May 24, 2018

World's Best Falafel Recipe


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The Killing Fields of Gaza by Fred Schlomka of Green Olive Tours

The Killing Fields of Gaza


- by Fred Schlomka - - 20th May, 2018 -

Gaza continues to be desperate. Your help is needed.
Imagine a giant prison bounded by the sea on one side, and fences and walls on the other three sides. The original prison guards were thrown out in 1967, and the new prison guards evacuated themselves in 2006, retreating to the prison borders, sealing it off except for a few heavily guarded entrances, fortresses along the prison’s land border, and gunboats patrolling the shoreline. Since then few have been allowed to enter or exit. A bare minimum of goods are permitted to enter, barely enough to allow the subsistence for the inmates. 

One of the prison gangs took over the management of the prison, and terrorised the inmates into compliance with their demands. Rival gangs have sent a some small rockets over the fence, causing little property damage and almost no casualties. This results in remote retaliatory attacks by the prison guards via drones, rockets and bombs. Most of the prison inmates live in fear, from the Israelis, from Hamas, and of destitution and despair. There is little hope for the future

The 2 million inmates of Gaza have no citizenship - no state - no freedom. 

Over the past two months, tens of thousands of people come to the fence every Friday to protest their plight. A few try and approach the fence. Some burn tires and throw stones across the fence. The vast majority stay at a distance. It seems likely that these protests are organised by Hamas. It’s also possible that Hamas is orchestrating and planning for the eventual killings, by managing teams of people who are trained and instructed to approach the fence. And yes, there were a few visible armed protesters.

Israel set up teams of snipers and is playing its part by shooting them down. It’s all very predictable. Just a last week, about 60 people were killed in a calculated manner by these snipers. It’s a turkey shoot. 

Much of the foreign media mirrors the official Israeli use of words like ‘clashes’ or ‘riots, describing the protestors as ‘terrorists’. Terminology is used to imply that Israelis are at risk, and the fence might be breached.  Israel fuels this misconception by massing troops along the Gaza border, backed by teams of paramilitary police. 

CNN International said that the ‘clashes’ resulted in ‘deaths’, as if they were acts of God, yet also allowed that ‘Many of them caused by Israeli fire’. Even Israel’s liberal Haaretz newspaper called the protest a ‘clash’.

There were no ‘clashes’. Every Palestinian was murdered on their own side of the fence by Israeli snipers on the Israeli side of the fence. No protesters came in close contact with any Israeli soldier, not was there any possibility of this happening. 

Every Palestinian murder was a calculated decision of an Israeli sniper or his/her immediate commander, in accordance with their rules of engagement which allows the killing of unarmed Palestinians who are causing no immediate danger to anyone. 

These tactics are the same as used by colonial empires of bygone eras and other authoritarian regimes of today, which prohibit any actions by disenfranchised people protesting their rule. The British likewise conducted lethal reprisals against protests by their subject peoples in India and Africa. China has more recently followed suit. Israel has learned well. 

Non-violent protests are especially feared by the state of Israel, and every effort is made to ensure that violence ensues, thus justifying the killings, at least in Israel’s worldview.

Make no mistake. If Israel wanted to use non-lethal means to drive back the few hundred protesters that approach the fence, then it has sufficient means at it’s disposal, notably water cannon and tear gas. However it also serves Israel’s purpose to conduct these killings.

Israel also needs to learn that murderous repression of protest never has the desired results in the long term. Palestinian steadfastness will not be contained by murder and slaughter. Ultimately the likes of Hamas and the Zionist regime will be tossed in the dustbin of history, and the liberation of the people of Palestine and Israel will be realised. In the meanwhile people are being killed.

Your support is critical at this time. Here’s what you can do:
  • Contact the nearest Israeli Embassy to protest the actions of the IDF
  • Organise a protest outside your nearest Israeli consulate or Embassy
  • Join an organisation in your locale that is active in these issues
  • Contact your political representatives to exert pressure on the Israeli government. 
  • Encourage your friends and relatives to come and visit Israel/Palestine, and bear witness to the events that are unfolding.
  • Organise a group to come on a study tour.
In Peace,
Fred Schlomka
CEO, Green Olive Collective


This very important post was copied from the blog of Green Olive Tours.

Here is a link to the page:



Thank you, Fred, for taking time to share with us these very important words and your thoughts on this issue.


from cl:

Just returning from a visit to the area and wanting to let everyone know the food was delicious, the countryside was lovely, biking through hills of almond and olive groves and the hospitality was something to write home about.

Always wanting to visit the city after the tour going to Ramallah on my own was fun and interesting.  It is easy to see the city because it is small and not difficult to navigate.  The shop keepers are friendly, often offering coffee and a sample of their goods--please visit the candy shops.  

