Sixty Years of Dispossession, Humiliation, and Oppression in the Middle East

I recently took part in a four-person panel discussion of solutions to the conflict that arose 60 years ago and still persists when Israel was established in Palestine, displacing more than half of the native Palestinian population. We were two Jews and two Palestinians and I was the only woman.

I listened carefully to each of my fellow panellists talk about the two-state solution and heard potential fixes for everything from the settlements and water, to regional balance of power and refugees. The other Palestinian on the panel still believed in the two-state solution even though it is neither “ideal nor just” but he was willing to compromise anyway. Just to live. To walk home without going through five checkpoints. I wasn’t as willing. He lives there, I don’t. I get it. But I’m Palestinian too. And the country they stole was also my inheritance, my history and heritage, my home where my family has lived for centuries.

Creating a disjointed Palestinian state completely surrounded by Israel on what is now less than 16% of historic Palestine is and always was unjust and immoral, as it overrides basic principles of justice and international law and precludes repatriation for over 5 million refugees. The other panellists felt that I essentially was unrealistic or naïve. I listened again to all the things that Israel would “never agree to” and a rehashing of the endless “peace initiatives” in all the glory of their persistent failures to do anything but increase Palestinian misery.

What Israel will or will not “agree to” ought to be moot because Israel has never been vague about its nefarious intentions to have all of Palestine without Palestinians. Everything they’ve said and everything they’ve done and continue to do speak to this fact. It is not about what Israel will or will not accept, but whether we and all of humanity, Jews and Gentiles alike, will accept that Palestinians should not have certain self-evident and inalienable rights accorded to the rest of humanity.

Each initiative to settle this conflict reflects some creative design to circumvent Palestinian basic human rights in order to accommodate Israel’s desire for religious purity. The world is willing to leave five million Palestinian refugees out in the cold (“to be settled at a later date”) because Israel insists on “Judaising” the homes, cemeteries, farms, and history they stole from them.

The international community raises no objection to Israel’s eternal control of all Palestinian borders, economy, water, and air. Gaza’s 1.6 million human beings languish in darkness, mass hunger and misery deliberately imposed by Israel, without so much a peep from the Security Council.

It is not clear to me what we have done to the world that we should be so excluded from humanity, but this persistent trampling of our human rights must end. Either nations have accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a document that applies equally to all human beings, or we do away with that document all together and join to Israel’s law of the jungle. There can be no selective application of its principles – principles that guarantee the right of refugees to return to their homes; that promise us a right to our own history and heritage and freedom from foreign occupation and oppression.

We are not less human that we should be expected to continue to “negotiate” with our oppressors for basic human rights. For decades now we have extended our collective hand in willingness to accept the two-state solution, a desperate offer of great compromise on our part. And for that same length of time, Israel has continued to steal more and more of our land, to kill, maim, and dispossess more and more of us. The daily horrors inflicted on my countrymen have nothing to do with terrorism or our corrupt leadership. Our great crime is that we are not Jewish. We are oppressed, denied, humiliated daily, dispossessed and robbed because we are not Jewish.

The concepts of human equality, human dignity, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not the exclusive privies of West. They are also ours and we are not powerless to demand them. Ours is the power of an indigenous people struggling against a colonial oppressor hell-bent on taking our place, even though there is space enough for both peoples.

History has already taught us that military might is no match for such a power. Increasingly, people of conscience, including our Jewish brothers and sisters, throughout the world are speaking up for our rights, often at great personal expense to themselves. Academics, labour unions, churches, and civic institutions around the globe are divesting from Israel. We should stop engaging in theoretical debates about a dead and bloated two-state solution, rummaging through the wreckage of countless peace initiatives, giving up more and more, hoping this merciless military occupation will have mercy on us.

Human worth cannot be measured by arbitrary standards, like skin color or religion. History will teach us this lesson yet again, and it will judge harshly all the 60th anniversary celebrations taking place around the world on this day when we grieve for the identity, land, and heritage taken from us because we are not Jewish. We watch these celebrations with an ineffable collective loss and grief, and an equally deep vow never to give up our basic rights as the natives of Palestine.

Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin, a work of historic fiction and the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine. Read other articles by Susan, or visit Susan's website.

