Posted by: Harold Knight | 07/04/2014

Independence Day Greeting from Samia Khoury

Suha, mother of Mohammed Abu Khudair

Suha, mother of Mohammed Abu Khudair

July 4, 2014

To my American friends: As I send you my warm greetings on the occasion of your independence day, I hope you do not mind that I wonder  whether you are actually more independent than we are. At least we are  aware of the physical  Israeli military occupation while your congress and administration as well as your media are psychologically under Israeli intimidation.

Commenting on the  shooting of teenagers Muhammad Abu Thahr and Naim Nuwara on May 15, 2014  Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said: “The willful killing of civilians by Israeli security forces as part of the occupation is a war crime,” Yet those killings and the imprisonment of hundreds without charge or trial continue unabated despite all the concessions that the Palestinian Authority has made for the sake of peace. But it was only when three Israeli settlers were kidnapped and found killed that hell broke loose, as if they are human and we are subhuman. I Just watched the funeral of Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shufaat, a suburb north of Jerusalem, who was abducted killed and burnt by Israeli settlers. Mohammad also has a family, a bereaved mother and father who are lamenting their great loss. Not only the double standard applies to the living but to the dead as well. However I must admit that Israeli voices have been critical of the way the Israeli government handled the matter as they exposed the agenda of the government which is basically to destroy the reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas. An American friend of mine wrote a couple of days ago:

“Never did I think that I would receive a message from a Jewish organization urging me to write letters to newspapers criticizing Israeli oppression of Palestinians! But that is what JVP is doing” It was actually the JVP who also supported the Presbyterian Church Divestment Vote from three companies that have been benefitting from the occupation of the PalestinianTerritories.
(Jewish Voice for Peace: )

So will Israel heed  those Jewish voices and will it demolish the homes of those who killed Mohammad,   or  will   we continue to watch an era of terror launched by one of the most sophisticated  military forces and the  so called  only democracy in the Middle East supported morally and financially by the US congress and administration? 

Happy 4th of  July.  Samia


Posted by: Harold Knight | 07/01/2014

By SUSAN ABULHAWA: “The searing hypocrisy of the West.”

From: Intifada, Voice of Palestine (

Palestinian children are assaulted or murdered every day and barely do their lives register in western press. No mother should have endure the murder of her child. No mother or father. That does not only apply to Jewish parents. The lives of our children are no less precious and their loss are no less shattering and spiritually unhinging. But there is a terrible disparity in the value of life here in the eyes of the state and the world, where Palestinian life is cheap and disposable, but Jewish life is sacrosanct.



The searing hypocrisy of the WestSusan Abulhawa  is a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist. She is the author of a bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (2010) and the founder of a non-governmental organization, Playgrounds for Palestine.

The bodies of three Israeli settlers who went missing on June 12th were found in a hastily dug shallow grave in Halhul, north of Hebron.

Since the teens went missing from Gush Etzion, a Jewish-only colony in the West Bank, Israel has besieged the 4 million Palestinians who already live under its thumb, storming through towns, ransacking homes and civil institutions, conducting night raids on families, stealing property, kidnapping, injuring, and killing. Warplanes were dispatched to bomb Gaza, again and repeatedly, destroying more homes and institutions and carrying out extrajudicial executions.Thus far, over 570 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned, most notably a Samer Issawi, the Palestinian who went on a 266-day hunger strike in protest of a previous arbitrary detention. At least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including at least three children, a pregnant woman, and a mentally ill man. Hundreds have been injured, thousands terrorized. Universities and social welfare organizations were ransacked, shut down, their computers and equipment destroyed or stolen, and both private and public documents confiscated from civil institutions. This wonton thuggery is official state policy conducted by its military and does not include the violence to persons and properties perpetuated by paramilitary Israeli settlers, whose persistent attacks against Palestinian civilians have also escalated in the past weeks. And now that the settlers are confirmed dead, Israel has vowed to exact revenge. Naftali Bennet, Economy Minister said, “There is no mercy for the murderers of children. This is the time for action, not words.”

