Saturday, October 31, 2009

[Palestinian] Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee, 1890-1900.

[Palestinian] Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee, 1890-1900.

This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division under the digital ID ppmsca.02740

Jerusalem.... Palestinian Heritage


Landscapes of Desire, Drawings by John Halaka

Landscapes of Desire
, Drawings by John Halaka

View Exhibit
View Video

John Halaka’s [ ] drawings Landscapes of Desire are inspired by the ruins of Palestinian villages and homes that were destroyed by Israel during and after the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The images compel the viewer to reflect on the unrelenting effort by the Jewish State to annihilate a culture that refuses to disappear and an indigenous people that refuse to go away. The ruins of stone homes from destroyed Palestinian villages such as Kafr Bir’im, Lifta and Al-Bassa, poetically represented in Halaka’s drawings, are a declaration that in the face of looming cultural annihilation, the persistence of memory is a crucial act of resistance.

John Halaka is an activist artist whose creative work serves as a vehicle for meditation on personal, cultural and political concerns. The primary focus of his work over the past two and a half decades can be summarized as an ongoing reflection on the frailty and resilience of the human condition and the persistent search for self-realization in the face of personal and cultural self-delusion. Halaka is of Palestinian descent and was born in El Mansoura, Egypt, in 1957. He is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of San Diego, where he has taught since 1991. He received his MFA in the Visual Arts from the University of Houston in 1983 and his BA in Fine Arts from CUNY Brooklyn in 1979. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Looking back... All I Have

One of my own favorite poems is by the late Tawfiq Zayyad, poet, former Mayor of Nazareth and Knesset member:

All I Have

I never carried a rifle

On my shoulder

Or pulled a trigger.

All I have

Is a lute’s memory

A brush to paint my dreams,

A bottle of ink.

All I have

Is unshakeable faith

And an infinite love

For my people in pain.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer sat down with Jon. Watch the videos on the Indecision blog and join the conversation on The Daily Show forums.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer sat down with Jon. Watch the videos on the Indecision blog and join the conversation on The Daily Show forums.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Actual Royalty [Jordan's Queen Rania] To Join Social Media Royalty At Le Web 2009

The Le Web conference in Paris always has a surprise or two for attendees. Last year, author Paulo Coelho spoke about how he uses social networking to spread word about his books, and how he encourages people to download pirated copies of his work. This year, Her Majesty Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, will be on stage.

Rania is a monarch on a mission. She focuses much of the messaging on her Twitter account towards helping women and promoting peace and education...[READ MORE]

Complaint [to the Daily Show] concerning the recent riveting interview with Palestinian democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti

Dear Mr Stewart,

I've heard that your show has been deluged with complaints concerning the recent riveting interview with Palestinian democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti and human rights activist Anna Baltzer, author of A Witness in Palestine

I need to add my name to the list of complainers. I am totally delighted to see the video is freely available, and every where I go I can find links to buy Anna's book- BUT I sure would like to be more easily able to quote Mustafa Barghouti.

PLEASE we need an easy to find on your webpage official written transcript of the full interview so that this amazing and inspirational episode can be savored- and every perfect word quoted correctly :-) .


Anne Selden Annab

Anna Baltzer

Anna Baltzer
Dear friends,
Last night Dr. Barghouti and I were on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart talking about Palestine.

The show was overwhelmed with angry emails and phone calls prior to the appearance, and up until the last minute it seemed like they might cancel. During the taping the show had it's only heckler in 11 year...s.The entire staff were very nervous and may come to regret the monumental decision (and not make it again) as they will surely be inundated now that the show has aired.

That is why it is CRUCIAL that the show receive letters of support from anyone who appreciated the interview.

PLEASE take a moment to give a quick thank you to the Daily Show. I'm sure they will likely be affected by numbers rather than length, so it's OK to make it short, but spread the word to others! Be sure to put"Thank you" in the subject, and maybe Dr. Barghouti & my names. Fill out the form here: (make sure to choose The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as your topic).

