Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The word has only one purpose: to forestall consideration of the political motivation for acts of violence. Invoke the word with the utmost gravity and then you can use your moral indignation and outrage to smother intelligent analysis. Terrorists do what they do because they are in the terrorism business — it’s in their blood.Read the italicized again.
That's exactly what happens when the word terrorism is used. You can only get skin deep when you use terrorism to describe the use of violence. Using the word terrorism assumes the acts of terrorism are born in vacuums, rather than spawned and festered through a constructed web of social, political, economic, and psychological factors used to subjugate and repress a group of people.
Woodward goes on to link the use of terrorism with Zionism.
We live in an era in which “terrorism” — as a phenomenon to be opposed — has become the primary bulwark through which Zionism defends itself from scrutiny. Keep on playing the terrorist-naming game and the Zionists win.
This incident showed all the signs of a terror attack. We take great pains to educate our officers about the purity of arms. It’s simply not possible that a soldier who did not sense danger would shoot someone at point-blank range.
This was a car accident and nothing more. This isn’t someone who boarded a bus with a bomb and they attempted to shoot him in the head to prevent him from harming others. Under no circumstance would it be permissible to shoot him at point-blank range. Without any doubt, this was murder.
…We [will] try to attend future hearings whenever possible.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
- I had a Po-Boy Shrimp sandwich, a fried prawn sandwich with lettuce and a white sauce.
- I had Rice and red beans. I was told this was a traditional Monday meal. A Monday meal because people traditionally would cook a ham on Sunday and have leftovers. So on Monday, you cook up some rice and red beans and put that leftover ham to good use. I had my red beans and rice (on a Monday night) with chicken.
- I drank some Abita beer, a local brew from Abita Springs, LA. I tried their Amber, IPA, Purple Haze (Rasberry), and their summer wheat. Their rasberry beer was a good, sweet/fruity beer (it's definitely not my style, but it was a good fruit beer). I thought their IPA was a solid IPA that was worth going back to a couple of times.
- I ate a pulled pork sandwich at a BBQ joint, with a stellar potato salad on the side. I believe the restaurant was called The Joint.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
At-Tuwani – On the morning of Saturday, 12th June 2010, shortly before 11.00, about thirty Israeli settlers from Havat Ma’on oupost, masked and armed with slings and sticks, invaded At-Tuwani village, attacking the most exposed house of the village and throwing stones against Palestinian villagers.The settlers approached the house and soon damaged the low stone fence and broke the glass of a window using an iron stick. At the time of the attack, only women and children were at home because all the men of the family were going to the near city of Yatta for a relative’s funeral. The women with the children soon left the house, running away scared. While running, one of the women, age 19, pregnant and with a baby in her arms, fell to the ground. Later in the morning, she has been transferred by a Palestinian Red Cross ambulance to the near hospital of Yatta.When Operation Dove volunteers reached the place, together with many Palestinian residents of the village, the settlers were moving away from the house, without stopping throwing stones with slings. Some Palestinians have been hit and afterwards treated by paramedical staff.Israeli army, police and border police came about half an hour after the aggression began, when the settlers had already retired among the trees of Havat Ma’on. Shortly after the security forces had arrived, some settlers with uncovered face came out from the wood, provoking a lot of tension among the Palestinians. Some activists, belonging to the Israeli peace association Ta’ayush, who had arrived shortly before, interposed betweeen the Palestinians and the soldiers; one of them have been arrested.In the meantime, some army vehicles blocked the main entrance to the village, in order to control the area. After the accident, the police collected testimonies from all the witnesses and took pictures to document the damage caused to the Palestinian property by the settlers aggression. Two Palestinian men who live in the house attacked by settlers went to Kiryat Arba police station to file a complaint. Two Operation Dove volunteers did the same in order to release their testimony about the events and deliver evidences (photos and videos).Operation Dove have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.Pictures of the incidents: snipurl.com/xcwbhNote: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma'on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]
Last Saturday settlers from Havat Maon damaged a home of a Twane resident in South Hebron Hills. Volunteers who came demanded from the regiment commander to detain the rioters, but in response to this demand the commander tried to remove the volunteers and even cocked his weapon at one of the volunteers. The RHR lawyer who was on the phone during this incident asked for the reaction of the Humanitarian Center of the Civil Administration and the reply that was received was that the regional commander cocked his weapon in order to deter the volunteers. The lawyer asked if the use of a weapon against unarmed people as a way of deterring trouble was reasonable. The police were requested to investigate the regional commander. A complaint regarding this incident will be passed to the Criminal Investigation Division.
