Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gaza's darkness

A few months ago, I spoke about the plight of ten Gaza students of occupational therapy in Bethlehem University. Except they've never been to Bethlehem. How, then, do they study, one might wonder? Try: videoconference, remote control, and out of country lab work.

And of course, without electricity, well, you can bet there are no classes.

Like almost everything else for Gaza's besieged population, welcome to the twilight zone.

Its all part of a long-standing sweeping Israeli-imposed ban that prevents residents of the Gaza Strip from studying at institutions of higher learning in the West Bank-and from traveling to the WB or Jerusalem in general and which predates the democratic election of Hamas's Change and Reform Party.

I've talked a lot about the various ways the laws affects people, from my brilliant neighbour B. who had to forfeit her masters degree in engineering because her permit continued to be denied, to her neighbour who went blind waiting for his health permit, and of course, my own continued denial to travel to the WB to attend press and academic conferences and meet friends and relatives.

GISHA, along with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and Bitona, continues to fight the students' legal battle, and Haaretz has published a detailed article about their case today, interviewing the occupational therapy students (an artticle I started myself, and never finished!).

As part of the public campaign, the organizations published a quarter-page ad in today's Haaretz , signed by 200 Israeli professors and lecturers, asking the defense minister to undo the ban.

Of course, the ban is in the context of the larger Israel matrix of administrative control, also affecting the lives of people like my dear friend Sam Bahour, A Palestinian-American from el-Birah who has lived there for the past 15 years, and is now being expelled from his own home because suddently the powers that be say his permit is no longer valid. See Amira Hass's article, THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF EXPULSION, here.

Sam tells me he's fighting it out in the courts till his final breath.

Meanwhile, check out Gideon Levy's GAZA'S DARKNESS in yesterda's Haaretz, lest we forget, well, Gaza's darkness.


Blogger steve said...

Try not supporting,let alone voting for, hate-filled terrorist killers who blow up civilians,and you never know how nice the whole world might be to you.

Act like terrorist-supporting savages,and you earn what you get. Staigthen up and be civilized,or quit whining.Try building your own society,giving up on hate and being at peace.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Rasheed said...

Steve is speaking of Israel of course, and if not, maybe he should take his own advice.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Torontoman said...

Steve, I think the Palestinians would like to build there own society, but with the Israeli government illegally occupying and selling their land to foreigners, there isn't much to build on. Palestine also has a government, but Israel's military walked in to the occupied territories and illegally detained many of the MPs. Explain that one to me. How do you expect Palestine to have a stable society when the IOF routinely de-stabilizes it? Please, offer me some actual plausable routes the Palestinians may take, there's no point in just getting angry and throwing fiery comments every which way.

5:12 PM  
Blogger steve said...

The per-capita income in Israel is $21,000 (us) which is equal to a Western civilization,which is what they are..and no oil.The per-capita income of Middle-East Arab countries including oil is $2100. Without oil,that would be about,uh,38 cents. Israel is a productive hard-working creative innovative economic powerhouse,that publishes more articles in scientific journals than ANY other country.

Israel is a success; the Arab/ Muslim (Except Turkey)countries are failures that have not adjusted to modernity due to 7th Century mindset.Give up on derangend jealousy-based hatred and whining, and strive to be successful in the modern world. Emulate Israel.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Steve you make yourself sound like an uniformed bigot, to be frank.

Israel's 'success' is based upon MASSIVE US taxpayer donations (interest free - while Katrina victims are defaulting on LOAN payments & interest!), the destruction of indigenous people, and the appropriation of foreign property and resources for the purposes of occupation and expansion.

Stop the Palestinian Occupation and hold your judgement of their elections, choice of government until a sovereign nation has been allowed to develop. After a decade passes, THEN see what a fruitful society there might come to.

5:30 PM  
Blogger BHCh said...

It never failst to amaze me how Palestinians expect to wage war on Israel (missiles, kidnappings, suicide bombings...), but for their lives and travel plans to be unaffected.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Torontoman said...

