Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The battle for Al-Aqsa Compound

          The battle for Al-Aqsa Compound
Israeli soldiers storm Al-Aqsa compound,Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemns "attack" on Al-Aqsa following clashes at one of Islam's holiest sites.
Clashes have erupted after a number of Israeli soldiers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, police and witnesses said.
The Israeli security personnel used tear gas and stun grenades, as they entered the compound to arrest what they called Palestinian "stone throwers".

          Stun grenades & tear gas: Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Omar Kiswani, the manager of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Al Jazeera that 80 "Jewish settlers" protected by the Israeli police, attacked the mosque when confronted by Palestinian volunteer guards.
A statement issued by the Israeli police said that "masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police".

A Muslim witness accused police of entering the mosque and causing damage, saying prayer mats were partially burned.
Clashes later continued outside the mosque complex, with police firing tear gas and stun grenades.
Israeli security forces closed the mosque's compound to worshippers following the clashes that come just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

"The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier's military and police against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there," a statement from his office said.
Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said that the Israeli police were being dishonest.

"The Israeli police are lying, they have lied before and they are lying again," he said."I think what happened today is an act of aggression on the part of the Israeli army," he said, adding that right-wing Jewish settlers provoked Palestinians when they entered the mosque.

Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem, said there are some reports that Jewish groups and Jewish activists who are not supposed to pray in the Al-Aqsa compound got in there, and this is what could have triggered the clashes.

"We are hearing that the minister of agriculture, a member of a right-wing political party here in Israel, was waiting to get into the compound this morning. If that directly sparked what we saw, it is difficult to say," Heidler said.

The disturbances came with tensions running high after Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon last week banned two Muslim groups from entering the mosque compound - Islam's third holiest site.

Israel seized East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the Six Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.
On Monday, chunks of rock still peppered the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site. Volunteers worked to remove shards of glass and metal, but parts of the crimson and gold carpet were charred by stun grenades hurled into the holy site by Israeli forces, who also fired rubber-coated metal bullets at Muslim worshippers.
This has become a reoccurring scene, with ominous implications, which has ignited Palestinian fears of an Israeli takeover of the holy esplanade. Jews call the esplanade the Temple Mount and consider it their holiest site, and Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary or al-Haram al-Sharif.

 Over time, the discussion over entry to the compound has shifted to one focusing on freedom of worship - with Israeli groups arguing that Jews, like Muslims, should be allowed to pray there.

"This is not about prayer,” she argued. "We are worried by the entry of extremists who want to demolish our mosque and build their temple. There's been an increase in the number of attempts to do so in recent years."

In 1990, Israeli border police killed 22 Palestinians during a demonstration triggered by an attempt by Jewish extremists to lay the cornerstone for a new temple in the compound.

Several years earlier, two members of an organisation called the Jewish Underground (who were founding figures in the pro-settlement Gush Emunim movement), were caught trying to bomb the two sites with the hope that the Third Temple would be built on their ruins.

The issue of the compound was recently addressed by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, which suggested that Jews wishing to visit should be permitted to do so without being allowed to pray. "Access for all communities is the best way to ensure access for each," the report states.

The group reported discussions between Israel and Jordan, which has custodial rights at the compound, over the possibility of allowing non-Muslim visitors. There's been no confirmation on the Jordanian side to this report, and an Israeli official in the Israeli prime minister's office has denied it, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. "There are no negotiations and no change in the status quo at the Temple Mount," the official said.

 Jerusalem's Old City, founded around 4,000 BC, is an area of great significance to people from the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is divided into four quarters (Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian) and is surrounded by walls. Eleven gates lead into the Old City, and seven of these are open today.
Inside the Old City, a World Heritage site, lies al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, a 35-acre compound that comprises Islam's third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, al-Aqsa mosque. The compound is also home to the Dome of the Rock, a revered site believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Since Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in June 1967, the affairs of the Noble Sanctuary have been run by an Islamic trusteeship, supported by the Jordanian government, known as the Waqf. Israel still maintains what it believes to be its right to sovereignty over the area after it annexed the eastern part of the city.

