Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

By Christine Lane

It took Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the full weight of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) less than one week to remove 8,500 illegal settlers from that sliver of Palestinian land known as the Gaza Strip. For the past years they have commandeered the best real estate by the sea, represented some 0.5% of the resident population, commandeered some 44% of the Strip, and who truly believed that they were granted this land by God himself, but this time the HE stayed in heaven. Where there is a political will there is a way. But what is that will, and what is the way? It took the IOF armed to the teeth a little more time to devastate Gaza and the West Bank.

For the past few weeks both the regional and foreign media have been obsessed even infatuated with the proposed withdrawal or so called ‘unilateral disengagement’ from Gaza. Vicariously described as a major move for peace, a window of opportunity, a historic and brave decision or the beginning of the end in terms of the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State. The issue is much to do about nothing.

Images of the weeping and wailing-the great sacrifices to be made by the illegal settlers spread across the television screens of the gang forced to leave their luxury red-roofed villas and swimming pools overlooking the dereliction of Gaza. Such protests from these settlers who were not in any way the owners of the land! Can you imagine the feelings of the real owners when they were expelled from Palestine in 1948? Now, messianic Jews barricaded themselves into an old British fortress, or retreated into Synagogues; one settler died as a result of self-igniting herself; some threw acid at the Israeli soldiers. The media sought to show how much these now dispossessed settlers are suffering-maybe in the aftermath some will claim that their human rights were violated-whereas they have lived impervious to the distress of their displaced neighbours and alongside blatant poverty. For years they thoroughly thrived on their financial perks and privileges. Again, one can only wonder how during the protests some 5,000 Israeli pro-settlements activists could enter Gaza when not one Palestinian can move either way. Where were the paraylsing Israeli checkpoints-but of course many Israeli soldiers are settlers themselves! Somehow there is an element of farce here. A bus load of settlers being returned to Israel escaped from the bus and ran into Palestinian territory- they simply took another wrong turn!

Sharon has proved that he can turn Israel around on its axis, but has he struck a cord and proved that anything is possible He has inadvertently opened a Pandora’s box that he may not be able to escape from.

By and large the Israeli public remained passive. For many Israelis settlers are aliens; many ask why should they wish to live in the Palestinian Territories in the first place? The Israel public has equally remained passive over the years to the oppression and suffering of the Palestinian people under a barbaric Occupation. The settlers were manipulated to move to Gaza and now manipulated to move out. It’s a case of Israel’s self-imposed demographic misery and Sharon’s imposed strategy. Again hypocritically described as a unilateral move for peace whereas it was no more than a thinly disguised camouflage to cement Israel’s hold on the West Bank and in particular East Jerusalem, the greatest booty. The Palestinians are celebrating quite understandably the return of Gaza but they will quickly realize that this was indeed a move by Israel to its advantage only. Yet it is the Palestinians who will be required to pass an involuntary litmus test, and to be held responsible for the ‘disengagement’s success, which is nothing less than perverse.

But let’s look more closely at the issue; what has been left behind, aside from 80,000 tons of rubble and 16 synagogues, the latter a provocation in itself, and what is there to look forward to? Gaza has been theoretically under the governance of the Palestinian national Authority since July 1994 but in reality totally under the military control of Israel and the IOF. It is one of the most deprived areas in the world with a population of almost 1.4 million, (including 996,000 refugees), with poverty rate of 55% [United Nations Report, 2004] and every movement, human or economic subject to severe Israeli restrictions. Since 1993 USAID has spent more than $1.7 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education and build roads, but given the years of physical abuse and destruction by Israel such an amount is but a drop in the proverbial bucket. Further, no amount of aid will revive the Palestinian economy unless there is free access to trade, investments, and the freedom to develop its own model of political and economic life.

Early joys expressed when Arafat returned quickly turned to dust. The Gaza airport and the sea port were destroyed by Israeli invasions. Over the past four years and particularly during 2004, the IOF ransacked and vandalized homes and properties and summarily killed murdered and assassinated Palestinian leaders at will and with impunity. Helicopter gunships fired at random into crowds, bombs dropped on residential quarters, and brutal incursions into refugee camps. A 100 tank 8 day invasion into Jabalyia refugee camp (home to 100,000) beginning October 2nd 2004, killing 85 people. Following the US Veto of an Arab proposed UN Security Council Resolution in October 2004 calling for the condemnation of Israel’s running onslaught in Gaza, in January 2005, Israeli tanks shelled 8 children near Beit Lahya Camp; the children were picking strawberries. During 2004 some such incursions were given names; Khanis Yunis-“Orange Iron”. Following Israeli loudspeakers announcements of the impending incursions residents were warned to leave to or risk death, 600, men women and children had to flee their homes. Jabalya incursion in northern Gaza- named “Autumn Winds.” Should such massacres ever have occurred in any other part of the world it would have given rise to a global outcry, but over Palestine-silence!

From the end of September 2,000 until now, 1,719 killed the majority of them civilians, 379 children under the age of 18; and 96 women, [Palestinian Bureau of Statistics]. Children playing football, children feeding pigeons on the roof of their home, a child in the street going to buy bread-such security threats! The Philadelphi route [border with Egypt] was pulverized, 2,704 homes demolished 23,000 left homeless with a future under canvas. The settlers on the other hand who drove or were dragged away are facing handsome compensation of between $140,000 and $400,000 for the cost of their home, for which they only paid a nominal price in the first place.

