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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2009 arrow December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009
December 21, 2009: Updates on Israeli organ harvesting, The Wall, Gaza and Jerusalem 

Alison Weir,
journalist and Executive Director of  http://www.ifamericansknew.org/ wrote about Israeli Organ Harvesting, The New "Blood Libel"? Israeli Organ Harvesting, which I published on August 30, 2009

Today, I learned:

Doctor Admits Israeli Pathologist Harvested Organs Without Consent


Israel has admitted pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families – a practice it said ended in the 1990s – it emerged at the weekend.

The admission, by the former head of the country's forensic institute, followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic".

The revelation, in a television documentary, is likely to generate anger in the Arab and Muslim world and reinforce sinister stereotypes of Israel and its attitude to Palestinians. Iran's state-run Press TV tonight reported the story, illustrated with photographs of dead or badly injured Palestinians.

Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab MP, said the report incriminated the Israeli army.

The story emerged in an interview with Dr Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic who released it because of the row between Israel and Sweden over a report in the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet.

Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer."

Hiss said: "We started to harvest corneas ... Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

However, there was no evidence that Israel had killed Palestinians to take their organs, as the Swedish paper reported. Aftonbladet quoted Palestinians as saying young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israeli forces and their bodies returned to their families with missing organs. The interview with Hiss was released by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley who had conducted a study of Abu Kabir.

She was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while Palestinians were "by a long shot" not the only ones affected, she felt the interview must be made public, because "the symbolism, you know, of taking skin of the population considered to be the enemy, [is] something, just in terms of its symbolic weight, that has to be reconsidered."

Israel demanded that Sweden condemn the Aftonbladet article, calling it an antisemitic "blood libel". Stockholm refused, saying that to so would violate freedom of speech in the country. The foreign minister then cancelled a visit to Israel, just as Sweden was taking over the EU's rotating presidency.

Hiss was removed from his post in 2004, when some details about organ harvesting were first reported, but he still works at the forensic institute.

Israel's health ministry said all harvesting was now done with permission. "The guidelines at that time were not clear," it said in a statement to Channel 2. "For the last 10 years, Abu Kabir has been working according to ethics and Jewish law."

This article was amended on 21 December 2009. The headline was changed as it did not reflect accurately the contents of the story. Nancy Scheper-Hughes's name was misspelled as Nancy Sheppard-Hughes in the original text.

 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/israeli-pathologists-harvested-organs



http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261244345665&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
Egypt's metal wall sparks crisis with Hamas
Dec. 21, 2009

Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

Egypt's decision to build an underground metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip has triggered a crisis between Cairo and Hamas.

Hamas leaders believe that the wall is being constructed as part of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's desire to punish the Islamist movement for its refusal to sign an Egyptian-engineered "reconciliation accord" with Fatah several weeks ago.
Moreover, Hamas believes that Mubarak is also seeking "revenge" because the movement has preferred German mediation to Egyptian involvement in the negotiations with Israel over the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

In both cases, Mubarak felt humiliated by Hamas's actions.

In assuming the role of mediator between Hamas and Fatah, Mubarak was hoping to succeed where other Arabs, specifically the Saudis, Yeminis and Qataris, had failed.

Just when the two sides appeared to be on the verge of signing a "reconciliation agreement" under the auspices of the Egyptians last October, Hamas bolted. Hamas justified its decision to stay away from the signing ceremony by citing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's failure to support a resolution at the United Nations in favor of the Goldstone Report into Operation Cast Lead.

Hamas's decision not to sign the accord with Fatah was seen by Palestinians and Egyptians as a severe blow to Mubarak's personal prestige and Egypt's standing in the Arab world. Mubarak was hoping that the agreement would help Egypt restore its long-lost status as one of the most influential Arab countries.

On the personal level, he was hoping that success in resolving the Hamas-Fatah crisis would reaffirm his standing as a powerful and historic leader, thus improving the prospects of his son, Jamal, to succeed him.

Similarly, Mubarak was hoping that a prisoner-exchange agreement between Hamas and Israel would be achieved through Egyptian mediation. But in recent weeks he has been forced to see Hamas dump Egyptian negotiators in favor of German security officials.

Some Hamas representatives have openly chastised Mubarak's negotiators for being "biased" in favor of Israel. In other words, Hamas is telling the world that it trusts the Germans more than it trusts its Muslim brothers in Egypt.

Relations between Hamas and Cairo have been tense ever since the movement took full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Since then, the Egyptians have done almost everything to isolate and weaken the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

This includes the continued closure of the Rafah border crossing and other restrictions imposed by Egyptian authorities.

The Egyptians' main concern is that Hamas would "export" its radical ideology to Egypt. Reports about increased cooperation between Hamas militiamen and Egyptian smugglers and members of other Islamic fundamentalist groups in Sinai have prompted the Egyptian security forces to beef up their presence in the area.

