Monday, November 29, 2010

Today in History

...marks the pivotal decision taken up by the UN, which was formed to protect the rights of human beings, prevent conflict, and commit to maintaining international peace and security. 63 years ago, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into two states: 44 percent for Palestinians, 56 percent for the Jews (not referred to as Israelis during that time.)
Now we can post as many maps with different color codes as want to demonstrate the horribly thought out "solution", but the effect is clear. Jews owned less than 7 percent of total land in Palestine, and were about 30 percent of the total population. The two aliyas marked an increase in Jewish population, who then proceeded on to settle and colonize lands before Plan Dalet (the ethnic cleansing of Palestine), which was already conceived, was finally put into action just a few months later. And just so you know, Palestinians made up 45 percent of the population in the so called Jewish areas. Ah Haifa, that model of Arab-Israeli comradeship...not.

God knows what gave the UN the right to partition Palestine. It couldn't be for what it claimed to stand for, mentioned above. To take a doom and gloom perspective, this act sparked the prequel to World War III. Which we of course hope never ever happens.

Some interesting facts:

The good old United States warned that it would cut off foreign aid from countries such as France and Greece if they did not vote favorably, and threatened Liberia with a rubber embargo.

The Syrian proposal to refer the Palestine issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague was defeated by a single vote, twenty one votes against twenty.

The Zionist leaders enjoyed a clandestine advantage by bugging the rooms of
the UN Special Committee On Palestine (UNSCOP), and they knew what every committee member and witness was saying.

The Peel commission Partition, ten years earlier was rejected by Zionists because the areas they were allocated were "too small". In the words of the Terrorist Godfather, David Ben-Gurion:

"Had partition [referring to the Peel Commission partition plan] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed---most of them would be in Israel"

So, hold up. Let's recount. Palestinians made up two thirds of the population, owned 93 percent of the land, contributed 60 percent to the Palestinian Gross Domestic Product, but still had to make way for an alien minority?


Nope, just plain old imperialism. As you were.

On second thought, this makes a really good argument for partitioning modern day Israel. Since Palestinian-Israelis make up 20 percent of the Israeli population, they should consider it as faithfully following God's plan in having their own state, which later on through massacres and ethnic cleansing, will become their own COUNTRY. Eretz Palestine, it is so close!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ethnic Cleansing Alive and Kicking

In honor of Israel's security, defense, and criminality, the village of Abul-Ajaj in the northern Jordanian valley has been eradicated to make way for future expansion of the Metsuwah settlement (already established on Palestinian land).

Poof, gone, just like that.

Those families who will want to stay close to their military seized land will probably live in tents before their pathetic clustering will later emerge into what, either a refugee camp or a destitute slum?


In this world, in these days, economic technological medical etc developments mean absolutely nothing when human conscience still can not function tolerantly, healthily, humanely.

Boycott. Anyone with any shred of humanity will Boycott.

Palestine Week II

We have new information! Palestine Week is 3 days long, from the 23rd to the 25th! And it was all the Student Council's idea.

Today was a particularly enjoyable day. We finally managed to awaken from our zombie-like state that took over whenever we attended classes this week and bask in the abnormally strong warm sun. For the first time, we liked everybody. But the sun's ultra violet rays are to blame for that.

We finished classes early but kept hearing some weird rhythmic beating of the drums. It was quite muted and off to the distance but it still sounded like a preliminary warm-up for some gauntlet or something. We decide to go home and instead walk smack into a huge crowd, with a bunch of guys in the middle whooping it up with relished exaltation. The source of the beating drums was discovered- a professional group of a wedding procession, decked out in traditional uniforms, were rousing the crowd with their incantations of traditional songs which are quite well-known. As we tried to walk a couple of steps, we were suddenly facing a camel's backside. Yep, a camel. With a hump. And a decorated box on its hump. Walking beside a horse. With a man on top. Wait a minute..

