Palestinians Will Never Forget

How can anyone watching Gaza burn escape the bitter realization that history repeats itself? Many have compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa. But not in their cruelest hour did the Apartheid regime wreak such wanton murder and destruction. Let us stop mincing words. What is happening to Palestinians now whispers of Warsaw and Lodz.

Schools, universities, mosques, police stations, homes, water treatment plants, factories, and anything that supports civil society, including the only mental health clinic in Gaza, have been blown to rubble from planes that rain death from clear skies without any resistance, because Palestinians have no opposing air force. Nor do they have an army or navy. No mechanized armor or heavy weaponry. Thanks to Israel, they haven’t even had continuous electricity or fuel for the past two years. Or food and medicine. Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza has prevented the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including the import of the most basic goods necessary for survival.

A recent study by the Red Cross showed that 46 percent of Gazan children suffer from anemia. Malnutrition affects 75 percent of Gaza’s population, half of whom are under the age of 17. There has been widespread deafness among children due to Israel’s intentional and frequent sonic booms from low overflights. An alarming number have stunted growth and serious mental disorders due lack of food. The only way they have been able to survive thus far has been due to the tunnels that smuggle food and goods from Egypt.

Half of Gazan children under 12 have lost their “will to live.” Can anyone fathom the kind of oppression that leads small children en mass to lose their will to live?

This is what Israel has done to Gaza over the past two years. They ghettoized Gaza and turned it into an open air prison – a concentration camp of civilians with no way to earn a living, no way to defend themselves and no place to run from the slaughter bombarding them from air, land, and sea. From the white phosphorous disemboweling young and old alike. Hear eyewitness accounts.

But Gazans dared to try to resist with pathetic homemade rockets that, until Israel’s barbaric attack, generally landed in open desert. The rockets were mostly symbolic of resistance, very much like the fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. But who would have called on a ceasefire there, in 1943, for “both parties” to “cease the violence”? Who would have blamed the Ghetto fighters for their ultimate fate? Who would say they had no right to resist? No right to fight back?

Just as Nazis gave Jews only the right to die silently, Israel starves and besieges Palestinians, giving them only that same right. Just as the Warsaw Ghetto was blown to rubble, Gaza is left to burn in an inferno, its hospitals bursting with the puss of death and unspeakable wounds. The entire population of Gaza is terrorized and traumatized. No one is spared the insecurity and fear. Imagine, please, that you are a Gazan.

What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to fill their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned, and denied in every conceivable way?

What have we done that leaders will not speak against this massive and cold aggression against our people? With what logic do you call Palestinians terrorists when their streets flow with the blood of their own children? When they have been stripped naked of possessions, dignity and hope?

Why? Because they elected Hamas? Hamas has held power for less than two years. Yet, Palestinians have suffered this kind of slaughter for 61 years. Whether now in Gaza, in 2002 in Jenin, in 1947 and 1948 in Deir Yasin, Balad el-Sha, Yehida, Tantura, and the list goes on. Or 1982 in Sabra and Shatila.
Palestinians are killed as if insects not because of Hamas or Yasser Arafat before them. Not because of Qassasm rockets or hand thrown rocks. Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason. Just like Jews were killed for being Jewish. Palestinians are killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.

But unlike Jews of Europe, Palestinians are killed slowly over decades. Unlike Israel, Nazi Germany did not establish such an effective global propaganda machine that would demonize its victims and blame them for their own ghastly fate. But most importantly, like the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinians do not march like mice to their death. In six decades of enduring unspeakable oppression, their will has not been broken. Now is no exception.

Israel, and the United States with its unconditional support, will only succeed in radicalizing a whole new generation of its victims. Of revving world hatred and resentment against this unholy duo.
Palestinians will not forget this, as they have not forgotten the past 60 years. But what will you remember a week or a year or a decade from now, when a Gazan, who stood before the long rows of corpses and vowed vengeance, creates your 9-11? When one of those few million children without a will to live straps on a belt that rips through your daily routine? Will you remember what we did to them?

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.

33 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Danny Ray said on January 6th, 2009 at 7:02pm #

    I hope that this time the Palestinians do rise up, I for once hope we have raised a generation of people who hate america, I hope that for the next 40 years they spread the terror across the world which they themselves have felt. The entire Arab world should rise up as one and drive the Europeans from every where we have put our feet. I hope a general like Ket Buqa, will come to lead the Arabs in revolt and then the world will know who and what the arabs are. There are a billion Muslim let the rise up.

  2. Jeff said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:00pm #

    Unfortunately, that is what war is all about. Any war. Division gives way to interpretation. Interpretation gives way to fraction. Fraction leads to more conflict. Conflict leads to human suffering which leads to more wealth of those that created the division. Go forth and multiply. Oh, but that must lead to peace. No profit in that, or is there? Paltry brains must be whirly!

  3. The Angry Peasant said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:26pm #

    I’m in my early 30′s, and I’m already fed up with the idiotic human race. Maybe if that asteroid hits in 2012, it’ll be for the best. Well-deserved, too.

