Comment la Palestine est devenue la terre d’Israël


Carlos Latuff
The Jewish (zionists) claim that Israel belongs to them based on the Bibical claim that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants.
The Palestinians claim it belongs to them by the simple fact of their continuous residence repeated through birth and possession going back to the earliest Canaanites and even those people living there before recorded history.
These arguments have been heard throughout recent history, with more support given to the Jewish claim through the efforts of the Lobby in the States and constant support from most of the western governments. The Palestinians do not have a Lobby on their side, they rely on fairness in the press to present their side of the ’story’. This does not happen often, but there is a growing number of resources that do present their views and in many cases support them as well. CounterPunch has been constant in this since its inception in 1994.
The following is the latest example of the support I speak of….

Partition and Theft
How Palestine Became Israel’s Land

For Palestinians, theirs is not the land of conquest, but the land of their roots going back to time immemorial. Such a lineage does not rely on a biblical promise like the Jewish claim that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants, and is therefore, the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel. It belongs to the people of Palestine by the simple fact of their continuous residence repeated through birth and possession going back to the earliest Canaanites and even those people living there before recorded history. They were there when the Israelites invaded the land, occupied it, and held it intermittently as wave after wave of other conquerors came and went, and they were still there when the Romans put an end to Jewish Palestine by destroying Jerusalem in 135AD. If a religious basis is sought, then the Palestinians can lay claim to being the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael who is regarded the forefather of the Arabs. But actually, Palestinian rights are enshrined in the universally accepted principle that land belongs to its indigenous inhabitants. Thus, the modern day struggle for this land by European Jewish immigrants who have no connection with Palestine other than through their religion is a colonial enterprise that seeks sovereignty for an “external Jewish population” to the exclusion of the indigenous Palestinians who, regardless of faith–Jewish, Christian or Muslim–have lived together for centuries.

Although eager to accept the UN Partition Plan of 1947 which recommended that 56% of the land be set aside for a Jewish State, 42% for an Arab state and 2% for an internationalised Jerusalem and its surrounds, the world has not said a word about the land that was seized by Zionist terrorists before the State of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948. Through a series of shocking massacres, the territory assigned to the Jews suddenly became 77% resulting in more than 750,000 Palestinians being forcibly expelled and dispossessed of their homes, personal property and their homeland. The Jewish State then came into being without waiting for the United Nations Commission – prescribed in the Partition resolution – to hand authority progressively over to the Jewish and Arab leaders for their respective states.

And after the 1948 war, Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in contravention of its internationally-recognised status of corpus separatum–a status that is still recognised. Effectively, the new state of Israel was not only created in violation of, it continued to violate, the very resolution which Israelis now look to as giving them sovereignty. The Arab state imposed by the UN Partition Plan without consultation and in contradiction to the UN charter – which should have upheld the majority indigenous Palestinians’ right to self-determination – has since been deliberately and methodically whittled away by Israel, leaving nothing but isolated non-contiguous parcels of land to some 4 million Palestinians.

Around 170,000 Palestinians remained in what became Israel, the largest number of whom resided in the Galilee area, originally a designated part of the Arab state under the Partition Plan. These Palestinians also became the victims of Israel’s land grab policy. Over 438,000 acres, which was more than the total Jewish land holdings at the time, were confiscated and a further 400,000 acres were marked for confiscation. After Israel won the 1967 war, the total territory of Palestine came under Israel’s rule. It annexed East Jerusalem, despite the Holy City’s internationally recognised status and began implementing its Jewish settlement program with a vengeance. The Palestinians in Israel were increasingly aware of their precarious position politically and declared a national strike, known as “Land Day” on 30 March 1976 against Israel’s continuing ruthless land expropriation. An affinity was quickly felt between Palestinians everywhere and “Land Day” was adopted as a sort of national Palestinian day which is commemorated by Palestinians and their supporters around the world each year. This awakening of national consciousness had an unequivocal political message: end the occupation and allow self-determination of the Palestinians in a sovereign state living in peace side by side with Israel.

Thirty-one years later, the message is till resonating, but the Palestinians are further away from seeing a solution than ever before. Daily, Israel is taking a bit of land here and a bit of land there, to make all of Palestine “Israel’s Land”. The problem then will be, what to do with 5 million Palestinians with no land? There are only a few possible, but criminal solutions – transfer, collective imprisonment, apartheid, and/or ethnic cleansing. Alternatively, Israel can disengage from the West Bank to the 1967 borders or agree on a single, democratic state for all. Without a just solution, the struggle for Palestine’s land will continue.

Sonja Karkar is the founder and president of Women for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
In 2006 six hundred and sixty (660)were killed. The total figure was 683 of whom 660 were Palestinians. Of the 660 Palestinians, 141 were minors. 23 Israelis, including one minor, were killed in the same period of time.
So five more years would only be another 3,300 more dead.
Does Olmert really believe an entire nation is as stupid as he is? FIVE MORE YEARS OF MURDER???? NO WAY!!!!!
صلح Pax سلام שלום Pace Hasîtî Barış 和平 Мир Peace Mir Friede Paix
The following is from today’s Guardian….
Olmert says peace deal possible within five years

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, yesterday cautiously welcomed the renewed Arab peace initiative and said it would be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians within five years.
But in a series of interviews published yesterday in the Israeli press Mr Olmert also said there would be no negotiation over the question of refugees and that, for now, he would not discuss the key issues of a future agreement in his talks with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Olmert told the left-leaning Haiaretz newspaper that there had been a “revolutionary change in outlook” among Arab states. He said: “I believe that in the next five years it is possible to arrive at a comprehensive peace agreement with the Arab states and the Palestinians.”

In a landmark summit on Thursday in Riyadh, Arab leaders relaunched a peace initiative first tried five years ago and called for a “just and comprehensive peace” in the Middle East. It would include a Palestinian state in land occupied by Israel in 1967 and a “just solution” for the 4 million Palestinian refugees.

But, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Mr Olmert insisted there would be no concessions over refugees. “I will not agree to accept any kind of Israeli responsibility for the refugees. Full stop,” he said. No refugees would be allowed to return to their family land in what is now Israel, he said. “Any refugee coming to Israel. Full stop. Out of the question. I’ll never accept a solution that is based on their return to Israel, any number.”

Mr Olmert suggested the initiative proposed by the Saudi government might be the basis for future talks. But he told Haiaretz: “I do not agree with every detail; it’s not that I accept the initiative and tomorrow we will be ready to sit down and sign an agreement. There are interesting ideas there and we are ready to hold discussions and hear from the Saudis about their approach and to tell them about ours.”

Mr Olmert was critical of Mr Abbas, the Palestinian president, and made clear that, for now, they would meet regularly but would not talk about major issues such as the borders of a future Palestinian state, the future of Jerusalem and the question of refugees.

Of the Palestinians, Mr Olmert told Haiaretz: “How can you believe them when they don’t fulfil anything? If they don’t transform themselves, don’t fight terrorism and don’t fulfil any of their other commitments, they will continue to live in never-ending chaos.”

In an interview with Time magazine, Mr Olmert called the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, a “terrorist” and accused him of personally transferring more than $1m (£508,000) to militants to carry out attacks against Israel. Mr Olmert said the funds came from outside the Palestinian territories and were transferred to one of Hamas’s armed wings for the “explicit purpose of carrying out terrorist actions”.


April Fools’ Day traditionally lasts only one day, but unfortunately it has lasted over six years in the United States…
THIS clip demonstrates the polices of the present Administration in a humourous way that I thought appropriate for the day…


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

There is hope on the horizon for a better future…. I never lost that hope as expressed in the following poem…. but when you click on the link presented afterwards, you will see what I am talking about.Let America be America Again… By Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

Not only do I believe that America will be great again, I believe it will happen soon as lng as there are people like THIS living there expressing their views publicly. Thanks to Brasscheck TV for circulating this.
Needless to say, when America IS great again, the rest of the world will follow suit as the domino effect takes place.
Evil breeds evil….. but good breeds good.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

Another ‘borrowed’ post from Benjamin Heine’s Blog… thanks again.
Eye to Eye
A Palestinian talking to Americans

By Gihad Ali (*)

Look into my eyes
And tell me what you see
You don’t see a damn thing,
’cause you can’t, until you try to relate to me.

You’re blinded by our differences.
My life makes no sense to you.
I’m the persecuted Palestinian.
You are the American red, white and blue.

Each day you wake in tranquility.
No fears to cross your eyes.
Each day I wake in gratitude.
Thanking God he let me rise.

You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay.
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I’ll survive another day.

Your biggest fear is getting ticketed
As you cruise your Cadillac.
My fear is that the tank that just left
Will turn around and come back.

American, do you realize,
That the taxes that you pay
Feed the forces that traumatize
My every living day?

The bulldozers and the tanks,
The gases and the guns,
The bombs that fall outside my door,
All due to American funds.

Yet do you know the truth
Of where your money goes?
Do you let your media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth that no one knows?

You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of Zionists
I’m terrorized in my own land
And I’m the terrorist?

You think that you know all about terrorism
But you don’t know it the way I do.
So let me define the term for you.
And teach you what you thought you knew.

I’ve known terrorism for quite some time,
Fifty- four years and more.
It’s the fruitless garden uprooted in my yard.
It’s the bulldozer in front of my door.

Terrorism breathes the air I breathe.
It’s the checkpoint on my way to school.
It’s the curfew that jails me in my own home,
And the penalties of breaking that curfew rule.

Terrorism is the robbery of my land.
And the torture of my mother.
The imprisonment of my innocent father.
The bullet in my baby brother.

So American, don’t tell me you know about
The things I feel and see.
I’m terrorized in my own land
And the blame is put on me.

But I will not rest, I shall never settle
For the injustice my people endure.
Palestine is OUR land and there we’ll remain
Until the day OUR homeland is secure.

And if that time shall never come,
Then we will never see a day of peace.
I will not be thrown from my own home,
Nor will fight for justice cease.

And if I am killed, it will be Falasteen. (Palestine)
It’s written on my breath.
So in your own patriotic words,
Give me liberty or give me death.
(*) Gihad Ali, a volunteer with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and the Palestine Solidarity Group, both in Chicago, wrote a poem called “Eye to Eye” a couple of years ago. She has since performed this poem dozens of times, including at performances such as “Women Warriors” at the Chicago Cultural Center, the AAAN’s Cafe Intifada, and “Mixin’ It Up,” a project of the Chicago Field Museum’s Cultural Connections program.
–> This poem originally appeared on :


The murders took place 40 years ago today, but the wounds are still open for all that struggle for Palestinian Freedom. Just one crime among thousands perpetrated against an entire nation, but one that will always hold a special significance in the fight to establish an independent Palestinian State, free of occupation and terror.
It is a day when the dreams and aspirations of the entire Palestinian people come together to make that a reality.
A day when Nazareth became a focal point once again in history, a focal point for Justice and Freedom.
May those that were martyred on that day not have died in vain and may the dream of a free and independent Palestine become a reality soon.
The following is from the Palestine News Network…..
Land Day symbolizes the struggle against erasure
(Nablus) Amin Abu Wardeh

Since 30 March 1976 the Palestinian people have commemorated Land Day as one of the most important representations of the national struggle. Resisting land confiscation is not a once a year event however, leaving this day as one symbolic of the fight against occupation in all its forms.

The occasion memorializes the rewriting of history, the dismissal of international law, and the destruction of villages and the renaming of others. It is a day to remember what Israeli policy seeks to erase.

