An American Citizen Everywhere in the World BUT the State of Israel

I have been an American citizen since 1996. My husband, also an American citizen, and I have been married and living in Michigan for over 16 years. My son and daughter, ages 14 & 13, respectively, were both born in Michigan. Though I was born in Palestine and do cherish my heritage, my family and I have been nothing less than loyal and devoted Americans. Home for my family and me is indeed here, in the heart of the USA. These feelings of love and loyalty to my new country did not come overnight. They took many days, many years, and lots of hard work and community service to take hold. Today, when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I fully and wholeheartedly mean it and it brings me great pride. This is why what happened to me and to my children during our recent travel to Israel is not only horrifying, but extremely hurtful as well.

As a Palestinian-born American, I have returned to visit my family many times. However, my recent trip was very different. It was a nightmare! I arrived with my children at Ben -Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, at 12:30 am after an 8-hour layover in Paris. Already exhausted from my long travel, I approached the Israeli passport control. I knew what to expect. I had been through this routine many times. I have always been subjected to search, delay, investigation, detention and interrogation. However, this time the harassment and terror went beyond anything that I ever could have imagined. I was immediately escorted with my children into a detention room in which we were to wait until my name was to be called for questioning by the soldier on duty. My children became tense and anxious. While my son was putting on a brave face, my daughter was ready to burst into tears. I tried my best to calm them down, telling them that this was normal and they had nothing to fear. Living in the US all their lives, they were taught to respect different people and not to discriminate against anyone. I had a hard time explaining to them why they had to go through this humiliation to visit our relatives.

Finally, I was called in for questioning. The officer on duty asked question after question about where I was born, who my parents where, when did I did I leave the country, why I am coming back, and where are my Palestinian identity card and passport? My answers were the exactly the same as they had been in previous years; it's not like I could change where I was born and the names of my parents in their computer system! The only difference was that this year I was returning to attend my only brother's wedding.

I sensed that things were turning bad when the officer asked me in a sarcastic way, "Don't you know that you are Palestinian? " I was shocked by the tone of his question and terrified about where it was leading. "You cannot enter Israel through this airport," he continued. "As a Palestinian-born American, you are considered to be Palestinian in the State of Israel regardless of your American citizenship and therefore you cannot use this airport. You have to go back to the United States."

I could not believe what I was hearing! I tried to reason with him. "I have done nothing different from the last few years that I have came to visit," I explained. "I was always given a three month visa after the security and passport control checks. You mean to tell me that they did not know I was Palestinian-born before? "

Sarcastically again he said to me, "You just got lucky in the past and your luck just ran out". I was going to be DEPORTED back to the US as if I was some sort of a criminal! After all the reasoning failed, and I was not going anywhere with my negotiations with the officer, I asked him about my under age children. He said, that they would be allowed to go through on their own but without me! My kids were still outside the detective room at that point. They heard what was taking place and became terrified. My son, feeling that he needed to stand by his mother and sister at a time of crises, stormed into the room with anger and tears in his eyes. I looked at him and asked him to go back outside to the waiting room. He strongly said to me, "Mom, no…I have to say this…You have to let me say it." I saw that he was choking on his own tears and did not know what to say but allowed him let vent his anger and frustration. He said to the officer, "I do not understand this! You Jews have been prosecuted all your lives. What happened to you is ugly and unfair. But please tell me, how is what happened to you different from what you are doing to my mother and to us right now? Please answer me that, Sir," he pleaded.

Unfortunately, my son's brave attempt to help failed. By this time my daughter was crying hysterically. I was baffled, helpless, and weak. I did not know what to do or what to say. I started crying as well. I begged and pleaded. The officer insisted that I would not be allowed to use the airport. But because I had my kids with me, he was going to check into my being allowed to buy a ticket to go to Amman, Jordan. He could not promise me that I would be able to do so as he didn't know whether there would be a place for me on the plane. He asked me if I had the cash to buy the ticket. I said that I did. He further explained that the Royal Jordanian plane was scheduled to take off at 8:00 am and the Air France plane was leaving at 6:00 am. If the Royal Jordanian staff did not come in early enough to inquire about a space for me on that flight, then I would have to be deported back to the US on the Air France. Meanwhile, my kids could leave the airport to go with our family. I was to be escorted by the airport police to a room in which I could rest till morning. I asked to wait at the airport terminal and was denied.

