a different side of Israel

Tag: Palestine

Parents of Rachel Corrie Await Verdict on the Death of Their Daughter

Nearly 10 years ago, Rachel Corrie was killed after being crushed by a bulldozer that she was trying to stop from entering the Gaza Strip. In the years since, Corrie’s parents have been going through the legal channel and hold the military accountable for the events leading to their daughter’s death. They are now awaiting a judge’s ruling.

The case of Rachel Corrie has drawn national attention and is the first civilian trial stemming from the death of a foreigner at the hands of Israel’s military. All other related cases have resulted in settlements out of court.

Rachel Corrie was an American student studying at Evergreen State College. She was also an active pro-Palestinian activist who was involved in numerous rallies denouncing Israel over its treatment of the Palestinian people. In March of 2003, she was killed when she was crushed by a bulldozer that she believed was about to demolish homes belonging to the Palestinian people in the town of Rafah. According to the driver, he did not see Corrie and the incident was ruled an accident.

At the time, bulldozers were being sent to destroy homes that were being used as the point to carry out sniper fire and mortar attacks on Israeli soldiers and Jewish civilians.

Since her death, Corrie has become the image for the Palestinian people and to support pro-Palestinain demonstrations. To her supporters, she became an iconic symbol of the way non-violent protesters are treated. For supporters of Israel, she was a reckless young woman who put her own life at stake by interfering with the military in a conflict zone.

Corrie’s parents have spent nearly $200,000 in their own savings to attend hearings and gather witnesses. They are seeking reparation against the driver of the bulldozer and his superiors as well as compensation for the money they spent to get the case this far.

UPDATED: Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon on August 28 handed down his verdict: the State of Israel and the Defense Ministry were not responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death.

For a different perspective of this case please read the following article at the Nation.

Building Rawabi

Israel’s environment minister – supporter of Jewish settlements in Samaria – Gilad Erdan told Israel’s army radio it was “a mistake” for Israel to allow the Palestinians to build a city called Rawabi, north of Ramallah for “green” concerns.

And no – that is not envy.

The Palestinians, according to Erdan, have no proper plans for managing sewage or other waste generated from the city, that will house some 40,000 people at a cost of $700m.

Bashar al-Masri, head of the Bayti Real Estate Investment Co, that is jointly running the Rawabi project, said that AFP US-funded plans for a sewage and waste water treatment plant were well under way – to the contrary of Erdan’s accusations.

“The environment is very important to us and we are coordinating with the Americans over the sewage issue,”

He said, adding specifically that three US companies were competing over a contract for a waste water treatment plant serving Rawabi and the surrounding villages.

“Rawabi is well planned and we are ready for any investigation into what we do.”

Erdan said,

“At a political level, I don’t like the idea (that they are building) in territories over which there is a dispute about ownership and sovereignty,”

Continuing that

“on one hand, they are building thousands of housing units, while on the other side, every stone that is moved creates a scandal.”

“But let’s put that to one side,”

Erdan said, attempting not to mix politics with environmental issues,

“I have turned to the defense minister (Ehud Barak) and the civil administration and said: ‘OK, this train has already got under way, and this city will be built but let’s demand at the very least that it doesn’t damage the environment…”.

The civil administration is a military body of the Jewish country which runs civilian affairs in Samaria.

While Rawabi is being built in Area A, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, the roads joining it to Ramallah and the surrounding area run through Area C, which is under complete Israeli military control.

Work on the project began in January and is being carried out by the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company and Qatar’s Diar Real Estate Company.

Jimbo Be Sorry

Former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter sent a seasonal message to the Jewish community, asking for forgiveness for any stigma he may have caused Israel. The conclusion of the letter read:

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

National director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, was pleased by the statement, calling it a “beginning of reconciliation”:

“We welcome any statement from a significant individual such as a former president who asks for Al Het…to what extent it is an epiphany, time will tell. There certainly is hurt which needs to be repaired.”

Carter has angered many Jews in recent years with writings and statements which place the burden of peacemaking on the Jewish country, by likening Israel’s settlement policies to apartheid, and blaming the pro-Israel lobby for inhibiting a fair US foreign policy.

Born in Plains, GA on October 1st, 1924, Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States of America, from 1977 to 1981.

His books “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” from 2006, and “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work” from 2009, were both best-sellers which brewed much controversy and negative sentiments toward Israel.

Palestinian State within Two Years? Bibi: ‘No Comment’

This’ll be a tough one to swallow. As soon as I finished reading the report on Haaretz, I started laughing. Here’s why. The report began with a blanket statement that negotiations over a Palestinian state will begin next month on the basis of an understanding that a state will be established in two years’ time. The next sentence I read was “Palestinian and European Union sources told Haaretz that talks will initially focus on determining the permanent border…” Then I thought, “well, what about Israel? What did they tell Haaretz?”
Apparently…nothing. And then this sentence: “It is understood that this will be accompanied by a public American and European declaration that the permanent border will be based on the border of June 4, 1967.”
Public American and European declaration…what about Israel? I guess she just slipped their minds.

They finally get to Netanyahu and Israel somewhere in the next paragraph. Here’s what they say: “Likewise, Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and that the Arab world embark on normalizing ties with Israel, will not constitute preconditions to an “early recognition” of Palestine.”
In other words, Israel is actually irrelevant, and her demands may as well be perfectly ignored. That’s what about Israel.
Shimon Peres, who by some amazingly weird miracle is somehow still involved in politics after losing every single election he ran for since the mid 80’s, called Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan to announce a de facto Palestinian State within two years, something worthy of a “Palestinian Ben Gurion”. 

As for Netanyahu’s opinion of Fayyad, Haaretz had this to say: “Netanyahu has not yet commented on Fayyad’s plan.”
With such overwhelming consensus, we can definitely afford to say, “Well, uh…sure, maybe this time it’ll work.”

Human Rights Watch Admits Hamas Rockets Are War Crime

Qassam LaunchHere’s something that’ll knock your socks off. Though, most Israelis this time of year don’t even wear socks – just sandals – so I guess Israelis just won’t be all that affected. That is, Human Rights Watch just published a report about Hamas’ rocket attacks since November ’08. And here go the socks: They actually said that firing the rockets was ILLEGAL, and VIOLATED INTERNATIONAL LAW and constitutes a “war crime”.

My question is, what about the years 2000-2007 when 23 Jews were killed by Qassam and mortar fire? Were those legal? Did international law suddenly change last November?

This eerily reminds me of 1991 back when the UN reversed its 1975 resolution that Zionism is Racism. Some Israelis were so ecstatic about that little reversal, though others just sat back and folded their arms. What is so earth shattering about the fact that the UN admits that Zionism is not racism if the Security Council, the world body responsible for maintaining world security, is going to admit Syria to its ranks, but forbid Israel from ever having a seat there? What’s the difference if the UN keeps singling out Israel for criticism?

And what is the significance of a Human Rights Watch report condemning Hamas for war crimes if, as we all know, Hamas couldn’t care less about human rights? The rockets will continue to fall whenever Hamas feels it’s had enough time to resuscitate itself, and the only reason they’ve stopped for now is that they’re scared. Not that they suddenly respect the idea of human rights.

Though these types of things are certainly nice and they make us feel better for about two minutes, they have very little relevance. The de facto Islamic government in Gaza does not care about international law. They care about liberating all of Palestine at all costs. As long as they have hope that they can do that, the rocket fire will never stop.

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