  4. Don Hawkins said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:28pm #

    A small asteroid kind of a wake up call.

  5. The Angry Peasant said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:47pm #

    Actually, it’s supposed to be a big one. Big enough to pretty much wipe us out. They say it’s about 50/50 whether it’s gonna hit us or not. They also add that Earth is well overdue for a major impact. I’ve watched a lot about this on Discovery Channel and NatGeo.

    Of course, even if that doesn’t happen, I have little doubt that WWIII is around the corner. The U.S. government has lost all scrupulousness when it comes to foreign policy. Reagan might have waved his dick at the Russians, but he never really entertained the prospect of using nukes. Obama’s already said nukes are on the table for Iran. We’re out there blatantly trying to conquer country after country now. Russia is watching; waiting for us to get too close. Israel is putting the pedal to the floor with its own imperialistic atrocities. The Middle East nations are reaching their breaking point with us. Europe will be able to sit by idly for so long. Sooner or later, sides will be chosen and global war will come. People don’t seem to have the restraint that they used to, and things have gotten very much out of hand. How the average person can’t see this coming is beyond me.

  6. bozh said on January 7th, 2009 at 10:50am #

    most amers and ‘Jews’ and some euros no longer care about fairness/justice/peace because they have tanks, artillery, jet fighters, warships, large terrorist organizations, UN; in short, power.
    and what more does one need!

  7. Thomas said on January 7th, 2009 at 1:47pm #

    At the Sderot ‘Smadar’ kindergarten, five year old children recently had the chance to jot down what they wish for.

    What does a 5 year child ask for in Israel? For a bike, a doll, a game?

    In Sderot the shared dream that these five year olds have is this one: ‘Stop having the sirens and stop the rockets from falling.’

    Experiencing 20 rockets falling last night in Sderot, running from one place to anther, witnessing the sirens of the ambulances and police cars, seeing the direct hits on the Sderot homes, watching the serious injuries of a mother and her son, seeing people evacuated in a state of shock, seeing the commotion, the people huddled together, the cries of the children, the screaming mother looking for her two daughters and the residents screaming at Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal who arrived on the scene: “Until when?!”

    “There’s anther rocket on the way, everyone get close to a wall!” And everyone starts running…. Seeing uniformed men, with their rifles, bending down next to the wall…. People feel hopeless, like sitting ducks in a shooting range.

    A few more seconds and another explosion, running again from the falling rocket, the same routine repeats itself — children again crying, a mother looking for her sons, people fainting again. And again.

    You think that there is enough blood for an Israeli military response? Wrong.

    Visiting the Emergency Center at 12:30AM. Dr. Adrianna Katz, head of Sderot Mental health services sits alone, with more than 3600 residents of Sderot who suffer from stress, anxiety and trauma that has resulted from the effects of the continuing attacks from Gaza.

    She had treated more than 30 anxiety victims that night and every time there was the ‘color red’ siren she needed to leave the emergency center because it is not protected.

    Dr. Katz related that many of the victims who arrived at the emergency center last night asked if the center was protected. After hearing the negative answer, some collapsed on the spot.

    Yet the government of Israel insists on maintaining that cease fire.

    Israel refuses to resolve this Russian roulette reality in Sderot and the Western Negev.

    On Saturday night the 9th of February, two brothers 19 and 8 year old, Rami and Osher Twito, borrowed their mother’s credit card to go to the Sderot ATM machine to buy after shave lotion as a birthday present for their father.

    Within moments, they were lying next to each other in a pool of blood on a Sderot side walk.

    Pieces of their legs scattered on the street. One of Osher’s legs was immediately severed.

    Osher’s second leg was shattered. Rami and Osher were running for their lives after they heard the RED COLOR siren. They didn’t have enough time to run for the shelter which was 100 meters away, knowing that they only had 15 seconds until the kassam missile would explode.

    Tens of Sderot’s residents ran to help the boys. Then another siren went off, and they all ran for the shelter once again.. A few minutes later, a few residents started to scream to the crowd :

    ” Let’s go block the streets!!” They started chanted: We want a military solution! We want the army to do what’s right and to fight the enemy!”

    There was utter despair on the people’s faces – helplessness of the fathers and mothers carrying their children.

    Hava Gad is the Sderot Parents Association spokeswoman A siren was fired while the soup was being served.

    The whole family took cover in their hall way, which is the safest place in the house.

    The missile fell across the street. A boom rocked the house. Hava collapsed. Tzfania her husband , a reserve military officer, leaned over Hava, calming her down. Their 9 year old son- Yanai played his own role supporting with his mother, calming her down,

    A few seconds later another explosion. And then another one… It quiets down and then another missile attack. Tsfania opened the back door for their puppy to hide for shelter in their hall way.