Villages lost in 1948 and 1967 are specifically memorialized, while the reality of Palestinians living inside Israeli boundaries who suffer injustice, discrimination, segregation and oppression are honored by those in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The day began specifically for the Palestinians inside 1948 boundaries. On 30 March 1967 the Israeli army killed six Palestinians and injured 70 during demonstrations in Nazareth against the Israeli policy of land expropriation.

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)


Last week an Internet server crashed…. not just any server but a very special one, the one that serviced the Blog of Haitham Sabbah, one of the most dedicated people to the cause of Palestinian freedom I have ever known. He, himself, is a refugee living in the Palestinian Diaspora, not by his own choice, but by decision of the Israeli government which forbids him to return to his home in Palestine.
Haitham is the Administrator of a site called Palestine Blogs, a site where all blogs supportive of the Palestinian struggle come together as one united front on the Web. This site was serviced by the same server that crashed, rendering the entire site history…. that was until Haitham literally resurected it.
The frustration that he suffered did not stand in the way of his undying dedication. He has proven time and time again to all of us that he is a ‘good soldier’… with one goal in mind, that being the establishment of Justice and Freedom in his homeland Palestine.
Those of us that ‘battle’ with him applaud his extra special efforts and make it known how much he is appreciated by all of us.
For this we say, thank you Haitham! May we all rejoice together in the final victory in the streets of Al Quds one day soon.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
The New Colossus By Emma LazarusNot like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The welcome that new immigrants to the shores of the United States received as their ship pulled into the harbour in New York City. The Statue that they so looked forward to seeing up close welcomes them…. but did the rest of the nation?? That’s the big question…
In the early part of the 20th century multitudes of new Americans had left their homes and countries behind because of political persecution, unlike the earlier and later immigrants that left due to religious persecution. Once in America, their dream of justice was not always the dream they envisioned…. for many it was a nightmare. Such was the case of two very prominent Italian anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Click HERE to read about them from an aricle by Marlene Martin, found in CounterPunch.
To see how the policies of discrimination continues against immigrants almost a hundred years later, read THIS essay by Stephen Lederman, taken from Uruknet’s site.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

This post is ‘borrowed’ from Benjamin Heine’s Blog…. with thanks.
Chronic malnutrition is rising steadily

One-third of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are food insecure, according to a report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

About 34 percent of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12 percent are at risk of reaching this state, the organisations found in a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment published this month. Most affected is the Gaza Strip, where 51 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity.

“The poorest families are now living a meagre existence totally reliant on assistance, with no electricity or heating and eating food prepared with water from bad sources,” according to a statement by Arnold Vercken, the WFP country director for the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

But an Israeli spokesperson said Palestinian authorities should take more responsibility.

“The problem is there is a government that does not recognise Israel or the agreements that constitute the relationship between us and the Palestinians,” said Shlomo Dror, spokesman for the Government Coordination Unit, which covers the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank.

“Why don’t the Palestinians help themselves? They have enough money to arm themselves to the teeth so why don’t they use it for the benefit of their people?”

He added that Israeli nutritionists had suggested ways to include more vitamins in UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and WFP food packages to ensure Palestinian children had a better diet.

The new FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Vulnerability Assessment, last conducted in 2003, will help the UN food agency design beneficiary profiles to fine-tune food aid distribution.

Poverty is rising in the West Bank and Gaza because of international sanctions, compounded by Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinian goods and labour related to security concerns. The Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot pay its civil servants because the international community has refused to fund the PA unless the Palestinian government, which includes Hamas, recognises Israel and renounces violence.
Some PA salaries are being paid through a Temporary International Mechanism supported by the European Commission. About 80 percent of Gazans receive aid from WFP or UNRWA.

“Without a political resolution – and particularly removal of restrictions on movement – improvement in the humanitarian situation is unlikely and millions will remain dependent on assistance,” noted the FAO/WFP report. “A substantive injection of aid and social transfers has partially cushioned the declining humanitarian situation in Palestine, but aid cannot fully compensate for the loss of self-reliance.”


According to the WFP and FAO, 84 percent of Gazans and 60 percent of West Bankers have reduced their spending. Family and friends have kept food on Palestinian tables, but many now have nothing left to share, the report found.

“Solidarity has reached its limits. Families are becoming increasingly dependent on food aid,” said WFP spokeswoman Kirstie Campbell in Gaza.

Households are using several coping mechanisms such as reducing food portions; eating only one meal a day; buying lower-quality food; and eating less fruit, vegetables and fresh meat. Other means to maintain living standards include taking loans from family, friends and local merchants and selling assets such as land and jewellery.

“No one knows what happens behind doors, but I can tell you that in our house … we rarely bring [red meat] home,” the report quoted the head of a household in Burqeen in the West Bank Jenin Governorate as saying. “I bake my own bread to save money to buy gas for cooking and I never give my children money any more – not even one shekel [coin] to buy sweets or [Coca-Cola].”

An unchanging diet and reliance on carbohydrates as the bulk food intake will affect the wellbeing of the population, 46 percent of whom are children, according to UN agencies. A nutrition survey found that chronic malnutrition is rising steadily. Iron deficiency (anaemia) is estimated to affect one-third of women and children. More than 22 percent of children aged between one and five had a vitamin A deficiency – levels higher than 20 percent are considered a severe public health problem.

Lack of work

Fewer Gazans have been able to enter Israel for work since the beginning of the Al Aqsa intifada in 2000, leaving hundreds of thousands of Gazans unemployed. A senior Israeli Ministry of Defence official told IRIN on condition of anonymity that no Gazans were allowed to work in Israel and he thought it highly unlikely that would change during 2007.

Many men have not been able to find reliable long-term work inside Gaza to replace the construction or agricultural jobs they had in Israel. A small number earn food from the WFP by working on community projects in Gaza, such as road cleaning.

Fishing and farming restricted

The Israeli human rights organisation B’tselem said the Israeli military had forbidden the movement of fishing boats off the Gazan coast.

