Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 25 (since 2010-07-23 12:54:48)

Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. His collection of short stories entitled Chief Complaint was released by Just World Books in the spring of 2015.

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  • Thousands in Jerusalem protest abduction of Yemenite babies following disclosure some were experimented on
    • This all brings some sick thoughts to mind. I can't help but think of the endless possibilities in terms of the accepted and widely practiced racist profiling of the time, the 1950s and 1960s. Some of the relevant discussions of this matter mention the injurious x-ray treatment of Tinia Capitis used for children of Oriental (Arab) Jews. I distinctly recall my elementary school classmates who were pulled out repeatedly for this treatment. Later, as a physician, I provided medical certificates for some of those who developed cancer and applied for compensations.  I mention that to illustrate the fact that we, locals, were often lumped together with Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa for negative profiling (even though we didn't qualify for their many advantages as Jewish immigrants.)

      Now that this ugly monster has raised its head again, I cannot but consider the thought that if this was what the system and its legitimate practitioners did to their Mizrahi brothers and sisters, what could they have done to us, the remnants of the Palestinian enemy? How come no one has ever raised the issue? Do we dare to even ask the question if similar practices towards our babies took place? And if yes, then how come it has never been addressed.

      As long as the suspicions were about abduction of babies for adoption, one might reason that religious and ethnicity considerations might have led to the exemption of the children of Palestinian citizens of Israel from consideration. Could it be that we were so fully excluded from the healthcare facilities in the new state that we gave birth to children, raised them and, if they got sick and died, we buried them in total isolation from the new state’s Zionist medical care system of the time? Could it be that we were so low on the totem pole that we were not even considered for such experimentations? How do we go about answering such questions if we were to dare ask them in the first place?

  • Bearing witness: a review of Alice Rothchild's book 'Condition Critical'
    • Thanks Annie Robbins for this. Perhaps it is a direct result of Dr. Rothchild's fact packed report in the first place. For readers who plan to attend the coming JVP General Membership Meeting in Chicago you can hear her speak at the panel that she chairs there on "The impact of occupation and siege on health and human rights in the OPT." She also is a fellow member of the recently formed Health Advisory Council (HAC) of JVP.

  • Video: 'Apartheid has been here for ages. It doesn't really bother us' -- Israeli comedian says in closing act
    • This is great! It is nearly perfect. Unintentionally, I believe, it reveals how successfully the system has managed to brainwash everyone in Israel including Assaf Harel himself. His focus is on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. But Apartheid is in practice against the 20% Palestinian minority of Israeli citizens since Israel was established. And when Assaf lists the human rights organizations targeted by the new Israeli law he lists three mainly Jewish Israeli NGOs. He forgets Adalah, the most active in Israel and internationally in defending the Palestinian minority's rights.

      This is not to blame or to belittle what Assaf says here but to show how right he actually is even in ways he doesn't intend or realize. What he skipped or didn't know actually nails it as one of my Jewish Facebook friends commented on this note when I posted it there.

  • The challenges of being a Palestinian doctor in the 'Jewish state'
    • Apparently my reference to the piece by Viva Sarah Press in the Hasbara type website Israel21C causes some confusion. I did not make it clear enough in my article that my Arrabeh co-resident, Makbula Nassar who is quoted in that article is not behind the article or collaborating with its author. The contrary is true: Makbula is a strong advocate of equality for her people and for all citizens of Israel regardless of race, religion or gender. To my knowledge she was the first person to call attention in the Israeli media to the issue of the exceptionally high number of physicians in our village and to agitate publicly for a hospital in Arrabeh. I hope this note gives credit where it is due.

  • Explaining Israel's separate and unequal education system
    • Of course, if you define Apartheid as the exact same system that South Africa once had then Israel is not an apartheid state. If you define apartheid as two laws for two peoples then Israel is an apartheid state.

  • 'New Yorker' glosses my reality (when it renders 'Death to Arabs' chant as 'I hate all Arabs')
    • This piece comes a nit late, nearly a month after the article about Ayman Odeh appeared in the New Yorker. The reason is that I submitted it first to the New Yorker editors on the slim chance that they might publish it in whole or in part whether in print or on their website. When they didn't, a fact that in itself confirms the bias I tried to point out in the body of the article, I decided to submit it to more sympathetic media sites in the hope that Ayman Odeh and Sayed Kashua will read it and get convinced that they and their nation are worthy not only of exposure and reviews but also of unbiased reporting.

  • Parody New York Times 'supplement' criticizing paper's coverage of Israel/Palestine distributed on streets of NYC
    • They really got me this time. I was shouting at the top of my lungs to my wife to come see on my screen. That is the way a parody should work. But she immediately said "That is The Onion or something."

  • Palestinian Festival of Literature begins tonight!
    • Another year that I miss this special event because of travel.
      Thanks for all your hard work and for the efforts and inconvenience faced by your literary stars.
      For the future I suggest including more locals. For example I expected to see Osama Elayasa of "The Mad Men of Bethlehem" fame on your roster.

