“I had to pick and choose whom I would save, that mother who is drowning, or the children who cannot swim, or the father who is drowning because the whole family is grabbing him. Yesterday we managed to save 242 people in total, but more than 50 had died. I saw them die. It was terrible. We are shattered physically and psychologically. And I am ashamed of Europe,” says Oscar Camps.
Oscar Camps is a volunteer lifeguard from Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO formed by professional lifeguards who moved to Lesbos Island, Greece to rescue and help the refugees who make a dangerous voyage through the Aegean Sea from the Turkish Coast to Greece.
On Wednesday (October 28, 2015), 242 refugees have been rescued from a capsizing of a boat carrying nearly 300 people through the stormy Aegean Sea, which sparked a huge search involving patrol vessels, fishing boats and a helicopter. At least 11 refugees died in the eastern Aegean Sea among them 7 children. More than 30 people are still listed as missing from this accident.
“The Turkish and Greece Fishermen rushed to the boat and started rescuing people. It was shocking. We climbed into the boat to take the children because they [the refugees] said they had no strength to lift them. The Frontex boat did nothing, All they did is to throw ropes to the drowning, like in the movies, and they stayed there their ship deck watching people die. I wonder if they would do if their relatives were drowning in the sea. It was gruesome. Those who witnessed this tragedy must bear responsibility,” say Oscar referencing to the Frontex ship, an EU coastguard vessel with a Norwegian flag.
Proactiva Open Arms announced via twitter that they will stay in Greece till mid-January 2016 since the surge – and the death toll – at the Aegean Sea are set to rise as Russian airstrikes push more refugees to flee to Europe before borders shut and the sea gets rougher.
Proactiva Open Arms was formed after their members saw the images of drowned refugees washing up on the Greek beaches, including that of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.
“Those images made us think, ‘we are professionals in lifesaving and we could do something to help the refugees in Lesbos’. We have the skills and we have the equipment to do it so we took a decision and just went,” says Oriol Canals another volunteer from Proactiva Open Arms.
The group of lifeguards raised €15,000 ($17,000) between them, enough to stay for their first month, and since then they relied on raising money to remain longer in Lesbos.
Sacla’ the Pesto Pioneers and Italian foodies favourite, served up a great surprise at a Buckinghamshire primary school and staged an impromptu Opera in the canteen one lunch time.
Four secret opera singers, disguised as canteen staff, broke into song bringing the room to a standstill with a rousing medley of the Italian classics by Verdi, Puccini and Rossini.
From soaring soprano to booming baritone, the singers’ stunning performance thrilled the unsuspecting school children whose shocked and surprised reactions were captured on camera by a six strong film crew behind the scenes.
Steven Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. Glen Weyl is an assistant professor of economics and law at the University of Chicago.
We are lifelong Zionists. Like other progressive Jews, our support for Israel has been founded on two convictions: first, that a state was necessary to protect our people from future disaster; and second, that any Jewish state would be democratic, embracing the values of universal human rights that many took as a lesson of the Holocaust. Undemocratic measures undertaken in pursuit of Israel’s survival, such as the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the denial of basic rights to Palestinians living there, were understood to be temporary.
But we must face reality: The occupation has become permanent. Nearly half a century after the Six-Day War, Israel is settling into the apartheid-like regime against which many of its former leaders warned. The settler population in the West Bank has grown 30-fold, from about 12,000 in 1980 to389,000 today. The West Bank is increasingly treated as part of Israel, with the green line demarcating the occupied territories erased from many maps. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin declared recently that control over the West Bank is “not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism.”
This “basic fact” poses an ethical dilemma for American Jews: Can we continue to embrace a state that permanently denies basic rights to another people? Yet it also poses a problem from a Zionist perspective: Israel has embarked on a path that threatens its very existence.
As happened in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa, Israel’s permanent subjugation of Palestinians will inevitably isolate it from Western democracies. Not only is European support for Israel waning, but also U.S. public opinion — once seemingly rock solid — has begun to shift as well, especially among millennials. International pariah status is hardly a recipe for Israel’s survival.
At home, the occupation is exacerbating demographic pressures that threaten to tear Israeli society apart. The growth of the settler and ultra-orthodox populations has stoked Jewish chauvinism and further alienated the growing Arab population. Divided into increasingly irreconcilable communities, Israel risks losing the minimum of mutual tolerance that is necessary for any democratic society. In such a context, violence like the recent wave of attacksin Jerusalem and the West Bank is virtually bound to become normal.
