Friday 30 January 2009

Christianity: Is it a hoax?


Interesting article from The Guardian:

Jesus was a Jew. Everyone knows that, don't they? Well, it would seem that they do and they don't. It is certainly not the view of most Christians, nor is it common knowledge among atheists or even Jews, that Jesus was to the brim a Jew, not incidentally or as a matter of temporal accident a Jew, not, in Jonathan Miller's joke, Jewish, but a Jew by faith, by temperament and by spiritual ambition; a Jew in his relentless ethicising, in his love of quibbling and legalistics, in his fondness - frankly, to the point of tiresomeness sometimes - for extended metaphors and sermons wrapped in parables, and in the apocalyptic urgency of his teaching. A Jew, in other words, on unambiguously Jewish business.

Jesus's Jewishness is as essential to Christianity as it is embarrassing. To Christians, Jesus was the Messiah - itself a Jewish concept - whose coming had been foretold in Jewish scripture for centuries. It is Jewish history that Jesus fulfils. How many of us, when we join in Handel's Messiah, raising our voices in Messianic exultation, know the origins of the words we sing? "For unto us a child is born," sounds wholly Christian to us now. As a Jew myself, though I love the Messiah, I balk at the churchy rejoicing in that verse - "and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" - but the words are taken from The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Old Testament not the New. For Christians, Jesus was there (and needed to be there) well before his actual coming, in the fervid longings of a people who had suffered exile, dispossession and, at the time of Jesus, occupation. He was what the entire Old Testament had been leading to. He closed that story in order to tell another.

Messiah does not mean son of God. Nor did Jesus ever claim to be the son of God. The idea would have been a nonsense to him. The God of the Jews is indivisible, capable of refulgence - a shekhina, a shining presence - but not incarnation. The long-awaited Messiah (the word simply means "anointed one") would prepare the way for God, not assume the title of a God. He was to be an eschatological prophet, a preacher of the end of days, a soldier of liberation in the royal line of King David. It was in order to show that Jesus fulfilled this latter but most essential part of the prophecy that the apostles came up with such labyrinthine and competing reasons for him to be born in Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David, and that Matthew employs the opening 25 verses of the New Testament - through a plethora of begettings: Aram begetting Aminadab, Achaz begetting Ezekias, Eliud begetting Eliezer - to establish Jesus's line of descent, not only back to David but to Abraham. Thus begins the Christian Bible: bending over backwards to prove beyond dispute Jesus's impeccably Jewish bloodline. As though being the son of God is not genealogically enough.

It is later, with his deification, that the Jewish blood has to be squeezed out of him again. Judged Messianically, Jesus is a failure to the Jews. He neither liberates their land from the Romans nor brings in God's kingdom here on earth. To Jews - and this point hardly needs to be laboured - the world remains unredeemed. Christians turned Jesus's material failure into a spiritual success. God's kingdom is to be found elsewhere, they say. That is the meaning of the crucifixion. By this quibble on the idea of salvation, the early Christians achieved two notable successes: they turned what Jesus had not achieved into something Jews could not understand, and they doomed Judaism to a reputation for materiality. The invention of the silver-grabbing Judas - a figure today undergoing revaluation from all sides, even in the Vatican - helped in this. As did the exculpation of his moral counterpart, Pontius Pilate. In proportion as the name of Judas sank, so did that of Pilate rise. Though a governor of bloody reputation, Pilate was turned by stages into a man of sorrowing conscience. It was the "Jews" who called for Jesus's destruction - though there was scant reason for them to do so - while Pilate washed his hands. In this way, though the crucifixion will come to be susceptible to the most subtle and sublime theological interpretations, the events leading up to it take on the melodramatic qualities of pantomime - good versus evil, the material versus the spiritual, the innocent gentile world versus the perfidious Jewish one.

...

There is no point in crying theft. Every religion is an act of expropriation of some sort. And monotheistic faiths in particular exist as refutations of one another. There's the drawback of Only One God - ours knocks out yours. So it is vain to ask for Jesus back. But the purloining of him has had deadly consequences. Jew-hating didn't occur by mischance in the history of Christianity - it is inscribed in it. Because Jews attested negatively to the power of Christ they were worth keeping alive in their spiritual poverty; but because they killed Christ they were expendable too. Ours is not a peaceable world, but it would go a way to restoring harmony in some parts of it were Christianity to acknowledge responsibility for the anti-Jewish crimes committed in its name. Admitting the consequences of its falsification of the Jew Jesus would be a place to start.

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Funny that people dont know this fact and many other facts that may actually make them doubt Christianity. Jesus (pbuh - Muslims have to add pbuh with the name of their prophets. pbuh means peace be upon him. Jesus was a prophet according to Islam.) never said that he is God or son of God. He just asked people to stop distorting the religion and follow it properly. The first time the disciples of Jesus (pbuh) were called Christians was in Antioch. That was a derogatory term but it still meant that his followers were jews.

There are verses in the Bible that say that Jesus was sent for the Jews only. Pople have tried to make the simple thing complicated to provide explanations that dont really exist. See the following:

these twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying GO NOT into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans ENTER YE NOT. "But go ye rather unto the lost sheep of THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL (to the Jews only)." MATTHEW 10:5-6

"But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am NOT SENT but unto the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL (the Jews only). "Then came she (the Canaanite woman) and worshipped him, saying Lord, help me (to cure my daughter). "But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's bread and CAST IT TO DOGS (the non-Jews). " MATTHEW 15:24-26

. . all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and NOT perceive; and hearing they may hear, and NOT understand, LEST at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven " MARK 4: 11-12

Lets hope people open their mind and start thinking.

Thursday 29 January 2009

Thai military vents its frustration on innocent Muslims

Muslims make upto 15% of the population (officially around 5%) in Thailand but they are treated as second class citizens with no fair share in jobs or education. So its not surprising that they have lots of violence and problems in the south.

So when the US trained military got a chance to kick some Muslims ass they did not want to lose the opportunity:

Beaten up to death, put on boats without engines and cut them adrift in international waters, desperate Muslim migrants are tasting humiliation at Thai coasts.

"All the survivors tell the same story," Ranjit Narayan, chief police of Indian Andaman Islands, told the Guardian on Friday, January 23.

"They say they were kept on an island, they were beaten up, some were shot dead, and then they were pushed out to sea."

Muslim migrants, mostly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, told stories of humiliation at the hands of Thai forces during their travel to Malaysia for work or asylum.

"Thai army personnel used to torture them physically," said a report by the Indian security agencies based on the survivors' testimonies.

"Their hands were tied and they were beaten mercilessly several times and they were not even properly provided food and water."

The report cites an incident in December when senior Thai officials went to an island where Muslim migrants have taken as a transit point.

"In front of them, around 9pm on the same day, the uniformed personnel started shifting all the Bangladeshis/Myanmarese, estimated at 400, to one big wooden barge which had neither engines nor sails/oars.

"During this time four persons were shot dead randomly and their bodies thrown into the sea, and one juvenile aged around 14-15 years whose hands were tied was also thrown into the sea."

The wooden boat was towed by Thai coastguards for 18 hours before the migrants were forced to sail without food or water.

