Talk by Civil Advocate Mohin Odeh & his wife

 

(25/6) The event was at Barbur Gallery

West Jerusalem & was organised by "Free Jerusalem"- this is their Facebook

This is what  Free Jerusalem wrote  about the event

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سحديثوننا كيف تسير حياتهم في المساحة الموصلة بالقدس و المقطوعة عنها بآن واحد.
اكثر من مئة الف فلسطيني يعيشون خلف جدار الفصل، هؤلاء يشكلون ثلث تعداد الفلسطينيين في القدس، هم يعيشون بدون بنى تحتية، او خدمات او تحت اي سلطة من بلدية القدس او السلطة الفلسطينية.
في هذه الحارات النشطاء و الناشطات يديرون نضالهم اليومي ابتدأ بأبسط الأمور الى اعسرها.
تعالوا لتسمعوا عن نشاطهم و على الحياة في ظل الجدار

A talk with Palestinian activists from across the separation wall in Jerusalem.
How do life wםrk in a place that is separate and connected to Jerusalem at the same time?
More than 100,000 Jerusalemites are living today across the separation wall.
It is about a third of the Palestinian population of Jerusalem, that live with no infrastructure, services or governance by the Jerusalem municipality nor the PLO.
In these neighborhoods activists are struggling for the biggest and the smallest things. Come hear
about their activity and about the life under the shadow of the Wall

The activist speaking is Human rights advocate Moheen Odeh from Kufr Aqab and his wife.I didn't get her name. She has a master degree in Education but cannot teach because the conditions of the Palestinian education systems are so bad: the classes are over-crowded, the infrastructure- classes are without ventilators or air conditioning. The smell of burnt garbage makes breath sore. Moheen spoke about his legal activity- trying to appeal against municipal neglect- the garbage disposal & road infrastructure.

 

   

עמוד ענן, צוק איתן- אותה קאונטר-מהפכה

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בזמן שאנחנו עוברים דירה, אני הופכת את הבית ומוצאת את דף הסיסמאות המאולתר שצעקנו לפני שנתיים, בזמן 'מבצע' צוק איתן. הכל נשאר רלוונטי. כלום לא השתנה. ואני עייפה כל כך,

"Every Palestinian child knows what a blindfold is"- this fridays' protests

There is so much that's been written about Palestine I don't know what does my own writing contribute, or what does any writing contribute anymore. The truth is being told, the oppressed and occupied people are not voiceless anymore, and behind the lyrical barricades and walls lays a day when words will change nothing anymore, a time to act. I don't know if I anticipate or fear that day. Those who choose to live in false consciousness will ignore this. Those who choose to listen to hasbara lies and the mainstream media will stay oblivious as they are.  Walls are not made out of concrete only. Walls exist in people's minds and heart, preventing them from seeing what reality is like.

Al Ma'asara protesters still choose words. As in every week, they go out to speak about human rights, freedom, equality trying to dissolve the IOF human block in front of them. They carry out speeches, preaching and chanting with passion yet the human wall doesn't seem to fall.

"This is the prisoners day, we are protesting for our human rights defenders in the Israeli jails" say the protesters. "The people are rising in Syria, in Guantanmo, and they will rise against you here as well".

The soldiers keep blank faces, holding tight to their shields. They look like thugs, big bullies, and the sight of them make my feet tremble. They might look peaceful now, but I know what they are capable of, and they sure do a great job looking intimidating. Some of us are grinning at us.

A  man holds up the blindfold that was used to tie him up when he was arrested and tells the soldiers "I was tied up just as our prisoners were. We all know what this blindfold means".

The soldiers franticly take pictures of us, as if we were an armed brigade of so called terrorists performing dangerous acts.

"If you want action, go to Iran, what are you fighting against here?"

The protesters begin to pound on the soldiers' shields, drumming a samba beat.

"These weapons are illegal, the same guns used to kill our friend Bassem Abu Rahma in Bili'in"

My friend goes out to the soldiers, asking them, "why do you think there are Israelis among  us, protesting here?"

My friend says, the soldier said he doesn't know, perhaps we (the Israeli protesters) are crazy.  My friend is asking him if what he's doing doesn't seem crazy to him.  Marah, a young girl, recites a Mahmoud Darwish poem with passion, to our delight and excitement.

"What about the peace?" asks another protester, standing right in front of the soldiers' shield. "Only two weeks after the holocaust memorial day. must we wait until we have 6 million dead people to have a state of our own?"

