Friday, September 03, 2004

Pacifism in the Palestinian case is...

Pacifism in the Palestinian case is
>  total surrender and voluntary Palestinian transfer
> Dear Friends
> We have some who call them selves "Palestinians",
> but they condemn other Palestinians who are well
> aware that the problem is that the ball is in the
> Zionist side of the field, and they don't compromise
> even though they are the invaders and the
> oppressors. They want all of Palestine without its
> Palestinian Arab indigenous population. They don't
> compromise to keep at least one square inch for the
> Palestinian Arab land, in their claimed "promised
> land". They invaded Palestine thousands of years ago
> and on this pretext, and the myth of a divine order
> to execute every soul on the Palestinian land, which
> they are repeating today.
> If there are  rejectionists on the Palestinian
> arena, they are the Zionist racialist, and we don't
> claim that every Jew is a Zionist. Some Jew are
> fighting for Palestinian rights.
> Even though I am not Moslem, and I don't agree with
> fundamentalist ideas as being secular, and believe
> in the separation between nationalism and religion
> (the church/mosque and the state), but we cannot but
> recognize the contribution that such organizations,
> namely Hamas, to counter Zionist aims of trying to
> force total submission on not only the Palestinians,
> but all the Arabs.
> Palestinians have been fighting against Zionist
> terrorism for over six decades and half, and that is
> what stops in the face of the Zionist aim of to
> complete the transfer of every Palestinian from his
> land. There are too many examples in history that
> prove that national armed resistance against very
> strong occupiers cannot but win. To name some are:
> French resistance against Nazi occupation, Algerian
> resistance against French occupation, Vietnamese
> resistance against French and American occupation,
> South Yemeni resistance against French occupation,
> Egyptian resistance against Israeli/French/British
> occupation in 1956........................ and
> presently Iraqi resistance against the American led
> coalition occupation, The Lebanese resistance
> against Zionist occupation starting with Beirut and
> almost ending with south Lebanon............ and
> don't forget Palestinian resistance which is not
> submitting to the Zionist aim of imposing total
> Palestinian submission and exodus!!!
> Pacifism against racism don't work.
> There are ex-Palestinians who voluntarily quit their
> land and want the rest to follow them!!!
> Adib S. Kawar

Israel raises wall on Jerusalem - West Bank Road

After the War...? Israel raises wall on Jerusalem - West Bank Road
Posted Sept, 3 2004

By Cynthia Johnston
AR-RAM, West Bank, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Israel erected the first sections of a towering concrete wall on the middle of a main street linking Jerusalem to the West Bank on Thursday, adding to growing Palestinian feelings of isolation and gloom.
The construction came days after two suicide bombers who sneaked into Israel from the West Bank killed 16 people in twin explosions on buses in the southern town of Beersheba .
Witnesses said workers protected by soldiers and armed guards came overnight and began raising the 6-metre high blocks down the divide of the urban street as residents and merchants watched in silence.
The wall will cut off Palestinians living on one side of the street in East Jerusalem , captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally, from neighbours across the road in the West Bank .
"They did it today because of the (suicide) attack, without a doubt," said lawyer Muhammad Dahleh, who is representing ar-Ram residents in Israel 's High Court.
" Israel thinks now the international community will not be as aggressive in criticising this wall, which is being built in the middle of Palestinian society."
Israel says the partially completed barrier, a network of razor-tipped fencing and concrete walls, is necessary to block its cities to suicide bombers, who have killed more than 450 Israelis during a nearly four-year-old Palestinian uprising.
Palestinians call the barrier, which the World Court has ruled illegal, a land grab on territory they seek for a state.
Israel 's Defence Ministry and army had no immediate comment. Israel 's High Court has yet to issue a final ruling on the course of the wall in ar-Ram.
Palestinians living and working on the West Bank side of the street -- who for the past three months have watched bulldozers tear up the street and workers lay the groundwork for the wall -- said they felt hopeless.
"They are burying people alive. The people here are conscious and they are putting us in the ground ... This is killing us slowly," said ar-Ram tyre dealer Nabil, whose shop is just across the street from one of two new sections of wall.
Palestinians say the wall in ar-Ram will cut off from Jerusalem tens of thousands of Palestinians -- many of them legal residents of the city who moved to the suburbs as their families expanded.
Israel said in July it would reroute the barrier closer to its boundary with occupied territory under an Israeli High Court order that Palestinians must not be cut off from their lands.
But the court said Israel may erect the barrier on land it considers "disputed". It was not immediately clear how the ruling would affect the barrier around East Jerusalem .
Palestinians said they expected the ar-Ram wall to be completed within days if work to raise it, which stopped early in the morning, resumes nightly.
"I was shocked. It is as if the whole world changed," said Taleb Abu Aysha as he drank tea in his butcher shop on the West Bank side of the street.
He feared he would have to close his shop for lack of customers. "Economically and spiritually, this wall kills people," he said.

