Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza massacres must spur us to action

Gaza massacres must spur us to action
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 December 2008

Palestinians carry the body of a victim of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 27 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

"I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing." Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel's latest massacres were broadcast around the world.

A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas. The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel's attacks, and others will follow.

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels "terrorists" were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training. An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school.

Shmerling's joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is "self-defense" against "terrorists" and therefore justified. Israeli bombing -- like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan -- is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.

The rationalization for Israel's massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in "retaliation" for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rocket attacks).

But today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.

What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.

As John Ging, the head of operations of the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told The Electronic Intifada in November: "there was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."

That is an Israeli truce. Any response to Israeli attacks -- whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in Bilin and Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and bombs. There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never ceased for one single day during the truce. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel's demands, even assembling "security forces" to fight the resistance on Israel's behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian or her property or livelihood from Israel's relentless violent colonization. It did not save, for instance, the al-Kurd family from seeing their home of 50 years in occupied East Jerusalem demolished on 9 November, so the land it sits on could be taken by settlers.

Once again we are watching massacres in Gaza, as we did last March when 110 Palestinians, including dozens of children, were killed by Israel in just a few days. Once again people everywhere feel rage, anger and despair that this outlaw state carries out such crimes with impunity.

But all over the Arab media and internet today the rage being expressed is not directed solely at Israel. Notably, it is directed more sharply than ever at Arab states. The images that stick are of Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Cairo on Christmas day. There she sat smiling with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Then there are the pictures of Livni and Egypt's foreign minister smiling and slapping their palms together.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported today that last wednesday the Israeli "cabinet authorized the prime minister, the defense minister, and the foreign minister to determine the timing and the method" of Israel's attacks on Gaza. Everywhere people ask, what did Livni tell the Egyptians and more importantly what did they tell her? Did Israel get a green light to turn Gaza's streets red once again? Few are ready to give Egypt the benefit of the doubt after it has helped Israel besiege Gaza by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed for more than a year.

On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political response that can change the course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice.

But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them. Already I have received notices of demonstrations and solidarity actions being planned in cities all over the world. That is important. But what will happen after the demonstrations disperse and the anger dies down? Will we continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in silence?

Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it "called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it."

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine ( provides the framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do not wake up to "another Gaza" ever again.

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

Monday, December 15, 2008

photo training at Noor Shams refugee camp/ formation photo dans le camp de refugies de Noor Shams

(c) Anne Paq/, 14 December 2008.

The 6 hours drive was worthy, for a few smiles and moments of sharing the passion of photography..
les 6 heures de route en valaient la peine,,,pour ces quelques sourires et ces moments partages de passion de la photographie.

Israel wants to be immune from scrutiny and denies entry to UN Special Rapporteur

DCI deeply concerned as Israel denies entry to SR Falk

[RAMALLAH, 15 December 2008] – DCI-Palestine is deeply concerned by news received this morning from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Ramallah that the UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territory, Professor Richard Falk, was denied entry into Israel and deported to Switzerland by the Israeli authorities.

Professor Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, was planning to conduct his first official visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) this month. The objective of the visit was to collect information for a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2009. On this visit, Professor Falk was to meet among others Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli journalist Amira Hass, UN agencies and NGOs working in the Occupied Territory, including DCI-Palestine. The visit was supposed to take place from 14 to 20 December.

Professor Falk landed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel yesterday and was detained all night before being deported to Switzerland, on the first plane to Geneva this morning. The two colleagues accompanying him were allowed into Israel but are unable to carry out the visit without the Special Rapporteur. DCI-Palestine is also concerned by reports that their laptops were taken from them.