A few days later, nearly 300 dehydrated men jumped into the sea for survival, but only 11 made it to the shore.

"These are all poor people who were looking for work. But they were treated very harshly, inhumanely, and they were in a horrible condition," said Kailash Negi, a coastguard commandant.

More than 200,000 Myanmarese Muslims live in Bangladesh in unofficial camps. They usually use Thai coasts as a transit stop to reach Malaysia for work or asylum.

Systematic

Human rights activists accuse Thai troops of deliberate killings of Muslim migrants.

"This is not just an isolated incident," said Sunai Pasuk, with Human Rights Watch.

"There must be a policy behind it."

Thai officials deny mistreating Muslim migrants, claiming that Myanmarese migrants were assisting Muslim groups in violence-wracked South Thailand.

But Paul Quaglia, director of PSA Asia, a security consultancy in Bangkok, refutes the claim.

He said there is no evidence that the Myanmarese migrants, who speak a Bengali dialect, have joined separatists in the Malay-speaking south.

Facing harsh criticism from human rights groups, the Thai government launched a probe into the abuses of Muslim migrants.

"The military has agreed to a fact-finding investigation … [but] we're not dependent on their input alone," Panitan Wattanyagorn, a spokesman for the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said.

But Quaglia, the PSA Asia director, said Abhisit is too weak to take any action against the military even if it was proved guilty.

"Abhisit is ... beholden to the military for getting his job – and keeping his job," he said.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Rohingyas: Nowhere to go, no place to call home

Indonesia has refused to grant political asylum to 193 migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh who are being held at a navy base after they were found stranded off the country's western coast. Most of the group identified themselves as the Rohingya - a Muslim ethnic group from Myanmar.

The migrants were found floating in an 11-metre wooden boat without food or water, officials said. Hassan Wirajuda, the foreign minister, said on Friday that the people are economic migrants and not political asylum seekers. But according to Human Rights Watch, more than 250,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in 1992 amid a campaign of persecution and what many have labelled "ethnic cleansing" on the part of the government in Naypyidaw.


Shortly after their arrival on Sabang, Imam Husen, one of the migrants, told the Reuters news agency from his hospital bed that he and about 580 other people had set off from Mundu in Myanmar in four boats on December 9 to flee the country. He said some members of the group had been beaten after landing in Thailand.

They were then towed out to sea and set adrift, he said.

According to Wirajuda, citing accounts by the navy, many died on the trip to Indonesia during which they had to stand because the boat was so full.

Imam Husen's testimony corroborates reports from a Rohingya human-rights group and Indian police reports from other Rohingyas found adrift near the Andaman Islands that Thai security forces towed 992 people out to sea and abandoned them in engine-less boats.

The Arakan Project, a Rohingya non-governmental organisation, estimates that 550 of the 992 are missing, feared drowned.

Colonel Manas Kongpan of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) denied on Tuesday any abuse, saying that all the migrants who arrived in Thailand were sent out to sea with food and water.


About 28,000 Rohingyas recognised as refugees are living in UNHCR camps in Bangladesh.

I have been following these poor people for many years now and there seems to be no light at the end of their trouble.

I quote the following from Washington Report article from last year:

Among those most fervently hoping for an end to the military regime are a Muslim minority known as the Rohingyas, whose home territory is on the western coast of Burma. Their language is similar to that of the people of the neighboring Chittagong area of Bangladesh—which the military regime has used to support its claim that they were Bengali immigrants with no right to Burmese citizenship. In fact, when the British occupied the area in 1825, they found that half the population of the Arakan area were Muslims.

In 1992, the Burmese army combed the Rohingya areas of the Arakan region, driving the alleged “foreigners” from their homes. Some fled to other parts of Burma, but 250,000 crossed the border into Bangladesh. They were officially regarded as “undocumented people” rather than refugees. Poor, densely populated Bangladesh took a helpful attitude at first, but soon wearied of the Rohingyas’ presence. It mounted pressure on Burma to allow their return and on the refugees to leave. The majority were readmitted to Burma, but a smaller wave arrived in Bangladesh in 1996-97.

Those who remained in Burma or returned there are still denied citizenship, refused the right to own property and discriminated against. During military campaigns, they have been forced to labor on projects for the army. Rohingyas are at the bottom of the economic pile in a country that, in 2006, had a per capita GDP of $1,800, compared to $2,300 in Bangladesh. No wonder they supported the movement of protest against the military authorities.


May Allah help them in their struggle.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Gaza War: Atleast 1000 people disabled for life


Guns might have gone silent, bodies buried, rubbles lifted, but Israel's 22-day onslaught is leaving many Gazans with life-long scars, both physical and psychological.

"I will never walk again," Ruba Hamid, 8, said from her bed in Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Her tears rolled down her cheeks as she watched on TV the many young children whose legs have been blown out in Israeli bombing.

"I will never play again," Ruba said before she stopped talking abruptly as her voice chocked with deep emotion.

Ruba's legs were amputated after being shattered by Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip.

According to medics, thousands of Gazans, many of them children, had their bodies shredded and their limbs amputated due to the severe damage caused by Israeli shells and shrapnel.

"Most of the cases coming here were suffering from amputated limbs, four of them in some cases," doctor Mo'aweya Hasanein, chief of ambulance and emergency in Gaza, told IOL.

He estimates around 14 percent of the 5000 people injured in Gaza have become disabled for life.

"And the numbers keep rising, every day some one is losing an eye, an arm or a leg."

Arab and foreigner doctors who have been to Gaza recently have concluded that the abnormal injuries seen suggest Israel's use of unconventional weapons during its three-week onslaught.

Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who worked in Gaza's main Shifa hospital during the first weeks of the Israeli blitz, accused Israel of using the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) that shreds the victims' bodies in pieces.

Shattered Lives

Walking though Shifa rooms, the screams of those who wake up to the pain of their ravaged bodies echo every few minutes.

But at Hani's room, the silence is deafening.

The 23-year-old has lost both legs in an Israeli missile strike that also left his house in tatters.

Since then, he has been laying in his hospital bed, his eyes gazing into the nowhere.

Sometimes tears roll down his face but he never speaks.

"He does not want to talk to anyone," his mother told IOL. "The doctors say he is suffering from psychological distress.

"Just look at him," said the grief-stricken mother, "he is ruined. What's to become of him now?"

Unlike Hani, Amgad has not stopped weeping and crying for hours.

"He suffers from a severe nervous breakdown," one doctor said.

Amgad who is now confined to a wheelchair after Israeli shrapnel hit his neck and left him paralyzed for life.

Psychiatrists are warning that Gazans would bear severe psychological scars for the rest of their lives.

Rehabilitation centers have already launched a campaign to scarred victims.

"We will visit the disabled in their homes and help them cope with their injuries," Mustafa Abed, spokesman of the confederation of rehabilitation centers, told IOL.

But for Ruba, the 8-year-old who lost both her legs, there is only one question that burns her mind.

"What did I do to Israel to take my legs?"

Monday 26 January 2009

Competitions! Not for us.

Everytime, I hear about the competetions, I heard that some winners will receive special fine wine (sorry, I dont understand much about alcoholic drinks). A recruitment consultant calls me and informs that if I can get my mates to use him then I will receive 6 bottles of champagne.

