Wednesday 25 August 2010

The Voice of Palestine

The Voice of Palestine (1)

25/08/2010 — reham alhelsi

We, the Palestinians, have a voice; a strong one that never tires no matter the deafness or the silence of the world.

We speak of our suffering, aspirations and hopes when all others are silent.

We tell our story, the story of a land usurped by foreign colonists, the story of an indigenous people ethnically cleansed from their ancestral home, the story of an olive tree steadfast in the face of Zionism.

We, the Palestinians, have a voice that to you might not be as “sophisticated” or as “exotic” or as “interesting” as that of an Israeli speaking/writing about Palestine, or as that of an American or a European speaking/writing about Palestine. Our voice, the voice of ordinary Palestinians living under occupation might not appeal to you as much as that of the “others” who write about our “experience under occupation”. But we have a voice, a voice that speaks of the suffering that is daily, of the fears that are touchable, of the pain that is real, of the land that is mingled with our blood, a voice that is Palestinian.

We, the Palestinians, have a voice that is the voice of the life we live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month and 12 months a year. We have never stopped telling our story for those who care to listen and for those who ignore our existence. We have been telling it since the first Zionist colonist set foot on Palestinian land. we have never stopped using our voice to tell the world what is being done to us by these Zionists. We continue to say it in form of a word, a song, a painting.

We speak of Palestine that was, that is and that will forever be. We write of the land so sacred, of the meadows so green, of the almonds that blossom in Al-Jalil and of the olive trees that decorate the hilltops of Jerusalem. We sing of the comrades that paved the way for the coming freedom, of the comrades whose body is united with Palestine, of the comrades whole souls are locked up behind bars, of the comrades who are steadfast in their fields, in their homes, in their land. We paint Palestine the bride, Palestine the resistance, Palestine the freedom, Palestine the mother waiting for all her children to return home. We, the Palestinians, have a voice; it is the voice of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours. It is the voice of Palestine.

Palestinians have always told their story. But the word of a Palestinian never mattered that much. They are mostly ignored and discarded, and not only by the Zionists and their supporters. Palestinians aren’t allowed to tell their own story, are considered “irrelevant”, because otherwise it would be termed “partial” reporting. Zionists on the other hand are welcome to speak on behalf of themselves, the Palestinians and the whole world, yet it is considered “balanced” reporting because the Zionists are forever “relevant”. When a car accident happens in Oman, bring a Zionist to analyze to the viewers, listeners and readers that not having full and open diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity is the reasons for car accidents in the Arab world.

When floods destroy Pakistan, and earthquakes shake Iran bring a Zionist to explain to the viewers, listeners and readers that the floods and earthquakes are “God’s punishment” to all those who oppose “God’s chosen people”. When a mosque is to be built in NYC, bring a Zionist to explain to the viewers, listeners and readers that “11.09” is the new religion of the “civilized” world, that it is a matter of “us against them” before the green flags replace the white, red and blue stripes and stars, and before the minarets replace cable antennas and before Arabic becomes the official language of the US and the EU. And when Mars is invaded by the ”civilized world” for no reason at all, other than the usual “to spread democracy and freedom”, bring a Zionist who will make it get through the viewers, listeners and readers thick heads once and for all that “for Israel’s security we have to invade the planets and the galaxies, slaughter their people, destroy their homes and fields because the next Holocaust is coming, don’t know when, where or how, but it is coming. So we have to kill them all to prevent another Holocaust.” And when a Palestinian child is kidnapped from his/her bed in the middle of the night and tortured by an Israeli intelligence officer to force a false confession, ask a Zionist “expert on all issues Palestinian, middle eastern, and earthly” and he will tell you how the Palestinian child is actually thankful for the torture, is enjoying it and would in fact have wanted more if it weren’t for interfering “bigots” whose only task is to tarnish Israel’s image as the “only democracy in the Middle East”, as the “protector of human rights” and as the most, most perfect place in the whole galaxy. And while Zionists are allowed to tell fairy tales 24 hours non-stop, explaining, analyzing, showing the “problem with the Palestinians” and why “Palestinians are no men of peace while the war criminals Rabin, Shamir, Sharon, Barak, Livni and Netanyahu are the incarnation of peace, love and humanity”, Palestinians remain “irrelevant” when it comes to their own freedom, rights, land and even their own lives.

