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The value of life in Palestine

By Nina Butler, Ramallah

Days are short in Palestine. It is pitch black by 5pm and winter has not yet even solidified over the barren, beige land, scarred with barbed wire and mountains of trash.

Lives are short here too.

At 6pm last night I received a call from a local friend in Ramallah to inform me that Rushdi Tamimi had passed after being shot twice by Israeli soldiers the previous day, and that people were amassing at the hospital in commiseration. Collectively in the bland parking lot of Ramallah Hospital, Palestinians attempted to scrape together some narrative and coherency from yet another meaningless, unaccounted for and unrecorded death.

There were no hot-shot journos milling about with the family over plastic cups of instant coffee and silent weeping. The mercurochrome hospital lobby stood empty as this is not a news-making story. They were chasing rockets and international diplomats.

Funeral for Rushdi Tamimi

Instead, Tamimi was a young man from Nabi Saleh, a small and impoverished village about 30 minutes from Ramallah. His life has been structured by the checkpoint outside his backyard where 18-year-old bored Israeli soldiers decide who is accorded the dignity of freedom of movement and speech. He never left the West Bank — he had the wrong coloured ID pass, which he carried with him at all times should a soldier, at a whim, demand of Rushdi Tamimi that he provide proof of Rushdi Tamimi.

As Gaza goes up in flames, Palestinians of the West Bank have been struggling against the chains of occupation to do something; to do anything. Ramallah, the “seat of Palestinian power” and Palestinian Authority headquarters is entirely impotent and inert to in anyway protect, serve or even provide for Palestinians in Gaza, let alone intervene to halt the Israeli assault.

At the time of writing, 116 Palestinians have been killed, including the massacre of two entire families in their residential homes, 25 mosques have been targeted, the Gazan media centre has been repeatedly decimated, a school bombed, residential areas targeted, and the central bank in Gaza City destroyed. Three Israelis were killed on the first day of violence.

Gaza is an isolated, overpopulated, impoverished, militarised open-air prison. A large percentage of the overall population of 1.7 million are third-generation Palestinian refugees, who were ethnically cleansed from their homes and villages in the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948. Israel has imposed an inhumane blockade on Gaza since 2006, disallowing the flow of food aid, medical supplies and construction materials among other necessities of life and dignity.

Israel maintains a complete monopoly over the flow of Palestinian bodies here too — no one is allowed out and no Palestinian from the other West Bank territories is allowed in. The “checkpoints” strategically dotted across the country are the gates to the prison and every single one is Israeli controlled, in Gaza and in the West Bank. It is an advanced system of encirclement, suffocation and dehumanisation.

So as the ghastly events have unfolded over the past days, Palestinians here in Ramallah have been bolted to their seats and forced to merely watch the horrific destruction. Moreover, their pain and outrage has been silenced and deemed unfounded by the one-sided media coverage from global media power-houses such as the BBC, CNN and the New York Times. We are informed of Israel’s right to self-defence and the trauma Israelis in Tel Aviv and southern Israel are suffering. What has been occurring in the West Bank has been largely unreported.

In all villages and towns across Palestinian territories protests and marches have been called for daily. It is unclear who really does the initiating and there are multiple sources of mobilisation, including Fatah and the Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee. As the crowds in town squares and focal points start to thin out, students jump into cheap taxi minibuses called “service” and speed to checkpoints. Armed with nothing but courage, lost youth and burning frustration, they seek to draw out soldiers and create some kind of confrontation.
The balance of force in these events is heartbreakingly uneven. IDF solders are armed with the most advanced military weaponry in the world, and as one can see in this amateur video capturing the shooting of Tamimi in Nabi Saleh, they are “attacked” by desperate children and young adults in jeans and torn T-shirts.

If you think this is utter stupidity — I could not agree with you more. There is no logic to throwing yourself in the line of a force such as this.

But what else do they do? Their brothers and sisters in Gaza are being massacred and they are powerless. Their life in the West Bank is untenable and there is no sure sight of change or resolution.

