Sandra Twang: No to Abduction of Dignity!

First American Citizen Activist that started the International Campaign of Non Violent Protest of Resistance joining Palestinians Prisoners in hunger strike

21 days in hunger Strike for Justice (April 02, 2012)

Sandra Twang: No to Abduction of Dignity!

Standing in solidarity with Hana Shalabi


A scream out for liberty exploded from the land of democracy and human rights, the United States of America. Sandra, an American citizen was inspired by a Palestinian hero fighting for freedom and now stands in solidarity with her, demanding justice. Her message is a call out to Barack Obama, the Israeli government and the international community’s conscience.

Sandra Rose Twang, the American peace activist has been on hunger strike since the 21st of March 2012 in solidarity with Hana Shalabi. She told Aljazeera Talk that her solidarity movement is a message to Barrack Obama pleading him to intervene in Hana’s case and attempt to end the inhumane and unjust imprisonment of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Sandra has spread her message on the internet asking people to support the cause and join the hunger strike to impose enough pressure to drive the American government to take action. “Hana Shalabi is a hero and a role model to me in her courage and power” Claims Sandra.

Twang has been interested in the Palestinian cause for the past two years and has educated herself enough to conclude that the Palestinian people are a strong nation who withstood suffering, injustice and discrimination for over 60 years.

Thus, she has joined their fight for liberation by standing in strong solidarity with Hana Shalabi in her hunger strike. She tells us “It was difficult to cope in the first few days, but I now feel fine. My youngest son supports me and so does my mother because they believe Palestinian’s have the right to live in dignity”  

“This is justice.” She adds. Hana is fighting for her basic human right, to live a decent life within Israeli prisons, which she is sitting in without even a hint of a fair trial! First degree murders receive a trial so why is Hana, whose crime is her “unacceptable” opinion, denied this right? She explains that it saddens her to see the international community failing to interact with Hana’s situation, expressing her sorrow at the evident reluctance.

“Palestinians are a symbol of courage” she says in a heart-felt manner.

Administrative detention is not just arrest. It is the abduction of dignity, land and life. The sole goal of this detention is to keep Palestinians deprived of basic human rights, consequently making their ultimate demand; to gain them back.

This is simply unacceptable. The United States has always been an advocate of human rights and international democracy, but Sandra fears that if the US continues to support the oppression of the Palestinian people, it is contradicting its own values and faces an almost inevitable backfire in the near future.

Sandra’s message to the Israeli government states “The world has stood by and allowed you to illegally occupy, kill and humiliate the people of Palestine; for this, you might think you have won, but a real country does not constitute of just land, a real country cannot stand on pillars of corruption, it is only a matter of time before you collapse”

The fate of 20,000 detainees illegally held in Israeli jails worries Sandra, and should worry the entire international community. Sandra is determined to fight for the freedom of these Palestinian prisoners and calls on people seeking peace and governments claiming justice to stand up and take a stance too.

Do not allow international silence to overwhelm you. Take action and enforce change.

US Senators Web Sites, and Direct Numbers

The silence protest staged by Palestinians Conscience Objectors is the best Non Resistance Weapon and only resource Palestinians have inside Israel Prisons,  Often denied  the rights of an attorney, which is the case in most of the detainees, they leave them with few option to exercise their rights. A silence hunger strike staged by an individual could be the lousiest of the protest can any one perform, the role of the press and the mouth to mouth news it is the key element to make it to succeed.

On March  23  the ethics committee of Israel Bureau of Prisons announced that Hana Shalabi was going to be forced to eat artificially using gastrointestinal tubes, a practice that it’s considered inhumane treatment by Amnesty International, because even though is propagated as a human practice to save the life of a prisoners it curtail their freedom of expression and rights to protest in a Non Violent Way. A Silence Fight It’s My Right! Hunger Strike For Justice

We have invented the most powerful flying machine, the smallest medical devices, the most dangerous weapon we can imagine and being so technologically advanced  we still can not comprehend in its entirely our humanity, but we are trying, little by little we understand more and more of us, our world become so important that we feel the necessity of help in the restoration and the unification of our human family.

What make us humans we ask ourselves? The Soul?, our Heart?, our feelings? what really do we have inside our bodies that make us compassionate or despicable beings? Does all the human beings are able to FEEL?. The Most Powerfull Weapon Our Humanity

“I am ashamed to say that my country in particular has acted in a most egregious way in its veto of any  UN response in holding Israel accountable for its crimes.

But now I want to tell you what drove me to this hunger strike.

There is a young woman, Hana Shalabi, now imprisoned in Hasharon Prison in Israel,  arrested on February 16, 2012 and is being held under  administrative detention,  detention without charge or trial. She is not allowed to know what she is accused of, to examine any of the evidence against her, thereby rendering her capability for due process null and void.”  Sandra Rose Twang

( / 12.04.2012)

Debating Palestine: Representation, Resistance and Liberation

[“Resistance” – Graffiti in Nablus.

Palestinians are debating multiple inter-connected questions, including the question of representation, what strategy or strategies to adopt for liberation, the nature of the future state, and our relationship with the Arab revolutions, among others. Some of these questions are being debated in Al-Shabaka policy briefs such as those by Noura ErakatJamil HilalHaidar Eid, and others. I would like to discuss them through a critical review of our own recent history.

To begin with, no group has ever represented the entirety of the Palestinian people. However, the groups that constitute the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) along with Hamas and Islamic Jihad come very close to representing the majority of Palestinians. While it is true that the number of Palestinians who are not card-carrying members of the original PLO groups increased after the collapse of the USSR (for the Palestinian left) and after the Oslo Accords (for Fatah and its allies), we can still detect their affinity for certain schools of thought in Palestinian society.

Who speaks for the Palestinians then? And should we give up on the PLO? The short answer is: No. This is because the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are not one and the same despite the PA’s efforts to blur the lines between the two—an understandable quest given the credibility of the PLO continues even at its weakest point to far outweigh that of the PA.

We should insist, as Omar Barghouti puts it that “the political leadership of the Palestinian people must remain within the structure of the PLO.” This does not mean that we accept the status quo of a shrunken PLO, a toothless rubber stamp that legitimizes colonial structures as the architects of Oslo would have it. Rather, we should struggle to restore the original spirit of anti-colonial resistance that this liberation movement has led for so many decades and that made it, the “sole and legitimate representative” of our people through the sacrifices of Palestinians especially those living under Israeli colonial rule and in refugee camps in Arab countries. This was a momentous achievement that we should not surrender so easily.

Nor should we dismiss the efforts to forge a national unity government following a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. More importantly, we should support efforts to bring together all Palestinian factions on two bases: (1) respect for the multiplicity of ideological and political thought (i.e. following the dictum that no one monopolizes the truth); and (2) the principle of proportional representation in both the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestine National Council (PNC).

