Jayce Salloum on Thu, 20 Jul 2006 10:02:14 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-ro] [spectre] pal/leb/isr

Dear all, 

People here are asking what they can do, feeling helpless in respect to the
recent actions in Palestine and Lebanon and all of the ensuing
'double-speak' from politicians and the press, seems like 1984 all over
again Orwellian style. A 'media cleansing' is taking place (as usual), it
must be illegal to show dead and wounded Arabs or their suffering. We are
inundated with reports from Israel as their perspective & situation leads
off most news stories, lots of compassion shown there. When was the last
time we saw images/reports of the death and destruction happening in Gaza. A
convenient time for slaughter, as if Palestinians don't count. And why are
we not seeing images of the dead and wounded in Lebanon (see the last
website listed below)?

If we undertake the seemingly futile task of writing letters to our
politicians around the world to put pressure on the Israeli's, will that
accomplish anything? I think that if enough people speak up then at least
our politicians can lend a dissenting voice but I am not hopeful because
they are so incapable of seeing beyond Israel and America's agenda. And with
Israel proving once again to be the war-criminals that they are, they have
been doing this same type of murdering, annihilation/
militaristic-terroristic (in the true sense of the word) politiking for 60
years (starting formally with the Irgun & the Stern Gang). Both Palestine's
situation and Lebanon's can be linked in the sense of the historical and
contemporary perspective, and how Israel's agenda is similar with both
targets, to eliminate any secular and moderate voices and destroy as much
infrastructure as possible at any cost (then they say there is no one to
talk to), at least until they have a puppet government in place in both
countries, one that kowtows to the whims of Israel (and it's colony

So, to reiterate, we all need to write our local politicians. I think if we
all apply pressure to our  federal politicians that is the most direct way
of getting them to pay attention. Then maybe they will force our "leaders"
to see some of the reality of the situation which they are truly missing.
Unequivocal  support of Israel is stupefying, unbelievable, so damn wrong.
Also, it would be useful to send it to the opposition leaders and their
Foreign Affairs people in each of the parties, and of course as much global
press/editors as one possibly can. For Canadians, I've pasted some of
Adala's at the end of this missive.

In this case I don't think petitions are helpful except to assuage our
feelings of helplessness and to relieve us of the feeling of needing to do
anything else. But I've signed it anyway, it can't hurt:

And here's the CNN poll: if "Israeli Offensive on Lebanon is justified".
Bush probably takes more notice of this as it's easy viewed in full colour
for adults and children alike.

Israel's monstrous legacy brings tumult a step closer by David Hirst

No peace for Israel without justice for the Palestinians, by Saree Makdisi

Echoes of 1948 and 1967, Israel's Latest Bureaucratic Obscenity

Israel acts according to a ready script, by Jonathan Cook

What Does Israel Want?, by Ilan Pappe

Israel, the US and the New Orientalism by M. SHAHID ALAM

>From The Lebanese People To The So Called ³Civilized² West "Thank You"
(Warning: the images here are disturbing in more ways than one)

I've also pasted some texts (excerpts from emails etc) below from friends
living in Lebanon for your perusal.

So if you feel so inclined, write a letter and send it to everyone you know.
Then the snowball effect may have some weight.


7/17, Day 5 of the Siege part 2, from Rasha

..It's 3:30 am. Perhaps past that time, I don't know. I could not sleep from
the shelling. It's not the intense quantity of shells falling, no, it's 10
to 12 shells every hour or hour and the half. They augment the
nerve-wrecking aspect: they don't focus shelling one one zone, with one
objective. It's wounds inflicted over time and time, the length of a week...
It's been a really, really rough night. Where do I begin with what you will
not hear? With what you will not know and what will be hidden from your

The air raids over the Beqaa did not really stop all day today. The raids
and shelling over Tyre were also really bad. Saida was shelled and bridges
and roads leading to the south. The mountains were shelled as well,
specifically bridges.There seemed to be a lull of sorts in the late
afternoon. But as soon as the sun set, the air raids over the southern
suburbs returned. By now the IDF knows that there are only civilians, that
the Hezbollah leadership is elsewhere in hiding. But they have express
missive from the US to kill Hassan Nasrallah (according the largest
circulating Israeli daily, Maariv). At night, the Jamhour area was
targetted. It is where the Lebanese Ministry of Defense is located, the
Military School, and the power station feeding Beirut and its surrounding
mountains. The power station was targetted and hit, but there was a
"mistake" and the shells reached the Military School and barracks
surrounding it. 100 soldiers are now injured, a dozen are dead. The power
station was hit and the larger share of Beirut is under the cover of

