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Saturday, November 5, 2011

'NEW Palestinian strategy'... set to begin 11-11-11

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=435174
Fatah leader reveals 'new Palestinian strategy'
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – A member of the Fatah central committee says President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a committee to reconsider the strategy and future of relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Muhammad Shtayyeh told Ma’an that "the new strategy will be the path after Nov. 11," when the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet to discuss Palestine's application for membership as a state.

Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership is set to break the status quo with Israel and reformulate relations.

The new committee, among its members the leaders of the PLO and Fatah, is discussing "where we are going now," Shtayyeh said without revealing the substance of the strategy.

But he said reconciliation with Hamas would formulate a basic part of it and noted Abbas planned to meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal after the holiday.

He says the PA and Israel cooperate in some areas, but all of them are strained.

On the political front, negotiations are blocked. Economically, Israel "exports whatever it wants to us, imports whatever it wants from us." Also, "Israel gives us electricity, while it steals our water and sells it to us."

In terms of security, "We are there to maintain the general security in order not to clash with Israel."

According to Shtayyeh, Israel in general is living in a stable security state.

He added that “we want to break the status quo in Israel, but we will take some measures that won’t hurt us but will reform the relationship [with Israel].”

He added that the PA has reached a point where Israel’s stubbornness and the inability of the international community to reign it in has stalled negotiations, so it went to the UN.

Shtayyeh says even if Palestine gets nine votes in the Security Council, the result would be the same because “we know the US will not allow our application to pass in the UN.

"But this is not the end of the world; we will apply again."

He also said that if the application did not pass, this would open the door to the new strategy which the leadership is planning and which will take effect after Nov. 11.

What's God got to do with it? If you want freedom and security, you need the following...

The House voted this week to reaffirm as the national motto the phrase "In God We Trust." (Treasury Department/AP Photo)

"...If you want freedom and security, you need the following:

The rule of law; property rights; a secure and trustworthy banking and monetary system; economic stability; a reliable infrastructure and the freedom to move about the country; freedom of the press; freedom of association; education for the masses; protection of civil liberties; a clean and safe environment; a robust military for protection of our liberties from attacks by other states; a potent police force for protection of our freedoms from attacks by people within the state; a viable legislative system for establishing fair and just laws; and an effective judicial system for the equitable enforcement of those fair and just laws...."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-shermer-god-20111104,0,877363.story

Op-Ed

What's God got to do with it?

He may be invoked in the national motto, but God has nothing to do with why Americans are free and secure.

Friday, November 4, 2011

PLO *** PRESS RELEASE *** 4 November 2011 Statement on Israeli Withhold of PA Tax Revenues

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

4 November 2011

Statement on Israeli Withhold of PA Tax Revenues

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US strongly condemns the Israeli government’s decision to suspend the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. This is not the first time Israel resorts to such illegal measures, and we are appalled by the international community’s tolerance for such acts of state piracy.

Under the Oslo Accords, Israel is obligated to collect customs and some taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. We would like to emphasize that these are PA revenues, not Israeli revenues, and Israel is obligated to relay them expeditiously. Withholding this money is a violation of signed agreements and a blatant act of piracy that should strongly be condemned.

Further, this action is in line with other measures Israel has undertaken in recent years that undermined the PA’s authority. Israel is slowly rendering the PA obsolete, a reality with serious implications on the ground not only for the Palestinians but for Israel and the region as a whole.

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US urges the US Administration and members of Congress to stand up against Israeli violations and impress upon the Israeli government to immediately desist from violating signed agreements, which undermine the prospects of a future peaceful settlement.

The UNESCO cuts: What’s next on the U.S. chopping block?

" The United States contributed more than $84 million dollars to UNESCO in 2010. Best known for its World Heritage program, which designates vital international sites from the Statue of Liberty to the Egyptian pyramids, UNESCO also supports a tsunami early warning system in the Caribbean and Pacific, literacy programs in Afghanistan, media training in Tunisia and Egypt, according to Irina Bokova, UNESCO's director general. Say goodbye to this -- U.S. officials have already said the forthcoming checks won't be mailed... "

Posted By Colum Lynch

My letter to CSM RE A message Palestinians see in Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange: Hamas - 1, Abbas - 0 by Dawoud Abu Lebdeh


RE: A message Palestinians see in Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange: Hamas - 1, Abbas - 0
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/1103/A-message-Palestinians-see-in-Israel-Hamas-prisoner-exchange-Hamas-1-Abbas-0

Dear Editor,

"The international community must show the Palestinian people that they support their quest for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and, by doing so, demonstrate that they support those who believe in diplomacy, not violence, as a way to solve the conflict and achieve peace." Dawoud Abu Lebdeh


Thank you for publishing Dawoud Abu Lebdeh's compelling column "A message Palestinians see in Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange: Hamas - 1, Abbas - 0 " ... The timing of the prisoner exchange deal certainly is suspicious. I believe Israel is totally in the wrong for persecuting, impoverishing and displacing the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land, but Islamists are equally wrong to also be arming religion with lethal weaponry- and Islamists were wrong to keep Gilad Shalit. Two wrongs do not make a right, and a never ending escalation of wrongs and religious extremism will not lead to peace or justice for any one.

