The Campaign for One Democratic State – political and organizational perspectives

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(The following report appeared first on Mondoweiss. Earlier versions of this report were published in Arabic and Hebrew).

[Photo credits: Pictures are courtesy of Ashraf Abdelfattah]

A New Guy on the ODS Block

Over the last year a new One Democratic State (ODS) initiative, striving to restore Palestinian rights and bring a just solution to the more than a century long bloody conflict, held a series of meetings and consultations. The initiating group is diverse, bringing together academics and activists, veterans of the struggle and members of the new youth movements, Arabs and Jews. For technical reasons the initiative is currently concentrated “within the green line” – those parts of Palestine that Israel took control of already in 1948. For the time being, the organizers distinguish the new initiative under the acronyms ODSC – standing for ODS Campaign.

The new initiative hasn’t yet even publish its initial political program, which is subject to prolonged process of consultations in an attempt to form a broad church of supporters of the ODS idea, with different political backgrounds and different views about the detailed structure of the future state. It might be a signal for the growing interest in ODS that it has already ignited some interest and lively discussion.Shefa3amer meeting 23 June 2018 1 hall

In late June the group’s steering committee held its second official meeting in Shafa’amer near Haifa, and decided to open it to the media even as basic issues were still under discussion. The fledgling movement’s 50 organizers, Arabs and Jews, adopted a political program ahead of the official launch coming this Fall. The program was adopted in Arabic but its publication was delayed until parallel Hebrew and English versions will be ready.

In the meantime, the following report about the meeting’s contents gives an initial opportunity to look in detail at the political perspectives of some of those behind this campaign, based on my notes taken during the meeting and coverage by Omar Dalasha, which first appeared on the website “Arab 48.”

The meeting dealt with a number of theoretical and political issues, as well as practical steps to place the idea of a democratic solution in the center of political discourse, and to create an alternative consciousness against the reality of partition, colonialism and ethnic cleansing.

An old new idea

Awad Abdelfattah, one of the founders of the new initiative and who previously served as general secretary of “The National Democratic Alliance” (a Palestinian party active in 1948 Palestine, AKA as “Balad”), opened the discussion. He started with the historical background and current efforts toward the proposed solution:

“This idea we present today is not new. Our initiative to revive the program is neither the first nor the only one. We are building on the intellectual heritage of the previous initiatives and on the values ​​of freedom and ethics that this solution represents. But we also begin with a critical reading of previous attempts, which failed to take off and become an influential public movement.”

Abdelfattah added, “the illusion of a two-state solution proved to be completely unrealistic, in view of the dominance of the colonial apartheid regime against our people, and with it the ideas of division and separation based on injustice were discredited. Against this background, and relying on the principles of justice, we are working to renew the discussion of the one-state solution and bring it back to the fore.”

He explained that the founders do not believe that the current moment is revolutionary, the relationship of forces are not favorable and there is no easy way to change this. On the contrary, the Palestinian people are now going through one of the most difficult periods in the history of their struggle. He said,

“We are living in a period of confusion and uncertainty, not only because of the inability to change the situation due to the skewed balance of power, but also in the absence of a vision and a lack of a clear definition of the goals of the struggle around which the Palestinian people can unite. Against this backdrop, there is a growing tendency to adopt an alternative based on the desire for freedom and a humanistic approach that can re-emphasize the components of the strength of the Palestinian struggle, based on moral dimensions, the struggle for the rights of a people suffering under a racist colonial regime, not a struggle over defining borders.”

Abdelfattah emphasized the presence of Jews who oppose the colonial apartheid regime in Palestine and believe in one state. They are a key element in the initiative’s leadership. He said that their participation enhance its credibility.

Part of the initiative’s mission is to formulate a new pattern of cooperation between Arabs and Jews in the struggle – instead of co-existence, co-resistance is needed.

What have we done so far?

Abdelfattah reviewed the activities that took place since the first preparatory meeting on April 21, 2018 (a report about this meeting is here). At that time a number of working groups were established according to topics: media, a committee for organizational affairs and youth, and a committee to promote the discussion on issues of principle.

“We held many meetings with potential Arab and Jewish activists and supporters,” he said, adding, ”By reaching out we have witnessed that many people are undergoing a process of change in their approach to the solution. We must redouble our efforts, be creative and invest more thought.”

He explained that choosing the name “campaign” instead of “movement”—although the goal is to become a movement later—stems from the need and desire to include other Palestinian and Palestinian-Jewish groups, as well as activists who support this solution,

“We maintain flexibility, openness, and acceptance of different opinions, on the condition that everyone agrees with the idea of ​​a single democratic state. We believe that the insistence on issues that need not be decided now and the attempt to create ideological consensus on both large and small issues are among the reasons that some previous movements failed to grow. We do not want to remain a small movement, without influence and torn by internal disagreements or paralyzed by stagnation and narrow mindedness.”

“This is a patriotic democratic liberation project that requires years of hard work, in which generations unite, in a determined and continuing struggle to reach a free homeland and free people who believe in justice and equality,” Abdelfattah concluded, “A more conscious, freer young generation will emerge from the joint action, with a deeper understanding of the ideas of democracy and liberation.”

A Palestinian initiative that Jews are joining

Historian Ilan Pappe, a member of the founding committee, spoke about the prospects for promoting the idea in Israeli society. At the beginning of his speech, Pappe told how he was invited on May 15 to present at the United Nations the perspective of the solution of one democratic state. The representatives of Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia boycotted the meeting, and the Palestinian ambassador, who attended it, not only did not support the proposed solution but also attacked it, out of loyalty to the two-state solution.

This event represents the problems we encounter when the official representatives of the Palestinian people – in both the international community and the Knesset – oppose the proposed solution.

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Some of the speakers in the meeting, right to left: Ilan Pappe, Awad Abdelfattah, Mahmoud Miari, Muhammad Younis

“On this background,” Pappe continued, “there are special importance and influence to the fact that this is a Palestinian initiative to which Jews are joining. The fact that Palestinians adopt the plan of one democratic state based on equality will influence opinions on the Israeli street. Being a Palestinian initiative gives it a moral and ideological weight,” he said, continuing,

“We speak a lot about the balance of material forces, but we confront this skewed balance with the moral balance of power between the original inhabitants of the country and the settlers’ society. Creating an artificial parallelism between the two sides, as if there are peace camps on both sides, meeting in the middle of the road, doesn’t help this process. When the program of one state will appear as a new stage of the Palestinian liberation movement, it will also produce new opportunities to mobilize supporters within Jewish society.”

Pappe also discussed the difficulties in enlisting from Israeli society,

“We are talking about abolishing the preferential regime and the privileges that the Israelis enjoy at the expense of the original residents, and the settlers will not easily or voluntarily give up these privileges. For this it is necessary to change the balance of power from within, through a popular movement, as well as through external pressure, such as that applied by the boycott movement, the BDS. The success of the boycott movement is an important experience to build upon. In its beginnings many people argued that calling for a boycott would prevent dialogue and harm the opponents of the occupation in Israeli society. The experience proved the reverse – the boycott is also a form of dialogue in which Israelis are told that they must change. Even discussing the boycott, like discussing one-state, opens up many opportunities.”

Pappe also mentioned the alternative culture that develops among the younger generation – a culture that is much more open to anything that moves away from the institutional consensus and is willing to explore other possibilities,

“We started the initiative about a year ago, during which we met and talked to various people in Israeli society and witnessed a growing willingness to hear and accept the idea, even now that there is still no significant political movement working to advance this solution. In the wake of every additional publication about the movement, more people – Palestinians and Jews – are calling to join. If we succeed in forming an organized framework that will adopt the idea, that will work to abolish the regime of racial segregation, to waive the privileges and to live together on the basis of the principles of justice, the supporting circles will expand. The idea now exists and develops as an ideological stream rather than as a movement or an organized force. It is necessary to build an organized, strong and influential public movement, which can provide a framework for utilizing the potential support for the idea. This potential will expand further due to the lack of a political solution in the horizon, especially as it will become evident that the political deadlock might lead to disasters and exact new price in blood.”

The youth protest movements and the one-state

Muhammad Younis, an activist in Herak Haifa and a member of the founding committee, spoke about the political context in which current youth movements in Palestine develop and operate. He relied on the experience, among other examples, of the movements that organized the recent demonstrations in Haifa in support of the March of the Return in the Gaza Strip,

“The vast majority of young people tend to support the idea of ​​a single state rather than a two-state solution, but most have no organizational connection to this idea,” he said. “The various parties in historic Palestine failed to create a broad consensus around a unifying Palestinian national project. Palestinian youth today were born in a period dominated by the Oslo Accords and grew in the shadow of the division between Palestinian people in the two sides of the Green Line and between those in Palestine and the refugees out of the country. In addition, it is becoming ever clearer that the so called ‘peace process’ leads nowhere and that the ‘two-state solution’ failed. We grew up as a youth when everyone was talking about a two-state solution and we were educated on this idea. In view of the failure of this solution and the absence of an alternative, or the lack of proper presentation of an alternative, we are witnessing a general state of frustration from political activity.”

In these conditions different youth movements developed. Those movements were also influenced by the Arab revolutions, where the youth had a central role in their awakening and at the beginning of their path, before the regimes and external forces turned them into destructive civil wars. Those movements went through several important stages. One of their peaks was the movement against the Prawer plan to uproot the Palestinian residents of the Naqab. The youth movements also played an important role in organizing support for the hunger strikes of the Palestinian freedom prisoners. Recently we witnessed the march of return in the Gaza Strip, and how a supportive movement developed in Haifa and Ramallah. This last experience succeeded to forge unity in struggle, goals and slogans among various parts of the Palestinian people and raised it to a new level.”

