Apparently UK’s The Sunday Times published an anti-Israel cartoon on Holocaust day. The cartoon seems to depict Israel’s prime minister, Benjamim Netanyahu, paving a wall with blood, the blood of Palestinians.
The cartoon apeared in the paper on Sunday and was drawn by cartoonist Gerald Scarfe with a caption thet read “Israeli elections- will cementing peace continue?”
European Jewish Congress President, Dr. Moshe Kantor, stated that “This cartoon would be offensive at any time of the year, but to publish it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is sickening and expresses a deeply troubling mindset. This insensitivity demands an immediate apology from both the cartoonist and the paper’s editors.”
The Holocaust was a terrible tradegy, it was. However, currently the Jews are doing to the Palestinians what was done to them. The Palestinians are experiencing their own Holocaust, therefore I do not find this cartoon to be offensive, not one bit.
In fact, rather than being offensive, this cartoon speaks the truth. It shows how Benjamin Netanyahu is a hypocrite. His people endured pain and suffering during World War 2 and now he is inflicting the same, if not worse, pain and suffering among millions of innocent Palestinians.
The only reason anyone would find this cartoon “offensive” is because it speaks the truth and they are denying the truth.
Let us not forget that the Palestinians are suffering just as the Jews did.
We learn about the Holocaust year after year in school, yet we never learn about the present day Holocaust occuring in Palestine.
It’s time for some change.
IMEMC – The Radio Bethlehem 2000 reported, Tuesday, that several Palestinian farmers, from Tequa’ village, east of Bethlehem, were injured after being attacked by a group of extremist settlers as they were heading to their lands.
Head of the Tequa’ Village Council , Taiseer Abu Mfarrih, stated that several members of the As-Sabah family were violently attacked and beaten by extremist settlers as they entered their own lands, close to the Nokadim illegal settlement, built on privately-owned lands that belong to the villagers.
Abu Mfarrih added that the settlers placed a mobile home and a barn for their sheep, in the land of As-Sabah family.
The residents saw the settlers in their lands and asked them to leave, but the settlers refused and attacked them.
Abu Mfarrih further stated that Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene, and fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at several farmers in the area leading to more injuries.
IMEMC – Thousands of Israeli soldiers and policemen attacked, on Saturday at dawn, the Bab Al-Shams Palestinian village, installed east of in occupied East Jerusalem, and forcibly removed dozens of activists loading them into buses.
The soldiers dragged several activists into the ground, attacked reporters and journalist and declared the area as a closed military zone, several injuries were reported.
The Israeli decision to evacuate the village came, on Saturday, through a direct order issued by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his right-wing fundamentalist cabinet.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that by midnight Saturday, the order was signed by Osnat Mandel, head of the Israeli High Court division of the Justice Ministry, under the claimed that “the people and the tends must be removed due to security considerations”.
The Israeli Police said that the eviction order, issued by the court, prohibits the army from removing the tens, but orders the removal of the people staying there.
Also, the so-called Israeli Civil Administration Office, run by the occupation in the West bank, claimed that the Palestinian tent village “was installed on state land”.
But four Bedouin families living in the area confirmed that they own the land, and even showed deeds proving ownership.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, who was also at the Palestinian village, stated that hundreds of Israeli soldiers invaded the village after surrounding it, and attacked the nonviolent activists camped there, and started kidnapping them.
The soldiers violently attacked the residents, including journalists, elderly and women, and dragged several resident onto the ground.
The soldiers repeatedly interrupted the work of local reporters, flashing their lights onto the camera, and pushing the reporters away, and dragged dozens of activists into buses that were brought by the army to the area.
On Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered the army “to remove the Palestinians and their supporters from the Palestinian outpost” that was installed on privately-owned Palestinian lands to send a message to Israel and the entire world that this land is the land of Palestine, and the Palestinian people have the right to inhabit it.
The army installed dozens of roadblocks around the area to prevent Palestinian traffic and surrounded the Bab Al-Shams where around 200 activists installed around 20 tents declaring the Bab Al-Shams Palestinian village, in the area were Israeli illegally declared it intends to build thousands of homes for Jewish settlers, east of occupied east Jerusalem.
