NPK-info 27-01-2004- Nederlands Palestina Komitee /
TV-tip: NL 3 VARA woensdag 28-1 om 21.05 uur
Verslag van een stuk vredesmars in Palestina.
Diverse berichten
- Palestinian struggle for freedom central at World Social Forum
  Tuesday, January 20, 2004
- On "the wall"
- Where is the world? zie hierna 
  January 24, 2004, Kelly B., Nablus
- Violent invasions, extrajudicial killings, and suicide bombings
  Mika Minio-Paluello writing from Nablus, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 25 January 2004
- PRCS conflict related casualties
- RIGHT OF RETURN, Two-State Solution Again Sells Palestinians Short
  LA-Times 25-1, zie hierna
- FAQ on Palestinian refugees
Verschillende analyses "Genève-akkoord", zie de NPK-site.
NPK/WL, 27-1-2004

Where is the world?
January 24, 2004
Kelly B.

Two weeks ago the Israeli Army and news sources claimed
the invasion of Nablus ended.  Daily operations
continue, showing that the army has not, and does
not plan to leave.  Last week soldiers surrounded
the house of curtain-maker, Abdul al-Qassa.  They
arrested al-Aqsa activist Ibrahim Attari who was
sleeping in the house.  After taking both Attari and
al-Qassa out of the house, soldiers demanded that
al-Qassa tell them who Attari was and why he was
sleeping in his house.
He replied that he did not know.  Soldiers responded
by shooting him in the knees, stomach, and mouth.  He
died bleeding in front of his house.  They then took
Attari to another location and assassinated him.

On Thursday, January 22 a large battalion of jeeps,
hummers, tanks and bulldozers drove into Nablus
between 3:00-4:00 a.m.  From 4:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
the people of Nablus were again under seige.

The center of the operation was focused around
Obuaydeh Street, near the university.  The people
living in more than 100 houses were imprisoned
inside their homes, without access to food, medical
care or allowed to go to work or school the entire
day.  In addition, tanks, jeeps and APCs
patrolling the city center prevented people from
moving through the city. No curfew was announced in
Nablus, but the heavy soldier presence and continual
shooting imposed a de-facto curfew.

In the morning we received information that children
were trapped in 3 schools near the Obuaydeh area.
Heavy indiscriminate Israeli military shooting
surrounded the schools.   With medical volunteers, we
helped escort hundreds of terrified girls from their
schools. Soldiers attempted to stop us, first by
forbidding us to enter the area by the school; then,
as we were escorting girls out they began shooting
into the area.

On Obuaydeh Street over 20 people had been trapped
inside a mosque since 4:00 a.m.  These people were
attending early morning prayers when the army
invaded.  Medical volunteers received word that
one of the people inside the mosque needed medical
care, so we attempted to reach the mosque.  We
were immediately stopped by soldiers who insisted
that there were no people in any of the buildings on
the street, including the mosque. Seeing women and men
beckoning me from the windows of the mosque, we
attempted to walk past the soldiers.  We were blocked
by an APC and an M-16.

As of 1:00 p.m., seven children had been shot in
various areas around Nablus, three of them next to
their school.  At least three of those shot
were hit with live ammunition, one 10-year old
boy sustained a critical wound to his stomach. I don't
know exactly how many were injured the rest
of the day - but many were taken away in ambulances.

The soldiers were searching the area for a resistance
fighter that they believed was in one building.  They
arrested his brother early in the morning.  Soldiers
abducted the elderly mother of the man and forced her
to stand outside of the house and call for him on
a megaphone.  Not wanting her son to be killed, she
told her son that if he was in the house, he should
stay in the house and have god watch over him.

The operation ended with a large explosion heard
as far as 15 miles away. We were a road down from the
home being demolished and were hit with pieces of
glass and rubble - we saw a door frame and scraps of
metal flying past. The person they were looking for
was not in the house they were searching. Immediately
after the soldiers pulled out, the man they were
looking for emerged from a building across
the street, shaken and ash-white from all of the dust
from the explosion.  Some people immediately encircled
him and took him away from the scene.