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  1. sk said on May 15th, 2008 at 11:20am #

    Part of the reason why a fog of mystification has to be spun around this conflict (e.g. the infinite complexity of the “dispute” which goes back to the biblical era, etc.), and the subsequent depiction of it as not being amenable to worldly solutions of the type that have worked elsewhere–most recently in South Africa–is that many of the racist “unspoken assumptions” that underlie the Zionist project can no longer be mentioned in polite company. For the real “motivating passions” of Zionists, we have to analyze the words spoken by leaders in an era when such assumptions were more common. That staunch Zionist–and great opponent of Fascism– Winston Churchill was honest enough to give voice to his actual feelings on the matter when testifying before a Parliamentary commission on Palestine in 1937 he said:

    I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

  2. Ekosmo said on May 15th, 2008 at 5:45pm #

    A heartfelt, highly personal, yet powerful female discourse brings moi back to this site…

    …a discourse that should be — [if there’s even a modicum of human decency left among the Neoliberal social-engineers much of this planet now has the misfortune to elect or be dictated to] — forcefully rammed into the skulls of each and every Market sleezeball purporting to be bringing “democracy” [sic]
    — meaning THEIR Democracy — meaning CORPORATE Democracy —
    to the sands of South East Asia…

    I’ll add my 10 centsworth to whats above sil vous plait…

    Zionism — a crackpot secular-political-monocultural ideology concocted at the ass-end of 19th Century European Romanticism — then finally and “miraculously” implemented during the very dawn of European de-colonialism — has utterly and abysmally FAILED…

    No amount of prolonged pettifogging or current or historic narrative modifications made on its behalf by its well-heeled protectors can obscure this hard FACT anymore…

    As a Palestinian Arab, Suzy wont need reminding that from its early “victimological” beginnings its utterly failed… And everything and everyone this wretched malignant creed has impacted upon has been well and truly shafted — not only the entire Palestinian population, or those in each and every adjacent state thats tasted the lash of its whip over the past 60-years — but also I’d suggest, if such mono-collectivist notions actually do exist anymore
    — Zionism has primarily FAILED “the Jewish People”… !

    if only because its turning/has turned [??] them into a metaphor for evil
    because you can no longer in the name of JUDAISM — a noble creed, if creeds are your thing — displace, butcher and kill civilian men, women and kids with such a complete and callous abandon, and moreover, staunchly maintain the rationale to keep right on displacing, butchering and killing your way into a deeply delusional and wholly pathological Goyim-free, “Greta Garbo-like” Utopian “refuge” …

    So just keep on recalling Suzy that:

    — Nazi Germany fell in the 1940s…
    — The British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch & Belgian empires fell in the 1950-70s…
    — Totalitarian East Europe fell in the late 1980s…
    — Apartheid South Africa fell in the 1990s…

    and sooner or later the state of Israel will fall
    — for the plain, simple, reason that its ACTIONS for the past 60-years have been nothing less than a despicable affront to every post-Enlightenment moral and ethical value erected over the last 250-plus years…

    Indeed, its become so self-justifiably depraved as to be, in my opinion, utterly un-reformable…

    Thus, Zionism is simply no longer SUSTAINABLE…

    The “International Community” [sic] — a.k.a. the above-mentioned corporate whores — will of course defend it in much the same way they defended till the end the Sth Afrikaan Broederbund’s Dutch Reformed colonial Utopia-on-the-Veld…
    then when the tide turns — as sooner or later it will — its “Adieu Israel..”

    PS:
    to SR — a one-person resource sans parallel —

    the Winny Churchill quote [above] was central to the magnificent and wholly unmissable Arundhati Roy film entitled — “WE” —
    that’s available on-line at
    http://www.weroy.org/
    but you already knew that SR, didn’tchoo…

  3. sk said on May 15th, 2008 at 9:07pm #

    Ekosmo, thanks for your kind words. I didn’t know of this movie, but Arundhati Roy is an amazing person in more ways than one.

    Winston Churchill’s attitude toward race is also of interest in that it’s emblematic of wider attitudes toward this social construct. For many people of his era, “race” meant something along the lines of the “English race” or the “American race” (both are phrases that Churchill used several times). After the Boer War, when he described South Africa as a “war-torn country, still red-hot from race hatred” he was not referring to race as we would understand it. He meant the mutual hatred of Britons and Afrikaners.

    Jerry Hough makes the same point in his recent book:

    The European-Americans outside the South had called each other “races” prior to World War II, and the word connoted the kind of emotion we attribute to it today. Indeed, the phrase “race, creed, and color” was not redundant, and “race” referred primarily to white “races.” A firm in the 1930s could answer a survey on its hiring practices by saying “no colored hired in office [and] no discrimination as of race.”

    In some recess of Churchill’s mind, it seems there lingered doubt about the full humanity of non-European peoples. He could be patronizing toward them, as in the following account of his days as a prisoner of the Boers fighting the British Empire, but the prospect of full political equality for non-whites was more than he could bear:

    Boer captor: “Well, is it right that a dirty Kaffir should walk on the pavement–without a pass too? That’s what they do in your British Colonies. Brother! Equal! Ugh! Free! Not a bit. We know how to treat Kaffirs in this country. Fancy letting the black filth walk on the pavement!….Educate a Kaffir! Ah, that’s you English all over. No, no, old chappie. We educate ‘em with a stick. Treat ‘em with humanity and consideration–I like that. They were put here by the God Almighty to work for us. We’ll stand no damned nonsense from them. We’ll keep them in their proper places.”