Although no Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the abduction, and most, including Hamas, deny any involvement, Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant that Hamas is responsible. The United Nations requested that Israel provide evidence to support their contention, but no evidence has been forthcoming, casting doubt on Israel’s claims, particularly in light of its public ire over the recent unification of Palestinian factions and President Obama’s acceptance of the new Palestinian unity.

In the West, headlines over pictures of the three Israeli settler teens referred to Israel’s reign of terror over Palestine as a “manhunt” and “military sweep.” Portraits of innocent young Israeli lives emerged from news outlets and the voices of their parents are featured in the fullness of their anguish. The US, EU, UK, UN, Canada and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the kidnapping and called for their immediate and unconditional release. Upon discovery of the bodies, there has been an outpouring of condemnation and condolences.

President Obama said, “As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”

Although hundreds of Palestinian children are kidnapped, brutalized or killed by Israel, including several in the past two weeks, there is rarely, if ever, such a reaction from the world.

Just prior to the disappearance of the Israeli settler teens, the murder of two Palestinian teens was caught on a local surveillance camera. Ample evidence, including the recovered bullets and a CNNcamera filming an Israeli sharpshooter pulling the trigger at the precise moment one of the boys was shot indicated that they were killed in cold blood by Israeli soldiers. There were no condemnations or calls for justice for these teens by world leaders or international institutions, no solidarity with their grieving parents, nor mention of the more than 250 Palestinian children, kidnapped from their beds or on their way to school, who continue to languish in Israeli jails without charge or trial, physically and psychologically tortured. This is to say nothing of the barbaric siege of Gaza, or the decades of ongoing theft, evictions, assaults on education, confiscation of land, demolition of homes, color coded permit system, arbitrary imprisonment, restriction of movement, checkpoints, extrajudicial executions, torture, and denials at every turn squeezing Palestinians into isolated ghettos.

None of that seemingly matters.

It does not matter that no one knows who murdered the Israeli teens. It seems the entire country is calling for Palestinian blood, reminiscent of American southern lynching rallies that went after black men whenever a white person turned up dead. Nor does it matter that these Israeli teens were settlers living in illegal Jewish-only colonies that were built on land stolen by the state mostly from Palestinian owners from the village of el-Khader. A huge portion of the settlers there are Americans, mostly from New York, like one of the murdered teens, who exercise Jewish privilege to hold dual citizenship; to have an extra country no matter where they’re from, one in their own homeland and one in ours, at the same time that the indigenous Palestinians fester in refugee camps, occupied ghettos, or boundless exile.

Palestinian children are assaulted or murdered every day and barely do their lives register in western press. While Palestinian mothers are frequently blamed when Israel kills their children, accused of sending them to die or neglecting to keep them at home away from Israeli snipers, no one questions Rachel Frankel, the mother of one of the murdered settlers. She is not asked to comment on the fact that one of the missing settlers is a soldier who likely participated in the oppression of his Palestinian neighbors. No one asks why she would move her family from the United States to live in a segregated, supremacist colony established on land confiscated from the native non-Jewish owners. Certainly no one dares accuse her of therefore putting her children in harms way.

No mother should have endure the murder of her child. No mother or father. That does not only apply to Jewish parents. The lives of our children are no less precious and their loss are no less shattering and spiritually unhinging. But there is a terrible disparity in the value of life here in the eyes of the state and the world, where Palestinian life is cheap and disposable, but Jewish life is sacrosanct.

This exceptionalism and supremacy of Jewish life is a fundamental underpinning of the state of Israel. It pervades their every law and protocol, and is matched only by their apparent contempt and disregard for Palestinian life. Whether through laws that favor Jews for employment and educational opportunities, or laws that allow the exclusion of non-Jews from buying or renting among Jews, or endless military orders that limit the movement, water consumption, food access, education, marriage possibilities, and economic independence, or these periodic upending of Palestinian civil society, life for non-Jews ultimately conforms to the religious edict issued by Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, saying “a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”

Israeli violence of the past few weeks is generally accepted and expected. And the terror we know they will unleash on our people will be, as it always is, cloaked in the legitimacy of uniforms and technological death machines. Israeli violence, no matter how vulgar, is inevitably couched as a heroic, ironic violence that western media frames as “response,” as if Palestinian resistance itself were not a response to Israeli oppression. When the ICRC was asked to issue a similar call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails (which is also in contravention of international humanitarian law), the ICRC refused, indicating there’s a difference between the isolated abduction of Israeli teens and the routine abduction, torture, isolation, and imprisonment of Palestinian children.

