The Balfour Legacy

by Osama Mor

A century ago British Foreign Secretary Balfour promised to the Zionist movement “the establishment of a Jewish national home” in Palestine; a promise imperialists had no right to make to a colonial movement that was never entitled.

Zionist leaders long sought to garner state support for their movement’s colonial activities in Palestine, and the Declaration came as a breakthrough which laid the framework for the subsequent British Mandate. The British Mandate disadvantaged the native Palestinian majority and advantaged the Zionist colonies, despite Balfour’s promise to protect the rights of the “non-Jewish communities” in Palestine, a diminishing reference to the vast and indigenous majority.

During the 1936 – 1939 Palestinian revolt against the British-Zionist alliance, the Mandate demolished thousands of homes as punishment for rebellion, issued long-term sentences for Arab rebels, executed hundreds and killed more than 5,000 Palestinians since the start of the revolt. Zionist paramilitary groups, precursors to the Israeli colonial army, were trained by British soldiers in subduing the Palestinian revolt. Britain enjoyed this unique colonial circumstance, in which they could rely upon a local force to subjugate the indigenous people. The British Mandate’s crippling of the Palestinian leadership and disarmament of the Palestinian people set the conditions for the catastrophe in 1948.

The Balfour Declaration marked the collusion of a Zionist-imperialist alliance, an alliance that today continues to facilitate Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestine. As Israel colonizes Palestine, it serves world imperialism and the US in particular as a geopolitical base ready to support US-backed regimes and to serve as an obstacle to anti-imperialist movements in the region. Palestinians are on the frontlines, resisting this oppressive alliance, as they have for a century.

A century of the anti-Israel, anti-colonial resistance in Palestine continues and it will last until Israel, colonialism and imperialism is no more.


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Palestinian Rift Ended – Thank you Egypt

It was almost 11 years since the so-called ugly political division between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, after fighting in 2007 which led to Hamas expelling Fatah from the coastal enclave. In addition to the siege on the Strip, this split had a very dangerous impact on every Palestinian citizen, mostly in Gaza. Several meetings and conferences were held as well as dozens of countries, like Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, tried to solve this nightmare, but nothing worked!

Two weeks ago, and exactly on October 2nd, Egyptian government and the Egyptian Intelligence Service decided to take a serious step to end this “farce” that nearly wasted the Palestinian case for over a decade. During that decade-long division, the Palestinian streets only talked about the humanitarian crises, like electricity and salaries, forgetting completely about the main case of Palestine and Jerusalem.

If you walk in any Gaza main street, you will see and notice the love and the tenderness Palestinians of the Strip have for Egypt and its President, Abdul Fatah Sisi. Along with the huge photos of the Egyptian leader hung on the highest towers of Gaza city, People raised the Egyptian flag that fluttered just near the Palestinian Cabinet in Gaza, where the Palestinian PM made his weekly meeting in the city for the first time.

Supported internationally, this rift is now officially over – it’s ended- and the Palestinian people are like, “thank you Egypt.” This happened on 10th when the Egyptian Intelligence Service invited the heads of both factions to Cairo where they negotiated for two days, after which they decided to end this black period.

Being called “the Egyptian Deal” by Palestinians, this agreement, that comes a month after Hamas dissolved the committee which ran the Gaza Strip, is based on 2011’s, signed in Cairo, after which both parties did not come along due to “external factors”, as many politicians described. 2017 agreement is now the original one that provides for allowing the Fatah-backed unity government to control the Gaza Strip, its ministries, its crossings and its security. This deal will also station forces in the Gaza Strip by December.

For most of Palestinian politicians, especially for President Mahmoud Abbas, this agreement is a final one! “I welcome the agreement,” he told the AFP news agency, adding: “I received a detailed report from the Fatah delegation about what was agreed and I considered it the final agreement to end the division.”

Abbas, who is reportedly planning to come to the Gaza Strip during the next month in what would be his first visit to the Strip in a decade, promised to lift the sanctions he took recently against Hamas once the agreement is upheld in practice.

Hamas’ leadership also welcomed the new news saying that it’s a new page for Palestinians. “This agreement is a new chapter in the Palestinian history,” Hamas spokesman, Salah al-Bardawil, said.

Apparently, what happened in Egypt is the start of a very big thing not everyone can easily expect. For Palestinian citizens, who have been waiting for this news, what would happen is a breakout and a relief that would rescue the Palestinian ship that has been sinking for years. However, politicians and experts in Israeli affairs have fears that Israel will hinder this process.

They however expected a change in Israeli policy after earlier this year Hamas unveiled an updated founding charter which accepted the borders of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries for the first time.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has slammed the deal saying it’s, “making peace much harder to achieve”.

The Twitter statement about the agreement considered reconciling with Hamas is part of the problem. “There is nothing Israel wants more than peace with all our neighbors. Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes peace much harder to achieve. Say yes to peace and no to joining hands with Hamas.”

Palestine now has her two kids, the green and the yellow, united again, which will gradually unite the kids of her kids. Yet, would they keep the same optimistic atmosphere going, or a random egoism would replace it and demolish the joy every home now has?

Mohammed Arafat




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Mohanned Younis and the Fishes

By Tamara Nassar

In the days leading up to Mohanned’s suicide, a friend posted a live video of thousands of fishes shoring up on the Gaza beach as merchants and fishermen gathered up to take their share. Blood was everywhere. He said that the whole world can forget about Gaza because there is a God above who does not.


Mohanned was a Gazan short story writer, and recently graduated from pharmaceutical school when he took his life about a month ago. In one of his stories he wrote:

“I feel a loss of all emotional connection with even the closest people around me. Perhaps I’m even ashamed of my feelings, as if they’re nothing but some sort of defect or damned illness that must be hidden from people’s eyes. Is this normal? Please don’t tell me with your quiet, infuriating voice that everything is gonna be all right. Because it’s not.”

Kali Rubaii once told me that dying is a politically powerful act. That it is drastically more powerful than killing. That it is sometimes more powerful than going on living. This is perhaps what it means to practice the right to die when there is nothing left to be lived through.

Blood from thousands of fishes shored up on the Gaza beach… it is oddly reminiscent of the four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach when they were murdered by an Israeli missile during operation protective edge in 2014. It felt like a reincarnated tribute, one that is difficult to understand.

When a person dies in our society, we eat a huge meal and drink coffee on the soul of the dead. But when four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach are murdered by an Israeli missile, and fifteen hundred others all in the same summer, is there anyone left to eat and drink on anyone’s soul?

Mohanned’s suicide is a murder—a slow murder, aged within an open air prison and the slowest genocide in the world. A concentration camp of dead and yet to be.

Continue reading

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Imagining a Liberated Struggle

By Katie Comfort

I first heard about the Philippine peace talks in late 2016, as a new member of the Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP). Filled with ignorance about the current situation in the Philippines, I immediately felt nervous and anxious that the group I had joined was advocating to be present at a negotiation table. It seemed to me that these processes always tried to normalize power between the rulers and the rebels, ignoring class dynamics and encouraging one side to sacrifice more than the other (often subversively). I assumed that the fifth round of peace talks would play out exactly how Oslo has with more land lost and more power ceded. However, as this fifth round of political negotiations has progressed, I have found a renewed hope in seeing representatives from people’s movements sitting across the table from their aggressors. In learning more about the Filipino struggle for national democracy, I have found renewed hope in the ability of Palestinians and their international solidarity allies to join together as a force that can still advocate and negotiate for a free Palestine. While the conditions of Palestine are vastly different than the Philippines, the fifth round of peace talks for Filipino liberation lets me glimpse the future of a free Palestine as well. Continue reading

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Jerusalem clashes, how does the world react?

Since Friday morning, the area of Jerusalem and around it witnessed a fierce spike in violence between Palestinians who protested the installation of metal detectors at the gates of the Old City in response to an attack by a Palestinian gunman there, and the Israeli police standing on those gates. As a result, the world started to be concerned by this crisis, asking both sides to calm down.

In a joint statement, the USA, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations said that they “are deeply concerned by the escalating tensions and violent clashes taking place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem”. They also called both sides to restraint.

In addition to that, Egypt, France and Sweden requested a meeting at the UN Security Council to discuss this issue urgently.

Palestinians, especially those living inside and near Jerusalem, refused what happened around the golden mosque! Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein, said that he rejects Israeli restrictions at the Al-Aqsa.

Likewise, Ismail Haniya, Hamas Political desk, said during his sermon on Friday, urged that Palestinians shall not enter Al-Aqsa mosque through metal detectors, and that, “we are acting to bring Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem back into the embrace of the Arab world!”