We were escorted to the back alleys of the airport where all of our personal belongings were searched piece by piece. I was instructed to go into a small private room with a female soldier in order to be body searched. The soldier felt my body with her hands from head to toe. She then went over it with her magic wand. But the surprise was when she told me to take off my clothes! "You have got to be kidding me?" I stammered. Apparently, I would have to eventually do this the easy way or the hard way. I was not sure which way harder -- to voluntarily let her exploit my body or to forcefully let her do so! With my children right outside of the room, I chose the first. I was humiliated and felt as if every inch of me was being violated.

After a quick and extremely emotional goodbye that was filled with instructions on what to do when my children got out of the airport, I was ready to be escorted to the police car in which I was to be driven to a nice room to get some rest awaiting my fate. Walking towards the car while surrounded by my three bodyguards, one on each side and one in the front, I could not help but feel extreme anger, frustration, and yes, hate! I normally extol a peaceful philosophy of life. I never thought that hate and resentment could so easily be acquired when suddenly robbed of my dignity and respect. Driving out of the airport, it dawned on me that I was only few minutes away from my mother's arms if only I weren't blocked by these gendarmes. Thinking of her, I burst into tears. I could not stop crying, I did not want to stop crying.

Finally, we arrived at our destination. The building did not look welcoming at all. It was surrounded by a tall wall with metal wires on top and there were soldiers who were guarding the place as well. I thought to myself, "No…it can't be? This could not be what I think it is?" I fearfully asked the soldiers with terror in my voice, "Where are we?" I was told that this was the prison! As I took my first steps inside, I kept pleading to go back to the airport. But sure enough, there was no other option. The soldiers checked me in, confiscated my personal belongings and escorted me to my jail cell. When a soldier opened that steal door, I just collapsed. "This cannot be happening to me? This is just a nightmare…Please take me back to the airport…Please I want my mother and father…Please, I want to see my children…I want my husband," I cried. With a paralyzing feeling in my legs, I fell onto the floor of the jail cell that was filled with trash overflowing from the garbage basket. "I want to go home…I just want to go home," I pleaded. The steel door was slammed shut.

Refusing to lay down on the filthy bunk bed, I sat on a chair thinking of my children. My mind was in a state of confusion. Ideas and possibilities of what could have happened to them, what could happen to me, kept running through my head in split seconds. Without my realizing it, the dawn broke. Sometime around 6 am, the cell door opened. "There is a seat for you on the Royal Jordanian flight; do you have cash to buy it?" the soldier inquired.

"Yes, I do, thank God" I cried. Again with three solders escorting me on the sides as if I were the biggest terrorist in the world, we walked through the back alleys of the airport where I was taken to purchase my ticket. I was surprised a bit. I thought I would be buying it from the Royal Jordanian agents. A lady told me that my ticket would be $ 270 and said that I would have to pay in cash. I did not care; I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. The boarding pass was not handed to me; instead, it was handed to the soldiers. I glanced at my receipt only to notice that it was written for $20 dollars! I looked at the soldiers and said, "This receipt is for $20 dollars and not for $270 which you saw that I paid."

He asked me if I would like to go back and inquire about the situation. By that time, it was close to 7:30 am. The flight was leaving at 8:00 am. I was not going to take a chance. If I missed it, I got deported back to the US. I replied, "No…it is ok, I do not want to check into it." With that, I thought I would be heading towards the gate where I was to board. Apparently, in this trip, nothing worked the way I thought it would. I was escorted to the police car parked by the airplane stair. I was then accompanied up the plane where the soldier gave my boarding pass to the flight attendant and told me to "have a good flight!"

