Tag Archives: Palestine

Worldwide protests as Israel attacks Gaza

List of world-wide protests from Bethlehem to Quebec, November 14-17, 2012

Child wounded in Israeli air strike on November 14th

[From The Electronic Intifada]

Yesterday Israel ended an effective truce with armed groups in Gaza, and carried out the extrajudicial execution of Ahmed al-Jabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas.

Israeli attacks today killed at least seven people including two young girls in Gaza.

Aside from the fact that it almost always violates truces and ceasefires, seeking escalation where instead there could be calm, what motives might Israel have?

Israel’s “Minister of Home Front Defense” [Avi Dichter] says Gaza must be “reformatted” as if it were a computer hard drive, just like Israel did in the West Bank in 2002 during a series of massacres it called “Operation Defensive Shield.”

Israel’s Ynet reported in Hebrew that Dichter

said in a closed meeting, in the course of his visit in the south under the escalation, that “there is no other choice, Israel must carry out a formatting action in Gaza, actually format the system and clean it out, the way we did in Judea & Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield.” 

Protest in London over Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in 2009

Imagining Post-Zionist Futures – Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance III

This post is the third of a series based on a visit by Nivedita Menon and myself to Palestine in mid-September 2012. The first two are Nakba and Sumoud and Waiting for the Third Intifada.

It was the 18th of September, our third evening in Ramallah. We were at the Ramallah Cultural Palace to listen to Palestinian youth bands perform. The place was teeming with people, mostly young, in their twenties and thirties. The hall was packed, the atmosphere so electric that even if Magid had not been there to explain, there was no  way we could have missed the excitement and the anger that the songs evoked in the  audience. Interestingly, not all the songs were about Zionist oppression and the travails of everyday life in occupied Palestine.  When a song critical of the PA (Palestinian Authority) began, the hall went up in spontaneous applause, endorsing the  sarcastic lyrics directed at PA that has lately been involved in carrying out repression on its own population.

Liberation Graffitti on Wall in Ayda camp, Photos AN/NM
Liberation Graffitti on Wall in Ayda camp, Photos AN/NM

The complexity of the current phase of the movement arises from the fact that now, the new forces of Palestinian liberation are arrayed, not merely against Israeli occupation but also against this entity called PA and the Oslo Accords that put in place the political arrangements that mark the division of territories today. An arrangement that was supposed to be merely an interim one lasting but a few years, until the question of Palestinian statehood could be settled, has become a quasi-permanent one that is seen to threaten the longer-term goal itself.

Continue reading Imagining Post-Zionist Futures – Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance III

“We may weep but we will stay”: Women resist evictions in Palestine: Kalyani Menon Sen


Umm Nabil’s settler-occupied house is painted with Israeli symbols. (Photo: Aruna Rao)

Umm Nabil al Kurd is 82 years old. She is tiny and frail – her hands tremble as she takes the mike. But her voice is steady as she describes how she lost her home.

“We came to Jerusalem from Haifa as refugees in 1948” she says. “The Jordanians allotted us our house. We have lived there for 60 years – my children were born there. It was small and broken when we moved in – we extended it and improved it as our family grew. We planted a garden. When my son got married and the grandchildren came, we built a separate unit for him at the back of the main house. We built with our own money, with our own hands. Then, two years ago, the Israelis came with the police and told us to leave. They said the house was theirs. They pushed me to the ground, called me filthy names, turned their dogs on me. They threw out our furniture and moved into the house. We went to court but the judge said we were occupying the house illegally – he told us to pay 100,000 shekels as rent for the years that we had lived in the house. We had to pay – my husband would have been imprisoned if we did not. We are still fighting the case – the next hearing is in July but I don’t know if we will ever get the house back.” Continue reading “We may weep but we will stay”: Women resist evictions in Palestine: Kalyani Menon Sen

Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance II – Living the Occupation

Planning to visit Palestine? Good news, Indian citizens don’t need a visa to enter Palestine. One small thing though. Palestine is occupied, and you cannot enter Palestine except through Israeli border control. The occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) have no control over their external borders.

Entry to Ayda refugee camp in the West Bank, established in 1950. The key is the symbol of the Right of Return of Palestinians. (Photo AN/NM) 

Whether you fly in through Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, or enter by road from Jordan or Egypt – it’s an Israeli visa that is required – there is no such thing as a visa to Palestine. Indeed, from the point of view of the occupying state, there is no Palestine, only Palestinian Territories – that is, West Bank and Gaza, the two green bits in the fourth map reproduced in the previous post. (There are also no Palestinians, according to Israeli state classifications – there are Israelis and there are bureaucratically differentiated Arabs, as we’ll see below). Continue reading Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance II – Living the Occupation

Friends of Palestine Respond to InCACBI Call to Boycott the Cameri in Delhi

On Sunday evening, November 4th, about 60 friends of Palestine — theatre persons, writers, artists, film makers, academics, students and activists — gathered outside Delhi’s Siri Fort auditorium, the venue for the Israeli state-sponsored performance by The Cameri Theatre. Their form of protest was an unusual one.  All of them wore T shirts which said, in bold black letters on white, No to Israeli Apartheid. There were no slogans or placards. Instead, they stood around the entrance, distributing leaflets and talking to theatre goers about the boycott. A few theatre goers actually responded and did not go in. A couple even joined the protest. One woman, who took a T shirt to wear inside, found a different form of discrimination being practiced in the auditorium; the Israeli theatre goers were let in, but the Indians had to wait. She read the leaflet in her hand, came out to join the protestors. Read more

Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance I – Nakba and Sumoud

[In September 2012, Aditya Nigam and I had the incredible good fortune to visit Palestine. This post is the first of a series in which we reflect on our experience and what we learnt there. We stayed in Ramallah, visited and interacted with colleagues at Birzeit University and spoke at a conference organized by Muwatin, a research institute based in Ramallah. We met  a large number of inspiring people who pushed the frontiers of our minds, and we came away humbled and moved by the dignity of a people living through the brutal occupation of their lands by the  Zionist state of Israel, with limitless courage and sense of humour intact.

Deepest gratitude to Rema Hammami of Birzeit who drove us around Jerusalem, and whose inimitable commentary gave us a live historical sense of  her country.

Words are inadequate to thank our friends Magid Shihade and Sunaina Maira, whose passionate love of Palestine and determination to help us make the most of our brief stay there, expanded our horizons continually.]

On the 15th of May 1948, the state of Israel was born, dispossessing Palestinians who had lived on that land for centuries. Fleeing terror and genocide in Europe, and anti-semitism globally, Jews from all over the world poured into Palestine.

Why Palestine? Why was Palestine given to the Jews as their home? And whose property was Palestine, that it could be given away? Why were people who had never done any harm to the Jewish people made to pay the price for European anti-semitism? It was Germany and Italy and Poland that had in fact, run concentration camps; it was any number of other countries of Europe that could boast of centuries-old histories of violent anti-semitism. Why were not parts of these countries carved out to make a country for the people they had wronged?

Maps showing the gradual obliteration of Palestine by Israel

Continue reading Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance I – Nakba and Sumoud

Statement by SASI on People-to-People Solidarity with Palestine and Duplicity of South Asian States


SASI Calls for People-to-People Solidarity with Palestine and Condemns Duplicity of South Asian States in Palestine Bid for UN Recognition

The South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI) recognizes the importance and urgency of the Palestinian bid for recognition by the United Nations this September. Despite the threatened U.S. veto in the Security Council, all member nations have an opportunity to weigh in on the outcome through the General Assembly. We welcome the overwhelming support shown for Palestinian membership in the UNESCO. While noting the support for recognition of Palestine by South Asian states, SASI is dismayed by the duplicity of some of these states in continuing to build economic, military, and intelligence ties with Israel. SASI supports the efforts of all peoples movements in South Asia and elsewhere towards solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Continue reading Statement by SASI on People-to-People Solidarity with Palestine and Duplicity of South Asian States

I Wish You Egypt: An open letter to people of conscience in the West. Omar Barghouti

Guest post by OMAR BARGHOUTI

I wish you Egypt!

I wish you empowerment to resist; to fight for social and economic justice; to win your real freedom and equal rights.

I wish you the will and skill to break out of your carefully concealed prison walls. See, in our part of the world, prison walls and thick inviolable doors are all too overt, obvious, over-bearing, choking; this is why we remain restive, rebellious, agitated, and always in preparation for our day of freedom, of light, when we gather a critical mass of people power enough to cross all the hitherto categorical red lines. We can then smash the thick, cold ugly, rusty chains that have incarcerated our minds and bodies for all our lives like the overpowering stench of a rotting corpse in our claustrophobic prison cell.

Your prison cells, however, are quite different. The walls are well hidden lest they evoke your will to resist. There is no door to your prison cell — you may roam about “freely,” never recognizing the much larger prison you are still confined to. Continue reading I Wish You Egypt: An open letter to people of conscience in the West. Omar Barghouti

Three poems by Meir Wieseltier

Guest post by ADITYA SARKAR

Here are three poems by a remarkable Israeli dissident poet Meir Wieseltier. Over and above anything else, they’re beautiful poems, but they might also have something to say about the recent attacks of Gaza and the West Bank, even though they address much earlier events and times If nothing else, they might be a reminder that the kinds of issues related to Israel/Palestine that have been discussed on Kafila and elsewhere are in no sense new – each poem seems absolutely contemporary, even though they were written in 1973, 1978 and 1986 respectively. They might remind readers that far from being a ‘tragic mistake’, as the BBC and other liberal apologists have it, the attack on the flotilla represents the mainstream, indeed the only, dimension of Israeli state policy.

The last of the three poems was actually reprinted in The Nation on 15 April 2002, four days after the Israeli massacre of Palestinians at Jenin, which killed fifty people – another absolutely typical act of ‘Israeli self-defense’ that most accounts blank out. Continue reading Three poems by Meir Wieseltier

Don’t Treat us Like “Them”!

