Tag Archive | "Israel"

Palestine Then, Palestine Now


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

From David Anthony Hohol…

Anyone who knows me, or has been a reader here on RELATIVITY OnLine, knows this writer’s thoughts on what has happened  in the past and continues to happen now in Palestine.  How it has all unfolded since 1948, right up until today, is the ultimate example of the so called leader’s of free world picking and choosing to intervene, to blame, to define and to manipulate international affairs with only their own benefit in mind. If it were another part of the world involving different players it would be called genocide, apartheid, occupation, or even terrorism. While the international community has greatly shifted in its stance over the last decade, popular opinion does little to instill change. Perhaps, it is a start however.

I came across this photograph today. It seemed to say it all.

20140714-221749-80269159 (1)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in From the Editor, Home PageComments (0)

Speaking Turkish


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ignoring American attempts to negotiate better Turkish-Israeli relations, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in his appearance before the annual General Assembly last week, rolled out a long list of grievances with Israel – formerly an important Israeli ally in the region.  He strongly spoke out against Israel and put the full blame for current issues on the Israeli government. He also called Turkish support for a Palestinian state “unconditional.”  In the end, he made his position clear.

In the one-on-one interview below, he took things a step further suggesting that the Israeli government is dishonest and cruel. He also suggests that Israel has consistently employed an ideology of victimology to justify their actions and that this has gone on for far too long.

Since the killing of 21 Turkish citizens on the Israel’s flotilla raid in May of 2010, relations between the countries have been getting worse and worse. Israel, after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt, has now lost another strategic ally and appears to be further isolating itself.

With the Arab Spring streaming through the Middle East, autocracies are being challenged and new governments will be less tolerant, less open to accepting Israel’s position on Palestine and the Arab Wold in general. Despite this, Israel once again announced it will build a new settlement of 1100 homes in Palestine only days ago. The song remains the same, but Prime Minster Erdogan’s words are representative of a growing trend of intolerance for Israeli policy amongst the international community; so the question now must be – how long can it continue to play?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, VideosComments (1)

Inside Gaza – Lest We Forget


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

From Palestine Corespondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi…

Time is merciless, moving forward no matter what the cost. But time is also about renewal and hope. Two years ago at this time, the people of Gaza began to slowly dig themselves out of the destruction laid upon them at the cold and pernicious hands of the Israelis. It’s hard to believe two years has passed. When I close my eyes and think back, it seems like only yesterday.

There was no warning of the war on Gaza before it happened. Things were calm and everything was going normally; at least normal for Gaza. There was a lack of the usual – medicine, milk, diapers, even electricity – but we have long suffered to simply acquire our daily needs. I certainly didn’t expect anything horrifying.

Three nights before the attacks began, I had a dream. I saw a fearful butcher with a sword in Gaza central market, his clothes covered with blood, bones and flesh. I wanted to pass through and was terrified. He pointed, blood dripping from his outstretched finger, and told me to leave the market through the opposite gate. And so I did.

When I told my mother about the dream, she explained the butcher was the angel of death and the sword and blood symbolized the massacre that was yet to come. Him asking me to leave meant I was going to pass through the horror of the Israelis ungodly attacks on Gaza alive.

In the midst of my law degree, we were sitting through a university lecture when my friends and I heard the bombing. One of my friends joked that we better escape fast before the Israelis placed a case against us. We all laughed, but left quickly. We tried to call our relatives to check on them. It was hopeless, as they had already paralyzed our communication network. All phones and computers were rendered useless immediately.

The school day was just ending and the streets were full of terrified children. The bombing intensified and soon it was chaos. I could think of nothing but my four children. I tried to calm down a little girl who was screaming in fear, but she didn’t hear me, her hands over her ears. Ambulances and police cars were everywhere, medics didn’t know where to go or who to help; dead bodies and wounded were suddenly all around me; blood soaked the streets.

Surrounded by explosions, fires and chaos, I didn’t know how to reach my home. I wondered if I would find my four children, my brothers and relatives safe. I also wondered if I were killed, how my children would manage. The smell of death was everywhere and I could think of nothing else. Amidst the chaos I eventually found a driver who would stop to pick me up. I prayed along the way for my family’s safety. It was the longest ride of my life. I thanked God when I found them alive.