Over the years I have realised that all these prizes, etc are not meant for Muslims and not meant for me. I have stopped taking part in these competitions and once while I was attending a conference, the questioner asked a question that only I knew the answer of. I kept my mouth shut because he was going to offer the person who answers some special kind of Alcoholic drink bottle that was 50 years old and costs £100.

Alcohol consumtion only harms the human body and it can harm in many different ways. In UK it has become a favourite time pass of the tabloids (a.k.a. gutter newspapers) to photograph the drunk celebrities and other people doing something weired and often shameful.

One may argue that Alcohol only causes problems if consumed in excess. This may be true but in reality one in three adults drink more than they should.

Alcohol and different intoxicants can only cause problems in personal lives and in the society. Quran is very clear on this:

The Holy Quran, 2.219: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider.

The Holy Quran, 5.90: O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

The Holy Quran, 5.91: Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?

Sunday 25 January 2009

Gaza: Parallel war in the virtual world


As Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip fought invading Israeli troops on the ground, another war was raging between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli activists on the Internet.

"There were two wars going on," Amira Al Hussaini, Middle East and North Africa editor for Global Voices Online, a website that collects the work of bloggers from around the world, told the Christian Science Monitor Friday, January 23.

"There was the one going on on the ground, and a parallel war happening in the virtual world."

More than, 1,300 people, including 410 children, were killed and 5,450 wounded in 22 days of air, sea and land Israeli attacks in Gaza.

As Israeli troops continued to batter Gaza, home to 1.6 million people, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel technology savvy activists engaged in cyber war to win support for their side.

The Israeli army set up a YouTube channel, showing footage taken by Israeli drones flying over Gaza.

In response, pro-Palestinian activists launched a website showing the scale of destruction in the impoverished strip.

Activists also posted videos and images of Palestinian children killed by the deadly Israeli offensive.

Activists also managed to redirect traffic from several high-profile Israeli websites to a page featuring anti-Israel messages.

A pro-Israel group called "Help Israel Win" immediately replied, asking users to participate in an online effort to overload Palestinian websites.

Another pro-Israel group called "the Jewish Internet Defense Force" employed various methods to remove or disable pro-Palestinian groups on Facebook, the world's second largest social networking website.

"All the [online] social-networking tools were used to the best of people's abilities on both sides," Al Hussaini said.

Savvy War

Using Twitter, an online messaging service, the Israeli consulate in New York held the first "government" press conference, allowing everyone with a Twitter account to take part.

The Israeli government also launched a campaign to recruit a multilingual "army of bloggers" to help win support to the Israeli war.

"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," the head of the Israeli army Foreign Press branch, Avital Leibovich, has told The Jerusalem Post.

"We have to be relevant there."

Media institutions also used the state-of-the-art technology to win support for the bombed-out Gaza Strip.

The Doha-based Al-Jazeera has sent out reports from Gaza via Twitter to users.

It also posted an interactive map showing where war-related incidents in Gaza and Israel were happening.

"This is the first time that new media worked as a proven concept for how a mainstream media organization can cover an event like this online," Riyaad Minty, a new media analyst with the Doha-based Al-Jazeera television, said.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Girls aged 2 and 7: Killed in cold blood by Israeli Soldier


A Palestinian father has claimed that he saw two of his young daughters shot dead and another critically injured by an Israeli soldier who emerged from a stationary tank and opened fire as the family obeyed an order from the Israeli forces to leave their home.

Khaled Abed Rabbo said Amal, aged two and Suad, seven, were killed by fire from the soldier's semi-automatic rifle. His third daughter, Samer, four, has been evacuated to intensive care in a Belgian hospital after suffering critical spinal injuries which he said were inflicted in the attack early in Israel's ground offensive.

Mr Abed Rabbo stood near the wreckage off his subsequently destroyed home on the eastern edge of the northern Gaza town of Jabalya yesterday and described how a tank had parked outside the building at 12.50pm on 7 January and ordered the family in Arabic through a megaphone to leave building. He said his 60-year-old mother had also been shot at as she left waving her white headscarf with her son, daughter in law and her three grandchildren.

"Two soldiers were on the tank eating chips, then one man came out of the tank with a rifle and started shooting the kids," Mr Abed Rabbo, who receives a salary as a policeman from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said. The family say they think the weapon used by the soldier was an M16 and that the first to be shot was Amal. Mr Abed Rabbo said that Suad was then shot with what he claimed were 12 bullets, and then Samer.

The soldier who fired the rifle had what Mr Abed Rabbo thought were ringlets visible below his helmet, he said. The small minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who serve in the army are in a unit which did not take part in the Gaza offensive and only a very small number of settlers who also favour that hairstyle serve in other units.


Dr Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish is a gynaecologist at Israel's Shiba Hospital near Tel Aviv, and is well known among Israeli medical colleagues and journalists.

During the 22 days of Israel's military onslaught on Gaza, the Palestinian doctor and peace advocate who speaks Hebrew fluently had helped the Israeli media cover the war by giving phone interviews from inside Gaza.

But on Friday night, Dr Aboul Aish's scheduled live interview with Israeli Channel 10 television was conducted minutes after three of his daughters were killed by an Israeli shell. His raw anguish forced Israelis to take their first real glimpse of the suffering and death caused to Palestinian civilians.

Shlomi Eldar, the Channel 10 correspondent, his own voice choking with emotion, repeatedly noted Dr Aboul Aish's connection to Shiba Hospital as he held out his mobile phone, allowing viewers to hear the physician cry and sob: "My daughters, they killed them, Oh lord, God, God, God."

"I want to save them but they are dead," Dr Aboul Aish said. In a video of the interview, available on YouTube, the physician can be heard imploring for help while a shaken Mr Eldar pleads on air for anyone in the army who might be viewing to let ambulances reach the Aboul Aish home in the Jebalya refugee camp. "Maybe something can still be saved," he said.


Helmi Samouni knelt yesterday on the floor of the bedroom he once shared with his wife and their five-month old son, scraping his fingers through a thick layer of ash and broken glass looking for mementoes of their life together. "I found a ring. I might find more," he said.

His wife Maha and their child Muhammad were killed in the second week of Israel's 22-day war in Gaza when they were shelled by Israeli forces as they took shelter nearby along with dozens of relatives. In total 48 people from one family are now known to have died that Monday morning, 5 January, in Zeitoun, on the southern outskirts of Gaza City.

Of all the horrors visited on the civilians of Gaza in this war the fate of the Samounis, a family of farmers who lived close together in simple breeze-block homes, was perhaps the gravest.


You can also read this interesting article and discussions on Al Jazeera website:
Who will save the Palestinians?

Friday 23 January 2009

Rebuttal: 'Israel belongs to Jews according to Quran'


I have been asked this again and again and some people have written to me saying that, "Allah has said in the Koran that Israel belongs to Jews". They quote me the following verses to prove their claim:

Surah Al-Maida (Chapter 5), 20-21: Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."

