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Pissing on the Graves of Civil Rights Heroes

1. Human Rights Workers: IDF Claims a “Zero Tolerance” for Violent
Settlers, But Not in Tel Rumeida
2. Despite Injunction from Israeli Supreme Court - Illegal
Construction in Metityahu Mizrah Continues
3. Electoral candidates unite against the Apartheid Wall
4. Sharon, a Man of Peace or a Man of Pacification
5. Pissing on the Graves of Civil Rights Heroes
6. What Is Holy Here?
7. In the Spirit of Revolution
8. Documentaries from occupied Palestine


1. Human Rights Workers: IDF Claims a “Zero Tolerance” for Violent Settlers, But Not in Tel Rumeida

January 17th, 2006
TEL RUMEIDA, HEBRON - Despite the Israeli government’s claim of a “zero tolerance” policy against settler violence in Hebron, Human
Rights Workers report that settlers have continued their violence against Palestinians with almost full impunity. The IDF’s and Police’s main response to settler lawlessness continues to be criminal indifference.

Though they have increased their numbers, Israeli Security Forces continue to order Palestinian residents and Human Rights Workers to go home, rather than stopping settler attacks against them. As the media focuses on the impending evacuation of eight settler families from the wholesale market in Hebron’s Old City, Human Rights Workers report that the increase of settler violence in Tel Rumeida, in the midst of the neighborhood’s ongoing climate of violence and humiliation, continues to go largely unreported by the media and unrestrained by the Israeli Security Forces. Human Rights Workers in Tel Rumeida have documented the settlers’ unrelenting violence in the neighborhood since August 2005 and report that the unrestrained settler violence against Palestinians, Human Rights Workers, and the Israeli Security Forces in Tel Rumeida can only mean that the Israeli government is criminally negligent in its refusal to apply the law to settlers.

Early Thursday afternoon, on the 12th of January, a group of forty
Israeli girls, many wearing black balaclava ski masks, marched through Tel Rumeida, throwing stones at Palestinians and Palestinian homes. David Parsons is a Canadian human rights worker (HRW) who lives in Tel Rumeida and works with the International Solidarity Movement and Tel Rumeida Project documenting and attempting to prevent settler attacks. “I was attacked right in front of four soldiers,” Parsons said, explaining that the group of girls surrounded him when they saw him filming as they threw stones at Palestinians. “They kicked and punched me, and tried repeatedly to steal my video camera. Four soldiers were standing nearby and watching, but they did nothing to help me or Palestinians as we were attacked.”

In another incident, witnessed by a Palestinian resident of Tel
Rumeida, Baruch Marzel, a notorious settler leader, and other settlers attacked a Palestinian woman. The witness called out to soldiers stationed nearby to help her. The soldiers did not arrive. Instead, more than three hours later, a group of soldiers knocked on the witness’ door, with guns pointed, to ask him what he wanted. Life for Tel Rumeida’s Palestinian residents, sandwiched between the Beit Hadassah and Tel Rumeida settlements, is characterized by the daily threat of violence from one of the West Bank’s most fanatical settler populations. Palestinian schoolchildren are regularly attacked with eggs and stones as they walk to and from school, and Palestinians of all ages face daily attacks.

The Tel Rumeida project and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) live in Tel Rumeida where they support palestinian families by documenting and intervening in settler violence.
For more information:


2. Despite Injunction from Israeli Supreme Court - Illegal
Construction in Metityahu Mizrah Continues
January 16th 2006|
At 10-00AM today the villagers of Bil’in noticed construction work being carried out at the illegal out post of Metityahu Mizrah, built on there land despite an injunction from January 13th issued by Judge Ayala Prokachya forbidding all building whatsoever in the Matityahu East compound in the settlement Modi’in Illit.

The villagers called the police who arrived on the scene only to stand by and do nothing to stop the illegal construction. The military that arrived shortly after also ignored the illegal construction and demanded that the villagers leave the area. At 13:15 hours the workers left the area of their own accord.

At 13:30 A civil administration Jeep arrived on patrol to monitor the
Palestinian one room building that constitutes the “Palestinian outpost” dubbed Bil’in West. The Civil Administration conveniently failed to notice any illegal activity in the Israeli outpost across the hill.

In stark contrast to the treatment of Matityahu Mizrah, the civil administration and Police have recently confiscated building material from inside the Palestinian outpost and forced it’s residents to take down the Palestinian flag that decorated the structure.


3. Electoral candidates unite against the Apartheid Wall

January 18th, 2006
Bil'in Village
Candidates from all Palestinian political parties and factions, including Hamas, Fatah, Al Mubadara and others will join the villagers of Bil’in on Friday the 20th of January at 12;00 AM in a march to the construction site of the annexation barrier on their land. Members of the Israeli Knesset and Israeli and international activists will also participate in the protest.

