Genocide, Apartheid, Occupation and the Truth!

There is no mistaking at all what is taking place in Palestine daily is genocide at the hands of a Zionist Regime that holds Palestine contained by Apartheid and controlled by Occupation.

Genocide: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

At the time of writing, three more young Palestinians have been gunned down, slaughtered in the streets in less than 24 hours.  Young men with bright futures; futures that have extinguished by Occupation bullets.

Iyad Sajadia, age 22In Qalandia refugee camp more that 22 young Palestinians have been martyred in recent months. IOF raids this camp regularly. coming at will with provocation and malice and to exterminate Palestinians. On Monday, from 9pm until dawn Tuesday, IOF soldiers raided this camp and Iyad Sajadia, age 22, tried to defend his camp and people, standing up to the IOF when he was shot, in the head, in cold blood, by an IOF sniper. He had no weapons, just a will to survive, protect and be free.  He was to graduate this summer from Al-Quds University with a degree in Media Studies.  Iyad is the third young journalism student killed since October 2015.  Already these Palestinians have lost everything, their land and more. This particular refugee  camp is tightly contained by Occupation forces, narrow roads in and out. This camp as become an easy target for IOF for whom the lives of the Palestinian people have no value and are deemed expendable.

Labib Azzam age 17, and Mohamed Zaghloul who was also 17In the early hours of today, Palestinian time, two young men, ages 17 each, where gunned down in the streets by IOF  near Nablus outside of Ramallah city in the West Bank.  Labib Azem and Mohammad Zaghlwan (both 17)  who were executed today early in the morning by Zionist occupation forces adjacent to the illegal Zionist occupation colony of Eli, south Nablus.  IOF claim these young men attempted to stab Occupation Settlers.  This has become the IOF’s catch phrase to justify cold-blooded murder of Palestinians.

12800211_10207614902423605_4530233051552296792_nApartheid: a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.

Imagine if every day you were forced to see this threatening wall of grey. This Israeli Occupation Apartheid wall is a constant reminder of the Palestinian’s stolen freedom, stolen rights, stolen lands, stolen family members and stolen futures… This is a wall of Israeli hate, fear and oppression! Palestinians do not deserve to live in a cage on their own lands, Palestinians belong here, free.  Palestinians have the right to defend their homelands and their lives.  The Occupation’s Apartheid wall has turned Palestine into the equivalent of an Israeli concentration camp.  This section of the wall and “door” sits on Palestinian land, in Bil’in. Palestinians may not pass “freely” through – in or out! They are prisoners held against their will… The West Bank and Gaza have become and is now an Israeli concentration camp. The Israeli Occupation Forces use these doors as quick access points, to barrage in with their armored vehicles and military soldiers to illegally kidnap, arrest, terrorize, assault and raid our villages by day and by night, and always at the weekly Friday peaceful, non-violent Bil’in demonstrations. IOF are always dressed for war and aim to kill. This is the desperate reality of life under Occupation, this is not a movie…this is the sad daily life in Palestine. Bil’in and villages like it, will not be demoralized. Palestinians are standing up united for their human rights and for peace, and for an end to this illegal occupation. Will you stand with Palestine?  Your silence condones the violence committed against Palestinians daily.

12814672_975552999206146_1806274077068564941_nPalestinian men, women and children, are harassed daily by IOF and illegal settlers.  This is how Zionist Occupation Settlers in full view of IOF soldiers treat Palestinians. Harassing, humiliating, taunting, physically threatening, and dehumanizing with their heinous and racist actions. Zionist men, women and children participate, filled with hate, attack an innocent Palestinian woman shown here. This is life under Occupation for every Palestinian man, woman and child, daily.

asmaa_vortids5How soon history repeats itself and how soon history is forgotten. How soon Occupation Zionists forget their own history and now have become the oppressors they despised equal in hate and action to the Nazi Regime in Europe.

Israeli CheckpointCorralled, controlled and subjugated to terror everyday – this is Palestinian life under Occupation.  This is how Occupation controls the flow of Palestinians. Forcing them to be scrutinized, demoralized and dehumanized through heavily armed and guarded checkpoints through every area of Palestine.  Never free to come and go even within their own villages and territories, and the world turns a blind eye to it all.

