Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

I chose to include the term “bantustan” in the title because it literally describes the desperate move the Palestinian leadership is leading Palestine into:

“But it’s no exaggeration to propose that this idea, although well-meant by some, raises the clearest danger to the Palestinian national movement in its entire history, threatening to wall Palestinian aspirations into a political cul-de-sac from which it may never emerge. The irony is indeed that, through this maneuver, the PA is seizing — even declaring as a right — precisely the same dead-end formula that the African National Congress (ANC) fought so bitterly for decades because the ANC leadership rightly saw it as disastrous. That formula can be summed up in one word: Bantustan,”  wrote Virginia Tilley in “Bantustans and the unilateral declaration of statehood.”

If we can’t learn from recent history, what will we ever achieve? We are being lured into a trap where the rights of millions of dispossessed refugees are at risk, but who is listening?

I said it before and I am willing to say it a thousand times more: Our struggle is not a struggle for symbolic statehood; it is a struggle to gain Palestinians’ basic rights! For more than six decades we have been fighting for our right of return, our right to live in our ancestral homeland, our right to be treated as equal citizens, our right to live in dignity. And our leadership is risking all of that in order to establish a sovereign state on a tiny piece of land of our much bigger homeland.

It was only a few months ago when I published my first ever widely-read article on my personal blog, originally titled “How do you define coexistence”, I questioned the motives of many Israeli anti-occupation leftist groups, and asked them to endorse the one democratic state solution as it is the only solution out there that could end the struggle and guarantee justice and equality for both sides.

If I have learned anything from debating with my Palestinian friends in the last few weeks about the September move, it is that I should address them, my fellow Palestinian countrymen, in the same tone, if not harsher regarding this topic. Let us get over talking hope, and move to understand actions and consequences of this move.

I believe that if I was to see the West Bank and Gaza instantaneously liberated as soon as the United Nations recognizes us as a state, I wouldn’t worry as much because then the leadership would be slightly more able to sort out bigger matters related to refugees. But the ground reality says something else.

Quoting Ali Abunimah’s opinion piece on Aljazeera English news site, he says:

Lebanon has been a member state of the United Nations since 1945 and yet this did not prevent Israel from occupying southern Lebanon from 1978 until 2000. Israel’s occupation of Lebanon ended not because of any international pressure, but only because the Lebanese resistance drove Israel and its collaborating militias out. […] Similarly, since 1967 Israel has occupied the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria (also a UN member since 1945). There has been virtually no armed resistance on the Golan Heights nor has there been any international pressure for Israel to withdraw or for Syrian refugees to return to their homes. […] Why would the situation in the “State of Palestine” be any different?

Legal perspective

Besides the fact on the ground in the West Bank that the Israeli occupation is going nowhere after 20 September, our leadership insists that this is the time to declare statehood ignoring many consequences of this action. The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations has been warned that the September move risks the rights of all diaspora and 1948 Palestinians as it officially “terminates the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

In his seven-page legal document, Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of international law at Oxford University, sheds light on the legal risks behind the recognition of the Palestinian state. He said that millions of Palestinian refugees are at risk of losing their representation at the UN if the bid succeeds. He concludes:

“In my opinion, current moves to secure recognition of statehood do not appear to reflect fully the role of the Palestinian people as a principle party in the resolution of the situation in the Middle East. The interests of the Palestinian people are at risk of prejudice and fragmentation, unless steps are taken to ensure and maintain their representation through the Palestinian Liberation Organization, until such time as there is in place a State competent and fully able to assume these responsibilities towards the people at large.”

It is worth mentioning too that Guy Goodwin-Gill is a member of the team that won the 2004 non-binding judgment by the International Court of Justice that the route of Israel’s wall was illegal.

Meanwhile, the Boycott National Committee has issued its own statement warning of harsh consequences to the UN statehood bid.