When Palestinians tell their story, rarely anyone cares or pays attention, unless of course the story is written by a non-Palestinian. And if we Palestinians tell the story often enough for some to pay attention and listen, it will be said: this is propaganda.

We are asked to provide “evidence” that the young man murdered in cold blood by the Israeli occupation forces in front of tens of witnesses was no “terrorist”, while the claims of the murderers, i.e. the IOF, that the man they had just murdered was a “terrorist”, would be accepted without dispute.

The IOF is never requested to provide proof to its claims and fairy tales, and of course the tens of Palestinian witnesses would be dismissed as “irrelevant”.

We are asked to provide “evidence” that the bullet that killed the little girl while sitting in her classroom is with a 1000% accuracy an “Israeli” bullet and not some bullet flying from south America and on its way to the north pole hit the little Palestinian girl who was reading her school book. The probability that the south American bullet was responsible for the little girl’s death is greater than that of an Israeli bullet, considering that the south American bullet came flying in Palestinian school classes incidentally at the same time the Israeli soldiers were shooting in the direction of the school is only an “Anti-Semitic scheme to further delegitimize Israel and blame it for things others did”. Oh, those south Americans, shooting Palestinian children all the way from the other side of the planet and blaming poor little hated-by-everyone-for-no-reason Israel. And the fact that the Israeli army observation point positioned exactly opposite the classroom had a history of targeting Palestinians on their way to school, work or homes would also be made “irrelevant”. We are asked to provide “evidence” that the Palestinian family forcibly evacuated from its ancestral home built on its ancestral land “owns” the house despite the fact that the house is older than the Zionist entity itself. Zionist colonists carrying features of far away landscapes would be produced as the “wandering children” returning to reclaim their house, while the real owners of the house who carry the features of the land, whose blood and sweat flow in the land and whose roots reach deep into the heart of the land would be considered “irrelevant”. We are asked to provide “evidence” that Jrash, Deir Aban, Zakariya and all other villages ethnically cleansed of their people and then erased of the face of the earth by the Zionists are a fact and not fiction, despite the millions and millions of Palestinian refugees who carry these villages in their minds, hearts and their names. They ask for “evidence” that these villages existed, that there was ever “ethnic cleansing” while their leaders brag about the massacres and the destruction of the homes and the fields, while they demolish even our cemeteries to delete not only the living but the dead as well. They ask for “evidence” while they come from Germany, France, the UK, the US and Russia and occupy homes of those forced out during the Nakba. They ask for “evidence” while they build museums, schools and parks over our dead, our homes and our lives.

And despite the unending ocean of footage documenting Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people, you still hear demands for “providing evidence” to “ungrounded accusations” aiming only at distorting the image of the peace-loving Zionist entity. And after air raids, bombing and butchering Palestinian civilians sleeping in their homes, and after mourning the tens, hundreds and thousands of dead children, women and elderly killed for no other reason than being Palestinian, you will still hear demands for evidence; the US, the EU, the UN and almost everyone else and their respective media would demand an “evidence” to your “claims”, while remember, when rival Israeli mafia gangs bomb each other’s discos, shops and building, everyone rushes to take Israel’s word for it that it was a Palestinian “terror attack”. No “evidence” is needed, for the IOF has spoken and its word shall be. And in cases when evidence of Israel’s war crimes is being transmitted live to the whole universe, as during the Israeli genocide in Gaza, everyone who had been demanding an “evidence” would turn blind for the day, and the Zionist entity who in such cases would not be able to twist the facts would just twist the law and declare that from now on the use of phosphorous bombs is legal in residential areas and the “conscientious” world would nod and pat on Israel’s shoulders.

