A Dispatch from the Israeli Occupied Land of Palestine (Part I)
July 15 2014
Day Three: Placing the besieged Arab community of East Jerusalem in a chokehold
On my first morning at the hotel in the East Jerusalem, I began to witness the predicaments and difficulties the Arab Jerusalemites encounter in their daily life…the hotel manager was hauling a baby-faced bell-hop over the coal for not showing up for his job on time.
The middle-aged attendant stooped down in a humble manner and sweated out for the next hammer to pounce on his head.
Later that day, I came across the same bellman in the elevator and asked him about his trouble with the manager…he first heaved a sigh and began his story why he was in a pickle… “The f**king Hymie made my life in tatters, even though I ain’t did nothing bad to them.”
He has been working in this Arab-run hotel since his school years, married, bred two healthy kids, cared for his mother at the rented house in the neighboring town not far from the city of East Jerusalem. It took just 15-minutes promenade along the friendly winding roads from his home to the hotel every morning and one day years ago, he was facing the 10-feet high concrete wall blocking his daily commute and forcing him to take a bus that pass through the IDF Checkpoint, walk along the narrow alleyways for over one and half hours minimum to reach for the same job. The worst thing is that you’d never be sure whether you would get to work in time no matter how early you leave home for work…it’s absolutely up to the whim of the IDF teen-age freaks who manned the checkpoint that your daily life is depended upon. It’s not like the matter of “Comesi Comsa” as we, Westerners shrug off nonchalantly. It’s the matter of life or death for him, his wife, two kids, and old mother and he has no one to blame but those “F**king Sheeny”!!
The City of Jerusalem has been venerated, on the one hand, for centuries as a Holy City by Jews, Christians, and Muslims and on the other hand, had a comparable history of carnage, destruction and strife. For two millennia, however, three religions have lived cheek by jowl maintaining the walled Old City and receiving millions of pilgrims worldwide without much contretemps…and we were in line with others from all over the world in order to pass through the security gate that manned by uniformed Israeli officers.
A gaggle of Hasidic Jewish kids got a pass with no scrutiny at all while we, Christians, Muslims, atheists, and less worthy stragglers were led to the X-ray machine or at the mercy of the hawk-eyed Jewish agents…security-craziness has a sky’s limit and I wondered why Jews were so much afraid of other humans that may harm them…what did Jews do to be scared of others, their neighbors, travelers, Negroes, Orientals, Mongols, Eskimos, etcetera.
At the Holy Sepulcher, I observed a herd of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, South Korean, Singaporean, and European Christian Sheeple snaked along the corridor waiting patiently to say hello to their human-God, Jesus Christ who happened to be a Jewish Rabbi…I speculated how many these sheeple know that Jesus was a Jew who had never intended to create another religion, Christianity, but he, if the one ever really existed historically, remained as a loyal believer of Judaism. (Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.)
In the spacious plaza where the Wailing Wall accommodates kippa-wearing Jews who throb their forehead against the wall and dance in disco-style, I noticed a dozen of the IDF soldiers with M16 rifle slung on their shoulder patrolling around the boundary. Again, it’s security for Jews only, not for the other lesser worthy folks who are expendable, replaceable, or perishable.
We climbed the steps toward the Golden Dome…it was almost deserted except some old, infirm, or ne’er-do-wells promenade along the temple…somewhat eerie, mysterious, and uncanny for us who just peek-a-boo about Islam.
Someone reminded us the temple will be the epicenter of Armageddon when Jews destroy the Dome and build their own third Temple in the same place. (The Second Intifada erupted resulting in thousands of death from both Palestinians and Israelis, when Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Lebanon, made an arrogant visit to the Temple.)
The City of Jerusalem was divided into two since 1967 War East and West Jerusalem…the East Jerusalem has about 230,000 Arabs who have a residential right to call the East Jerusalem home (they are not the Arab Israeli Citizens) under the care (?) of the City Administration.
The West Jerusalem has been solely occupied by the Jews since 1967 War, and no Arabs are allowed to have a residence there.
In other words, the City of Jerusalem is not any more One or Unified City but a divided city of two antipodal communities where Jewish residents in West Jerusalem place Arab residents in East Jerusalem in a chokehold, leaving Arab residents two choices, either to pass out and kick the bucket or abandon, desert, and run away from their residence.
