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Barack, A Few Travel Tips

World  (tags: usa, obama, politics, middle-east, humanrights, UnitedNations, unitednations, palestine, politics, israel )

- 1862 days ago -
Mr. President, I hear you are traveling to Israel. As a concerned patriotic American citizen of Palestinian descent, I have some pointers for you. icle34310.htm

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. (0)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 12:19 pm
This gave me a few smiles. Yes, the African Jewish population is exploding, causing job losses, and a housing shortage. When you live in a country smaller than NJ, these are social, economic issues that Israel is not prepared to address.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:03 pm
An other tip to President Obama. Please visit Gaza as well. they will take you to visit the Palestinian Parliament where former President Bill Clinton witnessed the approval of the Parliament to change PLO and Palestinian national chart and delete the verses that denies the right of Israel to exist,thus waving any obstacle towards peace between the two sides.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:09 pm

Thanks for, yet another, excellent contribution, dear Abdessalam!


Kit B (276)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:22 pm

Oh yes, Please do visit Gaza. Also Mr President, some of us consider it a positive that you are not buddies with Bibi. I know that you will with your usual aplomb be both cordial and gracious. As always when traveling you will make the United States proud. It would be great if you could visit with Mr Abbas while in the area.

Thank Abdessalam - did enjoy reading this article.

Sandrea S (278)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:56 pm
Perhaps you could help search for the several Palestinian chidren that soldiers recently kidnapped in Hebron


Terrie Williams (798)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:56 pm
Thanks, Abdessalam.....gave me a few chuckles. I would really laugh if they made him go through all that!!!! Think he'd get the picture then????

Angelika R (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:58 pm
Not much I could add here-to genious Amer (didn't know of him before but no doubt he's Jon Steward and Andy Borowitz combined) and to Carole's and Kit's words. Big thanks for this post dear Abdessalam!

If you have not already, visit my related posts as well and DO EMAIL the prez. please! He MUST visit Gaza, meet with Abbas and he should NOT make further aid promises to Israel!

Roxie H (350)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:01 pm
HA! :D love it

Roxie H (350)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:08 pm
Let, me add another point.. why don't he stay right here and visit our own amazing state parks and rec areas? National parks are wonderful for the kids, learn about nature.. O wait, nevermind.. the pets and the kids might accidently run into some of the poachers traps that are placed everwhere ever since they de-listed the endangered species list.. and all the most wonderful mining and frack wells popping up everywhere by the thousands with the spewing of the nasty chemicals and making way for this keystone xl pipeline that is coming through dripping more toxic sludge and waste across our once pristine lands.. so leaving the country to see other nations might bring better visions and cleaner water then his own backyard... bon voyage

Michela M (3964)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:24 pm

Angelika R (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:39 pm
Roxie- what a wonderful comment! Maybe you are right- time for the prez to take a break from his polluted home!
******** as I am out of them for you ;)

Vicky P (476)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:51 pm
yeah :/ if he wasn't the president or a part of the congress, he would probably be treated like that.

Henriette Matthijssen (154)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:56 pm
Thanks Abdessalam, I enjoyed reading the article! I agree with the comments above.

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 3:00 pm
Thank you Abdessalam. Very good article.

Richard Zane Smith (81)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 3:43 pm
well written and right to the point!

Christine Linley (12)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 4:14 pm
Thanks Abdessalam!
Maybe we could all club together and buy him a bus ticket so he go to Gaza while he is visiting ! Maybe he could even add his signiture to the wall.

Rose Becke (141)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 4:32 pm

Angelika R (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 5:31 pm
"Netanyahu warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.” You should read this on the subjct: Israel coerces Africans to sign "voluntary repatriation" forms

Fortunately, the president already has a round trip ticket! :-)

JL A (281)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 5:57 pm
Wonderful example of the reminder that we must always remember to look at things from others' perspectives, too.

