Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hussein Ibish of ATFP: Palestinians and Israelis can coexist if occupation ends...

Medjool date palm trees stand on the banks of the Dead Sea near Kibbutz Gilgal in Israel. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a water accord that is designed in part to help save the sea. (Ariel Jerozolimski / Bloomberg / October 20, 2013)

Palestinians and Israelis can coexist if occupation ends 

The unstable and unhealthy relationship of dominance and subordination, of discipline and control through violence, built into Israel’s occupation was graphically illustrated this week in two separate, tragic and bloody incidents.

Last Saturday, a 15-year-old Palestinian child, Wajih Wajdi Al Ramahi, was shot in the back and killed by Israeli occupation forces. The soldiers were sniping from a watchtower near the Israeli settlement of Bet-El. There are conflicting accounts of what happened, but even the official Israeli military version as it now stands is utterly damning.

The Israeli army says it deployed soldiers to “ambush” and “apprehend” stone-throwing Palestinian youths. In other words, the soldiers were lying in wait for the children. They duly appeared, and seeing the soldiers, according to the Israeli army, began throwing rocks from a distance of 150 metres (therefore posing no actual threat). The Israeli military says then “the squad commander began the procedure for arresting a suspect and shooting was only in the air.”

And yet somehow Wajih ended up lying on his face, dead on the ground, shot in the back by the army of occupation. Nothing in the official Israeli account begins to justify or explain what happened to him. Everything points to what can only be described as a calculated ambush that led to a completely indefensible homicide.

Lest anyone think this incident is a bizarre aberration, not only have 23 Palestinians been killed by Israeli occupation forces this year in the West Bank, the history of the Al Ramahi family is an object lesson in the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

This family originates from the village of Muzayriah, which was destroyed by Israel in 1948. Residents of that town and 36 other destroyed villages, including the Al Ramahi family, now live in the Jalazun refugee camp, near where Wajih was shot and killed.

His father, a Fatah activist, was jailed by Israel from 1972-1992. Occupation forces destroyed two of the family’s homes and boarded up two more. The family says two other close relatives were killed by Israeli troops in the past 15 years: Mohammed Ahmed, 14, and Mohammed Jamal, 21. To cap it all off, Wajih’s older brother and two of his cousins are currently in Israeli custody and awaiting trial.

But the violence is a two-way street. There’s another Palestinian in Israeli custody today, formally indicted this week for murdering an Israeli soldier last November.

Sixteen-year-old Hussein Sharif Rawarda, from Jenin, is accused of stabbing and killing 19-year-old Eden Atias while he was asleep on a bus in northern Israel. Rawarda claimed he was acting on behalf of his jailed uncles. But his father, who condemned the killing, said his son was apolitical and probably motivated by economic distress.

The two grievances are inextricable. The entire system – social, economic and political – that Israel operates in the occupied territories can only be described as separate and unequal. The particular stressor on any occupied individual may manifest as social, political or even economic, but they all arise from the violent system of domination by a foreign occupying power.

Although it was written long ago and about a different time and place, Frantz Fanon’s 1961 essay Concerning Violence – for all its undoubted historical and ideological anachronisms, and naive enthusiasms – remains the best overall guide to the psychological dynamic between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Its descriptive contrast between “the settlers’ towns” and “the native town” is uncannily evocative of the present day occupied Palestinian territories. And his evaluation of the psychology of these relationships applies as precisely to Israelis and Palestinians as any Fanon may have had in mind more than 50 years ago.

Fanon describes precisely the deforming and dehumanising impact on both the occupier and the occupied: “The violence of the colonial regime and the counter-violence of the native balance each other and respond to each other in an extraordinary reciprocal homogeneity.”

And so 15-year-old Wajih lies shot in the back like a stray dog, while 16-year-old Hussein is about to stand trial for murdering 19-year-old Eden in his sleep.

Routine tragedies demonstrate how and why the status quo is simply unmanageable, with millions of disenfranchised Palestinians living for decades under Israeli military rule with no end in sight. The relative calm that has recently prevailed, and that is now fraying, cannot be maintained if the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. For everyone’s sake, conditions for Palestinians must be immediately improved, and in overt preparation for independent statehood.

The relationship of occupied Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces is essentially that of prisoners and prison guards. There is an ordered, legalised hierarchy of power and privilege inherent in the occupation. There is nothing hard-wired in either Israeli or Palestinian culture that makes people on either side relate to each other as they do.

