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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Canadians hear settler’s moving story: Peace and Justice for Palestinians

Large-Scale illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank have made a two-state solution impossible and some Israelis are advocating further ethnic cleansing by banishing Palestinians to five isolated cities in the West Bank and annexing their land, an Israeli-Canadian journalist-filmmaker says. 

Lia Tarachansky stated in Ottawa that Israel plans to annex almost all of Palestinian land but is contemplating what to do with the Palestinians whose land it has stolen. If it grants them citizenship, they might eventually become the majority turning Israel into a secular rather than a Jewish state. If it doesn’t grant them citizenship rights, it will become even more of an apartheid state than it already is. Some Israelis are suggesting that Israel banish the Palestinians to cities in the occupied territories and grant the cities “independence” to fend for themselves, Bantustan-style.

Tarachansky spoke at a function organized by the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations, which educates Canadians about the Middle East. She was born in the USSR but her parents, facing intense anti-Semitism, migrated to Israel. She grew up in Arial, the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Though the illegal settlement adjoins Arab villages, there is no interaction between the settlers and the Palestinians. Israeli law forbids Israelis from going to Palestinian villages and it was only after her parents had moved to Canada that Tarachansky met a Palestinian and heard the Palestinian story. In Israel she was told that the Palestinians hate Jews and want to kill them.

After her studies in Canada, Tarachansky returned to Israel and now lives in Jaffa. She has tried to learn more about the Palestinians and is making a documentary, “Seven Deadly Myths”, which traces the stories of four veterans of the 1948 war that erased Palestinian villages and expelled Palestinians from their homes. The film connects the four stories to the ongoing Palestinian dispossession through the occupation and settlements. She hopes that her film, to be released this fall if she obtains funding for editing and refinement, will enlighten Israelis, and Jews around the world, about what really happened. She wants to do so because she was taught in Israel that Arab armies, three years after the Holocaust, attacked Israel to complete Hitler’s task and kill Jews. This brainwashing enables Israelis to oppress Palestinians without moral qualms.

More than two-thirds of Palestinians were ousted from their homes and over 530 Palestinian villages were destroyed. More than 40 percent of Palestinians have been jailed, some for years, often without charges. Arrested Palestinians are often tortured, she stated. While United Nations resolutions emphasize that Palestinians have the right to return home, Israel has enacted laws that ruled out their return to their homes or villages, even for a visit.

Laws were passed that allowed any Jew to come to Israel and become a citizen. Another law gave 93 percent of the land, mostly Arab land, to the state. In Mandatory Palestine, Arabs owned 12.8 million dunams of the 26.4 million dunams (26,400 km2). Jews owned 1.5 million dunams, 1.5 million dunams was public land and the Negev desert had 10.6 million dunams. Another law allowed confiscation of the property of Arabs who had been killed or expelled. The law defined even Palestinians who had not left their homes as “present absentees.” They could vote but could not use or sell their property. Another law decreed that anybody who sought to return to his home could be shot, imprisoned or deported.

More than 60 laws were passed, Tarachansky declared, that conferred or restricted citizens’ rights depending on whether they were Jewish.

Although most Israelis do not know or care about their government trampling on Palestinians’ rights, Tarachansky said she was hopeful about peace and justice. This is partly because Israelis like her are now learning about the dark side of their history. Israeli scholars studied Zionist records after they were declassified in 1978 and wrote books. They discovered, for example, that after the proclamation of independence, Israeli militias attacked and ousted Palestinians. Arab armies did not intervene until about eight months later and were repelled.

She asserted that the Israeli ambassador to the United States has told Premier Benjamin Netanyahu that American Jews are writing to him, after seeing the movies “The Gatekeepers” and “Five Broken Cameras”, asking why they should support a state that is committing such brutalities. “The Gatekeepers”, made by an Israeli filmmaker, showed Israeli atrocities against Palestinians that were indirectly criticized by former leaders of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet.

“Five Broken Cameras” records the sufferings inflicted on Bil’in, a West Bank village, by illegal Israeli settlers and the army. The film was started by farmer Emad Burnat in 2005 and later directed by Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi.

Tarachansky declared that Israeli policies are alienating American Jews, church groups and the youth. The boycott Israel movement that started in 2005 is growing and is having a profound psychological and financial impact on Israel. Last year 21 percent of Israeli companies reported losses because of the boycott movement. She said that Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s greatest scientists, rejected the invitation to address the Israeli president’s conference in May. His refusal drew 200,000 Facebook followers. A Guardian poll revealed that his decision was supported two to one and has been a big boost to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS).