Tamimi’s sister and other relatives mourn

Furthermore, the umbrella Palestinian representative, the PA has been shown over years of the humiliating Middle East Peace Process negotiations to have been entirely outmanoeuvred, outmuscled and economically and politically trumped. The release of the “Palestine Papers” in 2011 show they have been prepared to even give up the demand to address the heartbeat of Palestinian injustices — the right of return of the 1948 refugees.

As cease-fire negotiations are deliberated over in Egypt, not only are lives continuously being taken in Gaza, but in the West bank too: three fatalities have been confirmed and about 50 injuries, several of which are severe to critical. But it is not just the number of actual corpses that is so distressing, it is the lack of value of life here and in Gaza. The sheer incoherency and emptiness of existence is at the apex of the overall crime of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

So what does peace and political negotiation to end the Gaza conflict 2012 mean in such a context of lifelessness and moral depravity? What is left for Tamimi’s younger brothers when Ban Ki-moon and Hillary Clinton jet out and Israel declares a return to normality? Will their life have value? What kind of “normality” does the world leave Palestinians to cling to?

That’s just it. There is no normalcy here, and Israel should not be engaged with on the premise of being a normal, civil state if there are to be any scraps of stolen hope left in the wretched lives of Palestinians.

Nina Butler is a MA student at Rhodes University currently in Palestine for research purposes.

Article re-blogged:

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  • These Gaza days
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    • Doctor

      Thank you Nina. Brave writing.

      Worse than the evil, is the silence of the good.

      The Israeli Lobby in SA were successful in getting a Palestinian Solidarity billboard on the M1 in SA taken down. What do they have to hide?

      No matter what the ANC in this country does, the party will always have my vote simply because of their solidarity with Palestine.

    • Ben Levitas

      Your argument lacks credibilty, when Hamas taunts Israeli soldiers by saying “we love death more than you love life”. Palestinians are aiming rockets blindly at causing maximum civilian deaths. If Israel did not have Iron Dome, Israeli deaths would have been in the thousands. Today Hamas blessed the bomber who blew up a bus in Tel; Aviv. There is NO inhuman blockade on Gaza. Israel supplies water, electricity and food. 14,500 Gazans received medical treatment in Israel these past few months-even now Israel is treating Gazans with the same medical treatment for Israelis. No one is starving in Gaza. The pictures show well fed, if not overweight civilians and stores full of food. If it was true that Gazans are suffering, then how come they have acquired 20,000 rockets and untold other weapons. Gazans revel in death and are not embarrased to show corpses to the media. They have just killed 6 collaborators-thats how much they love life?

    • Mr. Direct

      Neither side is right, and neither side is wrong. One suffers more than the other however. Once claims illegal settlement, the other claims spoils of war.

      I just cannot believe that after so many years, there has been no agreement between the two. Even after all of the fear, hate and death that this conflict has created, and promises to create in the future.

      It is no longer important who started it, who is right and who is wrong, just end it already…

      Shame on humanity for allowing this to carry on for so long, shame on all of us…

    • Paul Wessels

      Levitas: your being lacks humanity. Do you know what Hamas call their admirable resistance to Israeli terrorism? Shale Stones, in ref to scriptural account of birds dropping stones on enemy army. Poetic justice. And speaking of justice of the Hague kind, the 29th of November is only eight days away.

    • Benjamin

      @Ben: If you keep on repeating a lie, eventually it becomes the truth in your mind. I will pray that you eventually see the light.

      This author is in Gaza describing what she is seeing. Yet, you deny it. The people of the original land of Palestine are people too. Read that, and let it sink in.

    • Lourens De Vos

      The one sided finger pointing from Nina Butler is so typical from the Palestinians and their supporters.The Palestinians are mainly there since they are refugees from their so called Arab brothers who do not want them. The average lifespan of Palestinians are higher than at any other area in the Arab world dominated by fanatical Muslims. They have better health care, education, freedom etc. If the average peace loving Palestinian want peace, why do the masses not rebel against Hamas who are the real instigators of all the violence as they hide like cowards among innocent civilians. Come on Palestinians show us what you’re made of. If you can get rid of Hamas the Israelis will never attack them in your areas. Be brave and stop blaming Israel for your woes. They’re doing the best they can to help you. However, you cannot blame them for the road blocks to try and stop the cowardly suicide bombers. Wake up , your greatest enemy is already among you.

