Archive for March, 2009

Marwan – Los hijos de las piedras

Posted in Palestine, Songs with tags , , , , on 31/03/2009 by 3071km

This is a song from Marwan, a Spanish-Palestinian songwriter, called The sons of stones.

There is also a Catalan version he did for the documentary Palestina, la veritat assetjada. Reflexions i testimonis per un procés de pau just produced by Xarxa d’Enllaç amb Palestina.

If you want more information about him please check his website or his MySpace site, where you can listen to some of his songs.

Señores de occidente escribo de muy lejos
Soy niño y palestino, no creo que recuerden que hace medio siglo
Ustedes permitieron tan sólo por dinero
Que fuera amputada la tierra de mi abuelo

Tierra Santa de todos y con los mismos dioses
Dioses por los que matan en modernas cruzadas por ser distinto el nombre
Dioses en los que algunos nunca más creeremos
No pueden ser reales si vemos lo que vemos

De un gatillazo mueren los brotes de esperanza
Y aquí se desdibuja una paloma blanca

Con el alma curtida de recibir mil golpes
Los hijos de las piedras habitan barricadas
Hondas contra cañones
La historia ha cambiado, David es de otro bando
Ahora es asesino y nos está apuntando

Y los niños no se libran cuando silban las balas
El pupitre vacío de mi mejor amigo me ha sangrado el alma
Que se traguen su odio y venga la vergüenza para ajustar las cuentas
Mi boca es la de todos si digo…

Señores en sus manos yace nuestra esperanza
La vida, la justicia y una paloma blanca

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The Knesset: many parties, one mind

Posted in Gaza, Israeli politics with tags , , , , , on 30/03/2009 by 3071km

This is an interesting article written by Daphna Baram and posted last week in The Guardian (Thursday 26th March 2009). We hope you find it interesting!

Intransigence, expansionism, racism and warmongering now seem to be the consensus across Israeli politics

Ehud Barak’s move to join Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition and rub shoulders around the cabinet table with arch racist Avigdor Lieberman should not have surprised anybody, but was still met with shocked lamentations from the ranks of the decomposing remnants of the Zionist left. The fact that Tzipi Livni, leader of the opportunistic “central” Kadima party, demonstrated more courage and integrity (for which the long knives in her party have already been drawn against her), is hardly a breathtaking bombshell either for anybody who has been following the careers of the power-obsessed general and the goody-two-shoes girl scout. Many ask themselves what’s left of the Israeli left.

The answer to that, as it always has been, is simple. The Israeli left is combined of the following: the diminishing Meretz, a group of liberal Zionists who are torn by the realisation that they will soon have to decide whether they want a Jewish state or a democratic one – if they opt for the former they’ll have to waive the liberal tag, while if they choose the latter they’ll have to part with the Zionist one; Arab and Jewish Hadash voters who are struggling to hold on to their two-state solution while beginning to realise that it may well be too late for that; and the mainly Arab voters of Balad, whose plain call for a state for all its citizens is heard by most Jewish Israelis as a subversive “antisemitic” plan. Traditionally, the other Arab party, The United Arab List, is also counted with the left, though there’s nothing particularly lefty about it. However, since it represents a part of the constituency of the Palestinian-Arab deprived minority, it naturally aligns itself with the cause of Palestinians’ rights, both inside Israel proper, and in the context of the West Bank and Gaza.

This whole block, which has just been defined as “the left”, is represented now by 14 parliamentary seats out of the 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset. To them one may hesitantly add four out of the 13 representatives of the Labour party in the newly elected Knesset, who are close in their political stance to Meretz. Hence 18 out of 120 is what’s left of the Israeli left, and even that only if one is willing to engage in some intellectual gymnastics and expand the notion of “left” way beyond its traditional boundaries.