This was a Palestinian traditional fake wedding! The man was the groom, the bride was sheltered inside the box on the camel, and the wedding procession provided the zaffa! And naturally students were attracted to the joyous affair like mosquitoes to a light. Oh we were so in the mood to break it down right there and show off our Fefe Abdo moves. But that would have been too 3eib. And mark our roles as hussies with no chance of getting a decent man. So instead, we watched the bastard lucky male students join hands in a dabka that grew and grew in size. We really liked everybody then. Guys were doing dabka, not dancing! And, as our progress was now hindered in front of a small stage set up with some band and their Vin Diesel lookalike warbler singing traditional songs, we managed to get a close look at the camel's teeth (horrific as always, which probably explained the fake bride's hasty descent) and laugh at the fake groom as he really got into his role.

What kind of generation are we to be so ignorant about our cultural roots? Hm, we're willing to let the conversation we overheard between a couple of girls bewildering discussing the camel and horse's role in the wedding. MEANS OF PARADING TRANSPORTATION PEOPLE!

Basically, we're not that fond of real life weddings. We like the dancing, sure. But not the incessant interrogation of our family's lineage and personal details by random women who go crazy once they find out we have "citizen" passports. True story some years ago: "My mother-in-law's nephew has been looking for a girl who can take him to America! How old are you? 16? Good age. What's your dad's phone number? Why are you crying?"

The groom in the grey suit and the bride shielded from the people's evil eyes.
Closer look at the camel box..We think we got a glimpse of her thobe.V Vin Diesel with dabka music.
Bastard male students getting their jiggy on.
Ah, but of course. The groom smoking away his manhood.

Look how regally the camel prances about.
The wedding procession group is called Al-Nujoum which provides zaffas in Palestinian, Syrian, and Egyptian styles. For those who are, you know, thinking of getting hitched.

Wonder what event tomorrow will hold...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Palestine Week

Palestine Week is a week long celebration of...Palestine. We're pretty confused though. Is it mostly about the prisoners? The culture? The history? Judging by the huge posters on various buildings and the excellently set up labyrinth that acts as a fake tour to an Israeli prison, it's mostly about prisoners. But then there are other posters advertising a concert (tonight at 6pm on campus) of Ammar Hasan, the skinny guy who was on the Arab version of American Idol entitled Superstar some six years ago, and Nazareth song-bird Reem al-Banna. (Sidenote-we love Reem's Spanish husband who's a monster on guitar and provides back up vocals which are really nothing more than sound effects hehe!) The concert has vendors selling accessories and La Costa coffee (roof of Duwar al-Sa3a building) which made us wonder, where do all the proceeds go to? And why wasn't the concert properly advertised? We only found out today. Truth is, there is not a whole lot of information we can give because we're so addled with term papers and exams and lack of sleep. We can however produce pictures of the labyrinthine prison.

Israeli prisoners hold up to more than 8000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them held without charge and suffer administrative detention. These prisons are no 2 star motel either. Overcrowding, torture, lack of medical attention, unsanitary conditions are all defining features of said sadistic facilities, which number nine. Family visits must be approved by the military, and no there are no conjugal sessions.

Askhelon Prison, built around 1948. It is surrounded by all sides with walls that are 4 meters in height, plus another 4 watch towers. It has four sections for Palestinian prisoners which can fit up to 80 individuals, but the reality is that some 300 prisoners occupy one division.

Prisons Rammoun, Be'er Sheva, Hasharoun, Hadarim, al-Damoun, Majdo, Remounim, Kats'out.

By far the most brutal is Kats'out, which is located in the Naqab desert where prisoners reside in tents, which obviously do not serve as protection from the fierce hot summers or the equally harsh cold winters. Not to mention scorpions, rats, mosquitoes, and other insects/creepy crawlies infest every corner. Conditions were so desperate that after opening in 1988 (during the first intifada) it was closed down in 1996 only to be reopened to welcome prisoners during the second intifada.
Majdo is the prison located nearest to a West Bank city, Jenin. It currently houses more than 1200 prisoners, with special divisions for those between 12-18 of age. It is known for its employment of "3asafeer" which are spies masquerading as prisoners.