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:34 pm
Amer Zahr is a great writer!:) He should sign on with Comedy Central!:) I wish he wouldn't give RepubliCONs any ideas though: "To avoid any dangers of getting deported to Nairobi, I would just keep mentioning that you are the President of the United States. It might help." It's sad to think Obama will Probably be safer in Tel Aviv than in D.C.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:57 pm
Yvonne, it doesn't really look as if that group still needed any ideas, rather much like that is exactly what they wish they could do to get rid of him, just send him back to Kenya.

Jerry B (128)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 9:25 pm

Billie C (2)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 10:23 pm
maybe he should skip isreal and go to gaza that's where his heart is anyway. he's shipping more than enough haams into the states as it is. i hope they do search him, stem to stern about time somebody checked him out for a change.

Ellyn S (48)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 10:37 pm
Noted. I also posted a comment under the article:

Oh, and you might want to watch the film: "Five Broken Cameras" to better understand how the Israeli military go about doing their day to day business. It's always good to be up-to-date on a country's military services.

Genoveva M M (328)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:01 am
Interesting, thanks for sharing.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:07 am
I wasn't strip-searched either coming or going from Tel Aviv, despite flying in from Cairo; being a non-Arab white 6th generation Australian comes in handy sometimes. Good article, thanks :)

P A (117)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:37 am
Stars all over the place! Thanks so much Abdessalam - funny and true - I loved the threnody "To escape this embarrassment, I would mention that you are the President of the United States. It might help." ! I too wish he would visit Gaza - I really do!

Arild Gone for now (174)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:46 am
Thanks for the tips Abdessalam,NOT that I'm planning a trip to Israel.

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 5:33 am
Thanks, I wish there was more sarcasm in the world.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:11 am
Nimue writes " being a non-Arab white 6th generation Australian comes in handy sometimes."
Right . This is exactly the point . Apartheid and discrimination rules at Ben Gourion airport. A green star for you.

Christine Linley (12)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:35 am
Maybe while he's there he could bring up the recent UN report on........................

'Cruel and Inhuman' Abuse of Palestinian Children By Israel'

| have submitted the article here:

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:39 am
Dear Abdessalam,
I think that this article is kind of extreme. I know we have the security checks at the airport, and they are sometimes degrading and invasive but on the other hand, we have had so many suicide bombers and terrorists that we have to protect ourselves. There will always be those sadistic people who will take advantage of their security jobs to hurt others (policemen and others also do this sometimes and it's terrible), but I still think that the article is very exagerated.
Thanks for posting.
Have a great weekend.
Your care2 friend from Israel, Giana