And then there are the tens of thousands of other cases, when Israel committed war crimes in broad daylight and no “evidence” is “documented”, other than the testimonies of the survivors who are “irrelevant” since they are Palestinians. While Israel attacks, for example Jenin refugee camp, commits atrocities there and then comes out in front of the cameras to denounce Palestinian “claims” and demand “evidence”, only few would care remember that just before and during the atrocities Jenin was declared a closed military area, with no real journalists allowed in or out. It was only after Israel “cleaned” the refugee camp of the worst traces of its war crimes that it allowed journalists to enter Jenin. So, you see, next time you wonder why in this time and day, with all the technology that is strangling us, it is in rare cases that evidence in form of live footage is provided of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, then know it is so because the Israeli occupation army, the “most moral army in the world”, commits its crimes in previously declared closed military areas, so no witnesses be present except the Palestinian witnesses who are “irrelevant”. And know that the Zionist entity, the “only democracy in the Middle East”, often only permits Journalists to work in occupied Palestine after signing statements that they won’t write anything that might be “harmful to Israel’s systematic murdering of Palestinians”, aka Israel’s “security”, thus censoring everything they write, and journalists disobeying the rules won’t be given permits to report anymore. And know that this “defender of human rights”, the “only upholder of freedom of speech in a sea of dictatorships and censorships”, would not hesitate in kidnapping this journalist, bombarding the office of that news agency or even murdering the cameraman who dared film Israel while it was doing “humanitarian work” for the Palestinians: How dare these journalists film us, humanitarian work should better be kept anonymous, as in Haiti.

And there are cases when, despite Israel’s censorship, evidence is provided, because someone filmed secretly the great deeds of the “most moral army in the world”, or someone was able to hide the film before he/she and his/her camera were battered by the media-shy humanitarian workers of the IOF, or because a nice, kind soldier of the IOF, who loves Palestinians to death and who only wanted to bring laughter to the lives of stern Palestinians who don’t understand the joys of life and don’t want to say “cheez” to the camera, was able to share with the world her “best moments in life” before the “most moral army in the world” explained to her that good deeds are better kept secret, not exposed because “the world hates us and doesn’t understand us”. In these rare cases when, despite Israel’s censorship, evidence is provided, the Zionist entity and its terrorist army are ready with their Hasbara:

1 deny the “allegations”; what Palestinians say is always allegation/claims, fairy tales. What Israelis say is always fact, the words of no other than “God’s chosen people”.

2 then when some stupid reporter (who will definitely become jobless after the article/TV report/interview) goes a bit further than allowed and shows some footage or pictures that had escaped the Zionist censor, the Zionist entity (after of course the usual process of accusing the reporter of being unfit for journalist work, biased, hates Israel, Anti-Semite) declares this is a fabrication, a “Palywood” production and “the whole world is against us”, when in fact it is them who are experts in Zionwood productions (for examples of Zionwood productions: The Fantasy World of ZIONWOOD).

3 if the evidence is too damning and the claims of “allegations”, “Paliwood” and “the coming Holocaust” don’t work, the Zionist entity apologizes stressing the “incident” is an “isolated incident”, a “shameless act”, is “regrettable” and was carried out by a “deranged” person.  Some Zionist army commander appears in a press conference, says: “look how sad I am for the loss of this Palestinian and that, but the soldier who killed them, and although following orders of the IOF, was acting alone, and although his/her conduct is common in the Israeli army, he/she doesn’t represent us, and to show the Palestinians our sincere anguish for their loss we will be rewarding the soldier who accidently, while working alone, killed a Palestinian who might have grown up to become a terrorist. We feel your loss, but it is your fault”. In fact, considering the number of such “incidents” and all the “deranged” soldiers serving in the Israeli occupation army and with a bit of mathematics, the outcome of this equation is clear: Zionists are murderers who enjoy killing people and stealing their land.