I arrived at Amman, Jordan, at 10:00 am. I paid for my entry visa and made my way successfully through passport control and customs. I took a deep breath of relief along with my first steps outside as a free woman! It did not take me very long to find a taxi to take me to "El Jiser," the land border at Elenby Bridge between Jordan and Israel. After all, there would be a hefty fee for the trip and I surely looked tired and willing.

It was extremely hot that day and the air conditioner was not working in the car. What else can go wrong in this trip? I thought to myself. Still, however, I was counting my blessings, thinking that at least I was a few hours away from my children and family and not oceans and days away. "We are here," the driver said. And just when I thought this day could not get any worse, it did. There were hundreds of people waiting under the hot sun. Kids and babies were crying. People were shouting and screaming. Trash looked like it was part of the landscaping of the border. My jaw dropped! I did not know what to say or where to begin. There was nothing but tons of people with no signs or directions telling them what to do. Looking disoriented and dazed, a gentleman approached me and advised, "You know you can buy a VIP pass."

The VIP pass cost about $100 dollars and with it, I could wait in an extremely crowded room equipped with fans and some chairs till my name was called to get on the bus to cross over to the other side. I could also bypass some of the other crowds waiting in line that could not afford to pay the hefty fee. Astonished by the amount of people there, hearing their stories and how long they had been waiting, I felt helpless and yet empowered with anger and frustration. My heart ached for the kids who were thirsty and tired. I actually realized that I was "lucky" my kids did not have to go through all of this. After a 4 hour wait, my name was called. I anxiously hopped in the van thinking that I was yet one step closer to seeing my family. Driving to the Israeli side of the boarder, the VIP van passed 27 long busses filled with people crossing to the other side. They must have been waiting for hours to pass through, as only one bus at a time could enter the check point. I only had to wait in the van for about 45 minutes. Finally, around 4:00 pm, I got to the Israeli border.

Going through Israeli security can be time extensive. Only the best and most sophisticated equipment is used for potential terrorists like me. Armed with peace, I calmly went through all the security checks. Anxiety was fast kicking in, however, after I saw the line waiting for the passport control entry. Looking around and seeing all the people traveling with children, I knew I was relatively lucky and waited calmly for my turn. One of the security agents noticed my American passport with my VIP sticker on it. She then told me I could wait in a room and took my passport to get it cleared with security. Not surprisingly though, she came back with her officer asking me for my Palestinian travel documents. I explained that I did not have any, and that I had traveled through Ben -Gurion airport the past years. I also told her that I had left the country before the Palestinian Authority was in place and since then had traveled through all the proper Israeli channels. I asked why things were different for me this time when I was told at the airport that I could only pass through this border. The security agent looked at me then and said calmly, "No, you cannot enter through here."

Astonished, I had to ask him to say it again. I couldn't believe his words. "But your people at the airport told me I could enter through here," I begged. He further explained that I could only enter through the border if I had Palestinian documents. All I had to do was to contact my family in Bethlehem, ask them to make me those documents and send them to me in Amman, and then and only then could I enter. He also mentioned that these documents could take a few weeks to establish!

I lost all feelings in my legs and collapsed. On the floor, crying hysterically, I asked for a paramedic. I knew I was soon going to pass out. At first, I wasn't taken seriously. Maybe they thought I was faking it. Ten minutes passed by without help. Finally a female police officer came up to me and asked me if I was ok. I told her that I was not ok and that I felt like I would throw up and pass out soon. She left and came back with yet another captain and a paramedic. The paramedic checked my blood pressure and asked me if I had anything to eat and drink that day. I explained to her that I had not had anything to eat or drink for close to 3 days as that was how long I had been traveling. She wanted me to drink some orange juice but I refused. I knew I was going to vomit as soon as anything touched my stomach. She then warned me and told me that she could hardly detect my pulse and that I would pass out soon if I did not get something in my stomach. The captain took notice and started to ask me questions about my story. He looked at my passport and looked again. He asked me to please stop crying and to come with him to his office.

