Tawfiq Nasser: Palestinian Doctor Tells Of Life Under Occupation

Samara Kalk Derby, The Capital Times, October 10, 2005

To get to work each day, Tawfiq Nasser needs a green card, known as a “dirty ID.” He also needs what is called a magnetic card to show that he is not a terrorist or security threat.

On top of that, he must carry two permits, both of which have to be renewed every few months.

Nasser is one of the lucky ones. As director and CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, the Palestinian doctor moves about the city and the rest of Israel with some aggravation and complication.

“This is a privilege, a real privilege,” he told an audience of about 40 Sunday afternoon at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg.

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October 9, 2005
Dr. Tawfiq Nasser in Madison


A View From Jerusalem – Challenges for Palestinian Health Care

Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
5700 Pheasant Hill Rd., Monona
Dr. Nasser will preach at 8:00 & 10:00 Worship
and make a presentation beginning at 9:10

Memorial United Church of Christ
5705 Lacey Rd., Fitchburg
Dr. Nasser will speak from 4:30 – 5:30

Evening Reception of Hospitality and Conversation
At the home of Rev. Bruce Burnside
1109 Gilbert Rd., Madison
RSVP Requested to Rev. Burnside (see below)

The public is invited to any and all events of the day. For Information or directions please contact Rev Bruce Burnside, 608-222-1241 or revbhb@tds.net.

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Meanwhile, Israel grabs the rest of Jerusalem

Hind Khoury, The International Herald Tribune, AUGUST 11, 2005

JERUSALEM — After more than 38 years of its oppressive military occupation of the Gaza Strip, Israel will soon begin evacuating the few thousand settlers who have been denying freedom to more than a million Palestinians there. Israel has marketed the Gaza withdrawal as yet another historic opportunity to jump-start the peace process. But Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem indicate that Israel’s unilaterally imposed disengagement was never meant to start a peace process, but rather to end one.

As the world’s attention is diverted by scenes of the removal of settlers who had no right to be in Gaza in the first place, the real strategy behind disengagement is revealed by Israel’s aggressive moves to consolidate its occupation of Jerusalem’s eastern Palestinian sector.

At stake is the very basis of peace between Palestinians and Israelis – a negotiated two-state solution. Israel’s plan is to use “concessions” in Gaza to remove Jerusalem from the negotiation table. But without Jerusalem as a shared capital for Palestinians and Israelis, there is no two-state solution.

In violation of President George W. Bush’s May warning not to prejudice the status of Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet recently approved a decision to complete Israel’s wall in East Jerusalem by the end of August, while the world’s attention is on the Gaza disengagement. The wall, which Israel is using to redefine Jerusalem’s borders, is being routed through occupied territory in such a way as to maximize the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites behind the wall, while maximizing the amount of Palestinian land on the “Israeli” side. About 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem will be effectively cut off from the their city, forced to access their schools, hospitals and even families through Israeli military gates which, as Palestinians know from experience, can be closed at a soldier’s whim.

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The Jerusalem Powder Keg

The International Crisis Group, REPORT No. 44 / MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA, 2 AUGUST 2005

While the world focuses on Gaza, the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations in fact may be playing itself out away from the spotlight, in Jerusalem. With recent steps, Israel is attempting to solidify its hold over a wide area in and around the city, creating a far broader Jerusalem.

Executive Summary

While the world focuses on Gaza, the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations in fact may be playing itself out away from the spotlight, in Jerusalem. With recent steps, Israel is attempting to solidify its hold over a wide area in and around the city, creating a far broader Jerusalem. If the international community and specifically the U.S. are serious about preserving and promoting a viable two-state solution, they need to speak far more clearly and insistently to halt actions that directly and immediately jeopardise that goal. And if that solution is ever to be reached, they will need to be clear that changes that have occurred since Israelis and Palestinians last sat down to negotiate in 2000-2001 will have to be reversed.

Since the onset of the Arab-Israeli conflict, control over Jerusalem has fluctuated, as have the city’s contours. Speaking of the city today, one refers to substantial areas, some Jewish, others Arab, that were part of the West Bank and that no one would have recognised as Jerusalem prior to 1967. Stretching municipal boundaries, annexing Palestinian land and building new Jewish neighbourhoods/settlements, Israel gradually created a municipal area several times its earlier size. It also established new urban settlements outside the municipal boundary to surround the city, break contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and strengthen links between these settlements, West Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.

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Israeli Extremists Lose, as a New Generation of Palestinians Wins

Mohammed Omer, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 2005

israeli, ”, rachelWith the Dome of the Rock in the background, a religious Jew prays at the entrance to East Jerusalem’s Western Wall April 10. At least 10 right-wing Israeli militants were arrested in Jerusalem, where they threatened to attack the Islamic holy site. (AFP Photo/Pedro Ugarte)

THEY BREATHE the same air, drink the same water, are covered by the same blue sky, yet the extremists among the Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine live in a different universe from that of their Palestinian neighbors.

Ariel Sharon, who originally championed the settler movement in defiance of international law, is now determined to evacuate the 8,000 Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip this summer. President Mahmoud Abbas and all the Palestinian militant factions agreed to a cease-fire to expedite the Gaza evacuation and restart peace negotiations. In a move designed to re-ignite the intifada and destroy the Gaza withdrawal plans, however, extremist Israeli settlers declared their intention to attack the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Sunday, April 10.

