The Way to the Spring; Life and Death in Palestine

I stopped reading about Palestine a while ago. Well not completely. I kept following the news but I stopped reading books; stories, novels, memoirs. I don’t know why. Maybe because it was distressful.

At times, I felt a painful feeling of “missing” Palestine. A place I can no longer visit.  Of course, I always try to remind my self how lucky I am: I had the opportunity to visit my homeland and create memories, not once, but several times. Millions of Palestinians cant visit. Still this “missing” feeling that I experienced from reading suffocated me. I decided to withdraw.

But, I recently picked up a book  called “The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine,”  by Ben Ehrenreich and it captivated me.

All the feelings and emotions that one may experience when reading about Palestine will surface: longing, happiness, love, joy, anger, bitterness, longing, motivation, demotivation. All the thoughts that one may have when reading about Palestine also surface: how come we are silent about ongoing ethnic-cleansing; how is it acceptable to murder Palestinians because they happen to be Palestinians; how can the practice of stealing one’s land and ancestors land, by the powerful oppressor, be acceptable; how on earth are we going to stop this brutal embedded injustice Palestinians, living in historic Palestine, experience on daily bases.”

That “missing” feeling, which I cant explain in words yet, emerged while reading the pages of the book, and at times i thought “I must try and go again.”

The book narrates the stories of various Palestinians and their unwavering will to defy oppression. The courage, love of life, and determination they embody, and that is humanly narrated in this book, is extraordinary. It made me contemplate my own attitude and perspective towards life. The things I take for granted, my obsession with wanting to do more and achieve more ( I guess this is the rat-race), worrying about everything and nothing, being agitated for having free time, as if I need to be on the run all the time. It made me think of what it means to be happy, this notion that became so blurred, to me at least. It also made me think of the idea of having a choice (which I will dedicate another post for).

The book is also an extremely valuable historical account. It traces, throughout the book, the connection between the colonial rule of Palestine by the British and the current structures of illegal military occupation, exclusion, and domination. Its the nuances of resistance and Palestinians daily encounter with the occupation structure,  which tends to be overlooked when writing and talking about Palestine, that allows us to critically understand the grave trauma the Palestinians had to endure when they lost their land, before 1948. I think this is important because the Israeli narrative continues to posit that the Jews were not supported by the British, or anyone, in the process of establishing their state – positioning themselves as the victims that were fighting against the world. The book in many ways challenges this.

Below are some quotes from the book, however, these are just few from the parts I highlighted that made me stop and think. There are many more in this brilliant book.

Author on writing the book “…I aspire here to something more modest than objectivity, which is truth. It is a slippery creature, and elusive, one that lives most of the time in contradiction. Its pursuit requires not only the employment of rigorous doubt and thorough research but the capacity for empathy and discernment, qualities available only to individuals embedded in bodies, places, histories,  and points of view. There is blood is us, to paraphrase Eid Suleiman al-Hathalin, whom you will meet, and spirit and a heart. This is not a handicap but a strength, and the source of our salvation.”

In providing context to the things he saw, that symbolized power and influence, he said the following:

“…the muqata’a as a sort of stone palimpsest of eighty years of colonial and now neo-colonial rule. It’s core – the concrete structure in which Arafat was confined – was originally erected by the British, specifically by an Irish Protestant policeman named Charles Tegart. England’s colonial adventures began closer to home, and, between stints in Calcutta, Tegart had worked as an intelligence officer for the British crown during the Irish war for independence. He later proved so talented at crushing anticolonial insurgencies in India that he was granted Knighthood. His efforts there were not universally appreciated – Tegart survived no fewer than six assassination attempts and developed a reputation for rough methods (“torture” would be the contemporary appellation) that would follow him to Palestine, where he arrived in 1937, one year into the Arab revolt. In Palestine, Tegart sketched out an early draft of what would become the basic infrastructure of Israel’s occupation: he militarized the colonial constabulary, constructed the region’s first border wall along what is not the Israeli-Lebanese frontier, erected pillbox guard towers along the roads, and built sixty-two reinforced-concrete forts, each designed to withstand a month-long siege. This was the architecture of domination: unapologetically practical structures designed to protect and sustain an occupying army stationed amid a populace that did not want it there. After 1948, many of Tegart forsts that fell inside Israel remained police stations for the new Jewish state. Some became museums. Others were abandoned. One became a secret IDF prison and interrogation site known only as Facility 1391.”