    Hava, bent over eve more than before, said that she is going to throw up. Tsfania holds her tight

    Yanai, once again comforting his mother, mentions, matter of factly, that on Friday morning a missile exploded in the soccer field next to their school, and that they were lucky that they weren’t allowed to go out, for security reasons…

    As the meal finished, the children played games on the floor, and then, an enormous explosion…

    This time, Hava screamed and collapsed on the floor, shivering… Tsfania went to the other room to get her a pill, and asked her if he should call an ambulance to evacuate her.

    Yaani again hugged and kissed her, telling her that it fell a blocks away from here and that there is nothing to worry about… Yaani looked up and said that they should learn medicine in school, for cases like these… A fourth grader who sees himself as a paramedic at the age of nine.

    Walking the streets of Sderot on the Sabbath afternoon, to get a feeling about what people are going through, a few brave children went out to play in the sunny beautiful day.

    Every group of children had something had something to do with the rocket reality

    A four year old, mumbling while playing next to the synagogue- ‘Tseva Adom, Tseva Adom’ “RED COLOR RED COLOR”…

    Watching these children, you think of the recent statement from Dr Roni Beger from Natal Trauma Treatment Center, that anywhere between 70%- 94% of the children in Sderot now suffer from PTS- Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms.

    Dr. Adrianna Katz, head of the Sderot Mental Health Center, notes that most of these Children are going to be affected for life…

    And then there was the perspective of the experts –

    Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, the head of Intelligence and Terror Information Center, visited Sderot last week and reported that over 8,000 missile attacks had occurred over the past seven years

    Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, last Tuesday requested ten minutes of air time on the Voice of Israel Radio newsreel, where he demanded that the Israeli army kill the terrorists who give the orders to fire the missiles…not only the missile launchers. In other words, to kill Gaza’s political leaders who meet every Saturday afternoon for their weekly meeting, where they decide where and when to terrorize Jews.

    For some reason, HaNegbi’s suggestion has not been picked up.

    At the same,time, at least 800 homes here in Sderot have no protected rooms where someone can take cover during a missile attack. Prime Minister Olmert has vetoed the offer of a private philanthropist to fund to install these protected rooms. Why? Olmert’s office does not answer as to why he places 800 families in a life threatening situation in their own homes

    Yet the unkindest cut of all came from Washington.

    On Thursday, the US State Department issued a strong statement to warn Israel to show concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A call placed on Friday to the US embassy to ask whether the US State Department would issue a statement about the humanitarian crisis in Sderot and the Western Negev went unanswered.

    Meanwhile, not one human rights organization issued a single statement of protest or horror about our city under siege. !

    At the Sderot ‘Smadar’ kindergarten, five year old children recently had the chance to jot down what they wish for.

    What does a 5 year child ask for in Israel? For a bike, a doll, a game?

    In Sderot the shared dream that these five year olds have is this one: ‘Stop having the sirens and stop the rockets from falling.’

    Experiencing 20 rockets falling last night in Sderot, running from one place to anther, witnessing the sirens of the ambulances and police cars, seeing the direct hits on the Sderot homes, watching the serious injuries of a mother and her son, seeing people evacuated in a state of shock, seeing the commotion, the people huddled together, the cries of the children, the screaming mother looking for her two daughters, the frustration of the people wanting to go and burn tires, and the residents screaming at Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal who arrived on the scene: “Until when?!”

    “There’s anther rocket on the way, everyone get close to a wall!” And everyone starts running…. Seeing uniformed men, with their rifles, bending down next to the wall…. People feel hopeless, like sitting ducks in a shooting range.

    A few more seconds and another explosion, running again from the falling rocket, the same routine repeats itself — children again crying, a mother looking for her sons, people fainting again. And again.

    You think that there is enough blood for an Israeli military response? Wrong.

    Visiting the Emergency Center at 12:30AM. Dr. Adrianna Katz, head of Sderot Mental health services sits alone, with more than 3600 residents of Sderot who suffer from stress, anxiety and trauma that has resulted from the effects of the continuing attacks from Gaza.

    She had treated more than 30 anxiety victims that night and every time there was the ‘color red’ siren she needed to leave the emergency center because it is not protected.

    Dr. Katz related that many of the victims who arrived at the emergency center last night asked if the center was protected. After hearing the negative answer, some collapsed on the spot.

    Yet the government of Israel insists on maintaining that cease fire.

    Israel refuses to fight to resolve this Russian roulette reality in Sderot and the Western Negev.

    On Monday afternoon, while accompanying a visiting guest to an observation point where we could look out at all of Northern Gaza, the guest watched and filmed a missile fired at Sderot from the roof of a home in the Gaza village of Beit Hanoun.

    That morning, the spokeswoman for the office of the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz, himself a Sderot resident, assured our news agency that the Israeli army would fire at the source of any and all rocket launchers from Gaza.

    Yet the IDF did not fire back at the missile launcher on the roof of the home in Beit Hanoun.

    Instead, after 20 missiles fell in Sderot last night, the IDF fired at … open fields south of Sderot. We were “sending a message.”