Remounim has a grand total of 80 prisoners, all of them between 16 to 18 years of age.

al-Damoun is situated in Haifa and the original building was used during the British Mandate as a storehouse for cigarettes. As a result of its dilapidation and intense mouldiness prisoners suffer from breathing and kidney problems. Insects infest each room, and the water prisoners are served is so polluted that the prisoners themselves try to make it drinkable by putting strips of cloths in the tanks to absorb pollutants.

Hasharoun is for the female prisoners, where three of the eighteen are serving multiple life sentences.

PS we're so glad that for what seems like the first time, Palestine flags decorating campus outnumbered the Fateh yellow flags by far.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Very Belated Eid Mubarak To You All

Bit late on this, so sue us. Our Eid break was more than satisfactory, with seven long days spent doing something we haven't experienced lately: enjoying life. One of us has the prized Jerusalem kushan (birth certificate) so trips to Tiberius (Tabaria), Jerusalem, and Tel il-Rabi3 (Tel Aviv to the uneducated masses) were undertaken, with various Zionists decomposing on the spot under the glare of withering contempt. The other spent a week in Amman, City of All Things Joyless, but since it was with the family it was still all good. Spending 10 hours on the Allenby Crossing was not so good though, as the pilgrims from hajj caused a massive people traffic jam. We hope you all delighted in the slaughtering of the lamb and didn't choke on the abundant meat!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Independence Day

This is our 22nd year this day celebrating independence according to...the Palestine National Council.





Oh here's a thought: let's play a game called We're So Independent That...

Regarding Settlements:
There are approximately 462,000 Israeli settlers.
191,000 are in settlements around Jerusalem and 271,400 are further spread throughout the West Bank.
The settlers have grown between 4-6% per year over the last two decades in comparison to Israeli society as a whole (1.5%).
Approx. 385,000 settlers in 80 settlements will be located between the Separation Barrier as envisioned and the Green Line.
In 2008 tenders for new settlement building increased by 550% from 2007.
Settlement construction has increased by 30% since the launching of the new round of peace talks.
Settlement building around Jerusalem has increased by a factor of 38.
9,000 new housing units have been approved in E. Jerusalem, and approximately 2,600 new housing units are being built east of the Separation Wall, comprising 55% of all settlement construction activity.
Settlements are built on less than 3% of the oPT; yet due to the extensive infrastructure they comprise more than 40%.

Regarding Land Theft and East Jerusalem:
In the first three years of occupation, Israel confiscated 18270unums (18,27 sq kms) of Palestinian land.
By 1991 that number had reached 23378 dunums (23,4 sq kms).
By 2007, the Wall resulted in the confiscation of land belonging to 19.2% of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.
From 1967 until the end of 2006, Israel had revoked the residency rights of around 8,269 Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Regarding Prisoners:
Prisoners are held in the approximately 30 detention centers located within the 1967 borders of Israel.
ICRC is following-up on roughly 10,500 prisoners.
Addameer estimates that there are approximately 9,493 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Out of the 9,493 – 750 are administrative, 349 are aged 18 or less, 75 are female, 47 are Palestinian parliamentarians.
According to Israeli Prison Services: 70% have been found guilty or arrested for crimes with “blood on their hands”.

Regarding the "Security Fence":
Approximately 385,000 settlers in 80 settlements will be located between the Wall and the Green Line.
Approximately 35,000 West Bank Palestinians will be located between the Wall and the Green Line AKA ‘no man’s land’.
This 35,000 is in addition to the majority of the 250,000 East Jerusalem residents who will be in a similar scenario.
Approximately 125,000 Palestinians in 28 communities will be surrounded on three sides by the Wall.
Approximately 26,000 Palestinians in 8 communities will be surrounded on four sides with a tunnel or road connection.
The Wall costs the Israeli government: approximately $3.7 million per kilometer, and approx $4 billion when completed.

That's independence for ya! Enjoy the fireworks and the grilled chicken folks!

And don't forget to watch the below video that's bound to uplift those homesick spirits.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Legacy of Arafat

There's a Palestinian proverb that goes like this: all Palestinians need is a wedding to dance to. Give them any occasion, no matter how trivial, and they won't disappoint. Such was the case on Thursday in Ramallah, which commemorated Yasir Arafat's 6th year dead. Do we need to do this every year though? We're pretty sure those who work in the government ministries don't mind, as they get to finish work a few hours earlier. But the point of that is so they could participate in the commemoration festivities held in the PA's headquarters, al-Muqata'a compound. The planners however already acknowledge that the majority of the employees won't show up, and so they've come up with an ingenuous plan to resolve this little complication. Buses are sent to the north in the West Bank, which promptly get filled by teenage boys who equate the city of Ramallah to something like the city of Paris. These people from the north have their own special name, but it's so derogatory and racist we shall refrain from mentioning it here. Ok fine, they're called tailandiyeen. We'll let your own imaginations figure this out. Anyhoo, the teenage boys somehow always end up to the worst kind, the ones who think greasy hair, low rise tight jeans, smoking and hitting on girls older than they are is hilarious and parrot everything they're told without them God forbid thinking of using their brains to ask questions. They are so caught up in the pomp and grandeur (cough) of being invited to Ramallah for free and to celebrate the anniversary of a prominent political leader's death. By the end of the night, Ramallah itself is trashed. Litter and piss streaks are everywhere. Local residents breathe a huge sigh of relief when these tailandiyeen go home. Al-Muqata'a basically fills up with people where various self-important figures give embarrassing and ineloquent speeches and free kuffiyehs are parcelled out to everyone attending. We wonder though, why these fools are so ready to believe in the 'commendable' legacy of Abu Ammar. Hey look where we are now, the Apartheid wall is still being built, checkpoints and road blocks have increased to over 600 in the West Bank, settlements are continuing to be built, there's no sustainable economy, the present regime is now openly collaborating with Israel, the huge funds from countries donated to the Palestinian people are still getting shovelled righteously into the pockets of top members in the PA, and of course, there's the restriction of movement.

Arafat, whatever your intentions were, you did pave the way for where we are now. And we don't like how your memory lives on portraying you as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, who put Palestine on the westernized version of a map by forming the PLO, and how your fatherly depiction is reiterated by schools and the media. We bet 80 percent of the lapping adoring masses don't know how exactly you sold your own people and country out. But hey, they take what they can get, because at least you're more pathetic looking than that proud quisling Abbas and so looks here work in your advantage because of how readily people are to defend and laud your accomplishments, even if they don't know what they are.

Surprisingly at the university, nothing was done on Thursday. But during the whole week leading up to that day, the loudspeakers were out and Quran was played out before the corny Fateh songs took over. The yellow flags of the student Fateh party, As-shabeeba adorned every corner of campus, and a couple of large posters of Arafat's face adorned a couple of buildings. We found out that the actual commemoration day in the university was on Tuesday. Good thing most of our classes are in one of the buildings furthest away from the ratty student council building where the speakers were set up. We don't need to listen to guys magically empowering their voices over the microphones yelling out empty silly speeches that we have heard over and over again. Palestinians can be accused with being too occupied with the past. Hey, the guy is dead, let's move on and figure out a way to actively resist the Israeli occupation (which is still going on by the way) and to effectively replace Abbass and his yes men with real representatives of the rights of the Palestinian people, who don't have to negotiate for their basic human rights. But no, we must make a big deal out of triviality, to ensure that Arafat has not been forgotten from our minds.

The west are so eager to describe Arafat as a terrorist who practiced terrorism for forty years and whose sole mission was the eradication of a people and their state. He is viewed as a man who cared too much about his own pride and couldn't give a damn to his own people, and this is epitomized in his refusal to negotiate for a peace settlement. He was a complete failure as a diplomat and never is this more illustrated by his signing of the Oslo Accords. This catastrophic decision gave birth to the corrupt Palestine Authority who patted themselves on the back for securing a pseudo Palestinian state, and who were in control of Areas A but not B or C. This decision legitimized the Israeli occupation, enveloping it as more acceptable for the small amount of land they were granted, even as they were funnelling down billions of dollars in aid meant for the people and the state into their own bank accounts. We can never forgive him for that. Land for peace. Hm, should have talked more about the concept of what exactly peace is. He also had a huge number of security forces, numbering 45000 that were let loose on the Palestinians because they lacked the political conscience to target Zionists. Collaborators, spies, agents all flourished under him. He never entertained the idea of a successor, and was possessed by the threat of assassinations. Personal loyalties made up his administration, and he never gave thought to what would happen to Palestine after his death, proof that he was playing the Arab Power Rule game to the fullest.

