(URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.)
On Bloody Monday, when the number of Palestinian killed and wounded was rising by the hour, I asked myself: what would I have done if I had been a youngster of 15 in the Gaza Strip?
My answer was, without hesitation: I would have stood near the border fence and demonstrated, risking my life and limbs every minute.
How am I so sure?
Simple: I did the same when I was 15.
I was a member of the National Military Organization (the “Irgun”), an armed underground group labeled “terrorist”.
Palestine was at the time under British occupation (called “mandate”). In May 1939, the British enacted a law limiting the right of Jews to acquire land. I received an order to be at a certain time at a certain spot near the sea shore of Tel Aviv in order to take part in a demonstration. I was to wait for a trumpet signal.
The trumpet sounded and we started the march down Allenby Road, then the city’s main street. Near the main synagogue, somebody climbed the stairs and delivered an inflammatory speech. Then we marched on, to the end of the street, where the offices of the British administration were located. There we sang the national anthem, “Hatikvah”, while some adult members set fire to the offices.
Suddenly several lorries carrying British soldiers screeched to a halt, and a salvo of shots rang out. The British fired over our heads, and we ran away.
Remembering this event 79 years later, it crossed my mind that the boys of Gaza are greater heroes then we were then. They did not run away. They stood their ground for hours, while the death toll rose to 61 and the number of those wounded by live ammunition to some 1500, in addition to 1000 affected by gas.
On that day, most TV stations in Israel and abroad split their screen. On the right, the events in Gaza. On the left, the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
In the 136th year of the Zionist-Palestinian war, that split screen is the picture of reality: the celebration in Jerusalem and the bloodbath in Gaza. Not on two different planets, not in two different continents, but hardly an hour’s drive apart.
The celebration in Jerusalem started as a silly event. A bunch of suited males, inflated with self-importance, celebrating – what, exactly? The symbolic movement of an office from one town to another.
Jerusalem is a major bone of contention. Everybody knows that there will be no peace, not now, not ever, without a compromise there. For every Palestinian, every Arab, every Muslim throughout the world, it is unthinkable to give up Jerusalem. It is from there, according to Muslim tradition, that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, after tying his horse to the rock that is now the center of the holy places. After Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem is the third holiest place of Islam.
For the Jews, of course, Jerusalem means the place where, some 2000 years ago, there stood the temple built by King Herod, a cruel half-Jew. A remnant of an outer wall still stands there and is revered as the “Western Wall”. It used to be called the “Wailing Wall”, and is the holiest place of the Jews.
Statesmen have tried to square the circle and find a solution. The 1947 United Nations committee that decreed the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state – a solution enthusiastically endorsed by the Jewish leadership – suggested separating Jerusalem from both states and constituting it as a separate unit within what was supposed to be in fact a kind of confederation.
The war of 1948 resulted in a divided city, the Eastern part was occupied by the Arab side (the Kingdom of Jordan) and the Western part became the capital of Israel. (My modest part was to fight in the battle for the road.)
No one liked the division of the city. So my friends and I devised a third solution, which by now has become a world consensus: keep the city united on the municipal level and divide it politically: the West as capital of the State of Israel, the East as capital of the State of Palestine. The leader of the local Palestinians, Faisal al-Husseini, the scion of a most distinguished local Palestinian family and the son of a national hero who was killed not far from my position in the same battle, endorsed this formula publicly. Yasser Arafat gave me his tacit consent.
If President Donald Trump had declared West Jerusalem the capital of Israel and moved his embassy there, almost nobody would have got excited. By omitting the word “West”, Trump ignited a fire. Perhaps without realizing what he was doing, and probably not giving a damn.
For me, the moving of the US embassy means nothing. It is a symbolic act that does not change reality. If and when peace does come, no one will care about some stupid act of a half-forgotten US president. Inshallah.
So there they were, this bunch of self-important nobodies, Israelis, Americans and those in-between, having their little festival, while rivers of blood were flowing in Gaza. Human beings were killed by the dozen and wounded by the thousand.