How much longer can this go on?  How much longer will the world allow the Zionist Regime to continue breaking international laws and committing crimes against humanity?  Occupation actively breaks International Laws and no one is holding the Occupation to account. Calling Occupation’s Apartheid of Palestine is fact. As well as having the support of South Africans who fought against apartheid, the situation in Palestine conforms to its definition under international law. The 1977 Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, for example, lists apartheid as a “grave breach”, and one “without any geographical limitation”.

This is one of many examples of Occupation war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against children. Three-year old Darwish Tariq was taken prisoner by IOF yesterday and held for three hours in jail. Listen to this young boy’s account of what happened to him. Where is the world? Silence condones violence and complacency is guilt by association. When is the world going to hold Occupation to account for their crimes against humanity, against children especially? “The police took me, they fired tear gas, they beat my father and on Layth, I inhaled tear gas, I took my milk bottle with me, my grandfather and Layth followed me to the police station…”

 

 

Yesterday at the entrance of Biet Ommar an armed Zionist IOF soldier provokes and attacks an unarmed defenseless Palestinian citizen. Oppressor against the oppressed, tyranny against justice. Occupation can bend us, but occupation will never end us! Another example of heinous, inhumane brutality, the epitome of Zionist mentality. Occupation crimes against humanity – where is the world?

Palestinians have no weapons… their only weapons are their wills to survive and fight for their freedom.  They do so through peaceful, non-violent protests and demonstrations against the Occupation, armed only with their voices and the truth.  This video is an example of the strong, resilient will to live and fight for freedom.  This is non-violent Palestinian bravery against Occupation forces – Watch and listen, view the loss for words from these IOF Soldiers when they are confronted with non-violent, Palestinian demonstrators educating them on their own history. Listen to the courage of this Palestinian man as he speaks the truth about the Occupation’s illegal presence on his land, and their unjustifiable Occupation of Palestine.

This stand by Palestinians is never ending.  With or without the world, Palestine will stand, Palestinians will continue to resist Occupation to exist; they will fight for their human rights, fight for their freedom.  But, the world must live with what conscious they may have.  How much longer can the world stand idly by and watch as genocide is committed, Apartheid enforced and to allow a crazed Zionist Occupation to exist?

In closing, I want to leave you with some very serious food for thought.  The following is an open letter written by an amazing humanitarian, writer and Israeli, Johnathan Ofir.  His letter was written on February 15, 2016 to the attention of his fellow Israelis.  I have never read such a brave truthful admission of the facts about what has happened in Palestine and continues to happen in Palestine as this letter, so powerfully and eloquently written.  For those of you who have a little understanding of the difference between Zionist and Jew, this will clarify the definition and history for you, as well as educate you of the truth, the facts of the genocide, Apartheid and illegal occupation of Palestine…

TO MY FELLOW ISRAELIS – AN OPEN LETTER

“This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli ‘miracle’, the manifestation of the Zionist ‘dream’.

I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us ‘self-understanding’ Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic ‘understanding’, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix. The attitude which I thus exhibit here is an extremely unpopular one in Israeli and Jewish culture – it is the vein of the ‘mosser’ – the one who ‘snitches’ against the ‘Jewish nation’ towards the goyim.
Well, get over it. There are far more serious issues at hand.

I have to tell you, our evaluation of Israeli history omits so much atrocity from our side. Indeed, much of it is still classified – even back to 1948. Yes, you may have heard about Deir Yassin massacre, it is often taught in school books, yet portrayed as an aberration, perpetrated by the ‘extremist’, ‘rogue’ factions before the declaration of Independence (although the leaders of those extremist factions became our Prime-Ministers). But what of the dozens of other massacres perpetrated by – us – in 1948, indeed by the very IDF? Have you read about Al Dawayima, which was apparently worse than Deir Yassin? Yair Auron just wrote about it in Haaretz, I translated and it’s out on Mondoweiss – go and read. It’s a letter which is out for the first time in full, but it’s no secret as such – excerpts of it have been out for decades – as have many other testimonies and documents, for those who care to seek and look.

When you sum up the systematic mass executions, the many gang-rape cases (which have been slow to be uncovered, because they involve shame on both fronts), the crushing of children’s skulls with sticks, the ripping out of fetuses from their mothers’ wombs – all, and many more, perpetrated by ‘us’, the ‘good guys’, the ‘cultured elite’ – often in situations which presented no danger, just out of pure gratuitous sadism and hate for the ‘Arabs’ – then you may begin to realise, that Israel is not in a war of survival, a war of an elite and advanced culture in a ‘bad neighborhood’ of backwards Arab sub-culture.

