Palestinian Children Living Off Israeli Trash

September 6, 2007

This is an awful sight. Yet, I must give kudos to the New York Times for capturing and reporting on this tragedy. It carried an article and showed a series of photographs with sad captions, such as:

with a whole box of clothing in good shape, a boy shows off a sweater.
The boys say the real treasures come in deliveries of trash from the
Israeli settlements.

Can there be any question about the
basic inhumanity of this? The raw contrast between colonialist excess,
and the natives so oppressed and starved as to feed off their waste.

Palestinians have become so dependent, a pragmatists would welcome US
aid to Israel. Enough of the billions of dollars a year that goes to
Israel must indirectly subsidize the wasteful lifestyles of Israel’s
settlers. In a weird way, US taxpayers probably helped subsidize the computer Fadi El-Ammour found and fixed.
Wow, a trickle-down economist whose Zionist (read, statist) leanings
barely overshadow his economic views would agree passionately with this


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Open Letter to Rolling Stones against Playing in Israel

May 21, 2007

I got this from Sabbah and Jews sans Frontieres

Please circulate and forward widely

Boycott IsraelThe following letter is addressed to the Rolling Stones who are planning a concert in Israel. At this point we are soliciting endorsements from artists, cultural figures, intellectuals and cultural organizations, and others who wish to lend their support.

Please send endorsements to , with your name/name of organization, city and country.

Boycott Israel – Don’t Play another “Sun City”!

An open letter to the Rolling Stones regarding their planned gig in Israel

18 May 2007

Dear Rolling Stones,

The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief media reports of your upcoming performance in Israel, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress, and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. If the news is accurate, we strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects fundamental human rights as well as the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.

Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. We all remember how leading Rolling Stones musicians played a prominent role in enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s, and participated in recording the timeless song, Sun City, which had a singular influence on raising public awareness about apartheid and its injustices. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa.

Indeed, Israel’s policies throughout its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, which have surpassed their South African counterparts, include house demolitions; Jews-only colonies and roads; uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees; indiscriminate killings of civilians, particularly children; incessant theft of land and water resources; denying freedom of movement to millions under occupation, cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks. Sixty years since the Nakba, Israel’s planned campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, and 40 years into its military occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territory, Israel has consistently and relentlessly violated basic human rights and relevant precepts of international law with utter impunity. Moreover, Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon last year caused more than one thousand civilian deaths, not to mention massive destruction to infrastructure and decimation of entire residential neighbourhoods.

The resounding failure of the international community to date in ending Israel’s occupation, collective punishment, and other forms of oppression was what prompted Palestinians to appeal to international civil society to bear its moral responsibility to put an end to injustice, just as it did against apartheid South Africa. To this end, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel was issued last year, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the Church of England; the US Presbyterian Church; a group of top British architects; the British National Union of Journalists in the UK; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d’Or winner director Ken Loach. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious artists like the Rolling Stones to similarly uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all by supporting the growing boycott against Israel?

We appeal to your moral principles and your record of standing up for human rights and human dignity. We sincerely hope that you shall cancel this ill-conceived and particularly harmful concert in Israel.


The Undersigned:


Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

This is especially important.  The Rolling Stones are known for their stance against racism and oppression in past years and this would seem like a very big misstep on their part.  The Occupation and Repression of the Palestinians is the most ghastly hate crime and it’s unfathomable that it is allowed to continue in our modern times of Democracy and advocacy for Peace.

Although, I would like to see them playing “Street Fighting Man” in Nablus, Gaza and the West Bank 🙂



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The Language of Losing a Palestinian Baby

May 14, 2007

days ago, Israeli military went into a refugee camp and a violent
exchange took place between soldiers and Palestinian fighters. During
the gunfight a pregnant Palestinian woman was shot and lost her child.
This is how various international media reported it:

A pregnant Palestinian woman lost her baby after being
shot by Israeli troops during a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus,
Palestinian officials said. Maha Katoumi, 30, was injured when Israeli
troops and Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire at the Ein Beit Ilma
refugee camp, witnesses said. An Israeli army spokesman said the
military was checking reports that a pregnant women had been shot. He
said the clash came when improvised grenades were thrown at soldiers. [BBC]

Israeli forces shoot pregnant Palestinian woman. A
pregnant Palestinian woman lost her baby on Thursday after being shot
by Israeli occupation forces during an incursion into the West Bank
city of Nablus, Palestinian security and health officials said. A
bullet hit the head of Maha Katoumi’s eight-month-old fetus when
Israeli troops opened fire at Palestinian fighters in the Ein Beit Ilma
refugee camp. Katoumi, a mother of three, was in the third trimester of
pregnancy, Palestinian medics said. One doctor showed the dead fetus to
a Reuters television crew. [Tehran Times]