It is true that Allah mentions in many places in the Quran that he chose the 'children of Israel' (note that Allah does not mention Jews or Judaism) above all others but because of the fact that these 'children of Israel' were rebellious against God and his messengers, Allah took this favour away from them.

Lets go back to the start and read the Books of the Old Testament which is considered holy by both the Jews and the Christians. We find the prophets (and through them God) making very scathing attacks on the people who deviated from the teachings of the earlier prophets.

For example, we find these verses rebuking the transgressions of the Children of Israel in the Book of Jeremiah (3: 8 – 10):

“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.”

And again, Jeremiah (5: 7 - 8):

“How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife”

And now listen to Jesus rebuking the Israelites of his day in Matthew (23: 25-- 33):

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous and say: “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

Also worth mention is the Book of Deuteronomy (28:16-68) where Moses warns the Jews that God ‘will send upon you curses, confusion, and frustration, in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly, on account of the evil of your doings, because you have forsaken me’ (28:20).”

Now lets see what Qur'an says.

Al Baqrah (Surah 2), verse 40: O Children of Israel! call to mind the [special] favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill your covenant with Me as I shall fulfill My covenant with you, and fear none but Me.

Surah 2, verse 47: O Children of Israel! call to mind the [special] favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others [for My message].

Surah 2, verse 83: And remember We took a covenant from the Children of Israel [to this effect]: Worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and give Zakat. Then did ye turn back, except a few among you, and ye backslide [even now].

Surah 2, verse 246: Hast thou not turned thy vision to the Chiefs of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses? they said to a prophet [that was] among them: "Appoint for us a king, that we may fight in the cause of Allah." He said: "Is it not possible, if ye were commanded to fight, that ye will not fight?" They said: "How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were turned out of our homes and our families?" but when they were commanded to fight, they turned back, except a small band among them. But Allah has full knowledge of those who do wrong.

Surah 5, verse 70: We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them messengers, every time, there came to them a messenger with what they themselves desired not - some [of these] they called impostors, and some they [go so far as to] slay.

Now we have to remember the following points:

1. The Qur'an addresses the children of Israel as the people who were descendant of Jacob, son of Isaac, and the grand son of Ibrahim. Israel is another name of Jacob. Jacob was a Muslim, the Qur'an says: "…and so did Jacob, 'Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.' Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: 'What will ye worship after me?' They said: 'We shall worship Thy god and the god of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac, the one (True) God: To Him we bow (in Islam).'" (Al-Baqarah: 132-33)

2. Allah has never chosen any people because of any racial or ethnical entity but he chose certain people because of Islam.

3. Children of Israel, when they followed Islam, they were the best nation; they were Muslims but others were Mushriks or Kafirs.

4. The Holy Land is blessed because of being the place of Allah's Messengers and His Message. Descendants of Jacob, among whom are Moses, David, Solomon and `Isa (Jesus) who are holy prophets, so they can fit the Holy Land.

5. The Qur'an addressed earlier the followers of Moses to liberate the Holy Land, they were afraid to get into the Holy Land and they made an excuse for not restoring that land because they believed that the Canaanites are too strong to defeat. They mocked Moses and rebelled his request, the story is detailed in surat al-Ma'idah, 21-26.

6. The Holy Land is always the land assigned for the servants of Allah who surrender everything to him.

7. The occupation of the Holy Land is due to Muslims’ lapsing in weakness and deviating from Allah’s teachings. The occupation of the Jews to the Holy Land is something casual. The Holy Land is waiting for the time when there will be holy people who strictly abide by Allah's teachings to deserve it.

Now, lets quickly recap some historical facts:

During certain eras, ignorance and atheism dominated most societies save for a few number of believers who followed the Messengers as happened during the time of Prophet Noah, Muhammad, Abraham, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all). In one of those eras, the Jews were the only believers on earth, as they followed Moses, who was sent to them and in whose company they were saved from Pharaoh and his soldiers.

Allah Almighty says: “And (remember) when We did deliver you from Pharaoh's folk, who were afflicting you with dreadful torment, slaying your sons and sparing your women: That was a tremendous trial from your Lord.” (Al-Baqarah: 49) Then Allah made them subject to various tests which they couldn’t stand, due to their impatience. Furthermore, they did not abide by the true religion of Allah. They demanded lots of evidence and signs from Moses and, even after these signs were shown to them, they proved reluctant. Moses asked them to enter the sacred land of Palestine which Almighty Allah had promised them as a reward for their faith in Him; Moses said: “O my people! Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers.” ?(Al-Ma’idah: 21) Their response to this Divine command was nothing but refusal which reflected their trait of showing reluctance and disobedience to Allah’s teachings. Depicting this, the Qur’an said: “They said: O Moses! We will never enter (the land) while they are in it. So go thou and thy Lord and fight! We will sit here.?” (Al-Ma'idah: 24)

The believing Jews then lived in Palestine where they were governed by Prophets till the time of the Prophet David and his son the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon them both).

Eventually, Jews became corrupt and started to defy the teachings of Allah. Thus, Allah made them easy target to other peoples who conquered them and drove them out of the land where they were living. Allah Almighty says: “And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the scripture: Ye verily will work corruption in the earth twice, and ye will become great tyrants.? So when the time for the first of the two came, We roused against you slaves of Ours of great might who ravaged (your) country, and it was a threat performed.” (Al-Isra’: 4-5)

Later, Allah returned them to Palestine after the Babylonian capture as they showed genuine repentance and obeyed their Prophets during their stay in Babel. However, they soon lapsed into their old bad ways and became so cruel and too haughty to worship Allah. Consequently, Allah punished them and allowed the Romans to humiliate them. After some years of living under the yoke of the occupier, Almighty Allah gave them another chance to repent when He, Glory is due to Him, sent them another Messenger to warn them and give glad tidings with Paradise to the believers. That Messenger was Jesus who was born in the respectable family of `Imran and his miraculous birth by Virgin Mary was a sign for all those who have faith in Allah, the Creator.

Jesus Christ was supported by tangible proof and Divine miracles, for he could speak while he was still in the cradle, he could quicken the dead and heal people with serious fatal diseases. However, the Jews never believed in him and again they were punished by Allah. Their punishment was that they were thrown out of Palestine and severely tortured by the polytheist Romans.

The holy land of Palestine remained under the reign of the Romans till the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Prophet Muhammad sent a message to the Caesar of Rome, Hercules, calling him to embrace Islam but he haughtily rejected and all the Romans followed his example. Consequently, Allah punished them by depriving them of Palestine and gave Muslims the authority over it for years after the Prophet’s demise. Moreover, the people of Jerusalem insisted that the Jews should not be allowed to enter the holy city. Palestine remained under the control of Muslims who worked for the dissemination of the message of Islam among all peoples of the world. The Muslims remained powerful and united till conflicts erupted among them, and they deviated from the true path. As a result, Allah punished them by the Crusaders who massacred 70 thousand in Jerusalem alone and millions of Muslims in other cities. They succeeded in seizing nearly the whole of the Levant.

However, after Muslims returned back to the right track and adhered to the principles of their religion, the heroes of Islam like `Imadud-Deen Zinki, Saladin and Nurud-Deen Mahmud unified the Muslim Ummah under the banner of Islam and succeeded in restoring the holy city of Jerusalem. After that, the Crusade emirates fell in the Muslim hands one after the other in spite of the huge support that the West had given to these emirates to be kept from falling down.