As for the Labour party, labelling it a traitor for joining a rightwing government involves a certain amount of wishful thinking regarding its true nature to start with. The answer to the question “when has the Labour party transformed?” is “never”, when it comes to its patterns of dealing with Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and “in the mid 1980s, just like most Labour parties in the west” when addressing its stance on social and economic issues. On society and economy, it might suffice to say that it was none other than Ofer Eini, the leader of Israel’s huge workers union, the Histadrut, who instigated Barak’s move to join what will be, in all likelihood, Israel’s most radical neoconservative government ever. The Israeli Labour party has long ago abandoned any commitment to social issues; it has joined up with the ruthless new economy and the big money behind it. The few Labour MKs who still bother paying lip service to social equality are all among the four “rebels” mentioned previously. The rest do not even flinch at the idea of hooking up with Netanyahu, who branded himself as the enemy of the workers and the poor in his last tenure as finance minister.

The case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more complicated. Internationally, the Labour party is viewed as a kosher stamp for any Israeli government, promising a less belligerent stance and a bigger willingness to reach a peaceful solution. This rather hollow belief is exactly what makes Barak such a desirable partner for Netanyahu, despite the pathetic size to which his party has just sunk in parliament (13 out of 120 MKs). Netanyahu is well aware that any type of intransigence and pig-headedness, not to mention actual acts of war, would be more digestible for the Obama administration when coming from a government that includes the Labour party.

The fact of the matter is that the Israeli Labour party has supported all the wars Israel has waged, and actually ran and instigated most of them. The two latest gory interventions, in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza this year, were both orchestrated by Labour ministers of defence, Amir Peretz and Barak. Paying lip service to the division of Palestine while planning and propagating territorial expansionism and land-grabbing has been the policy of the Labour party ever since the early days of the Zionist movement, sprinkled by sporadic attempts at giving up some of the territory in return for getting rid of as many Palestinian inhabitants as possible from under Israel’s control in the process. Labour might have invented this double-tongues policy, but it has now been adopted by all the main powers in Israeli politics, from Kadima to Likud and even the radical mark on the right – Lieberman’s Israel Beytenu.

Everybody is chanting the now popular two-state solution slogan, while in effect expanding the settlements, waging war on the Palestinians in Gaza and devising discriminatory policies aimed against the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Considering the fact that the largest party in the emerging default opposition, Kadima, is holding to identical values and political programme to that of the parties in the government, there’s no choice but to recognise the painful truth. The intransigence, the expansionism, the racism and the warmongering are not the problem with only one of the big parties in the Israel’s politics; at the moment they seem to be the national consensus. The extent to which Barack Obama’s new administration will try to bend this consensus remains to be seen. The precedents, however, do not leave much space for hope.

The politics of numbers

Posted in Gaza, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, IDF, Operation Cast Lead, War crimes with tags , , , , , , on 26/03/2009 by 3071km

While Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, says Israel’s military offensive on Gaza “would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law”:

While reports from human rights organisations worldwide talk about an “unlawful war” that has caused many evitable civilian deaths;

Israeli politicians and military repeat the mantra of the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and challenge the number of death civilians in the Gaza offensive.

And nothing changes but the world is still claiming for justice… How long will we have to wait for an independent investigation to take place??

Rain of Fire: White Phosphorous in Gaza

Posted in Gaza, Gaza war crimes investigation, IDF, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, War crimes with tags , , , , , , on 25/03/2009 by 3071km

In their report published today, the Human Rights Watch declares in Gaza the IDF air-burst white phosphorus in at least three unlawful ways:

  1. In densely populated areas hitting homes, hospitals and UN compounds where civilians were taking shelter.
  2. On the edges of populated areas therefore not taking all feasible precautions during military operations to minimize civilian harm.
  3. In open areas along the boundary separating Israel and Gaza, although Human Rights Watch was not able to investigate the extend of the destruction because of the security concerns prohibiting to travel to the area.

White phosphorus munitions are not illegal if they are used properly in open areas, but the Human Rights Watch report “concludes that the IDF repeatedly exploded it unlawfully over populated neighborhoods, killing and wounding civilians and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse, and a hospital.”