    Instead, after 20 missiles fell in Sderot last night, the IDF fired at … open fields south of Sderot. We were “sending a message.”

    Israel worries about Arab civilian casualties. However, even the human rights group Bitselem defines the use of civilian shields as a war crime. And if an Arab family welcomes a launcher on the roof of his home, perhaps it is time to invite the family to meet Allah as soon as possible. It is a question of their dead civilians or ours.

    Where is Israeli pride today? Israel’s army, police, and security officers kneeling and counting the seconds for the next salvo of rockets to land in Sderot?

    Susan, let us pray for the residents of Sderot and let us pray that the Hamas terrorists are defeated. It’s the least we can do for them in their time of need and despair.

  8. Peter Morris said on January 7th, 2009 at 2:27pm #

    Hamas fires rockets at land stolen from Palestinians.

    See Palestinian loss of land 1946 – 1999
    http://www.zionismexplained.org/map/landmap1.jpg

    I think Israelis should got to the areas that were owned by Jews in 1946.
    Otherwise if they stay on stolen land, they are volunteering to be human shields.

  9. Al said on January 7th, 2009 at 2:47pm #

    Hamas terrorists? Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinain people.

    The only terrorists in Palestine are you zionazi vermin living on stolen Arab land.

    If you don’t want rockets landing on your heads: leave !

    Go back to where you came from. You have no right to be in Palestine!

  10. Shabnam said on January 7th, 2009 at 4:12pm #

    Are you looking for Hamas terrorists? Please look at these terrorists who are killed in GAZA prison every single minute by Israelis’ WMD paid by your tax money.

    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/01/hamas-fighters-killed-in-action.html
    ISRAEL HAS NO RIGHT TO EXIST. THEY MUST GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

    Give them the best land in Germany. Palestinians cannot pay for the crimes committed by western war criminals with their lives and their land any longer.
    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/01/direct-hit.html

  11. mary said on January 7th, 2009 at 4:21pm #

    Thomas take your yard long emetic about ‘Sderot’ and give it back to CAMERA or MEGAPHONE for revision. Instead read an article on Redress where you will learn the truth about ‘Sderot’s’ Palestinian origins and how you stole it, razed it to the ground and renamed it.

    http://www.redress.cc/palestine/slittlewood20090107
    ‘Israel’s propaganda mainstay, Sderot, is a lie (like everything else).
    Stuart Littlewood views Israel’s amoral friends, from ignoramus Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to war criminal Tony Blair, whose hypocrisy and lies are helping to sustain the biggest lie of all, Israel.’

  12. Shabnam said on January 7th, 2009 at 5:43pm #

    Are you looking for Hamas terrorists? Please look at these terrorists who are killed in GAZA prison every single minute by Israelis’ WMD paid by your tax money.

    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/01/hamas-fighters-killed-in-action.html
    ISRAEL HAS NO RIGHT TO EXIST. THEY MUST GO BACK TO PLACES WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

    Give them the best land in Germany. Palestinians cannot pay for the crimes committed by western war criminals with their lives and their land any longer.

  13. Fight for Justice said on January 7th, 2009 at 6:15pm #

    This is not about fighting against personal opinions on certain things based on the “facts” which you didn’t see or feel it by yourself… Unless you’re one of the victim… how can you make a conclusion upon- who’s right and who’s wrong? God has blessed us with ‘brains’… So use your brain to decide which were the ‘truths’ and which were the ‘lies’… There is no such thing as “HYPOCRITICAL”! -There must be some ‘reasons’ why the Palestinians choose HAMAS for their leader… They certainly knew what they’re doing! And they knew what’s best for them… Outsiders- do not have the right to question their choice! Facts are still facts… “Israel steals thier land!”… “Israel kills their people”… “Israel will never stop doing these”… It’s just how you interpret the same things differently based on your personal point of view…

  14. Max Shields said on January 7th, 2009 at 6:52pm #

    mebosa ritchie

    yours are not dissident voices, they can be found anywhere in the corporate owned mainstream media.

  15. Brian said on January 7th, 2009 at 7:49pm #

    My country supports terrorism.

  16. AaronG said on January 7th, 2009 at 9:58pm #

    Excellent piece, Susan. The ”conflict” of the 1000 pound gorilla versus the mouse continues (stole that analogy from Naomi Klein). The gorilla used to be that mouse 70 years ago. Let’s hope that the Palestinians, with all their justified rage and anger, do not become a gorilla themselves in the future. Or this pathetic cycle continues……………..

    You said: ”Palestinians are killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.” Title to land is just another cause of conflict (oil, water, minerals etc). No land should have any ”title” or ”ownership” attached to it – the North American Indians and Australian Aborigines mostly understood this concept. The Europeans did not and thus wiped them out.

    Still, my theory above only works in practice if ALL parties honor the land as sacred, not something to be privatised and raped to the brink of ecological disaster.