In addition to running schools and charities in Jerusalem, the Waqf maintains guards at the entrances to the compound, with the exception of the Mughrabi Gate. This gate (also known as Bab al-Magharbeh or Dung Gate) is connected by a bridge to an open-air plaza that was created when Israel demolished the Mughrabi (Moroccan) Quarter in 1967.

This plaza lies in front of the Western (Wailing) Wall, which Jews believe is the last remnant of the Second Temple, a place of Jewish worship that was destroyed by the Roman rulers of Jerusalem centuries ago. Jewish tradition maintains that a Third Temple will be rebuilt on the Noble Sanctuary, referred to in Judaism as the Temple Mount.

The Noble Sanctuary compound is currently allowed for Muslim prayer alone, but Israeli soldiers regularly escort Jewish Israeli visitors to the site. These incursions are often performed under armed guard, and provoke violent clashes between the Israeli security forces and Palestinians. The Israeli authorities also regularly impose strict rules on Palestinian access to the Noble Sanctuary, frequently forbidding all men under 40 (at times under 50) years of age from entering.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jerusalem: Hitting Home

The city of Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and property, housing and Israeli settlements are burning issues. The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem has forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes and created 
a serious housing shortage. 

Since 1967, the Palestinian population has quadrupled, climbing to over 300,000 - nearly 40 percent of the population. Yet the Israeli municipal authorities in East Jerusalem deem that Palestinians can build property on only nine percent of the land.

          Al Jazeera World - Jerusalem Hitting Home

For Palestinians, construction permits are prohibitively expensive and bureaucratic processes make them difficult to obtain. Many Palestinians have had no choice but to build their own homes without permits, even with the threat of demolition hanging over their heads.
Israel has now declared around 20,000 of these buildings to be illegal and has ordered their demolition.
Rather than paying the high costs of fighting demolition orders in court, or paying the fines for getting Israeli crews to pull down their homes, Palestinian families are making the difficult choice to bring them down themselves. Forced to demolish their own homes, many have been made homeless, or pushed away from the city centre. Others have chosen to remain in the ruins of the properties they themselves have pulled down.
Jerusalem: Hitting Home examines how these demolitions are not just changing the face of the city but also the lives of the people who live there.

The film follows three families who have been forced to take hammers to their own homes. It traces the events that led to the demolitions, where the families have gone afterwards, and the emotional and economic impact it has had on them. The filmmaker also charts how city planning and municipal policies have led to a set of building rules that many argue are pushing Palestinians towards the outskirts of the city, disrupting their lives and shifting the city's demographics in favour of the Israeli majority.

The architecture of violence


                 The Architecture Of Violence

Eyal Weizman explains architecture's key role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the evolution of urban warfare.

          Rebel Architecture - The architecture of violence

On a journey across the settlements and roads of the West Bank and along the Separation Wall, Israeli architect Eyal Weizman demonstrates how architecture is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
"Architecture and the built environment is a kind of a slow violence. The occupation is an environment that was conceived to strangulate Palestinian communities, villages and towns, to create an environment that would be unliveable for the people there," says Weizman.
Local Israelis and Palestinians explain how it feels to live in a landscape where everything, from walls and roads, terraces and sewage, to settlements and surveillance are designed to ensure the separation of the two peoples, while simultaneously maintaining control.

Eyal's work on the architecture of occupation has led him to understand the discipline's role in modern urban warfare. Visiting Nablus and Jenin, he explains how the Israeli army pioneered a new kind of modern urban warfare through its deep understanding of architecture.
But Weizman has found a way for architecture to resist. His latest project, Forensic Architecture, is way of turning a building's military wounds into evidence to be used against the state for the investigation of war crimes, with the aid of innovative architectural and visual technologies.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sussex students vote overwhelmingly to boycott Israel goods over Gaza conflict

Sussex students vote overwhelmingly to boycott Israel goods over Gaza conflict

Students at Britain’s University of Sussex have voted overwhelmingly in favor of boycotting Israeli goods on campus in response to the conflict in Gaza last summer.

The referendum requires the commercial arms of the students’ union, such as shops and restaurants, to stop buying products made in Israel.

It also means the students’ union will intensify its lobbying of the University of Sussex in the hope that the institution will join the boycott.

The referendum saw 806 students, 68 percent of all votes cast, vote in favor of joining the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Some 373 students voted against the proposition, which follows a similar vote from students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London earlier this month, which backed an academic boycott of Israel.