Bad move

Many non-Palestinian activists, rights groups, politicians, and lawyers are voicing their concerns, but not all are able to protest the Palestinian leadership’s decision because it is an exclusively Palestinian matter. Unfortunately, not many Palestinians are fully aware of the risks, and currently over 6.5 million Palestinians in the diaspora are going to face the consequences of an action taken by someone they didn’t vote for or agree that he speaks for them. The UN move for the state is an action a low percentage of Palestinians agree upon, but unfortunately it is going to be forced upon them.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is fully aware of the consequences of this move, but personally I feel that their action is coming from anger towards the failing peace process that they went into for decades. This anger is pushing them for an irrational move, anything that they’d be able to claim as a success of their own, ignoring consequences. This move aims to separate and break the bond between Palestinians all over the world, the Palestinian leadership should know better and seek a solution that guarantees the rights of all the Palestinians they “represent.”

Security Council Veto

Whenever you talk about the September bid for the state, you hear Veto. Everyone is almost certain that the United States will use its veto power to halt any unilateral attempt seeking a declaration of a Palestinian state on 1967 lines; some say the Palestinian UN delegation will seek other routes to bypass the Security Council, and others say it will be the end of the road.

Most Palestinians I meet claim that the move for the state in the United Nations is a win-win situation. If we succeed, we get our state. If we don’t succeed, we’d avoid the consequences of having succeeded and we can seek another solution. It is irrational, I know. But those Palestinians are ready and will gladly accept any outcome from the September move.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the Palestinian move because he benefits when he maintains control over all of the illegal settlements in the West Bank. He wants to maintain control over all strategic areas and water wells and springs. He aims to maintain our status quo living in many separate, open air prisons across the West Bank. But, in my opinion, I believe there is no reason US President Barack Obama would oppose the move for two states.

Personally, I doubt the United States will use its veto power. The United States is able to put an end to 64 years of continuous struggle and favor the Zionist end of the equation in this solution. Of course, having said this, putting an end to our struggle in this way will harm us a lot as I have argued earlier.

The two-state solution will cause fragmentation of the Palestinian people, more separation between those in the West Bank and Gaza, those in Israel, and those living in the diaspora. It will forcibly take away the rights of millions.

Heartbroken

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Blog

First of all, I would like to say that all my thoughts and prayers go to the Palestinians suffering in Gaza tonight!

I am heartbroken, the news is the reason I’ve been depressed for the last two days. I rarely get depressed, but when I read the news of innocent Palestinians dying in Jerusalem and Gaza, I couldn’t hold my tears.

Two days ago, I came home, logged on to twitter and read the news of a Palestinian teenager, Sa’d al-Majdalawi 17 years old, murdered in Gaza. More details were revealed, apparently the victim was a disabled teenager who suffered 10 bullets in his head and the upper part of his body. The part I don’t understand is why did this happen? WHY? He was shot for being in close distance to the barbed wires which marks the borders of the besieged Gaza strip. The medics who carried the body of the teenager to the hospital couldn’t identify him immediatly because “bullets mutiliated his face”. This is not humanity, this is a war crime! For what reason did this kid die? Was he the victim of some IDF woman testing this new remote lethal technology as Ali suggested?

Later, I read the news of a 30 year old father who was brutally run over by Israeli border police jeep in Jerusalem! This Arabic report emerged after the incident, it really worsened my situation. Amin Taleb Dabsh of Sour Baher neighborhood was a 30 year old father, he had a two year old son waiting at home! He was heading to his work that evening when the Israeli jeep poped up and drove over him dragging his body for 150 meters therefore he died on the scene, as witnesses said. The border police jeep was said to have mistaked Amin Taleb for West Bank workers whos presence in Jerusalem is considered illegal by Israel without special work permits. Again I ask the question, for what reason did this man die? All I want to see is justice, all I cry for is justice! Why can’t we have it?

Those two heartbreaking events lead to today’s even worse events. I woke up this morning to the news of multiple attacks on Israeli targets which included Buses and private vehicles in Southern Israel. There were Israeli civilian victims as well as IDF victims due to the gun battle which proceeded after the initial attacks. The attackers were said to have penetrated the borders from Egypt near Taba-Eilat, no one has any clue of their background, no single faction claimed responsibilty for the attacks, yet.