Instead, each individual acts out the position to which they are assigned in a highly structured interaction between rulers and ruled. The same formula could be transplanted between any two other national groups anywhere in the world with similar results. A mere reversal of fortunes would likely see a concomitant reversal of roles.

Violence, incitement and abuses can and should be minimised by all authorities. But there is only one way to actually end this vicious circle of inhumanity. The occupation must end, so Israelis and Palestinians can live, at long last, not as the oppressors and the oppressed, but side-by-side as citizens of equally sovereign, independent states.

Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a columnist for Now Media and blogs at On Twitter: @ibishblog

Hussein Ibish, PhD
Senior Fellow
American Task Force on Palestine
The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) is an organization founded in 2003 to advocate that it is in the American national interest to promote an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state that will live alongside Israel in peace and security. ATFP condemns all violence directed against civilians no matter who the victims or perpetrators may be.

Friday, December 13, 2013

It is the cold ... a poem for peace by Anne Selden Annab

AFP Winter storm pummels Mideast, adding to refugee misery

    It is the cold

It is not the snow
that brings misery
and horrific suffering
to the refugees of Syria
 and Palestine.

It is the cold.

It is the cold...
It is the cold of winter

It is the cold of winter,
the cold of ice and wind
and the tatters
of temporary housing
and worn out shoes.

It is poverty
and stress
and constant loss

It is violence

And it is the cold of hearts
refusing to make peace-
refusing to honor
the Golden Rule.

Refusing to talk
and refusing to act
in ways that will
welcome peace
and warmth...
in ways that will
 true compassion
with fair and just laws...
shaping safe communities.

It is the cold cruel
refusal to respect
basic human rights
and the dire need
for justice and peace
and jobs...

It is the cold,
not the snow.


  • 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.

Snow Scene in Jerusalem... poem by Anne Selden Annab

           Snow Scene in Jerusalem

Lovely snow
come change our world-
land softly
every shape
slowing traffic
calming all,
as one perspective
one panorama
for peace
and beauty
finds echo

Lovely snow
reach over fences
onto every branch
to give us pause.

Lovely snow a
momentary yet
everlasting mosaic
through time and space
through rich and poor
through old and young
through ying and yang
through generations
and generations
all around...



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Prof. Saliba Sarsar Award Speech (ATFP Gala 2013)... a gentle poem of peace

with a beautiful introduction by Dr Hussein Ibish

Gorgeous Pictures Of The Holy Land From 120 Years Ago

The Damascus Gate, built in its current form in 1537, is the main entrance to the Old City.

A visitor to the Holy Land between 1890 and 1900 would have encountered a place that looked a lot like the pastoral setting described in the Bible and the Quran. 

A glimpse of this era is preserved through photochrom prints from the Library of Congress.

We invite you to put aside your political views (note: we've turned off comments) and enjoy these vintage pictures of "the land flowing with milk and honey."

This print, called the Route To The Station, may show a road leading to the first railroad station, built in 1892.

Capernaum, a fishing village that was home to several Apostles

the Temple of the Sun in Baalbek

The ruins of an ancient colonnade in Samaria

The birthplace of Mary Magdalene in Magdala.

The Tomb of Lazarus in Bethany

Relaxing outside Lydda

Making Bread

A fisherman's boat on the Sea of Galilee by Tiberias

For First Time Since 1948, Christmas Tree Lit In Displaced Village

For the first time since Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine in 1948, and the destruction and displacement of hundreds of villages and towns, a group of Palestinians managed to set up a Christmas Tree in the displaced village of Kufur Birim, in the Galilee.
Sonara News Agency photo of this year's Christmas Tree in the displaced village of Kufur Birim, in the Galilee
author Thursday December 12, 2013 09:06author by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Sonara News Agency has reported that, despite the extreme cold and the snowstorm especially in mountain areas, and despite repeated empty promises by Israeli officials including the Minister of Minorities, the remaining displaced villagers were never allowed back.

Four months ago, a group of young Palestinians started sleeping in the village, as part of an extended campaign to affirm their right in their own lands, and recently installed a Christmas tree in the yard of a local church, affirming their Right of Return following 65 years of displacement.

Talking to the Sonara News Agency, Zatam Zahra, a member of one of the displaced families, said that this Christmas tree, the first in 65 years, is a symbol for the Right of Return of all refugees, displaced from their lands, villages and towns.

He added that the tree is also a symbol of hope to the millions of externally displaced refugees living in dozens of refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and several Arab countries.

“We demand a solution to Kufur Birim refugees”, he said, “The Right of Return is a right not only to the living, but also to the dead”.

"Since the resumption of the peace process in July, Israel has destroyed 207 Palestinian homes and property in the occupied West Bank, displacing 311 Palestinians, over half of whom are children," rights groups and charities including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement.

Palestine Flag December 3, 2013 AP Photo by Nasser Nasser

UN slams Israel demolition of West Bank properties

 Jerusalem (AFP) - The United Nations Wednesday slammed Israel's demolition of 30 Palestinian properties in the West Bank, saying it displaced some families for the second time in less than two weeks.

"I am concerned about the destruction of Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley yesterday (Tuesday)," UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley said in a statement.

"The demolitions resulted in the displacement of 41 people, including 24 children, and affected another 20. Both refugee and non-refugee families were affected." the statement said.

"Some of the families were displaced for the second time this month and a number of donor-funded structures were among those demolished."

Israel's civilian administration of the West Bank had no immediate comment on the demolitions.
A group of 36 NGOs last week urged Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes, hours ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at revitalising Middle East peace talks.

"Demolitions often occur to facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, with 60 percent of demolitions occurring in Palestinian communities close to settlement zones," rights groups and charities including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement.

"Since the resumption of the peace process in July, Israel has destroyed 207 Palestinian homes and property in the occupied West Bank, displacing 311 Palestinians, over half of whom are children," they said.

Israeli settlement building threatens to derail the fragile peace talks, with the Jewish state announcing thousands of new homes in the West Bank on territory the Palestinians want for a future state.

This year, more than 630 Palestinian structures have been demolished in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, according to the UN.

Some 1,035 Palestinians have been displaced by the demolitions, the world body said, adding that more than 80 percent of the displacement occurred in the Jordan Valley.

Mandela Way

After Mandela
The world comes to a moral crossroads.

Patrick Chappatte is an editorial cartoonist for The International New York Times. View more of his work, visit his Web site or follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

UNWRA walking with the Palestine refugees on their journey to a better future...

UNRWA joins the United Nations in celebrating Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We're marking the occasion with a selection of photos from our archive.

Celebrating Human Rights Day

On 10 December, UNRWA joins the United Nations in celebrating Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption and proclamation, in 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For over 60 years, UNRWA has worked to protect the rights of Palestine refugees - their right to knowledge, to health, to shelter. By ensuring that they can reach schools, clinics and the assistance they need, UNRWA seeks to help Palestine refugees enjoy their human rights to the fullest extent possible. In doing so, we not only enshrine the principles of the Universal Declaration, but also support the resilience and the strength of Palestine refugees, walking with them on their journey to a better future.

Article 25: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…
An elderly Palestine refugee woman taking home her ration of milk and supplementary food from an UNRWA centre in Khan Younis camp in Gaza Strip.
Souf camp was set up by UNRWA near the ancient Roman colony of Jarash in east Jordan for some 10,000 Palestine refugees from the West Bank.

  Article 23: Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment…

 Article 26: Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Ali and his sisters settle down to do their homework by the light of an oil lamp. UNRWA Archive, Jack Mavdo.
Palestine refugee children at the UNRWA Play centre in Baqa'a camp, East Jordan. UNRWA Archive.
contains more than 430,000 negatives, 10,000 prints, 85,000 slides, 75 films and 730 videocassettes

Despite setbacks, UN ushered in 65 years of progress on human rights... The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted 65 years ago paved the way for decades of progress. The picture of human rights today is hardly as encouraging. But changing norms takes time and doesn't follow a linear path.

Indian Dalits, members of the outcast community once known as untouchables, applaud a speaker at a sit-in protest on Human Rights Day near the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Dec. 10. Tsering Topgyal/AP

"Those who authored the UDHR 65 years ago knew that they would not live to see the world transformed to their full liking, but they had faith that it would gravitate in the direction they envisioned. It is impossible to compare the world of 1948 to today and not be convinced that indeed it has." William F. Schulz, president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee & former executive director of Amnesty International USA.