When our children throw rocks at heavily armed Israeli tanks and jeeps rolling through our streets, we are contemptible parents who should be bear responsibility for the murder of our children if they are shot by Israeli soldiers or settlers. When we refuse to capitulate completely, we are “not partners for peace,” and deserve to have more land confiscated from us for the exclusive use of Jews. When we take up arms and fight back, kidnap a soldier, we are terrorists of the extreme kind who have no one to blame but ourselves as Israel subjects the entire Palestinian population to punitive collective punishment. When we engage in peaceful protests, we are rioters who deserve the live fire they send our way. When we debate, write, and boycott, we are anti-Semites who should be silenced, deported, marginalized, or prosecuted.

What should we do, then? Palestine is quite literally being wiped off the map by a state that openly upholds Jewish supremacy and Jewish privilege. Our people continue to be robbed of home and heritage, pushed to the margins of humanity, blamed for our own miserable fate. We are a traumatized, principally unarmed, native society being destroyed and erased by one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Rachel Frankel went to the UN to plead for their support, saying “it is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel…I wish to ask: Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?” Do those sentiments apply to Palestinian children, too? Here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here are video examples of the abduction of Palestinian children from their homes at night and on their way to and from school.

But none of that matters either. Does it? It matters that three Israeli Jews were killed. It doesn’t matter who did it or what the circumstances were, the entire Palestinian population will be made to suffer, more than they already are

Remember the certainty of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Now we are being told–and everyone is believing–that there are thousands of Europeans and Americans in Iraq with passports just waiting to get into the US and kill us. Can you imagine what further erosion of our freedom that story–because we will all believe it–will lead to?

935 liesSurely we Americans have some way to learn the truth.

Taking the 25 minutes to watch Bill Moyers would be a beginning. “And so we really have a problem here because if we don’t know what the truth is in this country, we don’t have a country. It’s end of story. It’s not our country anymore. This is fundamental. And if the public doesn’t care about facts then journalists, frankly, are not terribly relevant either. I had a professional crisis. Like, why am I doing this if no one cares and false information is what they believe, not the actual information?” (Charles Lewis)

Read Charles Lewis’s account of the genesis of his book, 935 Lies – available from Amazon and B&N.

Charles Lewis is a tenured professor of journalism and since 2008 the founding executive editor of theInvestigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C. He is the founder of The Center for Public Integrity and several other nonprofit organizations.


“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Posted by: Harold Knight | 06/04/2014

Special edition: for all contributors to PBS

Be more or acquiesce more?

Be more or acquiesce more?

If you give money to PBS, you might want to rethink – can your pittance match the Koch Brothers – or is it just like politics?






An Article from the Salem Oregon News

Resistance Growing To Zionism’s Corrupting Influence

(May-01-2014 12:27)
See link at end for entire article.

by Allan C. Brownfield

The introductory section (see link at end for entire article):

(WASHINGTON DC) – Zionism, the philosophy of Jewish nationalism which believes that Israel is the “homeland” of all Jews and that those living outside of Israel are in “exile,” has distorted American Jewish life and is driving large numbers of young people away from what is becoming an increasingly intolerant community.

Many synagogues fly Israeli flags and have replaced God with Israel as the virtual object of worship, a practice akin to the idolatry practiced in the worship of the Golden Calf. In 1999, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted a resolution declaring that Israel, not God, “is central to our religion.” Emigration to Israel—”aliyah”—was encouraged as the highest form of religious expression.

Sadly, the organized Jewish community has turned itself, in effect, into a defense attorney for Israel, defending actions by the Israeli government which are vigorously opposed at home. When it comes to separation of church and state, Jewish groups have led legal battles even against voluntary, non-sectarian school prayer. Yet, in Israel, they embrace a society with no separation of church and state, one which is, in real terms, a theocracy. Non-Orthodox Jews have fewer rights in Israel than any place in the Western world. Non-Orthodox rabbis cannot perform weddings or funerals in Israel, and their conversions are not recognized.