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:45 am
I have posted the message I received from my friend Giana upon her approval after I told her that the conversation is open and all points of view can be posted > I also mentioned that her view point worth being known.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:25 am
[From J Street - Word On The Street]
"Expectations have been set so low for President Obama’s trip to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan that much of the media and many pundits have concluded in advance that it will do little or nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. They say that once the visit is over, the President will put the issue on the back burner and be content with merely “managing the situation.”
We do not accept such a bleak prognosis.
The President’s trip is a first step in what will necessarily be a sustained, multi-year effort to achieve an end to the conflict.
We’ve been told a hundred times that the President is mainly going to listen and will not be putting some grand plan on the table. But listening – and being listened to – in itself is a crucial step.
This is a great chance for President Obama to connect at a gut level with ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. He will be speaking to them directly, rather than through filters, and can convince them that he has the good of both peoples at heart. The more effectively he does this, the more successful he will be later when negotiations reach a crucial stage and the parties have to make tough decisions.
We are weighing into the debate too.
Over 70 prominent Israelis, including former top military officers, parliamentarians, diplomats and intellectuals have signed an ad that J Street will run in Ha’aretz next week welcoming the President and urging him to take bold steps toward achieving a two-state solution.
We are delivering a thousand prayers to the US Consulate that J Street members sent to the President to deliver while in Jerusalem.
We are sending hundreds of our supporters including students to lobby their members of Congress to support the President’s diplomatic moves. You can add your voice to that effort right now, by clicking here to ask your Senator to sign onto Senator Dianne Feinstein’s letter urging the President to make clear that "finding a pathway to peace remains a priority for his administration."
Don’t be discouraged by the arguments you may be hearing from skeptics such as:
The status quo is not that bad – and in fact is quite manageable. Actually, most Israeli as well as US analysts agree that the status quo is unsustainable. Without significant action on the peace front, we face either the possible collapse of the moderate Palestinian Authority or a third Intifada – and possibly both.
The new Israeli coalition is incapable of making progress. But the fact is, we do not know that. What we do know is that Prime Minister Netanyahu emerged from the January election much weakened. Though his own party has moved to the right and his coalition includes the “Jewish Home” party, which opposes a two-state solution, the ascendant force in Israeli politics right now is represented by Yair Lapid, whose “Yesh Atid” (There is a Future) party was the big winner in the election. Lapid made renewal of peace efforts a central condition for his participation in the government.
After his first term rebuffs, Obama doesn’t feel inclined to waste political capital on this any more. But all the evidence suggests that Obama recognizes a huge personal and historical responsibility to do something if he can. He knows that a two-state solution is a crucial strategic interest for the United States and that time to achieve it is running out. And Secretary of State John Kerry has made it very clear that he views this issue as a personal challenge and responsibility that he is eager to tackle.
The region is too unstable, with Syria in the throes of civil war and Egypt in economic and social crisis, to focus on Israel and Palestine. The opposite is true. While the United States has little ability to influence events in either Egypt or Syria, the one place it can have an impact is on the Israeli-Palestinian front. An Israeli-Palestinian deal will inject some much-needed stability into the region. It would shore up vulnerable moderate leaders like King Abdullah of Jordan and further isolate extremists like the Iranians.
In short, don’t be fooled by all the words coming from Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah right now. President Obama’s 48 hours in the region mark an important moment.
Thanks, Alan Elsner Vice President of Communications"


bob m (32)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:03 pm

Anything to declare sir?....."oh yes... just my box cuttarrrrrrr..."... thank you sir... gate has a wet dream!

. (0)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:30 pm
Excellent article ..ty Abdessalam for the post. I do love Roxie's remarks..::))

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:37 pm
Talking about the wet dream,I would like to use this quote ""On the face of it, it does look like a wet dream – Ya'alon on Defense and Ariel on Housing is something which carries great potential, but in these things you can't foretell what will happen."
-- Samaria Regional (settler) Council Head Gershon Mesika on the new government.**

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:46 pm
Source: Obama says he's not bringing peace plan because Israeli gov't uninterested

Official at high-level U.S. government meetings says Obama frustrated with fruitlessness of the peace process, claiming it would be pointless to pressure the Israeli government at this time.
By Barak Ravid | Mar.17, 2013 | 2:06 AM

At a meeting last week between U.S. President Barack Obama and a group of Arab-American leaders, the president was asked why he did not intend to launch a new peace process to thaw out negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. According to an individual present at the meeting, Obama was very frank in his reply: The government in Israel is not ready to make concessions, he said, and so there is no point in bringing pressure to bear at this time.

Obama is very frustrated with the diplomatic impasse and the fruitlessness of his efforts during his first term. He will try to explain this frustration in his speech to the Israeli public on Thursday evening. Obama hopes that his visit, and especially that speech, will make clear his desire to advance the peace process, and his concern for Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state.

Obama's message will be that changes in the Middle East require Israel to change its way of thinking. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said at a press briefing last Thursday that Obama views a peace agreement as an American security interest as well as a Palestinian and Israeli one, and that Israel had to take Arab public opinion into account.

"As you move toward more democratic, more representative and responsive governments, Israel needs to take into account the changing dynamic and the need to reach out to public opinion across the region," Rhodes said.