Significant support for the right of return among the Jewish public

The last speaker was Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, founder of Zochrot and currently active in the “De Colonizer” organization. Both movements work among the Jewish public to promote awareness of the destroyed Palestinian villages and recognition of the rights of the refugees. He presented the results of public opinion surveys on the attitude toward the right of return initiated by “De Colonizer” and conducted by a professional survey institute. These results appeared in a book he published recently, together with Eleonor Merza-Bronstein, named “Nakba in Hebrew: a political journey.”

The first survey was conducted in March 2015. The main result surprised the survey’s initiators: More than 20 percent of the respondents, all Jewish residents of Israel, expressed support for the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. Bronstein explained that the result of 20 percent support consists of summing the number of those who chose one of two possible answers, unconditional support or support provided it doesn’t harm the current residents. The poll’s initiators wanted to ensure that the results were real and repeated it in March 2017. This time the result was even more positive – 27 percent supported the right of return, conditionally or unconditionally. Support was higher among young people and among secular Jews.

In order to be more certain that the respondents indeed understood the meaning of the right of return, De Colonizer repeated the survey once again in April 2017. This time the pollsters were required to explicitly explain to the respondents that the right of return meant that more than 7 million Palestinians could choose to exercise this right. In this poll, support for the right fell to 16.2 percent.

Bronstein noted that support for the right of return among Jews in Israel can be considered surprisingly high, since no Israeli party supports this right and in light of the official propaganda that always tries to frighten the public from the right of return and say that its implementation means the liquidation of the Jews or at least their expulsion from the country.

Bronstein concluded that the Israelis’ position toward the right of return can be changed, and for this purpose we need a will and determination to build a democratic alternative.

Open discussion

After the presentation, an open discussion took place lasting over an hour and a half.

The discussion dealt again with the 10-point political plan of the initiative, which has already been discussed and amended through several previous meetings, and this time was brought for approval. It was clarified that the program was not intended to answer all the questions, but rather to create a broad basis within which activists and organizations coming from different political traditions and from different ideologies could work together. The common denominator is the commitment to fight against all forms of oppression, overcome past residues through the return of the refugees, abolish all oppressive mechanisms, and create an open democratic society in which everyone will enjoy full rights where there is systematic action to close social gaps and create a just society.

Much of the discussion was devoted to the right form of building the movement with regard to the existing gaps—wide gaps in power and consciousness—between Palestinian Arab society and Jewish society in Israel. Many varied opinions were expressed. For most of us, just thinking about building a joint movement is a new political experience that requires redefining concepts and dealing with questions that are easy to ignore in routine political work. Finally, it was decided that these issues, like many others, required an in-depth and systematic discussion that would accompany us over the coming months and years.

Decisions and practical measures

Despite the need for further discussions, the proposed political plan was adopted for the current period as the basis to act upon and expand the movement.

We have set ourselves the goal of working toward a broad conference in the autumn, after more people and groups will join the campaign. This conference will also be an opportunity to re-discuss the political program and update it based on the contributions of new participants and accumulated experience.

The participants also decided to continue the construction of the subcommittees, to include new members and to continue organizing meetings of activists, informational lectures and community discussions.

Why the poet Dareen Tatour was convicted of incitement?

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Detailed analysis of the verdict exposes the ingrained racism of Israel’s injustice system

(The following article appeared initially in Mondoweiss. It is also available in Hebrew)

On May 3, 2018, exactly two and a half years after the indictment was filed against her, Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet from Reineh in the Galilee, was convicted of three counts of “incitement to violence”. For one of the three publications she was also convicted of “supporting a terrorist organization”.

Judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein’s hall at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court was full of supporters of Tatour and representatives of the Arab and Hebrew media. The judge usually sternly and resolutely conducts the hearings. In the past she even addressed the audience directly to explain how the tiresome and lengthy procedure she is conducting is entirely intended to bring out truth and justice. But this time, just when justice was supposed to come out, she announced in advance that the verdict was long and therefore she would read only a small part of it, and that little she murmured in a low voice barely audible in the hall. Only once did she raise her voice, when she quoted a precedent-setting ruling praising the importance of free speech. Finally, when she reached her conclusions, she mentioned only the section numbers in which she convicted the defendant and hurried out of the courtroom. We had to wait for the written version of the verdict to be handed over to Attorney Gaby Lasky who explained to us the meaning of the verdict: conviction on all charges.

The plea for punishment was heard on May 31. The prosecutor sought to impose on Tatour a prison term of between 15 and 26 months, more than any other defendant who was tried for similar offenses. The sentencing is expected to be issued on July 31. In the meantime, I went back to reading the verdict in order to try to understand on what grounds Tatour was convicted, even though in all the publications of which she was accused there was neither any call for violence nor support for any organization waging armed struggle against Israel.

There is no innocent Arab

The affair of the poet Dareen Tatour began with a series of mistakes.

On October 9, 2015, at a central bus station in Afula, a woman named Israa Abed, who was holding a knife, was mistakenly suspected of intending to carry out an attack. She was shot by soldiers and security personnel. The picture of the wounded Israa lying on the floor of the station was published by Dareen Tatour as the background picture for her Facebook page. Next to her was a profile picture with the inscription “I am the next martyr” – a picture used by many activists to protest the ease with which innocent Palestinian civilians are repeatedly killed by settlers, the occupation army and the Israel Police.

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Dareen’s profile picture: I’m the next martyr. First published in July 2014 in protest of the burning alive of martyr Muhammad Abu Khdeir

A screenshot of the Facebook page with a picture of Israa Abed and the inscription “I am the next martyr” was transmitted by an anonymous source to the Nazareth police, who interpreted it as if Tatour intended to carry out an attack. In a pre-dawn semi-military operation, the police, accompanied by a Border Police force, raided Tatour’s house and arrested her without a search order or detention warrant. She was held for hours in a police car in the yard of the police station in Nazareth, while the policemen were insulting her and bragging of having caught “a terrorist”. In the first interrogation, that same morning, she was accused of “threatening to harm others and threatening the security of the state”.

The interrogators quickly understood that Tatour was not planning to carry out any attack. But, instead of releasing her and sending her home, they began a strenuous investigation of her two Facebook pages, her YouTube channel, her blog and all the material on her computer and on her phone. Given that Tatour is a poet, photographer and tireless writer, who responded in real time to many events, the fact that they did not find any statement beyond the norm is noteworthy. But what did not appear in the texts themselves was added by the interrogators with their interpretation. Finally they chose one poem and two Facebook statuses and, on November 2, 2015, filed an indictment.

An important part of the indictment and the court hearings relates to the period in which the publications appeared – early October 2015. In the indictment, the prosecution stresses that during that period “many attacks were carried out against Israeli Jewish citizens”. They claimed that Tatour’s publications should be interpreted, against this background, as a dangerous call to carry out attacks. Tatour, in her police interrogations and her testimony in the court, mentioned that at the same time many other things also happened: innocent Arab citizens were targeted; there were many restrictions preventing Muslims from praying at the Al-Aqsa mosque; there was a surge in popular Palestinian struggle. She showed in detail how her publications explicitly relate to these events and constitute a legitimate protest.

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Israa Abed just before she was shot by Israeli soldiers in the Afula central bus station. Dareen said she watched the video and was sure that Israa didn’t attack or threaten anybody.

In summing up the defense case, showing that the harm to innocent people was a tangible danger that characterized the period and justified Tatour’s warning/protest, Lasky noted that at that time many prominent Israeli officers, ministers and politicians publicly called to shoot to kill both suspects and terrorists. She continued to list two cases: the lynching of an Ethiopian citizen named Haftom Zarhum, who was mistakenly suspected of involvement in a terrorist attack at the central bus station in Be’er Sheva on October 18 and an incident on October 21, 2015, in which an ultra-Orthodox guard named Simcha Hodadatov was shot dead in Jerusalem after being mistakenly suspected by soldiers.

It is no coincidence that, according to the dominant Israeli narrative, these are the only two cases of killing innocents at a period when scores of Arab citizens were fatally shot. In these two cases, the mistake in identification was clear – the casualties were not Arabs. The concept of an innocent Arab victim is simply not recognized in “Israeli speak”. If an Arab is hurt in any circumstances, the system makes sure to prove his guilt in retrospect. The same is true of Tatour herself – who warned against this system and became a victim of it. Because she was unjustly suspected and hurt, the entire system mobilized to prove her guilt in retrospect.

Three criminalized words: Intifada, Qawem, Shahid

The entire conviction revolves around Hebrew interpretation of three Arabic words that appear in the texts published by Tatour: Intifada, Qawem and Shahid.

The word “intifada” – shuddering – is used in various historical contexts to describe popular struggles against oppression. The judge criminalized the usage of this word by citing a ruling from Israel’s “Supreme Court” which discussed the case against the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra’ed Salah. The judge quotes this ruling at length, coming at end to the final conclusion: “This term has become a generic name for a violent Palestinian uprising… Any reasonable person will easily see that this is how this term is perceived by everyone…” (The verdict, page 200 of the trial’s protocol). Thus, the Israeli courts claim to be the final arbiter not only of matters of Israeli law, but also on the Arabic language. Moreover, they go under our skin and claim to know what we all think and what we understand when we hear the term intifada.