When asked about Hamas participating in nonviolent demonstrations that are supported by Israeli activists, Hamas’s spokesperson Hassan
Youssef told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that if they see that this kind of demonstration can end Israel’s occupation, then they will do it.

The people of Bil’in have built an “outpost” adjacent to the illegal Jewish settlement outpost Matityahu Mizrah currently being constructed on the villages land. That has been rendered inaccessible to the villagers by the annexation barrier.

The Israeli authorities efforts to remove and halt the expansion of the Palestinian outpost is in stark contrast to their support for the illegal expansion of Modi’in Elite.

The route of the wall in Bil’in was determined in order to allow for the unauthorised expansion of the Modi’in Elite settlement and the de-facto annexation of over half of the villages land. An appeal by the villagers will be heard in the Israeli Supreme Court on February first.


4. Sharon, a Man of Peace or a Man of Pacification

January 18th, 2006
by: Hedy Epstein
Before I arouse the wrath of those who do not agree with my views on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, let me say that I wish Prime Minister Sharon full recovery and peace of mind.

As Mr. Sharon now lies in his hospital bed, writers all over the world are busy preparing articles remembering this man. No matter what happens, Sharon will be remembered. Remembered by whom? Remembered for what?

Therein lies the difference. Some will remember him as a great soldier; as architect of the Likud Party, and more recently as the founder of a new political party - Kadima; as the father of the settlements; as the man who unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, and, and, and…

Still others will remember and laud him as a “Man of Peace.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Sharon’s goal and the Israeli government’s goal under Sharon’s leadership has not been peace, but pacification. What is the difference between peace and pacification? Peace is the absence of violence, destruction and war. Pacification, according to my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is “the act of being subdued to a submissive state; the act of bringing under control.” Peace, according to the same dictionary, is “a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity.”

A true peacemaker does not build a 25 foot high wall (twice the height of the infamous Berlin Wall) which in most places does not separate Israelis from Palestinians for the alleged purpose of security for Israel, but separates Palestinians from Palestinians. If Israel truly believes a wall is necessary to provide security for its people, Israel has every right to do so, but should build it on its own land, along the 1967 borders, and not encroach on Palestinian land, and in the process destroy Palestinian homes, olive groves and hothouses, preventing Palestinians from contact with families, friends, reaching places of work, hospitals, schools and water resources - in other words, destroying the economic and social life of Palestinians, reducing them to live in Bantustan-like situations, reminiscent of life in South Africa, not so long ago. The land that has been, and continues to be lost to the construction of the wall, is some of the very best Palestinian farmland. The International Court of Justice nearly unanimously declared the current path of the wall illegal. Even the Israeli Supreme Court declared in the summer of 2004 that the wall needs to be relocated in some areas to abate the hardship it causes the Palestinians. Reluctantly, this happened in a few places, but in the process, more Palestinian land was confiscated.

Much has been made of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza a few months ago. But little is said about Israel’s continued administrative control over Gaza, meaning control over land, air and sea access; about ongoing, frequent machine gun, tank and rocket fire by Israel in response to some home-made rockets or stones being thrown at Israeli tanks by Palestinians. While the withdrawal from Gaza was hailed by the media, construction of new settlements and addition to existing ones in the West Bank was carried out with a great furor. Just like the wall, they are another land grab, illegal and in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention.

What about the many checkpoints and roadblocks? They are but another method of humiliating and harassing Palestinians and all of this with the approval and direction of Sharon, the so called “Man of Peace.”
There is only one good name for all of this, “pacification,” the act of subduing Palestinians into a submissive state, of bringing them under control.

And lastly, much of this has been and continues to be paid for by American tax dollars.

Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor and a Board member of Deir Yassin Remembered. She has visited Palestine three times between December 2003 and August 2005, witnessing much of what she describes above.


5. Pissing on the Graves of Civil Rights Heroes
by Gabriel Ash
January 15, 2006
Andrew Goodman was a 21-year-old Jewish anthropology student from New York who went to Mississippi in 1964 to help register black voters. He joined thousands of activists in Freedom Summer, a non-violent challenge to the institutionalized racism of the U.S. South. Goodman was one of the many people who helped bring King’s dream one step closer to reality. But Goodman’s idealism and dedication to justice cost him his life. He was murdered by a white supremacist mob in Philadelphia, Mississippi together with two other activists, the black Mississippian James Chaney (age 21) and a second white New-Yorker, Michael Schwerner (age 24).

Last Thursday, Goodman’s mother received a Civil Rights Award from the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at the event, which commemorated Martin Luther King Jr.