    Churchill: “Probing at random I had touched a very sensitive nerve. We had got down from underneath the political and reached the social. What is the true and original root of Dutch aversion to British rule? It is not Slagter’s Nek, nor Broomplatz, nor Majuba, nor the Jameson Raid. Those incidents only fostered its growth. It is the abiding fear and hatred of the movement that seeks to place the native on a level with the white man. British government is associated in the Boer farmer’s mind with violent social revolution. Black is to be proclaimed the same as white. The servant is to be raised against the master; the Kaffir is to be declared the brother of the European, to be constituted his legal equal, to be armed with political rights. The dominant race is to be deprived of their superiority; nor is a tigress robbed of her cubs more furious than is the Boer at this prospect.”

    Also, interesting how his Boer captor–just like many a pre-Civil War Southern gentleman–regarded rigid racism administered with a stick as “humanity and consideration”.

  4. hp said on May 15th, 2008 at 9:16pm #

    Way back when it was agin the law to beat your wife with a stick bigger than the diameter of your thumb.

  5. zhann said on May 15th, 2008 at 11:57pm #

    I may be a bit confused here, but I feel that some of the comparisons made are a bit out of touch with reality. For starters, I would like to respond to Susan’s article. I understand Susan completely, she is neither the first nor the last to express such feelings. There are some statements, however, that need a little analysis.

    “What Israel will or will not “agree to” ought to be moot” – Well, this of course is never going to solve anything. The fact is simple, regardless of conflict, to the victor goes the spoils. This is the true outcome of every war ever fought. In 1948, an offer was made by Israel to Arabs, it was answered with war. Israel, of course, won. Israel claimed more land. Israel made a second offer. The answer, once again, was war. Israel again won … and so on. Now, after loosing war after war, the Arab nations want all their losses annulled? How so? Let’s ignore Zionism, let’s ignore Palestinian plight. Ignoring the Victor in negotiation at this point is ignorant.

    “It is not clear to me what we have done to the world that we should be so excluded from humanity” … As for the “excluded from humanity”, I think that this is going a bit far. But, what have the Palestinians done? Are you serious? You really don’t know? Have you been reading the news? Do you know whats going on in Israel? How were you selected for a panel to discuss solutions to the Israeli/Palestinian problem without this knowledge? I will let you in on a little secret, Palestinians are notorious for shooting Rockets at Israel, Using suicide bombers in crowded areas, using children as martyrs … and a great deal more. I know, its terrible. I hope the problem is a little clearer now.

    I hate to by cynical, but this problem is never going to go away because of people like Susan on the Palestinian side, and her Polar opposite on the Israeli side … who also don’t want to compromise, don’t want to recognize a Palestinian state, and so on. I will be blunt, the Palestinians have no choice, they must compromise. The must recognize Israel. The must stop the violence. Until honest efforts are made in this direction, no peace will ever come.

  6. Mike McNiven said on May 15th, 2008 at 11:59pm #

    Thank you Ms. Abulhawa for exposing the ongoing imperialist racist zionist anti-Palestinian beliefs and practices!

    sk were you joking when you described Churchill as “great opponent of Fascism” ? Anyway, he was not! He and his milieu saw fascism as the best tool against socialist Russia. So, they actually encouraged Mussolini and the German “national socialists” until UK became a military target of the German fascists. Many cables got excahanged, on the benefits of support for the fascists, between London and Washington. The words below, from the page that you provided the link, are another example:

    ” ‘If I had been an Italian, I am sure I would have been entirely with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism. ‘
    To Benito Mussolini in a press conference in Rome (January 1927), as quoted in Churchill : A Life (1992) by Martin Gilbert “

  7. joe rose said on May 16th, 2008 at 3:13am #

    My dear zhan, your aguments are based in half-truths and are in general plain b*****s, I am affraid.

    JJBoulas

  8. zhann said on May 16th, 2008 at 5:40am #

    Joe, half truth? Something like this article? I am simply posting a response. The article posted one view, I posted the apposing. Of course, neither is correct, the truth is in the middle. But, your response is meaningless … children respond like that.

  9. sk said on May 16th, 2008 at 5:50am #

    You have a point, Mike. In fact, some have even argued that Fascism wasn’t always the diagonally opposed “break”–appearances notwithstanding, especially with 20/20 vision of hindsight–from what had gone on before, even more so when it came to treatment of colonial subjects.

    Here’s a question asked in a review of a recent biography of Mussolini:

    What degree of continuity was there with the pre-Mussolini “Liberal Italy”?…Bosworth points out that Mussolini’s colonial atrocities in Ethiopia and Libya (where in Cyraneica he killed half the population) as well as his opportunistic entry into the Second World War was all too much in keeping with “Liberal” traditions.

    Enzo Traverso also raised troubling questions about the relationship between “Liberal 19th-century Europe–the heartland of racism, imperialism and colonial war” and the regimes of upstarts like Mussolini and Hitler (who, in fact only came to power with the collusion of factions from the established ruling elites).

