Thursday, July 28, 2011

50 I hate about Palestine

No, I don't hate Palestine, I worship Palestine,
but if these go away, I will love it even more.

1- Checkpoints
2- Curfew
3- Refugee camps
4- Night raids
5- Airstrikes
6- Tear gas
7- Rubber bullets
8- Live bullets
9- Fake airstrikes at 2AM
10- Flying checkpoints
11- Political factions
12- The Wall
13- Settlements
14- Settlers (yeah I know those are the one who live in the settlement , but they are bad enough to be mentioned on their own)
15- No Airport
16- No control over our own border
17- Tawjihi
18- Israeli Prisons
19- Skunk truck (water canon with a very bad smelling liquid)
20- Death culture
21- Transportation system
22- Poverty
23- Funerals
24- Shooting at weddings
25- Fireworks
26- No control over your own life
27- Travel documents.... not even a passport
28- Can't remember the last time I saw the sea
29- Camping is no longer an option
30- Crowded public schools
31- The capitalist system
32- Universities
33- NGO's
34- Governmental Hospitals
35- Cooperators (aka traitors)
36- Death penalty
37- Unemployment
38- Humiliation in every border room in every airport
39- Being a suspect
40- The emotionlessness (not even a word) that takes over you
41- ATM lines every month
42- The services based economy
43- The US Aid and EU billboards
44- The ISM activist
45- The calls to non-violent resistance from the elites
46- The rich sitting in a bar talking about liberation and resistance.
47- The couples and groups only system…if you are a white individual then you are alright (specific for bars, coffee shops and parks)
48- The "it's normal" or "what can we do" attitude
49- The National TV
50- The factions websites

That's it.



This whole idea came to me while reading similar list that a friend of mine wrote about JordanI liked the idea, and decided to make my own list. 

Though I know my friends wrote 50 and I already stopped at 30 (but really I get bored and this happy attitude couldn't last long enough to get me to write 50 why Palestine Rocks) the 30 reasons why Palestine rocks listed below are the small little things that make me hold on to Palestine. They are not as awesome as having a skydiving field, but they are strong enough to make me handle the military occupation I have lived with all of my life.

So here we go:

1- Knafeh in Nablus.
2- Tumbak shesha at AlShareef.
3- Although it may sound sometimes that nothing is going to work out, by the end of the day, everything is just fine.
4- Shopkeepers listening to Um Kalthom after a long day in the evening.
5- The smell of the old cities.
6- The Shawerma shop in Hebron... I still can't remember the name of the shop.
7- Passing money in the Taxi service.
8- Wheat harvest near Jenin.
9- Card games during curfew.
10- A call from a friend in Gaza asking about a trick to finish a video game during Gaza war.
11- A piece of onion which some stranger gives you after a tear gas attack.
12- People having so little giving so much!
13- The dark sense of humor.
14- The walk back home after school.
15- Al mariol Al akhdar - public school girl uniform (the teenager inside me said that).
16- Falafel.
17- Turkish bath on a very cold winter day.
18- The smell the peppers shops. 
19- Fresh coffee.
20- A cup of Baboneg (herbs).
21- No matter what, you can always blame the occupation.
22- Hiking in Jericho.
23- Everyone has a story to tell.
24- An old taxi drivers giving you marriage advice.
25- Everyone talking politics all the time.
26- Finding all kinds of people; Communist, Islamist, Secular, Atheist, Religious, Idiots and Smart people; all in the service car.
27- An old woman wearing a traditional Palestinian dress offering you the best tea ever, at her son’s wedding.
28- Walking around the market right before Adan Al Maghreb in Ramadan.
29- The Olive harvest.
30- Being able to reach everything withing a 4 hours drive!

And that's it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life log 02

First of all, let me clear one thing, these posts are not, about the first Intifada. Though I will be blogging about the first Intifada later. For this I will be using my mom's diaries, which will be interesting, don't you think?

For now, I am sticking to my theme. For this story, I am going to jump to pre-Oslo era, the few months that followed Oslo signing, Israel's full control of Nablus in it's last days, and the moment in which they came to my old city neighborhood for one last visit. 

It was 1993, I was 8 years old, me and my cousins were going out for a bike ride around the city, as we passed my house's gate. We saw the Shabab running and shouting, "Jeesh, Jeesh"-Jeesh is Arabic for Army-. Me and my cousins dragged our bikes back and. carried them back home, by the time I reached the house. the soldiers were already entering the gate. making their way up. 

The soldiers, did nothing to us, they just told us do what ever u want, just keep all doors open, we want to keep an eye on you. we are coming for Ahmad, we are not leaving Nablus without him. 