After checking my status extensively on his computer, he said to me, "Mona, I am going to be very honest with you. I send people back all the time from this border. But honestly, I do not know and cannot find a reason why this was done to you." I felt so relieved that all my problems were going to be solved. This was the first person that talked to me like I was a human being and seemed to truly care. He spoke Arabic very well and with no accent. I was surprised and asked him how he was able to speak the language. It turned out that he was an "Arabic/Israeli Durzie" enlisted in the Israeli army. He then called my family and told them that I was in his office, a little tired, and that he was going to let me in on humanitarian reasons. He asked them to come and pick me up as soon as possible.

I was escorted out, gratefully avoiding all the other security stops. I was placed in a taxi that would take me to Palestinian grounds where my family was to meet me. As soon as I took my first glance at my mother, my two sisters, and brother, I smiled for the first time in three days. After all, my mother was doing all the crying now for me…

Driving to my hometown, my sister and mother, who are also American citizens, filled me in on all the details from their side. They told me that my children made it out ok and that they were enjoying their time with their cousins at that moment. They also explained how they had been inquiring about my whereabouts via our American Consulate. What I came to realize on my way back "home" was by far the most disappointing news I had received in the past three days throughout this whole ordeal.

My sister Abby who has lived in the United States for over 22 years, arrived to Bethlehem two weeks ahead of me. A strong and sharp minded Arab American, she got right on the ball as soon as she realized I was in trouble. She had started making phone calls to both the US and to our American Consulate in Jerusalem.

She first contacted my husband and updated him on the situation. Worried sick about me, my husband started calling our Local US Congressman office, US State Department in Washington D.C, and US embassy in Tel Aviv. The answers were all the same! It was the same answer my sister received from our US Consulate in Jerusalem as well.

My Family was told that there was NOTHING that could be done on my behalf. The American Embassy could not intervene in Israeli policies. Though, I was an American citizen, in the State of Israel, I was NOT considered to be one and therefore, my country, cannot intervene on my behalf. The only thing that they could do for me was to make sure that I was given something to eat and drink!

Apparently, in the State of Israel "the ONLY democracy in the Middle East", I was NOT considered to be an American Citizen. I was Palestinian born and therefore, will be entitled to all the "wonderful" privileges that come along with it. You see, a "true" American Citizen, would be initiated to travel freely without restrictions in the State of Israel. An American Citizens would NOT be subjected to being harassed, stopped, investigated, and humiliated by the State of Israel. BUT, I was Palestinian born; people like me could not possibly be permitted to enjoy all of these extravagant privileges that are given to "true" Americans!

As I was listing to my mother and sister filling me in on all these details on our way home, I could not help but feel very sad and hurt. Hurt by the lack of response and help from my own beloved county! I was extremely disappointed when my sister continued on to tell me that the Embassy actually told her that if it were my children (who are American born) that were in my situation, then, they would have been able to intervene on their behalf! Suddenly, I felt speechless and betrayed!

I am back "home" now. Living and enjoying all the comforts and rights given to me by my country. However, I can't help but think sometimes, am I living in a lie? Do I truly enjoy the same rights? And can I truly overcome my disappointments?

As it took me time to build my allegiance and love for my country, I imagine that it will take me even more time overcome the feeling of inferiority that was reinforced by my beloved country during my time of hardship.

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Posted January 27, 2013 by Kamal Nawash | 12 Comments

Comments

This woman is openly hostile to Israel - describing it publicly as apartheid. And I found that after about 2 minutes on the internet. Who knows what information the actual authorities have on her? I think they were quite right to detain her.

Given the huge scale of Palestinian terrorism upon Israelis, it makes perfect sense for the Israeli authorities to detain people of Palestinian origin.

Political correctness means that a little old white grandma and a young Muslim man with his passport stamped with Pakistan and Afghanistan have to undergo the same security checks in the US.
Israel is far more practical - using racial profiling. Racial profiling based on actual experience rather than due to racism.

Terrorism is real. Stop the terrorism and there would be no need for Israel to react to terrorism.

Posted April 03, 2013 by Michelle

Mr. David is correct in his own peranosl review about the many facts in his book. Many of the figures, documents and the like are perfectly legitimate. My problem isn't the facts. It is how they are presented.They are recorded as just plain facts without the historical context in a form in which anyone can interpret them any way they choose to and present their version of them as gospel. Mr. David has done a marvelous job at taking his own slanted interpretation of events and recording it as history in his book. Lets take his theory that Middle East terrorism had its genisis with pre state Jewish underground organizations and movements. To anyone that knows the history of any of these groups, Mr. David's assertion must appear to be absolute rubish. The Haganah was founded in the aftermath of Arab violence against Jews. 1920 and 1921 saw horrific riots against the Jewish community in Palestine. It is against this backdrop of Arab violence that the Haganah was created and an organization from which the Stern Gang and the Irgun would later split. The violent actions the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang did take were against British military targets and not an innocent populace of women and children. It is true that later on a few officials not associated with with the British military were murdered by some extremist elements within the Stern and Irgun. It is also suggested that Israel invented the art of plane hijacking in 1954 when a Syrian airliner was hijacked by Israelis. It is true that the Israeli airforce did force to land a Syrian plane. No one was harmed and the plane was allowed to return to Syria in days. The tactics used had nothing in common by the tactics used by the PLO in plane hijackings. No one was ever threatened and no goals were achieved by it. This is in stark contrast to the aircraft hijackings carried out by Palestinian terrorists. Mr. David appears to have a little bit of an anti-semitic attitude as well. His final demand at the end of his book is that prominent Jews admit that we stole Palestine. He mentions several non-Israeli Jews that do not live in Israel, have never served in the IDF and do not participate in Israel's political system. In his mentioning of the protests of Israeli Jews after the Sabra and Shatila massacres he mockingly writes that the Jewish people cry about Sabra and Shatila while being indifferent to the Palestinians. He doesn't refer to Jews as individuals and he clearly sees us as collectively guilty for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and that this ethnic cleansing was the end of Jewish innocence. Mr. David does an incredible job of misrepresenting the King-Crane Commission as well.The King-Crane Commission was made up of people who were decidedly anti-Zionist to begin with. That is specifically why they were chosen by Wilson for the job. One feature for which the report is still remembered today was an early statement skeptical of the viability of a Jewish state in Syria. The logic of the commission went along the lines that the first principle to be respected must be self-determination. Since the commission had a very maximalist view of Syria what would today encompass Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Gaza Strip it pointed out that a majority of Syrians were against the formation of a Jewish state. It is important to remember that at this time there was no distinct Palestinian nationist movement and most Arabs living in what would become Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip saw themselves as Syrians and were proponents of reuniting with an independant Syria.What is telling about this affront to democracy is that three years after the King-Crane commission was sent to Palestine the American House and Senate voted on a resolution favoring the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The Author also ignores that the facts on the ground changed tremendously between 1919 when the King-Crane Commission studied Palestine and 1948 when Israel declared it's independance and that several other studies were done on the population after 1.) Syria and Jordan were independant states in charge of their own populace. 2.) Substantial Jewish immigration to Palestine had occured and 3.)Substantial Arab immigration had occured to Palestine in the wake of the economic oppertunites created by Jewish immigration and settlement. I am running on the assumption that Mr. David is an American or possibly Canadian. As an American or Canadian, I would assume he is ashamed of himself for continuing to live in a land that literally was stolen from it's native population. Maybe he should write a book entitles Whites and Native Americans for beginners and discuss America's ethnic cleansing of an entire continent. Maybe he should seek residency in Europe so he does not remain on stolen land and his conscience will be clear.

