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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Muslim students claiming 'hate' beating at Guilford College came from suicide bomber sympathetic Friends School in Ramallah

Muslim students claiming 'hate' beating at Guilford College came from suicide bomber sympathetic Friends School in Ramallah

January 31, 2007

Lynching October 2000

MIM: The lynchings of the two Israeli soldiers Yossi Avrahmi and Vladmir Norvitjz place next door to The Friends School in Ramallah. Both were seen in front of the school before they were hauled off to the police station.

The Flag of Palestine 'Palestinian' flag on Ramallah Friends School building.

"As Quakers, we believe that every life is sacred, including that of the young man who turns himself into a human bomb." (Article on Ramallah Online website).

Were the two soldiers attempting to seek refuge at the Friends School which had an english sign?

Not only did The Friends School not condemn the killings of the two reservists. they used it as a pretext to criticise Israel! Friend School supporters published articles and letters about the school damage which occurred after what they call and IDF strike on " a police station next door". The fact that the police station was being demolished after it had been the scene of the vicious slaughter of two Israelis who had gotten lost in Ramallah was never mentioned.

Ghassan Khatib a trustee of The Friends School and former PA 'Minister of Labor implied the murders were justified.

Khatib, noting that an average of nearly 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces every day since the violence began, said the four Israeli soldiers could not have been in Palestinian-controlled areas by accident."

There is a big question about why theses soldiers were there," he said. "It cannot be by mistake because there are checkpoints all over." http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/10/12/mideast.violence.02/index.html

The MIFTAH website of Hanan Ashrawi, Friends School graduate and Arafat appointed lackey who is the most venerated alum of the school - (she spoke at their commencement last year) published a piece entitled;

"The World is a dangerous place for Palestinians" which had this to say about the alleged Guilford beatings.

However, one acutely tangible ramification of the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon is the manner in which non-whites, especially Arab and Muslim peoples are perceived and subsequently treated in the United States and in other western parts of the world.

No one knows this better than Palestinians at the receiving end of this newly heightened racist mentality.The incident at Guilford only epitomizes this new and dangerous trend.www.ccmep.org/palpics2.html (article below)

The Lower School (FGS)

The Lower School (FGS) is located on a beautifully shaded campus near the heart of the Old City of Ramallah. It presently has over 620 girls and boys from the lower kindergarten to grade six. More pictures

The Upper School (FBS)

The Upper School (FBS) is located on the picturesque campus of El-Bireh. It presently has over 490 girls and boys in grades 7 to 12. Originally built near the Friends Girl School, the Friends Boys School was moved in 1905 to its present location because of the need for expansion. The Administration building, which used to contain rooms for boarding students, now has many classrooms and offices. It is the most historic building on campus, a beautiful stone building with an ivy façade. The campus has grown over the years; the latest additions include the ASHA-sponsored Science Building and Library, IT Labs, and Multi-Purpose Hall Facility.

Map of Ramallah showing the proximity of the police station to The Friends Boys School and the 'Military Governor's Office and 'ministries' which were also bombed after the soldiers murders.

Guilford College Controversy Framed By Relationship With Suicide Bomber Friendly Ramallah Friends School

January 30, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - As detailed in a previous piece Guilford College Controversy Being Manipulated By CAIR the issues surrounding the alleged "hate crime" attack against three foreign-born students at this Southern college campus have reverberated throughout that community and tumbled into national political consciousness.

The three young men, two from Ramallah and one from Jerusalem, Osama Abdalkarim Sabbah, Faris S. Khader and Omar M. Awartani claim they were the victims of an unprovoked attack by members of the Guilford College football team on Sunday morning January 21.

Sabah and Khader are students at Guilford College, a Quaker institution and Awartani attends North Carolina State. Five members of the alleged attackers have been charged in the matter and are free on bail.

Perhaps the most intriguing legal aspect of the case so far is that fully a week after the incident the "victims" have yet to file an official police report, having inexplicably cancelled two successive interviews with the Greensboro Police Department.

The three are now represented by Seth Cohen, also the lead attorney for the North Carolina ACLU. Before Cohen surfaced in this matter he was most widely known as the ACLU's point-man in the organization's so-far tanking effort to recognize the Qu'ran in lieu of the Bible in North Carolina court proceedings.

Since Cohen has come on board the injuries claimed by the foreign student's have grown more serious. Initially they declined medical treatment, however the next day saw the presentation of a list of injuries including two concussions, a broken nose and a dislocated jaw. In the ensuing week that expanded to include an additional concussion and nerve damage to a finger, with the once dislocated jaw now being called broken.

Mr. Cohen has refused to comment upon the murky circumstances involving his client, Khader's suspension from Guilford during the Fall semester. We believe the nature of that suspension could bear heavily on the determination of this case.

The only constants in this matter so far are that the sentiments of a significant portion of Guilford's student body as well as that of many faculty members seems painfully reminiscent of those accompanying the phony charges of rape that were maliciously filed against members of the Duke lacrosse team by out-of-control DA Michael Nifong.

The word of the day is "hate crime" and it's on the lips of many.

Cognizant of the lopsided nature of press coverage, the parents of the accused are starting to speak out, saying that their sons did not precipitate the event.

Video shot by Guilford campus security immediately after the brawl and broadcast on Greensboro's local television station WFMY 2 News seems to bear some of these claims out. One section of this footage shows the torso of one of the defendants, Michael Six covered with welts and cuts including a prominent one on the back portion of his left shoulder in the unmistakable shape of a large belt-buckle [giving credence to a source which has alleged that Faris Khader attacked first, using his belt as a weapon].

Commenting on that footage attorney Cohen made an extremely odd statement, "none of my clients stabbed a man." Why Mr. Cohen would raise such an issue only adds to the growing doubts about the victims' story.

With the Wahhabis at CAIR having jumped into this matter, pushing for a federal hate crime prosecution and the event having almost universally been characterized as a matter of ethnic hatred, the Quaker university's outreach to the Friends' School in Ramallah - from whence the three foreign born students hail - must understandably come under scrutiny.

As we detailed in our previous piece it's difficult not to see the Ramallah school as anything but a factory of seething hate, with its students typically expressing very un-Quaker like sentiments.

"the Israelis stole (and are still stealing) our land...Now there is a war, and they are winning because they have weapons and military...I don't feel optimistic for the future, because Palestinians have no plans, no weapons, and no artillery bombardments to confront our enemy."

The following statement was also culled from the Friends School "Behind the Wall" website [source http://www.lifebehindthewall.org/default.aspx?id=q-occupation-suicide] Authored by an 11th grader, it's a clear justification of suicide bombing.

"I think that the Israeli checkpoints are good reasons for suicide. They are good reasons, because it makes you very angry to see more then 10 checkpoints in the west bank itself."

One of the Ramallah Friend School's alums is Hanan Ashrawi, a 1964 graduate. Ashrawi has spent her life since then as a professional apologist for Islamist terror, serving first on the Intifada Political Committee and later as a spokesman for the PLO and Yasser Arafat.

Typical of Ashrawi's militancy are the following [source Campus Watch http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/69].

"The only language Sharon understands is the language of violence." - Voice of Palestine, Palestinian Authority radio, Sept. 9, 2001

In a sense, the army of occupation and the settlers have become legitimate and select targets of Palestinian resistance." - Rocky Mountain News, Aug. 16, 2002

Ashrawi even endorsed Yasser Arafat's policy of using school children to attack and kill Israeli soldiers.

"At this stage it is better that they are engaging the Israelis than going to classes," said the professor, who trained at a university in the United States. "We have to capitalise on this momentum. They can always study mathematics later." [source CAMERA, November 8, 2000, http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_nameinnews=2&x_article=191]

Ms. Ashrawi credits the Friends school with giving her this type of "insight."

The seeds of awareness were planted in me at the Friends school."

"From those same seeds also sprung Zaha Hassan, a member of the Ramallah Friends School class of 1987

Hassan is now a lefty activist lawyer [member of the National Lawyers Guild] in Portland, Oregon, and the founder of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights.

"So long as Palestinians live and breathe, we will honor the lives of those Palestinian refugees who lie at your feet -- we will never forget Sabra and Shatila, and we will not be passive victims of your hate and intolerance any longer." [source The Oregonian, October 8, 2000 http://www.auphr.org/letters/lt100800.htm]

That statement seems a rather resounding rejection of Quaker pacifism.

With the investigation into the Guilford student brawl having just begun, no one at this juncture can predict what will ultimately be concluded, regardless the fact remains that the relationship between Guilford and its feeder school in Ramallah needs to be fully explored. It is our opinion that unless the psychology of hate which is prevalent at the Ramallah Friends School is thoroughly eliminated we can't help but recommend that all further contact between Guilford College and that institution cease.

As currently constituted, the Ramallah Friends School is antithetical to Quaker values and Western traditions. Additionally, allowing these students such easy access to the United States may well constitute a serious national security issue.


MIM: Background on the Friends School in Ramallah. The school is located directly next to the police station where two Israeli soldiers were lynched and their bodies paraded through the streets being desecrated by frenzied locals. The station had been a headquarters for terrorists and played a major role during the first 'intifada'.

The two soldiers had been grabbed in front of the Friends School and hustled into the police station where they were brutally murdered.

Which raises the question as to if they had tried to seek shelter in the school thinking it was an international entity.

Several hours after the slaughter of the two reservists the police station was bombed to rubble by the IDF. It was being partially rebuilt and used as a terrorism base when it was bombed again in 2002. The Friends School was also damaged.

Many articles from Friends members and sympathisers were written blaming the IDF for the damage and denouncing Israel but not one mentioned that the police station was a terrorist operations center.

The proximity of the Friends School to a known terror hub in Ramallah means that the students who were there -like Khader, Faris and Awartini , the three students who alleged they were beaten must have been involved in attacking Israeli soldiers.

Student Faris Khader told a paper that "he had been beaten by Israeli soldiers but never by civilians' a claim which indicates he engaged in some type of violent activity.


MIM:One Israeli reservist is taken to the station with his head covered by a keffiyah -this may be the last picture of him (Vladmir Norvijtz) alive. There is little doubt that the lynchings were visible from the Friends School and the participation of students in the orgy of sadism that followed as the bodies were dragged through the streets of Ramallah cannot be ruled out.



MIM: Note how the 'pacifists' claim the school was bombed by the military in a paragraph after it is written that the police building next to the school was the target. It is also evident from the photos that the school was not bombed -but sustained damage due to its proximity to the police station.