Rhodes also said that in his upcoming visit, Obama wants mainly to hear what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had to say about the peace process. Rhodes also said the administration would have to talk to Israel's new government before deciding on whether to embark on a new peace initiative.

Coalition pact confirms U.S. view

The guidelines of the new government confirm the U.S. administration's assessment that a diplomatic breakthrough is unlikely. The Americans had hoped in vain to see in the new government's guidelines the term "two-state solution," or at least an indirect reference to Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech, in which he stated his commitment to the idea.

Instead, the guidelines state in a non-binding way: "Israel will seek a peace agreement with the Palestinians with the goal of reaching a diplomatic agreement that will end the conflict. If a diplomatic agreement is reached it will be brought before the cabinet, the Knesset, and if necessary, a public referendum."

Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, will not have many people to work with on the Palestinian question in the new government. Their interlocutors will be presumptive Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu's envoy Isaac Molho and of course, Netanyahu himself.

The Americans have no expectations on the Palestinian issue from the new defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon of Likud. They will try to get him to offer the Palestinians goodwill gestures and may also try to discuss with him the possibility of a construction freeze in the settlements. But mainly they hope that at least Ya'alon will not get in the way. To judge by the coalition agreement his party signed, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid will not be crucial in talks with the Americans. The Palestinian question appears in the penultimate paragraph to do the minimum required: "The government will act to renew the diplomatic process with the Palestinians."

The coalition agreement with Habayit Hayehudi has no reference at all to the Palestinian issue other than the fact that its chairman, Naftali Bennett, will be a member of the ministerial committee on the peace process. Bennett will be there to make clear that as long as talk does not turn into action, there is no problem, but if it does, count him out. Bennett also made sure his party has two representatives on the ministerial committee on settlement, a euphemistic name for a committee whose purpose is to legalize illegal outposts.

Mike S (86)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:54 pm
Outstanding post Abdessalam. Thank you very much my friend :)

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:57 pm
Noted w/much thanks, Abdessalam....poignant, funny and so true. Gladly signed "Just Carole's" petition above. It continues to baffle me why the US continues to give Israel so much money. Like a parent-child relationship--if my kid portrays bad behavior, I'd threaten his allowance. These are our tax dollars being wasted on matters that we should have some control over. If Netanyahu wants to continue "playing ball" with American money, he's going to have to listen to the coach and take direction. I know it sounds simplistic, but this tangled web has gone on far too many decades already, with enormous cost of human lives, property and security.

Jaime A (52)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:07 pm
Noted, thanks.!

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:07 pm

Amen ( אמן!), Lois!


Past Member (0)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:16 pm
I enjoyed the article, dear Abdessalam, but it hurts to see so many comments against our President. I think the old quote "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" might apply to President Obama here. I love Israel and I love Palestine and I love President Obama, I pray for peace on all fronts. Thank You.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:33 pm
Thank you Summer for this comment.President Obama has been awarded Noble prize for peace 4 years ago in anticipation of his peace efforts related not only to US wars but to the Israeli Arab conflict in general and the Palestine question in particular. He tried during his first term in office but Zionism seemed to be stronger than USA President. Now as he won't be looking forward to voted in 2016 may be he feels more free to move and initiate a peaceful settlement to the oldest problem in the Middle East. He can do this as late President Dewitt Eisenhower did in 1956.Let us pray he can do it bravely and get the support of Americans for a fair peaceful settlement.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:49 pm

Actually, it was "Dwight" (or DUH-wight).

For as long as I can remember, no matter what lies they told -- to appear more "personable" -- the U.S. has been ruled by war-mongering, profiteering corporations -- who benefit from the bought and paid for "representatives" and Chief Commanding Officers of this so-called "democracy."

I, sadly, cannot remember a time (from earliest childhood) that I didn't live in the "terror" of assaults from those who we were taught to hate and fear . . . who, afterward, became our allies (i.e. Germans, Japanese, Russians, Vietnamese, now Muslims . . . and so on and so on)?