  • Thorny issues
    • Shukran Pamela for this. I don't know what happened to the link I thought I inserted.

    • Just an update of my bio: My collection of short stories based on my medical practice in my home village entitled "Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor's Tales of Life in Galilee" was already published by Just World Books. It was formally launched on February 24, 2015 at a celebratory book event at Columbia University Centre for Palestine Studies. Currently I am on book tour in the San Francisco Bay area to promote the same book. Details of scheduled appearances are available on

  • My fellow Muslim-Americans, in the wake of Chapel Hill we can’t stop speaking out - even if our voices shake
    • “We are Muslims, and we are humans, and we are breathing things with dreams and goals and voices and lives …”

      Thank you Samah for this,
      Here is an attempt to further sanctify our humanity. I wrote it today in a response to a posting by Jewish Voice for Peace:

      What Is in a Name?
      I wager that the hate criminal who assassinated “the Three Winners” in Chapel Hill acted mainly out of ignorance. Had he comprehended the literal meaning of their names and realized that these foreign looking young people had apparently lived and acted under the moral obligation inspired by their names, he would have chosen others to kill. The mainstream media seems to take the crime in its stride and not accord it much attention. Those who did apparently took it as another exceptional event committed by a crazy individual acting alone on his vengeance motive against neighbors with whom he had a running argument over a parking space. That is the automatic explanation given the commonality of the offender’s characteristics: a white nominal Christian who is uncomfortable with people of different culture and looks. The responsible law enforcement authorities in North Carolina, as in most other locales across the USA, may well find the man to suffer from temporary insanity. But I am not absolving him of responsibility for his crime on such basis. Rather, even with his deep-seated hate of Islam and apparently of religiosity in general, I still think that simple ignorance must have had much to do with his criminal thinking and action. I don’t think that any human being with average intelligence and a conscience, flawed, dark and clouded as it may well be, , would have opted to kill three people with as much decency and potential of service to mankind.

      Just dwell with me for a moment please on the deeper meaning of the names of the three people that Chapel Hill has lost. Accept for a moment please my simplistic assumption that, as innocent children or perhaps as ambitious young adults, they must have contemplated the meaning of their names and possibly aspired to act on the basis of their essence. We all know that children do that, don’t they? And who knows that better than Dr. Muhammad abu-Salha, the psychiatrist father of Yusor and Razan: First the family names: Barakat – Blessings – inspires a sense of decency and goodwill. Match that, if you will, with Abu-Salha – The One with Benevolence or of the Benevolent Deed. Now to the first names of “the Three Winners:” Razan had the least common sounding name, at least to my ear. Is that because of its Kurdish origin in one interpretation? Or is it because of abstract connotation of its Arabic root of respectability and aloofness. In contrast Deah’s bright ‘Lights’ shine on his surroundings. And it is combined with the second name of Shaddy, the ‘singer’ of pleasant tunes. Take a look at this recent video http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/syrian-dental-relief/206249 where he asks for donations in support of his pet project of reaching out to Syrian refugees in Turkey with dental supplies and equipment. You can see how luminous and sweet-sounding the young man’s promise was to the needy whether in his homeland of Syria or in his adopted home of North Carolina where he volunteered to care for the destitute and homeless. No wonder his target of $20,000 has been exceeded fifteen folds with168 days still to go. As to his bride, Yusor, you hear the name and your heart opens to the promise of ‘respite’ and ‘relief.’ In the Koran the good Lord reassures all believers; “Inna m’aa el-‘usri yusra – Verily relief will accompany hardship,” the promise sustaining Moslems under the most devastating of calamities, a refrain that must be repeating endlessly in the minds and hearts of the bereaved families in their hour of need and shattering loss.

      The fiercest animals of prey are known to respond favorably to the kindness and good intentions of their keepers. Shouldn’t the jailors of the criminal assassin consider a session or two with an Arab linguist who could explain to the man the tender and decent essence of the names of his victims? Or would that be too harsh a punishment, I wonder, assuming he has a heart at all and a mind to comprehend? The American mainstream media first abstained from reporting this event altogether. Then it quoted the law-enforcement authority in offering a parking space dispute as the explanation for the murder. Does that represent the condition of its readership of seeing no evil, hearing no evil and saying no evil, and by extension of allowing no remediation of evil? Let us hope not. Let us all take to heart the inspirational meaning of those lovely Arabic names as a healing potion. Let us pray for all of us including the atheists!

  • If you stand up for Palestine in America, 'you're the devil,' Junot Diaz says
    • I watched the entire presidential lecture at Clark University and am deeply impressed . Here is this world-renowned literary figure interacting spontaneously with his American audience, almost as if standing naked before them. And he proceeds to shoot off his mouth extemporaneously about any and all subjects ranging from slavery and colonialism to feminism and Palestine. And the guy pulls no punches: straight as an arrow. He has the courage to look evil in the eye and call it by its name at the risk of excommunication by academia's high priests. All my respect,Junot! I look forward to seeing the way you will handle the Swedish Academy crowd.

