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Home arrow Blog arrow March 2009 arrow March 16, 2009

March 16, 2009
March 16, 2009: NOT from Jerusalem #19, action is the best antidote to despair and a tool for  healthy living in unjust circumstances: UPDATE @ END
Not From Jerusalem # 19
By 
Russell O. Siler,
10 March 2009

    There is an old story about a headline in a Russian newspaper: Russian entry finishes second in auto race while American entry ends up next-to-last. However, the real story was in what the newspaper didn’t tell you. In this case there were only two cars in the race! Now re-read the headline. Today--as always--what is omitted is often equal to or more important than that which is reported.

    Recent violence has prompted many Israelis and leaders from other nations--the U.S. included--to proclaim that Israel has the right to security within its borders. What they do not say is that Israel has never announced the delineation of its borders. Militant settlers proclaim that all of historic Palestine is theirs. Some Israelis regard only that land west of the 1949 armistice line [the “Green Line”] as their nation. Some say that Israel includes all of the Jerusalem metropolitan area. But no Israeli government has stated the limits of its borders. Many observers ask “Which Israel?” when Palestinians are asked to recognize Israel.

    It is difficult to open an American newspaper these days without encountering some item regarding Israel’s concern and that of other nations over Iran’s potential for developing nuclear weapons. I can report without hesitation or reservation that every Israeli, Palestinian, or International living in those lands is quite aware that Israel is now--and has been for some decades--the solitary nuclear power in the entire region. I would hazard a guess that only a small fraction of Americans know of that reality. The U.S. refusal to acknowledge that fact publicly or officially goes all the way back to an agreement reached during the Eisenhower administration.

Do not misunderstand or misquote me. I do not--repeat DO NOT--support a nuclear weapons program in Iran or any other country. I do believe, however, that Israel’s nuclear capability is one of the facts which are highly relevant to any discussion of Iran’s military intentions. Those of us who are old enough to remember the first generation of the Cold War recall well how both the Soviet Union and the United States justified each leap in nuclear weaponry on the other’s expanded arsenal. The players are different, but the principle of deterrence and the specter of mutually assured destruction still lurk in the clouds of “diplo-speak.”

And, just like the two-entry auto race, accurate analysis and wise policy formation must include all the relevant facts.

    Jerusalem. Almost immediately after the end of the 1967 War Israel moved to annex Arab East Jerusalem. Most of the world is aware that Israel claims the city as its “eternal, undivided capital.” Fewer people know that not a single nation in the world recognizes that claim. The last two nations with embassies in Jerusalem moved them to the Tel Aviv area--where all other embassies are located--in response to the war with Lebanon in 2006. Fewer still are aware that in 1967 Arab East Jerusalem consisted of 6 km2 [square kilometers]; Israel’s annexation encompassed 70 km2, including many villages and open lands. Lastly, even fewer people know that two sets of laws and rights apply to Palestinians living under occupation: Those who live in the West Bank are under the aegis of military governance, but those who live in Jerusalem, because of Israel’s inclusion of that city in its nation, live under Israeli civil rules. It also means that those Palestinians have relatively free access to all of Israel [No Wall, No Checkpoints.].  By some unknown method Israel has determined that these 200,000 Arab Palestinians are not a significant security risk.

    All the listening world knows that Israel and the U.S. regard the Hamas movement as a “terrorist” organization. But I wonder how many realize that Israel actually fostered the rise of Hamas as a counter-balance to the late Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO].

    Finally, on a much less important level, you probably saw that the nation of Dubai refused a visa request for Shahar Peer, an internationally ranked Israeli tennis player, barring her from participating in a tournament there. The announced justification was a concern for Ms. Shahar’s safety in the wake of the death and destruction in Gaza mere weeks before. Immediately a firestorm of criticism blew around the globe. “Political bigotry,” “not acceptable,” “sports should be above politics” were among the more civil comments. What you did not read in the popular media was the fact that Israel had banned all football [soccer] matches during the Gaza violence if these matches took place in Palestinian villages in Israel and included non-Arab Israelis. Nor did you read of the many times in recent years that the Israeli government has refused to allow Palestinian sportsmen to leave their homes to participate in international events. It really helps me to assess an incident if I know the broader truth. When we are aware of the context of any incident or claim, we will see and hear things very differently.

    Lately our church has been criticized by some of its members and pastors. I fully support their right--even their responsibility--to do so. But they have an even greater obligation to register their critique from a foundation of all the relevant facts, not just those “truths” which strengthen the conclusions they wish to reach.

Russell O. Siler, Retired Reverend

<

American Tristan Anderson, was injured last Friday evening while protesting the route of the construction of the separation barrier in the Palestinian village of  Ni’lin on the West Bank. An extended-range tear gas canister weapon fired by Israeli military forces hit Anderson and fractured his skull, causing major trauma to his face.