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY December 10, 2013: “Promoting human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day. “Then, as now, the key to success is the political will of Member States.”

After the Second World War and the creation of the United Nations, the international community pledged never again to allow atrocities such as those of that conflict. World leaders decided to complement the United Nations Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of all people everywhere and at all times.
United Nations International Nursery School children examine a poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at its second anniversary. (New York, December 1950)
 Eleanor Roosevelt regarded the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as her greatest achievement. Mrs. Roosevelt, widow of the former US president and a lifelong human rights advocate, chaired the commission that drew up the text of the Universal Declaration, and was recognized as the driving force behind its adoption in Paris in December 1948.

Human Rights Day stems from the General Assembly’s adoption the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. The Declaration sets out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all men and women, everywhere in the world, are entitled, without any distinction. ... photo story of the Declaration’s birth.

Honouring human rights activism, including the legacy of Nelson Mandela, senior UN officials today mark Human Rights Day calling for greater political will and resources to implement laws and standards designed to promote and protect the rights and dignity of all people everywhere. 
 Nelson Mandela, former South African President has died at the age of 95 © EPA Kim Ludbrook

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest statesmen of the modern era. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay remembers her fellow countryman as a man who fought for dignity and liberty for all citizens, regardless of race.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which led to the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and the establishment of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to oversee the international human rights framework, promote human rights and protect individuals against abuse.

The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. Drafted as ‘a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations', the Declaration for the first time in human history spell out basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy. It has over time been widely accepted as the fundamental norms of human rights that everyone should respect and protect. The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, form the so - called International Bill of Human Rights.

A series of international human rights treaties and other instruments adopted since 1945 have conferred legal form on inherent human rights and developed the body of international human rights. Other instruments have been adopted at the regional level reflecting the particular human rights concerns of the region and providing for specific mechanisms of protection. Most States have also adopted constitutions and other laws which formally protect basic human rights. While international treaties and customary law form the backbone of international human rights law other instruments, such as declarations, guidelines and principles adopted at the international level contribute to its understanding, implementation and development. Respect for human rights requires the establishment of the rule of law at the national and international levels.

International human rights law lays down obligations which States are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.

Through ratification of international human rights treaties, Governments undertake to put into place domestic measures and legislation compatible with their treaty obligations and duties. Where domestic legal proceedings fail to address human rights abuses, mechanisms and procedures for individual complaints or communications are available at the regional and international levels to help ensure that international human rights standards are indeed respected, implemented, and enforced at the local level.

  • 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

My letter to the Washington Post RE Imbalance in Israel by Richard Cohen

Time for honesty about dialogue with Israel: There’s a healthy alternative to the hypocrisy of engaging Israel privately while condemning "normalization” publicly...  Hussein Ibish:"As everyone who doesn't live inside a warm cocoon of willful ignorance knows, the Arabs and Israel are in constant contact. They talk about everything from security to trade, intelligence to diplomacy."

RE Imbalance in Israel by Richard Cohen

Dear Editor,

I started reading Richard Cohen's most recent op-ed about Israel totally expecting to vehemently disagree with all he said... and I want to but I can't.  I can, however, see more clearly why so many Boycott Israel activists are also advocates of a one state dream, rather than supporters of a two state solution to actually end the Israel Palestine conflict.

I confess, because of the Boycott Israel campaigns, I had already noticed that one state "pro-Palestine" activists tend to rely on Israeli resources (with facts taken out of context) to arm their arguments, in much the same way that anti-America hate mongers use American resources (with facts taken out of context) to arm their arguments.

Big picture is that Richard Cohen just set a fine example proving that arguing about/for or against Boycott Israel tactics and hypothetical ramifications can be thoughtful diplomacy and savvy publicity for Israel and its most talented authors.

Meanwhile- what about Palestine?!!!!  

Hussein Ibish in a recent article Time for honesty about dialogue with Israel points out that " The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) – where I serve as a senior fellow under the leadership of its President, Ziad Asali – has a strategy of public, open engagement with Jewish-Americans, Israel, and Israelis, in pursuit of its mission to help end the occupation and create a Palestinian state. Hence ATFP simply cannot be intimidated or bullied by "accusations" of "normalization"... On the contrary, ATFP has been able to demonstrate how constructive, positive dialogue with all potential partners – in the open and without any pretense – can make real headway in developing a broader, stronger constituency for the creation of an independent Palestine."

