Archive for February, 2014

Posted: February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today we arrived at Tel Aviv around 3.30. After an hour of passing through checkouts we were finally able to see all that the country had to offer. At mid day we met with the ATG (alternative tourism group) in Beitsahour hall where we learnt about the wanted 18 (18 cows) even which happened in 1987. This was an event where the Israeli forces were trying to enforce their power over Palestine, this involved such things as laws that did not enable Palestinians to herd their own animals such as cows and crops this law meant that all produce that Palestinians used would have to come from Israel. As well as this schools and supermarkets were forced to be closed. Beit sahour hall had always been a place that became somewhere that was vibrant with a strong sense of community with many stores and coffee shops you would find in any other city in the world. ‘Space is not a neutral un dynamic system upon which events simply happen’ however the Israeli involvement was a way of creating a hollow space out of Beit Sahour hall by taking the self sufficiencies away from the city. Place is described as a lived, embodied experience of a space. The self sufficiencies that Beit p had shops, crops, cow further expressed this feeling of space that there was. ‘Spaces are ‘produced’ to from places.

By Nathan Hackett

In total the Zionist forces forced 700,000 Palestinians out of their homes, and bulldozed over 400 Palestinian towns and villages, reducing them to rubble evolving this process of ethnic cleansing.
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Continuing through 1948 and 1967 when Israel occupied the remainder of the territory of historic Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip to this day still see confiscation of Palestinian land of which began building Jewish settlements and expelling Palestinians and cancelling their residency rights. The actions of the Israel’s saw the violation of human rights contravening the fourth Geneva convention, which governs how occupied territory is to be administered prior to its return to to its rightful owner.
Gaza saw more than a million Palestinians, three quarters of them refugees, share a space of 360sq.km with six thousand Israeli settlers, to whom the Israeli goverment have given control to 40% of the land area. In the West Bank 5,637sq.km, 1.5million refuges have access to less than a third of the land area the remainder of which Jewish settlers and Israeli military control.
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The possibilities of returning refugees to their rightful homes is now impossible as Israeli government and it’s supporters claim the lack of available space in the country. However this is un true; between 1989 and 1997, Israel absorbed some 800,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia who could demonstrate that they had at least one Jewish grandparent. According to Israeli law of return 1950, any Jew anywhere in the world can claim citizenship and full political and residency rights in Israel.
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An absurdity and inhumanity has existed in which a system grants the right for people with no emotional and experiential connection with Palestine to live there, denying that same right to refugees who’s parents and ancestors originated location as well as place birth all factors that back up an injustice that will only lead to more conflict, instability and anger in the middle east.

Israelis argue to this day that destruction within their community would begin when none – Jews overwhelm their streets, influencing forms of xenophobia as the majority of Palestinians don’t desire to break up communities be they jewish or Arab.  Doctor Abu Sitta (image below) Palestinian academic conducted research registering the current refugee population living in the Gaza Strip showing that if they were to return to their original areas of residence the balance of Jewish to Arab living would alter by only 6%.

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Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinan centre for human rights international herald tribune 09/05/1999.

“we still dream of a world in which ethnic cleansing is not permitted to stand. We have watched, rapt with the wonder, as the United States have moved against the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs rather than providing Slobodan Milosevic’s government with 84 billion dollars – as it has given Israel over the last 50 years to finish off idler for generation in refugee camps, the United States and Europe seems to recognise the urgency of returning these desperate people to their rightful homes. In a world seemingly Gone mad with ethnic and religious bloodlust, the same perverse spending we endure is thankful not reoccurring. We too, hope that one day all our Palestine refugees may return to their homes to the land they have tilled for generations.”

 

By

Jasjeet Singh

Treasure Hunt in Bethlehem

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Key Facts: 

Location: Bethleem 

Time: Min 1 hour

Participants: 3 persons

Starting Place: ATG office, Beit Sahour

Arrival Place: Catholic Sports Centre Bethleem 

Task: Find your own way through the city and whoever reaches first the Catholic Sports Centre will be the winner. In order to make the competition complete the winner has to have a proof of globalization as many people doubt its presence in the Holy Land.

