Tag Archives: Gaza

Guided by History, a Jew Tries to Unite Two Faiths Divided by War in Gaza

NEWARK, Del. — Shortly after the latest cease-fire expired in Gaza on Friday, Jacob Bender gingerly climbed the steps of the mimbar, the pulpit at the Islamic Society of Delaware here. A Jew in a mosque, his hands palpably quivering but his reedy voice steady, he read some brief comments to close the afternoon’s worship service, called Juma’a.

Mr. Bender offered both hope and censure, twinned: Muslims and Jews could still be “partners for peace and justice,” he said. Israel and Hamas bore shared responsibility for the current carnage, he added, and more hatred would lead to more violence, while love would lead to reconciliation.

Read more » The New York Times

Some Israelis Count Open Discourse and Dissent Among Gaza War Casualties

By

JERUSALEM — The signs are everywhere.

At a recent demonstration in Tel Aviv against Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, counterdemonstrators chanted “Death to the left!” along with the more commonly heard “Death to Arabs!” Afterward, some of the right-wingers beat some of the leftists — using large poles that had held Israeli flags.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority blocked B’Tselem, a human rights group, from running a paid radio advertisement reading the names and ages of Palestinian children killed in Gaza.

Bar-Ilan University rebuked a professor who expressed empathy for all the war’s victims in an email to students.

And at a recent screening at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, a fading bastion of liberalism, when some audience members stood for a moment of silence in memory of four Palestinian boys killed as they played soccer on a Gaza beach, others who kept their seats berated them with cries of “Shame on you — what about our boys?” and “You’re raping the audience,” according to several people who were there.

In Israel, open discourse and dissent appear to be among the casualties of the monthlong war in Gaza, according to stalwarts of what is known as the Zionist left — Israelis who want the country to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and help create a sovereign Palestinian state.

Israeli politics have been drifting rightward for years, and many see that trend sharpening and solidifying now. Several polls find that as many as nine out of 10 Israeli Jews back the prosecution of the war by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When that support slipped a bit last week, it seemed to be because more people wanted an even more aggressive assault on Hamas, the militant Islamist faction that dominates Gaza. Israelis who question the government or the military on Facebook, or who even share photographs of death and devastation in Gaza, find themselves defriended, often by people they thought were politically like-minded.

“One of the victims of war is any nuance,” said Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, who emigrated from New York in 1979. “The idea of having a nuanced position that recognizes the suffering on both sides and the complications is almost impossible to maintain.”

Rabbi Weiman-Kelman is the founder of Kol Haneshama, one of Israel’s largest and best-known Reform congregations, where every service ends with an adaptation of a traditional Hebrew prayer for peace that includes a line in Arabic borrowed from a traditional Muslim prayer. (Disclosure: I have occasionally attended those services.)

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/world/middleeast/in-israel-open-dissent-is-among-the-gaza-war-casualties.html?_r=0

Why Americans See Israel the Way They Do

By ROGER COHEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES

TO cross the Atlantic to America, as I did recently from London, is to move from one moral universe to its opposite in relation to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. Fury over Palestinian civilian casualties has risen to a fever pitch in Europe, moving beyond anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism (often a flimsy distinction). Attacks on Jews and synagogues are the work of a rabid fringe, but anger toward an Israel portrayed as indiscriminate in its brutality is widespread. For a growing number of Europeans, not having a negative opinion of Israel is tantamount to not having a conscience. The deaths of hundreds of children in any war, as one editorial in The Guardian put it, is “a special kind of obscenity.”

Continue reading Why Americans See Israel the Way They Do

Gaza and the outrage of millions

By Omar

I do not follow the Palestinian-Israeli conflict very closely, but of course, given the high visibility of this issue, I am not completely ignorant of it either and do have opinions about it. Ever since the current war started, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been aflame with outrage at Israeli actions and support for the Palestinians. I have posted a post (basically saying there is no end in sight) and a few comments here and there, but generally stayed out of it. This (relative) lack of outrage has outraged some of my friends and forced me to think about it a bit more. So here goes:

First, about my relative lack of outrage: I plead old age. I am so old, I remember when i was outraged at Nixon’s Christmas bombing of Hanoi (I was a child, but I was a precocious child in that way, in a very politically aware household). I was outraged at the genocide in East Pakistan a few years after it happened (how I missed being outraged at that in 1971 is a long story). I remember being outraged when the CIA sent terrorists to blow up stuff in Nicaragua and when right wing death squads nailed nuns to the table in El-Salvador. I was outraged at the first Iraq war (and marched in Washington to oppose it, then went to a bar and saw zero coverage of that HUGE march on TV) and approaching old age, at the second. If that looks like a leftish list of outrages, its because (like all Westernized Desis) I grew up in a Leftist milieu when it came to being outraged. But I compensated in my old age. I have since become retrospectively outraged at Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, among others. I was even mildly outraged by our (Pakistan’s) close allies the Sri Lankan army, and their tactics in their elimination of the Tamil Tigers. But the point is, I have discovered by now that the outcome of these things is rarely determined by the number of people outraged. In actual wars, especially wars where the opposing parties look at it as a fight to the death, its usually a matter of who can fight better and longer and who has the deadlier weapons.

In short, if there is no middle ground, then the conflict (no matter who is at fault, or who did what to get here) will, NECESSARILY, be settled by the battle-axe. Any settlement by the battle-axe means more Palestinian suffering than Israeli suffering because Israel has the better axes. Supporters of Palestine (and I continue to believe that I am one, since I think a two-state solution on near 1967 borders is the most humane solution and complete defeat of either party involves too much human suffering) should keep this in mind before they valorize an armed resistance in which they themselves take absolutely no bodily risks. Israel must stop bombarding Gaza and killing civilians as collective punishment, but Hamas must also stop firing rockets and getting civilians killed. Even if we believe that the moral burden of those civilian deaths rests on the killers, not on Hamas, the price is too damned high. Moral victory at that price is not worth it.

Cheer leading that victory from 10,000 miles away on Twitter or Facebook is easy. But the price for those dying and suffering is too high. Should Hamas then accept blockade and lack of recognition and x and y?…yes and no. They must not act as if they can FIGHT their way past these restrictions because clearly they cannot. Then they should get out of the way and let more Gandhian alternatives try to improve the life of Palestinians instead of using them as cannon fodder. By not accepting X or Y, what exactly have they achieved? Has the blockade ended? has the suffering stopped? If the tactics you are using are only getting your own kids killed, then the tactics are not working. Honor and admiration from countless millions backslapping each other in their drawing rooms is not enough of a reward or achievement.

Almost all my friends disagree with me on this, but then, like me, they are safely away from the kill zone….also, many of them have had nasty words for Abbas (Abu Mazen). Well, he has not achieved what he wanted, but the West Bank Palestinians are still better off than the ones in Gaza. Their kids are not being slaughtered in the hundreds and they have the chance to resist non-violently and make their case to the world AND TO ISRAEL. Of course it is possible that (as most of my friends claim) Israel  is really not interested in making an honorable peace. But since the Palestinians do not have (and will not have in the foreseeable future) ANY way to militarily defeat Israel, their options are rather limited. Distant cheerleaders with nothing to lose are encouraging them to commit suicide so that we can all have dead heroes to admire. I dont think thats a good idea for Gazans.

Those protest demonstrations in Western capitals? I saw bigger ones before the Gulf war. What happened next is well known.

PS: What about my disproportionate attention to Pakistani Jihadists, ISIS and suchlike? I think its semi-rational. They have killed friends of mine already> they may kill more in the days to come. Their actions affect people I know personally. Its selfish, but its (sort of) rational.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/08/gaza-and-outrage-of-millions.html?spref=fb

Peace Not Apartheid – Jimmy Carter’s Roadmap

By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

Excerpt; The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens–and honors its own previous commitments–by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions. The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories. (p. 216)

Read more » Counter Punch
http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/11/13/jimmy-carter-s-roadmap/

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper blames Hamas for Palestinian casualties after Israeli shells hit UN shelter in Gaza

By Associated Press and Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reiterating his government’s hard line against Hamas, saying it is solely responsible for the death and destruction in Gaza.

Harper said that while no one likes to see the suffering and loss that is occurring in the Middle East, Hamas is to blame. The prime minister said Hamas started the war because the terrorist organization wants to destroy the state of Israel.

Read more » National Post
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/30/stephen-harper-blames-hamas-for-palestinian-casualties-after-israeli-shells-hit-un-shelter-in-gaza/

Meshal to Charlie Rose: Hamas doesn’t fight Jews, it fights the occupiers

WATCH: In interview with CBS, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal manages to avoid directly answering question about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

By

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal managed to avoid directly answering the question of whether Hamas would recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in an interview with CBS host Charlie Rose.

In the interview, which aired on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Meshal said, “When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies. You cannot actually ask me about the future.”