Historical Buildings Destroyed

After the War...? Historical Buildings Destroyed
by Ahmad Sub Laban
Posted Sept. 3,2004

  ON AUGUST 9, Israeli bulldozers sank their jaws into three buildings in the old city of Hebron . The demolitions, to make way for a settler-only road to connect the Kiryat Arba settlement with the Ibrahimi Mosque, caused an outrage.   The three buildings were ancient, dating back some 500 years to the Mamluk period. The alleys in the Jaber and Salaymeh quarters where the houses were situated and the stone arches above them used to form the southern entrance to the old city.
"These three buildings were part of the structural fabric of Hebron 's old city and part of the historical environment surrounding the Ibrahimi Mosque," said Imad Hamdan, public relations director for the Hebron Reconstruction Committee, in an interview with the Palestine Report. "It seems the occupation forces ignored this fact. They tore down these historical buildings in order to build a settler road which they are calling ‘ Worshippers Road .'"   The demolitions were denounced by the highest official circles. Prime Minister Ahmad Qrei', in a statement released by his government on August 10, called it a "true crime by the occupation against the Palestinian people." Israel , he said, demolished these historical sites with no regard to humanity or civilization.   Hamdan believes Israel is waging a war on the heritage of Hebron 's old city, pointing to the fact that there are tens of other houses slated for demolition, some of which date back to the Mamluk and Ottoman eras and others that were built during the British Mandate. It is a clear indication to Hamdan of an Israeli attempt to Judaize the old city and the area around the Ibrahimi Mosque.   "This new settler road will pass through the Wadi Nasara, Jabaer and Salaymeh quarters and the neighborhoods east of the Ibrahimi Mosque," explained Hamdan, but pointed to an existing road, also off-limits to Palestinian motorists, which runs a similar route and is only 150 meters longer. "The difference is only 15 seconds in any car," he said. "Their ‘security concerns' are already being addressed by the existing road."   A loss of centuries "These violations are aimed at imposing facts on the ground through settlement expansion at the expense of the property of residents in the old city and its surroundings," said Areef Jabari, Hebron governor. "What happened is a disaster that can never be rectified. We can never bring back the ancient houses that were torn down. With them, almost six centuries have been lost."   According to international law, an occupying power is responsible for preserving the cultural property of those under occupation. Indeed, the Hague Convention, which Israel ratified in 1957, specifically calls on an occupying power to refrain from any hostility directed against such property and from any use of such property or its surroundings for military purposes.   Since the end of 2000, an as yet uncounted number of Palestinian heritage sites, from Rafah in the south to Jenin in the north, have been damaged or destroyed during Israeli military operations. Most famously, the siege of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 saw one of the most important sites in Christianity damaged by Israeli gunfire. The damage there, however, pales in comparison to that in Nablus , which has been one of the hardest hit Palestinian cities during the Aqsa Intifada.   The old city of Nablus dates back to Canaanite times. It was described as Shechem in the Tel El Amarna letters 1,400 BC. Some 2,600 buildings in the old city can be dated back to Ottoman times, and some go as far back as the Mamluk and even Byzantine eras.   Over a period of three weeks in December 2003 to January 2004, repeated Israeli incursions into the old city of Nablus left several historic houses and buildings as well as archaeological sites destroyed or damaged. Most notable was the damage to the Abdel Hadi Palace and the Kakhn, Sadeq and Shabi homes in the Qaryoun neighborhood. Israeli forces also destroyed the eastern wall of the Salah Mosque, which was previously a Byzantine church, and the Khadra' Mosque, previously a Crusader church.   "The destruction in Nablus has been concentrated mostly on buildings in the old city," Naseer Arafat, president of the Association to Protect Nablus Old Town , told PR. He said the destruction included shops and homes inside the old city, which were either partially or fully destroyed. "Nearly 60 buildings were completely destroyed and an additional 250 were partially demolished. This is in addition to the massive damage done to the old city's infrastructure. That is our identity they are destroying. Our cultural heritage is our identity."   The Abdel Hadi Palace dates back some 250 years. It covers an area of over 3,000 square meters and belongs to the well-established Abdel Hadi clan. During the invasion, the Israeli army claimed resistance fighters were hiding inside the houses or in the tunnels that run under the old city, and went house-to-house in search of them.   Their claim was dismissed by Ali Touqan, director of the Nablus library, who said the targeting of the Abdel Hadi Palace was intentional and direct. "They put holes in the walls, a meter thick. They just wanted to destroy it."   Touqan said Israeli claims of underground tunnels used by resistance fighters were also completely baseless. The tunnels are there, they have been around since the Byzantine era when they were used as water canals, but "under no circumstances could they be used by resistance fighters. These tunnels are a cultural legacy that the occupation has destroyed."   Targeting identity "The main goal behind these assaults," Hamdan Taha, director general of the antiquities department of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities told PR, "is to cause political harm to Palestinians' cultural identity. This has always been a source of intimidation for the Zionist movement and the Israeli occupation. And the intentional targeting of historical sites over the years is also designed to destroy a component of future cultural, economic development and tourism."   Taha believes the demolitions in Hebron are just one link in a chain of a deliberate campaign to target symbols of Palestinian cultural heritage. He pointed to over 450 villages that have been destroyed and erased from existence in an attempt to change the historical character of certain places with historical and archeological significance.   If Israel continues this "path of destruction," said Taha; "Palestinians will have no other choice then to teach future generations about their heritage through pictures and books." In fact, he continued, his department is preparing for the eventuality. The antiquities department is documenting the damages incurred by these archeological sites, he said, "in order to ensure that this precious legacy is passed down even if Israel succeeds in wiping it from existence."   Direct damage incurred during military operations is only part of the story, however. According to a March 2004 study released by the Palestinian Institute for Cultural Landscape Studies and prepared by researchers Jamal Barghouth and Mohammed Jaradat, the separation wall being erected by Israel in the West Bank is set to undermine the cultural link between archeological sites in the West Bank and surrounding archeological areas.   The West Bank is one of the richest areas in the world from an archeological perspective. From Canaanite times up, the ancient Greek, Mesopotamian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Arab Islamic civilizations have all left traces in the ground.   According to the First Hague Convention, of which Israel is signatory, cultural property includes archaeological finds. But no specific mention is made of archaeological excavations by an occupying power. That was rectified in 1999 in the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention, which specified that an occupying power must act to prevent archaeological excavation in occupied territory. The second protocol entered into effect on March 9, 2004 , but has not yet been ratified by Israel .   Barghouth and Jaradat's study finds that Jewish settlements in the West Bank have directly annexed over 924 archeological sites either now or through future expansion plans. This number will rise, however, to 4,264 sites and archeological landmarks, 466 of them major archeological sites, once the wall is completed. This figure equals 47 percent of all known major sites in the West Bank including East Jerusalem , from a total of 1,084 sites according to 1944 British maps that surveyed archeological sites in the West Bank .   The ideological and historical premise behind plotting the course of the barrier in such a way, said both Barghouth and Jaradat, is that the West Bank is considered the historical and geographical site on which the Israelite tribes settled during the Iron Age around 1000 BC and thus where Judea and Samaria was created.   Between 1967 and 2000, the two researchers said, the northern and central areas and even the Jerusalem area were exhaustively surveyed, enabling Israel to determine the exact sites Jewish tradition deemed important and that should remain under Israeli rule. Thus, added the researchers, it is unsurprising that one of the standards used to define the course of the wall would be archeological sites.   "The wall constitutes a disaster to Palestinian cultural heritage," said Taha. "In addition to the fact that it will isolate approximately 50 percent of archeological sites from Palestinian territories, it will affect religious tourist activity for which Palestine is famous. The main religious tourist sites are already isolated. Look at Jerusalem and Bethlehem . Travel between these two cities, which for thousands of years has been unhindered, has now become almost impossible for Palestinians."-Published September 01, 2004©Palestine Report