Many of you who watched the show on TV noticed that everything of real substance that I said was edited out. The major issues cut out were (1) the US role in aiding Israel, (2) the lack of adequate coverage in mainstream US media, and (3) the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions (BDS) to nonviolently pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The full, un-cut interview is available on the Daily Show homepage and will eventually be moved to:

Part I:

Part I:

It's worth watching and comparing with what they allowed said in the TV version.

Regardless of the cuts, this was a huge step for the movement(and Dr. Barghouti's left-in parts were excellent, in my opinion). If you agree, do make your letters positive, even if you decide to mention the disappointing discrepancy between the full interview and what was aired. Again, please take a moment to fill out the form here: (make sure to choose The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as your topic).

I believe the interview wouldn't have happened 3 years ago. Times are changing. Keep on keepin' on...


PS. I launched a new version of my website in time for the show, in case you're interested:
Read More

Dear International Geographical Union

Dear International Geographical Union

Please do not hold your regional conference in Israel: The geography of a heavily armed Israel harshly oppressing and actively displacing increasingly vulnerable Palestinian men women and children all through out the Holy Land is a cruel reality... and by holding your conference there you only help Israel continue on with its dastardly deeds.

Anne Selden Annab

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Open Letter to the International Geographical Union: Enforcing Geographies of Justice

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is deeply disturbed by the decision of the International Geographical Union (IGU) to hold its regional conference in Israel next July. We urge the IGU to relocate this conference to another venue in the region, and appeal to all geographers to refrain from participating in the conference if it is convened in Israel.

Academic and cultural boycotts can be effective measures towards putting pressure upon Israel to cease its campaign of ethnic cleansing against and colonial control over the Palestinian people and to respect international law. The 2004 PACBI call for boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions [1], like the Palestinian civil society‘s widely endorsed call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in 2005 [2], is based on the same moral principle embodied in the international civil society campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa: people of conscience must take a stand against oppression and use all the means of civil resistance available to bring it to an end.

At a time when the international movement to boycott Israeli academic and cultural institutions is gaining ground in response to Israel’s flagrant infringement of Palestinian human and political rights, we urge you to reflect upon the implications of your decision to hold a regional conference of the IGU in Israel. As scholars, you are acutely aware that Israel has flaunted international law for several decades. Since the hegemonic world powers are active agents in acquiescence to Israel’s colonial and oppressive policies, we believe that the only avenue open to achieving justice is sustained work on the part of Palestinian and international civil society to put pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions to end this oppression.

The hosting of the conference by an Israeli geographers’ body working under the auspices of the Israeli Academy of Sciences, as well as the fact that the conference steering committee is composed of representatives of geography departments at Israeli universities, makes this an event that is firmly planted in the academic establishment in Israel.

The Israeli academy is deeply implicated in providing the ideological rationale and “scientific” basis for Israel’s colonial policies. Geography, in particular, has played for decades a decisive role in (re-)producing the Zionist imaginative geographies and mythology that has denied the existence of the indigenous people of the land – a people without a land for a land without a people – while paradoxically justifying its erasure and the colonization of its territory – maximum land, minimum Arabs. As geographer Ghazi Falah has argued, the ethnic nature of the State of Israel and the Zionist colonial ideology in which it has been shaped, transformed the science of Geography into a powerful ideological and political tool and geographers, with rare exceptions, into uncritical agents of Israeli state policy [3].

The geographical knowledge produced by the Israeli academic establishment has been essential to assemble the spatial apparatus of ethnic segregation and destruction set in place by Israel’s civilian and military structures. Like the tank, the gun, and the bulldozer, as architect Eyal Weizman has so bluntly described, spatial planning and infrastructural development provide “not only the theater of war but its very weapons and ammunition” [4]. This is what sociologist Sari Hanafi has defined as spacio-cide; the systematic targeting of the Palestinian geography as living space [5].

Geography departments at Israeli institutions provide the academic scaffolding for the policies of ethnic cleansing, exclusion, dispossession, and racial discrimination practiced against Palestinians both within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. They are complicit, whether by active collaboration with government and regional planning authorities through consultancies and research activities, or by their tolerance for racist academics masquerading as scholars. Take the case of Arnon Sofer, the Israeli geographer at Haifa University who has proudly and consistently claimed authorship of the idea of the separation Wall that illegally cuts into the West Bank separating communities from each other, annexing to Israel the most fertile lands and richest underground aquifers. He is also well known as the prophet of the ”Arab demographic threat.”