“The prohibition has seriously harmed the fishing sector, which provides a livelihood for many residents of the Strip. Fishermen who violate the prohibition risk being shot at by Israeli navy craft,” said Antigona Ashkar, a researcher at B’tselem.

Restrictions on movement have also affected farmers’ access to their land in the West Bank, which in turn has affected food security. “In the old days, we used to cultivate our lands quite far from the centre of town. Now, because we cannot reach these lands, some of us are cultivating whatever lands we have next to our homes … We plant lands with vegetables that we use for our own consumption,” a farmer from Kufr Ni’ma in the Ramallah Governorate was quoted as saying in the report.

Productive capacity in oPt is likely to be permanently restricted not only through limitations on access to land and water, but by the poor quality of water sources and lack of inputs, according to the report.

The Palestinians’ livelihoods need to be protected, said the WFP and FAO, suggesting employment schemes, development of micro enterprises, and supporting Palestinian production of poultry, meat, vegetables and olive oil. Food-for-work, school feeding and food-for-training should be encouraged.


–> This news article originally appeared on MWC News and IRIN


The following was posted a year ago at Passover. The glorious holiday of Freedom starts this Monday night at sundown. I want to wish all of my Jewish readers a very Happy Passover. Let us all hope and pray that it will herald in an era of Freedom for all oppressed peoples throughout the world.
Enjoy the post….

Passover is the traditional Jewish celebration of freedom. We have a traditional feast called a Sedar, which means the Order..
The book that is read during the Sedar is called a Hagadah. It is the story of the flight of the ancient Hebrews from enslavement in Egypt to freedom in the ‘Promised Land’.
A guest at my Sedar read the following piece which I found very moving, I wanted to share it with all of you, so here it is…

Passover 5766/2006
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

As we celebrate Passover this week I keep thinking about the extraordinary show of strength and solidarity within the Hispanic community of Los Angeles when over half a million strong they marched downtown only a few weeks ago to protest the impending anti-immigrant legislation being discussed by congress. I couldn’t help but think of that powerful seder I experienced a couple of years ago when two of the participants were so overcome with emotion that they both began to cry as they shared their life experiences with the rest of us sitting around the table.

It was a seder that took place at the United Methodist Church in Santa Monica, California and it was attended by about a hundred and fifty men, women and children, evenly divided between Anglo and Hispanic, Christians and Jews. The unusual group of leaders included both men and women, rabbis, ministers, reverends, priests, representatives of the Jewish Labor Committee, musicians who sang in Hebrew, Yiddish, English and Spanish, field workers for the Latino labor alliance and two women who work as minimum wage earners at hotels in Santa Monica and are involved with labor struggles with the hotel management.

It was quite simply the most moving Seder experience I have ever had. “This is the bread of affliction” we recited, as Maria Cortez spoke in Spanish (through a translator) of her work life at one Santa Monica hotel. “I am a single mother with four children and I have no health insurance. I must clean four suites a day and the work is heavy. I have been in this country for 20 years and I still have only a work permit which is about to run out. The hotel insists that we clean without taking a break and if the room is full because the people haven’t moved out yet and we have to wait for a half hour to get in, that time is docked from our pay. All I want to do is work hard and provide for my children, but the hotel management penalizes those of us who ask questions or who want to organize and become part of a labor union.”

“Let all who are hungry come and eat,” we read, as Carolina Gonzales stood with tears running down her face as she described (also in Spanish) the fear and frustration she experienced every day working at another hotel, living in South Central LA and spending three hours a day by bus commuting to work. “I came here 18 years ago and I had to work in the home of the family that sponsored me for 9 years to pay off the debt of just getting to America.

“I left El Salvador running away from war to build a better life for myself and my family, but after all this time I’m not sure my life is really any better at all. I have five children and I make $320 a week with no benefits. I have to clean 16 rooms a day and am intimidated and spoken harshly to by the management if I even raise the idea of benefits or making enough to have a living wage.”

“Now we are enslaved, next year we will be free” says the Haggadah, and I choked on the words as I read them and looked into the faces of these beautiful, proud, and struggling women. My ancestors left Egypt/Mitzrayim three thousand years ago. And yet we retell the story year after year to remind ourselves that as long as any are not free, none of us are truly free.

Maria and Carolina reminded me of the profound blessings that fill my life every day, of how rich I am in every way, of how much I take for granted and what it truly means to struggle for economic freedom, for justice, for basic dignity, respect and sustenance. I was reminded that plagues that denigrate our humanity and diminish the vision that each of us is created in the image of God come in many different forms including low wages, no health benefits, impossible workloads, sexism, racism, unhealthy working conditions, disrespect in the work place, aggressive techniques that disable workers’ rights to organize, bargaining with a lack of good faith. It’s almost unbelievable to me that a hundred years after courageous Jewish men and women fought for the rights of workers everywhere to organize and have fair and decent wages and working conditions, we are still fighting the same battles.

This was a Seder of hope and tears, of human beings from different walks of life and different religions with different languages reaching out to embrace the fundamental humanity of all. The Haggadah for this “Worker Justice Seder” ended with these simple words: “No business which depends for its existence on paying less that living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level. I mean wages of decent living.” They were spoken in 1933 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They reminded me of the injunction in the Talmud which teaches, “He who withholds an employee’s wages is as though he deprived him of his life.”

As we gather around our Passover tables this year, let us remember that enslavements take many forms, and that the enslavement of poverty and the hopelessness of inadequate wages and health care are task masters that we are still challenged to overthrow.

This year many are still enslaved, may they all be freed in the year ahead.


OMG OMG OMG!!! Religion has officially ‘gone to pot’.
With all the problems there are in Israel today, THIS is what CNN just reported via a Reuters bulletin.
Kosher blow for Passover pot smokers
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Marijuana is not kosher for Passover, a pro-cannabis advocacy group says, advising Jews who observe the week-long holiday’s special dietary laws to take a break from smoking it.