Israel has always criticised the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the OPT because it does not address human rights in Israel, but Professor Falk's appointment in March 2008 particularly angered Israel because of Falk’s outspoken views on the Israeli military occupation and Israeli policies in the OPT. [DCI/PS, 27 March 2008]

This week, Professor Falk issued a statement equating Israel's policies in the Gaza Strip to crimes against humanity. He said the siege of Gaza constituted a “continuing flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law” and amounted to collective punishment by Israel. [DCI/PS, 9 December 2008]

Throughout 2006-2008, Israel denied entry three times to the High-level Fact-finding Mission to Beit Hanoun headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and established under Council Resolution S-3/1 to investigate the impact of the Israeli military operations carried out there around 8 November 2006. Israel’s refusal to facilitate the implementation of the Resolution prevented the Mission from discharging its mandate until May 2008, when the Mission decided to travel to Beit Hanoun via Egypt [BBC].

Israel’s refusal to cooperate with independent experts mandated by the UN to investigate human rights violations is unacceptable; all the more so if they represent attempts by the Israeli government to protect its politicians and military commanders from being held accountable for grave human and child rights violations; and especially in light of the fact that independent and impartial investigations into killings by the Israeli military are never conducted by Israel, despite numerous calls from both Israeli and Palestinian civil society.

DCI-Palestine supports Professor Falk’s call for accountability, and calls on the international community to publicly denounce Israel’s lack of transparency and put pressure on the current government to cooperate with the UN’s efforts to improve the human rights situation in the OPT.

DCI-Palestine had been asked by OHCHR in Ramallah to prepare a briefing for Professor Falk. We will be sending a detailed report on the detention and abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli authorities to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as to the Special Rapporteur to aide his report to the UN Human Rights Council.

“The deportation of Professor Falk is a clear and blatant attack against the UN, its mission and its staff and shows how far Israel can go in challenging the international community. It is time to put more pressure on the Israeli government to hold it accountable for all the human rights violations it is committing in the OPT and to force Israel to comply with internationally recognised human rights norms and standards”, said DCI-Palestine General Director Rifat Odeh Kassis.

Professor Falk does not intend to attempt to re-enter Israel in the immediate future.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sad eid in Hebron/ tristes fetes a hebron

(c) Anne Paq/; Hebron, 08 December 2008.

Long time I had not been in Hebron. Last time it was just after some settlers attacked some Palestinian families and damaged a Muslim cemetery. A few weeks after the situation continues to deteriorate. The settlers do what they want; and what they want is to ethnically cleansed Hebron; as the rest of Palestine. After they were forcibly evacuated from the "house of peace" they occupied; they took revenge on Palestinians and what subsequently happened was even described by Olmert as pogroms. Palestinian families were violently attacked, as well as journalists and photographers. Some houses have been set on fire while some Palestinians were still inside. Th Israeli soldiers just stood there and watched, as the whole world. Feeling somehow umconfortable with the violence of the settlers, but unable to act and stop them. I went to Hebron the first day of Eid; after the violent storm. The tension, as always, was still very much palpable. The Palestinians were still trying to continue their tradition and culture. Groups of men were walking from houses to house. Some kids were outside playing with their brand new plastic guns. All displayed their new clothes. The soldiers were also out, and I was shocked to discover so many more racists grafittis everywhere- on the shops; on the graves; on the houses. The whole place resonates with despair.