  10. sk said on May 16th, 2008 at 7:20am #

    Progressives are often accused of “relativism” by those ascribing to a more dog-eat-dog view of the world. Isiah Berlin did some interesting musing on the topic such as, “I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps”.

    btw, speaking of Arundhati Roy it might be of interest to those who consider argumentation based on where they believe their ancestors lived 2,000 years ago as a valid line of reasoning to consider that she has a much stronger claim to real estate in the “Holy Land” based on unbroken lineage stretching back 18 centuries.

  11. John Wilkinson said on May 16th, 2008 at 11:51am #

    “I will let you in on a little secret, Palestinians are notorious for shooting Rockets at Israel, Using suicide bombers in crowded areas, using children as martyrs … and a great deal more”

    …because they don’t have F-15s, they don’t have tanks, they don’t have guided missiles, they don’t have cluster bombs. yes, children were martyred — many more by the Apache helicopters and tanks, than by suicide bombing. yes, crowded areas and buildings full of civilians were obliterated — by the F-15s and tanks. yes, whole areas — orchards, homes, etc., were bulldozed, using Caterpillar equipment the palestinians don’t have.

    yes’ they should have sat on their hands, after their country was STOLEN from them, in the name of some santa claus beliefs from a million years ago. their property was STOLEN. their people MASSACRED. (but the arabs should have accepted the done deed; the palestinians should have accepted the done deed, to the victor go the spoils. same nazi philosophy, but no, these are civilized people, these israelis, who STEAL, and PLUNDER and RAPE. they had their holocaust, and now they can do whatever the basest in them pleases to the others, all is forgiven by people like you).

    Shame, shame, shame, eternal shame. and we support this. our politicians fall over themselves to go over there, pledge allegiance to israel before that to the us, and kiss israeli ass and lick israeli boots. and shit on these poor people, kick the helpless in the gut while they are lying down.

    Eternal shame on us, for establishing this cancer in the first place and for maintaining it with our hard earned tax dollars. for our traitorous leaders who join in this inhumanity and who shit on our own long-term interests in all of this.

    but you know what, justice will prevail in the end. do you think that israel will exist 1,000 years from now, when it’s surrounded by hatred, when it was conceived in hatred?

  12. hp said on May 16th, 2008 at 12:20pm #

    Funny how those rockets seem to be fired just when ‘needed.’
    And how they always find an empty field or an Arab neighborhood to land in…

  13. hugh said on May 16th, 2008 at 1:23pm #

    There’s no excuse for this atrocity against civilians, perpetrated by violent primitive fanatical savages.
    ==================

    Grad rocket strikes crowded Ashkelon mall

    14 May 2008

    A Grad rocket smashed into a busy shopping mall in the coastal city of Ashkelon at 6 pm today, burying many shoppers under the rubble. Initial reports state that 31 people were wounded – five seriously, two moderately and the rest slightly

    The aftermath at the Ashkelon mall, after being struck by a Grad missile launched by Hamas from Gaza (Photo: Edi Israel)

    An Iranian-made Grad rocket launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip hit a medical clinic on the second floor of a busy shopping mall in central Ashkelon today (Wednesday, 14 May 2008). The attack occurred at approximately 6 pm Israel time.

    Israel radio reported at 7 pm that the rocket wounded 31 people, many of them children. Five people were wounded seriously, including a mother and her two-year-old daughter who were in the clinic at the time of the attack. Two additional people were injured moderately and the rest slightly. Many of the injured are children. The rocket ripped through the roof of the mall, causing extensive damage and burying many shoppers under piles of rubble.

    MDA paramedics reached the scene seconds after the mall was hit, and struggled to extract shoppers buried under the rubble. Ambulances rushed the wounded to nearby Barzilai Hospital, which was itself attacked about two months ago. An additional 62 people were treated for shock at the scene.

    Physicians for Human Rights condemned the latest attack on civilians in Ashkelon. “PHR demands acknowledgement that punishing civilians or committing violent acts against them and against medical staffs or patient-care facilities reflects a deep violation of international law as well as basic human morality,” the organization said in a statement.

    In the recent escalation of deadly rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at civilian population centers in southern Israel, 70-year-old Shuli Katz was killed on Monday in Moshav Yesha, and Jimmy Kedoshim was killed last Friday outside his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

    Two Palestinian terror groups, the Jabril Front and the Popular Resistance Committees, have claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred while US President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert were meeting in Jerusalem. Later that evening, in his address at the Presidential Conference, PM Olmert mentioned “the dangers, the fears that so many Israelis have to face living in the State of Israel, in the south part of our country.”