    • Joe Soap

      If only America would stop its massive military and financial support for Israel, the Israeli government would be forced to stop their illegal occupation of Palestine and talk peace. But the US needs Israel as a military base by proxy to protect its Middle East oil interests.

    • Joe Soap

      One more comment. The powerful ‘Israel lobby’ in America is a myth. There are other reasons the US supports Israel.

      “Chomsky asks a useful question. If the US has been led to behave the way it does in the Middle East by the cunning “Israel Lobby”, how come it behaves the same way elsewhere? “What were ‘the Lobbies’ that led to pursuing very similar policies throughout the world?” As for the Middle East, Chomsky quotes the scholar Stephen Zunes: “There are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does Aipac [or the Lobby generally], such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby …”

    • Larry Lachman

      The potential for peace and understanding, and truth, is constantly undermined by emotional deficiency of limited context in the Palestinian israeli context. The author is a prime example. Countless stories from both sides will invoke equal outrage, depending on the audience, but serves only to polarise and condemn.

      The Palestinians and their advocates always conveniently ignore the full context of ‘how they came to be in their situation’ as if there was no cause and effect to the conflict.
      Simply put, Israel came into being by UN ratification, and was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbours. These attacks, ranging from terrorist attacks on innocent civilians to full scale military mobilisations from all sides, were perpetrated only because of Israel’s existence. This is proven by the many incidences prior to Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Gaza and the West Bank after the 1967 war. Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza legitimately, and the context of “War against Occupation” touted by pro-Palestinian writers is patently false and confusing, as it remains “war against the existence of Israel”.

      If it is a war, then Palestinians must not complain about the depravities visited upon them, as it is by their choice that they suffer these depravities. They have brought it upon themselves. They choose to suffer rather than make peace with Israel and accept Israel’s existence and its Jewish character.

      In other words, spare us the sob stories and we will spare you…

    • Mission

      21 November 2012: “Hamas Terrorists Observe Ceasefire by Firing 20 Rockets into Israel”. Hammas then gets to claim ‘victory’. At who’s expense? The UN – NOT ISRAEL- has urged MAXIMUM RESTRAINT. Get your head out of the desert sand.

    • Joan soap

      I don’t think this article denies or deals with Hamas and their obviously problematic human rights record and violent rhetoric. But that is not the point. The point is that Hamas is ONE factional party that holds power over less that a quarter of Palestinians. Hamas rules only Gaza. The majority of Palestinians are not represented by them nor do they wish to be. I think the vicious and unfounded comments above from people condemning all Palestinians as if they were Hamas is just plain ignorant racism. You are blanketing over a diverse and multicultural society by focusing on one extreme element and then justifying the persecution of the whole society on this basis.

    • Enough Said

      In the War of 1947 when the Israeli’s were kicking Palestinians off where they had lived for thousands of years, the Israeli’s destroyed 450 Palestinian villages and created 750 000 Palestinians refugees. And ever since then Israel has continued building illegal settlements on Palestinian land, which is contrary to international law.

      That could be sorted out if there was not big corporate money that benefited from keeping the Palestinian/Israeli conflict going. War pays big profits and keeps certain powerful interests in control of global geopolitics.

    • Frans Verloop

      But Hamas WANTED the Israeli bombs to rain on Gaza. Why else did they start this mess by aiming rockets into Israel and position their rocket launchers in residential areas amongst the population? They knew exactly how Israel would respond and wanted plenty of gory Palestinian casualties to make the tv screens worldwide They know that there are plenty woolly-headed useful idiots in the West who will be blaming and agitating against Israel. They just wanted them to show again some signs of life and Nina Butler and others dutyfully and predictably obliged.

