Monday, January 12, 2015

One irony in the “free speech” movement

One irony in the “free speech” movement that has emerged from the terrorist attack on the Hebdo office in Paris is how much the US media omits.

The United States, of course, funded and armed al-Qaida back in the Reagan years to counter Russian influence in Afghanistan. In addition, the US has had a long term “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia, the principal supporter of radical Islam in the world. 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks came from Saudi Arabia. 

Our media also left out a key piece of information about the last horrific terrorist attack based on radical ideology, the slaughter of 77 mostly teenagers by Anders Breivik in Norway. The students had been gunned down because they were supporters of Palestinian rights, and the crazed gunman was inspired by Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism.

Maybe any religion that supports violent killings in he name of God should be condemned, be it Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. Maybe governments should be condemned as well. The US should end its support for Saudi Arabia, a country that monthly beheads more in the name of Islam than IS does in a year. Then there is our government’s embrace of Israel while it slaughtered 500 Palestinian children in Gaza. President Obama even rushed additional high tech bombs to the Israeli Army in case there were more UN schools to be obliterated. 

Let’s not cover up the truth in our newly found enthusiasm for free speech.

Fred Nagel

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Article in La Voz Magazine

Thanks, Fanny, for the translation.

By  Rosana Zarza Canova

Surely, may read in the newspapers or listen on the radio about the Gaza conflict that happened this summer, june 7 to august 26.  It started after 2 young Israelis were kidnapped and killed, on june 12,
Near Bethlehem, in Cisjordania, and a young Palestinian guy was assassinated on july 2 in east Jerusalem.

The office of humanitarian issues of the occupied territories in Palestine (OCHA opt) informs that 1.8 million people were affected in Gaza.  11,231 people were injured, and 2,231 died.  Israel had 71 dead.
OCHA also informs that 37.650 houses were damaged and 18,000 were destroyed in Gaza.  A humanitarian

When I spoke with my family, friends and co-workers about this event, I was angry when they suggested
That it had been a war.  I don’t believe that this last offensive has been a war.  The language that is 
Usually used about the Israeli-palestinian conflict is important: war is quite different than conflict and
Offensive.  This conflict has to be observed in order to understand that the events that just happened
Were not of a war.  Newspapers and radio news usually don’t have enough space or time to put the
Actual events in its right historical context.

It has to start by knowing dates, 1917, 1948, 1967 and 2000, y words like Zionism, Nakba, arab nationalism to understand the conflict.  On November 2nd of 1917, the Balfour declaration was
Enacted.  Arthur James Balfour, the ministry of exterior of England, send a letter to the president of the
Zionist federation, giving him his support to create a jewish state in Palestine.  Zionism is a movement
Created to re-establish a piece of land for the jews in the land of Israel.  Palestine had been administrated by the English after the first world war.  In 1947 the united nations declared a partition
Plan for Palestine en two estates- jewish and arab.

1947 and 1948 an Israeli-arab war ensued between Israel and Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Irak and
Libia.  In 1948 Israel was declared a jewish state and the English left Palestine.  The Nakba, which is considered the arab catastrophe was when 900,000 palestinians had to flee or were expelled from their
Homes in what today is Israel.  My family, friends and co-workers should know about this history, in order to be able to comment regarding the actual event., is a source known for its news
And history of the middle east, and tells how Israel took another 50% of the declared partition of the United Nations.

The six day war happened in 1967, and then Israel took Cisjordania of Jordan, Gaza and the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria.  The map, common in studies of this conflict, shows how Israel has been extending itself on the Palestinian territory from 1946 to 2011.  From the first world war to the present the Palestinian territory, and therefore, its politics and government, have
Been dominated by the english, Israelis or the arabs, and not by the Palestinians.  The organization to liberate Palestine (OLP) was started by the League of Arab Nations in 1964.  This league is comprised by the arab nations.  Arab nationalism started to be formed after the second world war mostly in Cairo (Egypt) and the OLP was started by Egyptians and not Palestinians.  Rashid Khalidi, teacher of arab studies Columbia University, suggests that the arab nationalism and the arab league undermined the
Palestinian nationalistic movement.  

After reading the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I hope my family, friends and co-workers will not continue calling the recent offensive or conflict in Gaza, a war. The actual events cannot be understood without the context of its history, but only as a part of a long history, complicated and intense.  Palestinians do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves since long time ago, 
Due to the fact that before the English, the Ottoman empire were governing.  Israel controls the Gaza
Strip and Cisjordania since l967.  It is called an Occupation.  During the last offensive, the secretary of
The United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, ask a stop to the firing and said that there should be a way to end
This Occupation.  Also there is a lot of history to understand besides of the events that happened in 1917, 1948, 1967 and 2000.  For example, the failure of the peace process, the wall that separated 
Israel the west bank and Gaza, the history of Hamas, which is the party governing Gaza, and the blockade of Gaza.

About the Author

Rosana Zarza-Canova is the daughter of an Spanish father and a North-American mother.  She graduated from Bard College in May of 2014 majoring on Politics Science and Arab studies.  She is intense on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  She stopped working for La Voz at Bard so that she could establish a project together with her Palestinian friend, called the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative.  This project brings Bard students to a town in the west bank, summer time, as a cultural interchange, and to develop resources for young people.  January 2015 she is starting her new service to the community with youngsters and the Peace Corps in Morocco.    
Resources to Learn more About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

After summer of horror, Gaza families face winter in cramped shacks “Electronic Intifada.” October 17, 2014.  http://electronicintifada,net/content/after-summer-horror-gaza-families-face-winter-cramped-shacks/13952

Khalidi, Rashid.  Palestinian Identity: the Construction of Modern National Consciousness. New York: Columbia UP, 1997.

Gaza in cridital conditions,” says Ban, calling again for immediate ceasefire”  UN News Centre.  July 28, 2014.

Timeline: Palestine since 1915” AlJazeera. February1, 2009.

“Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza Emergency Humanitarian Snapshot” OCHA oPt. September 4, 2014.