I am not suggesting that this is an easy or a straight forward task. However, it seems to me that registering Palestinians and holding elections of the PNC, itself a PLO institution, might not guarantee the representation of marginalized Palestinians in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, let alone Palestinians in the West Bank, and Gaza, or the 1948 Palestinian, i.e. those who remained in what became Israel. When we think of the totality of the Palestinian people we can no longer afford to imagine solutions or craft strategies for one segment but ignore the others. I don’t expect the current Palestinian leadership to accept such a proposition as it would heavily reduce the scope of its influence and would severely undermine the Oslo framework from which it draws its current power. However, if we are serious about a liberation strategy, we need to think of creative possibilities. We need a formula that further distinguishes the PLO as a liberation movement from the PA, a government in a tiny area that is shackled by the colonial framework of Oslo. A Palestinian strategy for resistance was devised following the take-over of the PLO by Palestinian guerrilla groups in the late 1960s. This strategy has never been fully implemented largely because of the negative impact of petrodollars on the Palestinian movement that led some groups, especially the largest, Fatah, to present itself as the “Switzerland” of the Arab world by adopting a stand of neutrality towards Arab liberation movements as well as the regimes that crushed them. As our own experience teaches us, a stand of neutrality only reproduces the status quo and amounts to complicity with oppressive regimes.

I am not saying that the old strategy is perfect. Far from it: armed struggle is by no means the only way to liberate Palestine or any other country/people. Resistance to settler colonialism is legitimate (including by UN standards) and is at times the only recourse for the powerless on whom the terms of battle are often imposed. However, today, there are multiple other strategies of anti-colonial resistance ranging from the most basic, such as simply staying put and refusing to leave one’s land, home or tent in order to transform each Israeli step aimed at erasing the Palestinian presence in Palestine to a costly venture for Israel in material and immaterial terms, including the rising cost of public relations’ defeat. The 2005 Civil Society call to the international community to adopt boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as a non-violent strategy of resistance is often misunderstood as a condemnation of Palestinian armed resistance or a disowning of those who sacrificed their lives in the struggle. What we need is a comprehensive vision that does not fall into the Zionist trap by ranking methods of resistance or modes of disengagement from the colonizers of our land and people.

Combining multiple strategies of resistance instead of posing them in either/or dichotomous terms was a major contributing factor to the victory the anti-Apartheid movement scored in South Africa. This is a major lesson we can draw from South African and other liberation struggles.

I should also note that a strategy of resistance is related but is not identical to a strategy of liberation. Here again, I return to our history and the ways in which the Palestinian movement in the 1960s was imagined at the time by Palestinians and their allies as a revolution against all forms of oppression that does not prioritize the liberation of land over that of the people; and that does not present itself as exceptional, more oppressed, or more deserving of freedom and justice than other movements/people. I recognize that there are different memories of the movement. Nonetheless the imagined community (to borrow Anderson’s concept) at the time was an inclusionary movement based on an indivisible sense of justice for all. We need to restore this sense of the indivisibility of justice and combat tendencies that present Palestine as an exceptional case of suffering and liberation. This would imply engaging in serious debates over how to broaden the space for a multiplicity of views and ideologies, which will not be so easy to achieve because of the interests and relations in which people are either embedded or implicated (on the axis of structural inequalities based on class, race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, etc.). This is obviously not an exhaustive or inclusive list of issues to discuss and debate.

We will need to revise the Palestinian charter not in order to deplete its historical revolutionary content and anti-colonial posture (as happened to the post-Oslo Charter) but in order to alter the definition of who will live in these lands and what sort of a state Palestine will be. The original charter called for a “secular democratic state in Palestine” and defined the Palestinian as one whose father (or mother) is a Palestinian. This raises two issues, the content of Palestinian-ness and the nature of the future Palestine. What does it mean to be Palestinian today? Does being Palestinian include Arab Palestinian Jews or exclude them? This applies to anti-Zionist Jews who see themselves as Palestinians and do not identify with Israel or its racist settler colonialism –people like Uri Davis who is now a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and who raised that question to me back in the mid-1980s saying, “I was born in 1943 but my sister was born after 1948. Would this means that I get to stay but she has to leave? ” Going again back to the South African model, the 100-year-old Charter of the African National Congress based citizenship on “one person, one vote” and not “one Black person, one vote.” In other words, identity politics is not the guiding rule to citizenship but commitment to the principle of the indivisibility of justice.

The insistence that the future Palestine would be a “secular democratic state” did not imply support for secular fundamentalism that can be traced back to the European Enlightenment. Rather, a liberated Palestine was envisioned as an inclusionary alternative to the exclusionary strategy of Zionism. Today we need to invest the intellectual labor necessary to figure out how to not reproduce the Zionist state in our own vision but to make it hospitable to all religious and spiritual diversities including those with materialist non-religious belief systems.

Finally, one issue that was much debated at the time has great resonance today: The relationship between the liberation of Palestine and Arab liberation. The Palestinian left used to argue that the path to the liberation of Palestine must go through (liberated) Arab capitals. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had originally coined this concept, greatly underplayed it later on, especially during the 1987 Intifada. Today and in view of the Arab revolutions and the central place Palestine occupies in the platforms of the groups with the most radical vision for social transformation, the question is not only timely, it is relevant and necessary. What relations should the Palestine liberation strategy have with the leadership and grassroots of Arab revolutions? Do we see the revolutions as affinity groups whose victories are ours and who must be supported on the basis of the indivisibility of justice and not solely on the basis of what they can do for us?

( /12.04.2012)

Kunnen islamitische wetten veranderd worden en zo ja, in welke mate?

