Friday, September 9, 2011

My letter (online comment) to Foreign Policy Magaizne regarding "Train Wreck in Turtle Bay" by Ziad Asali of ATFP

Good Priorities

I think it is very brave, and also very wise, of ZIAD J. ASALI of ATFP to be cautious about the upcoming UN bid. Yes it would be wonderful if all of a sudden Palestine could be a sovereign and free nation sate, respected by its neighbors as well as the entire world community.... but is this UN bid really the right way to go right now?

ATFP has been compiling a long list of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian perspectives as a resource for those interested in this topic. Asali has obviously studied this issue carefully, and is concerned about possible negative ramifications. I am too.

Anne Selden Annab

ATFP Resources on September UN Initiative | The American Task Force on Palestine: Palestinian and pro-Palestinian perspectives

The following is an extensive set of resources on a possible Palestinian UN initiative in September, covering Palestinian and pro-Palestinian, Israeli, American, Arab, European and other international perspectives, as well as general news items. This resource list is in chronological order within each category, beginning with the most recent items, and will be updated daily.

An earlier ATFP backgrounder on legal and political issues involving potential Palestinian UN initiatives can be accessed here:

[NOTE: Signed opinion articles are indicated by bylines]

Palestinian and pro-Palestinian perspectives

click link above to go to the list

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Train Wreck in Turtle Bay - By Ziad J. Asali | Foreign Policy

Train Wreck in Turtle Bay - By Ziad J. Asali | Foreign Policy
Late September is fast approaching, and the stage seems set for yet another crisis in the Middle East. Palestinian leaders are determined to push for greater international recognition of their state at the upcoming annual session of the U.N. General Assembly. A large number of countries are reportedly poised to vote in Palestine's favor, much to the chagrin of the Israeli government, which has mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign against recognition.

A Palestinian state is long overdue. But though the Palestinian people are perfectly entitled to seek bilateral and multilateral recognition, their action at the United Nations could lead to a dangerous diplomatic confrontation....READ MORE

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

UK Top Tree Consultant Advises on 1,500 year old Heritage Tree Under Threat in Palestine
UK Top Tree Consultant Advises on 1,500 year old Heritage Tree Under Threat in Palestine
Wednesday, 07 September 2011

An irreplaceable 1,500 year old ancient olive tree is set to become the latest casualty of the ongoing land dispute on the West Bank near Jerusalem. Too many large mature trees are being destroyed around the world so one of the UK’s top tree consultants Jeremy Barrell has created a method of identifying heritage trees that are at risk. This format was created originally for use by his clients of the Barrell Treecare Consultancy, for identifying specimen trees in New Zealand. This method enables even a relatively inexperienced person to fill in a questionnaire and from the score each answer receives, determines the tree heritage potential, and if so, should it receive special attention to protect it.

The ancient tree 1,500 year-old olive tree, located in the Palestinian village of Al Walaja, is within metres of the proposed route of the West Bank Barrier, a large construction project that is installing a new 8m tall concrete wall. If the wall is installed, the construction of its foundations and buffer zone will cause such significant damage to the tree that it is unlikely to survive.

Jeremy Barrell (, has been asked by the tree’s, nearest resident, Abu Waji, whose land is within the crown spread of the tree, to assess the heritage value of this unique specimen. Jeremy, an expert in managing sensitive trees and the designer of the TreeAH method of assessing heritage value (, has identified this tree as one of the highest scoring trees he has ever evaluated. Jeremy explained: “Wherever you go in the world, there are three heritage characteristics that always crop up; visibility, scientific importance and cultural value. Our method (TreeAH) scores each of these, which are added up to indicate how important the tree is in a national context. The maximum possible score for any tree is 20 heritage points, and this tree has hit that maximum; it is not possible to find a more important heritage tree!

“I put the information on “How to identify a heritage tree” on our web site for all to use free of charge to allow ordinary people to make an informed judgement to decide if a tree should be protected or not, as I care about trees,” explained Jeremy.

Many poor communities cannot afford professional help of a skill arboriculture advisor but this chart is proving useful. I do not get involved in the local politics but have provided a standard that all trees can be judged and then those that are considered worthy of protection have an accepted standard to argue their case."

