First, to my Jewish subscribers, Shana Tova, and to my Muslim subscribers, Ramadan Kareem. It is rather unique that these two holidays start on the the same day this year. Let's hope this is a sign for better days ahead, albeit it is the only sign I can see.
Below I pass the two faces of Israel that we are witnessing today. The first by Shulamit Aloni shows signs of an Israeli awakening to reality. The second, deserves a place in the Racism Hall of Shame.
Reflecting on Ramadan for the children in poverty and under fire in Gaza,
Time to talk peace
Israel's leaders must change mindset, engage in dialogue with Palestinians
Published: 09.24.06, 00:28
In a few months, we will mark 40 years of "enlightened" occupation by our famed army in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel pretends to be an enlightened state and signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which rules that "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies" (Israel ratified the Convention in 1951.)
Over the years we deported, robbed land and stole water, destroyed crops, uprooted trees, turned every village and town into a detention camp, and set up hundreds of communities on land that doesn't belong to us.
We allowed the settlers to make a living by providing them with huge amounts of money (more than 5 times per capita compared to residents of southern development towns.)
We paved roads for Jews only, a case of blatant apartheid, while defending it using witty Jewish self-righteousness in the absence of fair and public reporting of the budgets involved, deeds committed, expropriation of land, and disregard for vandalism.
Morality, justice, law and order stopped at the Green Line. Lawlessness prevailed right under the noses and protective and soothing hand of the IDF and police, as lawbreaking settlers made their own laws undisturbed, and at times with the kind help of authorities.
Every illegal settlement enjoys water, hydro, and a paved road. The permanent residents, the natives, which the Israeli regime had to take care of, became seemingly non-existent. As if they are there but not there at the same time. The government only notices them if they bother it by filing complaints.
It's no wonder that the leader of a political movement in Israel and a Knesset member can declare that we should expel the Palestinians (and also Israel's Arab citizens) in order to take over what is still left to them.
But as we usually present it – we're the victim while they're the murderers with blood on their hands. We never report the number of Palestinians we murdered from the sky and killed by fire – women, children, the elderly, whole families, thousands of them.
No wonder they hate us
Aerial bombings kill wanted suspects, while eliminating many civilians – yet the hands of the pilot are "clean" of any blood. After all, the victims were killed at the press of a button while their killers returned home safely. None of them committed suicide to kill wanted suspects, who by the way are not a "ticking bomb" and no evidence exists against them.
At times it appears that the IDF, particularly during the last, needless Lebanon war, turns the Gaza Strip into live-fire training grounds for all army branches. Is it a wonder they hate us, and is it a wonder they elected Hamas in free elections, the same Hamas whose establishment we encouraged in order to undermine the PLO?
Many peace-making windows were opened over the years. We hindered all of them, because we coveted the whole of the Territories. We had the Oslo agreements. Twenty countries, which in the past had no ties with us, recognized Israel. We had welfare, international ties were blossoming, peace was at our gates – but we didn't want to make concessions.
Rabin was murdered for the sake of the settlers, and the job of burying peace-making attempts was completed by Ehud Barak with his "There's nobody to talk to!" spin. In order to establish himself in power, Barak also allowed Arik Sharon to visit Temple Mount with armed escorts, even though he was asked by Arafat the night before not to allow this due to the frustration and fury among Palestinians.
Now, another possibility for dialogue has opened. Yet our government is again turning its back on it. They don't know how to and don’t want to talk. Just now we brutally destroyed half of Lebanon at an immense cost and turned a million civilians into refugees in their own country.
Another superb achievement by the IDF and government of Israel. We're willing to resort to any provocation and blow any incident out of proportion, just to hold on to the regular pretext that "There's nobody to talk to", and that we don't talk to terrorists.
Yet the acts we undertake by starving, curfews, deportations, the theft of water and land, false arrests, and targeted killings – all those are, of course, not terror, because the acts are undertaken by a national army through the power of a decision made by legitimate government.
Wonderful, it turns out we forget the fascist states (including Stalin's USSR) that were very legitimate according to their own logic, while committing a plethora of terror acts.
The time has come for the government of Israel to start talking peace, and end the excuses for disqualifying and boycotting Palestinian representatives. The use of arms does not have to be the first reaction. Starvation, imprisonment, and expropriation by an occupying force attest to an unwillingness to reach an agreement and an addiction to greed.
This is reminiscent of Benny Elon comments: "We'll embitter their lives so that they transfer themselves elsewhere."