So what future lies ahead for Gaza and its residents? One thing is clear they will remain imprisoned with no control over their land or air space-no control of borders and no free flow of goods. No. No. No. Recently Israel announced a total closure of the Rafah checkpoint that borders Egypt- people are trapped. In 2004 the World Bank reported that “poverty and unemployment will rise following the disengagement.” Currently, of the 125,000 Palestinian workers, 100,000 workers are no longer permitted to work in Israel and with closed borders, restrictions on the free flow of Gazan produce there will be little chance for economic recovery. Any repair of the bombed Gaza airport could take years and it is doubtful if Israel would permit free air traffic between Gaza and the rest of the world However-the fishing may improve!

According to Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, “We want to transfer all Gaza to the Palestinians….but the transfer will depend upon the security situation.” O’h no, yet more Israel security considerations when it stands as one the tightest, tiniest little states in the globe.

So this is what Israel has escaped from, poverty and physical devastation. There will be speculation as to why Sharon concluded to ‘withdraw’ from Gaza. but there is no clearer indicator than given by Dov Weissglas-senior advisor to Sharon (Ha’arezt October 2004). Just so there could be no illusions he described the proposed disengagement as actually formaldehyde-“it provided the necessary amount so that there will be no political process with the Palestinians.” Formaldehyde is the chemical used to preserve dead bodies. George W. Bush and both Houses of Congress gave their approval of the plan. Forever, the Israeli occupation of Gaza had been problematic and perhaps the time had come for Sharon to cut his losses. Perhaps he welcomed the furore from the settlers so that he could appear so ‘brave’. Certainly he was relieved to leave Gaza but with a glint in his eye. The word to stay on the lips is ‘unilateral’. In no way does Sharon ever intend to enter any negotiations regarding a future Palestinian State or to cede any part of the West Bank and in particular and especially Jerusalem. To have secured US approval for the withdrawal from Gaza but continue to seal it, allows him to concentrate on more vital aspects. Sharon can focus on his ultimate passion, namely full demographic control of illegally annexed East Jerusalem, and expansion of the larger settlements in the West Bank.

There is nothing new here; in 1967 Yigal Allon Israeli’s then Deputy Prime Minister called for Israel to colonise strategic areas of the West Bank, maintain control over natural resources, especially water, and to grant marginal freedom to densely populated Palestinian areas where colonization proved problematic. Nothing has changed. The Oslo Agreement of the 1990’s, Camp David in 2000 reflected the Allon Plan which offered sovereignty over disjointed territories, dominated by a reinforced network of settlements and exclusive roads, and the inevitable Israeli checkpoints. In 2004 the US President validated Israel’s Zionist territorial ambitions, no return to 1967 borders, Israel’s right to permanently maintain settlement blocs and no right of return for Palestinian refugees. The driving force is to maintain the exclusiveness of a Zionist exclusive Jewish State? Somewhat problematic given that one fifth of the population inside Israel are Palestinians. Herewith the concept of separation was born, and the ‘Separation Wall’ made its bedmate.

The Wall, built almost entirely on Palestinian land, curls like a snake throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem gorging on everything in its wake. It stands like an overpowering concrete monstrosity, and is 26ft high. Israel has succeeded in completely ignoring the judgment of the International Court in The Hague on its illegality [July 9th, 2004]. In its entirety it is expected to see the confiscation of some 160,000-180,000 dunums (45,000 acres), 2% of the entire West Bank. The uprooting of 80,000 olive trees, the destruction of 35 kilometres of water pipes and the demolition of dozens of greenhouses. Any structure or home within 35 metres of the barrier will be demolished. Entire villages are cut off from their lands and sources of livelihood; 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem will be effectively isolated from their city, and forced to access essential services through Israeli military gates. Does anyone recognize that Israel has locked itself in and locked the Palestinians out?

East Jerusalem is a dying city, strangled by surrounding illegal settlements and the cement necklace of the Wall. Many villages and some individual homes are surrounded on three sides, and blue skies are not easily visible. Upon completion of the plan for the Jerusalem section of the Wall, it will carve Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in wire and cement. But Separation has been achieved.

There is the additional hope that life will become so uncomfortable that many Palestinians will leave. Over many years, Israeli policies of denial for Jerusalemites, denial of Identity Cards, denial of residency (or withdrawal) denial of family reunification and demolition of homes. Fifty Palestinian homes in Jerusalem were destroyed this year alone. 64 around the Old City are awaiting demolition and some 10,000 properties in East Jerusalem slated according to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions.

When all eyes were on Gaza, Sharon announced his government’s plans to confiscate more Palestinian lands, an area even larger than the Gaza Strip to add some 3,500 homes to the colony of Ma’aleh Adumim, a huge sprawling concrete colony that overlooks Jerusalem. Its radius is planned to double that of Tel Aviv, Israel largest city. It would involve the confiscation of some 1,600 dunums [1,600,000 square metres] of fertile land from four old traditional villages in the suburbs of East Jerusalem. This is indeed a horrific development and in fragrant violation of the 1993 Bush ‘roadmap’ which demands that Israel freeze all settlement construction. Again it will completely sever East Jerusalem, and the north from the south West Bank. Again it will make Palestinians claim to East Jerusalem as its capital absolutely impossible.

So while Israel is ‘disengaging from Gaza, and four small settlements in the West Bank it is‘ re-engaging’ in vast new settlement construction. “The West Bank settlements grew by 12,800 this year alone,” quoting Gild Heiman, Israeli spokesperson from the Ministry of Interior. Finally places a total of 246,000 illegal settlers amidst 2.4 million Palestinians. Regrettably there is no room for optimism such as expressed by Palestinian President Abbas, “Israel must stop settlements and the judaization of Jerusalem. Those who continue with these measures show that they do not want peace.” Sharon quoting him from The Jerusalem Post, “There will be building in the settlement blocs. Each Israeli government since 1967-right, left and national unity, has seen strategic importance in specific areas (beyond the Green Line). I will build.” Whatever happened to settlements as the major obstacle to peace? While the American administration may be concerned, it helps not at all when George Bush states “any final peace settlement must recognize new realities on the ground.”

