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Friday, December 7, 2012

Israel's education ministry 'suspends program' over Palestinian novel

"The Little Lantern is a story about a king who dies, leaving his only daughter and heiress to the throne. He leaves his will with the wise man in the castle, which instructs his daughter that in order to become the queen of the kingdom, she has to bring the sun into the castle before the candle melts. The princess, being young, thought that she would be able to catch the sun and carry it on her back to the castle. She tries many ways, but to no avail. She later locks herself in her room, and on the eighth day, finds a note under her door, saying that by locking herself in, she will never find a solution.... "

"Another play for children at Christmas, this story is based in the Middle East and narrates the story of a princess, Amire, and her two sisters, Shareela and Bubba. When their Father dies, Amire is made queen on condition that she brings the sun into the palace; if she fails she will be trapped in a dark box. She tries to grab the sun while it is setting but to no avail and eventually gives up. Her ambitious sister Shareela is glad of this and declares herself queen. However with the help of the Djinn and Azim, a poor man searching for oil to stop his lamp from going out, she eventually realises that it is only by tearing down the walls and letting people in with their lamps that the sun will shine in the palace. It is a story about following your dreams, having courage and breaking down barriers between rich and poor. The original play was written by Palestinian writer Ghassane Kanafani" Theatre Workshop (Scotland): The Little Lamp

Israel's education ministry 'suspends program' over Palestinian novel
Published Wednesday 05/12/2012
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israel's Ministry of Education has suspended a literature program for fifth graders because a Palestinian novel was on its syllabus, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

The ministry suspended the program after parents complained that pupils were asked to read and summarize "The little lamp," a book by renowned Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani, Maariv newspaper reported.

The literature program is funded by the Jerusalem-based Abraham Fund Initiative, an NGO to advance coexistence.

The ministry says the problem is with the author rather than his novel. Kanafani, who was assassinated in 1972, was a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

As a result, the ministry decided to suspend the program to study it very deeply and decide whether to resume it or cancel it.

Palestinian Artist Khaled Jarrar Chips Away at the Wall

Jarrar suggests that his project is the first attempt by a Palestinian to recycle the wall. “It’s actually ‘up-cycling’ because you elevate it into something better,” he says.

“I want to show how the wall is separating families, affecting the lives of Palestinians and harming the environment,” he says, adding that he hopes people will sell pieces of the wall one day, “just like the Germans did in Berlin.”

 

Palestinian Artist Chips Away at the Wall Written by Diana Atallah
Published Thursday, December 06, 2012


Khaled Jarrar performs art and activism from concrete pieces cut from Israel’s security barrier

In a small gallery in an ancient house in the village of Qalandiya, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Khaled Jarrar stands alongside his latest art project placed on a podium: a small soccer ball made of cement. But not just any cement – this cement had been cut out of the barrier built by Israel separating the West Bank from Israel.

For the Palestinian artist, a 36-year-old father of two, the Israeli-built structure – known to Israel’s critics by the ten-per cent portion of the 435-mile structure where it manifests as a 26-foot tall concrete wall -- is simply an act of oppression that he wants to resist through art.

As adults and children stare at and touch the ball in amazement, a film called “Concrete” rolls in the background of Jarrar’s corner at the Qalandiya International Art Festival, a two-week series of events held in several West Bank cities during November.

The film shows Jarrar - a tall man – chipping away at the wall on a hot day using simple tools, then collecting the pieces. Finally, it shows a photo of the finished project. Some congratulate the artist on his idea while others approach him with questions about how, where and why he carried out his project.

Jarrar explained that he cut the pieces of concrete from the wall one hot August day in Bir Nabalah, a West Bank town northeast of Jerusalem, from an area of the structure alongside a drawing of a heart and the name, “Thaer.” “I found the heart and the name, and they looked interesting to me,” he says. 

Jarrar worked quickly and cautiously as he harvested the material would become his work of art. “I looked for a section of the wall that doesn’t have high security towers or cameras.”

In 20 minutes, he had removed the wall parts as his friends documented the process by video.

CONTROVERSIAL BARRIER...READ MORE

Raising Peace ... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

Synergisms: Poster has a photograph of five children raising a blue and white flag with a peace symbol overall. One child at right is crouched at the base of the flagpole while the other four are in a line on the other side of the pole helping to raise it up. The background is dominated by blue sky. Oakland Museum of California
     Raising Peace

Raising a child
is to swoop
everywhere
every direction

Raising peace
is to be still
focus...