Steve, I am inspired by Israel's work ethic and contributions to scientific journals. They are definitely some of the most hard working and learned people on the planet. Their acheivements are definitely something to marvel at. But you haven't addressed my concerns.

Palestine would like to emulate Israel. They would like to have good relationships with their neighboring countries. They used to export crops and food stuffs to other countries but can't do this anymore because Israel has closed the crossings/main export routes. They used to make a killing on olive oil exports but Israel, despite UN opposition, illegally uprooted many of the Westbank's olive trees and has not compensated the owners. Please raise this issue the next time you get the chance, and hopefully this will be the first step to peace. Identify, apologize, and rebuild, this is what both sides need to do.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Yeah, funny how people living in their ancestral land in homes built by the hands of their forefathers will get all funny like that when their farms are destroyed, their land appropriated and their lives put in constant peril by the control of heavily subsidised and politically spun Occupiers who claim Perpetual Victimhood their reason for anything.

I guess that's what suprises the psychopathic supporters of Zionist expansion.

8:43 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Intel has a design group in Israel that designs its leading edge microprocessors.

Does any microprocessor design company have a similar design group in any other ME country?

BTW until the start of stupidfada II the Israeli and Palestinian econmies were integrating. The stupidcide bombers put an end to that.

Why was it in Arafat's interest to destroy the Pali economy? Well people who have enough to eat and incomes independent of the government do not make good cannon fodder. One of Arafat's Lieutenants said as much.

BTW American government largess represents less than 10% of Israeli government expenditures. A lot of that goes into joint weapons development programs.

Hizballah has been extrodinairily effective in throwing the Israelis out of Lebanon. How did they do it? They stopped fighting. A word to the wise.

12:18 AM  
Blogger umrami said...

I find it incredulous that people like Steve still blame the Palestinian victims and fail to mention the terror that started all of this (Israeli Occupation). And of course the Israeli state sponsored terrorism itself. Israel calls itself a democracy but continue its policies of genocide and collective punishment. It is blogs like Umm Yusuf’s that tell the true facts of brutal occupation so the world can know the truth.. Jazaka Allah Khair ya Umm Yusuf! Brava AAlaiky

10:03 AM  
Blogger Moses said...

Were it not for Uncle Sugar the Israelis would not have such a high standard of living.

Imagine how robust the Palestinian economy would be if the USA gave Palestine between 3 and 6 billion USD every year and the Israeli government didn't control the ports, airspace, and roads.

Not even talking about the wanton destruction of thousands and thousands of dunams of orchards and groves.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Obseervador said...

It never failst to amaze me how Palestinians expect to wage war on Israel (missiles, kidnappings, suicide bombings...), but for their lives and travel plans to be unaffected.

Well said.
On one hands arabs are obsessed with Israel.
Since 1948 they launched various wars against Israel.
On the other hand they keep complaining Israelis makes their lives living hell.

At last but not the least..., when Israel does want to withdraw from palestinian lands , Palestini shout : No no, dont go away.

Actually Arafat and pali oficials criticized Sharon dismantling of the setlements.., and pali oficials criticized Olmert withdraw plans from west banks.

Arabs love to hate Israel.

(Its like a marriage . I hate you but never dream leaving me alone).


And I do not criticize just the arabs.
British are getting the same disease.,the hate against Israel disease.
(And hitler had a virulent disease against jews).

8:42 AM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Sorry - Israel is no innocent victim in perpetuity. You cannot oversimplify the withdrawal situation as though Israel could be entitled to walk away like they don't want to play anymore. That scenario is MUCH more complex and your suggestion otherwise surely must be disengenous.

If people hate Israel it might be the best course of action to attempt an understanding of WHY they hate the implementation of occupation.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Well well. Look who's come back to join us-if its not our old friend Peter and all his multiple stalker personalities. Welcome back. Looking forward to more of your personal attacks everywhere I write.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Israel withdrew because if they are no longer an occupying army, they have no responsibility to the people. If they are no longer an occupying army, no one can say they are building illegal settlements

The occupying army is responsible for the people they occupy, as well as their infrastructure, health care, etc.

Once tey withdrew, they were al invoved in the rally to tighten the screws on the Palestinian Authority and the newly elected democratic government.

You don't really think they wanted their settlers, and soldiers sitting in Gaza like sitting ducks when they decided not to give the border taxes to the Palestinian governemnt do you? I've never known the Israelis to do anything that suicidal.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Laila, does this "Peter" use other names, or just the one above?
It's good to 'out' the trolls to save everyone's time - effort is wasted on those who's minds are closed but continue to open their mouths.

9:15 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Don't knpw "peter", though he makes more sense than your biased self comprehend,but how to explain Israel completely pulling out of Labanon and Gaza, and being rewarde with homicide bombings and kidnapping?

Intel and others have plants in Israel BECAUSE of their educated reliable work force.And you may recall the Israelis leaving behind the most advanced profitable hydroponics greenhouses in the world when they left Gaza,and the savages who live there immediately looting and trashing it to uselessness.

Sorry,guys. Wake up, and quit blaming others for your failures. A hate-filled whining stone-age mentality is a permanent dead end.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Assad-u-LLAH said...

Kill Arabs, Cry Anti-Semitism

09/12/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- A central thesis of my book Beyond Chutzpah is that whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labor) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism (Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism, September 2006). To judge by the witnesses (David Cesarani, Lord Janner, Oona King, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Melanie Phillips) and sources (MEMRI, Holocaust Education Trust) cited in the body of the report, much time and money could have been saved had it just been contracted out to the Israel Foreign Ministry. (The report's statement that "we received no evidence of the accusation of anti-Semitism being misused by mainstream British Jewish community organizations and leaders" perhaps speaks more to the selection of the witnesses than the reality.)

The single novelty of the report, which mostly rehashes fatuous allegations already disposed of in Beyond Chutzpah, is the new thresholds in idiocy it breaks. Consider the methodology deployed for demonstrating a new anti-Semitism. The report defines an anti-Semitic incident as any occasion "perceived" to be anti-Semitic by the "Jewish community." This is the school of thought according to which it's raining even in the absence of any precipitation because I feel it's raining. It is the dream philosophy of paranoids, especially rational paranoids, for whom alleged victimhood is politically serviceable. The report includes under the rubric of anti-Semitic incidents not just violent acts and incendiary speech but "conversations, discussions, or pronouncements made in public or private, which cross the line of acceptability," as well as "the mood and tone when Jews are discussed." The wonder is that it didn't also tabulate repressed anti-Semitic libidinal fantasies. In the category of inherently anti-Semitic pronouncements the report includes "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" (only comparisons of contemporary Arab policy to that of the Nazis are permissible) and "theories about Jewish or Zionist influence on American foreign policy" (even if Jewish and Zionist organizations boast about this influence).

Much of the evidence of pervasive British anti-Semitism requires real strains in credulity. * The lone item listed under the ominous subheading "The Blood Libel" is a Syrian television series "that would be possible for viewers in the UK to seeif they had suitable satellite receiving equipment." It also notes the unreferenced "case of a Jewish university lecturer who was subjected to an anti-Semitic tirade from a student in the middle of a lecture and subsequently asked to explain to the university authorities why he ha upset the student." Is it anti-Semitic to wonder whether this is a crock? And then the report cites the warning of the London Assembly Conservative Group that "there is a risk that in some political quarters 'views on international events can, almost subconsciously, lead to subtly different attitudes to, and levels of engagement with, different minority groups.'" The new anti-Semitism business must be going seriously awry when British conservatives start sounding like Lacan. Finally, it is anti-Semitic for student unions to advocate a boycott of Israeli goods because this "would restrict the availability of kosher food on campus." Maybe Israel can organize a "Berlin airlift" of gefilte fish.

Although claiming that, in the struggle against anti-Semitism, "none of those who gave evidence wished to see the right free speech eroded," and "only in extreme circumstances would we advocate legal intervention," the report recommends that university authorities "take an active interest in combating acts, speeches, literature and events that cause anxiety or alarm among their Jewish students," and it registers disquiet that "classic and modern anti-Semitic works are freely available for ordering on the website," and that "the United States in particular has been slow to take action" in closing down "anti-Semitic internet sites." It is at moments like this that even the least patriotic of souls can take pride in being an American.