Tatour used the word “qawem” (resist) in her poem and in the tag of one of her posts. Is it forbidden to oppose government policy? In her police interrogations, the trial and the verdict, the police, the prosecution and the judge acted to prove that this was not legitimate resistance. In the absence of any call for violence in the statements published by Tatour, they tried to fill the gap with the desired violence by claiming that she had published a violent video in which you can see clashes between stone throwing Palestinian youth and soldiers firing at them. They also claimed that Tatour was responsible for the possible reactions of anyone who might see her publications, not only reasonable readers.

The Arabic word “shahid”, meaning “martyr”, has a simple Hebrew translation that is parallel to it in many ways – “halal” (חלל). In both languages this word can be used both for victims of disaster, war or occupation and for those who died in other tragic circumstances. Nevertheless, the interrogators, the prosecution and the judge insisted on using the Arabic word “shahid”. They consistently attribute to this word an aggressive meaning that doesn’t exist in Arabic.

During the trial, the defense provided extensive explanations, including by the expert witness Dr. Yoni Mendel, on the customary use of the title “shahid” for victims of the occupation. The fact that a Palestinian who was killed during a violent action against the occupation is also known as Shahid refers to the fact that he was killed, not to the violent action he carried out. The same is true with the Hebrew word “halal”, as IDF casualties are called “halalim” regardless of what they did, or did not do, before their death. Contrary to this evidence, the judge finally concluded that in fact this was a word with two different translations / meanings: “innocent victim” or “a terrorist”. Much of the verdict, as we shall see below, is based on this misconception and on the argument that Tatour’s statements about “martyrs” refer to “suicide terrorists” and would be understood as such by her readers.

The video and the poem

The first factual clause in the indictment, after the introductions, is the publication of the poem “Resist My People, Resist Them“. Its translation into Hebrew, which was done by a policeman from the Nazareth police, appears in full in the indictment. In order to attribute to the poem a violent character, which is not found in the words themselves, the prosecution turned to the manner in which the poem was published: On YouTube, Tatour reads the poem’s lyrics to the background of a video showing clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and occupation soldiers in the village of Silwad in the West Bank.

Tatour explained in her testimony in court that these are typical images of the reality of the occupation to which we are all routinely exposed for decades. The prosecutor tried to escalate the violence in the video. She repeated in the indictment, during the hearings and in her summaries the claim that the video contained “violent acts, including masked individuals throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the security forces and various disturbances.” The defense in its summaries noted that, throughout the video, no Molotov cocktails can be seen.

The judge’s reference in the verdict to the content of the video characterizes the approach of many judges who spent their best years in the prosecution and still operate from the same approach. First she cites the indictment in its entirety, including the Molotov cocktails. Later, when she describes the video with her own words, she omits the Molotov cocktails without mentioning the prosecution’s mistake. Instead, she demonstrates creativity and tries to fill in the lacunae in her own language, portraying the violence in the video as particularly grave. She writes:

“A video that is entirely violent, with masked men throwing stones not only by their hands, but also by using various means that look like ropes, intended to extend the range and increase the intensity of the damage. You see burning tires, burning of an Israeli flag, throwing stones at an army jeep, IDF soldiers filmed running after a suspect and unable to catch him, a woman arguing with IDF soldiers, IDF soldiers standing in front of demonstrators, and rioting.” (The verdict, p. 186 of the trial’s protocol).

It can be understood that, by her method, a woman who argues with soldiers is also an expression of violence and rioting…

Interpretation of the poem

During the trial, it seemed that the prosecutor gradually understood that there was a problem with an indictment based on a poem. In her cross examination of defense witnesses she began to put in doubt whether it was indeed a poem. In her summaries, the prosecutor has consistently refrained from naming it by the explicit word “poem” and has consistently used alternative phrases such as “the text accompanying the video.”

The judge, on the contrary, decided to take on the task of interpreting and judging poetry heads on. She diligently and meticulously printed side by side, line by line, the two translations that were submitted to her: the translation of the policeman and the alternative translation of the professional translator, Dr. Mendel, which was provided by the defense. After a detailed comparison of the two translations, the judge concluded that there is no substantive difference between them and that she prefers to base herself on the professional translation of Dr. Mendel. But, in practice, she uses the words of Dr. Mendel, while taking them out of context, in order to attribute to the poem the opposite meaning of what was written in the expert opinion he presented to the court.

Dr. Mendel, based on extensive research he has conducted on that subject, presented to the Court the phenomenon of non-translation of words from Arabic to Hebrew, and the subsequent demonization of their meaning in the Hebrew discourse. In this context he explained the line in the poem “Follow the convoy of martyrs”. He stated that the translation given by the policeman “and follow the convoy of shahids” is a clear example of the distortion of meaning created by non-translation. In the Hebrew connotation, the term shahid was demonized and might be mistakenly understood as a “suicide bomber”. From all of Dr. Mendel’s opinion, the judge adopts only his comment related to the misinterpretation that might be given to this line in the poem by the Hebrew readers of the mistranslation. On this basis she states that the defense witness:

“explicitly noted that he does not dispute that it was written in the poem, in literal translation: “Follow the convoy of “shahids””, a phrase that can be understood as “a call by the poet to go out and attack Israelis, and thus become a shahid and join terrorist-shahids who harmed Israelis” (the verdict, p. 190 of the trial transcript).

In this way Mendel’s explicit warning of wrong translation (actually of non-translation) leading to erroneous interpretation is used as justification for adopting this misinterpretation.

In the course of the police investigations and her testimony in the court, Tatour made it clear that the martyrs that are mentioned in her poem are… the same martyrs that are explicitly mentioned in the poem itself: the children who were burned for no reason (Muhammad Abu Khdeir and Ali Dawabsha), Hadeel al-Hashlamoun who was shot at an army checkpoint in al-Khalil (Hebron) – all victims of the occupation and the settlers’ terror.

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Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was shot in an army checkpoint in al-Khalil.

The judge, in her decision to interpret the line “Follow the convoy of martyrs” as incitement to violence, expands her authority from legal matters into the depths of poetry. She states that it is impossible that the martyrs mentioned in line 11 in the poem are in any way related to those innocents – as those are mentioned in a completely different place, in lines 15-26 of the poem! On the contrary, the judge decided that the martyrs are clearly “suicide bombers”, although there is no mention of such actions in the poem or in the accompanying video. But bloody terrorists are always everywhere in Israeli consciousness wherever Palestinian resistance is mentioned. Finally, although the martyrs in line 11 are not related to the victims in line 15 and on, the opposite connection clearly exists, as the judge writes:

“A reasonable person who looks into the poem will immediately understand that the words: “They burned the children without a reason and they sniped Hadeel in public” were intended to increase the incitement, to explain, motivate and justify the acts of the uprising to the settlers’ robbery, to follow the shahids, and to tear the agreement” (the verdict, p. 192 of the trial’s protocol).

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Baby Ali Dawabsheh with his parents. They were all burned to death by Israeli settlers. The judge said that commemorating them in the poem could only be for incitement to violence.

After all, as is clear to every reasonable Israeli, it is impossible that a Palestinian poet would sincerely cry for the victims of her people or aspire to prevent further victims – any mention of them, of course, is only for incitement.

Finally, in the summary of the convicting decision about the poem, the judge states:

“This is a poem that includes a call to follow the convoy of “shahids”, a word associated with perpetrators of murderous attacks on ideological grounds, as well as with martyrs and victims. The connotation in the poem was clarified.” (ibid, p. 202).

Here the judge closes the circle of guilt – from the violence that does not exist in the poem itself through the stone throwing in the background clip to the inevitable conclusion… “perpetrators of murderous attacks”!

Israa Abed and the next martyr

A particularly Kafkaesque trap was the accusation in “incitement to violence” based on the publication of an image of Israa Abed lying on the floor of the central bus station in Afula after she was shot, as the background image for Tatour’s Facebook page, alongside a profile picture with the writing “I am the next martyr”. In her interrogations, Tatour recounted how she kept looking at the video showing the moment Israa was shot and was convinced that she was not going to attack anyone. Tatour and other activists used the writing “I am the next martyr” to protest against unjustified killing – from the time of the murder of the young Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem in July 2014 and the subsequent murder of Kheir Hamdan by Israeli police in Kafr Kana in November 2014. The meaning is simple – when Arabs are killed indiscriminately, each one of us can be a victim.

In practice, indeed, barely a day has passed since Israa Abed was suspected and shot, and suspicions fell on Dareen Tatour – precisely because of the publication of Israa’s picture and the protest writing. Luckily Tatour was not shot but detained. However, after it became clear that this was a false suspicion, the legal authorities began to carry out a legal “confirmation of killing”.

Fortunately, Israa Abed herself survived the shooting. Even before the indictment was filed against Tatour, an indictment was filed against Abed, in the same court, attributing to her the possession of a knife and threats, but not assault and no intention of carrying out an attack. This did not prevent the police officers, who testified in court, from claiming that Tatour had published the picture of “the terrorist.” Even in her summaries, the prosecutor reiterated her claim that what Tatour knew at the time of the publication of the picture was that Abed “came to stab Jews”, because that was what was claimed at the time in the Israeli media. Again, the prosecution demands monopoly over everyone’s consciousness – as if Tatour must believe the lies of the Israeli media and not what she saw in the video documenting the events.

