Rescued from a kill shelter in Manteca, Petey Pumpkinhead III entered
our lives 7 years ago. Abused by a previous owner he was skittish and
nippish. That changed with love, affection and attention.
He was a majestic furry orange tabby. His coat emitted a perpetually
lovely fragrance. He had the sexiest strut with an ever present erect
tail and endearing behind.
Petey had simple needs. Belly rubs topped the list. He loved resting in
his backyard igloo. He would prance out when I entered the yard and
open wide for belly rubs and rolly polly.
He bonded with Klimey who also was rescued from a shelter. Klimey loved
licking Petey and taught Petey how to love back. They were inseparable.
Petey-Weedy (as we called him) evolved into the sweetest and most
gentle of companions. When hungry, he would jump into bed and
delicately place his paw on my face. No histrionics, just a love tap
and breakfast was on.
He loved sleeping inside the space between my legs or alongside the
curve of Clara's thigh. His body language suggested the most delicious
of dreams. He also had the squeakiest yawn when awakened.
Petey had a ravenous appetite and wore his weight well. That changed
last October when he dropped 2 pounds in short order and was diagnosed
with congestive heart failure.
He continued to lose weight but his sweet demeanor never changed.
Although not a lap cat during his youth, lately I would place him in my
lap in the back yard and we would stay together for long periods. These
were cherished moments. Klimey would join us and stay by Petey's side.
Strong medication was required every 8 hours to dissipate the fluid in
his lungs. No matter how much lasix was dosed, it could not stay on top
of the progression of his heart disease.
Last week Petey hit a low point and could hardly breath. He hadn't
eaten for 2+ days. We upped the lasix and he recovered miraculously.
His breathing appeared normal and he started eating - but only food
fresh out of the can. He ate more than he had in months. He had playful
sparring sessions with Klimey, tons of rolly polly and belly rubs, his
tail was erect and he slept next to my face the other day.
Today he had a good appetite in the early afternoon. I didn't see him
the rest of the day. When the thunder rumbled and the rain came pouring
down I went outside.
He was in the igloo. I tipped it and he ran inside. But something was wrong.
His breathing was labored. Petey could not catch his breath. He had
breathing attacks before and I had feared the worst, yet Petey always
An hour or so later when Clara came home, Petey's condition had
worsened. When he walked from under a table to lie down in the litter
box that was an alarming signal. I picked him up and he let out a cry.
Petey went under the bed where Klimey was and continued to make
We left him alone. Petey soon emerged and we put him in a blanket by the heater.
He wanted to be left alone.
Petey-Weedy barely could walk and stumbled out the bedroom and down a
few steps to the cat door. Somehow he pushed himself through. The igloo
was two feet from the door.
We let him be.
An hour later Clara checked on Petey.
His fur was gorgeous. His body still warm.
But Petey had passed.
He never made it to the igloo.
has been missing since Sept 2014. On Jan 23, 2015 while walking in McClaren Park
a cat resembling Moti emerged on a tree branch above a
thicket of bushes. This brightened our hearts as Clara and I imagine Moti as a feline Tarzan. Clara wrote the below poem before we confirmed the cat was not Moti.
by Clara Hsu
Who sits on a branch
above a field of thorns?
My cat. My cat.
Who listens to his names
and twitches his ears?
My cat. My cat.
His looks have changed since autumn
from living wild and eating mice.
We’re trespassing his kingdom
that can’t be bought
Catnip on the hills.
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December 30 2015-January 13, 2016
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Click headlines below for full stories.
A burned infant was only a matter of time in view of policy to not enforce law on violent settlers
of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby in an overnight arson
attack, are laid out on the floor of his family home, Douma, West Bank,
July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
combined excerpt from Israeli human rights
NGO B'Tselem (see link above photo)
and headlined stories below:
killing of a one and a half year old infant, 'Ali Sa'ed Dawabshe, and
the critical injuries to his mother Riham, and his father Sa'ed (on life support) and his
toddler brother 'Ahmed, after a suspected arson attack by Israeli
civilians burned their home, was only a matter of time. This, due to
the authorities' policy to avoid enforcing the law on Israelis who harm
Palestinians and their property. This policy creates impunity for hate
crimes, and encourages assailants to continue, leading to this
morning's horrific result.
West Bank murder:
In recent years, Israeli
civilians set fire to dozens of Palestinian homes, mosques, businesses,
agricultural land and vehicles in the West Bank. The vast majority of
these cases were never solved, and in many of them the Israeli Police
did not even bother take elementary investigative actions.
According to the UN, at least 120 attacks by Israeli settlers have been
documented in the occupied West Bank since the start of 2015.
A recent report by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organisation,
showed that more than 92.6 percent of complaints Palestinians lodge
with the Israeli police go without charges being filed.
The indictment rate for such crimes is also extremely low: Israeli
human rights NGO Yesh Din has reported that a survey of Samaria and
Judea District Police files investigating attacks against Palestinians
and/or their property by Israeli civilians showed that between 2005 and
2014, only 7.4 percent of such cases ended with indictments.
Critics say Israel doesn't enforce the law when it comes to settlers
because of the political power that the settlers wield in parliament
and because they are still perceived in some circles as Zionist
pioneers who are settling the land like the vanguards who established
the Jewish state. (All Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem violate international law, according to the U.N. Security
Council, even those permitted by Israeli law.)
Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu called the arson “an act of terrorism in every respect.The State
of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the
Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party declared: "This is murder. Terror is terror is terror.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, also referred to
terrorism and claimed that in an event such as this, “there is no
Jewish or Arab, Left or Right,” just “a battle between the forces of
light and darkness.”