    Like all human problems, the Palestine problem is systemic. Don’t focus on the Hamas rockets like a CNN junkie – this isn’t the problem. Don’t even focus on the Israeli army with their American-supplied helicopter gunships….or the Americans in the background salivating over the oil……or the Zionist agenda if Deadbeat is reading……or whatever little issue we like to focus on – all these issues aren’t the real problem but just consequences of it (although they do keep us so busy that we lose focus on the real problem). No one wants to face up to the real problem, which is our SYSTEM of rulership – economic, religious, political. Don’t even get me out of bed with any band-aid solution that falls short of wiping out these three blights on mankind.

    Systemic problems need systemic solutions. Until then, Israeli/US helicopter gunships will continue to hit kids in ”military targets” like schools and hospitals.

  17. Andres Kargar said on January 8th, 2009 at 12:14am #

    The biggest outrage of the Zionists is their attempt to white wash the crimes of the West.

    Yes, get bribed by the West and blame the Holocaust on Arabs and Iranians. After all, wasn’t it Ahmadinejad that slaughtered 6 million Jews and not those civilized Europeans?

    And it was all ‘Jews’, not communists, union leaders, gypsies, homosexuals and Jews. Yes, while you’re at it, you Zionist bandits can distort the hell out of the Holocaust.

    And how inconsiderate of the world not to consider the feelings of those settler thugs who heckle, stone, shoot and murder innocent Palestinians.

    I ask you this: the pogroms, tortures, and murders of the Jews were committed in the West. Shouldn’t Israel be in the heart of Germany? Let’s see how long the Germans will tolerate these Zionist bastards.

  18. bozh said on January 8th, 2009 at 3:16am #

    AaronG,
    yes, you’re correct. cosmetic changes won’t do. like you say, change the system.
    study the societal structure. it is not what anything is but what anything does.
    forget about what any ism is; remember what an ism does; that includes americanism; a special case of land theft, murder; hatred for others, etc. thnx

  19. Green Ferret said on January 8th, 2009 at 6:21am #

    The war on Gaza is the latest illustration of how the US government squanders hundreds of billions of dollars each year on militaristic policies that are not making anyone safer. True security comes from living peacefully, within the Earth’s limits, and ensuring that everyone’s basic needs are met.
    Sign the petition for a Secure Green Future from GreenChange.org. We’re telling President Obama to cut military spending at least 70% and invest the money saved in education, health care, preventing home foreclosures and developing green energy.
    http://tinyurl.com/7hywk3

  20. Michael Kenny said on January 8th, 2009 at 8:51am #

    The silver lining in all this, of course, is that, however it plays out, it will be a huge defeat for Israel and a huge victory for the Palestinians. First of all, Israel has lost the most important battle, namely the propaganda battle, notwithstanding considerable Jewish influence in the media in some countries. The the whole thing seems to have been a mere electoral stunt just makes matters worse.

    Moreover, what can Israel actually achieve? It cannot ethnically cleanse Gaza and colonise it with Jews. If it occupies Gaza, it will be in the same quagmire it was in in Lebanon and of which the Israelis are clearly deeply afraid. If it just declares victory and leaves, which I suspect is what is now seeking to do, it will be perceived as a humiliating defeat.

    If foreign troops come in, which I think was the initial purpose, it will also be a humiliation since it shows that Israel is unable to control a territory which it has occupied for nearly 42 years. In addition, it would also be, de facto, the definitive end of Israeli occupation of Gaza and would be followed by a de facto independent Palestinian, no doubt Hamas, administration there, protected from Israeli attack by the foreign troops. Since Israel would no longer control the border with Egypt, it would never again be possible for it to blockade Gaza or seek to starve the inhabitants out. Hamas (and Hezbollah) could then switch their fighters to the much juicier morsel of the West Bank, arguing that they had successfully got the Israelis out of Gaza.

    The more one looks at it, the more it looks like Israeli flat-footedness has once again caused them to commit a monumental blunder.

  21. Shabnam said on January 8th, 2009 at 9:19am #

    The hypocrisy of the West can be seen everywhere even within ‘international’ organizations such as Amnesty International where hold the Zionist war criminals and the victims equally responsible for civilian deaths in occupied land. The following statement blames both aggressors and victims alike:
    Amnesty International said on Wednesday that both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters are endangering the lives of Palestinian civilians – including by using them as human shields.
    And continues:

    “Our sources in Gaza report that Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “

    This clearly increases the risk to the Palestinian families concerned and means they are effectively being used as human shields.”
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/gaza-civilians-endangered-military-tactics-both-sides-20090108

    So Israeli soldiers not only kill any moving object in Gaza but also take over houses that have nothing to do with the fighting and hold the family hostage to be used as human shield. On the other hand phony Amnesty International complains that Palestinian fighters shoot at the enemy close to the civilian population forgetting that Gaza is a densely populated prison which is against INTERNATIONAL LAWS to dilute Israeli savagery against a defenseless population for Public Relations.

