while this destruction takes place.   Before our sleep-over we met local Muslims and were hosted to a beautiful meal and great kindness and gratitude for our presence.  

The outside world, for the most part, is unaware of this Israeli Government’s Policy of demonization, wilful destruction, of the Muslim Institutions, one by one, in an attempt to destroy the spirit and resilience of the Muslim Communities, not only in Hebron but throughout the illegally occupied Palestinian terrorities. 


It was for me horrific to witness, the Israeli Government, (and the USA/UK Governments’ War on terrorism), come to be played out on the streets of Hebron, against Orphan children.


(If the schools and orphanages continue to be closed down, and the military continue to destroy completely these institutions, then 7000 children will be without school and 4,500 children will be without homes).  


The excuse given is that these Islamic Institutions are a front for ‘hamas’ but the Islamic Charitable Society was established in l962, and all their financial dealings and accounting are completely open.
The money for the school and orphanages comes from local investments (they have their own businesses) from donors abroad and from Arab and Western countries (Prince Charles, through a UK Trust has donated towards these orphanages).

I was shocked and horrified to see the destruction of these Islamic Institutions. The threats of the Israeli Army (and Government) against Orphans must be loudly resisted by all of us concerned for a violent free and peaceful world for Muslim dhildren, indeed all our children. 


This behaviour is immoral, unethical and illegal and the Israeli Government should be held accountable, by the International Community, for its abuse of the rights of the children to safety and education.


As occupiers of this country they have legal obligations to protect the occupied, especially women and children. 

The United Kingdom has many questions to answer here too.  Tony Blair is based in East Jerusalem, (a few hours from Hebron, so he is well aware of this systematic wilful destruction of Islamic charitable institutions) and his brief is to help Palestinian economic reconstruction.   How ironic whilst he is suppose to be helping businesses etc., the Israeli military are in the dead of night, spreading terror and destruction of the Islamic communities.  What is Mr. Blair and the UK governments doing about this?
 
One of the things that struck me during my visit to the illegally occupied terrorities was the courage, friendliness and resilience of the Palestinian people.  But I was also conscious of the fact that so many of them are traumatized by what is happening, and in bewilderment that the outside world, is silent and inactive in face of their tremendous suffering, and blatant dispossession and persecution.  


The World must act against this ongoing destruction by Israel of the Palestinian people and their institutions, and by Israeli racist and apartheid policies, in the villages and cities of occupied Palestine, including the siege of Gaza.

All Occupations come to an end, as this one surely will, but if this occupation continues, it will begin to destroy the very soul of the Jewish people,  and leave a legacy of anger and resentment within some the Arab people, especially the young,  which will take generations to heal.

It behoves the Israeli (and International community) to awaken now to the urgency of Justice for the Palestinians, by ending the Siege of Gaza, the Occupation of Palestine, and moving to build justice and reconciliation, whilst there is still time to turn this around, and before more blood of Israeli/Palestinians brothers and sisters is shed.
 

Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace Laureate)
Hebron, in the Palestinian occupied terrorities.
5th June, 2008.
http://www.peacepeople.com




 

In June 2005, I made my first and last trip to Hebron, the most painful place I have ever been.

My guide was Jerry Levin, who in the 1980's had been CNN's Mid East Bureau Chief in Lebanon and a secular Jew. Jerry was kidnapped and held hostage by the Hezbollah for nearly a year. Shortly after he experienced a mystical Christmas Eve, and escaped unharmed, he was never the same. He became a Christian and he and his wife, Dr. Sis, have devoted themselves ever since to seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land.


 
In 2005, Jerry was a full time volunteer with CPT/Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron when he told me, "Every time I get ready to return to Palestine, everyone asks me, 'Aren't you afraid?' I reply, 'Of what, the Palestinians? No way! But when it comes to the Israelis soldiers, you bet I am!'"


In 2005, Hebron contained 450 Israeli settlers/squatters/colonists and three thousand Israeli forces. The eighteen- to twenty-one-year-olds patrolled the streets with their weapons at the ready and turned us away at one of the many checkpoints. Jerry quipped, "Most of the soldiers don't like the CPTs. Whenever they won't let us through, we just go another way, and always, eventually, get where we want to go."
 
I was nauseated the entire day for the oppression was visceral. The narrow, winding stone streets that for centuries had been trod by Palestinians were eerily empty in many areas except for the open air market street and another where apartment buildings were on one side Israeli, and the other Palestinian. The only connection to the other side of the street was a thick deeply sagging netting strung over head. Huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture, and all manner of debris had been flung upon it and I wondered if I would be underneath when it gave way.


 Jerry told me, "It gets cleaned out about every year or so. Come back in a few months, and this netting will be much closer to your head. The settlers just throw whatever they want onto the netting; they do whatever they want and get away with it. The CPT's run interference by nonviolent resistance; we get the children and woman to where they need to be going and back again. Sometimes, the settlers curse and stone us all; it keeps it interesting."


We then walked to a desolate area and Jerry pointed out all the empty and formerly Palestinian homes that the settlers had painted graffiti and Stars of David on. It was a nightmare and reality when I saw spray painted on a now empty, but formerly Palestinian home, "GAS THE ARABS."  

I told Jerry Hebron was hell on earth and he replied, "You haven't seen anything, until you see Gaza."

And that was in 2005.


Middle East Pop Quiz
by Charley Reese
http://www.antiwar.com/reese/?articleid=12955


It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world – the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.

Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?

    Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

    Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?

    Israel.

Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?

    The Arab countries and Iran.

Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?

    Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?

    Israel.

Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?

    Israel.

Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?

    Israel.


The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who's the dog and who's the tail?

Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?

    Israel.

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.

Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?

    Israel.

There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don't own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: "targeted killings." A British journalist told me once, "The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones."

What are the top five countries from which we import oil?

    Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela.

The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.

Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?

    Israel.

Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers' gift?

    Israel.

Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?

    Israel.

Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?

    Israel.

On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?

    Israel.

What country do the people in the region consider the world's biggest hypocrite?

    The United States.

Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?

    Iraq and Israel.

A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.


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

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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.
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Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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