Tensions between Hamas and Cairo reached their peak last month with the death of a Hamas operative in an Egyptian prison. The victim was the brother of Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Hamas rushed to accuse the Egyptian General Intelligence Service of torturing the man to death. The allegation was broadcast on many Arab satellite TV stations, seriously embarrassing Mubarak, whose spokesmen have since been struggling to convince Arab and Muslim viewers that the Hamas man died of natural causes.

Over the past few days, Hamas militiamen have opened fire several times on Egyptian border policemen and laborers who are involved in the construction of the metal wall. The shooting incidents have also escalated tensions between the Hamas leadership and Cairo.

An all-out confrontation between Hamas and Egypt will undoubtedly undermine Mubarak, because it will make him appear as if he's helping Israel and the US in their war against the movement. A confrontation will also send the message that Mubarak is also involved in the "siege" on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, on the other hand, stands to win from a standoff with a regime that is regarded by many Arabs and Muslims as a puppet in the hands of the Israelis and Americans.

And any victory for Hamas is also a victory for Damascus and Teheran.•
__._,_.___


First Published 2009-12-21


Goldstone Report is an accurate reflection of what happened in Gaza

 

Finkelstein: Livni 'proud' of Gaza 'war crimes'

 

Prominent Jewish-American professor says Gaza rockets were 'symbolic resistance' to Israeli siege.

 
LONDON - Prominent Jewish-American Professor Norman Finkelstein accused Israel of perpetrating "war crimes" in Gaza through its ongoing siege of the Strip and its war at the turn of the year.

His accusation came within an international conference titled, "UNRWA and Future of Palestinian Refugees", organized in London Wednesday.

Finkelstein said the causes and effects of the war on Gaza are now coming to light, both in the Goldstone Report and in the recent arrest warrant issued by the UK for Tzipi Livni, who stated that she was "proud of everything she had done in Gaza".

Briefly assessing the history to the siege, Finkelstein noted that the ceasefire that was agreed between Israel and Hamas June 2008 was broken by Israel, not Hamas: whilst Hamas stopped its rocket attacks, Israel did not lift its illegal blockade on Gaza and launched a night raid on Gaza, whilst the eyes of the worlds were watching 4th November 2008 US elections.

Six Hamas resistance fighters were killed, provoking Hamas to respond, which it did by resuming rocket attacks. Finkelstein emphasised that this is not violence so much as "symbolic resistance".

He quoted one Palestinian who referred to the rocket attacks as "modest home made rockets are a cry of protest to the world".

Finkelstein commented that if we are going to condemn Hamas for these rocket attacks, we must suggest how else they should resist the pressure placed on them by persistent Israeli attacks, subjugation and persistent blockades that drain the small area of land.

If we cannot provide an alternative, we cannot criticise, he argued.

Finkelstein emphasised the disproportionate nature of the Israeli attacks.

The ratios of death and destruction are striking: 100 Palestinians were killed to 1 Israeli; 600 Palestinian civilians were killed to 1 Israeli; and 6000 Palestinian homes were destroyed to 1 Israeli home, he explained.

On this basis, Finkelstein said, it cannot be called a war as a minimum condition of war is that there are at least two sides firing at each other. Israeli soldiers themselves have stated that Israel used "insane amounts of firepower."

Israel's claims that the extent of devastation and death was due to Hamas using human shields and purposely positioning themselves in dense civilian areas has been undermined by reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Dugard Committee and the Goldstone Report which have found no evidence to support this claim.

The Goldstone Report stated that the siege was a "deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population".

Finkelstein notes that we can only assume that Goldstone, a self-confessed Zionist and a supporter of Israel, would have no interest in unfairly criticising Israel.

The world must assume therefore that what Goldstone has reported is an accurate reflection of abuse and apportionment of responsibility for what happened in Gaza, he added.

Finkelstein noted that Goldstone Report has, for the first time, put the assessment of human rights abuses first in this conflict, rather than the attention being persistently focussed on the "peace process".

The truth about the ongoing human rights abuses committed by Israel against Palestinians must be at the forefront of campaigning, stressed Finkelstein.
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=36295



Egypt bans march into Gaza Strip
 
CAIRO - Cairo on Monday rejected a request by international activists to organise a march to the Gaza Strip via Egypt to mark one year since an Israeli attack on the enclave.

"Some international organisations have requested permission for a solidarity march -- the Gaza Freedom March -- into the Gaza Strip," the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Egypt finds it difficult to cooperate with this march considering the sensitive situation in the Gaza Strip," which faces a stringent Israeli blockade, the statement said.

It warned that "any attempts to violate the law or public order by any group whether local or foreign on Egyptian soil will be dealt with in conformity with the law."

Over 1,000 international delegates from 42 countries have signed up to join the Gaza Freedom March which was due to enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December.