A motorist from East Jerusalem who ran over and wounded several Border Police officers Friday was shot twice in the face from close range while still lying on the ground, eyewitnesses said. Neighborhood witnesses said the fatal shots were fired once the officers no longer had reason to fear that their lives were in danger, and could have easily arrested the suspect.Witnesses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz told Haaretz that the motorist, Ziad Jilani, suddenly swerved his car and hit the group of officers walking further up the road. They said, however, that they believed the collision was an accident, and not committed intentionally as initially reported.Jilani, 39, was self-employed and the father of three daughters. His wife is a U.S. citizen, and he himself lived for an extended period in both the U.S. and Switzerland.Around 2 P.M. Friday, Jilani was driving his van home from prayers in nearby Shoafat. Several minutes before the incident, Border Police officers were seen riding horses toward the Wadi Joz industrial area. A number of other officers were deployed around the area, and several started making their way toward Jerusalem's Old City. Jilani's car was traveling in tightly packed, slow-moving traffic with no oncoming vehicles.The neighborhood soon filled up with people returning from Friday prayers, and some stores were already being opened. Two eyewitnesses said stones were hurled at the officers, one of which struck Jilani's car. He then swerved his car left, they said, veering from its lane and striking the group of policemen.Shots were heard immediately, another witness told Haaretz, and one of the officers fell to the ground. Two policemen tended to him until an ambulance arrived, and the other officers got in their vehicles and began pursuing Jilani, who had continued driving after the collision, and shooting at his car.Another witness said that he had not seen stones thrown, but rather believed Jilani had tried to overtake the vehicles in front of him. Several other witnesses said the windshield of Jilani's car had been shattered, but were unsure if the damage had been caused by a bullet or a stone.Jilani turned his vehicle into a dead-end alley where his uncle lives, and the officers continued pursuing his vehicle and shooting.A mother and her adult daughter present at the scene saw the man emerge from his car. The daughter told Haaretz, "I was further down the alley, and I heard shots ... I saw a car driving, followed by many police officers. The car stopped right next to me, and someone got out. I saw him next to the car door, and he looked at me with an expression I didn't really understand, but I will never forget."There was shooting and I started to scream," the woman continued. "My mother ran toward me and threw me to the ground. Everything happened within seconds. I realized he wasn't walking normally, and saw the shattered windshield of the car, maybe from a stone. He ran until he fell over," she said.Ten meters separated the parked car and the spot where Jilani fell to the ground."He got out of the car, and they came after him. Not just one of them shot, but many of them, and then they started yelling in Hebrew for people to go back into their homes," the daughter said.Both women said they saw Jilani lying on his stomach with several officers gathered around him, and the daughter said one of the policemen kicked him in the head. The mother said she saw an officer point his rifle extremely close to Jilani's head, and when she put her head down to the asphalt she heard a shot ring out.A Border Police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Moshe Pinchi, did not comment on the questions posed to him by Haaretz. In his response, Pinchi wrote, "Individuals have been killed and dozens wounded in vehicle attacks in Jerusalem between 2008 and 2009 ... All of those attacks were committed by East Jerusalem residents, and in each case those close to the perpetrators described the incidents as 'accidents.'"Four Border Police officers were wounded in this last incident in Wadi Joz and hospitalized for treatment, and only by a miracle were fatalities avoided," he said.
Not a word about the execution. Also, no proof provided that any of the incidents reported by him were proven to be terror attacks. The assumption, as always with the Border Police, is that any Arab is a likely terrorist and any Arab driving a car has a lethal weapon and is willing to use it. The Border Police have a well-deserved reputation among Israelis for extreme brutality against Palestinians.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A Palestinian driver was shot and killed in Jerusalem Friday after running over two Israeli border patrolmen, with an apparent intent to kill.
The man reportedly hit two the two policemen in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, with reported light injuries sustained by both victims.