Nabila Shubi Nablus April 2002

Nabila Shubi,
You were 40 years old and pregnant when the Israel Defense Force
bulldozed your house with you, your husband and 3 children inside.

I want to give you flesh and blood, Nabila Shubi, not bones sticking
through your flesh…not another nameless body…3209…3210…
I want to know what you looked like.
I want to know what you thought about.
Did you have dreams, Nabila Shubi?
Who were you parents, Nabila Shubi? Who was your husband? What were
their names, what were their dreams?
Did you laugh sometimes, Nabila Shubi? I'd like to think there was
some laughter in your life.

I speak you name today, Nabila Shubi. Last week I told the United
States Congressman your name. He hadn't known your name, Nabila
Shubi, hadn't known that after the house was bulldozed with you and
your family inside, that the IDF would not let any medical personnel
through for one week. Your bodies were found. No one knows if you
perished immediately or died slowly in agony. No one knows if your
precious children called out for you in their last moments of life
and you were unable to hold them.

Even badly injured animals are given a "merciful death". No mercy for
you. No mercy from the mis-named Caterpillar bulldozers. Caterpillars
are such cuddly insects. These should be called the tse-tse
bulldozers. Death dealing bulldozers. Harbingers of bones broken.

Today I speak your name, Nabila Shubi. This at least I promise you
Nabila Shubi as long as I live, your name lives.

Nabila Shubi, as much as I try to reconstruct the last week of life
of you and your family I cannot.
Were it an act of God, a typhoon, an earthquake, perhaps I could re-
create it.
But you see Nabila Shubi to bring you back to life I'd have to re-
create the IDF - those who knowing you were in the house let you die,
Not an act of God, an act of human. How do we live with this, Nabila
Shubi, knowing that we are of the same human species who did this to

More Battles

After the War...? 
Accounts from a woman in Baghdad
Posted Sept. 3,2004

Last night, with another appartment full of visitors,
another 6 or 7
mortars or rockets took off and the sirens went off
again. We decided that
it was a clever tactic of the Mahdi Army. There are no
'on the ground'
fighters in Kerrada, so the military cannot really
attack the area. By day
Kerrada continues as always - you would never guess
that at night the area
has been used a a launchpad for attacks on the Green
And the BBC is busy report that 'lawless' Sadr City is
where the attacks
are being launched from. Popycock!!
The Mahdi Army
could never hit the
Green Zone from Sadr City and they would not even try
- what utter
rubbish! And we certainly would not hear the bangs or
see plumes of smoke
from here - Sadr City is around 10 kilometres away.
Each night we have heard much more gun fire and more
gun battles with
return fire than usual - although it is very difficult
to say exactly
where it is coming from.