A FULLY secular two state solution
that FULLY respects international law and universal basic human rights to once and for all end the Israel/Palestine conflict really is the best way forward.... for everyone's sake. Negotiations need to be a way to get there, not yet another way for Israel (or Islamists) to delay and destroy Palestine and peace.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab,
American homemaker & poet

NOTES

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation... We hope to aid that process

Nations slam UNESCO-linked Israel settlements

AFP News: Israel medics complicit with abuse of prisoners


Weighing the Price of Resistance By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

Hamas Celebrates Prisoner Exchange: "Abbas had been riding a wave of popular support following his speech at the United Nations last month in which he called for Palestinian membership at the UN. But Ibish says the Palestinian president is the short-term loser here, and that was precisely the intention of both Hamas and the Israeli government in finally striking a deal."

The battle of Bet Shemesh Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse: " Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers."

"While there's no reason to think Islamists are in the process of consolidating absolute power anywhere, it's simply foolish not to recognize that they remain in every meaningful sense radical and retain their totalitarian impulses. That they would like to broadly and severely restrict the rights of individuals, women and minorities in the name of religion is obvious. It's hard to see them developing such unrestrained power, but there is also no use in kidding oneself about their evident intentions." Hussein Ibish- Jumping to conclusions on the Arab Spring

United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

"A right delayed is a right denied."
Martin Luther King Jr.... American Hero

Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH



Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation... We hope to aid that process

Children play outside a peace mural in the West Bank. Photograph: David Levene
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation

The Israel-Palestine situation demands truth and reconciliation. We hope to aid that process

and

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 November 2011

Opportunities to break seemingly intractable and deadlocked situations are rare – especially on a scale which has rapidly developed this year from the beleaguered cries of citizenry across North Africa and the Middle East. There is a palpable consensus that the provenance of this movement is lodged firmly in the fundamental prerequisite for meaningful democracy: self-determination. All conventions on human rights have this tenet as a core rationale. Where it is repeatedly denied and suppressed there will never be peace or justice, let alone stability.

On Saturday the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will open its third session: after Barcelona and London, this session will take place in South Africa, the location of a seminal struggle for self-determination by a community oppressed by apartheid. Partly as a result of this courageous and persistent protest by thousands of ordinary people, who were regularly demonised as terrorists by political opponents within the South African regime (and by certain world leaders, including the UK's), there was a concerted international effort to bring international law to bear upon an entrenched position....READ MORE

Nations slam UNESCO-linked Israel settlements

http://jordantimes.com/?news=43023
A Palestinian labourer stands at a construction site in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim on Wednesday (Reuters photo by Baz Ratner)

WASHINGTON/RAMALLAH (Agencies) - Israel’s top ally Washington on Wednesday led international calls for the Israeli government to abandon its decision to speed up settlement building in occupied territory in retaliation for Palestinian admission to UNESCO, Agence France-Presse reported.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians said Israel’s tough responses to their bid to join the UN cultural organisation are unlikely to halt their quest for recognition as a state at the United Nations, Reuters reported.

“We are deeply disappointed by yesterday’s announcement about accelerated housing construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” said White House spokesperson Jay Carney.

“As we have said before, unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direction negotiations and they do not advance the goal of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties,” he said.

“So any action, as we have said all along, that either side takes that makes it harder rather than easier for the two parties to come together in direct negotiations is something that we oppose,” Carney added, according to AFP.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply concerned” by Israel’s decision and “worried at the trajectory of developments” between Israel and the Palestinians and called on both to “refrain from provocations”, said his spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

“The secretary general calls on the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity and to continue to transfer VAT and customs revenues that belong to the Palestinian Authority and are essential to enable it to function, in line with Israel’s obligations,” the spokesperson said.

A senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday that Israel was trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority (PA) through a decision on Tuesday to freeze transfers of PA funds after it won membership of the UN cultural agency, Reuters reported.

“It is very serious. Israel wants to strive to destroy the role of the Palestinian National Authority,” Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation...READ MORE

AFP News: Israel medics complicit with abuse of prisoners

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-medics-complicit-abuse-prisoners-study-190102199.html

Israeli medics are complicit in the ill-treatment and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, in breach of the Hippocratic oath, two Israeli rights groups said in a report published on Thursday.