Posted April 09, 2013 by Irina

This book is so brazenly pro-Arab and anti-Israel, so priatzan in its selection of facts, as to be utterly breathtaking. While the back material says that the book is relentlessly fair , it is certainly not. Nor is it, as the title suggests, some neutral bit of history for beginners, an Arabs and Israel for Dummies kind of book.The first page says, I swear to you, I cannot see how any fair-minded person with an IQ over fifty can believe the Zionist/Jewish/Israeli version of what happened in the Middle-East. The last paragraph of the book has this conclusion: Although I don't think that Israel benefits anyone, including the Jewish people, I don't expect Israel to quit the Middle East. So what do I want? I want a few famous American Jews Norman Mailer Woody Allen to stand up and say, let's quit lying to the world and to ourselves. We stole Palestine. We stole it.' While there are plenty of pro-Israel, anti-Arab books that are just as biased, if you're looking for balance, this isn't the book for you. The only value this book has is to learn a decidedly and profoundly pro-Arab point of view.

Posted April 12, 2013 by Yasir

This book is just plain awful. Not only does it repeat almost every anti-Israeli conspiracy theory, that Israel had a “technological advantage” in the 1956 War (both they and the Egyptians were using WWII Shermans, a model that wasn’t even the best tank of the war), that Israel deliberately displaced the Arabs living in Palestine in 1948, that the Israeli Army outnumbered the combined Arab armies of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon during the War of Independence (!!!), that the first World Trade Center attack was an Israeli operation, etc. etc. but is also notably silent on the anti-Jewish riots in 1930s Palestine which very nearly reached pogram level, of the terrorist attacks in which Jewish women and children are target (in an effort to force the “Zionists” to negotiate) of Arafat and his routine lies while holding himself up as a “statesman.” The author doesn’t just try to use “moral relativism”… he does entire backflips in order to justify the idea that everything is Israel’s fault.One notable line, in trying to justify terrorists Ron David says on page 162 “More Americans die in their bathtubs than are killed by terrorists in a year.” This book came out in 2001, I’m guessing before September. I hope that those 3,000 deaths makes Mr. David feel better. At last the terrorists are catching up!

Posted April 18, 2013 by Viki

Israel’s current assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified by self-defense. Rather, it involves serious violations of international law, including war crimes. Senior Israeli political and military leaders may bear personal liability for their offenses, and they could be prosecuted by an international tribunal, or by nations practicing universal jurisdiction over grave international crimes. Hamas fighters have also violated the laws of warfare, but their misdeeds do not justify Israel’s acts.The United Nations charter preserved the customary right of a state to retaliate against an “armed attack” from another state. The right has evolved to cover nonstate actors operating beyond the borders of the state claiming self-defense, and arguably would apply to Hamas. However, an armed attack involves serious violations of the peace. Minor border skirmishes are common, and if all were considered armed attacks, states could easily exploit them — as surrounding facts are often murky and unverifiable — to launch wars of aggression. That is exactly what Israel seems to be currently attempting.Israel had not suffered an “armed attack” immediately prior to its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Since firing the first Kassam rocket into Israel in 2002, Hamas and other Palestinian groups have loosed thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, causing about two dozen Israeli deaths and widespread fear. As indiscriminate attacks on civilians, these were war crimes. During roughly the same period, Israeli forces killed about 2,700 Palestinians in Gaza by targeted killings, aerial bombings, in raids, etc., according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.But on June 19, 2008, Hamas and Israel commenced a six-month truce. Neither side complied perfectly. Israel refused to substantially ease the suffocating siege of Gaza imposed in June 2007. Hamas permitted sporadic rocket fire — typically after Israel killed or seized Hamas members in the West Bank, where the truce did not apply. Either one or no Israelis were killed (reports differ) by rockets in the half year leading up to the current attack.Israel then broke the truce on Nov. 4, raiding the Gaza Strip and killing a Palestinian. Hamas retaliated with rocket fire; Israel then killed five more Palestinians. In the following days, Hamas continued rocket fire — yet still no Israelis died. Israel cannot claim self-defense against this escalation, because it was provoked by Israel’s own violation.An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression. Under the Nuremberg Principles affirmed by U.N. Resolution 95, aggression is a crime against peace.Israel has also failed to adequately discriminate between military and nonmilitary targets. Israel’s American-made F-16s and Apache helicopters have destroyed mosques, the education and justice ministries, a university, prisons, courts and police stations. These institutions were part of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. And when nonmilitary institutions are targeted, civilians die. Many killed in the last week were young police recruits with no military roles. Civilian employees in the Hamas-led government deserve the protections of international law like all others. Hamas’s ideology — which employees may or may not share — is abhorrent, but civilized nations do not kill people merely for what they think.Deliberate attacks on civilians that lack strict military necessity are war crimes. Israel’s current violations of international law extend a long pattern of abuse of the rights of Gaza Palestinians. Eighty percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes or fled in fear of Jewish terrorist attacks in 1948. For 60 years, Israel has denied the internationally recognized rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes — because they are not Jews.Although Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, it continues to tightly regulate Gaza’s coast, airspace and borders. Thus, Israel remains an occupying power with a legal duty to protect Gaza’s civilian population. But Israel’s 18-month siege of the Gaza Strip preceding the current crisis violated this obligation egregiously. It brought economic activity to a near standstill, left children hungry and malnourished, and denied Palestinian students opportunities to study abroad.Israel should be held accountable for its crimes, and the U.S. should stop abetting it with unconditional military and diplomatic support.Mr. Bisharat is a professor at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

