Palestine Eyewitness

 at 4:12 pm on Thursday, August 24, 2006

As a couple of people, in reponse to the I am Palsestinian, but my president is Chavez, not Abu Mazen post, have asked for me to write something more on my experiences in Palestine, I definitely will. However, in the meantime please find the link to my blog from my time in Palestine (I keep meaning to update it but have not got around it).


It doesn't cover everything, but it will give you at a bit of an idea what its like there.


http://redapril.blogspot.com/

Kim has been a political activist for almost 10 years and has been involved in anti-racism, women's liberation and international solidarity campaigns. In 2004, she spent 4 months working in the Occupied Palestinian Terrorities with the international human rights group, The International Women's Peace Service (www.iwps.info). Kim writes regularly for Green Left Weekly (www.greenleft.org.au) and is a member of the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Socialist Alliance.

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30 Comments »

1739

Comment by znalo

August 24, 2006 @ 9:13 pm

Also worth a glance would be Harrison Healy’s blog on his recent stay in the POTs.

-AA.

1744

Comment by MarkL

August 24, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

Somewhat OT here, but issue related. Some may recall the infamous incident of the ‘Lebanese ambulance “attacked” by the IDF’, and how at the time (based on the video and one shot of the roof), I said I thought it was a hoax/propaganda tale. It seems that it was worse than that.

Turned out it was, the press.. well, see for yourself at:

http://www.zombietime.com/fraud/ambulance/

I was digging around for more data on this issue and found this site. I don’t care if you’re left, right or calathumpian, the damned press loses all credibility when it purveys pure propaganda, from any side. In this case, they lied to all of us.

MarkL
Canberra

1769

Comment by professor rat

August 25, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

Dear Kim
I’m a Libertarian socialist not a democratic one like yrself, however I want to ask you a favour.
If you have contacts in the Marxist vanguard scene over there would you point them in the direction of the November 17th movement instead of failed models like Che Guevara and Deniz?
The November 17th movment operated successfully over decades and surely we have enough martyr’s already.
We don’t really want any more Chris Hani’s do we?

1782

Comment by Ablokeimet

August 25, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

As someone who’s used the “missile through the ambulance roof” story in polemics, I have to confess to feeling really angry at being deceived. I believed the story, for two reasons:

(a) It was being reported by the straight media, which are heavily pro-Zionist, and I therefore expected that anything critical of Israel that they reported would be well-founded; and

(b) It was being endorsed by the Red Cross, an organisation which I respect for its impartiality in pursuit of its mission.

This is not the first time I’ve found an Israeli atrocity story turn out to be a fraud, but it’s the last time I’ll fall for it. I’m sick to death of being deceived by bourgeois nationalists whose only difference with Israel is that they’re not yet in a position to put the boot on the other foot. Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah are a pack of Right-wing, murdering liars who have nothing to offer the long-suffering Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.

Does this mean I’m going soft on Zionism? NO WAY. It just means that I have to hold even more firmly onto the only method that has a prospect of bringing justice to the Middle East – class struggle. Only by overthrowing the sheiks, the generals and the clergy, as well as the Zionists, in a workers’ revolution can a solution to the oppression of the peoples in the region be found. Israel, as a “Jewish State”, is a moral abomination and the ethical equivalent of a White Australia or an Islamic Republic, so it has to go – but it cannot be replaced by anything better unless the force that destroys it is the working class, both Jewish and Arab.

The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was a crime, regardless of the ostensible pretext. The Red Cross ambulance incident made no difference to the basic case, though I found it a useful proof in discussions with people with pro-Zionist leanings. Now I find I’ve been peddling someone else’s lies. And I’m angry – really angry.

1784

Comment by Tony Hartin

August 25, 2006 @ 11:01 pm

please tell me this parody. cop agents are not so stupid as to write stuff as wooden as this, are they?

1785

Comment by Tony Hartin

August 25, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

i meant “please tell me this is parody” – it would be nice to be able to edit one’s own comments

1788

Comment by Will Anderson

August 25, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

Having read the article posted by MarkL, and then at the website on which it is published (which seems primarily concerned with ridiculing opponents of the American occupation of Iraq), i find myself confused, but not at all sure what the utility of faking the ambulance attack would be. I do however see lots of reason to detract from Israel’s disastrous offensive in Lebanon.