    • greatgodpan

      there will be no peace in palestine…….no one really wants peace……….emotions aside ..and i dont care how many pictures of dead palestinian or isreali children you post…..logically there are limited options….wipe isreal of the map…very difficult and dangerous…..or….wipe palestine of the map….easier and less dangerous as isreal could possibly do this right now…..or…..a two state solution….which the palestinians clearly will not allow………this conflict is decades old……choosing sides and tit for tat over who did what when and how and who is right and who is wrong offers no solutions at all…………many other nations have been interfering,politicizing and militarizing the middle east for decades…and will continue to do so……black or white chess pieces are not inherantly more or less evil than each other…the game of chess is the evil……so choosing a side is equaly unethical and ultimatly choosing evil……………the mid east is dirty realpolitik at its most filthy……same evil game being played by all players….and there are many players………..some visible others not so visible……

    • Lennon

      While I don’t much care for the IDF’s heavy bombing campaigns, I can’t say that I agree with the insane number rockets coming out of Gaza either.

      To think that this started because some idiot decided it would be fun to fire an anti-tank rocket at a couple of IDF troopers in a Jeep. I don’t know if said idiot was a member of Hamas. If he was, then Hamas has a lot of explaining to do. If not, then Hamas really ought to find the bugger because his actions have brought nothing but death and destruction to both Israel and Palestine.

    • Mr. Direct

      @Larry Lachman

      So UN ratified Israel as a country.

      If you suggest this holds weight in your argument, then so will UN Resolution 394, 446, 997, 1002, 2253, 2254, 2443, 2535, 2546, 2628, 2727, 2792, 3236, 3240, 31/20, 31/61, 33/29, 34/70, 37/132, 38/180, 42/209, 43/504.

      All of above call for the end to the Palestinian suffering and Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories – all ignored.

      I do not think firing rockets at civilians is the answer either.

      How can it be that NO economic sanctions are imposed on Israel for their breach of UN resolutions (by the way there are more unanswered resolutions on Nuclear Inspections in Israel).

      Calls for sanctions against Israel will vetoed by the USA, because it is not in their financial interests. So as long as the USA is making a few dollars, the Israeli and Palestinian people will suffer.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Unless one hell of a lot has changed over the past few years, lumping the West Bank and Gaza into one homogeneous group is very wrong. The two places are light years different. It is also wrong to say that the vast majority of those in Gaza are people who were moved out of Israel. Most of them are second generation Syrians and Iranians

      I don’t know if there is a testosterone problem in the area or if there is something in the water but both sides of this conflict are pig headed and wrong. You’d think that two groups of people with so many similarities would be best of pals. They even may have been if their nosy neighbors and the Yanks had left them to sort things out between themselves.

    • Joe Soap

      Joan dear

      Hamas voters from the Westbank, Gaza and East Jerusalem is enough for me to say they have the majority in the Palestinian parliament.

      1) Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in … › World › Middle East
      27 Jan 2006 – 26 — The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results …

      2) Palestinian legislative election, 2006 – Wikipedia, the free …,_2006
      Palestinian voters in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem were eligible to participate in the election. Final results show that Hamas won …

      Electoral system – Parties participating – Results – Aftermath
      BBC NEWS | Middle East | Hamas sweeps to election victory
      26 Jan 2006 – Islamic militant group Hamas has won a surprise victory in Wednesday’s Palestinian parliamentary elections. Preliminary results give Hamas …



    • Wildcat

      Does anyone know what happened to all the millions of dollars given to Arafat by the West all those years ago? Those funds were meant to help the Palestinians, but instead they are still living like refugees, and the numbers keep soaring. I wonder sometimes if some people don’t just enjoy their victim mentality…

    • Pingback: The value of Palestinian existence and ‘normality’ under Israeli occupation | ninabutler()

    • The Creator

      The really horrifying thing is that many of the people who are supporting the Israeli tyranny over the Palestinians are South Africans, who would presumably claim that they never supported racism and definitely, definitely never benefited from apartheid. (Ironically, Mr. Levitas, was once a member of a nominally anti-apartheid organisation called Jews for Justice.)

      It seems that some people really have learned nothing from experience. If you endorse tyranny, torture and murder, you cannot ever cleanse your soul.

