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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Compass: Nelson Mandela by Salam Fayyad of Palestine

Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times
Salam Fayyad- The former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority
"... We venerate Mandela for the transformative message he carried with boundless magnanimity — a message of unity and brotherhood in the face of division and bigotry; of peaceful transformation and justice in the presence of senseless violence and oppression. His message awakened the world to the fundamental principle espoused by Martin Luther King Jr. — that “true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” 

The presence of justice requires that the fundamental asymmetry in the balance of power between occupier and occupied be redressed. Twenty years after it gained full Palestinian recognition of its right to exist in peace and security, Israel should reciprocate by recognizing our right to a fully sovereign state. It should be prepared to accept an internationally mandated date for ending its occupation, and a mutually agreed-upon path for getting there. In the interim, justice also requires cessation of all practices that undermine our right to live with dignity on our land, or impede our quest for freedom and justice, as we persevere in our effort to build our state and deepen our readiness for statehood." Salam Fayyad of Palestine

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Turning Points | The Big Question

Our Compass

Turning Points” is the theme of this year-end magazine as we [The New York Times] gaze with equal measures of anticipation and alarm into 2014.

UNRWA digitizes Palestinian refugee experience, documenting the mass displacement of Palestinians from 1948 to the present day.

"Through over six decades, in times of war and peace, through hope and despair, UNRWA’s photographers were there to capture individual emotions and communal dynamics. Each frame is a snapshot of a history that is indelibly part of the Middle East..."

 More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.... They have been prevented from returning ever since.







BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees this week unveiled a newly digitized archive documenting the mass displacement of Palestinians from 1948 to the present day.

The archive consists of over half a million negatives, prints, slides, films and videocassettes, covering all aspects of the lives and history of Palestinian refugees since 1948, UNRWA said in a statement.

The first group of photographs were shown on Thursday in an exhibition entitled "The Long Journey" at the Al-Ma'mel Center in East Jerusalem's Old City.

(All photos taken by George Nehmeh/UNRWA.)

"Collective memory is a vital element of communal identity and this rich archive documents one element of Palestinian identity, the refugee experience," UNRWA's Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi, said.

"But for us it was an urgent technical matter as we needed to do something with our rich collection that was literally decaying. Digitization was the only option for preservation and I am grateful to the Welfare Association, Bank of Palestine, PADICO, Wataniyah and PalTel as well as to the Governments of France and Denmark for making this possible."

George Nehmeh, one of UNRWA's leading early photographers, made a short documentary on the digitization process and revisited people and sites he photographed.

"Through over six decades, in times of war and peace, through hope and despair, UNRWA’s photographers were there to capture individual emotions and communal dynamics. Each frame is a snapshot of a history that is indelibly part of the Middle East."

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma'an that the message of the exihbition was clear: "This is a population who exist, who have a history and is deserving of a future in which they and their children can live in dignity and enjoy full rights."

"At the moment, many are trying to airbrush Palestinian refugees out of the narrative. But the fact that this archive is digitized and in a sense indestructible, means that this narrative is now indelibly part of the intellectual landscape of the Middle East."

1,948 images are available to media, academics, and writers on a newly launched website.

More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.

They have been prevented from returning ever since.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=652456

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

New York Times: Photographs Tell a History of Palestinians Unmoored

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Nahr el Bared camp, near Lebanon, shown in 1952. S. Madver/United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
  By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: November 28, 2013

JERUSALEM — There is one picture of Palestinian children studying around a small table by the dim light of gas lamps in the Beach Camp in Gaza, and another of children peeking over a sandy dune, with rows of small, uniform shacks of a desolate refugee camp in the background. In a third, a family walks across the Allenby Bridge, the father carrying two bulging suitcases, a young son clutching a white ball, heading east over the Jordan River. 

These are a few of the black and white images, many of them powerful and haunting, that will eventually constitute a digital archive compiled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the first part of which was unveiled Thursday at a gallery in the Old City here. Together, they capture the Palestinian refugee experience from the 1948 war onward, giving form to a seminal chapter in Palestinian history, identity and collective memory. 