A lot of Arabs living inside Israel believe that things will get worse if Israel does not stop its procedures. Arab member of Israeli keenest, Taleb Abu Arar, stated that the Israeli actions at the Mosque and changing the status quo by placing metal detectors, will necessarily lead to a third intifada, “that already began today.”

Ahmad Tibi, who is also an Arab member in the Keenest, said that the Israeli government and its head, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, are responsible for the clashes and those who died during them.

“Netanyahu said there are metal detectors in mecca, but mecca is not under occupation!” added Tibi.

On the other hand, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cut his visit to China and came back to Palestine. As soon as he entered his presidential office in Ramallah, he had a meeting and decided to freeze all ties with Israeli government in all levels, “until recent decisions on Al-Aqsa backtracked.”

However, It is not clear if that means security coordination between Israeli forces and the PA forces will be halted.

Relatively, People of Gaza, who also protested against the detectors, feared that this crisis would reflect on them negatively.

Mohammed Abu-Aref, Gazan graduate, said Gaza might witness a war very soon since things in Jerusalem are really worsened!

“Whenever something happens in Jerusalem or in the West Bank between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel tries to deliver the crises to Gaza by starting a new war” Added Mohammed.

Emad Salama, a Palestinian Imam, stressed his absolute rejection of the electronic gates!

“We are Muslims, and we have to enter our mosque whenever we want, and without entering the gates through those metal detectors!”

Israeli procedures faced growing criticism from the Muslim world. Jordan, where thousands staged protests against the metal detectors, appealed to Israel to remove the devices as soon as possible.

Demonstrations were also seen in Turkey, Egypt and many Muslim and Arab countries!

Turkish PM, Binali Yildirim, said his country is in touch with Israel to try to end the crisis, saying that limits imposed on Muslim prayers would not contribute to a solution.

Pope Frances appealed for moderation after what the old city witnessed. He also invited others to pray with his so both sides would reconcile.

“I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue.” Expressed Pope.

The situations in Jerusalem are getting from bad to worse, while there are no solutions in the sight! International efforts are being done, but Palestinians assert that electronic detectors must be taken away, while Israel says it will not back off!


Mohammed Arafat





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Creative Resistance

When I first visited Palestine on a witness trip with FOSNA in 2014 I kept hearing the resistance movement being talked about as the beautiful or creative resistance. I had heard ‘’nonviolent resistance’’ before, but never the former two. At that time, I thought that this beauty and creativity applied to the arts and the way Palestinian’s were able to express themselves creatively to enact their humanness. Those words – creative resistance – have stuck with me since that trip and embedded themselves in the fabric of my conditioning. What did it mean, what could it mean, to resist creatively or beautifully? Following the myriad of answers to that question has led me right back to working with FOSNA and the space they provide for advocates to think creatively about how to respond to the Israeli occupation and its violation of Palestinian human rights.

Looking back, I see now that the creative resistance is not just about how resisters express themselves, but how they use their minds. The potential that is innately within each of us to do good in this world. To push the limits that upholds the status quo and explore new horizons of what kinds of worlds are possible. It is the threading together of ideas – ideas that Israel has tried to destroy – with the goal of building a broad and spread-out coalition of resisters committed to ending the centuries-old colonial project once and for all. To resist with Palestine is to stand up for our entire world – and all the people and traditions in it – because it is an attempt to end the colonial disease once and for all. The occupation, the apartheid wall, the IDF, Netanyahu – these are all symptoms of a disease our species has been trying to cure ourselves of for centuries, and what Palestinians have showed us is that the most effective treatment to conquer this illness is through a creative and beautiful resistance. If colonial occupation is the disease, then resistance is the antidote that enables us to work towards repair.

When I asked David from the Tent of Nations, the last piece of hilltop land secured by a Palestinian family since settlers and their settlements have stolen a majority of Palestinian land, what nonviolent resistance meant to him, he responded by saying “When you do something different, it confuses the other side. We must act differently.” That is what creative resistance means – to do something different than what is expected of us.

Iyad Burnat, leader and protest organizer in Bil’in.
Palestinian creative resistance: growing plants from tear gas canisters.

The project I’ve just started working on with FOSNA is an intricate one that requires us to think creatively and pragmatically on how to bridge theory with practice at the local level. To move forward with effective pragmatism requires creativity. This campaign is creative in the way it sutures together many ideas and people, creating an affirmation of resistance. It’s beautiful because it is borne of and travelled through the many minds of resisters throughout time to get where it is now, showing how similar struggles can coalesce similar resisters.