Earlier in the interview, the Qatar-based Hamas leader said he was “ready to coexist” with Jews and Christians, but added, “I do not want to live with a state of the occupiers.”

“We are not fanatics; we are not fundamentalists. We do not actually fight the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers,” Meshal told Rose.

Read more » HAARETZ
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.607621

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

By Sam Harris, Neuroscientist and author of the New York Times Bestsellers

Excerpt;

The question I’ve now received in many forms goes something like this: Why is it that you never criticize Israel? Why is it that you never criticize Judaism? Why is it that you always take the side of the Israelis over that of the Palestinians?

Now, this is an incredibly boring and depressing question for a variety of reasons. The first, is that I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. What seems to have upset many people is that I’ve kept some sense of proportion. There are something like 15 million Jews on earth at this moment; there are a hundred times as many Muslims.  I’ve debated rabbis who, when I have assumed that they believe in a God that can hear our prayers, they stop me mid-sentence and say, “Why would you think that I believe in a God who can hear prayers?” So there are rabbis—conservative rabbis—who believe in a God so elastic as to exclude every concrete claim about Him—and therefore, nearly every concrete demand upon human behavior. And there are millions of Jews, literally millions among the few million who exist, for whom Judaism is very important, and yet they are atheists. They don’t believe in God at all. This is actually a position you can hold in Judaism, but it’s a total non sequitur in Islam or Christianity.

So, when we’re talking about the consequences of irrational beliefs based on scripture, the Jews are the least of the least offenders. But I have said many critical things about Judaism. Let me remind you that parts of Hebrew Bible—books like Leviticus and Exodus and Deuteronomy—are the most repellent, the most sickeningly unethical documents to be found in any religion. They’re worse than the —. They’re worse than any part of the New Testament. But the truth is, most Jews recognize this and don’t take these texts seriously. It’s simply a fact that most Jews and most Israelis are not guided by scripture—and that’s a very good thing.

Of course, there are some who are. There are religious extremists among Jews. Now, I consider these people to be truly dangerous, and their religious beliefs are as divisive and as unwarranted as the beliefs of devout Muslims. But there are far fewer such people.

For those of you who worry that I never say anything critical about Israel:  My position on Israel is somewhat paradoxical. There are questions about which I’m genuinely undecided. And there’s something in my position, I think, to offend everyone. So, acknowledging how reckless it is to say anything on this topic, I’m nevertheless going to think out loud about it for a few minutes.

I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state. Now, friends of Israel might consider this a rather tepid defense, but it’s the strongest one I’ve got. I think the idea of a religious state is ultimately untenable.

Needless to say, in defending its territory as a Jewish state, the Israeli government and Israelis themselves have had to do terrible things. They have, as they are now, fought wars against the Palestinians that have caused massive losses of innocent life. More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. And there’s probably little question over the course of fighting multiple wars that the Israelis have done things that amount to war crimes. They have been brutalized by this process—that is, made brutal by it. But that is largely the due to the character of their enemies. [Note: I was not giving Israel a pass to commit war crimes. I was making a point about the realities of living under the continuous threat of terrorism and of fighting multiple wars in a confined space.]

Read more: SAM HARRIS
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/why-dont-i-criticize-israel

Palestine and Israel…no end in sight

Slate columnist William Saletan has a piece about a possible solution to the conflict in Gaza (How to Save Gaza). It is worth a read. It will probably seem overly liberal to many Israeli supporters and will seem totally unfair to many Palestinian supporters. And it does sound a little utopian. Well, a lot utopian. It seems unlikely that it could be attempted and very unlikely that it would work if attempted.

Anyway, it reminded me of a comment I wrote on Facebook. I am not optimistic…

This is a Greek tragedy. Both sides have lost many opportunities to compromise and they will surely manage to lose more in the days to come. When those in power in Israel clearly want to keep all or most of the occupied West Bank (building new settlements is hardly a signal they are leaving) and avoid every opportunity to make a deal, then they are not laying the foundation for durable peace. When those in power in Gaza seem to believe ALL Jewish presence in Palestine should be “reversed” (“Palestine will be free; from the river to sea”), they are not laying such a foundation either.

If Likudniks think Palestinians are incorrigible terrorists and barbarians who can never be trusted, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Hamas (and even more so, their millions of outside cheerleaders with nothing to lose) say the Israelis are worse than Nazis and are committing history’s greatest genocide, then what sane Israeli would consider them a negotiating partner that wants to make peace? Its a lose-lose situation.
Sad.