You could see the stark difference between two cities while traveling on the bus…the East is crowded with beggars, loiterers, peddlers, hawkers, old, sick, infirm, and chockfull of garbage, unsanitary food carts, slow-moving traffic and public bus jammed with people like sardines
In the East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Arab residents are not allowed in toto to build, renovate, or add their residential house, no matter how many off-springs you have, and your house would be demolished if you break the rules.
You are not allowed to bring in your married spouse from the West Bank, Gaza Strip or other Arab States.
It’s total demographic control that intends to minimize the increased Arab population into zero.
In addition, the East Jerusalemites do not get the refuse collection service from the City, even though they pay municipal taxes…the City declared the region unsafe zone for Jewish garbage collectors to work so that Arabs have to take care of their garbage either by burning or discarding in the street.
The Wall surrounding the East Jerusalem was intended, first and foremost, to sever the East Jerusalemites of Arabs from the West Bank and isolate, squeeze, control, and eventually kick the Arab population out to achieve a goal of united Jerusalem for Jews only. (Indeed, Yitzhak Rabin, so-called peace camp icon who signed the Oslo Accord with the PLO, had advocated the construction of the concrete wall that originated from Jabontinsky’s thesis: something like a cage has to be built for the Palestinians.)
When we crossed the boundary on the bus reaching to the downtown area of the West Jerusalem, the desolate and dilapidated scenes of the East Jerusalem disappeared into the well-maintained boulevards, high-rise office towers, well-manicured lawn in the parks, orderly flow of traffic by the expensive cars…Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, SUV (I don’t know why they need a SUV to drive around in an arid and no snow-fall region). Hotels were bustling with WASP tourists from US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada who enjoy in a posh restaurant with dishes of exotic foods.
On the surface, the West Jerusalem appeared to be in any difference from streets in NYC or LA but there were many contingents of gun-toting IDF soldiers with walkie-talkie discreetly situated around the nooks and corners…security-maniacal Jews who fear other human species as a life-time Anti-Semite and holler the slogan: “Never Forgive, Never Forget.”
There were rows of well-maintained townhouses, glass-walled condominium apartments, and heavily guarded mansions with multiple camera towers peeking from the fences that illustrate the residents are not a small fly but a hotshot Zionist and his or her ilk.
East and West in Jerusalem are a world apart as in Harlem and Manhattan in New York City.
Even the license plate on car is color-coded that displays whether the driver/owner of the vehicle is Jew living in West Jerusalem / Jewish Settlement or Arabs in East Jerusalem/West Bank residence. (I will detail about it later.)
Now I would like to take you to the closest Jewish town to the Gaza Strip, Sderot where Jewish settlers live and work at the house and farm that were the Palestinian Arab possession before Israeli Army kicked them out into the Gaza Strip in 1948.
I had smelled and tasted the same air at the Erez Border Crossing as I did at the northern portion of Panmunjum in DMZ in Korea.
The Golden Dome side by side Jewish Wailing Wall
Disco-dancing orthodox Jews at the Wailing Wall (Male only)
Day Four: “Welcome to the Erez Crossing”
I would like to introduce a diary by Jennifer Loewenstein, activist and freelance journalist before writing my experience in the border crossing region, since I did not have any human contact at the border crossing, neither Israeli border guards nor Arabs crossing the border at the time.
We were taken by bus, out for twenty-some minutes for photo op, back on the bus, and return to the Hotel.
However, I had almost similar feeling and taste that I had while I was at the northern side of the DMZ in Korea two years ago…no human silhouette was visible in the grayish building that squats clumsily at the border…I wondered how much sorrows and tears were shed and flooded in the ghoulish building when thousands of caged Arabs in Gaza City desperately need to cross into the Israeli proper for various reasons.
Welcome to the Erez Crossing: Glancing back at Gaza
By Jennifer Loewenstein
27 July 2002
“Welcome to the Erez Crossing”.
The sign on the way out of Gaza really says this.
Welcome to a half a mile of concrete barriers and barbed wire.
Welcome to electrical wires and fortified soldiers’ bunkers.
Take no notice of the machine guns pointed at your head.
