Wednesday, August 17, 2005


An interesting twist in d-developments. I'm sitting at a press conference in Gaza city, waiting for the Palestinian minister to show up, when suddenly, abou 15 Palestinian women come storming into the room, carrying up framed pictures of their sons who are rotting in Israeli jails, chanting in protest.

The women had been peacefully protesting the imprisonment of some 8000 Palestinians in Israeli jails-the majority without charges, including their sons, and the neglect of the issue amidst the smokescreen of disengagement and the impotence of the Palestinian authority in doing anything about it, for several days now at different junctions in Gaza, but to no end. They decided to come to the Rashad Shawwa center in Gaza city, which has become the new PA media headquarters during DE.

It was a great strategy on their part, I have to say. The room was loaded with camerman from every imaginable station, and dozens of journalists, local and foreign. We were all caught a bit of guard at first, and one of the event's organizers "demanded" they be "obedient" and seek remand for their greivances in a "civilized, lawful" way. This made them even angier of course. The punchline of it all is that the foreign minister, Nasir al-Qidwa, was a no-show (following the example of the settlers, he withdrew voluntarily before being forcfully evicted by the very distraught women).

Obviously he did not like being outstaged by these powerful, daring women to which he could likely give no answer about the status of their sons' Israeli jail terms. The PA of course said Qidwa decided to "yield" the stage to the women who are "too often marginalized from Palestinain society". Right. How opportune.

One of the women, who was clearly the leader, took the stage, and lambasted the PA officials one by one, ripping apart Mahmud Abbas and Nasir al-Qidwa in the process. "Shame on you, Shame on you Mahmud Abbas. And how sorry I am that I cast my vote for you" she yelled. You go girl.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog was just featured on CNN. A show in the USA called The Situation Room on a segment called "Inside the Blogs". Just thought I would let you know. Expect some more comments coming from the US. Some may not be so nice. CNN in the US is much different than CNN International. They're heavily right-wing biased so some viewers are pretty ignorant to the real problems of the Palestinians.

A good US site for real news from Gaza is

12:44 AM  
Blogger ifyouwillit... said...

I have seen your blog a number of times, and enjoy reading it.

I moved to Israel in January from the UK, and while I can hear the cries of pain that come from the Palestinian people, I am worried about the dawn tomorrow will bring.

Please let me be open and honest here, and I mean no offence, I just want to be open. Israel is handing over land to the Palestinian Authority, and I hope and pray that this will lead to security in return, but when Hamas are making statements pledging to continue their violent offensive, I worry. I wonder what will be gained by evacuating these families.

The disengagement is a very hard step for Israel. Handing over land is one thing, but having to expel one's own people, with one's own forces, is heartwrenching.

May we all see the day that peace will prevail and there will no longer be the need for arms on either side.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How funny the "handing over" comment is by itisnodream. When one steals he should not be praised for returning. In the last few years I have learned much about Israeli terrorism on the Palestinians in spite of the media here in America. I try to educate people on this issue and a friend I have in Washington, DC. tells me that his Congressional office gets many complaints daily about our funding of Israel. The word is getting out. US campaign against the is helping a lot I think. I just found your site and I think it's great. For Jews who want peace they should check out Palestine now and forever.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hi Laila,

I find the one-sided news coverage we tend to get here in the US very disheartening. Here in New York today, the news broadcasts were all talking about sobbing settlers being forcibly removed from their houses. The only element of the Palestinian viewpoint I heard on the news today was Hamas vowing revenge for a West Bank Israeli settler's murder of four Palestinian workers. I am very grateful for blogs like yours, and also for your employer (al-Jazeera) who publish your views in English and allow us to see an alternate perspective on these events.

I wrote a post on my blog two days ago, and borrowed one of the pictures you'd posted a few weeks ago - I hope you don't mind.

To "Global Activist", I really don't think it's right to slap down "Itsnodream" for the comment he/she wrote. Honest and respectful dialogue like what "Itsnodream" has attempted is the first step towards reconciliation. If more Israelis were willing to engage in that type of dialogue with Palestinians, the world would be a better place today.

6:29 AM  
Blogger ifyouwillit... said...

I was worried of stepping on toes when I wrote the passage, and purposely refrained from saying "giving back".

The land was not stolen from anyone, rather, leagally conqured during war which was started by neighbouring countries in 1967. Had no war been waged against Israel, no land would have changed hands.

Every conflict has two sides, and for me to say I was completly unbaised would be wrong, we live on opposite sides of the issue, but I, and Israel, mean no harm to any innocent neighbour that seeks peace along our boarders.

Calls for a Palestinian state are acceptable, calls for the death of Israel, Israeli's, or Arabs, or anyone for that matter, are not.

Thank you Mad Canuck for your comment too.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

dear Its:
First, thanks for stopping by, I welcome comments by all. But do check your facts. Israel attacked Arab states in 1967, not vice versa. It launched a massive air assault, controlled the Sinai peninsula within three days and then concentrated on the Jordanian frontier, capturing Jerusalem's Old City (subsequently annexed), and on the Syrian border, gaining the Golan Heights. I (along with the entire international community I might add) woudl call that illegaly occupying. That doesn't mean we should call for Israel's destruction, and I never advocated that. We can live side by side, or even together in one state, but there has to be an equitable, just agreemen. So far, that has not been the case.

11:17 AM  
Blogger ifyouwillit... said...

Our strikes were pre-emptive, war was upon us and no country in the world would sit back and allow an enemy to advance. Land captured in war is not illegally occupied, however unfortunate the circumstances or result may become.

Just for clarification, I didn't mean to accuse you of advocating death to anyone, I meant to refer to the fact that there are those amongst the Palestinians, like Hamas, that do so quite publically.

The Sinai peninsular was handed back to Egypt with postive results, let hope we can head in the same direction this time round too.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I could just add to what "itisnodream" said.

In case there is any doubt as to who started the 1967 war perhaps I could supply this quote from Egyptian President Nasser:

"We knew the closing of the Gulf of Aqaba meant war with Israel...the objective will be Israel's destruction"

Michael Oren, p93

Israel made a preemptive strike on Egypt's air force to prevent Egyptian Air Force attacking it.

Israel desparately hoped that Jordan would not enter the war and made this clear to King Hussain. In spite of this, Jordan entered the war by shelling Israeli cities.

It was only after the Jordanian Air Force also attacked Israel that it responded.

It has been said that the first casualty in any conflict is the truth. This is demonstrated very clearly in this conflict, especially in the UK where I am, where the actual issues are clouded completely by extremists on both sides who are not interested in any sort of dialogue but only in what they themselves have to say.

It is very sad to see the infighting within the palestinian people over who should have control in the Gaza Strip and I hope that they can take this golden opportunity that they have been presented with to start on the road to a peaceful two state solution.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hi Josh. You say that "I hope that they can take this golden opportunity that they have been presented with to start on the road to a peaceful two state solution." The path to democracy is vitriolic, violent even. Look back in history and we will see this has been the case (In American, in France, etc.). We cannot start on the path to a peaceful, just, comprehenstive solution unilaterally, as Sharon did with Gaza. It just doesn't work that way. There can be no viable state in Gaza alone, isolated from the world and from the West Bank, with borders and access still under Israeli control, with no just solution for the refugees, for the status of Jerusalem, and so on and so forth. You cannot simply put the onus for building the future, and building peace, on the occupied people of Gaza. Israel has not been absolved of its responsiblity in creating this mess in teh first place.

3:13 PM  
Blogger ifyouwillit... said...

Why is a state in Gaza alone not viable?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

"Israel has not been absolved of its responsiblity in creating this mess in teh first place."

Please could you quantify this sweeping generalisation?

11:10 AM  

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