A couple of hours after the sad events in Eilat, the Israeli Minister of “terror department”, excuse me, Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak jumped to the claim that the attackers had links to Gaza or might have even come from Gaza. Later on the Israeli cabinet met and discussed the possibilty of new raids on Gaza in order to retilate for Eilat attacks. Hamas was quick to respond saying they had nothing to do with the attacks, and the people of Gaza shouldn’t be punished for Israel’s internal ills. Unfortuantly no one listens, the Israeli airforce commenced and attacked targets in Gaza yesterday evening killing 6, among them was this 2 year old kid in the picture below. Should I presume he/she was a terrorist? was he/she one of the masterminds behind Eilat attacks?  *sighs*

Embedded image, on Imgur

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a while after the first air strikes, calm returned to Gaza, but citizens weren’t feeling comfortable or safe at all. They were expecting even more strikes. The Strikes continued after midnight, a family in Gaza were stricken while safe at their home, the victim now is the 13 year old Mahmoud Abu Samra, as you can see him left in this picture:

But why?? This 13 year old kid had his childhood taken away, he had his dreams taken away by an occupier who attacked him for no reason! no reason!!

Until now, there is no evidence at all that would link anyone in Gaza to Eilat attacks, but Israel needs a scapegoat, someone to blame for all the wrongs it has. Gaza has indeed become the scapegoat suffering severe attacks whenever an Israeli is attacked, or even with no reason! Collective punishment is a war crime, what Israel is doing today is terrorize the population living in the Gaza strip! This is inhumane! absurdity! Just like shooting fish in a barrel, Palestinians have nowhere to escape to!

I wrote this based on my feelings of only the past three days, it is unimaginable what Palestinians suffer througout the years!

Speak up today against this inhumanity! We want justice! We are humans, nothing less than anyone else!

Post Copied from redactednews which addresses a serious issue concerning the Jewish Internet Defense Force.
Mazel Tov! The Megaphonies are out in force today.  JIDF, claiming they have no conspiratorial power in shutting down internet posts, in turn fueling conspiracy theories by doing so, apparently do have said great power, as the post below pointing out their existence, mysteriously disappeared from the front page of the politics subreddit, after garnering 5,000 upvotes.   JIDF has a page urging their supporters to downvote everything anti-Israel on Reddit as seen below.
How they describe themselves:

The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) is a private, independent, non-violent protest organization representing a collective of activists. We have operated under the name the “Jewish Internet Defense Force” since the massacre at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.We provide cutting edge pro-Israel advocacy, presenting constant news and information through email, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Myspace, Digg, and other popular areas of the web to those who share concerns about antisemitic online content, as well as content which promotes Islamic terrorism.

We believe in direct action both to eradicate the problems we face online and to create the publicity that will cause those with companies like Facebook and Google to take the needed action themselves.

We work to bring together different individuals and represent a younger generation of Jewish leaders, a new approach, and a real grassroots effort for change!

The founder of the JIDF, David Appletree, recently spoke at the WUJS Congress 2009: “Unlocking our Future”, alongside the IDF Spokesperson department. The WUJS represents 1.5 million Jewish students, worldwide. The conference was sponsored by the World Jewish Congress, World Zionist Organization, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israeli Knesset, and others.

Here’s the post that’s currently on the front page of Reddit. Notice the number of downvotes at the far right of the image: 8,230 downvotes on a post about free speech?

JIDF has a page urging their supporters to downvote everything anti-Israel on Reddit:

What is #j14 really about?

Posted: August 7, 2011 in Blog

I am not a privileged Jewish citizen of Israel, therefore if it stays as it is now, I wont be directly affected by this Tent Protest movement. But I  am writing this only out of concern of the message this protest convey, What is #J14 really about?

These protests started when some Israelis decided to protest high prices of Tel Aviv apartments by setting up tents in Tel Aviv’s Rothschild boulevard. This movement assigned #j14 as a hashtag people use to discuss this topic on the internet, it stands for July 14, the day it all began.

#J14 developed into protests calling for Social Justice for the citizens of Israel. It started with youth protesting housing prices and turned into a massive movement that included doctors, lawyers, social workers, government employees etc. all protesting low wages and demand social justice. On Saturday, 300,000 Israelis took to the streets to participate in the protest. This movement is something that cannot be ignored, it is the awakening of a people which has for long been unawakened. But, what are they being awakened to?

The real defect the state of Israel suffered since it’s inception is Zionism which led to ethnic cleansing, occupation, and later Apartheid. One thing #j14 has failed to address since it began is the necessity to end occupation to be able to come out of the protests with actual results and not something that would simply continue with the ill treatment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories.