  14. Ekosmo said on May 16th, 2008 at 2:48pm #

    “I may be a bit confused here,” says Zhann,

    no doubt an earnest, well-intentioned, “in the middle” of the road truth-seeker, who, we are informed, is avidly [quote] “reading the news” and therefor, “know[s] whats going on in Israel…”

    I’d be curious to know more of the no doubt highly generous, yet strangely invisible “offer[s] made by Israel to Arabs, in 1948″ and later on,
    or how his assertion — “to the victor goes the spoils” — dovetails with the central core principle of UNSC 242 — namely — the inadmissibility of retaining territory captured during warfare…

    We may also be forgiven for concluding that in Zhann’s search for “truth”, Israel is NOT — no way Jose — “notorious” for “shooting Rockets”
    and, one just might add, hugely expensive, highly sophisticated, “precision-guided”, US-supplied “Hellfire” rockets,

    — at densely crowded Palestinian civilian-refugee camps in the Gaza or the West Bank as a matter of pure routine over the last 10-15 years,

    — or at densely packed hi-rise apartment blocks in west or south Beirut,

    — or at civilian towns-villages across south, middle and east Lebanon,

    — or at fleeing civilian-refugee convoys under UN or NGO “protection”,

    — or at Red Crescent ambulances gathering up the dead and the dying,

    — or at dirt poor, dehydrated old men, women and kids huddling in dank, airless school or hospital basements for days and nights until
    — BOOOOOOM —
    an Israeli missile “accidentally” delivers them prematurely into the hands of Allah — where they no doubt all belong anyhow… from a “truth-seeking” Nth Ay-murkan perspective,

    — or at UN observation posts, who might just bear witness to some of the above mentioned indiscriminate, air-launched callous butchery, when they really shouldn’t be in a war-zone, compiling reports of what they’re seeing before their very own eyes that may tend to “sully Israel’s reputation”…

    Oh no…
    these “incidents” do not I’ll suggest even enter the equation in Zhann’s “middle of the road” search for the “truth”…

    …and anyhow, there’ll always be a nice, clean cut, highly articulate English speaker in a Tel Aviv studio, ready and willing to appear on Zhann’s TV set to explain to him/her and to all other nice, clean-cut, rational, civilized Ay-murkans that such “incidents”
    — didn’t really occur,
    — or if they did, its because shit happens in a war zone,
    — or because the “terrorists” are “hiding behind civilian populations”,
    — or how there’ll be “a full inquiry” carried out by Israeli PR experts, which will shortly disappear into the hereafter — never to see the light of day again in any “truth-seeking” western media outlet…

    … unlike a “notorious”, “Palestinian”, “child martyr” suicide bomb story, which we can all rest assured will run for days and days and days in the afore-mentioned “truth-seeking” outlets…!

    “I may be a bit confused here,” says Zhann…
    and that dear reader really says it all…

  15. john a said on May 17th, 2008 at 3:17am #

    The whole Zionist argument disappears like morning mist when you consider that the very existence of this ‘God’ who allegedly promised them the land of Palestine, cannot be proven.

  16. mary said on May 17th, 2008 at 4:03am #

    Nor this, Hugh 1.23 16.5.2008 who said ‘There’s no excuse for this atrocity against civilians, perpetrated by violent primitive fanatical savages’.

    http://uruknet.info/?p=m43957&hd=&size=1&l=e

    Blast kills Gaza teacher in front of her children
    Donald Macintyre in Khan Younis

    Wafer Shaker al Daghma was with three of her children when she died
    May 11, 2008

    The UN is demanding an investigation into how the Israeli military killed one of its Palestinian school teachers by blasting open the front door of her Gaza home with explosives in the presence of three of her children.

    Wafer Shaker al Daghma, 34, a teacher at a local UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) elementary school, was killed last Wednesday as she stood preparing to open the wooden door of her home to the troops. According to UNRWA and relatives who found her body, the military used an explosive device on the door which blew most of her head from her body. They then confined the traumatised children – aged from two to 13 – for five hours while the body lay outside the door of the room where they were held.

    Although the soldiers finally left the house – in darkness because of a blackout – at around 9pm, Mrs al Daghma’s 13-year-old daughter Samira was too terrified to go outside for help for another two hours because of the continued presence of Israeli armoured vehicles outside her home.

    Tiles above a washbasin opposite the front door of the house were still heavily spattered with dried blood yesterday. There was a pile of splintered wooden planks from the destroyed door on the floor where Mrs al Daghma’s body, which soldiers apparently covered with a rug, had lain as the military incursion continued.

    Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA, said that the Israeli forces were using the house as a post to monitor “alleged militants”. “The children heard many gun shots but do not know where they came from,” he said. He said UNRWA had asked Israel in writing for “an impartial investigation, for accountability and allowing the facts to speak for themselves,” adding: “We again condemn the killing of innocent civilians.”

    Mrs al Daghma’s widower, Majdi, 34, who was out of the house at the time, said his daughter had told him that her mother, knowing that troops were on a search and arrest operation in the vicinity, had put on a headscarf, told the children to go into a bedroom and said that she would open the door when the troops arrived.

    An Israeli tank had parked by the outer, open, metal door and the inner, wooden front door was then blasted open.

