Israeli “Arab Affairs Expert” Berko: There are no Palestinians!

Israeli racist member of the Knesset for Likud, Doctor Anat Berko, claimed in a speech on Wednesday 10/2/2016 that, as the letter “P” doesn’t exist in Arabic, there is a question mark over the whole existence of the Palestinians. Berko, who was a lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army and define herself as an “expert on Arab affairs”, was actually saying “Falestin” – the way it is said in Arabic – but somehow seemed not to have any idea of the existence of the letter “F” (ف) in Arabic…

Berko_says_there_is_no_P_in_Arabic

It is always a big delight to see that the bad guys are also really Dumb!

If you know Hebrew you can enjoy the original in a video from the Knesset. You can start watching from about 5:20 in the video – what comes before is shockingly racist but not at all amusing…

The Writing on the Wall

The Writing on the Wall

During the last month I was in Karmiel more than through the previous twenty years.

Karmiel is a small sleepy town in the Galilee, located on the Akka-Safad road, some 30 kilometers from Haifa. It was built in the 1960’s, as part of the Israeli governments drive for the Judaization of the Galilee, confiscating large chunks of Land from all the neighboring Arab villages and townships.

Unlike many other Israeli cities in the periphery, Karmiel is mostly well-to-do and Ashkenazi (of Jews from European origin). It is late to become a mixed city, maybe also because its better economic situation keeps house prices high. As I attended this Monday a lecture on “Arabs in Karmiel” in the municipality’s auditorium, there was an argument whether Arabs constitute 3% or 6% of the population (in a region where the Arabs are a clear majority) – most of them well-to-do families from nearby villages where living conditions are miserable and it is very hard to legally build a house.

Ramiya

Ramiya is a very small village that is now wholly surrounded by Karmiel. I wrote a short history of the struggle of Ramiya’s people in Free Haifa. Here I can just say that after long years of “sumud” – sticking to their land in spite of endless attempts to uproot them – now the people of Ramiya face an immediate danger of expulsion and that they renewed their mass struggle for their right to stay on their land.

In those visits to Ramiya I started to know its people and to admire and love them. They remind me of the small village of Asterix that is still resisting the Roman Empire, even as the whole of their Gaul country is occupied. Seeing how those people are enduring harsh conditions for a whole life is putting our easy life in perspective.

The existence of the small village, mostly made of tin shacks, as the residents are not allowed to build, is a live reminder for Karmiel of all the land-robbery and discrimination through which is got its reaches. Yet Karmiel’s municipality and the “Israel Land Authority” are sized by their own racist attitudes and grid and prevent Ramiya’s residents from building an orderly neighborhood inside Karmiel – they still want them to go away.

The struggle to save Ramiya is now becoming the center of struggle against Israeli apartheid for the people of the region. After the success of the mass struggle in stopping the Prawer plan for ethnic cleansing in the Naqab (even though the government now say that they will still continue to pursue this plan) – Palestinian youth are convinced of the need and possibility to go out to the streets to stop farther evictions.

The Chinese Tent

On Wednesday, 18.12.2013, there was a vigil in solidarity with Ramiya’s people on a main crossroad on the western entrance to Karmiel. On the same night the people of Ramiya built the solidarity tent that should be the center of the struggle over the next months.

Today (Thursday 19/12) we went to see the tent and help with the last preparations for tomorrow’s public meeting – the first even to which the wide public is invited to come and take part in the struggle.

We found a very big tent, maybe with the capacity to hold an activity for two hundred people. It has Chinese writing on its walls.

Being curious, we took a picture of the obscure Chinese writing and sent it to a friend that is learning the language. The answer was not late to come: “Take care, inflammable materials”!

Believe the Chinese, Apartheid in the Galilee is becoming unsustainable.

The Most Dangerous Status Line

The Most Dangerous Status Line

Free Haifa exposes the secrets from Razi Nabulsi’s interrogation

All over the last week we followed the detention of Razi Nabulsi, a young Palestinian activist from Haifa. He was taken from his home on Wednesday 9.10.2013, with his computer, cellphone, books and papers.

His detention was extended twice, based on his statuses in Facebook and tweets in Tweeter. In four different court hearings during the week (two remands and two appeals) the Haifa court decided that his statuses constitute a danger to the state of Israel.