Despite all these developments the onus is still placed on the Palestinian leadership to curb ‘terrorism’, to institute reforms and good governance. All rather difficult concerning that during 2002 the IOF rampaged throughout the West Bank, destroyed the entire infrastructure of Palestinian civil society. That aside, the problem is not with alleged Palestinian terrorism; in the words of South African writer Alan Paton in 1946 “it is not native crime that is the problem but white crime”; from Cry The Beloved Country. In a parallel analogy it is not Palestinian resistance that is the problem but Israeli State terrorism, driven by greed, a dominance obsession all reflected by the Occupation.

Despite 38 years of a repressive and cruel Occupation the Palestinian people have not been conquered or subdued and are determined to take back their freedoms on their land, and to secure an independent sovereign State of Palestine whatever the difficulties and however long it takes. At the same time, as for the State of Israel founded on some 2,000 year old ashes and existing now Rambo style on the original Palestinian homeland, and empowered only by the Israeli rifle. Surely one day all Israeli citizens will come to realize that the Occupation must eventually disintegrate as a result of its moral and humanitarian corruption and the Palestinian people set free.

Looking to the future. As for one solution in the words of the Israeli activist Uri Avnery, “we must start serious negotiations declaring that in advance that within a specific time-span -the occupation will end with the establishment of the State of Palestine. All the main elements of the settlement are already known; a solution from Jerusalem in line with the Clinton proposal (What is Arab will belong to Palestine, what is Jewish will belong to Israel).” Somewhat tricky one would have thought given that the entire State of Israel was founded on Palestinian land conquered by war in 1948, and created 700,000 displaced refugees.

So what about the future as Sharon continues to flatten all hope? Clearly alone the Palestinian leadership can achieve nothing. And there is little to look forward to. The American administration is still dancing with the fat man. It continues to send envoys, and continues to support Israel in its violation of the Articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention, UN Resolutions and international law. The international community must still be considering its options. In the meantime where is the Quartet? The Palestinian leadership is to a large extent dependent upon the United States to find the courage to pressure Israel to end the Occupation, and enter a full and negotiated withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem with the Palestine National Authority. Unless this happens, we will all fall into the abyss and perpetual darkness.

ChristineLane2002@yahoo.com
This article was first presented on behalf of the Palestine Section of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Update on Vernon, VT Nuclear Waste Storage Debate

All: An account of Sept. 20 PSB meeting follows. An edited version may appear in the Montague Reporter. PSB member David Coen said it is important for people to write letters and get their neighbors to write letters so the Board (two lawyers who really are, absurdly, the Court of last Resort) may hear directly from the public and know their concerns. Plase contact them and let them know you are watching what they do, and are aware of the implications for generations of Vermonters and their neighbors. Address follows, and below that, a report on the hearing.

Vermont Public Service Board
112 State Street
Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701

Phone: 802 828-2358
OR email: clerk@psb.state.vt.us
Please do it. Thanks, Sally

“No other generation has left a more dangerous legacy to the 5000 following
generations” • Colin Blasej, Windham

The task of Solomon: Two Men to Decide on Vermont’s Future Radioactive Waste
Storage Facility

The VT Public Service Board, court of last resort, listened for 3 hours to heated public testimony Tuesday evening on Entergy Nuclear’s proposal to build a dry cask storage repository for highly radioactive nuclear waste on the bank of the CT River. That is, the remaining two members of the Board listened. Board Chairman, James Volz, recused himself from the case last Friday after his apparent conflict of interest was questioned by the New England Coalition. Volz’s previous job advocating in favor of the nuclear waste facility as a lawyer for the VT Dept. of Public Service made him appear less than impartial.

Citizens reminded remaining Board Members David Coen and John Burke of the awful responsibility they bear: they must decide on the future disposition of the approximately 640 metric tons of high level radioactive spent fuel currently sitting in the VY fuel pool, and whether to approve Entergy’s petition for a dry cask storage system in order to continue operating beyond 2008, when the fuel pool will be full. They must decide whether to grant a certificate of public good to Entergy’s request for dry casks, and must decide not on the basis of safety or security, but solely on economic and environmental grounds. As Andy Davis of Brattleboro pointed out, “Entergy is playing a careful game and we are just pawns in it. The dry cask hearing has great relevance to the Uprate and the relicensing issues. But the public can’t discuss those, and you can’t rule on safety. The question of permitting dry casks or not permitting them is obviously a false debate, it’s a smoke screen. I hope you won’t be the next pawns in their game.”

The issue for Davis and many at the hearing is that when Entergy leaves VT, the waste will still be there. Davis requested the PSB allow only enough casks to reach the end of VY’s license, and only after a thorough independent safety assessment.

VT Senator Jeanette White echoed the public’s frustrations about the process, and cautioned the PSB: “We (the Legislature) abdicated our responsibility. We had the opportunity to focus on safety. We didn’t do it. We focused on an economic bribe,” she testified. “Now you must do what we didn’t do: evaluate the long-term economic impact, the long term safety considerations we are faced with. As a nation we are borrowing against our children’s future. We should not do that as a state.”