Three buildings were demolished, many more were
damaged. Over one hundred people were left homeless.

Women and men began pouring out into the streets
- screaming and crying, asking, "where is god? where
is the world?  where is the hope?"  Many women fainted
and had to be taken to the hospital. The families in
the homes were not allowed to remove any of their
belongings before the explosion - all of the money,
clothes, family picture, etc. were destroyed
in the explosion.  Cars were upturned, doors
lifted off the frames, and windows in the houses
within a mile radius were destroyed.  The windows in
the mosque where people were being imprisoned
were all broken, scattering shards of glass upon the
people inside.

On the way back to the old city I met an old woman
hunched over, being carried by two men on either side
of her. She is the owner of the home that was
completely demolished.  She and her husband built the
house forty years ago, serving as a home for their
sons and their sons families since then.  All of her
life's belongings, her memories were inside the house.
I had no words adequate enough to comfort her.

This operation took over 12 hours - imprisoning
hundreds of people in their homes, injuring many
innocent children and leaving over 100 families

Two-State Solution Again Sells Palestinians Short

By George Bisharat, George Bisharat is a professor at the University of
California's Hastings College of Law.

SAN FRANCISCO - It is a tragic irony that, more than 55 years ago, one
desperate people seeking sanctuary from murderous racism decimated another -
and continue to oppress its scattered survivors to this day. In 1948, about
700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland, their land and
possessions taken by the new Jewish state of Israel. This included the
Jerusalem home of my grandparents, Hanna and Mathilde Bisharat, which was
expropriated through a process tantamount to state-sanctioned theft.

Today, many assume that to achieve Middle East peace, we Palestinians must
surrender our right to return to our homes and homeland. Millions of
Palestinians - with memories and photographs of our stolen properties, keys
to our front doors, and an abiding sense of injustice - are expected to
swallow our losses in order to facilitate a "two-state solution."

But it's not that simple. Although Israel has claimed that Palestinians
willingly abandoned Palestine after being urged to leave in radio broadcasts
by Arab leaders, a review of broadcast transcripts by Irish diplomat Erskine
Childers in 1961 revealed that Palestinians were exhorted by Arab leaders to
stay, not leave their homes. In fact, Yigal Allon, commander of Palmach, the
elite Zionist troops, and later Israeli foreign minister, launched a
whispering campaign to terrorize Palestinians into flight.

Nor were we simply unintended victims of a war launched by the Arab states
against Israel. As far back as the late 19th century, leaders of Political
Zionism (the movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine) advocated
"transfer" of the Palestinians, by force if necessary. In 1948, Jews owned
only 11% of the land allocated by the United Nations to the Jewish state -
not enough for a viable economy. As David Ben-Gurion said in February 1948
before he became prime minister of Israel: "The war will give us the land.
The concepts of 'ours' and 'not ours' are peace concepts only, and in war
they lose their whole meaning."

Zionist leaders knew that an Arab minority of 40% would challenge the Jewish
demographic dominance they sought. Hence, nearly half of the Palestinian
refugees ultimately expelled were forced out before the Arab states attacked
Israel in May 1948. Israeli historian Benny Morris documented 24 massacres
of Palestinian civilians, some claiming hundreds of unarmed men, women and
children, during subsequent fighting. Thousands more Palestinians were, like
the residents of Majdal (now Ashkelon) - a southern coastal city 15 miles
north of the Gaza Strip - chased across the border into Gaza after the
armistice of 1949.

Palestine had to be "cleansed" of its native population to establish Israel
as a Jewish state. Ironically, those who today protest that the return of
the refugees would destroy Israel unwittingly confirm this viewpoint, for
the refugees are simply the Palestinians and their offspring who would have
become Israeli citizens had they not been exiled.