Air raids are also shelling the Beqaa valley. However, the most horrific
news is that the inhabitants of 'Ayta el-Shaab (the first village where the
IDF tried to make a land incursion but was swiftly defeated by Hezbollah)
are being told by loudspeakers and other means that they should evacuate
their village by dawn or else they will all be crushed by airplanes, tanks
and shelling. It's like 1948 again... They want everyone out. The village
has now 3,000 people still left. The elderly and the wounded have been
evacuated to another village. It's the "buffer zone" they want to "clear".
Most don't have cars to evacuate. If you want to see a replay of the 1948
expulsion of peasants under fire, tune in to Lebanon. If you don't scream
your outrage and make sure some things are NOT acceptable..
7/17/06 from Laura in Beirut:

"..You can also write to the PM and Foreign Minister or to your US
equivalents and
tell them Israel¹s offensive is killing innocent Lebanese and bombing the
country back 20 years, at cost to this country of $8 billion a day?seems a
pretty idiotic way to go after Hizballah, which does not represent Lebanon.
It appears that  Israel is using phosphorous incendiary bombs, which suck
the air out of a building and don¹t stop burning, on civilians, this is
illegal of course. It might make a difference that 7 (or 8) of the people
killed in the south yesterday were Canadian ­but since they are
Lebanese-Canadian maybe they¹re not considered to count. And how about
asking our governments to contribute to Lebanon¹s multi-billion

Let me reiterate that Israel is bombing things that have nothing to do with
Hizballah but only with immiserating the Lebanese. Why bomb the
Beirut-Damascus highway? Does Hizb allah bring arms in through Lebanese
constoms? Of course not?it¹s just to make it impossible for people trying to
leave. Ditto the airport and the port?Hizb allah doesn¹t use them. It¹s to
punish the Lebanese people and turn them against Hizb allah, but the reverse
may be happening. So this means Is. Is probably going to hit us even harder
in the next few days while they still have the green light from the US.."
7/14/06 Rasha's letter from Beirut

?Why are the politicians discussing sending an International force to
Lebanon to stop attacks on Israel when there has never been such a force
sent to stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza & the West Bank after years of the
Palestinians requesting such a force?
?How can journalists based in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv accurately report what is
happening in Lebanon or the Palestinian territories, when aside from
distance and not seeing the situation on the ground, everything they write
is subject to censorship from the Israeli military?
?Afraid to play the numbers game or face reality? Why is the media so
biased/prejudiced in its coverage, as if this is a war and the warring sides
are armed evenly, and as if the deaths and injuries are equal on both sides?
i.e.  It must be that 100 Lebanese or Palestinian deaths are equal to 1
Israeli death.
?Why are Hizballah's missiles described on BBC as "Iranian missiles" but
Israeli bombs never mentioned as being American bombs?
?Why can't this conflict be seen in a larger regional and historical context
by the media?
?Aren't captured soldiers legitimate targets/POWs (prisoners of war), thus
justifiably held in  exchange for the hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese
prisoners illegally imprisoned for years in Israeli prisons and detention

>From Adala (edited):

The civilian death toll is increasing at an alarming rate. The attacks have
destroyed dozens of bridges, a television station, and Beirut International
Airport, the only international airport in the country.

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, "No protected person may
be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.
Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of
terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against
protected persons and their property are prohibited." Under the 1949 Geneva
Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime.

The 'International Red Cross Comment' says, "Parties to a conflict often
would resort to 'intimidatory measures to terrorize the population' in hopes
of preventing hostile acts, but such practices 'strike at guilty and
innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and

The Prime Minister of Canada recently issued a statement in support of
Israeli actions. This is tantamount to supporting war crimes being currently
committed against a largely defenseless civilian population. This goes
against everything that Canada stands for and our commitment as a
law-abiding and law-supporting nation. We urge the Prime Minister to
reconsider his unfortunate statements.

You can find out who your member of parliament is by inputting your postal
code at this website:

Others to send emails to: (Compiled from the list below):
Harper.S@parl.gc.ca, pm@pm.gc.ca, MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca,
alghabra.o@parl.gc.ca, Mourani.Ma@parl.gc.ca, Obhrai.D@parl.gc.ca,
Obhrai.D@parl.gc.ca, VanLoan.P@parl.gc.ca, Martin.Paul@parl.gc.ca,
Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca, Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

And others not on list below to also send emails to include:
Fry.H@parl.gc.ca, gregor.robertson.mla@leg.bc.ca, Letters@globeandmail.com,
Alghabra.O@parl.gc.ca, Mourani.Ma@parl.gc.ca
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada,

Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
ph (613) 992-6022

Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
ph: (613) 947-4566

Peter Van Loan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
ph: (613) 996-7752

Bill Graham, Leader of the Federal Liberal Party
ph: (613) 992-4284

Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Federal Bloc Québécois
ph: (613) 992-6779

Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party
ph: (613) 995-7224

Adala's sample letter:

Israel is committing murderous attacks against Palestinian and Lebanese
civilians. As of today, Israeli forces have massacred over 200 Lebanese
innocent civilians including entire families. Even civilians fleeing the war
zones were not spared Israeli bombings. The civilian death toll is
increasing at an alarming rate.

