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Postcard from Palestine

From Alison O'Brien

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Thanks Ron for your informative and moving post. It is truly shocking the degree to which the right wing settlers are systematically erasing/ignoring the basic rights of ordinary Palestinian men, women and children. Demolishing homes, schools,redrawing boundaries, stealing their livelihoods, crops, livestock. Ignoring the fundamental right to housing, education and mental/ physical health.

Ignoring pleas from the international community and the Geneva Convention -"Protected people", promoting racial segregation and apartheid with Palestinians almost becoming refugees in their own land. When Palestinian people try to meet their own needs eg. the school in Susya it is almost as if attempts to address such a fundamental need,the right of children to receive an education, is seen as an act of defiance and punishable. Keep your posts going Ron. Ignorance aint bliss.

From Ciara B

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hi Ron, great report from your trip out with this organisation. It is quite heartening to know that there are Israelis who work with Palestinian farmers on their land and assist in helping Bedouin farmers to fight for justice. Keep up the good work.

From Ron Taylor

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The work the Jewish activists do is both heartening and inspiring - it is a privilege to work them. They have had some small victories which have benefited some individuals and communities.

But the occupation is relentless as Israel gobbles up more and more Palestinian land. Since I first came here nearly 5 years ago I have noticed how the rate of dispossession has accelerated.

A recent reports confirm this.

In January the United Nations published a report showing that 1,100 Palestinians, over half of them children, were displaced due to home demolitions in the West Bank by Israeli forces in 2011 – over 80 per cent more than in the previous year.

Another report, published only in the last week or so, shows how settler violence against Palestinian civilians has increased dramatically. A seven year study by the Palestine Centre in the US found that between 2004 and 2011 the number of attacks carried out by settlers went up by 315%.

These are sorts of statistics we should remember as another war for Israel (this time against Iran) looms large.

Time, I think, to reactivate 'Stop the War'.

From Keith G

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It seems to me that, far from wanting peace with the Palestinians, Israel is more interested in taking more and more Palestinian land. This is a threat to peace everywhere.

I have been to the West Bank myself and it was a real eye-opener to see how Israel is making life more and more difficult for Palestinians.

From Ron Taylor

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I am now back from Palestine. Thanks to the people who made comments on the thread and thanks also to anyone else who read the postcards.

If anyone would to know more about the situation in Israel/Palestine please ask and I will try to answer questions (if I can).

From Ron Taylor

Sunday, 24 June 2012

I know that some people read my reports from Palestine earlier this year. In at least one I mentioned the West Bank village of Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills.

The situation there has been extremely difficult for at least two decades. But now Susiya is threatened with extinction. Two weeks ago an Israeli court agreed to allow the Israeli army to issue demolition orders for most of the structures in the village - homes, water infrastructure, agricultural buildings and so on.

Yesterday a large demonstration took place to protest at these violations of international and humanitarian law. Palestinians, Israelis and internationals joined together to demonstrate.

Here is my report which may be of interest to some Hebweb.

From Julie C

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ron - what is happening? Are families still losing their homes and land? Are protests having any effect? Please can you update the forum.

From Ron Taylor

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Thanks to HebWeb for posting 'Postcard from Palestine' and thanks to those who have enquired about my safety.

Before late yesterday afternoon the situation in the Bethlehem area was indeed calm although the mood is gloomy. Then at around 4.30pm things changed. I was standing at a bus stop just north of the Bethlehem checkpoint, on the Israeli side of the Wall, when air raid sirens began to wail (for the first time since the first gulf war, I believe). Shortly after I heard two explosions. It was confirmed later that at least 2 (possibly 3) rockets fired from Gaza had landed in the Bethlehem/Jerusalem area. They were aimed at areas which contain settlements built on land stolen from Palestinians.

Apparently one rocket landed quite close to a settlement where the Israeli Foreign Minister and racist Avigdor Lieberman lives. Yes, Israel's FM lives in an illegal settlement !

Not sure if UK news programmes would this, so I thought I would let people know

From Mike Huett

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Many thanks to Ron for providing some information and insight from Palestine at a time when our own media seem so unwilling to actually provide real journalistic coverage ... if you listened to our news the attacks on Gaza would appear to be part of a long series of intractable, violent wars and disputes between equals who can't sort their shit out.More often than not the Palestinians are presented as lead by ruthless religious fanatics/terrorists who refuse to diplomatically address reality.Israel is given the role of the middle east's one true democracy that (albeit perhaps over reacting) has to defend itself from those who would wipe it off the map.

I have actually had this historically inaccurate and simplistic crap presented to me by Israelis and westerners - it says something about how the media really can make us believe the oppressors are the oppressed and,those oppressed come to be seen as "the problem".

From Richard Scorer

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I stayed in East Jerusalem and the West Bank recently, in Sheikh Jarrah a part of East Jerusalem where Palestinians who have lived in the area since 1948 (after fleeing from Haifa) are being forcibly evicted from their homes by the Israeli authorities to make way for ...ultra orthodox jews from Brooklyn. This is just one example of relentless daily attrition against the Palestinians. There are many others as your postcard says.

The conditions in Palestinian refugee camps are absolutely appalling and sit side by side with affluent jewish settlements, illegal under international law but heavily subsidised by the Israeli government and protected by the IDF, and occupying land previously owned by Palestinian farmers.

Its racist ethnic cleansing carried under under a spurious legality.
The news today from Tel Aviv is terrible and nothing can justify terrorist attacks against innocent people, but unless Israel starts to respect international law, treat Palestinans with dignity and enter into serious negotiations about a two state solution, then it seems to me a conflagration is inevitable.

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Many thanks to Ron for his ongoing correspondance.Good also to see some people at Tod. roundabout holding a small demo in defence of Gaza tonight.

They were rightly angry at the media which continually presents the conflict as between two sides as bad as each other which masks the reality of a colonionalist settler state systematically oppressing the indigenous population. It also obscures this Frankenstein's monster of a state's underlying purpose - to act as the watchdog of western interests in the region and the reality that Jews and Arabs can live side by side in peace as they have done historically. Their differences are not natural or inevitable -they are imposed and manufactured -one of the many reasons why "two states" is not the answer.

From Ron Taylor

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Richard, I agree with your analysis apart from one thing. The two-state solution is dead and it died a long time ago. It is an empty phrase used by the US and UK to make us believe Israel is serious about moving towards a just resolution of the conflict.

Palestinian leaders are urged to negotiate towards this end whilst Israel continues to expand its programme of colonisation and to displace Palestinians from land that, we were told, would become their state. The 'peace' process' has been used by Israel as a way of stealing time so it can achieve its real aim of creating as Jewish state (I prefer the term Zionist state) of Greater Israel - the whole of what was British mandated Palestine.

There are now half a million settlers living in annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. They are there because of Israeli government policy and their numbers are increasing by the day. They will not be removed to allow for a Palestinian state - they are there to make sure such a state does not come about. In fact there are calls in Israel for the annexation of Area C - 62% of the area of the West Bank.

More and more people realise that the only way forward is to work towards one democratic state in Israel/Palestine. But before that long-term aim has any chance of succeeding, Palestinians will be faced with an anti-apartheid struggle similar to that conducted by the black majority in South Africa. I believe that struggle will eventually be won but the costs will be huge.

Thankfully there is now a ceasefire in place in Gaza and there is a tangible feeling of relief here in the West Bank. But there is no confidence that the calm will last. It never does because the causes of the conflict are never addressed

HebWeb News: Postcard from Palestine 7