By and large, these responses
sing from the same hymn sheet: all are big on condemnation, but most
utterly fail to acknowledge the endemic nature of settler violence.
Lacking, too, is any word on incitement by Israeli politicians.
Bennett’s calls to annex the West Bank to Israel, coupled with his
infamous statement about having personally killed many Arabs, sit
rather awkwardly with his announcement this morning. Shaked, for her
part, posted a notorious Facebook update during last summer’s Gaza war
in which she called Palestinians “snakes” and suggested that
Palestinian mothers and their houses “must go… Otherwise they will
raise other little snakes there.”
The only statements from Jewish
Israeli politicians that mention the government and army’s systemic
failures in stemming Jewish terrorism have come from either Meretz or
the Joint List.
In response to the murder, Meretz head Zehava Galon wrote that “the
writing was on the wall” and criticized the right-wing leadership for
being blind to the “direct line” between their failure to properly
enforce the law in the West Bank and incidents such as last night’s
lethal attack. She urged the arrest of not only the perpetrators but
also the rabbis she said were responsible for inciting them and
legitimizing such attacks.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "continued failures to
effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have
led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent
life," his spokesman told reporters. "This must end."
According to the statement, “the absence of a political process and
Israel’s illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and
unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise
to violent extremism on both sides. This presents a further threat to
the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood as
well as to the security of the people of Israel.”
The fact that the Samaria and Judea (SHAI) Police and other law
enforcement bodies have failed to solve these attacks isn't fate.
Rather, it is the result of a policy expressed throughout all levels of
the law enforcement system, in particular the political echelons, up to
and including the Prime Minister. In light of this, official
condemnations of this attack are empty rhetoric as long as politicians
continue their policy of avoiding enforcement of the law on Israelis
who harm Palestinians, and do not deal with the public climate and the
incitement which serve is backdrop to these acts.
Chief Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erekat said in a statement “We hold the Israeli Government fully
responsible for [last night’s events]...Over a year ago President Abbas
requested international protection for Palestinians, a call that has
been ignored so far. Today we can see the consequences... This is a
direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli
government to settler terrorism. This is the consequence of a culture
of hate funded and incentivized by the Israeli government and the
impunity granted by the international community...Since 2004, over
settler attacks have taken place against Palestinian homes,
cars, churches, mosques, trees and others with full impunity.”
The scale of such attacks indicates the extent to which settler
violence is part of the culture of the West Bank and not merely an
issue of “bad apples.”
The culture of settler impunity is one
that human rights activists have challenged for years — in vain. The
entire system of governance in the West Bank is designed to protect
Jewish settlers and leave Palestinians vulnerable. The settlements have
security systems and armed guards, while Palestinian villagers are not
only physically unprotected but also forbidden to own weapons. A
Palestinian who defends his property is liable to be arrested by
soldiers and detained for weeks or months in a military prison.
Several years ago, writer
Lisa Goldman visited a Palestinian village in Area B of the West Bank,
where some of the local men decided to sleep in their family olive
groves after settlers torched several of their trees. Settlers carrying
jerrycans of kerosene returned, saw the village men waiting for them
and attacked them. The Palestinians fought back, using their fists. To
prove they were unarmed, they showed us photos of the altercation. When
soldiers arrived, they arrested the Palestinians and sent the settlers
While Palestinians in the West
Bank are subject to Israeli military law, under which many are
routinely imprisoned on the basis of flimsy evidence, Israeli settlers
in the same territory are subject to Israeli civil law and the
protections it offers. Although Palestinian Authority security forces
refrain from protecting Palestinians from Israeli settlers or soldiers,
the Israeli military is not viewed as a protector for Palestinians even
when settlers are breaking Israeli law.
Polls show that a majority of
Israelis do not see Palestinians as potential neighbors with whom they
are prepared to share their streets or apartment buildings. And their
failure to connect the ever-expanding settlement enterprise with the
violence being visited on the Palestinians has cultivated the climate
of impunity now under international scrutiny.
In light of this, the clock is ticking in the countdown to the next arson attack, and the one after.
The above was excerpted from the B'Tselem press release and the headlined stories below
Leaders fail to address nature
of settler violence
The murder of a Palestinian baby
has provoked condemnation from Israeli leaders across the political
spectrum. Yet the harsh rhetoric masks a consistent failure by the
Israeli establishment to understand the endemic nature of this kind of
(Natasha Roth, 972.mag, 7/31/15)
Suspected Jewish extremists burn Palestinian child to death
(Mohammed Daraghmeh and Tia Goldenberg, AP, 7/31/15)
West Bank attack puts Israel’s settlement policy in the spotlight
Analysis: The murder of baby Ali Saad Dawabsha highlights the occupation’s impunity for settler violence
(Lisa Goldman, Al Jazeera, 7/31/15)
Anger, grief as arson blamed on Israeli settlers kills West Bank infant
Protests erupt across Palestinian territories after attack in Duma leaves child dead, young family struggling to survive
(Dalia Hatuqa, Al Jazeera, 7/31/15)
Palestinian toddler killed in settler price-tag attack
(Allison Deger, Mondoweiss, 7/31/15)
Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack
(Al Jazeera.net, 7/31/15)
Israel braces for violence, Hamas rockets, after Palestinian baby killed in firebombing
Dawabsha buried, doctors try to save rest of family; Israel condemns
alleged Jewish terrorists who set fire to home; Abbas blames Israeli
support for settlers; world slams attack; IDF sends extra troops to
(Jonathan Beck, Times of Israel, 7/31/15)