The ceremony started as a cynical meeting, which quickly became grotesque, and ended in being sinister. Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.
When the last hug was exchanged and the last compliment paid (especially to the graceful Ivanka), Gaza remained what it was – a huge concentration camp with severely overcrowded hospitals, lacking medicines and food, drinkable water and electricity.
A ridiculous world-wide propaganda campaign was let loose to counter the world-wide condemnation. For example: the story that the terrorist Hamas had compelled the Gazans to go and demonstrate – as if anyone could be compelled to risk their life in a demonstration.
Or: the story that Hamas paid every demonstrator 50 dollars. Would you risk your life for 50 dollars? Would anybody?
Or: The soldiers had no choice but to kill them, because they were storming the border fence. Actually, no one did so – the huge concentration of Israeli army brigades would have easily prevented it without shooting.
Almost forgotten was a small news item from the days before: Hamas had discreetly offered a Hudna for ten years. A Hudna is a sacred armistice, never to be broken. The Crusaders, our remote predecessors, had many Hudnas with their Arab enemies during their 200-year stay here.
Israeli leaders immediately rejected the offer.
So why were the soldiers ordered to kill? It is the same logic that has animated countless occupation regimes throughout history: make the “natives” so afraid that they will give up. Alas, the results have almost always been the very opposite: the oppressed have become more hardened, more resolute. This is happening now.
Bloody Monday may well be seen in future as the day when the Palestinians regained their national pride, their will to stand up and fight for their independence.
Strangely, the next day – the main day of the planned protest, Naqba Day – only two demonstrators were killed. Israeli diplomats abroad, facing world-wide indignation, had probably sent home SOS messages. Clearly the Israeli army had changed its orders. Non-lethal means were used and sufficed.
My conscience does not allow me to conclude this without some self-criticism.
I would have expected that all of Israel’s renowned writers would publish a thundering joint condemnation while the shooting was still going on. It did not happen.
The political “opposition” was contemptible. No word from the Labor party. No word from Ya’ir Lapid. The new leader of the Meretz party, Esther Sandberg, did at least boycott the Jerusalem celebration. Labor and Lapid did not even do that.
I would have expected that the dozens of our brave peace organizations would unite in a dramatic act of condemnation, an act that would arouse the world. It did not happen. Perhaps they were in a state of shock.
The next day, the excellent boys and girls of the peace groups demonstrated opposite the Likud office in Tel Aviv. Some 500 took part. Far, far from the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated some years ago against the price of cottage cheese.
In short: we did not do our duty. I accuse myself as much as I accuse everybody else.
We must prepare at once for the next atrocity. We must organize for mass action now!
But what topped everything was the huge machine of brain-washing that was set in motion. For many years I have not experienced anything like it.
Almost all the so-called “military correspondents” acted like army propaganda agents. Day by day they helped the army to spread lies and falsifications. The public had no alternative but to believe every word. Nobody told them otherwise.
The same is true for almost all other means of communication, program presenters, announcers and correspondents. They willingly became government liars. Probably many of them were ordered to do so by their bosses. Not a glorious chapter.
After the day of blood, when the army was faced with world condemnation and had to stop shooting (“only” killing two unarmed demonstrators) all Israeli media were united in declaring this a great Israeli victory.
Israel had to open the crossings and send food and medicines to Gaza. Egypt had to open its Gaza crossing and accept many hundreds of wounded for operations and other treatment.
The Day of Shame has passed. Until the next time.
by Uri Avnery May 21, 2018
Deep-sea trawling is not worth the fish hauled back to port. In an article from Mongabay, U.K. researchers said the technique did far too damage to the seafloor and populations of slow-breeding fish in exchange for meager amounts of consumable catch.In addition, the fishermen who practice this technique often under-report their actual catches. A lot of what they capture are immature or non-edible fish that get thrown away and end up wasted.
Malware called ‘Roaming Mantis’ that infects smartphones through wi-fi routers is rapidly spreading across the world after first emerging only a couple of months ago.