We get that Arafat is viewed as a symbol and the father of nationhood that never quite materialized. Under his corrupt rule, Fateh and Hamas were united against the main affront, the Israeli occupation. His early resistance days were never thought out clearly and more often than not gave rise to increased vilification of Palestinians not just in the West but in neighbouring countries like Jordan and Lebanon. Commemorating him and overlooking his grave selfish mistakes is another from of brainwash. The future generations owe it to us to give them the correct history of their country, including the people who royally fucked it up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

No, Really, Another Reason to Get Burrrrrned?

Amazing beautiful Students for Justice in Palestine of Arizona State University stage a silent walk-out during another former Israeli soldier's hogwash of preserving human dignity blah blah. These protests seriously make our day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unleash the Vegetative Beast

Good people of this land and earth, shield your children, lock up your homes, and never think to leave the house without a garland of garlic around your necks. The bloodthirsty monster is set to be released from his cave in the next few days! What's that? Red terror alert!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Young Jews Disrupt Netanyahu Speech

These Jewish peace activists, who have just launched their website heckled Netanyahu's speech to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations which was held in New Orleans. No words to describe how we felt, just got goosebumps all over again. What a brave, uplifting stance. And such a rabid hostile crowd. The first dissenter was shouted at to "Get out! You're an embarrassment to the Jews get out!" For the second disruption a man can clearly be heard repeatedly saying "You're an're an asshole get the fuck outta here piece of shit", another ripping the damnable banner with his own bare teeth to rapturous applause and whooping, and the rest of the crowd downing out the dissenters with feral yelling that reminded us of a little kid screaming "I'm not listening I'm not listening!"

Young Jews Disrupt Netanyahu at Jewish General Assembly from stefanie fox on Vimeo.

The Loyalty Oath delegitimizes Israel

The Occuopation delegitimizes Israel

The Settlements delegitimize Israel

The Siege of Gaza delegitimizes Israel

Silencing Dissent deletigimizes Israel

The crowd are refusing to listen to cold hard fact. They are willing to lie to themselves for the rest of their lives about the wonderful democratic state of Israel whose self-victimization as a result of its hideous war and criminal crimes it commits on a daily basis is justifiable all in the name of security and defence, and refuse to heaven forbid enlighten themselves with the story of the Other. Ilan Pappe yesterday mentioned something about this, quoting two Haaretz journalists' response to why Jews are so uncaring and so self-righteous in their deranged beliefs. One, as told by Amira Hass, was because Jews simply do not want to know the reality of their own state, and two, as told by Gideon Levy, was because Jews do not know enough. Pretty sad, but the Jews in that so-called intimidating crowd do NOT represent the Jews of the world, and we are very much grateful to peace-loving organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace.

Below is a video of the amazing dissenters. Worldwide coverage is what is needed.

The Raping of one of Ramallah's Main Roads Part II

A few months back, we presented this. After 3 months, the 'finished' road wasn't even coated with a new layer of asphalt or anything. The peeps in charge did heed our plea for wider sidewalks, and they inserted a new lengthy concrete island (what ARE they called anyway?) in the middle of the street with pretty things like flowers and trees growing out of it. A few weeks ago, the machines have been unleashed with full force on the main street of Ramallah, Shari3 Rukab. And eyesore hardly does it any justification. It is pure monstrosity. Tourists, beware. Postpone your Ramallah excursions for a later time, perhaps in another three months?

Now imagine when it rains. That mud will be sticking to your shoes from here until next winter, sure as anything.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Ex-President...

Because commemorating his death for five years in a row just isn't enough.
But please, why stop here? Get closer.

This lead us to believe that some hardcore Hamas-atic infiltrator painted this disturbing visage.

More vitriol later on this week.

Ilan Pappe Comes to Ramallah

The Friends Boys' School hosted Israeli historian and head of the European Center of Palestinian Studies Ilan Pappe for a two hour session between 6 and 8 pm. Pappe, who has the critically acclaimed book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine added to his repertoire that includes The Aristocracy: The Husaynis; A Political Biography and a co-written book with Noam Chomsky Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians, graced the stage where he lectured for an hour and then answered questions for the next. He has been dubbed as one of the "New Israeli Historians" because of his pro-Palestinian stance which many of his critics dismiss as a cause for a self-hating Jew. In fact, Pappe himself has acknowledged that one of the frequent questions asked to him is why does he think differently from other Israeli Jews? His way of answering was to rephrase that question into: Why are so few Jews in the 21st century, with so much information and knowledge in a society that doesn't seem dictatorial have an inclination to see things differently? Why are there so many loyal soldiers of Zionism? Pappe truly believes that Jews should embark on a self-journey; one, a Journey of Awakening in which Jews arrive at the realization from being the so-called saviors of Arabs to colonizers. Two, to be able to have enough commitment to challenge the view of civilized beings in a foreign land whose legitimacy is backed by amongst other things, Messianic revelations. He went on to describe how the debate about 1948 in Israeli society included neither ethics nor morality, and this demonstrated another of Israel's show of democracy, and how open, how academically progressive Israeli academics are. That's sarcasm for you folks.

Pappe went on to describe his early life: he was born in a "benign Zionist family" in Mt Carmel in Haifa. His parents spoke German rather than Hebrew, and he reflected on how even the sign posts in his community were in German. This was his family's way of recreating Germany in Palestine. They did not see the natives, who lived and still do in Wadi Nisnas and Wadi Salim, and when they did they were viewed as obstacles, mosquitoes, and had to endure them as one would endure harsh weather.

Pappe called for the world to change its dictionary of Israel (a point that he stressed very much) from a democratic paradigm of peace etc etc to an ethnic, racist, criminal, apartheid, colonialist state. These adjectives were all his we assure you. He doesn't think convincing people that Israel is an apartheid state is necessary because of the overwhelming evidence of its policies in Gaza, West Bank, Greater Jerusalem, Naqab, and so on. He was the first Israeli academic to call for an academic boycott of Israel, and relayed to us how a list was formed with a grand total of six other Israeli academics who supported him. Today there are over 150 Israeli academics who oppose Israel's occupying and apartheid laws, a small sign of just how popular the BDS campaign has become.

Needless to say, we were very much engrossed and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly as our minds expanded with more knowledge and wisdom. One critique must be brought to attention: the room was full of foreigners. And hey that's great, nothing against them of course. But where are all the Palestinians? Spare us the whole "Just because I'm French, doesn't mean I'm not Palestinian as heart" diatribe, it's not about that. We managed to count five Arabs, and that was only because we caught more than a couple of Arabic words out of all the English they were saying. It's such a shame that with a renowned Israeli historian, so few Palestinians really showed an interest. Well, guess that's the decadent society that we've metamorphosed into. We're upbeat, we're obsessed with facebook, Lady Gaga trumps the surgically enhanced Arab singers, and we just don't give a damn. Disillusioned youth? You missed out, simple as that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reunification of My Parents

Today my mother crossed the Allenby bridge (by bus, not by car Mr Qurei) to see my father in Amman. What makes this banal act unusual is that she had to wait almost a year to be finally granted permission to cross the border. Last year my brother wrote about my family's series of unfortunate events which began in August 2009-how we went from British citizens living in our homeland on my dad's one year work renewable visas to plain old brown Palestinians forced to accept our Israeli-issued identity cards in order to be classified as 'legal' residents, which resulted our own mini diaspora. My brother and father, both born in the Gaza strip, have Gaza identity cards which of course bans them from entering the West Bank, where we were living. My mother, despite being from the city of Albireh in the West Bank, was also inexplicably issued a Gaza ID, despite her owning her original West Bank ID. My younger brother and sister and I have West Bank ID's, as we were registered under my mother's original ID, further contributing to the confusion and idiotic regulations manned by the Israeli military. Subsequently, my father spent his time between Lebanon and Jordan, and my brother began new chapters of his life in Qatar and Virginia. They couldn't come to us, and while my siblings and I could cross over to Amman (which served as our meeting point) my mother could not do the same. The new astonishingly racist Israeli military order 1650 which came into effect in April of this year only made matters worse. She became an 'infiltrator'. If caught, she could have faced up to seven years in prison or be deported back to Gaza. As her children, we would obviously follow her footsteps, because Zionism does not like the presumptuous notion of Palestinian families choosing where they want to live and raise their kids in their homeland. This past year has been terribly nerve-racking. Our emotions were taken on a non-stop rollercoaster ride-highs and lows and periods of blank insecurity.