    • Larry Lachman

      @Mr Direct,

      With all the conflicts in this world, some creating much worse atrocities than that apportioned to Israel, such as that being visited upon Syrians by their own despotic unelected government; – why is it that so many UN resolutions against Israel have been passed? The reason is easily identified by the clutter of Third World and Islamic countries which outnumber first world democracies. Ironically, these anti-Israel blocs, who are largely undemocratic regimes, flourish under the democratic auspices of the UN, only to pervert it. It is a deeply flawed world body for this reason, and therefore we have the superpower veto to balance the rubbish resolutions that would otherwise be passed.

      International law and UN resolutions against Israel would be abided by if they were not the ‘suicide pact’ which would result in the demise of Israel.

    • Larry Lachman

      The question should also be asked as to the value of life in Palestine, as pertaining to how Palestinians of the fundamentalist Islamic clan, are willing to risk the lives of their brethren, and in most cases engineer their deaths, by attacking Israel knowing full well of the consequences of retaliation.

      This most despicable form of warfare is basically “PERFIDY”, which means that death is sought within ones own side so as to achieve condemnation against the enemy. hamas has perpetrated this twice now. It is a war crime of the worst magnitude, and goes far in showing the low value of life, or rather the value in death held by Palestinians in Palestine.

    • beachcomber

      Bleat, bleat, bleat …. I am sick and tired of the endless Moslem victim mentality.

      And not once in this little emotional rant was there mention of hamas and wiping Israel off the face of the earth,

      Stop firing rockets at innocent citizens in Israel from under civilian cover and you will stop having ‘collateral damage’.

    • freegaza fromhamas

      Unfortunately, there wont be peace between Gaza and Israel until the ‘palestinian’ people accept and can recognize and live next to a Jewish State.

      They didnt want a Jewish State in 1948 and they dont want one now. If they accepted the Jewish State then, they would have had a lot more land and wouldnt be so called ‘refugees’. Unfortunately from day one they went to war, and lost, and went to war again and lost and eventually lost more land. There war cry is ‘from the river, to the sea, palestine will be free’ (from the jordan river to the mediterraean sea) – they want the whole land. They dont want part of it, they dont want Jerusalem – They want the land called ISRAEL.

      Why are there blockades and restrictions on palestinian people? 133 suicide bombers in five years (2000-2004) walked into Israel and blew themselves up in restaurants, nightclubs, at weddings, on buses (like we saw the other day in Israel) + many more hundreds that were successfully stopped that killed more than 600 young, old Israelis. Since the wall has been put up there is something like 15 suicide bombers since 2005.

      Instead of buying rockets, if they cared about their people and built a land for the people, it could be just as successful as Israel has become in the past 63 years. Look at all the Science and technology discoveries that is coming out of Israel. They have been able to turn a desert into a lushing beautiful greenery where people can live.

      A few people in gaza ruin it for…

    • ntozakhona

      Amidst the cacophony of accusations and counter accusations one fundamental fact is getting lost – Israel has no right to lord it over Palestinians by force. Remove that element from the equation and see if violence will not drastically subside and even end. It happened in South Africa when statutory apartheid was removed.

    • Enough Said

      1) Peace Child Israel: Jewish and Arab Students Perform “West Side Story” in Israel

      – Jewish and Arab Students Learn Values of Coexistence through Theater – watch this production here:

      2) Jewish Voice for Peace

      “Boston Jews to Protest “Rally to Support Israel”, Call for Inclusive, Compassionate Jewish Community”

      “Killing children in Gaza will not protect children in Sderot,” said Liza Behrendt, an organizer with JVP Boston. “Now is a time to call for a cessation of all violence, not to support the cycle of violence with a one-sided rally. We know that this ‘Rally to Support Israel’ is a rally not for peace, but for war.”


    • Mr. Direct

      @Larry Lachman

      I do not accept in the “look at them, they are worse” defence. Standing in court for murder saying; “Yes, but I only killed one person, these other guys killed thousands”.

      The problem is that Israel acted illegally in 1967, contravening international law. This gives the Palestinians right to be agrieved. The international community have subsequently failed to uphold said laws.

      On the topic of “PERFIDY”, what other strategies could they adopt? They cannot fight a war against the Israelis, so what other weapons do they have?