Those who listened to Tarachansky applauded her courage and moral fortitude. They also felt deep sympathy for the Palestinian victims of brutality and injustice.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The REAL Al-Aqsa Mosque

Many people don't know what Al-Aqsa mosque is because of the media; incorrectly identifying Al-Aqsa mosque with the Dome of the Rock and vice versa. Please do read this, and teach it to your sons and daughters.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Blessed: It must be emphasized that the whole area enclosed by the wall, including both The dome of the Rock and The Qibly prayer hall.

Al-Aqsa mosque is the name for the whole area enclosed by the wall in southeast Old Jerusalem. It houses nearly 200 archaeological buildings, foremost among which are the Dome of the Rock (with the golden dome) at its heart, and Al-Qibly Prayer Hall (with the lead dome) at its southernmost part, nearer to the Qiblah at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Other buildings include minor prayer halls, domes, mihrabs (=chambers for prayer), schools, corridors, mastabas (=slightly raised grounds constructed for several uses including education), fountains, trees, minbars (=pulpits), gates, wells, libraries, among other buildings, in addition to the open yards enclosed by the wall.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is a semi rectangle of 144 donums (=144,000 square meters); that is about 1/6 of the walled old city of Jerusalem. Its western wall is 491 meters long, its eastern wall is 462m, its northern wall is 310m, and its southern wall is 281m.

*Information was taken from Activists around the world for Palestine (facebook page). You can visit their page here:*

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Myths Debunked about Hamas Rockets

Things you should know about rockets from Gaza:

  • They are homemade. No, really. They cost about $800 to make, which makes them incredibly primitive. They do not use any advanced technology and cannot be guided, directed, or controlled. They are largely ineffective and have a very limited range (up to a maximum of 20 km/12.4 mi). See this video from Current TV for a demonstration of how they are made.
  • In the past 9 years, about 6,000 homemade Qassam rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel by various groups. Of those, over 90% landed in uninhabited areas, causing no injuries or damage. Seriously. Did I mention these things are really ineffective?
  • Israel’s missile/rocket defense system, called the Iron Dome, is set up to intercept rockets/missiles fired into Israel, primarily from Gaza and Lebanon. They don’t stop every projectile that crosses the border—only those that, according to trajectory models calculated by sophisticated computer programs using data from radar, are likely to land in populated areas (or, more specifically, militarily significant areas). If a rocket is projected to land in a populated area, a $40,000, highly sophisticated guided-missile is launched to intercept and destroy said $800 Qassam rocket. If the rocket is projected to land in an uninhabited area, the system does not respond and the rocket completes it path, landing in the middle of nowhere and hurting no one. This means that very few rockets from Gaza ever land in civilian populated areas, and thus rarely cause any lasting damage. (Source)
  • Qassam rockets fired from Gaza have resulted in fewer than 25 deaths in the last 9 years, including the most recent rocket attacks. (Note: Qassams do not account for all deaths on the Israeli side. Over the last nine years, another 20-25 were killed by mortar fire, and 2 were killed by anti-tank missiles. See B’Tselem for more). For comparison, the IDF killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians in less than one month during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009. More than half of the dead were deemed to have taken no part in the conflict. Another 5,300 Palestinians were wounded in these attacks. More than 3,500 residential dwellings were destroyed and more than 20,000 people were left homeless. And all of this was done over the span of a single month. (For more, read this).
  • Groups in Gaza that rely on Qassam rockets do so because they are the only available options. They do not have access to $40,000 guided missiles like the IDF. They use crudely made, ineffective, and unreliable homemade rockets because that is simply all they have access to.
  • The fact that Hamas has killed fewer Israelis than the IDF has killed Palestinians does not reflect a moral superiority on the part of Hamas. If they had more effective and deadly weapons, they would use them. The death toll difference is more a reflection of the grave disparity in resources and technology, not a difference of morality. That being said, nothing can justify Israel’s clearly disproportionate response. No matter how you look at it, the IDF is still clearly in violation of both the Geneva Conventions and Just War Theory. They are recklessly targeting civilian populated areas and, as a result, killing civilians. They are relying on extra-judicial executions. They are using unnecessary and disproportionate force. And they are attacking an occupied population. What the IDF is doing could very easily be argued to amount to genocide.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nakba: That's not fair

The following poem is by a Palestinian poet named Iqbal Tamimi

That's not fair

In 1917
A man by the name of Balfour
From a very far land called Britain
Offered total strangers
Across oceans and shores
My homeland as a gift
He was not the owner of my country
Nor they have the right to be there
That was not fair