Finally, occupation threatens the security it was meant to ensure. Israel’s security situation has changed dramatically since the 1967 and 1973 wars. Peace with Egypt and Jordan, the weakening of Iraq and Syria, and Israel’s now-overwhelming military superiority — including its (undeclared) nuclear deterrent — have ended any existential threat posed by its Arab neighbors. Even a Hamas-led Palestinian state could not destroy Israel. As six former directors of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, argued in the 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers,” it is the occupation itself that truly threatens Israel’s long-term security: Occupation forces Israel into asymmetric warfare that erodes its international standing, limits its ability to forge regional alliances against sectarian extremists and, crucially, remains the principal motive behind Palestinian violence.
In making the occupation permanent, Israel’s leaders are undermining their state’s viability. Unfortunately, domestic movements to avert that fate have withered. Thanks to an economic boom and the temporary security provided by the West Bank barrier and the Iron Dome missile defense system, much of Israel’s secular Zionist majority feels no need to take the difficult steps required for a durable peace, such as evicting their countrymen from West Bank settlements and acknowledging the moral stain of the suffering Israel has caused to so many Palestinians.
We are at a critical juncture. Settlement growth and demographic trends will soon overwhelm Israel’s ability to change course. For years, we have supported Israeli governments — even those we strongly disagreed with — in the belief that a secure Israel would act to defend its own long-term interests. That strategy has failed. Israel’s supporters have, tragically, become its enablers. Today, there is no realistic prospect of Israel making the hard choices necessary to ensure its survival as a democratic state in the absence of outside pressure.
For supporters of Israel like us, all viable forms of pressure are painful. The only tools that could plausibly shape Israeli strategic calculations are a withdrawal of U.S. aid and diplomatic support, and boycotts of and divestitures from the Israeli economy. Boycotting only goods produced in settlements would not have sufficient impact to induce Israelis to rethink the status quo.
It is thus, reluctantly but resolutely, that we are refusing to travel to Israel, boycotting products produced there and calling on our universities to divest and our elected representatives to withdraw aid to Israel. Until Israel seriously engages with a peace process that either establishes a sovereign Palestinian state or grants full democratic citizenship to Palestinians living in a single state, we cannot continue to subsidize governments whose actions threaten Israel’s long-term survival.
Israel, of course, is hardly the world’s worst human rights violator. Doesn’t boycotting Israel but not other rights-violating states constitute a double standard? It does. We love Israel, and we are deeply concerned for its survival. We do not feel equally invested in the fate of other states.
Unlike internationally isolated states such as North Korea and Syria, Israel could be significantly affected by a boycott. The Israeli government could not sustain its foolish course without massive U.S. aid, investment, commerce, and moral and diplomatic support.
We recognize that some boycott advocates are driven by opposition to (and even hatred of) Israel. Our motivation is precisely the opposite: love for Israel and a desire to save it.
Repulsed by the Afrikaners’ ethno-religious fanaticism in South Africa, Zionism founder Theodore Herzl wrote, “We don’t want a Boer state, but a Venice.” American Zionists must act to pressure Israel to preserve Herzl’s vision — and to save itself.
Netanyahu’s attempt to place the mufti at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows just how bankrupt the extremists in Israel have become. It’s a declaration of all-out war on the Palestinian people. It’s ‘us or them.’
Odeh Bisharat Oct 22, 2015 6:07 AM
Adolf Hitler, 1943.AP
One meeting changed the course of history, the meeting on November 28, 1941 between Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The mufti convinced the leader of Nazi Germany, who only wanted to imprison the Jews in concentration camps, to exterminate them instead.
So our apologies, fuhrer, for having slandered you for the past 80 years, when the true enemy, the embodiment of evil, was actually the leader of the neighboring people — and not the Nazi killing machine, the concentration camps or the doctrine of racial purity. It was the Palestinian mufti. At long last we discover that the terrible atrocity was the handiwork of a leader whose people were under colonialist rule for 500 years — more than 90 percent of them illiterate, most of them peasant farmers whose homes had no electricity.
Now comes Benjamin Netanyahu with this grave accusation, shattering all the theories that tie Aryan race theory and the genocide to capitalist industrial development. On the other hand, those Palestinians, who Netanyahu has always insisted are not a people and thus have no right to a state, in fact constitute a superpower that affects the course of history — in the most negative way possible, of course. He needs to make up his mind: Are they a people or aren’t they? Are we talking about a great power or a random collection of individuals?
It’s true that the mufti does not come out looking well through the lens of history. He embraced the primitive idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Incidentally, there were Jews who embraced this way of thinking in their war against the British. And rather than set out a policy of national liberation that also comports with universal values, the mufti adopted a benighted position that did nothing to advance the Palestinian national interest.