      @freegaza fromhamas: If Zimbabwe decided to take over parts of South Africa, moving you from your home, tearing it down, and then building beautiful new Zimbabwian owned houses. Implementing severe restriction of your movement, and strangling the economy. And every now and then, killed a few of your neighbours because they were part of your democratically elected government that they do not support. All the while the rest of the world stood by and watched. How long would it be before you decided to fight for freedom?

      Aimless rockets and suicide bombers killing civilians would not be part of my battle plans though, if I decided to fight.

      @ntozakhona: agreed this is part of the problem, but most of the issues are tied up in the Israeli defence strategy, and is supported by the popular “war on terror” approach…

    • george orwell

      What country in the world would accept a 45 year military occupation and an economic blockade?

      This is what the Palestinians live with.

      Israel bans the Gazans from digging – so they cannot even dig bomb shelters to take cover from the high-tech missiles shot by Israel’s state-of-the-art drones, air bombers and navy ships. This was noted by human rights activist Norwegian Dr Mads Gilbert who treats missile casualties at Gaza emergency unit.

      Israelis at least have access to bomb shelters. Perhaps this is why 6 Israelis have died, versus 160 Gazans (including babies, children and – this week alone – two 16 year olds and a 14 year old). Precision bombing?

      Why do US taxpayers allow their government to send $3-billion of their tax money to Israel annually? Are Americans even aware their money goes towards squashing the uppity natives in the bantustans?

      It’s in US interests to keep Israel as a ‘military base’ of course. Do Israelis mind this cynicism?

      Thank god the US didn’t fund the apartheid government to wallop the bantustans in this fashion!

      Israel throws lots of PR money at the hasbara Israeli spokesmen that popped up on TV channels to market the Israeli line. One hardly hears the Palestinian point of view on corporate media, which tells you a lot.

      Journalists must give us details of the Israeli arsenal that the Gazans are subjected to. This will include who finances it, types of planes, drones, bombs, artillery, navy, white phosphorus and the…

    • Cross Culture

      The ‘poor Palestinians’ are victims of an indoctrination that drives people to hate and kill in the name of a ‘religion ‘ and caught up in the sheer iniquity and madness of their power-hungry leaders.
      (Many of us did not vote ANC. We don’t want Zuma as a leader. But we are caught up in ‘majority rule’ – as are the victims of crime, illegal protests etc. in this country.)

      Why is nothing said about the rockets that have rained down for years on Israeli civilians daily as a matter of course? Why is nothing said about people wanting not only the annihilation of Israel – but of all Jews? Why is nothing said about the fact that they are terrorists? They kill innocent people.
      Look at the atrocities committed in the name of this ‘religion': Never mind 9/11. There are daily reports of suicide bombers blowing up mosques in Afhanistan.
      Why don’t their leaders, lead by example and blow themselves up first?
      Why are the so-called ‘good Muslims’ so quiet about the abominations committed in their name by ‘fundamentalists’? Why do they rejoice at the news of death and destruction?

      Israel is a tiny strip of land compared with the magnitude of the surrounding Arab countries. Why haven’t any of them taken the ‘poor Palestinians’ in? Neither has ‘Palestine’ ever been an autonomous country. It is being ‘played’ for political gain.
      Any implementation of Sharia law is the end of civilisation as we know it.

    • Larry Lachman

      @George Orwell, if the Gazans can dig tunnels for smuggling armaments then they can dig bomb shelters.

      @ Mr Direct, PERFIDY is the act of sacrificing your own women and children for a military and propaganda advantage. If this is all Hamas can do to further their aims of eradicating Israel then they may as well be lemmings committing mass suicide. In essence, they kill their own people, – something like throwing your child in front of a speeding car because you want to stop the car.
      Many love to claim that Israel does not value Palestinian life. The honest truth is that Israel values Palestinian life to a far greater extent than Hamas values Palestinian life.

      By their own admission: “We love death.”

      Islamic universities should offer free bursaries for Psychiatry graduates because the whole of Islam has gone insane.