One cannot escape the impression that the racist and brutal declarations by Effie Eitam gave public expression to government policy over the years. We must note that the courts – the defenders of law and order, including the High Court of Justice – were partners to the developments that led to the legitimization of parties and Knesset members reminiscent of the racist, crude words uttered by MK Eitam.
In fact, it appears that Meir Kahane won, and we continue in his path – we don't talk, but rather, only kill, raze homes and roads and bridges, cut off electricity, fill prisons with women and children and elected officials, because all of them are the "terrorists" while we, the Jewish state, need to be defended from them. We're always the ultimate victim.
As Golda Meir said: "I don't forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill them." There you go, she's the killer, yet she's the victim.
For our sake, the citizens of Israel, and for the sake of brining peace and quiet – government leaders, start talking and keep doing it until you reach an agreement.
Unruly sons will be brought back into the country, we'll be respecting UN decisions and international conventions, we'll earnestly memorize the universal human rights declaration and our own declaration of independence, we'll rehabilitate our soul, and we'll attempt to establish a democratic country governed by the law and justice. Shana Tova.
Jewish rabbi calls for extermination of all Palestinian males
IMEMC - 18 September 2006
A Jewish rabbi living in the West Bank has called on the Israeli government to use their troops to kill all Palestinian males more than 13 years old in a bid to end Palestinian presence on this earth.
Extremist rabbi Yousef Falay, who dwells at the Yitzhar settlement on illegally seized Palestinian land in the northern part of the West Bank, wrote an article in a Zionist magazine under the title "Ways of War", in which he called for the killing of all Palestinian males refusing to flee their country, describing his idea as the practical way to ensure the non- existence of the Palestinian race.
"We have to make sure that no Palestinian individual remains under our occupation. If they (Palestinians) escape then it is good; but if anyone of them remains, then he should be exterminated", the fanatic rabbi added in his article.
Falay is not the first to have called for such extreme measures. Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Kach movement, called for "the transfer of Israel's Arab population to Arab (or other) lands." (As it states on the group's website). Followers of Kahane have been connected to a number of murders of Palestinians, particularly in the Hebron area in the southern West Bank. In the most well-known of such attacks, 29 Palestinians praying in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron were gunned down by Baruch Goldstein, a follower of Kahane, in 1994, with Israeli soldiers looking on and allowing the gunman to reload his automatic machine gun and continue killing innocent civilians. In response to that massacre, the Israeli authorities punished the Palestinian victims by taking over the Ibrahimi mosque and turning half of it into a synagogue, where Israeli settlers go to pray each week. And each year, on the anniversary of the massacre, Israeli settlers in Hebron dress up like Baruch Goldstein and parade through the streets of Hebron, firing guns in the air.
The Kach movement recognizes the 'transfer' of 750,000 Palestinians that took place in 1948 in order for the state of Israel to be created on their land, but argues on their website that this 'transfer' was incomplete, and that all Palestinians must be sent away, or killed, in order for Israel to remain a 'Jewish state'. Their platform reads, "In a genuinely 'JEWISH State', how can an Arab be an equal when that State has an Independence Day celebrating his defeat. Its flag isn't that of its people. He isn't trusted to serve in the army. His cousin born in Haifa [sic] and fled during the 1948 War of Independence cannot return... yet any Jew who never lived there before is welcomed with open arms. In short, Israel is his enemy's country, not his. So how can an Arab truly be a loyal citizen in a Jewish State? Simply, they cannot, and they must go!"
The idea of extermination of Palestinians, or their 'transfer' into other countries, is not only a view held by extremists on the fringes of society. Prominent Israeli politicians have also made calls for a 'transfer', or ethnic cleansing, based on race. Just last week, on September 11, 2006, an Israeli member of Parliament called explicitly for the transfer of Palestinians (whom he referred to as 'Arabs') from the West Bank (which he referred to as 'Judea and Samaria', the biblical name for the region where the majority of Palestinians now live).
"We have to expel most Arabs from Judea and Samaria," Eitam said at a memorial service for Lt. Amihai Merhavia, a soldier who was killed in South Lebanon in July. "We can't deal with all these Arabs, and we can't give up the territory, because we've already seen what they do there. Some of them might have to stay under certain conditions, but most of them will have to go." Despite a law that would strip Israeli parliament members of their immunity to prosecution if they are found make explicitly racist statements, no investigation of Eitam has occurred on this matter, and there was no condemnation of his statement by the Israeli government.
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