4 again, in cases of massacres committed live on camera for the whole world to see, where no other lie helps, the Zionist entity uses the magic sentence: “we were defending ourselves”. Remember among others Al-Aqsa, Jenin, Gaza, the Flotilla?

Numerous are the examples of the nature of Zionism which is pure terrorism, racism and ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples and the theft of their land, history and culture. Numerous are the Zionist atrocities committed against the Palestinians. Numerous are the Zionist atrocities each one of us experienced, witnessed or heard of from relatives, friends and neighbours. But for the moment, here are 3 examples, with more, including personal experiences, to follow in another post.

Mahmoud Salah

On 08.03.2002, 23 year old Mahmoud Salah from Nablus was killed in cold-blood by the Israeli border police.

According to several eyewitnesses, Mahmoud was stopped at the Beit Hanina Israeli military checkpoint, searched and handcuffed. The Israeli police took off Mahmoud’s clothes and 30 minutes after his arrest, and while under the control of the Israeli border police, Mahmoud was executed. A bomb-detecting robot was brought to deceive the world and claim Mahmoud was a “suicide bomber”. One witness, Yehiya al-Waari, 56, testified that Salah: “was assassinated half an hour after his arrest, after police completely subdued him.”…”At around 4:15pm on Friday, a border guard police patrol came to the Third Project in Nuseibeh Housing Project in Occupied Jerusalem and summoned two youths who were in the street there, one of them was a member of the Nuseibeh Quarter and his name was Randy, and the other youth was saying that his name is Mahmoud from Nablus region”…..”when Mahmud arrived, he was immediately handcuffed, then (the policemen) raised his hands and threw him against my car. Minutes later, a police bomb disposal unit arrived on the scene.”… “A policeman had put his foot on (Salah’s) neck, another was holding his legs while and a third his hands. All the neighbours and myself saw from our windows and balconies how he was executed, more than half an hour after his arrest,” … ”The members of the special units threw him to the ground and cut open and removed his clothes with a special blade, leaving him with only his boxer shorts on,”… “Members of the regular police were, from the start, clearly disagreeing with the members of the special units who executed Salah and were repeating in Hebrew: ‘Let’s kill him!”. Al-Waari adds that the Israeli border police executed Salah “from a distance 40 to 60 centimetres … and left him lying on the ground for 40 minutes until his death. They then brought robot to remove an explosive belt”.[1]

Zionist and Co media repeated the propaganda of the Israeli border police claiming that the Israeli police had shot dead a Palestinian who was on his way to carry out a “suicide attack”. In one statement after the other, the Israeli police tried to justify the murder. One Israeli police spokesman, Kobi Zarhad, claimed that Salah “was wearing a explosive belt on his stomach and detonator on his chest.” adding that “This person was killed because he could not be subdued. It is only after he was dead that we were able to remove the (explosive) belt”.[2] In a press release, the Israeli police insolently claimed that Mahmoud: “was held on the ground, face down, while a bomb disposal expert attempted to dismantle the explosive device. This lasted a number of minutes. During this time, the suicide bomber attempted several times to detonate the bomb by rubbing his chest against the ground in the hope of activating the detonation switch. In order to prevent the murder of the policemen and the bomb disposal officer, the suicide bomber was shot and killed by police. The bomb was dismantled with the aid of a bomb disposal robot.”[3] The Palestinians who witnessed the execution refuted the story of the Israeli border police, and said that it was an execution, a murder in cold blood. Unknown to the Israeli police, the whole execution was being filmed from a nearby building. The footage shows clearly how Mahmoud Salah was forced on the ground, his clothes being taken off (no explosive belt to be seen) and then executed. A robot is brought to “dismantle” the nonexistent explosive belt. The photos taken prove what the eyewitnesses said and expose the Israeli lies. One photo shows Mahmoud’s almost naked body and nowhere is an explosive belt to be seen. It shows Mahmoud is dead on the ground face down, so how did the robot dismantle the – obviously nonexistent – explosive device? Mahmoud was arrested, handcuffed, under the control of the soldiers and completely subdued for a whole 30 minutes before he was executed, which also refutes the Israeli lie that it took a few minutes. Another photo shows some soldiers pinning Mahmoud to the ground just before executing him. If Mahmoud had an explosive device tied to his stomach, would the Israeli police hold him on the ground face down? Would they have held him and sat on him like that had they had 0.1% of a doubt that he had an explosive belt on him? No, they would never have dared do that. They were SURE there was no explosive belt! According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Police Inspector General Shlomo Aharonishky called two Israeli border policemen who executed Mahmoud to personally thank them.