Having Israel host the IGU regional conference under the theme “Bridging Diversity in a Globalizing World” is disingenuous to say the least. According to the conference website, “since [its] establishment, some 60 years ago, Israel has always envisaged a bridging role in the Middle East.” It claims that “no location better reflects the theme of ‘bridging diversity’” [6]. These assertions disregard at once the human suffering and material destruction brought about by the establishment of the state of Israel in historic Palestine. Israel, in its endeavor to build and “protect” a demographically exclusive Jewish state by means of outright expulsion of the indigenous inhabitants of the land, confiscation and theft of natural resources, destruction of urban and rural infrastructure, and far-reaching exclusionary and racist zoning policies, has destroyed every bridge to the indigenous people of Palestine, as well as to its Arab neighbors. Diversity is clearly incompatible with the segregationist nature of the Zionist settler colonial ideology.

Israel is lauded in the conference literature for its “imaginative ecological and environmental responses for sustaining the physical diversity of the national landscape.” The real story of Israeli colonial policy lies in the way Palestinians have been robbed of their land and water resources; the way Gaza’s aquifers have been deliberately depleted triggering further desertification; how the construction of the Apartheid Wall has broken apart natural and habitat corridors and the way it provokes periodic inundations of Palestinian agricultural fields during the rainy season; how systematic destruction and uprooting of trees ravages the environment and provides foliage for illegal Israeli settlements; and how Palestinian lands are dump sites and have became ecological minefields.

Further evidence of the local hosts’ complicity in the apartheid reality of Israel is provided in the details of the numerous “exciting field trips” offered to conference participants so they may “explore the unique diversity that is Israel.” The tours are a stark example of colonial tourism; the tours depict a land cleansed of any traces of its past—or present—indigenous inhabitants and their society and culture. Palestinians simply do not exist.

It is unimaginable for an international body of scholars to have convened a conference in South Africa under apartheid; why should it be acceptable to hold a conference of geographers in Apartheid Israel?

We call upon members of the IGU and geographers around the world to press for the conference venue to be changed. In the event that this demand is not met, we urge a widespread boycott of this conference. No self-respecting professional body should wish to ally itself with a regime of apartheid!


[3] See Falah, G. (1994), “The Frontier of Political Criticism in Israeli Geographic Practice,” Area, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 1-12.
[6] IGU Second Circular.


Write to the members of the IGU Executive Committee:

President Ronald Abler

Secretary-General Woo-ik Yu

Irasema Alcántara-Ayala

Giuliano Bellezza

Ruth Fincher

Aharon Kellerman

Vladimir Kolosov

Markku Löytönen

Michael Meadows

Dahe Qin

Posted on 29-10-2009 by PACBI

Unclench your fist... Live by the Golden Rule

Words to Honor: The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why! UNRWA and Palestine Refugees After Sixty Years

Why! UNRWA and Palestine Refugees After Sixty Years

28th October 2009 at 7 pm

UNRWA and The Danish Institute in Damascus are happy to invite you to an event as part of UNRWA's commemoration of 60 years of service under the title:

Evening Talk. Refugees forever? UNRWA and the Palestine refugees after sixty years.

Read more about UNRWA here.

Everyone is welcome.

Why! UNRWA and Palestine Refugees After Sixty Years

UNRWA and The Danish Institute in Damascus are happy to invite you to an event as part of UNRWA's commemoration of 60 years of service.