My mother knew beforehand that her West Bank ID changed into a Gaza one and was already in contact with Gisha, the Israeli non-profit organization whose goal is to protect the rights of free movement of Palestinians, before calamity fell upon us in the shape of my father's arrest at Erez checkpoint, where he had crossed many times before. Gisha then wanted to focus more on my father's case and bring him back to the West Bank. That amounted to absolutely nothing, so in January, a month after my father was finally allowed to leave Gaza to work in Lebanon, my mother resumed contact. She wanted a piece of paper that would grant her access to the border crossing. After 11 months, her coordination paper finally came out.

Waiting wasn't easy. I had to deal with my parents' unwanted and forced separation, and watched as my mother lost weight and woke up every day with puffy eyes. We've had skyping sessions with my father, which was such a bittersweet experience. My father had to go through his life without his wife or children with him, and sometimes this despairing emotion overwhelmed him. Of course we all kept in regular touch with each other-technology is beautiful in that way. I'll never forget how we both broke down one time over the phone after I confessed that the only reason I was going through with university was because I knew how much joy and pride it would bring to him when I'd graduate, and how now it wouldn't even matter because he wouldn't be at my graduation. I felt like a kid with divorced parents, "Ok are you going to spend Eid with Baba or here?" It wasn't fair to leave my mother all alone on holidays, and it wasn't fair for my father to be all alone either. I hated it. I hated the law enforcers of Israel so much. I hated the collaborative PA regime, I hated the Zionists, I hated being torn apart in my mind, I hated how after living in England and the UAE and the USA, coming back to our homeland eventually was what resulted in our bleak estrangement. My mother signed up for consecutive months in a gym and in a way, that was her catharsis. Every week she'd call Gisha to see where their progress was heading, and every single time she received the same answer: In a couple more weeks we'll know for sure, next month, give it one more week, and another. Summer arrived, and with it more arising uncertainties. My father was having a really tough time coping by himself, and wanted us with him, permanently. My frustration grew. Transferring to another university that would post pone my graduation by up to two semesters? Pulling my sister out of her high school in her senior year to a different one? All of this, in our least favorite city in the world, Amman? It was too much. Selfishness wasn't what I was going through, I managed to convince myself. I just couldn't live in Amman. It's another thing I hate. Then one day, we got into contact with a lawyer. This lawyer said that in exactly a month, give or take a week, he'll have my mother's correct West Bank ID with him. We were tentative. But a given timeline was better than a forever extended one. My mother chose to go with the lawyer, and suspended talks with Gisha. Unfortunately, this particular lawyer was the definitive kind with upholding standards. He called one Thursday in June, and told my mother that by Sunday the latest, she will finally have her West Bank ID. I had my friends over for a barbeque that day, and I had never felt so relieved, so happy when I heard the news. Sunday came and went. The next day, after calling him multiple times, he finally had the virtue of picking up and informing us that sorry, but there was nothing he could do. We were back to square one. Talks were resumed with Gisha. Why was it taking so long? The coordination paper only takes a month to be issued! However, it took two months before the proper clerk in the PA told my mother that her coordination paper was rejected. She immediately got in touch with Gisha, who throughout this whole time were dealing with her ID problem, and they agreed to take over the coordination matter. They spoke in such a manner that led my mother to pack her suitcase. This was in August. The green suitcase was smack dab in the middle of her bedroom, and it was almost fully packed. She was hopeful that a breakthrough would come at last. She called my dad and asked him what he wanted from here, and she bought three kilos worth of roasted nuts. I watched as those bags went into the suitcase, then out again a few weeks later. Then some hack from the PA's Ministry of Interior called to say that there was nothing they could do from their side to change the Gaza ID into a West Bank one. I couldn't understand where my mother's optimism was coming from.