Continue reading Palestine and Israel…no end in sight

‘Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies’: Israelis And Palestinians show solidarity online

by Lauren O’Neil

As political tensions between Israel and Hamas continue to escalate this week in the Gaza Strip, a growing number of Jews and Arabs from around the world are coming together in solidarity against the conflict.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/07/jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies-israelis-and-palestinians-show-solidarity-online.html

PM Stephen Harper urges world leaders to side with Israel

The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification,” Harper said in a statement issued Sunday.

By: The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—Terrorists are deliberately placing people in the path of an Israeli offensive aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper says there is evidence that Hamas, listed by Canada as a terrorist organization, is using human shields in its attempts to stave off the Israeli offensive.

Read more » The Star
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/07/13/pm_stephen_harper_urges_world_leaders_to_side_with_israel.html

Was this Lahore or Occupied Kashmir?

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

If this was Srinagar, and the Indian army had been trying to quell a crowd of Kashmiri demonstrators, we would have understood. We would have shaken our heads but we would have understood. Although even there the savagery and the mindless brutality of the Lahore police on supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri would have seemed excessive.

The Indian army and the Indian police don’t have much of a reputation for being gentle in dealing with unruly Muslim protesters. Even so, when was the last time nine people, including two women and a youngster, were shot dead in cold blood in Srinagar? In addition to the dead there are around 30-40 people with gunshot wounds in hospital. When was the last time this happened across the Line of Control? When was the last time this was the tally of the dead and wounded in East Jerusalem or the West Bank?

And this wasn’t Hamas-ruled Gaza, the West Bank or Occupied Kashmir. This was Lahore and one of its better residential colonies. The chief minister lives in the same locality. But that evening when he addressed a press conference looking ever so contrite, he gave the impression that all this happened over his head. This from someone known as a hands-on chief minister…virtually half the city’s police force deployed against the Minhajul-Quran secretariat, the locality looking like a battlefield and resounding with the sound of gunfire for hours on end, and the chief minister in blissful ignorance.

Continue reading Was this Lahore or Occupied Kashmir?

Pressure mounts on Israel over Palestinian prisoner fast

By Noah Browning

RAMALLAH, West Bank – (Reuters) – Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast on Tuesday in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fuelled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank.

Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days. His lawyer says his health has deteriorated.

Gaunt and wheelchair-bound, Issawi appeared on Tuesday before a Jerusalem civil court, which deferred releasing him for at least another month.

The prisoners’ campaign for better conditions and against detention without trial has touched off violent protests over the past several weeks outside an Israeli military prison and in West Bank towns.

In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said a truce with Israel that ended eight days of fighting in November could unravel if any hunger striker died. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/19/us-israel-palestinians-prisoners-idUSBRE91I0MK20130219

CNN – Six Israeli security chiefs stun the world

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.

The men who were responsible for keeping Israel safe from terrorists now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.

Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.

“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel.

The oldest amongst the former chiefs, Avraham Shalom, says Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, when the country started doubling down on terrorism.

“We forgot about the Palestinian issue,” Shalom says in the film.

Continue reading CNN – Six Israeli security chiefs stun the world

U.S. Questions Islamabad’s Balochistan Crackdown

The U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council has expressed “serious concern” over Pakistan’s violent response to separatists in southwestern Balochistan Province.

Ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the council in Geneva on October 30 that Washington has serious reservations about human rights situation in Balochistan.

She said Pakistan Army operations there are “aimed at silencing dissent.”

She said Pakistan should ensure that those guilty of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings must be prosecuted.

Donahoe made the remarks during Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Review.

All UN members are expect to undergo such a review of their human rights record every four years.

Thousands of civilians, soldiers, and guerillas have been killed in eight years of unrest in the vast desert region where numerous ethnic Balochi factions are fighting for independence from Pakistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and BBC Urdu

Courtesy: rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/us-concern-pakistan-balochistan-crackdown/24756729.html 

Via – Facebook, Twitter » TF’s tweet

Paradox!!! Am I right?

The Moslems aren’t happy!

They’re not happy in Gaza.

They’re not happy in Egypt.

They’re not happy in Libya.

They’re not happy in Morocco.

They’re not happy in Iran.

They’re not happy in Iraq.

They’re not happy in Yemen.

They’re not happy in Afghanistan.

They’re not happy in Pakistan.

They’re not happy in Syria.

They’re not happy in Lebanon.

And where are they happy?