Throughout the Ayubid , Mamluk and Ottoman regimes Jerusalem remained in the hands of Muslims. Again, when Muslims showed loyalty to the enemies of Islam and were dominated by material allurements of the world, they lost control over it in 1917 when the Ottoman Empire was trying in vain to stand united in face of the external conspiracies and the internal conflicts that ravaged the whole tapestry of the Empire. As a result of the conspiracies of the traitors and the enemies of Islam, Jerusalem fell in the hands of British occupation in 1917, the British army entered the holy city under the command of Alenby, who is known of his famous saying: “Now the Crusades are over."

Thirty years later, the Jewish state was established in Palestine and named after Prophet Israel (Jacob, peace be upon him). Such a state implemented all Jewish principles, tried to revive Hebrew language, which was not, up to that time, even spoken by the Jews themselves. Moreover, they have used all means of oppression and humiliation in treating the Palestinian people.

Coming back to the argument that Jews claim Palestine is their promised land, we would like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee:

“Twenty centuries before the birth of the Christ, there lived on the shores of the Euphrates a tribe from the descendants of Ibrahim (Abraham) searching for rich places to graze their flocks; they went westwards till they crossed Galilee. They were given the name of the Hebrews, now known as the Jews. They moved aimlessly without having a certain destination until they arrived Egypt where they lived in peace and security for five centuries.

The rulers of Egypt, known as the Pharaohs, kept a tight fist on the Jews and humiliated them. The rescue of the Jews was attained when Moses (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to them. He led them through Sinai to a new land and a fresh dwelling. For some time, they stayed in Sinai till commands were given to them to enter the Holy Land of Palestine. In Palestine, there was a tribe called Canaanite who built some cities part of which is Jerusalem. Days went on till the Jews revolted against the teachings of Allah and deviated from His religion. Almighty Allah sent to them the governor of Babel, Buchtnasser who humiliated them and enslaved many of them.

Many years later, they returned back to Palestine and some of them went to dwell in the Arabian Peninsula. The Jews in the Arabian Peninsula showed enmity to Islam and fought the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) till they were driven out from the peninsula by Muslims.

Though, seizing the chance of Muslims’ lapsing in weakness and deviating from Allah’s teachings, the Jews have occupied Palestine, they will never remain there forever, for the evil within themselves is beyond description. They will suffer another defeat and sever blow; we hope this will be at the hands of Muslims once they return back to their Lord and be unified again. Allah says in this regard: “And when your Lord announced that He would certainly send against them to the day of resurrection those who would subject them to severe torment; most surely your Lord is quick to requite (evil) and most surely He is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-A`raf: 167)

As for claiming that the Jews have a right to take Palestine as their promised land, we will say that the verse that reads: “Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you.” (Al-Ma`idah: 21) means that the promise stands so long as the people given this promise abide by Allah’s teachings. Once they show disobedience, the promise no longer exists. In addition, this promise is not an absolute one; rather, it is confined to a certain period of time. Now, the promise is no more valid, for Almighty Allah says: “We have written in the Scripture, after the Reminder: My righteous slaves will inherit the earth.” (Al-Anbiya': 105)"

So who are the people preferred in sight of Allah? Lets look at the Quran and Sunnah (Hadiths):

Surah 49, verse 13: O people, We have created you from a male and a female and made you into races and tribes so that you may know each other. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of God are those who are the most pious among you. And Allah knows every thing and is aware of every thing.

During the last pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he said: "O People! Your God is one; your father is one; no preference of an Arab neither over non-Arab nor of a non-Arab over an Arab or red over black or black over red except for the most righteous. Verily the most honored of you is the most righteous."

Prophet Muhammed's (pbuh) close companions included a black slave called Bilal (raa) and a Persian called Salman (raa) which is a clear prrof of the above verse and hadith.

It is noteworthy that Jews were among the earliest converts to Islam - in Madinah - and, throughout the Middle Ages Jews also found sanctuary to practice their own religion, under Islamic rule. Dr Muzammil Siddiqi mentions: “it is truly disappointing and naive to ignore more than 1400 years of history and learned discourse on the Qur'an and to argue that the current political situation in the Middle East has its roots in passages from the Qur'an!!”

The Qur'an was not just revealed for Muslims, but for all people, including Jews and Christians. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was in the line of previous prophets of God, including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. And, in fact, the Qur'an is the culmination of all the previous scriptures revealed by God. The Qur'an does not condemn the Semitic race and, in fact, accords Jews a special status, given their shared prophetic traditions with Islam.

In conclusion I would like to state that Jews (or rather the 'Children of Israel') were once preferred by Allah above others but because of their arrogance and rebellious nature they lost this favour from Allah. When Islam came, it had a simple message that everyone is equal in the sight of Allah and the only way one can come closer in the sight of Allah is by his righteous virtues and piousness.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Gaza: Some facts

Very Interesting OP-ED from NYT:

What You Don’t Know About Gaza
By RASHID KHALIDI
Published: January 7, 2009

NEARLY everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

THE GAZANS Most of the people living in Gaza are not there by choice. The majority of the 1.5 million people crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba. They were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948.

THE OCCUPATION The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, even though it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and the movement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air space and sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

THE BLOCKADE Israel’s blockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and the European Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation.

The blockade has subjected many to unemployment, penury and malnutrition. This amounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of the United States — of a civilian population for exercising its democratic rights.

THE CEASE-FIRE Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.

WAR CRIMES The targeting of civilians, whether by Hamas or by Israel, is potentially a war crime. Every human life is precious. But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers. Negotiation is a much more effective way to deal with rockets and other forms of violence. This might have been able to happen had Israel fulfilled the terms of the June cease-fire and lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia, is the author of the forthcoming “Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East."

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Did someones repentance save the plane in New York?

You must have all read about the miraculous survival of all the people in the Hudson plane crash that happened in New York. All 155 people on board survived and this is the first time in the history that a plane has landed successfully in water without breaking up.

This reminded me of a story that occurred during the time of prophet Musa/Moosa/Moses (pbuh). During the time of prophet Moosa (pbuh), the rain stopped for long time. When Musa (pbuh) and the people of Israel started praying to Allah, Allah informed them that there is a sinner among them because of whom the rain has stopped. That sinner has been sinning against Allah for the last 40 years. Moosa (pbuh) informed this to the people of Israel and told them that the sinner has to leave them before Allah will send rain to them. The sinner knew that it was him Allah was referring and he started repenting sincerly to Allah. He could not leave the town as people will find out he was the sinner, sinning against Allah for the last forty years. If he does not leave then all the people would die of thirst. He repented and repented sincerely and Allah forgave him and sent the rain. When Moses (pbuh) inquired, Allah told him that the person has repented and he has been forgiven. When Moosa (pbuh) asked Allah to disclose his identity, Allah said that for forty years he has protected his identity and there is no way he will reveal it now.

So, was it somebody's repentance that saved Flight 1549?