The report focuses on medical professionals who have witnessed, participated in or been in contact with prisoners who have been interrogated by the Shin Bet internal security service, formally known in English as the Israel Security Agency, which it says often inflicts physical or psychological violence.

The 61-page study -- "Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim" -- was put together by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and the Israel chapter of Physicians For Human Rights.

The findings were based on testimonies and the files of over 100 alleged victims of torture and ill-treatment handled by PCATI since 2007, and shows that medical professionals "are frequently involved either actively or passively in torture or ill-treatment," it said.

PCATI spokesman Edan Ring told AFP that the alleged victims were all Palestinians, "under suspicion of being connected with security issues."

Whether through direct action or through their silence, medical professionals were complicit with what goes on in the interrogation rooms, the report said.

It added that evidence showed that medical professionals were doing this by systematically failing to properly document prisoners' injuries, by the failure to report abuse, and by sending detainees back to their interrogators even after seeing the injuries they had sustained.

In some cases, they also handed private medical data to interrogators, and frequently put the needs of the interrogation before the welfare of the patient, it said.

"This report reveals significant evidence arousing the suspicion that many doctors ignore the complaints of their patients; that they allow Israel Security Agency (ISA) interrogators to use torture," it said.

It added that medical staff, "approve the use of forbidden interrogation methods and the ill-treatment of helpless detainees; and conceal information, thereby allowing total impunity for the torturers."...READ MORE

"A right delayed is a right denied."
Martin Luther King Jr.... American Hero

My letter to the NYTimes 11-3-11 RE The Overblown Islamist Threat, by Marwan Muasher


RE: The Overblown Islamist Threat, by Marwan Muasher, the former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan, is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/opinion/the-overblown-islamist-threat.html?_r=2

Dear Editor,

I think Marwan Muasher, the former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan, & current vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gives us much food for thought with his essay "The Overblown Islamist Threat"... and I very much appreciate being able to read his perspective in the New York Times. I totally agree with him that the Islamists threat is overblown, but I am not so sure it is wise to use that fact to in any way empower or endorse or apologize for Islamists, even moderate ones.

Laying a bet on the hope that Islamists will do the right thing is a bit like laying a bet on Wall Street doing the right thing. Might happen- but it is much more likely to happen if we the people clearly identify and voice our objections to white collar crimes.... "Human beings are flawed and we all fall short in many ways, but moral failure in high places is more shameful and deserves to be censured and punished much more severely than moral failings among the poor, the powerless and the obscure." Walter Russell Mead The Madoffs: Shamed, Isolated, Disgraced

Here in America we have a free press, and fair and just laws which give us the ability to make more real our democracy- and bring more justice (and jobs) to more people. There is no such safe guard in the Middle East. Empowering Islamists who can too easily abuse religion for nefarious purposes, just as Maddoff did in targeting his co-religionists, is playing with fire.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab
American homemaker & poet
NOTES
"While there's no reason to think Islamists are in the process of consolidating absolute power anywhere, it's simply foolish not to recognize that they remain in every meaningful sense radical and retain their totalitarian impulses. That they would like to broadly and severely restrict the rights of individuals, women and minorities in the name of religion is obvious. It's hard to see them developing such unrestrained power, but there is also no use in kidding oneself about their evident intentions." Hussein Ibish- Jumping to conclusions on the Arab Spring

The battle of Bet Shemesh Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse: " Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers."

Hamas Celebrates Prisoner Exchange: "Abbas had been riding a wave of popular support following his speech at the United Nations last month in which he called for Palestinian membership at the UN. But Ibish says the Palestinian president is the short-term loser here, and that was precisely the intention of both Hamas and the Israeli government in finally striking a deal."

In Newsweek Magazine: Moshe Dayan's Widow Ruth: Zionist Dream Has Run Its Course

Weighing the Price of Resistance By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?


Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH

Growing Gardens for Palestine
Flowers by Palestinian Artist Ismail Shammout

My letter to the Washington Post 11-3-2011 RE The Mideast’s new game By David Ignatius


RE: The Mideast’s new game By David Ignatius
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-mideasts-new-game/2011/11/02/gIQAuESmgM_story.html

Dear Editor & Mr. Ignatius,


Why do you want to push Palestine into the arms of Islamists and extremism?! Why not step up to clearly ask that Hamas- and all Islamists- step down for Palestine's sake, for the people's sake, and for Islam... and for peace.

A fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel/Palestine conflict is obviously the best way forward for every one's sake. The very real plight of the Palestinians began because Zionists violated and continue to violate the 1917 Balfour Declaration's dictate "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine"

Government- and resistance- should protect freedom of religion and minority rights. Worship and religious identity should be a private matter, not a public mandate. Institutionalized bigotry and religious tyranny of every type needs to be renounced, not empowered!

So please Hamas, for Palestine's sake put down the guns, stop the rockets, stifle hate mongering, and focus in on providing real charity, good works and a more civilized, intelligent dialog: Non-violently battle to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt either that Israel is totally in the wrong and needs to be defunded, or that Israel is able to invest in a just and lasting peace based on international law and universal basic human rights.... including but not limited to the Palestinian refugees very real right to return to original homes and lands.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab
American homemaker & poet
NOTES
The battle of Bet Shemesh Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse: " Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers."

Hamas Celebrates Prisoner Exchange: "Abbas had been riding a wave of popular support following his speech at the United Nations last month in which he called for Palestinian membership at the UN. But Ibish says the Palestinian president is the short-term loser here, and that was precisely the intention of both Hamas and the Israeli government in finally striking a deal."

In Newsweek Magazine: Moshe Dayan's Widow Ruth: Zionist Dream Has Run Its Course

Weighing the Price of Resistance By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?


Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Palestinian woman collects olives during harvest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Viewpoint: 'I am a Woman From Palestine' by Julie Holm for MIFTAH

By: Julie Holm for MIFTAH

A week ago I went to a screening of three films during the 7th Women’s Film Festival in Palestine entitled “I am a Woman from Palestine”. The festival, arranged by the cultural NGO Shashat, consists of 10 films of and about young Palestinian women. The project focuses on Palestinian women’s expressions of their own lives and facilitates the training of female students in Gaza to enable them to create films on their own.

I went to the last of six screenings at Birzeit University, and was impressed to see how many students had found their way to the auditorium. The three films on the program for that day – “.com”, “Portrait” and “Madleen” portrayed the diverse and various aspects of women’s lives in Gaza. The first film, “.com”, created by 21-year old Fatema Abu Odeh, shows how young women used social media to raise awareness and engage people to join the March 15 movement in Gaza. I found it especially interesting to see how some young women overcame the prohibition from their families to go out and join the movement by participating from home, using the Internet as their most valuable tool.

The second film portrays Rasha Abu Zayed, a young female artist and her relationship to her art. Created by 20-year-old Rana Mattar, “Portrait”, as the film is titled, deals with the issue of how the artist can overcome the siege of Gaza as a painter. She does this particularly though exploring the architecture of Gaza but also through painting women’s bodies and portraits of Palestinian women.

It was “Madleen” however, which moved me the most; it was also the one that created the most discussion in the Birzeit auditorium afterwards. The film illustrates a day in the life of Madleen Klab, the first female fisher-(wo)man in Gaza. By portraying the life of a woman doing a “man’s job”, 21-year old Reham Al-Ghazali challenges the gender stereotypes found in Palestine today. In the film, Madleen says that she feels like a man when she is at sea and that she goes back to being more “feminine” on land. This became the point of departure for a noisy and sometimes heated discussion after the films had been shown.

I found it very interesting to see that just as many men showed up for the screening as women, given that it is a women’s film festival being shown in a predominantly male-oriented society. That did not seem to put off the male students at Birzeit however, many of whom also took the opportunity to participate in the discussions about gender roles and gender divided labor. Irrespective of their attitudes on the subject, it was great to see the men’s engagement on such matters and the fact that they had no qualms about discussing whether women should do “men’s jobs” or not. That would never have happened where I come from. Still, no matter how loud and confrontational, the arguments from the men could not overshadow the strong willed women attending the screening. They delivered calm, hard-hitting counter arguments and were not afraid to tell the men to be quiet if they made too much noise during the films.

The films, as well as the discussions that followed confirmed the impression I have of young Palestinian women; they are strong, strong-willed and aware of how to go around the restrictions put on them as women and as Palestinians. I highly admire the determination and levels of ambition of my Palestinian girlfriends, something that is also expressed by the women who made the films for the festival as well as the women they portray.

As a collection of films of and about Palestinian women, “I am a Woman from Palestine” illustrates the realities of these women and the obstacles they face as women and as Palestinians. They embrace their roles as women and as Palestinians and use them in different ways to challenge the stereotypes they meet every day. And that, I find, is truly remarkable.

Julie Holm 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.