The Arafat Museum was very well done--recomending it to anyone interested in this very famous person who holds the heart of the Palestinians.

Area D Hostel is a good price, the people there are very willing to answer questions and take time to chat and the breakfast is particularly nice and well worth the price.  The gentleman that serves it is a good cook.

Area D Hostel is right across from the bus station so it is very easy to get back to Jerusalem and then go to the airport from there.

Do not miss the vendors with the cups of corn with lemon, spices, salt and butter and the falafel shops.

Bill Press on The McLaughlin Group 5/20/18: Love McLaughlin






Will The Group be back on PBS soon.........



from cl and the ronnie re.......
Dogs helping dogs in Palestine:
Recently in Ramallah after touring the area with Bike Palestine.  People kept asking my opinion of the donald and voicing their frustrations with his lack of respect for the Arab Counties and moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
In Bethlehem I had the opportunity to visit Dianna George Babish and her animal shelter and right nextdoor the Palestine Wildlife Society and Imad Qumsieh.
Just wanted to tell everyone about these two Palestinian heroes working to help the animals of this area.
If anyone has any suggestions for promotion or how to help these very hard working individuals please jump in with your ideas.......
here is a link to my story:


All of these dogs need homes and they are very lovely dogs, too.
Please spread the word and thank you for reading.
Thank you,
cl
Dianna and her friend Sabrina from Work-Away

Imad Qumsieh




The workers are very dedicated and some have worked without pay.



Can you help my friends in Palestine......they need a home, too.




May 23, 2018

10 Tips on visiting Palestine & Israel: Green Olive Tours on @TheRonnieRe

10 Tips on visiting Palestine & Israel



copied from Green Olive Tours



1. PREPARATION - Do some advance reading about the country’s history, religions & politics. This will enhance your visit.


Here’s some suggested reading

  a. A Brief Framing of the Palestine/Israel Conflict. This short 15-page booklet is an essential place to begin your learning curve of the region. Free download here.

  b. A comprehensive suggested reading list can be found at this link.

(This is a copied page of a PDF--please go to the very informative website of Green Olive Tours to actually get the link.  cl)



2. THE AIRPORT - Entering the country is an adventure in itself. Israeli security is legendary for ferreting out ‘undesirable tourists’ and whisking them out of the country almost before their feet touches the airport tarmac. ‘Undesirable’ in Israeli terms can mean anyone who has publicly criticised the government and been audacious enough to promote their views on FaceBook or other public media. Having stamps in your passport from places like Lybia or Iran is also a ‘red flag’. Here’s our advice to get through Ben Gurion airport without being invited to the proverbial ‘back room’ for a chat:

 a. Brush your teeth and wash up before your flight starts to descend.

 b. Dress well. There’s something about a collar and tie, or a smart dress, that disarms Israeli security.

 c. Sloppy dress or hippy-ish looks, will raise an immediate red flag.

 d. Wear a large Jewish or Christian religious symbol.

 e. The first word out of your mouth at passport control should be ‘Shalom’.

 f. Try and avoid the words, ‘Palestine’, ‘West Bank’, or anything that indicates that you see yourself as visiting ‘Palestine’, not Israel. Above all, smile at the passport officer. He/she can make a snap judgement based solely on your demeanour, and press the little red button on the floor to summon a plain clothed person with a flesh coloured ear bud.




3. HOSTELS & HOTELS - So you made it out of the airport - Congratulations. Where to go? The airport is almost half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem so either city is a good place to start. Tel Aviv is a vibrant cosmopolitan city on the beach with a large number of great hostels and hotels. We recommend being less than a 15-minute walk from the beach. Jerusalem likewise has a variety of options which differ between the West and the East side of the city. Generally East Jerusalem hotels and hostels are Palestinian-managed, and those in West Jerusalem are Israeli managed. For specific recommendations, please send an email from this link.



4. DRESS CODES - If you travel to traditional Muslim areas, such Hebron or Nablus, or to an ultra orthodox Jewish neighbourhood such as Mea Sharim in Jerusalem, you should cover your body parts - for both men and women long trousers (pants) and a shirt that covers the shoulder and upper arms would be enough - it’s recommended for a female to always carry a scarf to cover her hair or shoulders when visiting religious places. For more details check this link.



5. SAFETY - In both Israel and Palestinian areas, the streets are very safe. Violent crime is relatively rare and it is usually quite safe for solo woman The occasional political violence rarely impacts on foreign tourists who are usually not the target. For more details see this link.



 Published by the Green Olive Collective, a Palestinian/Israeli social enterprise. The organisation is dedicated to cultivating humane and just societies through progressive social change, cultural development, political activity and economic enterprise.