Il y a quelques temps que je ne m'etais pas rendue à Hebron. La dernière fois, c'était juste après que colons aient attaqué des familles palestiniennes et saccagé un cimetière musulman. Quelques semaines après la situation continue de se détériorer. Les colons font ce qu'ils veulent et ce qu'ils veulent, c'est le nettoyage ethnique de Hébron; ainsi que du reste de la Palestine. Après l'evacuation des colons de la "maison de la paix" qu'ils occupaient, ils se sont vengés sur les Palestiniens et ce qui s'est passé ensuite a même été décrit par Olmert comme des pogroms. Des familles palestiniennes ont été violemment attaquées, ainsi que des journalistes et des photographes. Certaines maisons ont été incendiées alors que certains Palestiniens étaient toujours à l'intérieur. Les soldats israéliens se sont contentés de regarder; comme le monde entier. Se sentant légèrement mal à l'aise avec la violence des colons, mais incapable d'agir et de les arrêter. Je me suis rendue à Hébron le premier jour de l'Aïd après la tempête. La tension, comme toujours, était encore palpable. Les Palestiniens sont encore en train d'essayer de poursuivre leur tradition et de culture. Des groupes d'hommes se déplaçaient en groupe de maison en maison pour visiter les femmes de leurs familles. Certains enfants étaient dehors en train de jouer avec leur tous nouveaux pistolets en plastique. Tous étaient fiers de montrer leurs nouveaux vêtements. Les soldats étaient aussi presents en grand nombre, et j'ai été choquée de découvrir beaucoup de nouveaux grafittis racistes laissés partout par les colons- sur les magasins, sur les tombes, sur les maisons. L'ensemble du lieu résonne toujours de désespoir

Friday, December 12, 2008

L’Union européenne capitule devant Israël

L’Union européenne capitule devant Israël

mercredi 10 décembre 2008, par Alain Gresh

Les ministres des affaires étrangères de l’Union européenne ont adopté, les 8 et 9 décembre, un texte intitulé « Council Conclusions Strengthening of the EU bilateral relations with its Mediterranean partners - upgrade with Israel ». Sous l’impulsion de la présidence française, le principe de rehausser les relations entre Israël et l’Union européenne a été accepté. Déjà, avant la tenue du sommet méditerranéen, Paris avait essayé de faire adopter cette mesure, mais avait dû reculer devant la levée de boucliers de certains régimes arabes, notamment l’Egypte (lire « Enquête sur le virage de la diplomatie française », Le Monde diplomatique, juin 2008).

Ce texte a été adopté après de nombreuses discussions. La première version présentée par la France faisait la part belle à Israël et a suscité des réserves chez certains des partenaires — notamment le Royaume-Uni et la Belgique — qui ont demandé un « rééquilibrage » du texte. Un comble, quand on pense qu’il y a quelques années encore, la France était accusée d’être pro-arabe.

Notons aussi que ce texte a été entériné le jour même où l’expert de l’ONU sur les droits humains dans les territoires palestiniens, Richard Falk, demandait la mise en œuvre de « la norme reconnue de la “responsabilité de protéger” une population civile punie collectivement par des politiques qui s’assimilent à un crime contre l’humanité ». Dans le même sens, ajoutait-il, « il semble que c’est le mandat de la Cour pénale internationale d’enquêter sur la situation, et de déterminer si les dirigeants politiques israéliens et les chefs militaires responsables du siège de Gaza doivent être inculpés et poursuivis pour violations du droit pénal international ».

Finalement, le texte adopté par l’Union européenne intègre des références à la politique de voisinage européenne, au Maroc, à la Tunisie, et à presque tous les Etats arabes, références purement formelles qui permettent de faire passer l’essentiel : le point 9, qui affirme la détermination du Conseil à rehausser les relations avec Israël. Il est toutefois souligné que ce rehaussement doit avoir lieu dans le contexte de « nos intérêts communs », qui incluent la résolution du conflit israélo-palestinien sur la base de la coexistence de deux Etats.

Une longue annexe comprend les lignes directrices pour renforcer les structures du dialogue politique avec Israël.

D’abord, la tenue régulière de réunions des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de l’Union européenne et d’Israël, un privilège qui n’était accordé jusque-là qu’à quelques grands Etats, Chine, Russie, Inde, etc. La première réunion devrait avoir lieu sous la présidence de la République tchèque, pays qui, selon la formule d’un haut fonctionnaire à Bruxelles, « ne défend pas la politique du gouvernement israélien, mais celle du Likoud ».

Ensuite, la tenue régulière, au moins trois fois par an, de réunions entre ministres des affaires étrangères (ce qui n’est pas nouveau, et existait déjà de facto). De telles réunions sont étendues à d’autres secteurs que les affaires étrangères.