The article reminded me of a flurry of denialist stories that appeared following the murder of a family on a beach in the Gaza Strip, stories prompted by the IDF’s claim that it was not responsible for the massacre on the beach, a claim that was thoroughly disredited shortly afterwards.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1799825,00.html

Be angry, Ablokeimet, but nor for being fooled. It’s logical to assume that the Israelis were responsible for the ambulance attack, seeing as Israeli artillary, fighter jets and helicopter gunships had killed so many other Lebanese, with little effort to distinguish between military and civilian targets in their ‘pinpoint operations’. Also because Israel has a long history of targetting ambulances in the Occupied Palestinian territories (and yes, red crescent workers have also attacked Israel). There are countless incidents of ambulances coming under fire in the OPT. This document from the ICRC describes the killing of 3 paramedics and wounding of 10 by the IDF in March 2002 alone.

www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList74/8563BEA1A993B33FC1256B98004A0BC5

In addition to direct violence towards medics and humanitarian aid workers, the IDF consistently hamper the efforts of ambulances to transport sick, pregnant and wounded Palestinians. So I’m with Okham on this, rather than trusting a pro-war website which is unwilling to disclose its authors or affiliations.

1809

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 26, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

Good read Kath, but I think it would work better as a piece of reportage rather than a diary entry.

Phrases like “inspiring”, “confused by our obstinacy”, etc are redundant. The power of the story derives not from your opinions, but your experience.

Also confused about the use of IOF for (I assume, Isaraeli Occupation Forces). There is no such beast. It’s the IDF. If you want to emphasise the fact that the IDF is an occupying force, then you need do nothing more than indicate it’s the IDF doing the occupying. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

It’s your experience, so minor quibbles really. But I can’t help thinking it could be a whole lot better with a bit of judicious editing.

Sorry to sound like a prat.

1817

Comment by DANIEL

August 26, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

It seems rather ironic. On my blog is a photo of a old, sobbing woman who lost 23 members of her family blown up by the IDF while trying to leave southern Lebanon. They were a small part of 1200 odd civilians killed many of them kids. As well, graphic photos of enormous damage to civilian infrastructure in Lebanon abound. And what do we find?

On this blog (as on Mr Lefty) people argue furiously about some bloody holes in the roof of an ambulance! Mountains shrunk to mole hills!

P.S. You do sound like a prat, Phil!

1819

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 26, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

Well indeed I might be Daniel. But my point wasn’t actually ‘GRRRRRRRR I’ve got a blog and photos and people are dying’. In fact it had nothing to do about disagreeing.

It was more to do about writing and making a point across in a punchy, concise, and effective manner. All a matter of personal perspective.

Take it, leave it, or get a life.

1820

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 26, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

across. Meh.

1821

Comment by Ablokeimet

August 26, 2006 @ 10:48 pm

The veracity of the “Lebanese ambulance incident” would be a mountain/molehill issue if it was used as a determinant of the legitimacy of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. As I made clear in my post, however, I remain completely opposed, not only to that invasion, but to the existence of Israel (i.e. a “Jewish State”) itself. My anger was directed at the liars who faked the incident and the political perspective that motivated them to do it. Quite simply, people who are prepared to descend to this level of mendacity are utter reactionaries and bitter opponents of working class democracy.

The issue is not whether Israel is “in the right” in its war, but who are our friends and who are our enemies. While Israel is definitely our enemy, it should always be remembered that our enemy’s enemy is not always our friend – and, in the case of Hezbollah, is another, though lesser, enemy.

1824

Comment by Kath Wilson

August 27, 2006 @ 12:06 am

Hey, Phil, I think you’re confusing me with Kim.

1825

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 27, 2006 @ 12:20 am

I actually think that the photo evidence re the ambos and the missile strike is pretty clear, and that the pics published purporting to show a ‘missile strike’ in the centre of the roof were nothing of the sort.

I’m fairly perplexed as to how the incident came about, given that the IDF has actually acknowledged attacking ambulances. Bit of a challenge for the MSM re quality control in a high pressure, 24 hour news cycle environment.

But anyway Ablo, I think your comment re the “existence” of the Jewish state itself (by which I assume you mean Israel) is just plain stupid or stupidly honest. Whatever its failings the joint has a right to exist, as does Palestine.

Otherwise what’s your solution?

1826

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 27, 2006 @ 12:24 am

Hey, Kath, d’oh!

