Labels

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"I started to think. What can I do for those who are living?" Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, whose three daughters were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, at his home in Toronto, Canada. Photograph: Donald Weber/VII Network
16 Jan 2011:

Two years ago, Israeli shells fell on Dr Abuelaish's family home in Gaza, killing three of his young daughters and their cousin. Amazingly, the loss did not embitter Izzeldin Abuelaish. Instead, he tells Rachel Cooke, he decided his girls' deaths must not be in vain – and slowly, he has turned the tragedy into a force for peace...READ MORE

Related: I Shall Not Hate Gaza doctor writes book of hope despite death of three daughters (Guardian Book Review)

My letter to the New York Times RE "A Demolition in Jerusalem" letter by Morton A. Klein, Zionist Organization of America

1948 UNRWA photo
Palestinian Refugees pushed into forced exile


RE: "A Demolition in Jerusalem" letter by Morton A. Klein, Zionist Organization of America
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/opinion/lweb15mideast.html?ref=opinion

Dear Editor,

Peace and progress in the Middle East depend on creating a secular two state solution to end the Israel/Palestine conflict in line with international law. We all have a part to play in making a just and lasting peace a reality for everyone's sake.

I agree with Morton A Klein's argument that racist zoning laws are wrong- and I find it a huge shame that
Morton A. Klein, the Zionist Organization of America and all of Israel refuse to apply this very same logic and compassion to the Palestinian refugees by fully respecting their inalienable right to return to original homes and lands.

Furthermore, the Shepherd Hotel is in East Jerusalem which means this zoning incident is clearly not about religion, this is about Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land: "This is part of an accelerating pattern in Jerusalem that consists of shifting the demographic balance to reinforce Israeli claims to control permanently the entire city, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state, with its capital as East Jerusalem, virtually unattainable," UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-8D4T2H?OpenDocument&rc=3&emid=ACOS-635PFR

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

The Golden Rule

Core Issues

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."Eleanor Roosevelt

The Arab Peace Initiative

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:

1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

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.

Illegal acts by Israeli authorities on the rise in the occupied West Bank – UN human rights expert

Source: United Nations Human Rights Council

GENEVA (14 January 2011) – UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk expressed concern over what he described as "series of illegal acts by Israeli authorities" in the occupied territories, namely the killing of four Palestinians in the West Bank in the past two weeks by Israel Defence Forces (IDF), as well as the demolition of the historic Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian landmark, so as to make way for the construction of more Israeli settlements.

"Together these events demonstrate a general and unacceptable Israeli disposition to use excessive force against Palestinians, who are already suffering from prolonged occupation," the Special Rapporteur said.

In his view, "it is impossible to separate this pattern of excessive use of force against Palestinians from the indiscriminate use of force against civilians in Israel's larger occupation policy, as illustrated by the cruel punitive blockade that has been imposed on the people of Gaza for more than three years and by the illegal manner in which Israel carried out attacks for three weeks on the defenseless population of Gaza two years ago,"

"It is time for the international community to step in and offer this long vulnerable Palestinian population protection against the violence perpetrated by Israeli authorities," Mr. Falk stressed.

On 1 January 2011, Ms. Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, a 36 year-old Palestinian woman, died as a result of inhalation of tear gas fired by IDF at the demonstrators. She had been observing a demonstration against the separation Wall in the West Bank town of Bil'in on 31 December 2010.

On 2 January 2011, a 25 year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by IDF soldiers at the Al-Hamra checkpoint in the West Bank as he was not able to follow an instruction given in Hebrew, a language he did not understand. An IDF spokesperson explained that he was shot and killed due to "a combination of misunderstandings stemming from the Palestinian citizen's inexplicable behavior and the high state of alert of the soldiers."

On 7 January 2011, an unarmed 65 year-old Palestinian man was shot dead in his bed by IDF soldiers. This killing, apparently a case of mistaken identity, occurred during a series of raids in Hebron.

On 8 January 2011, another Palestinian man was shot dead by IDF soldiers at the same Al-Hamra checkpoint. He was allegedly threatening IDF soldiers at the checkpoint.

On 9 January 2011, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished a wing of the Shepherd Hotel in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, as part of a plan to build a new Israeli settlement of 20 units. "This is part of an accelerating pattern in Jerusalem that consists of shifting the demographic balance to reinforce Israeli claims to control permanently the entire city, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state, with its capital as East Jerusalem, virtually unattainable," Mr. Falk said.

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Nikki Siahpoush (Tel.: + 41 22 928 9430 / email: nsiahpoush@ohchr.org) or write to sropt@ohchr.org.

What are human rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

Universal and inalienable

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

All States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting consent of States which creates legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights norms enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations.

Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

Interdependent and indivisible

All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education , or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

Equal and non-discriminatory

Non-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all the major human rights treaties and provides the central theme of some of international human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as sex, race, colour and so on. The principle of non-discrimination is complemented by the principle of equality, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Both Rights and Obligations

Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.

A general view of The Dome of the Rock is seen from the Christian quarter in Jerusalem's Old City January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS)

The Dome of the Rock is seen during sunset in Jerusalem's Old City January 12, 2011. According to local businessmen, Palestinians have long been hesitant about investing in Arab East Jerusalem, governed by Israel since it occupied the West Bank in 1967 but a small growing number are rising to the challenge, seeing the chance to make a decent return while helping to revive the city's decaying Palestinian economy. To match feature PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/JERUSALEM REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: CITYSCAPE BUSINESS)

The Dome of the Rock (R) is seen in this general view taken from the Jewish settlement of Nof Zion, located in the West Bank village of Jabel Mukaber, near Jerusalem January 12, 2011. An attempt by Palestinian-American businessman Bashar Masri to take control of an Israeli company developing Nof Zion in East Jerusalem was shot down on Wednesday when bondholders rejected his buyout offer. Masri had planned to develop the Nof Zion settlement to help meet the housing demands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who find it very difficult to obtain building permits from Israel's Jerusalem municipality. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (WEST BANK - Tags: BUSINESS)

An elderly Palestinian walks away from teargas fired by Israel troops during a clash between Jewish settlers and Palestinians over farming land between the Jewish settlement Shiloh and the West Bank the village of Qusrah near Nablus, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. According to Palestinian witnesses and the Israeli army five Palestinians and three Jewish settlers were lightly injured in the clash.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Marya Amen is seen during an interview with The Associated Press in Alyn hospital in Jerusalem, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. Amen was wounded in a 2006 air strike targeting Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza City. Her mother, brother and grandmother were killed. The Palestinian girl will be allowed to remain in the country for medical care, according to a government document released Wednesday. (AP Photos/Bernat Armangue)

Palestinians walk past a boy selling bubble blowing pipes after the Muslim Friday prayers in the Old City of Jerusalem, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. A poll published earlier this week suggests that a plurality of Jerusalem Palestinians would rather remain in Israel even after a peace deal and the creation of a Palestinian state. The poll shows that 35 percent of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents would choose Israeli citizenship over Palestinian citizenship. (AP Photo/ Michal Fattal)

Palestinian men ride horses during sunset on the beach of Gaza City January 12, 2011 REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS)

Palestinian men ride horses during sunset on the beach of Gaza City January 12, 2011 REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS)

A Palestinian Bedouin man sits among school equipment removed from a demolished structure, previously used as a classroom, in the village of Dakeka, near the West Bank city of Hebron, Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011. Israeli forces demolished 13 structures in the south Hebron hills which were built without building permits, Israeli officials said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

A wooden cross is seen at a market in Jerusalem's Old City January 12, 2011. According to local businessmen, Palestinians have long been hesitant about investing in Arab East Jerusalem, governed by Israel since it occupied the West Bank in 1967 but a small growing number are rising to the challenge, seeing the chance to make a decent return while helping to revive the city's decaying Palestinian economy. To match feature PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/JERUSALEM REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS)

Palestinians select fruit at a stall near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City January 12, 2011. To match feature PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/JERUSALEM REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS)

Friday, January 14, 2011

My letter to the Daily Star RE Arabs must end the ambiguity and hypocrisy when facing terrorism

RE: Arabs must end the ambiguity and hypocrisy when facing terrorism
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=123649#axzz1AyL8LWSr

Dear Editor

Dr. Ziad Asali & Dr. Hussein Ibish of ATFP (The American Task Force on Palestine) are wise in refusing to buy into the 'clash of civilizations' world view that so many Zionist ideologues and Islamacists endorse.