  22. bozh said on January 8th, 2009 at 9:39am #

    i, too, do not trust amnesty international nor HRW. when we set up our StopWar.ca in vancouver bc, the two organizations have not sent their representatives.
    by now, they may be taken over by cia. thnx

  23. Shabnam said on January 8th, 2009 at 10:10am #

    bozh

    Thank you for sharing your experience related to international organization. Unfortunately, the Iranian ‘opposition’ groups have not reached maturity not to trust the manipulating tools of the imperial and Zionist west. People should read Michael Barker’s articles on role of the international organizations in expanding the influence of the west around the world under the banner of spreading ‘democracy.’

    http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/

  24. Deadbeat said on January 8th, 2009 at 11:57am #

    AaronG writes…

    Like all human problems, the Palestine problem is systemic. Don’t focus on the Hamas rockets like a CNN junkie – this isn’t the problem. Don’t even focus on the Israeli army with their American-supplied helicopter gunships….or the Americans in the background salivating over the oil……or the Zionist agenda if Deadbeat is reading……or whatever little issue we like to focus on – all these issues aren’t the real problem but just consequences of it (although they do keep us so busy that we lose focus on the real problem). No one wants to face up to the real problem, which is our SYSTEM of rulership – economic, religious, political. Don’t even get me out of bed with any band-aid solution that falls short of wiping out these three blights on mankind.

    Are you suggesting that Zionism is not “systemic” and that exposing efforts by those especially on the “Left” using their intellectual cache to obscure and to camouflage Zionism’s influence within the political economy is not challenging the system?

    Are you saying that the struggle against the lynching of Blacks, slavery, and Jim Crow was not challenging the system?

    Are you saying that the Women suffrage and Women rights movement was not challenging the system?

    Are you suggesting that in order to challenge the system that you must remain inert until you speak in a narrative that is 30,000 feet above from what people are facing day-to-day. In other words you should even be taking about Israeli oppression because it is about the “Zionist agenda” rather than about “the system”? If that is the case then why are you contributing to this thread?

    I guess the same could have been said about MLK and the whole Civil Rights movement that Blacks could have continued to endure RACISM until they chose to challenge the entire “system”.

    The Palestinian much continue to endure their oppression until they are ready to challenge the “system”.

    I hope you understand how ludicrous your position is or at best how it can be misinterpreted. IMO the best way to get people to challenge the system is to challenge the system from where they are. If you are fighting racism you are challenging the system. If you are fighting for workers right you are challenging the system. If you are fighting for women’s liberation you are challenging the system. If you are fighting Zionism you are challenging the system. If you are fighting against capitalism you are challenging the system.

    Your remarks essentially condemn people in however their disparate tactics are effectively challenging the system. What is needed is solidarity that help activist see that with solidarity they can become more effective challenging the system. This is why I have advocated that the Left find solidarity with people of color confronting Zionism within the United States. This will then help to expand not only the ranks of the Left but to then EDUCATE people of color to look expand the struggle of White Supremacy.

    My advocacy is simple: SOLIDARITY.

  25. Deadbeat said on January 8th, 2009 at 12:21pm #

    In other words you should even be taking about Israeli oppression because it is about the “Zionist agenda” rather than about “the system”?

    That should read…

    In other words you are suggesting that one should not even be taking about Israeli oppression because it is about the “Zionist agenda” rather than about “the system”?

  26. marzipan said on January 8th, 2009 at 8:50pm #

    THOMAS:

    I know you care very much about the people of Sderotwhoa re in harms way… So let me ask you this…. If they themselves could understand the situation and seek peace….. Why can’t you?

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3646184,00.html

    “SDEROT AND GAZA RESIDENTS CALL FOR RENEWAL OF PEACE”

    “Arik Yalin, 43, from Sderot told Ynet that over 1,800 Israelis and Palestinians have already joined the petition. “About a month ago we realized that the situation was about to deteriorate into total chaos,” he explained.

    “It’s important for us to voice an opinion that represents quite a few residents who live within the rocket range but who believe that we can, and should try to resolve this ongoing conflict in a peaceful manner.”

    “Some 1,800 Israelis and Palestinians, including 500 Sderot residents, sign petition calling for end to IDF operation in Gaza, renewal of dialogue between Israel, Hamas”

    Stop killing these brave voices!

  27. AaronG said on January 8th, 2009 at 10:20pm #

    Ahhh, Deadbeat, I thought I’d reel you in with that comment. Good. Now let’s debate……..