Israel's denial of responsibility for the refugees and rejection of their
repatriation (intransigence that was condemned early on by a U.S. official
as "morally reprehensible") is nearly as offensive as the original expulsion
itself. Israel welcomed immigrant Jews from all over the world but shot
Palestinians who tried to return to recover movable property, harvest the
fruit of their orchards or reclaim their homes. Oxford professor Avi Shlaim
concluded in his book "The Iron Wall" that "between 2,700 and 5,000
[Palestinian] infiltrators were killed in the period 1949-56, the great
majority of them unarmed."

Nothing the Palestinians had done merited this treatment, something the
international community has consistently recognized. A 1948 U.N. resolution
recognizing the Palestinian right of return has been annually - and almost
unanimously - reaffirmed ever since. The Palestinian right of return is also
supported by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The two-state solution envisioned today would probably ameliorate the
conditions of the one-third of the Palestinians living under Israeli
military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There, Palestinians
face incessant military attacks that have demolished homes and orchards and
killed an average of nearly 70 Palestinians per month over the last three
years. A smothering matrix of closures, curfews and checkpoints restricts
movement and has caused unemployment to soar to more than 70% and threaten
Palestinian children with malnutrition. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers, shock
troops in the grinding 36-year campaign to seize and colonize yet more
Palestinian land, speed through the West Bank and Gaza Strip on "Jewish
only" roads. The oppressive features of Israeli military occupation were
entrenched long before Palestinians resorted in the mid-1990s to the
desperate - yet still indefensible - tactic of suicide bombings to slow the
colonizing juggernaut.

But this two-state solution would not address the concerns of 1.2 million
Palestinians living in Israel as second-class citizens. Palestinian citizens
there possess formal political rights - that much Israel can afford after
expelling most Palestinians in 1948. But these Palestinians have restricted
access to land (most real property in Israel is owned by the state or the
Jewish National Fund and is leased to Jews only). They are also forced to
carry identity cards that brand them as non-Jews, and they cannot serve in
the armed forces (the key to many benefits in Israeli society). Palestinian
towns and villages are starved of resources, with many lacking connections
to the country's electrical or water systems. Government policies, from
immigration to family planning, are designed to counter the "demographic
threat" Israelis fear in the higher birthrate of Palestinian citizens.
Israeli law enshrines the principle that Israel is the "state of the Jewish
people," and it lacks firm guarantees of the legal equality of all citizens.

Nor would the two-state solution fairly redress the rights of diaspora
Palestinians - permitting us only return to a new, already overcrowded and
underfunded "statelet" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

There is no bar to implementing the Palestinians' right of return. If there
is room in Israel for a million Russian immigrants (including many
non-Jews), there is room for those Palestinians who would elect return over
other legal options. The sole obstacle is Israel's desire to maintain a
"demographic balance" favorable to Jews.

Why is it self-evident that our international legal rights should give way
to cement dominance of Jews over Palestinians in Israel? Why is this
assumption unquestioned - especially in the U.S., which fought a civil war
for the ideal of equal rights under the law? How do claims that are 2,000
years old trump our rights when we have modern deeds in hand? Why should
Palestinians pay for a European holocaust? Why do U.S. officials - including
our two Democratic senators in this multicultural state - unconditionally
support Israel with billions in tax dollars while ignoring glaring
contradictions between Jewish exclusivism and truly democratic values? Would
Americans tolerate any group placing its religious symbol on the national
flag, appropriating the state for some citizens rather than all and pursuing
policies systematically giving privileges to its members over others?

Palestinians are prepared to sacrifice for a just and therefore lasting
peace, but not to simply formalize our dispossession and exile or our
institutionalized subordination in Israel.

Isn't it time to explore a way for Jews to co-inhabit Israel/Palestine
without excluding, dominating and oppressing Palestinians? The past cannot
be undone - but the future can be. We, Israelis and Palestinians together,
should be seeking to form a society founded on tolerance and mutual respect
for each other's humanity, a country that would truly be the "light unto
nations" that Israel always aspired to be. When title to our home is
restored - and the rights of its current occupants have been fully
respected - I hope one day to stand in front of it with my family and
welcome neighbors and visitors of all faiths and backgrounds, as my
grandparents did before 1948.





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