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, "No protected person may
be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.
Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of
terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against
protected persons and their property are prohibited." Under the 1949 Geneva
Conventions collective punishments are a war crime.

The 'International Red Cross Comment' says, "Parties to a conflict often
would resort to 'intimidatory measures to terrorize the population' in hopes
of preventing hostile acts, but such practices 'strike at guilty andinnocent
alike. They are opposed to all principles based on     humanity and

I call on the Canadian government to condemn these illegal and utterly
immoral Israeli attacks and to demand that the Israeli government cease this
unjustifiable madness. I also call on the Canadian government to immediately
suspend all arm sales to Israel.


7/18/06 via Emily Jacir: Subject: Beirut Update 3
from my friend zena in beirut, love to you all. emily

Today I drove through downtown on my way to visit my parents. I was driving
alone and was a bit nervous. First time in a car alone since this whole
thing started... But I had to see my parents.

I came across a red light and stopped. The streets were empty, and I caught
myself wondering why I stopped and didn't just go through. Streets were
totally empty; no other cars, no traffic police. Then I remembered my latest
policy that is helping to keep me sane; that even under attack, we should
not lose our manners. That even under attack, there are still some
regulations we should abide by. Somehow, by not crossing the red light, I
was able to maintain some dignity.

Then I looked into my rearview mirror and saw other cars approaching. I
closed my eyes and in a fit of prayer wished that they would stop too. That
somehow, if they didn't cross the light, it would indicate that somehow we
are all thinking the same. I know most of you have heard about Lebanese
drivers.. They never stop at red lights! Ladies and Gentlemen, today, they

I opened my eyes and and then burst into tears. All the cars had stopped.
Everyone was behaving. It was a ray of hope today. Haha, the little things
that make you happy. I turned and smiled and nodded my head to the other
drivers. Maybe they thought this bleached blond was flirting with them.

I don't want to write about all the miserable moments I had today. They were
too many. And how can I find the words to really express my despair?

I don't want to write about the tears that fell when I heard about how the
Israeli army bombed food storages today. They bombed wheat silos and
vegetable storages. Now they want to starve us to death? About how they are
now targeting Lebanese army outposts. Lebanese army who are not even
fighting them. About the planes that are flying so low. About how my house
starts to shake every time a bomb drops. About my worries now about food and
water shortages. About the refugees who have lost so much, who are now
living on the streets.

The biggest threat today has been to bomb our main electrical plant. The
very same one they blew up a few years ago. If that one goes, we are without
electricity. I remember that summer... It was long and hot. I don't know
what I would do without internet. Dear friends, if you don't hear from me
after this email it is only because I no longer have access.

I don't want to write about the cramp in my heart every time I hear the
death toll rising. So many children!! I don't want to write about how
everything I have spent my whole life working for has disappeared in a
matter of days. A matter of days..my whole life has changed.

My whole life has changed and I did not ask for it. My whole life has
changed without my consent. My whole life has changed because someone, not
me, decided they were going to change it. Who said they could? Why didn't
they ask me? I was supposed to be camping in the mountains (Chouf) this
week. I was supposed to be working on a proposal to bring a New York artist
out here next summer. It was supposed to be a surprise; I was going to set
the whole thing up, get the funding and surprise him with it. People bought
artwork from me, I am supposed to cash my checks. I am supposed to deliver
art to people.

Two bombs just went off. My windows are shaking. Stupid me, I closed them to
stop the mosquitoes from coming in. thank God they didn't just shatter. My
heart, my heart is another story.

We are doing the best we can to help those in need. We are all playing our
respective roles... Finding roles to play. My sister has been working with
the Zicco House/ Helem rescue point. They have gotten a bank account open to
accept donations so they can buy food, medicine, water, blankets, and
mattresses. The ministries of heath and social affairs have proven to be
ineffective. It is up to the civil society now to help out.

Two temporary bank accounts are now dedicated for donations:

Credit Libanais S.A.L Beyrouth
Agence Sassine
Client Name: Al Azzi Georges
Account number:

SGBL Hamra Branch
Client Name: CHIT Bassem
Account: 007.004.367.092.875.014

I can not thank you all enough for all your wonderful emails. They are
filling me with life. Please forward the news... I am so tired. But as long
as I have electricity and internet, I will continue to write. Until I lose
my mind... Maybe by then I can get back into my studio again and paint.

To any Israelis who may read this. I have not learned to hate. I still
believe in humanity. Violence begets violence. I know there are some of you
protesting this. Thank you.

With love,
Zena el-Khalil

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