“the ability of local military commanders to declare any area of their choosing a “closed military zone,” in which all civilian trespass is forbidden, dates back to the British Defense Regulation of 1945, which were preserved after the foundation of the Israeli state. Article 125 of the Defense Regulations was used extensively in the Arab north of Israel well into the 1960’s to prevent displaced Palestinians from returning to their homes, to quash demonstrations, and to confiscate land for Jewish settlement.”

In one of his conversation with his host Zidan Sharabti in Hebron, Ben shared the following:

“… I once asked him if he didnt sometimes lose hope. Even as I asked it, I knew it was a foolish question, but I needed to know how he kept going. The darkness in Hebron was so complete and overwhelming. (“How can one emerged unharmed from this daily schizophrenia?” asked the Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo after a visit to Hebron in 1995, half a decade before things got really bad.) I wanted light, just a little. Of course he lost hope, Zidan answered. He looked annoyed. “Its not a matter of hope,” he went on. It was just that he didn’t have any alternatives.”

After living in Hebron for sometime, and living with Palestinian families through daily struggles, Ben said:

“People in Hebron used the word “normal” a lot. Here are a few things that people there told me were “normal”: Screaming…,Being shot at and having rocks and Moltov cocktails thrown at your house…,Soldiers firing tear gas at schoolchildren to mark the beginning and end of each day of classes…,Being arrested, questioned for hours, and resealed without charges or apology…,Having your ID taken at checkpoint by a soldier who slips it into his pocket and keeps it there until the whim strikes him that you’ve waited a lot…, Having a solider with an automatic rifle stationed at all times just behind or in front of your house…,Everything.”

He refers to Hebron as “Planet Hebron.”

“It’s our planet. We made it what it is. And by we I mean all of us — those who acted, and those who do not act. … Hebron’s realities are the same as those in the rest of Palestine, only boiled down under tremendous pressure until they have been reduced to a thick and noxious paste. And Palestine’s realities are not different from our own.”

During his time in Umm-al Kheir, Ben introduces us to Eid Sulaiman al-Hathalin who is a sculptor; vegetarian; searcher for unexploded munitions. Ben shares the following one of their conversations on settlers:

“”I think this land is very big,” Eid said. “It can take all of us without any problems. But because we are humans  we are stupid and we do not see the truth. We do not want to speak to our neighbors and there is a misunderstanding between us.” I was about to reply that he made it too simple, that good people did ugly things all over the world, and it was rarely a question of individuals and their choices or emotions, but system, machines that were larger than us. But Eid beat me to it and said it again, his refrain: its so easy, he said, and so hard.”

 

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Togi

Yesterday we said goodbye to a beautiful soul that gave her family so much love and joy. Aunti Rula  you left us way too early and all of a sudden. It was always your nature to be light, happy, and quick in getting things done and that is exactly how you left this world; peacefully, quickly, and calmly.

I never had the chance to truly reflect on my relationship with you aunti because why would I when you were supposed to stay around. But thinking about you i can only seem to associate you with my happy childhood memories. My first visits to Cairo, Beirut, Yemen, and Luxor and Aswan were in your company. In Cairo,  you took me to khan el kalili where my obsession with silver jewelry and rings started.

We went to Beirut, with your children, Karma and Kareem in a cab driving through Syria when I was thirteen. A route that is made impossible now due to the ongoing war. At least aunti you no longer have to hear and see the horrific events unfolding around us. I know it pained you.

In Beirut, our time was filled with good food, swimming, tanning and sight seeing. You loved to have fun  and so we always did in your company. I am trying to remember more, but unfortunately I cant now.

When I visited you in Yemen, i think thirteen years ago, I remember being told that it was better to cover my hair, and I didn’t want to. I asked you if I should and you just looked at me and said “do whatever makes you feel comfortable.” of course you would say that Aunti. That is what you always wanted people around you to feel.Comfort.

You and your family showed us around, took us to Bab Al Yemen, and together, we were almost abducted by wanderers who stopped our car on our way to the mountains. Of course, you smiled at us, again to comfort us.

Summer time in your apartment was our highlight every year. You were so generous and kind. When we used to wake up, at like 2:00 pm, food was always on the table. The first question you would ask was ” did you have fun last night?” instead of “what time did you get back home last nigh?”

When we used to pass our curfew, which we usually did, you used to get angry with us. But we were never upset with you. because we simply couldn’t. I am not sure you knew but when you were lecturing us, rightfully so,  your face was always smiling.

Togi was the nickname Sally gave to you because you used to love the biscuits called Togi. You used to laugh so hard every time someone called you Togi, you loved it and it became your nickname.