Yesterday Ali (with the smile) visited us. We were so
happy. We had not
seen him for 3 or 4 weeks and we have been so worried
about him. We did go
looking for him, but to no avail. Tha day after we
last saw him, he was
due to come back and get some new clothes. He did not
come. Instead, he
had bumped into some old friends who were living in
the House of Mercy
Childrens' Home in Al Rashad in Bagdad and he went
there with them and
stayed there. He has his own room, cupboards and lots
of clothes and is
being fed well. This we can see for ourselves - he has
honestly grown
taller and, apart from a nice big black eye he had got
from crashing into
the goalpost while playing football, he looked
wonderful. He now worked
collecting scarp aluminium by day and the sheikh at
the Chidrens' Home
collects and saves the money he earns for him and any
other child that
works. There seems to be more freedom, trust and
responsibility for their
own actions given to the children here than in Al
Wazerya and it seems to
suit our Ali well. He could not stop smiling and he
wanted nothing, just
to see us - he had been to see us several times
before, but we had been
out. It was fantastic to see him.
We asked him how things were in Al Rashad. Ali told us
how the House of
Mercy was situated next to a US Army Base in Al
Rashad. The Mahdi Army was
attacking this base nightly with RPGs, mortars and
AK47's. Then the
Americans would set off flares which stay in the sky
lighting up the area
for 5 minutes in order to be able to see the Mahdi
Army fighters so that
they could counter attack. When the flares die, the
Mahdi Army attack
again and so it goes on and on. Ali said that all the
children in the
House of Mercy were terrified and were unable to sleep
at all.
Howza (Islamic Pressure Group) run this childrens'
Home and in order to
register to live there, a child must first go to
Sadr's (Moqtada's
deceased father's) office in Sadr City . Ali had been
to the office
yesterday for something else and had seen 2 US tanks
destroyed and burnt
out from fighting with the Mahdi Army the night

When we heard about the curfew in Sadr City , my
translator became very
concerned about his friends who live there. Some of
them work as guards at
the Paelstine/Sheraton complex and we wondered how
they would be able to
leave and return from work if the area was under
curfew. Indeed, many of
the guards that protect US/coalition interests in
Bagdad , are Shia and
live in Sadr City . Would these places end up with no
guards? So last night
Wejdy rang Ali to check if he and other friends were
okay. Yes,
thankfully, they were - the fighting has not yet
reached their area of
Sadr City - the area we visited last Monday. And they
had not experienced
any trouble leaving Sadr City to get to work. As the
boys spoke, there was
a bang from Kerrada as a rocket was fired off. A
second later, Wejdy could
hear commotion and shouting from Ali's end of the
phone. The checkpoints
at the Palestine/Sheraton had come under attack - the
rocket we had heard
leave had hit the first checkpoint on Abu Newas Street
which protects the
rear of the Bagdad Hotel - casualties so far unknown.
We are very concerned about the safety and well-being
of our friends
during this trying time. Although they work as guards
for the coaltion,
they fully support Moqtada Al Sadr and the Mahdi Army.

Fruits and Vegetables on the rise in Iraq

After the War...? Fruits and Vegetables prices rise in Iraq
Accounts from a woman in Baghdad
Posted Sept. 3,2004

And we are also concerned about the reports of Iraqi
Police and ICDC ( Iraq
Civil Defence Corps) being used in the front line
against the Resistance
in Nagaf, Sadr City and other places. Is this America
trying to create
tension, strife and civil war - not between Sunni and
Shia (that didn't
work), but between the Resistance and
government/coalition employees?

Today we bought some fruit and vegetables, and in yet
another example of
how the ordinary Iraqi suffers, we found that the
recent upsurge in
Resistance has caused prices to rise.
eggplants, onions, grapes
and water melons had all gone up in price (and that's
just what we
checked). Tomatoes and water melons had almost doubled
in price from 10 p
a kilo to nearly 20 p a kilo. This is because
'Jamila', the main
wholesaler for all the food in Bagdad , situated in
Sadr City , has had to
shut down due to the fighting. The shopkeepers are now
having to travel
out of Bagdad to Mahmoudya or Yusefia for example (30
and 40 kilometres
away respectively) to obtain their wares. The travel
and time costs are
then passed onto the customer, just as the taxi
drivers have to charge
more when they end up sitting in a petrol queue for
one day a week instead
of earning money working.

Where will all this end, I don't know? But I feel
certain that if America
pulled out and went home, the situation would be sure
to improve. A Muslim
peacekeeping force may work here, but NOT if it works
under or with the
Americans. If they do this they will become America 's
canon fodder - just
as the Iraqi men in the Iraqi Police and ICDC are now.

A year ago this month..

A year ago this month..
Sept, 3 2004
Susan Brannon

The child was named as Abd A Salam Sumrin by Ramallah hospital director
Hosni Atari, who said he had been shot through the chest by a heavy
machine-gun bullet fired by a tank Thursday. The boy's mother, Wafiqa, said
her husband had sent him to a nearby grocery to buy cigarettes. She said
five minutes after her son left the house, someone came to tell her he had
been shot.