A section of interest in light of Israeli insistence that Hamas is a terrorist organization:

“The King’s Torah”

 Consider the reality of contemporary Israel, which American Jewish groups completely ignore. The year 2009 saw the publication of Torat Ha’Melech (“The King’s Torah”), which the Israeli newspaper MA’ARIV described as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.”

According to the authors, Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and may have to be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.”

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” the rabbis argue, refers only to killing other Jews. In their opinion, “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation may be harmed deliberately and not only during combat with adults.”

Torat Ha’Melech was written as a guide for Israeli soldiers and army officers seeking rabbinical guidance on the rules of engagement. According to the authors, all enemy civilians—including women and children—can be killed. The rabbis also justify the murder of Jewish dissidents, a philosophy which emerged from the settlement of Yitzhar in the occupied West Bank, where Shapira helps lead Od Yosef Chai yeshiva.

Shapira studied under Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburgh, who defended seven of his students who murdered an innocent Palestinian girl by asserting the superiority of “Jewish blood.” In 1994, when the American-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Ginsburgh lionized Goldstein in a lengthy article entitled “Baruch Hagever” (“Baruch, The Great Man”).

The entire article is at:



Posted by: Harold Knight | 04/29/2014

Pause? Mr. Obama, Pause? A message from Samia in Jerusalem

"Feed my sheep." (See explanation below)

“Feed my sheep.”
(See explanation below)

April 26, 2014
Samia Khoury

Unable to admit the failure of US diplomacy, Mr. Obama suggests a pause in the peace negotiations because “Israeli and Palestinian leaders are unwilling to make hard choices.” Really Mr. Obama!! You cannot be joking after all the compromises that the Palestinians have made since Oslo, when you were still maybe in college or working your way through your career. Just to remind you of but a few of those hard choices that the Palestinians did take for the sake of peace and only peace:

1) As early as 1988 The PLO, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians passed a major resolution in its Palestinian National Council in Algiers to recognize the State of Israel.
2) In 1993 the PLO representatives at a special meeting in Gaza for the PNC and in the presence of Mr. Clinton, amended the charter of the PLO to abandon armed struggle.
3) With the signing of the Oslo agreement, the PLO acknowledged the State of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine

I am not going to delve into the absurdity of the Oslo agreement. But it was signed and the Palestinian National Authority that came out of this agreement could not have been more compromising on all issues regarding Israel. The hard choices that Israel has been asked to take are to return to the Palestinians only the 22% of Palestine which it captured in 1967, and to stop grabbing more and more land for settlement building and expansion during the years of negotiations.  At the same time the hard core issues of borders, Jerusalem, refugees and the right of return were all deferred, and eventually shuffled under the carpet.

We are all keeping our fingers crossed regarding the reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas. Against the ongoing onslaught of Israel supported by the US administration, and the inability of the Arab world to stand up against what is happening, and especially in Jerusalem, all the Palestinians are hoping that this reconciliation will be a hopeful step in the right direction. It is no surprise to see how supportive the US administration is of Israel’s reaction towards this reconciliation. After all it is the US that put pressure on the Palestinian Authority when Hamas won a democratic election in 2006, and which was the beginning of this long era of in-fighting. Yet how ironic it is that while the US and Israel were trying to prolong the period of negotiations beyond April 29 despite the failure of Israel to meet its commitments, and especially regarding the prisoners, Mr. Netanyahu so arrogantly announces the end of the negotiations, once the news of the reconciliation was announced. And trying to be a little diplomatic, Mr. Obama is suggesting a “Pause” because “both leaders refuse to make hard choices.”  I think it is Mr. Obama himself who needs to made a hard choice, and stand up for international law and for the implementation of United Nations resolutions, and try for a change, and before the end of his term to be an honest broker and truly earn the peace prize which he won a priori.


Dear all,

I am pleased to inform you that the Web version of the May 2014 issue of TWIP is online on Distribution of the print edition will start end of tomorrow.