Follow the arrows and obey the signs.
Put your hands up, leave your bags behind you, walk slowly, show us your passport, tell us what the hell you think you’re doing in this human garbage dump.
No, you can’t be trusted. You’re living in Gaza.
Welcome to the Erez Crossing. Make yourself at home.
A young, blue-eyed soldier with a crew cut and a machine gun watches me enter the main office at Erez. I say a meek “shalom”; I don’t want to get into a conversation.
But he wants to know where I’m from and what’s my name. His eyes pierce mine and he grins in an unpleasant manner.
He looks like the stereotype of a Nazi soldier, I catch myself thinking.
Don’t. Don’t have that thought. It’s not allowed.
Outside, another hundred meters away, is the last guard post. I pass by it easily, handing over my gate pass, and feel relieved to see that my taxi is waiting for me.
But in between me and my last few steps at this God-forsaken transit point is a family of four, a mother, father, and two young children — sitting on the pavement in the sun, the 100-degree-Fahrenheit, humid Gaza sun — waiting for the master boys in uniform to deign to let them back into prison.
How many hours have they been kept there in the withering heat?
The soldier at the gate shouts for the father to approach in the tone of voice used for disobedient dogs. I feel sick.
“I’m so sorry. I know my country is paying for this.” They’re the only words I can find and I utter them in broken Arabic. The father looks at me surprised. “Never mind. It’s not your fault.”
Worthless lives can sit for hours at the gates of an inferno.
No one will ever know.
And the man who waited at Ben Gurion airport for ten hours to get permission to return to his Gaza hovel was finally allowed in — without his wife and daughter, who were threatened with deportation for no apparent reason.
You never heard about him either or the hundreds with similar stories.
Or about the woman sitting in the back seat of a taxi with her child one early morning this past June: Soldiers in a nearby outpost fired bullets through the window of their car killing them both.
They have no names, no faces, no relevance.
More than 150 people have been murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces in the Gaza Strip just since the middle of March.
Three made news in the US.
The New York Times labeled them “suicide bombers” though they had no explosives on their bodies.
They were 14 and 15 year old boys stupidly driven to trespass into the Netzarim settlement, illegally situated on their land. They were shot in the head and chest, ridden over by an armored vehicle that disemboweled and utterly disfigured them, and left to the mercy of dogs until the next afternoon. Do you remember them?
Are we really surprised that an F-16 warplane would drop a 2,000-pound bomb on a family home at midnight killing 15 people, nine of them children and two of them mothers?
Where has the outcry been up to now that over a million human beings — treated like refuse, spoken of like vermin, drained of the trappings of basic dignity — live in a ghetto walled off from humanity surrounded and strangulated by an occupying army that kills them at will and with complete impunity?
Why should fifteen more deaths matter when the hundreds of others never did?
Because this time the killers were so purposefully indiscreet.
When I step into my taxi for the weekend trip to Ramallah my Arab Israeli driver greets me tentatively at first. I thank him for being at Erez so promptly; for not making have to wait in that miserable place.
Anguish fills me when I turn back to look at the entrance to Gaza. Let me try to forget for a while.
“Where are you from,” I ask the driver in Arabic, in an attempt to focus my thoughts elsewhere. “I am Palestinian,” he answers me in a voice of controlled calm.
Erez, it seems all your greetings have failed
- At the time of writing this diary, another turkey shooting has just begun at the Gaza open-air concentration camp…the air-raids and canon fires by the IDF killed more than 1100 Palestinian civilians, women and kids, and destroyed the power station, water supply lines, hospitals, and the UN compounds indiscriminately. Our tour-group departed Israel just a day after three Jewish yeshiva students were abducted allegedly by the Hamas Group.
Israeli Jets drop the phosphorous Bombs on the Gaza City
Day Five: Kibbutzim, Mitzpim, Moshavim, the frontier villages of the Settler Colonialism
We have left our hotel early in the morning heading for the Erez Border Crossing at the east side of the Gaza Strip.
On the four-lane highway toward the Gaza Strip, we drove through the vast panoramic stretches of verdant/fertile farmlands, vineyards, and tobacco plantations…and there were many dots of walled landscape that house the Jewish settlers who live, work, and watch…that is, these Jewish collective communities of farm were strategically located at the border of Gaza Strip and inside of the West Bank like the outposts, watchtowers, or pillboxes in the Settler Colonial War against the indigenous Arab population.