Palestinian police said there were no clashes reported in the area at the
time, and said witnesses had said it was an armoured personnel carrier which
fired on the child. The police said an Israeli army curfew was in place at
the time, but said there appeared to be no other motive for the shooting.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Iraq Crisis Report August 2004

MAHDI ARMY DRAWS SUPPORTERS Fallujah fighters provide military training for Sadrist forces. By Aqil Jabbar in Najaf and Kufa  
ISLAMIC TRIBUNAL WINS APPROVAL An unofficial court imposes harsh Sentences on Iraqis who work for the Americans and their allies. By Zainab Naji in Ana  
KURDISH STUDENTS FACE DISCRIMINATION Many claim mounting ill treatment At the hands of their fellow students, teachers, and local residents. By Wrya Hama Tahir  
ARABS ENCOUNTER PREJUDICE IN KURDISTAN Visitors from the south of the country increasingly viewed with suspicion. By Sarhang Hama Salih in Sulaimaniyah

MAHDI ARMY DRAWS SUPPORTERS   Fallujah fighters provide military training for Sadrist forces.   By Aqil Jabbar in Najaf and Kufa   On the road leading to Najaf, six black-clad members of the Mahdi Army scrambled to set up three light-gauge mortars along the edge of a palm grove.  
  Aiming at a walled compound they said was a US military base, they fired off 11 rounds at leisure - until two American helicopters appeared and sent them scrambling for cover.   This type of hit-and-run attack is typical of fighting in the streets, suburbs, and cemeteries of Najaf between US troops and Iraqi paramilitaries on one side, and the Mahdi Army militia of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr on the other.
But this time there was a key difference - the presence of Col Rifaat al-Janabi.   Dressed in the uniform of Saddam Hussein's Special Republican Guards, Janabi had come from his home in Fallujah to show Najaf's poorly-trained Mahdi militiamen how to use their weapons.
"The Fallujah Consultancy Council of Mujahedin holy warriors sent me with nine other officers and forty soldiers who are well trained in using mortar and the RPG-7 grenade launcher," said Janabi, who unlike many Iraqi insurgents had no qualms about giving his name.
"We had to stand by our Shia brothers in Najaf, who stood by us in Fallujah," he said, referring to the long-running battle in that town With US troops.   "It is an honourable stance of Fallujah people who sent us experts in using weapons," said one Mahdi militiaman, who added that "we are in need of military training".
Meanwhile, outside the Mahdi Army's base in the main mosque in Kufa, Najaf's twin city, other officers and soldiers from Fallujah could be seen drilling the Sadrist fighters in the use of RPG-7 grenade launchers.
"We welcomed the mujahedin of Fallujah who came, without being asked to come, to help us out in training the fighters who lack experiences in using weapons," said Sheikh Kudair al-Ansari, in charge of Sadr's office in Kufa.
While he spoke, militiamen offloaded AK-47 assault rifles from trucks, Where they had been smuggled into the city under a load of watermelons.   Volunteers got out of minibuses recently arrived from the southern towns of Amara, Kut, and Diwaniya, gathering outside the mosque and chanting,
"By our blood and souls, we sacrifice for you, Muqtada."   "I left a wife and three children to come and defend Muqtada," said one volunteer from Diwaniya who refused to give his name.
"We could not protect his father Mohammed al-Sadr from Saddam, but now we can protect his son from the Americans and the Jews," he said, referring to the charismatic ayatollah killed in 1999 by alleged agents of the regime.   Kufa appeared to be under full Mahdi Army control.   Checkpoints, spaced about 200 metres apart, were manned by black-clad fighters, their foreheads wrapped in green cloths emblazoned with the name of the seventh-century Imam Ali.
"I am not a kid ... I can kill many Americans," said 13-year-old Hassan Kamel, a preparatory school student who stood guard with his rifle at one of the checkpoints.   Not far away, fire engulfed the local police station.   In addition to their forces in Kufa, Mahdi Army officials said they had troops fighting the Americans in Sahla, in the centre of Najaf near the shrine of Imam Ali, and in the cemeteries outside the holy city.
In central Najaf, Sadrist fighters hid in the alleys behind the hotels formerly used by pilgrims. The sky was hidden by a pall of wind-borne dust and smoke from burning buildings.   In the al-Ameer neighbourhood, four uniformed policemen stood with Three Mahdi Army fighters beside their car.
Hidden behind a building, they were listening to their radios and Informing the militiamen of their fellow officers' movements.   "I have four cousins in the al-Mahdi army," one of the officers said.   He went on to explain, "According to the proverb, 'my brother and I are against my cousin, but my cousin and I are against the foreigner. Thus, I can't fight against my cousins and stand beside the Americans."
Soon after, one of the fighters emerged into the street, and shouting "Ali!" he fired his RPG at a concrete barrier erected up the road by the Americans.     Then he ran back into the alley, climbed into the police car, and was Driven away.
Aqil Jabbar is an IWPR trainee.  
An unofficial court imposes harsh sentences on Iraqis who work for the Americans and their allies.   By Zainab Naji in Ana
An "Islamic resistance" court based in western Iraq has begun to order Harsh punishments against Iraqis accused of collaborating with so-called foreign occupiers, inhabitants in the region said.   The court, they said, originated in late 2003 as one of a number of Islamic clerical committees that locals have been using to arbitrate personal and family disputes.
The committees are used in lieu of tribal leaders, considered by many As tainted through their dealings with the US-led Coalition, and it has Passed sentence on drug sellers and peddlers of supposedly immoral CDs.   But in recent months, the inhabitants said, this particular court has Become more political, passing sentence on translators, truck drivers, informers, and others who allegedly work with the foreigners.
It has also certified lists of so-called collaborators that have been circulated by the insurgents.   Witnesses said the court is presided over by a senior Sunni sheikh knowledgeable in Islamic Sharia law, with another cleric acting as lawyer for defendants.   IWPR spoke to several people who claimed to have testified before the court, while details of some of its more celebrated cases are widely circulated among the region's inhabitants.
