Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My letter to the NYTimes/IHT RE Dangerous Divisions in the Arab World

The Golden Rule
RE Dangerous Divisions in the Arab World

Dear Editor,

Good editorial. I totally agree with your conclusion about the dangerous divisions in the Arab world... and the importance of EVERY ONE stepping up to unequivocally honor the principles embedded in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Israel and Palestine should show the way with a negotiated settlement to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict with the creation of two fully secular independent sovereign states living side by side in peace and security.

A fair and just settlement based on international law, full respect for universal basic human rights and the Arab Peace Initiative would be a win win situation for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine, as well as all their neighbors.

Anne Selden Annab

ATFP Translates- A sectarian Cancer is Consuming the Arab World

" Regardless of what happens in Syria, leaders in neighboring countries need to move quickly to reverse the sectarian slide. That means stating unequivocally that they are committed to the equal rights of all citizens and to ensuring that Shiites and other minorities can practice their religions without fear. Such principles are embedded in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More broadly, it will require an acknowledgment that elections do not alone produce democracies; that governments need to be inclusive; and that nurturing hatreds, for whatever reason, inevitably backfires and makes stable societies impossible." New York Times Editorial: Dangerous Divisions in the Arab World

Live by the Golden Rule

"Legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Thomas Jefferson

Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.

What is an Israeli settlement.... it is a tax payer plus charity investment in highways, housing, freedom, jobs, security, and respect for Jewish Israelis, while the native non-Jewish Palestinians are persecuted, impoverished, pushed into forced exile- and demonized for objecting to such institutionalized bigotry and blatant injustice.

From Palestinians' point of view, the law [Israel's Absentee Property Law] has always been controversial. The rights of refugees are a core issue in their conflict with Israel.

Leaders must seize opportunity for peace and security... "The Arab League's peace initiative has regained relevance. The initial position between the parties is bleak, but the status quo is not an alternative. The Israelis and the Palestinians must now seize what is perhaps the last opportunity to create peace and security."

"In 1949, the international community accepted Israel's UN membership upon two conditions: That they respect resolutions 181 (two states) and 194 (refugee rights). Neither has been honored. In fact, 65 years later, Israel has not even acknowledged what it did in 1948." Saeb Erekat

Jordan's King Abdullah II explains that extremism has "grown fat" off of the longstanding conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

American Task Force on Palestine Alarmed by "Price Tag" Violence, Welcomes Israeli and Jewish-American Condemnation

From the archives... 1971 & 1967

“Were you really shot in a fight over water?” He winces out his answer: “It wasn’t about politics. It wasn’t about the Muslim Brotherhood. It was about water.”

This Week in Palestine: Palestinian Institutions A Story of Perseverance ... Salam Fayyad "This was not about roads, buildings, or infrastructure, despite their importance. This plan was about statehood, citizen participation, and enfranchisement. It was based on the vision of establishing a functional framework where government is accountable and citizens participate in the widest and most effective way possible in decision-making and governance."

Palestine now recognised by greater power than US or Israel – Google

"I come from there and I have memories... "

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

The Office of International Religious Freedom (   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

Palestinian Refugees(1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.

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

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 from 1948  : The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable 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.

"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

Selecting ... poem by Anne Selden Annab

Bernard d'Agesci (1757-1828), La justice,
Holds scales in one hand and in the other hand a book with "Dieu, la Loi, et le Roi" on one page and the Golden rule on the other page.


things can go either way... we
the people more often than not will
what will be
with our energy
and investments:

So break away from naysayers
and negative nasty connections
for they build delusions
full of wounds
and failure.

Cherish good
seek it out
find it where you are now-
willing better times to come

Be of those who welcome life
negotiated step by step
to be balance
to be walking forward
to be dancing along the way
with whim as goodness wins...

Be of the will that gets things done
Be of the way where the Golden Rule

Be of the stars
guiding ships
where bridges can't reach

Be of the will
to shape destiny.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A positive role model... ATFP's Miriam Awadallah

Miriam Awadallah: "After Assaf clinched the title of Arab Idol, my excitement was wild. His victory has been described as finally giving the Palestinian people a reason to celebrate, but his win is so much more than a good reason to party. The Palestinian people have long craved an Assaf-esque figure to provide them with a less antagonizing face to the world. The attractive man singing his heart out on stage is a far cry from the masked, camouflaged men the American public is used to seeing when presented with images of Palestinians.

His career as a singer is considered to be a sin in the eyes of the Islamists who are gaining momentum in the region. Hamas has not exactly been his biggest fan; they recently attempted to censor him in Gaza, and gave him a lukewarm reception upon his homecoming despite being a Palestinian hero.

The Mufti of Nablus also issued a “Fatwa” against watching the same show he was competing on. Assaf represents the broader modern, secular trends of the Middle East, empowering the factions that are joining hands and protesting in the streets of Egypt and elsewhere.

Palestinian youth now have a positive role model, who is empowering them to show the world the beauty of their culture. With sectarian violence raging on next door in Syria and Lebanon, Assaf , the new “goodwill ambassador” of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), can lead his millions of Arab fans to a path of tolerance, coexistence and peace."