The Green Leaf Party announced on Wednesday that products of the cannabis plant have been grouped by rabbis within a family of foods such as peas, beans and lentils that is off-limits to Jews of European descent during Passover.

The Green Leaf Party, which has made several unsuccessful attempts to win election to parliament on a platform urging marijuana’s legalization, said it was issuing its advisory as a service to Jews who do not want to break ritual law.

But it said the rabbinical ban for the holiday beginning at sunset on Monday, during which many Jews eat matzos, or unleavened bread, could be a blessing in disguise.

“Logic dictates that if the rabbis say cannabis is non-kosher for Passover, it is apparently kosher during the rest of the year,” Michelle Levin, a spokeswoman for the party, told the YNet news web site.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
Just four examples of inequality. Just four examples of why Palestinians in israel are second class citizens.
Despite the constant denial by Israel that this is not so, here are just four examples from the Israeli press to prove otherwise.
And all this on the Israeli side of the wall…..

Study: Israeli Jews live four years longer than Israeli Arabs

Study: Arabs may be poorer, but Jews get more welfare funds

Twilight Zone / Dress code

‘Revoke citizenship of Arab MKs’


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
That is, unless certain countries do not appear on it.
Growing up in the post WW2 era in the United States, the ‘list’ of nations we did not recognise was unbelievable…. ‘Red’ China did NOT exist, North Korea did NOT exist, almost all of Eastern Europe did NOT exist. Countries were added to this ‘list’ as time went on…. Cuba did NOT exist (still doesn’t), North Vietnam did NOT exist. For students it lessened the burdon of studying geography, how could one learn about such non entities?
As the world slowly changed, blank spaces were filled in on these maps, curriculums changed as the world did… prejudices remained against certain political systems, but denial of nations was not as great.
This held true in the United States, but not so in the Middle East. Palestinian schoolchildren look at a map in their textbooks void of a ‘green line’, void of a pre 1967 border between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli schoolchildren study a map in their textbooks completely void of Palestine. It does NOT exist. Yet, we hear talks of peace on both sides. How confusing this must be to the younger generation…. peace with whom? There is no Israel to negotiate with, there is no Palestine to negotiate with….. so who are we making peace with?
Ironic that despite the non recognition, it is easy to have a war with a non existing entity… surely we could conceive of a just and lasting peace as well. This might even lead to the realisation that recognition is key to that process.
Uri Avnery hits it right on the head in his most recent essay in Counterpunch… it’s a must read.
Reality Must Change First
Schoolbooks and Borders

Incredible! In Palestinian schoolbooks, there is no trace of the Green Line! They do not recognize the existence of Israel even in the 1967 borders! They say that the “Zionist gangs” stole the country from the Arabs! That’s how they poison the minds of their children!

These blood-curdling revelations were published this week in Israel and around the world. The conclusion is self-evident: the Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for the schoolbooks, cannot be a partner in peace negotiations.

What a shock!

Truth is, there is nothing new here. Every few years, when all the other arguments for refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership wear thin, the ultimate argument pops up again: Palestinian schoolbooks call for the destruction of Israel!

The ammunition is always provided by one of the “professional” institutions that deal with this matter. These are foundations of the far-right, disguised as “scientific” bodies, which are lavishly funded by Jewish-American multi-millionaires. Teams of salaried employees apply a fine-tooth comb to every word of the Arab media and schoolbooks, with a pre-ordained objective: to prove that they are anti-Semitic, preach hatred of Israel and call for the killing of Jews. In the sea of words, it is not too difficult to find suitable quotes, while ignoring everything else.

So now it is again perfectly clear: Palestinian schoolbooks preach hatred of Israel! They are breeding a new generation of terrorists! Therefore, of course, there can be no question of Israel and the world ending the blockade on the Palestinian Authority!

* * *
Well, what about our side? What do our schoolbooks look like?

Does the Green Line appear in them? Do they recognize the right of the Palestinians to establish a state on the other side of our 1967 borders? Do they teach love for the Palestinian people (or even the existence of the Palestinian people), or respect for the Arabs in general, or a knowledge of Islam?

The answer to all these questions: Absolutely not!

Recently, Minister of Education Yuli Tamir came out with a bombastic announcement saying that she intends to mark the Green Line in the schoolbooks, from which it was removed almost 40 years ago. The Right reacted angrily, and nothing more was heard about it.

From kindergarten to the last day of high school, the Israeli pupil does not learn that the Arabs have any right at all to any of this land. On the contrary, it is clear that the land belongs to us alone, that God has personally given it to us, that we were indeed driven out by the Romans after the destruction of our Temple in the year 70 (a myth) but that we returned at the beginning of the Zionist movement. Since then, the Arabs have tried again and again to annihilate us, as the Goyim have done in every generation. In 1936, the “gangs” (the official Israeli term for the fighters of the Arab Revolt) attacked and murdered us. And so on, up to this very day.

When he comes out of the pedagogic mill, the Jewish-Israeli pupil “knows” that the Arabs are a primitive people with a murderous religion and a miserable culture. He brings this view with him when he (or she) joins the army a few weeks later. There, it is reinforced almost automatically. The daily humiliation of old people and women–not to mention everybody else–at the checkpoints would not be possible otherwise.

* * *
The question is, of course, whether schoolbooks really have that much influence on the pupils.

From earliest childhood, children absorb the atmosphere of their surroundings. The conversations at home, the sights on television, the happenings in the street, the opinions of classmates at school–all these influence them far more than the written texts of the books, which in any case are interpreted by teachers who themselves have been subject to these influences.