The efforts of the VT House Natural Resources and Energy Committee to craft a rigorous set of conditions for long term nuclear waste storage on the banks of the CT River were derailed last Spring when House and Senate leadership, the Public Service Department, and Entergy met behind closed doors to craft a deal more to the industry’s liking. A Memorandum of Understanding was substituted for binding legislation, and a fee to ensure Yankee’s ownership of the risks for every year the waste remained in VT was reduced to a smaller fee of limited duration, and tied to the controversial Uprate. Both the House and Senate, suspending usual rules, rushed the
process and voted in favor of the MOU. Representative Steve Darrow from Putney, who was on the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee that had tried to draft comprehensive dry cask legislation, testified that he had asked specific questions of Entergy and received evasive answers. When he asked how many years irradiated “spent” fuel is hazardous he was told “several hundred”. When he asked how long it was radioactive he was told “several thousand.” Darrow pointed out to the Board that ENVY is a limited liability company, and the fuel is an asset. When the plant closes the spent fuel becomes a liability and the company goes ‘POOF!’ (Resident Clay Turnbull recounted a headline from today’s paper: “Entergy says New Orleans Nuclear Reactor Might Go Bankrupt.” POOF! Entergy Nuclear’s parent company is based in Louisiana, but their reactors are owned by limited liability corporations, an accounting ploy that exempts them from responsibility for environmental damage or long term management of waste.)

Representative Darrow suggested that the PSB ask the parent company to assume ownership of the Vermont Yankee’s waste after the plant closes. He pointed out that the casks don’t last as long as the fuel is hazardous and/or radioactive. Thus the costs of changing out the casks, (repackaging the fuel) should be part of the decommissioning fund. Darrow agreed with Senator White: “The ball’s in your court because Entergy gamed the process. The bill went behind closed doors and we don’t know what deals were made or said. Don’t let them game you, too. You can cross examine people under oath. We’re depending on you.”

Several Vermont Yankee employees spoke in favor of the dry cask permit, testifying to their training, experience and high level of commitment to safety. They referred to the safety and reliability of the casks (a “proven technology, 20 years old”) and their ability to safeguard them. They pointed out that moving the irradiated fuel rods from the fuel pool into dry casks was the first step toward decommissioning and transporting the waste away from the site. However, one astute resident quoted from the National Academy of Sciences Report on Safety and Security of Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage that “no true multipurpose cask exists here or in any other country,” refuting Entergy’s claim that the Holtec casks were multipurpose, to be used for storage and transport. Another local resident asked rhetorically “Have any dry casks of high-level waste ever been transported to a permanent storage facility?”

Independent Consultant Marvin Resnikoff of Radiation Waste Management Associates agreed that dry storage was the best way to go if irradiated fuel has to be produced. But he pointed out that each canister holds the equivalent of 250 Hiroshima bombs, and right now Entergy would need 60-80 casks to hold all its existing spent fuel. He pointed out that the proposed federal nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain was over committed, as there are currently 210,000 tons of spent fuel waiting to be disposed of around the country, and Yucca Mountain is only designed for 70,000 tons. An additional 140 metric tons of highly radioactive fuel rods would be produced at Vermont Yankee if Entergy operated until 2012, 540 metric tons if they are granted a license renewal to operate until 2032, as they desire.
“The state of Vermont needs to plan for the long term, and the town of Vernon needs to be prepared for the long term. That is a $600 million dollar facility, and it needs to be taxed,” Resnikoff stated.

Deb Katz of the Citizens Awareness Network summed up the general sentiment of those not employed by the reactor. “This is a really terrible situation. Nobody wants high-level radioactive waste on this site. We need to move waste out of the pool, but only into a safe repository, one that is hardened on site, bermed, spaced adequately, with radiation monitors. She urged that the dry cask permit be tied to license expiration.

A 1991 study by an independent engineering firm (Batelle) concluded that the site being considered for high-level waste stored in dry casks was inappropriate for siting a low-level radioactive waste facility.

Diana Sidebotham, NEC founder and President, said that when the VY reactor was originally licensed, the ultimate storage of high level nuclear waste was avoided by the AEC. VY was supposed to store it 6 months, and then it would be “shipped away.”

Several citizens urged the PSB to save Vermonters and rate payers money by permitting the use of dry casks contingent upon shutdown and decommissioning, and begin the process of encouraging renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiency now for VT’s future needs.

One resident of Guilford said her 4-year old son would like a suit like the nuclear workers wear to protect him in case of an emergency. She paused, struggling, then said “I’m sorry, this is emotional to me. We have the capability to stop it and implement change now. Why don’t we?”

Two men, appointed by former VT Governor Howard Dean, neither having a technical background (both having a legal background) will have to decide the answer to that question. If their patience and consideration of the public’s desire to be heard is an indication, they have the judicial temperament. But do they have the wisdom of Solomon? Can they envision the economic impact of managing spent fuel (15-20,000 Hiroshima’s worth) for thousands of years, maintaining emergency preparedness?
Can they balance that against our ever increasing demand for cheap power and one industry’s considerable short term economic clout? That’s a tall order.

Sally Shaw
Gill

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that really
matter.” ~MLK

Fadi Madi and the Suppression of Muslim and Arab Thought

Fadi Madi and the Suppression of Muslim and Arab Thought
By Genevieve Cora Fraser

He resides in Lebanon, deported from his adopted home in Germany. Though the injustice of his arrest and deportation has been cleared by a German Court, he continues to live in a forced separation from his German wife. He once was a prosperous businessman, today his resources are dwindling and his health is deteriorating. His name is Fadi Madi. What was his crime? He attempted to organize an open conference in his adopted country, Germany, to discuss the problems now facing the Muslim and Arab world.

Yes, the Thought Police are alive and well and living throughout the world. The target du jour is the Muslim-Islamic and Arab point of view. Examples are wide-spread and growing of persecution and even arrest for raising money for Islamic-based charities that deal with the plight of displaced and occupied Arab populations, writings that expose the injustice, and most taboo of all – discussion involving resistance tactics that attempt to secure a just peace. Fadi Madi was captured within the oppressor’s drag-net as part of the so-called global war on terrorism. He now fears for his life though he prides himself on saving lives, not plotting to take them.