Time and time again I have watched the cycle of incitement and spin sabotage support for Palestine. Thus I applaud Asali & Ibish for noticing and pointing out that "In the U.S., the most vociferous proponents of the Arab and Muslim victimization narrative, those who blame the West, especially America or “the white man,” for all the ills befalling the Arabs and Muslims, and those who most loudly advocate against the legal and societal harassment of America’s Arabs and Muslims, take full advantage, as they are entitled to, of the American system and find shelter in the comfort and security of its freedoms. The damage they do in being the loudest and most anti-American voices in the vulnerable Arab and Muslim immigrant communities, is to provide ammunition to the demagogues and profiteers of racism and peddlers of hate and fear of Arab and American Muslims, and to encourage the worst racist and chauvinistic tendencies in the U.S."

Seems to me more people worldwide need to put more energy into remembering the basic Golden Rule & Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

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.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

The Golden Rule








Abdullah, a 3-year-old Palestinian refugee, holds the key to his grandfather's house in Palestine, in the al Hussein refugee camp in Amman April 15, 2004. Jordan hosts the largest Palestinian refugee community in the region with 1.7 million refugees...


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

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.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

  1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
  2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

  1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

  1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
  3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


Arabs must end the ambiguity and hypocrisy when facing terrorism

"In the U.S., the most vociferous proponents of the Arab and Muslim victimization narrative, those who blame the West, especially America or “the white man,” for all the ills befalling the Arabs and Muslims, and those who most loudly advocate against the legal and societal harassment of America’s Arabs and Muslims, take full advantage, as they are entitled to, of the American system and find shelter in the comfort and security of its freedoms. The damage they do in being the loudest and most anti-American voices in the vulnerable Arab and Muslim immigrant communities, is to provide ammunition to the demagogues and profiteers of racism and peddlers of hate and fear of Arab and American Muslims, and to encourage the worst racist and chauvinistic tendencies in the U.S.

U.S. minorities have achieved their communal and collective objectives by working the system as they redefine it, and gaining support and power by courageous but peaceful confrontation of injustices; by use of the law and the political system; but not by rejecting the system as inherently uncorrectable. And certainly not by murdering unarmed military personnel or civilians, or by plotting to blow up planes or squares."

Arabs must end the ambiguity and hypocrisy when facing terrorism
By Ziad Asali and Hussein Ibish

Israel demolishes homes and classroom in West Bank village

"Between 50 and 60 people were made homeless by Wednesday's demolitions, adding to the 478 - many of them children - displaced in Area C in 2010, according to figures from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The number for the previous year was 319."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/view-from-jerusalem-with-harriet-sherwood/2011/jan/14/palestinian-territories-israel

Israel demolishes homes and classroom in West Bank village

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PhillyBurbs.com:  Sewing up a career

Sam Muaddi is living the American dream.

Muaddi, who came to the United States from his native Palestine in 1967, is the owner of Moorestown Auto & Boat Upholstery, a small business that has flourished in the niche market of repairing and restoring the interiors of boats and classic and antique automobiles....Read More on PhillyBurbs.com: Sewing up a career

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coming Home By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

Date posted: January 12, 2011
By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

At passport control at Washington DC's Dulles Airport, the border officer took one look at my children's and my US passports and stamped us through with a smile. We were, after all, technically "home" and countries normally treat their citizens with dignity and respect. The ease with which I entered (and later exited) the United States was shocking to me, given the difficulty with which I enter and exit my own country each time I travel. But this simple act – for me, entering my birthplace, America – as opposed to my ancestral homeland Palestine – epitomizes everything the Israeli occupation represents. And this, I find extremely disturbing.

The individual stories of Palestinians entering and leaving the country are harrowing to say the least. Israel finds excuse after excuse to turn people back at the border, take away Jerusalem IDs or hold people up for hours for no particular reason. Palestinian are allowed to enter or exit certain borders according to the color of their ID cards and there is no guarantee that Palestinians living abroad will be able to return to their homeland when if and when they decide.

The fact that I – as a Palestinian-American – can travel so freely and comfortably through Europe, the United States and basically anywhere else, but have the hardest time coming back to my own house, infuriates me to no end. The point, however, is not about me personally. Nor is it only about crossing borders. It is about Israel's policy towards the Palestinians and the blind eye most of the world is turning towards it. Nowhere is this clearer than right here in Jerusalem, where Israel truly bears its teeth.