  • The name games
    • I guess I didn't make myself clear. The prophet was known by multiple names at least three of which derived from the same source 'hamada' meaning 'top praise.' Muhammad, Mahmoud and Ahmad are different derivatives of the same source but they are different first names, though they all are popularly nicknamed 'Hammoudi.' I hope that clarifies the issue for thee judges in the competitions.

    • And I love and respect your dedication to peace and justice, Annie.

    • You ware on, Horizontal. But where do we meet? I will make it in early spring to the East coast and the SF Bay area (And perhaps Chicago as well) for my forthcoming book launch. Are you in any of these locations?

    • Thanks Shmuel. I certainly understood it to be in the same vein with the same tongue-in-cheek style.

    • Thanks for your note of appreciation. I do value your comments.

  • Mohammed Assaf banned from performing at FIFA World Cup
    • Some decent FIFA members or major football stars should be encouraged to boycott the games unless Mohammad Assaf and Shakira are re-invited. Let us not get sidetracked with all the other side issues of logos, etc.

  • Narrative stronger than weapons: the 23 short stories in 'Gaza Writes Back'
  • The Almond Tree: A peace proposal
    • Thanks so much LeaNder .
      I don’t get your drift about the swamps. But yes, I am from Galilee and I know the 50s. In those years, while attending high school in Nazareth, I spent two summers on different Kibbutzim. The unpaid sojourn was marketed to us as part of the peace and understanding efforts of the Mapam (Marxist Zionist) party. We worked our butts off picking fruit and tending the chicken coops in exchange for getting in those swimming pools with all the bikinied Jewish girls. And in the early 60s when Carmiel was established on our confiscated olive groves it had swimming pools and green lawns before my village had a drinking water network.
      I am a public health specialist and I know a thing or two about water. I spent about half of my career agitating to supply unrecognized Palestinian villages in Israel with it and the other half struggling with the issue of taking the water out from our towns and villages. The problem of disposing of the sewage water was even more difficult than the task of securing a water supply. You see, Jewish settlements were planned and built by the state and its para-statal Jewish organizations (The Jewish Agency, JNF and the like} with all the required infrastructure in place. On the other hand, existing Palestinian communities had to struggle on their own (and with much hindrance and ill will from the system) to graft such modern infrastructure on centuries-old spontaneously configured human habitation. The scene of Palestinian children in Gaza trudging in pools of sewage water on their way to school is not far from what I saw daily in Palestinian villages in Galilee. Except that in our villages the children trudged in puddles and rivulets of sewage. And I am talking about the 80s and 90s. If still unconvinced, order a copy of my book of memoirs.
      That should teach you to ask sensitive questions!

  • Mohammed Assaf invades! (50 years after the Beatles)
    • Thank you Annie for the well-deserved attention. It is indeed a heart-warming gesture to have posted the recording. Unfortunately, technically speaking, it doesn't do Assaf justice. I am tempted to blame the technical shortcoming on Chicago's mayor. Somehow, he must have jammed the waves.

  • 'It's 3 am, in the cattle cage' -- Susan Abulhawa publishes first book of poetry
    • So fantastic to read! And even more fantastic to hear the reading and watch the video. And yet it is as real as life itself. Thank you Susan and Helena.
      I want your permission to post it on my Facebook?

  • Welcome Annie Robbins as Writer at Large
    • Good news to wake up to.We two, Annie and I, have exchanged positive thoughts on line few times. The last time that I remember was about Pamela Olson's book, Fast Times in Palestine. Perhaps now that my wife and I are in NY (Soho) we could all get together over coffee or something

  • Netanyahu needs a history tutor -- Can UNESCO experts help?
    • Mistake admitted. I beg forgiveness. My only defense is that I am a Middle East man!

    • Hardly any educated man in the Middle East fails to recognize the opening line of a fantastically beautiful poem by Abū aṭ-Ṭayyib al-Mutanabbī‎ describing a lion he saw quenching its thirst at the edge of the lake. Al-Mutana ‎ (915 – 965) was an Arab (Iraqi-born) poet who is considered as one of the greatest poets in the Arabic language. The opening couplet goes (my un-poetic translation):
      "A rose-colored one, when visiting the lake for a drink,
      His roar reverberates from the Euphrates to the Nile."

      Quite obviously, based on that evidence alone, Al-mutanabbi, or at least the rose-colored lion, could make a valid claim to the entire land of greater Israel. Al-Mutanabbi must have abandoned his prayer rug and ran all the way back to Baghdad. But Netanyahu thinks the rug looks new, which begs the question of whether al-Mutanabbi might have kept it fresh among his memorabilia in Baghdad till those Americans stole it for the Met.

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