When will people "wise up" and start recognizing propaganda????


P B (4)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:18 pm
This thread reminds me why I have not visited this column that is filled with antisemitic posters!!! Thought things might have settled down with some honesty!! This ends it for me!!! So much ignorance!!! I will block this in my email account.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:30 pm

Bye . . . Ta ta!

(You'll be missed?)


Yvonne White (229)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:32 pm
I wish all the trolls had such thin skin..;)

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:36 pm

Just for your info, this is a news submission, with a limited time of interest . . . not an ongoing thread or continuing topic of discussion, such as those you'd find in Care2 groups.

You, most definitely, have a choice as to whether you'd like to visit. (Although, unfortunately -- unlike groups, the submitter cannot choose who can enter.)


Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 4:02 pm

Yvonne, trolls are more knowledgeable than that. (They, not that it's commendable, do their homework.)


Birgit W (160)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 4:37 pm

Jeannette A (137)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 4:56 pm
Thank you Abdessalam.... it really shines a light on the dark side that people wish to ignore.

Stan B (123)
Monday March 18, 2013, 3:01 am
s President Obama prepares for his first trip to Israel, I hope when he gets there he sees what I saw.

Several weeks ago I returned from my first trip to Israel. I went with a delegation headed by Governor Mike Huckabee, who visits Israel at least once every year.

What did I see?

I saw kids, no more than 18 years old, walking down the street, waiting at bus stops, wearing Army green khakis, and carrying machine guns on their backs. One young girl was as black skinned as me.

Kids doing their compulsory army service as part of Israel’s citizen army. Three years for boys, two years for girls. No university deferment. First high school, then army, then university.

I also saw Masada. The fortress at the top of a mountain rising high above the Judean Desert, where, almost 2000 years ago, a contingent of Jewish zealots, having fled Jerusalem after the fall of the second Temple, took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman troops closing in on them.

New recruits into Israel’s army, the Israel Defense Forces, climb the long winding path to the mountaintop fortress at Masada and vow to not let Masada fall again.

I also saw Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Yad VaShem – the name taken from a verse in Isaiah, “….I will give in mine house and my walls a place and a name…an everlasting name which shall not be cut off…” that documents the horrors out of which the State of Israel emerged.

I walked through the halls of deep mourning and saw the displays, the photos, the books and papers, documenting the unimaginable.

The unimaginable and intentional slaughter of 6 million Jews, a third of the world’s Jewish population, done less then three quarters of a century ago and perpetrated by a German nation which was home to some of the foremost scientists, writers, and philosophers of modern times.

A crime of dimensions beyond human conception, perpetrated by a madman whom at the time some in the Western world thought they could do business with. Now today a madman in Iran, who some in the Western world think they can do business with, denies these events even occurred.

My thoughts turned with agony back to my own home in America where the lives of 55 million unborn children have been taken since 1973.

I saw the prime minister of Israel take 40 minutes out of his busy day, in the midst of trying to form a new government in this boisterous democracy, to welcome our small group into his office in the parliament building and take our questions. He even took one from me, which he answered at length and with care.

Christine Linley (12)
Monday March 18, 2013, 7:29 am
Post from March 18th at 3:01 am).
I was wondering howcome an Australian's thoughts went back home to America !
I was going to ask what was that question was he'd personally asked the prime minister of Israel, and what was the
Guess I'll have to go search the internet for the real aurther of this piece.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Monday March 18, 2013, 8:34 am
Stan is doing the same job Zionism is doing in Palestine and committing the same crime . THEFT is the name of the crime. Zionists are stealing Palestinians land to build settlements While Stan is stealing some one's else intellectual ownership to beautify the Zionist entity. No wonder if he is a member of the same gang.

Stan B (123)
Monday March 18, 2013, 7:37 pm
I apologize for forgetting to include the source of my post which Christine Linley kindly pointed out. It was a genuine oversight though I can hardly imagine reading it that anyone could imagine I was claiming its origin.