Probably the most famous case was the late November trial of "Mohammed The Spy" - one Mohammed Abed, who reportedly invited Americans to his house in the district of al-Qaem, on the Euphrates border.   "It made the neighbours angry because they hate the Occupation" said Adel Abdullah, 42, a resident of al-Qaem who said he was a witness in the trial.
"They informed the Iraqi resistance, who started to watch the house to verify the information.   "We warned Mohammed not to continue in this path but he didn't comply and kept holding parties and meetings in the house.   "Afterwards, the resistance fighters surrounded and raided the house."   Abdullah added somewhat ominously that
"he became an example for others".   "I still remember this incident as if it happened yesterday," said Kamel Abd al-Qader, 38, a mechanic. "He was sentenced to death by the resistance court."   Qader added that "this was the fate of every spy and traitor who betray their country and people".   Abed is said to have been beheaded after he was convicted by the court.
The beheading took place in Ana, on the upper Euphrates River about 100 Km from the Syrian border and, Qader said, "His head was given to a man From [the tribe of] al-Jumailaat to deliver to Mohammed's family in al-Karbala."   Salah Ahmed, 45, a storeowner in Ana, said he recalled an incident in The bus station outside his shop.
He said a grim middle-aged man gave an elderly man from the Jumailaat Tribe a plastic bag and an old 100-dinar note that still bore the picture of Saddam Hussein.   The old man was told to take the bag and the note to the family of Mohammed Abed in al-Qaem.
A second celebrated case was the early July 2004 trial of two truck drivers, who were accused of using their vehicles to smuggle alcohol hidden in shipments of mineral water.   Omar Mobdir, 25, a waiter at the al-Mafrag al-Kabeer restaurant on the highway near the Syrian border, claimed that he saw the two men being seized.   The drivers, along with several helpers, had come into the restaurant For lunch when three masked men entered and surrounded them.
"Stand up!" they said. "You are under arrest."   Six more men searched the trucks, and uncovered 10 cases of alcohol Hidden beneath the mineral water.   "We gave the court all the evidence including the identifications of those arrested," said one prosecution witness, who identified himself as Abu Ahmed.   "The court ordered the burning of the trucks and the goods," the witness said.   "They warned the drivers and workers not to work with the Americans or transport anything to them."   "Four hours after the arrest, a group of armed men came and burned the trucks," said Hamid Abdul Jabbar, 19, a mechanic working near the restaurant.
Despite the unofficial nature of the court, many residents of the area respect its judgments.   "We trust this court because it bases its judgment on the Quran and the Sunna [the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed]," said Abdullah Saleem, 40, a public servant at the electricity directorate in al-Ramadi.
"We shouldn't keep silent about traitors and collaborators. They caused us great harm and pain," added Mahmoud Abd al-Nabi al-Anai, 42, an engineer and Baghdad resident who followed the Mohammed Abed case.   "The court's decision is wise and strict," he said.
Zainab Naji is and IWPR trainee.  
Many claim mounting ill treatment at the hands of their fellow students, teachers, and local residents.   By Wrya Hama Tahir
Kurdish student Karwan Muhammed was heading to his rented flat in the Sunni Arab town of Baquba , 90 kilometres north of Baghdad , after a tiresome day of classes when he noticed a large gathering in a nearby tea room.   As he moved toward the shop, Muhammed saw a familiar face on the Television screen: the ageing, bearded face of Saddam Hussein - in the custody of the Americans.
But instead of celebrating the moment like his fellow Kurds back home on the streets of northern Iraq , Muhammed rushed back to his apartment and locked the door.   An Arab student, who'd been watching the broadcast, later pounded on The door and yelled.
"We will kill you, if Jalal Talabani expresses his congratulations [for the capture of Saddam]," the Arab said, referring to the head of the one of the two main Kurdish parties.   Muhammed did not sleep that night as other students and even the owner Of the flat gathered outside his door and threatened to kill him.   He is one of the several hundred Kurdish students who began studying in The universities of Arab majority cities in Iraq this past academic year.
Many claim mounting ill treatment at the hands of their fellow students, teachers, and local residents.   Several students even have refused to return next year, opting instead To continue studies in Kurdish universities.   This past academic year, Iraqi universities reserved 5 per cent of Enrolment for "non-local" students.   That allowed for Kurdish students to study in Baghdad and other Iraqi institutions outside the Kurdish area.
But Kurdish students say they are increasingly discriminated against by Arab university administrators and teachers, and harassed by fellow students.   Although all students were accepted to the universities through a Central processing system, the dean of the college denied them access to specific departments.   Instead, the Kurds were placed in less prestigious faculties.
Sabah Hassan had the grades needed to enrol in the computer science department, the highest ranked in the college of science. But instead he was placed in the lowest ranked one, mathematics.   Hassan claims that Baathist deans and teachers blocked his higher Placement and that of other Kurds. "I was accepted in a low-ranking department because I was a Kurd," he said.
Such treatment escalated following rumours printed in the Arab media And spread on the street, claiming that Kurdish peshmerga fighters Participated in the April attacks against the Sunni and Shia insurgents in Fallujah and Najaf respectively.
Karzan Hameed, 23, a first-year student in the college of medicine at The University of Kufa , could not return to his university campus for 45 days during the height of the fighting in April and May because roads were blocked and unsafe.   When he finally went back to school, he says he was too afraid to admit He was a Kurd to his Arab colleagues. They claimed that all the snipers Who targeted the insurgents were Kurds.
Hameed also believes that he and two of his colleagues were purposely Failed in a computer exam because they were Kurds.   "The Arab students say dirty words to us every day, while the teachers ask why we [Kurds] demand federalism," Hameed said.   The spring violence appears to have been the starting point for Wholesale intimidation of Kurdish students.
