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.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
"We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians," he added. "The justification of Israel's occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures."
"Palestinians are suffering the consequences of the Israeli occupation: the lack of freedom of movement, the wall of separation and the military checkpoints, the political prisoners, the demolition of homes, the disturbance of socio-economic life and the thousands of refugees."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Last night I attended a protest of the Chicago Festival of Israel Cinema. This demonstration that fits in with the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society to use boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to force Israel to recognize and respect Palestinian human rights.
The protest is part of an ongoing campaign calling on Chicago Sister Cities International, which is co-sponsoring the festival and whose offices are located in the Chicago Cultural Center, to drop the Israeli city of Petach Tikva from its program and end business-as-usual with apartheid Israel.The festival is being promoted as “The Real Reel Israel” yet we know that the fictional image of Israel as a liberal, multicultural state being trotted out at this festival is another PR attempt by the racist Israeli government and its supporters to whitewash the all too real Israeli military occupation, oppression of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the ongoing denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
60,000 Palestinian books were systematically looted by the newly born State of Israel during the 1948 war. The story of the stolen books is not only at the heart of our project but also the launching pad of a much bigger and wider endeavor: We intend on communicating the scope and depth of the Palestinian tragedy through the destruction of Palestinian culture in 1948.
Although no one wants to talk about it, 9/11 is still hurting America. That terrible day inflicted a wound of public fear that easily reopens with the smallest provocation, and it continues to bleed the United States of money, lives, and goodwill around the world. Indeed, America's response to its fear has, in turn, made Americans less safe and has inspired more threats and attacks.In the decade since 9/11, the United States has conquered and occupied two large Muslim countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), compelled a huge Muslim army to root out a terrorist sanctuary (Pakistan), deployed thousands of Special Forces troops to numerous Muslim countries (Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, etc.), imprisoned hundreds of Muslims without recourse, and waged a massive war of ideas involving Muslim clerics to denounce violence and new institutions to bring Western norms to Muslim countries. Yet Americans still seem strangely mystified as to why some Muslims might be angry about this situation.In a narrow sense, America is safer today than on 9/11. There has not been another attack on the same scale. U.S. defenses regarding immigration controls, airport security, and the disruption of potentially devastating domestic plots have all improved.But in a broader sense, America has become perilously unsafe. Each month, there are more suicide terrorists trying to kill Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim countries than in all the years before 2001 combined. From 1980 to 2003, there were 343 suicide attacks around the world, and at most 10 percent were anti-American inspired. Since 2004, there have been more than 2,000, over 91 percent against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries.
Put differently, adopting the goal of transforming Muslim countries is what created the long-term military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, the United States would almost surely have sought to create a stable order after toppling the regimes in these countries in any case. However, in both, America's plans quickly went far beyond merely changing leaders or ruling parties; only by creating Western-style democracies in the Muslim world could Americans defeat terrorism once and for all.There's just one problem: We now know that this narrative is not true.New research provides strong evidence that suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance. Although this pattern began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, a wealth of new data presents a powerful picture.More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago's Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Currently, the first phase of the Jerusalem light rail is under construction. The route of the first instalment of the train line will connect the settlements of Neve Ya’aqov and Pisgat Ze’ev, via the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shu’afat, to the West Jerusalem city center and neighbourhoods such as Bet haKerem. The new transportation system is likely to facilitate commuting from settlements north of Jerusalem, as well as from the settlements east of Jerusalem like Ma’aleh Adumim and those in the Jordan Valley. Upon completion of all the eight lines planned for this project, estimated for 2020, the new transportation network will effectively connect the settlements of north Jerusalem with the settlement of Gilo in southern Jerusalem, de facto integrating portions of the occupied territory with the territory of the State of Israel. The only planned stops that would directly serve Palestinians would be located in the area of Shu’afat.
Monday 18th October 2010
Al-Khalil (Hebron) -- Noah El-Rajabi is a shepherd, with two hundred sheep and goats. He lives in Bani Na'im,17 kilometres from Hebron. He is married, and has seven children.Bani Na'im is under Israeli military and civil control.
Ten weeks ago the Israeli military demolished his house. His wife and younger children now live in two rented rooms in Hebron. Noah and his oldest son lived in a tent supplied by the Red Cross, so that Noah could continue to work with his flock.On Monday 11th October, at 8.00 a.m. the Israeli military arrived without warning and destroyed his water cistern, his tent, and a small wooden structure Noah used for cooking and storage.
His oldest son, aged 14, who was with Noah, protested at the soldiers' action, and was arrested. His son is accused of assaulting two soldiers. Noah reports that soldiers kicked and beat some of the animals and that one pregnant ewe aborted.CPTers met Noah in Hebron on Tuesday morning 12th October. He did not know where his son was being held, and where he could get water for his animals.
CPTers accompanied Noah to three Israeli police stations. The only information Israeli police gave was that his son was being held in Ofer military prison. They refused to accept a complaint against the Israeli soldiers for their behaviour.CPTers also visited Noah's rented accommodation in Hebron. They met his wife and some of his younger children. 'Please bring my son home', his wife pleaded.