Eeuwenlang vormde de islamitische wetgeving een dynamisch rechtssysteem. Door diverse interne en externe factoren heeft dit de laatste paar eeuwen niet de kans gekregen zich verder te ontwikkelen. Hoewel de bronnen van de islam zelf niet veranderd kunnen worden, kunnen ze wel gebruikt worden om verandering aan te brengen in de organisatie en interpretatie ervan. Aangezien veranderingen in religieuze opvattingen (door vrijheid van meningsuiting) moslims niet opgelegd kunnen worden, gebeurt dat meestal in de loop der tijd, door middel van een proces van natuurlijke selectie en onderwijs.
Sommige moslims beschouwen de islamitische wet, omdat deze gebaseerd is op de koran en de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh), ook als heilig en goddelijk. Strikt genomen, is de totale Sharia niet goddelijk. Het is een menselijke poging om door middel van de goddelijke bronnen – de koran en de geautoriseerde soenna(h) – de goddelijke wil in een bepaalde context te begrijpen. Omdat de sociale omstandigheden van samenlevingen en hun behoeften en onderlinge verstandhoudingen veranderen, zou de Sharia op deze veranderende omstandigheden van de tijd dienen te reageren om oplossingen voor nieuwe behoeften en problemen te vinden. Orgaantransplantatie is bijvoorbeeld een hedendaagse kwestie die om nieuwe oplossingen voor de moderne tijd vraagt. De menselijke poging om door middel van de islamitische bronnen een oplossing te vinden voor een nieuwe behoefte, wordt idjtihaad genoemd. Aangezien idjtihaad een menselijke activiteit is, kunnen gekwalificeerde mensen theoretisch gezien een oude wet veranderen wanneer er ruimte voor verandering bestaat. Hoe is de islamitische wet nu in de loop der tijd veranderd?
De islam ontstond in een samenleving waar de gebruiken van de stammen de enige wet waren. Toen de vluchtende moslimgemeenschap zich in Medina vestigde, vormden de openbaringen van de koran en het voorbeeld van de profeet (vzmh) de bronnen voor de sociale en wettelijke richtlijnen voor moslims. Zolang de profeet (vzmh) leefde was er geen behoefte aan en systematisch rechtssysteem.
Wanneer iemand een vraag op religieus gebied had, werd deze direct aan de profeet (vzmh) gesteld. Als antwoord ontving hij of zij een nieuwe openbaring van de koran of menselijk advies van Mohammed (vzmh) zelf. Naast de moskee had de profeet (vzmh) een school gevestigd, waar hij persoonlijk de islam en de koran aan honderden metgezellen onderwees. Daarnaast zag hij er op toe dat zijn gouverneurs hun beslissingen op de koran en zijn voorbeeld baseerden.
Toen de profeet (vzmh) was heengegaan, verspreiden zijn metgezellen zich in rap tempo over de almaar groeiende moslimwereld. Elke geschoolde metgezel vormde een bron van kennis. Zij onderwezen de islamitische praktijk en deden gerechtelijke uitspraken op basis van de koran en wat zij van de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh) begrepen hadden. Wanneer zij met een nieuwe situatie geconfronteerd werden, probeerden zij een antwoord te vinden in de koran en de soenna(h). Als zij geen antwoord konden vinden, gebruikten zij hun eigen beoordelingsvermogen om een oplossing te vinden. Daarbij namen zij, zoals profeet Mohammed (vzmh) bij het benoemen van gouverneurs bedongen had, de principes van gelijkheid en openbaar belang, de omstandigheden van de tijd, de gewoonten en de cultuur van de mensen waar zij bij leefden, in acht.
Na de generatie van de metgezellen, ontwikkelde de islamitische wet zich, door verschillen in methodologie, geografische afscheiding, verschillen in beschikbaarheid van de hadith (verhalen van de profeet) en culturele invloeden, in van elkaar onafhankelijke stromingen. Scherpzinnige geleerden uit die tijd, realiseerden dat het nodig was de religieuze wettelijke methodologie op basis van de belangrijkste bronnen van het geloof, te standaardiseren in verschillende disciplines. In een poging de wetten en regels van het geloof op duidelijke wijze om te zetten in een begrijpelijke rechtscode die alle aspecten van het leven zou beslaan, produceerden zij dikke boekwerken van afleidingen uit de koran en de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh) op het gebied van aanbidding, handel, strafrecht en burgerrecht. Men bereikte consensus in de moslimwereld dat er in essentie vier erkende bronnen voor wetgeving waren:
De koran: als de eerste bron van Gods Openbaring, is de koran de bron van de islamitische normen en waarden. Ongeveer 600 van de 6.238 verzen gaan over wetgeving en slechts 80 daarvan kunnen worden gezien als wettelijke verzen in de striktste zin van het woord.
Soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh): de principes uit de koran worden door middel van de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh), de tweede en aanvullende wetsbron geïnterpreteerd. Het belang van de soenna(h) wordt duidelijk in de koran vermeld: “Indien u het over iets oneens bent, wendt u dan tot God en Zijn Boodschapper” (4:59) en “Een ieder wiens hoop op God en de Laatste Dag gevestigd is, vindt in Gods Boodschapper een goed voorbeeld” (33:21). Hadithgeleerden hebben het uitgebreide aantal vertellingen van Mohammed (vzmh) geëvalueerd, waarbij zij zich op de keten van vertellers en de inhoud hebben gericht. Voor elke hadith, werden schakel voor schakel, strenge en objectieve criteria toe op de keten van vertellers toegepast. De inhoud van de hadith werd onderzocht om te kijken of deze met de koran, eerder geverifieerde hadith of de menselijke logica in tegenspraak was. Op deze wijze werd een aantal gezaghebbende verzamelingen bijeengebracht.
Consensus in de gemeenschap (idjmaa’): Op basis van de woorden (hadith) van de profeet (vzmh): “Mijn gemeenschap zal het over een fout niet eens zijn,” vormt consensus in de gemeenschap de derde bron voor wetgeving. Aangezien zij door Mohammed (vzmh) zelf onderwezen waren, werd de consensus van zijn metgezellen een belangrijke wetsbron. Waar de koran en soenna(h) zwijgen, gebruiken wetgeleerden hun beredeneringsvermogen om op basis van gewoonten
(orf), het algemeen belang (maslaha) en gelijkheid (istihan) wetten af te leiden. Wanneer een bepaald besluit de tand des tijds doorstaat, accepteren steeds meer juristen en mensen dat besluit, waardoor consensus ontstaat.
Analogisch redeneren (Qiyas): Wanneer wetgeleerden met een nieuwe situatie of nieuw probleem te maken kregen, zochten ze naar soortgelijke voorbeelden in de koran en soenna(h). De sleutel ligt daarbij in het vinden van de oorzaak of reden voor de bestaande regel. Als in de nieuwe situatie een gelijksoortige oorzaak gevonden wordt, werd het besluit uitgebreid om de kwestie op te lossen. Zo werd van het verbod op wijn, bijvoorbeeld een uitgebreid verbod op alcohol afgeleid. De oorspronkelijke reden daarvoor is de geestverruimende werking van beide.
Wat gebeurt er wanneer er meer dan één mogelijke interpretatie is ? Dit is volkomen normaal en aanvaardbaar in de islamitische wetgeving. Zo bestaat er over roken een verschil van mening onder geleerden. Sommige juristen zeggen, dat het verboden zou moeten zijn, omdat het kanker veroorzaakt en duidelijk schadelijk is voor het lichaam en de koran ons verbiedt ons lichaam schade toe te brengen. Daartegenover zeggen anderen dat roken op z’n hoogst geclassificeerd kan worden als niet aangeraden, omdat er geen direct verbod op in de koran staat. Bij zaken die in het grijze gebied vallen, raadde profeet Mohammed (vzmh) mensen aan hun geweten te volgen en de veiligere of makkelijkere optie te kiezen om zichzelf te beschermen en het geloof makkelijker uitvoerbaar te maken.
Het gebruik van tabak kan ook als voorbeeld gegeven worden van regels die mettertijd veranderen. Toen tabak voor het eerst in moslimlanden werd ingevoerd, bekeken juristen de zaak en oordeelden zij dat het “toegestaan” (mubah) was, omdat de consumptie ervan geen duidelijke schade of voordeel opleverde. Enkele geleerden beschouwden het als “afkeurenswaardig” (makroeh) omdat zij het als geldverspilling zagen. In de loop der tijd heeft de geneeskunde echter het schadelijke effect van tabak aangetoond. Aan de hand van het principe van het beschermen van het menselijk leven, zijn nu steeds meer juristen geneigd roken in te delen in de categorie van verboden (haram) zaken. Toch bestaat daar nog steeds geen consensus over.
Omdat in de context van de bronnen van de islam al deze interpretaties mogelijk zijn, is het belangrijk te vermelden dat alle besluiten en interpretaties samen de islamitische jurisprudentie vormen. In perifere kwesties wordt vaak verschillend geoordeeld, terwijl de kern van de theologie en praktijken in de loop der tijd niet veranderen. Zo zal geen enkele moslim opeens beweren dat moslims niet langer in een leven na de dood geloven of niet langer hoeven te vasten. Doordat in de praktische islam meer dan één interpretatie mogelijk zijn, ontstaat er een grote mate van flexibiliteit in de beoefening van de islam. Dit getuigt niet alleen van de vrijheid van meningsuiting die miljoenen geleerden sinds de geboorte van de islam genoten, maar ook dat de islam niet één enkel gezichtspunt aan de hele moslimgemeenschap oplegt.
In niet-moslim kringen heerst de opvatting dat de islamitische wet(geving) achterhaald is en moslims zeer rigide zijn in hun benadering van de wet en religie. Ze zeggen dat de islam aan hervorming toe is, maar dat moslims niet bereid zijn te veranderen. Hoewel het is waar dat de uitingsvormen van de islam op politiek en sociaal gebied een frisse blik nodig hebben om aan de hedendaagse behoeften van moslims in de wereld tegemoet te kunnen komen, wordt het trage tempo van deze verandering niet door de islam zelf veroorzaakt, maar door de inertie die door drie belangrijke interne en externe factoren veroorzaakt wordt.
De eerste is het blokkeren interpretaties. Het sluiten van de hekken van de idjtihaad heeft ervoor gezorgd dat de islamitische wetgeving in de loop der tijd gestagneerd is. In eerste instantie, lijkt dit vrij logisch. Het credo van de islam werd duidelijk in de koran uiteengezet en door alle moslims begrepen. De islamitische praktijk werd stevig neergezet en gebaseerd op de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh), die in verschillende hadithboeken werden verzameld, gesorteerd, gefilterd en op alle denkbare manieren geordend. Elk vers uit de koran en elke overlevering van de profeet (vzmh) werd met het oog op juridische deductie bestudeerd. Het leek er op dat bij de ontwikkeling van de Sharia alles wat menselijkerwijs mogelijk was, gedaan was. Mensen geloofden dat er niets anders meer gedaan kon worden. De verkeerde aanname, een beoordelingsfout, dat de sociale aspecten van het leven voortdurend hetzelfde blijven, zorgde ervoor dat de juridische stagnatie zich naar het sociale gebied uitbreidde. Deze stagnatie werd niet opgedrongen, maar geleerden en anderen zagen het als het natuurlijke gevolg van een lang proces. Ondanks deze opvatting, ging de ontwikkeling van de wetgeving, met name in het Ottomaanse Rijk, toch verder. Tegen het einde van de 19e eeuw werd een groots project opgezet om de Sharia opnieuw te coderen binnen de toentertijd geldende wetten. Vervolgens werd de wet verder ontwikkeld om tegemoet te kunnen komen aan de behoeften van de tijd. Als gevolg daarvan kwamen een aantal boekwerken tot stand dat Mecelle genoemd werd. Helaas werd dit project door de tweede grote verwoesting die de moslimwereld sinds de invasie van de Mongolen meemaakte, abrupt beëindigd.
De tweede belangrijke factor die de ontwikkeling van de islamitische wet stagneerde was de negatieve invloed van de Europese kolonisatie van de moslimwereld. Nadat al hun politieke, burgerlijke, culturele en religieuze instellingen vernietigd waren, moesten de moslims voor hun leven en het behoud van hun religie vechten, laat staan dat zij de islamitische wetgeving verder konden ontwikkelen om aan de behoeften van de moderne moslimgemeenschap te kunnen voldoen. Dit sloeg een historisch gat van tenminste een eeuw tussen het verleden en heden, dat nog steeds bestaat.
De derde reden is dat de moderniteit in de hele wereld, inclusief de moslimlanden, op politiek, economisch en sociaal gebied voor razendsnelle veranderingen zorgde. Globalisatie, massamedia en het gemak waarmee gereis kon worden, versnelden de blootstelling van moslims aan overweldigende alternatieve systemen, culturen en waarden. Hoewel moslims niet tegen veranderingen gekant zijn, is de snelheid van de veranderingen ontmoedigend, met name wanneer men het gevoel heeft er zelf zeer weinig invloed op te hebben.
Om bovengenoemde redenen nemen moslimsamenlevingen in landen waar de Sharia, de wetgeving uit het verleden, ingevoerd worden, een ietwat middeleeuws karakter aan. Er bestaat consensus in de moslimwereld dat de Sharia herzien moet worden en in een modern jasje gestoken dient te worden om aan de eisen van een veranderende wereld te kunnen voldoen. Tegelijkertijd dient de Sharia trouw te blijven aan de geest van de islam en de principes van de koran en de soenna(h). De combinatie van de snelheid van veranderingen in de wereld en de ongunstige politieke omstandigheden van dit moment, geven moslims geen kans om een hedendaags kader voor de islamitische wet te ontwikkelen.
Er worden vele pogingen ondernomen om deze herziening uit te voeren. Doordat nieuwe interpretaties moslims niet van bovenaf kunnen worden opgelegd, heeft verandering tijd nodig. Om in de moderne wereld te kunnen rijpen, dienen veranderingen lang genoeg in een moslimland te worden toegepast. Bovendien kent de moslimwereld dieperliggende problemen, die aangepakt moeten worden voordat deze taak opgepakt kan worden.
( / 12.04.2012)