The most wired thing about it was that the prosecution refused to tell in the court what did Razi write in those statuses… They claimed that at the stage of remand the prosecution is allowed to conceal the “secrets of the investigation”. All the protestations of the lawyers from Adalah, which claimed that statuses that you publish can’t be defined as “secret” that you should not see and that there is no logic to accuse somebody of “incitement” without relating it to specific sayings, were in vain.

You might understand that we were all deadly curious to know what is in those statuses…

So today (Wednesday 16/10), after full seven days in detention, when Razi was finally released, we went to his family’s home in ‘Iblin (in the Galilee), where he is under house arrest, to say Hamdillilah ‘A Salameh and ask what those dangerous statuses were all about.

Razi gave us many examples to the statuses he was interrogated about, divided between the foolish, misleading translations, ignorance, gossip, whatever. But at least in one case I could understand the horror his status aroused in the people that are responsible to state security.

Razi wrote in his status: “One day the nightmare will be over”. The interrogator claimed he clearly wrote it to express his wish that the state of Israel will cease to exist!

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Razi himself has his own blog and I’m sure that he will write all the important details about his detention and interrogation… But as of now he is prevented by the court’s order from touching any computer or any other “media tool”, including a phone (until Sunday).

Actually the police didn’t even ask for this as a condition for his transfer to house arrest. But after so many judges in Haifa declared that the state of Israel is under real danger from his status lines, the judge today volunteered to add this media blockade and salvaged the state security from the idea that nightmares may go away, at least for another full five days!

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For more details about Razi’s detention you may read previous posts in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

No Waze 2.0: More Holes in the Apartheid Map

No Waze 2.0: More Holes in the Apartheid Map

Haifa is not so old. Only 252 years passed since the new city of Haifa was built in 1761 as part of Daher Al-Omar’s plan to establish an independent state in the north of Palestine. But Haifa developed pretty fast, and soon people started to build outside the city’s walls. The main street that went out of Haifa’s west gate (at Khamra square, now Paris square) and later turn south along the sea shore was naturally called Yaffa (Jaffa) Road, as Yaffa was the main city in the center of Palestine, 100 km to the south, where the road was leading. Till this day Yaffa road is a pretty central street in Haifa down town, known, between other things, for a bunch of restaurants serving food 24-hours-7-days.

Tel-Aviv Street in Haifa is a small street, mostly known for its garages. It was built much later – it starts after the German colony – so you can guess where Haifa’s center reached before Tel Aviv became known, and it leads virtually nowhere.

Yesterday, when I had to pick a tourist guest from the Port Inn in Yaffa road, I didn’t have a problem to find the street, but I didn’t know where number 34 may be, so I decided to ask for advice from Waze. I’ve already written before how Apartheid Waze completely denies the existence of the city of Ramallah… but here we are in Haifa in the most normal place the Jewish “democratic” State… So I was astonished to find that Apartheid Waze doesn’t recognize the existence of Yaffa street and wanted to take me to “34 Tel Aviv Street, Haifa” instead.

After I found the inn and my tourist, I had some time to check things with Waze again. Apparently Waze Zionist SW decided that Yaffa does not exist any more and for every search containing the word Yaffa (Yafo in Hebrew) replaces this forbidden name with Tel Aviv before conducting the search. I even tried to look for Yaffa street in Jerusalem, which is even more central than Yaffa street in Haifa, and where there is no Tel Aviv street at all. Waze tried to suggest all kind of locations with names that includes Tel Aviv and Jerusalem together – but was in complete denial of the possible existence of Yaffa Street.

Some of the Apartheid’s distortions of reality are as strange as others are brutal.

My Two Penny Makhsom Story

My Two Penny Machsom Story

Every nation has some special contribution to the great richness of Humanity’s cultural tradition. These special experiences are many times summoned by a local word that becomes internationalized. Like the Palestinians gave the word the word Intifada, Israel gave us Makhsom (AKA Machsom). In Palestinian Arabic this Hebrew word is so integrated that it has its Arab plural forms of “Makhsomat” or “Makhasim”.