Unfortunately I don't have the same experience as people like Abdessalam in copying and pasting long articles written by others. I prefer to write my own thoughts where I can.

Incidentally, Christine, it's " author " not " aurther." Even the smartest people like you can make mistakes.

Jelica R (144)
Monday March 18, 2013, 10:08 pm
Obama should just stick with "I am the president of the US". Anything else could put him in trouble. On the second thought, Barack Obama, if he was not a sitting president of the US, would probably be barely tolerated if not ultimate "persona non grata" of Israeli hard-liners. US financial and diplomatic support (which Pres. has to sign to become applied), on the other hand is more than welcomed. Confusion, or something more sinister?


Sheryl G (363)
Monday March 18, 2013, 10:31 pm
Sometimes with humor great points can be made that wouldn't be acceptable in other ways.

He should also go through our TSA humiliation here in the USA. Many people not flying anymore as they can't fly private or say they are the President of the United States. Not even former politicians can avoid it, just ask Jessie Ventura who no longer flies.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 8:03 am
You are wrong. When I copy and past any article or parts of it I mention the source. If you can read,you can check.

Phillipa W (199)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 8:51 am
thanks. A harmless little commentary, but sadly when it comes to Israel racism is the least of the worries. Sure, a fair bit stems from racism, but how do you say to them that they're racist when they believe they are chosen by God to rule the world and enslave their neighbors and are entitled to the land, animals, resources and even women and children because God decreed it was to be so? Although, like Dandelion, I did have to wonder, would he notice the difference between Israel and the US? I mean, I've seen some of the TSA at work, as well as police stopping pedestrians/drivers etc. No-one can deny that what has happened since Israel was formed (legally and prior) is reprehensible and the kindest words you can say about most of it is "they of all people should know better".

M B (62)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 8:54 am
Thanks for posting, Abdessalam.

Israel’s new housing minister promises “many, many more” settlers

March 18, 2013

On the eve of Barack Obama’s first visit to Israel as President, and shortly before being sworn in, Israel’s new Minister of Housing and Construction indicated over the weekend that he intends to build in West Bank settlements in a way that would make the creation of a Palestinian state impossible.

In an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth, Minister Uri Ariel of Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) gave a preview of his agenda as the cabinet minister responsible for settlement planning and construction by stating: “There can be only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea—Israel.”

Ariel is the former Secretary General of the settlers’ Yesha Council and one of the leaders of the ideological settlers’ movement. He is one of Israel’s most hawkish Knesset members.

Ariel told the interviewer that he believes West Bank settlements ought to include both large towns and smaller settlements, presumably in the depth of the West Bank, indicating that he intends not only to strengthen the so-called “settlement blocs” adjacent to the Green Line, but also the distant settlements deep inside the West Bank.

Asked what about the fate of the Palestinians who live in the West Bank once Israel annexes it, Ariel replied: “They will receive autonomy.” The interviewer asked: “And what if they don’t want that?” Ariel’s reply: “What matters is what we want. Not because we want to hurt them, but rather because that is what is good for the State of Israel.”

Asked about his goal of increasing the number of settlers in the West Bank, Ariel said: “Today there are 360,000 and I want for there to be many, many more.”

Ariel dismissed potential pressure within the newly formed coalition to pursue peace negotiations with the Palestinians as “difficulties in the matter of the peace process.” He projected, however, that “there will be a lot of talk and very few facts on the ground” in terms of pursuing peace with the Palestinians.
Source : APN (Americans for Peace Now)