In the morning of December 31, participants were due to join Palestinians "in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border," organisers said on their website.




THE MARCH WILL GO ON

Gaza Freedom March 
UPDATE 

December 21, 2009

We are determined to break the siege We all will continue to do whatever we can to make it happen

Using the pretext of escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us yesterday that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege, that we do not feel threatened, and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take. We also said that it was too late for over 1,300 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now.  We both agreed to continue our exchanges.

Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we've encountered-and overcome--before.  No delegation, large or small, that entered Gaza over the past 12 months has ever received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border.  Most delegations were discouraged from even heading out of Cairo to Rafah.  Some had their buses stopped on the way. Some have been told outright that they could not go into Gaza. But after public and political pressure, the Egyptian government changed its position and let them pass.

Our efforts and plans will not be altered at this point. We have set out to break the siege of Gaza and march on December 31 against the Israeli blockade. We are continuing in the same direction. 

Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world must hear from us and our supporters (by phone, fax and email)** over the coming crucial days, with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed.  

Contact your local consulate here: 
http://www.mfa.gov.eg/MFA_Portal/en-GB/mfa_websits/


Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo

In the U.S., contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email 


The GFM Steering Committee


Sample text:


I am writing/calling to express my full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. I urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,300 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.

The aim of the march is to call on Israel to lift the siege. The delegates will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza.

Please, let this historic March proceed.

Thank you.





PETITION:

Solidarity with families in Sheikh Jarrah


 



On November 23, 2008, I wrote about Sheikh Jarrah:

Two-time a Refugee and a Tent in Occupied East Jerusale
m

[Occupied East Jerusalem] Less than a five minute walk from my room at the Ambassador Hotel, Fawziya Khurd and international supporters began living in a tent, because the Israeli police enforced a court order to throw her and her spouse, Mohammed out of their home, which they had been living in since 1956. The day before my last visit, Mrs. Khurd/Um Kammal [mother of Kammal] became a widow when Mohammad expired secondary to the stress of home eviction by Israel.

At 3:30 AM on November 9, 2008, Reverend Richard Toll was awakened in his hotel room in the neighborhood when the Israeli Occupying Forces/IOF broke down the door of the home of the Al Khurd family. Rev. Toll told me [during the final day of Sabeel’s 7th Annual Conference: The Nakba: Memory, Reality and Beyond] that he was jarred awake by a woman’s pain filled scream that was indescribable.

 
The Al Khurd family have lived in their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood since the days when east Jerusalem was under Jordanian control. The United Nations upon contract with Jordan, allotted them the land after they became refugees when they were expelled from their home in west Jerusalem by Zionists during the 1948 war.

Hasib Nashashibi, of the Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights-an NGO coalition of Palestinian Muslim and Christians- explained to me, “When Jordan controlled this land and the UN granted privileges to the Palestinian refugees including those from west Jerusalem, such as education, health care, and relief and development; they also allowed the refugees to give up not all privileges and receive a home and land deed instead. Jordan never fulfilled their obligation to send the written documentation that these west Jerusalem refugees are land owners and not tenants. Now the Israeli’s are trying to make them refugees for the second time!”

In 2001 a group of settlers broke into the west wing of the Khurd family home while the couple were at the hospital due to Mr. Khurd's ill health. Mr. Khurd went back to the hospital suffering from the emotional stress and physical problems and died the day after his wife welcomed me with a smile and invited me in to share a meal with the neighbors and many international supporters.

Family and neighbors offer Mrs. Khurd sanctuary but the internationals sleep in the tent every night to maintain a presence on the rented land and to support the other twenty-seven Palestinian families in the neighborhood who have received orders from Israel to evacuate their dwellings-in one home alone 52 people are currently residing.

A few days ago, three internationals were arrested, interrogated and then released. They returned to the neighborhood, but were not on site during my visits.

Background:

Since East Jerusalem’s occupation by Israel in 1967, the Oriental Jews Associations and the Knesseth Yisrael Association have been waging a brutal take over of the Khurds’ home, claiming that the land originally belonged to Jews.

In 1972, they succeeded to register the land in their name with the Israeli Land registrar.

In 1999, settlers burst into the home and set up an occupation in a wing of the house that
belonged to the couple’s son, Raed.

The Khurd family hired lawyers and have spent a fortune in court battles.

In 2006, the Israeli court finally revoked the claim of ownership by the settlers.

On February 25, 2007 the Israeli Supreme Court issued an order to evict the settlers; but it was never enforced!

The settlers-most of them are from America- have been stealing homes from Palestinians in the neighborhoods around the Old City of Jerusalem which if not challenged and prevented, will pre-empt any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The settlers current desire is to cleanse more than 500 Palestinians from the neighborhood and build 200 apartheid apartments for Jewish only colonists.