Diversity... a Thanksgiving poem by Anne Selden Annab

PHOTO CREDIT: CSM Photo of the day 11-01-11 Horses stand in the shadows of a gigantic wooden table and two chairs during mild autumnal weather at a meadow near Doellstaedt, central Germany. Jens Meyer/AP


Diversity

All of us
are imperfect-
every one
some more than others
but every one
is flawed

All of us
and in joining up
knowing what we know
and being what we are
we become more able
to create perfection

Like the architect
and engineer
inspired to build

Like the designer
and artist
driven to create

Like the poet
compelled to dream

Like the cook
pleased to feed a hungry family

We bring our best to the table.



poem copyright ©2011 Anne Selden Annab

My THANK YOU letter to the LATimes for clearly stating and publicizing the fact that anti-Palestine laws need to be repealed!!!!

RE: Editorial: Using the United Nations- The lopsided vote for Palestine's entry into UNESCO shows how isolated the U.S. and Israel are.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-unesco-20111102,0,2129467.story

Dear Editor,

Because of Israel- specifically Israel's talented lobby which seeks to use American laws, courts and Congress to oppress and persecute Palestinians both here and there, America foolishly vetoed Palestine membership in UNESCO and next might pull out of the United Nations agency "that helps protect patents and copyrights and is of great importance to Hollywood and Silicon Valley...."

THANK YOU LA Times for clearly stating and publicizing the fact that anti-Palestine laws need to be repealed!!!!

Congress might not do the right thing- but they are certainly much more likely to do the right thing if we the people and our fourth estate help our Congress understand and support the right thing.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab, American homemaker & poet
NOTES
Excellent podcast interview with ATFP's Dr. Ziad Asali on empowerment and Palestine

Hussein Ibish: "Snap judgments don't explicate much about where we are, and illuminate even less about where we're going..."

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"The pursuit of peace, independence and reform is not a project for cowards..."


Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

My letter to The Guardian RE Israel rushes settlement growth after Unesco accepts Palestinians

New Jewish homes will be built in East Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements of Gush Etzion, pictured, and Ma’ale Adumim. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
RE: Israel rushes settlement growth after Unesco accepts Palestinians
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/01/israel-settlement-growth-unesco-vote-palestinians

Dear Editor,

Israel is rushing Jews-preferred settlement growth plus halting the transfer of tax revenues which it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority because Palestinians want to be members of a very civilized, dialogue centered, peace oriented cultural and educational organization.

I think it is obvious that Israel's intention at every turn has been to do what it can to enrage, radicalize and alienate Palestinians and Palestine supporters, in hopes of further disenfranchising and displacing the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.... By pretending to want peace and a two state solution to once and for all end the Israel/Palestine conflict, but consistently sabotaging Palestinian efforts to build a Palestinian state, Israel is buying time in hopes that hate mongers and religious extremists on both sides will make negotiations for a just and lasting peace either irrelevant or impossible.

A fully secular two state solution based on honoring and empowering The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the best way out of the crazy cruel fiasco that Israel has been seeking to create.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
The battle of Bet Shemesh Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse: " Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers."

Hamas Celebrates Prisoner Exchange: "Abbas had been riding a wave of popular support following his speech at the United Nations last month in which he called for Palestinian membership at the UN. But Ibish says the Palestinian president is the short-term loser here, and that was precisely the intention of both Hamas and the Israeli government in finally striking a deal."

United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

Yesterday's overwhelming vote by UNESCO to recognize Palestine as a full member was far more than a symbolic diplomatic defeat for the United States...

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?


Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH

Palestinian Poppies

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My letter to the New York Times RE "Israel and the Apartheid Slander"

RE: Israel and the Apartheid Slander
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander.html?_r=1&ref=global

Dear Editor,

Judge Goldstone objects to what he calls "Apartheid Slander"... so what exactly are we to call what Israel has been doing to the persecuted, impoverished and displaced people of historic Palestine as the largest, long running refugee crisis in the world today continues on unchecked with Israel freely demolishing Palestinian homes and usurping Palestinian land?

What exactly should we call Israel's willingness to generously subsidize Jewish "religious scholars" or Israel's extensive investments in Jews-preferred institutions, neighborhoods and policies ?

And how exactly should we refer to Israel's sovereign tendency to empower religious extremism on both sides of the conflict?

I am all for promoting peace and a more civilized dialog- I am all for stopping the hate mongering and the bigotry and the violence on every side. I am also all for a two state solution to once and for all end the Israel/Palestine conflict.... but it has to be a fully secular two state solution. Citizens should not be forced to endure religious tyranny of any type.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab
America homemaker & poet

NOTES

The battle of Bet Shemesh Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse: " Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers."

Hamas Celebrates Prisoner Exchange: "Abbas had been riding a wave of popular support following his speech at the United Nations last month in which he called for Palestinian membership at the UN. But Ibish says the Palestinian president is the short-term loser here, and that was precisely the intention of both Hamas and the Israeli government in finally striking a deal."

In Newsweek Magazine: Moshe Dayan's Widow Ruth: Zionist Dream Has Run Its Course

Weighing the Price of Resistance By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

David Hale: Hamas could be swept out of power if the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is able to show "tangible" results from peace negotiations

Yesterday's overwhelming vote by UNESCO to recognize Palestine as a full member was far more than a symbolic diplomatic defeat for the United States...

Don’t demolish my future! UNNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?


Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH

Don’t demolish my future! UNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

Don’t demolish my future!

Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.


We want to put a stop to the devastating practice of demolition. We need your help!

The facts:

  • Whole communities are living with the daily trauma and anxiety of losing their homes and livelihoods in Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem and Area C, which together make up more than 60 per cent of the West Bank.
  • This year has seen a huge rise in the number of people displaced by demolitions. More than 800 people have been displaced in the first nine months alone, surpassing the entire number displaced in 2010 (594 people).
  • In the rural West Bank, at least 3,000 outstanding demolition orders on homes and infrastructure affect tens of thousands of people.
  • In East Jerusalem, at least 28 per cent of Palestinian homes are built without an Israeli permit, putting about 60,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem at risk of house demolitions.
  • Under the Israeli zoning policy, Palestinians can build in just 13 per cent of East Jerusalem and in just 1 per cent of Area C. In both cases these areas are already heavily built-up, making obtaining a permit almost impossible.
  • Demolitions devastate families and communities, increasing poverty and instability. This is compounded by the fact that demolitions often limit access to basic services, such as education, health care, water and sanitation, especially when infrastructure such as schools and water cisterns is targeted.
  • The impact of home demolitions can be particularly devastating for children. Many show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Their academic achievement often suffers.
  • Many of the people affected by demolitions come from the most marginalised and vulnerable communities, and already live in poverty.
  • In 2010, more than 10 per cent of people displaced by demolitions in East Jerusalem and Area C were refugees registered with UNRWA.
  • Demolitions destroy more than bricks and mortar. Education, prosperity, health and security are all essential elements on which people build their lives and futures.

Join our campaign to support the demand of tens of thousands of Palestinians:

“Don’t demolish my future!”
Stop demolitions and displacement in the West Bank

To show your support:

1) Raise awareness

On Facebook
  • Add a badge to your Facebook profile

    Adding the badge is easy and will take you less than a minute. Just follow the instructions below:
    1. Click on “Add to profile picture”
    2. Click on “Add to Facebook”
    3. You can move the badge around if you want to. When you happy with the way your profile picture looks with the badge click on “Publish to Facebook”
    4. Click on “Continue to Facebook”
    5. You can now crop your profile picture if you want to. Once you are happy with the way your profile picture is cropped click on “Finished cropping”
  • Remember you can also add the badge to your Twitter account and invite your Facebook friends to add the badge to their Facebook profile.
  • Share our demolition “fast fact” posts

On Twitter:

  • Share our demolition “fast fact” tweets
  • Spread the word with our #stopdemolitions Twitter tag

Get all the campaign updates by joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

2) Stay informed

4) Support our demand that Israel meet its obligations under international law

  • Immediately cease demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes, schools and infrastructure, which cause displacement and dispossession, until Palestinians have access to a fair and nondiscriminatory planning system. This should include community participation in all levels of the planning process.
  • Families that have been forcibly displaced must be allowed to return to their homes in safety and dignity, and be given compensation for any harm they have suffered, including the destruction of land, homes and property.

The campaign so far

Yesterday's overwhelming vote by UNESCO to recognize Palestine as a full member was far more than a symbolic diplomatic defeat for the United States..

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2011/1101/After-UNESCO-Palestine-vote-could-US-defund-nuclear-watchdog-IAEA-too

"The UN culture and education agency was immediately defunded by the US, which was due to contribute $80 million to the organization this year, a little more than one-fifth of the UN body's budget. The Obama administration's decision was triggered by a 1994 US law that requires financial ties to be cut with any UN agency that accords the Palestinians full membership.

On its face, this may not seem a big deal for America. Ronald Reagan pulled the US out of UNESCO in 1984, and the country only rejoined in the fall of 2002 under George W. Bush, as his administration was courting UN support for military action against Iraq.

But the law that saw the US pull out of UNESCO would apply equally to any other UN agency – whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which plays a key role in monitoring nuclear proliferation in states like Iran, or the World Health Organization, where the US and other states intensively coordinate international efforts to deal with public health threats.

And under UN rules, membership into the World Intellectual Property Organization would be more or less automatic at this point if the Palestinians pursue it. The WIPO has been strongly supported by the US, seeking to curb piracy of US movies and software..."