    “Samira heard a very loud explosion and there was a lot of smoke. She looked for her mother but couldn’t see her,” he said.

    Samira al Daghma said yesterday that after entering the house the soldiers had kept her, her sister Roba, four, and brother Qusay, two, in the room. “They did not let us out. There was one soldier at the door of the room. I asked him: ‘Where is my mother?’ He was speaking in Hebrew and I didn’t understand him.”

    She said that when the soldiers finally left, she crawled with her siblings to a room on the eastern side of the house. “There were still tanks outside our house and if I had gone out they would have seen me. I tried to call my father on my mother’s Jawwal [cellphone] but there was no line. I lifted the carpet and saw a bit of my mother’s clothes. She was not moving. I did not see her head.”

    Mr al Daghma said the family were Fatah rather than Hamas supporters. The funeral was arranged by Fatah and there were Arafat portraits in the house yesterday. The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

    The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday promised “strong action” to stop Gaza militants if they continued their attacks after a 48-year-old Israeli father-of-four was killed by a Hamas-claimed mortar on Friday. Oxfam urged Israel to avert a health crisis as Gaza’s power station shut down, saying it had run out of fuel.

    :: Article nr. 43957 sent on 12-may-2008 08:57 ECT

  17. zhann said on May 17th, 2008 at 6:48am #

    Ekosmo … I may be confused, but it seems you have a similar problem. Let us take a look at a simple ‘hypothetical’ situation. Let us assume that you live in a high rise apartment building. Let us also assume that this building is about 20 stories high and houses no less than 100 families. For the sake of argument, let’s further assume that a family, or group of people, moved into this building in an apartment directly below yours, and started launching rockets at distant building. I would have to make a logical leap here, and guess that you would most likely contact some authority and ask for these psycho’s to be removed, right? Or, at the very least, you would get as far away from your apartment as possible. I have a feeling that you know where I am going with this.

    The major difference between Israeli attacks on civilians and Palestinian attacks on civilians is that Palestinians directly target civilians … while Israeli’s target terrorists that are intentionally surrounded by civilians. You can try and sugar coat this all you want, you can attempt to justify the harboring of terrorists … but the fact remains, the vast majority of civilians are well aware of the terrorist located in the apartment, in the shopping centers, in the refugee camps … everywhere. They know! That’s the problem. However, once a terrorist is killed by a rocket that is ‘strategically’ launched … they cry that the people harboring them were also killed. You may ignore the fact that Hamas uses human shields all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact.

    I understand that I am going against the grain here, the vast majority of people here support Palestinians. I am ok with Palestinians getting their equal share, but going about it by sporadically killing civilians is only hurting their cause. Just think, what would America do if Mexico acted like the Palestinians laying claim to Texas? What would you do if you were a Texan?

  18. hugh said on May 17th, 2008 at 9:16am #

    Re: Blast kills Gaza teacher in front of her children

    Unfortunately the Gaza teacher was killed because of “friendly” fire. The Israeli patrol engaged with and shot at armed Hamas soldiers, the teacher was killed because a Hamas person was carrying explosives. These were touched off in that battle.

    Two of the biggest tragedies of the Palestinian Arabs are as Zhan pointed out above, that their own people use their own civilian population as “shields” and that they are so messed up with internecine squabbles and warfare that they can’t or won’t sustain themselves.

  19. mary said on May 17th, 2008 at 2:07pm #

    I repeat in case you missed it first time

    “The UN is demanding an investigation into how the Israeli military killed one of its Palestinian school teachers by blasting open the front door of her Gaza home with explosives in the presence of three of her children.

    Wafer Shaker al Daghma, 34, a teacher at a local UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) elementary school, was killed last Wednesday as she stood preparing to open the wooden door of her home to the troops. According to UNRWA and relatives who found her body, the military used an explosive device on the door which blew most of her head from her body”.

    THIS IS NOT FRIENDLY FIRE. THIS IS MURDER

  20. zhann said on May 18th, 2008 at 5:27am #

    Mary and Hugh, please don’t take offense but I think that you are missing the big picture here. The media has an agenda, and they are going to say only what fits their agenda.

    Mary, the article you are citing is written by an outlet that is Pro-Palestinian. They will intentionally leave out all information that could possibly lead the reader to believe that the Palestinians are at fault. Where as Hugh, you are reading an article posted from the other side that is doing the exact opposite. Each of the two authors will have no problem embellishing a claim, or mentioning something that was never fully confirmed but merely whispered.

    The Israel/Palestinian argument is one that will only end if the Jews abandon Israel, or the Jews kill all the Palestinians. Since neither of these options will ever happen, we are in for a long conflict. I know that it isn’t immediately clear in my response, but my biggest dream would be for the media to always post both sides of a story, rather than the one that fits the editors agenda. Everyone here, including myself, has been lied to repeatedly until we believed what was stated, then restated. Rather than yell opinions about a subject that we know little about (I am sure that the vast majority of American’s know maybe 5% of the whole story of Israel/Palestine, yet they have no qualms in making their opinions known), people should wisper them and see what the other side has to say. This is true not only in Israel/Palestine, but in USA/Iraq and every other conflict zone. People are misled by propoganda daily.