They’re happy in England.

They’re happy in France.

They’re happy in Italy.

They’re happy in Germany.

They’re happy in Sweden.

They’re happy in the USA.

They’re happy in Canada.

They’re happy in Norway.

They’re happy in every country that is not Moslem!

And who do they blame?

Not their leadership. Not themselves.

THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN !!!

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups + social media

Pakistani-Canadians: On Egypt

Message of Solidarity by the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians to The Egyptian National Association for Change (Canada).

by Omar Latif, Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians congratulates the Egyptian people on their success in ousting the dictator Hosni Mubarak and salutes their heroic and historic struggle against dictatorship and for freedom, democracy and social justice.

Backed and supported by the US and other western countries the Egyptian regime, like many other Arab regimes – as indeed most of the governments in Pakistan – have served the interests of the rich internally and that of imperialism regionally.

The Egyptian armed services, just like those of Pakistan, receive well over a billion dollars annually from the United States, most of which ends up in the pockets of senior officers. The ties and cooperation between the security agencies of the US with those of Egypt – as with the security forces of Pakistan – are even closer. Along with you, we hope, these relationships will end.

The Saudi monarchy – the most reactionary, despotic and US-dependent of the Arab regimes – has also played a significant role in aiding and abetting undemocratic and unjust regimes in the region – including those of Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistani-Canadians: On Egypt

The Egypt Crisis in a Global Context

…. When we look at the political dynamic of Egypt, and try to imagine its connection to the international system, we can see that there are several scenarios under which certain political outcomes would have profound effects on the way the world works. That should not be surprising. When Egypt was a pro-Soviet Nasserite state, the world was a very different place than it had been before Nasser. When Sadat changed his foreign policy the world changed with it. If the Sadat foreign policy changes, the world changes again. Egypt is one of those countries whose internal politics matter to more than its own citizens.

To read full report : Stratfor

British PM calls Gaza ‘prison camp’

ANKARA : British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday urged Israel to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, slamming the current state of the Palestinian enclave as a “prison camp”.

“Let me be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change … Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he said in a speech to a business association during a visit to Turkey.

Speaking later after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cameron defended his description, saying that “even though some progress has been made, we’re still in a situation where it’s very difficult to get in, it’s very difficult to get out … “We’ve long supported lifting the blockade of Gaza,” he said.

Read more >> Mail&Gardian

U.S. Navy and Israeli warships moving towards Iran

– Aporrea.org

June 19, 2010 – More than a dozen U.S. warships and Israel, including an aircraft carrier, passed through the Suez Canal on Friday and head towards the Red Sea. “According to eyewitnesses, U.S. battleships were larger than crossed the Channel for many years,” reported the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi on Saturday.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the Egyptian opposition members criticized the government for cooperation with the U.S. and Israeli forces and allow the passage of ships through Egyptian territorial waters. The Red Sea is the most direct route to the Persian Gulf from the Mediterranean.

Continue reading U.S. Navy and Israeli warships moving towards Iran

The Earth Is Closing on Us – Mahmoud Darwish

The Earth Is Closing on Us

– Mahmoud Darwish, Translation by Abdullah al-Udhari
The earth is closing on us, pushing us through the last passage, and
we tear off our limbs to pass through.

The earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die
and live again. I wish the earth was our mother

So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our dreams to carry As mirrors. We saw the faces of those to be killed by the last of us in the last defense of the soul.

We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who’ll
throw our children Out of the windows of the last space. Our star will hang up in mirrors.

Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky? Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air? We will write our names with scarlet steam.

We will cut off the head of the song to be finished by our flesh.

We will die here, here in the last passage. Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.

Continue reading The Earth Is Closing on Us – Mahmoud Darwish

Leftist and rightist Israelis clash at Gaza flotilla protest in Tel Aviv

Smoke grenade hurled at left wing protesters from unknown source; demonstrators carry banners saying ‘the government is drowning us all.’