Yes, Fadi Madi is not alone in his dilemma. Not too long ago I attended a supper of the New England chapter of Sabeel, the organization of Ecumenical Liberation Theology which boasts Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and a host of other main-stream religious affiliations. Under discussion was their last conference, held in Massachusetts, where they were turned into Homeland Security for daring to discuss the horrors associated with the Occupation of Palestine and peaceful resistance tactics such as divestment from Israel. In that instance no-one was arrested, perhaps because conference attendees included WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) of prominence in their communities. Yes, even in America where free speech is a guarantee, intimidation tactics are rampant and growing.

Last year I wrote an article that began, “Like a carrier pigeon landing on my windowsill, Fadi Madi suddenly appeared in my in-box bearing an urgent message with the subject heading: ‘Struggle with Fadi Madi.’” On September 14, 2005, I received another email but this time it was from his wife, Rabia, asking me to write a follow-up article.

The original message I received a year ago was addressed “TO ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS FREEDOM FIGHTERS – ANTI WAR MOVMENTS – PEACE HUMANITY JUSTICE MOVMENTS.” According to the email, Fadi Madi had planned and advertised an Arab-Islamic conference in Berlin (Germany) and for this activity was arrested, detained, severely beaten and sent back to his native country Lebanon, despite his German citizenship based on his marriage to a German wife. I had no knowledge of Fadi Madi prior to the email and to this day have no idea how he obtained my email address. But after conducting a Google media search I was impressed by his credentials as someone who had managed the release of several Japanese captured by resistance forces in Iraq, and so I decided to further publicize his plight.

It was clear that the title of his conference, “International Movement against American and Zionist Globalization and Supremacy” had triggered his downfall. I also discovered an interesting article published by The Daily Star out of Beirut. “The Web site for the conference posts the declaration of what it calls the Berlin Call 2004, describing American and Israeli occupation of Arab land as terrorist and barbaric,” Cilina Nasser, the reporter for the Daily Star reported. “We say a clear and loud ‘no’ to colonialism, slavery, Zionism, racism, imperialism and American hegemony,” said the Call. “We say a clear and loud ‘yes’ to the liberation of all occupied territories and countries struggling against the American-Zionist hegemony and occupation,” it stated. “Although the statement mentions a call for establishing a ‘worldwide popular resistance movement for freedom and independence and for a just peace,’ it does not specify the methods of such a resistance and whether it supports a military campaign to fulfill its goals,” Nasser stated. “The Call also aims at establishing an Islamic-European dialogue to secure and strengthen the rights of Arab and Muslim communities in Europe.”

According to Fadi’s German wife, Rabia, she recently was made aware of my article as it appeared in the online newspaper, Scoop NZ last October. In her first email to me she wrote, “I am his wife, still waiting, that he may come back after even our highest court decided, that he didn’t do anything wrong and criminal and that he is no terrorist. But that is not enough for politicians and what they (are) doing at the moment is to refuse the Court appointment in his case to come back. It was said, not before 2006.”

Rabia wrote that “he is still sitting in Beirut and waiting and cannot work or do anything. Still he tries to raise his voice for the oppressed but he is himself in bad condition now. With this he is not alone in our western societies. Just in Germany they are not following the law anymore. They are fighting Muslims wherever they can. Close schools, send people away who didn’t do any wrong. But that is the old racism in this country nothing more.”

Rabia Madi is German by birth and converted to Islam eight years ago. She married Fadi about five years ago. “I was political active in my young years until I realized that it is a dirty business,” she emailed me. She wrote that for many years she “lived a typical life of successful businesswoman and spent a lot of money, not thinking much about others.”

Mrs. Madi was a real estate agent. It was from this perspective that she came to realize that her fellow Germans are not ready for foreigners and still afraid of what they perceive to be strange things and cultures. “It is very difficult to find a landlord who accepts a colored person or foreign person from Africa, Afro-Americans or people from Turkey. Most people want only Germans in their flats,” she commented.

According to Rabia, “The racism in Germany as well as anti-Semitism is very high.” It is her belief that racism in her country “is more the fear of foreign culture.” This attitude makes her feel ashamed. But before she converted to Islam, before she “came to know from this side many different people from different cultures I was the same. I didn’t know much about others and I didn’t think at all about problems in Palestine or elsewhere. I just didn’t know,” she wrote. “Now I know that there are many different cultures, but when you come to know a single person from any place in this world, we all have the same ideas, little problems or wishes as everyone in this world. We are not really that different.”

She went on to explain that in Germany there are many people who have emigrated from Turkey to find work, but they have no chance to truly integrate into German society because even when it comes to finding a home they are relegated to the worst flats which “no German would take.” But what is worse they are forced to pay a lot of money for rent. As a result ghettos developed. But as long as they lived there without causing any trouble, “it was ok. We say here ‘Ahmed my vegetable seller may stay, the others can go home.’ Rabia claims that typically Germans have only accepted foreigners as workers. This has held true even when it involved a professor from the “Max Planck Institute or a manager from big firm, it was the same. Even from states of European Union, from Italy or Spain. Now at least that has changed a bit, because no one wants to tell, that he doesn’t want any foreigner, even Europeans,” she wrote. “But still some people make advertisement, that they only want German tenants, although that is forbidden.”

Rabia noted that when she first became a Muslim she spoke openly about Islam and was engaged in activities in the years 1998 to 2000. At that time she believed that people were interested in hearing about the religion and of people from other cultures and many participated in multicultural events. It was possible to wear a hijab and to walk freely on streets without encountering people who responded to her with angry looks. However, as has been said so many times, “after 9/11 it changed a lot. In the first weeks and months after that, it was really dangerous to go as a woman alone with hijab.” Eventually things got better. “But now people look angry at you, they don’t accept Muslims anymore.” She now wonders if the former openness was merely a pretense, otherwise how could such a change occurred?