Palestinian school girls walk past a graffiti on a wall depicting UN humanitarian aid supplies, in Gaza City, Monday. Palestine became a full member of the US cultural and educational agency Monday, in a highly divisive move that the United States and other opponents say could harm renewed Mideast peace efforts. Adel Hana/AP

After UNESCO Palestine vote, could US defund nuclear watchdog IAEA, too?

The US withdrew funding after UNESCO's Palestine vote yesterday. There's no reason that Palestinians won't be able to muster the votes for recognition in other UN agencies like the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Israel forcing Palestinians out of east Jerusalem: NGO

Israel's policies in east Jerusalem are forcing Palestinians to leave the city, a move which could constitute a war crime, according to an Israeli NGO which has taken the issue to the United Nations.

"Housing demolitions, forced evictions and residency revocation are all leading to ethnic displacement in east Jerusalem," said Itay Epshtain, co-director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) which on Monday published a damning report on the issue...READ MORE

Hussein Ibish: "Snap judgments don't explicate much about where we are, and illuminate even less about where we're going..."

"There is an intellectually and politically indefensible rush to recast the leading Arab Islamist parties as more moderate or pluralistic than they actually are. Almost all of them remain Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist groupings, not Arab equivalents of European Christian Democratic parties or even the Turkish AKP. If constitutional restraints on government powers are strong, as they must be in any democracy, eventually some Arab Islamist groups will probably move in that direction, but they have not yet.

While there's no reason to think Islamists are in the process of consolidating absolute power anywhere, it's simply foolish not to recognize that they remain in every meaningful sense radical and retain their totalitarian impulses. That they would like to broadly and severely restrict the rights of individuals, women and minorities in the name of religion is obvious. It's hard to see them developing such unrestrained power, but there is also no use in kidding oneself about their evident intentions." Hussein Ibish- Jumping to conclusions on the Arab Spring

Excellent podcast interview with ATFP's Dr. Ziad Asali on empowerment and Palestine

Podcast: ATFP Pres Ziad Asali on future of Palestine, statehood on http://t.co/M1cCI1jL WNZK AM 690 radio http://t.co/Z1K7Pqx4

FRIDAY OCT. 28:
Dr. Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine [the leading Palestinian advocacy organization in Washington D.C], discusses the challenges facing the creation of a Palestinian State.

His message is clear and precise- to push American Palestinians to put being an American first and to concentrate their energies on engaging the American system in a pro-active and positive way to make a difference, a difference Asali says can be made both in empowerment and also in getting the United States to support Palestinian Statehood.

Click here to view the ATFP Web Site.

How to help a Palestine refugee

How to help a Palestine refugee

1 November 2011

Would you like to help West Bank farmers whose trees have been uprooted by settlers?

How can I help a Palestine refugee (PDF) outlines how you can make a difference in the lives of Palestine refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

In the last few years, UNRWA has been forced to cut back on its basic services, programmes and projects. Financial contributions have not increased sufficiently to keep pace with inflation and the growing refugee population.

Our average spending each year for each refugee has fallen from about $200 in 1975 to around $110 today.

Your contribution could fund school feeding for children in Gaza, provide health care for isolated refugee communities in the West Bank, or support university scholarships for some of the poorest refugees in Jordan.

Download the PDF

**********

UNRWA appeal to the Gaza Union: UNRWA appeals to the staff union in Gaza not to drag some 219,000 innocent children into their escalating campaign of industrial action. The children of Gaza, living under the Israeli blockade and the constant threat of military action have suffered enough.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Israel's Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews gather at the gates of a local girls school, screaming abuse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/31/bet-shemesh-haredi-jews-school

The battle of Bet Shemesh


guardian.co.uk, Monday 31 October 2011

At 8am, little girls carrying backpacks stuffed with books and lunchboxes greet each other with giggles and whispers as they wait for the security guard to unlock the school gates. All are dressed in compliance with the school's regulations: skirt to the knee or below; sleeves at least to the elbow.

The youngest are six, the oldest 12: the age of innocence. But this has not protected these children from becoming the focus of a cultural, religious and territorial struggle between Jews in the city of Bet Shemesh, which many say reflects a wider battle across the country as the ultra-orthodox, or Haredim, grow in number and influence.

Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers....READ MORE

My letter to the Washington Post 10-31-2011 RE: UNESCO votes to admit Palestine; U.S. cuts off funding

RE: UNESCO votes to admit Palestine; U.S. cuts off funding
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/unesco-votes-to-admit-palestine-over-us-objections/2011/10/31/gIQAMleYZM_story.html?hpid=z3

Dear Editor,

It is a huge shame and a tragedy that America's Congress and our State Department has conspired to cut funds from UNESCO because of Palestine's efforts to become a member state. Rep. Ileana Ros's declaration that “Today’s reckless action by UNESCO is anti-Israel and anti-peace,” and her fully supporting a cut off of funds is rampantly anti-America and anti-peace.