An Arab child sees on TV an old woman lamenting the demolition of her home. He sees on the walls in the street the photos of the martyred heroes, sons of his neighborhood, who have sacrificed their lives for their people and country. He hears what has happened to his cousin who was murdered by the evil Jews. He hears from his father that he cannot buy meat or eggs, because the Jews are not allowing him to work and put food on the table. At home there is no water for most of the day. Mother tells about grandpa and grandma, who have been languishing for 60 years in a miserable refugee camp in Lebanon. He knows that his family were driven out from their village in what became Israel and that the Jews are living there now. The hero of his class is the boy who jumped on a passing Israeli tank, or who dared to throw a stone from a distance of 10 meters at a soldier who was pointing a gun at him.

We once went to a Palestinian village in order to help the inhabitants rebuild a house that had been demolished the day before by the army. While the adults were working on finishing the roof, the local children gathered around Rachel, my wife, showing a keen interest in her camera. The conversation that sprung up went like this: Where are you from? From America? No, from here. Are you messihiin (Christians)? No, Israelis. Israelis? (General laughter.) Israelis are like this: Boom Boom Boom! (They assume poses of shooting soldiers.) No, really, where are you from? From Israel, we are Jews. (They exchange looks.) Why do you come here? To help in the work. (Whispers and laughter.) One of the boys runs to his father: This woman says that they are Jews. True, the embarrassed father confirmed, Jews, but good Jews. The children draw back. They look unconvinced.

What can schoolbooks change here?

And on the Jewish Israeli side? From the earliest age, the child sees the pictures of suicide attacks on TV, bodies scattered around, the injured being taken away in ambulances with blood-curdling shrieks from their sirens. He hears that the Nazis slaughtered his mother’s entire family in Poland, and in his consciousness Nazis and Arabs become one. On every day’s news he hears bad things about what the Arabs are doing, that they want to destroy the state and throw us into the sea. He knows that the Arabs want to kill his brother, the soldier, without any reason, just because they are such murderers. Nothing about life in “the territories”, perhaps just a few kilometers away, reaches him. Until he is called up, the only Arabs he meets are Israeli Arab workers doing menial work. When he joins the army, he sees them only through gun sights, every one of them of them a potential “terrorist”.

For a change in the schoolbooks to have any value, reality on the ground must change first.

* * *
DOES THAT mean that schoolbooks have no importance? It should not be underestimated.

I remember giving a lecture in one of the kibbutzim in the late 60s. After I explained the need for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel (a fairly revolutionary idea at the time), one of the kibbutzniks stood up and asked: “I don’t understand it! You want us to give back all the territories that we have conquered. Territories are something real, land, water. What shall we get in return? Abstract words like “peace”? What shall we get tachles (Yiddish for practical things)?”

I answered that from Morocco to Iraq, there are tens of thousands of classrooms, and in every one of them hangs a map. On all these maps, the territory of Israel is marked “occupied Palestine” or just left blank. All that we need is that the name Israel should appear on these thousands of maps.

Forty years have passed, and the name “Israel” does not appear in Palestinian schoolbooks, nor, I assume, on any school map from Morocco to Iraq. And the name “Palestine” does not appear, of course, on any Israeli school map. Only when the young Israeli joins the army, does he see a map of “the territories”, with its crazy puzzle of Zones A, B and C, settlement blocs and apartheid roads.

A map is a weapon. From my childhood in Germany between the two World Wars I remember a map that was hanging on the wall of my classroom. On it, Germany had two borders. One (green, if I remember correctly) was the existing border, that was imposed by the treaty of Versailles after the (first) World War. The other, marked in glowing red, was the border from before the war. In thousands of classrooms all over Germany (then governed by Social-Democrats) the pupils saw every day before their eyes the terrible injustice done to Germany, when pieces were “torn” from her on every side. Thus was bred the generation which filled the ranks of the Nazi war machine in World War II.

(By the way, some fifty years later I was taken on a courtesy visit to that school. I asked the principal about that map. Within minutes, it was brought out from the archive.)

* * *
NO, I do not make light of maps. Especially not of maps in schools.

I repeat what I said then: the aim must be that the child in Ramallah sees before his eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of Israel is marked. And that the child in Rishon-le-Zion sees before his eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of Palestine is marked. Not by compulsion, but by agreement.

That is, of course, impossible as long as Israel has no borders. How can one mark on the map a state which, from its first day, has refused, consciously and adamantly, to define its borders? Can we really demand that the Palestinian ministry of education publish a map on which all the territory of Palestine lies inside Israel?

And on the other hand, how can one mark on the map the name “Palestine”, when there is no Palestinian state? After all, even most of those Israeli politicians who profess–at least pro forma–to support the “two-states solution” will go to great lengths to avoid saying where the border between the two state should run. Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister, is totally opposed to the announced intention of her colleague, Minister of Education Yuli Tamir, to mark the Green Line, lest it be seen as a border.

Peace means a border. A border fixed by agreement. Without a border, there can be no peace. And without peace, it is the height of chutzpa to demand something from the other side that we totally refuse to do ourselves.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s hot new book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.


It seems that anti Arab sentiments are on the rise in Israel. This according to a recent poll on whether or not the state should back Arab migration. Of 500 Israeli Jews polled, the results showed 50% were in favour of encouraged migration.
I find it amazing that there is no attempt made to hide these feelings. Israel is constantly denying that it is a racist state or a state that is implementing apartheid, but here is proof that those very policies are supported by half of the population.
It is a very sad commentary on the situation here and shows how much work is left to be done in this country to reverse this trend before it completely overtakes us.
Racism must be defeated through education. Ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to walls being built. Our work is cut out for us….
This article from HaAretz discusses the poll…
Poll: 50% of Israeli Jews support state-backed Arab migration By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
A Poll sponsored by the Center for the Campaign Against Racism found that half the Jewish population of Israel believe the state should encourage Arab migration.

The poll, conducted by the Geocartography Institute and presented Tuesday at a press conference, found a sharp increase in the number of Israeli Jews who support Arab migration in comparison to a similar poll conducted last year.