Just the reverse, in fact — his words and deeds were a gift to groups that worked against the Palestinian national cause. The mufti gave them an excuse. If Haj Amin al-Husseini hadn’t appeared in Palestinian history, Netanyahu would have invented him. In the days of the British Mandate, there was a popular saying among the Zionist leadership: “Count on the mufti” — that is, to come out with some declaration that would justify an attack on the Palestinians.
But with all due respect to the mufti, he was just a man who was wanted by the British, who fled from place to place to avoid capture. And even when the British gave him permission to return to Palestine at the end of World War II, he opted to fight the Zionists from Cairo instead.
Netanyahu’s attempt to place the mufti at the center of the conflict shows just how bankrupt the extremists in Israel have become. How ready they are to gamble everything. It’s a declaration of all-out war on the Palestinian people. It’s “us or them.”
The territory into which Netanyahu is dragging us, Arabs and Jews alike, is terrible. Until now Israeli opposition figures Isaac Herzog, Yair Lapid and Shelly Yacimovich could use the pretext of the war on terror to justify their support for him. But that’s too dangerous now. Netanyahu is bringing a terrifying tsunami down upon us.
In conclusion, I have just one small request for the prime minister: Please, stop abusing us. We were expelled from my parents’ land in the village of Ma’alul. Most of my compatriots are refugees outside their homeland. And now you’re turning us into damned Nazis. Enough already. Can’t you find another people somewhere that you can harass?Odeh Bisharat
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.681771
I Left Israel for Two Weeks. I Came Home to a Different Country
No chief, no plan, no security, no hope. There are times I think about resigning from the tribe.
Bradley Burston Oct 22, 2015 1:50 PM
There was a time when I used to forget things, to lose things, with damnable frequency.
At some point, it occurred to me that I always lost things exactly when I was leaving one place for another. I forced myself to imagine, just before leaving anywhere, that I would never be able to return to that place, so I’d sure as anything better take with me everything I’d need for this trip.
It worked. In fact, this month, leaving Israel to visit my family in California, it worked so well that the lie-to-myself, the conscious fiction, the part about never returning, may have come true without me even knowing it.
Two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I again told myself that lie, in order to make sure that I wouldn’t forget anything before leaving for the airport in Lod. Now I’m on a plane headed back to Israel. Six miles above a Utah escarpment, I am handed yesterday’s Yedioth Ahronot newspaper and begin to sense, headline by headline, that a million nonstop hours from now, this airplane will land in the same Ben Gurion Airport I’d taken off from – but not in the same country.
The day I left Israel, that mountaintop we’d uneasily lived with so long, the smoking summit which, we knew, capped a mountain of hatred, shuddered and blew entirely off. The ensuing eruption has claimed new victims daily, in every direction. And, with the speed and unstoppability of a volcano, its flow of fire is changing the landscape into something no one can quite recognize.
Just in the short time I’ve been gone, Israel’s eternal, indivisible capital has been physically divided. Palestinians have slashed, hacked, shot or run over dozens of Israelis, killing many of them. Israelis have shot hundreds of Palestinians, scores of them fatally, some for having attacked Israelis, some not.
Within Israel, street mobs have severely assaulted Arabs for being Arabs, and have mistaken Mizrachi Jews and an Eritrean man for terrorists, with tragic and even fatal results.
“You’re right,” social activist Ronny Douek wrote in an open letter to the prime minister in thatMonday edition of Yedioth, “that in the past we’ve seen terrorist attacks more severe, and that we’ve known more dangerous periods of time.
“But do you not see that this time, in fact, something has opened a crack inside us? That, in contrast to other periods of crisis, in which we knew how to come together and look forward, this time the horizon looks dark.”
I have lived in Israel for many years, decades in fact. But I know enough about this place – and the fear and the despair in which my loved ones there are now living – to know that I am coming back to a place about which I know nothing.
I have been a member of this tribe we call the Jews for my whole life. I have been schooled in the mechanics and the horrific if periodic works of pogrom and bloodthirst and genocidal persecution from the time I heard my first fairy tales.
But this, I fear, is something different. Something somehow more permanent.
In the past, when confronted with people who wanted Israel to cease to exist, people who believed Israel was doomed, fragile, unsustainable, and/or indefensibly, immorally evil, deserving of a death sentence, I would react with a faith-based defiance grounded in optimism for a better, more just, more humane future.
I won’t lie about this: For the present, my focus is elsewhere. I want my loved ones to live.