For decades, about half a million negatives, prints, slides and various forms of film footage have been hidden away in the archive of UNRWA, the organization that assists Palestinian refugees...READ MORE

THE ECONOMIST: "Nobody knows whether the gamble with Iran will pay off. But it is already clear that the risks are low, the prize is potentially vast—and the alternative is dire."

The Iranian nuclear deal

Unlocking the Middle East

Not only was the deal with Iran the best on offer, but it can transform the world’s most troubled region

Nov 30th 2013

FOR over three decades Iran and America have been blood enemies. Their hatred, like the hatred between the Palestinians and the Israelis, has framed the Middle East’s alliances and fuelled terror and war. The interim deal over Iran’s nuclear programme has not undone that—far from it. But through the keyhole it offers a tantalising glimpse of a different, better Middle East. It is a vision worth striving for.

Iran and six world powers, led by America, struck the six-month interim nuclear agreement in the early hours of November 24th (see article). Iran will cap its programme at more or less its capacity today, while the rest of the world will relax sanctions a little. But the deal matters mostly for what it heralds. If Iran shows restraint and the world rewards it, the negotiators might generate sufficient goodwill to reach a more durable and comprehensive agreement. And that would open up the possibility of America and Iran co-operating more, or at least feuding less, in the world’s most troubled region...READ MORE

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My letter to the Guardian RE Australia is right to challenge the UN’s anti-Israel bias

The Land and Love by Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout (1930-2006)
RE: Australia is right to challenge the UN’s anti-Israel bias
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/28/australia-is-right-to-challenge-the-uns-anti-israel-bias

Dear Editor,

"Australia is right to challenge the UN’s anti-Israel bias" brings up some interesting points, but it offers no insight on how to help end the Israel-Palestine conflict with all its many negative ramifications. I think ending the conflict should be a priority- for everyone's sake.

Seems to me diplomats at the UN are responding to the very real plight of the Palestinians and the dire need for a just and lasting peace.... but diplomatic efforts worldwide are being stymied and sabotaged by free lancing Israel obsessed activists actively generating hate campaigns and rage and despair and violence and chaos and cruelty. 

Some of the most articulate free lancing Israel obsessed activists claim to be pro-Palestine, some claim to be pro-Israel.  Many are bullies and bigots and hate mongers only making matters worse. 

However there are many good and decent people worldwide (including many Israelis and many Palestinians) who refuse to give into the hate.... and who refuse to give up on Palestine. 

Let 2014 be the year of and for Palestine, and a final chapter in the nefarious Israel-Palestine conflict that has tortured and displaced and destroyed countless people in many different ways: End the Israel-Palestine conflict with two fully sovereign, fully secular states- one called Israel and one called Palestine living side by side in peace and security. 

A just and lasting peace in and for Israel and Palestine, based on full respect for international law and universal basic human rights would set a good example, empowering Golden Rule thinking, The Arab Peace Initiative and a much more civilized, inclusive and compassionate conversation everywhere.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
A mural by Norwegian artist, Per Krohg, depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, symbolizing the resurgence of peace, equality and freedom. "...to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security..." In the Security Council Chamber Photo stories: United Nations Day - celebrating the UN Charter

International Emmys Award for Best Documentary to "5 Broken Cameras" in which a Palestinian farmer examines upheaval in a West Bank village.

Arab Idol Assaf in appeal for UN Palestinian agency

A Palestinian human rights group urges tougher EU measures on Israeli settler violence

ATFP Hopes Iran Deal Will Enhance Middle East Stability and Security ATFP provides an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and advances human rights and peace. It categorically and unequivocally condemns all violence against civilians, no matter the cause and who the victims or perpetrators may be.

Voicing solidarity with Palestinian cause, UN officials stress importance of resumed peace talks

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

Why Muslims should love secularism: Though secularism is widely misunderstood as anti-religious and iconoclastic, all it means is the neutrality of the state on religious affairs ...  "Muslims must recognize secularism as the only real path to religious freedom, rather than confusing it with an attack against religion." Hussein Ibish

Bible scholars: Zionists have 'weaponized' scripture: "One bad (theological) interpreter is worse than 100 terrorists..."