The animals are being looked after by Noah's brother, and have been moved to another hillside, where there is water. Agencies in Hebron are trying to reconnect Noah's water supply, but the cistern will have to be restored, and will run the risk of further demolition orders in the future.CPT Al-Khalil is deeply concerned about the number of children who are being detained by the Israeli army and police. For further information on the imprisonment of Palestinian minors by the Israeli military, please refer to the annual reports of Defence for Children International (Palestine): www.deci-pal.org Go to 'publications', and then to 'Palestinian Child Prisoners' June 2009
Thursday, October 14, 2010
14 October 2010
AL KHALIL (HEBRON)
Early on Friday morning, 8 October, CPTers went to the Jabal Johar district of Hebron in response to news that the Israeli military had killed two Palestinians.
When the CPTers arrived, the military had cordoned off the area, but a Palestinian family invited CPTers to observe from the rooftop of a nearby Palestinian apartment block. From there they could see heavy machinery at work just behind a mosque, and learned from local people that the military had demolished a three-storey building in reprisal for the killings of four Israeli settlers near Kiryat Arba four weeks ago. The two dead men, thought to be members of the military wing of Hamas, were accused of killing the settlers.
While the CPTers watched from the rooftop, a large crowd of young Palestinian men carried away the body of one of the dead men from the site of the demolished house. When the young men returned about an hour later, they began throwing rocks at the Israeli Border Police in the street below the apartment and burning tires. The Border Police responded with percussion grenades and later with tear-gas.
When the Israeli soldiers had completed the demolition of the house, they removed the heavy machinery, and gradually withdrew from the area. The CPTers then went to the site of the demolished house and discovered it had been home to four families: about thirty people in all. The families had kept sheep and goats in the basement, and dead animals were lying on the ground. Curtains and bedding hung from the tangled wreckage of iron reinforcing rods and broken concrete. An upper room had been ready for a bridal suite, and some of the furniture was still in place.
More than a hundred Palestinian men and boys stood silently in the rubble of the house, while women who had lived in the house gathered nearby, bewildered. "Please tell the world what has happened here today," they asked a CPTer. Another woman yelled, "What have we done to deserve this?" while she stared at the ruins.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The plan, before the Israeli Ministry of Interior derailed it, was to return to Palestine right about now. Unfortunately, I am not able to get another Israeli tourist visa until January (maybe never given that I am writing this "on the record" for blogosphere). So, I am going to be based out of our office in Chicago for the next two months. I will still be blogging here, hopefully often since I will be exclusively focused on CPT Palestine communications work. I will be focusing on improving the Palestine section of the CPT website, expanding our communications through various internet channels, and myriad other things. In short, I will be working (from the technology side) on how to tell the stories. Those of us on the ground are hearing the stories, so we need to get those stories out to you all, so that we can all work on changing the unjust realities on the ground.
After wrapping things up in Chicago, I will be home for Christmas, and then off to Palestine in January.
Secondly, and more importantly, CPT has felt the crunch of the worldwide economic recession. All of our projects are unfortunately headed down the path of becoming short-staffed. The At-Tuwani project, which I covered for the last two years on this blog, is currently short-staffed and under-funded.
For the first six months of this fiscal year, donations have dropped more than 23% when compared with last year's income during that period. That's a shortfall of more than $77,000.
To continue the work we are currently doing we need your support. Click here to make a donation, or make a donation on our Facebook page, if you prefer.
Also, an important note. One of CPT's longtime supporters has agreed to match all donations, dollar for dollar, that are made between now and the end of October (with a limit of $5,000). So anything you can give would be excellent, your $10 becomes $20 or your $100 becomes $200.
Thanks so much.
Your donation goes to a lot of things, but it pretty much comes down to trying to give these girls a better life, a fraction of hope for their future.
|From Do Unto Others|
Sunday, October 10, 2010
To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to deemphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an idealogical choice. It serves -- unwittingly -- to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly excercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress -- that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.
The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks) -- the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress -- is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders.
Friday, October 08, 2010
First, a settler, David Be'eri, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan ran over two Palestinian children with his car.
Secondly, and certainly related, a woman in her fifties died of a heart attack sustained over two weeks ago following a shooting in Silwan. Haniyeh Auda suffered a heart attack immediately following a shooting in which her son-in-law, Samer Sarhan, was mortally wounded by a settler security guard from the settlement in Silwan. The death toll continues to rise. These incidents aren't isolated events, but instead, they ripple and spiral and fester. Rest in peace Haji Haniyeh
Thirdly, an Israeli army raid of the Jabal Johar neighborhood of Hebron, left two men dead. The two men killed were affiliated with the Hamas military wing. So, most pundits won't blink an eye because they were Hamas militants, but I beg to differ. First, Hamas militants or Israeli soldiers, what's the difference? One is an armed individual who represents a nation, and the other is an armed individual who represents a national people group that has systematically been denied statehood. Are you really going to argue that the Israeli soldier is fighting for the protection of his people/nation and the Hamas soldier is not? The Hamas militant believes himself to be fighting to protect his people while the Israeli soldier, arguably, by serving in the occupied territories is endangering his nation (as in, occupation and subjugation breeds armed resistance).
Also, a three story home was demolished in the process of this raid. The Israeli miltary said they used "engineering tools to cause him to exit the building." So the man was hiding inside the building, fearing his own death, and then bulldozers demolished the building which houses three, or more, families? Don't they have flashbangs and tear gas and sound bombs? In fact they do because I have seen, heard, and tasted those nasty buggers many times. This is simply an act of collective punishment. Not only is the father/brother/son dead, but now his extended family doesn't have a home. Also, the whole area was put under curfew and countless people were detained. The IDF reportedly closed the area to journalists and confiscated cameras of journalists who had made their way into the area. Here's a (seemingly phone-taken) photo that made its way out.