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 2:47 pm

Heba’s Letter to President Obama

(This letter to US President Barack Obama was read out in Arabic by Heba, a 12-year-old girl from the town of Rafah on March 16. An event was held in the southern Gaza Strip town to commemorate Rachel Corrie’s killing by the Israeli army.)
Dear President Barack Obama,
My name is Heba. I am a 12-year-old girl from the town of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. I am a Palestinian. I love my people, and I care deeply about the entire world.
Mr. President, my town is hurting. My people are hurting. Since the day I became aware of the place where I live, and the people around me, I saw little peace. There is so much pain here. I grew up under siege. But my mamma tells me there has been nothing but siege in Gaza even before I was born. My family traces its history of pain to 1948, when Israel was established on the ruins of my ancestors’ homes. It was then we became refugees. We are still refugees. But things are getting even worse for us, as we continue to endure a war that doesn’t seem to end, and a siege that made us poorer than ever before.
In the war of 2008, I remember how frightened we all were when the Israeli army killed and injured thousands of my people. Over 350 of those killed were children, just like me. My mother would hold us tight and sing for us all night, as the bombs fell all around us. Those scary times are often repeated, but I am not as afraid. The courage of my people taught me to be strong and proud.
Ten years ago, a beautiful American girl arrived in our town. She was accompanied by several of her friends as they came to stand in solidarity with us and talk to the world about the suffering and bravery of the Palestinians. Those who knew her speak fondly of her, of how she tried to practice her funny Arabic, and how little girls would hold her hand and walk with her proudly around the town. Ten years ago, Mr. President, that girl, Rachel Corrie was run over by an Israeli military bulldozer, one that was made in the United States and paid for by the American government. The driver ran over her mercilessly, more than once. Beautiful Rachel died, sir while she was protesting the demolishing of our poor dwellings. That act of murder was not the first or the last committed against those who came to stand with us. And as you know, many thousands of our people were killed in more ways than I can tell you. Like Rachel, they were innocent, and so very beautiful.
When I see you on television, I hear you speak of values like democracy, equality and freedom. But when our neighbors talk about the US government, they speak of the money and weapons that are regularly sent by your government and are used to carry out the horrific wars against my people. When will this stop? When will you turn your words into action? How would you feel if your two lovely girls live in Rafah, Mr. President? Will you still send money and arms to those who are tormenting the people of this town? We do aspire to achieve the same values you always talk about, but for our aspirations to ever be realized, please, stop sending weapons to Israel. Children will continue to die if you don’t do the right thing.
And Mr. President, my people need their unity today more than any other time in the past. This unity is so important to us, since our division is strengthening those who have mistreated us, occupied us and besieged us for so long. However, every attempt at unity was obstructed by your government, which insists on keeping us weak and divided. It is time to let us find our common ground so that we may speak in one voice and have a leadership that truly represents our people.
The people of Rafah, of Gaza, in fact all Palestinians, will never, ever forget Rachel. In our town, we call her a Martyr and we have paintings of her on many of our decaying walls. She was the proof that Americans don’t hate Rafah. Rachel died for us.
Mr. President, I am still hopeful that you sincerely speak out against military occupation, demand an end to the siege, don’t send more guns to Israel, and don’t oppose our unity. Please don’t empower those who have tormented my family and me for so long.
We will never give up the fight for our freedom, and we will always honor the legacy of our heroes – Rachel Corrie, James Miller, Tom Hurndal, Vittorio Arrigoni, Mohammed al-Durra, Iman Hajjo, Fares Odeh, Arafat Jaradat, and thousands of our heroes and heroines that will continue to inspire us until the day we seize our freedom.

Christine Linley (12)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 4:34 pm
Please see this for an Australian MP's critisim of a Parliamentary Study Tour to Israel - David Shoebridge in NSW Parliament - 14 March

I'd be very grateful if Free could make it into a link for me Ta !


Carole Sarcinello (338)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 4:43 pm
Here ya go, Christine . . .
Parliamentary Friends of Israel Study Tour [Motion Debate]

Phillipa W (199)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 9:36 pm
thanks Christine and Just Carole. That was a sickening read seeing what they're doing to Palestinian children in addition to the rest of what they're doing

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 6:41 am
Thank you Christine and Carole for the link to that important debate. It was very helpful to me here:
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