American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin
Posted on: March 13, 2009
For Immediate Release

13th Friday 2009, Ni’lin Village: An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

    Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.
    – Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) - International Solidarity Movement

The Israeli army began using to use a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.

Please Contact:
Adam Taylor (English), ISM Media Office +972 8503948
Sasha Solanas (English), ISM Media Office - +972 549032981
Woody Berch (English), at Tel Hashomer hospital +972 548053082

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.

Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008.  The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead.  He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces.  He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008.  That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead.  He died three days in a Ramallah hospital.

Residents in the village of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the construction of the Apartheid Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin was 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after the construction of the Wall.

Updates:
Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital, tells Ha’aretz: "He’s in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests,” She described Anderson’s condition as life-threatening.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack told Ynet:

    "...the firing incident took place inside the village and not next to the fence. There were clashes in the earlier hours, but he wasn’t part of them. He didn’t throw stones and wasn’t standing next to the stone throwers. There was really no reason to fire at them. The Dutch girl standing next to him was not hurt. It only injured him, like a bullet."


From Mazin Qumseyeh:
    
 A good friend of ours, Tristan Anderson (US Citizen) was critically injured yesterday (Friday) and is in intensive care.  Other friends there reported that the Israeli soldiers were not in any danger when they fired new kinds of projectiles and other weaponry.  Tristan was actually to the side and was hit while standing and observing the attack by the Israeli soldiers on the Palestinian and International nonviolent and unarmed demonstrators. So far in the last 9 years over 6000 Palestinians and several Internationals were murdered by Israeli occupation forces (including a 23 year old American student Rachel Corrie).  Ofcourse none of the killers will be brought to justice because they are occupation soldiers “doing their duty” (to colonize, murder and oppress).   This week an Israeli court acquitted an Israeli French settler after he repeatedly stabbed a Palestinian taxi driver (24 y.o. Tayseer Karaki) to death.  The court claimed he was not guilty by reason of insanity despite the fact that even Israeli psychiatry experts who examined him after the incident ruled him sane and fit for trial.  None of the 12-13,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails could claim the insanity defense because after 60 years of colonial occupation, apartheid and slavery and massacres, we are all very sane!
 

 
Irony of the week:

Moshe Katsav, the Israeli ex-president who is now charged with rape once said:

"There is a huge gap between us and our enemies not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy." -Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

He is not the first or last Zionist leader to make racist statements about Palestinians.  We have thus seen claims ranging from Palestinians hate Jews ("more than they love their own children") to describing us as "nonexistant" or as "cockroaches" or "crocodiles" or "beasts".  This is not unusual for colonial powers (native Americans for example were described in similar terms). It is also interesting in many cases for racist to project their actions and psychological ills (racism, bigotry, lack of moral fibers) on their victims.  Hence AFTER Palestinians were literally pushed into the sea (ending up in refugee camps in Gaza and Lebanon etc), we sayw the devopment of the propaganda that we are the ones who wanted to "push Jews into the sea". And now, today  we see calculated 101 ways of transferring Palestinians out of Jerusalem and make it a Jewish city.  It is just another step in transforming a multiethnic multireligious society to a racist Zionist construct that contradicts all norms of humanity (including international law).

The prophetic voice of the Mahatma Gandhi comes to mind:

"Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled?  Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry  for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.....And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart...." Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi  (November 1938)
 
Action is the best antidote to despair. Action is the best tool for a healthy living in unjust circumstances
 
Action reminder: Use the excellent series of articles which appeared in the Lancet:
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Read by hundreds of thousands of physicians around the world on health in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Send articles to media, journalists, politicians, doctors, health care professionals and demand we treat Israel like we treated apartheid South Africa (with boycotts, divestment and sanctions)

15 March: The Anderson family posted the following statement on indybay.org:

    We are deeply grateful for the love and support pouring in from Tristan’s friends and fellow activists around the world. It is moving to see how many people care for Tristan and are moved by his work championing social justice issues. We are proud of Tristan’s fierce courage, adventurous spirit, and his many travels to all corners of the globe.

    Tristan’s girlfriend, Gaby, who has been tirelessly by his side, reports that he is doing much better. When the doctor asked him to put up two fingers he did so. Tristan recognizes Gaby and can squeeze her fingers in answer to different questions. He’s started his moving toes and his torso around a bit. This is welcome and wonderful news! We understand things can go up and down, however we are deeply hopeful that Tristan will recover. We are looking forward to when he is stable enough that he can return home to the care and comfort of his family and community.

    In the meantime, we are deeply appreciative of the excellent care he’s receiving, the amazing support that Gaby and his friends are providing, and the thoughts and prayers of those around the world who are holding him in their hearts and minds. It matters tremendously as we all hold faith for Tristan to recover and return home.

    Again, we are so very grateful for the outpouring of love and support for Tristan and our family.

 
   
 
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