Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
A report commissioned by the United Nations suggests that Palestinian terrorism is the inevitable consequence of Israeli occupation and laws that resemble South African apartheid - a claim Israel rejected Tuesday as enflaming hatred between Jews and Palestinians.
The report by John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the UN Human Rights Council, will be presented next month, but it has been posted on the body's Web site.
In it, Dugard, a South African lawyer who campaigned against apartheid in the 1980s, says "common sense ... dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al-Qaida, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation."
"While Palestinian terrorist acts are to be deplored, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation," writes Dugard, whose 25-page report accuses the Israel of acts and policies consistent with all three.
He cited checkpoints and roadblocks restricting Palestinian movement to house demolitions and what he terms the Judaization of Jerusalem.
"As long as there is occupation, there will be terrorism," he argues.
"Acts of terror against military occupation must be seen in historical context," Dugard says. "This is why every effort should be made to bring the occupation to a speedy end. Until this is done, peace cannot be expected, and violence will continue."
Israel's UN ambassador in Geneva slammed Dugard's analysis.
"The common link between Al-Qaida and the Palestinian terrorists is that both intentionally target civilians with the mere purpose to kill," Itzhak Levanon said. "The fact that Professor Dugard is ignoring this essential fact, demonstrates his inability to use objectivity in his assessment."
"Professor Dugard will better serve the cause of peace by ceasing to enflame the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians, who have embarked on serious talks to solve this contentious situation."
Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an unpaid expert by the now-defunct UN Human Rights Commission to investigate only violations by the Israeli side, prompting Israel and the U.S. to dismiss his reports as one-sided. Israel refused to allow him to conduct a UN-mandated fact-finding mission on its Gaza offensive in 2006.
The report will be presented next month at the 47-nation rights council's first regular session of the year. The new body has been widely criticized - even by its founder, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan - for spending most of its time criticizing one government, Israel's, over alleged abuses.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
The news that the Palestinians broke the wall between Gaza and Egypt should be considered one of the largest prison breakouts in world history. For the first time in their lives, 750,000 Palestinian inmates could venture outside the Gaza strip, which is like the largest open-air prison in the world. This event demonstrates the resilience of human beings who are brutally denied their basic rights and forced to survive in a hostile environment. Although the Israeli government tried everything to extinguish the resistance of the outnumbered and outgunned Palestinians, it has utterly failed. Oppressors can only offer methods that, at their best, are simply inhumane.
Recently, the Israeli government imposed a total blockade on Gaza, cutting off the supply of essential foodstuffs, fuel and desperately needed medical supplies. The best minds in Israel schemed so that the inmates would revolt against their government, Hamas, and beg the Israelis to give them reprieve. As an additional incentive, Israel launched scores of missiles and air raids, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.
If such conditions were imposed on any other nation in the world, such as the United States, Serbia or China, their populace would probably break down and sue for peace. Not that Americans are cowards, or that Palestinians are different from the rest of us. Instead, their resilience comes from the fact that for three generations, they have had to live and fight one of the most oppressive regimes in the modern world. They continue to survive violence which, if revealed in all its ugly reality, would spur citizens to demand their governments to intervene and stop this genocidal oppression.
Yet this does not happen, for the true image of suffering is not shown in American media. Rather, Israel is given carte blanche by the U.S. government to deal with the Palestinians however they choose. Thankfully, Palestinians learned long ago that they cannot count on world powers to alleviate their suffering. They have learned to rely only on themselves.
Thus, when Israel blockaded the tiny strip of land called Gaza in hopes of crippling its will, Palestinians found a powerful yet simple answer. Just like the Berliners, who stormed and toppled their wall in 1989, the Palestinians leveled this symbol of oppression and division in one exuberant stroke of national will. Though Palestinians were able to taste the sweet air of freedom, they still remain in prison and are still encircled by walls of indifference and neglect.
Once again, these imprisoned, impoverished and oppressed people have proven their resilience in retaining their human dignity. They showed Israel that its military cannot extinguish their quest for freedom. The oppressive state of Israel should recognize that it is impossible to impose its will by sheer force, and that it needs to recognize Hamas as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Only then will it be possible to start productive peace talks to resolve this bitter conflict. However, if we are to judge from past Israeli actions, the future does not look bright.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
In an attempt to shed light on the oppression of Gaza, Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Aboutrika wore a tee shirt reading “sympathize with Gaza” in Arabic and English during a match of the African Cup of Nations.
Aboutrika flashed the shirt after he scored his first goal in view of cameras and millions of spectators throughout the world which prompted the referee to slap him with yellow warning card for violating the FIFA rules which prohibit religious and political slogans during the games, although this phrase is more humanitarian than political.
His act was praised worldwide and images of him flashing the shirt traveled all over the globe.
Recently however, Google caved in to Zionist demands and removed all images of Aboutrika's expression off the internet.
It seems that nowadays, we are not even supposed to express our sympathy or concern for the inhumane acts against the Palestinians. Are we supposed to simply ignore the atrocities?
How sad of a time it is, when we are even prohibited for expressing our grieve for the suffering peoples of the world? How is it wrong for us, for even at the least, to express our sympathy?
Saturday, February 9, 2008
So where does that leave the Palestinians?
The suggestion has to be, as I said earlier, God helps those who help themselves. The Palestinians have to find a way to act on their own, and I think what happened in late January [the destruction of part of the wall separating Gaza from Egypt] is a good sign.
That is exactly what they should be doing in the West Bank. One million Palestinians armed with picks and hammers should go to that wall and say "The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said this wall has to be dismantled. We are implementing the ICJ decision. We are knocking down the wall."
Does that mean you encourage violence?
What happened in Gaza last month was not violence. I advocate what international law allows - that people under occupation can resist occupation using means which are legal under that law. This includes violence so long as you are targeting combatants and not civilians.
George Bush, the US president, has called Iran and North Korea "rogue states". Do you consider Israel a "rogue state"?
It is more than a rogue state. It is a lunatic state. The only country in the world where the population overwhelmingly supports an attack on Iran is Israel - 78 per cent want to attack Iran. The state has gone berserk. The whole world is yearning for peace, and Israel is constantly yearning for war.
You have been called an extremist, a neo-Nazi, an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier.
What I have to say is not particularly radical. I have said pretty much what the whole international community has said for the past 30 years. When people actually hear what I say, it's not particularly extreme.
In Chicago, there was a person who was indicted on some lunatic terrorism charge and I was called in as an expert witness on what Hamas' record was in Gaza. That's all I was called in for. I would certainly support them of course, what's wrong with Hamas? They're the elected government of Palestine. Who cares what they are considered, the people elected them.
Are you deliberately trying to provoke a reaction with your views?
No, I have no desire to provoke, I want to win this cause [for Palestine]. I think we can really win it; that's one of the reasons I'm on this tour.
I think public opinion about Israel is now in freefall. I think it is going to be even worse now because nobody is going to defend Israel when the Palestinians blow up the wall.
Below is the letter..
Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,
I understand that today the U.N. Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.
I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in Southern Israel for over two years.
All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded by rockets on an almost daily basis. That is unacceptable and Israel has a right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.
The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.
United States Senator