I never thought the attack was going to continue beyond a raid. Raids, you see, are commonplace as bursts of gunfire and bombings to remind us we are indeed all prisoners in Palestine under the oppressive boot of Israel is simply a part of life here. I wondered what Israel hoped to achieve from this attack beyond the inhuman suffering already caused by their illegal blockade that had left Palestine almost dying. “We will put Palestinians on a diet,” Israel said. I asked myself, “Will the Israelis take pride in a victory over an imprisoned, exhausted, and malnourished populace living in near squalor?”

The people of Palestine were without any supplies whatsoever, and we couldn’t provide anything except our local vegetables. And even that couldn’t last for long. Our family managed ourselves with peas during the war. We stood in long lines just to get some bread, but food wasn’t the biggest concern, when compared to thousands of homes riddled with bullets. Within only hours many lay in ruin. We had nothing to inform us of what was going on except radios. Even at the best of times we had problems with electricity, but now we didn’t even have fuel for our generators.

Days passed heavily, planes and heavy guns never stopped, ambulances worked day and night in areas they could reach. It all drove me mad. I didn’t allow my children to leave home, because I was afraid of them being hurt, but also I didn’t want them to see parents crying for their dead children.

We have lived under Israel’s occupation for a long time. With the first and second Intifada, we thought we’d seen the worst. I didn’t forget the blockade of Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon that still exist today either. No matter what has happened however, the Israelis always end up proving they still have even worse in store for us.

The New Year’s Eve sky looked like burning bombs. I wondered if there was anyone even thinking about Gaza in the outside world. Do we live alone with Israelis on this planet? Why has no one moved to stop her savage aggression? My heart grew weary.

People were calling for clothes and food on the radio round the clock. I thought the least I could do was share some clothes, blankets, pillows and pots. In the end, I shared everything I could. I watched people doing all they could to help others and still the onslaught continued. Schools, pharmacies, UN and Amnesty International buildings, even hospitals were attacked.  The situation at hospitals couldn’t have been worse. Simply closing their wounds as quickly as possible, most of the wounded then left the hospital immediately to call for blood donations. There weren’t even blankets to cover the dead bodies of hundreds of children, women and men and no graves in which to bury them.

Many of us were forced to both cook with and drink unhealthy water. Candles soon ran out and we had nothing to light a cold winter night’s darkness. Within hours there was no room in the hospitals. Over the radio we heard again and again how Arabic and international efforts were being made to stop the Israelis latest crimes against us, but we knew Israel would never respond except to its own racist tendencies. Their extreme desire for the killing, humiliation and destruction of all things Palestinian knows no end. This much I know to be true. This much I have lived everyday of my life.

In the last days of the attack, my family’s neighborhood was bombed while I was on the phone with my mother. I heard a missile hit the next building. My mother hung up the phone and with some of their neighbors quickly went to my uncle’s home, making it out on time. Just two days before the war ended, my children insisted on going outside. I accepted as things had calmed a little, but suddenly changed my mind. No long after, Israeli bombers dropped two missiles killing two neighborhood children playing just where my kids would have been had I let them go. I was grateful for a while, but this feeling turned soon to pain and guilt. Two mothers lost their children and I cried for them, as well as the many other mothers out there who suffered the same fate.

After the Israelis withdrawal from our beloved city, we found ourselves living in a wasteland. Many neighborhoods and roads that were once there, were now simply gone, wiped off the map. As an added insult, many of our oldest olive trees were pulled out of the ground. In the end, Gaza became one large homeless shelter. People stayed in camps, having not so much as a pot to cook in, children lost their books, toys and clothes; so much was lost.  The next day however, I witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. With the Israelis gone, markets opened in the rubble to offer people with what little supplies they had. People were shaking hands, helping each other however they could, there were smiles and tears, there were stories of bravery and tales of woe. I knew at that moment that we were still alive, that Palestine lived on and that she would never be defeated. We didn’t win the battle against the Israelis and in the end, how could we? But we didn’t bow either. Try as might they couldn’t make us kneel.

I walked home from the market that day filled with pride and I knew deep in my heart that Palestine would never give up the fight.

Looking back now, I saw two opposites unfold throughout the war – destruction and survival. It reminded me of our great poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who indeed was the essential breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging. I can think of no better words to end this piece than his.