The poll was carried out in December 2006, and included 500 participants. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

In addition, the poll addresses the Jewish reaction to hearing the Arabic language spoken on the streets of Israel. According to the data, some 50 percent of the participants said they become fearful when they hear the Arabic language spoken around them. 43 percent said they feel uncomfortable, and 30 percent feel hatred. In contrast, last year only 17.5 percent said they feel hatred when faced with spoken Arabic.

The poll participants were also asked about work relations with Arabs. 50 percent said they would refuse to work at a job in which their direct supervisor would be Arab. This number represents a 47 percent increase since the 2005 poll on the same topic.

Center for the Campaign Against Racism director Baher Awdeh called on the state of Israel on Tuesday to “wake up” in light of these findings, and utilize its judicial and education systems to combat this rise in racist sentiments. Awdeh said that the fact that Israel is defined as the “Jewish state” is discriminatory against Arabs in and of itself. “Jewish citizens interpret this definition to mean that they are superior or entitled to more rights than Arab citizens,” he said.

Awdeh offered his explanation for the deterioration of Jewish-Arab relations, saying the war in Lebanon, and the opposing views it generated among Jewish and Arab citizens, could have contributed to the deterioration. Another reason could be the entry of Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) to the coalition, being a politician known for his anti-Arab views. He added that Israel’s policy of expropriating Palestinian lands and destroying Palestinian homes may have also contributed to the problem.

“When Sheikh Raed Salah said what he said in Jerusalem, he was immediately arrested and indicted. But when Jewish religious figures and politicians express anti-Arab views, no indictments are filed, even months later,” Awdeh said.


Image by Ismael Shammout

Conversation overheard in a hotel in Israel….
“Don’t get them confused….. Palestinians are not Arabs! Arabs live in Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and Syria…. Palestinians live in Palestine, therefore they are not Arabs. Arabs want peace with Israel, Palestinians do not. Arabs that live in Israel are not Palestinians, they are Arabs…..”
Those are the words of a group leader of an Evangelical group that is visiting Israel. He was discussing the situation in Israel/Palestine to his group after a visit to the Palestinian city of Jericho.
I spoke to a number of these visitors that were absolutely shocked by the situation in the Occupied Territories. They were amazed at the difference of living conditions on the ‘other side’ of the wall. I was able to convey the message to them that the poverty that exists there is due to the oppression suffered at the hands of the zionists. I asked them how it would be if they were not able to work, not able to send their children to school, not able to visit family members, not able to get to a hospital when necessary…none could conceive of these horrors.
My comments were met by sympathetic ears,and hopefully will serve as ‘food for thought’ compared to the words of the group leader.
His mission is to bring ‘Christians’ to Israel to literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus and get a sense of the ‘gathering of the exiles’ to the Promised Land which will herald in the new Messianic Era and the second coming of their Messiah.
That’s all fine and dandy…. but what about the Palestinians? Do they have to be painted as the children of satan whose only purpose in life is to destroy that Jewish state? Do they have to be detached from their own people and dehumanised in such a way as to appear as a total non entity? The struggle of the Palestinian people is an integral part of the struggle for peace in this region, a goal that can only be achieved when they are recognised as a nation.
It is bad enough that the Palestinian people are denied statehood, now their very identity as Arabs is being taken away from them.
At one point in history ignorance was considered bliss… that no longer carries much weight these days. Every opportunity is available today to learn the truth about anything, anywhere…. unless you don’t want to or don’t want anyone else to. In that case, it is no longer ignorance, it is dishonesty and deceit.
Bottom line is this type of ignorance and hatred must be fought against at every level. One must not remain silent… the truth must be heard.
The words of the group leader can become a reality… the part about ‘Palestinians live in Palestine’ Palestine MUST become a reality… not an occupied nation. Palestine MUST become a state… an ARAB state.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
I just found this Reuters report… it is absolutely inspirational! The report orginally appeared in a Turkish daily.
I can just see my own grandmother being involved in something like this… she was against any injustice to anyone, anywhere.
You must read the following….
Jewish grandmothers patrol West Bank checkpoints
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Bernd Debusmann

Hanna Barag remembers the day an Israeli soldier called her a Palestinian whore. She was 67 and had just joined Machsomwatch, an all-woman group set up to curb human rights abuses at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
“It was at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah,” Barag said, “And the remark at first struck me speechless. But then I asked him two questions: ‘Do you really think a woman my age has a chance at that profession? And would you say what you said to me to your grandmother?’”

The soldier said nothing but was embarrassed, and when Barag, who was born in Israel and describes herself as a Zionist, returned for another “shift” of watchdog duty a week later, the soldier was there – and apologized.

That was in the early days of Machsomwatch, set up in 2001 by three Israeli women who were alarmed by a spate of reports of beatings and abuse of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers manning checkpoints.

The group takes its name from the Hebrew word for checkpoint, machsom. From a few dozen in the beginning, Machsomwatch now numbers around 500, many of them grandmothers, who take turns watching 40-odd checkpoints in the West Bank.

“We do this 364 days a year,” said Barag. “Except for Yom Kippur (the most solemn Jewish holiday).”

The sight of Barag, now 71 and just five feet (1.52 meters) tall, recently in action at a busy checkpoint south of Nablus shows why women are more effective than men in dealing with soldiers when lines are long and tempers frayed.

After conveying, with a smile, a complaint to an officer who towered over her bird-like figure, she remarked: “Who wants to fight with a little old lady?”

Stillborn babies:

Over the years, Machsomwatch has recorded a long list of checkpoint incidents: babies stillborn to mothers held up in queues, sick patients denied passage to hospitals, arguments that ended in Palestinians shot, food rotting on the way to market, students missing their final exams and bridegrooms their weddings.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem says there are 528 permanent and temporary checkpoints in the West Bank, 40 percent more than a year ago.

Most are not between the West Bank and Israel but between West Bank towns and villages, a fact that makes anti-occupation Israelis and Palestinians doubt the Israeli government’s contention that their primary purpose is security.