A panel discussion with:

  • Lex Takkenberg - UNRWA Senior Ethics Officer, PhD in International Law
  • Raja Deeb - Palestinian advocate for the right of return
  • Sami Moubayed - Syrian political analyst, journalist, historian and author
  • Nadine Salameh - Palestinian actress

The Danish Institute, Old City, Damascus
28 October 2009 at 7pm
8/10 Souq al-Souf, Souq Madhat Basha

The Danish Institute

My letter to the Independent RE Student expelled to Gaza Strip by force, Palestinian's involuntary return is the sixth in 10 days

RE: Student expelled to Gaza Strip by force, Palestinian's involuntary return is the sixth in 10 days, says human rights group Palestinian's involuntary return is the sixth in 10 days, says human rights group

Dear Sir,

Regarding the news story Student expelled to Gaza Strip by force, Palestinian's involuntary return is the sixth in 10 days, says human rights group (& thank you for publishing this telling bit of news): I very much hope that a just and lasting negotiated peace can be created soon, for everyone's sake... but especially for the many Palestinian men, women, and children besieged and harassed- and the many Palestinian communities impoverished by Zionist polices.

A telling quote from a fascinating recent interview on the popular Jon Stewart Daily Show by Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti "Jon, if I may say so, Israel has tried for sixty years, the language of power to achieve security, the only road that was not tried fully is to have peace with the Palestinians, and I am sure, this is the best guarantee for security."

Anne Selden Annab

The Harvest by Ibrahim Ghannam

The Harvest by Ibrahim Ghannam 1979


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ibrahim Hassan Kheite (1930-1984), better known by the artistic name, Ibrahim Ghannam, was an artist considered to be one of the founders of the Palestinian plastic art movement. His paintings focused on describing the daily life of the Palestinian people in his country before the Nakba. He painted scenes of village life in a naïve style using bright colours.[1]

Ghannam contracted Gout as a child and used a wheelchair throughout his life.[1] His reputation as a professional illustrator emerged from "tal el za3tar" camp near the Lebanese capital Beirut.

He was a founding member of the General Union of Palestinian artists foundation, and the General Federation of Arab Artists foundation.

During the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army seized some of his paintings from one of the exhibits of Beirut. Other paintings of his were also lost in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.

He is the subject of Adnan Mdanat's 1977 documentary film Palestinian Visions.[2]

& from Palestine Remembered
Yajur - ياجور

Welcome To Yajur
District of Haifa
Ethnically cleansed 22,467 days ago

View in Google Earth

Israel demolishes Palestinian homes - 28 Oct 09

"“There is an occupation,” he said, but “arms and chaos are not the solution.”" Fayyad talks Dayton, resistance and statehood in new magazine

Fayyad talks Dayton, resistance and statehood in new magazine
Published Wednesday 28/10/2009 (updated) 29/10/2009 15:47

Ramallah - Ma'an - US General Keith Dayton is involved in “training and only training,” and does not interfere in the security mission of the Palestinian Security Services, Prime Minister of the caretaker government Salam Fayyad commented.

An interview with Fayyad ran as a feature in the Ramallah-based Palestine Studies magazine, whose latest issue was released Wednesday.

In the article, Fayyad discussed the mission of Dayton and his role in the development of the Palestinian Security Forces, as well as the progress on his two-year plan for the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.

“Violence is no longer part of the Palestinian resistance,” Fayyad announced while addressing questions around the role of Dayton. After the Oslo Accords, he explained, the track of violent resistance came to an end, and now negotiations must be used as an alternative. “There is an occupation,” he said, but “arms and chaos are not the solution.”

Instead, Fayyad promoted his two-year plan, released in August, which sets out a plan for state and institution building “despite the existence of the occupation,” and with an eye to totally overthrowing it when two years comes to an end.

The magazine staff pressed Fayyad on the issue of a Palestinian state, and asked whether the 1988 declaration of independence, unheeded by the international community, or the Oslo Accords in 1993 form the basis of a Palestinian state.

“We as Palestinians agreed to the Oslo Accords and all that was planned after it. Its essence was the agreement to a two-state solution, and all our actions that followed [Oslo] were a series of negotiations, and in each time we reached no solution after negotiating with Israel,” he answered.

“We need to be clear, however,” Fayyad continued, “because what I mean when I say a national program is one under the PLO, but [at the same time] one that is part of the Palestinian peace initiative of 1988.”

A Palestinian Bedouin from the Al-Azzazneh family herds their livestock on top of a mountain on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Re-spacing Zayta: Exploring Transnational Geographies By Khaled Islaih

Re-spacing Zayta Exploring Transnational Geographies
By Khaled Islaih
Zayta is a small Palestinian village in the northern part of the West Bank with 3,300 inhabitants. The village is situated near the Green Line (the armistice line between Israel and the West Bank), ten kilometres northwest of Tulkarem City.

Zayta is my home village and remains the closest place to my heart. Despite the radical shifts in today’s world, the early memories of life in Zayta continue to shape my identity and worldview.

Villagers’ metaphors provide clarity to digest complexities and guidance to navigate the ambiguities of today’s complex world. Although I have been living in Canada for the last four years, thousands of miles from Zayta, I still maintain regular presence and engagement with my family, friends, and village, thanks to the evolving revolution of information technology. In return, along with this romantic attachment to Zayta, I have been blessed with knowledge and innovative creativity. In this article, I am going to share a transnational vision to build better futures for Zayta and other underprivileged communities in Palestine.

During the last century, the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and later the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank in 1967, uprooted Zayta villagers from their lands and homes. In 1948, the majority of the village’s agricultural land was seized by Israel. The Israeli towns of Maggal, Sde Yizhaq, and parts of Hadera are situated on Zayta’s land (Raml Zayta). Israel completed its military occupation of the populated part of the village in 1967, after destroying around 70 houses. Due to land confiscation and home destruction many families from the village were forced to move eastwards and settled in Jordan, Syria, and the Gulf countries. For example, there is a whole neighbourhood in Irbid, Jordan, called Zaytawi due to the large number of families from Zayta who live there.

Historically, villagers were fully dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. They were harvesting olives, almonds, citrus, and rain-fed crops such as wheat, barley, and beans. After the Israeli military occupation, villagers’ hardship continued. Villagers were used as unskilled labour in Israeli factories and on construction sites. As a result, farmers neglected their remaining farmlands, and agricultural produce declined sharply. As in any other Palestinian locality, shops in the village were turned into marketing outlets for Israeli produce. Moreover, the Israeli military administration controlled all aspects of economic life in the village, including the release of building permits, driving licenses, travel permits, and recruitment approval of public servants. All in all, livelihood in the village was designed to serve Israeli colonial interests.

Unfortunately, the living conditions in Zayta and many other villages in the northern part of the West Bank deteriorated further after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. According to the Oslo Accords, Israel was to remain in control of security in the rural areas of the West Bank, while the Palestinian Authority handled civilian matters.

A few years later, the construction of the apartheid Wall by the Israeli government represented another drastic blow to the Zayta economy. According to the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, the construction of the racist Wall has affected 820 dunums of land in Zayta. Four hundred dunums have been confiscated, levelled, and used in the construction of the Wall. The other 420 dunums are isolated behind the Wall. The construction of the Wall has also been responsible for uprooting 6,000 olive and almond trees and preventing workers from reaching their jobs inside Israel. Access to the Israeli job market has become extremely difficult for Palestinians. As a result, villages in the northern part of the West Bank, including Zayta, have experienced unprecedented poverty rates. Moreover, the unfortunate internal political crisis between Fatah and Hamas has deepened the social and political fragmentation within Palestinian communities. For example, incidents of social disengagement have grown considerably over the last few years and have led to a significant increase in migration flows.

The combination of accelerated hardships of the Palestinian rural communities, including Zayta, and the failure of conventional development models to resolve Palestinian challenges call for an alternative Palestinian development worldview. In fact, resolving the challenges of deprived communities such as Zayta needs innovative development strategies to transform unhealthy patterns of social formation in these communities. According to social scientists, conventional development models that are focused on handling local and territorial patterns fail to address the evolutionary patterns of today’s space-based world.

The explosion of transnational information that flows through information technologies and social media outlets enhances the role of space in everyday lives worldwide. These space-based technologies are already reshaping organisations and economies. More precisely, they are changing the source of wealth creation, the organisation of firms, the nature of work, and the boundaries of economic geography. Spatial literacy now serves as an important key for socio-economic development. Economists, who have traditionally viewed the economy in territorial terms only, are now recognising the importance of space in economic transformation, technological innovation, and global competitiveness.

