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The Road to Tantura Journey


By Marivel Guzman

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For the supporters of Israel who romanticize the creation of Israel as an event of resilience and courage, let me tell you that creating a village on the ruins and blood of the native residents is not romantic at all.

One of our own #Celebs4Palestine, #HalaGabriel, An American filmmaker, a Palestinian born in exile in Syria after all her family were expelled from their village in Palestine in 1948. Gabriel presents you with her “Road to Tantura Journey,” in one documentary; “Tantura.”

Tantura is a village in the Mediterranean shores of Palestine now called Tantura, Israel.

Gabriel’s documentary takes you in a journey of remembrance and pain; What is to be a refugee; how her village was invaded by Israeli army and through the voices of historians and survivors the film “speaks” how the men were put in open concentration camps and some left to died by thirst and starvation.

“Tantura” walks you through the exodus of Palestinians that ended in Syria and Lebanon as refugees, some still living in tents–How the lives of refugees transform from living in beautiful-monument homes to live in tents. The story repeats for Palestinians that until recently lived in Syria refugee camps, now, are again forced to another exodus of survival. Their story repeats after 70 years of exodus from their native Tantura to open concentrations camps in Europe.

 

 

You can read in The Jerusalem Post an account of the events in its article  The Tantura ‘Massacre’ Affair, published Feb. 09, 2004. The article was based on the writtings by historian Benny Morris, “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problems,” originally published on by Cambridge University Press (New York, NY) on 1988.

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“Tantura” gives you a glimpse of the horrors residents of Tantura, Palestine suffered on the hands of the “heroic” Israeli soldiers who came to her family village. Some of those soldiers who just two years previous to the invasion of Tantura have suffered the same ordeal in Germany under the Nazi regime. A retired Israel soldier excused his participation in the invasion with “You have to ask yourself, he said,” “who gave the order.” Regardless of who gave the order; the story of displacement and murder of the residents of the village was the same.

Gabriel started the project “The Road to Tantura,” more than 10 years ago, now to finish the documentary “Tantura,” she has opened a kickstarter fund where you can help her to finish the journey.

Celebrities for Palestine awaken conscience speak up; Marjorie Wright


by Marivel Guzman

Marjorie Wright, American writer and producer winner of the 2009 Armin T. Wegner Award

Marjorie Wright, American writer and producer winner of the 2009 Armin T. Wegner Award

Marjorie Wright is an American filmmaker of conscience concerned with human rights. In 2008 wrote and Co-directed with Lucy Martens, “Voices From Inside, Israelis Speak,” a film that weaves historic footage with modern-day views of Palestine: its partition walls, “apartheid roads,” demolished homes and the Israeli soldiers sent to “protect” Israel, says, The San Francisco Reporter.

In 2011 Wright was part of a group of 267  artists and supporters of the arts—including dozens of prominent playwrights, actors, directors, filmmakers, producers and theater professors from the U.S., New Zealand, Israel, England and other countries—have signed a public letter to Israeli authorities decrying the Israeli military’s attacks on The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, a northern city in the West Bank, Palestine, which was founded by Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was assassinated on  4 April 2011 in  Jenin.

Voices From Inside, Israelis Speak is a documentary film tracing an Israeli evolution of consciousness from early Zionism, a holocaust perspective, and seeds of militaristic nationalism to a positive modern perspective of conscience, honesty, and reconciliation: the real path to lasting peace.
The 16 peace activists interviewed for the film say citizens of Israel need to wake up to the country’s reality, particularly parents who send their sons and daughters to the army in which, “blinded by power,” they commit unspeakable acts.

Those Jews who speak out against human-rights abuses in Israel and Palestine increasingly face their own “ominous loss of rights,” Wright says. “There have been arrests, confiscation of computers, threats of huge fines and imprisonment.” Recent interviews with American Jewish academics, Wright says, point to the rise of what they call “fascist elements inside Israeli society and the erosion of rights even for Jewish citizens.”

The film was awarded  Arpa’s Armin T. Wegner in 2009, which each year is awards a motion picture that contributes to the fight for social conscience and human rights, “Voices from Inside: Israelis Speak.” “This feature length documentary film is based on the stories of 16 Jewish Israeli voices of conscience, each representing a different facet of the peace movement inside Israel,” says Zaven Khachaturian, Arpa Film Festival Curator who invited the film to the festival.

On 2013, Wright wrote Voices Across the Divide, “Millions of dollars are spent on campus groups and in the media, aggressively promoting an Israel-right-or-wrong political stand and actively attacking students, professors, writers, and performers who exhibit sympathy or interest in “the other side.” This muzzling of the dialogue is a major threat to our fundamental principles of free speech and tolerance and thus to our basic democratic values. It is also deeply corruptive to our foreign policy and our ability to understand how others see us. Voices Across the Divide follows Alice Rothchild’s personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative, while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US, exploring voices for a just peace in the region.” Written by Alice Rothchild

Voices From Inside

 

Voices From Inside, Israelis Speak Part 2

 

The Law in These Parts

January 25, 2013 1 comment

The Israeli documentary putting military rule in Palestine on trial

The Law In These Parts documentary builds a strong case against the judges responsible for Israel’s draconian occupation laws

What is legal and what is just? Through candid, first-ever, interviews with Israeli judges, prosecutors and legal advisors, The Law In These Parts – winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival – is a gripping and revelatory investigation into the legal framework put in place by Israel to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

What is legal and what is just? Through candid, first-ever, interviews with Israeli judges, prosecutors and legal advisors, The Law In These Parts – winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival – is a gripping and revelatory investigation into the legal framework put in place by Israel to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

‘Why are Palestinans attempting to enter Israel labelled “infiltrators”?’