Palestinian police run for cover as their Ramallah HQ is attacked

Palestinian police run for cover as their Ramallah HQ is attacked

According to the captions no one was in the school when the police station was hit and the question remains as to where the the "Friends" students and faculty were while the Israeli soldiers were literally being torn apart by a savage mob.

Bombed Police station

12/13/01: "The December 13th Israeli missile attack in Ramallah was focused on this building: the police station. Next door, also struck by a missile, is the Quaker School for boys. The police building sufferend massive damage, the school's windows were shattered and one room sustained heavy damage. No one was apparently physically injured. The police station and school are in the heart of Ramallah."

Back to index.

Bombed school Bombed school Bombed school

12/13/01: The pictures above are of the Palestinian Quaker School bombed by the Israeli military on Dec. 13th, 2001. Attack occurred in the middle of the night and no one was injured. Had students been in class it's easy to speculate that dozens would have been injured if not worse. The projectile in the middle of the photo is the remnants of the missile, with English writing on it. Val Phillips, one of the Colorado delegates, taught at this school from 1992-94. Her former classroom's windows were heavily damaged, glass spewn all around
the room."

Back to index.




Ramallah Students Attend Model U.N. John Hishmeh Last year, Osama Sabbah and Rasha Ali, 12th grade students from the Ramallah Friends School, proposed to the school administration that they be sent to Amman, Jordan as school representatives at the yearly Model United Nations (MUN) conference. It was approved as a pilot project with the understanding that if the trip proved beneficial, the school would opt to participate each semester. Osama and Rasha were the only students from Palestine at a conference of more than 300 students. Osama represented Australia in Economic and Social Council and Rasha represented the United Kingdom in General Assembly B. Since the pilot project was deemed a success, the Ramallah Friends School principal has approved students to participate in both MUN conferences. Every semester a group from the school will attend a MUN conference either in Cairo or Amman. The Cairo MUN will be held next in April. The conference models the actual United Nations very closely, with different general assemblies, an economic and social assembly, a Security Council and an International Court of Justice. In each, the students adopt a country to represent in their respective forums. They make speeches and debate resolutions on the topics designated for their particular assembly. The issues include discussions about underdeveloped countries, child labor, procedures for dealing with countries who violate POW rights, arms trade, oil crisis, international banking regulations, espionage, the AIDS epidemic, the Israeli security fence and much more. Participants not only learned about the function and nature of the U.N., but also about the various world issues at hand. Students typically spend two months researching and preparing for the conference and need to know in detail every aspect of the country they represent. --

At the Ramallah Friends School on the West Bank, 9th and 10th graders
in the Boys School have started an online magazine, Behind the Wall,
expressing their views on politics, violence, peace, and prejudice, as
well as well as food, dating, and parents. Follow it at


Through this article, I'm going to tell you how the Israeli's Separation Wall and checkpoints effect our daily lives. The separation wall is build by the Israeli government. In my opinion it is not a "protecting" wall, for two reasons. The first reason is that the wall didn't forbid the attacks on Israel. The second and main reason is that the wall is built on Palestinian lands; instead of being built on the border of the two states. Concerning my daily life, the wall had made me suffer a lot. It had made me suffer, since know it is very hard for me to take the1 hour trip from Ramallah the city I live in to my family's city Jenin. The last time I went to Jenin with my family, it took us 6 hours to reach the checkpoint near Jenin. After we reached the checkpoint the soldier refused to let us enter, without even looking at my father's ID. This simply occurred because the soldier was in bad mood. The time before that was even worse, since the wall was newly built, and the only way possible to reach Jenin was to go around it, which took us almost 10 hours. These trips seemed like trips to hell !!! In conclusion, I think that the Israeli checkpoints are good reasons for suicide. They are good reasons, because it makes you very angry to see more then 10 checkpoints in the west bank itself. And it makes you more angry to find the same checkpoint more than 3 times, as you are moving between Palestinian cities. In other words the Israeli jeep that stops you 10 km away from Ramallah, may move to stop you again 20 km away from Ramallah, to ask you the same questions. They are also good reasons, because Israeli soldiers at these checkpoints treat Palestinians like animals. For instance, last year I went to Jerusalem to play in the orchestra. My -7years old- friend was in the bus with me. he did not have his ID to prove that he is underage. So the soldiers did not let him pass. At the end, I think that all the Palestinians are living in a big jail. This jail includes checkpoints and a separation wall, which make it seem more miserable. And, after all that, the Israelis tell the world they want PEACE!!!


" As Quakers, we believe that every life is sacred, including that of the young man who turns himself into a human bomb."

American Friends Service Committee
MARY ELLEN McNISH General Secretary
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is deeply concerned by the horrific escalation of violence witnessed in Palestine and Israel over the past month. More than 100 Palestinians and Israelis have died in the violence. AFSC urges the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take steps now to end this cycle of violence and to return to serious negotiations.