Monday 19 January 2009

Congress Out-of-Step with America on Gaza


Congress Out-of-Step with America on Gaza
By Nihad Awad

As Americans, we expect our representatives in Congress to reflect our views. Yet the U.S. House of Representatives recently ignored the millions of American voters who believe in an even-handed Mideast policy.

According to recent polls, American public opinion is more or less evenly split on the issue of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. But you would never know that from watching the recent worshipful “debate” in Congress on House Resolution 34 in support of Israel. (A similar pro-Israel resolution passed with unanimous consent in the Senate.)

All members of Congress swear to defend the United States, its interests and constitution. However, one of the first actions this Congress took was to defend the interests of a foreign state waging a brutal campaign that has cost the lives of more than 1,000 civilians including more than 400 women and children.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), one of the few dissenters to the pandering resolution, said: “The resolution clearly takes one side in a conflict that has nothing to do with the United States or U.S. interests. I am concerned that the weapons currently being used by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza are made in America and paid for by American taxpayers. What will adopting this resolution do to the perception of the United States in the Muslim and Arab world?”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said: “Today, the U.S. Congress is going to be asked to pass a resolution supporting Israel’s actions in Gaza. I’m hopeful that we don’t support the inhumanity that has been repeatedly expressed by the Israeli army. The U.S. abstained from a UN call for a ceasefire. We must take a new direction in the Middle East, and that new direction must be mindful of the inhumane conditions in Gaza.”

The resolution, which was rushed to the floor without consideration by the House Foreign affairs committee, applauds and supports Israel in its war against the Palestinians in Gaza. It is a one-sided war in which Israel has denied access to wounded civilians and has targeted homes, schools, mosques, universities, medical and United Nations personnel, a hospital, and a church.

A leading human rights group has accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions in its attacks on civilian areas. The United Nations' top human rights official said that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza.

The vote on House Resolution 34 was 390 in favor, with only five representatives voting no. The rest voted “present.” Ninety percent of House members voted to support Israel’s attacks on Gaza, at the same time that American voters are split on the issue.

Congress seems to be out of step with the American people.

Resolution 34 did not call for a cease-fire, thereby enabling Israel to continue killing and injuring thousands of Palestinians and sowing seeds of hatred and revenge for decades to come.

It did not mention the humanitarian disaster caused by Israel’s blockade of food, medicine and other supplies of daily life to the 1.5 million people who live in Gaza. Because of Israel’s siege, Gaza became what a Vatican official called termed a “concentration camp.”

Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Before Israel launched its most recent military escapade, Palestinians could not leave Gaza for medical treatment, resulting in many deaths due to lack of adequate care.

There is little doubt that these same members of Congress who voted for Resolution 34 would condemn the U.S. Army if it took part in war crimes like those committed by Israel in Gaza. Yet these elected officials seem to lack the will or the courage to question Israel, even when it uses American tax dollars and weapons to commit its crimes.

The U.S. Department of State defines "terrorism" as the “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

Other than the fact that Israel is not a “subnational group,” how does one not see terrorism in the actions of the Israeli military when it seeks to “influence” the Palestinian people using thousands of bombs and missiles?

If Palestinians had killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians, Congress would rightly repudiate those killings as terrorism in the extreme.

Would Congress be willing to investigate Israel’s violations of the Arms Export Control Act? Will Congress ever hold Israel accountable for its actions?

Congress supports Israel blindly and unconditionally to do whatever it wishes with other people’s lives and some wonder “why they hate us.”

The Bush administration and Congress are making it more difficult for America to recover from its perceived loss of moral leadership around the world. Congress is also making it more difficult for President Obama to pursue change based on balance and fairness.

America need not take sides in the decades-long conflict in the Middle East. But America should always be on the side of justice.

Through its actions, Congress is unfortunately and unnecessarily turning the Muslim world against our nation.

Only an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict that recognizes the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people will have any chance of ending the seemingly endless cycle of violence in that troubled region.

It is time for ordinary Americans to ask their elected representatives to make sure they accurately reflect their views, not the views of agenda-driven special interest groups.

[Nihad Awad is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be reached at: nawad@cair.com]

Heard this one: Anti-Semitic Jews


British Jews attacked for pro-Gaza solidarity
By Emily Dugan
Sunday, 18 January 2009

British Jews have been attacked for expressing support for Palestinians suffering under Israeli military strikes in Gaza. Police confirmed yesterday that they have provided protection to a number of people believed to be victims of UK-based Zionist extremists angered by expressions of solidarity with Palestinians.

Israel's assault on Gaza has prompted a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, with more than 150 incidents reported by the Community Security Trust (CST), an organisation for the protection of Jews. But the past two weeks have also seen aggression within the Jewish community towards those sympathetic to the plight of Gaza.

Rabbi Elchenon Beck, 39, was among six rabbis expressing support for Gaza's Palestinians who were set upon by a gang of what they allege were Zionists while walking back from opposing rallies outside the Israeli Embassy on 6 January. "They were shouting and pushed someone to the floor, so we called the police," Rabbi Beck said. "All the time they are trying to intimidate us, but we get used to it."

Rabbi Aharon Cohen, a Palestinian sympathiser and member of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta, had his letter box destroyed by a powerful firework after attending the peace march in Manchester this month.

Mark Gardner, of the CST, said it had not kept records of attacks within the Jewish community, but condemned those using the situation in Israel to justify violence in Britain.

"There's passionate political debate," he said, "but what's vitally important is that it does not spill over so that we become participants in a war by proxy."

Sunday 18 January 2009

Norwegian Doctors confirm: 'Gaza = Hell' after Israel Genocide

Two Norwegian doctors witnessed first-hand the nightmare scenes inside Gaza

"It was like a scene from Dante's Inferno," recalls Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, of the moment casualties started streaming inside Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, after a vegetable market was bombed on 4 January. "I thought: 'This is what hell must look like'. All the screaming, all the pain, all the despair, all the blood, all the torn-off body parts."

Gilbert, 61, and his colleague Erik Fosse, 58, recently returned to Oslo after working in Gaza for the first 10 days of the Israeli offensive. As the only western doctors present in the Palestinian territory, they became faces of the conflict, describing the stark reality they were living in to the international media, most of which was barred from access.

The doctors were sent to Gaza with the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), a medical aid agency funded by the Norwegian government, which has worked in the past in southern Lebanon with the Martyr Foundation, an organisation affiliated with the radical movement Hizbullah. NORWAC now works with the Islamic Health Society, which is also affiliated with Hizbullah. But Fosse, who heads NORWAC, explains: "If you want to do medical work [in south Lebanon] you cannot ignore Hizbullah or the Hizbullah-affiliated organisations."

Looking gaunt and exhausted, the two medicine professors, who have often worked in conflict zones, said they were surprised that no western journalists were allowed entry into the territory.

While he was operating on patients, Gilbert was working in triage, dealing with patients as they arrived. "On the first day (the hospital) had 80 operations. They had 300 patients coming in, and more came in all the time (the next days)," recalled Fosse. "Patients may have been injured far away – if they had not been killed instantly – or individuals would bring in injured people they had found in destroyed buildings."