“It is frustrating to see, that all attempts to start dialogue was just worth nothing. It was only on the surface, that people seemed to change, to learn about foreigners and to accept them,” Rabia stated. “What before was not possible to say in public about foreigners, is now all possible, if they are not Jewish. Judges who should be neutral just tell you that they are against foreigners. I had some policemen who had been looking for flats, but only houses without foreigners there. This would be incredible for other countries, but in Germany it will never change I guess,” she admitted. “It is the same problem as we had before. We only thought it has changed, but that is not true.” Today it is possible again to state clearly that you don’t like foreigners. Rabia believes this is due to the media and the politicians who create fear of foreigners. “But it is not only against Muslims I would say. It is the same for Africans, for Serbs, Croatians etc.”

As for her 44 year old husband, Fadi Madi, he was the chairman of the trade company ULFIT, United Lebanese Finance and International Trade and spent many years working from Kuwait and later from the USA, first in Michigan, then New York. He dealt with financial interests of large trade companies in financing business between companies and countries. His last projects had been “in preparation between a government and bank about a big area for hotels at the seaside of that country, an electrician factory in Sudan and a hospital in an African country.” He had tried to find a bank in Europe for the projects, but they involved long term negotiations. “All has stopped through that act from Germany,” Fadi’s wife charged. “Also the trust is damaged of course, because his clients don t know what is the truth.”
Fadi had also worked from Switzerland, Sweden, Kuwait, and France as well as the United States before he came to Germany.

“He is Muslim, but very open minded and correct with everyone,” Rabia said in defense of her husband. “He is straight in his opinion and not belonging to any group. There had been offers from different groups and states to work for them, but he never gave up his responsibility for his own mind and actions. He pays a high price for that, but he wouldn’t change that.” Rabia believes that it was Fadi’s independence that positioned him to successfully negotiate for the release of the Japanese held hostage in Iraq. “But he never made big thing out of this,” she wrote.

“Now to the case of my husband,” Rabia continued. “Fadi was living in NY as a financial broker before we got married. He was a businessman. I didn’t want to live in the USA so he came to Germany.” After arriving in Germany he started his company but never forgot his people in South Lebanon, the place of his birth and wanted to help as much as he could while remaining outside of Lebanon. After Israel left South Lebanon he even was asked to run for parliament, but it didn’t work and he came back to Germany. He was in business with Arab financial projects, for example big projects to built infrastructure in African countries or hospitals and those things. But after 9/11 it was not possible for him to work in this field, because no one wanted to invest in Arab countries or vise versa no Arab wanted to keep his money in UK or USA. So it was quite a hard time, but he is one who never complains and so he spent more time for the struggle in Palestine and later in Iraq,” Rabia stated.

Fadi took part in many conferences and meetings around the world and from this experience came up with a plan to organize a “congress.” The conference was to have taken place last year in Germany, Rabia wrote. He even believed that German politicians would support him. Rabia admits that his thinking was naive. The case against him developed from a media attack on the conference orchestrated by the Jewish Simon Wiesenthal Centre and their request to Germany’s Interior Minister to stop the congress, because “it would only be a meeting of terrorists. There had been some politicians and activists and well known people who wanted to join,” but the minister used that politically, she claimed.

“They stopped him at the airport and didn’t allow him to enter Germany. They didn’t allow him to see a lawyer, who was waiting in airport and they treated him bad. Fadi also has serious health problems which were made worse by his detention. “He had no witnesses to prove that all what he said afterwards was like that, but we know, that the police in airport treats foreigners very bad. We had even some cases where people died there. He is a very straight person, so he didn’t accept to stop his activities and political work and they expelled him,” Rabia stated. “My husband did all this not as a Muslim, but as an activist for peace. He is Muslim but not a fundamentalist.” Rabia claims that his fault is that he doesn’t understand German and he hadn’t sufficiently realized that the mood in Germany had changed and that Muslims and Arabs no longer had “good cards” to play in such an atmosphere.

The day after Fadi was detained at the airport, German officials prohibited the congress from opening, despite the fact that the other organizers had already canceled it. Some wanted to start a criminal investigation against him. “But our highest court decided, that his website didn’t contain any criminal parts,” furthermore the attorney general was not permitted to start a criminal investigation and was forbidden to search in his personal things and papers. Although our highest court found him innocent, he is still in Lebanon because the court, who has to decide in foreigner affairs whether he may come back” has informed them that a decision will not be made this year. “The German law says clearly, that he has the right to come to his wife,” she claimed. “But they just put the case away to let him wait. We tried to get him in as an urgent case because we need to live together and because he needs medical treatment. The judge refused that and told us that this even would make him think not to let him in anymore because of his health, because he only would use the social system. But we are paying a lot of money for this social system and it is our right to use it, as the judge will do himself.”

“We have a lot of illegal police actions in mosques every week now. Secretly police tell us that it only done to show action and those mosques who fight against in court still get the answer it was illegal, but that doesn’t help and media only report about the actions not that it was wrong.” Rabia also claims that though he was exonerated by the highest court, following the court decision, no statement has been forthcoming that Fadi Madi is innocent, that he did no wrong, and that he is not a terrorist.

As politicians score their political points no one concerns themselves about the fate of innocent people who are affected by the racism, Rabia complained. It is not only hard for her to be separated from her husband, “he cannot work or do anything from there. He cannot travel to any European state.” His personal life has for all intents and purposes been stopped. Today many foreigners have been sent out “without reasons and asked to fight” against it from outside. “This costs a lot of money and many lawyers say we cannot take the case.”