Sabri Fayez Younis Ar-Rjoub:
On 14.02.2005, Sabri, the 16 years old boy from Doura village, was killed by an Israeli occupation officer at the Israeli military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron.

According to all witness, Sabri was executed. The mother who rushed to see her son saw him riddled with bullets, covered with blood and Israeli policemen surrounding him, laughing and pointing at him. A Palestinian photographer, Nayef Al-Hashlamoun, took a picture showing the “humanity” of the Israeli policemen after they had killed the unarmed boy. One Israeli policeman smiles and points at Sabri lying dead on the ground, while another just looks at his “chatting” friends, as if no little child had just been murdered.

Palestinian Eyewitnesses to the murder testified to human rights organizations that the Israeli commander at the checkpoint personally fired the bullets at Sabri from a distance of only 10 meters. Sabri was hit in the chest, abdomen, pelvis and right leg. The Israeli commander approached the boy and started kicking him to make sure he was dead. He then shot Sabri again 3 direct bullets in the chest from a distance of 1 m. Israeli occupation army, as always, hurried to claim that Sabri, the little unarmed boy, had tried to stab a fully-armed Israeli soldier. No knife was found with the boy.

As usual, if nothing is found on a victim, no knife and no bombs to present to the world, either some are miraculously “created” or the victim is responsible for his own death: he was walking, talking, looking, thinking in a “suspicious” way:“The IOF claimed Al-Rjoub approached in “suspicious” way Israeli troops guarding the Muslim shrine of Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and tried to stab a soldier with a knife. Witnesses said the boy was unarmed and the IOF troops shot to kill him in cold blood.”[4] I really want to know what “suspicious” means: Was Sabri, the 16 year old child, walking on his hands? Or was he perhaps jumping up and down as he “approached” the checkpoint? And as for the Zionist obsession with the “isolated” incident excuse, on 30.05.2005, Omar Radi Mahmoud Houshyyieh, 28 years old from Yatta, was murdered in a very similar way: Israeli occupation forces stationed at one checkpoint in the old city of Hebron shot Omar dead and later claimed he tried stabbing a soldier. At hospital, doctors found at least 7 bullets in Omar’s body. Palestinian residents of the area refuted the Israeli claim. I wonder; did Omar walk or talk in a suspicious way? or did he maybe wear a suspicious blouse or a suspicious trouser?

Huda Al-Khawaja
During an Israeli army assault on Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem on 08.03.2002, Israeli soldiers hammered on the house door of Huda Al-Khawaja in search of “alleged weapons”. As Huda approaches the door to open it, the soldiers blow it up using explosives injuring her seriously. She fell to the ground bleeding while her husband and children surrounded her, cried and pleaded with the soldiers to get medical help and save her. But the soldiers refused and went on with their search of the alleged weapons which were never found. During the search, the soldiers destroyed the property of Al-Khawaja family and several walls in the house all while ignoring the dying Huda. Huda, 31 years old mother of 5, was left for one whole hour to bleed to death before the Israeli army finally allowed medical help to come. Huda was murdered.