The Haram al Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, is actually a 35-acre compound which includes the Dome of the Rock, the al-Aqsa Mosque, and many other cultural and religious treasures. All Palestinians feel an obligation to safeguard these Islamic holy places—not just for the world’s Muslims, but for all people of good will. Thousands of Palestinians remained within the Sanctuary after Friday prayers on April 8. Israeli police forbade the Sunday demonstration, arresting some of the extremist settlers who defied orders to disperse.

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March 6 -20, 2005
Silent Art Auction for Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem

Madison, Wis — A silent auction of donated art work benefiting Augusta Victoria Hospital in Palestine will be on display March 6-20, 2005.

The show opens Sunday, March 6, 2005 at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Monona in Koinonia Place, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Initial viewing and bidding will take place at the reception. Art will be on view until the closing reception, 6 to 8 p.m. on March 20. At the end of the reception bidding will close and art will be awarded to high bidders.

Donations of art work will be accepted through March 1. Call 222-1241 to donate.

Many artists have contributed to date, including: Steve Chapell, multicolor woodblock print; Tom Eiler, oil painting; Robin Luersdorf, drawing; Dorla Mayer, silkscreen; Leslee Nelson, textile art; Kat Pluff, knit scarf and photography; Art Paul Schlosser, oil painting; Maggie Schuchardt, acrylic painting; Jim Schwall, photography.

The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands has been a hardship for people trapped in this decades-long political struggle. Augusta Victoria Hospital, a health care facility funded by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), has served Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for over 50 years. Situated on the Mount of Olives, Augusta Victoria was established as a hospital after the war of 1948. Initially under the control of the Red Cross, in 1950 it transferred ownership and management to LWF.

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Mazin Qumsiyeh: Sleeping on a bus and more

Mazin Qumsiyeh, 5/9/2004

Here is something to inspire you. Read this. It will help you believe your efforts are all worth it. — Jennifer Loewenstein

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution (again overwhelming support) to affirm that the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, remain subject to the 4th Geneva Convention (Israel as the occupying belligerent power). By a vote of 140 in favour to 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), the General Assembly also affirmed that the Palestinian people had the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory, and that Israel had only the duties and obligations of an occupying Power. Does anyone still believe the US and Israel (and their minor four client states) can defy the will of 140 countries and the majority of the people (even in the US)? And besides countries and their politics, we have public opinion which ultimately no government can ignore (governments stand only as long as people give them permission to stand).

On Monday evening I was in Brattleboro, VT for the showing of Jenin, Jenin. Some 80-100 people jammed the room at the School of International Training (SIT) in this lovely New England town. A brief description of the event is provided at http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php?story=20040430120322712&mode=pri. I spoke before the film and then answered questions afterwards. I read a section from my contribution in the book “Searching Jenin” (an edited book I highly recommend; see http://www.searchingjenin.com/ ). Reem and all the organizers were just wonderful but those who took the time to attend really were the stars of the show. They all helped by donating and acting (money going to bring a Palestinian to SIT). We had the pleasure to meet Kate Casa, a journalist who was unfairly dismissed due to her truth telling. We spent the night in a home of a wonderful lady by the name of Rupa Cousins who has merged traditions from cabalist to Sufi mysticism in her healing techniques; we talked about poetry and philosophies from Hafiz to Rumi.

On Tuesday Morning I interviewed with two radio Stations in Brattleboro and then drove to Concord, New Hampshire for a meeting with the editorial board of the Concord Monitor. The editors were gracious and receptive. Later Tuesday evening, we had a lecture and a book signing (for my book “Sharing the Land of Canaan”) at Portsmouth, NH. This event was well publicized well ahead of time (e.g. at www.seacoastnh.com and thenewhampshire.collegepublisher.com ) and well attended. Those attending were quite interested (e.g. 22 books were sold by the cosponsoring bookstore). It was heartening to hear several Jews in the audience speak out in support; this followed a comment by one self-described “left Zionist” who seemed to grope for words of opposition against the one state solution. On Wednesday early morning (following a night at a home of an 81 year old WWII veteran and peace activist by the name of Robin Willits), we met with a reporter for the Portsmouth Herald who did a story on the book signing and on the local Seacoast Peace Response group that sponsored the event. I also got a $216 speeding ticket (unfairly I might add as I was not speeding). 🙁

On Thursday evening I hooked up with the Wheels of Justice (WOJ) bus tour in North Hampton, MA. I joined Mike Miles (bus driver, Iraq and Palestine volunteer, speaker, father, farmer, deep thinker, etc.) and David Lippman (entertainer, manager, artist, singing “CIA agent”). We spoke at the largest Catholic church in the area thanks to the efforts of Jacob and many local volunteers. Those who attended were extremely generous.

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Cycle of Bloodshed Resumes

Gush Shalom, August 20, 2003

The horrifying suicide bombing in Jerusalem, in which dozens of innocent civians were killed and wounded,
deserves to be condemned in the sharpest terms. We offer our condolences to all the bereaved families. But
it is imposible to avoid also considering how did this come to happen.

The renewed cyce of bloodshed has begun with the decision of the political and military echelons to implement – in the middle of the Hudna (cease-fire) – a series of “targeted liquidations”, knowing full well that that act would lead to retaliation bombings and to the breaking of the Hudna.

The perpetrators of the bombings came from Nablus and Hebron, two cities under full control of the Israeli army, and their deed of blood was committed in West Jerusalem, where the Israeli police is in charge. In none of these places does the Palestinian Authority exercise any measure of real control, and its police has no ability to operate there.

The real immediate solution is to remove the IDF from the Palestinian territories and hand over full control to the Palestinian Authority – as was laid out in the Road Map. Continue reading