In the age of open spaces, geographies are changing. Social technologies offer Palestinian communities and businesses a remarkable opportunity to reinvent themselves. For example, businesses have a great opportunity to rebrand their products and services within today’s multicultural markets. Blogging offers business owners an easy way to brand and build connections with customers around the world. To take another example, this morning I bought a 3-litre bottle of olive oil produced in Nablus and a 2-kilogram can of pickled cucumbers produced in Jenin from an ethnic grocery store in Mississauga (a Canadian city near Toronto). Labels on these products only included Palestinian phone numbers as contact information. They didn’t have electronic mail or website information. Building a virtual presence is critical for success in today’s business world. Maybe Palestinian businesses should develop their virtual content as a strategy to connect with global clients and partners. They should make information about their products and services accessible to everyone.

The shift from territorial to spatial economics offers Palestinian individuals, businesses, and communities remarkable opportunities to initiate innovative economic networks and create new social formation patterns in our communities inside Palestine. According to official statistics, more than five million Palestinians are living in transnational communities around the world. Building connections between the Palestinian diaspora and communities inside Palestine in today’s interconnected world will foster innovation, knowledge transfer, market exploration, and business partnerships. In social terms, building Palestinian transnationalism will enhance community engagement, social change, and political empowerment.

In the final analysis, it is about time to expand our horizons and facilitate new social interactions within our space-based society in order to build a new potential for Zayta and other Palestinian communities.

Khaled Islaih is a community developer with a passion for societal transformation. He works with Muslim Community Services to provide language-training services for newcomers to Canada in Mississauga and Brampton. He can be reached at


Entrance to the Cannanite Village in Qalqilia
Photo by George Azar

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good to see attention given to "Palestinian Prisoners: Stripped of Due Process " but ...

Dear Miftah,

Good to see attention given to "Palestinian Prisoners: Stripped of Due Process " but what a shame the article veered off into an aggressive endorsement of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement
. Boycott campaigners seek to convince people to focus as much attention and support as possible on the boycott campaign, and dedicated to their work they are very much immersed in it. Meanwhile, here in America, popular investment news programs broadcast this morning a glowing report with Dan Senor, co-author of the recent book "Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle."

Might not hurt to wonder if perhaps the boycott campaign so far has mainly helped convince Zionists that they need to seriously promote Israel- and Israeli business.

If Miftah's media aim is only reaching out to a pro-Palestinian audience then it makes sense to use the prisoner issue as a way to try to build up more Palestinian support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign... but if your potential audience is all over the map, and you dare hope to convince a wider audience to care about Palestine then perhaps it would make more sense to publish op-eds that make it a priority to support a two state solution at this point in time. A relatively new book on that topic well worth exploring and seriously thinking about is What's Wrong with the One-State Agenda? by ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish.
Dr. Ibish adeptly and quite logically explains in some detail "Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal"

Anne Selden Annab

Jordanian King Abdullah II Addresses the J Street National Conference

My note to MSNBC's Morning Joe regarding Israeli investments

MSNBC's Morning Joe

Dan Senor obviously wants America to idolize and invest in Israel. He paints a very pretty picture by ignoring some rather important points. For instance, why exactly is Israel surrounded by enemies... fact is Israel has been enthusiastically investing in institutionalized bigotry, injustice, militancy and religious extremism for the past 61 years.

My note to CNBC RE pro-Israel business expert/propagandist Dan Senor ( author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle)

What a shame that your interview this morning with the pro-Israel business expert/propagandist Dan Senor ( author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle) did not probe into the very real plight of the Palestinians: Just yesterday the United Nations called on Israel to immediately halt forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, warning that as many as 60,000 people there may be at risk of forced evictions, demolitions and displacement.

Is investing in institutionalized bigotry and building massive concrete apartheid walls really a business model America should be admiring... much less funding?!