You’ve always thought of me as your very own daughter.  I knew that even if you did not say it to me. When I graduated from college, you were constantly asking about my job search and encouraging me to  start somewhere and grow. When i told you I will be working in Zurich you did not like it because you did not want me to leave. You then started nagging me to come back to get married and settle, you always wanted to celebrate me. I then told you I am going to do my Masters. You said “mabrook, bravo aliki, but when you are done you need to settle, enough” things my mother, bless her heart, continues to say to me.  You always cared. despite having too much on your plate. You always made people around you feel like they mattered. that they were loved. For that I have no doubt that you are now being loved by the angels around you. When i  bid you farewell your face was shinning.

Tala, Karma, and Kareem, words truly escape me after this traumatic week. I just want to say I love you all very much and I am here by your side. I cannot comprehend the pain you are going through. But I know you are strong because strength is what your mom taught you throughout.

2016 will not be the same without aunti Rula, but we should all try to love more, smile more, communicate more, and be present more. This is what aunti Rula would want us to do.

الله يرحمك يا محبوبة كل الناس

 

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Despair

Every time I am in despair I search through the words of Edward Said…

“Remember the solidarity shown to Palestine here and everywhere… and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding. Why? Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.”

Then you find these images that are full of steadfastness, determination, and persistence. Youth that is full of life, energy, and creativity, fighting an oppressive killing machine. Stones and knifes fight against tanks, live bullets, and tear gas canisters.  Palestinian youth is revolting because they have nothing to look forward to and nothing to lose. They are revolting because we failed them. We, meaning the people that believe in humanity, believe in life, happiness, love and justice.

Despite letting them down and despite the colonization and despicable conditions Palestinians live under, they are the ones that are giving us hope and are showing us the light. They are my smiling fighters, my heroes, and my hope.

Palestine is the compass.

 

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BDS: Freedom, Justice, Equality

My article on Jordan BDS after its one year anniversary. Published September, 2015.

http://www.jordanbusinessmagazine.com/features/bds-freedom-justice-equality
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Jordanian Band El Morabba3 Is Bringing Originality to the Arab Music Scene

My Interview with El Morabba3 band published on August 26th, 2015

 

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Check the link below.

http://muftah.org/jordanian-band-el-morabba3-is-bringing-originality-to-the-arab-music-scene/#.ViH9Cfmqqko

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Minister No More!

Yanis Varoufakis

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

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Ask about me. إسأل عني

You can see the sorrow and the heartache over his homeland in his eyes! No words can express the suffering Palestinians faced over the loss of their land and life, emotionally, physically, economically, politically, and socially.

Razan Masri

Your morning is my morning only if you ask about me or express a loving expression. Here we are in the lands of Palestine being mistreated by occupiers who claim that this is their land. We have no power, no army, & without an established leadership. We don’t mind them living with us but they mind us living in the lands of our ancestors. They came yesterday, we were always here.

Ask about me. Even if you are so very far away from me… You give me positive energy, you remind me of hope, love and unity. Ask about me… If you are a Palestinian inside Palestine, in the occupied territories or in the semi occupied “known as the West Bank” surrounded by settlers from all angles… Ask about me if you’re in Jordan, Lebanon or Syria … ask about me if your anywhere far around the World … If you are…

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#Nakba67 #نكبة67 # فلسطين

Source: http://www.palestineposterproject.org/

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FAREWELL TO JUSTICE?

FAREWELL TO JUSTICE?

By Jafar Ramini

Are you sitting comfortably? Has the enormity of what happened in Tel Aviv Wednesday night/Thursday morning sunk in yet? Then I shall begin.

When the Jewish electorate in Israel returned Netanyahu to power in March they signaled to the world that peace and justice were the last things on their minds. As a result on Wednesday night Mr. Netanyahu glued together the most far-right coalition of Jewish extremist, racist and bloodthirsty politicians in Israel. Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party and a vehement opponent of any accommodation with the Palestinians has boasted; “I have killed many Arabs in my time. It doesn’t bother me.” He has both said it and written it. He was the one who pressured Netanyahu into giving venomous Ayelet Shaked the portfolio of Minister of Justice. Ms Shaked looks like an angel but she has blood on her hands and in her heart. She has made it clear that in her eyes all Palestinians should be wiped out.

Speaking of Palestinian women she said in July last year, “They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists,” she said, adding, “They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands”
She went on to describe Palestinian children as ‘little snakes’.

Is this a Minister of Justice?

“The demand to give Ayelet Shaked the Justice portfolio is like giving the fire and rescue services to a pyromaniac”; Opposition lawmaker Machman Shai told the Arutz Sheva news site.