Speaking to RT, Roua Naboulsi, an English Literature and Media Studies student involved in the BDS campaign, said the run-up to the vote was a “very stressful and tiring” time.

“We were constantly campaigning. We were on campus every day for five hours,” she said.

Naboulsi, 20, said a large part of the campaign was about educating students.

“So many people don’t know what’s happening in Palestine,” she said.

Involved in the Palestine support movement for three years, Naboulsi said student involvement in the cause had spiked since Israel’s military operation in Gaza last summer.

The United Nations reports that 2,220 Palestinian civilians and 66 Israeli soldiers died in the conflict, which lasted for six weeks.

The University of Sussex’s Friends of Palestine Society saw its number of regularly active members increase from five to 20.

Naboulsi, who is of Lebanese descent, said the BDS campaign experienced no hostility from people with opposing views on campus.

“We expected some [hostility] but we got barely any. We didn’t have much of an opposition either,” she added.

By the end of the week’s campaigning only one pro-Israel student was left to represent the counter view, she said.

Michael Segalov, Communications Officer at Sussex Students’ Union, said the student body was joining a “growing number of Unions, including the National Union of Students, to take such action.”

Speaking to RT, he said: “As a democratic organization, all Students' Union policies come from our membership. With nearly 70 percent of students voting to endorse the BDS movement, this is a clear sign of what Sussex students want.”

“Over the coming weeks, we will be working closely with students at Sussex to put our policies into action, including lobbying the University of Sussex to follow our lead. We are already identifying contracts that [the] University has, and relationships with organizations, that we hope to be reviewed,” he added.

Friday, August 15, 2014

7 Facts You Have To Know About Gaza

7 Facts You Have To Know About Gaza •

By Raoof Zubair

Since the last few  weeks we have been hearing a lot about Gaza and particularly related to the atrocities that are being committed by the Israeli Defense Force on unarmed civilians in the region. Many have been voicing out their concern  and held numerous protests across the globe against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. But do you really know exactly what is Gaza like? Read on to know a bit more about this place that has been in the news for quite some time now.

1. Size of Gaza

Gaza is located on the  Banks of the Mediterranean sea and is only 45 km (25 miles) long and at most 10 km (6 miles) wide. It borders Egypt to it south-west and Israel to its north and east. It is separated from the other part of Palestine known as the West Bank with Israel in between.

2. Population 

1.5 Million People live in Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 14. A sizable population of adults remain unemployed around 35%.The population density is 20000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world. The annual growth rate of the population is 3.5%. It is projected that by the end of 2017 its population will be 2 Million.

75% of the population in Gaza are refugees who were forced out of their original homeland in modern day Israel during the 1948 and 1967 wars. Their decedents have permanently been barred from returning to their homeland. According to Humanitarian Aid groups average income in Gaza is less than $2 per day and nearly 80% of the Gazzans survive on food aid.


Egypt controlled Gaza until 1967, when Israel occupied it (along with the West Bank) in the Six Day War. From then onwards Israel governed the region till 2005. Following which it withdrew away from Gaza, but still controls Gaza’s air space and maritime access. Israel even control’s the entire region’s border crossings except the Rafa crossing which is controlled by Egypt. All flow of goods into and outside Gaza are still controlled by Israel that includes basic necessitates such as food, electricity, water, fuel and humanitarian aid.

4. Hamas was democratically elected

Pushed by the George W. Bush administration, the Palestinian Authority held popular elections across the West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinian legislature in 2006. Hamas won a slight majority  and is governing the region ever since.

5. Fishing limits

Since Israel controls Gaza’s maritime the Palestinian fishermen are allowed to fish only within 3 nautical miles (5.5 Km) from the sea coast.

6. No go zone on the Israeli border

The Israeli Defense force maintains a 1 Km buffer zone or no go zone inside Gaza all along the entire Israeli-Gaza Border. The border also includes high-tech observation posts which have a biometric scanner and can track records of people that come near the buffer zone. There have been few reports of some Palestinians being killed once they are in the buffer zone.