Two weeks later, we finally received the long awaited news. The coordination paper was out, and the Israeli military finally, belatedly admitted that they made a mistake in her address in her ID. They issued a permit that would now make it 'legal' for her to live in the West Bank, for six months. During that time, her correct ID should hopefully be given to her.They would correct, and this is important-correct not change-the address from Gaza to the West Bank. Now we could all see my father and brother (when he manages to get a few days off from work) in Amman, back and forth, on holidays, occasions, whenever we want. The green suitcase now included fresh roasted nuts and my father's books for his research work. My mother busied herself at a salon, and came back with a new hairstyle, eye liner, and a smile that was beautiful and young in nature. A year and 3 months apart, reunited again tonight.

An hour ago I received a call from my parents. Hearing both of their voices, talking excitedly at the same time, in the same room was music to my ears. My sister and I wanted to know the full details-did you both cry? I bet you did! What was it like, seeing other? What did you first think of? Are you holding hands now? Does Mama look any different to you? What did she say about your bald spot? Yes, we're doing ok, we have enough food for three days. Can't wait until next week (Eid al-Adha break) where we can be together again!

Our case in general is not a unique one. Who could forget the student studying at Bethlehem University, with only three credits to graduate, being arrested at a checkpoint and deported to Gaza because of her insidious crime of not owning the proper ID card? Or the many husbands and wives torn apart from each other and their children? Israel is running amok with its proud Apartheid stance, and I strongly believe that BDS is the sure path to toe Israel's line. Israel's wretched controlling of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is of course illegal and not an action fitting for its 'democratic' nature. With awareness there comes boycott, and with boycott there comes international pressure, and with international pressure, there comes the breakdown and elimination of the Apartheid and occupying laws that have ruled us with an iron fist for too long now. My family's story is still not complete, as my older brother and father still cannot be granted access to the West Bank. It is especially difficult to be uprooted from your homeland once, imagine how it feels like to go through the process twice.
Justice for Palestine.

A much nicer layout-ed version over at Mondoweiss, with heart-melting picture to boot.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lauren Booth On Converting to Islam

Lauren Booth, who is war criminal Tony Blair's sister in law (a fact she's definitely not proud of) converted to Islam a couple of weeks ago during her visit to Iran. This has resulted in a flurry of haters who seized this enlightening piece of news to paint their bigotry, racism, and common misconceptions about Islam. We shall not direct you, as reference, to the Daily Fail's reader comments, who are known for their trollness. Lauren Booth works for Iranian news channel PressTV and has embarked on many trips to the Middle East. Last year, she part of one of the Viva Palestina convoys to break the siege on Gaza. All in all, she sounds like a fahmana, no?

Read her article here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity- Best 100 Posters

See the rest by clicking here!

Drink Up Ye Merry Yo-ho Yo-ho

Milestone!!!! We have reached 100 blog posts! We really are made out of steel and non-alcoholic beer mixed with something called Canada Dry and shot through twinkling lights of rainbows and bedazzlement! So we feel that the time has now come to introduce to you all our pets. Let us hear you say, OneVoice, awwwwwww.

The little fella up there goes by the name Diego-Angelo. He is an anti-social masochist who veers toward the hermit life, despite having the best damn glass bowl in the country filled with brightly colored stones. He makes works of art from his faeces. He is still a cute baby, and enjoys playing hard to get with a cousin's other turtle, pansily named Lala.

Second up is the resolutely defiant Shit. Shit is so named because of its shitty color, which is a rich blend of greens and browns and greys. Its sexual identity is ambiguous, and has defied death a total number of 30495 times. Shit is somewhat suicidal, which is a bit of an oxymoron there, but it loves jumping out of its bowl (which admittedly, gets cleaned approximately every 83 days) in the early hours of dawn. It is now currently enjoying its 4th year living, despite all of its other friends' death two weeks after taken into domestication.