    If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
    — Adolf Hitler

  21. Hugh said on May 18th, 2008 at 9:51am #

    Balderdash. The entire conflict is about Arabs not being able to have a good day because there is one Jew alive in this world, and especially the fact that a majority state of Israel exists on what they feel is their land in perpetuity. This sentiment is not unanimous. There are West Bank Arabs who are preparing for co-existence and eventual Palestinian sovereignty.
    But Gaza is run by whacko religious nutjobs proppws up by Iran, which has its own imperial intentions for the area.

    There are no Jews in Gaza. Haven’t been for almost three years. Have the gazans developed anything like an economy of their own? Yet? No and they don’t intend to. It’s a piss and moan society. Sponging off whoever will give them handouts and making war in return.

    Unless you think blowing up shopping malls full of civilians is a worthwhile national expression?

  22. Ekosmo said on May 18th, 2008 at 2:05pm #

    “I understand that I am going against the grain here, the vast majority of people here support Palestinians…”
    says Zhann — a.k.a. “The Victor” [or the Victor’s apologist — see above]

    Excellent — he/she finally gets something right…

    And, we just might add, that the entire world now “supports the Palestinians…”
    — with the sole exception of the US government & its international network of lawless elected crime syndicates masquerading as “Democrats”, and their adoring despotic affiliates…

    “The Victor” also wishes to pose “a simple ‘hypothetical’ situation…”
    and we say “Great — bring it on…”
    and pose it right back at him…

    Mr. Victor,
    Let us assume that you live in a low rise “apartment building”.
    Let us also assume that it houses no less than 1 million families.
    Let’s further assume that a family, or group of people, moved into this Building and told you how,
    “God” gave them this “Building” 2000 years ago and, moreover,
    “God” says its OUR “Building” — again, here, now, —
    and the 1 million families should just pack up all their belongings and “clear out” — or else…!

    I would have to make a logical leap here, and guess that “Mr. Victor”, or anyone else for that matter, would most likely contact some authority and ask for JUSTICE — for these God-quoting “Psychos” to be removed, right?

    Or, at the very least, as even more “Psychos” poured into “the Building” — and as JUSTICE is nowhere to be seen — you and your neighbors will begin defending your family home and your family property against “the Psychos” — by any means necessary… !

    I have a feeling that you know where I am going with this…

    So the residents defend the “Building” against the raving lunatic God-quoting “Psychos” who firmly believe,
    — we have it on good authority, clearly stated [above], that

    “To the VICTOR goes the SPOILS”
    — and thus we assume, the SPOILS are “the Building”… OK…?

    You can try and sugar coat this all you want, you can attempt to justify moving more and more heavily armed “Psychos” into a formerly peaceable “Building” when they have NO “right” to be there at all….

    — NONE whatsoever — Nix, Nada — no God, no Bible, no NUTHIN…

    … But the fact remains, the vast majority of these by now literally helpless “Building” residents are well aware of “the Psychos”,
    — i.e. “the terrorists” located inside “the Building”.

    They see “the terrorists” in the streets outside, in the shopping centers, in the hilltop settlements, in the IDF, the IAF, the Shin Bet, and most of all, in the Knesset
    — a God-damned house of “Psychotic Terrorists” if ever there was one — now proudly perched on top of “the Building”

    … in short, “the terrorists” and “the Psychos” are now everywhere…

    The “Building” residents know this — they’ve been telling us for years — and now We know, and moreover, the Whole damn World knows!
    The Building-Heisters dirty little secret is out in the open…
    That’s the problem.

    I am ok with the Psychos getting their equal share of health care — psychiatric therapy, treatment etc. — but going about it by barbarically killing civilians in their tens of thousands and emptying “Buildings” of long established residents is only hurting their cause.

    Just think, what would the Psychos do if Nazi Germany acted like the Israelis — laying claim to “Eretz Europe”? What would you do if you were a European?

  23. Ekosmo said on May 18th, 2008 at 2:23pm #

    lemme just add summin else you got right…

    “People are misled by propoganda [sic] daily…

    If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
    — Adolf Hitler…”

    Excellent
    — you just summed up the entire Zionist-Israeli-Hasbara narrative for the past 60 carnage-filled years in one sentence and a highly appropriate quote…

  24. zhann said on May 19th, 2008 at 12:58am #

    Hello again Ekosmo. There is a significant difference between our two hypothetical situations. The situation I laid out is exactly what is going on, simply adding a westerner to the building in question. Where as the situation you laid out is a poor interpretation of the origins of Israel (you would have to at the very least change your situation to take into account that the apartment you mention is already about 25% Jewish, or ‘terrorists’, but it still wouldn’t reflect the true situation). I highly recommend taking a look at Wikipedia (at the very least) or any other historical outlet to get a better understanding of how the Israeli/Arab conflict started.

