Posts Tagged With: Gaza

Why Hezbollah can’t fire a rocket into Israel

With the attacks on Gaza escalating, everyone feels incredibly helpless. No one knows how long it will last or how many more people will be killed by the monstrous Israeli regime. Palestinian resistances are confined by the inhumane seven year siege of Gaza and  are unable to receive decent weaponry to fight this “war”. While they have been successful in many operations, such as sending rockets to Tel Aviv for the first time in 21 years and downing drones, resistance in Gaza is still being pummeled by the technologically advanced Israeli army. What could they possibly do with Egypt restraining movement through Rafah disallowing people to even take refuge from the ongoing bombardment?

One would think it would be a fabulous idea to assume Hezbollah should get involved. Well, it’s not.

Actually, it’s a really illogical idea or claim to make. Now, there are some making this “point” with the motive of trying to discredit Hezbollah’s support for the Palestinian cause. “Oh, does Hezbollah really care about Palestine? THEN WHY AREN’T THEY FIRING ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL, HUH?”. I’m not trying to sound like a mouthpiece, but everyone thinks I am anyway so I may as well just go with it- supporting a cause is different than fighting for a cause. While there have been reports that Hezbollah fighters had attempted to enter Gaza in 2008-09, no one can actually say that they haven’t indirectly aided the resistance. I can only really say this based on assumptions, but I feel like it’s a legitimate thought: the rockets that hit Tel Aviv were Fajr 5 rockets from Iran. One of Hezbollah’s biggest allies is Iran. After the Tel Aviv rocket fire, Sayyed Nasrallah held a speech congratulating the resistance further elaborating what a Fajr 5 rocket is and its velocity and importance. I just thought it was ironic and perhaps people would like to chew on that for a bit. However, these are simply my feelings and theory.

But then, there are those, who just lack common sense. These are the same kind of people who use the excuse that the Syrian regime is not pro-Palestinian ( not that I am claiming it to be, but the following statement is ridiculous) because they’ve never fired a bullet into Golan Heights (which they have, this past week.)

Guys. Please hear me out.

If a couple of rockets from Gaza results in week long violence and nearly 70 people murdered…what do you think Israel will do to Lebanon? Just allow a barrage of rocket fire to hit Israel and not retaliate? And we have seen Israeli retaliation. They have absolutely no remorse for civilians and will purposely target as many as they can. If we want the killing to stop in Gaza, how is it logical to bring south Lebanon into it as well?

Another point is, that if Israel gets into it with Hezbollah, it will be the ugliest war this region has ever seen. Since the 2006 war was seen as a defeat by even Israel themselves, do you think they’re going to just leave Lebanon alone and not come back with the vilest form of revenge? They are waiting at the edge of their seats for Hezbollah attack in attempt to blame them, as they did in 2006.  The cause of Palestine is divided in Lebanon. Not all Lebanese, even supporters of Hezbollah, support bringing down Lebanon because of Palestine, to put it bluntly. It’s not right since we are all technically the same land, but that’s a whole other blog. If in 2006, Hezbollah’s supporters were attacking them, calling them disproportional for plunging Lebanon into a war by kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers for the SAKE of LEBANON their own COUNTRY, just imagine if they did for Palestine. It was only after the war that people acknowledged that the kidnappings were successful in the prisoner swap.

Why did I feel the need to blog about this? Well because first of all- I have been asked so many times why Hezbollah hasn’t interfered as if I can give a confirmed answer (I don’t think it’s necessary to say that everything I’ve written is my 2 cents) and secondly, I just feel like some people are looking at this situation too black and white. South Lebanon is a ticking time bomb. It’s calm now, but it will explode one day. The liberation is temporary as long as Israel exists. Hezbollah still has a war they are fighting here in Lebanon. They must be strategic in their aid for Palestine and not recklessly start shooting rockets from Lebanese land….or else Israel will just use that excuse to occupy South Lebanon again for 22 years.

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Help a friend help Gaza @musmus84

A very good friend of mine, who I’ve met online, known for nearly three years & had the chance to meet last September is asking us all for a favor. Here, she introduces us to her activism and what you can do to help her help the people of Gaza. Her info is at the bottom! She has sent her friends this email so I have decided to broaden it by posting it on my blog. Good luck, Jemaimah!

“Dear family and friends, As you may or may not know, I’ve been working for an non-governmental organisation named Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) since 2009. Although its been a part-time job due to also being a full-time masters student in political science its been one the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life and I love it. Besides learning things I never thought I would ever do, VPM has taken me to Lebanon not once but twice where I had the privilege of meeting Palestinian refugees. There are no words to describe these camps and the living situations are so dire. What touched me though was when walking through the camps the children would walk besides you with big smiles on their faces wanting you to take photos of them and the grand-mothers stopped you just to shake your hand and say thank you. Just someone from the outside community who wanted to know their story was enough to keep this spirit of wanting to fight on going. I have attached 2 pictures of the children at the camps and a group photo of my fellow friends and I at the border between Israel and Lebanon where during a peaceful protest marking the Nakba, 6 people were killed by snipers, mostly Palestinian and mostly children. The youngest was 8 years old. I could go on about my trips to Lebanon but another time if you are interested right now I have another area I want to focus on. The reason I joined this NGO was during the attack on Gaza back in 2008/2009. Before then I had never known about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. But when I saw on live news what was going on, it tore me up inside that I couldn’t do anything. So when I joined VPM I felt it was a small contribution in helping to re-build the lives of these people. Thus far, VPM has raised money for several projects in Gaza to help to create jobs for the people, which includes building a rehabilitation centre for women. We have also just raised money in order to build the much needed 11 schools in Gaza as well as sending medical and humanitarian aid during the convoy in 2010. I am now asking for you to help my wishes come true which ties into the final stage of my masters programme. There is going to be another land convoy leaving for Gaza from London in mid-April and we hope to raise enough money to purchase a specific vehicle the Gazan people have asked for such as a mini-bus plus fill it up with aid such as educational items needed for the schools that will be built soon. The reason I am asking you all for help is because I want to be the one who delivers it. I feel my time to go has come. I want to go and see exactly what is going on with my own eyes so I can educate the people not just with facts I read but by what I’ve seen with my own eyes. I want to finally meet the people I’ve spoken to online and tell them face-to-face I did not forget them. After all the work I’ve done at VPM, I want to see just how I’ve helped, as small as it is. So I’m asking anyone who can make a donation of any amount to please contact me. To purchase one vehicle full of aid plus my travel costs etc will roughly cost RM50,000. Even if this amount is not met, whatever is raised I will still give to VPM towards the convoy and hopefully I will still be able to be a part of the team. It would just be an honour if I could raise enough for 1 vehicle so I could drive into Gaza knowing it was due to the love and support from all of you that made one of my dreams come true. Even your prayers and thoughts during the journey would be just as wonderful for me For my studies, my final thesis is based on the convoys to Gaza and my supervisor has stated that if I am able to go, it will provide better results due to being able to have the first hand experience of going on the convoy. Therefore this is not just one of my dreams being fulfilled but will also help me tremdously in hopefully publishing my thesis. I hope you are all doing great and I apologise for not seeing/keeping in touch as much as I would have liked but not a day goes by when I don’t think of mum and henceforth it leads me to all the wonderful times. I will try my best to be better. I just can’t believe how much time has gone by. For those in KL if you are ever free please, please don’t hesitate to give me a buzz to meet up. Before I sign off I just want to thank you all for even reading this email in the first place. So thank you, and not only for this but being in my life. I know throughout my life the whole family wouldn’t have been able to get through what we did go through. I can’t thank you enough. So I’m going to wrap up. Wishing you all the best for the new year (lil late) and I hope to hear or see you all soon!

LUV JEMMA”

Details: Name: Jemaimah Badaruddin Mustapha

Bank: Standard Chartered Bank

Account number: 312-1-5704123-7

Mobile number: 019-321-1115

 

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Donate To UNESCO

On October 31, 2011, the bid proposed by the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to have Palestine gain full membership in UNESCO was passed with a whopping 107 countries voting yes, 52 abstaining and 13 opposing. The bill played well for symbolism and acknowledgment of a very controversial land and perhaps even made Palestine look like it had decent sovereignty under the PA. Though within hours after the bill was passed the US, who had promised to veto it, held a press conference announcing that it would cut 60 million dollars of aid to UNESCO quite possibly putting the organization at risk. Washington only recently rejoined the UNESCO team under the George W. Bush administration after having pulled out in the 80’s and has been providing the organization with 22 percent of its aid.

 

UNESCO is the branch of the United Nations (UN) that calls for peace by educating through science, culture and history. By passing the bill, UNESCO not only recognized Palestine as a state but as a cultural and historical land proving that it has always existed, making Israel’s plan of making their country fully Jewish illegitimate.

 

After the aid cut- a call came from online activists for Palestine to start a project to raise the money cut by the US and donate it to UNESCO. Not only is that a large sum of money and perhaps probably not a main concern for some, but the aim is to make a statement to the US- we are not going to let you bully us with money.

 

Within a few hours, the project had broadened in most social media websites and hundreds climbed onboard, mostly from Europe. “YOU SHARE US’ SHAME OR DONATE TO UNESCO?” painted some blogs’ headlines and Twitter accounts and Facebook pages began springing up everywhere. Even a website called www.donateunesco.org was created, asking more people to join the campaign with hopes of returning the 60 million dollar paycheck the US snatched away.

 

But by making this statement, how are we really benefitting from it? Do we even benefit from it at all? Is UNESCO really on our side? With a little research, it’s not hard to uncover that the organization may have “Goldstoned” us and tricked us into thinking that it really cares about Palestinian rights. While as a whole, it might not be completely fickle, it has done its fair share of sweeping Israeli crimes under the rug which Palestinians cannot afford right now. At such a crucial time where Palestine is searching for recognition, UNESCO, at one point, was actually aiding in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people’s land in a subtle way.

 

UNESCO, which claims to preserve cultural and historical sights, did a bad job of helping to protect the Temple Mount, a sacred land located in Jerusalem for most monotheistic religions. The land was captured in 1967 during the six day war and has been under Israeli authority ever since. Israel has been illegally destroying Islamic artifacts in Temple Mount to conceal evidence that Muslims inhabited the land at any point. In 2007, a UNESCO session was held to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, but then was dropped and the Israeli government was never charged. This not only fuels Israel to continue to perpetuate said crimes again but also goes against what UNESCO stands for. It makes one wonder what the point of its existence is in the region if it’s just going to drop cases that are not only important to Palestinian culture, but to spiritual ones as well.

 

There is also the issue that the bid for statehood is not black and white. You cannot just recognize a state without actually acknowledging the state it is in now. While the outer appearance of UNESCO’s move with the statehood bid may look like a good idea, beneath it really is just another silly game of politics. The bid made by the PA calls for a two-state solution on 1967 borders that includes West Bank, East Jerusalem as the capitol and the Gaza strip, currently besieged by Israel, which means that is only 22% of Palestinian land giving Israel the rest of Jerusalem and the rest of the land it had already occupied in the past 63 years. However, a day after the bid was put in place, Israel called for the accelerated construction of 2000 illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem- on the very little land promised to the Palestinians for a future state. How can a state be built on a land that is still being seized by Israel? Surely it would be logical for a powerful organization like the UN to call for imposing sanctions on illegal settlement building first rather than call for a Palestinian state which, although is based on a map from 1967, doesn’t really have borders that aren’t under Israeli authority. Not to mention, scattered Israeli checkpoints infiltrating Palestinian land where Palestinians are often subjected to beatings and unfair detainment or stopped for hours making traveling from one city to another excruciating. Although these lands are promised to be included in a Palestinian state, they are also still under Israeli occupation. It seems as though the only thing promised by UNESCO is a Bantustan state, similar to the apartheid of South Africa, disallowing Palestine to ever be independent in the future.

 

But by stopping settlements, this goes completely against what Israel wants- which is more Palestinian land. The notion of a two-state is only emphasized on one side; the side of Israel. So why would we donate to an organization that will ultimately only provide for Israel in the end and not be as punctual about the problems of Palestinians? Another one of the issues being Palestinian refugee rights.

 

What will happen to the Palestinian refugees who rightfully dwell on their “Right to Return”. If a state is only settled on 1/3 of their land, where exactly will they return? Palestinians who dispersed in neighboring Arab countries being forced to spend the rest of their lives as refugees live in some of the most horrid conditions, especially those in Lebanon where the living has been compared to the besieged Gaza strip. It seems that by settling for this two-sate compromise, most will not even be able to go live in their land making their situation no different than it is now.

 

Although the recognition of Palestine may be enough for some, it is not enough to pledge such a large about of money that one can’t even promise will go to Palestine. In the end, words are words and it is actions that matter. UNESCO taking the reigns of the statehood bid only leaves us to an organization that continues to contradict itself, so long as it continues to surrender to Israel who has shown us that they are the ultimate decision makers. Why should the people finance something that goes against their morals?

 

Categories: Israel, Palestine | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Citizen Journalism Rocks and Real Journalism is Dead To Me

August 19:

Eliat attacks occur. At least 7 Israelis dead. No one knows who did it. Everyone is in shock. The news ate this news story up; from CNN, to NBC all the way to Al Jazeera.

A few hours later, Israeli politician Ehud Barak accused Gaza “militants” to be behind the attack without providing any information or facts to back up his claim and promised that Gaza would “pay”. But suddenly then, everyone forgot about this important story that was only developing into something worse.

Perfect timing for Israel. Or was the silence deliberate?

It was only a matter of time before Israel started bombarding the strip on all corners: North, East, West, South. By the end of the day, 7 were killed, including 2-year-old Islam Qreiqe on his birthday, and many critically injured. All this information, I found via Twitter; a source I have been turning to for quite some time especially since the Arab revolutions began. Citizen journalism was definitely one of the ways to go for me, but I still needed that hardcore journalism. You know- reporters in helmets and bullet proof PRESS vests, working tirelessly to provide information that I so desperately needed to know.

So I frantically turn on my favorite news channel, Al Jazeera English, which had impeccable coverage of the Gaza massacre in 2008-09. I thought- well, if something is happening in Palestine, AJE has got my back right?

Turn on the TV. A documentary is playing. “Oh okay” I said, “I’ll read the scrolling headlines”. Nothing. Zip. Nada. But oh wait, they’re talking about the Egyptian soldiers that were killed in a brawl between Israeli soldiers. Phew, so they are paying attention. But why no Gaza? Where is Gaza?

So I did something that was unlike me- I started flipping to other news channels. BBC, CNN, SKY and NOTHING. Perhaps by now there would have been a mention of it in the scroll bar, but it was probably so small of a mention that I forgot or the words went by too fast…

Were Gazans making this up? No way. I mean why would they? Not one news station was playing any sort of reportage from the strip, I started becoming skeptical. But I shook it off my skepticism because I know Israel and I thought it was a one day thing where they went completely ballistic and took out all it’s aggression on Gaza like it typically does. I thought it was over. I let the media silence slide. Then the “BREAKING” tweets start reappearing on my timeline from average Palestinians living in the strip and it went on for 2 days into the attacks on Gaza. More deaths, more injuries, still no evidence by Barak that Palestinian militants were behind the Eliat conflict.

Again, I quickly open my TV and see the headlines, “Libya, Syria, more Libya”. Very important news. Gaza is just as important right? Oh look, Gaza reportage…I can’t wait to see what they’re about to repo..

“Hamas has broken the 2 year truce. Gaza rockets are now being fired into Israel, we are now going to speak to an Israeli spokesperson…”
WHAT!?!

Gaza has been getting bombarded for nearly 3 days in a row, the death toll had been risen to 15 by then and 40 people were critically injured and NOW all of a sudden they feel like reporting about it? When Hamas breaks the so called “truce”? Maybe the news forgot that the night before the Eliat attacks, Israel bombed Rafah? Oh but that’s not breaking the truce until a homemade rocket is fired, right?

So I drag myself back onto my computer and see minute to minute updates on the situation in Gaza. Every explosion reported, every injury acknowledged, every person murdered was given a name. I’m shocked. Not only by what’s happening, but the fact that these unpaid average civilians were doing a better job than any top notch news agency who apparently think some news stories are more important than others.

Five days into the bombardment, I had stopped watching the news. My journalism dreams= dead. My love for the news was gone. I found a new source of information: Citizen journalism. I too took part in this, yet did not more than confirm reports with other Gaza tweeps and retweet on Twitter. It was so easy to get news now, but I underestimated how hard it would be to get it heard. While I have to give credit to average people around the world WANTING to learn more about the situation and wanting to help out: the lack of actual TV coverage was disheartening. It basically meant that if people didn’t search for Gaza, then everyone who didn’t wouldn’t know what was going on. I know that if I hadn’t signed onto Twitter, I wouldn’t have known.

So is Gaza’s story exclusively for twitter now and for people who feel like reporting on it? Because personally, I’d think that 5 days of heavy bombardment (which is slowly halting, but still occurring as I type this) seems like important news to me.

Categories: Gaza, Israel, Media | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The day the Flotilla became a business deal for Israel

Written by Ann Wright on Common Dreams (commondreams.org) http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/22-5

Israeli Soldiers Sell Gaza Flotilla Passengers’ Computers and Steal Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Cash

Israeli Government Refuses to Secure Criminal Evidence

Despite appeals from 750 passengers on the Gaza flotilla to their governments to pressure the Israeli government to protect and return their personal belongings that were taken by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010, when they forcefully boarded the six ships of the flotilla, the Israeli government has left millions of dollars of computers, cameras and cell phones and hundreds of thousands of cash unsecured and un-inventoried. An Israeli newspaper has revealed that four to six computers among the hundreds that were taken from passengers on the six ships have been sold by an Israeli First Lieutenant to three junior military personnel. On August 18, a second officer was arrested in connection with the theft. An Israeli military official described the case as “embarrassing and shameful.” Eitan Kabel, a member of parliament from the Labour party, told Israeli media: “This is an embarrassing, humiliating and infuriating act.”

Israeli government informed of passengers’ property by Embassies

Passengers from the six ships gave detailed lists of their property to consular officers from their respective Embassies while the passengers were in the Beer-Shiva prison on June 2. All passengers who were flown from Israel on June 4 to Turkey also gave another list of their possessions to consular officials in Istanbul, Turkey. Most passengers followed up with letters to their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs or Department of State and to lawyers who will be filing lawsuits for deaths and injuries inflicted by the Israeli military and claims for stolen property.

Evidence of commandos’ actions on cameras, cell phones and computers should be available for independent investigation and possible criminal cases

Evidence on the flotilla passengers’ cameras, cell phones and computers should be a part of the evaluation by an independent panel to determine when and where 9 passengers on the Mavi Marmara were killed and when and where 50 other passengers were wounded. With the exception of two camera cards that survived endless body inspections on the ships, in the initial processing center at Ashdod port and in the prison, all the photos and video footage taken by 750 passengers is in the possession of the Israeli government.

Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Cash Taken by Commandos

Israeli commandos also took cash and credit cards from passengers. A conservative estimate of $1000 cash per passenger gives a total of $750,000 cash that was taken from passengers. Commandos with weapons demanded cash from passengers stating they were “to take the money for safekeeping.” Many passengers had been fundraising in their home areas to have funds to deliver to non-governmental organizations. Other passengers were taking money to families in Gaza from family members living outside of Gaza. I personally know of four persons on the passenger ships who had a total $68,000 in cash taken by commandos.

Israeli military can find out who took the equipment and money–if they want to

The Israeli military is certainly capable of finding out who took the money and equipment if they wish. The Israeli military knows exactly which military unit boarded each of the six ships, the names of each of the commandos that were on each ship and the leaders of each unit. Passengers do not know the names of the commandos as their uniforms were stripped of nametags, rank and unit insignia and they kept black masks on throughout the hours they were on the ships. The Israeli military can order the leaders of each unit to testify if they know if any member of their unit took money or equipment and whether they have noticed if any unit member has suddenly had a change in his lifestyle that might be attributed to having stolen money or sold equipment from the passengers. As a retired U.S. Army Colonel with 29 years in the military, I know that the barracks gossip in the military unit involved will provide some information about the stolen property and money. Checking the pawnshops near the military bases is a good bet as they are likely places that stolen goods will appear. New cars, cell phones, electronic equipment that is above the “pay-grade” of a military members is a dead give-away that the person has somehow come into new money and is living beyond his means.

U.S. military court-martials in 1984 for theft by U.S. military during Grenada invasion

I speak from experience about military personnel taking the possessions of others. In 1984, 13 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, North Carolina were court-martialed and found guilty of stealing property of civilians in Grenada when the U.S. military invaded and occupied that country. I was on the U.S. military claims commission and received the complaints from Grenadians that after U.S. military personnel had occupied their houses, jewelry, money and various items were missing. We immediately asked the criminal investigative office at Fort Bragg to go to the pawn shops around Fort Bragg to look for the items, and they found most of the them at the shops. The soldiers considered that the property of the Grenadians were “spoils of war.” One young private even wrote an article for the Fayetteville, North Carolina newspaper in which he proudly described in detail what he had taken as “spoils of war.” He was court-martialed and sentenced to several months in prison. In the same manner, I suspect that the commandos decided that since their government was labeling everyone on the flotilla as “terrorists,” that no one in the government would care if they took “spoils of war,” the possessions of the “terrorists.”

Leadership and Accountablility in the Israeli military?

I have no doubts that members of the commando units know exactly who took what and where the money and equipment is. It takes good military leadership to understand the breakdown in unit integrity and want to correct it. We will see by the actions of the Israeli military and government what type of leadership and accountability they have.

Ann Wright is a retired US Army Reserve Colonel with 29 years of service and 16 years as a US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. She was in Gaza three times in 2009, helped organize the 1350 person Gaza Freedom March in December, 2009 and was on the Gaza flotilla.

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