    Let’s start at the top before we get into specifics. My whole argument above is dependent on one’s viewpoint of the world – it’s best understood by taking a few (thousand) steps back and taking a MACRO view of the planet. Currently, from my viewpoint on the moon, I see an overwhelming victory to those that hate peace and the earth’s environment – the reasons are varied and sometimes complex. And if I look hard, I also see excellent self-sacrificing individuals and organisations that are easing the pain of suffering humans in a practical way. However, I see this second group of peace-loving people hardly scraping the surface of ”the system” as far as lasting results are concerned. This does not belittle their work, it is just an observation. 1,000 hours of activism could be undone with one signature in Congress, Parliament, UN, IMF or World Bank. The activism annoys the elite like a mosquito (“what, I’ve now got to pay you more than 13 cents an hour!!??”) but it does not defeat them.It seems to me that every ”victory” of the people (like the examples you quoted above) is soon squashed by 10 ”defeats” by the elite. One example that comes to mind is ”hooray, we ended apartheid in South Africa”. Great, but while the champagne was still bubbling a group of white-owned corporations and economists shafted the country again, before the enslaved people even got off the canvas. While we are typing away on this website, sprouting our academic viewpoints, I’m sure the Zionists in AIPAC, the oilmen, the military, the disaster capitalist economists etc etc etc are meeting, networking, planning, funding AND TAKING ACTION for the next war/disaster/propaganda. It is this organised evil that is simply swamping the rest of the world. So much so that the rest of us would be happy, to quote the Green Ferret above, for ”President Obama to cut military spending at least 70%”. Excellent goal Green Ferret, but why would someone be content to live on a planet that allows the US to spend even 30% of their already massive military budget. Or any other country for that matter. My macro argument is 0% miltary spending. My kids and the Palestinian’s kids deserve nothing less.

    Let’s talk on a MICRO level. You raised some very good examples of people’s ”victories”. At the time, and from the standpoint of the people that fought (and died) for these causes, they were very big victories that made some people’s lives better off. But they weren’t total victories and that’s my point. Let’s consider each example:

    Blacks/slavery/Jim Crow – I don’t have dark skin so I don’t know what its like to suffer from institutionalised racism and genocide. Your point is correct that a small group of people, mainly vocal in the US, challenged the system. However, it only challenged an infinitesimal segment of the system. Using Green Ferret’s analogy again, I’m not content that some people in America can now travel on a bus, wash their hands and toilet with light skinned people and even become their president. I would consider those ”priveleges” a minimum basic human right, regardless of something as petty as skin colour. What about a starving kid in Niger or Haiti, or a family running for their lives in Congo in the middle of the coltan rush, or a black resident of an American city or jail? Are they still part of the system? Did the 60′s forget about them? ”MLK and the whole Civil Rights movement” may not have been as whole as these people desire.

    Womens Rights – Similar to the above, ask women all over the world how their life is going and, depending on the location, you might find that many are still struggling.

    In summary, I agree with you Deadbeat that there are many examples of people challenging (part of) the system. I’m only asking you to widen your vision and not accept anything less than 100%. Peace is not just a lack of guns firing. It is the total dismantling of the whole system – not 70% of it, not even 99% of it, but 100%. We are using hand extinguishers to fight those that just keep stoking the fire. And I think the elite don’t mind when we run off to the side fighting little battles – at least it keeps us busy and out of their way. I don’t care if you’re a Blackwater subcontractor or a Lockheed Martin factory worker and you lose your job cos of peace – learn how to bake bread or somethin! Like I said in my original posting, the economic, political and religious systems of rulership that currently plague our world need to be dismantled.

    On the Right I see solutions and action, even though they are dispicable. On the Left I see fragmentation……….

  28. Vierotchka said on January 8th, 2009 at 10:59pm #

    Thomas, you get all het-up about a few extremely rare and isolated incidents, but the Palestinians have been living far worse horrors daily for over sixty years. You need to re-examine your priorities instead of blaming the real victims.

  29. swan said on January 9th, 2009 at 12:10am #

    And adding insult to injury beyond repair, the US Senate voted to support Israel against Gaza, as if the world didn’t already know that we were in on it all along. Bob Chapman predicts that next there will be a nuke attack on the US, with blame to go to Hamas and Iran. Please, do not fall for it. The same demons that did 9/11 will be the doers again. It was an inside job, with Israel and Mossad doing it.

  30. Deadbeat said on January 9th, 2009 at 12:34am #

    What I sense from AaronG’s commentary is a sense of frustration that there hasn’t been the one defining event that will completely overthrow the system. The unfortunate thing about Mr. G’s approach is that is not how history works. It could work that way if the majority of the world’s people could be trained as in the principles of what people would consider as Left: justice, fairness, equality and democracy but that would be a huge undertaking and many of the world’s oppress, IMO, cannot wait and die for that undertaking to occur.

    As Leftist, I think, our position is to support movements that do challenge the system. For example today’s killing of the young African American brother Oscar Grant exposes the true nature of the police. It is unfortunate that Mr. G’s see the Civil Right movement as only a “lunch counter” experience. The Civil Rights movement was also a militant movement it wasn’t about signing “We Shall Overcome” it was also about “Black Power” and it was also about educating the Black community about the evil of Capitalism and it was about solidarity with national movement throughout the world, including the Palestinian struggle. In other words it WAS EXACTLY about what Mr. G profess. The Civil Right movement also help to expand the Anti-War movements and both the Woman and Gay Right Movement. Apparently Mr. G is not reading history correctly in order to advance his myopic analysis.