Israeli soldiers destroy 60 olive trees near Bethlehem... IT ADDS UP: Since 1967, 800,000 Palestinian olive trees have been uprooted by Israelis in the occupied West Bank

NGO: Israel okays 829 new settler homes in West Bank

Destruction and Appropriation of Palestinian Heritage .... Palestine & UNESCO Protecting heritage and reasserting sovereignty : The first installment of a two-part policy brief from Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon: JFK left indelible imprint on me

Israelis and Palestinians must refrain from undermining renewed talks... Settlement plans threaten renewed hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace, UN envoy warns

It is widely accepted that under international law, the Jewish settlements in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 are illegal. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons... "The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies." BBC News

Poll: Oslo brought 'political normalization' but no benefits "83.3 percent of the respondents believe that settlement construction increased “unprecedentedly” in the Palestinian territory as a result of the Oslo Accord."

Palestinians cast first-ever vote in U.N. General Assembly "It's a symbolic (step)," he [ chief Palestinian U.N. observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour] said. "But it is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations."

Israeli Settlers uproot 26 Palestinian olive trees in Nablus village... IT ADDS UP: Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy

Hollande: France urges 'full and complete halt to settlement'

Jewish mob attacks Palestinian man in Jerusalem

Israel's policy of erasure : A path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires not simply dealing with settlements but with the whole complex of displacement, suffocation and erasure.

"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

Welcome to Bethlehem, Secretary Kerry: A call for humanity by Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun

UNITED NATIONS 2013: The nations of the world call on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law, the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the apartheid wall and all UN resolutions.

2013: Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues ...Recalling its resolutions 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and 36/146 C of 16 December 1981 and all its subsequent resolutions on the question

"The direct threat to Israeli and Palestinian existence — and, in fact, to the existence of all peoples in the region — is the absence of peace in Palestine." Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh in The Jordan Times

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

Christians are being driven out of regions around the world where they are a minority

Palestinian villages subject to Israeli mock raids not told they are exercises: Israeli military rejects complaints by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din over 'training' arrests of Arabs and raids on homes

Washington Post 2013: Israeli hard-liners eye West Bank

Israeli Settler Violence Map

'It is where religious freedom is most dishonored or repressed that the forces of violent religious extremism are likely to thrive.' Katrina Lantos Swett, vice chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom: JFK's call for religious freedom can transform...

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

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


PBS Newshour: Poet Naomi Shihab Nye: 'Telling a story helped us figure out who we were'

A quest to preserve Palestinian heritage in the digital stacks: Sami Batrawi's struggle to open an online Palestinian Library of Congress is part of a broader effort to recover lost Palestinian intellectual heritage.

U.S. 'working tirelessly' to restore UNESCO funding... UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova: "This is not only about financing. This is about values. This is the 'smart power' that is in such need today, to lay the foundations for lasting peace and sustainable development,"

U.S., Israel lose voting rights at UNESCO over Palestine row

UNWRA ... a crucial lifeline for Palestinian refugees


Dr Zogby: Focus on Palestinians’ Rights

At ATFP Gala, White House Reaffirms Commitment to Palestinian State, Opposition to Settlements and Settler Violence


Pomegranates in season along the path!
The Arab Peace Initiative
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

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


Thomas Paine: "Of all of the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny of religion is the worst."


The Charter for Compassion is a call to restore the Golden Rule to the center of religious, moral and civic life. The path to a just economy and a peaceful world requires listening, understanding and treating all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.


Freedom for Palestine - OneWorld

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A mural by Norwegian artist, Per Krohg, depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, symbolizing the resurgence of peace, equality and freedom.

"...to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and..." In the Security Council Chamber, the mural by Norwegian artist, Per Krohg, depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, symbolizing the resurgence of peace, equality and freedom. UN Photo/Lois Conner

Photo stories: United Nations Day - celebrating the UN Charter

Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world

PREAMBLE

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS

Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations...


International Emmys Award for Best Documentary to "5 Broken Cameras" in which a Palestinian farmer examines upheaval in a West Bank village.

5 Broken Cameras

5 Broken Cameras

@5brokencameras

I’m Emad Burnat a Palestinian farmer and Oscar nominated doc filmmaker. My film 5 Broken Cameras took over 7 years to make. It is a story of my life.
Palestine │ World Peace · emadburnat.com

26 Nov
it’s great day & moment for Palestine! I made it, the first Palestinian to win an Emmy Award!


CNN's presents the International Emmys Award for Best Documentary to "5 Broken Cameras"

***

http://emadburnat.com/

Join Hands

Show your support against the  ongoing human-rights violations in Bil'in and Palestine using our resources. Help us inform people about the film.
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Arab Idol Assaf in appeal for UN Palestinian agency

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UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf on Tuesday joined appeals to raise money for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA says it may not be able to pay staff wages in December because of a $36 million budget deficit.

Assaf, who is from Gaza and was catapulted into the international spotlight by winning the Arab Idol talent series this year, said the agency was crucial for the survival of Palestinians.

"I call upon all to help fund and support UNRWA because that is the only way the people can survive and have a bit of hope at the end of the tunnel," Assaf, who is on a US concert tour, said through a translator.

The singer, who is a goodwill ambassador for the agency, said he misses his family in Gaza and he was not sure when he would be able to return to the blockaded territory.

"I will never forget my roots," said Assaf, 24, who was born in Libya but spent most of his life in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza.

"I want to go back there soon to see my parents, but I am not going to give a date," he said. "I miss my family, they cannot be here because of the blockade."

***
Mohammad Assaf is UNRWA's first ever Regional Youth Ambassador: UNRWA is unique among UN agencies, both for its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees – the Palestine refugees - and for its direct provision of services including education, health care and relief to those refugees. But being unique doesn't mean that UNRWA can act alone: We have always depended on our partners, including our hosts and donors, to help us best serve Palestine refugees. Now, we are proud also to work with individuals who can add their voice to ours, spreading the word about Palestine refugees and reminding people who may be far away that they are not just a regional concern or a relic of the past.

A Palestinian human rights group urges tougher EU measures on Israeli settler violence

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A Palestinian boy stands near a car set on fire by settlers in
Nablus.(MaanImages/file)
By Charlie Hoyle

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian human rights group on Wednesday called on EU member states to take tougher measures to ensure that public and private national bodies do not provide support to violent settler groups in the occupied West Bank.

In a new report, "Institutionalized Impunity: Israel's Failure to Combat Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory", Al-Haq documents settler violence as an "extensive, long-term, and worsening phenomenon."

The report calls on Israel to enforce the law against settler attacks, end all incitement to violence by settler groups and guarantee the protection of the Palestinian civilian population subject to Israeli control.

Al-Haq also says that third-party states to the conflict have an "obligation to combat organized crime by ensuring that support, financial or otherwise, is not being lent to violent settler groups by private and public entities within their jurisdiction."

Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, told Ma'an that impunity for settler violence is systematic and part of an institutionalized Israeli policy which directly, and indirectly, encourages settler attacks.

"The obligation of Israeli authorities is to protect Palestinians under occupation. They are not; they are closing their eyes and facilitating the violence against Palestinians."

EU member states must carry out their responsibilities in dealing with settlers who visit the EU to solicit funds for violent groups as well as known violent settlers who have dual nationality, Jabarin says.

"It is time for action against these groups and the settlers in general, as well as the leaders, such as settler councils."

In 2011, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the French branch of the Jewish Defense League, an extreme right-wing group, was recruiting Jews with military training to visit Israel and "defend" illegal settlements.

A group spokesman said that five groups of 11 people were expected to take "positions" in five Israeli settlements, with all expenses paid by un-named French donors.

The Dutch Christian Zionist organization Christenen voor Israel, or Christians for Israel, is another one of the groups in EU member states with links to Israeli settlements.

A 2010 report by the Inter Press Service news agency said that the organization's website was soliciting donations to install security cameras for the illegal settlement of Tzofim near Qalqiliya and was also providing stipends for students studying at a university in Ariel settlement.