The judge, like Alexander the Great at the time, solved this Gordian knot with a sword. She removed Israa Abed from this case also, claiming that the link between the publication of her picture and the inscription “I am the next martyr” was not proven. On the other hand, she reiterated her position that Tatour uses the word “shahid” in the sense of “suicide bomber” and therefore determined that the publication of the status “I am the next martyr” in itself constitutes incitement to violence.

How was “support for a terrorist organization” added?

During the trial we spoke with lawyers who know the “rules of the game” in the Israeli legal system. Almost no one expected that Tatour would be acquitted, no matter how unfounded the charges against her. Anyone who tried to be optimistic said that the judge, in an attempt to show some balance, might acquit Tatour at least from the charge of “supporting a terrorist organization.” This accusation is based entirely on the following status, published on Facebook, as it was translated to Hebrew in the indictment:

“Allah Akbar(*) and praise his name… The Islamic Jihad movement declares in a statement the continuation of the Intifada across the West Bank… continuation means expansion… That is, to all Palestine… And we have to begin inside the Green Line… To the victory of Al-Aqsa and we declare it a general Intifada…#Resist”.

(*)The indictment – while translating this quote into Hebrew – leaves “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is Greater”, in Hebraized Arabic.

Apart from a minor inaccuracy in the translation (“loyalty” to al-Aqsa, not “victory”), there was no dispute about the publication itself. Tatour explained that she had copied this status from some site because of her support for the popular struggle for the right to pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque, a struggle that was expanding at that time into what she thought deserved the name intifada. She did not attach much importance to the mention of Islamic Jihad. Taking into account the prosecution’s method to attribute a violent character to any type of Palestinian struggle, it is clear how this status is interpreted as incitement to violence. But “Islamic Jihad” is only mentioned as a matter of fact as someone who called for an intifada in the West Bank, as opposed to “us” who have to wage a struggle within the Green Line. So where is the support here?

Dareen at home july 2018 photo by Yoav H 3

Dareen at home – still under house arrest, waiting the final sentencing on July 31. Using the time to write more poems.

Two experienced police interrogators who repeatedly interrogated Tatour about this short status asked her only about the call for intifada, and did not attribute to her any support to “Islamic Jihad”. Only when the interrogation material reached the State Attorney’s Office for the preparation of an indictment, somebody up there decided to convert the case into a “state security” affair by adding the clause about “support of a terrorist organization”. Among other things, the addition of this section helped to extend the detention of Tatour until the end of the legal proceedings, and hence her transfer to house arrest with electronic bracelet, her forced deportation from the area and all the abuse that she has undergone in the past three years as a “danger to state security”.

In her attempt to justify the conviction and cover for the lack of evidence in the text that Tatour published, the judge not only interprets the text, but also rewrites it in her language in a way that is fundamentally different from the original:

“The perpetrator publishes a publication in the name of a murderous terrorist organization, Islamic Jihad, a publication that is not simple but calls for an all-out intifada in all of Palestine, including the Green Line, with the organization’s name at the top of the message” (the verdict, p. 206 of the protocol).

To make this even clearer, the judge even repeats it again.

“A murderous terrorist organization declares in a declaration of a general intifada within the Green Line – and the accused supports the organization by way of distributing the declaration”. (ibid)

Not by mistake

Tatour was mistakenly suspected and the entire investigation into her case began from this mistake. But her conviction is not a mistake. She was clearly identified as a proud Palestinian Arab who resists her oppression and the oppression of her people. For this she was convicted.

Identifying and understanding the Arab, men and women, the ability to expose her or his hidden thoughts and dark intentions, is the specialty of every “reasonable” Israeli. It begins with children’s literature, when we read in the children’s adventure novels Hasamba lines like “the Egyptian officer picked up the phone viciously and smiled cruelly.”

Even if ostensibly everything the Arab does is to distort his face in pain when the Israeli soldier steps on his neck, the system will always be able to identify his hidden aggressive intentions.

 

Palestinian Queer activists in Haifa call to boycott the pride events in the city

(The following declaration was published today (June 22, 2018) on social networks. You may also read the original in Arabic.)

Palestinians and opponents of colonization in Haifa and beyond,

We call on you to boycott the pride events in our city, Haifa, for there is no pride in occupation. Our pride is in our liberation.

For many years, our city faces many projects of “co-existence” that aim to change its features. The municipality with the help of Israeli capital brutalizes our city and its neighborhoods. It demolishes houses in Wadi-al-Salib neighborhood, aiming to convert it to amusement parks and showrooms for “artists”, on the ruins of the memory of the martyrs and refugees displaced from our beloved city. The municipality strangles and suffocates what is left of Wadi al-Nisnas and al-Halisa neighborhoods and it is working to impoverish the population by cutting off vital services in those neighborhoods turning them into slums. Many other neighborhoods face the same fate resulting from policies of impoverishment and demolition.

Despite these atrocities, Haifa municipality is trying to promote the city as a city for coexistence, love, peace, pluralism and acceptance. This is not but a lie that aims to wash the blatant colonial essence of the Haifa municipality, for there is no “love” in the continuing attempts to erase and eliminate us, there is no “peace” in our impoverishment and displacement, there is no “pluralism” in our separation and restriction in our stricken neighborhoods and there is no “acceptance” in its response to our latest stand with our people in Gaza. This approach is not surprising because this was and still is and will continue to be the practices of the Zionist colonization in Palestine.

Haifa municipality, as part of the occupation government, organizes every year pride events across occupied Palestine, in a move that is called by Palestinian and international anti-colonization activists as “Pink Washing”. Through these policies, the municipality uses gay rights showing itself as the benevolent saver of the oppressed. Even though its main goal is to benefit economically – through profit from gay tourism – and politically, hoping to cover its crimes against Palestinians including Palestinian queers.

We refuse these policies, and we encourage you to not participate in the upcoming pride events, to not promote it, and to actively boycott it as a rejection of the manipulation of our destiny.

Palestinian Queer activists in Haifa

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Queer graffiti in Ramallah

Despite Police brutality, the Demonstrations in Haifa continue

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Palestinian political youth activists in Haifa call for a new demonstration under the title “From Haifa to Gaza” on Friday (1.6.2018) at 9:00 pm in the German Colony in Haifa. This demonstration calls for the end of the Israeli siege over the Gaza strip and for the implementation of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees to their houses, villages and cities. This demonstration will be held on the same day as a protest which will take place in Gaza under the slogan “From Gaza to Haifa.”

The slogans of the demonstration:

  • Break the Israeli siege over the Gaza Strip.
  • The right of return for Palestinian refugees.
  • End the fragmentation of the Palestinian people.

“In Haifa and Gaza, one struggle and one hope for liberation.”

Press Release

1 June 2018

In Haifa and Gaza, one struggle and one hope for liberation

Following the calls to demonstrate in Gaza on Friday, 1.6.2018, under the slogan “From Gaza to Haifa,” Palestinian political youth activists announced a demonstration in Haifa on the same day (at 21:00, in the German Colony). In their announcement, the organizers in Haifa emphasized the unity of the Palestinian hope and struggle for breaking the ongoing Israeli siege over the Gaza Strip and for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their houses, villages and cities.

In the call to demonstrate, the organizers highlighted the fact that Palestinians have faced Israeli crimes for decades in all parts of historic Palestine yet even so the Israeli regime has still managed to divide the aspirations of the Palestinian struggle and it’s battle against this regime. They also stated that the planned demonstration aims to break the Israeli regime attempts to separate them as Palestinian citizens of Israel from their Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora: “They tried to rob us as people of our right to live in the future in unity with freedom and dignity… this demonstration is a step in the path of a united struggle and a united hope for liberation.”

The organizers explained that the need for a unified struggle is essential in light of the fact that all Palestinians are subject to the Israeli policies whether as citizens of Israel or residents of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967. They added that these policies that include home demolitions, forced displacement and destruction of villages, confiscation of water and resources, restrictions on freedom of movement, extra judicial killings, and political repression, are all deeply rooted in the Nakba (Palestinian catastrophe) of 1948. They stated: “If we know that Israeli crimes are united against all of us, why do we accept a fragmented resistance against them?”

Violent attack on the Haifa demo 18 May 2018

The Herak Gaza solidarity demonstration in downtown Haifa on Friday, May 18, was brutally suppressed

The planned demonstration in Haifa is one of a series of peaceful demonstrations that took place in the city in the last few weeks following the Israeli massacre of demonstrators in Gaza. In the last demonstration in Haifa (Friday – 18.5.2018) the Israeli police responded with excessive violence and brutal assaults toward the demonstrators and arrested 21 of them. The detainees were subjected to physical and psychological violence during their arrest and in the police station, and seven among them received medical treatments in nearby hospitals.

 

Dareen Tatour and the Right of Return

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(The following article was first published in Mondowiess)

We were visiting poet Dareen Tatour in her house arrest in Reineh on April 17th, which is known here as “The Palestinian Prisoner’s Day”. Two and a half years after she was arrested for publishing a poem, Tatour is still under house arrest, waiting the verdict in her trial that is now set to be announced on May 3rd.