L’invitation régulière de responsables du ministère des affaires étrangères israélien aux comité pour la politique et la sécurité de l’Union. Inviter aussi plus systématiquement des experts israéliens dans les comités travaillant notamment sur le processus de paix, les droits humains, la lutte contre le terrorisme et le crime organisé, etc.

Organiser des consultations informelles plus larges sur les problèmes stratégiques.

Intensifier les échanges sur des points précis, notamment les droits humains et l’antisémitisme.

Encourager Israël à s’associer aux politiques étrangère et de sécurité commune de l’Union européenne.

Permettre la coopération sur le terrain dans le cadre des politiques de sécurité et de défense commune. Des experts israéliens pourront ainsi participer à des missions extérieures de l’Union, que ce soit en Afrique ou ailleurs.

Dans la mesure où Israël, aux Nations unies, ne peut participer au groupe Asie, l’Union européenne tentera de l’intégrer au groupe Western European and other groups (WEOG), une vieille demande de cet Etat qui lui permettrait d’être élu dans différentes instances, dont le Conseil de sécurité.

Intensifier le dialogue entre le Parlement européen et le parlement israélien.

Ces décisions de l’Union européenne ont été vivement critiquées par l’Autorité palestinienne et par l’Egypte.

Dans un article de Haaretz du 9 décembre, « EU votes to upgrade Israel relations despite Arab lobbying », Barak Ravid rapporte que la semaine précédente, « la ministre des affaires étrangères israélienne Tzipi Livni s’est rendue à Bruxelles pour faire son propre lobbying auprès des ministres des affaires étrangères, et en premier lieu de Bernard Kouchner. A un moment de la rencontre, elle a demandé à le voir en tête à tête et à ce que les autres sortent de la salle. Durant cette conversation, les deux sont tombés d’accord sur le fait qu’il n’y aurait pas de “lien” (linkage) (entre le rehaussement des relations UE-Israël et les négociations de paix), mais que l’Union européenne publierait une déclaration séparée appelant à la poursuite de conversations de paix sur le statut final ».

Même si l’article est un peu à la gloire de Livni et note des « avancées » qui n’en sont pas – les réunions régulières des ministres des affaires étrangères avaient déjà lieu –, le texte est significatif de la victoire israélienne. D’autant plus que Livni a aussi empêché l’adoption d’un texte stratégique d’action qui rappellerait la position de l’Union européenne sur le conflit du Proche-Orient. Ce texte, préparé par la France, a été « retiré ».

On peut noter que toute la stratégie française (et européenne) de rapprochement avec Israël est justifiée par le fait qu’une amélioration des relations permettrait à l’Union européenne et à la France d’influer sur la politique israélienne. Il suffit de voir ce qui se passe à Gaza, l’extension des colonies, les pogroms anti-arabes, pour mesurer le succès de cette stratégie.

En revanche, Israël a subi une importante défaite au Parlement européen (lire « Israël devra attendre », La valise diplomatique, 5 décembre 2008). Ce refus du Parlement européen aura des conséquences concrètes sur un certain nombre de projets de coopération. Notons, pour l’anecdote, que le vote négatif a été provoqué à la fois par le lobbying d’un certain nombre de pays arabes et par l’arrogance et les pressions israéliennes, qui ont suscité le ras-le-bol d’un certain nombre de députés européens.

D’autre part, on lira deux textes intéressants sur le conflit, l’un de Barak Ravid et Anshel Pfeffer dans Haaretz du 4 novembre, « Britain to EU : Clamp down on imports from settlements », qui souligne la manière dont Israël tente d’exporter les produits des colonies vers l’Union européenne ; l’autre, d’Yves Aubin de La Messuzière, publié dans Le Monde (10 décembre) : « Pourquoi l’Europe doit parler au Hamas ».