    • The Realist

      @Larry Latchman

      You live in a very funny (macabre) world. One day step out into the real world, it is far better than you think. :-)

    • ConCision

      The Gates of Hell

      …. “All must adhere to our image
      Suicide bombers will lead the way
      We’ll impel indoctrinated practice
      Insanity and ignorance will have its say.
      Without respect for life, we’ll destroy and kill
      We’ll strike over and over again
      Till we get our way, till we impose our will
      Only then will we cease – only then.” ….

      In the timeless stillness of no future or no past
      Will they hang forever in shame?
      Will these religious maniacs be accountable
      The demons who were to blame?

      Will those who by their acquiescence
      Shrouded evil with a religious name
      Share the penalty of ending civilization
      Evolved to protect and proclaim?

      But all spirit is regained and retained
      And the iniquity of each fanatic weighed
      And for those whose delusions destroy life itself
      An undreamed-of debt remains to be paid.

    • Jack Sparrow

      It seems to me that no journalist or commentator can be neutral in this conflict. I suspect the truth is that both parties have a long and difficult history that has made them hard headed, sensitive to any slight and ready to fight by whatever means at their disposal. Until both sides learn tolerance and that each needs to give up something (land or ideology) to have peace, conflict seems certain to continue. People araound the world taking sides doesn’t help.

    • jandr0

      @The Realist:

      You live in a very funny (macabre) world. One day step out into the real world, it is far better than you think. :-)

      You see, the same can be said to you.

      I would like to see the killing stop – on all sides!. However, in my recollection, every time a peace process went off the tracks, it does not appear to be that it was because of something initiated by Israel. While I feel empathy for the Palestinians, it does appear to me as if they are their own worst enemies.

      And what happens after that, is that young kids get indoctrinated with hatred. Hatred will not solve it. Presenting basically only one side of the issue (as in the “Thought Leader” piece above) will definitely not solve it.

    • Larry Lachman

      @ Realist. Your tagname implies that you have a grasp on reality. There are many realities dependant on personal experience. To have an objective understanding of the Israeli reality, you have to step into my macabre world and experience it.

      Israel is balancing its innate humanity with a fight for survival against an enemy so evil as to sacrifice its own children to advance its perfidious ideology.

    • Candid Camera

      @ Nina Butler
      Perhaps you should spend some time in Israel as well, so that we don’t get the obviously one-sided radically biased picture you have painted, coloured with the images you were meant to see – from the ‘Palestian’ perspective, of course.

      War is devastating in anyone’s language. But Israeli’s live with rockets raining down on them day after day by terrorists indoctrinated by lies, superstition, hatred and incitement to murder innocent victims. They massacre their own people without thinking twice. Look at the suicide bombers that blow up mosques in Afghanistan. It is a daily occurrence. Human life has no significance or value to them. They revel in death and destruction – no matter how heinous. Think of 9-11. Think of the way they use ‘Palestinian’ women & children as human shields.

      Do the atrocities committed by terrorists all over the world, mean nothing to you?
      You are dealing with a much larger issue here than a tiny sliver of land called Israel. You are dealing with the desire for world domination by Muslim fanatics. What’s known as ‘Palestine, is merely a pawn in Iran’s diabolic intentions.
      Have you ever thought of living under Sharia law?
      Read and digest ConCision’s poem carefully.
      Open your eyes. Look in both directions before you direct traffic – not only one side of the street.
      See what it shows in the following link:

    • http://n/a franz

      To ConCision: I hope people will take note and take time to think.

      What tickles me is that reliogion is supposed to be about salvation, not annihilation. Secondly why are people so eager to follow leaders who preach conflict? Are they that naive of just looking for an excuse to hate, maybe becuase of a corroding inferiority complex?

      It seems that the world is not enough … to coin a James Bond title.


    • Chopper4

      On and on everyone goes about how it is illegal this and illegal that, yet the same way Israel was ratified into existence(which is said to be illegal) is the same way the Palestinians want to do it this time. Yet how come now after 64 years do they want to do something they had the chance to do 64 years ago?

      Nina says this guy never had the write ID…I say no he had the right ID, he just never had the right visa. Israel and Palestine are meant to be 2 different countries. Therefore do all neighbours have agreements that just allow someone to cross the border and enter a neighbouring country? Nope. So why should Israel be singled out? Why should Israel be singled out each time some one finds a problem with her? Especially when other countries do the same thing?