Raising a child
is to want to hug
and kiss the one you bicker with

Raising peace
is not.

Raising a child
is to reach for the stars

Raising peace
is to reach reasonable
agreements.


                                                    poem copyright ©2012 Anne Selden Annab

Israel must develop a clearer vision not only for the interests and aspirations of the Palestinians but also for its own long-term survival

http://jordantimes.com/expressing-solidarity

Jordan Times Editorial: Expressing solidarity

Dec 06, 2012 | 21:47 

 

His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, just after the upgrading of the Palestinian representation at the UN to non-member observer state and the end of a round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, is symbolic.

It also is consistent with the King’s, and Jordan’s, stand in support of the Palestinians who struggle to end the decades-old Israeli occupation.

Few Arab leaders manage to pay official visits to the Palestinian territories to show their solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people. The King’s trip to the West Bank, therefore, sends the message that the Palestinians do not stand alone and that their bid for a two-state solution to their conflict with Israel is the only doable political move.

Jordan was among the first to condemn the recent Israeli decision to expand its settlement construction in and around East Jerusalem; this continuous expansion of illegal Israeli colonies in the West Bank is most counterproductive, and a sure killer of the two-state solution.

Jordan happens to be the closest Arab state to the Palestinians, both geographically and in terms of historical and social ties. The Kingdom stood by the Palestinians for decades, helping them economically, politically and morally.

The special, fraternal relations that bind the peoples of the two banks of the Jordan River are unshakable. The Monarch said Jordan will relentlessly work to see the Palestinians regain their rights and arrive at the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel must develop a clearer vision not only for the interests and aspirations of the Palestinians but also for its own long-term survival.

In the absence of peace, the conflict between the two parties will be kept alive, to their detriment and to that of the entire region.


Associated Press/Majdi Mohammed - King Abdullah II of Jordan, left, gestures during a welcoming ceremony with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, prior to their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Jordan’s King Abdullah II has begun a brief visit to the West Bank in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ successful bid for U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

It is urgent for both sides of this conflict to understand that their best interests lie in coming to an agreement that will make them both better off...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-israeli-palestinian-pact/2012/12/05/cb6aa67c-3b23-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html

Letter to the Editor

An Israeli-Palestinian pact

Published: December 5

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, complained [“Falling for Hamas’s story,” op-ed, Nov. 29] that The Post and other U.S. media unfairly exaggerated Palestinian suffering during the Gaza conflict last month. Rather than engaging in public relations wars and endless fighting, it is urgent for both sides of this conflict to understand that their best interests lie in coming to an agreement that will make them both better off. This is not impossible.

Warren Clark, Washington
The writer is executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace. 

I Am From ... a poem by Saba Abu Zaanona

Young Literary Talents - This Week in Palestine


I Am From

By Saba Abu Zaanona

I am from the silence of the night,
Magic of the moon…
Whisperings of a midnight
Cool breeze summer afternoon…
I am from forgetting myself
through the words of a poet or favourite writer…
I am from the crazy woman inside me who wakes up to start writing…
I am from the lovely memories
with friends
with family
with love and tender 
I am from listening to music, giving it permission to translate my inner wonder,
My heart, my feelings
Allow them to fly, freely,
with melodies
with rhythm
without borders
without limits…
I am from sitting on the beach’s sand watching the sunset,
while the tide tickles my feet…
I am from yesterday and tomorrow,
life stations,
an unknown,
awaiting me to live a better life…

Saba Abu Zaanon is a writer and translator from Gaza. She studied English literature at Al-Azhar University and currently works at the National Centre for Studies and Documentation.


Photo by Majed Shabaneh

Photo by Emile Ashrawi

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Israel is not the only country in the region that has either restricted the rights of or discriminated against Palestinians

The news media have reported frequently on Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank and its blockade of the Gaza Strip, but the experience of Palestinians in surrounding Arab countries is less well-known.
Palestinian children show bullet casings they gathered after early morning clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon in March 2011. (Mohammed Zaatari/AP)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/11/30/palestinians-israel-settlements-arab-countries-refugees/

In a long online Q&A on Reddit, one Palestinian refugee challenges the assumption that Israel is the only country in the region that has either restricted the rights of or discriminated against Palestinians. The situation of Palestinians in Israel’s neighbors has been just as bad as many Palestinians say it is in the West Bank, he writes.