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Dareen Tatour in the Annual Return March

In these days Palestinians are protesting 70 years of ongoing Nakba. For Palestinians inside the “green line”, those that succeeded to stay on their land or near it after the 1948 ethnic cleansing, “The March of Return”, held at the same day that Israel celebrates its establishment, became over the last two decades the central yearly gathering to express their national identity and their aspirations for freedom and equality. This year we also witness a new initiative for mass non-violent struggle in the besieged Gaza Strip under the title of “the great march of return”. On every Friday since Land Day (March 30th), tens of thousands of Palestinians march toward the prison-walls that Israel had built all around them. Israeli army snipers shoot at them in cold blood, killing dozens and wounding thousands. Through these marches the Right of Return regained its natural place at the center of the Palestinian liberation struggle.

To see how Tatour’s story fits within the context of these contemporary events, I decided to interview her about her personal experiences with the Nakba and the struggle for “Al-‘Awda” – the return.

Dareen’s Granma and the Nakba in Safsaf

Are you a refugee yourself? I asked her. “No”, she said, “the Tatour family lived in Reineh long before the Zionists came to Palestine.”

So how did you become aware to the ethnic cleansing of 1948? I continued to ask. “Well, it all started with my grandmother.” She said. “She told me how they were expelled from Safsaf”.

Dareen and grandmother

Dareen and her Grandmother – remembering Safsaf

Safsaf was a Palestinian village northwest of Safed. On October 29, 1948, it was occupied by the Israeli army. After the villagers surrendered, the soldiers performed a massacre, shooting more than fifty bound villagers and throwing their bodies into a pit. Young women were raped and killed, including a 14 years old girl. The story of the massacre in Safsaf is recognized not only by Palestinian historians but also by Israeli sources. The Israeli army held an internal investigation but its results are still a state secret.

Dareen’s grandmother was 16 years old at the time of the occupation and was already married to a man from Al-Jesh, a nearby village. At the day of the occupation she was in Safsaf and witnessed the horrors of the massacre. She told Dareen how, before the mass shooting, when the soldiers were instructing people to gather in the middle of the village, she saw how they found two young women and a young men hiding in a cave. They shoot the three of them dead before her terrified eyes.

Most of the people of Safsaf, including the grandmother’s brothers and sisters, ended up as refugees in Lebanon and Syria, thrown into an ordeal of statelessness and suffering to which, after 70 years, there is still no end in sight. The grandmother joined her husband in Al-Jesh and stayed there, where Tatour’s mother was later born. Most of the people from Al-Jesh, after hearing about the massacre in Safsaf, also fled, so more relatives, also from the grandfather’s family, became refugees. Some of them, as a result of Israeli and/or Arab massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps, later found refuge in different European countries, but most of them are still in Syria and Lebanon.

Tatour never met her grandfather, who died when her mother was still a girl. But she is proud of what she heard about him from her grandmother. He was a revolutionary and took part in the organization of the great Palestinian general strike against the British occupation and against the Zionist colonization of Palestine, back in 1936. Later he took part in the revolution that lasted from 1936 till 1939, until it was bloodily repressed by the British army.

She felt very close to her grandmother, who was telling her about life in the lost paradise in Safsaf, as well as about the Nakba and the fate of the refugees. From here came her urge to write down the stories, to photograph whatever was left from people, memories and homes, and to devote her life to the Palestinian struggle for restoring lost rights.

Photographing, Oral History and Activism

Just as she finished high school, Tatour started documenting Palestinian life before the Nakba, interviewing old people, filming on video and writing down stories. She started by interviewing her own grandmother, but soon widened her effort and started looking for displaced people from any of the more than 500 villages and towns that were destroyed by Israel in 1948. She would accompany them to their destroyed villages, or go there herself to take pictures.

She published some of her documentary evidence in the “Palestine Remembered” site, as well as her own Youtube channel, Facebook, a blog and a dedicated site she established for this purpose, “ynbu3.com” (yanbu’a in Arabic means “water spring”). During her detention and later house arrest, prevented from any access to the internet, she lost contact with the service providers of the ynbu3 site and now the site is not accessible. She is afraid that the precious materials in it might have been lost, as well as many documentary evidence that she kept on her computer that was confiscated by the police.

In 1995, a few years before Tatour began her documentation effort, representatives from groups of displaced Palestinians from different towns and villages united to form “the national committee for the defense of the rights of the internally displaced Palestinians in Israel”. In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of the Nakba, they started the new tradition of “The Annual March of Return”. In the year 2000 the national committee established itself as an officially registered association.

Visiting destroyed village

Dareen organizing a visit to a destroyed Palestinian village – and taking videos

The activist of the internally displaced association discovered Tatour’s documentary efforts in Palestine Remembered and invited her to take part in a “guides’ course” that they held in order to expand their activities. Tatour joined the association and found another platform for her effort to perpetuate Palestinian memories. She combined the guidance of groups of visitors to the destroyed villages with documentary work – bringing old refugees to tell their memories to the visitors – and taking videos with their stories.

As the March of Return events evolved to draw tens of thousands participants, they now also include tents with special exhibitions. In the last marches before her arrest Tatour maintained her own tent, with an exhibition of more than 500 photos from the destroyed villages and towns, under the title “tell me about my village”.

She gave new dimension to the struggle to save the memories by using the Ynbu3 site to build connections between the internally displaced and refugees beyond the borders. Each side gave what the other missed. The people that stayed in Palestine could visit the sites of destroyed villages and send pictures. Refugees were contacting the site to request from local activists to find what remained of their houses or to send photos of the locations of endeared memories. The people in the refugee camps conveyed a treasure of precious memories and Tatour interviewed them by Skype and wrote their stories. She also helped to coordinate visits of refugees that now hold European passports to their destroyed villages. She produced three films about such “return visits” to the villages of Al-Damun, Al-Birweh and Tirat Haifa.

Wounded in Saffuriyya

While I was looking in Tatour Facebook page, which she is not allowed to do but everybody else can, I found her image lying in a hospital bed, visited by Knesset Member Jamal Zakhalka. She told me how she was wounded during the 2008 March of Return.

It was the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. On that year there was a surge of right-extremists’ and settlers’ incitement against the March of Return, which was held on the lands of the destroyed town of Saffuriyya, northwest of Nazareth. There was a very big Palestinian presence, with many families bringing kids of all ages to take part in the educational event. As the marchers were returning from the site of the gathering toward the parking, the police allowed a group of settlers to come close and throw stones at them. As some Palestinian youth tried to confront the settlers, a big police force, including special mass-oppression (“anti-riot”) units, some of them mounted on mighty horses, attacked the whole Palestinian public with tear gas, shock grenades and batons. The police weapons caused a wild fire in the dry vegetation, which put the participants in extra danger.

Dareen at hospital

Dareen in hospital – after being injured in Saffuriyya in the March of Return in 2008

There was havoc. Many people that didn’t expect such violence were confused and tried run away in all directions. Children were crying and many people lost contact with their relatives or friends. Tatour, armed with her professional camera, tried to stay calm and document the events. She still remembers the scenes of policemen beating whoever they could catch, sometimes stumping with their boots on their victims. She also vividly describes how people were wounded when the mounted police rode their horses into the crowd.

Suddenly she saw three children that lost contact with their parents and were stuck between two lines of the police, not knowing where to hide. She stopped filming and went there to help them. She succeeded to guide the children out of danger, but was caught herself between the police lines, and became direct target for their fury. Officially gas canisters and shock grenades should be shot in the air, but she remembers how the policemen were shooting them directly at her from close range.

She especially remembers one direct hit at her leg, and another shock grenade that hit her chest. She felt the burning heat of the iron and the force of the blow left her unable to breath. She fell on the ground. She remembers herself calling for help before she fainted and was evacuated by an ambulance to a hospital in Nazareth. She was hospitalized for one day before her situation stabilized.

Exactly 10 years later, on Friday, April 20, some twenty thousand Palestinians attended the 21st March of Return on the site of the destroyed village of Atlit, just south of Haifa. It was the third march in a row that Tatour missed due to her house arrest. Some Israeli politicians and Facebook racist activists demanded to abolish the march and threatened havoc if it will take place.  They didn’t show up. I just hoped that on the next year Tatour will be marching with us again.

How China is winning by playing its own game

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The media is full of news about the trade war that Trump is threatening to unleash against China. President Xi, on his side, is calling for calm and for everybody to play by the rules, but Chinese officials are threatening severe repercussion for everybody in case of a widening conflict.

What is it all about? Is it just that the US is upset about its uneven trade balance with China? Well, nobody forced it to buy Chinese goods… and loan money from China to finance its living beyond its means.China-vs-America-Dragon-arm-wrestling-Eagle

Recent reports by the US administration show that much more is at stake than just the trade balance. They complain about China’s industrial policy, its drive for innovation and development of local tech industry. Special wrath is reserved to China’s flagship international economic policy, titled “The Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI).

In fact, the USA administration and big companies understand, correctly, that by current trends they are losing fast on all fronts: technological leadership, economic power, world hegemony.

Uneven playing ground

Just for being fully transparent, I must admit that I’m not at all neutral in this battle of the US to save its hegemony. For me all the talk in western media about the US representing “freedom” or “liberal values” sounds as sheer hypocrisy. I would welcome any chance that this hegemony will be dented, not least because under USA hegemony the Palestinian people are doomed to stay destitute and enslaved forever. And I’m not blind to the old and new crimes of colonialism, imperialism and neo-liberalism all over the world.

Anyway – I hate war, but I find a lot of fun in the ideological war.

The last twist in the script is that the US and other western powers complain that they are losing in the economic competition against China because of the intervention of the Chinese state.

Well, until yesterday they told us that it is an absolutely objective fact of the science of economics that free capitalist competition is superior to state-managed economy. They would tell us dummies that state planning is not working, so we should give up any dreams of Socialism, and let private capital manage the economy for profit. They would swear that their ugly unjust profit is the only way that Humanity can have economic progress and hope that some material gains will reach all of us humble working people.

I would expect them to pity the poor Chinese people that their government is trying to manage their economy and will soon drive it into a wall…

But, no, they all run to populist Trump and cry for government intervention in order to save them from the economic success of the government-led Chinese economy.

How awful the Chinese government can be?

So, what is the Chinese government doing that is so unfair?

In the 2008 economic crisis, while US banks were busted by greedy bosses, the US government poured millions of taxpayers’ money to save the banks, and the western economies felt into long stagnation. Millions of Chinese workers lost their jobs in export industries. So the Chinese government gave special grants to hundreds of millions of poor peasants to buy electric appliances – to keep the factories working.

Last year the Chinese government’s intervention prevented a world cyclical economic crisis by reducing capacity in the coal and steel industries in a managed way instead.

On April 17th, 2018, the economist brought just another economic report from China that explains how its government intervention enabled it to overcome some obstacles and keep steady growth. Between the details I found one that seemed to me the best striking example why China’s economic model is so “unfair” that developed capitalist economies just can’t compete with it.

Remember the shocking reports about “ghost cities” in China that filled western media just a few years ago?

In a healthy capitalist economy, when supply outpaces demand, there is a “natural”, “healthy remedy”. It is called an economic crisis. Prices are falling, production is closed, until demand overcomes and prices and production rise again. In the meantime many workers lose their work, many productive forces are destroyed, and a lot of suffering takes place.

The economist’s reporter visited Wuhan, one of the so-called ghost cities, and found it full of life. He explains how the government of China intervened to solve the supply surplus in the housing market. The government bought millions of houses (all over the country) from constructors and gave them to poor people. Problem solved.

You can’t expect honest capitalist companies to compete with such unfair practices.

 

 

A New Initiative for One Democratic State in Palestine – Meeting in Shefa’amer, April 21, 2018

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(This article was first published in Arabic on “Arab 48” on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Due to the importance of the subject, I also published it in Arabic and Hebrew.)

“We strive to contribute to the development of an alternative vision in the spirit of liberation and democracy”

A consultative meeting was held today, Saturday, in the city of Shefa’amr, attended by dozens of academics and political and civil society activists. At the end of the meeting the participants announced the launching of the “One Democratic State in Palestine” campaign.picture of whole meeting - 21 April 2018

The closing statement of the meeting, which was forwarded to “Arab 48”, explained: “In view of the re-emergence of the one-state option as a more just solution to the Palestinian cause and the Jewish question in Palestine, and after all the partition and separation plans have reached a dead end, and in view of the human, material and moral disasters that these plans caused, a group of activists, academics, intellectuals, writers and  pioneers from the new generation, Palestinians and Israelis, gathered and announced their intention to embark on a broad campaign, promoting the establishment of One Democratic State (ODS) in historic Palestine.”

The participants defined the One State as a state where “the Palestinians, including the refugees, and the Israelis will live in a humanistic democratic regime based on equality, on the ruins of the colonial apartheid regime, putting an end to its continuing destructive consequences.”

The meeting discussed “a preliminary policy paper, composed of ten articles, prepared in advance by a small coordinating committee, which outlines the vision of the desired solution.” They also discussed “practical steps for the preparation of a conference next fall, for officially launching of the campaign in all the different regions where the Palestinian people are concentrated, as well as within the Israeli society.”

The participants agreed, according to the statement, to adopt the general outline of the document, while continuing to discuss the controversial issues. This approach is due to the way the initiative / campaign regards itself as part of a broader movement, active in the country and abroad for many years, in which groups, activists and academics, Palestinians and Israeli anti-Zionists, are all partners. The new initiative seeks to establish contact with all those activists in order to create a broad influential popular movement through popular mobilization and organizational, media and educational work around the ODS solution.

The participants called for “the transfer of the sublime idea of one state from the academic sphere and the discussion in limited circles to the public sphere and the popular strata.” This is in view of the ongoing changes in the structure of the conflict, with the starting point being the principles of justice, liberation and freedom, which are contrary to racist separation, colonialism and aggressive wars.

The participants emphasized their opposition to the use of the one-state solution as a threatening scarecrow to frighten the Israelis. They called for genuine support for this program as an expression of “a noble idea that guarantees justice and freedom from colonialism and creates a genuine basis for living together.”

In their discussions, the initiators clarified that this strategic vision requires a great effort and an organized continuing struggle at the public, ideological and political levels.

The message notes the importance that the initiators attribute to “the role of young activists in shaping the initiative, in formulating the vision and in leading the activity to realize it, because they are the age group most in need of a humanistic liberation vision and a path that will lead them from the reality of the bloody conflict to a better future and a free and secure life.”

 

Why did Yifat slap the military prosecutor at the Tamimi trial?

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(The following interview with Yifat Doron appeared in “Mondoweiss”. A Hebrew version of it appeared in “Haifa Ha-Hofshit” and a short Hebrew version in “Local Call”)

Yifat in detention 1

Yifat Doron under detention after slapping a military prosecutor

Although it is officially subject to the open court principle, the public is rarely allowed a glimpse into the Israeli military tribunal at Ofer (near Ramallah), one of the pillars of the occupation in the West Bank, which denies the basic human rights of the Palestinian population. At a time of general despair and loss of way for the Palestinian resistance, the trial of Ahed Tamimi is repositioning the Palestinian struggle in its original context: a confrontation between a mighty oppressive apparatus and a people aspiring to basic freedoms. The trial has also momentarily shed light on the military court at Ofer.

Much has been said regarding the court’s decision to hold Ahed’s trial in camera, denying her request for an open trial. The judges claimed to be protecting her interests as a minor. But they certainly were not protecting her from public disgrace, as her actions have been lauded by both Palestinian and international public opinion. Obviously the judges were trying to protect themselves from disgrace and farther public outrage.

But even the trial of Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, was not really held in an open court. The military court allows the presence of only two family members for every Palestinian defendant at best. It offers a certain advantage to supporters in possession of an Israeli ID who wish to enter the compound: they may be allowed to attend trials, subject to special authorization issued by the military, after sending a formal request by fax.

Ofer military court entrance

The fortified entrance to the Ofer military court. Never really open to the public.

Despite these restrictions, Yifat Doron has been a regular visitor to Ofer. She is not a lawyer or a member of a human rights organization, but for over ten years she has regularly participated in Palestinian protests: protests against the separation barrier where there is an organized effort to include non-Palestinian supporters, and Palestinian-only protests which take place regularly across the West Bank, far from the eye of international media. In the wake of these protests, she found herself time and again attending court sessions for friends and acquaintances standing trial for their involvement. Naturally, she could only enter the secure compound upon receiving proper authorization. Now that she has slapped a military prosecutor, she fears she will never be allowed back in again.

I met with her shortly after her release in an attempt to understand the motivation behind her unusual action.

The motive

Mainstream media will, as always, attempt to fit news events into well recognized patterns, thus it mentioned an incident which took place during Ahed Tamimi’s trial. It spoke of an Israeli-Jewish supporter who got up and slapped an officer. By meeting Yifat and reading the court papers for her remand, I learned that both the facts and the political perspective behind her actions differ from those first offered by the media.

First, as mentioned, Ahed’s trial took place in camera, so the incident could not happen within it. The same Wednesday, March 21, 2018, another trial was held at Ofer, that of Ahed’s mother, Nariman, and her cousin, Nur Tamimi. Due to the decision to hold them in remand until the end of the proceedings, faced with the possibility of being held in prison for a longer term until the trial concludes, both Ahed and Nariman were forced to accept a plea bargain which includes eight months jail time for each. The court was in session to formally sanction these pleas, including that of Nur, who had been previously released and whose punishment did not include further jail time. Although obviously a mere formality, the military judge took her time during the hearings to contemplate whether or not to sanction the agreed upon terms. Finally, just before 7 pm, the judge rose and left the hall after sending Nariman to eight months in prison. That was the moment when Yifat approached the prosecutor, a high ranking officer, and expressed her protest.

Ahed Tamim in Ofer court - Oren Ziv

Ahed Tamimi in the military court at a remand hearing, before the judges decided to hold her trial behind closed doors. Photo by Oren Ziv, Activestills.

Yifat explains that not only did her protest technically take place at the end of Nariman’s trial; it was in fact motivated by the distress caused to her by Nariman’s arrest. She kept close contact with Nariman throughout years of political struggle and feels strong friendship and deep appreciation toward her.

She speaks of a sense of kinship brought about by difficult experiences. She remembers the time when Rushdi Tamimi, Nariman’s brother, was shot by Israeli soldiers just behind the family home. When news came that Rushdi’s physical state was deteriorating, she, along with other people from the village, went to the hospital and were gathering there when the news came out that he “istashhad” – became another martyr of the struggle. She sat by the hospital bed of another family member, Mustafa Tamimi, whom she describes as “kind hearted and a true gentleman”. The soldiers shot a tear gas grenade directly to Mustafa’s head; he was fatally wounded and died the following day.

She accompanied Nariman when her husband, Bassem, was arrested and consequently tried for organizing protests in their village of Nabi Saleh. She recalls how Nariman was shot in the leg by a live bullet during a protest, an injury which shattered her bone and took her down a long road of recovery. She was with her and felt her pain when her children were beaten by soldiers and at times arrested. For years Nariman and Bassem’s home has been a safe haven for her.