We urge the Government of the United States to stay the course laid out by Secretary of State Colin Powell, i.e. that lasting peace between Palestine and Israel is dependent upon an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the establishment of a truly viable Palestinian state and the ability of both Palestinians and Israelis to live in security. At 7:15 PM, December 13, a building of the Friends Boys School in Ramallah, West Bank, was damaged by rockets fired by Israeli - American made helicopters. AFSC is grateful that no injuries or loss of life were sustained in the attack as classes were not in session and staff living on the school grounds were not injured, according to the directors of the Ramallah Friends Schools, Colin and Kathy South. To date we know that two rooms of the school were hit and the building is thought to have suffered structural damage. It is estimated that it will cost at least $20,000 to repair the damage. According to Colin South, the damage occurred during an Israeli air attack that destroyed a police station near the school grounds. The two Ramallah Friends Schools are governed by a local board, but are owned and administered by Friends United Meeting (FUM) in Richmond, Indiana. The Ramallah Friends Boys School, founded by Quakers in 1901, and the Girls School established in 1889 are living expressions of the firmly held belief that the use of violence can never be justified. (A fund has been established by Friends United Meeting to receive contributions toward the school's repair. To make a contribution make checks payable to: FUM-RFS Building and mail to: Friends United Meeting, 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond, IN 47374.)

As Quakers, we believe that every life is sacred, including that of the young man who turns himself into a human bomb.

Since the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000, more than 850 Palestinians and more than 250 Israelis have been killed. In the past month alone, nearly 40 Israelis have been struck down by suicide bombers and attacks and more than 60 Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs and bullets. We grieve for all the lives lost in this conflict. The attacks of recent days represent an escalation of violence. The Israeli attacks of the last 24 hours have destroyed hundreds of buildings, injured scores and killed at least 10 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. That violence followed on the heels of a Hamas-directed attack against an Israeli bus traveling in the West Bank that left 10 Israeli civilians dead and many more injured. Now the Israeli government stated it will no longer acknowledge the Palestinian Authority as a partner. These unilateral acts reinforce the trap of ultimatums and threats, and avoid the difficult task of diplomacy between the parties. Until both parties commit to working towards a just and lasting peace, these will not be the last acts in a cycle of violence. The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Focus on the Ramallah Friends School

News and appeal for support! http://www.fum.org/worldmissions/blog/blog.html

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As I reflect on my work at the Ramallah Friends School during the past 2 years, I can’t seem to suppress the excitement of what lies ahead of me and the RFS team, in terms of plans for further achievement. Notwithstanding the fact that this year marked the centennial graduation at FBS, the school has achieved much this year both in terms of program and infrastructure development. To name a few: we were successful in activating the global network of Alumni and received their gracious and substantial financial and moral support; our seniors received acceptances with full scholarships at top US universities the likes of Harvard, Stanford and MIT; we succeeded in raising over $1 million dollars of grant funds to further develop the buildings and grounds of the both FBS and FGS campuses. Most impressive is that we were able to achieve all that in the midst of an ailing political and humanitarian situation in Palestine. While the political and economic impact of the Israeli military occupation is significantly reported on by international media (although not always accurately or fairly), the psychological impact on the mass population whether rich or poor, old or young, Moslem or Christian deserves more attention from all. The recent article below by Prof. Fouad Moughrabi says it all and his gracious mention on the Ramallah Friends School being the ‘envy of many American High Schools’ is most flattering.

While these achievements are a credit to all of us working at the Friends School, my work as Director of the School and FUM Representative for Palestine remains vital in keeping the Quaker testimonies alive at the school while looking-out for its brighter future â€" financially and also in terms of improving the quality of education provided. Much of the successful fundraising for RFS this year, has been directed towards the School’s general, financial aid and building funds. These contributions will always be sought after as the school still aches from severe financial hardship especially at the time of severe economic recession where parents find themselves unable to meet the tuition fee demands. To date our deficit remains quite high.

Having said all that, I am writing this time around to appeal to all of you for support to my personal ministry account which is held at Friends United Meeting and has found itself in the red ($16,000) at the close of this financial year. Many of the traditional and long standing supporters of FUM and their Field Staff missions have understandably found many other worthy causes to donate to this past year, including the hurricane Katrina humanitarian effort, etc… This left many of the Field Staff accounts in deficit. I thank you in advance for keeping FUM and my account in your prayers and plans for your future donations and remember that any amounts is appreciated and makes a difference. By securing enough funds to pay for my salary and expenses, we can all rest assured that FUM will be able to continue its mission of serving this great community and prolong this over century-old Quaker legacy in Palestine.

Our school newsletter, in case you have not received a hard copy, could be found on our website www.palfriends.org. The newsletter includes informative articles, some written by our teachers, students and administrators. Please check with us regularly for an update of our news. In addition, our student’s e-magazine, found at www.lifebehindthewall.com, will provide you a window into the minds and hearts of our teenaged students. Look out for more versions next Fall.

Your tax-deductible donations in support of my ministry account could be sent to FUM at the following address: Global Ministries, Friends United Meeting , 101 Quaker Hill Dr., Richmond, IN 47374-1926. Checks should be made payable to the Friends United Meeting referencing ‘Joyce Ajlouny Ministry Account’ in the memo section of the check.

If you wish to donate to the general or financial aid funds of the School, your check could also be mailed to FUM at the address above, but should be made out to ‘Ramallah Friends School’. Alternatively, complete donation information could be found on our website using this link www.palfriends.org/donate.php.

Wishing you all a wonderful and peaceful summer.