7. Tunnels in Gaza are important

The tunnels in Gaza are excessively important as they serve as a lifeline for this tiny strip of desert land. These tunnels carry basic necessities and humanitarian aid  into Gaza. Majority of the tunnels run into Egypt.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let My People Go

On August 9th, 2014 a rally supporting the people in Gaza took place at Columbus Circle in NYC. The rally lasted for 2 hours which was followed by a march to the United Nations.

This is that special speech that Chris Hedges wanted to deliver that day. He talked about the historical and religious background to what is the re-occurring violence in the area that the Israelis and Palestinians presently live in.

      Chris Hedges, Gaza Rally in NYC: God's Covenant in the Promised Land

God’s covenant in the Promised Land was not made with those who pilot F-16 fighter jets that drop 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs over the concrete hovels of Gaza. It was not made with those operating Apache or Cobra attack helicopters that unleash lethal fire over crowded refugee camps. It was not made with drone operators that clinically kill children ... outside mosques. It was not made with M-60 tank units and artillery crews that murder families huddled in terror in their homes. It was not made with those on gunboats that slaughter boys playing on a beach. It was not made with those that fire Sidewinder missiles and drop 250-pound “smart bombs” on apartment blocks. It was not made with snipers from the Golani Brigade that gun down unarmed men and women for sport. It was not made with occupiers that reduce an entire people to a starvation diet—indeed count the calories to keep them barely alive—or to those who use words like “mowing the lawn” to justify the indiscriminant slaughter of innocents.

God’s covenant in the Promised Land was not made with politicians—including every member of the U.S. Senate—that mouth words for peace and perpetuate war, that call for justice and perpetuate injustice, that refuse to stand up for the rule of law and the right of a captive people to be free.

God’s covenant in the Promised Land was not made, finally, with any race or religion. It was not made with the Jews. It was not made with the Muslims. It was not made with the Christians. God’s covenant—in the Bible and the Koran—was made with the righteous. When Ibrahim asked in the holy Koran if the covenant could be inherited, he was told bluntly: “My covenant is not given to oppressors.” And God’s iron requirement to stand with the oppressed occurs as well in the Hebrew and Greek bibles. Those who turn away from righteousness—be they Jew, Christian or Muslim—violate that covenant. They are not God’s people.

God’s covenant is made with those who love mercy and do justice, with those who care for the stranger, the orphan and the widow, with those who frustrate the ways of the wicked, with those who bring good news to the oppressed, who bind up the brokenhearted, who proclaim liberty to the captives and release to all those in prison, including those imprisoned in Gaza. God’s covenant is with those men and women—Jews, Christians and Muslims, believers and nonbelievers—who say, “Let my people go, oppressed so hard they could not stand. Let my people go.” And God calls these people oaks of righteousness. And they are God’s people.

Why does God weep in the Promised Land?

God weeps because families, huddled in terror in their homes, are dismembered and killed by Israeli bombs. God weeps because mothers howl in grief over the bodies of their children in U.N. schools hit by Israeli shells. God weeps because the old and disabled, who could not flee the deadly Israeli advance, died helpless and afraid. God weeps because the powerful, here and in Israel, lie and dissemble to justify murder. And God weeps for all those who stand by and do nothing.

God weeps because the assault on Gaza is not about Israel’s right to self-defense or about removing Hamas from power. It is not about achieving peace. God weeps because the assault on Gaza is about the decades-long campaign to destroy and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people from their land. God weeps because Israel is constructing squalid, lawless and impoverished ghettos where life for Palestinians is barely sustainable. God weeps because Israel restricts or shuts off movement, food, medicine and goods to accentuate the human misery. God weeps because Israel has turned Gaza, now largely without power, running water and sewage [systems], into a vast gulag.

God weeps because the failure to condemn Israeli war crimes by our political establishment and our compliant media betrays the memory of those killed in other genocides, from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia. God weeps because we have failed to learn the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust, which is not that Jews are unique or eternal victims, but that when you have the capacity to stop genocide, and you do not, you are culpable. And we [Americans], who provide 95 percent of Israel’s weapons, are very culpable.

All tyrants fall under the weight of their own depravity. Justice does come. The captives are set free. There will be a day when the instruments of war will no longer leave our shores to be delivered into the hands of killers. Not one bullet. And those who have broken God’s covenant will feel the blast of justice, the fury of the righteous who will rise up on behalf of the oppressed.