1827

Comment by Kath Wilson

August 27, 2006 @ 12:51 am

Well, it’s understandable, given both Kath & Kim are hornbags.

1828

Comment by Will Anderson

August 27, 2006 @ 12:58 am

“The issue is not whether Israel is “in the right” in its war, but who are our friends and who are our enemies. While Israel is definitely our enemy,...”

well, speak for yourself. i think you could cut down on the ‘class struggle’ dogma and start talking about real life

1829

Comment by Sandy Freckle

August 27, 2006 @ 1:04 am

Yez sure are K&K, heh, heh. Fancy a ride down to Fountaingate?

Kel, the lilo!!

1837

Comment by DANIEL

August 27, 2006 @ 7:58 am

I agree with Ablo. There is no legitimate reason why Israel should exist. If Jews wanted to live in Palestine they could’ve moved there just like other immigrants do.

In creating Israel, they created a monster, one controlled by Americaa (which has ambitions of world control).

P.S. Phil, in your reply (where I simply confirmed your own statement), you expressed an opinion. I thought you said that was a no-no!

1852

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 27, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

Well that rather gets right to the point, doesn’t it Daniel? I’m perfectly happy to have a go at Israeli government policies, but your comments are just straight out racist.

God, you’ll be quoting the Protocols next.

1857

Comment by Ablokeimet

August 27, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

Phil Kimby, referring to Israel, says, “Whatever its failings, the joint has a right to exist, as does Palestine”. I disagree. There are two arguments, one of which is general and the other specific to the nature of Israel.

Firstly, Israel is a State. Therefore, it has no right to exist. Neither does any other State. I make this clear because I’m an Anarchist. It would take too long to put the general argument for Anarchism here, but I do need to be honest about where I’m coming from.

Secondly, Israel is a Jewish State. It is not, even in theory, the State of all its inhabitants, or even all its citizens. Its national institutions favour Jews and discriminate against non-Jews. This is not some oversight, or a relic of the past, but is a design feature of Israel. Non-Jewish citizens are second class citizens, with inferior rights to land ownership, social security and immigration. Further, according to my information, it is actually illegal for a political party to stand for the Knesset on a platform of advocating equal rights for all Israeli citizens. These measures, you see, are seen as necessary to preserve the “Jewish character” of Israel.

Opposition to the existence of Israel is not the same as saying that the Jews have to be driven into the sea (or, as I’ve seen an Islamist put forward, sent to the United States). The Jewish people have the same right to live in the land covered by the old League of Nations Mandate of Palestine as the Palestinians have. Further, they have the same right of national self-determination as the Palestinians have. That is, their exercise of national self-determination is legitimate if and only if it is done on the basis of consistent democracy. A Jewish State is, thus, a moral abomination and the ethical equivalent of a White Australia or an Islamic Republic.

Unfortunately, the Jewish and Palestinian peoples are so interpenetrated that the creation of a nation State for one of the contending parties is necessarily at the expense of the other. Steps towards a solution, which provide somewhat more justice for the Palestinians than presently exist, are possible, but they are inherently unstable. The only lasting solution, therefore, is workers’ revolution to abolish capitalism and overthrow all the States of the region. As well as the Zionists, the sheiks, the generals and the Islamic clergy all have to go. There is no Two State solution. There is no One State solution. There is only a No State solution.

1862

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 27, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

Ablo, what drugs are you on exactly? So what is it you propose happen to the existing state of Israel and the people who happen to live there?

You’re weird dude.

1909

Comment by Ablokeimet

August 28, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

Phil wants to know what drugs I’m on. At the time of writing the above comment, I wasn’t on any. On the other hand, I do take drugs. My favourite is cabernet sauvignon, but I’m also fond of shiraz, riesling and semillon. You won’t, however, find a single bottle of chardonnay in my cellar.

On the substantive question of what I want to happen to the State of Israel and the people who live there, my answer should be clear from what I wrote above. I’ll re-state it, though, in briefer terms.

The State of Israel should be smashed. Destroyed. Obliterated. Wiped off the map. I hope that’s clear. You can quote me on it – provided you also quote me on the answer to the other half of the question.

The people who presently live in the State of Israel have the right to live there, with the same rights as anyone else. They shouldn’t be driven into the sea. They shouldn’t be forced to emigrate to the US. They shouldn’t have to accept second class citizen status in an Islamic Republic of Palestine. I hope that’s clear.