Posted April 19, 2013 by Patience

Sorry DB, I do not Agree.The Problem over the Years has not been lack of Leadership but lack of Policy.A Political Party should have Aims and A Program and the Parties should Choose who can best Carry Out and Win an Election to Carry Out those Aims.The System of Elections to the Knesset weekens the Parties, And they Do Not do their job. There is too much "Tit for Tat".Israeli Response to fanactics and "Playing in to their Hands.The Question is what is the Ideolagy and Program of the So Many Parties in Israel.What happened to Shinuy and all those Center Parties. The Israeli Public is much more united than the Politics. Politics are mucking up everything!!!The Army and the Legal System too that in the 60-70s were considered above the General Standard.So as a Cartoonist and Dry Humour fine.

Posted April 24, 2013 by Viki

it was investigating the claim but had no knowledge of the incident.Citing “several testimonies” – but without identifying its sources – OCHA said that Israeli foot soldiers evacuated around 110 Palestinians into a house in Zeitun, south of Gaza City, on Sunday. Half of them were children.“Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30,” OCHA said. “Those who survived and were able walked two kilometres to Salah Ed Din road before being transported to the hospital in civilian vehicles. Three children, the youngest of whom was five months old, died upon arrival at the hospital.”OCHA added that the International Committee of the Red Cross took several days to gain access to the area but managed to do so on Tuesday during the first daily three-hour humanitarian ceasefire. “Due to the limited time allowed, ICRC was not able to reach all houses in the area,” it said. “In all, ICRC evacuated 30 Palestinians, including 18 wounded.”The ICRC had already issued a statement on the Zeitun incident yesterday, accusing Israel of “unacceptable behaviour” and of breaching international humanitarian law.In that statement, the ICRC said its team had discovered four emaciated children living next to the corpses of their dead mothers in a house on which there were 12 dead bodies lying on mattresses. In another house, they found 15 survivors of the Israeli bombardment, several of them wounded, and, in a third, three corpses.The ICRC declined to comment on the allegations in the OCHA report but a spokeswoman said that Red Cross teams had returned to Zeitun yesterday and evacuated around 100 people.An Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, quoted a Zeitun resident giving details of the alleged incident over the telephone but stressed that it was unable to independently verify the account.Meysa Fawzi al Samuni, 19, said soldiers forced her and dozens of others to move into the warehouse-like home of another resident. Two men who left the house to pick up a relative were struck by “a missile or a shell,” she said.“My husband went over to them to help, and then a shell or missile was fired onto the roof of the warehouse. Based on the intensity of the strike, I think it was a missile from an F-16,” B’Tselem quoted her as saying.“After the smoke and dust cleared a bit, I looked around and saw 20-30 people who were dead, and about 20 who were wounded. As far as I know, the dead and wounded who were under the ruins are still there.”The allegations risk further souring relations between Israel and the United Nations. The main UN aid agency in Gaza, UNRWA, said yesterday that it was suspending operations after two of its drivers were killed in an Israeli attack on an aid convoy.Late last night in New York, the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where around 800 Palestinians have been killed in a two-week Israeli offensive.The 15-member council backed a resolution drafted by Britain in a 14-0 vote after the United States lifted its veto threat – infuriating the Israelis – but decided nevertheless to abstain.The resolution “stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”But the Israeli shelling continued unabated this morning, small plumes of white smoke rising every few minutes from the battered apartment blocks of Gaza City.Israel carried out more than 50 air strikes in Gaza overnight, in which 12 Palestinian civilians were reported to have been killed. The Israeli military said that the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and its allies fired more than 15 rockets into southern Israel, wounding one person.After a meeting of his security cabinet, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, rejected the resolution as “unworkable” today and said that Israel had “never agreed to let an external body decide its right to protect the security of its citizens”.“The firing of rockets this morning only goes to show that the UN decision is unworkable and will not be adhered to by the murderous Palestinian organisations,” he added.Hamas, the Islamic militant group which controls the Gaza Strip, also rejected the UN resolution.