But not all is well. A few years ago I participated in another non-violent challenge to institutionalized racism, also called Freedom Summer in recognition of that inspiring historical moment. The new Freedom Summer was organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and took us to occupied Palestine, where we sought to stand shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians organizing non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation, and to bear witness to their struggle for justice and freedom.

Like any serious challenge to racism, the International Solidarity
Movement’s campaigns are not without danger. An American ISM volunteer, Rachel Corrie, 22, was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while protecting a Palestinian home from demolition. A British volunteer, Tom Hurndall, 21, died after being shot in the head by a sniper while trying to escort Palestinian children to safety in Rafah. Israeli protesters Gil Na’amati, Itai Levinsky, and Jonathan Pollak have been seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers during demonstrations. Many have suffered gunshot wounds, beatings and arrests.

Jews like Goodman played an important role in a Civil Rights movement of the ‘60s, one that has been told many times. Although I don’t have statistics, I can attest that our Freedom Summer was attended by a significant number of American Jews as well. If Goodman were alive today, I have no doubt that he too would be going to Palestine, to stand for the same values he stood for in Mississippi in 1964.

Yet the award was presented to Goodman’s mother in a peculiar place
- Israel’s embassy in Washington.

Goodman’s commitment to voting rights was honored at the embassy of the state that, on that very day, arrested Palestinians trying to hang campaign posters in Jerusalem (Haaretz, January 12, 2006) Goodman’s commitment to civil rights was honored by a state that disallows inter-religious marriages, refuses residence to foreign spouses of Arab citizens, and reserves development budgets overwhelmingly for its Jewish citizens.

Goodman’s commitment to fight racism was honored by a state that considers 20% of its mothers “a demographic threat.” Goodman’s commitment to fight for freedom was honored by a state where an Arab must be vetted by the security services before he or she can teach in an Arab high school.

Goodman’s sacrifice was honored by the representative of the state responsible for killing Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall. Goodman’s commitment to non-violence was honored by a state that defines non-violence as a “security threat” and routinely deports Americans suspected of committing it.

That’s a perk; Palestinian non-violent activists are treated far worse. Israeli forces fire tear gas, rubber and live bullets and concussion grenades at unarmed protestors. Israeli undercover agents have been caught on tape throwing rocks at Israeli forces to create excuses to firing on protestors (Haaretz, April 29, 2005; see also “The Palestinian Gandhi,” by Ran HaCohen) Israeli forces kill non-violent protesters.
For example, during a non-violent protest in Bidu in February 2004, in which the ISM participated, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian protesters, Zacharia Mahmoud Eid, 26, Mohamed Rayan, 26, and Mohamed Saleh Bedwan. 70 year old Abu Nabil Abu Eid also died from a heart attack after inhaling excessive tear-gas. Israel’s security forces have wounded hundreds of protesters, harassed and collectively punished villages such as Budrus and Bilin that dared to protest non-violently, and arrested hundreds of protesters, including nonviolent protest leaders. Muhammed Awad from Budrus is an example. He was deemed a security threat and put in administrative detention (the Israeli version of legal limbo). He explained the threat he poses to the state better than anyone: “Instead of the fence, my friends and I managed to establish bridges of trust between us and the Jews,” he said to Judge Agassi. “We let the world understand that there can be coexistence between us and the Jews.” (Haas in Haaretz,
November 10, 2004)

This is the state that Jackson agreed to honor and to associate with the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by accepting to participate and speak at this award ceremony.

What is the role of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism in this disgrace? No great mystery here. This is an organization that sees, hears and speaks no evil with regards to Israel. Their general commitment to social justice and “action” is at best limited to the safely uncontroversial. On its website you can find various “issue packets”. On the crisis in Argentina, for example, their package contains information exclusively about Jews. I guess all the other struggles that are taking place in Argentina are just out of luck. What business has this parochial group to honor deeds of the sort it neither advocates nor apparently cares about? Is it because Goodman was Jewish? This “Action Center” is using Goodman’s name, hoping that Goodman’s anti-racist halo would rub off on them, and on Israel, thanks to Goodman’s Jewish ancestry. They should be told that Jewish participation in solidarity against racism is not a credit line they can now freely tap. Those who are today defending the cause of racism and discrimination should not bask in the unearned glow of the sacrifices made by heroes such as Andrew Goodman. They have little in common with him.

But who will tell them that? Not Jesse Jackson, who is now merchandizing the struggle for civil rights. Jackson is today allowing that anti-racist legacy to be used to legitimize institutionalized racism and violence. Thus he ingratiates himself with the Zionist movers and shakers who dispense campaign money and respectability in the Democratic Party.


Gabriel Ash is an activist and writer who writes because the pen is sometimes mightier than the sword and sometimes not.

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