By Chaim Levinson

Haaretz

Leftist and rightist demonstrators clashed Saturday night in Tel Aviv as more than 6,000 Israelis gathered to protest the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship earlier this week, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

Continue reading Leftist and rightist Israelis clash at Gaza flotilla protest in Tel Aviv

DETAINED CANADIANS SHARE STORIES OF ISRAELI TREATMENT

VANCOUVER – A Canadian activist who was take into Israeli custody in a raid on a flotilla of ships off the Gaza coast says even though he was beaten up by his captors, the harshest treatment was reserved for Turkish nationals. Kevin Neish, 53, was one of three Canadians detained in Israel after a violent confrontation at sea early Monday left nine activists dead. Neish, Farooq Burney and Rifat Audeh were on the Mavi Marmara as it ferried humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. All three were taken into custody but have since been released and left Israe. Neish, of Victoria, contacted friend Zoe Blunt shortly after being flown to Istanbul late Wednesday. Blunt said Neish told her he’d suffered deep bruises on his arms after being bound for up to 25 hours by plastic handcuffs and was repeatedly threatened with death by soldiers carrying assault rifles…

Courtesy: The Canadian Press

Ex-Mossad Officer Criticizes Israel’s Handling of Flotilla Raid with Alex Jones – Must watch all parts

Ex-Mossad Officer Victor Ostrovsky Criticizes Israel’s Handling of Flotilla Raid with Alex Jones

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itk02YXuAZM&feature=player_embedded

via – http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?36986-Ex-Mossad-Agent-Victor-Ostrovsky-Criticizes-Israel-s-Handling-of-Flotilla-Raid-on-Alex-Jones

What Really Happened: Witnesses shed light on Israeli raid

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU1EAFshLv0&feature=player_embedded#!

///Other side opinion///

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg&feature=player_embedded#!

///-///-///

The language of Live with Talat show is Urdu/ Hindi

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxqwe-V7jw0&feature=player_embedded

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6g4U6iI4Lc&feature=player_embedded

Source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xYZWppvP8g&feature=player_embedded

Courtesy: Aaj News, Live with Talat

Via- http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?36980-Live-With-Talat-4th-June-2010-Special-Program&s=b13468ed55d820a9adcfbd7b297f7848

Israeli barbarism in Gaza

By Dekel Avshalom in Israel

In a surprise attack last week, Israel’s air force infiltrated the Gaza Strip and started blasting away. On Saturday, the air force was accompanied by blasting from the navy and infiltration of tanks and foot soldiers into the Strip causing death and destruction in horrifying dimensions. Up to this time, the death toll for Palestinians stands at 526 people, with 2500 injured. Israeli officials, in particular Defense Minister Ehud Barak, keep reminding us that “this is just the beginning”. Israeli media is overjoyed in stressing the claim that the “majority” of the victims are Hamas soldiers. We do not exactly know how they define a “Hamas soldier”, but the fact that 107 of the murdered victims were children, makes it very hard for us to believe such claims. This attack is overwhelming in nature. It has been reported that since the 1967 war Israel had never used such a massive air attack.

This attack was preceded by a series of deceptive manoeuvres on the part of Israel in order to keep Hamas off guard. Israel kept up the pretence of negotiations on the ceasefire and even allowed goods to enter the Strip. This deception should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows Ehud Barak’s tactical mind. Just a short while ago, Barak used the same deceptive tactics in order to lull some entrenched Rightist Jewish settlers in Hebron before evacuating them by force.

A statesman in such a high position does not normally use such tactics unless he is desperate. And Barak’s desperation is what lies behind such an unprecedented attack. Barak apparently saved the attack for a special moment in which he could improve his position in the polls for the upcoming national elections. These polls consistently show that the party under his leadership will receive its lowest number of votes to date.

For a long time Barak postponed the attack so it would not seem that he was working under the pressure of his opponents. He wanted the credit all for himself. Now, the Israeli masses, worked up by the media, got what the media told them they wanted: revenge. Barak plans to surf on a wave of Palestinian blood into a position of larger number of seats in parliament.

In many ways, this attack has similarities with the Lebanese fiasco in 2006. It also is a staggering failure for Israel from the very moment it was concocted in the twisted minds of Barak and the army generals. Just as in Lebanon, also here the army has failed to stop the rocket launching into Israel. Hamas launched hundreds of them uninterruptedly, killing 3 Israelis in one day and wounding several others. It would also not be surprising if it comes out that the army wanted this result in order to incite Israelis against the Palestinians and to maintain support for the current operation. Just as in Lebanon, also here the operation has no concrete purpose. It is obvious that it cannot destroy Hamas, which will surely rearm itself within a few months of the operation ending. So it all seems just like an unleashing of random violence by the army for no obvious reason other than crude revenge. The difference between the current operation and the Lebanese one is that now the media is full of praises for the Defense Minister and the army on the exact level of performance that was shown in Lebanon.

