Ciarab's Blog

Israels attack on humanitarian ships in International waters!
May 31, 2010, 9:14 am
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31st May 2010.

A Call for Action.

Dear friends,

I am an Irish citizen presently residing in Bethlehem, the West Bank, the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Presently, I am sitting in my office of the Joint Advocacy Initiative in Bethlehem where we are following reports of the unlawful attack by the Israeli military on the flotilla ships sailing to Gaza with 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. Because of the blockade imposed by Israel since June 2007 on the 1.5 million people living in Gaza, the situation has turned into a severe humanitarian crisis. The Israeli army in the last few hours attacked and is still attacking the humanitarian ships in International Waters. The ships are holding hundreds of international humanitarian activists and European parliament members, directing to Gaza with food and medicine.

Reports coming in are explaining the situation of the passengers on the fleet of ships. There are, up to now, reports that 16-20 civilians have been killed and 50-60 injured, but these figures are expected to rise. The ship sailing from Ireland ‘MV Rachel Corrie’ is packed with 900 tonnes of aid including cement for re-building homes and schools; paper for use in schools and basic drugs for hospitals, however as of yet there are no reports of this ship. Both Palestinians and Internationals here are holding a demonstration today at two o’clock from the Nativity Square in Bethlehem in protest of the illegal raid of the flotilla and the unnecessary and unlawful murder of over 20 civilians.

I am calling all of you to take immediate action against this massacre by Israel whom are perpetrators of a racist, discriminate and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. I am a witness to this.

My Palestinian and International friends here strongly condemn this massacre against unarmed civilians, which clearly violates international law and human rights and we urgently call for all individuals and humanitarian supporters worldwide to take immediate actions! Please join in local demonstrations wherever you are. You can also organize your own demonstration or join planned ones in front of the Israeli embassies, or diplomatic mission in your country, or in front of your governmental buildings to express condemnation, and demand serious actions and positions, including condemning this crime and lifting the siege imposed on Gaza.

You are needed to protect global humanitarian values and freedom in the world.

Go raibh maith agat a chairde agus Inshallah you will do what you can to support the Palestinians in their struggle.

Best regards,


PLease watch one of the most up to date videos here.

If you would like more information on the situation here, please reply to my email and I can forward my contact details to you. Please support this call.


Nakba Day, Al Masara, 2010
May 17, 2010, 11:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Today the demonstration was different than other weeks. We marched towards the Wall and the lands isolated behind the Apartheid Wall. There was little confrontation with the Israeli soldiers as todays participants rallied for a cultural festival. Three tents were set up as a symbol for the thousands of tents the Palestinian refugees who were forced to live in after they had been driven out of their homes in 1948. These tents were a symbolic representation of the Palestinian’s right of return. There are currently seven million Palestinian refugees around the world.

The cultural festival was organized in commemoration of the Nakba (the catastrophe of 1948), the day upon which Palestinians throughout the world commemorate the violent dispossession of Palestinians from their lands and home, which resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel. The festival was organised to revive Palestinian cultural heritage in the face of a 62 year occupation that has not only dispossessed the Palestinian people from their land but has had a marked impact on the ability of Palestinians to continue to practice their Arab heritage and traditions. The following are some photos that I took at Al Masara in Bethlehem on 14th May 2010 in commemoration of Nakba Day.

Program of events for commemoration of Nakba in Al Masara
Organisers of Nakba event espressing their rights to hold an event to commemorate the Nakba to Israeli soldiers
Three tents were erected to exhibit photos relating to the events throughout the years advocating for the rights of 7 million refugees to return to Palestine
A photo of a refugee collecting water in the camps in 1993
Photos of other displaced peoples in their own land.
Empty streets waiting for those to finish morning prayer.
Clothes drying on a warm summers day.
Beginning of peaceful demonstation on 14th May in Al Masara
More demonstrators gathering
More demonstrators
Getting a good view from a rooftop
Crowds gathering
Local youth enjoying events to commemorate Nakba and to celebrate Palestinian culture and traditions
Local musicians
Reem Al Banna, a famous Palestinian musician
The Dakba, the traditional Palestinian dance
Reem Al Banna, if you click on link Nakba in the Brief History section, you can hear her on the third video.
Local children participating in event

A Brief Historical Outline
May 16, 2010, 10:34 am
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A very brief historical outline.