      All the Palestinian activists are quick to say international law this and international law that, yet when other countries disobey international law…none of these same activists do not protest in fact the silence is too is the hypocrisy.

      Do you know that Palestinian refugees are the only refugees in the world that increase by birth? Which is in total contravention of International law…does anyone say anything about it? Does anyone say anything about how Palestinians are not allowed out of a refugee camp in Lebanon or Syria? That no work permits are given to Palestinians in those countries? Yet ISrael is the baddie….funny how Nina and her cohorts conveniently leave these facts out.

    • Chopper4

      There are so many inaccuracies about Nina’s article, it is actually disgusting that M&G allowed this piece to be placed here. Nina writes that no one is allowed into Gaza and no one is allowed out…yet how many Palestinians leave the Rafah border crossing on a daily basis? How many diplomats went into Gaza and left untouched.

      She is quick to say Israel does not allow aid into the Gaza Strip since 2006…does that sound right? That is a blatant lie. Israel with the international Red Cross and UNWRA send in the most amount of aid into Gaza…not the international community but Israel.

      She talks about the checkpoints yet almost all checkpoints have been closed down except for border check points…Israelis are also prone to checks not only Palestinians, Me an Israeli was stopped and all my luggage was taken out and scanned…did I then start complaining to the press and called for immediate action from the UNSC because Israeli authorities searched my luggage? Yes it was an inconvenience however that comes with the territory. I would be more suspect if those authorities were just allowing anyone passage. Yet Nina thinks otherwise…she would want you to believe that these searches and the acts of the authority are not legal…She would rather want those terrorists to enter Israel and possibly kill as many Israelis as possible.

      She cherry picks facts…she concentrates on an innocent in order to turn your attention away from the acts that occured there that were not…

    • Good one Nina Butler

      Keep your chin up Nina. The truth hurts, that is why they are gunning for you right now. There is so much else written by others to back up what you say.

      A book I read titled “The Other Side Of Israel; The Jewish Arab Divide” by Susan Nathan, a London born Jewess who went and lived in Israel with an Arab-Israeli family is a good starting point.

    • Chopper4

      @george orwell…as for the comment about 45 years of occupation and economic blockade. That is not true and you know it. In order to be occupied you must have existed as a sovereign country. Had Palestine existed then how come in 1948 they were illegally annexed by Jordan and Egypt? how come those same brethren who were looking out for them took their land and more for themselves and never established a homeland for the Palestinians? These are simple questions…Which cause your opening statement to be a plain and simple lie!

      Why did Egypt and Jordan not declare a state for the Palestinians while all the West Bank and Gaza and Jerusalem was in their hands? That Palestinian state would be bigger than it will be in any future agreement and they had the whole of Jerusalem. Not one settler was in that territory…not one Jew was in that territory…yet they still never created a state…which is weird. Then in 1964 an even more weird thing happens…the Palestinian Liberation Organisation was formed…If all the land to create a Palestinian homeland was already in Arab hands, then what did that have to do with Israel? For what reason was the PLO created?

      This conflict has nothing to do with the blockade of 6 years and not 45 years. Occupation which I have proven does not exist. however merely the presence of Israel and Jews. For if Palestinian deaths and so on were the cause how come none of these activists including yourself do not condemn the acts in Syria?

    • Cross Culture

      Thank you, Chopper 4, for putting the facts forward – straight, to the point and as they are. Thank you for speaking lucidly and clearly on behalf of so many of us.
      I, too, am outraged that Mail & Guardian actually published a piece like this.
      But you have, point by point, rectified and explained the gross misconceptions and harmful distortions that provide even more fuel for people where lies, hatred and destruction of human life, is an accepted form of their ‘religious’ expression.

    • Good one Nina Butler

      Thank you Mail & Guardian for publishing this article by Nina Butler. The message of Israeli oppression of Palestine is getting out and gaining momentum. Like the Berlin Wall that fell overnight, one day Israel will have their Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, and there will be peace in the Middle East descending out of what seems from now-where.