Uitgewezen vader pleegt zelfmoord

AMSTERDAM – Een uitgewezen asielzoeker heeft maandag een dag voor zijn uitzetting zelfmoord gepleegd.

Dat deed hij waarschijnlijk om af te dwingen dat zijn zoon en dochter in Nederland mogen blijven, schrijft het AD donderdag. Zijn 14-jarige zoon zou van mening zijn dat de Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) zijn vader heeft vermoord.

De zoon en de 12-jarige dochter zijn opgevangen in een pleeggezin. De moeder is volgens de krant eerder omgekomen bij het oorlogsgeweld in Burundi. Daar zijn nog steeds spanningen tussen Hutu’s en Tutsi’s.


De vader zou al enige tijd depressief zijn geweest vanwege zijn aanstaande uitzetting. Hij zou tegen vrienden hebben gezegd dat zijn leven ‘echt wordt afgebroken’ als hij terug moet naar Burundi.

De gemeente Culemborg, waar de vader woonde, zou minister voor Immigratie en Asiel Gerd Leers (CDA) in augustus hebben gevraagd het gezin niet uit te zetten. Volgens de krant ging de minister daar niet op in.

Het is niet duidelijk of de kinderen in Nederland mogen blijven nu ze geen ouders meer hebben. Hun vader wordt donderdag in Utrecht begraven.