Anne Selden Annab


Israel: Leader of Business Innovation 52 mins ago

    Dan Senor, co-author of 'Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle,' discusses with CNBC how Israel has managed to become a leader in business innovation.

My letter to the Guardian RE Khalidi's badly flawed approach

Palestinians stand near a large embroidered dress as it is presented to the media at a stadium in the West Bank city of Hebron October 25, 2009. The dress, which took several months to sew, is expected to be officially measured next month in an attempt to be entered as a Guinness World Record. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun (WEST BANK POLITICS SOCIETY)

RE: The Palestinian Authority's state-first mistake, The Palestinian Authority is intent on a kind of Zionism in reverse. The approach is badly flawed

Dear Sir,

Khalidi's dismissal of the Palestinian Authority (and the push to start building the institutions of Palestinian statehood) depends on the misguided belief that endorsing armed resistance will free Palestine. Indeed if "Israel only came into being as a state by using force" and you seriously don't like what Israel has become, why do you want to mimic the same process and outcome?

Furthermore, 1948 is not 2009. In 1948 many homes in Britain did not have telephones or indoor toilets... or electricity. In 1948 in America, Martin Luther King Jr. was just graduating from college. In 1955 King led the boycott of segregated Montgomery buses, gaining a national reputation at a time when only half of American households had TV sets... King's inspiring "I have a dream" speech was in 1963. The global information age was only dawning then, with telephones connecting people and film preserving the best speeches. Words won- not weapons: The non-violent tactics that convinced America to care about civil rights and a more real democracy made all the difference then- and now.

Anne Selden Annab

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a tennis racket to return an empty tear gas canister at Israeli soldiers during a protest against the controversial Israeli barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah October 23, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (WEST BANK POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Obama's welcome approach to Mideast peace

Obama's welcome approach to Mideast peace

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UN calls on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian homes

UN calls on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian homes

Bus used by the Israeli-Arab population for destinations in East Jerusalem

27 October 2009 – The United Nations today called on Israel to immediately halt forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, warning that as many as 60,000 people there may be at risk of forced evictions, demolitions and displacement.

Israeli authorities demolished the homes of six Palestinian families – 26 people, including 10 children – in East Jerusalem today. This brings the number displaced through forced evictions or house demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) to 600, half of them children, since the beginning of the year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. At least 500 more have been affected by partial demolitions of their homes or livelihoods.

“Such actions run counter to international law and have a serious and long-term negative impact on Palestinian families and communities,” OCHA said. “The UN reiterates its call for an immediate and unconditional halt to such actions and urges the State of Israel to protect the civilian population in oPt from further displacement and dispossession.”

Israel occupied the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in the 1967 war and annexed the latter in a move not recognized internationally. According to Israeli authorities house demolitions are carried out on homes that have been built without official building permits, rendering them “illegal.”

But, OCHA said, “lack of adequate planning combined with strict administrative requirements and high fees makes it extremely difficult for Palestinian residents to obtain such permits, leaving them no choice but to build ‘illegally’ to provide shelter for their families. Palestinian families who move outside the municipal boundaries risk losing their Jerusalem ID [identity] cards, and with it the right to live in and access the city.”

According to conservative estimates, as many as 60,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem may be at risk of forced evictions, demolitions and displacement.

“Many others are facing mounting pressure to leave the city as a result of extensive physical, legal and administrative restrictions that affect every aspect of their daily lives,” OCHA concluded.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Israelis, Palestinians continue to commit serious rights violations – UN

Hizbollah must disarm to ensure Lebanon’s sovereignty, Ban warns- UN

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Marking Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009

A Palestinian boy walks next to a mural depicting Jesus Christ during an event to mark Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, in the West Bank town of Jenin, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

Palestinians make world's largest embroidered dress

HEBRON, West Bank (AFP) – Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hebron on Sunday unveiled what they believe is the largest embroidered dress ever sewn, in a bid to promote their local handicrafts.

Around 150 women helped make the dress, measuring 32.6 metres (35.6 yards) long and 18.1 metres (19.8 yards) wide, which took four months to complete, according to the Palestinian Children's Home, the local organisation behind the project.

Palestinian officials were on hand for the official unveiling of the gown, which project organisers hope will secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and spark international interest in Palestinian handicrafts.

Women living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have increasingly turned to traditional handicrafts as a source of income in recent years as Israeli restrictions put in place during the 2000 Palestinian uprising have curtailed economic growth and contributed to high unemployment.

Can 100 flowers bloom among the Arab Americans? | Ibishblog

Can 100 flowers bloom among the Arab Americans? | Ibishblog

UNWRA Refugee Stories: The desert gardener

Refugee Stories

The desert gardener

October 2009

Bassim Mohamad, a Palestinian agricultural science professor from Baghdad University, lives in al Tanf refugee camp. He talks about his life, the art of survival in the desert and why gardening there is so important

You were a professor at Baghdad University. Why did you flee Iraq?

I am a Palestinian born in Baghdad in 1960. I lived and studied in Baghdad and lived and worked my whole life there. I studied agricultural science at Baghdad University and got married in 1985. We have two sons.

I was forced to leave Baghdad in 2006, three years after the war started. We came to Damascus, stayed for two years and then moved to al Tanf. Militias in Iraq killed my brother, so we decided to come to Syria. In the year 2006 many Palestinians were killed, everyone was afraid and tried to leave the country. My brother, friends and others were killed. My father died shortly after our arrival in Damascus.

How was life for you in Baghdad before the war?

We did not have any problems before the war. My father started his business in 1960, a French bread bakery. We had houses, cars, everything we needed. After the war everything vanished and we still don’t understand what and why it happened. Especially for Palestinians in Iraq the situation was the hardest. There were threats everywhere, many were killed and tortured.

You stayed in Damascus for almost two years…

I still have family members in Damascus. My uncles and cousins have been living there for a long time, so we could stay with them. In 2008 I came to al Tanf because I ran out of money and now no money is left at all. I worked for six months in a bakery in Damascus, but the salary was very low compared to Baghdad's salaries.

Then you came to no-man's land, al Tanf…

My wife, my youngest son and I arrived almost one year ago. What we need now is a new future for our children, our work and our life. We need peace and hope to be resettled.

What is the biggest hardship in the desert camp for you?

Incredibly hot weather, bad conditions, little water. There is little electricity, no work. Also, there are snakes, insects, mice, and diseases, particularly skin disease caused by the sun. Especially for children it is very hard here.

Can you imagine going back to Iraq in the future?

No, I would never go back. They killed my brother, which is still a big problem for me. My father died because of his grief in Damascus. My brother was killed only for being Palestinian.

What’s your daily routine here?

Our life here works like this: I get up around six in the morning, go outside and check outside the tents for snakes, insects or potential fire. I come back home, have my breakfast around seven. I go to my culture and check out my plants.

Then I visit other areas in al Tanf camp and check on insects and other problems. Everyone is still sleeping at that time. I do some work on the water tanks to refill the tanks for each tent. Around 12 I have my lunch and take a little nap. In the afternoon I usually organise a volleyball match. We have our own team and normally we play around six in the evening.

Your desert garden: what is the idea behind it?

I started this project because I’m a specialist in agricultural issues. I am doing a study on how certain plants grow in the tough desert environment regarding diseases, insects etc. I record every single detail: temperature and weather in order to study these conditions.

But July and August are hard for gardening. There is little water, the culture is weak, and only a few vegetables grow. I used seeds brought to me from Damascus. At the moment we have beans, corns and flour, which we use for cooking. Later on we will have spinach, potatoes and much more. We depend on them since vegetables are hardly available in the camp. We have rabbits and birds as well, all of them found in the desert. We depend on our self-grown food.

Baghdad, Damascus, al Tanf: Your life had been hard in the past. What are your dreams for the future?

Everything is better than living here.

What do you miss the most from Baghdad?

All my friends, my neighbourhood, everything. I lived in an area of the city called "new Baghdad", not in a refugee camp. I did not have any financial problems. My whole life from 1960 until after the war was in Baghdad. Of course the war changed everything, militias came, killings and many other things started. But we still hope for a better future one day.

Interview: Eva Pilipp