 

Before we share our experience we need to mention that back home in UK we have been advised not to travel alone. We are honestly sorry, but Beit Shour is the perfect example of a united community , in which everyone knows everyone and we felt safe.

We started are 4 pm. 

I have taken the classic way and asked a local to draw me a map which I can follow to get there on time.I wasn’t concentrating too much on finding the capitalist proof but more on getting there before the guys and prove my feminist power. So I got the map: Image

But little did I know about how complicated this streets are, people have told me it takes 35 minutes to get to Bethlehem by walk, so I was very optimistic and eager to win. Local people have been amazing, especially kids that walked with me for more than 20 minutes. They speak little English, I wasn’t sure how much they understood me but I know for sure they will always remember where Dracula Comes from. It took me 50 minutes to reach Bethlehem, I was exhausted, but did not want to give up in the guys favor. I found my proof as soon as I reached the city: British beer and coke sign boards  at the corner shop.

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In the same time, but on different streets Jay was not having a bad time either. He was impressed by how friendly people are and to be honest, he was the luckiest and the one who got there first. He meet George, a mid twenties Palestinian guy with his girlfriend who insisted to give him a ride to the city. When they got there Jay offered to pay him or give him something in return but George politely refused saying: “No, you are a guest in my country, anything you need just let me know”. Apparently kindness and the will to help are traditional in Palestinian culture.

Jay, got there first but maybe too distracted by the conversations with George and his girlfriend he forgot about the second task. The Catholic Sports Center is not situated in the center of the city, so he did not manage to find any proof of globalization effect in the area.

Ten minutes after Jay. Nathan comes and wins the competition with a KFC sign board from the biggest shopping mall in Bethlehem:

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In all this time my feminist eager to win completely disappeared as I got lost and decided to derive myself towards the best Flafel  I’ve ever eaten.  45 minutes later I see the guys waiting for me at the entry of the sports centre, of course, having a laugh about me.

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The reason we have chosen this specific destination is because one of the biggest Basketball game between Beit Sahour and Palestines No. 1. We were lucky to get there on time despite my delay. The entry was based on tickets but when the people saw we are all holding media equipment they let us enter and thank us for being able to attend the event. Jay will write more about it in the following days as he covered the social sports of the area.Meanwhile, please do not be surprised to see SPRITE as the main sponsor of the game:

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Written by Antonia D Hruscovschi

Palestine: The Case For Justice

Posted: February 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Israel’s two-tier justice system – Israeli human rights organisations, such as B’tselem and the public Committee against torture in Israel and the international  NGO’s like Amnesty international protest against the legal procedures and inhuman treatment meted out to Palestinian detainees.

Hannah Friedmen – Director of PCATI 2001 wrote “Two judicial systems are functioning simultaneously in Israel, creating a rule of apartheid under which Israeli and Palestinian detainees accused of identical offences are tried according to different laws. The high court of justice should decree that the system of justice is equal to all men and put a stop to this racist policy”  Minor “offences” on the part of Palestinians, such as throwing a stone at a tank, merits a prison sentence. In contrast to January 2001 Jewish settler Nahum Korman was sentenced to 6 months’ community service and a modest fine for beating to death a 10 year old Palestinian child with his rifle butt; a month later a sentence of six and half years was handed down to a 17 year old Palestinian for attempting to stab a settler.

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Collective punishment like house demolitions, in retaliation for actions such as stone-throwing are permitted. Israeli law forbids the rebuilding of properties, even in occupied territories without prohibitively lengthy and expensive legal procedures; Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been made homeless in this act.  In all there are 38 statutes in force which enable the Israeli state to expropriate Palestine land. A method of denying Palestinians access to land and then confiscate it to the state on the grounds that it is being under-utilised, under obsolete British and Turkish legislation.