( / 12.04.2012)

Global Movement of Non-Violent Resistance Against the Violent, Extremist Policy of the State of Israel

Published at

The crisis in Gaza today underlines once more the horror—and the impasse—that the Palestinians face. We cannot simply wish a plague on both their houses, cannot hope for a negotiated settlement in the absence of direct, forceful outside involvement and intervention. To adopt a stance of false neutrality, to pretend to be powerless onlookers means letting events take their course; it means concluding, after every massacre, after every crisis, that the “peace process” has led nowhere, that the situation grows more desperate with every passing day. A significant number of organizations around the world, and particularly in the West support the Palestinian cause, but these organizations are seemingly unable to agree on a common vision and strategies. In their discussions, they often confuse analysis of causes with the principles of resistance, or with the most effective methods of seeking support and the solutions to be put forward. In such circumstances, it is difficult to articulate a clear and coherent platform from which we can address the issues, engage in multi-dimensional action and build a solid united front. To resolve the conflict in accordance with basic, agreed-up principles of international law, we must begin with a minimum program of principles we can all agree upon:

  1. The Israel-Palestine conflict is primarily a political one even though it has a religious dimension that implies the obligation to respect religious freedom for all—Jews, Christians and Muslims—and freedom of conscience for all, irrespective of religious or non-religious persuasion.
  2. There is an oppressor (State of Israel) and oppressed population (the Palestinian people).
  3. The Palestinian resistance is, de facto, legitimate.
  4. The Palestinians have the right to their own state, and to full freedom within it.
  5. The equal dignity of the Palestinians requires full equality of rights and treatment, no matter the proposed solution.
  6. Palestinians expelled from their lands have a natural right of return.
  7. Our commitment is based on an unconditional and equal rejection of racism of any kind, be it anti-Jewish, anti-Arab, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim.

Based on these seven principles, we can build local, regional and national collectives and platforms. They can then determine the priorities and objectives of the local/global resistance movement. The examples of “collectives” or “coordinating committees” in England and France, and in certain regions (the United States, Europe) must now be expanded to all countries on all continents, especially considering that the ostensibly local Israel-Palestine conflict has a global impact on the political and economic realities of today’s world. These local, regional, national and international coordinating committees should pursue the following objectives:

  1. Disseminate constantly updated and relevant information on the Middle East, in the form of websites, newsletters, lectures and teach-ins, videos, books, etc. Develop and sustain a citizen’s awareness of the issues, above and beyond moments of crisis and media coverage.
  2. Determine appropriate non-violent, legal and global resistance strategies (boycotts and coordination of concrete action,  demonstrations, appeals to political leaders, etc.) already developed by some organizations but lacking sufficient coordination and collaboration except in times of acute crisis.
  3. Support and mobilize the economic solidarity movement for development and reconstruction projects (infrastructures, schools, etc.).

The most recent events in Gaza and the attitude of governments East and West make it clear that their widespread passivity and hypocrisy will rule out any solution to the conflict. It is as if the State of Israel, with the support of the United States and several European governments, has created an atmosphere of international intellectual terror: no one dares utter a word, speak the truth, or denounce the unacceptable. At the same time, the people of the world are far less gullible; increasingly large numbers of citizens are refusing to be brainwashed by the media, to be reduced to impotent spectators. These are the people who must be mobilized. Our task today is to state clearly our principles, to determine the most effective methods of resistance, and to coordinate our actions. Recent national experiences prove that this process can be generalized.

We call upon those organizations with years of experience, as well as new structures and individuals, to view the creation of this global movement as imperative, and to build it by setting up broader-based, more effective local chapters and regional and national coordinating committees. We must reject both divisions and political manipulation. We must, instead, establish a platform of shared principles to shed light on our shared commitment. We must undertake actions that express the determination of our global resistance. Because we cannot stand idly by while the Palestinians are being humiliated, while their rights are being trampled, while they are victimized by atrocities, we are launching the Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement. We call upon public personalities (intellectuals, artists, etc.) to join the Movement. We appeal to activists and ordinary citizens around the world, to organizations committed to the defense of individual rights and dignity. We summon to our cause all those who refuse to tolerate the silent complicity of governments East and West, while in Palestine civilians are being slaughtered, or relegated to the new Bantustans that the Occupied Territories have become under Israel’s policy of colonization and apartheid.

Our only hope for success is a broad-based international mobilization.

First Signatories:

  • Karen Amstrong (UK),
  • Moazzam Beg (UK),
  • Tariq Ramadan (UK),
  • Michael Hudson (USA),
  • Tariq Modood (UK),
  • Michael Warschawski (Jerusalem),
  • Jean-Claude Meyer (France),
  • Francois Houtart (Belgique),
  • Ibrahim Kalin (Turquie/USA),
  • Ziauddin Sardar (UK),
  • Fareed Elshayyal (UK),
  • Syed Faiyazuddin Ahmad (UK),
  • Jeremy Henzell-Thomas (UK),
  • Wilfried Mourad Hoffman (Germany),
  • Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase (UK),
  • Elfatih A.A/Salam,
  • International Islamic University Malaysia (Malaysia),
  • Ahmad Abuljobain (UK),
  • Iftikhar H. Malik (UK),
  • Sergio Yahni (Jerusalem),
  • Lea Tsemel (Jerusalem),
  • Nassar Ibrahim (Beit Sahour),
  • Ahmad Jaradat (Hebron),
  • Harfiyah Haleem (UK),
  • Françoise Duthu (France),
  • Umar Chapra (Pakistan/Saudi Arabia),
  • Michel Collon (Belgique),
  • Dr. Munawar A. Anees (Pakistan),
  • Tahir Abbas (UK),
  • Rafik Beekun (USA),
  • Louay Safi (USA),
  • Sheila Musaji (USA),
  • Bob Crane (USA),
  • Jafar Siddiqui (USA),
  • Muqtedar Khan ( USA),
  • Charles Butterworth (US),
  • Jocelyne Cesari (USA- France),
  • Istishhad Mousa (Canada),
  • Yahya Birt (UK),
  • Muneeb Nasir (Canada),
  • Dr.Mario Liguori Presidente I.T.I. Istituto Tributario Italiano Centro Studi di diritto e tecnica tributaria (Italia),
  • Tarik Ramdani (France),
  • Remi maliz (France),
  • Nadia Bittame (France),
  • Jeanne-Marie El Mejjad Marrakech (Maroc),
  • Sadeekah Saban – CT (South Africa),
  • Homera Ansari (India),
  • Zineb Rabi Andaloussi (France),
  • Shaheryar Akbar (Pakistan-USA),
  • Gemma Slack (USA),
  • Amjad Saleem (Sri Lanka),
  • David Burrell (USA),
  • Dr Serena Hussain,
  • Loubna Youssef, PhD. Cairo University (Egypt),
  • Claude Calame (France),
  • André Tosel (France).


  • European Muslim Network,
  • Présence Musulmane Montréal,
  • Présence Musulmane Toronto,
  • American Muslims of Puget Sound (USA),
  • Collectif des Musulmans de France,
  • Centre Culturel Tawhid (France),
  • Trait d’Union (France),
  • Al Houda (France),
  • AJCREV (Alliance de la jeunesse contre le racisme l’exclusion et la violence)(France),
  • Collectif Féministe pour l’Egalité (France),
  • Mouvement des Indigènes de la République (France).