In August this year, the Corporate Watch website sent a series of open letters to UK registered charity Stewardship Services out of concern that it was collecting donations for the Kochav Yaakov settlement southeast of Ramallah.

The charity collects donations for a project run by the Christian Friends of Israeli Communities Heartland, which Corporate Watch says is akin to giving "tacit support to Israel's colonization policies."

Stewardship Services said the donations were solely to support a project providing hot lunches to children in the illegal settlement.

EU visa ban for violent settlers

Valentina Azarov, a legal adviser for Al-Haq, told Ma'an that EU states should investigate individuals or groups which provide support to violent settler groups or settlements known for violence who "could be held liable for committing offenses under their domestic laws on organized crime and financing of acts of terror."

Such groups, or individuals, should be subject to investigation by their national authorities, she says, and third state authorities should seek Israel's cooperation in such investigations.

The EU should also "follow through with its own legal and public policy needs by adopting risk aversive measures against violent settlers such as banning their entry into the EU," Azarov added.

In November last year, the independent EU Observer news site reported that a group of EU diplomats from the Political and Security Committee dealing with conflict zones had approved measures to impose visa bans on violent Israeli settlers.

A memo seen by the website said that "individual EU member states could explore possibilities of denying access of known violent settlers to the EU."

There were also European Parliamentary questions regarding the matter in January this year, to which EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton responded: "By definition, actions by Israeli settlers in occupied territory are not an internal matter for Israel."

Al-Haq's recommendations come as EU guidelines prohibiting financial cooperation with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are due to take effect on Jan. 1.

The guidelines, issued in July, raised a storm in Israel and were denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "an external diktat about our borders."

Palestinian officials welcomed the decision.

Settler attacks on Palestinians and their property increased by 32 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year, and by over 144 percent compared to the year before that, according to UN statistics.

In 2011, 10,000 olive trees were damaged or destroyed by settlers and 139 Palestinian families displaced due to settler violence, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.

Over 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians regarding settler violence are closed by Israeli authorities without an indictment, the agency says.

My letter to CSM RE Matthew Bunn: Why Netanyahu is wrong about Iran nuclear deal

 RE Matthew Bunn: Why Netanyahu is wrong about Iran nuclear deal. Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the nuclear deal with Iran increases Iran’s chances of building nuclear weapons. He’s exactly wrong: With this deal in place, it will be much harder for Iranian hardliners to make the case that Iran should tear up its agreements and build a bomb.
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/1125/Why-Netanyahu-is-wrong-about-Iran-nuclear-deal

Dear Editor,

ATFP (The American Task Force on Palestine) issued a timely and telling statement in response to the latest news ATFP Hopes Iran Deal Will Enhance Middle East Stability and SecurityThe ATFP "believes that this agreement has the potential to initiate major and historic changes in the Middle East." I think they are right. I also think Matthew Bunn is right that "With this deal in place, it will be much harder for Iranian hardliners to make the case that Iran should tear up its agreements and build a bomb." 

I very much hope that America's diplomatic efforts with Iran continue forward, and that this recent deal plays a small but highly significant part in ushering in a new era for all the region...  A new era where diplomacy wins and a new Palestine is allowed to rise up as a fully sovereign, fully independent, fully secular state living in peace and security alongside a fully sovereign, fully independent, fully secular Israel.

A paradigm shift away from the Israel-Palestine conflict into a just and lasting logical peace based on full respect for international law and universal basic human rights is worth pursuing. 

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
ATFP Hopes Iran Deal Will Enhance Middle East Stability and Security ATFP provides an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and advances human rights and peace. It categorically and unequivocally condemns all violence against civilians, no matter the cause and who the victims or perpetrators may be.

Voicing solidarity with Palestinian cause, UN officials stress importance of resumed peace talks

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

Why Muslims should love secularism: Though secularism is widely misunderstood as anti-religious and iconoclastic, all it means is the neutrality of the state on religious affairs ...  "Muslims must recognize secularism as the only real path to religious freedom, rather than confusing it with an attack against religion." Hussein Ibish

Bible scholars: Zionists have 'weaponized' scripture: "One bad (theological) interpreter is worse than 100 terrorists..."