The fire has certainly been ignited. Only yesterday the Israeli housing authority approved 900 new homes for Jews in Occupied East Jerusalem.

You have got to hand it to Netanyahu. He is a man of his word;
“We will continue to build and expand settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” he said during his electoral campaign. “There will never be a Palestinian state. Not on my watch.” And the carnage continues.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Zionist project in Palestine was conceived on the lie that Palestine was an empty piece of land and was ripe for the picking to establish a Jewish state. Exclusively for the Jews. Thus the fabricated slogan, ‘A land without people for a people without a land.’

This is what they do, the Jewish Zionists. They create a myth; they keep hammering on and repeat that myth until it becomes firmly embedded in susceptible minds as the Gospel truth.

Please forgive me for using the word Gospel. I am an agnostic and don’t believe in any religion whatsoever, but the use here is justified I think because the whole cursed project of the Zionists in Palestine was constructed on a perceived promise by ‘God’ to his chosen people, the Jews.

One could write volumes about the pronouncements of Jewish Zionists politicians and Rabbinical Jewish leaders on how they see Palestine, the whole of Palestine as a Jewish state, with no Palestinians in it. But I will not waste your time or mine. I will just quote David Ben-Gurion, who is seen by all as the founder and the cornerstone of the Jewish state.
In a letter written on October 5th, 1937 he wrote to his son Amos, “What we really want is NOT that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is the land be whole and unified JEWISH. (emphasis as original)

He went on to explain how to achieve this. “We must expel the Arabs and take their place,” he said.

Every successive Israeli Prime Minister has followed this to the letter in the most blood-soaked, inhumane manner from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not only a man of his word; he is his father’s son. In an interview in April 2009, just before he died, Benzion Netanyahu told the Israeli daily newspaper, Maariv:

“The two-state solution doesn’t exist. There are no two peoples here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population. … There is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation. … They only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews”.

You may have noticed that I have used the words Jews and Jewish quite a few times in this article. It has to be said. It is the Jewish people in Israel who voted Netanyahu in yet again and it is the Jewish people from all over the world, especially the United States of America who keep supplying money and applying political pressure where they live on behalf of Israel. And it is the Jewish people who stay on the fence and do not condemn Israel outright who are complicit by their silence in this blood thirsty, genocidal project that is called Israel.

If you are a Jewish friend of mine and you take exception to this I can only be sorry for you because all of you tell me that this is against Jewish tradition and it is against Jewish teachings. You also tell me that a good Jew leaves the earth a better place than he found it. If this is so I urge you to say it out loud from the highest pulpit you can ascend to.

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The Gas Deal with Israel is Bad News for Jordan and Jordanians Know It

My latest article on the gas deal published in Muftah Magazine

(http://muftah.org/the-gas-deal-with-israel-is-bad-news-for-jordan-and-jordanians-know-it/#.VUkTQfmqqko)

On September 3, 2014, the Jordanian National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a letter of intent to import gas from the Leviathan fields, located in the Mediterranean waters controlled by Israel. The Leviathan field is operated by U.S. company Noble Energy (39.66 percent) and co-owned by Israeli companies Delek Drilling (22.67 percent), Avner Oil Exploration (22.67 percent), and Ratio Oil Exploration (15 percent).

A study published by Mika Minio-Paluello from the energy-think tank Platform, in partnership with the Jordanian coordination committee against importing gas from Israel, has revealed the deal’s details. Jordan would purchase 300 million cubic feet of gas per day over a period of fifteen years, which amounts to 1.64 trillion cubic feet of gas by the end of the fifteenth year. The deal comes at a cost of fifteen billion dollars of which “$1.7 billion will cover drilling and operating costs, $4.9 billion will go to the companies that own the Leviathan and $8.4 billion to the Israeli government.” According to the study, Nobel Energy will receive approximately $1.93 billion from the deal. Another $2.93 billion will go to the Israeli companies in the consortium. The Israeli government would also receive an annual payment of $559 million from the Jordanian government for the fifteen-year contract period.

The majority of Jordanians oppose the deal, which is viewed as a threat to Jordan’s sovereignty and a means to strengthen Israel’s influence and control in the region. As Jordanians became increasingly critical of the deal, the government claimed its energy sector was in crisis and there was no alternative but to import gas from Israel. Jordan’s energy sector is indeed facing an enormous energy deficit, and the deal with Israel would ultimately save Jordan $988 million per year. But, the claim that Jordan has no option but to import gas from Israel is a false one.