Postscript:
Following his wife’s emails, Fadi contacted me to say that what happened to him at the Berlin and Frankfurt airports has made him so wary he is afraid to step outside in Beirut even to buy cigarettes. He fears that the Israeli Mossad is after him and may want to kill him. This fear is based on what happened to him due to his defense of the Palestinian and Iraqi people, he claims. He is still very shaken by the incident and asks how in Europe and especially in Germany he could have been made to endure such horrific treatment.

Fadi asserts that they first took “my holy book Koran from my hand and they put (it) under the feet of the inhuman lady who issued the statement to send me back to Lebanon… after (that) they did all bad things to me on my way to Beirut to take off all my clothes and keep me naked in 10-degree temperature in a very cold room at the airport.” According to Fadi they treated him like an animal and forced him to collect his clothes by his teeth. He was told that he could return to Germany if he made the statement that “there is no occupation in Iraq and Palestine. Madi states that authorities at the airport allowed agents from Mossad and the US Army to investigate and hurt him “to drop me more then 6 times from the chair to the floor… I ask to see or talk with any lawyer but they refuse even to (let me) talk with my wife.”

September E-Newsletter

It’s still SUMMER – And the News sizzles.
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342
More at http://www.traprockpeace.org
NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
BRING THE MASS GUARD HOME!
What a privilege to sign that document. On Sept 7 the Mass. Attorney General approved the language we helped submit for a ballot initiative to bring the Mass. Guard home. Harold Hubschman, who also initiated the ballot initiative to remove tolls from the Mass Pike, is advising us step by step. Happily this year you will soon be able to down-load forms from your computer—the standard 8 1/2 x 11 instead of that more awkward legal size that was traditional, or pick up forms, soon after Sept. 21!
We anticipate a lively grassroots initiative supported by coalition efforts, and have organized and participated in statewide conference calls to help make this happen. SPREAD THE WORD? 23 other states could do this!
More at the web site. Two volunteers per town are needed to collect
signatures. To get news, offer leadership, or to attend a strategy meeting,
please send an email to
bringmassguardhome@traprockpeace.org

• Sept 24 MOBILIZATION to DC
BUS seats are sold out. Traprock put the deposit down for two buses, one in Greenfield another in Amherst, and we know of no other buses available. Thanks to Catherine, Nick and so many others in this coalition effort to support people traveling to DC from these towns, Northampton and Springfield. Remember that your local peace vigils are a great place to meet neighbors who might want to carpool to DC.
Volunteers Tuesday, or Thursday afternoon or evening, as we prepare literature, placards, and an exhibition for DC, calling for abolition of DU—deadly uranium weapons. 413 773-7427 Frances Crowe leads a contingent. Ask for your NO DU sign!

————————–Regional News—————————-
• Thu, Sept. 15
BRINGTHEM HOME NOW TOUR Stops in Western Mass!
Gold Star and Military Families, Iraq War and other Vets are bringing their message to 51 cities in 28 States, and will converge at anti-war rally in DC on September 24.
On August 31, the last day of the nearly month-long vigil outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford, TX the “Bring Them Home Now Tour” launched three buses from Camp Casey, each carrying military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War and veterans of previous wars. The tour’s first stop in Austin, Texas was met by 3,000 people. Thanks to Barbara Tiner of Amherst for taking the initiative to invite the Bus to western Mass, and to coalition partners for thorough planning!
WHEN:
10am–10pm- Pitch TENTS near the Vigil corner of the Amherst Common
12PM—Interfaith Service
for the Human Family in a time of War & Natural Disaster 12:45PM—Dedication of a memorial to the war dead. AFSC will bring boots. Please bring shoes to honor the Iraqi dead.
All afternoon you can support our guests, see literature tables.
4PM—Press Conference, including student reporters & reps
7PM—“Straight From the Heart, Military Families, Vets, Speak Out, Sing Out
for Loved Ones”
WHERE:
All public events at Grace Episcopal Church, 14 Boltwood Ave. & the Amherst Common. The music of Sarah Pirtle, members of the Gypsy Wranglers, Tom Neilson and Morningstar and Moonlight, will help us welcome:
• Carlos Arrendondo of Roslindale, MA,
• Al Zappala of Philadelphia, PA,
• Stacy Bannerman of Kent, WA
• Tammara Rosenleaf of Belton, TX, Helena, MT & Olympia, WA,
• Cody Camacho of Chicago, IL, and
• Michael Hoffman of Bucks County, PA.

• Waranok? Peace Rally –Sat. Sept. 17, 2-6pm, Westfield town center?

• Sun, Sept 18,
IMAGINE PEACE FESTIVAL, Wassaic, NY
See flags from around the world, (where the peace poles come from) Music,
Indigenous Village, Healing Arts, Eco Village, Visual Arts, Kids Village and
a Peace Village are all in the mix at the World Peace Sanctuary, 26 Benton
Road, Wassaic, NY 12592. www.imaginepeacefestival.com

• “The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children” Award winning documentary made for German Public Television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn—Produced by Ochowa-Film for WDR, 2004 will be shown widely, including:
Hadley, Northstar, 104 Russell, 10:30 am, Monday, Sept. 19 Northampton, Media Education Foundation, 7pm Fri, Oct. 7 Taos Mountain Film Festival, NM, Sat, Oct 8 … With action planning after every showing.
In your town, at your school?
This film could move many people to become
conscientious objectors. traprock@crocker.com

• Tue, Sept 20, 7 pm, Brattleboro
PUBLIC HEARING ON VERMONT DRY CASK STORAGE The Vermont Public Service Board welcomes you to Brattleboro Union High School auditorium, 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro, to comment on proposals to add canisters of radioactive waste to the shores of the Connecticut River at the facilities of the Vernon reactor, operated by Entergy Corp. of Louisiana. Please come, and share what you learn at every turn.
The Tooth Fairy Project is rolling right along. Recently Sally Shaw of Gill, Sally Weiss of Northampton and I dressed as Tooth Fairies and visited the Franklin County Fair Parade route in Greenfield. We asked neighbors with smiling children to donate one baby tooth to assess strontium 90 levels. Where you meet moms and dads, please ask, “Want TRUTH? Give a tooth!!”