Collaborating democracy with imperialism

How do we explain a situation where the Israeli masses have been whipped up into such a state of mind of a vengeful and shortsighted focus of their political worldview on “getting back” at the Palestinians? What should not be underestimated here is the psychological warfare the Israeli ruling elite has been waging against the Israeli masses. The media, the military and the politicians have been collaborating to create the impression that the rocket launching from the Gaza Strip has made the surrounding Israeli settlements look like a war zone. In actual fact, since 2004 to just before the recent operation began, the number of Israelis killed by such rockets is less than 15. To put things in perspective, the number of Israeli workers that died because of accidents in their workplaces during this period, was over 10 times that number. This number also resembles the number of Israelis that die in traffic accidents in less than two weeks. So if Barak is really so eager to protect Israeli lives through military means, he should be mobilising the air force against the Israeli bourgeoisie and the state bureaucrats responsible for transport safety rather than against the Palestinian masses!

The military is making the lives of the Israelis in the settlements around Gaza as fearful as it can be. It is inducing a feeling of panic among the public using every means including loud sirens, arbitrary “defence” measures such as ducking and hiding, and forcing people into bomb shelters, all in response to rockets that pose a minimal security threat. All this horror show is designed with one aim in mind: to make ordinary Israelis support the continuity of Israel’s control over Gaza, and thus to pressure or to help democratically elected politicians to fall in line with imperialist interests.

In the current economic crisis, control over Gaza is crucial to Israeli imperialism more than ever since the first Palestinian uprising in 1987. First of all, it satisfies the military’s hunger for state spending on arms. The military, and the politicians under its influence, have proven themselves eager to do battle in any period in which their fiscal prerogatives are at jeopardy.

The most crucial thing for Israeli imperialism, however, is to maintain stability for the “moderate” PLO in the West Bank which provide Israel with numerous resources in terms of one of the cheapest workforces in the world, a captive market that is dependent on absorbing Israel’s surpluses, and land and water resources that Israel desperately needs. It requires the “pacifying” of Gaza in order to make sure that the terrorism it hosts will not slide over into the West Bank and undermine the PLO regime.

This is not to say that Gaza is meaningless to Israel in its own right. Despite its massive levels of poverty, the fact that the Gaza masses depend on goods coming through Israel gives the Israeli capitalists an advantage in terms of a captive market as well, that is, as a long-term perspective. This may also explain why the Israeli army has made much more of an effort to destroy the tunnels that smuggle goods from Egypt than it has to destroy the rocket launchers which were the formal reason for the operation in the first place!

What does Hamas want?

Unlike common-sense economic reductionism held by many on the Left, terrorist groups don’t simply grow out of poverty. Just as the PLO, Hamas emerged from within the Palestinian petty bourgeoisie. They use the masses and their plight mostly as a tool to achieve their class interests which in this context usually include more lucrative jobs and positions. After Israel co-opted the PLO into collaboration with it in exchange for jobs created especially for the PLO members (the jobs created under the cloak of the “Palestinian Authority”), Hamas wanted its peace of the pie as well.

It started to gather support from many frustrated Palestinians in the face of the PLO’s betrayal using, among other things, vengeful acts of terrorism against Israelis. In parallel, it used similar tactics of terrorism in order to lure Israel into negotiating with it, carrying the risk of Israel’s military, rather than diplomatic, retaliation.

Just like Israel’s ruling class, Hamas also benefits from the occupation. It uses it in order to gather support by the same populist means of violent rhetoric and actions used by the Israeli politicians. It also enjoys political and economic benefits via its control over smuggling commodities into the Strip: just like Israel, it to can benefit from the captive market in Gaza.

In such a situation it is puzzling why, some among the international Left are tempted to take a supportive stance towards Hamas. They usually state that despite Hamas’ reactionary ideology, it should be supported because of its “progressive fight against Israeli imperialism”. The folly of such an idea becomes obvious if we look at Hamas from materialistic lines and ask ourselves what would happen if Hamas were to win this conflict? Will it weaken Israeli imperialism as the idealistic Leftists assume? A victory for Hamas could only mean that Israel would be forced to negotiate with it and give it similar political concessions as it gave to the PLO. The imperial relation of Israel towards the Palestinians may take a different form, but it will remain intact. Because under capitalism Palestine cannot be completely cut off from Israel, and will always be dependent on it, a national liberation movement that limits itself to struggling within the confines of capitalism cannot go in any other direction.