Jeremy, who specialises in protecting vulnerable urban trees during development, knows all too well how sensitive such old trees are from his work on some of the most demanding London projects: “Ancient trees are just like old people, they are particularly vulnerable to changes around them, and for trees, even the smallest disruption in their rooting environment can tip them into an irreversible spiral of decline. Our experience is that protecting sensitive roots from being cut and preventing soil compaction, which indirectly kills roots, are essential priorities during construction. For such an ancient olive, if appropriate measures are not put in place to protect it during and after the wall construction, then its destruction is inevitable.”

Jeremy goes on to explain: “The problem with such old trees is that it is hard to put a cash value on their cultural importance; generations of people will have benefited from this tree’s shade, eaten its fruit and used it as a focal point for social gatherings. The tree is the direct link with those people, unique because it is a living witness to those events and irreplaceable because these links with the past can never be re-forged. There are so few of these ancient living relics left and they are being lost so quickly that each remaining tree becomes increasingly precious and worthy of special protection. Such a high scoring individual is right at the top of the heritage tree; I just hope that its immense cultural value will be recognised and it is saved.”

“I am pleased that my method is now being widely used around the world as a standard and I am hoping that the Arboriculture Association will incorporate many of my findings into the new regulations that they are planning to produce shortly. I care about protecting specimen trees for future generations and following the high number of times this has been down loaded shows how people care about trees. I am planning to have it available in several other languages including Chinese and Spanish so my heritage tree quantifier chart will be readily available for immediate use world-wide, free of charge.”


Issued for an on behalf of Barrell Treecare Consultancy, Field House, Fordingbridge Business Park, Ashford Rd, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1BY England by Steamship 2000 Public Relations, 11 Cobbett Road, Bitterne Park, Southampton SO18 1HJ, England. For more information please contact Jeremy Barrell on + 44 01425 651 470 or mobile + 44 07791 531 468 or email or or John Slade at Steamship 2000 PR on + 44 0238067 1621 or mobile + 44 07890 526 539 or email:

This press release was distributed by SourceWire News Distribution on behalf of Steamship

Letter to My Elected Leaders: Ending the Israel/Palestine conflict

letter I just sent to my elected leaders via
Ending the Israel/Palestine conflict

President Barack Obama
Sen. Bob Casey
Rep. Todd Platts
Sen. Patrick Toomey

September 7, 2011

This week one full decade has passed since the monstrous terrorist attack of 9-11 and the subsequent formal start to the War on Terror. Some people, seeing no hope, want to push US into more and more war. I don't think more and more war is the right way to go. I'd rather America stand up for peace and progress- and Palestine.

Specifically I very much believe that a fully secular two state solution to once and for end the Israel/Palestine conflict is in every one's best interest- worldwide. Not just for Israel or for Palestine but for all the world, even for America as we live in an interconnected global information age where technology enables us to keep instantly in touch with far away friends and relatives, as well as conduct business with far away places.

Technology helps people every where keep more accurate, inclusive and extensive records of current events- and history. Here in America, thanks to great thinkers and doers like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt , Martin Luther King Jr , and Mr. Rogers (to name just a few great American heroes) we live in a time and place where we know for a fact that universal basic human rights and the rule of fair and just laws are an important part of civilized life... so is hard work. No society is perfect, but we can at least try our collective best to be the best that we can be, and we can make it a priority to support and invest in worthy projects.

Palestine is a very worthy project.

American aid through out the years has helped keep millions of impoverished, oppressed and displaced Palestinians and Palestinian refugees alive. More recently, looking towards the future, American aid has also been empowering official Palestinian state building efforts.

According to an article I found today on the American Task Force on Palestine [ATFP] website the Palestinian Authority will pay only half wages this month ..."A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the aid-dependent authority was facing an unprecedented financial squeeze on funding from Arab states which are failing to meet commitments to provide support."

FYI ATFP is a very good source for highly relevant news, information and advice on Palestine. They are a reality based organization and a positively Pro-Palestine Think Tank that very much understands and respects both America and Palestine. I find that to be a winning combination.

One day, hopefully as soon as possible, Palestine will be a fully sovereign, secular, independent, economically viable nation state fully in charge of it's own destiny and well being... until that time Palestine very much needs the Americas as well as the Arab states and Europe and all of Asia (..etc..) to all pull together to do what we can to help Palestine survive.

Anne Selden Annab

Maan News Analysis: The UN bid through the eyes of a Palestinian refugee

Palestinian refugee Mudalala Akel, 86, still holds the keys to her family's home
in what is now Israel. [MaanImages/Wissam Nasser, File]

Nizar El Laz is a human rights activist in the Palestinian community in Lebanon: "I don’t want a diplomatic step that attempts to solve a complicated conflict from the shallow end of the conflict, ignoring the source and the main core of the problem."