We took the challenge to talk about Palestinian “Oral History” in our current May 2014 issue, and I dare say it was a challenge indeed. However, the issue is rich in content and contains a number of personal stories and testimonies which would melt a stone. Having researched the topic, it is evident that Palestinians are no doubt passing their stories on to the next generations orally and otherwise. Projects like the Wall Museum in Bethlehem initiated by the Arab Educational Institute, and The Fabric of Our Lives run by the YWCA are but examples of national projects which aim not only to honour the stories of refugees, but also to present oral history to a non-academic audience. Another example is the Memories of Tell Balata which is a cross-generational record of native stories by people living around the historical site of Tell Balata. Children and Gaza are also covered in this issue in relation to oral history, in addition to a more technical piece on what oral history is and how it should be handled by one authority on the topic, Dr. Sharif Kanaana. This is a synopsis of the current May issue of This Week in Palestine which in fact has more than what I already mentioned. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Sani P. Meo / GM

While "settlements"(?) take land, Palestinian homes are destroyed in East Jerusalem

While “settlements”(?) take land, Palestinian homes are destroyed in East Jerusalem

NOTE: About the pictures. I was going through travel pictures and came across these pictures I took in 2006. From Wikipedia, descriptions:
The Church of the Primacy of Peter in Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, contains a projection of limestone rock in front of the present altar which is venerated as a “Mensa Christi”, Latin for table of Christ. According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:1-24).
The Cremisan Valley is a valley located on the seam line between the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Cremisan monastery is within Jerusalem municipal limits, while the storeroom on the other side of the parking lot is in the West Bank. The valley is one of the last green areas in the Bethlehem district, with vast stretches of agricultural lands and recreational grounds. The Salesian Sisters Convent and School, the Salesian Monastery and Cremisan Cellars are located in the valley.

Israeli "settlements"(?) taking over Palestinian land in the Cremisan Valley

Israeli “settlements”(?) taking over Palestinian land in the Cremisan Valley

Posted by: Harold Knight | 03/04/2014

“. . . a deceitful political stunt. . . “

From Samia Khoury, a letter from  Naim Ateek of the Sabeel Center in Jerusalem.

New Israeli legislation:

The Lutherans of Jerusalem worship

The Lutherans of Jerusalem worship

On Monday, February 23, 2014, the Israeli Knesset enacted a new law that recognizes Muslim and Christian Arab communities as separate identities, giving them their own representation in an employment commission. The law passed by a margin of 31 to 6.

The new law passed by the Knesset favoring Christians is, to say the least, a deceitful political stunt by Likud-Beiteinu members aimed at sowing seeds of division among Christians and between Christians and Muslims.

For the last sixty-five years, the government of Israel has not shown favoritism or bias towards the Christian community of the land, so why now?

During the Nakba of 1948, the Christians, like the Muslims, were dispossessed by the Zionists and were forced out of their homeland. Furthermore, during the military rule imposed by Israel on all Palestinians who stayed inside the Israeli state (1948-1966), Israel did not show favoritism to Christians over Muslims. Both were discriminated against and both were treated as unwanted aliens in their own land. There is a plethora of documentation to substantiate the history of that period. The problem for Israel in those days was not the Palestinians’ religious affiliation but their Palestinian national identity.

I believe that the new law reflects the moral bankruptcy of the government of Israel. Indeed, it must be in trouble to allow itself to stoop so low as to blatantly use this tactic to attempt to win the support of some Christians abroad, and, at the same time, sow dissent among Christians and Muslims. It is the old adage of “divide and rule.” This law is sinister in that it exploits the sensitive tensions among the religious communities of the Middle East, especially in light of what has been happening in Egypt and now is happening in Syria.

I am certain that the Palestinian community is mature enough not to fall into such a despicable religious trap.

There is another dishonest and hidden angle to this law. Jewish religious tradition has always considered Christianity, not Islam, as the mortal enemy of Jews and Judaism. This is due to the fact that the Christian faith came out of the same foundation as the Jewish faith, namely, the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e. the Christian Old Testament. I still remember the Israeli religious establishment discouraging Jewish students from visiting Christian churches while encouraging them to visit Muslim mosques. The advisory pointed out that there was greater affinity between Judaism and Islam, while the gap was quite wide between Judaism and Christianity.