Furthermore, bourgeois or petit bourgeois national liberation leaders have usually tended to push the proletariat in the oppressed nation into accepting their leadership because they became aware of the potential power of the workers. Such was the alliance between the South African workers and the ANC leaders who brought down the apartheid regime. But Here, Hamas has made very little effort to create an alliance with the Palestinian workers. Until now it has mostly just harassed their trade unions. Hamas thus have only the power of terrorism and collisions with the Israeli army to get concessions from Israel. Relying on this broken reed, its “anti-imperialist” credentials appear as somewhat exaggerated.

Is there a way out?

We are entering yet another cycle of violence between Israel’s ruling class and Hamas. Such cycles began with Israel’s opening up to the PLO in 1994. Each cycle brings Israel to a more violent response. However, the army has no intention of remaining entangled in the Strip for too long. This operation may last a bit longer and be much more violent than its predecessors because Barak’s election campaign has to be taken into consideration. Although it is also true that once it ends, the operation always leaves behind the preconditions for the next operation.

The Zionist chauvinism that characterized the first days of the operation is gradually being replaced by fear of yet another debacle such as in Lebanon. Journalists are constantly asking political and military leaders for the actual goals which this operation intends to achieve. The answers are always vague and illusive, such as “to radically change the array of deterrence”. In that background, the announcement of Barak on Saturday was especially alarming. He said that the operation would take a long time and would have numerous victims. With no one knowing what this operation is for, this holds a puzzling future for the stability of the political system in Israel: after the chauvinism fades away, the death toll will keep increasing and many questions will be raised by the masses.

To the dismay of the Israeli ruling class, thousands of Jews and Palestinians came this Saturday to Tel Aviv for a mass demonstration against the war (see video below). This is unprecedented. In the Lebanese war it took two months of bloody entanglement for so many protestors to show up. The protestors were constantly harassed by Zionist counter-protests which show just how frightened they are of the emerging protest movement in Israel. Small as it is now, the Zionists are instinctively aware of the fact that it holds the only real key to their downfall.

As this website has repeated many times over, there cannot be a solution within the confines of bourgeois politics to this or any other major political conflict in the world. However, for the moment Israel and Palestine are deprived of any other form of politics. As long as this situation persists, these cycles of violence will continue. We can be sure, though, that from the impossibility of a solution to the situation under capitalism, new political forces are bound to emerge on both sides. The nature of these new forces is impossible to predict at this stage. But if they do not base themselves on the revolutionary collaboration of Israeli and Palestinian workers and poor against their mutual oppressors, no progressive change can be forthcoming from within the Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Courtesy: http://www.marxist.com/israeli-barbarism-in-gaza.htm

The self-delusion that plagues both sides in this conflict

Courtesy and Thanks: Daily Dawn
By Robert Fisk
During the second Palestinian “intifada”, I was sitting in the offices of Hizbollah’s Al-Manar television station in Beirut, watching news footage of a militiaman’s funeral in Gaza. The television showed hordes of Hamas and PLO gunmen firing thousands of rounds of ammunition into the air to honour their latest “martyr”; and I noticed, just next to me, a Lebanese Hizbollah member – who had taken part in many attacks against the Israelis in what had been Israel’s occupation zone in southern Lebanon – shaking his head.

Continue reading The self-delusion that plagues both sides in this conflict

Hamas, the liberal jewish view- Michael Weiss

Hamas as a Political Failure
by Michael Weiss, December 30, 2008
Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com and Jewcy
Commentators in the American and European press too often succumb to a solipsistic way of thinking of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as if only one side had any autonomy or agency. The debate between supporters and critics of Israel is typically couched in the same grammar: Either the Jewish state is acting defensibly, in its own self-interest, or it is not. Thus Tom Segev writes in Ha’aretz that while the latest assault on Hamas military and political infrastructure is morally justified, it represents a strategic blunder. A major fallacy ensues from this one-sided premise, which is that Israel is the sole stimulus for Hamas response, and therefore it alone bears the responsibility for the undeniable misery in Gaza. Those quick to point out how Olmert’s miscalculations have hurt the people he governs will typically suggest that military incursions “radicalize” Arab sentiment, leading to more suicide bombers and more dead Israelis.

Continue reading Hamas, the liberal jewish view- Michael Weiss

Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza

by Tarek Fatah

… As Palestinans die, we all suffer, but at some stage one has to ask, what have been doing wrong that even after 60 years we do not see anyhting other than sloganeering and suffering of common people. And now we hear the dead Hamas leader died alongisde two of his four wives. Is this how national liberation movement have been led anywhere else? Four wives?

Continue reading Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza