Redemption: A Challenge to World Jewry

Nahida Izzat, Exiled Palestinian

To expose the absurd and unrealistic nature of the “one-state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians”, and to extract one of the main perils it encapsulates, I would mention here mainly three facts. These facts have the double merit of being crystal clear, and also of being based on fundamental pillars of civilization, i.e. time-tested. I would suggest that they become fundamental guidelines for any further proposition:

Firstly: to allow mass-murderers, land-thieves, ideological supremacists, destroyers of cultural heritage to keep the loot, is ethically unacceptable. Worse still, in our era of post-Nuremberg Principles of International Law, and post-Geneva Conventions, this would represent a perilous turn backwards of the wheel of history, by re-allowing and even justifying land acquisition by means of military conquest and terrorism, down to genocide and democide.

Secondly: to force or coerce victims of slow genocide, -ongoing since seven decades, to live with their rapists and murderers of their children, is ruthless, inhumane, and also an incentive for the perpetrators to perpetuate said crimes, even increase their insane cruelty.

Thirdly: to bring to the fore the notion of “equal rights” when the parties concerned are one of dispossessed victims, and the other one of serial killers and supremacists, it constitutes an oxymoron which itself is nothing else than sabotage of the very foundation of Justice.

To sabotage foundational elements of human cohabitation, is downright perilous for mankind, and yet this is what is promoted by people under the ominously fake pretext of “peace”! A peace that justifies past massacres and promotes future massacres, is not peace. - Enough is enough!

The ‘Black Sunday’ of Palestine: Oyoun Qarra Massacre, 20.05.1990

Reham Alhelsi

Oyoun Qarra massacre, 6:30 am on 20.05.1990

Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif carried their small lunch bags with a few bread loaves, a tomato and a sardine can, and said goodbye to their families in the early hours of Sunday 20.05.1990. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, and the refugee camps were engulfed in total darkness. The usually busy and noisy narrow roads and alleys were empty and quiet. The children were still asleep and dreaming of the toy and the colouring book their fathers will bring them back from work. The young women were still asleep and dreaming of the ring and the necklace their fiancés would buy so they could finally marry. The wives sat near their sleeping children and dreamt of the meat their husbands might bring back from work so they could cook a decent meal for the family. The mothers sat in the darkness, watching their children leave to work, and prayed that they reach their working place safe, find a job for the day and get paid so they can repair the leaking roof before the next winter. As they watched them disappear in the darkness, they prayed that their children come back safe to their homes and to their families. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty, except for the sounds of the marching Israeli occupation soldiers, patrolling the open-air prisons, and holding the entire Palestinian population hostage to occupation and oppression. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty except for the footsteps of the workers, heading to work in the early hours of the morning, hoping to find work that day, and thinking of their children, their mothers, their wives, their fiancés and hoping to be able to bring back toys, colouring books, food, a necklace and ring and enough money to fix the roof before the next winter.

Graves for the Living: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Solitary Confinement

Reham Alhelsi

Yesterday, 03.07.2011, around 7000 Palestinian prisoners held captives in Israeli dungeons went on a one-day hunger strike to protest the repressive measures of the Israeli prison administration. According to the Palestinian ministry of prisoners’ spokesperson: “Palestinian prisoners in all Israeli jails were the target of an unprecedented terrorizing campaign of repression, isolation, and transfer from one prison to another over the past few weeks. He said that the campaign peaked with the beating of the oldest serving prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi, which prisoners condemned as a violation of all red lines, along with the isolation of many prisoners serving high sentences.”[1] The spokesman added that the strike was a warning action that might lead to further forms of protest. Some weeks ago, I came across a letter written by Palestinian political prisoner Hasan Salameh and published on various Palestinian sites. Salameh is locked up in Israeli dungeons since 1996 and is in solitary confinement since 7 years. In this letter, Salameh says: If I could buy your support for me and for the other prisoners with all that I possess, I swear I would not fall short. With these harsh words, Slameh addressed us. He addresses us from the isolation cell that separates him from his loved ones, that separates him from his friends and comrades, from the rest of the world. He addresses us from the grave in which he is buried alive. With these harsh words, he addresses us; we who go to work every day, who go to school and universities, who go to the market, who visit friends and family. He addresses us while he and thousands others are locked up inside Zionist dungeons. He addresses us while his life and that of thousands others are withering in the darkness, while they suffer in silence. Hasan Salameh, addresses us from his isolation cell and asks of us only one thing: that we remember him and the thousands of Palestinians held captives in Israeli prisons. He asks of us only one thing: not to forget those buried alive in Israeli dungeons. Hassan Salameh, from Khan Younis, is one among 50 Palestinian political prisoners locked up in isolation cells by the Zionist entity. Latest prisoner to be isolated is 54 years old Na’il Al-Barghouthi, who has been locked up in Israeli dungeons since 34 years, making him the oldest serving prisoner in the world. On 27.06.2011, Israeli prison jailors raided Section 5 of the Remon prison, caused havoc and destroyed the prisoners’ possessions. When Na’il refused to be strip searched, he was sent to an isolation cell. He had initially agreed to be strip-searched, but only in the WC. He was handcuffed and asked to take off his shirt, which he was unable to do because of being handcuffed, so the jailors beat brutally him. Upon hearing his screams, fellow detainee Hilal Jradat started shouting from his nearby cell. The jailors then locked up Na’il and Hilal in one cell and beat them brutally. In addition to being isolated as a punishment, Na’il was fined 500 NIS.