Now, it is important to clarify that I am not saying there weren’t chants against the occupation, that there weren’t calls for equal treatment for all citizens, Jewish and Arab (in occupied territories too). There were, but the movement organizers decided not to address those crucial issues because they were afraid to lose popular support from Jewish Israeli participants. Organizers have said clearly that they want to keep this movement “apolitical” therefore not addressing racism, not addressing occupation, not addressing ethnic cleansing and simply call for social justice only for the dominant Jewish majority. A list of official demands has emerged but it doesn’t address any of the issues I stated. This is a blind movement as long as it doesn’t address crucial issues which are the reason of all this.

The Israeli Government is putting a lot of its money to maintain an occupation which will not last! Today, a lot of settlers are moving into West Bank settlements because of cheaper housings and cheaper life styles. Settlers are lured into Settlements because the rightest government offers them easy life there. Those who stay to live in cities like Tel Aviv pay the cost, they pay for the actions of a government which seeks to enlarge an illegal occupation of an occupied territory. Do most Israelis realize that their tax money has been heavily invested by their government into building an illegal wall around the West Bank instead of improving their lives  in Israel? This is the real injustice, ending the occupation leads to the accomplishment of your goals in achieving social justice.

As Ali Abunimah has put it: “So #j14 is like whites protesting for better incomes in 1985 South Africa, but leaving out apartheid because it’s “too divisive.”

And quoting Joseph Dana’s twitter too: “Many #j14 protesters say that the movement is “apolitical” which is code for “we don’t talk about the Palestinians or the Occupation.”

I really cannot say I support this movement now, but I believe it can turn to be good in one way. Those who claim that they oppose occupation and the ill treatment of Palestinians should use this vibrant environment to come out strong, come up with a new list of demands that would call for an end of occupation and grant social justice and equality for everyone, all citizens who are under Israeli rule, including the occupied territories. This is your chance, now is the time!

Always being afraid of what the community would think is the way to never change. If they decide to ignore the injustice, then they silently approve of it. I don’t want misleading messages that this protest has people who call for an end to occupation when I don’t see that in news headlines or official demand list. It is never too late though!

Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

 

Less than a week ago, I started reading on Twitter that there will be a large demonstration organized by Israeli Leftwing activists in Jerusalem protesting the new Boycott Bill and Israeli occupation of Palestinian Occupied Territories. I expected that activists will challenge the anti-Boycott law and chant for BDS or call for Settlement boycott as well as chanting for a Palestinian state, I was wrong. It turned out to be a march organized by Zionist leftists calling for a legitimate Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. I just lost all motives that would make me want to attend that demonstrations, but I eventually did, only as an observer and not a participant.

I am extremely critical of Zionism and I dislike the Two-State Solution for many reasons which I hav

e mentioned in a previous article which you could take a look at here.  I believe the one and only proper eternal solution for this conflict is one democratic secular state, it is not going to happen by Palestinians’ effort alone, nor Israelis’ effort alone, it will happen when Palestinians and Israelis decide to join hands to fight for the right to live together equally on this land. The West Bank, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, Lebanon… are not homes for Palestinians who were expelled from their homes in 1948, they deserve the right to live in their lands and enjoy equality.

Event's official poster

Something that is worth mentioning is, as Ali Abunimah noted on his twitter, that the event official poster was slightly misleading. It was written in Arabic and Hebrew. Hebrew title said “We march for Independence” and the Arabic title said “We march for Liberation” معا نسير للتحرير. As I already said, this could be misleading, two different things, it should have said “Marching for independence” too in Arabic rather than “Liberation” if liberation isn’t what they really seek.

I decided to attend this demonstration as an observer because I believed in the goodness of their short term goals standing in solidarity with Palestinians living in threatened East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Shekh Jarrah, Silwan, Ras Amoud, Tur, and others and of course against West Bank illegal settlements. I decided to overlook the actual purpose they decided to march through the streets of Jerusalem. I simply despised the idea that many people there carried posters saying “Two People, Two States, One Future” That is an oxymoron. Three quarters of the Palestinian citizens in Gaza are refugees expelled from their homes back in 1948, and similar is the case in the West Bank. How would two separated peoples each living on a side of a border holding hostility to each other would have one future? If they reconcile they’d live together, or the idea of one future would be out of reach.