On top of the uninterrupted flow of patients, there would also be a high number of casualties arriving at the same time. "After the attack on the mosque, we got 50 patients in one go," said Fosse. "And after the attack on the vegetable market, we were drowning in patients."

Gilbert decided to send a text message to three Norwegian journalists in Israel and a few friends back home. The SMS spread like wildfire in Norway and abroad. It read: "Hell. We wade in death. Blood and amputees. Lots of children. Pregnant women. I have never seen anything so terrible."


50km away from Gaza, Inside al-Arish hospital, a modern slab of stone and glass in the heart of northern Sinai's dusty administrative capital, doctors huddle in an office staring in silence at the latest scenes from Gaza flashing up on al-Jazeera TV.

Ahmed Ellabban, professor of surgery at Suez Canal University, shakes his head as he watches the screen. "There are 4,000 injured people just 50km from here," he says quietly. "We're sitting in a very well-equipped hospital with more than 100 doctors on call, ready to deal with more than 400 emergency cases through the week. But they are not coming. We don't know why. We just wait."

Al-Arish hospital, the receiving point for wounded Palestinians who make it across the Egyptian border, is a surreal backdrop to Gaza's humanitarian crisis. With the number of patients making it through the Rafah crossing each day rarely reaching double figures, the region's most advanced medical centre sits frozen in tense expectation most of the time, its tiled corridors empty, save for the odd cleaner or official doing the rounds. On some days, no one arrives.

But each time a Palestinian ambulance does make it across the no man's land between Gaza and Egypt, the hospital erupts into activity. "Which body part haven't I seen missing?" says one paramedic when asked what type of shrapnel injuries he had witnessed in victims being transported to al-Arish. According to hospital records, one in six of those victims have been children.

Outside the ER, her face illuminated by flickering blue ambulance beacons, Nawal Wasa prays for the life of her daughter Hanin, as doctors fight to save her. "She's only 16 years old," Nawal says fiercely. "She wanted to finish high school and go to university. That's all she ever wanted."

Nawal's horror began the previous week, when she decided to retrieve Hanin from her brother's house in the Gazan neighbourhood of Zeitoun. "I sent Hanin there to protect her. But that morning, I had a sudden fear of her not being near me, and I knew I had to have her in my arms as soon as possible. Destiny got to her before I could."

Israeli jets dropped a single bomb on the house. "He is a teacher; she is a student. We're not Hamas. We don't have anything to do with Hamas," says Nawal. "The rubble tore off my brother's legs and severed Hanin's right foot. By the time I reached the house, people were telling me Hanin was dead."

In fact, she was alive, but an endurance test of staggering proportions was awaiting her. Like all those who eventually pull up in al-Arish hospital's car park, her mother had to navigate a bureaucratic maze of Gazan medical officials, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo, Hamas border guards and Egyptian military brass before the go-ahead was given for Hanin to be driven down through the battered Gaza Strip.

The journey itself was made on roads torn up by Israeli mortar fire, each bump accentuating the pain of her injury. Ambulances often have to strike out into the desert and crawl through the sand, under constant risk of being bombed by F16 jets; two doctors and 12 ambulance drivers have been killed making just such trips in recent days.

"They are murdering the innocent, and those who try and help the innocent. It's criminal behaviour," says Ellabban of the attacks on medics.

As Hanin lies, conscious but silent under a mesh of tubes, the hospital lurches yet again from lethargy to frenzy. Relatives spill out on to the steps of the ER as a stretcher is rushed past.

The child on the stretcher is eight-year-old Zakaria Ahmed, injured two days earlier when mortars pounded the alleyway he was playing in. Shrapnel embedded itself in Zakaria's legs and skull, but, despite his critical condition, he is one of the lucky ones.

"The hospitals at home are overflowing and there's no space for us, so thanks be to God that we reached here," says his father Hamada, a textiles worker in Zeitoun. "Thirty people from my family are already dead. I hope the Israelis one day experience the same nightmares they have brought upon us."

"Of course, Israel will always be our enemy," says Nawal Wasa.

"Look around you - we are all civilians; we are all victims of our own houses crumbling upon us. I hope somebody gives me some explosives so I can give them what they have given me."


Israel War Crimes Evidences now available


Israel has been killing people indiscriminately. With more than 1100 people already dead and around 6000 injured, their tactic has been to stop media entering and reporting from Gaza as this would expose their crimes.

Unfortunately for them, many newspapers already have local correspondents in there who are reporting the truth and thanks to the Internet age, we can now see the truth first hand.


So lets see what Israel is doing in Palestine:
  • The UN's accusation that Israel used white phosphorus shells in its attack on its headquarters in Gaza was the first direct charge by an international body and, in effect, accuses the Israeli government of lying over its repeated declaration that its forces adhere to international laws in the use of arms.
  • A video detailing the use of white phosphorous by Israel is available here.
  • The attack on the UN headquarters in Gaza City has been internationally condemned. Any proof that white phosphorus shells were used would add to the call for Israel's military forces to be charged with war crimes.
  • Then there is shooting of unarmed civilians. A Palestinian who is besieged with his family in the Khuza'a area, in the south-eastern Gaza Strip, notified B'Tselem that soldiers had shot a woman waving a white flag and several civilians who were fleeing a bombed house on army orders.
  • Clinics being destroyed so wounded cannot get medical aid. Israeli warplanes have attacked two fully equipped medical clinics in Gaza, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, the Christian organisations which fund them reported yesterday. The Catholic relief group Caritas said its clinic in the al-Meghazi area of Gaza had been "completely destroyed" by a missile on Friday, and that 20 nearby homes had been damaged. Because local families had already fled their homes, no one was hurt, Caritas said, but equipment worth $10,000 (£6,700) was lost.
  • Twenty-fours later, another clinic funded by Christian Aid was also demolished in an air strike; it followed a telephone warning to the building's owners to leave within 15 minutes. Janet Symes, Christian Aid's head of Middle East Region, said the clinic had "standing room" only for mothers bringing their children for check-ups when she visited it last year. She added: "Now the whole clinic lies in ruins."
  • Little more than a sixth of the 1,200 Egyptian hospital beds being reserved for injured Palestinians have been filled, despite estimates that more than 4,000 have been wounded. With a World Health Organisation report saying that Gaza City's Shifa Hospital remains "overwhelmed", the dangers of evacuating patients through southern Gaza have severely reduced the flow of patients to hospitals in Egypt. The Red Cross has decided to keep its evacuations under review after one of its lorries was shot at by Israeli troops.
  • Israeli military actions prompted an unusual public rebuke from the International Red Cross after the army moved a Palestinian family into a building and shelled it, killing 30. The surviving children clung to the bodies of their dead mothers for four days while the army blocked rescuers from reaching the wounded.
  • Israel's most prominent human rights organisation, B'Tselem, has written to the attorney general in Jerusalem, Meni Mazuz, asking him to investigate suspected crimes including how the military selects its targets and the killing of scores of policemen at a passing out parade.
  • Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann told Al Jazeera he had never believed that the UN Security Council would be able to stop the violence in Gaza and that Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, had practically told the UN to "mind their own business" by continuing the offensive."You have to attack problems at their root cause and the Palestinian people have been subjected to subhuman treatment for decades and this [the Israeli offensive] is going to make matters worse."
  • The UN refugee agency says its Gaza headquarters has been struck by Israeli artillery fire and the building is now ablaze. Spokesman Chris Gunness says the building was hit by what was believed to be three white phosphorous shells. The weapons burn at extremely high temperatures and can set things on fire.