The soldiers do not reply. "You are free people, you do not have to comply" the protesters tell them.  I am trying to pick up every chanting, every word the protesters say. I hope something does get to them, that doubts about what they do spark in their minds, that after hearing all of this a week after a week they begin to question themselves and their actions. I really want the protesters' words to win. I want human rights discourse to become a weapon of liberation. I want the soldiers to refuse their orders, to drop their weapons, but I am far from being naive or an optimist.

We proceed to Sheih Jarrakh where Nasser Ghawi wipes out words carved on the gate to his  stolen home:"Itbah Al Arab" (kill all arabs).

"They are trying to ethnically cleanse us" says Nasser Ghawi. "But we will not leave. We are steadfast. We are resilient ". I picked up a sharp object trying to wipe out the rest of what the settlers wrote on the wall.

Palestinians are pushed to violence- thoughts on last friday's protests

After "chaime soumoud a-zaitoun" tent was taken down, I saw the members of Abu Nir's family sitting on the bare land that was taken to them, having heard just moments before : "this land is no longer yours", they began singing "Bilady, Bilady" – our land, our land. Once again, I was so ashamed to be an Israeli, to share a nationality with the people who just sent two armed brigades to tear down a protest tent.

Later on, I visited Shekh Jarrakh weekly protest vigil, and met Mahmoud Ayoub Shamasne. Mahoumoud Ayoub Shamasne and his family are awaiting an eviction order dating to 1.3.2013, His family consists of 10 people, his two elderly parents,  over 80 years old included in this count. This is the second nakba as Shamasne said and it is happening everywhere in east Jerusalem. No need to physically torture or kill people although they do it as well quite often, It is enough to break people's spirit, take away their shelter, their dignity, their freedom to protest. It is enough to push people out, drive them away, deprive them from rights and services, humiliate them. I have seen the sadness, the despair, the silent acceptance of cruel fate and I wanted to be the first person to  throw a stone, the first to hurl a molotov cocktail, because it seems that the Israeli occupation forces speak no other language but force and know no other way.2013-01-25 14.10.02

– "Where is Ban Ki Moon"? Al Masara 28.12

There is so little I know about Al Masara. There is little I know about the people who participate in the demonstrations, about how the majority of Al Masara people feel about us, Israeli activists who join the protests, about the village itself. Luckily enough, Mouhamad Al Zwahara, sent me this informative video.


There is so much I don't know about Al Masara.

About the region itself. I look at the map that shows in this short video, and I hope I understand a little bit better about how the village is being crippled and isolated by the nearby settlements. How the threat of land theft threatens the very daily living of the people, of their ability to provide for themselves.

 I wish I could be Al Masara protests saleswoman, Al Masara protests ambassador,  for a current theme repeats itself during Al Masara demonstrations: the protesters are crying out for the world to do something, to hold Israeli accountable for the violation of their rights, to intervene.Personally I suspect that the content of the speeches is a bit naive: so many atrocities are happening and the world does not care,   but how many atrocities receive such direct assistance and aid from the US as the one that is done to the Palestinian people? Has the response of the UN  to the latest settlement expansion by Israel not been impotent?

What is repeatedly being said by  Al Masara protest leaders, that although being few in number and unarmed compared to the heavily armed soldiers, and despite the "failure" to cross the human blockade the soldiers form each and every week, is that the people who protest hold their strength by knowing that they are not alone- either it is because of the physical presence of international activists- or merely by the UN recognition of the Palestinian state.  The protesters keep mentioning  how resilient the nature of the protest is- the protests go on for six years, many of the soldiers who beat the protesters now were only high school students when the demonstrations started.

This week's demonstration , as the one from two weeks ago, was dedicated to support hunger striking prisoner Samer Al  Issawi. One of the protesters had his hands cuffed and his eyes blindfolded, as a symbol to the way many prisoners are being held. For some unapparent reason, the soldiers seemed to be really excited or threatened by these  actions. The soldiers were also rather violent this week, to the point of beating a protester with their plastic shield in the leg and hitting another one in the face. In addition, the soldiers kept trying to capture some of the protesters by camera – perhaps for future persecution.

One of the speakers pointed out a small child in the crowd and told the soldiers: You put his father in jail, but this boy is not afraid of you".

Than he turned to the soldiers and started a guessing game, trying to figure out what is the original birthplace of each and every one of them. "You should go back there" , he told the soldiers.

I thought that perhaps, if people immigrate to this land only to oppress other people , they better go back to where they came from. That the presence of the military among civil population does nothing but provoke more hatred thus providing no safety. The words of Mahmoud Al- Zawa'ara from the video about Al Masara echoed in my mind: The people of Al Masara were born in Al Masara. They never left.

