On January 11, 2013, 250 men and women from across Palestine established a new Palestinian village named “Bab Al shams” (Gate of the Sun).
We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab Alshams Village (Gate of the Sun). We the people, without permits from the occupation, without permission from anyone, sit here today because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it.
A few months ago the Israeli government announced its intention to build about 4000 settlement housing units in the area Israel refers to as E1. E1 block is an area of about 13 square km that falls on confiscated Palestinian land East of Jerusalem between Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which lies on occupied West Bank Palestinian land, and Jerusalem. We will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village of Bab Alshams to proclaim our faith in direct action and popular resistance. We declare that the village will stand steadfast until the owners of this land will get their right to build on their land.
The Three Wise Men blocked by Israel’s Apartheid Wall
A delegation of South African Christian Church leaders has just returned from a one-week solidarity visit to the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem in Palestine-Israel. On their return, they released this joint statement [extracts]:
“Being South African, it felt like walking into another apartheid ambush. We witnessed violations of international law on so many levels – the multiple Israeli house demolitions, the discriminatory Israeli legal system, the daily intimidation of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Apartheid Wall and its associated regime of restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians, the imprisonment of a large percentage of Palestinians (including children), the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian water and land, the closure of previously bustling Palestinian streets and businesses, separate pavements for Israelis and Palestinians…”
An article titled “In Defence Of Israel” is being circulated to media-persons in India by the Spokesman of the Embassy Of Israel in Delhi. This article, published in Open magazine, was written by Jonas Moses Lustiger (a student based in Paris, who has earlier lived in India). The article names me specifically, and refers to mine and Aditya Nigam’s posts on Palestine in Kafila, but I was not interested in engaging with Lustiger’s largely ill-informed, propagandist and misrepresenting rant. But now that it appears we are responding directly to the Israeli state, I feel perhaps I should put some things on record.
Let me begin by stating my complete agreement with Lustiger on three of his key statements in the Open article.
It is true that Israel’s current government is one of the worst it has known and most of its citizens have lost hope for peace. It is also true that Israeli society is turning more racist, intolerant and ignorant of the suffering and existence of their immediate neighbours—Palestinians. Of course, the Palestinian people have been denied many rights and have been living under precarious conditions since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. True, they have been repeat victims of unjustifiable violence and a large proportion of Israeli politicians deny their claim to an independent land, even as Israel threatens the viability of a Palestinian state by wielding tools of colonisation.
Pretty much sums up our three posts on Kafila – what’s not to agree?
Palestinians in Gaza love Indians. They love Indian dancing, they love Indian music, they love Indian clothes. Whenever I walk out of the house, someone inevitably asks “hiyya hindeyee?” Is she Indian? ”I knew it!” they say when the response is in the affirmative. “Bheb al Hind,” I love India….
So Amitabh, Abhishek, Aishwarya, Amir, Hrithik, Kareena, Salman, Shahrukh, if you’re reading this, how about a shout out to 1.5 million of your biggest fans in the Gaza Strip? Israel has forbidden pasta, tea, cement and freedom flotillas from entering Gaza, but it hasn’t stopped Bollywood. We watch you under the Israeli drones and the F-16s, after being shot at by the Israeli navy and army while fishing, picking olives or going to school. You bring a sliver of joy to people living under the world’s longest occupation in the world’s largest prison, and for that we thank you.