The Deal’s Implications

The deal has significant consequences both for regional politics and the lives of Jordanians and Palestinians. First, it would force Jordanians to further normalize relations with Israel. The majority of Jordanians consider Israel to be the enemy despite the peace treaty that was signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 and the government’s tireless efforts to encourage social and economic cooperation with Israel.

Second, the Jordanian government would have to pay $8.4 billion to Israel over the span of fifteen years. This money would come out of the pockets of Jordanians themselves. Every time they turn the lights on in their homes and offices, and every time they charge their phones and laptops, they will be paying for the atrocious acts committed against Palestinians.

The money paid to the Israeli government would go directly to subsidizing the illegal military occupation of Palestinians, building more illegal settlements and sustaining the apartheid system. Israel’s aggression against Gaza in July 2014 cost $2.52 billion; in other words, Jordanian payments to Israel could directly fund three future wars against Gaza. This is a hard pill to swallow for most Jordanians, many of whom are of Palestinian descent, believe in the Palestinian right of self-determination, and/or are actively working with Palestinians to end the illegal military occupation.

Third, putting Jordan’s economic security at Israel’s mercy threatens Jordan’s internal stability and political independence. It would allow Israel to exert pressure on Jordan when political disagreements arise, by cutting off a vital energy source. Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa, which is under Hashemite custodianship, was recently the subject of politicaldisagreement between the two governments as a result of Israel’s constant attacks on the holy site. Jordan summoned its ambassador from Tel Aviv and complained to the United Nations. The brutal murder of the Jordanian judge Ra’ed Zuaiter by the Israeli border forces also generated significant public anger in Jordan. To date, Israel has not been held accountable for this heinous act. Needless to say, history has demonstrated time and again that no country, institution, or legislative body can hold Israel accountable for any of its legal violations. There would, as such, be little recourse for Jordan, if and when it finds itself on the receiving end of Israeli aggression.

Most importantly, the gas deal would give Israel power over average Jordanians, whose daily lives would be substantially impacted by Israel’s decision to cut off the gas flow for political or other reasons.

Finally, should the agreement be signed, it would kill the spirit of resistance and solidarity that Jordanians have always demonstrated against Israel’s military occupation of Palestine through various boycott movements whom relentlessly advocated against the government efforts to normalize relations between Jordan and the colonizing state of Israel.

Alternatives to Gas from Israel

Contrary to the government’s claim, Jordan has a number of alternatives to importing Israeli gas. These options will not only save Jordan from entering into a dangerous and complicated agreement with Israel, but can also pave the way for Jordan’s energy independence and the diversification of its energy sector.

In the short term, imported gas from Israel will not solve Jordan’s energy crisis. The drilling in the Leviathan field has not started yet and any gas would not reach Jordan before 2018. In the meantime, Jordan can utilize its own natural resources, such as shale oil. Jordan has the fourth largest shale oil reservoir in the world. In 2014, an agreement was signed to build a $2.2 billion power plant that will utilize Jordan’s rich shale oil reserves. The power plant is expected to diminish Jordan’s energy bill by $500 million annually, in addition to creating 3,500 new employment opportunities during the construction phase and 1,000 jobs upon completion. This would not only decrease Jordan’s energy dependency on external sources, but would also create employment opportunities of which Jordan is in desperate need.

In April 2015, the Jordanian government announced that it will import gas from Algeriaand Qatar. Talks were also held with Cyprus in April, and Jordan was assured that Cyprus is willing and capable of exporting natural gas to Jordan as soon as it is ready for exportation. Jordan can also import gas from other states through the Aqaba Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal (expected to be fully operational by the end of May 2015).

Another alternative is investing and developing renewable energy. Jordan has great potential when it comes to solar and wind energy. The government can also help stave off the crisis by ensuring energy conservation strategies and measures are being followed. One Jordanian electricity distribution company recorded electrical losses of thirty-five percent for 2013. By contrast, the accepted international rate ranges between five and six percent.

The question that arises is: if Jordan has a variety of alternatives to choose from, why is it still contemplating exporting gas from Israel?

The Reaction from the Jordanian Street

Upon the release of the gas deal news in September 2014, the Jordan branch of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) started to mobilize the Jordanian street and to investigate and challenge the information that was being spread by the media. They worked tirelessly to urge their representatives in parliament to reject the arrangement, highlighting its devastating consequences and forcing a public discussion of the gas deal in parliament. In December 2014, an overwhelming majority of Jordanian parliamentarians voted on a non-binding resolution urging the government to cancel its letter of intent with the gas consortium. By the end of the session and in the presence of Jordanian activists, the parliamentarians handed the petition to Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

Afterwards, protests were organized by different political parties every Friday against the gas deal, urging the government to pull out of the negotiations. The “Jordanian National Campaign against the Gas deal with the Zionist Entity” was then formed to unite efforts between active groups and continue to mobilize people and pressure Jordanian officials to opt out of signing the agreement. The coalition includes various professional associations, unions, political parties, civil society organizations, boycott movements, activists, and students.