Who is Ahmad 
"Ahmad Tabouq, A Palestinian armed fighter and founder of Soqor Fatah (Fatah Eagles) in the first Intifada. When it ended with the Oslo accords, he turned to an armed thug, and when the second Intifada started, he found his way again. He died while defending the old city of Nablus in April 2002"

Ahmad Tabouq, picture date and place are unknown

The soldiers then spread all over our house, which overlooked Ahmad's house. The snipers took place on the roofs. I remember how while I was secretly sneaking lookings to the very cool looking sniper, another unit, entered our cousin's house next door. His wife was doing the dishes, and started to cry as soon as she saw the soldiers (when the soldiers enter a house they enter all rooms, acting as they own the house).  The unit commander called my mom to take my cousin's wife away. A bit later he called my mom again, telling her to pick up her rings and hand watch she left on the kitchen table. One soldier pointed to the jewelry and said "I will hate to find a complaint about my soldiers".

the soldiers, stayed all night, and left next morning, they didn't find Ahmad, we later found out, that Ahmad left home and the entire city, while the soldiers were entering the old city he had managed to walk right between them without noticing him. 

the whole event was not traumatic, to me, rather it was an exciting night having all cousin gathered in one place. The main point however is that I for the first time in my life got the chance to look to the Israeli soldier from a short range. And finally this was the day I realized, those men in green can fuck with you whenever they want. even if you are innocent! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life log 01

I thought about this as a way to force myself to blog more often. From now on I am going to blog 20 incidents that helped me in becoming the person that I am today. So, allow me to start with this one.

I was born in the city of Nablus and grew up in my family house, which is located in the old city. Being born in 1986, I grew up in one of the hottest spots of the first Intifada. This has affected me directly; I can't deny that my very first memories were on Palestinian shabab covering their faces with Kuffyas and on soldiers sitting in their green uniforms in my family house's yard to cool down.

One of those memories, bring me back to a day, when the narrow streets of my neighborhood were nearly empty. Tension was someone we all knew had just died(Estashhad). No one told me anything; who cares about informing a 7 years old, anyway.

I climbed the stairs back home to ask mom what was going on, while my cousins stayed downstairs. Mom was....(I seriously can't remember anything about her at this moment) I remember going down the stairs again, but the yard was full of people. They opened the Diwan(the family meeting room, where they held all kinds of ceremonies) they took a mattress and put it on a metal door, then I remember how they put someone on it. They carried the metal door with the body on it to other side of the yard and stood in lines in front of it, (Later I learned it was Salah Al Mayet "The dead prayer").

I was pushed away, but I managed to find a corner from where I could watch the whole scene.
His mother was crying while her daughters and my mom were trying to comfort her, all of their attempts went in vain. As soon as the young men finished their prayers and started to get ready to carry him away. His family said the final goodbyes. And in a few second the yard was empty. As I walked to the gate, I asked my older cousin, "where is Nasha'at going?"

Nasha'at Herron was the name of a guy, a Palestinian activist in the first Intifada. He was killed by an Israeli Special unit, who shot him in his knees and left him bleeding to death.

On the metal door they carried his body. They carried him on the same door he had used to jump from one roof to another to escape the soldiers.


PS: This is a story of many stories that made the person that I am today, the text above is from my memory, although i miss some details, I do remember the emotion in peoples faces. If you want to learn more, please contact me, so I can gather further details.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Justice for Palestine A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

Find below the statement indigenous and feminists of color who participated in a delegation to Palestine from June 16, 23, 2011.

Between June 14 and June 23, 2011, a delegation of 11 scholars, activists, and artists visited occupied Palestine. As indigenous and women of color feminists involved in multiple social justice struggles, we sought to affirm our association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine. We wanted to see for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Each and every one of us—including those members of our delegation who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the U.S.—was shocked by what we saw. In this statement we describe some of our experiences and issue an urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.

During our short stay in Palestine, we met with academics, students, youth, leaders of civic organizations, elected officials, trade unionists, political leaders, artists, and civil society activists, as well as residents of refugee camps and villages that have been recently attacked by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Everyone we encountered—in Nablus, Awarta, Balata, Jerusalem, Hebron, Dheisheh, Bethlehem, Birzeit, Ramallah, Um el-Fahem, and Haifa—asked us to tell the truth about life under occupation and about their unwavering commitment to a free Palestine. We were deeply impressed by people’s insistence on the linkages between the movement for a free Palestine and struggles for justice throughout the world; as Martin Luther King, Jr. insisted throughout his life, “Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Traveling by bus throughout the country, we saw vast numbers of Israeli settlements ominously perched in the hills, bearing witness to the systematic confiscation of Palestinian land in flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. We met with refugees across the country whose families had been evicted from their homes by Zionist forces, their land confiscated, their villages and olive groves razed. As a consequence of this ongoing displacement, Palestinians comprise the largest refugee population in the world (over five million), the majority living within 100 kilometers of their natal homes, villages, and farmlands. In defiance of United Nations Resolution 194, Israel has an active policy of opposing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes and lands on the grounds that they are not entitled to exercise the Israeli Law of Return, which is reserved for Jews.

In Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in eastern occupied Jerusalem, we met an 88-year-old woman who was forcibly evicted in the middle of the night; she watched as the Israeli military moved settlers into her house a mere two hours later. Now living in the small back rooms of what was once her large family residence, she defiantly asserted that neither Israel’s courts nor its military could ever force her from her home. In the city of Hebron, we were stunned by the conspicuous presence of Israeli soldiers, who maintain veritable conditions of apartheid for the city’s Palestinian population of almost 200,000, as against its 700 Jewish settlers. We crossed several Israeli checkpoints designed to control Palestinian movement on West Bank roads and along the Green Line. Throughout our stay, we met Palestinians who, because of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and plans to remove its native population, have been denied entry to the Holy City. We spoke to a man who lives ten minutes away from Jerusalem but who has not been able to enter the city for twenty-seven years. The Israeli government thus continues to wage a demographic war for Jewish dominance over the Palestinian population.

We were never able to escape the jarring sight of the ubiquitous apartheid wall, which stands in contempt of international law and human rights principles. Constructed of twenty-five-foot-high concrete slabs, electrified cyclone fencing, and winding razor wire, it almost completely encloses the West Bank and extends well east of the Green Line marking Israel’s pre-1967 borders. It snakes its way through ancient olive groves, destroying the beauty of the landscape, dividing communities and families, severing farmers from their fields and depriving them of their livelihood. In Abu Dis, the wall cuts across the campus of Al Quds University through the soccer field. In Qalqiliya, we saw massive gates built to control the entry and access of Palestinians to their lands and homes, including a gated corridor through which Palestinians with increasingly rare Israeli-issued permits are processed as they enter Israel for work, sustaining the very state that has displaced them. Palestinian children are forced through similar corridors, lining-up for hours twice each day to attend school. As one Palestinian colleague put it, “Occupied Palestine is the largest prison in the world.”

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance. Everywhere we went we met people who had either been imprisoned themselves or had relatives who had been incarcerated. Twenty thousand Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons, at least 8,000 of them are political prisoners and more than 300 are children. In Jerusalem, we met with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are being protected from arrest by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In Um el-Fahem, we met with an Islamist leader just after his release from prison and heard a riveting account of his experience on the Mavi Marmara and the 2010 Gaza Flotilla. The criminalization of their political activity, and that of the many Palestinians we met, was a constant and harrowing theme.

We also came to understand how overt repression is buttressed by deceptive representations of the state of Israel as the most developed social democracy in the region. As feminists, we deplore the Israeli practice of “pink-washing,” the state’s use of ostensible support for gender and sexual equality to dress-up its occupation. In Palestine, we consistently found evidence and analyses of a more substantive approach to an indivisible justice.

We met the President and the leadership of the Arab Feminist Union and several other women’s groups in Nablus who spoke about the role and struggles of Palestinian women on several fronts. We visited one of the oldest women’s empowerment centers in Palestine, In’ash al-Usra, and learned about various income-generating cultural projects. We also spoke with Palestinian Queers for BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions], young organizers who frame the struggle for gender and sexual justice as part and parcel of a comprehensive framework for self-determination and liberation. Feminist colleagues at Birzeit University, An-Najah University, and Mada al-Carmel spoke to us about the organic linkage of anti-colonial resistance with gender and sexual equality, as well as about the transformative role Palestinian institutions of higher education play in these struggles.

We were continually inspired by the deep and abiding spirit of resistance in the stories people told us, in the murals inside buildings such as Ibdaa Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, in slogans painted on the apartheid wall in Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, and Abu Dis, in the education of young children, and in the commitment to emancipatory knowledge production. At our meeting with the Boycott National Committee—an umbrella alliance of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations, including the General Union of Palestinian Women, the General Union of Palestinian Workers, the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI], and the Palestinian Network of NGOs—we were humbled by their appeal: “We are not asking you for heroic action or to form freedom brigades. We are simply asking you not to be complicit in perpetuating the crimes of the Israeli state.”