    You are ignoring the fact (maybe intentionally, or maybe because lack of knowledge) that Israeli’s and Arabs got along in Israel/Palestine for thousands of years, up until about 100 years ago. At this point, Jews started immigrating in much larger numbers to Israel. The claim that Palestinians have lived there for thousands of years is true, but the fact that Jews have lived there for thousands of years is equally true. The problem 100 years ago was that Arabs were worried that the Jew/Muslim ratio would shift away from Muslim favor, which upset them to no end. Regardless, Jews kept coming.

    Without going into too much detail, the major ‘spark’ that started the conflict was, of course, the declaration of the Nation of Israel. The fact is, the Jews were more or less content with the land that was allotted to them by the UN … Far Less than what they have now (again, Wikipedia). Next, the tiny nation of Israel was attacked by the majority of the Arab nations, all well armed, all with one goal in mind, “Destroy All the Jews!” According to Jews, the Arab world then asked the Palestinians to ‘willingly’ leave their land, so that the Jews could be properly exterminated … after which, they would be allowed to safely return to their homes. Of course, the Arab version is that the Palestinians were driven out of their homes by force (I am 100% sure that the truth is in the middle … some left willingly, others were forced). After the Jews won this war, against all odds, how could you possibly expect them to allow Palestinians to return? How could you possibly expect them to give back all the conquered land? Would you accept the Arab’s apologies and just say, “Oh, that’s ok, have you land back, have your homes back, and we will wait for your next attack” … because, the Arabs were anything but apologetic, and openly threatened to attack soon … still do.

    This continued … and continued … attack after attack. You can claim that the Jews stole land, but you are ignoring the fact that this land was never Palestinian, and it was barren when the Jews arrived. The Jews moved into some o the worst terrain, reformed the land, and lived there. The Palestinians already had the best land, but they weren’t happy with that, they wanted the destruction of the Jews. Again, the Jews have also peacefully lived side by side with the Palestinians for thousands of years in Israel/Palestine, these new Jews were simply moving into the worst parts of Israel because, well, they had no home of their own. They were refugees, for all practical purposes.

    Of course, this is a very brief description. Rather than mock what is missing, please, add to the story your side and we will go from there.

  25. mary said on May 19th, 2008 at 2:01pm #

    I do not need patronising remarks from Zhann about my post. He can go and spread his phoney balm elsewhere. The article I quoted gives a completely accurate representation of the facts and the UN report is awaited. If he will forgive me I have a much greater knowledge of Gaza than he has and in fact my brother who has set up a charity to help the people in the ongoing inhuman siege is out there at the moment. As for Hugh I assume that he a member of Megaphone or Camera poised to give the Zionist view and I leave him to his work.

  26. Ekosmo said on May 19th, 2008 at 3:43pm #

    I’ve neither the time here nor the inclination to even begin to unpick and unravel the well-rehearsed clusters of Hasbara-generated tropes, lies, side-swerves, prevarications and evasions presented in the reply above.

    Nor to further elucidate the Orwellian, Goebbellesian or Kafka-esque techniques employed here and elsewhere to legitimize and to defend the wholly indefensible act/s of Grand Theft Larceny that are and remain at the very core of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    It really is tiresome debating apologists for heavily-armed race or religiously-motivated thieves — apologists furthermore who are able to vomit forth on demand a panoply of erroneous, mendacious and obscurantist drivel designed to bend, to contort, to fog, to confuse, to deny hard facts and to abuse language on behalf of a state apparatus that apparently derives a morbid delight in continuing a 60-year old killing spree against a displaced, heavily traumatized and wholly defenseless civilian-refugee population.

    And moreover, a state apparatus that’s primed and ready to wreak even further trails of indiscriminate mayhem, terror and carnage against both them and the populations of adjacent states whenever it so pleases itself to do so.

    The patronizing arrogance directed against the writer of this article also leads one to conclude that if shaming alone will no longer suffice, then the “mockery” described above is now a more essential weapon to have at one’s disposal…
    — to continue heaping on the scorn and piling up satiric invective in the forlorn [??] hope that large and influential sections of the “Jewish People” might soon come to their senses, realize fully this descent into utter dystopian madness made on their behalf, then pause, step back, and, in moments of sublime apocalyptic catharsis,
    OWN UP and FULLY CONFESS,
    then commence to atone for the crimes committed in their names by the more neurotic, crackpot, and racially-tortured elements among their numbers….

    I finally add this,
    the millions of Jewish victims of Herr A. Hitler’s Holocaust must, I’d imagine, be currently turning over in their graves and retching up their stomach linings at what’s subsequently been erected
    — a bizarre and grotesque testament to their grievous sufferings and to their tragic and untimely deaths

    — namely — the Zionist state of Israel