Thursday, March 13, 2014

My letter to the NYTimes RE Lift the Mideast Roadblocks

What message do we send?
A Palestinian woman inspects olive trees that have been severely damaged by Israeli settlers near the West Bank city of Nablus (AP photo by Nasser Ishtayeh) Visualizing Palestine: Since 1967 Israeli authorities have uprooted more than 800,000 Palestinian olive trees... OXFAM: In the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), olive harvesting is a tradition that can be traced back for centuries. Passed down from generation to generation, olive trees provide Palestinians with an important connection to their history and their land.
RE: Lift the Mideast Roadblocks

Dear Editor,

Lifting the Mideast roadblocks requires much more than merely agreeing to a two state solution to end the Israel-Palestine conflict: In order to build a just and lasting peace, all parties must make it a priority to first and foremost respect international law and universal human rights.

In 1948, after the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, it was impossible to imagine that the innocuous phrase "Jewish State" might inspire victims of horrific bigotry to shape laws and policies in a newly born modern nation state that would harshly discriminate against non-Jews...  "Jewish State" could have come to mean a sovereign country where justice matters, and racism is scorned.  "Jewish State" could have been an inclusive and progressive mindset cultivating respect for the rule of fair and just laws.  Instead "Jewish State" ended up igniting religious extremism, violence and terror on both sides of the conflict.

Appeasing and empowering Israelis who want the land, but not the native non-Jewish population of that land might seem like a reasonable workable approach, but all that does is entrench more of the same cruel status quo whereby citizens and supporters of a Jews-preferred Israel remain motivated and easily able to persecute, impoverish, disenfranchise and displace Palestinian men, women and children.

A fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict for every one's sake is the best way forward. Religion should be a personal private choice, not a citizenship requirement- and certainly not a tax payer funded project.

Anne Selden Annab

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A UN Committee Expresses Concern over Recent Developments in Occupied Jerusalem... The committee said that Israel also continues to construct settlements in East Jerusalem, in violation of international law and in defiance of the international community's repeated calls for ending such illegal acts.

Israeli Settlers Brutally Assault Three Young Palestinians near Ramallah

Plea to the Pope... Ash Wednesday Letter To Pope Francis: Speak Out Against Targeting of Palestinian Children

Official: Israel refused to let Palestinian refugees in Syria return

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never tires of inventing new hoops through which he insists Palestinians jump. As he acknowledged a few weeks back, it's all part of a cynical game that he plays in an effort to kill the chances for peace....

The Palestinian national soccer team, a source of pride for many, has been under attack by the Israeli state.

Hanan Ashrawi: "Today, 20 years after Baruch Goldstein cut down so many innocent lives in a burst of hateful rage, the poisonous anti-Arab racism that turned him into a mass murderer is alive and well in Israel."

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

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
The Office of International Religious Freedom
( )

Refugees and the Right of Return

We call for a just solution to our refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.

Refugees, Borders & Jerusalem
"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

More than sixty years ago, back in 1949, the Application of Israel for admission to membership in the United Nations (A/818) clearly pointed out that Israel was directly contravening "the previous recommendations of the United Nations in at least three important respects: in its attitude on the problem of Arab refugees, on the delimitation of its territorial boundaries, and on the question of Jerusalem." 
It’s important for people to know how far the Palestinians have come to put an end to the conflict with Israel.

The Palestinian Refugee's Right of Return: No issue is more emblematic of the 20th century Palestinian experience than the plight of the approximately seven million Palestinian refugees.

What message do we send?

Reflections By An ARAB JEW by Ella Habiba Shohat
"When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the '50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently--the European Jews--were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of "us" as Jews and "them" as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been "Muslim," "Jew," and "Christian," not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that "Arabness" referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences."

UNITED NATIONS: Give Peace a Chance... The year 2014 has been proclaimed the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People... “The objective of the  International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people as a central theme, contributing to international awareness of (a) core themes regarding the question of Palestine, as prioritized by the Committee, (b) obstacles to the ongoing peace process, particularly those requiring urgent action such as settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and; (c) mobilization of global action towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

History of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere. The document they considered, and which would later become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946. "

U.N. Resolution 194 from 1948 Resolves that 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;

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:
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.

  • 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

 Live by the Golden Rule

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