Assuming that Palestinians have access to Jerusalem in the first place - in my case, this is a precarious privilege – once you're in, you need to find a place to live. For Jerusalemites, it is an uphill battle at all times. Israel is squeezing Palestinians in Jerusalem into smaller and smaller quarters, taking over areas already heavily populated by Palestinians. Just the other day, the decades old Shepherd Hotel, home to Haj Amin Husseini, one of Jerusalem's most prominent Palestinian figures, was razed to the ground by Israeli bulldozers. The hotel sits in the heart of Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah, one of the few affluent areas of Jerusalem not apprehended in the 1948 war. Still, Israelis cannot keep their hands off of it. For years, settler groups have taken over Palestinian houses there, literally throwing the inhabitants and their belongings out into the street.

Now the hotel has been reduced to rubble to make way for one of Irving Moskovitch's projects in Arab Jerusalem, which is the construction of 20 Jewish only luxury homes. The move was met with condemnation by the European Union and even the United States not to mention the ire of the Palestinians. But the fact remains that on the ground, until these powers actually do something to stop the demolitions and take over, there is less and less room for the Palestinians. And this, we all know, is exactly what Israel wants.

It is all a vicious cycle that starts right at the beginning. When my kids were born, it took months to register them with the Israeli interior ministry, the authority that issues birth certificates. Because I am a West Banker, it took paper upon paper to prove we were living in Jerusalem before they gave the babies legal certificates of birth. I on the other hand, have yet to be granted a Jerusalem ID, forced to settle with an around-the-clock permit of residency to be renewed every 12 months.

If for any reason, my family should move out of Jerusalem, all of these permits and residency rights can go up in smoke. If we live outside the country, our right to reside in Jerusalem will also be jeopardized. Even in our own home, Israeli authorities or settler groups may try to put a hand on our house, or that of our neighbors, just like they have in so many other areas of Jerusalem (the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi Joz to name a few). One could live freely in a foreign country for years only to find that upon returning to their country of origin, they are turned back at the border for not providing this or that paper or because they have been away for "too long."

In all of this, the Palestinian Authority (our government) has no say at all. At the Allenby Bridge, Palestinians are obliged to hand in their ID cards to Palestinian officials before and after crossing the border between Israel and Jordan. "Has anyone been returned by the Israelis or Jordanians?" they ask. The question is rhetorical because they are powerless to reverse a decision at either end. This, in turn, renders Palestinians powerless in the face of these two countries. And it drives home the painful point that we really don't have a country to call our own.

Standing outside the White House last week, I couldn't but draw parallels. Here I was, before the most powerful bastion of democracy (however flawed) in the world, one that I can also claim to be part of. But the luxury of being an "American" was short lived. After another courteous smile and swift stamp in my passport, I left the "home of the free" only to be harassed at the borders of my real home, the very occupied, still very un-independent Palestine. Once inside the borders, the anxiety of being home remained with me – sending my children alone in a cab from the Israeli border crossing designated for east Jerusalem residents; traveling alone to the Qalandiya checkpoint to cross with my Jerusalem permit and meeting up with the kids on the other side; and finally checking my permit's expiry date to see when I would have to set up another rendezvous with the Israeli interior ministry to make sure I was still allowed to sleep in my own bed, in my own house, and in my own city, Jerusalem.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Words matter, both in the Middle East and the United States

Hussein Ibish
January 11, 2011 - 12:00am
The horrifying massacre in Tucson, Arizona, targeting American Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, leaving her critically injured and killing six other people, again demonstrates that domestic terrorism in the United States, of which this is almost certainly a variant, can arise from many sources other than Muslim extremists.


The most recent comparable event of this magnitude, the Fort Hood massacre by Major Nidal Hasan, was seized on by much of the American right as another example of the pathology inherent in either Islam itself or contemporary Muslim culture. However, this latest outrage reminds us how many different ideologies can inform crazed acts of murderous violence.

There is a complex relationship between incendiary rhetoric and extremist violence. Many on the American left immediately pointed to inflammatory language against Giffords and others by right-wing ideologues such as the former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, and sought to tarnish the entire American right with the massacre.

That’s going too far. The motivations of the plainly deranged young man who perpetrated the Tucson killings, Jared Loughner, are not yet clear, and what exactly influenced him to go on this rampage has yet to be fully established. As with recent terrorist outrages in the Middle East, such as attacks on Christians in Iraq and Egypt, the direct blame lies with the killers themselves.

However, it would also be wrong to dismiss the relationship between even implicit incitement and its ultimate translation into violence at the hands of lunatics. My colleague Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine, and I have recently written about the relationship between language and violence in the Arab context. Words matter. As we’ve pointed out, there is a progression between rhetoric that begins with chauvinistic bluster, descends into proclamations of fear and hatred, and finally informs acts of murderous violence.

This doesn’t mean that those who engage in irresponsible rhetoric bear a direct blame for the acts of those who take their words too literally, or their ideology to an irrational but predictable conclusion. But it does mean that everyone has a responsibility to carefully weigh the potential consequences of their interventions and understand the potential effect on some of their audience.

Arizona has been a hotbed of inflammatory rhetoric in the United States in recent years. The immigration debate; the Minuteman and Tea Party movements; the effort to promote the bearing of arms in public spaces; angry rhetoric about “taking the country back;” and dark implications about the origins, motivations and loyalties of President Barack Obama have all been strong features of its political climate.

The chief law enforcement officer of the site of the massacre, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat, bluntly stated, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government – the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. Unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital.”

Naturally many on the American right have reacted with anger at the suggestion that their side of the political aisle bears any kind of collective responsibility for this outrage. After I re-Tweeted comments by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now lamenting the consequences of the deterioration of political discourse in her home state, I had an angry exchange with Noah Pollack. He was most recently involved in an Emergency Committee for Israel, the “emergency” apparently being that there was a Democrat in the White House (though I never really understood the logic of marketing Israel as some kind of an “emergency.”)

Pollack was not surprisingly, and perhaps reasonably, upset at the implication that the American right in general bears any kind of responsibility for the actions of a lone lunatic. Perhaps he now knows how Arab and Muslim Americans felt after the Fort Hood massacre.

Indeed, how many of us had that familiar post-9/11 reflex reaction: “How horrible, but thank goodness it wasn’t an Arab or a Muslim culprit.” After almost 10 years of living with the constant terror of that kind of collective blame, enough is enough. Those whose incitement may have egged on the Arizona shooter bear their share of responsibility, but not direct blame. Those whose incitement provokes Muslim extremist terrorism must be similarly held to account. But no ethnic or religious community could conceivably be held responsible.

Some, such as Jack Shafer of Slate, have suggested that any effort to condemn extreme speech is tantamount to unacceptable censorship. However, in reality it’s up to all of us to set minimal standards for what can be regarded as responsible, acceptable speech, and what must be shunned as outrageous or indeed dangerous. The American right and left, like the Islamist right and Arab nationalist left, have a responsibility to police their ranks, or accept their share of the responsibility, if not direct blame, for the predictable acts of violence that the incendiary rhetoric they tolerate or promote is bound to eventually provoke.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Honesty and Hypocrisy in Facing Terrorism:

For English, click here.

For Arabic, click here.


Have a Question for Ibish?

Please submit a question that you would like Hussein to answer. ALL QUESTIONS WILL BE KEPT STRICTLY ANONYMOUS Submit a Question to Hussein Ibish

Become my friend on Facebook Become Hussein's friend

Follow Ibish on Twitter Follow Ibish on Twitter

Riwaq- focusing on Palestinian architectural and cultural heritage.

Registry Of Historical Buildings In 1994, Riwaq initiated a project to register historic buildings in Palestine: Riwaq’s Registry of Historic Buildings. The registry deals with one of the most endangered components of cultural heritage and encompasses Palestine’s cultural, natural, and architectural heritage in the West Bank (including Arab Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. A vital contribution, Riwaq’s Registry of Historic Buildings is the first step in the long process of safeguarding Palestinian cultural and natural heritage.
Riwaq Photo Archive
Over the years, Riwaq has built up a large collection of photos, videos, maps, and books focusing on Palestinian architectural and cultural heritage. Riwaq is happy to share some of these photos with you and is ready to supply researchers and interested individuals with more information upon request.

To request a photo please Contact Riwaq and note the photo number (s) you are interested in.

















Riwaq Photo Archive
Over the years, Riwaq has built up a large collection of photos, videos, maps, and books focusing on Palestinian architectural and cultural heritage. Riwaq is happy to share some of these photos with you and is ready to supply researchers and interested individuals with more information upon request.

To request a photo please Contact Riwaq and note the photo number (s) you are interested in. http://www.riwaq.org/2010/photo-archive.php