How inconsiderate of the Israeli spokesperson to club us, the self proclaimed largest democracy in the world and an atomic super power to boot, with the likes of failed states like Pakistan and with two others (Afghanistan and Iraq) that are currently being taught  the basics of democracy by  the marines of the most powerful  democracy in the world.

How  ungrateful of him,  considering the fact we are buying so many weapons from his country, have signed so many MOUs with her,   befriended her after betraying an entire people, who looked up to us because they thought that being founders and leaders of the Non Aligned movement we will stand with them .

We have done all this and more, in the weak -kneed statement protesting the attack on the freedom flotilla we did not even name the country that had perpetrated the crime

Despite all our most sincere efforts to accommodate them, this is how they treat us

Did the Israeli spokesperson think that we will not complain?

Did he really think that we will not seek to draw the attention of the comity of Nations and of Obama?

We will not be denied our democratic right to raise our voice of protest,

We will, with all the power at our command, appeal to world opinion and to the conscience of Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire Israeli cabinet not to club us with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We seek to inform Mr Yahu that we have no idea about the nature of his country’s relations with these three, what we do know is that we are friends of Israel. We have tried so hard to prove it to her and to her close ally the US, why does she not trust us. What more does she want from us? Why won’t she tell us?

Someone please help!

‘An acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy does not imply an acceptance of all that it does’: Amitav Ghosh

Given the long discussion on an earlier post on this subject, I think it is important to post here Amitav Ghosh’s long, persuasive response to the campaign that requested him not to accept the Dan David Prize. I’m taking the liberty of copying this response from here.

May 14, 2010

Dear Signatories to the letter of May 7:

I am sorry I have been slow to respond to your letter expressing disappointment in my decision to to accept the Dan David prize. I will attempt to do so now. Continue reading ‘An acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy does not imply an acceptance of all that it does’: Amitav Ghosh

‘Boycott of Israel would not serve any useful tactical purpose’: Amitav Ghosh

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) and Pakistanis for Palestine amongst others have appealed to the novelist Amitav Ghosh to decline the Israeli Dan David Prize he is being given jointly with Margaret Atwood.

The BRICUP open letter to Ghosh reads:

It’s surprising to have to raise Israeli colonialism with a writer whose entire oeuvre seems to us an attempt to imagine how human beings survived the depredations of colonialism. Gosh, even the Dan David judges like the way you evoke ‘the violent dislocations of people and regimes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’.

Those making him this appeal have reminded him of his rejection of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2001.

Give below is Ghosh’s response to the appeal: Continue reading ‘Boycott of Israel would not serve any useful tactical purpose’: Amitav Ghosh

Chavez Expels Israel’s Ambassador, Becomes New Palestinian Hero

Via Liberation News Service

Venezuelan leader accuses Israel of being ‘murder arm’ of US, says solution to Gaza crisis is in Obama’s hand.
Report by Anna Pelegri of Middle East Online – BETHLEHEM, 12 January 2009

Demonstrators in Yemen
Portraits of Chavez carried by demonstrators in Yemen

“Venezuelan flags and portraits of President Hugo Chavez have been flying high during protests in the West Bank against Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip”, says the report.

The report continues:

The Venezuelan president’s decision on January 6 to expel Israel’ ambassador from Caracas — the only country apart from Mauritania to take such a step — has made the left-wing South American leader a hero to Palestinians.

Hamas has welcomed Chavez’s “courageous decision,” while Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, urged Arab states to follow the Venezuelan president’s example.

In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, USA, UK, Spain, the Russian Federation, to name a few, are a testimony to the cruel attacks on civilians and other human rights abuses in the recent past by non-state armed groups, including terrorist groups. They are showing utter disdain for the lives of civilians and others, continuing a pattern of serious crimes and crimes against humanity. They fail to abide by even the most basic standards of humanitarian law. The attacks and other abuses by armed groups are so frequent and the security situation so grave, that it is impossible to calculate with any confidence the true toll upon the civilian population, let alone the long term consequences that so many people inevitably suffer.

Continue reading In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups

Protests in Israel against Gaza Attacks

We are all aware of the terrible toll of unarmed civilian casualties caused by the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) air strike on Gaza a few days ago. It demonstrates yet again the willingness of those who currently hold power in Israeli to sabotage the chances of a lasting and durable peace with the Palestinian people. There is no other way to describe these air strikes other than as acts of gross state terrorism. Bombing unarmed civilians from the skies, including children is not a solution or an answer to terrorism. It is terrorism.

Of course, Hamas, (which controls the West Bank, and whose origins lie in the cultivation by Israel of an ‘Islamist Opposition’ within the Palestinian ranks in the eighties and earlier ) with its own obduracy has contributed to the ‘blowback’ that holds the peace process in Israel-Palestine hostage to a never ending cycle of competitive retribution.

Continue reading Protests in Israel against Gaza Attacks