© 2017 Green Olive Collective Inc – www.greenolivetours.com – office@greenolivetours.com – +972-3-721-9540



6. COMMUNICATION - One of the oddities of the country is that people call it by different names, depending on your location and the religion of the person you are talking to. Whether referred to as ‘Israel’ or ‘Palestine’, locals usually meaning the same piece of land from the river to the sea - the majority of Palestinian Arabs, even those who are Israeli citizens, do not like the country to be called Israel and the opposite is true for Israelis who don’t like the country to be called Palestine. Be aware of whom you are talking to. In many places using Hebrew will elicit a negative response, and using Arabic in Jewish areas will likewise often not be welcome. That applies to greetings such as ‘Shalom’ or ‘Salaam’.



7. LOCALES - Moving between Jerusalem and Tel aviv often feels like travelling to another country and switching cultures, although they are just an hour’s drive from each other. Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city, whereas Jerusalem is traditional and heavily religious. Similarly, travelling from a Jewish town to an Arab town will also seem like you’ve moved countries, even though these locations are often just a few kilometres apart.



8. TRANSPORT - There are good roads and public transport throughout the country.

 a. Public transport in Israel is generally quite good. Trains and buses go everywhere in the country but are limited or non-existent during the Sabbath in Jewish areas of Israel, . Public transport is also quite good in Palestinian areas, and runs 7 days a week in most areas.

 b. Car rental in Israel is ubiquitous and intercity roads are excellent, however most yellow-plated Israeli rental cars are not insured for Palestinian areas in the West Bank. Palestinian car rental companies in east Jerusalem will rent you a car with full coverage for both Israel and the West Bank. If you rent a car from a Palestinian company in Bethlehem or Ramallah with a green/white license plate you won’t be able to drive it across the Green Line into Israel



9. CURRENCY - Cash machines or ATMs (‘Caspomat’ in Hebrew) are everywhere in Israel. Even at kiosks on the street. However always carry some shekels cash, especially when travelling in Palestinian territories, since many places accept only cash, and ATM’s can be rare outside the cities in the West Bank.


10. MEETING PEOPLE - Make sure to engage in discussions with local people. Most Israelis and Palestinians are friendly so if you have a chance to speak with the Arab or Jewish population, engaging with them in a discussion will teach you a lot and enrich your journey. Even though it’s a small country between the river and the sea, different people live under different laws, circumstances etc. Try to visit different types of communities in your most likely short trip, such as Israelis from a kibbutz, Mizrahi Jews, ultra-orthodox Jews, Palestinian villagers, Christian Palestinians and Palestinians from the city.




Here is a link to the blog page of Green Olive Tours--Fred has posted a very important article about Gaza:

http://blog.toursinenglish.com/2018/05/the-killing-fields-of-gaza.html




May 22, 2018

Presidential historian: Impeachment will be the 'season finale' of Trump BY AVERY ANAPOL - 05/21/18 10:00 AM EDT

   
Presidential historian Jon Meacham said Monday that he thinks impeachment will be the “season finale” to President Trump’s time in office.
Meacham told “Morning Joe” that Trump’s vow to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the FBI spied on his campaign is similar to former President Nixon’s behavior ahead of firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and that his presidency is likely to end the same way as Nixon’s.
Meacham said that the midterm elections present a likely opportunity for Democrats to impeach Trump.
“I would bet a good bit of money this is going to end up in the House with some kind of impeachment proceeding, and the makeup of that body and ultimately the reaction of the United States Senate, which is supposed to be the great deliberative check and the great final hammer on these things,” he said. “I think … that’s going to be the season finale of this.”
A majority vote in the House is required under the Constitution to impeach a president, which would be much more likely if Democrats retake the majority in this fall's midterm elections. Democratic leaders have been cautious in talking about impeachment, fearing it could become an election issue for Republicans to turn out their base of voters.
In the Senate, a two-thirds majority vote is needed to win a conviction on impeachment — a high bar even if Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate. 
Nixon was not impeached, but resigned after being told an impeachment vote in the House was unavoidable and that he would likely be convicted in the Senate.
Former President Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998, but was acquitted by the Senate in early 1999.
Meacham said that Trump’s “obsession” with former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton evokes Nixon.
“Both Nixon and Trump have an ongoing obsession with their former opponents in a way that I think shapes what they do in deleterious ways, to say the least,” Meacham said. “He was always obsessed with what President Kennedy had gotten away with, in his view, and remember, of course, that’s clearly true with President Trump.”
Trump said Sunday that he would ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the FBI under Obama surveilled his campaign, after claiming several times without evidence that there was an FBI informant embedded in his campaign.
The Justice Department asked its inspector general to look into Trump's claims.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. 
copied from The Hill on Yahoo News

Presidential historian: Impeachment will be the 'season finale' of Trump