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Young woman blocks Israeli soldier’s rifle shots

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Astonishing courage!  A young woman pulls down the muzzle of the rifle of an Israeli soldier, insisting, “You’re shooting at kids, don’t you understand that? Just pull back!

Inspiring 2.5 minute video from Korean television, followed by comments of Prof. Juan Cole:

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Korean television has video of a Palestinian girl confronting Israeli soldiers over their firing (rubber bullets?) at demonstrating Palestinian children and youth.

She is being identified by my facebook friends as Huwaida Arraf, a Detroiter married to Adam Shapiro, a University of Michigan Poli Sci graduate, and a founder of International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent activist organization.
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Were we all so brave, life on earth would be different.

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Written by Monte

January 7, 2009 at 10:51 am

Posted in Politics

UN Investigator: Israel commits “massive violations of international law”

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Richard Falk, U. N. Special Investigator for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, spells it out (h/t PeoplesGeography):

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The Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Convention, both in regard to the obligations of an occupying power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
'Israeli air strikes represent massive violations of international law'Those violations include:Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants. […]

Targeting civilians – the air strikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world […]

Disproportionate military response – the air strikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians […]

Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims. […]

Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give Israel any right … to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes … in its response […] The one Israeli killed today … is the first in over a year. […]

The Israeli air strikes today, and the catastrophic human toll that they have caused, challenge those countries that have been and remain complicit, either directly or indirectly, in Israel’s violations of international law. That complicity includes those countries knowingly providing the military equipment including warplanes and missiles used in these illegal attacks, as well as those countries which have supported and participated in the siege of Gaza, which itself has caused a humanitarian catastrophe

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Since 2000, fewer than 20 Israelis have been killed by Hamas’ primitive rockets – and only one in the last 12 months. By contrast, 3,000 Palestinians have died, and 300 of them perished in the last few days.

Israel’s enabler is the USA, which provides American gunships, missiles, and bombs. Israel kills with impunity because the US vetoes near-unanimous UN rebukes.

Dispensationalism’s blind faith that Israel’s barbarous government is the Israel of prophecy demands re-evaluation. For the pogroms this outfit carries out make it more resemble the Third Reich than the children of Abraham.

And the USA—with the backing of the Christian conservative set—once again has blood on its hands.

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Fear: the other Palm Sunday emotion (Palm Sunday sermon, 2008)

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Provoking the Gospel of MatthewKeenerThis sermon leans hard on Provoking the Gospel of Matthew: A Storyteller’s Commentary by Richard W. Swanson and A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew by Craig S. Keener, both of which I gladly recommend. I don’t think I have any direct quotes from them—but I’ll bet I come pretty close! Swanson’s approach, especially, left me with a desire to “set” the story this year, and let it make its own points, rather than turn it into a “sermon,” in the modern sense. My hope is that doing so anchors the Easter story a little more clearly in the discomfort and confusion of its day. Thanks for reading! – Monte

Liturgy of the Palms; Sixth Sunday in Lent; March 16, 2008
Matthew 21:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2,19-29

[See also the 2006 Palm Sunday sermon Whose Kingdom, Christian?]

It’s hard to feel the background of Palm Sunday. To us, it’s fun. Light.

2,000 years ago, Palm Sunday was ominous. Life under Roman rule could be terrifying; a competing king was reason enough for slaughter. News of Jesus’ arrival brought both hope and dread.

The best cultural analogy I can think of is modern Gaza. Here’s a recent description:

Israel has militarily occupied Gaza for forty years. It pulled out its colonials in 2005 but maintained an iron grip on the area, controlling all access, including its airspace and territorial waters. Its F-16s and helicopter gunships regularly shred more and more of the areas—public works, its neighborhoods—and inflict collective punishment on civilians in violation of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the International Red Cross declares, citing treaties establishing international humanitarian law, “Neither the civilian population as a whole nor individual civilians may be attacked.”

You understand collective punishment. It’s as if your neighbor were accused of murder. Rather than being arrested, an F-16 thunders past, blasting his house into flying splinters with a missle.  Your neighbor is instantly killed, along with his wife and children. Your house falls as well; some of your children are screaming in agony; some will never cry again. You’ll never know if your neighbor had actually hurt anyone.

According to The Nation magazine, the great Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, reports that the primitive rockets from Gaza, have taken thirteen Israeli lives in the past four years, while Israeli forces have killed more than one thousand  Palestinians in the occupied territories in the past two years alone. Almost half of them were civilians, including some 200 children.  [“Israel,” Mr. Bush says, “has a right to defend herself.” – M.] Read the rest of this entry »

Israeli and Palestinian former fighters start peace group together

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Here is the most heroic story you’ll read all day. I excerpt just a couple of comments from ever-excellent DemocracyNow! Do click thru to the whole story here.

Combatants for Peace

At tremendous price, a former Israeli Army pilot and a former Fatah fighter long imprisoned by Israel stand for peace and against revenge.

AMY GOODMAN: In the midst of this deepening crisis, I spoke to an Israeli and Palestinian peace activist: Yonatan Shapira and Bassam Aramin. They are from a group called Combatants for Peace that’s made up of former fighters from both Israel and Palestine. Bassam Aramin spent seven years in an Israeli prison, was an armed member of Fatah, the Palestinian political faction once led by Yasser Arafat. Bassam’s ten-year-old daughter Abir died one year ago after being shot by Israeli soldiers while she was on her way home from school. Yonatan Shapira is a captain in the Israeli Air Force and Black Hawk pilot squadron—well, he was. In 2003, he authored the “Pilots’ Letter,” refusing to participate in attacks against Palestinians. . . .

YONATAN SHAPIRA: [W]e decided that it’s important to refuse, but just refusing to be part of something illegal and immoral and just refusing to be part of war crimes is not enough. You have to try to fix the wrongdoing that you were part of. And then, with many other people who refused to military service and to be part of the occupation in the Israeli side and Palestinian ex-fighters in the Palestinian side, people who were many years in Israeli prisons, we formed this group, which we called “Combatants for Peace.” . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Rachel Corrie and the defense of Palestinians’ homes

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Here’s a moving video that visits the site of the death of Rachel Corrie, an American who died trying to prevent the Israeli Army from demolishing the homes and life savings of helpless Palestinian families.
Thank you, Rachel, for “defending the defenseless.” I am sorry it cost you so much.

With thanks to Righthand
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Written by Monte

September 22, 2007 at 12:53 pm