Israel first denied its use of white phosphorus in Gaza. However, facing mounting evidence to the contrary, it declared it was using all weapons in compliance with international law but announced an internal investigation into possible improper white phosphorus use.

All of the white phosphorus shells that Human Rights Watch found were manufactured in the United States in 1989 and 1991.

The Human Rights Watch report concluded that the IDF had deliberately or recklessly used white phosphorus munitions in violation of the laws of war: “First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.”

The Human Rights Watch report also reminds the international community that “The laws of war obligate states to investigate impartially allegations of war crimes” and calls for a serious international investigation and the prosecution as appropiate of those who ordered or carried out unlawful attacks using white phosphorus munitions.

Please check this if you want to watch the documentary Rain of Fire: White Phosphorous in Gaza and here if you want to download the report in English (PDF, 6.08 MB).

This 71-page report provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government.

This 71-page report provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government.

Proved crimes against all of us

Posted in Gaza, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, War crimes with tags , , , , , , on 24/03/2009 by 3071km

The Guardian publishes today the result of its own investigation uncovering evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza during the so-called Operation Cast Lead, which was presented to the public opinion as being aimed to Hamas but left over 1,400 Palestinians dead including more than 300 children.

Through its month-long investigation The Guardian can finally prove Israel used Palestinian children as human shields and targeted medics and hospitals – in other words: it committed war crimes. This is no news for all those who were in the Gaza strip during the massacre, not even for those who attempted to follow the news from all around the globe – especially for those who could watch Al Jazeera and get both sides of the picture.

If you want to read more about it, you can check the article written by Clancy Chassay and Julian Borger and watch the three documentaries with some of the most dramatic testimony gathered by the British newspaper.

Erased – Wipped off the map

Posted in Gaza, Siege with tags , , , on 23/03/2009 by 3071km

I’ve just received this link from a friend. It’s the promotional trailer of the documentary film made by the Free Gaza activists that were present on the ground during the Israeli attack on Gaza.

If you want to watch the English or Spanish versions of the trailer or you want more information about the film please visit http://www.wipeoffthemap.com

For more information on the Free Gaza Movement please visit their website.

Erased – Wipped off the map

On december 19th 2008, the Free Gaza movement sailed from Cyprus to Palestine.
Our objective was to break the Israeli siege over the Gaza Strip.
We were the last and only foreigners to enter and stay in the territory.
We got involved in something that nobody expected.

This is a C.I. COMUNICACIÓN production.

Directed by Alberto Arce and Miguel Llorens.

Outlandish – Look Into My Eyes

Posted in Israel, Palestine, Songs with tags , on 22/03/2009 by 3071km

OK, so this is about songs… and sure this will also be in the list. One of Ash’s favourites and mine as well!

Look Into My Eyes (by Outlandish)

Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see
You don’t see a damn thing
’cause you can’t relate to me
You’re blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to you
I’m the persecuted one
You’re the red, white and blue

Each day you wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thanking God He let me rise
You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I’ll survive another day
Your biggest fear is getting a ticket
As you cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that has just left
Will turn around and come back

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Has our world gone all blind?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me …

Ooohh, let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain’t with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters

See I’ve known terror for quite some time
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It’s the checkpoint on my way to school
Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother
The bulldozers and the tanks
The gases and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds
You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I’m terrorized in my own land (what)
And I’m the terrorist?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Has our world gone all blind?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me …

Ooohh, let’s not cry tonight, I promise you one day it’s through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain’t with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

American , do you realize that the taxes that you pay
Feed the forces that traumatize my every living day
So if I won’t be here tomorrow
It’s written in my fate
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our wait

(pause)

Ooohh, let’s not cry tonight, I promise you one day it’s through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain’t with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

[with kids]
Ohh let’s not cry tonight I promise you one day is through
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!
Ooh shine a light for every soul that ain’t with us no more
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!