Here are some of the Arab countries the user throwaway874832749 highlights:

Lebanon:

At least 300,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon in what Human Rights Watch calls “appalling social and economic conditions.” They’re blocked from working in a variety of professions, and the Lebanese government has largely resisted granting them broader property rights.

The Redditor quotes British member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman on his 2011 visit to the refugee camps in Lebanon:
When I went to Gaza in 2010 I thought I had seen the worst that could be seen of the appalling predicament of Palestinians living in conditions which no human being should be expected to endure. But what I saw in the camps in Lebanon is far worse and far more hopeless. The conditions are unspeakable, but for over 400,000 of our fellow human beings this is their life: today, tomorrow and for a future that cannot even be foreseen. At least in Gaza, frightful though the situation is, the people are free within the confines of their blockaded prison. In the camps of Lebanon they are not free.
Egypt

Egypt recently helped broker the most recent cease-fire between Gazans and Israeli troops, and in July, Egypt eased travel restrictions on Palestinians. In addition, some 50,000 Palestinians, most of them from the Gaza Strip, have been granted Egyptian citizenship over the past few months.
Before this summer, however, a years-long, restrictive travel policy meant that most Palestinians attempting to cross the border into or out of Gaza had to be escorted by Egyptian security guards, and they were sometimes detained at the border or airport for days as a result.

“It’s time to end this and forever. It makes no sense to travel all over the world, then Egypt, an Arab country, treats you like an animal,” Youssef Ramadan, a 36-year old merchant from Gaza traveling to China through Egypt, told Al-Jazeera.

The measures instituted in July ended the procedure, allowing Palestinians to cross through Egypt according to their own arrangements and stay in the country for up to 72 hours to do so, al-Jazeera reported.

Iraq

Life for Iraq’s Palestinians deteriorated after the fall of Saddam Hussein, who had encouraged the migration of thousands of Palestinians to Iraq in the early 1990s. After he was deposed, Shiite militias began attacking Palestinians, angered by their association with the the pro-Hussein Baathists and, later, by allegations that they supported the Sunni Arab insurgency, according to UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency.

Baghdad was once home to 30,000 Palestinians, but more than half have fled...READ MORE

Palestinian 'shot by relatives over daughter's name'

Published today 18:43

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian businessman says his relatives shot him in Egypt's Sinai because he named his daughter Isabella.

The man was visiting his brother in Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai with his Swedish wife and two sons.

One of his relatives shot him in the leg claiming that naming his daughter Isabella was against Islamic law, the businessman told a Ma'an reporter.

***

My letter to the LATimes 12-4-12 RE Israel takes a harder line: Withholding tax revenue and planning for new housing follow the U.N. vote on the status of the Palestinians.


RE LATimes Editorial Israel takes a harder line: Withholding tax revenue and planning for new housing follow the U.N. vote on the status of the Palestinians.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-e1-israeli-settlement-20121204,0,1913186.story

Dear Editor,

Israel has been making these same bad choices no matter what- with both war and with peace they have been misappropriating Palestinian resources as well as investing in Jewish housing projects and land grabbing "security walls" created to harass and impoverish the native non-Jewish people of historic Palestine.

The first hard line was and remains an obstinate and myopic refusal to respect the Palestinian refugees' inalienable legal and natural right to return to original homes and lands.  That hard line has helped Israel continue to usurp Palestinian land and rights on an individual level as well as a national level for more than six decades.

A fully secular two state solution firmly based on full respect for international law and basic human rights is the best way forward.  It was then, and is now the only way to stop cynics and extremists and bigots on both sides from pulling the entire region into even more violence and despair. 

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
Re: Proposed [ defense spending bill] Amendments to Cut Palestinian Funding Discarded

Israel, Palestinians escalate settlement showdown

The E1 emergency

UN tells Israel to let in nuclear inspectors

Jimmy Carter in USA Today "The path to peace in the Middle East has always been difficult, but never impossible."