Joyce Ajlouny
Director Ramallah Friends School

From Palestine: Generation After Generation
By Fouad Moughrabi June 22, 2006

A chance encounter with the well known Palestinian filmmaker Michel Khleifi at the offices of the Qattan Foundation in Ramallah says it all: "No, one should not get depressed about the current situation," says Khleifi. "In fact, this is the best time for us to work seriously on the Palestinian as a human being."
There is indeed quite a lot to be depressed about. The political situation in general appears hopeless. Palestinian factions are busy fighting each other while Israel pursues its own criminal designs with the complicit approval of the international community. The level of poverty has increased very sharply and many children are now beginning to show the effects of malnutrition. Many teachers and civil servants have not received their salaries since March 2006 and the stresses and strains on the Palestinian economy are beginning to show. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Palestinian society has been subjected to a fierce attack by the Israelis since September 2000, an attack that is totally incommensurate with the possible threat that Palestinians may ever pose to Israel's security. And more recently, stiff sanctions have been imposed following the democratic elections that resulted in an unexpected win for Hamas. The Palestinian political system has clearly failed and the Palestinian national project that began in the 1950s, so poorly managed and so utterly corrupt, has now come to naught. A self destructive struggle is under way between a beleaguered and bankrupt government run by Hamas and a bunch of incompetents run by Mahmoud Abbas and his largely discredited Fatah movement. And yet, Palestinian society does not collapse despite the absence of a system of law and order.

What do Palestinians draw upon from their own society and their history in order to survive these incredible assaults against their identity and their existence on their own land? Where do they find the strength, absent a competent leadership, to persist in their refusal to surrender to the diktats of their conquerors?
Recalling the internal dynamics of the first Palestinian Intifada that began in 1988 may give us a hint as to the fundamental reasons why Palestinian society can withstand repeated assaults. These include, among other things: the emergence of a community of creative resistance;
the high level of volunteerism; widespread manifestations of high levels of social solidarity; and the emergence at the grassroots level of competent leadership that engaged in democratic decision-making.

Much of this spirit of creative resistance was derailed when the PLO returned following the Oslo Agreements, an event that comes close to a second Nakba for the Palestinian people. Instead of trying to build the foundations of a possible state, the Palestinian Authority, led by Yasser Arafat, proceeded to squander some 1.2 billion dollars in aid, siphoning most of the money into private coffers and failing to build even one viable institution. What we now witness are the dying moments of the Palestinian national movement and the end of an inglorious era in contemporary Palestinian history.

And yet, ironically, it is deep within the recesses of Palestinian society that one detects signs of hope. Many villagers come together and those who receive income contribute funds to help others who are in need. Self help, an important mainstay of Palestinian society during the days of the British Mandate, has now been resumed and new forms of social solidarity are being created bypassing the silly factional identities that had divided people in earlier times.

On May 28, 2006 I attended the one hundredth graduation ceremony of the private Quaker Friends Boys School in Ramallah, Palestine. Eighty two students were graduating on that day with sixty two receiving their international baccalaureate, eleven students matriculating in the arts section and nine students in the science track. Nadeem Rabaia gave the valedictorian speech in flawless English. He tells me that he will be attending Harvard University in the Fall on a full scholarship. One other student has been accepted at MIT while another will be going to Stanford University and yet another will be attending Cornell University also on full scholarship. Others will be attending the following institutions: University of Texas at Austin, Ohio State University, Butler University, McGill University in Canada, Simmons College, University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, Guilford College in North Carolina, Earlham College in Ohio, Bern University in Switzerland, the American University in Beirut, the American University in Cairo and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

What is remarkable about these young men and women is that they have spent the last five years of their school life under incredibly horrible conditions: the reentry of the Israeli army into their towns, with high levels of killing and destruction, a daily cycle of violence that saw many youth of their age die as a result of Israeli gunfire, weeks on end of being locked in under curfew, severe restrictions on freedom of movement that meant having to brave one checkpoint after another, often under horrendous conditions. It is difficult to imagine the conditions under which these students, their families and their teachers had to live. And yet, here they are- a wonderfully cheerful group, happy to be graduating, proud of their achievement and committed to excellence. Any American high school would be quite envious of what the Friends Boys School has achieved.

To mark its centennial, the school paraded a number of distinguished alumni who included the following: Hanan Ashrawi who also gave the keynote commencement address, Zuhdi Hashweh who graduated in 1929, Maher Masri who graduated in 1964 and who served at one point as Minister of Economic Affairs, and a number of others who have distinguished themselves in their various fields. Each generation lit a candle and passed it on to the next. A simple ceremony that tells a big story.

Fouad Moughrabi is a Professor and head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Director of the Qattan Center for Educational Research and Development in Ramallah, Palestine. --------------------


MIM: Hanan Ashwari a Friends School Alum runs an organisation called MIFTAH. This week an article appeared on her website which described the beating of the three 'Palestinian' students at Guildford as a "hate crime" claiming it was further proof that Palestinians are the world's victims and never the perpetrators. The politicising of the Guildford case by CAIR and Ashwari's organisation is further proof that hoax hate crimes are being used to instill fear into non Muslims to "submit" to any behaviour inflicted upon them and refrain from self defense or criticism lest it be labelled "ethnic intimidation". It is also worth noting that the term "terrorist" has now been designated as a racial slur.

For Palestinians, the World is a Dangerous Place
By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
January 31, 2007

When people say the world is a different place after September 11, 2001, they are absolutely right. Of course, there have been changes at several levels, which have run deep beneath the subcutaneous layers of politics, mentalities and behaviors. However, one acutely tangible ramification of the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon is the manner in which non-whites, especially Arab and Muslim peoples are perceived and subsequently treated in the United States and in other western parts of the world.