British responsibility and the Nakba catastrophe – In 1917 British foreign minister Arthur Balfour established a client state in the Middle East to watch over the Suez Canal and the British trade route following the pressure received from Zionist lobby’s. A letter to Lord Rothschild from Arthur became know as the Balfour Declaration, promising a “national home for the Jewish people in Palestine” stipulating the notion of inactivity for the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities.

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Balfour commented “we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country” the declaration was endorsed by US president Woodrow Wilson within a month of its release.

A revolt occurred when Palestinians seeking the right to self-determination took place from 1936 to 1939 against British policies in the area.  According to British figures, over 5000 Palestinians were killed and 50,000 detained, through British mandate Jewish immigration continued. In 1938 Ben Gurion prime minister of Israel clarified the acceptance of partitions only as an interim measure: “After we become a strong force, as the result of the creation of state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine”.

By Jasjeet Singh

Israel and South Africa

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

So as Jay, Nathen and Antonia set off on their trip of self discovery, re imagining the reality that is Palestine. The rest of us continue with our research and preparation for their return,we continue on this road of understanding the utopian evolving within Palestine a world of which we are unaware a world of which we are given a constructed perspective through cause of moral panic and over emphasis on aspects the media believe will encourage consumer involvement. Talking of perspective 2013 saw great loss when Nelson Mandela passed away and yet evidence of knowledge and perspective still have us questioning the activities taking place in Palestine.


RIP Nelson Mandela “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians”

Nelson death sharpened focus on fighting this struggle that’s led against apartheid  and racism a struggle in which Palestine Solidarity Campaign plays a leading part in the UK.  Days before Mandela died, Palestinians in the occupied territories held a “Day of Rage” against Prawer Plan a policy of Israel forcibly to expel 70,000 Palestinians  from their homes and land in the Naqab/Negev. Anti occupation protestors across the west bank carried posters of Mandela during their weekly demonstrations. Israeli troops reacted by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber costed steel bullets into the crowds at Bil ‘in, Kafr Quddum and Nabi Saleh where they were also commemorating the death of Mustafa Tamimi who was murdered by the israeli forces in a similar rally in 2011.

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Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the second intifada who was jailed by Israel in 2002, wrote an open letter to Mandela from his Cell in Handarim prison where he is serving a five year sentence saying: “During the long years of my own struggle, I had one occasion to think many time of you, dear Nelson Mandela. I think of a man who spent 27 years in prison a prison cell, only to demonstrate that freedom was within  before becoming a reality his people could enjoy . I think of his capacity to defy oppression and apartheid, but also to defy hatred and to choose justice over vengence and from within my prison cell, I tell you our freedom seems possible because you reached yours. Apartheid did not prevail in South Africa and Apartheid shall not prevail in palestine.

It was no accident when South Africans today are vocal in drawing parallels with their own past, and are at the fore front of international support for the Palestinians cause. Archbishop Desmond Tutu (image below) wrote after his visit to Israel “I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza strip and the West Bank could describe events in  South African apartheid”

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Head of the South African Trade Unions Willie Madisha (image below) said in 2006 “The horrendous dehumanisation of Black South African during the erstwhile Apartheid years is a Sunday picnic compared with what I saw and know is happens to the Palestinian people”

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Understanding perspective opens our eyes to further fields of imagination, in the field research taking place in Palestine we hope to uncover evolutionists cultures that have adopted a changed due to the environmental and social aspect a Palestine living.

By Jasjeet Singh

Art is essentially the most profound expression of human creativity, both difficult to define as to asses. The artist chooses different rules and parameters which can bring an understanding of the art as result of choosing an environment along with a set of rules that determine in values are suitable to express a feeling or idea in the most efficient way possible for that environment. As general is defines by the set of rules setting the environment, visual art is an arrangement of colors, shapes or other elements that affect the sense of beauty and complete the beauty discovered in graphic or plastic objects. Generally, it is also a mean of expression and communication of emotions or idea, surrounded by a way to explore and appreciate the formal elements and representation of reality.