When the story of Huda was told by Palestinians, as usual only few believed them. But two weeks later, an Israeli TV station decided to break the Israeli censorship and aired a report showing the Israeli raid and what happened in Huda’s house. On 19.03.2002, CBC reported: “When CBC News spoke with Ismail Hawarjeh at Bethlehem’s hospital earlier this month, there was no way to verify the story he told about how his wife had died, until Israel’s Channel 2 broadcast the tape last weekend.”[5] In other words: when the Palestinians tell their story, we “can’t be sure they are telling the truth”, unless Israel confirms it! As customary, the “only democracy in the Middle East” and the “protector of freedoms” didn’t allow journalists inside the camp to report what atrocities the army was committing. Only chosen Israeli media outlets were allowed to join the soldiers, provided the army censors their reporting. A team recorded the blowing up of the door, Huda injured and bleeding on the ground and her family’s pleading with the soldiers to help her. The report showed Khawaja “begging soldiers to allow an ambulance through. The camera captured the terror of the woman’s daughter, and her brother’s attempt to stop her from showing the soldiers her fear. After the woman was finally taken out, one of the soldiers looked into the camera and said: “I don’t know what we’re doing here. Purification, maybe. It’s dirty here. I don’t know why a good Hebrew boy should be here, so far from his home.” The soldiers tore the home apart, evidently looking for weapons (my comment: none were found). Another daughter begged them not to demolish the home’s wall. Soldiers commonly smash walls to move into adjacent houses.[6]

After airing the report, the Israeli occupation army announced its “embarrassed” by the video, i.e. by the broadcast of the video and not by the action of the soldiers since they knew about it the minute it happened and ordered its censorship. Ranaan Gissin, Hasbara master who is always there on TV channels after every Israeli atrocity to defend Israeli massacres and justify the killing of Palestinian civilians and to accuse Palestinians of being responsible for their own slaughter, had this to say about leaving a mother of 5 to bleed to death: “I would have expected a little bit more self-censorship on the part of the Israeli media”[7]. And maybe a little bit of Zionwood, don’t you think, Mr. Gissin? Maybe TV stations should have edited the report a little bit before airing it to make Huda beg for her own death or maybe they should have altered it a bit to show that those who blew up the door and turned the house upside down were not Israeli soldiers but some “terrorists” who wanted to tarnish the image of the “most moral army in the world”. The report adds: “The army, after trying to suppress distribution of the pictures, admitted the soldiers’ actions pushed the boundaries of public acceptance”.[8] So, first try to suppress the atrocities your army keeps committing, and if you fail act distraught, shocked, bewildered, displeased and disappointed at the atrocity you always encouraged. Israeli army spokesman Olivier Rafowicz called what happened to Huda “a mistake”. A mere “mistake”!

A report on Huda Al-Khawaja’s murder and the IOF cover-up:

We will continue to tell our story, we will tell it every hour and every day. We will tell the story of the boy murdered on the way to the school, the story of the grandmother beaten by occupation soldiers the age of her grandchildren, the story of the father beaten and humiliated by Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint in front of his children, the story of the mother forced to give birth at a checkpoint in front of laughing soldiers, the story of the famer defending his fields from Zionist colonists who have come to burn the olives, the almonds and the figs, the story of the fisherman shot dead for seeking food for his children, the story of the prisoner buried alive in dark dungeons because he dared dream of freedom, the story of the girl who sat on the hilltop, watched Jerusalem spread in front of her and swore to tell the world about the beautiful people of this beautiful land, the great injustice that has been done to them from everyone and about the spirit of resistance and steadfastness that will guide the Palestinians to regain their legitimate rights and their freedom.
We will continue to tell our story; yours and mine, till the world finally opens its eyes and ears and finds its conscience. And as we tell our story, the Zionist entity will continue its lying, its fabrications and its Hasbara, but at the end of the day it is justice that will prevail, it is freedom that will embrace Palestine and it is the Palestinians who will have the final word: a free Palestine from the River to the Sea.

[2] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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