( / 12.04.2012)

IDF soldiers suspected of stealing Palestinian’s gold in West Bank raid

Investigation begins after the head of the household, Ata Shatwi, submitted a complaint to the Civil Administration.

The Military Police is investigating allegations that soldiers stole pieces of gold worth tens of thousands of shekels from the home of a Palestinian man during a late-night raid in a West Bank village last week.

The investigation began after the head of the household, Ata Shatwi, submitted a complaint to the Civil Administration.

IDF soldier patrolling in Hebron, AP IDF soldier patrolling in Hebron.

Shatwi told Haaretz on Tuesday that the incident began at 2:15 A.M. on Thursday, when he opened the door of his home in Kafr Qaddum to two Israeli soldiers, who entered and handcuffed him and his son Sabri, 21, an officer in the Palestinian Authority security forces. Shortly afterward, Shatwi said, the soldiers released him and told him to take his wife and their other children out of the house, which he did.

“They explained that they wanted to search the house,” Shatwi said. “They had a dog with them. I told the officer there was a large sum of cash and also gold in the house and that I wanted to remove it. I’m talking about 30 pieces of gold, worth NIS 1,500 each – in other words NIS 45,000 in all – plus NIS 10,000 in cash. He refused.

“Around two hours later I went in and was shocked by the mess,” Shatwi continued. “They smashed the walls, emptied the wardrobes, smashed the television set, the furniture. I hurried to the bedroom wardrobe, where the money and gold should have been, and discovered the gold had disappeared. The money was still there.

“I asked the officer, ‘Where’s the gold?’ He didn’t answer me,” Shatwi said. “He left and came back 15 minutes later with another dog and kept searching. I told him, ‘Let me speak with the commander,’ but he continued to ignore me. They left at around 4:30.

“I filed an official complaint at the [Civil Administration’s] Coordination Liaison Office and gave a statement to [human rights group] B’Tselem,” he added. “I’m willing to go to the police to make a statement. We have nothing in our home. I’m a trader, and we aren’t affiliated with any organization. I worked in Israel for years and I’m not connected to anything problematic,” Shatwi said.

Officials in the headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command said on Tuesday that the investigation is in the initial stages, and noted that the raid was conducted jointly by the IDF and the Border Police.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement that the matter is being investigated by the Military Police Criminal Investigative Division, which will submit its findings to the military advocate general.

( / 12.04.2012)

Parlement Egypte: Top van regime-Mubarak uitgesloten van presidentsverkiezingen

Egyptenaren houden het portret van de salafistische presidentskandidaat omhoog.

Het Egyptische parlement, dat gedomineerd wordt door islamitische partijen, heeft vandaag een wet aangenomen die het mensen uit de top van het verdreven regime van oud-president Hosni Mubarak verbiedt om mee te doen aan de presidentsverkiezingen.

De wet moet nog wel worden goedgekeurd door de Opperste Raad voor de Strijdkrachten die het land op dit moment regeert, maar naar verwachting gaan de Raad het besluit niet tegenhouden.

Dat zou betekenen dat Omar Suleiman deelname aan de presidentsverkiezingen wel kan vergeten. Hij is korte tijd vice-premier onder ex-president Mubarak geweest, en heeft lange tijd aan het hoofd van de Egyptische geheime dienst gestaan. Uitgerekend vandaag maakte Suleiman bekend mee te willen dingen naar het presidentschap omdat hij wil voorkomen dat conservatieve moslims het land veranderen in een ‘religieuze staat’.

Suleiman waarschuwde dat het land in een internationaal isolement belandt als een conservatieve moslim de presidentsverkiezingen wint.

Ook mensen die ooit premier zijn geweest in de tien jaar voordat Mubarak werd verdreven, kunnen niet aan de verkiezingen meedoen – wat betekent dat ook een andere kandidaat, Ahmed Shafiq, wordt uitgesloten. Voormalige ministers zijn wel vrij zich kandidaat te stellen.

( / 12.04.2012)

The Wall, 10 years on part 2: Wall and Peace

Wednesday, April 11 2012|Haggai Matar

The official reason for construction of the wall was Israeli security. After reviewing the history of the route in the first chapter of this series, and before inquiring whether it achieved its stated goal, we come now to the question of the wall’s effects on Palestinian society in the last decade. Chapter Two: the wall, the peace process, and Jerusalem.
The Wall: 10 years on (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

I was little more than 18 years of age when rumors of the planned wall in the West Bank started spreading in activist circles around me. As its annexing route became clear, so did the need to join the very first Palestinian initiatives against it.

This is how I found myself one day, in late 2002, marching the streets of A-Ram, a Palestinian town bordering Jerusalem. The protest was aimed at plans to build a wall through the heart of town, and as local activists showed us the planned route I naively thought to myself that there must be some mistake. Looking at both sides of the streets I saw a town like any other, with houses, shops, offices and schools spread along the main road. How could a wall possibly go between them and cut the town in half? Yet I continued to march, until soldiers attacked the demonstration with extensive use of tear gas, which sent us running for cover in houses on either side of the street, and later – home.

Ten years later, an eight-meter high concrete wall splits A-Ram in two. Walking on the road by the wall, the very same road, you can now only see half the houses, the shops, the offices and schools you did before. The town, like the lives of thousands of its families, was split in two.

The Bantustan System

As we’ve seen in the previous chapter, the route of the wall was and still is a source for controversy within Israeli politics, and the debates over just how much land to grab are one of the main causes for the halting of construction. Yet the fiercest resistance to the route has always been the Palestinian one, backed by international support, and based on both the damage the route causes to Palestinian economy and society, and the deterioration of chances to form a sovereign state within pre-1967 borders.

The planned and built route in the Adumim Plain (Map: B'Tselem)

The planned and built route in the Adumim Plain (Map: B’Tselem)

As mentioned in the previous post, the wall was planned to de-facto annex some 17 percent of the West Bank. Even the latest, more minimalist route, annexing but 8.5 percent, still takes over a considerable part of Palestinian territory, parts of it crucial for the viability of an independent state. The most radical example of this is in Mishor Adumim (Adumin Plain), where the unfinished route is liable to split the West Bank itself into two separate parts, preventing territorial continuity. As seen in the dotted purple part of the map here on the right, the route here has not received final approval, but general plans for it already exist, and the past few Israeli governments put a lot of effort into “cleansing” the area of local Bedouin communities, and promoting Jewish settlement. The nearby gap in the wall appears as if it’s just waiting for the rest of it to be built around the plains.

Soon after initial plans for the construction of the wall were made, the Israeli High Court rejected the principal petitions filed against its route, and accepted the state’s claim that it was merely a security measure, with no political implications. The court later recognized that it had been lied to by the state in some of these petitions, but did not retract its previous rulings.