Posters became part of visual art for more than hundred years ago due to the evolution of art printing and color reproduction.

Either selling or simply informing they have became eye candy and one of the most popular form of contemporary art.

“Visit Palestine”, the poster designed by Franz Kraus in 1930 and second time published in 1995 by David Tartakover, comes as a valid prof of a healthy, ongoing, full of culture and history  Palestine, dating for more than a thousand years and fighting against the early Zionist propaganda efforts. Beautifully contradicting a Jewish narrative, the poster shows trim parks with green gardens, urban dwellings, and a central landmark followed by the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.

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Probably in 1930 no thought the design could be updated several decades later with the following version made by Amer Shomali:

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Visiting Palestine became a challenge both for tourists as for the Palestinian citizens and represents the ongoing political issues between the two countries. The wall is symbol of the Zionist power and limitation for the previous owners of the occupied territory.

Amer Shomali’s poster won the first prize in Canada, but unfortunately could not bring the artist the well deserved recognition along with a huge amount of money he could not claim for copy writing.  Amer sold few copies of his version around and somehow his work got to Jerusalem where a printing company became rich over night by printing T-shirts, mugs or souvenirs.

 

 

References: 

Liberation Graphics (2003) Visit Palestine, Available at:http://www.liberationgraphics.com/ppp/Visit_Palestine.html (Accessed: 19th February ).

Shomali, A. (2009) Post (Visit Palestine) – The Guillotine , Available at:http://www.amershomali.info/post-visit-palestine/ (Accessed: 19th February ).

Written by Antonia D Hruscovschi

imagesOne of the most beautiful examples of activism comes from Palestine where the activists have developed more peaceful ways of protesting. According to Cameron Shorten(2000) activists are not only social movements in which a group of individuals fight for a positive change, but it also involves a high contribution in terms of decisions from corporate institutions, government or popular large. Mass-media, owned by corporations aims to make more money by producing stories through social platforms or advertisements, all of them theoretically  fitting societies’ ethnic conduct. Media is also the most preferable tool for activists by being the most effective method to send a message. Activists create a public that fight for the same cause and strongly believe in positive change. The more they gather the more successful they became. As an example young Palestinians have found a creative method to use media, visual messages on one of the most significant symbol of power – the wall dividing Palestine and Israel. For 30$-40$, anyone around the world could ask a Palestinian to write a message with spray paint on the wall.

“Pay a Palestinian 30$ and he will write for you, with a spray can, on the wall Israel erected” Zee (2009)

A workshop in Ramallah worked with a Dutch advertising company, based in Amsterdam in order to implement a simple concept to make a connection between Palestinians and other countries.images (1)

Their inability to remove the wall comes as a humiliation that urges people of Palestine to publicly express their discontent. While Israeli claim that the wall protects them for any terrorist attack, Palestinians consider it is an illegal grab of their home land.

“You’re not only defying the existence of the wall, but you’re also showing the international community our refusal, first of all, to such a structure,” Gray(2009)

The variety of messages ordered, from poetry, marriage proposals, funny jokes or simple satires somehow changed the aspect of the concrete barriers between people. palestine2009138

The action ended us to be such a success that 550.000.000 people from everywhere around the world showed their solidarity through media. A total of 1498 messages have been written on the wall and the money covered the costs for the renovation of the PFF Youth Center in Bir Zeit.

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References:

Gray, M. (2009) Palestinian Graffiti Spreads Message of Peace, Availableat:http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/04/16/palestinian.wall.graffiti/ (Accessed: 19th February )

Shorter, C. (2000) Understanding Activism, Available at:http://www.cameron.shorter.net/writings/activism.html (Accessed: 19th February )

Zee (2009) Pay a Palestinian $30 and he will write for you, with a spray-can, on the wall Israel erected, Available at: http://thenextweb.com/2009/05/02/pay-palestinian-guy-30-write-spraycan-wall-israel-erected/#!ww6Ys (Accessed: 19th February )

http://www.sendamessage.nl/.

Written by Antonia D Hruscovschi