While heading to the demonstration, I was lucky to meet an Italian guy who was active with Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah group, I began conversing with him on the background of this demonstration and why is he attending. His words actually gave me hope, he is not a Zionist, and he does believe one day those anti-occupation activists will refuse the idea of political Zionism. He said it would take them a while, maybe decades, but just as they became anti-occupation in few years, this generation can become the hope for a peaceful futuristic one Palestine-Israel state. “Everything positive starts from demonstrations like this” he said, and I appreciated that. I believe what he is saying is true.

Youth leading the march

An Israeli holding a placard which says "I love Arabs"

There was one other guy who caught my attention at this demonstration, he was carrying a placard saying “I love Arabs” in Hebrew. I immediately came up to him and asked him what his views were; he simply said “I don’t care about solutions”. Men like him, who put extreme religion and politics aside and focuses on humanitarian aspects, are men who keep me hopeful. We have seen enough misery and destruction caused by extremism, time to accept each other as humans and separate each other even more.

Big crowds at the march

 

 

 

 

Although I was not officially participating in the demonstration, but I was extremely happy that thousands of Israelis actually showed up for this march, from this point anything is possible. Hopefully the one state vision spreads between Israeli youth as well as Palestinian youth, because we have seen enough today to prove that youth are capable of achieving what none could.

As for a different matter, the organizers of this march hoped they could achieve a joint-struggle title where Palestinians and Israelis together would march for the same cause. It was a success, but not as in the scale expected. Palestinians did join the march, and for the matter of fact, many Palestinians lead a majority of the chants at the march. But I believe most of those Palestinians were marching for the sake of their threatened homes in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, therefore serving short-term aims of the march to put a stop to the ethnic cleansing of Arab Jerusalemites, and not to call for an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Some may call me naïve, but I assure you I am not. These views are not of mine alone, they’re shared by a majority of Palestinians and many Israelis as well. This phrase is one of my favorites as it holds a true meaning, “If we can’t live together, we will die alone.”

The march reaches Shekh Jarrah neighborhood

Qalandia may refer to a refugee camp, a village, an airport, or an illegal Israeli crossing. All lie in the same area on the main road which connects Jerusalem to the West Bank city of Ramallah. I am going to discuss in this article how I and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians feel like crossing the Qalandia Israeli checkpoint at least once daily.

The old Qalandia before turning into a huge beast in 2006

I still remember the time when this checkpoint wasn’t in existence and our journeys between Jerusalem and Ramallah didn’t take over 10 minutes by car, today is a different reality. Qalandia checkpoint was first established back in 2000 as a simple checkpoint; it consisted of fences and some plastic barriers. Israeli soldiers manned the checkpoint 24 hours a day; they were accompanied with either tanks or military jeeps. No one thought this checkpoint was going to be a permanent checkpoint and that it will last long. There was another checkpoint only five minutes after it by car; people thought Qalandia was just extra provocation that will soon be removed.

As the days passed, Qalandia checkpoint faced upgrades; concrete blocks were added and a lane for pedestrians was added too. People started to lose hope that this checkpoint will be removed any time soon; but instead it will become even larger. Soon after, Qalandia was turned into an official checkpoint, more soldiers were manning it, more concrete blocks were added, and fences and metal bars appeared to designate different lanes everywhere for cars and for pedestrians as well.

Qalandia at those times was the place everyone wanted to avoid, but none could. In winter, Qalandia area would be filled with mud, Pedestrians will get out of Qalandia as if they got out of a mud pool. When it rains, water often rises to high levels causing some cars to break down due to lack of underground sewer system and well paved roads. While in summer, Pedestrians had to wait for hours in the heat, cars stuck in the traffic jam would break down and the smell due to left out garbage itself would be extremely irritating, The Jerusalem municipality was responsible of Qalandia area, but they barely ever do their job.  Nevertheless, the Traffic jam at Qalandia was never eased; it was always filled with cars no matter what the time would be.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians had to cross this checkpoint daily to get to their work, to their businesses, to their schools (as is my case). At that time (before 2006), the Israeli Apartheid wall wasn’t fully set in place yet, some people managed to go through different routes to get into Jerusalem and avoid having to go through the hell of Qalandia checkpoint.

