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Posts Tagged ‘palestinians

Emergency Aid to Palestine – Where & How to Help

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gaza

(Okay, three ways. Numbers one and two are below. The third way is to know what’s going on — what’s really going on between Israel and the Palestinians —  which is largely not reported in the media. I offer a few links at the bottom of this post. The perspectives from the ground can always be found by googling gaza + human rights. Also, this site, Human Right in Gaza and Israel During the Hostilities, offers emergency updates from Israeli human rights organizations on the impacts to civilians in this area.) 

  

First, Start with Your Voice. It’s as Good as Gold.

 

It goes without saying: Even the most noble relief efforts are powerless to help the people of Palestine, so long as the occupying power, Israel, forbids the entry of food, water, medical supplies, blankets and fuel into the area. And all efforts toward peace are powerless, so long as Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians remains unchanged. Today, give the Palestinians power, through your voice, in whatever ways you are able, starting with a letter to our incoming president, Barack Obama, at  change.gov.  

As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said to a group of reformers: 

“I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

Barrack Obama knows what’s right. Now, let’s make sure he does it.  Again, send your comments to incoming President, Barack Obama at  change.gov. and also send a few words to our incoming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, if you can figure out how to reach her.  Because, face it, Israel ain’t gonna change, so long as it has the unconditional love and support of our American leaders, American dollars and the American war machine. It’s time our foreign policy reflect the will of the American people.   

 

 *Spread the word, share this art! Use this image wherever you can — on posters,  t-shirts, banners, zines, papers, magazines. Make it visible everywhere. High-resolution downloads are available at Carolos Latuff’s DeviantArt webpage.

Next: Donate Money If You Can 

 

The following organizations, listed in no particular order, provide both emergency and long-term aid to the Palestinian citizens of Gaza.   

(Note: While I cannot vouch for the integrity of any given charity, I have listed only 4-Star Charity Navigator organizations in this list.You may want to do a little research to see which one is the best fit for you. Also, note that — according to Charity Navigator’s methodology — the highest possible good “overall rating” for any given organization falls between 60-65%. Click here for more info on Charity Navigator’s methodology.)

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donate now to help us provide humanitarian relief items for families besieged by the military action in Gaza.MercyCorps

(donate; sign petition; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT MERCY CORPS: Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1.5 billion in assistance to people in 106 nations. Supported by headquarters offices in North America and Europe, the agency’s unified global programs employ 3,500 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.4 million people in more than 35 countries.

Our strategy is to work in countries in transition, where communities are recovering from disaster, conflict or economic collapse. Our experience demonstrates that turmoil and tragedy often create opportunities for lasting, positive change. We add our greatest value on the ground by supporting those pockets of positive change with community-led and market-driven action.

Core Values:

  • We believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of human life.
  • We are awed by human resilience, and believe in the ability of all people to thrive, not just exist.
  • Our spiritual and humanitarian values compel us to act.
  • We believe that all people have the right to live in peaceful communities and participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives.
  • We believe that human imagination and energy can inspire innovative solutions to any problem, no matter how intractable.
  • We believe that it is our duty to be effective stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us.

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 British Red Cross

(donate; member of the FundRaising Standards Board (UK);read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT THE BRITISH RED CROSS: The British Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. The British Red Cross has launched an appeal in response to the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza and Israel.

In Gaza, Palestine Red Crescent hospitals, medical teams and ambulances are responding to the needs of people around the clock. The International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) main operational priority is to support hospitals in Gaza by providing medical supplies, generators and a surgical team.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has donated £205,000 to deliver basic relief items to meet the needs of 800 people in the form of food and non-food relief, and emergency shelter. It is also supporting the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, which is helping get medical supplies into Gaza and evacuating critically wounded people to hospital.

In Israel, the Magen David Adom (National Society of Israel) is on high alert and is providing first aid and ambulance services.

The British Red Cross has contributed £75,000 from its Disaster Fund to the Palestine Red Crescent’s relief effort, offered assistance to Magen David Adom and has six delegates with the ICRC in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Read more.

 

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American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)

(donate; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT AMERICAN NEAR EAST REFUGEE AID: ANERA is a leading provider of development, health, education and employment programs to Palestinian communities and impoverished families throughout the Middle East.

Incorporated in 1968 to help ease the suffering of Palestinian refugees after the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, ANERA is non-political and non-religious and is one of the largest American non-profits working solely in the Middle East for 40 years. In fiscal year 2008, ANERA delivered more than $50 million worth of donated medicine and medical supplies into Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

With offices in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan, ANERA employs more than 60 full-time staff who are locally hired and work with local partners. ANERA helps local institutions become more self-sufficient and effective in serving their communities. Every project is planned in consultation with the communities that ultimately benefit – an approach that ensures relevancy and commitment, and secures the long-term viability of the projects.

ANERA is a registered 501(c)3 non-governmental organization and a founding member of InterAction, a coalition of over 160 US-based non-profits working to promote worldwide development. We received our sixth consecutive rating of 4 stars from Charity Navigator, an overseer of fiscal responsibility. This distinctive rank is earned by only 3% of rated nonprofits.

ANERA’s work is made possible through the support of thousands of private donors around the world and grants from numerous public and private institutions.

SEE ALSO: A letter from ANERA President, Bill Corcoran on the Gaza crisis.

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Islamic Relief

 

 

 

Islamic Relief USA

(donate; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT ISLAMIC RELIEF USA: Islamic Relief strives to alleviate the suffering, hunger, illiteracy and diseases worldwide without regard to color, race or creed and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. It aims to provide rapid relief in the event of man-made or natural disasters. In addition, it establishes development projects in needy areas to help tackle poverty, illiteracy and disease at a local level.

Islamic Relief operates a wide variety of projects throughout the world, including education and training, water and sanitation, income generation, orphan support, health and nutrition, and emergency relief.

Some of Islamic Relief’s other domestic projects have included the response effort to Hurricane Katrina, which provided over $3 million in aid, supporting over 60,000 people. Other efforts have included the support of the UMMA Community Clinic, toy drives for disadvantaged children, community support programs, and much more.

SEE ALSO: A January 7, 2009 article on this group’s current work in Gaza, titled “An Aids Worker’s Diary,” published here at BBC News

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Save the Children

(donate; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT SAVE THE CHILDREN: Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating real and lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. It is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, comprising 28 national Save the Children organizations working in more than 110 countries to ensure the well-being of children.

In addition to this work, Save the Children responds to emergencies around the world that put at risk the survival, protection, and well-being of significant numbers of children. We are on the ground delivering assistance very quickly, often with local staff in advance of a disaster, and we stay on the scene long afterwards.

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World Vision

(donate; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT WORLD VISION: (Updated January 2, 2009) World Vision targets 50,000 people with emergency assistance in Gaza. As soon as the situation in Gaza permits, World Vision plans to provide food parcels, blankets, and other basic supplies to the most vulnerable families – particularly those who have fled their homes, seeking sanctuary from the shelling.

“Our priority now is to assist those who are living in intolerable conditions with limited access to food, water, or medical facilities,” said Charles Clayton, World Vision’s national director for Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza. “Eighty percent of the people in Gaza are already dependent on food aid, and even those who had relied on a meager daily income now find that it is no longer available,” added Clayton.

At a later stage, World Vision will develop cash or food for work activities, to help families provide for basics like medication, food, water, and household supplies.

Report highlights humanitarian emergency:

Additionally, World Vision issued a report highlighting disturbing findings of a baseline survey conducted in the Beit Lahya community in North Gaza on Dec. 18. Significant findings include:

More than 33 percent of families in Beit Lahya have 10 or more family members and live in extreme poverty. They rely on coupons for food and cannot afford to adequately clothe and educate their children.
Among children, bedwetting and nightmares featured heavily in focus group findings – both linked with fear and anxiety as a result of the ongoing conflict. “Most children with nightmares experience lack of concentration and attention deficit disorders,” shared a teacher in a focus group session.
While nearly every household in Beit Lahya has access to water, the quality is so poor that 95 percent of households have to buy their drinking water. Many children are affected by parasites and diarrhea, which is adequately treated in only 24 percent of cases.

Violence taking its toll:

World Vision staff in Gaza noted that after six days of bombing, the number of children showing signs of trauma is rapidly increasing. With shelling going on hourly and randomly, World Vision’s activities in the Gaza Strip have come to a halt. Staff are checking daily on the well-being and safety of 1,500 children and their families who are part of the organization’s regular aid activities and support.

World Vision continues to advocate for a complete cessation of violence, and for all parties to respect international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention.

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United Palestinian Appeal, Inc.

(donate: view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT UNITED PALESTINIAN APPEAL, INC: Established in 1978, United Palestinian Appeal, Inc. (UPA) is dedicated to providing aid to Palestinians in need, especially children, in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. UPA provides both emergency humanitarian relief and long-term development programs to Palestinian communities striving for economic and social development in the wake of ongoing conflict.  We strive to deliver efficient charitable services at low overhead costs in the areas of education, health care, child sponsorship, and agricultural and community development.

UPA maintains its independence and integrity as a strictly humanitarian organization by not accepting funds from political groups or from any source that may attach unacceptable conditions to its contributions. UPA is a member of the Independent Charities of America (ICA) and a participating agency of the Combined Federal Campaign (listed as CFC #11346).

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International Medical Corps

(donate; view report card; read about their work in Gaza)

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS (IMC): International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs.

Mission: From Relief to Self-Reliance

Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. 

International Medical Corps (IMC) has activated its regional response team and has secured emergency health kits for shipment into Gaza in response to the growing humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the conflict between Hamas and Israeli forces.

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An additional charity working in Palestine:

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (While this organization has a 3-star rating at Charity Navigator, I include them because they appear to do such good works and may be deserving of a closer look).  

Here is there mission statement:
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political organization established in 1991 by concerned people in the U.S. to address the medical and humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian youths in the Middle East. The main objective of the PCRF is to identify and treat every child in the Middle East in need of specialized surgery not available to them locally. We locate, sponsor and run volunteer medical missions to the Middle East in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, maxillofacial surgery, pediatric urology, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, pediatric orthopedic surgery, occupational therapy, and other specialties. Since our founding, over 800 children have been, or currently are being treated, outside of the Middle East through the PCRF.

PERTINENT NEWS SITES & BLOGS WITH INFO SPECIFIC TO THIS CONFLICT:

Anti-War.com

CounterPunch

DesertPeace

Dissident Voice

Global Voices

Gush Shalom

HAARETZ

The Jerusalem Fund

Articles by and about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter:

An Unnecessary War  –Washington Post 1/9/2009

Carter urges ‘supine’ Europe to break with US over Gaza blockade – Guardian.uk 5/26/2008

A Human Rights Crime:  The world must stop standing idle while the people of Gaza are treated with such cruelty  — Guardian.uk 5/8/2008

Carter: Gaza Residents ‘Starving to Death’ — ynet news 4/18/2008

Ma’an News Agency

Norman Finkelstein

The Palestine Chronicle

Reporters Without Borders

Spidered News

ZNet (this links to a specific article with a history on U.S. & Hamas)

 

 

Fiddling While Gaza Burns: Three Perspectives

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In response to the start of Israel’s ground campaign into Gaza this past  Saturday (January 3rd) Hamas spokesman, Ismail Radwan, warned Israel that they would pay a “high price” for the invasion, saying:

“Your incursion into Gaza will not be a walk in the park, and Gaza will become your cemetery.”

Reading this, I recalled the fierceness of fiddler crabs. Growing up in the U.S. South, one of my world classrooms was the coastal marshlands. The ground in these tidal mudflats virtually teems with fiddler crab populations as far as the eye can see. These crabs are fairly tiny — their shells about the size of a toe nail. Step into one of these mudflats, and you will see jillions of toenail-sized crabs scurrying sideways to the safety of their holes. Jillions, that is, except for a few fiddlers who are either the fiercest or most foolish souls on earth, as they stand their ground, menacingly waving the ‘big’ claw to warn away the intruder: a pair of human feet, each of a size that could effortlessly crush a dozen fiddler crabs in one step.

 

Still, the claw waves. Roughly translated, the fiddler crab says, “Your incursion into my mudflat will not be a walk in the park, and this mudflat will be your cemetery.” A sadistic, heartless person might choose to step on the fiddler crab, simply because he could. A sadistic, heartless person of questionable sanity could respond by uprooting the entire fiddler crab colony and crushing it into oblivion. Which brings me to the topic of Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza.

The citizens of Palestinians are as fierce as any population when attacked, but are as powerless against Israel’s war machine as the fiddler crab is to a human bootheel. Lacking a military or any modern-day weaponry & war equipment (much less the depleted uranium and the illegal cluster bombs and phosphorus shells Israel is using against the Palestinians) the citizens of Gaza are using the only things available to defend themselves: rocks and stones. 

A Palestinian youth throws stones during clashes with Egyptian police along the border fence at the border crossing in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. Gunfire erupted at the Gaza-Egypt border on Monday, following stone-throwing clashes between Egyptian border guards and Palestinians, witnesses said. The tensions began when the Egyptian guards sealed the border Monday, not even allowing Egyptians and Gazans who had found themselves on the wrong side of the border to return home. From AP Photo by MAJED HAMDAN.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate the sheer brutality of this imbalance: one of the worlds most powerful war machines embarks on a campaign to slaughter innocent civilians armed with only rocks and stones. (note: see more photos of the stone-throwers, below, at the end of this post)

But what about Hamas — the stated target of Israel’s bombing? Compared to the stone-throwers, Hamas wields a slightly bigger claw with its arsenal of homemade rockets, capable of traveling 2 to 10 miles — each a hit or miss proposition, as they have little to offer in the way of accuracy. Israel predicts, however, that Hamas will one day have missiles capable of traveling greater distances and with greater accuracy, which is part of Israel’s justification for this war.   

Having said this, I’m not going to sit here and argue on behalf of Hamas, nor weigh the relative crudeness of their weaponry vs. Israel’s, drawing overly simplistic conclusions about whether this war is ‘justifiable.’ I’ll leave this to someone who is empowered and authorized to make such assessments —  Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Territories, who said of this war:

Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right, neither as the Occupying Power nor as a sovereign state, to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response.

In his statement, Falk cited the following three violations of the Geneva Convention:  

• Collective punishment: The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

• Targeting civilians: The airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

• Disproportionate military response: The airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

It is no secret that Israel’s military is — by comparison to any defense system in the world — a state-of-the-art war machine, funded by billions of U.S. dollars. Should Israel choose, they could track the coordinates of the hair on a gnats ass and hit it from hundreds of miles away, and with astounding accuracy.  Which makes all the more sadistic, heartless and insane, Israel’s decision yesterday to bomb Gaza’s schools, crushing them into oblivion, even as they were filled to capacity with innocent civilians. 

This was no accident. 

A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 6, 2009. Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinian civilians on Tuesday, medical officials said, and international efforts to secure a ceasefire focused on an Israeli demand to prevent Hamas from rearming. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli air strike on the UN school in Gaza on January 6, 2009.

 

Palestinian relatives from the Deeb family mourn on January 7, 2009 near the bodies of 10 people from their family who were killed yesterday in an Israeli strike on a UN school in Gaza, during their funeral in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza strip. Israeli forces blazed into towns across Gaza yesterday striking Hamas targets and also hitting three UN-run schools in attacks that killed at least 48 people and sparked urgent new ceasefire calls. Since Israel started it military offensive in Gaza 660 Palestinians have been killed, including about 200 children, with more than 2,950 wounded, Gaza medics say. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian relatives from the Deeb family mourn on January 7, 2009 near the bodies of a total of 10 people from their family who were killed yesterday in an Israeli strike on a UN school in Gaza.

 

A Palestinian man Mouen Deb mourns next to the bodies of two of four children and his wife  who were killed with 42 people yesterday in an Israeli attack on a UN-run school building, on January 7, 2009, during their funeral in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, An Israeli attack killed at least 42 people who had sought shelter in the UN-run building after they fled their homes at the Jabalia refugee camp. The United Nations has denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compuond. From Getty Images.

A Palestinian man, Mouen Deeb, mourns next to the bodies of two of four children and his wife who were killed with 42 people yesterday in an Israeli attack on a UN-run school building, on January 7, 2009, during their funeral in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, An Israeli attack killed at least 42 people who had sought shelter in the UN-run building after they fled their homes at the Jabalia refugee camp. The United Nations has denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compound.

Palestinians hold the body of a girl who was found in the rubble of her destroyed house following an Israeli air strike on a three-storey house belonging to a Hamas member in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitun on January 6, 2009. About 30 people were inside the house when it was destroyed by the air raid, neighbors said. Israeli tanks firing cannons and machine guns and supported by helicopter gunships also moved into the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip before dawn, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian man reacts as he carries a girl who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in an Israeli strike, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children as they pressed a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants. From AP Photo by KHALIL HAMRA.

A wounded Palestinian girl is carried to Shifa hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 6, 2009. Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinian civilians on Tuesday, medical officials said, and international efforts to secure a ceasefire focused on an Israeli demand to prevent Hamas from rearming. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinian medics carry the body of a girl who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in Israeli forces' operations in Gaza, at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. An Israeli bombardment hit outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, and Palestinian medics said at least 34 people died as international outrage grew over civilian deaths. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

A Palestinian man carries a wounded boy into Gaza City�s al-Shifa hospital on January 6, 2009. The international Red Cross today warned that increasing numbers of civilians in the Gaza Strip are being killed during Israel's military offensive, locking the territory in a "full blown" humanitarian crisis. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

BELOW: Palestinian medics examine the body of a boy (the same child from the photo, above) who was killed by the Israeli forces’ bombing of the U.N. school on Jan. 6, 2009 where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday.

 

Palestinian medics examine the body of a boy who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in Israeli forces' operations in Gaza, at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. An Israeli bombardment hit outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, and Palestinian medics said at least 34 people died as international outrage grew over civilian deaths. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

 

A Palestinian boy walks on the rubble of a building used by Hamas security forces, destroyed by Israeli forces' operations in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6. 2009. An Israeli bombardment struck outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, the U.N. and Palestinian medics said, killing at least 30 people, many of them children whose parents wailed in grief at a hospital filled with dead and wounded. From AP Photo by KHALIL HAMRA.

A Palestinian boy walks on the rubble of the Israeli-bombed U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians — most of them women and children — had fled to safety. 

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After all, Israel knew the GPS coordinates to these schools (the United Nations had already provided them with this, just to be safe). And Israel knew these schools were being used as United Nations shelters, because the UN told them, plus the school roofs were well-marked (again, just to be safe) with bright blue United Nations flags. Isreal also knew, with cunning accuracy, that those schools were filled with with babies, children, mothers, fathers. Israel knew, too, that these families had already fled their bombed homes, fled the bombed streets, the bombed mosques, the bombed universities, the bombed hospitals. These families were trapped out in the open — like arcade targets — with absolutely no means to protect their children from the bombs. In desperation, they fled by the hundreds to protection of the schools, believing that the UN flags promised some assurance of protection, even as they prayed to God that the their children would be safe in these schools. Israel knew this.

Israel knew this and, yet, they dropped bombs onto the schools — raining death and suffering onto hundreds of mothers, fathers, children and babies. 

Israel’s defense? Their PR spokespeople refer to the bombs as hitting “near” the school yesterday, as if the school were somehow incidental to their bombing targets. And, in an even greater lie, Israel insists that Hamas was shooting mortars from the school and using the children as “human shields.” The United Nations has flatly denied these Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compound.

But of more importance to this lie about “human shields”  (and here’s where Israel’s propaganda takes an insidious turn, as it’s designed to make the  parents of these children appear less than human to the rest of the world) is the fact that the ‘civilians’ inside this school were parents, desperately trying to protect their children, not offer them up as fodder to a terrorist cause.

But even if those atrocious lie were true, as even the rawest of rookie hostage negotiators could tell you, you don’t risk murdering hundreds of children to smoke out a few hostage-takers. Even as this truth is self-evident to any rational person, the international community has nonetheless established a system of international laws, called the Geneva Convention, to govern countries in times of war. In bombing the school yesterday, Israel committed a most atrocious act of savagery.

Not that the world is inclined to bat an eye, anymore, over such things as war crimes. It’s now been 11 days since United Nations special rapporteur, Richard Falk, made his statement on Israel’s war crimes.  Since then, Israel has responded by calling Falk and other like-minded UN officials “Israel bashers,” and has forbid international journalists from covering the war inside Gaza. One can only presume that Israel does not want the world to know the truth about this war — a truth that has been there for the plucking for months and years, but only to those willing to suspend disbelief long enough to disregard the propaganda and learn the facts about the relationship between Israeli-Palestinian.  There’s no need to go back to the 1st century BCE, when this whole mess started, or even to 1948, when Israel was formed. You need go no further than two years, or six months, or even two months of truth to understand how the Palestinian’s responses to Israel’s surreptitious bombing campaigns and their ongoing blockade of food and medical supplies to Gaza (both of which were in violation of the terms of the ceasefire) gave Israel the justification they sought to wage this war. Falk touched on the blockade in his statement:   

“Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.

Israel has also ignored recent Hamas diplomatic initiatives to re-establish the truce or ceasefire since its expiration on December 26.”

That last sentence is as important as the rest, because it hints at the underlying truth of this whole damned war, and of every war between Israel and Palestine since 1948. The truth is this: Israel does not want peace. Israel does not want truces. Israel does not want ceasefires. Israels wants the Palestinian’s land, and Israel will do whatever it takes to get it — up to and including uprooting and crushing the entire population into oblivion.

Which brings me full-circle back to my original observation on the fiddler crabs in the mudflats of South Carolina, which I liken to the helpless stone-throwers of Palestine, as well as the the reckless bands of Hamas radicals bandying ludicruous threats (Your incursion into Gaza will not be a walk in the park, and Gaza will become your cemetery) as they are crushed under Israel’s boot-heel. This is one perspective on the war: that of a 1″ fiddler crab, menacingly waving its tiny claw at a 6-foot giant. 

Here is another perspective: 

Several days before Christmas (back when this war was still just a twinkling in Israel’s eye) I read a story about a former Palestinian stone-thrower from the West Bank.  The first few paragraphs to his story are inspiration enough:

If no one had handed Ramzi Aburedwan a violin when he was a stone-throwing teenager in a refugee camp, he might’ve ended up languishing in an Israeli prison cell. He might’ve become little more than an obscure fatality lost amid the thousands of young Palestinians killed in the seemingly intractable conflict.

However, music teachers from Ramallah to Boston saw something else in Aburedwan’s arm: a natural, if unrefined, ability to play classical music.

With some doing, these mentors convinced the skinny Muslim teenager to put down his stones and pick up a violin.

That’s how a 9-year-old Palestinian refugee with an ear for music grew up to found a classical music school that’s become a cornerstone for a West Bank cultural revival.

stone-thrower

The article’s last paragraph is a quote from the violinist, himself, Ramzi Aburedwan (pictured in the two photos, above and — in a snapshot from the stone-throwing days of his childhood, below). Speaking from the perspective of a once curly-haired 9-year-old refugee, he told about the day his outrage was born and he became a stone-thrower. He had just witnessed one of his schoolmates, shot in the head by Israeli snipers as she was walking home from the bakery. Today, Aburedwan speaks of the potential to transform Palestinian children of war, through music:

“Palestinians put culture aside for a long time because they thought this problem would be solved soon. People who came in 1948 said it was going to be solved in one or two months, one or two years. Now it’s 60 years and the people say, ‘No more time for waiting. Waiting is just losing time.’ “

ramzi It seems that what burns in the hearts of most Palestinians — stone throwers, claw wavers and fiddlers alike — is the same stuff that burns in the heart of most every living being under the cosmos: life, itself. Perhaps, one day, Israel will find itself in concert with this life. Until then, Israel will apparently do what Israel apparently does best — continue to commit the brutal, senseless crushing of life. 

On a brighter note, there is a light at end of this particular tunnel, and you can bank on this: Israel will *miraculously* agree to a ceasefire no later than January 19, 2009, which is precisely one day before Barack Obama’s inauguration.

In the wake of this ceasefire, Israel’s immediate legacy will be a continuation of the legacy they’ve spent the past 40 years building: a legacy of untold human suffering, with many of their victims and their witnesses retaliating with more violence, which will only serve as more fodder to the Israeli propaganda machine.  

Israel’s long-term legacy is more promising, as their aggression will serve as a standard  by which mankind can forever measure its brutest levels of inhumanity — much like Mussolini, Hitler, and (as we can hope Tevye would attest) Nicholas II of Russia. Hopefully — and hopefully very soon — Israel’s lies and propaganda about their deeds will be fully revealed and will inspire the powers-that-be to once again proclaim before all the world, “Never again!” 

Because, fact is, this war is but a ripple in Israel’s 60-year Zionist campaign to crush the Palestinians and take their lands. This is holocaust. In the words of Israel’s esteemed 20th Zionist-movement leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky:

“Culturally [the Palestinians] are 500 years behind us;  spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will . . . They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. [Thus] we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question.”

Which brings me to the third perspective on this war: Israel does not want peace. The Palestinians do. The Palestinians want peace, even as their people have been persecuted, ethnically cleansed, starved and killed by the Israelis. The Palestinians want peace, even as the Israelis have discredited their plight with propaganda, and slandered their humanity slandered with lies. The Palestinians want peace, even as their own voices are being crushed, one by one, to silence.  

Fiddle, anyone? 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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See also:

YouTube Video in which Palestinian violinist, Ramzi Aburedwan, can be seen/heard playing. Of interest to this video is a news item from the December 17, 2007  Palestine Monitor, which reads:   The international orchestra, which refused to perform in the Gaza Strip yesterday after its sole Palestinian member, violinist Ramzi Aburedwan, was barred from entering the Strip by the Israeli authorities, performed a concert in solidarity with the people of Gaza from Ramallah [the West Bank] today. The orchestra had been due to perform at the Latin Church in Gaza City yesterday as part of a Baroque Music Festival which is taking place throughout Palestine and Israel.

The stone-throwers of 2008-2009:

A Palestinian hurls a stone as others take cover during clashes with Israeli troops at a demonstration against Israel's military operation in Gaza, in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. The expansion of Israel's offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers into ground battles and artillery salvos is taking a heavier toll on the civilians of the crowded sliver of land, including three toddlers killed Monday by the blast of a crashing shell. From AP Photo by NASSER SHIYOUKHI. 

Palestinians carry the body of Ahmed Moussa during his funeral in the West Bank village of Nilin near Ramallah July 30, 2008. Israeli soldiers shot dead the Palestinian boy during clashes with stone-throwing protesters on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, hospital officials and witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the military had begun an investigation with the cooperation of Palestinian authorities to determine how the boy was killed. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinians carry the body of Ahmed Moussa during his funeral in the West Bank village of Nilin near Ramallah July 30, 2008. Israeli soldiers shot dead the Palestinian boy during clashes with stone-throwing protesters on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, hospital officials and witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the military had begun an investigation with the cooperation of Palestinian authorities to determine how the boy was killed.

An Israeli border police officer takes up position during clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths in Shuafat refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem March 3, 2008. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS. 
An Israeli border police officer takes up position during clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths in Shuafat refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem (Gaza territory) on March 3, 2008. [editor's note: What part of "Stay the hell out of Gaza and quit tormenting and shooting at its people -- then no one with throw stones at you!" do the Israeli's not understand?]

Injured Palestinian and foreign activists lie sprawled on the ground after Israeli troops responded to stone-throwing with tear gas and rubber bullets during a violent protest against Israel's security fence February 22, 2008 where it cuts off Palestinian farmers from their land at the West Bank village of Bil'in. Hundreds of villagers backed up by foreign and left-wing Israeli supporters marked three years of demonstrations against Israel's controversial barrier. From Getty Images.

Injured Palestinian and foreign activists stone-throwers lie sprawled on the ground after Israeli troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets during a protest against Israel’s security fence February 22, 2008, which cuts off Palestinian farmers from their land at the West Bank village of Bil’in. Hundreds of villagers backed up by foreign and left-wing Israeli supporters marked three years of demonstrations against Israel’s controversial barrier.

Palestinian men throw stones at Israeli military armoured vehicles during a military operation aimed at arresting a member of the radical Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 28 January 2008. Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town, Palestinian medics said. Qussai al-Afandi, 17, was mortally wounded and another Palestinian was injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in Bethlehem today, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian men throw stones at Israeli military armoured vehicles in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 28 January 2008. Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town, Palestinian medics said. Qussai al-Afandi, 17, was mortally wounded and another Palestinian was injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in Bethlehem.

An Israeli soldier fires teargas towards stone-throwing youths during an incursion into the Ein Beit Elma refugee camp on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on February 23, 2008. Israeli troops arrested a senior militant from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in a predawn raid on the camp, according to a Palestinian security official said. His 20-year-old sister was wounded by shrapnel when troops blew apart the door to the family's house, the official and medical sources said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

An Israeli soldier jumps from an armored vehicle to fire teargas towards stone-throwing youths during an incursion into the Ein Beit Elma refugee camp on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on February 23, 2008. [Again, what part of "Stay the hell out of Gaza and quit tormenting and shooting at its people -- and then no one with throw stones at you!" do the Israeli's not understand?]

A Palestinian youth runs for cover after throwing a stone on an Israeli army vehicle during a military operation in the village of Jabaa, near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on May 10, 2008. Eight Palestinians were wounded in confrontations during the incursion, according to a Palestinian medical source. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian youth runs for cover after throwing a stone on an Israeli army vehicle during a military operation in the village of Jabaa, near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on May 10, 2008. Eight Palestinians were wounded in confrontations during the incursion, according to a Palestinian medical source.

The grandfather (R) and friends of Palestinian teenager Qussai al-Afandi from the Dehaisheh refugee camp, mourn during his funeral, 29 January 2008 in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers shot and killed the Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town as troops stormed a house to arrest a member of the radical Islamic Jihad group after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in the town, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

The grandfather (R) and friends of Palestinian teenager Qussai al-Afandi from the Dehaisheh refugee camp, mourn during his funeral, 29 January 2008 in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers shot and killed the Palestinian teenager after opening fire on stone-throwing youth, who were protesting Israel’s military incursion into the town.

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