The Israeli decision to build the illegal settlements in the occupied state of Palestine came after the Palestinians managed to obtain an observer state status at the UN – General Assembly.
The Israeli decision was met with international condemnation, but the settler-led government of Benjamin Netanyahu, approved the illegal settlement project.
The so-called E1 settlement project aims at linking the Maale Adumim illegal settlement, where 35000 reside, with occupied East Jerusalem, thus illegally confiscating Palestinian lands and blocking geographical continuity in the occupied West Bank.
This illegal Israeli project would divide the West Bank into two parts, and would completely isolate it from occupied East Jerusalem, an issue that would prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, a Palestinian nonviolent activist from the West Bank village on Bil’in, who was also detained when the army attacked and evicted Bab Al-Shams, stated that this village is on private Palestinian land, and that the Palestinians are not invading anybody’s property, as they are establishing a village in the land of Palestine.
“We tied our hands, chained ourselves with each other to prevent the soldiers from removing us”, Abu Rahma said, “The Soldiers violently attacked us, beat us, and injured at least 10”
He added that there will be more nonviolent activities, and that the struggle for Bab Al-Shams, the nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Palestine will continue as the Palestinians are practicing their internationally-guaranteed right.
It is worth mentioning that the Palestine TV was live streaming from Bab Al-Shams, and the army repeatedly tried to interrupt the stream, pushing the reporters, and using large flashlight, pointing them against the camera to disrupt the images.
The Jews are doing to the Palestinians what the Germans did to them.
Zionists are the present day Nazis.
Zionism is Fascism.
They’re doing to Palestinians what was done to them.
The only difference is that this has been going on for 65 years.
Near a biblical landscape of donkeys and olive trees, homes are being built and Palestinian Christians fear for their future
Amid plastic bags snagged on gorse bushes, rusting hulks of cars in a breakers yard and a few shabby trailers, traces of a biblical landscape are still to be found on a hillside between the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A couple of donkeys are tethered to a gnarled olive tree; nearby, sheep and goats bleat as they huddle against the chill December air.
But this terrain will soon be covered in concrete after the authorisation last week of the construction of more than 2,600 homes in Givat Hamatos, the first new Israeli settlement to be built since 1997.
It lies between two existing settlements: Gilo, home to 40,000 people, sits atop one hill; to its east, on another hill, stands Har Homa, whose population is around 20,000, with further expansion in the pipeline. Both are largely built on Bethlehem land.
Givat Hamatos will form a strategic link between these twin towns, further impeding access between Bethlehem and the intended capital of Palestine, East Jerusalem, just six miles away.
Israel considers these and other settlements across the Green Line to be legitimate suburbs of Jerusalem, which it claims as the unified, indivisible capital of the Jewish state. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and official bodies have announced a spate of expansion plans in recent weeks.
In the birthplace of Jesus, the impact of Israeli settlements and their growth has been devastating. In a Christmas message, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Bethlehem was enduring a “choking reality”.
He added: “For the first time in 2,000 years of Christianity in our homeland, the Holy Cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem have been completely separated by Israeli settlements, racist walls and checkpoints.”
Bethlehem is now surrounded by 22 settlements, including Nokdim, where the hardline former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman lives, and Neve Daniel, home to public diplomacy minister Yuli Edelstein.
The city is further hemmed in by the vast concrete and steel separation barrier, bypasses connecting settlements with Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Israeli military zones. With little room to expand, it is now more densely populated than Gaza, according to one Palestinian official.
In Beit Sahour – the site on the eastern edge of Bethlehem where, according to Christian tradition, angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds in a field – William Sahouri is feeling the squeeze. Ten years ago, he moved into a housing project designated for young Christian families, which overlooks fields and hills where sheep once grazed.
Now most of that land is on the other side of the separation barrier, inaccessible to Palestinians. Har Homa – which, like all settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, is illegal under international law – is rapidly spreading down the hill. Cranes are at work on new apartment blocks; bulldozers are flattening land for new roads and buildings.
In contrast, Sahouri’s home, along with others in the neighbourhood, is under an Israeli demolition order. It was issued in 2002 soon after the apartments were built without a permit, which is almost impossible to get in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. After protests, the order was frozen but not lifted.