Let me put it out there, clearly and directly:
We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still torturing.

This is not a chain of events forced upon us as an inevitable consequence of trying to ‘survive’. This is nonetheless a predictable outcome of our inherent state-religion – which is not Judaism, as many mistakenly think – but rather Zionism.

We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our savior. That as Jesus died on the cross for the Christians, our soldiers have died for our country. No – they died primarily for Zionism. ‘Our country’, as is mostly perceived by us, is not really ‘our country’. It is the country of so many others, whom we have not only expelled with unfathomable brutality, but whom we also now keep locked up in cages of various forms, shapes and styles, as well as under horrendous Apartheid regime in various degrees – in order to maintain our sacred ‘demographic balance’ – whilst we continue, rather unabated, in our expansion over the ‘promised land’.

Our occupation did not begin in 1967, neither did our cruelty and crimes. We have established a state on the mass graves of others. This was not forced upon us. Just as Begin said in 1982, concerning the 1967 war “we must be honest with ourselves…we decided to attack” – so must we be honest with ourselves about all of our other portrayals of ‘self-defense’. Indeed, the whole Zionist venture is essentially portrayed as a ‘struggle for survival’, a “struggle for self-defense”.

Had we not hidden our crimes so well, so deep, and with so much propaganda ‘deterrence’ rhetoric, it would perhaps be easier to believe our sincerity. On the other hand, when those crimes are exposed for what they are, it also becomes impossible to justify our moral righteousness. Indeed, as the world media became much more instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide – so we put an extra focus on propaganda – to twist it all into ‘self defense’. We indiscriminately shelled houses and levelled neighborhoods in Gaza for ‘self-defense’. We torture children for ‘self-defense’. Let’s just say it outright: We torture and terrorize the hell out of Palestinians in order to deter them and make their lives so miserable so they will want to leave – or to revenge, which will justify our next blow.

We have created a monster. Who on earth would want to ‘survive’ if this is how ‘survival’ looks? How vile is this ‘survival’ which maintains itself upon the death and destruction of ‘others’? Indeed, who are those ‘others’? Are we not really the ‘others’, who came with our ‘better knowing’ culture to ‘make the desert bloom’? And as this desert ‘blooms’ with yet another settlement, another fictitious ‘military zone’, another ‘expansion’ – the people who are there, the ‘others’, are gradually removed, encircled, or killed.

We, Jews, have thus created a violent legacy to last for centuries, even if it were to stop now. If all stories were now revealed, all archives declassified (both 1948, 1967 and all others), it is certain that this Zionist venture would constitute another shocking and substantial chapter of barbarism and cruelty in the annals of world history.

But it is not over – for worse, but also for better. We have the ability to stop it now. No, this does not mean our annihilation, as the propagandist Zionist hysterics would reflexively profess. It is an option, standing before us – to relinquish the reign of exclusivity, to separate the Jewish from the State, and to live in peace, with all the challenges that may face every human and every state.

But WE are not a state. A state is not ‘people’. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither ‘we’ nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship. And I refuse to be a part of this “we”, if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority. Does that necessarily mean divorcing Judaism? No, of course not. It simply means divorcing the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolizing Judaism, using a mafia-style coercion of all those who speak against it, with the (too often) applied ultimate rhetoric WMD of ‘antisemitism’.

This is a scare tactic that needs to be fought. If we do not rise above the intellectual atavism that this ideology submits us to, we will continue to be committing grave crimes and exonerating them as we go, in the name of this ‘religion’.

There is a future. Zionism, nonetheless, is a dead-end. I realize that saying these things today, is far, far from consensus, and is in no uncertain ways a recipe for societal exclusion. I’ll take that. I’ve already resolved to it. But this is not some prophetic martyrdom that I submit myself to. It is actually the only right path that I see. If you want to hope for a good future with Zionism, at least do the minimum to really see what it has meant for Palestinians. That is, surprisingly, perhaps the easier part. The harder part is to look the horrors in the eye, and then look yourself in the mirror, and see what Zionism has done to you.”

 

 

What Do You Tell The Children?

12705364_10207502216166519_1983000440533773367_nImagine yourself and your children in the place of the Palestinian people, not figuratively only, but through an empathy and sense of humanity, allow yourself to feel through these words…

For the Palestinian, the only freedom they attain is when they are killed by illegal occupation forces.