Israeli soldiers destroy 60 olive trees near Bethlehem... IT ADDS UP: Since 1967, 800,000 Palestinian olive trees have been uprooted by Israelis in the occupied West Bank

NGO: Israel okays 829 new settler homes in West Bank

Destruction and Appropriation of Palestinian Heritage .... Palestine & UNESCO Protecting heritage and reasserting sovereignty : The first installment of a two-part policy brief from Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon: JFK left indelible imprint on me

Israelis and Palestinians must refrain from undermining renewed talks... Settlement plans threaten renewed hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace, UN envoy warns

It is widely accepted that under international law, the Jewish settlements in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 are illegal. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons... "The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies." BBC News

Poll: Oslo brought 'political normalization' but no benefits "83.3 percent of the respondents believe that settlement construction increased “unprecedentedly” in the Palestinian territory as a result of the Oslo Accord."

Palestinians cast first-ever vote in U.N. General Assembly "It's a symbolic (step)," he [ chief Palestinian U.N. observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour] said. "But it is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations."

Israeli Settlers uproot 26 Palestinian olive trees in Nablus village... IT ADDS UP: Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy

Hollande: France urges 'full and complete halt to settlement'

Jewish mob attacks Palestinian man in Jerusalem

Israel's policy of erasure : A path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires not simply dealing with settlements but with the whole complex of displacement, suffocation and erasure.

"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

Welcome to Bethlehem, Secretary Kerry: A call for humanity by Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun

UNITED NATIONS 2013: The nations of the world call on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law, the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the apartheid wall and all UN resolutions.

2013: Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues ...Recalling its resolutions 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and 36/146 C of 16 December 1981 and all its subsequent resolutions on the question

"The direct threat to Israeli and Palestinian existence — and, in fact, to the existence of all peoples in the region — is the absence of peace in Palestine." Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh in The Jordan Times

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

Christians are being driven out of regions around the world where they are a minority

Palestinian villages subject to Israeli mock raids not told they are exercises: Israeli military rejects complaints by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din over 'training' arrests of Arabs and raids on homes

Washington Post 2013: Israeli hard-liners eye West Bank

Israeli Settler Violence Map

'It is where religious freedom is most dishonored or repressed that the forces of violent religious extremism are likely to thrive.' Katrina Lantos Swett, vice chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom: JFK's call for religious freedom can transform...

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

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


PBS Newshour: Poet Naomi Shihab Nye: 'Telling a story helped us figure out who we were'

A quest to preserve Palestinian heritage in the digital stacks: Sami Batrawi's struggle to open an online Palestinian Library of Congress is part of a broader effort to recover lost Palestinian intellectual heritage.

U.S. 'working tirelessly' to restore UNESCO funding... UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova: "This is not only about financing. This is about values. This is the 'smart power' that is in such need today, to lay the foundations for lasting peace and sustainable development,"

U.S., Israel lose voting rights at UNESCO over Palestine row

UNWRA ... a crucial lifeline for Palestinian refugees


Dr Zogby: Focus on Palestinians’ Rights

At ATFP Gala, White House Reaffirms Commitment to Palestinian State, Opposition to Settlements and Settler Violence


Pomegranates in season along the path!
The Arab Peace Initiative
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

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


Thomas Paine: "Of all of the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny of religion is the worst."


The Charter for Compassion is a call to restore the Golden Rule to the center of religious, moral and civic life. The path to a just economy and a peaceful world requires listening, understanding and treating all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.


Freedom for Palestine - OneWorld

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ATFP Hopes Iran Deal Will Enhance Middle East Stability and Security

ATFP provides an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and advances human rights and peace. It categorically and unequivocally condemns all violence against civilians, no matter the cause and who the victims or perpetrators may be.



Nov. 26, Washington DC -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today praised the efforts of the international community, led by the United States, and welcomed the interim "first step" agreement with Iran to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons. In addition to its importance in preventing nuclear proliferation, the Task Force believes that this agreement has the potential to initiate major and historic changes in the Middle East. Such developments must not negatively affect the future of Palestine or the interests and security of traditional American allies in the region.

