Thursday, October 8, 2009
These youngsters deserve a ticker tape parade in every city they visit…..
Why We Refuse-World Tour
Among the Shministim– excommunication and self-hatred
The two visiting Israeli women who refused to serve in the army spoke at NYU last night. I ran into a woman whom I’d gone to Gaza with on the elevator. We sat together, and I told her about my plan to visit Israel. I feel a need to go see my family friend who moved there a long time ago and talk the situation over. “I’m in the Jewish community the way you’re in the Episcopalian community,” I said, “and she’s a better Jew than I am.” I saw Terry’s face fall, and I felt pathetic. “Is that ridiculous?” “Not ridiculous emotionally. Though it is ridiculous on its face.” Well I meant that my parents’ friend was religious and had raised her children as Jews. Still I could see Terry was disturbed by my comment, that it expressed some self-loathing.
Read the rest of this entry »
You remember the USA PATRIOT Act, don’t you? It was that 342-page bill that sped through a supplicant Congress within weeks of 9/11, dismantling our privacy rights like a castoff Hollywood set. A reauthorization in 2006 made some things better and some worse, but mostly the law stayed the same – really bad for American freedom.
Well, it is time to revisit this act of congressional cowardice that vastly expanded the ability of the government to unjustly intrude on our private lives. Three provisions will expire by the end of the year, which means Congress will have to act.
The Senate Judiciary Committee debated a reauthorization bill on Thursday offered by committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. The measure falls short of resurrecting our shattered liberties, but it is a starting point.
You would think that with solid Democratic majorities in Congress, the PATRIOT Act’s unleashing of FBI surveillance on innocent Americans would finally be redressed. But the fear among lawmakers is palpable that doing anything to return a constitutional balance to domestic spying operations will play badly come election time.
I can see the Dittoheads now, on the one hand demanding that big government stay out of providing health insurance options, while on the other hand insisting that Big Brother be allowed to continue to peer into the financial, travel, communications, and library records of anyone it wants with little or no evidence of wrongdoing. Principled consistency has never been one of their strong suits.
Here are the sections of the act that will expire...
please read the full article here:
DO SOMETHING !! TAKE ACTION NOW!!
PATRIOT ACT ACTION CENTER
Source: The Daily Paul
It appears the plan to cut off, strangle and destroy Gaza including punishing the entire population was in the works long ago. Additionally there appeared to be much discussion by all Zionists regarding the finer points of destroying and murdering a community of Civilians.
Avigdor Lieberman and his extremist killers had a plan. The plan also calls for bombing whole Gaza neighbourhoods in response to rocket-fire, ending visitation rights for PA prisoners, severing Gaza from all other border states and stopping diplomatic contacts with any and all PA officials, including Mahmoud Abbas.
Now, here’s the interesting part, this is a report from May 2007, a full 18 months before the Gaza Genocide. Moreover, there were other ideas put forth to add to Lieberman’s original plan. The plan was ultimately put forth to Olmert. Evidently Olmert had other ideas at the time, but clearly the overwhelming support was for destroying Gaza and that included the civilian population, its infrastructure, its government, its water, and its electricity, the ability of civilians to enter and leave Gaza for any reason. More after this from May 2007:
Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman announced a plan Thursday that calls for a “completion of the Disengagement.” Lieberman explained to Army Radio: “We expelled all the Jews from Gaza and left there completely, but still provide it with economic support, water and electricity. We must sever all connections with Gaza and declare it an independent enemy entity,” he said. “There is no reason Egypt cannot supply the electricity and water for Gaza and let the European Union build infrastructure and provide security if they care about the poor Palestinians so much,” he added. “Membership in the axis of evil has a heavy price—financially, politically, and militarily.”So, we are all members of the "Axis of Evil" Totally Awesome.........Cos like I'd never want to be on the same side as racist killers like Lieberman. More:
Lieberman said his plan includes a complete closure of all crossings between Gaza and Israel through which PA Arab workers currently cross into Israel and through which aid passes to Gaza. His plan also calls for bombing Gaza neighbourhoods in response to rocket-fire, ending visitation rights for PA terrorists (He means illegally interned Palestinians) until kidnapped (He means Prisoner Of War) IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released, severing Gaza from Judea and Samaria and stopping diplomatic contacts with any and all PA officials, including Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas.Well that's all fine well and good, except you cannot block all aid, cut off the border crossings, shut down the electricity and water, and then NOT allow the International community to help the victims. If Israel takes the position of being the occupier and controller of Gaza and its borders, then it is ultimately Israel’s responsibility to protect the Civilian population and take care of them. It's called international law and the Geneva Convention. Israel are the "military Occupiers and Controllers of Gaza" and that brings with it humanitarian responsibilities, which really pisses off Israel. So they allow a tiny "trickle" through once in a while in order to point to their so called "Humanitarian Side" and to offer up as "proof" they are allowing aid into Gaza. Typical Israeli trickery. However, this is no longer hidden from the world. We now see what the Zionist killers "allow and disallow" into Gaza. Things such as paper for kids to write on at school, or pasta, not allowed, all must be considered as terrorist material. After all, HAMAS could cause a severe paper cut to an Israeli solder! Or create some devastating "Pasta Bomb" covered in "Non-Kosher" spaghetti sauce, heaven forbid… More:
Lieberman said the plan would come into effect in 2008 and be modelled after how Israel related to the Sinai after withdrawal. "Just as Israel did not continue to provide anything to Sinai after it withdrew, there is no reason why it should act any differently toward Gaza, especially in the current situation," he said.
Lieberman, The Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) chairman said he would present his plan to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the rest of the government ThursdayNow, as stated, at the time Olmert had other plans of action, but clearly the most extreme elements within the Israeli government were beginning to exert pressure on the less extreme (all of them are extreme and hate filled, it’s just a matter of who is the lesser evil I guess) So, the Minister of Labour and Trade offered this little “Add On” to Lieberman’s plan below. The beginning of targeting civilians on a massive scale. See here:
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai (Shas) suggested that Israel launch air strikes to destroy entire PA villages in response to rocket fire, after warning the Arab residents to vacate their homes.Whoa, does that sound "familiar????" Except that Israel claimed it warned people but that is yet another Israeli trick as I will point out. They say this in order to keep up that pretence of "Fake Humanity" for the world;o) The problem with a so called "warning" is thus: Where were they, the civilians, supposed to go for safety after receiving this "So Called Warning?" Hmmmm, let's see now.... Schools? Nope, Israel bombed them. Mosques? Nope, Israel bombed them too! Hospitals? Nope, Israel bombed them too! Police Station? Nope, Israel bombed that too! UN Facilities? Nope, Israel bombed them too! So, in essence a so called "Warning" means eff-all for Palestinians in Gaza. More murder planning:
Fellow Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen suggested Israel cut off electricity, water and gas to Gaza – an idea backed by Shabak (General Security Service) chief Yuval Diskin and rehashed in Lieberman’s proposal.And what else I find interesting is this next bit regarding Egypt, Jordan, the European Union and NATO.
Minister Rafi Eitan (Pensioners) recently suggested a similar idea, involving bringing Egyptian troops into Gaza and Jordanians into Judea and Samaria. "The same thing [as happened following the Second Lebanon War – the deployment of international troops –ed.] sooner or later, will happen in the Gaza Strip, with the senior partner in such a force being Egypt because it has no choice," Eitan told government radio.You will love the reasoning next:
“When the Egyptians are there, when 500 or 600 (Palestinian) civilians are killed, no one will say anything. That is what will eventually happen. We are getting there, gradually.” Eitan added that he also sees a future deployment of Jordanians in Judea and Samaria.Get out your wallets folks. Now, it makes one wonder if this is actually the Ultimate Israeli plan or wish list. Note that it was stated by Lieberman that “his” plan would come into effect in 2008. And when did we see Gaza attacked? December 2008. And we also saw Lieberman brought into government as well. Additionally we have witnessed many of these “suggestions” implemented since May 2007. And from the comments below which I pilfered from the comment section of this 18 month old article seem to bear out much support to wipe out civilians and implement Lieberman’s extremist plan . Note that many comments are filled with vitriol for Olmert for not immediately taking up Lieberman’s suggestions. And one more interesting aspect of this after what follows below (NOTE-I have not bothered to correct the terrible spelling of these morons. Perhaps if they used their brains for something other than racist hatred of Arabs, then maybe some of those spelling lessons would have stuck!)
NATO troops would be called upon to provide security and the European Union would be invited to provide infrastructure and jobs for PA Arabs
We suffered no such rockets while we had Gaza. The answer is obvious. Retake Gaza forever! Rebuild Gush Katif better than ever. We know "Disengagement" was a horrid failure. It's time to right the wrong and completely abandon the idiotic, suicidal policy of Israeli retreat.Right, now this next part is very telling. Note that Israel perceives a problem for themselves should Palestine ever be declared a “state” see below:
29. Gaza Is Part of Biblical Israel: We Cannot Abandon It!
Avigdor Lieberman may be well-intentioned, but unfortunately, through no fault of his own he is an Am Haaretz lacks Torah education.
50. get it over with already!!!
All they do is attack Jews who they say are occupying their land. What chutzpah !(NOTE= See the irony there? Attack Jews who are occupying their land???? Moron just stated the answer to Israel's entire problem) Get rid of this obnoxious vermin that infests the Land of Israel; send them all to Paradise. Fivish, London (31/05/07)(NOTE=this boy's real intelligent, I'd say he has at least a room temperature IQ of around 70 or so)
59. I've got a better idea!
1. IDF must reoccupy parts of Israel lost to "disengagement" and reunite the country. 2. Eng all aid to PA. Use the savings to compensate Israelis deported from parts of Israel under "disengagement". 3. Ban foreign workers, including Palestinians. Give their jobs to Israelis who lost their livelihoods under "disengagement". 4. End negotiations with terrorists and their representatives.
Daniel J. Vandeberg, St. Paul, MN US (01/06/07)
65. Statehood for the Palestinians is a problem for IsraelAmazing but these sick twisted people have somehow convinced themselves that the reverse is happening. E.g. Palestinians are taking Israeli land LOL Perhaps all Zionists are inflicted with ass-backwards reasoning? more:
In principle I agree with Avigdor Lieberman.However wouldnt declaring them as an enemy state give them soverign rights and a possible association with the U.N. (as being recognized as an independant state.If Israel were to attack them then,there would be dire consequences for Israel maybe and ultimately tying the hands of the U.S. in helping Israel.My opinion is to cut off everything,power,any aide,water and jobs until they release the IDF soldier... Dont help them to ultimately undermine Israel. John, USA (01/06/07)
73. Don't declare no stupid "state": kick them out!!!
Declaring them a state will only add insult to injury. They must be treated as the land-usurping outlaws they are.
Take Gaza back in Jewish hands, and kick them OUT once and for all. Kicking innocent Jewish farmers has proven a total failure, put the Jews back there, it is the ARABS you must kick out. Period.So, this “plan” was beginning to be conceived in 2007 by Lieberman and his extremist racist murdering cohorts and was ultimately fine tuned and later adopted by the Israeli Government. Although some small aspects have changed along the way, for instance the Zionists are “working” with Abbas, but that is merely because they (and America) have turned him using power, money and support. He now works for The United States of Israel. The rest of the plan we have seen come to fruition in Gaza. I also believe that the Zionists may attempt to block Palestine from becoming a state because it would then pose a threat to Israel both politically and on the world stage. THAT threatens Israel’s hold and raises a whole host of legal questions and dilemmas for Israel worldwide.
Rafael V Rabinovich, (03/06/07)
Source: Irish 4 Palestine
Cape Town: ‘Conscientious objectors’ visit may spur anti-Semitism’
Jews in Cape Town expressed deep concern Tuesday that a visit to their city by three representatives of the Shministim, conscientious objectors to IDF service, could fuel anti-Israel sentiment and even anti-Semitism.
A poster advertising the Shministim’s appearance in Cape Town.
Sponsored by South Africa’s End Conscription Campaign (ECC) and the Open Shuhada Street (OSS), a non-profit organization campaigning to open a Hebron street, Yuval Ophir-Auron, 20, Omer Goldman, 20 and Sahar Vardi, 19 arrived in the country on October 2.
Among their scheduled appearances are interviews on television and radio shows, as well as numerous presentations at local schools and universities.
“They are speaking out to the greater South African population, that does not really know or understand the complex issues of the conflict in Israel,” commented National Vice Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation David Hirsch.
The rest of this trash can be read HERE
"The Unacceptable Cost of Christian Zionism" is offered as memorial to eight dead American soldiers, who did not need to die, and uncounted Afghans, Iraqis, and Palestinians, all killed the first four days of October. We also memorialize the calculated assassination of a thing we all use and depend upon, the “Dollar,” destroyed in a large part by unnecessary and contrived Serial Wars.
The Death of the Dollar” is a passing that will bring deprivation to a class of Americans who never dreamed it could befall them. In the “Unacceptable Cost” first published in August 30, 2007, we explain why we place the blame for Serial Wars and destroyed dreams upon America’s churches and church leaders, not all of them mind you, but most. They alone, as institutions, have the responsibility to know the truth and tell it, regardless of the cost. Truth is the product of Jesus’ work, but those who claim to follow Him from the mega-church pulpits have played the monopoly game of war along with the bankers and politicians. We blame them, and we see no reason why God will not; stop following them! Read the rest HERE
By Carlos Miller
He was 15 years old. A special needs student. And his shirt wasn’t tucked in.
For that, Marshawn Pitts was severely beaten by a police officer in the hallway of his school. And it was all caught on surveillance video.
The suburban Chicago police officer first shoved him against a wall. Then when the scrawny teen tried to stand back up, the officer began pummeling him with his fists.
Th brawny officer then sat on top of the teen, shoving his face into the floor in what is called a “face-down take-down,”a controversial hold that is illegal in eight states because it has resulted in at least 20 deaths, according to the CBS news report.
Pitts ended up with a broken nose, a swollen lip and cuts to his face.
All for an untucked shirt.
But it was in bad taste for CBS to title their news report “a painful lesson” because it insinuates the teen deserved the beating, which he did not.
The incident occurred in May 2009 at the Academy of Learning at Dolton, which is a school that specializes in special needs students. Pitts has a learning disability stemming from a previous head injury.
The name of the Dolton police officer, who works as a school resource officer, has not been published. I’m betting it is not the first time he’s done that.
|Merkavim’s promotional video shows Israeli soldiers boarding an armored bus.|
Volvo Buses is co-owner of Merkavim Ltd., an Israeli transport technology company. Another shareholder in the company is Mayer’s Cars and Trucks, the exclusive Israeli representative of companies from the Volvo Group. According to Merkavim’s website, the company was chosen by Volvo as “its major body builder in the Middle East.” However, the Who Profits from the Occupation? project recently reported that Merkavim manufactures an armored version of Volvo’s Mars Defender bus for the Israeli public transport company Egged. Egged uses the Mars Defender to provide bus services for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Merkavim proudly announced on its website that the Mars Defender offers protection and ultimate comfort when traveling through war zones or routes susceptible to terrorist attacks. In a promotional video the armored bus is shown driving along Israel’s wall in the West Bank and crossing checkpoints (http://www.merkavim.co.il/upload/defender.wmv, accessed 6 October). In another video on Merkavim’s homepage, Volvo’s Senior Vice-President of Business Region Europe, Lars Blom, declares that “Three core values that are very important to us are quality, environmental care and safety. … [T]he products we are developing with Merkavim also deliver these three core values plus reliability” (http://www.merkavim.co.il/movies_library/merkavim.wmv, accessed 7 October 2009)
According to Merkavim, in the video promoting the bus, the Mars Defender “looks like any other modern bus,” but it is “the world’s most armored bus.” Indeed, the company calls it “the bus that saves lives!” As the narrator explains that the bus is “designed to safeguard the most precious cargo,” the camera pans over Israeli soldiers lining up to board the bus and on patrol with their machine guns at the ready. The video explains that Israel has “adapted its world renowned expertise in military and defense technologies to deal with” the “growing threat” of “terrorists and hostile forces.” It adds that Merkavim “blends this state of the art know-how with its own expertise” to produce the Mars Defender. Built on a Volvo chassis, the Mars Defender’s sides, front, roof and floor are shielded with steel armored panels and it is fitted with bullet- and explosion-proof armored glass windows as well as “run-flat” tires. According to the company, these safety measures allow the bus to withstand “grenades, car bombs, roadside charges and 7.62 caliber armor-piercing bullets.” Merkavim claims that these features are needed because “people trust this bus with their lives.”
The 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the West Bank confirmed that settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 49 explicitly states that the Occupying Power is not allowed to deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. Bus services with Volvo subsidiary’s Mars Defender armored buses facilitate the maintaining of illegal settlements in the OPT.
In its Code of Conduct, the Volvo Group commits itself to support and respect the protection of human rights and to ensure that it is not complicit in human rights abuses. However, by providing construction and transportation equipment that facilitates Israel’s occupation, the company violates this Code of Conduct on a daily basis. With increasing calls for boycott of and divestment from companies that support Israel’s occupation, Volvo Group can expect activists around the world to put pressure on responsible investors to divest from the company and to call on public bus companies not to buy Volvo buses.
|Refuseniks Maya Wind and Netta Mishly. (whywerefuse.org)|
From chronic checkpoint beatings, to the use of Palestinian children as human shields during invasions, to widespread use of torture and interrogation in detention camps, to the killing of unarmed civilians during incursions and wide-scale massacres that spur international condemnation, Israel’s soldiers are the face of the state’s expanding and illegal occupation and colonization of Palestine. And a new generation of conscripts have just finished boot camp, eager to carry on this vicious tradition of occupation.
Within mainstream Israeli Jewish society, mandatory conscription into the military is regarded as a rite of passage; a normalized violent adventure meant to codify nationalism and Zionist supremacy while carrying out Israel’s policies of aggression. (Paradoxically, a few thousand non-Jewish, “Arab-Israeli” citizens have also served in the army — see Jonathan Cook’s recent article “False promise of integration for Palestinian soldiers in Israel.”) Recently, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman repeated an oft-heard mantra as he attempted to defend the state’s criminal massacres in Gaza earlier this year. “Israel,” Lieberman claimed, “has the most moral army in the world.”
However, a growing number of Israeli Jewish youth facing mandatory military conscription — the Shministim — are breaking the chain of conventional cooperation with the occupation. Refusing to participate in a system they agree to be immoral as well as illegal, these young people exemplify complicity with their ethical values rather than their state’s colonialist policies.
The Shministim have also started linking up with American military resisters to strategize and build an international movement of opposition to the state-sponsored violence of occupation — from the West Bank and Gaza to Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, these young people are speaking directly to Jewish audiences across the US who may romanticize Israel’s perceived “need” for an aggressive military system, hoping to inspire critical thought centered on the actual reality for Palestinians affected by Israel’s actions.
Since 1970, groups of Shministim — Hebrew for 12th-graders — have emerged, turning against the overwhelming current of generational militarism. Writing public letters to Israeli heads of state, Shministim cohorts refuse to participate in the system of occupation, and, more broadly, vociferously challenge a national attitude of supremacy and racist entitlement over historic Palestine’s indigenous population.
Though personal stories of revelatory tenacity are wholly unique for each young person who stands up, the shock of collective reality and personal responsibility is a common theme. After witnessing brutal violence carried out by Israeli occupation soldiers against Palestinians in the West Bank village of Bilin, 19-year-old Shministim member Maya Wind says that “the only moral option for me was to refuse.”
Not surprisingly, the Israeli government does not concur with Wind’s revelation. Shministim refuseniks face draconian jail sentences in repeated cycles until they reach 21 years old or manage to secure a discharge on the basis of medical or mental health.
Israeli youth who refuse to cooperate with Israel’s military occupation are sent into a lengthy and relentless labyrinth of court martials and consecutive jail terms in what Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard, representing Shministim, calls a “price tag” meant to deter other young Israelis from non-participation. “Otherwise,” he says, “[the Israeli government's] argument says, everyone — of ideological or personal reasons — will refuse to serve.”
I recently interviewed Wind and her Shministim cohort, Netta Mishly, during their tour in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Wind says that the political and ultra-religious environment in her high school led her to question the reality behind the ideologies of her government and her fellow students. “A lot of my classmates were settlers, including extremists from [settlements in] the West Bank … there were a lot of questions that surfaced for me. I didn’t even use the word ‘occupation’ back then.” Through a discussion group with Palestinians in Jerusalem, Wind says that she awakened to a different reality than the one offered to her inside Israeli-Jewish society. “I figured I needed to learn more. Through a conversation with a Palestinian girl, I started to question more. I started going to the West Bank.”
Wind was sent to jail during the third week of the Gaza massacres, and spent several weeks behind bars. Sentenced four times, she spent a cumulative two months in detention and another 42 days in a military prison altogether. She was subjected to a “humiliating” array of psychiatrists and psychologists sent by the military to determine her mental fitness, required to serve in the army. Wind says that all of the Shministim were labeled mentally unfit by these health professionals, therefore giving Israel the excuse that the problem was not with the policies or the morality of the military, but with the Shministim themselves.
Netta Mishly, also 19 years old and from Tel Aviv, was active in several political groups from early adolescence and supported by parents who encouraged her to think critically. She said that her decision to refuse was made clear during her activity against Israel’s wall in the West Bank. “After I was there, and I saw how the soldiers attack civilians without any security justification, after I saw how the state steals land from [Palestinians] … For me, not going to the army was a decision I came to after visiting the West Bank for the first time.”
She says that her life changed completely after returning to school. “I kept hearing the same line [in class] — that we need to defend ourselves, and we need to go to the army. I couldn’t believe this anymore because I saw how the soldiers act on the ground. I connected with other activists and we started thinking about how we were going to take this difficult step, and we decided to keep working in the same tradition that started before us. We drafted a letter to the government, saying that we wouldn’t take part in the terrible crimes that Israel is doing in our name. After that, one by one, each one of us went to jail.”
Mishly was sentenced to a week in detention at the military base because there was “no room” in the regular prison (during the December-January attacks on Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel who participated in protests were rounded up and thrown into Israeli jails, on charges of treason and incitement). After the trial, one of the highest-ranking Israeli military justices decided they could re-try Mishly and she received another 20 days. “When you make the decision not to go to the army, you don’t know where [the punishment] is going to end,” she says.
Meanwhile, as US President Barack Obama readies another “troop surge” to entrench the interminable American occupation of Afghanistan, Wind and Mishly are meeting with US military resisters in order, Wind says, to expand international rejection of militarism. “I think that’s why Netta and I have come to the US. It’s not just about the Israeli occupation. It’s not just an Israeli thing. The US is occupying. And there are all forms of racism, prejudice and violence … these are not just phenomenons particular to the Middle East, you have this in the US as well. It’s towards immigrants, Mexicans, towards Iraq and Afghanistan. I think we’re trying to show that these are global phenomenons and we all have to create a broader justice movement.”
Sarah Lazare of the Bay Area-based GI Resistance support organization Courage to Resist is helping to organize an upcoming delegation of US war resisters to Palestine-Israel, she says, to connect with Israeli refuseniks. Calling itself Dialogue Against Militarism, the group intends to discuss similar experiences and learn from each other’s strategies for confronting war and occupation, while engaging with the effects of militarism in their respective societies.
“It is extremely powerful that war resisters in Israel are connecting with war resisters in the US,” says Lazare. “Given the close relationship between the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and the Israeli occupation, it is vital for resisters in these two countries to join forces, in order to build a movement strong enough to take on the forces we’re up against. Israeli and US war resisters are having exciting discussions, sharing experiences, and showing direct solidarity with each other, and I think this is a powerful step towards stopping US and Israeli-led occupations.”
In January, upon her sentencing, Maya Wind offered her declaration of conscience to the military court. “We can no longer term our military a ‘Defense Force,’” she asserted.
“A defense force does not conquer lands of another people. A defense force does not assist in the building of settlements on those lands. A defense force does not permit settlers to throw stones at Palestinian civilians, nor does it deny them access to their lands and source of livelihood. None of these are acts of a defense force.”
“The occupation has no defensive advantages. On the contrary, the pointless occupation of millions of people only leads to radicalization of opinions, hatred and the escalation of violence. Violence is a cycle that feeds into itself. This cycle will not stop until someone stands up and refuses uncompromisingly to take part in it. This is what I am doing today.”
Several other Shministim are gearing up for a similar speaking tour in South Africa during October.
The soldier was remanded by a military tribunal until Monday. The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed the report and said a gag order had been imposed on information about the soldier or the investigation. The soldier’s arrest followed a complaint lodged with the investigations department of the Military Police by Mohammed Hatib, 35, through attorney Michael Sfard of Yesh Din – a human rights volunteer organisation.
According to the complaint, on the night of September 16, IDF forces raided the home of a resident of Bil’in. The woman who owns the house asked Hatib, who is the head of Bil’in’s committee against the separation fence, to come to the house. When Hatib asked to speak to the officer in charge, the soldiers beat him severely. He was hospitalized overnight at the hospital in Ramallah.
Village residents say the IDF conducts nighttime raids up to four times a week, sometimes using percussion grenades and tear gas and sometimes also entering homes, which has led to Israeli activists staying overnight in village homes.
By Meir Margalit
Much has changed in East Jerusalem over the past decade – to the point of becoming intolerable. When Teddy Kollek was Jerusalem’s mayor, its Arab citizens were disadvantaged, but their honour was scrupulously defended. They felt that at least they received civilized treatment. Recently though, several moves have made their lives unbearable and- the most difficult to bear- they feel their honour is being trodden underfoot. Ten plagues are being inflicted on East Jerusalem’s Arab citizens, and they cannot be ranked by gravity.
The first plague: the option of lawfully building a home has become almost impossible. Here, the difficulties have been accumulating for years: proving ownership, the absence of infrastructures, low building percentages, the reduction of areas permitted for construction – all of these have worsened due to the migration of scores of families across the separation fence into the `right side`, risking the loss of their blue (Israeli) identity cards.
The second plague: the separation fence – has not only created a wave of internal migration, but has cut the migrants off from their families, relatives, and loved ones. Matters have become highly complicated and a family visit which in the past entailed a short journey of minutes has become a `journey into the unknown`, in which no one can guess how long it will take to reach the destination, or to return from it. Everything depends on the mood of the soldier standing at the checkpoint.
The third plague: in tandem, the Interior Ministry has intensified the campaign of confiscating identity cards from people whom it maintains are living beyond the municipal borders. Many find that one day their citizenship status has been revoked without their knowledge, and they must retain a lawyer’s services to get it back.
The fourth plague – the Interior Ministry continues to prevent East Jerusalem residents from uniting with their families or spouses and are forced to live in the town without permits, almost in an underground, out of fear of being arrested by the police.
The fifth plague: the settlers are completely unrestrained in their attempts to take over every spot of land in the city`s eastern half. Their irritation has intensified with the rumours and headlines about a political process that is taking shape. Very recently, without any qualms, they have removed entire families from their homes, imposing fear everywhere they go.
The sixth plague: the destruction of homes which threatens thousands of families. This is not because the municipality is capable of demolishing such a huge number of homes, but because none of the thousands of families who received demolition orders knows who the blow will land on, and when their turn to lose their home will arrive. In this situation, every family lives on borrowed time and the stress is a form of torture.
The seventh plague: the economic crisis has caused calamity in the eastern city, with close to 70% of all families there living below the “poverty line”. In the absence of any prospects for improving the situation, they have very little to lose.
The eighth plague: the humiliating attitude of the Border Police, which has become unrestrained and ever more violent, gross and hot-headed. Its soldiers disdain everything that appears Arab, and injure the deepest sensibilities of Arab citizens.
The ninth plague: the archaeological excavations that the state is carrying out close to the Temple Mount, both in the Givati car-park and in El Wad Street, are generating immense concern among those who believe they are intended to cause the collapse of mosques. It is a belief nurtured by their `intimate` knowledge of the settlers who are conducting the excavations and the nationalist-Messianic agenda that motivates them. It may not be true, but in East Jerusalem even a feeling or a rumour can ignite a conflagration.
The tenth plague: the low level of municipal services, ranging from garbage collection, to the education system which determines their inferior status. Every time Arab citizens cross to the western part of the city and see how great the divide is between their own standard of living and that of their Jewish neighbours, it is seared into their awareness.
Apparently most Israelis prefer not to know what is happening in East Jerusalem, but the city’s leaders would do well if they rethink their policies before the huge explosion – of which we’ve seen just a short “trailer” in the past few days.
Dr. Meir Margalit, Member of the Jerusalem City Council for the Meretz faction.