How much longer will Palestine have to live under illegal occupation before the world cares enough to force change? Occupation is not just militarily, it is occupation of every aspect of life for the Palestinian, physically, emotionally and psychologically; it is control of the land they live upon, the food they eat, the water they drink, the air they breathe, their every movement.

qalandia-checkpoint Imagine waking up every day as a child in Palestine, having to face fear, apprehension, dread, uncertainty, and insecurity… seeing death around them, the destruction of homes and land, watching people shot and bleed to death in the streets. Imagine having to go through armed checkpoints just to go to school, to work, to seek medical care… These are the daily realities of children and families in Palestine.

How do you explain to your children that they should have hope, to one day build their homes on their own land that their fathers and grandfathers built upon, begin their lives, to work and start families, when all they know is to be controlled by a people and government whose sole purpose is to extinguish and exterminate their very existence?

How can we teach them of peace and the possibility of peace, when all they see, hear, smell, touch, and taste is destruction? Please do not listen to any Zionist propaganda stories… The history of Palestine will never change; the heritage and culture, the land and lives all per-existed Zionist Israel, and the truth of this cannot be changed, or erased, and the truth will always prevail.

15377_781How do you answer your children when they ask why? how? and when? when will freedom come?  Palestinians are strong, resilient, and proud people with equal measure of humbleness and dignity.  A people who even in the darkest hour believe that tomorrow brings promise of change, and hope for freedom.

As you sit in your safe homes, with your families, your lives, think of these things, and imagine if tomorrow you too were living under illegal occupation.  It is not an easy or comfortable thing to allow yourself to do or think about…why? because you are human and if such things did not make you uncomfortable than you would not have any sense of humanity within you.  Yes, these things, these realities for the Palestinians make you feel helpless, like the matter is insurmountable, but I beg to differ.  That feeling you have in the pit of your stomach right now as you read this, that is your conscience and sense of humanity feeling for other human beings.

12714003_1203917762970535_501863132_nWhat can I do? is a question you may be asking yourself.  What you can do is seek out the truth yourself, do not follow western constructed and formulated media reports.  Even scholarly works themselves that debate who is right and who is wrong about Palestine is not sufficient to base your knowledge.

This article is one of many building the end product, the book – a book that tells the real stories about Palestine from the Palestinians that live and die its truth.  Not opinions about politics or religious ideologies, but the humanity side of Palestine and her beloved people who just like you and me desire nothing greater than to live in peace, safety, security and protection.

12373276_577873235702207_3999923954135502275_nMy life through the ongoing research for this book has been forever touched and changed in incredible, positive and humbling ways.  I have sought the truth for myself and what I have found is so poignant and powerful that I now know this book will be first of many about Palestine and her people, the history and the future of Palestine.

Together with my partner and co-author Haitham Khatib, our hope is to open the doors and welcome you into the truth and lives of Palestine.  We hope that you find what you seek and that you too will be touched by the humanity and lives that you will meet through our book.  That such experience will serve to bring awareness, provoke thought and cause you to question what you have known and been told.

The Beauty of Palestine in the Midst of Adversity

10399930_10207287576040650_2724086413947299816_nThere is so much beauty in Palestine; in the land, historical sites, the people and their lives. (picture of Bil’in)

What I find incredibly inspiring and deeply moving about the Palestinian people is their level of resilience and love of life, family, culture and rich heritage.  Most of all the people still smile, still laugh, even when there is much sorrow, challenge and adversity.  I believe this is just a few of the reasons why I am so drawn to Palestine and the Palestinian people.  I can relate to their lives on deeply, personal levels.

In communicating and speaking with more Palestinian people within Palestine, I am constantly humbled, impressed and in awe of their inner strengths, positive attitudes, hopes and ambitions for their futures.  Even in the most dire of circumstances, they find within themselves a joy for life, eager to talk with me and share their lives with me.

12391873_10207140420841862_6367682972143767518_nThere are many losses daily in Palestine; loss of land, homes, and lives.  The struggle never ends and the uncertainties are forever present, and yet the Palestinian people stand strong, with great dignity and humility, genuine grace and integrity.  They are a proud yet humble people, examples for the world to take note and follow.

I think the wisest comment I have heard is from my project partner, Haitham Khatib, when talking about resistance to oppression and the fight for freedom.  Haitham said to me, “the best way to fight is to stay alive to fight”, this comment is more profound than it seems on the surface.  It is easy to fight an enemy or government with force, but it is quite another to fight with intelligence, strength, honor and grace.  Some may think that unless you physically fight, you cannot fight strong, but I believe the best way to fight is choosing not to engage on the level of your oppressor, but instead by example.  Setting the example that life is worth something, that national pride runs deep with roots so deep that no bulldozer or bomb can uproot.