The story of the Makhsom – the Israeli Army Check Point – is a long one, many times tantalizing or even tragic. A whole nation spends it best and worse hours waiting in the Makhsom – to go to work, to see a doctor, to go to the hospital or to school, to see friends and family – or to be arrested, humiliated or go back bare handed after hours of waiting – or be shot at. Many of my Palestinian friends says their greatest dream, besides to be free, is to be allowed to see the sea, just a few miles away.

So, forgive me if my own small Makhsom story is not so dramatic, even an anti-climax.

It was at the time of the second (“Al Aqsa”) Intifada. We published a journal called “Al-Jeel Al-Jadeed” and we used to print it in Tul Karem, where everything is much cheaper. You know, everybody is working so hard on the each new issue, and you just wait for it to come fresh from the prints.

But the days were tense with some military activities on both sides and the West Bank was all but sealed by the Makhasim. The JJ people requested me to go to bring the journals from the printing press.

West Bank people had a lot of experience how to go around the Swiss cheese geography. The printer explained me how I can get to some village near Tul Karem to get the newly printed journals without being stopped or arouse too much attention. But on the way back I had no other alternative but to go straight into some Makhsom and try my chance.

It was a rural Makhsom and there was a very long queue… In fact, West Bank people knew they have no chance to cross any Makhsom by that day, so the long queue was composed of three cars of Arab with Israeli citizenship that were stuck in front of me. It took more than an hour for the soldiers to search them and let them go.

The last car just in front of me had some boxes with vegetables. The soldiers instructed the old driver to put everything off the car on the ground, even the spare tire and some tools, before they searched the car. The way they searched it before my eyes I was surprised they didn’t tear down the car’s seats.

I didn’t know what I feared more: having to load down the heavy journals packets that filled my mini-van or the response of the soldiers when they will see their contents – all full with pictures of demonstrations with Palestinian flags and patriotic articles, children’s paintings and all that stuff.

When my turn finally came I moved with the car into the checkpoint. The soldier looked at me from the car’s window. Looking at my face he decided that I’m a Jew and simply said:  You shouldn’t have waited in this queue.

When God in his sky will decide to bring justice to Palestine and judge everyone for their sins, one small thing he should blame the Zionists for, is causing me at this moment to be happy to see Apartheid in the working.

How I fell into a black hole in the Israeli Apartheid map?

How I fell into a black hole in the Israeli Apartheid map?

There was another ODS (One Democratic State) meeting in Ramallah today, and the Yaffa ODS group was invited, so it was an opportunity to collect Orly from Ramat Aviv and go to see the nice people that try to make an optimistic turn in the country’s miserable history.

We were somewhat late, so I hoped my “Waze” GPS program may suggest creative ways to go there faster. I printed the word “Ramallah” in the destination field (in Hebrew) – but after some head scratching “Waze” told me that there was no such place. I tried all possible ways to spell Ramallah and the dumb program made its best – suggesting some likely named shops all around the country, even some private families, but it could not imagine that there is a city called Ramallah or that anybody may wish to go there.

I later tried “Kalandia” or “Mahsom Kalandia” – as is the name of the Super Army Road Block that is chocking the city of Ramallah – thinking that “Waze” may at least try to help poor soldiers that want to go to their occupation duty. Then I remembered that Kalandia is called in Hebrew “Atarot”. I tried this also but Waze was in total denial.

We fell into Ramallah through the hole in the wall at Kalandia. We found it quiet and blossoming, just as you can expect from a black hole in the spring of Palestine.

Our host’s wife told us about their family’s house in Jerusalem. It was taken by the Zionists as the city was occupied in 1948. Our host has a house in Yaffa, but he is not allowed to live there with his wife, due to the racist Israeli citizenship law which forbids Palestinians even from applying for family reunion.

It is easy to enter a black hole, but it is hard to come back. There is no way we can pass the infamous Mahsom Kalandia. So we had to use the special gravitation field applied by the Dead Sea and make detour of more than 10 kilometers to flip back to the road to Tel Aviv, just on the other side of the wall.

As Waze is trying to sell worldwide as a smart cool application, it is time to ask worldwide: How cool Apartheid can be? As Waze’s Apartheid map says there are no ways (to go to Ramallah, for example…), we must say “No Waze“.