Posted April 25, 2013 by Zavrina

Dear Larry, thank you for your kind words.I would only suggest let us refrain from too aggrandizing compliments lest the chest is growing too big to leave space for thought…There is an important observation in John York’s entry: “I think that what is being done in terms of the Middle East peace process is not unlike turning the running of a mental hospital over to its inmates.These people cannot make peace for the very simple reason that they are locked inside a situation that has, time and time again, clearly demonstrated their inability to do so. They are all prisoners of the system”.I would like to add the following:The boundaries of the hospital run by ecstatic crackpots are not limited to the Middle East. What happens on the right wing of the US is no less reckless and crazy. And one thing is VERY IMPORTANT: in Netanyahu’s count the American “Barry Goldwater”-Tea-Party right is enough to counterweight the sissy-Democrats with their sissy president and the spineless Europe and its “sissy-morals” (which more or less – at least officially – descends from Emmanuel Kant and Hillel the Elder).So postulating Iran-Israel problem axis without discussing the new Orwellian winds in US and the immanent weakness of Europe contributes to narrowing the scope of possible levers to avert the Israeli madness. Let us look how, for instance, Gershom Gorenberg’s book “Unmaking Israel” is discussed in the Commentary by Lazar Berman (not the late pianist). Mr Berman starts with the following:“The central question in the debate over Israel’s future is this: Can it remain both Jewish and democratic? Israel’s defenders answer with an enthusiastic yes.”And here are the last, concluding words of Mr. Berman:“The only enthusiastic audience for The Unmaking of Israel will likely be found among those who are always eager for a book by a Jew they can use as a shield against a charge of anti-Semitism as they array themselves for ideological battle against the Jewish state.” Commentary adds a short profile of Mr. Berman: “Lazar Berman is program manager of the foreign and defense policy studies department at the American Enterprise Institute.”So Commentary publishes a review that is totalitarian in its whole essence: the defendants of Israel (the good people) say everything is OK with Israel, and the others are not only wrong, they are foes. The very notion that SOMEBODY CARES FOR ISRAEL’S FUTURE (as Gershom so does with such a dignity) AND THEREFORE RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT ISRAEL’S WAYS is declared hostile. CARE IS HOSTILE. Remember? Ignorance is strength…- ?It is the true PRAVDA 1947 article. What we only lack here is the Gulag looming somewhere around, perhaps in the “new” (actually old as Tana”ch) form of eternal poverty and excommunication. So the Iran-Israel axis starts somewhere in Pennsylvania (where Netanyahu morphed into right-wing American) and HAS to be followed around the globe. Because the Israelis trapped under the immature governors look with eagerness to the philosophically truer path, linking their (our) scandalized identity with some wise sobriety, for the sake of our survival.Wit all best wishes -

Posted May 12, 2013 by Avari

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