Now, with Nariman herself in prison, Yifat felt that she could not just pretend that matters were business as usual. She felt the need to act, to protect her friend, to cry out against what seemed to her to be so utterly unjust, an additional pain inflicted on the least deserving of all women. For her this is not about solidarity in its abstract form, or a mere political statement, it is rather a more personal involvement, the politics of non-separation, of being connected organically. In this sense she was no stranger to the thought of spending some time in prison, as she has seen many of her friends do throughout the years.

The act

Just as pilots lay their murderous bombs through the impunity afforded by distant heights, so does the military court system, judges and prosecutors, cause the deepest distress and injustice under the guise of sterility with a feeling of impunity verging on complacency.

The remand request against Yifat, which was submitted to the court on the following day, under the title “the facts”, describes the act in one simple sentence: “The suspect assaulted the military prosecutor at the Ofer court, at the end of a hearing in the case of Nariman Tamimi.” On this one fact, the prosecution seeks to base five different offenses: “criminal threats, assault of a public officer, plain assault, obstructing a public official in the course of his duties, insulting a public official”.

In court, seeking her remand, the police representative tried to show the gravity of the incident: “…inside the courtroom, while prosecutors and the chief legal counsel for Judea and Samara were present, the suspect slapped lieutenant colonel Rasem, after blaring at him that they had no authority to judge her” (Nariman).

ofer prison

The Ofer military court is located within the fortified compound of the Ofer Military prison – physically and in spirit.

In the appeal submitted to the district court against the decision to release Yifat, police representative claimed that “she assaulted the chief of the prosecution of Judea and Samara during the decision about the sentencing of a Palestinian defendant, resident of the village of Nabi Saleh, also suspected of assaulting IDF officers. The suspect began shouting in the court room at the military prosecutors: ‘Who are you to judge her?’, and at the same time slapped an IDF officer, a lieutenant colonel, who acts as the chief of the military prosecution in Judea and Samara.”

In attempting to prove the element of risk to the public posed by Yifat, the appeal further states: “In her actions the suspect attempted to undermine the authority of the military court… The magistrate court erred in disregarding the element of risk to public order posed by the actions of the suspect against uniformed IDF officers who represent law authorities, actions which could discourage emissaries of the law in Judea and Samara, a fact that in itself constitutes an element of risk.”

In detention

Many television crews were present in the courtroom that day. Rules of the court dictate that they may not film while the judge is still present. Since the judge left they were all getting ready to start filming. It is unclear whether any of them caught this rare moment on camera, but no video documentation had been published in the media. The courtroom itself has security cameras, so it is very likely that the police are in possession of the full documentation of the incident.

Although the room was full of soldiers and security personnel, they did not jump upon Yifat but asked her to leave the hall, most likely so as not to provide the media with more graphic materials. As media and supporters were quickly ushered out, Yifat managed to sit on a vacant chair in the courtroom. Eventually soldiers took her out of the back door, the same door through which the judge had previously left. The judge, still not far from the scene, stared terrified at Yifat, despite the fact that she was handcuffed and surrounded by soldiers.

Away from the courtroom and far from the media, Yifat was now officially under arrest, stripped of her rights almost like the ones whose fate she protested. She began growing accustomed to the idea of spending long months without freedom, between courtrooms and jails.

From the Ofer compound she was taken to Binyamin Police station near the settlement of Ma’ale Edumim. In a room inside the building she saw two Palestinians prisoners, their eyes blindfolded and their hands and legs in handcuffs. They were guarded by soldiers. At late night, after her interrogation ended, Yifat was placed for a while in the same room with the two. It appears they were held there for quite some time and taken into interrogations intermittently. Pain and exhaustion were evident on their faces as they were moving uncomfortably on their plastic chairs. The older appeared to be about 20, and looked like a poster boy for everything we hear about torture. His shirt was stained with blood. The younger was merely a child. When the soldiers came to take him to interrogation, they momentarily took off his blindfold and Yifat managed to ask him for his age. “Thirteen”, he replied. “Don’t be afraid of them”, she said, “God will keep you strong”. She was swiftly taken out of the room.

Her interrogation started about midnight and continued until half past two in the morning. She was confronted with a complaint lodged by the prosecutor and the testimonies of two eye witnesses. She refused to cooperate with the interrogation; a matter of habit and of principle. Their job is to uphold the repressive order and she didn’t feel there was any reason she should ease their task.

Due to the lateness of the hour the police officers in Binyamin asked and received special authorization to hold her in the police station rather than transfer her to jail. For a while they kept her sitting handcuffed until a cell was free for her. She spent the rest of the night in a narrow dirty cell, one meter by two. There were no mattress and naturally no blankets. The only furniture was a short uncomfortable metal bench. When she remembered the two Palestinians with whom she had recently shared a room, she realized that even under these conditions she was privileged.

The next night she spent under “normal” conditions, as far as the Israeli jail system allows, at Neve Tirza women’s detention center.

Court hearings

On Thursday morning she was brought to the magistrates’ court in Jerusalem. The police applied for remand by five days. The causes stated were obstruction of justice and risk to public safety.

Yifat told the judge that she does not wish to be represented by a lawyer, and intends to represent herself. Talking to me in retrospect she explains: “There is no legal question involved for me. This trial is political and politics is something I do understand. Representing myself I can express myself in the clearest manner.” The court was somewhat dismissive of her decision. Attorney Lea Tsemel, who came to the hearing to express support, was, at the request of the judge, listed in the protocol as “present (not representing)”.

Yifat in Jerusalem district court 23 March 2018

Yifat Doron during the hearing in the Jerusalem district court into the prosecution’s appeal against her release.

During the hearing, Yifat forwent her right to interrogate the police prosecutor and instead announced that she does not object to the request for remand. She went on to say: “Concerning the risk, I agree with them that anyone who does not toe the line with your apartheid regime, who thinks independently, must necessarily prove a risk to that very regime.” (The protocol mistakenly states “apartheid police” instead of “regime”; in Hebrew ‘mishtar’ was substituted by ‘mishtara’).

The judge, however, remained unconvinced and ordered her release. He stated in his decision “I find no cause for remand, despite the vileness of her actions”. He ordered her release on bail and added a six month stay away order from all military courts. The police asked for an adjournment to base an appeal which was granted.

On the appeal notice, police superintendent Yousef Amoyal emphasized the political nature of the protest. He writes: “the magistrates’ court did not give due consideration to the fact that in her actions the suspect attempted to undermine the authority of the military court and disrupt the proceedings of the prosecuting and adjudicating authorities in the zone”. Thus he concurred with Yifat that she must be rendered dangerous by her decision to challenge the foundations of the regime.

In the hearing in the district court, the following day, Friday, March 23, a representative for the police emphasized again the political nature of the act and said: “the element of risk stems from the very act. One cannot overlook the place where the act was committed, a military court. Israelis and Palestinians come to this place which constitutes a corner stone, a ruling body which delegates authority in Judea and Samara to all law enforcement agencies in the zone.”

For her own part, Yifat, having resisted another attempt by the court to have attorney Tsemel speak for her, reasserted that she does not object to the request for remand. She added: “I will not willingly participate in your game of ‘democracy for Jews only’”. The district court judge rejected the appeal stating: “The actions allegedly committed by the suspect do not pose a risk which mandates further remand”. He also addressed the common police practice of adding on allegations regardless of the nature of the offense, saying that he fails to understand why the suspect was interrogated under suspicion of criminal threats when nothing in the investigative material suggests that. With the appeal denied, Yifat was released. She still does not know if she is going to be charged.

The results

Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represented the Tamimi women, fought a hard legal battle demanding their release on bail before the trial. Her failure to achieve this mandated the plea bargains, since the period of their arrest during a long trial could have easily exceeded that of the plea bargains. In contrast, Yifat was not represented by a lawyer, did not object to the demands for remand, yet was released within two days on similar charges. The result was determined by a regime which makes distinctions according to race, which could only be called an apartheid regime. All Israeli courts view any Arab-Palestinian opponent of the regime as a dangerous enemy to be deprived of basic human rights. Democracy in Israel is reserved for whomever is perceived as part of the nation of rulers.

In retrospect, and although it was not Yifat’s intention, the court’s decision gave good service to the struggle which she acted to support. As the eyes of the world turn to Ahed Tamimi, a girl imprisoned for slapping a soldier, Yifat’s swift release supplied the utmost proof for the real reason behind Ahed’s arrest. Ahed, like thousands of other Palestinians, is under arrest for the worst crime in Israeli law books: that of being Arab.

Yifat is frustrated by the fact that not only the courts but other well-meaning folk relate to her as that “Jewish Israeli activist”. “If what they want is to label us according to sectors and not based on our humanity, they might as well write that a woman protested on behalf of another woman, her friend”, she says, “That would be much more relevant to the case at hand.”

“The differentiation made by the police and the court system classifying us as Jews and Arabs and treating us accordingly is not only part and parcel of its apartheid regime but also serves to strengthen and maintain the status quo”, she explains. Judaism to her is a religion and as she is not religious, she finds the description irrelevant. She does not define herself as Israeli either, at most, she can be described as a blue ID holder (as opposed to the green ID issued to Palestinians in the West Bank by Israel, which is a symbol of their rights deprived). Her message is the steadfast resistance of all those fighting for freedom and justice in taking apart the divisions forced on us by government.