'A picture/map paints a thousand words'

Throughout the history of Palestine, it has been invaded, conquered and ruled by many tribal groups and armies. It is known to many as the Holy Land as many famous historical sites dating back thousands of years are located in historical Palestine. The three main religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam all of which are present in the area and each religious historical site has some significance to each of the religions.

In the late 1800s, European society was becoming increasingly anti Semitic and some Jewish thinkers decided that the only way to prevent this was to physically escape this discrimination. As a result, Zionism emerged. Essentially Zionism is  the desire to return to Mount Zion, in Jerusalem which holds great significance to the Jewish faith. However, the Zionist idea to establish a Jewish state in historic Palestine was only supported by a small minority of European Jews. During WWI this dream became feasible for the first time, when Britain achieved control of Palestine and warranted the creation of the Jewish state.

Before the 1800s Palestine was primarily inhabited by Muslims (with 10% Christians and only 4% Jewish). However, 167,000 Jewish settlers arrived from 1882-1928 and 250,000 from 1929 to 1939 (the time of the Holocaust), so that by the end of WWII over half a million Jews immigrated to these lands. This mass immigration prompted the uprising of the native Arab population which was being deprived of land and resources.

By 1947, riots and violence had grown substantially which caused the United Nations to propose a partition plan of the territories which resulted in over half of Palestine (56%) going to the Jewish immigrants, who comprised of 30% of the population and owned less than 7% of the land and the remaining being left to the Palestinians. Despite this internationally accepted solution, the Zionists who were superior in military power, began forcibly removing thousands of Palestinians from their lands. To this day this event is referred to as the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastophe’). By May 1948 the State of Israel was proclaimed on 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, during the “Six Day War”, Israel eventually occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and thus all historic Palestine. Since that time, more land has been confiscated for erecting illegal Israeli settlements, building the Apartheid Wall and creating military zones in 45.5% of these lands. As a result, Palestinian communities are isolated from the outside world but also from eachother (permission must be sought from the Israeli authorities if one wants to travel to Gaza from West Bank or vice versa and permission is also required to enter Jerusalem).

Today, the occupation continues to negatively affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. The Israeli State continues to breach the human rights of the Palestinian people, holds civilians hostage in their own country and subjugates them to military laws which are needlessly repressive, racist and discriminatory.

I realise this is a very brief outline of the history of Palestine, and if anything is incorrect, please add a comment to let me know. I will add to this through the coming months so if you have any questions please send comment and I will try to answer these. Also thanks to Marika and Palestinian Monitor, 2010 where some information has been taken from.

Brief description of Demonstrations
May 12, 2010, 10:39 am
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So, after watching this u tube clip,  I feel it provides very clear evidence that the Palestinians are not the perpetrators of violence, but the Israeli military are. You will notice how the soldiers did not let the protest proceed peacefully and immediately attacked it with tear gas which prompted stone throwing and escalation. I have been at several demonstrations in Bethlehem where protests are organised and carried out every Friday and it has been every experience where the Israeli soldiers prompted stone throwing. These demonstrations involve peaceful protests and are attended by both internationals from around the world, Palestinian women and men and families and Israeli activists who do not agree with the occupation of Palestine and more importantly all of whom are unarmed which the International media also fails to portray. The demonstrations I have attended have been against the occupation, against the wall, against the uprooting of olive trees, against the building of apartheid roads which only Israelis are allowed to use,  against the ongoing building of settlements on Palestinian land  all of which involve the illegal confiscation of Palestinian land which is also known as land grabbing. Under International law, all of these activities are illegal, however Israel are experiencing impunity on all fronts and the International Community are turning a blind eye to what is happening here. My time here has proved to me the blatant racism, discrimination and suffering that the Palestinian people experience every day from the moment they wake up by the illegal Israeli occupation.

Notice in the utube clip, the weaponry used by the Israelis to disperse the peaceful protest. They use high projectile tear gas canisters fired from guns indiscriminately, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, pepper spray, batons and sticks to beat people with and other experimental crowd dispersal weapons and methods to disperse peaceful crowds who come every Friday to the various villages in order to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Please notice that not one stone was thrown by the Palestinians which proves there is no need to project tear gas at a peaceful crowd, however this is never portrayed by the international media. Please send any comments you have.