"Our children want to go the sea" said the speaker, and than he turned to the soldiers, running across the shielded soldiers, banging his hands and back  towards their shields, making a "circus" action out of the occupation, to the laughter of the kids. Maybe they don't get to see the sea, but they are educated to resist at a young age, because no proud human being would agree to live like this.IMG-20121228-01363 IMG-20121228-01345 IMG-20121228-01349 IMG-20121228-01344

#wib: A new woman in black is born

why I love & support women in black & wish to consider myself as one:

  • Women in black has been protesting against the Israeli occupation since 1988.
  • They stood up against the Israeli aggression since the first Intifada & made their stand against Gaza strip war aka. as Cast lead operation.
  •    women In black, like me, do not hold a coherent agenda or pretend to have the ultimate solution for colonialism, moral conflicts related to armed resistance, colonies within 67' occupied territories etc.  Like myself, they wish to keep civilians away from the never ending circle of violence & bloodshed. I am in favor of 1 state solution that includes right of return for Palestinian refugees, but I would support any other resolution that will bring Justice & reconciliation & will be agreed upon.
  • As Edmond Levy said: "There is no occupation in Israel", and I partially agree with him: we cannot see the occupation because the Apartheid is hiding it. Personal safety within 48' borders is increasing. There hasn't been a war since 2008 cast lead operation (and it's difficult to call that "war" as IOF was facing guerrilla warfare and not an organized army). No suicide bombings inside Israel's 67" borders etc.  The Israeli public, in general,  sees the Palestinian as "non issue" (that is how I perceive the public opinion where I am).  Women in Black make the occupation visible to the Israeli eyes at least for one hour in a week , they call it by the name & oppose it, voicing an un-poplular opinion within the closed minded Israeli discourse. They are acting for change within our community. I heard how the Zionists cussing  & shouting the elderly , wishing them to die. I have seen the hatred the women in black endure. Yet they continue to act according their conscious & carry on with their peaceful protests despite everything.
  • I identify with wearing black : It shows my feeling of mourning , my constant  grief about those who are dying, arrested, not being heard.It shows that I have no pride or joy in being an Israeli.
  • You can't dislike peaceful actions!

#Susiya 22.06.2012

מצגת זאת דורשת JavaScript.

What will IOF demolish in Susiya?

50 houses received demolition orders. But I did not see 50 houses in Susiya.

All I saw were tents and caves, and the people of Susiya are not Bedouins.

They did not choose to live like that.

Every time they try to erect some kind of permanent structure,

it is being cracked up by the army.

What crime did the Palestinian people of susiya commit,

other than being Palestinians in territory C ,

an area in PA israel is wanting to be ethnically cleansed? I don't know.

Right below Palestinian Susiya, sits the Zionist Susiya,

its European style villas have red roofs to shield their residents from the scorching desert sun.

" What do you want from us?

we want no trouble with you. we did not attack you.

Just leave us alone, go home, do not destroy our homes.

Do you see this? that is our mosque, we wash our hands,

we pray there, why ruin it?"

The plight of this elderly Palestinian man fell on deaf ears.

Soldiers can not listen to people.

I am guessing people learn to shut their hearts, ears, eyes

, and minds when they join the army,

otherwise I can't explain how someone can be so apathetic towards another man's plight.

We came to Susiya, as many as 650 people.

I never saw so many Israelis crossing the green line to protest the occupation like this.

I doubted if the soldiers ever saw something like that either.

They seemed to be either confused or just being as dumb as military can be.

They brought skunk truck , moved it around to scare us, but didn't spray us.

They tried to arrest an elderly man but failed to do so.

They use protest disperse methods, such as tear gas, sound bombs,

pushing us back and pointing their guns at us.

The atmosphere between ourselves,

taking two steps away from the soldiers was rather warm & friendly.

We met each other, Israelis from across the country, as it was a big reunion event.

It felt nice, to be more than a few dozens of people for a change.

I was delighted to see  Palestinian people did attend this joint protest.

One person estimated the number of  Palestinian protesters in Susiya as 200.

This is not an obvious thing to me,

and I am grateful for their hospitality and generosity.

We did come to Susiya as guests on their land.

I hope to see free Susiya as guest when I come back.

I wish to see those people returning to the lands that were

expropriated to be used as archaeological sites,

I wish to see law used to make justice,

not to serve the privileged ones.

I wish to see law protecting this people from being abused

by those who are currently in power.

I don't know if  peaceful protests can achieve all that,

but we are not "free" to stop trying.