Embracing the Land

Reham Alhelsi

"My home is in Zakariya"

Every morning he wakes up, prays, prepares tea, carries the old tea pot and a small glass and goes to check on his trees and plants. He wanders between the loquat tree and the apple tree and the vineyard, between the jasmine, the sage and the thyme bushes.

He checks on them, waters them, removes unwanted weeds and collects some mint for his tea. He then sits in a corner, under the shade of the loquat tree, sips his hot tea and watches the leaves dance with the cool morning breeze. All his life he had been a villager, a farmer, a land-worker, a land-lover. His father and grandfather and forefathers before him were villagers, farmers, land-workers and land-lovers. They all used to wake up with the first rays of sunlight, often race the sun to the land. They, his father, grandfather and forefathers, all planted olive trees, apple trees, carob trees, loquat trees, apricot trees and fig trees and created a green heaven, a paradise, a home.

They all worked the vast areas of the land that was and is theirs, the land that was and is part of them and they part of. Be it summer or winter, they planted the fertile land, cared for her and she rewarded them every season with successful harvests. They lived on the land and from her and they gave the land their love, watered her with their sweat and their blood, honoured her, and the land gave them food on their tables, a sanctuary and a home.

They were content and needed nothing else, for they had the land and land gave them everything they needed. They existed through the land and the land existed through them. The land gave them existence.

“Come” she said “I want to show you something”.

Gassing Palestinians: The Use of Lethal Gas in occupied Palestine

Reham Alhelsi
My Palestine

A new year begins and the terror of the Zionist entity continues. With the first day of 2011, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36 years old, died in hospital after being asphyxiated by the poisonous tear gas fired by Israeli occupation soldiers at Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals who were protesting the Israeli wall and the theft of Palestinian land in Bil’in the day before. On Friday, 31.12.2010, it was reported by many news outlets around the world that a resident of Bili’n was in critical condition after inhaling the poisonous gas. The next morning, Jawaher died, murdered; she was gassed to death. As usual, the Israeli occupation forces and their agents, the anonymous and the not-so-anonymous ones who come in all names and titles such as “reporters” and “medical experts”, started their usual spin of lies and propaganda about Jawaher’s murder. They claim Palestinians are contradicting themselves, when in fact it is the Israeli occupation army, with its lies and fake claims, the one that is contradicting itself with each and every lie. They first claimed Jawaher had cancer and died of it, then claimed that she wasn’t at the protest so she couldn’t have died from the effect of the gas (she was standing 200 meters away from the protest), then they claimed that the tear gas kills no one. So what is it that the Israeli occupation army is trying to prove? That the poisonous gas they use against Palestinians is not lethal and thus not the cause of Jawaher’s or any Palestinian’s death?

As usual, main stream media outlets, which often lecture on objectivity and neutrality, readily take the word of an anonymous Israeli military source for credible while ignoring the tens of named Palestinian and other eyewitnesses.

You Are Not Forgotten

Reham Alhelsi
My Palestine

My Palestinian sister, my Palestinian brother;
I write this letter today and I see your face in front of me, the face of Palestine. I see your smile; that of a poppy being kissed by the sun. I hear your whisper; that of an olive trees being hugged by the wind. I address this letter to you, for I know your name and you know mine: Palestinian.

2010 was declared the year of the Palestinian prisoners/detainees. Throughout the year, some local newspapers here in occupied Palestine published daily reports about you, your detention, your heroism, published interviews with your families, your loved ones telling of your detention, of the painful visits, of the Israeli oppression and harassment, and telling of how much you are loved, how much you are missed. A photo accompanied every report; a smiling young man with wavy dark hair that is probably grey now with the years and the suffering behind bars, a beautiful young woman whose once bright eyes probably have turned pale today with pain and sadness, a laughing father sitting amongst his children, wife, parents and siblings before being kidnapped from their midst by Israeli occupation soldiers, a happy mother surrounded by her children before she was separated from them by Israeli jailors, a little boy standing proudly near his new bicycle that is now stacked somewhere full of dust waiting for its owner to come home. Every morning I rush to check the page with your stories in one of the local newspapers. I pass my fingers over your pictures as I read how much you love Msakhan, how you tried to return the little bird to its nest and fell off the olive tree, how you impressed everyone with your dakbeh during your brother’s wedding, how you love writing poetry, how you dreamt of a free Palestine. And then I would wish I was able to free you, bring you back to your loved ones, bring you back to your poetry, to your dabkeh group, to your olive tree, and I would wish I could hug you, each and every one of you, and remove some of your pain away and tell you that you are never forgotten, that your pain is not yours alone, it is ours, all of us, because we are all one: we are Palestinians.