The new FOSNA campaign aims to assist local constituents to take back the people power in their cities, townships, counties, or communities. Millions of dollars from our taxes are filtered into contracts and investments chosen by our local city officials and we, the people of these municipalities, have a right to collectively decide how this money is spent. FOSNA “encourages groups to work on municipal campaigns, targeting governmental entities that have contracted, or are proposing to contract, with companies profiting off the violation of Palestinian human rights in their local areas. We urge you to get to know the local political powers and learn how the system works, where the authority lies, and what works best with local governing bodies. Much of the work done by your local government involves contracts with outside companies, corporations, and businesses. Contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties. Typically a local governmental entity will announce a contract opportunity on a procurement portal, and companies will then bid for that contract. After a preset time (typically a few months) bidding will close and the city council, school board, or other entity will then review each bid and decide on an awardee. The contract will then enter into force for a specified period of time. After that period the contract will expire and the process starts again.’’

by Marjorie Langdon
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For the first time in Gaza, farmer masters water gardening

Planting with aquatics is slightly different from other forms of gardening in which the farmer needs to be aware of proper planting techniques, fertility and care.

However this method of planting is successful in every country in the first world ones and some in the third, it, for the first time, was a successful by a Palestinian farmer in the besieged Gaza Strip amid the lack of the resources needed for planting and the shortages of importing those resources.

Saed abu Nasser, a 53-year-old Palestinian farmer living in the Gaza Strip is the first Palestinian from the enclave succeeded in water gardening (Planting Aquatic Plants), which is famous in the rest of the world.

Setting among his freshly picked plants in his 200 meter farm that he used after being neglected for years in front of his home, abu Nasser said that he has finally succeeded in gardening healthy vegetables in containers containing water without using soil.

Using mineral salts with water, the farmer considered his step a big achievement in the agriculture era in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“These vegetables don’t consist of any chemicals, and they are really helpful for the human body. These plants are not poisonous like a lot of productions that left side effects to its consumers.” Said abu Nasser.

Broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and eggplant are the group the successful farmer succeeded to get just within a period of 30-70 days.

Calling his small farm ‘a paradise of vegetables on earth’, he said that water gardening is a new method of planting in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from the lack of planting lands, fertilized soil and planting resources.

Abu Nasser is not only an amateur farmer, but he is also a good carpenter whose hobby is farming and planting.

“I love planting and farming, so I began thinking of something unique regarding my hobby ten years ago. As a result, I starting surfing deeply the internet looking for the procedures of this method, and with the help of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), I could master it”. He explained.

When asked why he loves his new method, abu Nasser responded that he began using it to avoid the poisonous vegetables that Gaza markets are filled with due to the chemicals a lot of farmers use without knowledge.

Amid the bad economic, social and political situations in Palestine and in the Gaza Strip in General, abu Nasser, like many other successful farmers, achieved his self-sufficiency.

“Now I can finally say that I am self-sufficient, and I can satisfy my family’s needs through my project.” He added.

To widen his project after its success, abu Nasser said that he is trying to develop the unique method on a 1000 meter planting land in the Strip. He also advises his fellow farmers to use this method simply because, “The products are healthy, fresh and clean as well as it helps saving money.”

When asked about the difficulties and the challenges he faced when starting his succeeded project, abu Nasser said that the main problem he faced was the power corruption that challenged him when trying pumping water inside the containers of the plants.

“The FAO helped me getting solar cells though, but that did not help since the cells could provide only half of the required power. However, the things we need now are greenhouses to help the plants have a normal atmosphere to be able to grow properly.” Explained the farmer.

Moreover, abu Nasser said that the project of planting aquatic plants cost him about 10,000 USD, which is a high price.

On the other hand, Mohammed Bukheit, the manager of Plant Protection and Quarantine tasks in the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, said that this method helps the costumers avoid the unhealthy plants containing chemicals.

“Using this method doubles the harvest of the plant.” Bukheit added. “That means, in the traditional planting, which is planting using soil, the harvest of one dunam of potato, for example, is about four tons, but when it comes to this new method, the harvest would be ten tons for the one dunam.”

He also said that one dunam of Tomato can produce 40 tons using this method, while it’s only 10 in the traditional planting.

Mohammed Arafat


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