“The idea is to make life so unpleasant and so uncomfortable for them that they just give up and leave, emigrate to an Arab country, to Canada, wherever they can go,” said Nomi Lalo, another veteran of Machsomwatch.

For Palestinians, the checkpoints, and the permits they need to cross them, are a constant source of anger, resentment and frustration.

“The checkpoints haunt your mind,” said Sireen Droubi, a teacher who has to go through several on her commute from her home village to work in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm.

“You think of them all the time. You never know how long it will take to pass them. You can’t make plans. It’s like living in a cage.”


The vast majority of Israelis think checkpoints and travel restrictions for the 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank are needed to protect Israel from Palestinian suicide bombers.

“As long as they bomb us, let them stand in line as long as it takes,” said one Tel Aviv resident. “If it’s 10 hours, too bad.” Tel Aviv has been the target of several suicide bombs, the latest last April. It killed nine people and injured 50 at a popular restaurant.

Barag and several of her fellow activists are on a right-wing group’s Internet list of “Self-Hating Israel-Threatening (SHIT) Jews” and the right-wing volunteer group Women in Green has called them Judeonazis.

Some Machsomwatch members also face criticism from their own families. “My four brothers all served in the army and they think I’m crazy,” said Barag. Her own army service included a stint as a secretary for Moshe Dayan, then chief of staff of the Israeli armed forces.

Lalo has two sons who have completed their army service and a 17-year-old who is about to begin. “My eldest is very critical of what I do. But I think it’s important. We are making a difference.”

How much is difficult to judge but the women’s monthly incident log, published on its website (, is read by the Israeli Defense Force, advocacy groups and probably at least one member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s family. His left-wing daughter, Dana, belongs to Machsomwatch.


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
The harassment continues in the Occupied Territories. Life has virtually become a nightmare for young people. Children are murdered in schoolyards by Israeli Border Police, children are tormented on their way to school making it necessary for foreign volunteers to escort these students from home to school and back… often risking their own safety when attacked by setters… UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYES OF THE ISRAELI POLICE…
Now the game is to stop teens at random and harass them. Any teen walking on the street must be a rock thrower or a potential suicide bomber… this seems to be the logic used.
It’s not enough to just stop a young person, ask for his identification and send him on his way…. NO…. he must be beaten up as part of the operation.
This type of activity must end… and it must end now. The world cannot remain silent. HELP!!!
THIS linked article from Ynet talks about one of the most recent incidents…. be sure to click on the video.

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
The Quartet Committee issued a public statement yesterday ‘reiterating its repect for Palestinian democracy and the agreement reached in Mecca on 8 February 2007…..’
This showing of support is most appreciated by the leaders of the unity Government… it will hopefully lead to the US, which is part of the Quartet, recognising Hamas as an integral part of Palestine’s new government. This would lead to them putting pressure on Israel to do the same…. we can hope…..
The following report from the Ma’an News Agency deals with the Quartet’s statement…
Ramallah – Ma’an – Dr Mustafa Al-Barghouthi has announced, “The Palestinian government positively appreciates what the Quartet committee announced regarding its respect for Palestinian democracy and the Mecca agreement, which has established the national accord and the national unity government.”

The Quartet committee, which comprises of the UN, EU, USA and Russia, said in a public statement on 21 March that, “The Quartet reiterated its respect for Palestinian democracy and the agreement reached in Mecca on 8 February 2007, which laid the foundation for Palestinian reconciliation.” The Quartet leaders expressed their hope that the new government ” would help end intra-Palestinian violence and ensure calm.”

While stating that the new government will be judged “not only on the basis of its composition and platform, but also its actions,” the Quartet reiterated its demands that the government commits to non-violence, recognizes Israel and accepts the previous peace agreements, including the Roadmap.

The new information minister, Al-Barghouthi, added in a statement for Ma’an, “the government assures that its program and actions stem from a deep national feeling of responsibility towards the Palestinian peoples’ interests and future; and for the sake of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty in all the lands occupied in 1967 and its capital in Jerusalem; and to achieve just peace, freedom and security.” The statement also assured that it is Israel that is rejecting peace and a comprehensive, mutual calm.

He added, “The Palestinian government sees that the Quartet committee has not demanded to continue postponing the acknowledgement of the national unity government, and to deal with it, which is a government that represents 95% of the Palestinian electorate.”

He also said, “The government calls on the Quartet committee and the international community to pressure Israel into releasing the illegitimately withheld money of the Palestinian people, which amounts to more than 500 million dollars.”

In its statement, the Quartet endorsed the continuation of the Temporary International Mechanism for a further three months. This is the main mechanism which was set up last year to ensure funds continued to reach the Palestinian people while bypassing the Hamas-led government. The Quartet said it will meanwhile evaluate “the situation and the international community works to develop a more sustainable international mechanism for support to the Palestinians.”

The Quartet also agreed to meet in the Middle East soon in order “to review developments and discuss the way ahead.”


Image by Ismael Shammout

I just spent a few days away and had the chance to speak to a number of Palestinian tour guides in Israel. Their business has suffered greatly over the past few years. Between the Intifada and this past summer’s wars in Lebanon and Gaza tourism to Israel was literally put on hold.
Things are picking up now but a new problem has manifested itself… most groups that visit Israel these days are organised by various Church groups identified in the most part as Christian zionists. They have always supported the concept of the ‘Jewish state’ and have contributed greatly to the tourist industry over the past few years.
Apparently because of pressures put on the organisors in the States, more and more of these groups are requesting non Muslim tour guides.
This is causing ill feelings towards those responsible and is resulting in most of the Muslim tour operators to be unemployed.
What we are seeing is a new type of separation… the old one being Palestinian separated from Jew, now we see Christian separated from Muslim.
Was it not Jesus who said “Love one another as I loved you?”
Did He say… except Muslims??? I THINK NOT!


“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

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