Yifat in court for Ahed - by Iris Bar

Yafat Doron in court – painting by Iris Bar

Haifa demonstration against the massacre of demonstrators in Gaza

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As the news started to emerge that the Israeli occupation army was shooting in cold blood unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the March of Return, on the borders of theHaifa Demo Gathering at Martyr Bassel junction besieged Gaza Strip, we were all in the Land Day demonstrations in the Galilee and the Triangle. While still demonstrating, we started to coordinate a protest in Haifa for the next day, Saturday, March 31.

On Saturday night about a hundred residents of Haifa and the area gathered at the Martyr Bassel al-A’araj junction(*) in the German Colony to protest against the massacre. The initial invitation came from Herak Haifa, but members of Palestinian parties and other democratic activists in the city soon joined the call and helped to spread the word. Most of the participants were young Palestinians, many of them with red keffiyehs on their necks, but there was also significant participation of Jewish democratic activists.Haifa demo slogans in 3 languages

The protesters carried Palestinian flags and signs in Arabic, Hebrew and English, including “Stop the massacre!”, “Shooting demonstrators is a war crime”, “Stop Israel’s war crimes”, “We are all Gaza”, “Free Palestine”, “Our masses join us, our people in Gaza sacrifice their blood”, “Freedom, freedom, My people want freedom”, “Down with the Oslo agreement”, “Today we close the streets” and much more. The demonstrators also carried slogans calling for a general strike to protest the massacre.

Although no march was pre-planned, after about half an hour the demonstrators began marching through Allenby Street in the direction of Wadi Nisnas. From there the procession turned into the alleys of the Wadi, where they even invented a special slogan: “Rise up Wadi Nisnas, defend Gaza and defend the people” (in Arabic it is a rhyme). After the tour, the procession returned through Khuri Street, the main street that crosses the Wadi, and from there to Emile Habibi Circle, where we stood on the middle of the crossroads and chanted slogans. Finally, the procession closed Allenby Street again on its way to its point of origin in the German Colony.

March in Allenby street toward Wadi Nisnas 2

Marching in Allenby Street toward Wadi Nisnas

A small police force waited for us on the other side of the Martyr Bassel junction and followed us through the march, but this time the “anti-riot” Special Forces were nowhere to see. The demonstration dispersed without the intervention of the police.

You may watch a video of the demo here.

(This post appeared in Hebrew in Haifa Ha-Hofshit)

(*) After Bassel Al-A’araj was murdered by the occupation forces on March 6, 2017, Herak Haifa decided to name the junction, where many demonstrations take place, after him, to commemorate his revolutionary legacy. This came after the successful experience of naming another central square in the German Colony “Prisoner’s Square”, a name that is now widely used by people in Haifa.

The Alternative to Facebook is not Facebook 2

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(Written fully seriously with a little smile)

Draft 0.1 for comments

Many of us spend much of our time in the virtual world. In fact, while in the physical world we basically care to some basic needs, most of our creativity and spiritual revolution is cominginteraction take place in the net. Naturally, the design of the net has a crucial influence about our personal lives and our society. This by itself is a compelling reason to spare some time to understand this design, why is it the way it is, where does it help us and how does it hurt us. As a result we will be able to explore what we can do to make it better fit for our needs as human beings.

Why Change?

More than two hundred years ago, we thought we were entering the era of enlightenment. In addition to knowing more, this was supposed to imply that people will have basic rights and that they will take part in the design and control of social institutions. Through many struggles and some achievements, we even started to believe that some sort of progress toward these ideals was taking place on the political level…Stand For the Banned

But now, just as we make leaps forward in the accumulation of knowledge and science, we fell back in the framework of the social organizations that control the new domains of human behavior to a political paradigm that have more to do with slavery, feudalism, absolute monarchy and robbers capitalism.

Take, just for one example, Facebook, which controls most of the space of our social interactions. We are the tireless producers of the contents that give the net all its value, but we are not paid for producing it, neither own what we produce. Facebook is ruled by a single man for the goal of his own material profit. Even absolute monarchies will pretend to have some obligation to protect the common good. We are not citizens, neither subjects, nor have any bill of rights. The absolute rulers control what you can say and what you will hear from all that others are saying.

For any suspected activity the Facebook dictatorship may punish you by paralyze and bans, with no right to appeal. They will not hesitate to apply even the most extreme punishment – executing your virtual personality, cut you from your social contacts, wipe out your memories and destroy your accumulated creativity – with no pretense of due process.Facebook tyranny

Facebook also spies on all of us, helping governments to oppress restive citizens. The information that they collect about us, to which we are not allowed access, is sold to third parties that want to make a profit at our expense. They even sell our time and mind by spamming our walls and feeds with advertisement and trash.

And, even if all was well, change must come. Nothing stays like it is. With the rapid technological developments things change faster. So the right question is not “why change?” but is it really responsible of us to wait for changes to happen, or would it be more logical and beneficial to start planning for the next stage?

The Science of Social Change

I joined Facebook only after the Arab Spring proved it an indispensible tool for social change. I soon bumped against Facebook’s arbitrary rules. I issued a call for all of us, as good Facebook patriots, to make a revolution against the Facebook Dictatorship. I believe it is the duty of all patriots to struggle for democracy and justice wherever they are. Not surprisingly, nobody answered my desperate calls.your annoying ad here

This reminded me that social change is not the result of the wishes of individuals but of the accumulation, maturation and conjunction of material, cultural, social and political processes. If you want to work seriously for the future you should study the contradictions in the current order, identify the counter-currents that work for its destruction and develop potential agents of change and partners for the creation of a new, better, order.

In parallel to the search for the seeds of change within current conflicts, we should also try to define what is basically wrong in the current order and what should we do in order to make sure that whatever comes next will be better. The forging of the new order is dependant both on objective and subjective conditions: what material changes may make it more effective than the current one and what social forces may win the battle to establish it and go on to safeguard and develop it.

Also, when we look for the practical path to solve current problems and establish a better world, and in spite of the revolutionary appeal of destroying everything and building a whole new perfectly logical and just order, we must remember that real history is going through a much more complex process with many twists and bounds in the plot. You can start with a revolutionary movement and find that all that you achieved for now is frightening the current rulers into making some reform. Or you can start with a reformist movement but have all your efforts at polite protest produce more oppression, causing the situation to explode. To be really effective in your struggle you should be ready and able to exploit divisions and splits in the system and the ruling class to create space for your movement to grow and take hold.

Obstacles and Seeds of the Future

There are many reasons why Facebook netizens are not revolting. First, even by the standard of fast forward movement, typical to our modern times, we are still in the beginning of the new era. Many people still remember the days that they were not able to publish anything or express their opinions about what they read – and thank the new rulers for their generosity in providing whatever they give. We also lack the ideology and the organization that may produce a revolt. Our citizenship of Facebook and Google pretends to be voluntary, ignoring the fact that they control the global resources of networking that are vital for our lives. As a result many potential opponents and trouble makers simply stay out of the system – making life easier for our rulers.

Like bourgeoisie democracy, which promotes the illusion of “democratic change“ within the system, the corporate monopolies hold the illusion that change can come through capitalist competition. You can always choose another supplier or build your own startup. But this is an illusion, as those that have the big money set the rules of the game and can always block or buy any competitor. The most that can come out of the current “competition game” is another predator dinosaur to share our stolen creativity.wikipedia logo

But this is not the whole story. While the corporates’ rule over our lives seems ever more total, there are other new continents (or at least some islands) that were occupied by free thinking people with other motives and a different way of social organization. Wikipedia is one astonishing example of what people can achieve by voluntary organization for the sake of humanity, with nobody becoming rich at the expense of our efforts. The community of open shared code is producing some of the most important pillars of the new technological order, between them Linux that drives most data servers and Android that manages most smartphones.

On another level, China, which blocked Facebook and Google, enabled the development of local alternatives. Today it is the source of some of the most advanced operating eco-systems for net users. Perhaps the Chinese net-corporates are not better, but, at least, they are a living proof that there is life after Facebook if you have the political and economic muscle to get out of the maze.

Some Possible Elements of a People’s Net

Facebook and Google developed from providers of simple services to be the emperors of data and connectivity. They didn’t plan the world order that they created and control.

But if we want to build a new net order that will be the result of voluntary collective effort of many developers and contributors, it might require deeper understanding of what is wrong and what we want to do. It will be a collective product that will develop over time and experience, but here are some small contributions for inspiring your imagination and creative thinking:

1.      Who owns the content?

Today all users have plenty of memory to hold their content. Cloud storage is a public utility that should be cared for by society like roads, parks, hospitals and natural reserves. There is no reason that if I want to share a picture with a friend it should become the property of any third party. Hands off our data!

2.      Who owns the knowledge?

The data that we place in the internet, including our activities there, are the source of the most valuable knowledge. In order to use our data in the most efficient way we have to gain control of the storage, organization and analysis tools.next exit no ads

3.      Who owns the net?

There should be no kings or central rulers. Services should be available on demand – like applications that you can download.

4.      Where is the money?

A world without advertisement is possible – Cuba has proved it. But if anybody wants to pay to make me read about his new product, they should pay me. I would still probably prefer to be a smart consumer and read an objective review about whatever service or product I might like to buy – but this is a personal choice.

Please leave your comments

This article was written with the purpose of instigating discussion.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thank you!