The thing that makes my position a bit hard for many to understand is that a class approach to the Middle East is pretty uncommon, with most of the ostensible Left choosing to support the bourgeois nationalism of the oppressed groups. The solution I advocate can only be implemented by workers’ revolution, in which the Israeli working class takes the prime role in the destruction of the State of Israel. The Egyptian working class will take the prime role in the destruction of the Arab Republic of Egypt. And so on. Bourgeois organisations, whether secular like Fatah, or religious like Hezbollah, can play no part in this. They will have to be defeated – as, of course, will the Zionist parties like Kadima, Likud and “Labour”.

There is a final point which shouldn’t need saying, since it flows logically from what I’ve already said, but I’ll say anyway since experience shows that many people won’t work it out for themselves. While I welcome any military (note: not civilian) losses by Israel in its wars of aggression and expansion, I absolutely oppose any attempt to solve the Palestine question by means of war. Whether this is through a Palestinian guerrilla army, or a coalition of Arab States, the result would be completely reactionary, whatever the slogans under which the war was conducted. Only the working class is capable of providing a progressive solution.

1929

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 28, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

“You won’t, however, find a single bottle of chardonnay in my cellar.”

Mate, you need to lay off the reds – they’re full of antihistamines.

“The State of Israel should be smashed. Destroyed. Obliterated. Wiped off the map. I hope that’s clear.”

Yeah, um, pretty clear. Speaks for itself really.

As I said, you’re weird.

1930

Comment by Phil Kimby

August 28, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

“I absolutely oppose any attempt to solve the Palestine question by means of war. Whether this is through a Palestinian guerrilla army, or a coalition of Arab States, the result would be completely reactionary, whatever the slogans under which the war was conducted.”

Well I can certainly go with you on that, but the bottomline is that there will be no ‘working class progressive solution’, in the ME.

It will be one decided by the parties, including perhaps now the Europeans, deciding that blowing each other up for the next 50 years is a tad counter-productive.

As ever a matter of political will, not revolutionary fantasy.

1986

Comment by DANIEL

August 29, 2006 @ 11:28 am

Phil, for a man who critisized Kim for expressing opinions your comments seem to be full of them. And insults!

How about playing the ball not the person?

2010

Comment by Ablokeimet

August 29, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

Phil believes the solution to the Palestine question will be “one decided by the parties, including perhaps now the Europeans, deciding that blowing each other up for the next 50 years is a tad counter-productive”. There may be an agreement, but it won’t be a solution.

Even the best version of the Two State “solution” on offer would amount to a Palestinian bantustan – the equivalent of what the black people of South Africa rejected outright and fought against for decades. Without a major defeat for Zionism in some form, the most likely version of a Two State “solution” would be a “Palestine” composed of four or more postage stamp sub-bantustans. This would be a marginal improvement on the current situation for the Palestinians, but at the price of locking them into permanent destitution and powerlessness. It would solve nothing and, perhaps after a brief lull, the Palestinian struggle would go on. If Fatah agrees to it, Hamas will lead the opposition (until they blow their credibility). If Hamas agrees to it, someone else will lead the opposition. But opposition there will be.

Phil & others may believe that achieving the working class solution is impossible. I certainly don’t think it will be easy. I’m dead certain, though, that nothing else that is implemented will work.

2179

Comment by lisa

September 3, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

PHIL SAID: ‘Mate, you need to lay off the reds – they’re full of antihistamines.’

That’s histamines… they’re full of histamines. Hence the allergic reaction to them (the ‘red wine headache’) – much like what I’m starting to get from reading your posts.

Ablo, well argued! If you’re on drugs then I must be too. Or maybe it’s the ‘antihistamines’?

2554

Comment by Adele G

September 8, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

Ablokeimet makes a legitimate case about false reporting and, pointedly, peddling other people’s lies.

I thought I had heeded a good lesson after the 2002 ‘Jenin massacre’ that didn’t turn out to be the case. I think Amnesty International settled on about 56 people dead, not 500. And more than half of those killed were fighters from Islamic Jihad or Hamas.

Now I have to admit to also falling for this ambulance one too. I felt somewhat foolish when arguing with some people.

People, we are not doing ourselves any favours by adopting knee-jerk reactions too quickly!

2556

Comment by Jeff Sparrow

September 8, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/ambulance-attack-evidence-stands-the-test/2006/09/01/1156817099370.html

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