I BELONG THERE

I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.

I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell

with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.

I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,

a bird’s sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.

I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.

I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to

her mother.

And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.

To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.

I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a

single word: Home.

-Mahmoud Darwish


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, Inside GazaComments (9)

Paradise Now


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Terrorism is the nightmare of our time and the ready made fuel for political melodramas of Hollywood and beyond.  The more we see of it, however, the less we know or understand. From the simplistic inclusion of the Arab bad guys in movies like “Iron Man,” to the textured character study of Pakistani culture in a film like “A Mighty Heart,” the answer to the question why is often left unanswered.  Take  suicide bombing; who embraces it? What can lead an individual to such an action? “Paradise Now” answers these kinds of questions, but in a way that the audience might not expect. A gripping, poignant, powerful drama, the film draws its greatest strength from its unremitting determination to explain rather than justify or condemn the act itself.  For those of you who haven’t,  please track down “Paradise Now” and watch it. This Academy Award winning film is an important piece of work made by the people closest to the matter at hand. It’s the kind of film that will change you, the kind of experience that stays with you long after it is finished and most importantly, it will allow you to understand in way you never have before.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, VideosComments (4)

Inside Gaza – The Contradictions of Determination


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

From Palastine Correspondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi….

I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine. My father was a member the P.L.O. (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and my mother always supported him. I was very lucky to have such rebellious father and patient mother.

When I think back to my childhood I always count myself as blessed to have had an opportunity to stay in Germany with some other children in 1990, three years after the onset of the First Intifada. The Palestinian children who went to Germany grew up under Israeli Tyranny and some of them suffered much more than I, having lost their parents, not to mention having been injured during warfare, losing their site or their arms or legs in explosions. The trip to Germany was a great chance for us to open our eyes to the world around us and escape the Ghetto that is Gaza.

In Berlin, everything was different; the language, the food, the people, even the weather.  I was always so amazed how people got to simply live their life normally.  They walked and talked, sang and danced, came and went wherever they wanted freely.  They enjoyed their time and for them it was normal. When I thought back to my life in Palestine, it was as though we lived in hell.  Living under the dictatorship of curfews, blockades, and checkpoints, our schools being shut down, being treated like prisoners in our own home.  We used to throw stones at Israeli soldiers or burn tires when I was a kid, as it was all we could do to show our occupiers that we would never just accept their oppression.

I was also astonished at the fact that the world knew almost nothing about the Israeli crimes against our people. Throughout my time in Germany I often shared stories of my life in Palestine and many were very touched and appalled by the savage nature of the occupation we endured. After we returned home, we all had so much to say to say about our experience in Berlin and will always remember the German people as peaceful and calm.

Years later, when I was 15 years old, I got married. It was very tough experience for me to suddenly find myself responsible for a family, especially when I had my first son at 16. I made a huge effort to adapt myself to this new situation and things went well. I am now the mother of four wonderful children and couldn’t be happier.

Despite being a young wife and mother, I never give up on my dream of obtaining an education. I eventually went back to school and later on to college. In terms of my studies, my choice wasn’t an easy one. I always dreamed of being a journalist, but I had a stronger urge to study law because of my natural tendency to search for justice. And here I am, soon to be a lawyer.

It wasn’t easy, but my strongest source of motivation for my long and arduous journey was that my father always wanted me to become a lawyer. Sadly, he died before he had a chance to see our dream become a reality. He also witnessed my eldest brother arrested by Israelis and sentenced for 7 years in prison. My brother and I have always shard the deepest bond, always unconditional and unlimited in his support. I came to depend on him all the time and hope he will be released soon and that everything will be all right.

Deep in my heart, I believe the happiest moments of my life have yet to come and I spend my days an extremely optimistic person. I also believe the hardest moments of my life still lay ahead of me and preparing for the great challenges of my existence is an ongoing task. This may seem to be a contradiction, but such is my life; such is the way things have always been for me.

My country is my home, my country is my prison. I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, Inside GazaComments (14)

Inside Gaza – The Heart of Palestine


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

From Gaza Correspondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi….

When RELATIVITY OnLine magazine editor David Anthony Hohol asked me to write about myself as a Palestinian living in Gaza, I was confused about what to say. “Others need to hear directly from you. Don’t worry… just write about you and your experiences,” he said, “The rest will take care of itself.”