Through DNS hijacking, the malware uses compromised routers to infect Android smartphones and tablets, redirect iOS devices to a phishing site, and run CoinHive, a cryptomining script, on desktops and computers.
The grisly process of stamping out homeopathy (in the world, actually, Australia being the current target) herbal medicine and other ingestive therapies continues.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman is due to hand down his recommendations on the complaint that was submitted 2 years ago.
We have been advised that it would be politically potent to have 100,000 signatures notched up at around the same time.
We have 80.600 signatures, and about 6 weeks to get another 19,400.
We think we can do it.
Can you help?
You would find some interesting reading on the campaign website, about the bah humbug that’s going on, at www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au
Calcium is an essential mineral to our body, it is the building blocks to our bones and maintains bodily functions such as heart rhythm, nerve communication and the contraction and release of our muscles! Common knowledge tends to steer us towards dairy products as the ultimate source of calcium…
One of our recent releases on FMTV – ‘Got The Facts On Milk’ questions the conventional wisdom of the much publicised health benefits of dairy and milk. We know that calcium is super important for our health but what are some other sources of calcium besides dairy? We have put together a list for you of non-dairy calcium loaded foods!
Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water sources polluted and depleted and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being squeezed off their land and out of farming.
Blueberries may be tiny, but remarkable new studies tell us they’re one of the most powerful health-promoting foods on the planet. In fact, they’ve been found to fight heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Oh, and did I mention they’re also delicious?
I’ve been enjoying blueberries in oatmeal and chia porridge for years. But the more I learn about their incredible health benefits, the more of them I want to eat!
Wild or organic blueberries are usually best. But conventionally grown blueberries are fabulous for you, too. In fact, these studies were done on people who were, for the most part, eating conventionally grown blueberries — and they got stunning results that positively impacted a variety of health issues!
Surprisingly, studies have found that frozen blueberries contain as much or more health-boosting components than fresh ones, including vitamin C, anthocyanins, polyphenols, and other antioxidants.
This is probably because fresh berries lose some of their nutritional potency every day that passes after harvest. So whether you eat them fresh, frozen, or even dried, blueberries can be an outstanding addition to your healthy eating lifestyle.
The growth in the number of people with autism is staggering. If this were another health issue it would have attracted major government attention in order to solve it.
The whole article is well worth reading but here is the bottom line from a gold standard research project:
“This work reveals for the first time that early HBV vaccination induces impairments in behavior and hippocampal neurogenesis. This work provides innovative data supporting the long suspected potential association of HBV with certain neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and multiple sclerosis.”
Maintaining health does not include being drugged and beaten.
The Oakden Aged Mental Health facility in South Australia closed last year amidst headlines detailing the shocking conditions and care of its elderly residents including the use of restraints.
The horrific abuse exposed has resulted in the recent announcement by the federal government of a new watchdog agency to commence in early 2019. Called the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, their aim is to increase oversight in the sector, closing gaps that allowed abuse to go on for so long, unchecked.
South Australia’s chief psychiatrist found elderly dementia patients at the Oakden Mental Health facility were abused and neglected by their carers for over a decade. How this abuse could have gone on without detection by the office of the chief psychiatrist for so long is astounding. It is another indictment of the poor quality care that has plagued the mental health industry. Headlines of drugging the elderly with powerful drugs to keep them quiet and manageable have been across our media outlets for some years.
The investigation into Oakden Mental Health facility started when the family of Oakden patient Mr Bob Spriggs, raised concerns about unexplained bruises and over-drugging, specifically he was prescribed 500mg of the antipsychotic Seroquel instead of 50mg. Seroquel can cause heart problems and is known to increase the risk of death in dementia patients.
Other families then came forward with their stories about their relatives in Oakden.
South Australian anti-corruption commissioner released a scathing report about the care and management of Oakden. Maladministration findings were also levelled at five individuals and the public authority overseeing Oakden facility.
The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will do unannounced inspections of aged care facilities and those who break rules will be named and shamed on an on-line register.
To find out more about the potential dangers of psychiatric drugs including for the elderly click on this link: