Monday, March 06, 2006

The Basilica of the Annunciation in my hometown Nazareth attacked

On Friday at around 5pm, the Church of the Basilica in my hometown Nazareth was attacked by 3 Jewish people - Haim Eliahu Habibi, 44, his wife Violet and their daughter Odelia, 20.

I was at the Basilica soon after the bombing happened, and stayed around till approximately 10:30pm when the police finally left Nazareth.

I took some good pictures of the event and the protest march held on Saturday and will upload them soon.

In the meantime, Ehud Olmert's (Israel's acting PM) use of the incident to instigate divide between the Christian and Muslim populations in Nazareth is plain despicable. Nevertheless, this policy of 'divide and conquer' appears to be official governmental policy towards the Arab population here.

To treat Druze as non-Arab, to inflame tensions over the Sha'ab il-Diin square in Nazareth so as to pit Christian against Muslim, to portray Muslims as barbarians and Christians as being more peace-loving; this has always been official policy of the State so as to weaken a popular movement against the State's discriminatory strategies and to lower the voice of a united Arab people. However, no one is fooled.

When we marched on Saturday in protest of the bombing - we marched through the Sha'ab il-Diin square which was previously covered up since it was a source of tension between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth. But marching through the now uncovered area is very symbolic and very indicative of chants that roared through Nazareth the last few days,

Wahideh wahideh wataniya, islamu u masihiyyeh

Friday, March 03, 2006

Is Israel for real?

My colleagues and I were responding to some queries from an Irish solidarity group and we compiled the following information about the Palestinian Arab minority for them.

So I'll share some real facts about the Palestinian minority living in Israel:

Real fact 1: Since 1948 till today, there have been 700 new Jewish communities established, but not a single Arab community, despite the fact that the Palestinian minority has increased by 750 percent (from approximately 160,000 in 1948 to 1,200,000 in 2004).

Real fact 2: Although the Palestinian minority constitutes 18% of the population, they live on only 2.4% of the land. The land given to the Jewish community is 800% more that for the Arab community. In the Galilee, where the Palestinian minority constitutes 72% of the population, they live on only 16% of the lands.

Real fact 3: The Arabs live mainly in three (old) villages and three main Arab cities. The infrastrucure is extremely substandard due to government fund allocations for development being discriminatory. The villages are overcrowded and houses are built without permits (as they are very hard to obtain if you are of Arab ethnicity), and it therefore comes as no surprise that thousands of Arabs have built their houses 'illegally'.