“It’s like sitting on a bomb,” says Sahouri, who estimates his family’s presence in the area stretches back more than 300 years. “We don’t know when it will be blown. At any moment they could come with bulldozers and heavy machinery and everything will be gone.”
But, he adds, gesturing across to Har Homa, “the Israelis can build 1,000 homes in three months. In 10 years, they build a city, while we have to build stone by stone.”
Residents of Beit Sahour – whose 15,000 population is 80% Christian – say settlers have targeted another nearby spot. A former Israeli military base at Ush Ghurab is visited almost weekly by hardliners from settlements deep in the West Bank, who have repainted the abandoned buildings, planted trees and raised Israeli flags. The site is now known as Shdema to the settlers, who hold regular meetings and activities on the hilltop.
Local Palestinians fear that the visitors will begin to sleep at the former base, then expand the site with additional caravans, followed by the provision of services – electricity, water, roads – and eventually permanent homes. This is a familiar pattern of how radical settlements, unauthorised by the Israeli state, take shape.
“This area is being highly targeted,” says local Palestinian activist George Rishmawi. “Experience tells us this is how settlements start – with the actions of fanatics.”
On the other side of Bethlehem, another mainly Christian community is also facing a battle, this one against the planned route of the separation barrier. Under present proposals it will cut off 58 families, plus a monastery and convent, from their land. The monks and nuns of Cremisan have joined forces with residents to fight a legal battle over the route, which will be decided in the Israeli courts early next year.
“The wall will confiscate nearly all our land,” says Samira Qaisieh, whose house on the edge of Beit Jala was built by her husband’s family almost a century ago. Its vine-covered terrace looks across the valley to Gilo, the Israeli settlement, built on land she says was owned by her grandfather. “Israel says it is doing all this in the name of security. But really they just want a land without [Palestinian] people.”
Qaisieh is thinking of leaving unless the barrier is re-routed. “There is no work here. If we lose our land, what is there to stay for? What is the future for my children?”
About two-thirds of the 400-mile West Bank barrier is complete; 85% of its route runs inside the West Bank, swallowing almost 8.5% of Palestinian land. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled it was illegal and that construction must stop.
The wall already snakes around most of Bethlehem, its 8m-high concrete slabs casting a deep shadow, both literally and metaphorically. At the Christmas Tree restaurant, where there are almost no takers for the “Quick Lunches” on offer, business has slowed to a standstill since the wall blocked what was once the main Jerusalem-Bethlehem road. Scores of shops along the closed-off artery have shut down altogether.
A few hundred metres along from the empty restaurant, a long steel-caged corridor leading through multiple turnstiles to a checkpoint is the main exit from the city for Palestinians wishing to go to Jerusalem. The Israel Defence Forces issues thousands of extra permits to Christian Palestinians to allow them to visit holy sites in Jerusalem over Christmas, but the lack of routine access has had a dire impact on businesses and employment rates.
Bethlehem has one of the highest rates of unemployment of all West Bank cities, at 18%, says Vera Baboun, who was elected as its first female mayor in October. “We are a strangulated city, with no room for expansion due to the settlements and the wall.”
In a booklet to mark Christmas 2012, Kairos Palestine, a Christian alliance, says: “Land confiscation, as well as the influx of Israeli settlers, suggest that there will be no future for Palestinians (Christian or Muslim) in [this] area. In this sense, the prospect of a clear ‘solution’ grows darker every day.”
Over recent decades Christians have left Bethlehem in their thousands, and now are a minority in a city they once dominated. In 2008 Christians accounted for 28% of Bethlehem city’s population of about 25,000. The daily grind of living under occupation, with few opportunities, little hope and the violence of the Palestinian uprising 10 years ago are cited as the chief reasons for departure. But in the past few years the flood of emigrants has slowed. “We are here, and we will remain here, to help our new state become a reality,” says Nora Carmi of Kairos.
In Beit Jala, parish priest Father Ibrahim Shomali, who leads open-air prayers under olive trees at sunset every Friday to protest at the planned route of the barrier around the Cremisan monastery, fears its construction could lead to a fresh wave of Christian departures. “People are leaving,” he says wearily. “But some of us will stay, to pray and resist.”