The International Court of Justice, however, saw things differently. Following a request from the General Assembly of the UN, the ICJ published an advisory opinion in July 2004, stating that while Israel has a right to protect its borders, the route of the wall being built in Palestinian territories is in violation of several articles of the Forth Geneva Convention. In a vote of 14-1, justices asserted that:

Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto.

Justices also called upon all UN member states to consider taking further action against Israel due to the route, but this was never done to this day. Israel itself refused to present its case to the ICJ, and to this day refuses to accept the advisory opinion.

Last Nail in the Coffin

Another major long-term influence of the wall on regional politics is the detachment of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, while “capturing” more than 200,000 Palestinian residents on the capital’s side of the wall. “The wall might be the last nail in the coffin of aspirations to make East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital,” says Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for B’Tselem. “Of course a political agreement might somehow be reached, if anyone was even looking for it, but how would they go about it if they tried?”

An opening in the wall in Adumim Plain (Oren Ziv / Activestills)An opening in the wall in Adumim Plain

Aside from its political implications, one of the wall’s most devastating effects is on the very fabric of Palestinian society and economy, especially in the walled cities around Jerusalem, but also in the villages the fence runs through, and those stuck on its “Israeli side.” While the latter two will be presented in depth in the next chapter, we will now try to take a closer look at Jerusalem and its surroundings.

One of the difficulties caused by the wall is the harshening living conditions of those Palestinians who live in Greater Jerusalem, carry Israeli resident IDs yet are trapped “outside” of the wall. In Sheikh Sa’ad, for example, residents protest against a checkpoint into the city that is always closed. In Kufr Aq’eb, municipal garbage services are running thin and other basic services are also being cut or are already non-existent. B’Tselem reports that over the years, the dwindling services and growing hardships at checkpoints have pushed people out of their houses, looking for places to live within the wall, thus leading to both an increase in their cost of living, and to the tearing apart of families and friends.

The wall has also been financially devastating for Palestinian neighborhoods around Jerusalem, which up until ten years ago, flourished from their vicinity to the capital. “Dir Naballah, Abu-Dis, A-Ram, northern Bethlehem and Beit Jala – all these places have simply died out as area of commerce and transportation,” says Michaeli. “As if that wasn’t enough, being surrounded by a wall on three sides as some of these places are, of even from all sides like Al-Walaje, means a catastrophe for urban growth. There’s simply nowhere to expand the city into. This is something not necessarily felt in the beginning of the wall, but ten years later and in the long run – it presents a serious problem.”

The sealing off of Jerusalem also leads to severe limitations on access to the Muslim and Christian holy sites, to education and culture, and also to healthcare – as in order to reach the capital’s better hospitals one must get a special permit, and wait at a checkpoint to be transferred from a Palestinian ambulance to an Israeli one. The list goes on and on.

A Feeling of Nakba in the Air

Bethlehem, and the road-enclave to Rachel's Tomb (Oren Ziv / Activestills)Bethlehem, and the road-enclave to Rachel’s Tomb

Traveling into Jerusalem from the south on route 60, most drivers probably don’t even notice the small dirt road exiting the highway to the right just before entering the city. Following this path leads you to three deserted buildings, standing in between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and trapped on the wrong side of the wall. By their location one can only guess that these buildings used to house Palestinians from Bethlehem, barred from entering Israel, and who found themselves detached from their city, which is probably what led them to leave.

Not too far from these, one can also find an asphalt road, which once connected the birthplace of Christ to the main road, but since then construction of the wall drowns under vegetation. A small mound of earth allows a perfect view of the wall around Bethlehem, including the enclave that expands Jerusalem with one small road into Rachel’s Tomb – with high walls all around it, nearly touching the houses that were once free.

On one side of the wall there is an imprisoned population. On the other: deserted roads and houses. This view appears time and time again along the route of the wall, reminding the viewer of similar deserted areas one can still find around Israel, lying in deep ruin since 1948. Every such place tells the story of a life now banished, encircled with walls and fences, barred from return. The story of the transfer and the vacant lands is inherent to the understanding of the wall – and will be the focus of the next chapter.

( / 12.04.2012)

The Wall, 10 years on: The great Israeli project

Monday, April 9 2012|Haggai Matar   

It might be the biggest, most expensive and most influential construction project in Israel’s history. To mark the 10th anniversary of its inception, I will be publishing in coming days a series of stories about the separation wall and its history, arguments in favor and against its construction, its effects and side effects and an analysis of its possible implications on regional politics in years to come. Chapter one – the Israeli story of the wall.

The Wall: 10 years on (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Looking at it from here, for just one minute, the whole project of the wall appears to be nothing more than an absurdity. I’m standing at the furthest, deepest part of this massive barrier, in the settlement of Ariel. Located about 20 kilometers east of the green line, less than thirty to the Jordan River, it is the very heart of the West Bank. In front of me I see some olive groves, behind them – the “separation fence” with its electric detection, cameras and barbed wire, and on the other side is the Palestinian village of Marda, the residents of which own these trees. So far, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.

However, a short walk to either direction leads to an abrupt end to the fence. In one direction it reaches a nearby road, and simply doesn’t continue on the other side, as it does elsewhere. Instead, there is a small area near the road with turned earth, suggesting that construction was planned here but was stopped. Oren, the photographer, tells me he was at a demonstration here against the planned route of the fence five years ago, and that nothing has changed on the terrain since. He takes some pictures, and I think of several other places along the route where the fence or wall simply comes to an end, enabling dozens, hundreds or thousands of Palestinians to cross it on a daily basis. Some are caught by patrols. Others aren’t. Looking at it from here, for just one minute, the whole project of the wall appears to be nothing more than an absurdity.

(video on

Twice the length of the green line, more than a fifth not yet built

On April 14, 2002 then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that a separation fence would be built in the West Bank (a matter of terminology: The barrier is part fence, part wall. I will be using the two terms interchangeably). It was the height of the second intifada, which started with mass demonstrations that were murderously repressed by the IDF, and continued with a series of deadly suicide attacks against citizens inside Israel. After the 2002 attack on a Passover dinner in a Netanya hotel, Israel launched operation Defensive Shield, during which some 500 Palestinians were killed, and mass destruction caused to houses and infrastructure across the West Bank. At that point, no planned route or budget existed for Sharon’s fence, announced during the operation. But the project, which was to become probably the largest in Israeli history, was born.

Ten years have passed, and much has changed. The route of the wall was drawn, altered and changed time and time again by both the government and the Supreme Court. Construction went ahead, come to a halt, was restarted and frozen once more – due to political debates on its route, international pressure regarding the annexation of Palestinian lands and lack of funds. Here are a few figures to help get an idea what this project is all about:

The entire route of the wall – between 680-709 kilometers (the first is a Ministry of Defense figure, the second B’Tselem’s). This is more than twice the length of the Green Line, Israel’s recognized border with the West Bank  (320 kms).