A Palestinian in her seventh month of pregnancy
miscarried Thursday due to wounds she sustained from crossfire during a
clash between Israel Defense Forces and armed Palestinians in a West
Bank refugee camp. Maha Katoumi, 30, was seriously wounded when IDF
soldiers fired at militants, who were hurling improvised grenades at
them. She is currently in intensive care. Doctors say her wounds caused
her to lose her baby. [Haaretz]

A pregnant Palestinian woman was seriously wounded on
Thursday morning in Nablus after she was shot by IDF soldiers,
Palestinian sources reported. The woman, who was seven months pregnant,
lost her baby. An IDF soldier and a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager
sustained light wounds in the incident. According to the IDF, Golani
troops spotted several armed Palestinians in the city’s Ein Beit Ilma
refugee camp and a gun battle erupted. [Jerusalem Post]

A pregnant Palestinian woman was wounded and lost her
baby during fighting on Thursday between Israeli troops and gunmen in
the West Bank, local medical officials said. Residents of Ain Beit Alma
refugee camp in the town of Nablus said Maha Katoumi, 30, had been shot
and wounded by Israeli soldiers who fired at gunmen attacking them with
explosives. [Reuters]

A Palestinian woman has lost her unborn baby after she
was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between Israeli soldiers and
Palestinian fighters in the occupied West Bank. The woman’s husband,
holding a box containing the baby’s body, told reporters that when the
shooting started, his wife went to fetch their other children from
another room. “As she stood up, the bullets entered her body, she flew
from the bed to the bathroom,” he said. Doctors at a local hospital
said Katoumi, in her eighth month of pregnancy, lost the baby. [Al Jazeera]

As far as I can tell, American media did not report it.

Thanks to Black Iris

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The Beginnings

October 29, 2006

One cannot truly understand the Israeli – Palestinian ‘conflict’ without first understanding the history and origin of Israel. In order for us to understand this situation, it is also necessary to for us to work around and demystify the political and media jargon that is thrown at us everyday. And as time goes, this blog hopes to address those truths and fallacies that surround this ‘conflict’.

Today’s post serves as an introduction to two laws that govern Israel and how these laws impact on ordinary Palestinians.

Israel was established as a Jewish state and this in turn means that it was not intended to be a state for all of its citizens – Jews and non Jews alike. Instead it was primarily envisaged as a state of which every Jewish individual throughout the world would be a potential citizen.

So when Israel was unilaterally established in 1948, it became imperative for its legislative body to define in law those persons who would qualify as actual or potential citizens and those who would be excluded (non Jews in general and Palestinian Arabs in particular).

A mere 2 years later, the Knesset (Israel’s legislative body) passed 2 laws: the Law of Return and the Absentee Property Law. The former defined the boundaries of inclusion (‘every Jew has the right to immigrate into the country’) and the latter defined the boundaries of exclusion (‘absentee’).

So what do these law’s mean? Well under these laws, every Jew throughout the world is legally entitled to become a citizen of Israel upon immigration whilst some 2 million people (the 1948 Palestinian Arabs and their descendants) who were exiled as a consequence of the 1948-9 and the 1967 wars, are denied the rights of citizenship. Now here’s the kicker – their (the exiled Palestinians) right of return is universally recognised in international law and in repeated UN resolutions (beginning with resolution 194 (III), 11 December 1948). Yet they are defined by Israeli law as ‘non-existent’ and as ‘absentees’, and hence excluded from actual or potential citizenship in the Jewish State.

It is important to realise that the

“the most damaging manifestation of Israeli legislation is directed against those non-Jews who are legally excluded as ‘absentees’ from the body of Israeli polity: two million Palestinian Arab displaced persons, conventionally referred to as ‘refugees’.Thus, each Israeli Jew has a shadow: the Palestinian Arab refugee of 1948. Israeli Jewish homes are built on the ruins of their homes. Israeli Jews cultivate their land.
The Palestinian Arab refugee of 1948 is today a soldier in the Palestine Liberation Army: a fida’i. All human beings will rebel, must rebel, in such circumstances, to reconstitute their full human existence, to reclaim their rights, if necessary by armed struggle, inside every part of the homeland from which they have been excluded. And in this struggle the Palestinian Arab deserves our full moral and material support.” (Uri Davis, Israel: an Apartheid State)