The Law In These Parts, an Israeli documentary awarded this year’s Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury prize, examines how the country created a military-legal system to control the Palestinians in the lands Israel occupied in 1967. And at some point during the film, it becomes clear that it’s the judges who are on trial. The documentary, which just screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival, features forceful archive footage, alongside a line-up of Israeli legal experts, explaining how they made Israel’s occupation laws.

Since Israel conquered the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war, the military has imposed thousands of orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, enabled half a million Israeli “settlers” to move to the Occupied Territories and developed a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army that is unique in the entire world.

Each judge sits in a black leather chair at a heavy wooden desk intended, you might first assume, to evoke a serious courtroom. But then, each is quietly interrogated by the film’s narrator; asked to explain the military rule that they created. Why did Israel even need hundreds of new laws for occupied Palestinians? What was wrong with the existing legal system? Because Israeli law, one judge says, can only be applied if you give citizenship to the Palestinian population. Why aren’t Palestinian fighters described as “prisoners of war”? Why are Palestinians attempting to enter Israel labelled as “infiltrators”? One judge is asked to recount a case from the mid-1970s, where a Palestinian woman giving bread and sardines to a Palestinian “infiltrator” from neighboring Jordan was sentenced to a year and a half in prison – as deterrent. “How did you find out about the pitta bread?” asks the narrator. Don’t worry about that, the military judge replies, the walls have ears.

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The evidence against these Israeli judges slowly mounts as they try to justify an unjustifiable tangle of what they thought would be temporary laws, devised to control and subdue Palestinians in the occupied territories. One judge recounts how he told former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon of an obscure law from the Ottoman era, which Sharon swiftly deployed to seize Palestinian land. The film’s narrator asks the judge if he thinks, with hindsight, that this was a good idea. “History will decide,” the judge replies, but the narrator leaves no room for evasion: “But when will that be?” he asks, of a system that has been in place for 45 years.

This film successfully depicts the dense, crushing absurdities of Israel’s military rule in a way that words don’t always manage. While reporting from the region, I spent hours talking with lawyers, who would deconstruct the maze of rules that mean Palestinians always end up penalized. I have notebooks full of explanations of these small, complicated, crucial details. But how do you distil this system into one line of a short news piece? How do you condense the overlapping Ottoman rulings, laws from the British mandate era and brand new Israeli edicts that all fuse into a controlling mesh of military rule over Palestinians, while keeping Jewish settlers free – because as Israeli citizens, they are governed (or, mostly, not governed) by regular Israeli law? And how do you explain why 99.74% of military trials end up convicting Palestinians?

The Law In These Parts ends with a focus on Bassem Tamimi, one of the organizers of weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, a West Bank village whose land and main water source, a spring, has been appropriated by a nearby settlement. He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment after protesting last month at an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank, which stocks settlement, but not Palestinian, produce. Amnesty has described him as a prisoner of conscience and demanded his release, castigating the Israeli military’s “campaign of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention” against this 45-year-old father of four.

As one of the organizers of the al-Nabi Salneh protests and a coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Bassem Tamimi and his family have been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army.
Since the demonstrations began, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times. His wife has been arrested twice and two of his children have been injured — Wa’ed was in hospital for five days after he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and Mohammed was injured by a tear-gas canister that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder.
Bassem Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he has only once been convicted by a military court – on charges that Amnesty International believes were unfounded.  Amnesty International

During a trial last year, Tamimi, a schoolteacher, told the military court: “Your honor, I was born in the same year as the occupation, and ever since I’ve been living under its inherent inhumanity, inequality, racism and lack of freedom. I have been imprisoned nine times for a sum of almost three years, though I was never convicted of any crime. During one of my detentions I was paralyzed as a result of torture. My wife was detained, my children wounded, my land stolen by settlers and now my house is slated for demolition … You, who claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East, are trying me under laws written by authorities I have not elected, and which do not represent me”. Shortly after this hearing, Tamimi was convicted of inciting protesters to throw stones at soldiers (he was cleared of more serious charges, including “perverting the course of justice”, in May, after 11 months in military prison, because a judge decided that key evidence, obtained from a coerced 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was unreliable).

“What actually incited them,” Tamimi told the courtroom, “was the occupation’s bulldozers on our land, the guns, the smell of tear gas.” And then he asked: “If the military judge releases me, will I be convinced that there is justice in your courts?”

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