What has caused this sudden infatuation with Palestinian Christians to merit new legislation? Or is it just an ugly political stunt? What favors can the right-wing Israeli government give the Palestinian Arab Christians who are Israeli citizens? Will it restore their confiscated land to them? Will it grant them equality with their fellow Jewish citizens? Or are we witnessing another divisive Israeli ploy similar to when Israel set the Druze community apart from its Arab base?

It is worth mentioning that over sixty years ago, Israel managed to make the Druze religion a separate ethnic entity, thus separating them from

The Muslims of Jerusalem worship

The Muslims of Jerusalem worship

their Arab roots. Through this new legislation, Israel wants to make the Christian religion a separate ethnic identity in order to separate them from their Arab Palestinian roots. But in spite of what Israel has done to the Druze community, an increasing number of young Druze men have been resisting imposed Israeli military service.

Israel has been very shrewd in concocting devious ways and means to impose its will on the Palestinians and keep them weak and divided. It continues to connive ways to limit and even deprive them of their rights to the land so they will give up and leave.

I am certain that the Christian community in Israel will see through this new Israeli legislation, will expose its sinister nature, and reject it. It is my hope also that our people’s resilience and maturity will foil the Israeli government’s insidious objectives. This we can do through our unity and solidarity, as well as through our determination to continue to work for a just peace, inclusive democracy, and human dignity for all the people of our land.


Naim Ateek

Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center


Is it bipolar? If it looks like a duck, and walks like. . . (you know).

Samir Awad, fatally shot on January 15, 2013

Samir Awad, fatally shot on January 15, 2013

A great mystery of US politics (and international affairs) is that Americans elect members of Congress who are pledged to “cut the budget” and stop growth of the Federal Government (often, they say, by eliminating “foreign aid”)—elect them at the same time they turn a blind eye to our country’s enormous yearly expenditure of aid to one of the world’s healthiest economies.

That the U.S. continues to give $3.1 billion annually to the state of Israel is akin to your continuing to give your son or daughter their weekly allowance when they have finished graduate school and are making more money at their entry-level job than you have ever made.

  • How many collapsing bridges in Texas could $3.1 billion a year fix?
  • How many children in Dallas County could be insured under the Affordable Care Act instead of billing upstanding citizens for their care at Parkland Hospital? All of them?

Steven Strauss of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has written persuasively that our continuing financial support of Israel is exactly like taking funds from your limited checking account and giving them to your millionaire stock-broker son or daughter.  His essay begins,

It’s been over 15 years since PM Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress stating Israel’s goal of economic independence. In 1997, Israel received $3.1 billion in aid from the U.S. In 2012, Israel was still receiving $3.1 billion annually in U.S. aid. We haven’t made much progress towards PM Netanyahu’s goal. For Israel’s sake, as well as for America’s, it’s time to reduce U.S. annual aid to Israel — to 0 — over some reasonable adjustment period (perhaps 5 to 10 years), leaving open the possibility, of course, for emergency aid.

Palestinian priest Father Shomali (2R) leads an open air mass on April 6, 2012 after leading a procession through the Cremisan valley and near the surrounding settlements, with Palestinian Christians who didn’t get permits to go to Jerusalem to participate in the “Via Dolorosa” in Jerusalem.

Palestinian priest Father Shomali (2R) leads an open air mass on April 6, 2012 after leading a procession through the Cremisan valley and near the surrounding settlements, with Palestinian Christians who didn’t get permits to go to Jerusalem to participate in the “Via Dolorosa” in Jerusalem.

So, all you Tea Partiers and Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, it’s time for you to demand that the US stop wasting $3.1 billion every year and either

  • reduce the deficit or
  • spend that money on fixing the (almost) devastated water supply in California.

(not aid to the state of Israel or the robber-baron owners of Sodastream or other grown-up companies that ought to be supporting themselves) FOR OUR MONEY:

Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity, said AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IN A REPORT PUBLISHED TODAY.

The report, Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, describes mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January.

It is unnecessary for me to comment.