* The police data on an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in itself proves little because, as the report concedes, the spike might be due to more incidents being reported and a coarsening of British life generally, as well as the "spillover" from the Israel-Palestine conflict. In addition, there is little evidence of "organized," "politically motivated" anti-Semitic attacks; there is no evidence that perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks were disproportionately Muslim; and most of the suspects in the incidents were adolescents. For 2005 the report cites a couple incidents that were "potentially" life-threatening. It cites no comparative data for other minorities in Britain, although tacitly acknowledging that "the level of prejudice and discrimination by Jews in Britain remains lower," a considerable understatement . On a related note, it deplores that "less than one in ten [anti-Semitic] incidents reported to the police resulted in a suspect becoming an accused" , but cites no comparative data indicating whether this ratio is aberrant.

Norman Finkelstein's most recent book is Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press). His web site is

1:41 AM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...


You say: "...A hate-filled whining stone-age mentality is a permanent dead end."

On this we agree. Now how about Israel and the US giving this a try? I think te situation might work out well if given the opportunity.

The only "hate" I have, is for those who would presume to curtail the lives of those whom they deem as "others". Beyond that, I have dislikes, differences of opinions, etc., but not hate. There IS a difference.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Torontoman said...

Quick but important comment for Steve. The Israeli army has NOT pulled out completely from Lebanon, and especially Gaza. They have never left south Lebanon and their unexploded mortar rounds are waiting for the returning Lebanese. And as for Gaza, they at first surrounded Gaza and controlled it like a prison, and now they are back in to play the wardens. They have been criticised repeatedly by the UN for both actions and have turned a blind eye. But when the Palestinians do something, every pro-Israeli is writing articles and beefing up the story. If they did a fraction of the same for the atrocities by the IDF, this would be a whole other ball game.

These completely incorrect statements have to stop being perpetuated. These are false statements and blur the right and wrong, making situation more complicated.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

The Israeli army completely pulled out of Lebanon in 2000.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Assad-u-LLAH said...

ibrahamav what do you call the golan heights and sheba farms?

you call it israhel and your birthright right?

others like the rightful owners call it stolen

3:21 PM  
Blogger BagelUndertheCouch said...

gotta love all that bureacratic red tape=/.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Sheba farms and the Golan Heights are disputed portions of Syria that were captured during the 1967 war.

When Syria is serious about a peace treaty, then the status of those territories will be discussed.

However, Syria has never ceded that land to Lebanon. The UN has declared that the land is not Lebanese.

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, the Palestinians suffer because it is in their interest to suffer. If they really wanted to get on with their lives, they would have pulled their fingers out a long time ago. Suffering creates sympathy and the world is so pathetic that it believes every single tear that is shed. The Palestinians had it so good before the first intifada. The worked in Israel, earned a living and provided for their families. If they do not want to suffer and want to live decent, respectable lives again, all they have to do is stand up and be counted. They need to revolt against Hamas and all the other terrorist organizations and demand their rights. And not live in fear from their own people. Three quarters if not more of the Palestinians would be thrilled to be rid of the terrorist groups that murder, rape, isolate, threaten and deceive the average man in the Palestinian street. Why don't they spend money on parks, amusement centres, libraries, etc., instead of spending their money on terrorist training camps for 6 year olds and on printing school textbooks that preach hatred from kindergarten age up? Why haven't any other Muslim countries (22 to date and who's counting) provided food, clothing, housing on a regular basis for their brethren? Why have the Palestinians not done a thing with the land the Israelis returned in August 2005? Because they don't want to. Pictures flashed across tv screens worldwide of the poverty and neglect create sympathy and more misunderstood hatred towards Israel. How is it that after WW2, the Jews of Europe with absolutely nothing managed to convert the swamps and the barren land of The Middle East into a developed, modern Western nation? And after 56 years the Palestinians are still in square one?

10:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home