|Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times)|
RE: Music for the Masses by Raja Shehadeh
Delighted to see another fascinating NYTimes blog post by Raja Shehadeh ! I very much hope that more reasonable, compassionate, creative and intelligent Palestinians like Shehadeh can continue to help lead Palestine (and its many various supporters) away from the dangerous influence of Islamists who seek not only the destruction of Israel, but also the destruction of secular freedom and justice for the people of Palestine: The Hamas government is quite clear that there will be "No peace with secularism".
FYI Trudy Rubin currently reporting from Egypt points out that "the Muslim Brotherhood, which now dominates Parliament, is trying to eliminate women's right to divorce, lower the marriage age to 12, and rescind a law that bans female genital mutilation." Egyptian women fighting for rights
Meanwhile (according to Haaretz, providing a highly relevant news report I know about only because of the American Task force on Palestine ): Israel admits it revoked residency rights of a quarter million Palestinians- "Many of those prevented from returning were students or young professionals, working aboard to support their families"
The very real plight of the Palestinians is being exasperated and made worse by religious extremists and bigots and useful idiots on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Bad will swiftly shift to worse without an officially negotiated agreement that provides for two sovereign states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security.
Full respect for international law, basic human rights, real democracy and diplomacy can and should help create a viable and economically stable free Palestine (with real borders) that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts. A fully secular two state solution really is the best way forward- for everyone's sake.
Anne Selden Annab
RE: Mr. Ariekat's Partial Remembrance letter by David Harris, Executive Director American Jewish Committee
Clearly David Harris Executive Director American Jewish Committee does not want Americans to support a fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rather than answering diplomatic outreach with diplomatic outreach Harris choses to misinterpret and scorn Maen Rashid Areikat's The Time for a Palestinian State Is Now.
But that does not change the fact that it really is time for a Palestinian state. There are and will be people who vehemently object to ending the conflict, just as there were people who vehemently objected to the end of slavery- and Jim Crow laws.
Anne Selden Annab
"Since we established the American Task Force on Palestine in 2003, I have been criticised for being "too soft on Israel", mostly by those who seek to lecture me about the Nakba and trumpet their own Palestinian "patriotic credentials". In an insightful comment about my attendance at a recent Israeli Independence Day event, a distinguished Palestinian American friend of mine noted, “you weren't celebrating the exodus of 800,000 Palestinians, or the destruction of Palestine, or the Nakba, but keeping the face of Palestine alive, and keeping the door for negotiations and human contact open.” Ziad Asali: Learning from the Nakba
"In our debate, I continued to insist that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is indeed still possible, mostly because a majority on both sides want it and because there is a huge body of international opinion and law that requires it." Hussein Ibish: Nothing is “inevitable”
"It is in Israel's vital interest to come to a complete resolution of the conflict between it and the Palestinian people sooner rather than later, relieving the weight of this tragic conflict from both of our peoples' shoulders. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to the world." Maen Rashid Areikat: The Time for a Palestinian State Is Now