The fence in the Tul Karrem area (Oren Ziv / Activestills)The fence in the Tul Karm area (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Portions already built- 525 kms

Portions inside Palestinian territory – 85 percent

Palestinian lands currently on the Israeli side of the wall – 8.5 percent

Palestinian lands in on the Israeli side in earlier plans – 17 percent

8-meter-high concrete wall comprises 10 percent of the barrier

2-meter-high electronic fence – 90 percent

Total cost so far – over NIS 10 billion ($2.6 billion)

Cost of maintenance per year – NIS 1 billion ($260 million)

Scheduled end of construction – unknown. Most construction has been stopped.

Between security and annexation

The idea to build a separation fence or wall in the West Bank was raised several times in the past, but it was not before Sharon’s green light that the concept took shape. “Ehud Barak and others talked about a fence that would serve as a border, and would thus require some kind of a withdrawal and dismantlement of settlements, but this was clearly not an option at a time when suicide bombers were exploding in buses on a regular basis,” says Ilan Tsi’on. In 2001 Tsi’on co- founded “A Fence for Life,” a movement that demanded that the government set up a fence as quickly as possible, one which would not serve as a political border but rather as a security measure. “The point was for construction to start immediately, wherever the government chose, as long as it was between the mass concentrations of Palestinian and Israeli populations. In April 2002, they finally listened.”

The beginning of construction also brought forth the beginning of the struggle against the route of the wall. While Palestinian and international demands that the fence be built on the Green Line will be discussed in subsequent chapters, the main divisions in Israeli society were surrounding just how much West Bank land the route should grab. Settlers were split between those who opposed the fence altogether, fearing that all parts left outside of it would ultimately be handed over to Palestinians, and those who supported a fence deep inside Palestinian land, increasing chances of annexation, and guaranteeing challenges to the peace process. “Of course the fence would also have political implications”, says Tsi’on. “If it was built unilaterally on the Green Line, we would never be offered peace by the Palestinians, who would have felt they had already won. The more land you keep between the fence and the Green Line – the more you can negotiate later.”

Shaul Arieli touring the wall (Photo: curtsy of Shaul Arieli)Shaul Arieli touring the wall (Photo: courtesy of Shaul Arieli)

The current official route is more or less the one authorized by the Ehud Olmert government in April 2006, and it corresponds almost exactly with Olmert’s own expectations of a future border as presented in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. “The Israeli government knowingly chose to plan the route in such a way that was in contrast to security needs,” accuses Colonel (res.) Shaul Arieli, a member of the Council for Peace and Security. “It chose to risk the lives of civilians and soldiers alike, aspiring to reach other goals, mainly those of the settlements, and this is something mostly unknown to the public even though it is a harsh truth already recognized by the High Court. It was right-wing political pressure, among others by then Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu, which left openings in the fence, which allowed for suicide attackers and illegal workers to pass through to this day.”

According to Arieli, who is the co-author of the most important book published about the wall in Israel (“Khoma U’Mekhdal” – “The Wall of Folly”), tensions between rightist annexation plans on one hand, and limitations imposed by the Americans and the High Court on the other, are the reason for the failure to complete construction. Both the Bush and the Obama administrations were strongly opposed to the route of the wall around the Ariel, Qedumim and Mishor Adomim “fingers” (deep extensions into Palestinian territory), while settlers resist what they consider an insufficient route in Gush Etzion (a whole map of the route can be found here – PDF).

Recently, the state promised the High Court, in response to Palestinian petitions, that construction in all of these areas will be stopped until further notice. This is why the fence I saw in Ariel leads nowhere. Arieli: “The heads of the settlement movement realized that the High Court won’t approve an annexing fence in these areas, so they and the government decided to neglect the safety of Israeli citizens, leaving several opening in the fence, and all for political reasons.”

The Ariel and Qeddumin "fingers" streching east (Map: B'Tselem)The Ariel and Qeddumin “fingers” streching east (Map: B’Tselem)

Despite of repeated requests from +972, the Ministry of Defense refused to allow an interview on the wall with any official, and chose to ignore most questions sent to it by e-mail.

The transparent wall

Back to Ariel: on that day of touring the wall, one in several that will be described further in this series, I crossed the barrier several times in different locations, sometimes not even noticing I had done so. While most Israelis think the wall has been completed, and that Israelis cannot cross it, Israel keeps maintaining control on both sides of the wall, and citizens can go through it freely, and so can all Jews, as potential citizens. To us – it is transparent. For Palestinians – a disaster. This is a crucial difference, a fact of the unique regime in the West Bank, the details of which shall be presented in chapters to come.

( / point of view of Israel / 12.04.2012)

What To Do If You Are Denied Entry | #Airflotilla2


Before we list some things to do if you are faced with denied entry, we must reiterate here the value in preparing before embarking on your trip.  Making sure relatives and/or your legal counsel have copies/scans of your passport and making sure you have with you numbers of your representatives in you place of residences (congressman, senators, MPs, etc), and keep with you the numbers of your consulate are all prudent steps before starting your trip.  Also, familiarizing yourself with the Israeli regulations and “polices” will assist you in making your argument if faced with denial.

Nonetheless, if you are preparing to visit the oPt please keep in mind the following in case you are confronted with a “denied entry” order:

1. Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful and entering even after being denied entry, some by making a appealing case on the spot and others returning a few days/weeks afterwards.  DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.

2. Understand who is delivering you the denied entry notice, Ministry of Interior, COGAT, Police, etc.  Best to ask for name and organization the person represents.

3. Protest the denial of entry order to the Israeli official delivering it by declaring your desire to appeal the order and getting an explanation for it. If the person is uncooperative, ask to see their superior and remember to get the name of this person as well. If the denial is happening at the airport, you always have the right to refuse to denial of entry and enter into legal proceedings.  If you do choose such a path you should have an attorney that can represent you.  A list of qualified attorneys may be found at: XXX.  Note that if you take the legal track you will be held in a detention center at the airport until a ruling is made on your case. For US citizens, we were informed that the US Embassy/American Citizen Services cannot ‘fight’ on behalf of American citizens but is charged with ensuring their welfare and communication with family and will try to make sure the detention conditions meet basic needs.  We assume the same applies to all foreign consulates.

4. Immediately try and make contact with someone not with you so they can be made aware of your situation and make calls on your behalf.  Americans can call the US Embassy to register complaints from the Airport: 03-5197551 or contact the US Consulate for denials of entry from the Bridge: 02-622-7250.

Other nationalities should contact their embassy in Israel to register an incident as it is happening, or contact your nearest embassy after being deported. Contact information for various consulate in Israel may be found here.

5. Challenge the denial in Israeli court. JLAC/Hamoked/Al-Haq can help. JLAC‘s telephone is 02-298-7981 and will provide pro-bono advice.

6. Report your incident to the Campaign for the Right to Enter through our downloadable form or if you are a US citizen at American-Arab Anti-Discrimination website or complete it on-line. Advise if we can we publish your case or if we can make it public as an anonymous shared story?

7. Advise if you would like the Campaign to raise your case with relevant representatives of your government and/or Israeli authorities?  Likewise, advise if the Campaign has your permission to raise your case with the media which many times provides the needed pressure on Israeli authorities to reverse a denied entry decision? Let us know if you would like to be put in direct touch with the media.

( /12.04.2012)