Therefore, we unequivocally endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations. We reject the argument that to criticize the State of Israel is anti-Semitic. We stand with Palestinians, an increasing number of Jews, and other human rights activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the Israeli occupation.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere to join us by endorsing the BDS campaign and by working to end U.S. financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation. We call upon all people of conscience to engage in serious dialogue about Palestine and to acknowledge connections between the Palestinian cause and other struggles for justice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University*
Ayoka Chenzira, artist and filmmaker, Atlanta, GA
Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz*
Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz*
G. Melissa Garcia, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University*
Anna Romina Guevarra, author and sociologist, Chicago, IL
Beverly Guy-Sheftall, author, Atlanta, GA
Premilla Nadasen, author, New York, NY
Barbara Ransby, author and historian, Chicago, IL
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University*
Waziyatawin, University of Victoria*

*For identification purposes only
For press inquiries, please contact

Sunday, July 10, 2011

6 hours under the Sun

This Friday me and 3 other were detained at Attara checkpoint near the city of Ramallah.

As soon as the small bus reached the checkpoint, the soldiers asked for our IDs, and to where we were heading, we said BaitReema -A village near NabiSaleh-, yes we lied to the soldiers, but they wont let us pass if they knew we are going to NabiSaleh anyway, and I didn't thought they will search my back bag. 

The soldiers asked us to step down, searching all of our bags, when they found my gas mask the soldier acted as a kid who just found the right excuse to beat the kid next door. He asked us all to get into the bus. Suddenly a soldier came back from the jeep asking the girl in the front seat, "Ramadan?" she said "No", yet they asked her to step down. this is when my friend, the actual holder of the ID and the name "Ramadan" spoke up, "this is my ID" the soldier asked her to step down, tied her hand, and asked her to step a side and set on the ground, which she refused to obey. She stood there, smiled and told me "well, I am getting arrested in the way to Nablus, not in NabiSaleh, Ironic!".

The soldiers then took her inside the bunker, before they take her out again blind folded, asked her to set, the other girl in the bus, asked the soldier if she can set to comfort her. 

Soon, the commanding officer came with a big jeep usually used to carry soldier and occasionally arrested Palestinian, the officer, talked with the checkpoint officer for a while before he came to us, searched our bags(again). I asked him about my friend, he replied "Tell your friend to find something else to do."

Few second later, they took "Ramadan" into the jeep and drove away, we stood there, "now what?" we asked the officer, he replied with a words we will hear all day "set and wait, then we decide, you either go home, or go away." soldiers then let the Bus driver and 2 other passenger leave. only back to Ramallah, leaving me and 2 other guys and a girl behind, to have the longest, unwanted sun bath. 

The soldier came 15 minutes later, with a bottle of water, he said "Take this drink water, if you want more, just ask." it was an Israeli bottled water so we refused to drink it -I admit, I had a sip or 2 at first-. We started asking the passing car to give us water if they have any, we got 2 bottle -one of which was nice and cold- before the soldiers forbidden us from interacting with people, or making phone calls. 

The hours passed fast, and slow, we were getting more and more tired, some were panicking as time pass, others were just getting angrier, and I was getting more and more annoyed, by 2:30 we couldn't resist the need for water, so we turned to the soldiers asking for water, the soldier pointed to the bottle "you still have water", "it's hot, it's undrinkable", "you can make tea!! ha ha". yaa we got the funny one. 
The soldiers brought us more water, refilling the bottle without asking for more "no, they weren't being nice, but the IDF will look bad if we died from dehydration."

PS: "they refilled it with tap water, so yaa, we didn't drink Israeli water after all"

Around 3:00PM the unit changed, different soldiers showed up, we tried to talk to a very American looking soldier (he is not American tho), asking what's going on, and when they are going to let us go, we talked for a while although he repeated the same old recorded statements. "you are suspect of attempting to enter a closed military zone, we are keeping you until they decide what they are going to do to you" 
around 3:30 he and another soldier came to us, "Nimer!?" I raised my hand, and he handed me my ID, you can go back to Ramallah now, all of you.

As we walked away, and after I called couple of my friend, I got a call from "Ramadan" telling me, they let her go, and she is going to meet us in Ramallah, it was a nice surprise, a perfect end for a long day, specially letting her go, answered a lot of questions that were running in my mind all day long. 

In the end, I must introduce you to the people who detained us, please meet Alexandroni Brigade (the 3ed brigades in the IDF). 

This Brigade is a suspect of committing mass murder against Arab-Palestinian during the 1948 war(Nakba) in the village of Tantura
their is nothing much about this brigade as the rest brigade of the IDF, but you can read the few Wikipedia offer click here


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You kidding me!

From my archive.
Israeli activist from "Anarchist against the wall group" argue with a group of Israeli army soldiers advancing towered the village of Bilin during the weekly Friday protest.