• Thu, Sept. 22, Northampton
THE PEACE PATRIOTS, World Film Premiere and DVD Release. Directed by Robbie
Leppzer. Narrated by Janeane Garofalo, this feature-length documentary follows a diverse group of western Mass residents, with music by Steve Earle, Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Jonatha Brooke, and original music composed by Amherst guitarist John Sheldon. Valley peace groups will share news. Live music by John Sheldon. 7pm Calvin Theater, Northampton. Tickets:
$10/advance, $15/door. www.ThePeacePatriots.com or 1-800-557-6414.

• Sept 24 MOBILIZATION to DC
BUS seats are sold out. Traprock put the deposit down for two buses, one in Greenfield another in Amherst, and we know of no other buses available. Thanks to Catherine, Nick and so many others in this coalition effort to support people traveling to DC from these towns, Northampton and Springfield. Remember that your local peace vigils are a great place to meet neighbors who might want to carpool to DC.
Volunteers Tuesday, or Thursday afternoon or evening, as we prepare literature, placards, and an exhibition for DC, calling for abolition of DU—deadly uranium weapons. 413 773-7427 Frances Crowe leads a contingent. Ask for your NO DU sign!

Sat. Sept 24 Local vigils amplify the message, as at the Greenfield Common and Northampton courthouse.
• Sat, Sept 24 Nuclear Issues Symposium at SIT! An all-day event with the info you need to be an effective safe-energy advocate. Come to this free, all-day Symposium and learn first-hand from the experts! Faculty include David Lochbaum, noted nuclear expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists; Paul Blanch, the “Hank Aaron” of nuclear whistle-blowers; Marvin Resnikoff, internationally-recognized expert on radiation and its effects; Raymond Shadis, NEC’s own Staff Technical Advisor; and others. This event is a unique opportunity to get the information you need in order to be an effective safe-energy advocate. Later that evening there will be a special public event, yet to be announced. SPACE IS LIMITED, so register today with Joe Bish at the NEC office: (802) 257-0336, or joebish@necnp.org.

Sun, Mon, Sept 25+ 26, for nonviolence trainings, interfaith services, lobby day, civil, and mass nonviolent action see http://www.unitedforpeace.org Please call about resources if you want to arrange a teach-in at your school or community center.

Thu, Sept. 29, Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst Campus
CPPA’s annual Celebration of Public Service will honor JODY WILLIAMS, Nobel
Peace Prize winner in 1997, for commitment and public service to eliminate
antipersonnel landmines. She is only the tenth woman in its one hundred and
one year history to be awarded the Peace Prize. At 4:00 p.m. She presents,
“What You Do Matters: Creating Communities to Solve Global Problems”
http://www.icbl.org/campaign/ambassadors/jody_williams/bio#Heading92.
For More Information contact Wendy Varner, Center for Public Policy and
Administration, 413-577-0478, wvarner@pubpol.umass.edu

• Fri, Sept. 30, Amherst
SCOTT RITTER, “US at war in Iran”
Scott Ritter, former U.N. Weapons Inspector in Iraq analyzes flawed U.S. Policy towards Iran, and covert operations underway now. This presentation will be recorded for use by College radio stations. Help build bridges between Marines and pacifists, students returning to campus, and the homebound who tune in by radio. Help spark change with this truth serum for public consciousness.
At Grace Church, 14 Boltwood Ave. by the Amherst Common.
Public transportation available.
Dinner and reception 5:30, $50
Program, 7pm, suggested donation, $10
Advance reservations recommended, accepted by mail or online.
Captain for the kitchen? Hard-working helpers? 773-7427

• Sun, Oct. 2
NEW ENGLAND PEACE PAGODA, 100 Cave Hill Road, Leverett, MA Please come celebrate the Peace Pagoda’s 2oth anniversary, in place of our annual Gandhi’s birthday celebration, we will honor our Buddhist colleagues so dedicated to peacemaking. Please bring one page (8 1/2 x 11”) of fond memories, tribute, photos or reflection to include in a display and scrap book!
Helpers are needed to scrape, paint, garden, fold flowers, run errands this week, and later to help with final stages of construction of their beautiful temple, replacing one destroyed by fire so many years ago. Please call ahead to volunteer, 413 367-2202.

Best regards, Sunny

Sunny Miller, Executive Director, 413-773-7427
2000+ visitors daily
http://www.traprockpeace.org
Underlying other news of the day this question remains:
How do you want to prevent a melt-down? Make a call?
Host a debate. Plan some street theater?
Background:
The Vernon reactor is just 15 miles from Woolman Hill. In June the Vermont legislature gave away the store, and linked payments for new radioactive waste storage on the shores of the Connecticut River to a 20% increase in power output. No reactor we know of has achieved this much power increase. What can you do to stop the loss of a back-up cooling pump, increased water pressure and operating temperatures, and the reduction of the ‘safety’ margin from emergency shut-down to the beginning of a melt-down to only 18 seconds.
Request:
Asking questions is easy. Ask about evacuation plans.
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War
Peace Summer Sizzles, News