The Qalandia you see today might seem different or more comfortable than that which was over 6 years ago, but the humiliation and suffering went nowhere, only increased.

It was all sudden that we went to Qalandia one morning and saw a whole new checkpoint being constructed; it didn’t take long to be completed. The new checkpoint came along with the Apartheid wall which was built and completed in al-Ram and Qalandia area around 2006, it was considered by the Israelis the borders of their state, and beyond that checkpoint lays the occupied West Bank even though the checkpoint was over 10km into West Bank territory.

The daily routine didn’t stop, but now even more people had to pass through Qalandia every morning to get to their work or business since all other paths were blocked by the Israel Apartheid Wall. Qalandia became a central checkpoint, the only gate hundreds of thousands of Palestinians could pass to enter Jerusalem only if they’re carrying Israeli issued permits or Jerusalem ID cards. Of course not to mention over a million other Palestinians now unable to even breathe the air of the holy city of Jerusalem since the Apartheid Wall and Israeli checkpoints laid a complete blockade all around the West Bank.

People are indeed frustrated and extremely annoyed at the reality that they have to pass this checkpoint every day to get to their work or even just visit family members who have been cut off by the wall. It’s unfortunate but we now have to cope with this reality, we have to cope with the idea that it is impossible to be granted freedom of travel around the West Bank and Jerusalem.

But, have you wondered what it is like passing this checkpoint walking? Or even by car? I’ll explain here.

People passing through cages at Qalandia. Photo by Peter Miller

When you are heading towards Jerusalem without a car, using public transportation (you must get off the bus) or walking, you will have to enter a big terminal just as those you see at Airports and real border crossings. First stage in entering this terminal is passing through tiny cattle cages, resized to fit human beings. Those cages are so tiny that people hurt their shoulders while passing them. Often Israeli guards on those cages lock the door to humiliate the pedestrians passing the checkpoint, making their first stage of passage even harder. Afterwards, you arrive at 4 entrances which usually only one or two would be open. After waiting in line, you go through the gate to be checked, you put everything you have through the x-ray scanner and pass through a metal-detecting door. You show your ID or Permit to the Israeli soldier behind the bullet-proof window, scan your hand on a biometric hand reader and they chose whether to let you in or make you return, depends on their mood at that moment. This process usually takes 30 minutes if you’re lucky, over an hour if you’re not.

Palestinian using the Biometric scanner at Qalandia. Photo from AP

Qalandia traffic jam in a late afternoon. Photo by Josh Levinger

It is not better or more comfortable passing Qalandia by car, after you fight your way through a hell of traffic jam before the checkpoint, you wait for as long as the soldier on the gate wishes before he lets you pass to be checked. When passing, the car driver is not allowed to have anyone along with him on the car except his/her family, everyone else has to go down and walk through pedestrian terminal. Often, police dogs are used on this checkpoint as a humiliation tool and to intimidate Palestinians passing. After a provocative checking of every single part of your car, you should be allowed passage.

Even with people tending to cope with this daily routine, no one is ready to accept that this has become a fact in our lives. The placement of this checkpoint plus hundreds of other checkpoints and road blocks spread all around the West Bank is completely illegal under International Law and a direct attack on the Palestinians’ right of freedom of movement.

Today, July 9, 2011, meets the anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling which delegitimized the Wall Israel has built around the West Bank, this tribunal officially called on Israel to take down this wall for it being illegal.

The Court finds that the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law; it states the legal consequences arising from that illegality “The Hague

It has been 7 years since this court ruling was made and we have seen nothing change on the ground. Instead Palestinians are still being strangled even more by those barriers! We hope to be able to wake up one day and witness an end and destruction of all those boundaries and walls separating us and holding us in huge open air prisons. The situation in Palestine is not humane; the way Palestinians are treated is not humane.

Give us our Freedom! Treat us like the humans we are!

Young Palestinian woman passing through Qalandia. Photo by Sarah Rashid

A brief story of my suffering as a blue ID card holder and resident of the occupied city of Jerusalem.