  • Israeli shelling set fire to the UN headquarters, a hospital, a school and a building used by the media, leading to widespread international protests and renewed calls for a ceasefire in the conflict which has so far cost 1,073 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives. A senior Hamas leader, the Interior Minister Said Seyyam who was responsible for thousands of security agents, was killed in an Israeli raid which flattened his brother's home.

  • Three members of UN staff were injured when three Israeli shells hit the headquarters, setting it on fire. Thousands of tonnes of desperately needed food and humanitarian supplies were destroyed and about 700 refugees given shelter in the building had to be evacuated. UN officials said the shells were white phosphorus, believed to have been responsible for burns suffered by some Palestinian civilians.
  • The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, apologised for the shelling but claimed Hamas fighters had opened fire from the centre. "It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologise for it," he said. "I don't think it should have happened and I'm very sorry." John Ging, the director of operations for the UN relief agency, UNRWA, in Gaza described the Israeli claim about a Hamas presence as "nonsense". He added: "It's a total disaster for us." Mr Ging said the UN had warned the Israelis the compound was in danger from shelling that had begun overnight, and provided them with GPS co-ordinates to prevent an attack.

  • Sharon Lock, an Australian from the International Solidarity Movement, was working as an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent when its Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City came under Israeli attack yesterday. "One shell landed outside the building about 10 yards from the incubators for new babies. We were putting fires out with buckets of water. The shrapnel seems to burn for a long time and it starts fires if it is not put out. We were just dealing with that when we heard shooting from the front steps of the hospital and my colleague Mohammed came to me covered with blood. 'Israelis are shooting at people who are leaving their houses,' he said. What happened was that a father and mother and two daughters had left their home, one of the daughters had gone missing and the other was shot. The bullet went through one cheek and out the other. As the father was coming up the steps he fell, shot as well. They didn't know where the other daughter was. Mohammed and I decided to go out and find her. We found her hiding in a house. I would say she was about nine. She was very frightened."

I think the western world wants Israel to kill couple thousand more people before it will move to grant Palestine their basic human right of freedom and living in dignity and peace.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Turkish basketball fans stop Israeli team playing


Turkish basketball fans stop Israeli team playing
Reuters, Wednesday January 7 2009

ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Turkish basketball fans chanting "Israel, killers" stopped the start of a game against an Israeli team on Tuesday by throwing objects onto the court in protest against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Some players were hit by the objects hurled by the crowd of several hundred, SkyTurk TV reported.

The players from Turkey's Telekom Ankara and Israel's Bnei Hasharon teams escaped hurriedly to their dressing rooms while police battled to keep the protesters off the court.

Bnei Hasharon captain Meir Tapiro said the players were very frightened. "They threw shoes, cigarette lighters, water bottles. We were holed up in the dressing room with police protection," Tapiro told Israeli Channel 5 television.

The Israelis were angered when the game was awarded as a technical victory to Telekom Ankara because Bnei Hasharon refused to start the contest an hour-and-a-half later, after police said they had cleared the arena.
Bnei Hasharon chairman Eldad Akunis Akunis said the decision was scandalous.

"After such a trying ordeal, there was simply no point in playing. The players were just concerned for their safety. We were also given instructions by the Israeli embassy staff, who were monitoring the situation, not to play," said Akunis.

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, has good ties with Israel but the violence in Gaza has sparked mass street protests and harsh criticism from the government. (Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem)

Ismail Haniyeh: My message to the West – Israel must stop the slaughter


I write this article to Western readers across the social and political spectrum as the Israeli war machine continues to massacre my people in Gaza. To date, almost 1,000 have been killed, nearly half of whom are women and children. Last week's bombing of the UNRWA (UN Relief Works Agency) school in the Jabalya refugee camp was one of the most despicable crimes imaginable, as hundreds of civilians had abandoned their homes and sought refuge with the international agency only to be mercilessly shelled and bombed by Israel. Forty-six children and women were killed in that heinous attack while scores were injured.

Evidently, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 did not end its occupation nor, as a result, its international obligations as an occupying power. It continued to control and dominate our borders by land, sea and air. Indeed the UN has confirmed that between 2005 and 2008, the Israeli army killed nearly 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. For most of that period the border crossings have remained effectively closed, with only limited quantities of food, industrial fuel, animal feed and a few other essential items, allowed in.

Despite its frantic efforts to conceal it, the root cause of Israel's criminal war on Gaza is the elections of January 2006, which saw Hamas win by a substantial majority. What occurred next was that Israel alongside the United States and the European Union joined forces in an attempt to quash the democratic will of the Palestinian people. They set about reversing the decision first by obstructing the formation of a national unity government and then by making a living hell for the Palestinian people through economic strangulation. The abject failure of all these machinations finally led to this vicious war. Israel's objective is to silence all voices that express the will of the Palestinian; thereafter it would impose its own terms for a final settlement depriving us of our land, our right to Jerusalem as the rightful capital of our future state and the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes.

Ultimately, the comprehensive siege on Gaza, which manifestly violated the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibited the most basic medical supplies to our hospitals. It disallowed the delivery of fuel and supply of electricity to our population. And on top of all of this inhumanity, it denied them food and the freedom of movement, even to seek treatment. This led to the avoidable death of hundreds of patients and the spiralling rise of malnutrition among our children.

Palestinians are appalled that the members of the European Union do not view this obscene siege as a form of aggression. Despite the overwhelming evidence, they shamelessly assert that Hamas brought this catastrophe upon the Palestinian people because it did not renew the truce. Yet we ask, did Israel honour the terms of the ceasefire mediated by Egypt in June? It did not. The agreement stipulated a lifting of the siege and an end to attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Despite our full compliance, the Israelis persisted in murdering Palestinians in Gaza as well as the West Bank during what became known as the year of the Annapolis peace.

None of the atrocities committed against our schools, universities, mosques, ministries and civil infra-structure would deter us in the pursuit of our national rights. Undoubtedly, Israel could demolish every building in the Gaza Strip but it would never shatter our determination or steadfastness to live in dignity on our land. Surely, if the gathering of civilians in a building only to then bomb it or the use of phosphorous bombs and missiles are not war crimes, then what is? How many more international treaties and conventions must Zionist Israel breach before it is held accountable? There is not a capital in the world today where free and decent people are not outraged by this brutal oppression. Neither Palestine nor the world would be the same after these crimes.

There is only one way forward and no other. Our condition for a new ceasefire is clear and simple. Israel must end its criminal war and slaughter of our people, lift completely and unconditionally its illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, open all our border crossings and completely withdraw from Gaza. After this we would consider future options. Ultimately, the Palestinians are a people struggling for freedom from occupation and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of refugees to their villages from which they were expelled. Whatever the cost, the continuation of Israel's massacres will neither break our will nor our aspiration for freedom and independence.

The writer is the Prime Minister of Gaza