Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ahed Tamimi

What a shame!!! Israel which claims to be “the only democracy in the Middle East” has been harassing a little town called Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah.  Not only have they confiscated their land to put a settlement in the midst of this Palestinian country side, they also confiscated their spring of water.  So their water supply is irregular and unpredictable, and not more than 12 hours per week.  That is why they have to rely on water tanks and be very very careful.   Moreover, that Spring area was their only recreational ground.  How ironic that Israel is determined to build walls of separation,  yet the settlers   choose to  live in our midst and make life hell for us.   Nabi Saleh is just one of those sites that have been coveted by the Israeli settlers. Any body that has common sense or compassion would understand why the old and young people have been demonstrating regularly against such a brutal injustice.  How many in Israel or the US would sit still if their land is confiscated illegally and their water is not flowing  through their taps  regularly on daily basis? 

Ahed Tamimi grew up in this atmosphere of  daily harassment.  Her reaction to the news of the shooting of her  fifteen-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, requiring the surgical removal of part of his skull,  was not surprising.    This young courageous woman got out all her anger, and with her bare hands,  with no stone or knife,  simply slapped those two soldiers to show them that they were not welcome in the courtyard of her house.  Maybe the shock of the slapping made those soldiers act with restraint,  thinking that after all she was a child.  The whole episode might have ended as a joke had the incident not been documented on video, and hence went viral.   That is why  “the most moral army in the world” could not face this insult and the  plan now is to teach Ahed a lesson that she and other young people of her age will never forget. 

With all the international pressure and petitions to release her and her mother, dare we hope that this “moral army” will drop charges and put an end to the suffering of the whole Tamimi family who have already lost four of their family Bassema in 1993, Mustafa in 2011, Rushdi in 2012 and most recently Musaab in 2018.  Who is going to try the murderers of those young people?  Will Israel be allowed to continue flouting international law?  It is time this occupation comes to an end and with it, the colonial settler project that is causing so much suffering for the Palestinian people and hindering peace in the region. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

UNRWA and Mr. Trump

With the latest decision of Mr. Trump to cut $65 million from the US allocation to UNRWA, I thought it might help  to remind Mr. Trump of the background of  UNRWA, its purpose and mandate.  In the meantime thanks to Belgium for stepping in to help UNRWA with an immediate disbursement of $23 million.  

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) was established by the United Nations General Assembly - resolution 302 (IV) on  December 8, 1949 so as to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees.  The Agency began operations on  the first of May 1950  and it was supposed to be a temporary Agency to relieve  Palestinian refugees who were evicted or fled from their homes before and during the 1948 war, until they  are   able  to go back to their homes, or be compensated in accordance  with   United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948,  towards  the end of the 1948  Arab-Israeli War.  The resolution   defined  principles for reaching a final settlement and returning Palestine refugees to their homes.   The resolution stipulated  that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of, or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Not only has Israel  denied the right of return for the refugees,  or any responsibility for compensation,  the US has vetoed as well every resolution in support of the right of the Palestinians to go back to their homes.  Thus in  the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate.

Yes Mr. Trump I assure you it is our rights as Palestinians that we are demanding, and not your money.  However once again you seem  to support the oppressors and punish the victims, not only by denying them their right of return but by  denying them their basic rights as well:    health, education and relief services that are very much needed in the refugee camps where the situation has further deteriorated due to the ongoing occupation;  an occupation that should have come to an end with the implementation of the Security council resolution 242 which was unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967, and based on the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.   
Should Mr. Trump be concerned about the amount of money that the US is paying  to UNRWA,  he then should take the responsibility of  settling  the problem of the refugees. Otherwise that issue will continue to be a sore spot  in the history of the United Nations and the US administration .  Moreover,  the US  will have to be  morally responsible for continuing  to support UNRWA because of  the role  of the US administration  in blindly supporting Israel and shielding it from any responsibility for the problem of the Palestinian refugees.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Once again, Nikki Haley

Once again, Nikki Haley, the American Ambassador at the United Nations sounds ridiculous.  The last time I heard her was during the vote of the Security Council and the General Assembly after the announcement of Mr. Trump regarding  Jerusalem, threatening countries who would vote against the USA.  But in fact this morning after Mr. Trump threatened to cut  aid to the Palestinians,  she also threatened to cut aid to  UNRWA, the organization that has been supporting Palestinian refugees until a just solution is found for them.  At the beginning of her term she ridiculously threatened to hit with her shoe anybody who would criticize Israel.  Really that was below the belt.  However, the Defense Minister,  Mr. Liberman presented her with a box of shoes when she visited Israel.    

On another scene, but not completely disconnected, she was quoted on the Israeli radio this morning commending the people of Iran for  protesting  against the regime.  “People have the right to rise up against  their oppressors.”  It brought back the memory of the Americans meddling in Iran in 1953 when the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh which was commended for many social reforms,  was overthrown in a coup d’etat aided by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service, basically for the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry.  Colonial countries have a long history of abusing  the resources of the countries they had colonized and  find it very difficult to  let go.  The 1956  invasion of Egypt by Israel, Britain and France was basically a reaction to   the courageous step that  Gamal Abdel Nasser  took to nationalize the Suez Canal. 

Mr. Netanyahu never stops talking about the danger of Iran.  So it is not surprising that Mr. Trump and his Ambassador Nikki Haley would risk getting the US in a war for the sake of  their  staunch ally, Israel.  I wonder what the ambassador thinks of the rights of the  Palestinians, who have been oppressed for 50 years  under Israeli occupation?  .  Do they have the right to protest against their oppressors? 

Recently it was all over the media, Ahed Tamimi, her mother and other members of the family from Nabi Saleh have been incarcerated for protesting to retrieve their rights in the water source of their town,  that has been depleted by the religious settlement of Halmish.  I would like to see  how Ambassador Haley would react if she cannot get a drink of water or her morning coffee and daily shower.