This hurdle of injustice by the Israeli Government has lit a fire in the international community.

One of them is Axel Weissenfels, from Austria, a government that allows their young people to opt out of military service and choose nonviolent civil service in foreign countries instead.

Axel informed me, “I have been in occupied east Jerusalem for nine months now and will probably stay beyond my one year commitment. I am working for the Society for Austrian Arab Relations in the Old City in the Art Foundation, doing workshops with the children. We gave the children in the neighborhood cameras and we will soon display an exhibit of their work right here on this site. I have slept here the last three nights on a mattress [on the hard rocky ground].

“America should know how their tax dollars are being spent [$7-10 Million per day] which go to continue the military occupation of Palestinians. The Palestinians are simple and righteous people; they do the correct things and all they want is to live in peace.

“If the USA would stop paying all those millions to Israel the occupation would end and America would have the money for health care and caring for their poor.”

 Adnan Husseini, Governor of east Jerusalem, while on his way out of the tent, sent this message to America, “We hope that the U.S.A. will focus more attention to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and help us have peace. When Palestine receives justice the international community, Israel and U.S.A. will also have peace. The American people are excellent people and we wish the New Year will change this situation for the benefit of everyone. All the best to America and good luck!”

We the people of America do not need luck; we need to wake up and understand that Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.

In Israeli law, all of Jerusalem, including the eastern half of the city, is considered to be the “indivisible” capital of the Jewish state and has set up a block against Palestinian negotiators to make a deal on the division of Jerusalem.


Settlers are claiming land all over occupied East Jerusalem based on title deeds that pre-existed 1948, when Israel became a state and began to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestinians, destroyed 531 Palestinian villages and 750,000 Palestinians became refugees.

President George W. Bush became a willing collaborator in this on going injustice in his infamous 2004 exchange of letters with Ariel Sharon. Bush affirmed that Israel would not be expected to return to the armistice lines of 1949. Instead, Bush declared that Israel would be able to hold on to its “population centers” in the West Bank. This is the empire’s Orwellian spin to attempt to justify the established settlement blocs; every one of them are illegal under international law!

Among the failures of Annapolis is the incessant construction of colonies on the land of Palestinians.

Palestinians are denied building permits to build upon their legally owned land.

Ehud Barak, Defense Minister and leader of the Labor Party, personally approved hundreds of new apartments for the settlers within the last few months.

“Michshol Hafrada” is Hebrew for "The Separation Wall" and that translates to Apartheid Wall in Afrikaan.

The Apartheid Wall has divided Palestinians from Palestinians and has stolen their aquifers, denies them access to their land, jobs, families and holy sites and consumes over $1.25 Million USA Tax dollars every day- a 2006 estimate!

Looking at a map of the so called Holy Land today it is clear to see that Palestine has been divided into enclaves; Bantustans!

 
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out

And to whom I was likely to give offence.

Something there is that does not love a wall,

That wants it down.-Robert Frost

Over a quarter of a million Jewish colonists live in East Jerusalem-and according to international law-all the settlements are illegal as is the Apartheid Wall.

Jewish only colonies have been implanted to divide the indigenous Palestinian neighborhoods throughout occupied territory. Over 100,000 indigenous Palestinians are trapped by the Apartheid Wall and are tortured at over 600 checkpoints that deny them access to their land, jobs, families and holy sites.

Evictions and home demolitions have become the status quo in the so called Holy Land, for since 1967, over 18,000 dwellings -averaging eleven people per unit- have been bulldozed by Israeli forces because they interfere with settlement expansion.

Israel attempts to justify their immoral actions with three distinct categories:

1. Collective Punishment-homes of suspected terrorists-in reality that is anyone who opposes the occupation- and the families of suicide/homicide bombers. These punitive actions amount to 15% of the over 18,000 homes destroyed since 1967.

2. Administrative demolitions for lack of building permits- which Israel refuses to issue-account for 25%. In occupied east Jerusalem one out of four Palestinian homes have a demolition order.

3. “Security” reasons-the blanket response to all of Israel’s injustices and illegal actions.




I made my first visit to the Al Kurd family tents on November 19, 2008 and met a few Italians who had come to entertain the oppressed and nonviolent people of the neighborhood.

Alex and Francesco, are two clowns from the street theater project called Charlatani Without Borders. They had arrived in occupied territory two weeks prior to offer some creative relief from the misery of military occupation. A chain link fence surrounded the property and there were two tents at that time.

When I returned on November 22nd, I learned that the Israeli forces had bulldozed the chain link fence down and one of the tents that that the nonviolent internationals had been staying in.

 
The site is only a few hundred yards from the Al Khurd’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and Israeli authorities attempt to justify their actions by claiming the tents were erected without permission on state land.

What will it take for the world to say ENOUGH!?!
 
   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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