    The real question to ask is WHY IS THE LEFT FRAGMENTED. Another way to ask this same question is why is their little solidarity on the Left. There is little solidarity for the same reason that the ruler keep all people divided: Race (white supremacy and Zionism) and class privileges. Therefore it is incumbent upon the Left to support what Mr. G refers to the “MICRO” action. The reason is that the Left should be in the position to assist these micro action into becoming a “macro” movement. Unfortunately there are many on the Left who agenda is to THWART that from ever happening. Such “Lefties” such as Noam Chomsky is one that comes to mind. Therefore it is incumbent of the Left to EXPOSE and to PURGE the so-called “intellectual” who agenda is to promote confusion among activists.

    The problem with Mr. G’s perspective it that it is unrealistic because in order to have a “macro” upset of the system you have to get everyone on the same page. And that begins with the “micro”. This is why socialist for years has advocated for a Labor Party to help coalesce these “micro” activities under one umbrella. Some has referred to this idea as “democratic centralism”.

    While Mr. G is aware that the Left is not on the same page unfortunately he seems to express no interest as to the WHY the Left is so disjointed.

  31. dino said on January 9th, 2009 at 2:40am #

    Thomas,the only one excuse for the way in which you present the situation is that you also have a mental health problem .supposing a display in which is a movie with the “life” in Gaza in a half of the screen and in the rest a movie with the life in Sderot since the truce between Israel and Hamas began until was broken by Israel.If Israeli’s people had imagined this screen i’m sure that the criminal attack in Gaza wouldn’t be done.I’m saying it and i am living in Ashkelon.But you can see an other scenario put by Stephan Walt :”imagine that Egypt, Jordan, and Syria had won the Six Day War, leading to a massive exodus of Jews from the territory of Israel. Imagine that the victorious Arab states had eventually decided to permit the Palestinians to establish a state of their own on the territory of the former Jewish state. (That’s unlikely, of course, but this is a thought experiment). Imagine that a million or so Jews had ended up as stateless refugees confined to that narrow enclave known as the Gaza Strip. Then imagine that a group of hardline Orthodox Jews took over control of that territory and organized a resistance movement. They also steadfastly refused to recognize the new Palestinian state, arguing that its creation was illegal and that their expulsion from Israel was unjust. Imagine that they obtained backing from sympathizers around the world and that they began to smuggle weapons into the territory. Then imagine that they started firing at Palestinian towns and villages and refused to stop despite continued reprisals and civilian casualties.

    “Here’s the question: would the United States be denouncing those Jews in Gaza as “terrorists” and encouraging the Palestinian state to use overwhelming force against them?

    “Here’s another: would the United States have even allowed such a situation to arise and persist in the first place?”

  32. Samsara said on January 9th, 2009 at 9:41am #

    Dino, that was BRILLIANT!
    I just read this Newsletter for the first time today.
    I am anxious to read Thomas’ remarks to your analogy.

  33. Ramsefall said on January 9th, 2009 at 9:32pm #

    Susan,

    I enjoyed your article, thank-you very much.

    ————-

    Aaron G. and deadbeat,

    tough exchanges gentlemen, and strong points made on each side. Good stuff for the most part.

    As Aaron points out, the system is the problem…well actually half of the problem. Correct, we should settle for no less than 100% in any vision that advocates peace and prosperity…which is what we’re all after, right?

    But the system itself is utterly fragmented because it is composed of fragmented people; fragmented by nationalism, by left and right, by religion, beliefs, relational expectations, education, etc. True deadbeat, that vision needs to be received across the board with solidarity, but that will only happen when people become whole individuals, when they realize the importance of the parts and the connection thereof to the structure in its entirety.

    This is where it comes down to the micro level; 6.7 billion people each carrying out their own inner revolutions in Krishnamurti fashion, for the benefit of the parts and the whole. We don’t need solidarity if we don’t have conflict, and we won’t have conflict if we have no division, and we’ll have no division if we are whole — at both micro and macro levels.

    Easier said than done it is, but it’s a transformation that will have to take place if we are to attain any sense of balance/harmony. Mankind’s present level of primal consciousness has to be transcended in order to reach a day when we won’t expect to see a 100% reduction in US military spending because there will be no US, or Israel, or China, or anywhere else for that matter. Borders which can’t be seen from Aaron’s lunar perspective will no longer need to exist because there will be no politics (which is simply the most corrupt of all businesses) and there will be no economy on which greed could feed. We won’t be divided by a handful of religions that claim to hold the key to the stairway to heaven in their one almighty God because we’ll realize that God is within each of us and everywhere around us in nature.

    The system that once distracted mankind from that which is truly important — inner wholeness and nosce te ipsum — will no longer exist, because we’ll all be responsible for ourselves and our actions, because we’ll want to see that all the parts are strong and healthy, that everyone’s needs are met, that there is no suffering, because it’s all unnecessary and falling far short of our potential as intelligent beings.

    Just a thought, I may be wrong.

    Best to all.