I tried to direct my feelings and emotions inward and slowly, my memories took me back many years.

I thought back to when I was just a little girl and not even in school yet. I used to hide inside and feel confused about how the Israelis treated us. To me, they were the monsters. I remember running behind an Israeli Intelligence vehicle, after they arrested my mother and took her to Gaza Central Jail. This happened on the heels of my father being arrested, accused of bombing a Gaza branch of an Israeli Bank. He was also a member of the P.L.O (People’s Liberation Organization), a crime at the time of his arrest in 1979. The United States and Israel considered them to be a terrorist organization until 1991. I was in panic and alone with my grandmother, who did her best to calm me down. Partially paralyzed, I was already old enough to know my grandmother would not be able to care for me and my 9 month old sister.

 

This tragic fact doubled my fears as we anxiously waited to see what would happen to my mother. After she was interrogated for information, my mother was eventually released, but my father’s trial continued.  In the end, he was sentenced to life in jail.

 

I didn’t know the meaning of life in jail at my age, but nevertheless was soon told I would never see my father again. I loved my father very much, even more than my mother, but she never complained. She worked hard to raise my brother, my sister and me, with my baby brother being born shortly after my father was locked up.

 

Days passed heavily. The last Friday of the month was always the most special, because it was on that day we could visit my father. It was only once a month and only for thirty minutes, but it was all the Israelis would allow. Until this very day, there is a part of me that remains that lost child staring at the prison entrance, watching the Israeli soldier slide his big iron keys into the lock to open the jail gate, listening to the speakers, waiting for our name to be called so we could visit my beloved father. I used to run to him and kiss his fingers through the iron bars. He did the same to me.

What I remember most about those early visits, was how my father somehow managed to find sweets inside the prison. He always hid them and gave them to me when I came. I took them home but never ate them because they were from my father.

 

After a while I came to understand that the Israelis were responsible for jailing my father. As I grew older I understood the Israelis were in fact the jailers of my people; the jailers of my identity. When my father was arrested in 1979, people were less political, more involved in their jobs and careers, and few followed the P.L.O. Less than ten years later, at the onset of the First Intifada in 1987, Palestinians rose up against their Israeli occupiers. Israel’s prejudiced and racist treatment of everyday people become too much to bear. They had been either killing or jailing people like my father for years, but my father had stood up to them long before others were there to stand by his side. People began referring to men like my father as a Fedayeen, and I never felt prouder.

 

One of the ways I felt I could fight back was to study hard. I learned how to read and write even before starting school. The main reason I was so motivated, was so that I could write my father letters and read his.  I always made sure to be the first in my class, so I could make my father proud.

 

No one imagined my father would be released alive again except my grandmother. She always said she would be able to see him before she died and much to everyone’s surprise and joy, that’s what exactly what happened six years later. A prisoner exchange between the P.L.O. and the Israelis in 1985 brought my father back to me. I was overcome with happiness. Finally he’d won his freedom.

 

For my family and I, it was a great victory and a step towards the freedom of my people and homeland. It was then I knew I would always have to fight what was mine.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, Inside GazaComments (10)

Living Apartheid


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

“The European Union has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. Settlements and the demolition of homes are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace, and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” declared Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

Clear and concise words. Once again, an internationl organization cites Israeli action in Palestine as being criminal. Once again, the statement results in nothing.

Watch the following report filmed in a Palestinian neighbourhood near Jerusalem’s Old City, following the Jerusalem municipality approving a controversial plan to demolish 22 Palestinian homes to make way for a park and shopping complex. The European Union has warned Israel over its plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes, but to no avail.

Ask yourself this – What would you do if one day someone from the government showed up at your door and told you to get out and never come back because your house was going to be demolished? It’s 2011 and this is still happening in Palestine. What will it take to put an end what is no less than a total affront to international law?  What will take to stop the Apartheid system in Palestine?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in Home Page, VideosComments (6)

The Art of Assassination


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

hitman2uk6It was like something out of a spy novel. On January 19th of this year, in an exotic setting, an assassination of a high level political player was made to look like a heart attack. The victim was a 50-year-old Hamas commander, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a man Israel claimed killed two Israeli soldiers. The place – Dubai.