First, we were invited into home in the small settlement village that straddles along the Gaza Strip border…the house was sparsely decorated with the books, furniture, and kitchen that display all the amenities of the Western civilization we enjoy at home in US.
The 50ish Jewish hostess was very much excited to have us, a mongrel gathering of peaceniks, and gave us piecemeal events in the village when the IDF invaded the Gaza Stripe years ago…settlers with beer bottles gathered at the hill overlooking the Gaza City and cheered the bombings of Israeli jets on the Arab towns in the Strip, giving a ‘High Five’ whenever the bombs explode and decorate the sky with the plumes of smokes. She made us feel a shock declaring that 90 percent of Israelis were supporting the bombing and killing of Arabs until one of their sons, IDF soldiers, became a POW…that is, the loss of thousands of Arab women/children was immaterial…but a loss of one Jewish boy became a national outpouring of grief and sorrow.
In other words, the settlement villagers where she lives do not entertain the universal principle of equal rights among our human species around the world, but live by the tribalistic culture of Zionism that advocates the ethnic homogeneity plus absolute majority of Jewish people.
Book of Numbers (23:9) prophesizes: “lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations”
Israeli Jews started to build the security fence/wall in 1994 and almost finished to corral the entire boundary of the country except the southern border with Jordan that stretches between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea…and inside the West Bank and the East Jerusalem where Arabs call it home were hermetically sealed off from both each other and Jewish settlers.
On the surface, Israeli government claim that the wall/fence are necessary to interdict the terrorists from entering the country…but the security fences serve two major purposes: 1. Maintaining the Jewish demographic majority by effectively annexing and connecting the settlement blocs with the Israeli proper. 2. Cutting off the Palestinian population into pieces of incontiguous Bantustan (three sausages called Zone A, B, and C) that discourage the building of the Palestinian state.
Our hostess ended her speech by introducing her neighbor’s mentality: people are trained to think that Arabs are going to come and kill us…the chip is planted in every children’s brain in an early age that gives out the strength/power to kill/maim the Arabs, whether he or she is a child, woman, old, infirm, or weak…Jews develop to think their neighbors as an animal.
She also emphasized that Jews believe in a moral exceptionalism that the Holocaust allow them to entertain the notion of ‘a permanent victim-hood’: so that they could do anything that other nations cannot justify to do a thing as they do against the Palestinian Arabs.
Benjamin Netanyahu, a.k.a. Scaremonger-in-Chief, is the major promoter of this Jewish psyche on the Holocaust.
On our way for the Hotel in East Jerusalem, we dropped in the destroyed Arab village on the hill near Tel Aviv…dozens of un-occupied, dilapidated, and deserted homes were still standing there for half a century…as if the homes were still waiting for their deserted owners to return and repair their damaged kitchens, walls, gardens, and roofs, without realizing that the homes are destined to be bulldozed in the near future in order to establish the new communities for new occupiers, Sephardic Jews from North Africa, and Mizrahim from Ethiopia and Yemen. The new occupiers claim that they were ‘making aliyah’ to inherit their ancestor’s land as their Lord promised to give them back a right to live.
O’Bomber Consulting with his Gendarmes
The Jewish Settlement village in West Bank
Mr. Dale Han who’s one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media is a free-lance journalist living in Canada for four decades since he was exiled from the Military regime of Dictator, Park CH in South Korea in the 70s. He was born, raised, and educated in South Korea and worked as a journalist for the mainstream media in the midst of the turbulent era of 4.19/5.16 revolutionary events. The turning point in his life has arrived at the Z Media Institute workshop in Mass. USA in the 90s when he was tutored by Emeritus Professor Avram Noam Chomsky. Since then, he became a lifetime contrarian, who travels around the world and reports back the real stories that the mainstream media rarely pay any attention about. He has written many articles on the unification issues in the Korean peninsula after his visit to the North Korea in 2012, and the Middle East conflicts have been his focal point in writing the real stories that the establishment media ignores.
A Dispatch from the Palestinian Land Will Soon Continue in Part III.