In February 2015, Jordan BDS called upon its counterparts in the international boycott movement to stand against the deal. Activists in Denver, London, and South Africa organized demonstrations supporting the public call against the agreement. Various online campaigns were also organized in both Arabic and English to raise awareness about the gas deal and ensure Jordanian public opinion was heard loud and clear.

In March 2015, the majority of Jordan’s political parties and civil society organizations released a statement declaring their collective opposition to the deal. “Our words reflect the stance of the majority of Jordanians. We state our firm position against the gas deal between the Jordanian National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), fully owned by the Jordanian government and the U.S. company Nobel Energy, which represents a consortium that includes mainly Israeli companies. As a result of this deal, stolen Arab gas will be bought from this consortium and the returns will fund the Zionist government directly.”

The statement highlights opposition to the deal whether negotiated directly with the Israeli government or by proxy through private companies. “Our position is also aligned with the majority of the parliamentarians, which reflects Jordanians stance against the deal, and their stance against normalization with the Zionist entity.”

The statement was released a few days before Jordan’s “Demonstration of Rage” which was planned for Friday, March 6, 2015. Thousands of Jordanians took their anger to the streets of Amman, demanding the deal’s cancelation. “The gas of the enemy is occupation,” Jordanians chanted. “Our people will not fund wars on Gaza!” The memory of Judge Raed Zuiater was also invoked during the protests. Parliamentarians like Dr. Rula Al Hroub and Hind Al Fayez, as well as other political leaders, participated in the rally. The “Jordanian National Campaign against the Gas deal with the Zionist Entity” continued its activism on the Jordanian street by organizing regular demonstrations in front of the National Electric Power Company and the Prime Ministry. The coalition remains active to date raising awareness about the implications of the deal and finding ways to exert further pressure on the government.

The deal has been on hold since January because of Israeli concerns and few updates have been provided on the current status of the deal. While it is unfortunate the Jordanian government was not the one to pull the plug, Jordanian civil society organizations and activists still achieved a major victory. They were able to make their voices heard in decision-making circles in an unprecedented way, and are continuing to rally against a gas deal, which will threaten Jordan’s security and subjugate it to Israel’s control and domination.

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Occupation? what occupation?

Hope, inspirtation, resiliance, determination, and love from Palestine. Yes, we can wear a pink dress and cross the notorious Qalandia check point that seperates Ramallah from Jerusalem. Many Palestinian women also give birth at Israeli military checkpoints such as the Qalandia check point, shown in the picture.

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http://visualizingpalestine.org/visuals/checkpoint-births

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Images from the Arab Revolutions

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Happy Easter

Sharing a picture that I love so so so much. Beautiful women from Ramallah wearing their breathtaking embroidered dresses. Happy Easter to my lovely friends and family, everywhere.

palestinian-women-ramallah-palm-sunday

Osama Silwadi photograph

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Israeli soldier: Palestinians are our training targets

“I can’t expect or demand from a person that he be my partner, or that he should really see me as a partner for dialogue as long as I am imposing a military regime on him.”

altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine

Yaron Kaplan.    Photo by Ilan Assayag

Yaron Kaplan

The Israeli army uses Palestinians as targets for their training, Haaretz reported a former soldier as saying.

In an article entitled “From an Israeli combat soldier to conscientious objector”, Haaretz said that “after two years in the Israel Defence Forces, Yaron Kaplan, 21, of Lod, is declaring himself a conscientious objector and is refusing to continue his service because of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.”

“From the moment I began my training I understood how violent this place is,” he said. “It was a totally traumatic experience. Every time we would do shooting practice, we would be ‘executing’ someone – ‘Now we shoot Mohammed; now we shoot at Ahmed’,” he said.

Kaplan said that he joined the army immediately after he graduated from the military college, but has now quit. He explained this is because of the “violent nature of the army”.

Ruling out any chance of…

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Deir Yassin: Plan Dalet Manifestation

“They took us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried, she was shot too. They the called my brother Muhammad, and shot him in front of us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him – carrying my little sister Hudra in her hands, still breastfeeding her – they shot her too”

This happened to Fahim Zaydan’s family on this day in 1948, when the Jewish forces occupied the village of Deir Yasin, a village located in west Jerusalem. Zaydan was also shot with other Palestinian children, for the “just for the fun of it.” He survived.

The estimated number of Palestinians that were massacred  was between 170 to 193. The Zionist paramilitaries from Irgun and Stern stormed the village, sprayed it with bullets, raped women, and systematically killed its residents; children, men, women, and elderly; but mostly women and children.

The deliberate inflation  of the victim’s number to 254 and the extreme violence used against defenseless Palestinians was a tactic used to embed fear and horror within Palestinians neighboring villages and communities, especially the ones included in Plan Dalet. 

Plan Dalet was simply the master plan crafted by Zionist to ethnically cleanse Palestine. 

“These operations can be carried out in the following manner: either by destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their debris) and especially of those population centers which are difficult to control continuously; or by mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state. (From Plan Dalet, March 10, 1948).”

After the atrocities that were committed in Deir Yassin, Jewish forces started threatening Palestinians in neighboring villages that if they do not evacuate they will face the same fate as Deir Yassin. In loud speakers those warnings were ushered in order to spread fear and panic and encourage Palestinians to leave before the arrival of the paramilitaries.

In Menachem Begin’s book, The Revolt, he stated that: “Arabs throughout the country, induced to believe wild tales of “Irgun butchery” were seized with limitless paic and started to fee for their lives. This mass flight soon developed into a maddened, unctrolled stampede. Of the most 800,000 who lived on the present territory of the State of Israel, only some 165,000 are still there.”

Zionists/terrorists were thrilled about this massacre and the impact it had. They called on international journalists and agencies to cover Deir Yassin. All in the efforts to instill fear in the hearts of Palestinians and force them to leave.

Qastal another village near Jerusalem also fell on April 9 and many other villages like Qalunya, Sari, Beit Surik, and Biddu were next. Indeed the massacre of Dier Yassin marked the beginning of the depopulation and the ethnic cleansing of over 400 Palestinian towns and villages and the exodus of over 750,000 Palestinians; it is the start of the Palestinian Nakba.

The terrorizing tactics used by Zionist in Deir Yassin and other villages are still used today; collective punishment, massacres, killing defenseless Palestinians, blowing up homes, and land grabbing.

They never saw what they did to the Palestinians in the past as immoral and they still do not see what they currently do to the Palestinians as immoral. They used to justify their crimes using their ‘survival and security’ narrative and they continue to justify the colonization, illegal military occupation, and the siege on Gaza using the same old ‘survival and security’ narrative.

The sad reality is that until this day, many Zionists do not know what happened in Deir Yassin, tantoura, qastal, and others villages. Palestinians have been dehumanized that  these places are remembered as ‘enemy base’ not as villages, Palestinian villages.

images (1) Source: Ilan Pappe “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”

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Dancing in QAIA

“Are they for real? It’s probably in another airport,” I thought when my friend sent me the link to a video that shows Zionists dancing in our national airport. I did not open it. I did not want to ruin my day. I received it early in the morning, before heading to a meeting related to a boycott campaign a group of activists and I are organizing. I did not want to feel angry, demotivated, and provoked. But I thought again, “it can’t be.” I went about my day, had a productive meeting,  then grabbed eggs sandwich from Salah el Dein bakery in Abdali-a must have if you haven’t tried it yet- and went back home.

I opened Facebook and saw the video flooding my news stream. I watched it. Roya news channel confirmed the incident did happen at the Queen Alia International Airport. I read the comments.  The responses where mixed between people who were furious with their presence in the airport and dancing to provoke people, others were defending their right to practice religious freedom, and others asked those who are furious and against normalization with Israel to go back to Palestine and practice patriotism there. The same reactions one can see as it relates to Palestine, the Israelis, and the military occupation.

I am not sure if the dancing group were performing a religious act or not. I honestly do not care. But according to a friend what they were singing was “the Jordanian river has two sides, the first is ours and the second is also ours.”

My main problem is with what these individuals symbolize and the message they are trying to instill in the majority of Jordanian citizens.

Israel is our enemy, whether Jordan signed a peace treaty with it or not.  It colonized, occupied, and ethnically cleansed, not only Palestine, but also bombed and killed civilians in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Zionist group symbolizes the 530 Palestinian villages that were destroyed in 1948 forcing Palestinian residents to leave. They symbolize our Nakbah, the betrayal of our leaders, and the loss of our land.  They symbolize a system of apartheid, oppression, and discrimination; a system that dehumanizes on a daily basis.

They killed Jordanian soldiers. They killed Judge Raed Zuaiter not so long ago. They constantly attack holy sites in Palestine which are under the Hashemite custodianship. They export rotten products to our markets.

Their presence in our airport is not normal and should not be perceived as such. They are colonizers and should only be perceived as such.

I call on all the individuals who were furious and provoked by this video, to start working against bigger normalization efforts our government is planning to engage in to cement Israel’s control and stronghold in our country and the region, such as importing stolen gas from our enemy. The 15 billion dollars our government will pay for the gas, will come out of my pocket and your pocket. This, we should not allow! One way to do so is by joining the Jordan BDS movement and become active in their campaigns. Jordanbds.net

 

 

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Amjad Ghannam – Artist from Palestine

“I want to go to to Bilin,” I told my cousin during my visit to Ramallah in 2010. “why would anyone want to go to Bilin? You know they shoot people there and its dangerous” she yelled. “I want to go. Please help me find someone who can take me there.” I replied. She was puzzled and afraid. I understood why. The Israeli occupation forces arrested her husband, the Palestinian artist Amjad Ghannam, few weeks before my arrival for political activities.

Amjad is an artist. When in prison the occupation forces told him “what you paint shows who you are and how you think.” Of course what Amjad drew was a threat, a reality check, and a reminder that Palestinians exist and will continue to resist. He drew about Palestine, the land, people aspirations, the right of return,  and self-determination.

Art is seen as a form of resistance, it is remembrance, it is existence, and it is a commemoration. This is why many artists are being threatened and silenced. Not only in Palestine, but across the world. Their art make us think, question, and challenge hegemonic narratives. It makes us imagine a different world, that is much more just and much more bearable. It keeps our imagination alive.

Amjad was born in Jerusalem in 1981. He is a self-taught artist. He started his art journey from a young age and used to draw during his college days in Cyprus to raise awareness about Palestinian struggle. His work is inspired by his daily life in Palestine, the political, economic, and social transformations taking place, and his interactions with people.

He loves the legendary poet Mahmoud Darwish and is deeply influenced by his words. If you follow Amjad on Instagram (Amjad_Ghannam) you will see that most of his captions are Dariwshe’s words of wisdom, longing, imagination, love, homeland, resistance, and passion.

Palestinians have been struggling for decades against ethnic cleansing, illegal military occupation, and apartheid system inflicted on them. Their cultural and historical narratives are constantly threatened and appropriated by the colonial structure. Therefore, Palestinian writers, scholars, and artists have resorted to various ways to grieve their loss, represent their cause, commemorate their memory, resist and mediate the traumas experienced throughout their struggle. We should continue to explore their work and understand the messages they are communicating to us!

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صور من مسيرة الرفض الشعبي ضد اتفاقية الغاز

مئات الاردنين قي مسيرة رافضة لاتفاقية الغاز مع الكيان الصهيوني.  لا لصفقة العار. #غاز_العدو_احتلال المسيرة وحدتنا و صوتنا نسمع. الشعب يرفض ان يكون شريك في جرائم الاحتلال ضد الشعب الفلسطيني. و يرفض ان يشتري غاز مسروق من الشعب الفلسطيني.

jghf

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شعب الاردني متحد ضد اتفاقية الغاز #غاز_العدو_احتلال شارك في #مسيرة_الرفض #الأردن_تقاطع

JordanBDS Al Bayan in Al Ghad

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Malcolm X: Courage, Liberation, Fighter

images (2)50 years ago, this revolutionary man, who stood against racial discrimination and demanded equality, was assassinated. They always try to silence people with a message of justice, truth, and power; people that are standing with the oppressed and marginalized; people on the right side of history. Yet, their messages remain strong and loud carried beyond boundaries and way after their departure.

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for nothing.”

“Its just when you’ve got coffee that’s too black, which means its too strong, what do you do? you integrate it with cream, you make it weak, but if you pour too much cream in it, you wont even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”

“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do what you do, or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

MX

“There is no better that adversity. Every defeat, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

“The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”

MX3

“I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”

“Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone’ but if someone puts his hands on you, send them to the grave.”

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”

“Early in life I had learned that if you want something you had better make some noise.”

MX4

He was asked one month before he was killed, in an interview with Jack Barnes and Barry Sheppard on January 18, 1965, “What do you think is responsible for race prejudice in the US?” Malcolm responded, “Ignorance, greed and a skillfully designed program of mis-education that goes right along with the American system of exploitation and oppression… So, it takes education to eliminate it. Just because you have colleges and universities, doesn’t mean you have education. The colleges and universities in the American educational system are skillfully used to mis-educate.”

MX 5 MX6

What #MalcolmMeans (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/20/50-years-after-malcolm-x.html)

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