According to police officials, the driver drove on a short distance, and then proceeding to flee the scene on foot. Police officers called on the suspect to stop, and opened fire at him once it was clear he had ignored their instructions.
And here's the problem, usually the story stops here. People will pick up the NY Times tomorrow and read a one paragraph blurb on the attempted 'terror attack,' turn to their seat mate on the airplane and utter, "those people are still fighting over that worthless, arid piece of land in the middle east. Arabs are still trying to run over Jewish policemen. The fighting will never end over there."
That's why it's important that there are people not taking the Israeli official account of incidents at face value (see the recent Israeli monopoly of the media following the Freedom Flotilla incident which resulted in the murder of 9 Turkish activists at the hands of Israeli navy commandos).
The man killed was named Ziad Al-Julani, 38, he was the father of 3 girls.
Ziad was driving through the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Al-Joz, when he came across a flying checkpoint, one of the many checkpoints that Israeli soldiers erect unannounced that only stay in place for a temporary time and purpose. This particular flying checkpoint was placed in Wadi Al-Joz following Friday prayers.
My brother told his wife in the morning that he will go do his prayers at Al-Aqsa and after that he will visit his uncle and cousins before he comes back to take his American wife and three beautiful daughters to dinner. He did his Friday prayers and was on his way to visit his uncle in Wadi Al Jouz [in East Jerusalem]. He was surprised as he turned into a small street that there was a checkpoint and a confrontation between stone throwers and the Israeli special forces. His car was being hit with stones, and everybody thinks his car went out of control while he was avoiding the confrontation. No body knows if he hit anybody or not while his car went out of control, but all of a sudden one of the policeman shouted that he was trying to kill them and they started shooting at him in the car.
He was shot in the arm already when he got out of the car and he was trying to avoid more shots to himself so he started running towards my uncle’s house. He was shot in the back and leg and fell on the ground shouting asking for help from my cousins and others. People tried to come help him but they were beaten with bats and would not let anybody near him. My brother was still alive but flat on the floor and totally unarmed but one of the policeman came with rage and came close by and put the gun in my brothers head and shot him point blank in the face twice and another in the belly.
My cousin came at that time and realized it was my brother and he went running to him to try to save him since he was still breathing. The same policeman came and hit him in the head with his rifle and busted his head open. He then pointed the gun on his head wanting to shoot him too but his mom and other women intercepted and got beaten up with bats. My brother was still breathing and the ambulance was trying to get to him but the policemen just left him on the floor to die and would not allow anybody to help him. The policeman that killed my brother supposedly rejoiced killing an Arab and the others gave him a pat on the back and clapped for him. Finally the Red Crescent did not listen to the Special Forces and decided to risk it and go help my brother. My brother was on the ground for 15 minutes which could have saved his life if he got immediate medical attention. My brother died in the ambulance in my cousin's arms.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
But wait, I also heard there is no siege or blockade on Gaza. This must be a crock of lies from NBC.
IDF EXECUTED MAVI MARMARA VICTIMS
In my earlier posts about the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara, I used terms like “kill shot” and “execution-style” to describe these events. I based my judgment on the narratives told by eyewitnesses and the Turkish autopsy reports. Some readers were taken aback and accused me of overstatement, exaggeration and worse. But this video vividly confirms my strong suspicions.
It shows IDF commandos executing a passenger on the Mavi Marmara with one and possibly two point blank shots from above into the victim who lies on the boat deck. In truth, one cannot distinguish the face of the victim since it is blocked by a boat railing. But from the muzzle flashes and weapon recoils and the downward direction in which the shooter looks at his victim, it is clear this is an execution just as I described earlier.
The video caption claims this is the murder of 19 year-old Turkish-American high school student Furkan Dogan. While it is possible there is earlier footage not shown in this video that displayed the victim’s face and enabled one to identify him, I won’t vouch for Dogan as being the specific victim. But what is incontrovertible is that this is A Mavi Marmara passenger being murdered.
This changes everything. Here for the first time is evidence that the IDF was not just engaged in a defensive operation, but that it had determined to murder passengers. Gone are the hasbara rationales which defended Israel and blamed the victims for their own deaths.
I am ashamed of Israel. I am ashamed of my president’s response to Israel.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Cross-posted from Paul Woodward's War in Context
“All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns.” These are the words of Ken O’Keefe, a former US Marine who was just deported from Israel after surviving the Mavi Marmara massacre.
In 2002, O’Keefe initiated what some would regard as a quixotic endeavor: an effort to prevent the war in Iraq by positioning Western volunteers as human shields at strategic sites in Iraq. TheTruth Justice Peace action failed, but O’Keefe’s passion to follow the dictates of his own conscience has continued unabated.
This is part of a statement O’Keefe made upon arriving in Istanbul on Friday after his expulsion from Israel:
I remember being asked during the TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq if I was a pacifist, I responded with a quote from Gandhi by saying I am not a passive anything. To the contrary I believe in action, and I also believe in self-defence, 100%, without reservation. I would be incapable of standing by while a tyrant murders my family, and the attack on the Mavi Marmara was like an attack on my Palestinian family. I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who refused to let a rogue Israeli military exert their will without a fight. And yes, we fought.
When I was asked, in the event of an Israeli attack on the Mavi Mamara, would I use the camera, or would I defend the ship? I enthusiastically committed to defence of the ship. Although I am also a huge supporter of non-violence, in fact I believe non-violence must always be the first option. Nonetheless I joined the defence of the Mavi Mamara understanding that violence could be used against us and that we may very well be compelled to use violence in self-defence.
I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos. This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day. One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution. I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them. I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers. But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did. I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun. I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder.
I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea. I and hundreds of others know the truth that makes a mockery of the brave and moral Israeli military. We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos. These boys were at our mercy, they were out of reach of their fellow murderers, inside the ship and surrounded by 100 or more men. I looked into the eyes of all three of these boys and I can tell you they had the fear of God in them. They looked at us as if we were them, and I have no doubt they did not believe there was any way they would survive that day. They looked like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.
But they did not face an enemy as ruthless as they. Instead the woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive. Able to live another day. Able to feel the sun over head and the embrace of loved ones. Unlike those they murdered. Despite mourning the loss of our brothers, feeling rage towards these boys, we let them go. The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murders, we are the defenders, and yet we fought. We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity. We were right to do so, in every way.
While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect. Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted. Access to food and water and toilets was denied. Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs. We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands. We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really. We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out… and I was beaten again while in my cell.
In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers. Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them. Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.
In conclusion; I would like to challenge every endorser of Gandhi, every person who thinks they understand him, who acknowledges him as one of the great souls of our time (which is just about every western leader), I challenge you in the form of a question. Please explain how we, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are not the modern example of Gandhi’s essence? But first read the words of Gandhi himself.
“I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.” – Gandhi
And lastly I have one more challenge. I challenge any critic of merit, publicly, to debate me on a large stage over our actions that day. I would especially love to debate with any Israeli leader who accuses us of wrongdoing, it would be my tremendous pleasure to face off with you. All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns, so I am ripe to see you in a new context. I want to debate with you on the largest stage possible. Take that as an open challenge and let us see just how brave Israeli leaders are.
I doubt that there is a single Israeli official who would have the guts to take up O’Keefe’s challenge. Instead, the IDF has issued a laughable claim:
Ken O’Keefe (Born 1969), an American and British citizen, is a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organization. He attempted to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization.
The IDF spelled his name correctly and the year he was born — thereafter, the errors and deceptions follow. O’Keefe renounced his US citizenship in March 2001. He is now an Irish and Palestinian citizen, though describes himself as “in truth a world citizen.”
If the IDF had a shred of evidence that O’Keefe was heading to Gaza to train a commando unit for Hamas, I guarantee he would not now be in Istanbul. He would be in an Israeli jail awaiting trial. (In an interview with Al Jazeera appearing below, he does indeed dismiss Israel’s claims.)
But when O’Keefe says that all he saw in Israel was “cowards with guns” he points to a fundamental truth that reveals the character of the Jewish state.
As a nation that revels in its willingness to crush its opponents, Israel operates with the mindset of every bully: it only feels convinced of its strength when facing a weak opponent.
Lacking the courage to hold its own among equals, Israel operates in a world defined by dominance and oppression.