In context, I think it is obvious that what really matters most is diplomacy and conversations that actually empower the creation of a just and lasting peace for both Israel and Palestine- based on full respect for international law and universal basic human rights.

Anne Selden Annab


The Last Chance... a poem for Palestine

Remember that Mandela emerged from jail as a peacemaker, not a soldier.

"He inspired us to walk the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and so South Africa did not go up in flames..."

Nelson Mandela Quotes We Love

American Task Force on Palestine front page & ATFP News Roundup December 6, 2013 ... Mandela's mixed legacy for the Middle East

"It always seems impossible until it's done"... Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela's support for Palestine- and negotiations to end the Israel Palestine conflict with a two state solution..."strengthening the voice of peace and friendship in Israel and Palestine"

"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future." Neslon Mandela

Nelson Mandela, The Global Icon Who Left Footprints Around The World ...Palestinian campaigners describe him as “totally inspirational”

"No one is born hating another person... if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love." Nelson Mandela

Abbas hails Mandela’s ties to Palestinian cause: Nelson Mandela, who first visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1999, was an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause and a champion for Middle East peace. File picture: Jerome Delay

Now that his three-year world tour for "The Wall" has finally come to an end, Roger Waters wants to set the record straight over criticism he's received from Jewish groups regarding his use of the Star of David symbol in the show and his support for a cultural boycott of Israel.

British human rights organization Amnesty International condemns the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip in a statement released on Monday, demanding Israel "immediately lift its blockade" on the besieged coastal enclave

Israel To Build 3000 New Settlement Units

Christmas message from Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun of Palestine..." Today, our little town has become even smaller due to the continued expansion of Israeli settlements, but the message of Jesus Christ remains in our hearts, overcoming with hope the despair of decades of living under a foreign occupation and being deprived of our rights."

Our Compass: Nelson Mandela by Salam Fayyad of Palestine

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

"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 (   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

"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

'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

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

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
"The global consensus is practically unanimous: Palestinians deserve a state alongside Israel, which is already a United Nations member state." Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Last Chance... a poem for Palestine by Anne Selden Annab

    The Last Chance

This- right now,
but not for long,

is the last chance
for Palestine.

Until May- come what may...

The last chance
to push back a foreign army

The last chance
to create zones free of snipers

The last chance
to end land grabs

The last chance
to dismantle checkpoints

The last chance
for Palestine to be free
with sovereign power...

The last chance,

this- right now,
but not for long,

is the last chance
to move beyond conflict

stop loss
start gain.

The last chance
to hone diplomacy.

Until May- come what may...

The last chance
to be taken seriously
to be listened to
to be understood

The last chance,
to make the case
that Palestine
is a good idea

that Palestine
is a worthwhile investment.

In hindsight some heroes
will be seen as frauds

Some but not all

as time moves on
with or without
a Palestinian state.

Remember that Mandela emerged from jail as a peacemaker, not a soldier.

"...Both Palestinians and Israelis have much to learn from the great leader. The most important lesson for Palestinians is to maintain the momentum of their global campaign – and to remember that Mandela emerged from jail as a peacemaker, not a soldier. Israelis, on the other hand, should heed these words from Mandela: “Talk of peace will remain hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab territories ... If there is going to be peace, there must be complete withdrawal from all of these areas.”

Palestinian officials paid tribute to Mandela on Friday, expressing appreciation for his inspiration and support. “This is a great loss for all the peoples of the world, and for Palestine,” the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said, hailing Mandela as a “symbol of freedom from colonialism and occupation” who would never be forgotten by the Palestinian people.

There is never going to be another Nelson Mandela. We can all only hope that we can properly learn the lessons from his life. And perhaps for Palestine, in Mandela’s past is its future."

In Mandela’s life is a lesson for Palestinians
National Editorial
December 7, 2013
As South Africa and the world mourn the death of Nelson Mandela, his passing will perhaps be even more acutely felt in Palestine for the possibilities he pointed to. Just a week before his death, former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad described the great man as a “compass” for the Palestinian cause. In an op-ed for the New York Times, he wrote: [Mandela’s] persistent defiance exemplified the immense power of non-violence in resisting the entrapment of victimhood and overcoming the burdens of injustice.”...READ MORE


"He inspired us to walk the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and so South Africa did not go up in flames..."