For the future though, I am left to wonder: How is my tribe to live like this? Lost. No chief. No security. No plan. No hope.
There have been times when I thought, Why not just resign from the tribe?
Truth be told, I get letters all the time from people – fellow members of the tribe – who recommend that I do just that, in one form or another. They inform me that my name’s not Jewish enough, my politics not Zionist enough, my complaints about Israel such that I should leave the country, my complaints about Israel such that I should die.
Maybe it’s time I listened to them. Maybe it’s time to resign from the tribe that these people belong to, and to realize, at long last, that all this time I’ve been a member of a different tribe. Not a rival, exactly. Just different.
Maybe it’s time I realized that the tribes of the Holy Land are not simply the mortal enemies we call Jews and Arabs. Maybe all the deafening, implacable, violence-espousing extremists, both disgusting sides of them, are actually in one tribe, together.
And, yes, that first tribe is winning. At this point, any kid with a cleaver, any meathead yelling for death, is a chief on his own.
But maybe there’s another tribe which loves this land so deeply, that it’s still willing to seek a way to share it among the people who live here. This is a tribe which wants to see human rights defeat hatred, democracy vanquish deity-based dictatorship. The tribe of humans.
If that second tribe is paralyzed, demoralized, delegitimized by the current reality, small wonder. But sometimes, under great pressures, things which you’re sure are lost forever, can reappear. Like love itself. So here’s my letter of resignation from that first tribe, a letter which I’m submitting here, because my tribe lacks a chief I could hand it to:
I hereby resign from the tribe that says killing unarmed people is a form of self defense, whose practitioners are heroes.
I hereby resign from the tribe that says: We deserve everything, all the land, and we’ve got the Book that says so.
I resign from the tribe which says the other guys are monsters, animals, out only for our blood and our land, undeserving and disqualified from having a country of their own.
I resign from the tribe that says settlers are not civilians and are fair game for murder. I resign from the tribe that says any Jew, because they’re Jewish, deserves to be stabbed.
I resign from the tribe that says Death to Arabs, the tribe which posts that hating Arabs is a virtue.
I resign from the tribe that says Palestinian kids suspected of throwing rocks should be put to death on the spot.
I resign from the tribe which blames the Palestinians for the Holocaust.
I resign from the tribe that says “We’ll knock flat the homes of the relatives of suspected terrorists – but only the Palestinian ones, never the Jews.” I resign from this tribe not only because this ritual is wrong and immoral and collective punishment. I resign also because it doesn’t work, only making a vicious circle that much broader and that much deeper and that much more vicious.
Maybe you have to leave a place in order to know what’s been lost there. But sometimes, as well, you have to come back, to appreciate what’s still there, what can improbably reappear.
Yes, I’m resigning. But I still I haven’t given up on all this.
And, for what it’s worth, I’m keeping my name.Bradley Burston
An Israeli writes: “In the event of my death in the current wave of terrorism, in the event that a terrorist, male or female, runs me over or stabs me, I wouldlike to announce in advance that my final words are:
“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Really. What took you so long? Countless times, while passing a construction site on one of the city streets during the quiet, early hours of the morning, I’ve wondered why one of the Palestinian laborers there didn’t grab a drill bit or shovel, a saw or a hammer, and murder me.
“I have never believed in the myth of coexistence in this country. I don’t believe in coexistence based on extreme inequality when it comes to human rights, social status and economic opportunities…
“If I get killed in a terrorist attack, I ask that the endless broadcasts loop of the report about my murder, as is the custom currently, be dispensed with. It is not what I want. It will contain no information that the public would want or need to know about. It would just stir up hatred. I would ask that my killers, if they remain alive, be told on my behalf that I apologize. I am reconciled with them after my death.
“And if my murderers also die, I apologize to them at this time, in advance; not because I deserved to die, and not because they have the right to kill me, but so my death is worth something, so it has some value, some significance, no matter how small. I have no God. I don’t need the Temple Mount. I have no problem living with the Palestinians as full equals in a binational state or as a peace-loving neighbors in my country and next to their own. What use would I have for revenge on my behalf after my death? I apologize for my paltry role in the injustice of the occupation. Even after my death.”
Need your help ! MSF launches petition for Afghanistan attack investigation – Please sign and share !
Dear members, dear MSFer, Please, add your voice and ask you networks, colleagues, friends and families tosign the MSF petition!
This is to urgethe USA and Obama to consent to the#independetinvestigationinto the bombing of our trauma center in#kunduz, now that the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has been activated!
Because even war has rules and international humanitarian laws need to be respected !