I am considered under the Israeli law to be an illegal citizen of the Palestinian West Bank and I am supposed to avoid it as an area of danger while Jewish settlers are allowed to come from all over the world and settle legally (under Israeli law) in the Palestinian West Bank.

I am a Palestinian who lives in the occupied eastern part of Jerusalem. I am required to carry around my blue identification card which permits me to cross checkpoints daily from my house in Jerusalem to my school in Ramallah and vice versa. Carrying the blue identification card enables me to travel “freely” across the West Bank and 1948 Palestine while those carrying West Bank and Gaza IDs are not able to leave those areas without special Israeli issued permits. Having said that, however, carrying this blue ID is more of a curse than it is a blessing.

I am not a full citizen of the state of “Israel”, Neither am I a full citizen under the Palestinian authority. I am not even Jordanian, I do not carry any official nationality nor am I allowed to carry any. I carry a semi-Israeli passport and a “temporary” Jordanian issued semi-passport. Living under this circumstance is extremely unbearable.

Arabs living in 1948 Palestine (Israel) do have full Israeli “official” citizenship, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are considered officially Palestinians and do carry official citizenships. Whenever I am asked to fill any kind of a form which asks who I am and where do I live, I fill in nationality as Jordanian and address as Jerusalem, Israel. Unfortunately that is the reality lived by all Palestinian Jerusalem residents who are not citizens of Israel, I’m am not sure how they define us, but it is surely not a citizen of Israel but a temporary citizen waiting to be expelled to some other land soon.

Building permits aren't granted to Palestinians by the Israeli municipality, therefore they destroy their homes. Ethnic Cleansing

We, Jerusalem citizens, are threatened to loose our Jerusalem ID cards if the Israeli authorities find out that we have a house in the Palestinian West Bank. We are not allowed to live in  the West Bank nor it is easy for us to buy or rent a property to live in inside Israel. The laws of the apartheid state of Israel makes it extremely hard to obtain a permit to build a house, or renovate an already existing house anywhere. All around Eastern Jerusalem, residents struggle to obtain building permits to fit those new family members while a Jewish person can easily obtain a permit and build a whole residential compound to fit few family members. All of this is a part of the plan to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem and Palestine of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians alike.

a billboard in Jerusalem advertising a new illegal Jewish settlement

The Zionist government claims settlements are purposed to fit the natural growth and increase in Jewish population, but the increase of Arab population is not met with any extra housing of any type, Arabs are not even allowed to add an extra room to their houses due to apartheid Israeli laws.

On the other hand, carrying the Jerusalem ID does not allow us to obtain any other worldwide nationality! If Israeli apartheid authorities find out that anyone carrying a Jerusalem ID obtained a foreign passport (For example: Canadian or American) his ID is to be taken away and he is to be deported along with having all his property confiscated. What is extremely annoying here, is the racial bias. Anyone who is a Jewish citizen of Israel is permitted to carry as many foreign passports and nationalities along with his Israeli passport. You will find an Israeli Jew who carries an American passport, a German passport, a French passport, and a Belgium passport along with his Israeli passport while an Arab citizen carrying a Jerusalem ID is not able to even carry a Palestinian passport or a full Israeli passport, as if we are non-existent humans.

My father has always told me, our struggle holding this Identification card is a struggle of existence. If we ever thought of giving up this ID card to move live somewhere else, we are giving up our eternal right in the land of Palestine and Jerusalem to be specific. The Jewish Zionist plot is and has always been achieving an ethnically pure Jewish only city of Jerusalem. As I have said in another article, Jerusalem was never meant to be for any specific people, race, or religion. Jerusalem is the holy city that accepts people from all around the globe and from all different religions!

I will not accept being treated as an inferior citizen, I demand equality in living!

Jerusalem is my city, I am an existing human being who demands human rights as any other citizen living in any other country in the world!

The apartheid laws of the Israeli state need to be abolished! This system is slowly turning to be EXTREMELY similar to 1935 Nazi Germany, we don’t want it to turn to 1939 Nazi Germany or further. We exist! We have the right to exist and travel freely in our land without worrying every minute of being expelled for choosing a place of living!

sincerely,

A fed up Palestinian Field Negro