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today urged the Obama administration to use all its good offices with Israel to ensure that settlement expansion reportedly being considered in the highly sensitive “E1 corridor" not take place.

U.S. State Department condemns Israeli Settlements

Has Israel's settlement expansion crossed a 'red line'?

Ultimately Armed Struggle ... a poem

In northern Mali, music silenced as Islamists drive out artists

Culture in the Cross Hairs



The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The Arab Peace Initiative


"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

The Office of International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/)   Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:
Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

".... it being clearly understood that nothing
          shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
          rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."

Re: Proposed Amendments to Cut Palestinian Funding Discarded


 Hi Anne

Thanks for your message. We too are happy our efforts made a difference. To your specific suggestion, we do have a standing action for people of faith to contact their congresspeople to express their concerns for peace in the Middle East.


Feel free to forward the link to others you know. Thanks for your support!


http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5575/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11644


Dear Rev. Doris Warrell,

I am delighted to hear that all our letters helped persuade our Senate not to add the proposed anti- Palestine amendments this week... but I am worried about next week, next month, next year and the ongoing Zionist pressure to convince our elected leaders to undermine state building efforts for Palestine.

Keeping the focus on support for two state solution to actually end the Israel-Palestine conflict will become increasingly hard as intellectuals, arm chair experts, activists and followers fed up with the lack of peace and progress can not help but be lured into insisting that one state is the only option, which in turn convinces people not to invest in Palestine.

One state with Israel already so firmly established and staunchly defended by a large population of loyal citizens will not bring peace, justice, or progress to the native non-Jewish men, women and children of Palestine. Palestinians will not be automatically granted respect and a chance to be true equals. Even if the state of Israel shifts its official investments away from Jewish projects, worldwide Zionist charities and private money will be able to continue countless Jews-preferred projects though out the land.... Religious extremism on both sides will thrive rather than the rule of fair and just laws. 

Born in Jerusalem, Palestinian American Ziad Asali of the America Task Force on Palestine wisely points out that "
The only way to honor our tragic histories is to create a future for our children free of man-made tragedy. This means making peace fully, completely and without reservation, between Israel and Palestine."

Justice can prevail, and peace IS possible... but it won't happen by magic. Palestine needs our support now more than ever. 

I think you should keep a general alert up so that people can easily write their elected leaders on the topic.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab



On 12/5/12 2:12 PM, Churches for Middle East Peace wrote:

Dear Anne Selden,

You Said "No" to Palestinian Aid Cuts. And They Listened.


Yesterday the Senate decided not to add three proposed amendments to a defense spending bill that would have reduced or eliminated funding for the Palestinian Authority including funding for hospitals, schools, water, and electricity. This was a response to UN action last Thursday to upgrade the PA's status in the General Assembly. 


Thank you for acting so quickly to make your voice heard. The funding in question included $370 million for budget support for the Palestinian Authority. This funding is essential to humanitarian programs such as the Augusta Victoria Hospital (a project of Lutheran World Federation) in East Jerusalem. In addtion, $70 million would have been cut in aid for security programs that have been essential to enabling the PA to police the West Bank and cooperate with Israel to reduce terrror attacks. Absent this funding, conditions could have quickly deteriorate and further complicated the Obama Administration's efforts to bring the two parties together. 


Your efforts prove again that working together, justice can prevail, and peace IS possible!!



Rev. Doris Warrell
Field Director

CMEP logo
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a coalition of 24 national Church denominations and organizationsincluding Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. It works to encourage U.S. government policies that actively promote a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights and religious freedom for all people of the region.
info@cmep.org | 202-543-1222
110 Maryland Avenue NE | Suite 311 | Washington, DC 20002

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Israel, Palestinians escalate settlement showdown

A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)


The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

My letters to USA Today, NYTimes & PBS Newshour RE Palestinian statehood


RE: Jimmy Carter: Statehood key to renew peace talks
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/12/04/palestine-israel-jimmy-carter-united-nations/1746767/

Dear Editor,

Jimmy Carter's heart is in the right place,  but I am not so sure about his advice concerning a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.  The people of Palestine are being pushed into accepting Islamists and religious tyranny rather than real freedom for Palestine.

A fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict is the best way to build a just and lasting peace for both Israel and Palestine. Religion should be a private personal matter, not a state funded mandate.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

*****************
RE Raja Shehadeh's No Road Leads to Jerusalem
http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/after-the-un-vote-over-palestine-little-euphoria-in-the-west-bank/#more-8944

Dear Editor,

It is a huge tragedy that the Palestinians, the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land, are being prevented by Israel from being able to easily get to Jerusalem.  Citizenship and freedom to travel and find work, and be safe in your home, should not be based on a person's religion.

I very much hope the UN Bid helps Palestinians gain the momentum and support necessary to help end the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fully secular two state solution based on full respect for international law and basic human rights.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

******************
RE: How West Bank Construction Hampers Progress for a Two-State Solution
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec12/israel2_12-03.html

Dear PBS Newshour,

Good to see American Task Force on Palestine's Ghaith Al-Omari stepping up to help America understand Palestine.

GHAITH AL-OMARI:  "Public opinion over and over again believes that the two-state solution is doable, is preferable. They do not believe that it's realizable in the foreseeable future.
And this is where the risk lies. If the public starts losing faith in the realizability of a two-state solution, soon enough, they will abandon it. And if they abandon it, we end up in a crisis situation."
Doable and preferable is an important revelation and reminder as much of our news tends to focus on Islamists and cynics dedicated to continuing the conflict.

Some might say the situation already is a crisis situation as the plight of the Palestinians really is quite dire... but things can actually get substantially worse- especially if our Congress defunds Palestinian state building efforts and UNWRA. 

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab



The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The Arab Peace Initiative


"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

The Office of International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/)   Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:
Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

".... it being clearly understood that nothing
          shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
          rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."

My letter to my Senators RE Aid for Palestine

The seal has a shield with 13 stars on top and 13 vertical stripes on the bottom, with a scroll inscribed with "E pluribus unum" floating across the top. An olive branch, symbolizing peace, graces the left side of the shield, while an oak branch, symbolizing strength, is on the right. A red liberty cap above the shield and crossed fasces below the shield represent freedom and authority, respectively. Blue beams of light emanate from the shield. Surrounding the seal is the legend "United States Senate". Several of the elements are derived from the Great Seal of the United States.
My letter to my Senators RE Aid for Palestine

Dear Toomey (etc)

I think Islamists have been doing huge harm to the people of the Middle East. But I don't think cutting funds from Palestine is the right approach to convincing people there to back away from HAMAS, religious extremism and scorn for negotiations to actually end the Israel-Palestine conflict.

S. Res. 185 (which passed unanimously in the Senate on June 28, 2011) might have had good intentions, but I think it was a very bad idea sending a very counterproductive message as it totally ignores Israel's ongoing violations of international law and the Palestinians' basic human rights. 

Palestine's bid for statehood is based on endorsing and empowering nonviolence and diplomacy.... and a two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Israel's continued investments in housing for Jews is creating bigotry and injustice all through out the Holy Land.  Religion should be a personal private choice, not a state funded mandate that grants some people freedom, jobs, housing, and respect while impoverishing, displacing, demonizing and disenfranchising indigenous "others" who have been deemed the "wrong religion".

A fully secular two state solution to end the Israel-Palestine conflict is a worthy goal and the best way forward for everyone's sake--> so please focus in on empowering secular freedom and justice, full respect for international law, basic human rights and real democracy for all, regardless of supposed race or religion.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

************************

December 4, 2012
Dear Mrs. Annab,
Thank you for contacting me about the creation of a Palestinian state. I appreciate hearing from you.
As a strong supporter of Israel, I understand and value your input on the establishment of a Palestinian state. While open to the creation of a free, independent Palestinian state that peacefully coexists with Israel, I strongly oppose the Palestinian Authority's effort to achieve statehood unilaterally through a vote at the United Nations. A Palestinian state should only be created through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.  To the extent necessary, the U.S. should also play a strong role in those negotiations. It is for these reasons that I cosponsored S. Res. 185, which passed unanimously in the Senate on June 28, 2011. As you may know, S. Res. 185 calls on the Obama administration to lead opposition to unilateral Palestinian statehood efforts and threatens a major change in U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority if it includes an unreformed Hamas, including a suspension of aid.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
Sincerely,
 
Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:s.res.185:
S.RES.185
Latest Title: A resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.
Sponsor: Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] (introduced 5/16/2011)      Cosponsors (90)
Related Bills: H.RES.268
Latest Major Action: 6/28/2011 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

S.RES.185 -- Whereas the policy of the United States since 2002 has been to support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; (Agreed to Senate - ATS)

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c112:2:./temp/~c112joZphY::

The E1 emergency


The E1 emergency
Hussein Ibish, December 4, 2012
You can't say Israel and United States didn't warn each other, or that they didn't see this coming.
 
The Americans anticipated a potential Israeli overreaction to the Palestinian United Nations status upgrade to "nonmember observer state." And there was one measure they particularly wanted to prevent: new Israeli settlement construction in the hypersensitive E1 corridor near Jerusalem.
 
So a few days before the UN vote, Washington specifically warned Israel not to "retaliate" by building in E1. What was Israel's immediate reaction to the vote? Why, to announce at least 3,000 new settler housing units, including, of course, in E1. And to add, for good measure, that any commitments to the United States not to build there were "no longer relevant." 
 
Building in E1 is among the most damaging steps Israel could take to undermine a two-state solution. E1 threatens to almost cut the West Bank in half. It will completely split occupied East Jerusalem off from the rest of the territory.
 
All serious observers agree with Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann, who explains, "E-1 is a binary settlement," because "a Palestinian state must be territorially contiguous, with a link to Jerusalem. That is why this is the decisive battle over the feasibility of 'two states for two peoples.'"
 
That is precisely why every American administration has opposed the project since it was first announced in 1999: It's among the few decisive actions either side could take that could finally lead people around the world, especially Israelis and Palestinians, to finally abandon any hope for a two-state solution.
 
More than the withholding of Palestinian tax revenues, which Israel has also decided to do, or even annexing territory (which wouldn't be recognized internationally anyway), building in E1 is among the most aggressive and harmful measures Israel could take in response to the Palestinians' symbolic UN upgrade. E1 construction is anything but symbolic. It transforms the strategic reality very dramatically away from a two-state solution.
  
The reason so many European states shifted their votes at the UN last week in the Palestinian direction is that they have become increasingly concerned the Israeli government isn't interested in a genuine two-state solution. Israel's E1 construction announcement can only serve to heighten these fears. So does the election of an annexationist slate of leaders of the ruling Likud party....READ MORE

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

UN tells Israel to let in nuclear inspectors

As nuclear peace talks are cancelled, overwhelming vote by general assembly calls for Israel to join nonproliferation treaty
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/04/un-tells-israel-nuclear-inspectors 

The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear programme for inspection.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to six with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member general assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight. And the resolution adds to pressure on Israel as it faces criticism over plans to increase settlement in the West Bank, a move seen as retaliation for the assembly recognising Palestinian statehood.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny possessing nuclear bombs though it is widely believed to have them. It has refused to join the non-proliferation treaty along with three nuclear weapon states: India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Israel insists there must first be a Middle East peace agreement before the establishment of a proposed regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Its rivals in the region argue that Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region....READ MORE


Jimmy Carter in USA Today "The path to peace in the Middle East has always been difficult, but never impossible."

Palestinians in Ramallah hold pictures of President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday as they celebrate the U.N. recognition of their statehood. (Photo: Majdi Mohammed, AP)

Jimmy Carter: Statehood key to renew peace talks

U.N. vote recognizing Palestine is an opportunity to relaunch negotiations despite Israeli actions.

In addition to rapidly confiscating Palestinian territory for new Israeli settlements, announcing permanent control of Palestinian air space and the Jordan River Valley, requiring acknowledgment by Palestinians of a Jewish state that marginalizes 20% of Israel's population, and blocking reconciliation among the major Palestinian factions, the Netanyahu government has announced the building of several thousand settlement units in an area that cuts the West Bank into two parts and permanently separates East Jerusalem from what would be left.

U.S. policies disregarded

Never before has an Israeli government so flagrantly disregarded clearly stated U.S. policies...READ MORE

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Monday, December 3, 2012

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today urged the Obama administration to use all its good offices with Israel to ensure that settlement expansion reportedly being considered in the highly sensitive “E1 corridor" not take place.

Photo: Reuters/Baz Ratner

ATFP Asks US to Ensure No Israeli Building in E1

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari
December 3, 2012 - 12:00am 

Dec. 3, Washington, DC -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today urged the Obama administration to use all its good offices with Israel to ensure that settlement expansion reportedly being considered in the highly sensitive “E1 corridor" not take place. Israeli officials reportedly authorized at least 3,000 new settlement housing units in and around the East Jerusalem area, including in E1, in retaliation for the Palestinian mission status upgrade at the United Nations last week. If completed, the plan settlement expansion would bisect the territory, cutting occupied East Jerusalem off almost entirely from the rest of the West Bank. It would therefore cast serious doubt on the viability of a two-state solution.

In the days leading up to the UN vote, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton specifically warned Israel not to respond by building in E1. The New York Times reported that Israel's announcement therefore came as a "rude shock" to the US government. Numerous European governments and the United States have expressed alarm at the proposed accelerated building project in the highly sensitive area. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said completion of the E1 project could be a "fatal blow" to the prospects for a two state solution.

ATFP President Ziad J. Asali said, "Building in the E1 area would be a devastating blow to prospects for a two-state solution that allows Israel to live side-by-side in peace, security and dignity with a Palestinian state. It would practically cut the West Bank in half, and would sever East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. This could make a viable peace agreement impossible to realize. It is therefore strongly in the American national interest that our government uses all of its best offices with Israel to ensure that no settlement expansion in E1 or elsewhere takes place. Since Israel initially approved the E1 project in 1999, these plans have been opposed by all American administrations, of both parties.”

Dr. Asali concluded, "In order to preserve both the practical viability and the political credibility of a two-state solution, it is imperative that Israel not go forward with this proposed settlement expansion. At a time when the Palestinians and Israel are drifting further apart, it is more urgent than ever for the United States to reverse this trend and revive a credible political process. Only the United States can play the leadership role in bringing the parties back together and starting to restore trust and cooperation."

U.S. State Department condemns Israeli Settlements


U.S. Department of State - Great Sealhttp://www.state.gov/images/2010/usdos-logo-text02.png

Recent Israeli Announcements on Settlements

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 3, 2012

The United States opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem, as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations, and risk prejudging the outcome of those negotiations. This includes building in the E-1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution. ‪ ‪

We have made clear to the Israeli Government that such action is contrary to U.S. policy. The United States and the international community expect all parties to play a constructive role in efforts to achieve peace. ‪We urge the parties to cease unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations so all the issues can be discussed and the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security can be realized.

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Both Britain and France have summoned Israel's ambassadors to protest plans to expand construction in East Jerusalem, while some say more serious action like economic reprisals are possible.

Goats graze near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem December 1, 2012. Israel announced on Friday it was authorizing 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Baz Ratner/REUTERS

Has Israel's settlement expansion crossed a 'red line'?

By Staff writer / December 3, 2012 


[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER DECENCY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE & PEACE... and hopefully Palestine]

Israel's plan to move forward with controversial settlements in eastern Jerusalem – which it took in apparent retaliation for the Palestinian Authority's recent, successful pursuit of recognition as a United Nations nonmember observer state – is prompting an angry response, and likely "real action," from Europe.

Haaretz reports that Britain, France, and Sweden have all summoned Israel's respective ambassadors to their countries to condemn the Israeli plan to build 3,000 new settlement units in the "E1" bloc, a region in eastern Jerusalem, while Germany and Russia both called upon Israel to rethink its plans. And more serious action may be coming, including substantial economic reprisals, Haaretz adds.
“This time it won’t just be a condemnation, there will be real action taken against Israel,” a senior European diplomat said.
Sky News confirmed that the British government was considering severe actions over the matter, quoting sources in the Foreign Office on Monday as saying: "All options are on the table," adding that there was an "appetite for action" within the bureau, and that officials may consider "revisiting" or even suspending EU trade agreements with Israel, based on human rights clauses. ...
[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s decision Friday to move ahead on planning in E1 and to build 3,000 housing units in the settlement blocs and in East Jerusalem, has apparently shocked the foreign ministries and the leaders in London and Paris. Not only do Britain and France view construction in E1 as a “red line,” they are reportedly angry because they view Israel as having responded ungratefully to the support the two countries gave it during the recent Gaza operation....READ MORE