The Day the Zionist Settlers Paid Us a Visit

Reham Alhelsi
My Palestine

It was another “ordinary” summer day in Dheisheh refugee camp, as far as “ordinary” goes in occupied Palestine. As with every school holiday, my parents had sent my sister and me to my grandparent’s house. We loved going there and cherished every minute of our stay. And although, in my opinion, nothing compares to Jerusalem and although Sawahreh is forever my little Palestinian paradise, Dheisheh was my fortress, it taught me so much about the occupation, about oppression and about resistance and the thirst for freedom. That tiny, over-crowded refugee camp taught me so much about the Right of Return and about the Palestine the Zionist entity tries so hard to erase.

It was an ordinary day, or maybe it wasn’t. I don’t remember any particular events that’s day, maybe because it was just another summer day or maybe because the events that followed erased any memory I had of everything else that happened that day. That evening my sister and I had a fight over something, most probably trivial as usual, and me being stubborn as usual, declared I won’t talk to my sister anymore, refused to have any dinner and went to bed too early even for chicken despite all the pleading and all efforts from my grandmother, uncles and aunts to resolve the conflict peacefully. After sometime of fuming and secretly cursing, I eventually fell asleep. I was awakened sometime later by loud sounds of banging. I jumped off the mattress (we all slept on the floor, there were no beds) and ran to the sitting room. There I saw everyone awake and wearing their day attire. I looked at the window and to my astonishment saw that it was still dark outside. “What is wrong? Where are you all going?” I asked as I moved from one person to the other and very much aware of the continuous sounds of gunshots, hand grenades and screams outside. “The settlers have attacked!” someone answered me.

Zionist Settlers: A Long History of Terrorism

Reham Alhelsi
My Palestine

Zionist settlers, illegal colonists coming from all over the world to steal and occupy Palestinian land, armed with a green light to shoot and kill Palestinians whenever they want, won’t hesitate to use force against civilian Palestinians. Their violence includes shooting, stabbing beating, running over Palestinians, stealing their land, property and water, razing agricultural land, uprooting trees and burning crops, stealing harvest, raiding houses and blocking roads. Settler attacks are often initiated by them without any provocation or threat to their safety from Palestinians. In their attacks, the Zionist colonists are often accompanied by Israeli soldiers who either watch and don’t intervene to stop the settler terror or participate in the attacks and provide protection to the settlers. Zionist colonists are seldom prosecuted for their terror actions and in the very rare cases when they were prosecuted, they received very mild sentences. With every passing year, the terrorism of the Zionist colonists occupying Palestinian land increased in brutality and in quantity. Burning down Palestinian homes, mosques, cars and fields have become daily occurrences as beating and attacking Palestinian children on the way to school or Palestinian civilians on the way to work or home.

Looking back, I have tried to gather some examples of terror attacks carried out by Zionist colonists occupying Palestine (Quotations and info are from unless otherwise stated)

One Year On: Gaza Steadfast and Defiant amidst a World that has lost its Humanity

Reham Alhelsi

Today we commemorate the first anniversary of one of the most horrific Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and against humanity in general. On this day last year, the Zionist entity with all its advanced and sophisticated weapons, paid for by the US and the EU, launched a 23-day “war” on the unarmed and besieged civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

While wars are fought between armies, Occupied Palestine has no army, not in the West Bank and not in Gaza. This “war” was more of an aggression, a slaughter, a series of massacres committed within the spam of 23 days, it was genocide. Article 2 of UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide “defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.””[1]



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12/31/09 Stephen Lendman Israel's East Jerusalem Linked Settlement Expansion

01/01/10 Umkhalil What Would Jesus Say (to a Zio-Christian)?
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01/07/10 Stuart Littlewood Spiteful Mubarak succeeds only in creating a PR disaster for Egypt and himself
01/07/10 Stephen Lendman Israeli Theft of Palestinian Property
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01/14/10 Bridget Chappell Nablus executions: Shoot first, ask questions later
01/16/10 Vijay Raghavan Impressions of Israeli Executions in the West Bank
01/17/10 John Pilger For Israel, a reckoning
01/19/10 Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Israel Refuses to Take Responsibility for the Rehabilitation of Gaza’s Civilian Amputees
01/22/10 Stephen Lendman The Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
01/23/10 Marco Villa Redux: Israel Criticizes U.S. Envoy Mitchell for "Threats", U.S. Senators Back Israel

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02/25/10 Khalid Amayreh Israel has no legitimacy. Period
02/26/10 Khalid Amayreh Fabricating history

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03/05/10 Stephen Lendman Targeting Israeli Apartheid
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