No one knows this better than Palestinians at the receiving end of this newly heightened racist mentality. Earlier this month, three Palestinian students were brutally beaten by a group of football jockeys at Guilford College, a small Quaker institution in the southern US state of North Carolina. The three young men, Fares Khader, Osama Sabbah and Omar Awartani, suffered several injuries varying from bruises and abrasions to concussions. While the perpetrators were charged with assault and "ethnic intimidation" charges, the FBI investigation is still pending over whether the attack was a "hate crime."

According to eyewitness testimonies, there is not a shadow of a doubt that the football players were motivated by anything else. The three Palestinians were called "terrorists" and "sand niggers" and beaten with metal knuckles. The question however, is not whether or not this was a racially-motivated attack - obviously it was - but how the United States has been transformed into a country where such heinous acts of discrimination are reprimanded with as little as a slap on the wrist – the culprits have been released on $2,000 bail.

Not that the United States was ever a safe haven for minorities. On the contrary, the country itself was established through the persecution and marginalization of an entire nation, the Native Americans, or the "Red Indians" as Christopher Columbus so naively called them. (He erroneously believed he had found the path to India when he stumbled on the New World…).

This was followed by the slave trade of Africans from 1565 to 1807, their descendents who later became today's African-Americans. This ethnic group has historically suffered the most and for the longest from racism than any other ethnic group.

Finally, there are those who help compile what the US has become famous for – a huge "melting pot" of ethnicities, including Asian-American, Arab-American, Mexican, Italian and so forth. All of these groups, without exception, have been the butt of racial slurs, hate crimes and discrimination in the work place and in educational institutions at one time or another and all of them still find themselves on a lower rung of the "food chain" than the average Caucasian American.

Hence, it goes without saying that Arab-Americans have had their share of racist stings. Young American citizens of Arab descent have been taunted by fellow classmates as being "camel-jockeys" and wearing "fig leaves." They were bullied, sprung with racial slurs and suffered the occasional beating, solely because of the color of their skin, their religion and foreign-sounding names.

But it was not until after September 11th that the situation for this minority group – some who have made their homes in the United States for generations – took a nasty turn for the worse. The FBI was now making surprise raids on their homes and businesses, scrutinizing their bank accounts, their way of living and their way of worshipping. Women who wore the Muslim headscarf and men who made their way to the local mosque five times a day for prayer were immediately under suspicion. Arabs and Muslims were pulled aside at airport security for additional checking, held back for hours and arrested without charge. A recent study presented on an American talk show revealed that while African-Americans have suffered from racism the longest in American history, it is the Arabs and Muslims who are feeling the sting of discrimination the most today.

The incident at Guilford only epitomizes this new and dangerous trend. What is most bizarre about this whole situation is that even according to the simple minds of average Americans, the Palestinians cannot possibly be held responsible for the events of September 11. Not one of the hijackers was Palestinian, nor were the masterminds behind the attack. On the contrary, late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat immediately condemned the attack and even added some audio-visual effects to his words – hours after the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed into a heap of rubble and dust, Arafat was filmed in a local hospital, sleeve rolled up and IV in place, donating blood to the American people.

This was obviously not enough to assuage the fears of the American people that all Arabs and all Muslims were terrorists. Their fears were only compounded by the American media, which portrayed Palestinians as suicide bombing lunatics thirsty for the blood of innocent Israelis, and by the American government. The average American took the bait thrown at them by their president. "You are either with us or against us" George W. Bush told his people on the eve of the US invasion of Afghanistan.

The repercussions of this gung-ho mentality have sent lethal tremors, not only across continents but throughout the collective mind of America. So, while the attack on the three Palestinian university students is abhorrent, it is not only the six jockeys that should be put on trial. It is an entire mindset, created and nurtured by the condescending mentality of a neo-conservative administration that inherently believes it has the right to bomb whole countries, execute leaders and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the name of their country's security.

For this, the Arabs, Muslims and so many other people of the world are suffering. It is time for those voices beginning to rise within American society against this blind hatred to turn their cries into a roar. US presidential elections are drawing near. The responsibility lies with those enlightened Americans who see the injustices perpetrated by their own government and people to educate the ignorant majority, because this kind of hatred will only further fester, rise up and spill over, infecting more and more minds and bringing harm to more and more innocent people.

Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Programme at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mip@miftah.org


The Bombing of Friends School in Al Bireh-Ramallah

By Zaha Hassan and Johan Maurer

Life is sacred, not property. Why is it then that when we learned of the Israeli bombing of the Friends School in Ramallah-Al Bireh, we experienced such a sense of loss?

The Friends schools in Palestine began with a girls' school – a pioneering concept for the region – in Ramallah in 1869, supported by British and American Quakers. An "upper campus" in nearby Al Bireh for boys was established exactly a century ago in 1901. The schools are under the care of Friends United Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, the largest of the Quaker denominations, and now serve about a thousand students, both Christian and Muslim. Palestinian families living in the diaspora all around the world have sent their children to the Friends schools to study with Palestinians living in the West Bank. In one classroom, one might hear Spanish, English, and Portuguese spoken as a first language along with Arabic.

Both of us have deep connections to the Friends schools.

Zaha Hassan: I attended high school at Friends School where I graduated in 1987. For me, the Friends schools are an oasis in the middle of a desert of despair. It was at Friends that Palestinian students learned about the common thread that links all peoples, all religions, to each other. We studied ethics from a British Quaker, John Scott, who taught us about the teachings of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, and Mohammad. Mr. Scott and the other British, American, and Palestinian teachers taught us to seek knowledge, reach out to our enemies, and to never lose faith.