US law and foreign policy should not be crafted to further oppress and persecute harshly oppressed and persecuted people. America should not be endorsing and/or ignoring Israel's rampant institutionalized bigotry and the continued harassment and displacement of the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.

A negotiated end to the Israel/Palestine conflict requires [building] a sovereign Palestinian state. Undermining and sabotaging and demonizing Palestinian efforts to join the international community of nations is cruel punishment to a people already enduring Israel's belligerent violations of international law and the Palestinians basic human rights.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab
American homemaker & poet
NOTES
United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights: NGO News

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

EXCELLENT ABC Christiane Amanpour Interview with Palestine's Hanan Ashrawi

American Task Force on Palestine President Ziad J. Asali: "The pursuit of peace, independence and reform is not a project for cowards..."

Palestine's Salam Fayyad: "We have been trying to do the very best we can."

Mahmoud Abbas speech at the UN - The full official text

In Detroit, ambassador makes case for Palestinian nation

Palestine

The Arab Peace Initiative requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well...

International musicians OneWorld release historic first ever uk single for 'Freedom for Palestine'

Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land

Visit Palestine, it Makes a World of Difference By Julie Holm for MIFTAH

Growing Gardens for Palestine

Weighing the Price of Resistance By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict there are no secrets. Israel’s occupation of Palestine is unabashed, brutal and unforgiving and the Palestinians’ desire for freedom and independence is so palpable you can almost touch it. There are no secrets, but when we wake up to a body count of 12 in a 24-hour time span, we also realize there must be something we can do to save more Palestinian lives.

The latest spate of violence in the Gaza Strip is horrifying. Twelve Palestinian men, all in the prime of their lives, were killed in Israeli shelling of the Strip, nine in one hit overnight. The next morning, after a fragile truce between the Islamic Jihad and Israel was brokered by Egypt, another Israeli strike killed yet another three men. One Israeli man was also killed in the city of Ashkelon from a Palestinian rocket. There are scores of people, no doubt, in mourning today in Gaza.

The Palestinian struggle has taken on many forms over the years, none of which have yet fulfilled the final goal of liberation. This is not entirely the fault of the Palestinians themselves; the cards are unquestionably stacked against them, what with Israel and its staunch ally the United States. But the internal trappings of the Palestinian struggle and the effectiveness of its forms of resistance is something we Palestinians must measure and weigh on our own.

As usual, Israel has taken advantage of the crude rockets fired from Gaza’s territory as an excuse to fire back with cruel, extremely disproportionate force. Israel makes no apologies for striking at Palestinians, especially when it has a so-called “justification”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 30 said at a special cabinet session that Israel's defense policy was based on two principles: "Kill or be killed" and "He who harms you should bear the blood on his head".

We Palestinians know that and we have bore the brunt of these policies for years. Israel’s invasion of Gaza in the winter of 2008 is perhaps the most painful reminder of just how brutal Israel can be, partly because it knows that it can get away with it. So, is it not time for us to find ways of resisting Israel in the most effective way possible without such a high and terrible loss of lives?

The issue in question here are the rockets, obviously. While armed struggle is a legitimate and justified form of resistance for an occupied people, it loses some of its legitimacy in the eyes of many when it does not achieve its goal or it causes such devastating damage to the people who it purports to defend. This is a conundrum we now face. In Gaza, we retain the right to resist, but does this also mean we should fire rockets, which often do not hit any specific targets, knowing all too well that Israel will jump at the chance to use its military might against us?

The change in Palestine’s tactics has nothing to do with its goal of liberation or its right to resist an occupation that is uncompromising at best, terror-driven at worst. The change must be in our goal to preserve as many Palestinian lives as possible in this quest for freedom. We must continue to resist but with the goal of staying alive. And we must live, either in order to resist another day or hopefully, to enjoy the fruit of this resistance: our freedom.

The pain of loss is acutely felt today in Gaza as mothers, fathers, sisters, wives and children mourn the loss of their loved ones, brave men who wanted to pay their dues to their homeland and paid the ultimate price in return. It has become clear to us that Israel will make no apologies for killing us – whether we are men at battle or children playing football in an open field. We are fighting a cruel enemy but we have the advantage of knowing and predicting its cruelty. There are other ways of bringing down the occupation; ways that will keep our men, women and children alive.

Joharah Baker is Director of 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.