As the United States and its partners pursue the breakthrough in relations with Iran, it is vital to treat the interests of all peoples in the region with due concern. There are significant fault-lines and grievances that have defined tensions and conflicts in the Middle East, which such a breakthrough could help to resolve. The most notable of these are Sunni-Shiite sectarian divides, Arab-Iranian tensions and Arab-Israeli disputes, all of which have great significance for Gulf security and regional stability. ATFP believes that if the Western engagement with Iran continues to develop positively, and Iran has indeed adopted a new and constructive foreign policy, the potential for building bridges and beginning to heal some of these divisions could be significantly enhanced.

ATFP President Ziad J. Asali said, "We hope that these developments positively impact the potential for a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and establishing a state of Palestine, which is crucial to building a stable and secure Middle East."


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Monday, November 25, 2013

Voicing solidarity with Palestinian cause, UN officials stress importance of resumed peace talks

Mohammed Assaf, UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador and Winner of Arab Idol 2013 addresses the meeting. UN Photo/Ryan Brown
[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]

25 November 2013 – United Nations officials today voiced their solidarity with the people of Palestine in their aspirations for independence and sovereignty, and stressed the importance of ongoing peace talks aimed at a two-State solution which must be given a chance to bear fruit.

“We cannot afford to lose the current moment of opportunity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message read on his behalf to the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

“I ask all in the international community to work together to translate the solidarity expressed on this occasion into positive action for peace and justice,” he added.

The special meeting held at UN Headquarters comes ahead of the International Day, observed annually on 29 November. The Day marks the date in 1947 when the General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning then-mandated Palestine into two States, one Jewish and one Arab.

“The goal remains clear – an end to the occupation that started in 1967 and the creation of a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders, living side by side in peace with a secure State of Israel,” Mr. Ban stated.

“Jerusalem is to emerge from negotiations as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all. An agreed solution must be found for millions of Palestinian refugees around the region.”

Israelis and Palestinians resumed direct negotiations in August, thanks to the efforts of United States Secretary of State John Kerry, following a three-year hiatus owing to Israel’s refusal to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

After decades of talks and “far too many” adverse developments on the ground, Mr. Ban urged Palestinian and Israeli leaders to take the decisions that will usher in a political solution to this serious and long-standing conflict.

The Chair of the General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Abdou Salam Diallo, called on the international community to seize “what seems to be one of the last opportunities” to promote a negotiated solution.

“Time is running out. The negotiating process is endangered by certain policies and particularly by the ongoing establishment of Jewish settlements,” he told the meeting.

Later today, Mr. Diallo will introduce several draft resolutions related to the question of Palestine to the General Assembly, which will be asked to, among other things, declare 2014 as the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

General Assembly President John Ashe welcomed the Committee’s initiative to have 2014 proclaimed as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and called for using it to redouble efforts to create the necessary environment for successful peace talks.

“Ongoing peace negotiations must be given a chance for peace to take root and flourish, but peace cannot be meaningful and durable without taking fully into account the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, which are key to the solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.”

“I call on the Governments and people of both Israel and Palestine to avoid actions that would undermine the fragile hope created by this renewed round of negotiations, and to cease and desist from any actions that are in contravention to international law and would pose a major impediment to peace in the Middle East and, more importantly, render the two-State solution impossible,” said Mr. Ashe.

Speaking on behalf of the UN agency responsible for assisting five million Palestinian refugees, Filippo Grandi said that solidarity – which transcends political and financial support – is crucial because it makes Palestinians feel that they are not alone.

Mr. Grandi, the outgoing Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said his organization is “sadly familiar” with this loneliness, given how closely it works with refugees whose plight has remained unresolved for over six decades.

As part of the observance of the International Day, the Palestinian Rights Committee will hold a concert later today featuring two Palestinian singers – Mohammed Assaf, UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador and Winner of Arab Idol 2013, and Nai Barghouti.

The Committee is also screening the documentary film “State 194,” which focuses on former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s 2009 plan to demonstrate that his people were deserving of statehood, inspiring them to change their destiny and seek UN membership.



News Tracker: past stories on this issue