In this September 27, 1982 file photo, a Palestinian woman attending a Beirut memorial service holds the helmets worn by those who committed the Sabra and Shatila massacre. (AP Photo / Bill Foley, File)
On the night of September 16, 1982, my younger brother and I were baffled as we watched dozens of Israeli flares floating down in complete silence over the southern reaches of Beirut, for what seemed like an eternity. We knew that the Israeli army had rapidly occupied the western part of the city two days earlier. But flares are used by armies to illuminate a battlefield, and with all the PLO fighters who had resisted the Israeli army during the months-long siege of the city already evacuated from Beirut, we went to bed perplexed, wondering what enemy was left for the occupying army to hunt.
Massacre survivors Yousef Hamzeh and Abu Jamal walk together at the site of the Sabra and Shatila massacre on the outskirts of Beirut [Caren Firouz/Reuters]
On September 16, 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the right-wing Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut and began a massacre which ended in the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands, of mostly Palestinian civilians. I was 19 years old at the time. By chance and by luck I managed to survive. My mother and five younger sisters and brothers; and my uncle, his wife and eight kids did not.
Israel’s invasion began June 6, 1982. After much destruction, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had defended the camps since its inception, agreed to leave Lebanon in August. They were given American assurances that civilians left behind would be protected. The president-elect of Lebanon, and the leader of the Phalange, was assassinated on September 14th. The Israeli army proceeded to invade and occupy West Beirut.
Israeli troops surrounded the camps to prevent the refugees from leaving and allowed entry of the Phalange, a known enemy of the Palestinians. The Israelis fired flares throughout the night to light up the killing field – thus allowing the militiamen to see their way through the narrow alleys of the camps. The massacre went on for two days. As the bloodbath concluded, Israel supplied the bulldozers to dig mass graves. In 1983, Israel’s investigative Kahan Commission found that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense Minister, bore “personal responsibility“ for the slaughter.
A big thanks to those who have helped us get past the halfway point in our campaign to supply rechargeable household “Gaza Lights” to poor families in Rafah.
If you haven’t contributed, we can really use your help to meet our goal.
The electricity crisis in Gaza has reached unprecedented and unbearable heights, with power now reduced to 2-4 hours per day.
While only an end to the Israeli occupation and blockade can provide a lasting solution, in the meantime the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide families in Rafah with a “Gaza Lights” unit — a rechargeable household system created by a team of volunteer Gaza engineers that takes advantage of the short hours of electrical service to charge a battery, which can then power lights, fans, and phones for twelve hours.
These “Gaza Lights” are produced quickly in Gaza and distributed to needy families by MECA and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
Amal and the Sketch Engineering Team assemble Gaza Lights systems
MRSCP has committed to raise funds supply 50 of these systems; we are just over half way to our goal of $4700. We need to raise the rest by mid-November. Please help us reach this goal! Your contribution of just $11 will give one family in Rafah 3 lights for their home. $20 buys them a fan, $31 a rechargeable battery, $91 a complete system.
We’ll be selling Holy Land extra virgin Palestinian olive oil at the upcoming Holiday Fair Trade Fairs (November 19 at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ and December 2 at Monona Terrace), but you can beat the holiday crowds and get yours now!
Both 500 ml and 750 ml bottles are available. Prices are:
• 500 ml: $15 each, box of six $84
• 750 ml: $20 each, box of six $112
If you live near Madison and would like to purchase some oil, please contact Veena, veena.brekke at gmail.com or phone 608-332-8745. She may be able to arrange delivery for larger orders in the Madison area.
In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.
Those who do criticize Israel assume that if anything went wrong in this democracy then it was due to the 1967 war. In this view, the war corrupted an honest and hardworking society by offering easy money in the occupied territories, allowing messianic groups to enter Israeli politics, and above all else turning Israel into an occupying and oppressive entity in the new territories.
The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy is propagated even by some notable Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars — but it has no historical foundation.
Those Confederate statues were built on something even bigger. Watch my new video with MoveOn as I talk about how to confront white supremacy.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, MoveOn.org, September 16, 2017
Donald Trump is not the first politician to openly stoke racism and hatred.
He is a part of a much larger system of white supremacy that is reinforced in our nation election after election.
In a new video, I share my thoughts on why we need to dig deeper to address structural racism — and how we move forward.
It’s important to pull down Confederate symbols — many of which were erected as monuments to white supremacy during the Jim Crow era, decades after the Civil War. And we must also focus on the policy violence of voter suppression, attacks on immigrants, and denial of access to health care and living wages, which continue to oppress communities of color and the poor.
White supremacy is about maintaining power through the politics of division and oppression — and it impacts everyone, Black, brown, or white.
Advancing a moral agenda to confront and take down white supremacy in all its forms is work we all can do together. As I and my colleagues at Repairers of the Breach tour the country with the new #PoorPeoplesCampaign, the diversity of the communities committed to reviving the heart of democracy gives me hope.
Please take a moment to watch and share this video — then take action to tackle the symbols and policies of racism all around us.
Bar Bahar/In Between is a controversial film made by a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and produced and marketed as an Israeli film.
Israel | 2016 | DCP | 102 min. | Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
Criminal lawyer Laila, DJ/bartender Salma and religious student Nur are three Arab Israeli young women sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv. When Nur’s conservative fiancé encourages her to leave her studies and the city to marry him, her more secular roommates face their own struggles to balance modernity with tradition. Unfolding in a city where the protagonists are partly seen as outsiders, In Between candidly and movingly depicts their special friendship and unique bond.
The film has been praised as an honest portrayal of the contradictions facing Palestinian citizens of Israel (especially women), and criticized as a stereotyped and one-sided view of traditional Palestinian culture and of the town of Umm Al-Fahm that advances the Israeli agenda and glosses over the underlying facts of Israeli relations with Palestinians of all types.
There will be a discussion following the film.
Co-sponsored by the UW Middle East Studies Department and the Cinemathique film society.
Umm al-Fahm is a Palestinian town in an area of of Israel known as the Little Triangle with 300,000 Palestinian Israelis. Netanyahu is talking about transferring the Little Triangle from Israel to a future Palestinian state in return for the annexation of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. See“Netanyahu alarms Palestinians with talk of land swap” by Jonathan Cook.