Lebanon Destroyed, Destabilised, Desperate for Change…

January 1, 2007

And for some attention by the media as well. Given the gravity of the situation, it is beyond disgraceful that people in the U.S. completely ignore the situation in Lebanon:

The 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah has left Lebanon heavily damaged and politically destabilised, with hopes for a better future only dimming as the New Year approaches.

Before Jul. 12 this year when the war broke out, many people in this nation of four million situated north of Israel believed they were finally shaking away the last of the dust from the 15-year civil war 1975-90 which decimated the country. That civil war was fought between extreme Muslim and Christian groups. Lebanon is now believed to be about 60 percent Muslim.

In years of recovery from that civil war, tourism was up, business was finally improving, Syrian occupation troops had left – even though it was after the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri Feb. 14 last year — and hope for a united Lebanon seemed at least a possibility.

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What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethelem today?

December 26, 2006

I honestly don’t know, but she wouldn’t be happy. From the Independent:

In two days, a third of humanity will gather to celebrate the birth pains of a Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem – but two millennia later, another mother in another glorified stable in this rubble-strewn, locked-down town is trying not to howl.

Fadia Jemal is a gap-toothed 27-year-old with a weary, watery smile. “What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today? She would endure what I have endured,” she says.

[…]They stopped to collect her sister and mother and set out for the Hussein Hospital, 20 minutes away. But the road had been blocked by Israeli soldiers, who said nobody was allowed to pass until morning. “Obviously, we told them we couldn’t wait until the morning. I was bleeding very heavily on the back seat. One of the soldiers looked down at the blood and laughed. I still wake up in the night hearing that laugh. It was such a shock to me. I couldn’t understand.”

Her family begged the soldiers to let them through, but they would not relent. So at 1am, on the back seat next to a chilly checkpoint with no doctors and no nurses, Fadia delivered a tiny boy called Mahmoud and a tiny girl called Mariam. “I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital,” she says now. For two days, her family hid it from her that Mahmoud had died, and doctors said they could “certainly” have saved his life by getting him to an incubator.

[…]Since Fadia’s delivery, in 2002, the United Nations confirms that a total of 36 babies have died because their mothers were detained during labour at Israeli checkpoints. All across Bethlehem – all across the West Bank – there are women whose pregnancies are being disturbed, or worse, by the military occupation of their land.


A Simple Truth About Palestinian Apartheid…

December 23, 2006

That it’s taboo to talk about it in the U.S. Or that you will get pounded by the U.S. media and the American Israel Lobby for even daring to bring it up. Even if you are a former president of the U.S. and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, a.k.a. Jimmy Carter. From the Nation:

In fact, if there is a failing in Carter’s stance, it is that he is too kind to the Israelis, bending over backward to assert that he is only writing about the occupied territories. Israel itself, he says, is a democracy. This would come as a surprise to the 1.3 million Israeli Arabs who live as second-class citizens in the Jewish state. The poverty rate among Israeli Arabs is more than twice that of the Jewish population. Those Israeli Arabs who marry Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank are not permitted to get Israeli residency for their spouses. And Israeli Arabs, who do not serve in the military or the country’s intelligence services and thus lack the important personal connections and job networks available to veterans, are systematically shut out of good jobs. Any Jew, who may speak no Hebrew or ever been to Israel, can step off a plane and become an Israeli citizen, while a Palestinian living abroad whose family’s roots in Palestine may go back generations is denied citizenship.

The conditions in Palestine and the Gaza strip are already a full-blown humanitarian crisis, yet every time the United Nations gets together to pass a resolution against this display of unilateral violence, the resolution always gets vetoed by the U.S. That’s funny, the U.S. believes in the U.N. only when it is convenient to do so:

But it is in Gaza that conditions are currently reaching a full-blown humanitarian crisis. “Gaza is in its worst condition ever,” Gideon Levy wrote recently in the Israeli paper Ha’aretz. “The Israel Defense Forces have been rampaging through Gaza–there’s no other word to describe it–killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately…. How contemptible all the sublime and nonsensical talk about ‘the end of the occupation’ and ‘partitioning the land’ now appears. Gaza is occupied, and with greater brutality than before…. This is disgraceful and shocking collective punishment.”

And as Gaza descends into civil war, with Hamas and Fatah factions carrying out gun battles in the streets, Ha’aretz reporter Amira Hass bitterly notes, “The experiment was a success: The Palestinians are killing each other. They are behaving as expected at the end of the extended experiment called ‘what happens when you imprison 1.3 million human beings in an enclosed space like battery hens.'”

Go read the rest of the piece. It was written by Chris Hedges, former Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times. And by the way, who are you going to trust, the U.N. & Jimmy Carter, or president Bush and his band of neocons?