He said they were oppressed in Europe
And were treated very bad
We had nothing to do with his claims
He did not offer them part of his country
Yet he gave them everything we had
That was not fair

While the Ottomans were leaving Palestine
The British arrived
We were told the British mandate is there
To make sure peace prevail
But the British turned a blind eye
To the Jewish gangsters horrors
They were offered training and arms
By which they massacred our families
Wiping our villages from all the maps
And those who escaped death
The Zionists terrorised them
Forcing them to flee
That was not fair

The United Nations did not ask us what we think
They claimed the intention is to solve the conflict
They segmented my country on a platter
They gave the owners of the land the breadcrumbs
And gave the occupiers the biggest share
That was not fair

We became refugees
In our own home land
Mine fields, barbed wire and road blocks split us apart
My home became a headquarter
For the Israeli police
Total strangers from as far as Poland and Russia
Occupied our homes
Stolen our water and fruits
And imprisoned those who dared to declare
That they are not going to leave
That was not fair

In 1967
We were enjoying a day out
On the other side of the Jordan River
The Israeli army invaded the West Bank
Occupying our homes again
Rearranging our destiny
We were denied the right to go back
Forced to became second time refugees
Carrying on our shoulders
Our plight and despair
That was not fair

The good USA sent its aid
To both sides across the sea
The Israeli occupiers received
Rockets, tankers, planes and bombs
While the Palestinian refugees’ share
Was tents, biscuits and canned sardines
That was not fair

The secular politicians of the democratic West
Suddenly turned religious
When the Palestinian plight was discussed
They endorsed a racist God
Who says some of his children are chosen
And better than the rest
He gave them permission
To kill, maim and steal from their brothers
And use an iron fist
That was not fair

I am one of five million dispersed
People eye them with disgust
Frequently asked:
“why don’t you go home?”
Well…what can I say?
Your government approved kicking me out of my homeland
And forced you
To share your loaf of bread with me
Your media calls the freedom fighters terrorists
And the racist state a democracy
Turning a blind eye to thousands of Palestinians
Rotting inside Israeli jails
Palestinians in Gaza
Were starved to death
While the apartheid wall
And the illegitimate settlements
Are not challenged by the International Community
We are the legitimate owners of the land
Yet we were forced to shelter
In refugee camps for 63 years
Watching across the borders savages
Uprooting our trees
That is not fair

When Mary is forced
To go through 16 check points
Between Nazerath and Bethlehem
And still gives birth on the side of the road
For fabricated reasons of security
While the soldiers stand and stare
That is not fair

When children at schools
Do not know where Palestine is
Because Google forged the facts
Deleting its name from the maps
That is not fair

When I’m denied access to my home
And forced to move 56 times
Carrying my memories in my head
Knowing that I will never sleep
In my own bed
Or hang family pictures on a wall
That I can call mine
That is not fair

When the number of suitcases
Outnumbers the relatives who remained alive
When the number of true facts circulated
Are much less than those of lies
That is not fair

Here I am in exile alone
Lost everything I had
No family weddings to attend
No feasts to celebrate
My belongings are not that much
A mirror
To watch the grey invade my hair
And shreds of newspapers
Attributing the victims of terror
That is not fair

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Committee on Jerusalem: The occupation forces are carrying out a new type of "Judaization"

The Committee on Jerusalem: the occupation forces are carrying out a new type of "Judaization"

Al-Quds (occupied Jerusalem) - The Muslim-Christian Committee for the defense of the holy places has warned that the Israeli occupation authorities are developing a new type of "Judaization" in occupied Jerusalem.

The commission, in press, has announced that the Israeli occupation is planning to build a cemetery of six floors, which can hold 35 thousand well-tombs in Jerusalem, adding that the intention part of the plan of "Judaization" of whole area.

The committee felt this decision would be the implementation of a new type of politics "Judaization" of Jerusalem, in addition to those already in place, and providing for the construction of numeroussynagogues and all around them, Jewish settlements.

The committee also highlighted the Israeli intention to build 11 new railroads in the West Bank, to ensure the connections between the various settlements scattered throughout the region.

It is therefore clear design pursued by Tel Aviv, which at first had expropriated thousands of acres of Palestinian land, then build the wall of annexation and settlements that now going to connect with new railroad.

The commission has therefore appealed to Islamic countries and the international community to become aware of such "crimes", also increasing rapidly.