Free Gaza ship departs with 11 students denied exit by Israel


Free Gaza ship departs with 11 students denied exit by Israel

Date: 12 / 12 / 2008 Time: 10:39

Bethlehem - Ma'an - A ship with the Free Gaza movement left the Strip late Thursday night with 11 Palestinian students aboard.

The students had previously been denied exit by Israel to attend universities abroad despite having all proper documentation from the institutions.

Over 700 students are currently trapped in Gaza, unable to obtain permission from Israel to continue their education abroad, according to the group.

Accompanying the students were two British academics, Jonathan Rosenhead and Mike Cushman, of the London School of Economics and the British Committee for Universities for Palestine (BRICUP), an organization of UK-based educators that calls for an academic boycott of Israel.

"As academics, we are particularly pleased to be traveling on the Dignity [the ship of the Free Gaza movement] on this mission to enable at least some of the hundreds of students trapped in Gaza by the Israeli siege to get out and take up their places at universities around the world," said a statement released by the group.

"This siege is an affront to any idea of academic freedom or human rights. How can anyone justify preventing young people from fulfilling their potential and learning how to serve their community more fully?" it continued.

In an act of "nonviolent defiance" against the ongoing Israeli occupation, the Free Gaza movement has been running "civil resistance ships" to Gaza since August.

The Dignity's voyage is the fourth such trip, and aimed to reunite families and deliver medical supplies, mail, and international humanitarian and human rights workers to the Gaza Strip.

Free Gaza spokesperson Ewa Jasiewicz said "though we carried in a ton of medical supplies and high-protein baby formula on our ship, our mission in Gaza was not to provide charity, but to give our solidarity to the people of Palestine, break the silence of the world over this continuing calamity, and physically break through the blockade of Gaza in an act of direct resistance against the siege."

"In the end, the oppression and humiliation of occupation assaults the humanity of both occupier and occupied and cannot and must not be tolerated any longer," Jasiewicz added.

For over two years, Israel has imposed an increasingly severe blockade on Gaza, dramatically increasing poverty and malnutrition rates among the 1.5 million people who live in the tiny, coastal region.

Osama Qashoo, another Free Gaza spokesperson, explained their voyage's success by saying that "the sea passage to Gaza is open." Three ships, one from Libya, one from Qatar, and a third from the Israeli Jaffa port were denied entry into Gaza just over a week ago.

Commenting on the Israeli action taken against the ships, Qashoo said "Our fourth mission was a quick response to Israel denying earlier attempts,” and an effort to maintain the opening the group had managed to force in Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

"We hope that other nations, civil society organizations, and activists around the world will learn from our experience, be strategic in their planning, and not let Israeli threats and aggression stop them from coming to Gaza," said the Free Gaza Movement.

"Freedom of movement and of education and to live in peace is everyone's right," the group added.

According to Caoimhe Butterly, a Free Gaza coordinator, the ship faced no interference or radio contact from the Israeli navy on its way into and out of Gaza waters. She did note, however, that the ship’s radar showed naval vessels passing within a few miles of the vessel.

Asked why the Free Gaza ship was allowed through while others were blocked, Butterly said it was a sign that Israel “does not see this project as a threat.”

***Updated 13:43 Bethlehem time

Saturday, December 06, 2008

activestills photographer Tess assaulted by Israeli soliders in Hebron

While the settlers are going around perpetrating violence against Palestinian civilians, the Israeli soldiers are attacking the few journalists and photographers who try to document the events...

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 14:07 06/12/2008
IDF soldier assaults Haaretz photographer in Hebron
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

An Israeli photographer on assignment for Haaretz was assaulted by an Israel Defense Forces soldier in Hebron on Saturday. The photographer, Tess Scheflan, suffered light head injuries and was taken by an ambulance to hospital.

Scheflan, who is a staffer for the Jini photo news agency, stayed in Hebron alongside Haaretz reporter Fadi Edayat to cover the aftermath of the forced eviction of Jewish squatters from a disputed home in the West Bank city.