Last week, I turned on the TV to an Arab news station and saw my chemistry teacher, Mr. Abu Ezam, being interviewed about the bombing. Mr. Abu Ezam was my most demanding teacher. It was difficult for me to see him speak, so demoralized, about the eight classrooms that had been damaged by the Israeli shelling. He seemed resigned to the violence. Seeing the school damaged by Israeli missiles, a school that promotes peace and justice and boasts of such activist-graduates as Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, symbolized for me how close to the brink Palestinians and Israelis really are.

Johan Maurer: I served as general secretary of Friends United Meeting from 1993 to 2000. No part of my work was more challenging or rewarding than overseeing the Ramallah Friends Schools. The Oslo Accords held the promise of a more peaceful learning environment, without constant closures and disruptions, and a chance to build a cooperative community of Christian and Muslim scholars demonstrating the power of nonviolence. We dreamed of cooperative projects with Israeli schools a few miles away.

In this hopeful atmosphere, we received a series of grants from the US Agency for International Development to improve the facilities. The first building to go up at the upper campus (now the secondary school for both boys and girls ) was a badly-needed two-story classroom building – the very building damaged in last Thursday's attack. Since that first building, a beautiful science building has also been completed with USAID money and opened by the US Consul. A new library is now being financed by the third USAID grant.

It is incomprehensible to us that while our government is trying to build hope for the future in the Palestinian territories, it is at the same time sending sophisticated weaponry to Israel which is being used to destroy that same hope. What do we say to the young people at the Friends Schools today? Should we encourage them to rebuild the classrooms and their lives when our weapons may be used to destroy what they rebuild? Can we really expect those children to believe in nonviolence and peace when we refuse even to support neutral international monitors to expose all sources of terror? (If we don't like the wording of a particular UN resolution, we could propose alternate wording!) The tax dollars we send to Israel and the West Bank should be investments in hope, not in destruction and total despair.

Zaha Hassan is an attorney in Portland, Oregon, and founding member of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights.

Johan Maurer is a pastor at Reedwood Friends Church in southeast Portland.

Zaha Hassan

Johan Maurer
Reedwood Friends Church

(Please contact us for more background information on the Ramallah Friends Schools, including photos and details on the damage from the attack last Thursday.)

JERUSALEM, Oct. 13, 2000 News on the Internet alerted Hani Avrahami to the brutal killing of two Israeli soldiers and sent her rushing to call her husband, a reserve soldier. His cellular phone rang and rang until a strange voice answered.

I just killed your husband, the gruff voice said.

Ramallah 13Oct01

Israeli media reports of the last, desperate phone calls of the two widows to their husbands gripped Israelis today. Many were horrified by the television footage of Palestinians cheering as one of the soldier's bodies was thrown out a second-story window and pummeled by the furious Palestinian crowd.

Yossi Avrahami, a 38-year-old toy salesman and a father of three, was stabbed and beaten to death with another soldier in his reserve unit after they took a wrong turn Thursday and ended up in the middle of a funeral in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A Palestinian mob, angry over two weeks of fighting with Israelis that has left more than 90 people dead, attacked them after they were taken to a police station.

The second soldier killed, Vadim Norjitz, was a Russian immigrant who married his wife, Irina, only a week earlier.

Irina called the cellular phone number a few times and no one answered and in the afternoon [the military] called to say he hadn't reached the point, Anna Norjitz said of her sister-in-law's efforts to reach her husband. And then the police came and she understood Vadim was dead.

Irina Norjitz is three months pregnant, relatives told the Haaretz newspaper.

Norjitz's father asked to turn on the television Thursday night as relatives gathered in his home. But the family wouldn't let him watch, the daily reported.

Norjitz was buried today and Avrahami was to be buried Sunday, the army said


By Amos Harel
Ha'aretz Military Correspondent
Ha'aretz 26 June 2001

The IDF and Shin Bet security service recently arrested two more suspects in the lynching of two reservists in Ramallah last October - including the youth seen in the famous television shot of the lynching as he leaned out of the police station window and waved bloody hands at the mob.

The two reservists, Vadim Norzhich and Yosef Avrahami, took a wrong turn into Ramallah on October 17 and were arrested by Palestinian police, who took them to the local police station. There, a Palestinian mob beat the two to death and mutilated their bodies.

So far 15 suspects have been arrested and some of them have already been indicted. Security sources said yesterday Israel will continue trying to catch all those involved.

The two new arrests are Abed al-Aziz Tzalha, 20, of Dir-Jarir and Mohammed Nuara, 18, of Mizara al-Kabaliyah. Both live in Area B - under Palestinian civilian but Israeli security control.

Tzalha admitted he was the youth at the window in the television shots, waving his bloodstained hands. (Early reports of this man being arrested were wrong.) Tzalha said he burst into the police station, ran up the stairs to where the two soldiers were being held, and grabbed one and started choking him while other Palestinians beat him.

Nuara, a Tanzim activist, admitted stabbing one of the soldiers. Both men will soon be indicted in Beit El military court.


MIM: More peace and love from Ramallah from the speakers at The Friends School commencement

On May 28, 2006 I attended the one hundredth graduation ceremony of the private Quaker Friends Boys School in Ramallah, Palestine.

