Saturday, May 26, 2012

People Power for Peace

Saliba Sarsar
Hussein Ibish, Ph.D.

People Power for Peace

Posted: 05/25/2012
 June 5, 2012 marks the 45th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War. One of us experienced the war in Jerusalem at the age of 11, and the other in Beirut at age 4, yet it haunts us to this day. The war led to the ongoing Israeli military occupation that has come to define the conflict. It has lessened neither the fears of the triumphant Israelis, nor those of the defeated Arabs; the mindset of confrontation that produced the war still haunts the region.

Despite the military might and economic prowess of their state, Jewish Israelis feel insecure and hesitant to trust the Arab side. They remain traumatized by a tragic history. For some, clinging on to the occupation is seen as a security necessity. For others, it is the fear of losing land that they consider a divine or historical birthright.

The Palestinians, given their historic dispossession and suffering in exile or under Israeli occupation, feel increasingly disempowered and disillusioned, and are rapidly losing hope that a two-state solution will ever be achieved. Given its immoral and indefensible system, the occupation is wrecking their livelihood and lives, and condemns them to live without basic human and national rights.

The State of Palestine remains an unfulfilled promise and seems a distant reality. Peace negotiations, United Nations resolutions, and accords have reached a seemingly impossible impasse. Israeli and Palestinian politicians are not listening to each other. Years of conflict and narratives of struggle and pain mean both national communities are caught up in their own visions and divisions.

A year has passed since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about "The Long Overdue Palestinian State." At the same time, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke, on May 19, 2011, about the need to base future negotiations on the pre-June 5, 1967 lines...READ MORE

Thursday, May 24, 2012

AIPAC inspired H.R. 4133....passed by America's Congress on May 9 by a vote of 411–2 on a “suspension of the rules,” which is intended for non-controversial legislation requiring little debate and a quick vote.

"If Congress wants to give Israel the type of guarantees that would require Washington to support Tel Aviv’s foreign and security policy, there should be a free and open debate with the American people understanding clearly what such a commitment means in terms of costs and consequences, not a “suspension of rules” stealth legislative package."  Philip Giraldi, executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

"... A number of congressmen spoke on the bill, affirming their undying dedication to the cause of Israel. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the only one who spoke out against it, describing it as “one-sided and counterproductive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria.” Paul also observed that “this bill states that it is the policy of the United States to ‘reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.’ However, according to our Constitution, the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country.” Paul voted “no” and was joined by only one other representative, John Dingell of Michigan"

US House Stealthily Passes Extreme Pro-Israel Legislation

My letter to the NYTimes RE Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal by Yousef Manayyer (& Power With Purpose by Thomas L. Friedman)

RE:  Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal by Yousef Manayyer (& Power With Purpose by  Thomas L. Friedman )
 Dear Editor,

Earlier this week (in the NYTIMES) Thomas Friedman wrote of power. In his opinion Israel is already Jewish, and should make peace with Palestine in order to secure Israel's future as a Jewish democracy. Today Yousef Munayyer wisely points out (in the NYTIMES) the horrifying fact that  "Palestinian babies in Israel are considered “demographic threats” by a state constantly battling to keep a Jewish majority.

So far Israel's supposed Jewishness is and has been a dangerous delusion.  It could have played out very differently had Israel welcomed home the Palestinian refugees sixty years ago, shaping a Jewish state out of the rule of fair and just laws: Israel could have and should have chosen to nurture freedom, justice and real democracy. 

Despite sovereign Israel's past failures to respect international law and the Palestinians' basic human rights a fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict really is the best way forward for everyone's sake: Tax payers here and there should not be coerced into funding institutionalized bigotry and apartheid walls that fragment families and impoverish communities. 

Anne Selden Annab

The task before us is to make sure that no further nakbas, no more pogroms or unspeakable horrors, ever occur again

ATFP notes that, as the occupying power, Israel is responsible for protecting Palestinian civilians from attacks by settlers, which is an increasing and highly destabilizing phenomenon.

Open Zion....Hussein Ibish: Beware "Creative Alternatives"

Wasim Salfiti: My Family's History with Nakba

Palestinian Beauty... traditional costumes

Palestinian author Ibtisam Barakat "...and the world is at heart playful..."

Nakba and Memories (1967 War) By Mike Odetalla

Randa Jarrar: Imagining Myself in Palestine

Hanan Ashrawi: Recognizing Nakba, Reaching Peace

Haaretz Editorial: Nakba is part of Israel's history

Qalqiliya unveils 'train of return' to mark Nakba & Abbas applauds steadfastness on Nakba Day

The Key

Exodus 1948 التهجيرعام (19 photos)

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

"It's a simple dictum, but one that many still have trouble accepting: Israelis and Palestinians have to talk to each other if they're going to get anywhere." Hussein Ibish: We Need To Talk

Refugees and the Right of Return
Palestinian refugees must be given the option to exercise their right of return (as well as receive compensation for their losses arising from their dispossession and displacement) though refugees may prefer other options such as: (i) resettlement in third countries, (ii) resettlement in a newly independent Palestine (even though they originate from that part of Palestine which became Israel) or (iii) normalization of their legal status in the host country where they currently reside. What is important is that individual refugees decide for themselves which option they prefer a decision must not be imposed upon them.

UN Resolution 194 Article 11: [The General Assembly]
Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest possible date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible; instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations.

New York Times: Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal by Yousef Munayyer

Palestine's Lydda in 1920 with St. George's Church in the background



Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal

I’M a Palestinian who was born in the Israeli town of Lod, and thus I am an Israeli citizen. My wife is not; she is a Palestinian from Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Despite our towns being just 30 miles apart, we met almost 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts, where we attended neighboring colleges.
A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between our hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard....READ MORE

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ATFP notes that, as the occupying power, Israel is responsible for protecting Palestinian civilians from attacks by settlers, which is an increasing and highly destabilizing phenomenon.

"The images of Israeli soldiers standing side-by-side with armed settlers as they open fire on Palestinian villagers could not be more damaging to Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, the atmosphere on the ground and the prospects for maintaining law and order. It is imperative that such behavior on the part of occupation forces not be repeated and that the Israeli authorities move quickly and decisively to curb settler violence and bring its perpetrators to justice. It is strongly in Israel's own interests, as well as the basic human rights of the Palestinian people, for settler violence to be suppressed, not tolerated or ignored." ATFP President Ziad J. Asali


Israeli settlers fire at Palestinians – video

Israelis from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar fire at Palestinians from the town of Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday. Fires seen burning in the background were lit by settlers, according to Israeli NGO B'Tselem. A 24-year-old Palestinian is shot in the face. He is later treated in hospital and recovering from his injuries, according to the NGO
Israeli settler filmed firing gun at Palestinians