Edayat said Scheflan and another photographer were snapping pictures of Palestinian families inside their homes, which lie not far from the evacuated "House of Contention" in central Hebron, when IDF troops arrived and temporarily requisitioned the homes.

When the three journalists exited the home, they spotted three IDF soldiers in the street. As Scheflan began taking pictures of the soldiers, they began to approach her. One of the soldiers tried to swipe her camera before attempting to grab the camera of the other photojournalist at the scene.

Scheflan then remarked something to the soldier, who responded by delivering a fisted blow to her face. The soldier then used the butt of his rifle to strike Scheflan in the head.

Shortly afterwards, Scheflan received treatment at the scene from an IDF medic. She was subsequently transferred by ambulance to Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

The assailant soldier is an infantryman serving in the Haruv battalion. Haaretz provided details of the incident to the IDF Spokespersons Unit, which said that an investigation was underway.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Who will stop the settlers? settlers violence reached new pics in the West Bank

ANALYSIS / Hebron settler riots were out and out pogroms
By Avi Issacharoff

An innocent Palestinian family, numbering close to 20 people. All of
them women and children, save for three men. Surrounding them are a few dozen masked Jews seeking to lynch them. A pogrom. This isn't a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house. The women cry for help, "Allahu Akhbar." Yet the neighbors are too scared to approach the house, frightened of the security guards from Kiryat Arba who have sealed off the home and who are cursing the journalists who wish to document the events unfolding there.

The cries rain down, much like the hail of stones the masked men hurled at the Abu Sa'afan family in the house. A few seconds tick by before a group of journalists, long accustomed to witnessing these difficult moments, decide not to stand on the sidelines. They break into the home and save the lives of the people inside. The brain requires a minute or two to digest what is taking place. Women and children crying bitterly, their faces giving off an expression of horror, sensing their imminent deaths, begging the journalists to save their lives. Stones land on the roof of the home, the windows and the doors. Flames engulf the southern entrance to the home. The front yard is littered with stones thrown by the masked men. The windows are shattered and the children are frightened. All around, as if they were watching a rock concert, are hundreds of Jewish witnesses, observing the events with great interest, even offering suggestions to the Jewish wayward youth as to the most
effective way to harm the family. And the police are not to be seen. Nor is the army.

Ten minutes prior, while the security forces were preoccupied with dispersing the rioters near the House of Contention, black smoke billowed from the wadi separating Kiryat Arba and Hebron. For some reason, none of the senior officers of the police or the army were particularly disturbed by what was transpiring at the foot of Kiryat Arba. Anyone standing hundreds of meters away could notice the dozens of rioters climbing atop the roof of the Abu Sa'afan family home, hurling stones. Only moments later did it become apparent that there were people inside the home.

I quickly descend to the wadi and accost three soldiers. "What do you want from me? The three of us are responsible for the entire sector here," one said, his hand gesturing towards the entire wadi.

"Use your radio to request help," I said. He replies that he is not equipped with a radio.

A group of journalists approach the house. A dilemma. What to do? There are no security forces in the vicinity and now the Jewish troublemakers decided to put the journalists in their crosshairs. We call for the security guards from Kiryat Arba to intervene and put a halt to the lynch. But they surround the home to prevent the arrival of "Palestinian aid."

The home is destroyed and the fear is palpable on the faces of the children. One of the women, Jihad, is sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. The son, who is gripping a large stick, prepares for the moment he will be forced to face the rioters. Tahana, one of the daughters, refuses to calm down. "Look at what they did to the house, look."

Tess, the photographer, bursts into tears as the events unfold around her. The tears do not stem from fear. It is shame, shame at the sight of these occurrences, the deeds of youths who call themselves Jews. Shame that we share the same religion. At 5:05 P.M., a little over an hour after the incident commenced, a unit belonging to the Yassam special police forces arrives to disperse the crowd of masked men. The family members refuse to calm down. Leaving the home, one can hear a settler yell at a police officer: "Nazis, shame on you." Indeed. Shame on you.