The Only Democracy in the Middle East: 23-25.04.2010

Emad Rezqaafter being shot with an aluminium canister. Photograph by Hamde Abu Rahmeh

Friday in Bil’in, friend and fellow activist, Emad Rezqa was hit in the forehead by an aluminum tear gas projectile shot directly at him by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-Wall demonstration. He suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage, and is currently hospitalized at the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem. The demonstration Rezqa was injured in concluded the three-day International Bil’in Conference on Popular Struggle, and was attended by hundreds of people. Several other demonstrators were injured from gas inhalation, direct hits by gas canisters, and falling

This is the man who fired the canisters:
Bil'in 23.04.2010 - The day Israeli soldiers started shooting randomly into the crowd. one fractured skull and five arrested. - 16
I was later arrested along with Palestinian journalist Moheb Barghouti, two fellow Israelis and a Mexican activist, after staging a sit-in. (more details soon)

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The GFM, Palestinian Non-Violence and International Solidarity

Writer, graduate student and organizer Max Ajl was in Cairo earlier this month along with 1,300 other activists who had gathered from all over the world to protest the illegal blockade of Gaza.  The following is an article written by Ajl which includes his reflections on the Gaza Freedom March (he was a principal organizer) and the concept of international solidarity and non-violence in the Palestinian context.

I’m going to discuss the utility of non-violent resistance as it applies to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and, specifically, the occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip.  Even more specifically, I’m going to discuss the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), of which I’m one of the organizers.  But before discussing Palestinian non-violence, several things must be clarified.  One is that no one — least of all me, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn — has the slightest right to dictate to the Palestinians how to end the blockade or resist the occupation.  Another is the need to avoid the nearly inevitable antiseptic air to talk by Westerners discussing Palestinian non-violence.  Antiseptic, because it is cleansed of the complicating grit of the occupation within which non-violence must take place.  There’s also usually a tacit subtext, usually a four-word question: Where Is Their Gandhi?  That question could not be more in error.  I hope to show why.

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On Mads Gilbert’s North American Tour

Dr. Mads Gilbert treating a wounded Palestinian child during Israel's December 2008 assault on Gaza.

During Israel’s assault on Gaza in December 2008, two doctors working from the frontline attempted to bring attention to the imbalance of power that exists at the heart of this conflict — an imbalance which weighs heavily towards the Israeli side.  While Israeli media spokespeople used airtime to argue that Israel was only targeting Hamas militants, Dr. Mads Gilbert and Dr. Erik Fosse of the Norwegian Aid Committee attempted to bring attention to just how many women and children were being wheeled in to be treated for shrapnel and bullet wounds, and how many families they were treating all at once.  They have since written a book about the event and Gilbert will be touring North America to spread their message. 

The following was written by Fatemah Meghji, the national co-ordinator of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and a university student who has been organizing a nation-wide tour for Gilbert.  Below her piece you will find a listing of tour dates and locations — be sure to attend an event if you can, I know I will. 

by Fatemah Meghji

From Dr. Mads Gilbert & Dr. Erik Fosse’s Eyes in Gaza:

The boy with the destroyed brain did not need anaesthetic; he could no longer feel anything. The other lay in an artificial coma with intravenous anaesthetic agents to soften the pain and allow the ventilator to work without resistance from the boy’s own breathing. A large bandage covered both his eyes. He could not see anyway. He was already blind. 

Where could I cry out the despair and rage I felt for all this terrible fate we saw at such close quarters? Would the heavens hear? Will the world hear? They know that this is happening, after all. The numbers tick into the West every single afternoon, to the news agencies, to the intelligence services and to the diplomatic missions of the world’s most powerful nations, who do not even make an attempt to pull in the reins and control the wildness of the Israeli war machine.

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Peace Camp Man – Profile of a Zionist Pacifist

It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's Peace Camp Man! (a.k.a Yaron London)

Today I was sent an op-ed, written by celebrated Israeli journalist, Yaron London, titled “The Victory of Cruelty”. In this op-ed, the man, who was apparently once known as the “peace camp man”, calls for another “disproportionate” blow to Gaza and disregard for ‘international public opinion“. The words ethics and morals aren’t mentioned once, the word law appears in regards to that wayward Islamic law (waywardness only implied, this is strictly my own syllogism). So how does it happen that Peace Camp Man stirs bloody violence and unethical criminality? I blame Zionism.

Peace Camp Man and Compassion

London seems to understand the problem and at the time of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war he had written:

Had we not driven out the Arabs who had settled in the Land of Israel, we would not have been able to build a stable country for the Jewish people, however, that’s how we created the Palestinian exile, which is the root cause of our problems.

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Fragments: Indexing Memory

A collection of ‘fragments’ on memory, history and mourning in commemoration of Gaza

And the dead –
What time are they due back?  

– Joe Bolton, In Search of the Other World

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