Analysis: The UN bid through the eyes of a Palestinian refugee

My letter to the NYTimes RE Elusive Line Defines Lives in Israel and the West Bank

RE: Elusive Line Defines Lives in Israel and the West Bank

Dear Editor,

I very much hope that a just and lasting peace for Palestine and Israel can emerge from the entrenched conflict & rising religious extremism currently tormenting, traumatizing and impoverishing people all through out "The Holy Land".... A fully secular two state solution with firm and clear borders based on the Green Line is a good first step towards building a better way forward for every one's sake.

Anne Selden Annab
"The truth elided by both parties is that the Palestinian and Israeli identities are 20th-century phenomena that emerged in parallel and in contradiction to each other. One hundred years ago, the words “Israeli” and “Palestinian” were meaningless. This is not to say that Arabs and Jews don’t have deep histories, but both political identities are recent constructs, forged in the context of the ongoing conflict." Hussein Ibish: Two Narratives for Two Peoples

The Golden Rule

Growing Gardens for Palestine

The Economist on Palestinian Statehood

"The prospects for peace look pretty discouraging right now, but there are bright spots. Palestinians are optimistic about their future, angry at corruption and hungry for a generational change. The PA leadership is genuinely committed to non-violence. Most important, many Israelis seem to have internalised the idea that crushing the Palestinian economy and government does not make Israel safer; it makes it less safe. The more prosperous Palestinians are, the stronger the PA is, the better are the chances of concluding a peace deal."

NYTimes: Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border

As Israelis marched on June 1 to commemorate Israel's capture of the Old City from Jordan in 1967, Palestinians climbed to the rooftops, waving Palestinian flags in protest. The marchers wound their way through Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood on the Palestinian side of the Green Line that has become restive in the past few years after Israeli settlers began moving in.

Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on statehood moves at U.N.

"Peace between conflicting parties is not about Saeb Erekat waking up one morning and feeling his conscience aching for Israelis or Israelis waking up and feeling their conscience aching for my suffering. It's about the matrix of interests maturing. Once any conflicting party believes that making peace is cheaper than continuing war, he'll do it. Our matrix of interest has matured to deliver the requirement for peace, but Israel hasn't opened the door. They think maintaining the status quo is best for them. We are trying to show them that the status quo is not sustainable." Saeb Erekat

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on statehood moves at U.N.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Palestine's Fayyad holds Israel gov’t responsible for mosque arson

Fayyad holds Israel gov’t responsible for mosque arson

QUSRA, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday said the Israeli government bore "full responsibility" for an arson attack on a mosque in the northern West Bank.

"The Israeli government bears full responsibility for these attacks against our people, property and sacred places," Fayyad said in a statement issued several hours after burning tyres were rolled into the ground floor of a mosque in Qusra village, some 15 kilometres southeast of Nablus.

The building, which was also spray-painted with Hebrew graffiti, sustained damage from fire and smoke in an attack blamed on Jewish settlers responding to the demolition of three homes in the outpost of Migron overnight.

Fayyad said he held Israel's government responsible "because it has failed in the past to hold the perpetrators of such attacks accountable".

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the attack was "proof of Israel's rejection of peace" and called on the international community to pressure Israel over the attack and similar incidents.

A similar arson attack was carried out on a mosque in a nearby village in early June, just days after police had demolished another West Bank outpost called Alei Ayin, sparking fierce clashes with settlers.

Overnight, hundreds of soldiers entered Migron settlement and dismantled three structures in line with a defence ministry order backed by the Israeli supreme court, security officials said.

"Six settlers who tried to prevent the demolition were arrested after attacking the forces," spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak had ordered the three structures be taken down in June. In early August, the supreme court issued an identical order, although it gave the authorities until March 2012 to implement the decision.

Hardline settlers have adopted what they call a "price tag" policy under which they attack Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government measures against settlements.
6 September 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Abbas of Palestine: “We don’t want to isolate Israel but to live with it in peace and security...”

“We don’t want to isolate Israel but to live with it in peace and security,” he also said. “We don’t want to delegitimize Israel. We want to legitimize ourselves.

Abbas Affirms Palestinian Bid at U.N.

A Palestinian man displays a map showing flags of countries that have
recognized the Palestinian state. [AFP/File Abbas Momani]