Friday, July 22, 2011

Maan News- UNWRA kids smashed the Guinness World Record for the largest-ever handprint painting on Thursday

Gaza children break another world record

Over 5,000 children smashed the Guinness World Record for the largest-ever handprint painting on Thursday in a stadium in Khan Younis in southern Gaza during summer games organized by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

Children in Gaza are hoping to break four world records this summer. They have already broken the records for the largest number of people dribbling footballs and set the record for the highest number flying parachutes from the ground.

Later in July, over 12,000 children will try to beat the world record for kite flying, UNRWA said.

My letter to the Washington Post RE Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood By Ziad J. Asali

RE: Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood By Ziad J. Asali

Dear Editor,

THANK YOU for publishing Ziad J. Asali's thoughtful and honest op-ed Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood. I very much hope that you publish more columns by Asali and his American Task Force on Palestine colleagues for I think both Americans and Palestinians need to hear and seriously think about what they have to say.

Anne Selden Annab

Ziad J. Asali: Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood

Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood

Palestine should avoid a U.N. showdown.

A potentially dangerous confrontation looms in September over the question of Palestinian statehood, one that threatens significant negative consequences for all parties. It is in the interests of all constructive actors to find a compromise that avoids such a confrontation.

Palestinians are impelled by frustration and despair about the impasse in the peace process — a frustration shared by many Israelis, Americans and others. It is, however, Palestinians who live under occupation, which gives them a justified sense that the status quo is intolerable. The diplomatic impasse created a demand for any mechanism for progress; hence the appeal of approaching the United Nations with a request for membership.

But as Palestinians started pursuing this policy, several crucial facts become clear:

First, the United States indicated unequivocally that it would veto in the Security Council a Palestinian application for U.N. membership, making such membership impossible at this time. Moreover, Congress has sent a strong message that U.N. action on Palestinian statehood would result in a cutoff of U.S. aid, and the United States is the single biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority.

Second, Palestinian hopes for securing support for U.N. membership from a unified European community have been dashed by the open opposition of some countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, and by a lack of support from nations such as Britain and France, which hold key swing votes.

Third, Israel is threatening unspecified unilateral retaliation.

Fourth, there is a significant danger of widespread outrage among Palestinians if a U.N. effort fails, with serious potential for unrest. Outrage can also be expected if a U.N. initiative succeeds but produces no improvement or even leads to deterioration in Palestinians’ living conditions.

The significant gains that Palestinians have made recently in building institutions and preparing for their state must not be put at risk. And, regardless of what happens at the United Nations, Israel must cease its policy of publicly adopting a two-state solution while undermining the realization of that outcome with counterproductive actions....READ MORE

ABDEL-FATTAH: Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians 21Jul11

by Randa Abdel-fattah - The Sydney Morning Herald - 20 July 2011

There was an element of tragicomedy to the situation. Me, the daughter of a dispossessed Palestinian, dressed up as a settler in order to enter the Israeli city of Jaffa.

With me was my American host, Sophie, who in April invited me as a writer-in-residence in Ramallah. An expert in checkpoint avoidance, she has lived with her Palestinian boyfriend for seven years and renews her visa every three months by pretending to have a lesbian Jewish lover.

As we approached the fortified checkpoint, we tied a scarf at the nape of our necks and proceeded to pose as settlers (lose the panicked ”will they let me pass or harass me?” look, sit up tall, act like you own the place).

After days of dehumanising encounters with heavily armed soldiers, this simple act raised us to the ranks of the privileged. The soldier waved us through with a conspiratorial smile – no need to worry, you’re not one of them.

There are many theories as to why a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains elusive. They include the military occupation, Israel’s defiance of international law, US bias, the illegal settlements rendering a contiguous Palestinian state an impossibility, the suffocation of Gaza, the wall, the second-class status of Israeli-Arab citizens, the abysmal Palestinian leadership.

But, after my visit, I would argue that the oxygen feeding such injustices is a pervasive racism that simply sees Palestinians as inferior. I witnessed and experienced it first-hand....READ MORE

ABDEL-FATTAH: Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians 21Jul11
Randa Abdel-fattah is an author and lawyer.

Israeli demolitions of homes in West Bank on the rise

“Palestinian families are being forced to leave due to restrictive policies of the Israeli authorities. The research also shows that these policies, which include settlement activities, are undermining traditional livelihoods and placing thousands of others at risk of displacement.”child peeking at the ruins
There has been a significant increase in the number of Palestinian homes demolished by Israel in one West Bank village.

That’s what two senior UN officials report following a visit to the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that more demolitions have taken place so far this year than in all of 2009 or 2010.

Israeli demolitions of homes in West Bank on the rise

The Stream - Online debate over Palestinian statehood - P.J. Crowley, Gi...

In the run-up to a possible UN vote on Palestinian statehood, political jockeying has spilled over into social media. On The Stream we had a discussion between former US State Department official P.J. Crowley, journalist Gil Hoffman and Hussein Ibish.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

John Hughes: Good journalism is responsible

"Good journalism is not Wiki-style journalism, shoveling everything on the web, good or bad, injurious, intrusive, or irresponsible, and letting the chips fall where they may. Good journalism is coverage screened for accuracy, taste, and purpose.

Responsible editors publish long shots of the overturned school bus, not close-ups of the mangled bodies. If the US senator is a drunk, they report it, but anguish over whether the tipsiness of his spouse is relevant to his professional performance. Responsible editors who know that the so-called commercial attaché in a certain US embassy is actually the CIA station chief had better have a good reason for outing that person and endangering his or her life." John Hughes

News of the World: Murdoch’s media mess is a wake-up call for journalism

Rupert Murdoch's News of the World is mercifully defunct. Journalists and readers (or viewers, or listeners) should now reassess the very function of journalism itself.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hussein Ibish, Ph.D. and Saliba Sarsar: The Long Overdue State of Palestine

"The bottom line is this: in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea -- what has been the de facto Israeli state since 1967 -- there are approximately equal numbers, about 6 million of both, of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Muslims and Christians. One group has a state, citizenship, self-determination and independence. A small group of Palestinians, about 1 million, are citizens of Israel but subject to significant forms of discrimination. But the large majority of Palestinians live in the occupied territories without citizenship or enfranchisement of any kind, self-determination or independence, and are subject to the arbitrary and typically abusive rule of a foreign military. Moreover, they have watched as their land is steadily colonized by Israeli settlements, which are both a violation of international law and a human rights abuse against those living under occupation according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Nowhere in the world is there any comparable level of separate and unequal as there is under Israeli rule in the occupied Palestinian territories."

The Long Overdue State of Palestine

Sunday, July 17, 2011

UNWRA LOGOS... (& send an e-card)

Send an UNRWA e-card is a humanitarian agency and its mandate defines its role as one of providing services to the refugees. However, UNRWA highlights the international community's obligation to provide a just and durable solution for Palestine refugees.
various unwra logos from the past several years

unwra logo a few years ago

basic unwra logo

unwra at 60 years
Photo from a few years ago of a Palestinian refugee

Palestine: the flags are already waving but will a declaration of statehood help?

Children display Palestinian flags at a rally near Ramallah. A poll found their parents’ priorities were now health, education, water supplies and jobs, rather than talks with Israel. Photograph: Issam Rimami/Rex Features

Palestine: the flags are already waving but will a declaration of statehood help?

The Palestinian Authority plans to ask the UN to recognise a declaration of independence and statehood. The Arab street may be in favour, but elsewhere opposition is growing. ...READ MORE