Al-Mabhouh was found slumped over dead in his hotel room. His door was both locked and chained from the inside. Authorities quickly assumed death by natural causes.

One doctor however, noticed something odd with the victim’s blood. Soon puncture marks, one on his left leg and another behind an ear, were discovered. When Palestinians informed Dubai police the victim was Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, some began to quietly wonder. Blood samples were sent overseas and when toxicology reports revealed he’d been given a fatal dose of anesthetic, police knew it was a homicide.

Lacking any witnesses, Dubai authorities and outside investigators went through hundreds of hours of video tape. Dubai videotapes everything, from the moment people get off a plane. The airport tarmac, the immigration counters, baggage-claims areas, and taxi stands are all monitored. From there, cameras can see who gets into what car and then through the highway toll system, cameras can track to what locations these cars were sent. In nearly every hotel cameras are placed in the lobby, hallways, bars, sports clubs, and restaurants.

Authorities eventually surmised there were 8 people who had no business being at the Rotanna Hotel the night in question and tracked them down. Interpol eventually issued an alert for 16 people involved in the Dubai assassination. That number later increased to 27.

It was soon discovered those involved were all using perfectly forged passports, some even using the names of real people. The plot thickened and as it did, evidence strongly supported the accusation made by the Palestinians and later the Dubai Police. This was a hit set up by the Israeli secret service. When it was discovered that many of those involved were Israel citizens using fake European and Australian passports, the shoe fit.

David Miliband, the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary, has since expelled an Israeli diplomat after strong evidence suggested Israel cloned British passports. Although the diplomat is not the Israeli ambassador to Britain, the expulsion sends a very clear signal to Israel. The individual in question heads the Israel secret intelligence office in London known as Mossad. Although there is no proof these men were acting on orders from the Israel government, The UK still felt there was enough evidence to expel the diplomat in question.

If the Israeli government is ever linked to the murder of Al-Mabhouh, it won’t be the first time. In 1997, during his first go as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the poisoning of Khaled Meshaal, a Hamas official residing in Jordan. The attempt became an embarrassment however, when Meshaal’s bodyguards captured the Mossad assassination squad. An angered King Hussein forced Netanyahu to send the antidote to Jordan and ordered the release Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin. Yassin was sent to Jordan to mollify the King, wh’d recently signed a much maligned peace treaty with Israel.

Over the past eighteen months, international sentiment has been turning against Israel. The Israelis are now under all-round diplomatic pressure from its allies worldwide.

Israel resents Britain’s support for greater restraint in terms of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. In December of 2009 last year Tzipi Livni, Israel’s opposition leader, had to cancel a trip to the United Kingdom when a warrant was issued for her arrest on war crimes charges.  Just this past week, the UK even warned its citizens of possible passport abuse when entering Israel.

The United States, along with the support of Britain and many others in the international community, are pushing Israel to stop building for Jews only on occupied land, as it makes negotiations for the two state solution next to impossible. Barack Obama and his administration are no longer simply accepting what they see happening in Palestine.

But will Israel listen to calls for change from around the world, including its greatest allies?  History tells us no.


From David Anthony Hohol…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in From the Editor, Home PageComments (5)


Advert

Picturing RELATIVITY- see all photos

RELATIVELY Speaking

  • CANADA: AN EXPAT HEAVEN With our ever shrinking global village, migratory work patterns are becoming more and more a part of people’s lives. Work in one country, summer in another, then try yet another. Thinking about it? Canada, Australia and Thailand are the best places to do
  • NO KIDDING, CONDOLEEZA! In a video at the recently opened George W. Bush Library, Condoleeza Rice confirms Bush was both aware and condoned torture. Guess there’s no need to lie your asses off anymore, is there Dipshit?
  • NO MATTER WHAT, IT'S WORTH IT With its Tex-Mex menu, Taco Bell is one of the most popular fat-food chains in America. No matter what happens after you eat it..
  • TURKISH AUTISTIC ATHIESTS “Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” claims a renowned Turkish Sociologist. Gotta love nut-jobs, like this asshole! They’re so entertaining!

Related RELATVITY

Polling RELATIVTY

Does the fact that Barack Obama is black and the son of an African Muslim contribute to the radical nature of those who oppose his policies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...