Peace in the Promised Land is in our hands. It will not come from politicians here or in Jerusalem. It will not come from courts of law. It will not come from international bodies.

Peace in the Promised Land will come when those who love mercy and do justice build a sustained mass movement—as we did against the apartheid regime in South Africa—week after week, month after month, year after year until the captives are set free. Peace in the Promised Land will come when we force, through boycotts, divestments and sanctions, the powerful to end the blockade of Gaza and deny the instruments of death to Israel. But it is up to us. We are all that stands between the Palestinians and obliteration.

The road to justice will be long and hard. It will require sacrifice, including personal sacrifice. Those who worship power cling furiously to it. And they will use that power against us. Our names will be reviled. Our voices will be marginalized. Our motives will be impugned. Our character will be assaulted. Our bodies will be taxed. We will be jailed. And we will know frustration and despair.

The road to justice will be long and hard. But there is no turning back, for we are no longer driven by a vision of suffering but possessed by it. We hear the cries from Gaza. We carry these cries within us. We will not rest until there is a balm to anoint the afflicted. We will not rest until there is comfort and justice for the oppressed. We will not rest until the children of Gaza have their childhood returned to them. We will not rest until the people of Gaza, no longer imprisoned, live in a free and independent Palestine.

Let my people go,Oppress’d so hard they could not stand, Let my People go.Go down, Moses,Way down in Egypt’s land,Tell old Pharaoh,Let my people go.

Monday, August 11, 2014

We Are Gaza. Look Into Our Eyes.

                We Are Gaza. Look Into Our Eyes.

Published on Aug 8, 2014
(watch the full interview with Kash here:


White phosphorus burning meat off the civilian bones, burning the single moms hopes of peace, chemical gas greeting the dusty morning sunshine, shelling orchestrating a symphony of death, breath by breath, the long forgotten dream of survival awakens the nightmare of Israel’s arrival, Airstrikes, ground invasion, the rape and theft of an entire nation,

Media, money, and mendacity corroding the remains of a heart sold to the musings of Zionist colonial congregation, the truth locked behind the delusion of defense, the a victimizing story lying about Zionist glory….

return the military funding and start the next chapter of your story, the blood NEVER washes off but your comatose conscience will greet the beauty of compassion as the scars of a killer begin to close with vigor, you’ll soon walk upright evolving in the gaza sunlight

The chemicals in the water can’t be prayed away, Zionism is here to stay

White mobs in the streets, chanting death to peace, leave the defenseless Palestinians deceased, burn the olive trees, drain the pipes of hope and wash away the resistance in the streets, cut the electric lines, poison in the food supply, divide the dirt from the earth to the sky, go to sleep Miley Cyrus has a new song, the newest Iphone will sing you songs all day long, the lullaby that takes a lifetime too long,
just stay passive don’t speak of JUSTICE until dust from bombs dropped on Gaza sits

White cloth covers the corpse of a comrade called Mohammed Hussein Saeed Abu Khudair, at 16 occupying the cemetery the creation of a corrupt colonial congregation, could’ve called him my cousin, the white cloth covers his future contributions, cowards pumped gasoline in the blood stream to light his soft skin, pumped adrenaline in the veins to ensure he’s conscious and awake, while the fire on the flesh forces his fate, the smell of skin burning, the sand storm of bombs dropped on the beaches, flesh wounds, butchered pieces


Take a long look in our eyes, we are the insect in your ears, the rust upon your gears, the resistance you fear, the faith you smear, the justice you want to disappear

We are the Palestinian mothers who continue to send their children to school amidst gunfire, children they gave birth to behind a checkpoint, take a long look

We are the shame on the face of a Zionist at the point of realization, the crux of courage to refute the support of a gangster nation, take a long look

We are the tears of a father holding his mangled child in a hospital about to be set to the fire, take a long look

We are the soldier turning against his battalion, the drone operator turned freedom fighter, take a long look

We are the world knocking at your front door come outside and face the bombs you fight for, the guns your taxes afford, the death your cheering citizens SALIVATE for,

So take a long long look into our eyes, justice is frozen in time, FREE FREE PALESTINE!!

by Khashayar Nikazmrad