"After the Fallujah fighting, some of the Arab students considered us American agents and taunted us," said Dler Habeeb, a graduate student in the Arabic department of the University of Baghdad at the time the regime fell.   Nabard Ghafoor, a student in the computer department of the college of education at the university, rented a single room for himself because he no longer felt comfortable sharing a room with Arab students.
Muhammed, Ghafoor and Hameed said they will return to the safety of Northern Iraq to complete their university training if they can be placed in equivalent departments in Kurdish colleges.   Muhammed Issa, 22, from Kalar, a town on the border with the Arab area Of Iraq , visited Baghdad for the first time after the fall of the former regime when he was accepted at Baghdad university.
He speaks fluent Arabic but says it was of little help. "The Arabs hate us," he said, because the Kurds have demanded a federal structure in Iraq .
Wrya Hama Tahir is an editor with the youth-oriented Liberal Education newspaper in Sulaimaniyah.  
Visitors from the south of the country increasingly viewed with suspicion.   By Sarhang Hama Salih in Sulaimaniyah
The sight of Iraqi Arabs in their traditional dishdash and cars with License plates from central and southern governorates like Baghdad , Dyala and Anbar has become commonplace on the streets of Sulaimaniyah since the war.   Some Arabs visit Kurdistan as tourists; some come seeking jobs; others Just want respite from the often dangerous conditions in the rest of the country.  
Three Kurdish governorates have been semi-independent since 1992 when central government withdrew from the area and left the Kurds to govern themselves under the protection of US and UK warplanes.   But Iraqi Arabs who visit Iraqi Kurdistan increasingly claim they Experience hostility and unfair treatment at the hands of their Kurdish hosts.
After the war, they were initially welcomed by hotel and restaurant Managers who saw them as tourists with money to spend, but now Arabs are increasingly viewed with suspicion, especially by Kurdish security forces.   Those security forces are intent on keeping suicide bombers off their streets and they view Arab citizens as possible enemies.
"This my first visit in Kurdistan ," said Tariq Ismail, 52, from Baquba. "But I regret coming here. The Kurds think every Arab is a Saddam Hussein."   Arab visitors increasingly find they are singled out as potential Security risks.   Arabs who register at hotels must first get permission from local security, while Kurds and foreigners in Kurdistan do not have to obtain such a permit.  
In other parts of Iraq , no one is even asked for security clearance.   Ismail said that when he and his wife and children tried to park their Car in a garage, they were told they could not because as Arabs their car was suspect.   Another 25-year-old Baghdadi Arab, who shared a hotel in Sulaimaniyah With Ismail, said his experience with the Kurds was worse than under the Baath regime.
When he stopped at a security checkpoint, Sulaimaniyah officials thought his name was on a list of suspects. They took him into custody for several hours where he says he was treated "badly".   When he asked to use the toilet, he was told to urinate in his trousers. "Human beings should not be treated that way," he said.   Some Arab visitors submit to the additional scrutiny as an understandable, and even welcomed, precaution.
"Only Arabs are inspected at the checkpoints," said Ahmed Rasheed, 31, a Baghdadi, explaining that "the Kurds want to protect their security".   He surmises that the long-time Arab persecution has left the Kurds hostile. "Judging by their Baathist experience, the Kurds think all Arabs are occupiers," he said.   Not all Arab visitors feel hostility from Kurdish hosts.
"There is no discrimination," said Salah Kaduri, 35, from Baghdad , who often travels to Sulaimaniyah with his wife.   Kaduri says that Kurdish checkpoint officials are courteous, and he appreciates the safety and security in the Kurdish streets.   Some Arabs who have made Kurdistan their home think there are Kurds who harbour a deep-rooted animosity towards Arabs, and that it is increasingly articulated.
Jamal Abdul Kareem, 42, has lived in Kurdistan for 18 years and speaks Kurdish fluently.   He points to a complex of factors that leave the Kurds with a distrust Of their Arab compatriots, including "the effect of Baath, cultural differences, and the Kurdish fear of the future".
He speculates that the Kurdish claim for concern for their security is "only a cover for the old grudge they bear".   Ala Najmadeen, 37, a dentist, recently left Baghdad because of the "bad security situation" and moved to Kurdistan to set up a practice.   He tried to rent a house for his family but found that Arabs must pay An additional security deposit on top of already high rental rates.
Frustrated, he returned to Baghdad after one month.   Najmadeen is one of scores of professionals who have moved to Kurdistan seeking a safer environment.   More than 250 university professors have been killed since the fall of The regime, and another 1,000 have fled the country. Many other professionals, doctors in particular, have also been targeted.
The problems encountered by Iraqi Arabs in Kurdistan are in many ways typical of newcomers anywhere. And many Kurds welcome Arab visitors.   "I believe in living together and accepting each other," said Abdullah Ahmed, 26, a Sulaimaniyah Kurd who works for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan .   But it's not hard to find Kurdish voices who admit to a strong sense of animosity towards their compatriots.
"When I see an Arab walking in Sulaimaniyah, I cannot help hating him," said Rebaz Hama Salih, 24. He admits this feeling is not rational but said he cannot control his emotions.   All he can think about, he says, is the extensive suffering of the Kurds at the hands of Arab-majority Iraqi regimes.   But others say their antagonism is also directed towards the Arabs as a nationality.
"When Kurds were persecuted, it was the fault of the Arab nation not only the Iraqi government," said Wrya Sofi, 20, a Kurd from Kalar.   For Sofi, the recent expulsion of Kurds from several majority Arab cities in central Iraq is another reason for the Kurdish hatred towards the Arabs.   Thousands of Kurds have been forced out of cities like Fallujah and Samara simply because they are Kurds.
"When I see displaced Kurds who did not leave from fear of the Baath but rather from fear of the people of area," Sofi said, "I realise I hate Arabs, not the Baath."
Sarhang Hama Salih is editor-in-chief of Liberal Education, a youth-oriented newspaper in Sulaimaniyah.