To mark its centennial, the school paraded a number of distinguished alumni who included the following: Hanan Ashrawi who also gave the keynote commencement address, Zuhdi Hashweh who graduated in 1929, Maher Masri who graduated in 1964 and who served at one point as Minister of Economic Affairs, and a number of others who have distinguished themselves in their various fields. Each generation lit a candle and passed it on to the next. A simple ceremony that tells a big story.

MIM:Notes on The Friends School 2006 commencement speakers:

. Maher Zuhdi Hashweh Investigates Adolescent Conceptions of Democracy "We need to understand students' ideas and thinking about democracy to better design curriculum and instruction in democracy education in Palestine," asserts Dr. Maher Zuhdi Hashweh, chair of the Democracy and Human Rights Graduate Program and associate professor of education at Birzeit University. http://parc.virtualactivism.net/fellowships/03-04/main.htm#H MIM: Birzeit University is Jihad Central. Maher Masri was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996 representing Nablus. From 1996-2002, Masri held the position of Palestinian Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Industry portfolio was added in June 2002. At the same time, Masri kept his seat in the PLC. A proponent of a free Palestinian market, Masri was responsible for negotiating the 1994 Paris Economic Protocol with Israel, an agreement designed to build the Palestinian economy on free market principles. He is a member of the PLO Negotiation Affairs Department. and was a member of the Palestinian delegation at the Camp David negotiations (2000). In his position as Minister of Economy and Trade, Mr. Masri serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency; the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zones Area and the Palestinian Banking Corporation. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Investment Fund. In 2003, he was nominated as the Minister of Economy and Trade for the new Palestinian Authority Cabinet. He is a member of Fatah. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/mmasri.html This is one of the direct links between the Ramallah School and Guilford College. It was on The Americans Friends Service Committee site but their links page does not list Guilford. Max Carter ( U.S.A. ) professor at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. has long been active in Middle East affairs with the Friends United Meeting in Richmond, Indiana and organizaer of projects in cooperation with the Friends Schools of Ramallah and Ramallah Friends Meeting. http://www.afsc.org/resources/items/when_the_rain_returns_bios.htm

Mission Statement Excerpt:

The Friends School of Ramallah and El-Bireh strives to be a leading educational institution in the Palestinian community. The Lower School (FGS) and the Upper School (FBS) were founded in 1869 and 1901 respectively, for the purpose of offering Palestinian youth a rigorous program guided by principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Central to Quaker education is a vitality which comes from being a living expression of a religious life. A Friends School education seeks to promote a constant search for God to all human situations, and to cultivate ethical, moral and spiritual values. http://www.palfriends.org/mission.php

Ghassan Al Khatib is a board member. He is considered a moderate and runs the website "Bitter Lemons" together with an Israeli peacenik. Ghassan A. Khatib is the former Minister of Planning for the Palestinian National Authority. He worked previously as the Director of the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center since its establishment 1988, and was also working as a lecturer at Birzeit University, Culture Studies since his graduation 1982 until 2002. He carries a B.A. degree in Economics and Business, a M.A. degree in Development Studies and is a PhD candidate, Middle East Politics at the University of Durham, United Kingdom. He is married and has three children. He was instrumental in establishing a Parent Teacher Association and headed the first PTA at the Friends School. http://www.palfriends.org/board.php

Excerpt from recent interview: Question: Yes, but pro-American regimes in the Arab world are quite despotic and authoritarian and are unlikely to allow peaceful expressions of dissent that might lead up to a possible regime change?

Khatib: This is true, but I think the masses have reached the limit of their patience. If the regimes continue to ignore the feelings of the masses, explosions will occur, and I mean it literally and metaphorically.

Question: Are you suggesting that a wave of violence might take place in the region in the foreseeable future?

Khatib: Well, I hope that nothing of this sort will be done against innocent civilians. These things are detrimental to our cause and generally counterproductive. However, things happen not necessarily because they are desired, but rather because they are inevitable.


Ghassan Khatib

Ghassan Khatib, born in 1954 in Nablus, is (2003) Minister for Labour in Abu Mazen's government. As an active member of Palestine National Front (PNF), which waged a non-violent struggle in 1973-74 inside the occupied territories, Mr. Khatib was in Israeli detention from 1974 - 1977. Khatib was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace process in 1991, and he was involved in the Washington negotiations from 1991-1993. Khatib is Director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, a non-governmental organization that conducts public opinion polls and provides media support to journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is also Director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. A long-time advocate of Palestinian-Israeli dialogue, Khatib is the Co-founder and Director of BitterLemons.org, a Palestinian-Israeli Internet-based political magazine. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Israel-Palestine Journal, a political journal offering Palestinian and Israeli perspectives. Khatib is the President of the Board of Directors of the Arab Development Center, an agricultural development organization; a member of the Advisory Board of Palestinian Politics; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Democracy and Worker's Rights Center and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Friends Schools in Palestine. He was a lecturer at Birzeit University's Cultural Studies Program. Khatib was a signatory on the December 2001 statement criticizing the Palestinian Authority's arrest of leftist activists. Khatib is the Palestinian People's Party representative to the Palestinian Authority. He was appointed Palestinian Authority Minister of Labor in June 2002, the first Labor Minister of the PA. Mr. Khatib retains the position in the new PA cabinet.

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