Friday, June 20, 2014

My letter to the NYTimes RE The Diplomacy of Force by Roger Cohen

Mohammed Salman sits in the rubble of what used to be a book market in Baghdad. His brother died in the explosion. (AP photo/Khalid Mohammed) The book market was targeted by bombers in March 2007
RE  The Diplomacy of Force by Roger Cohen

Dear Editor,

I think Roger Cohen should go down to Washington DC, Monday, June 23, to attend the ATFP's Panel Discussion Iraq in Crisis: Local and Regional Implications

The moderator is Dr. Ziad J Asali, President and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine. Asali's most recent op-ed in the Huffington Post Crisis in Iraq Risks Regional Conflagration  points out "Those who are tempted by the prospect of war or adventurism should remember the costs and consequences of the endless conflicts between Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Iran led by the Mullahs."

Right now, Islamists use anything and everything to their advantage.  Rather than empowering reasonable people to step up to build an inclusive and stable country for all citizens, extremists and hatemongers have been using violence and terror to impoverish Iraqi citizens and communities. The worse the suffering in Iraq gets, the more the Islamists blame America.  Our own freedom of speech and record keeping becomes a weapon in their arsenal as they ignore their own crimes while lambasting America. Using force will only hand Islamists more recruitment tools.

And using force will only exasperate the escalating refugee crises through out the region.  I think America would be wiser to put some serious diplomatic energy into advocating our ideals: "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"

Anne Selden Annab

"I have yet to meet a refugee who wanted to be a refugee and even less so, who wished to remain a refugee. Palestine refugees are no different. Their call for a just and lasting solution to their plight must be heard." UNWRA's Pierre Krähenbühl on World Refugee Day

A Palestinian Christian family that preaches non-violence from a farm in the West Bank is battling to hold on to land it has owned for 98 years. Now surrounded by Israeli settlements, the family is a living example of the idea of peaceful resistance.

Analysis: Presbyterian church shows Israel tough love "Presbyterians can use this opportunity to straighten the White House's spine based on what the administration already knows: Israel is intentionally blocking progress in the peace talks while jeopardizing US strategic interests in the region, not to mention the fate of Palestinians and Israelis alike."

"As long as Israel subjects Palestinian athletes to detention and violence, their seat at the table of international sports will be never be short of precarious."
Ziad J. Asali: Crisis in Iraq Risks Regional Conflagration: " Iraqi Shiites will continue to defeat their own purposes if they attempt to marginalize the Sunni community in a sectarian and exclusionary manner. Iraqi Sunnis cannot achieve their own goals by banding together around fanatical extremists."

Iraqi Christians flee homes amid militant push: During the past 11 years, at least half of the country's Christian population has fled the country, according to some estimates, to escape frequent attacks by Sunni Muslim militants targeting them and their churches.

The saga of Prof. Dajani is a subset of a broader Arab struggle between the forces of intelligence and stupidity: "The whole Arab world is at a turning point. If it continues to allow the stupidity and ignorance lobby, in all its myriad forms, to insist on cultural insularity, chauvinism, and deafness to the outside world, it will remain utterly stuck and unable to successfully join and compete in a globalizing world. But if the intelligence and knowledge constituency, as embodied by Prof. Dajani and so many other important leading Arabs, succeed in turning their societies away from decades of enforced parochialism, they will be among the most important groups in building a better future for the Middle East." Hussein Ibish

Australia fluffs its lines in the language of occupation

Dismay at more Israeli illegal settlements ... 12 Jun 2014: Letters: We applaud the non-violent efforts of the BDS campaign and back its demand that Israel should comply with international law

Palestinians villagers fear encroaching Israeli settlement bloc... Palestinian villager Ismail Taha: "It's stealing, and we have no means to defend ourselves. While they have biased courts, police and an army, we have no money and no power. We're peaceful, but..."

Visual map of how the Israeli ID system is stratified to limit democratic access to home ownership, security, services & participation in the polical system which creates and sustains the Israeli ID system

STAY CONNECTED... 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

UNITED NATIONS: International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2014

Reasonable voices & helpful resources ...America for Palestine MAY 2014
The American Task Force on Palestine supports Palestinian institution-building, good governance, anti-corruption measures, economic development, and improved living standards. ATFP holds that these same values are relevant to the broader Arab world, and that the question of Palestine is inextricably linked to regional realities and developments.
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.
The Arab villages lost since Israel's war of independence - Guardian Interactive: ...Pre 1948 ...March 1948 ... May 1948 ...June 1948 ...Oct 1948 ...July 1949 ...Now

Remembering the Nakba: Israeli group puts 1948 Palestine back on the map Zochrot aims to educate Israeli Jews – through tours and a new phone app – about a history obscured by enmity and denial

Growing Gardens for Palestine: "And it's up to all of us together"... a Spring poem for Palestine & peace

Peace Building ... civic muscle

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
"The only way to honor our tragic histories is to create a future for our children free of man-made tragedy. This means making peace fully, completely and without reservation, between Israel and Palestine." American Task Force on Palestine's born in Jerusalem Dr. Ziad Asali: To honor a tragic history, we must work for peace 

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