In the West Bank, the tragic consequences of Israel’s policy of suppressing Palestinian protest have become a familiar story:
Samir Awad, a 16-year-old boy from Bodrus, near Ramallah, was shot dead near his school in January 2013 while attempting to stage a protest with friends against Israel’s 800km-long fence/wall, which cuts through their village. Three bullets struck him in the back of the head, the leg, and shoulder as he fled Israeli soldiers who ambushed his group. Witnesses said the boy was directly targeted as he ran away.

Malik Murar, 16, Samir’s friend who witnessed his killing, told Amnesty International: “They shot him first in the leg, yet he managed to run away… how far can an injured child run? They could have easily arrested him… instead they shot him in the back with live ammunition.”

Amnesty International believes Samir’s killing may amount to extrajudicial execution or a wilful killing, which is considered a war crime under international law.

“It’s hard to believe that an unarmed child could be perceived as posing imminent danger to a well-equipped soldier. Israeli forces appear in this and other cases to have recklessly fired bullets at the slightest appearance of a threat,” said Philip Luther.

Under international law, the police and soldiers enforcing the law must always exercise restraint and never use arbitrary force. Security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force if there is an imminent risk to their lives or the lives of others. Israel has repeatedly refused to make public the rules and regulations governing the use of force by army and police in the OPT.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: At least two Palestinians have lost their lives in the occupied West Bank as Israeli soldiers open fire on anti-war Palestinian protesters.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: At least two Palestinians have lost their lives in the occupied West Bank as Israeli soldiers open fire on anti-war Palestinian protesters.


An open letter to my Christian friends,
Scott Lively: the American christianist face of Ugandan hatred

Scott Lively: the American christianist face of Ugandan hatred

Don’t those of you who are christians think it’s about time to take back the faith from “The Family” or “The Fellowship” or whatever name you know it by (if you don’t know about it, you should learn — follow the link in the last paragraph in this story). Those who are not christians ought to be concerned enough to want to push back against this Washington D.C. power-based organization.

You’ll think all sorts of bad things about me for this. Go ahead. I’m pissed off. I’m existentially offended. I’m frightened. If this is what “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. . .” and all that nonsense means, then stop the planet, I want to get off.
Your faggot friend (who would be, if he were a Ugandan, rotting in jail today thanks to American evangelical christianists),
If you think I’m just a crackpot, so be it.
You might, however, if you want to think instead of reacting read one or more of the following:
Posted by: Harold Knight | 01/26/2014

No permit for a grieving mother

No entry for a grieving mother

No entry for a grieving mother

(A difficult letter from Samia Khoury)

Dear Friends:

We were at a memorial service in Bethlehem yesterday for Khadder Tarazi, the nephew of my sister’s husband.  His death at the age of 46 was a shock not only to his family, his mother, wife, three children and five sisters, but to the  Gaza community and  the large circle of family and friends in Bethlehem and Ramallah and the Gulf area.  People die every day for some reason or another, and after forty six years under a military occupation we hear sad stories daily about killings and sick people dying in jail or at checkpoints.  But what touched me yesterday was the sad but dignified expression of the parents of Khader’s wife.  As soon as they heard the news they came rushing across the bridge  from Jordan to be with their daughter and her children.  But even in the midst of our grief Israel fails to show some humanity.  The father was allowed to go to Gaza for the funeral whereas the mother was not granted a permit. Why?  And what is the justification for such brutality?  There weren’t enough words to console them yesterday as they stood to shake hands with all those people who came to pay their respects and offer their condolences.    People in sorrow deserve an expression of humanity.  But I suppose that is too much to ask from a military who has kept the whole Gaza Strip under siege for the last seven years. 

Rafah in Gaza. American tax dollars at work.

Rafah in Gaza. American tax dollars at work.


Ironically the case of Khadder left two renowned Israeli hospitals in a puzzle.  When he got sick, presumably from some virus,  he was rushed to Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem where his kidneys started to fail and despite the dialysis his condition kept deteriorating very fast that the hospital decided to transfer him to Hadassah hospital where all his system eventually shut down and he passed away.  Here were doctors, Israelis as well as Palestinians, trying to save this young man’s life, while the military could not even show a sign of humanity by granting  a woman the privilege of being with her daughter  and grandchildren at  a time of grief.  Samia

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