American Administration Behavior in Iraq is...

American Admin Behavior in Iraq is childish and irresponsible!
A letter from a person living in Iraq (Unedited)

The Am Admin proved to be working in Iraq like a group of childish
minded unstable group of teen gangesters.

The dissolution of the Iraqi army upon the occupation..

The dissolution of the Iraqi police upon the occupation

The dissolution of all the Iraqi government establishments which were
employing 85% of the workforce in Iraq

The inhuman treatment to the Iraqi citizens

The hurridly performed random emprisoning of people. Any one who was
present near a conflict would be imprisoned.

The endless trials to establish conflicts betwen Iraqis. It could
work good in Africa, or elsewhere, but it did not work in Iraq. It
just caused more troubles to the occupants

The Bombing of houses and streets by war planes to destroy any site
that is reported to cause problems. This is a simple job that should
be carried by police.

The propaganda titles like the "Sunni Triangle", never made any
credit to the occupants.

All these childish actions and more, caused more scorn of the Iraqis
to American occupants.

The Abu Ghirab events was in fact an end to any good relations with
the occupants.

The unwise behavior of the Americans in Iraq is going from bad to
worse. And all this is causing severe damages to the Iraqi people
and country. On the other hand it is causing deep wounds to some
American members and families, and it is also ruining any
possibility of establishing any good relations between the two
nations in the future.

When is a Fig tree really an Olive Tree?

When is a Fig tree really an Olive Tree?
By Mike Odetalla

Our situation as Palestinians in negotiating with the Israeli governments on borders and other items brings to mind this tale told to me by my grandfather (God bless his soul) when I was a child...

This tale concerned 2 neighboring Palestinian villages in the late 1800's (yes there was Palestinians back then). These 2 villages had a border dispute that had been ongoing for a while. The names of these 2 villages were Lifta (which was ethnically cleansed in 1948) and Beit Iksa which remains as part of the occupied West Bank (since 1975, Beit Iksa has lost nearly 80% of its land to Israeli settlements). These 2 villages were located in the Jerusalem district, as was my own village of Beit Hanina . All three villages had a common border with each other.

The dispute concerned a small plot of land on top of the hill that served as their border. For the longest time the people of Lifta claimed that their village border ended just past an old olive tree and thus, the land belonged to a family from their village. The people of Beit Iksa on the other hand claimed that the village limits were just past an old fig tree, and that the land belonged to a family from their village!

 The difference between them was a mere 50 meters. If the border was drawn according to the people of Lifta who used the olive tree as the marker, then Lifta would get the extra 50 meters. If the border was drawn according to the people of Beit Iksa, who used the fig tree as the marker, then they would gain the 50 meters.

This dispute simmered for years, until one day the people of Beit Iksa seized a sheep that they claimed strayed in to their village boundary to graze. The village elders from both villages were summoned to sit with a “third party” to try to resolve this dispute once and for all. The third party's decision, no matter what it may be, would be accepted as final and binding on all sides. This was the way that most disputes were handled in the rural areas of Palestine .