12592683_10207380116034092_8130824517245051477_nJust like the beautiful, ancient olive trees that blanket Palestine, nourishing her people and being a living reminder of strength and beauty, the Palestinian people strive to continue to live, grow and hold hope for their future, for a free Palestine.

This beautiful tree sits on Haitham’s land in Bil’in and Haitham describes her best “This old and elegant olive tree sits patiently and proudly on my family land. She gives us fruit faithfully and I admire and look after her. I will always cherish and protect this beautiful tree…for she holds the memories of my family’s past, is a witness to our present, and gives us strength and hope for the future!”

I cannot begin to explain how much I have and continue to learn from Haitham, not only about the history, culture and heritage of Palestine, but a wisdom he has and continues to impart that most surely has changed my life.

11406852_503481033141428_2842954878522085789_nMy other partner on this project is Fadi Thabet; like Haitham, Fadi is also a gifted photographer and what Fadi does not say in words, he speaks volumes through his amazing photography.

Through the lenses of both of these brave, strong and persevering men, we can glimpse into the lives of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and in Gaza.

Social Media is such an amazing tool, and an equally powerful weapon.  It draws the world closer together.  What I have found so amazing, is that Haitham and Fadi are good friends, but have never actually met face-to-face because of the restrictions imposed on Palestinian people by the Israeli government.  Haitham lives in the West Bank and Fadi lives in Gaza, but they both share the same passion and the same hopes.  Both showing the world the truth about Palestine and her people through their photography and videos.  I am so honored and feel so privileged to know and work with these two men.

The written word is also powerful and most effective when it reaches into the hearts and minds of the reader, provoking thought, emotion and question.  It is our hope that my writing and Haitham’s and Fadi’s photography, the message we bring about Palestine, the Palestinian people and the truth about their lives under occupation will bring greater awareness and spark positive change for a free Palestine.

12647068_590645524424978_4682047169581463836_nGaza is one of the most drastically affected areas of Palestine, but home to some of the most beautiful Palestinian people, some I have begun to get to know.

The children here in one of Fadi’s photos smile, and exude strength, embody everything that is Palestine.  To the outside world, this photo may seem playful and innocent.  What is underlying this innocence is the fact that these children are standing around an outdoor fire, not because they are camping like many of us in the west do, nor are they playing.  They are trying desperately to keep warm because Gaza is under continuous siege by Israel, a lot of the people in Gaza are living in under inhumane conditions, with tremendous shortages of heating fuel and gas to cook, they are forced to build fires to keep from freezing.

12359979_580168558806008_6629681144378964015_nIn the face of this adversity, of these daily struggles, the children still smile and a smile is worth a thousand words.

This inner strength is born from generations of Palestinians who have throughout history been a people who overcome great odds, and when all seems destroyed and where others would give up, the Palestinians remain forever strong, beautiful, dignified and hopeful for their future and the future of a free Palestine.

Risking Life to Show the Truth

12507178_933135893443899_6676129013396426122_nMany photographers and photojournalists in Palestine risk their lives everyday to document and show the world the truth of what is happening daily in Palestine, living under threat and occupation.

I have the absolute utmost respect for these men, some of whom I have the great honor and pleasure to know personally.

A picture is said to speak louder than words, and this could not be more true of the photographers and photojournalists living and working in Palestine.

Many have lost their lives and others have been gravely injured in the line of duty.  Forever present in some of the worst war zones, conflict zones, and displacement camps.  From the photos showing the beautiful side of Palestine and her people, to the harsh realities of life under occupation.

I write this article in remembrance of those who gave their lives to show the world the real faces of Palestine, the real, barbaric and traumatic events of life in Palestine under occupation and apartheid.

I write this article also to express my gratitude and respect to those photographers and photojournalists that continue to remain strong, striving for the world to know and see the real life of Palestinians, the good, the culture, the heritage, the people, and the vast contrast of all of this against a backdrop of bloodshed, martyrs, ongoing conflict and threat.

In this age of social media, digital photography and video, the world will continue to see the truth, to see the real Palestine.  Through the work of these brave men, it is their hope and my hope that you, the viewer, will be provoked to question mainstream media, your governments, and seek the truth for yourself about the real faces of Palestine.