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Friday, March 7, 2014

My letter to the NYTimes RE "Defining the Jewish State" by Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University and a former minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Palestine Sunbird
RE: Defining the Jewish State by
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/opinion/defining-the-jewish-state.html?ref=opinion

Dear Editor,

There are multiple reasons why it really is a very bad idea to insist that Israel is or should be officially a or the "Jewish State", thus it was great to see the NYTimes publish a perspective from a Palestinian on the topic. 

Most obviously, the Elephant in the Living Room: Israel's investments in religious scholars and schemes force every taxpayer to fund the ongoing persecution, forced displacement and disenfranchisement of the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.  Israel's official population counts completely exclude, erase and ignore millions of Palestinian men, women and children pushed into forced exile and refused their inalienable right to return to original homes and lands.

Meanwhile Israeli-Americans are free and able to vote in both American and Israeli elections, free and able to have homes and security here and there, free and able to travel back and forth, free and able to find jobs here or there, free and able to benefit in multiple ways, enjoying dual citizenship, while at the same time Jews-preferred Israel is applying a definite double standard when it comes to Palestinians... Palestinians are not safe or respected because right now Israel foolishly believes its "Jewish character" is more important than respecting universal human rights and the rule of fair and just laws and polices. Is that what Jewish character means, and is it really fair to the future of Judaism to hand Israel, a country that is in long term and flagrant violation of international law, the power to define Jewishness?!

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
Israeli Settlers Brutally Assault Three Young Palestinians near Ramallah

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.

Official: Israel refused to let Palestinian refugees in Syria return

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

Just becasue it isn't happening here doesn't mean it isn't happening...

Hussein Ibish: Israel's "PR problem" is actually a reaction to its indefensible policies, and the US has just issued a blunt warning

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.

Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate: Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine

Israel says it doubled new settlement building in 2013

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
( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/ )

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." http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/85255e950050831085255e95004fa9c3/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174?OpenDocument 

Thousands of Palestinians trapped in Syria camp 'slowly dying'

What message do we send?

A World Not Ours: Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, A World Not Ours is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

A day at the Aida Camp Normal life can never be normal when it is lived under brutal military occupation, writes Kholoud Al-Ajarma from the Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank

History writing that aims at damage control
Ralph M Coury: "...The fact is that the “heresy” of which Shavit speaks was a main current in Zionist speculations from the outset. The new settlers, Theodor Herzl (the founder of the Zionist movement) writes in his diary in 1895, should “gently” expropriate the natives’ property and “try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property-owners will come over to our side. But the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” (The Complete Diaries, NY, 1960, vol 1, P88.) "
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.

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. " http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Israeli Settlers Brutally Assault Three Young Palestinians near Ramallah

[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]
 Published on Thursday, 06 March 2014
Ramallah/PNN

Three young Palestinians were severely injured after a number of extremist [Israeli] settlers brutally assaulted them near al-Mughair village, northeast of Ramallah on Thursday morning.

Head of al-Mughair village council, Faraj Na'san, told PNN that a group of [Israeli] settlers from a nearby illegal [Israeli] settlement attacked the two brothers As'ad and Thiab Na'san and the youngster Haytham Ghaleb Haj Mohammed, adding that the latter suffered head injury and that his health condition was described as "dangerous".

A very good column in the NYTimes by Palestinian Ali Jarbawi: Defining the Jewish State

[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]

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing a “framework” for peace and Palestinians are worried. They know it will define the American position and set the new parameters for resolving the conflict. When published, this document — whether Palestinians accept its contents or not — will become the reference point for all future negotiations. 

Each American document that has been published in the past has represented a step back from the one that preceded it. Following this logic, the starting points of the Kerry document will be better than anything any future American proposal could offer. Such is the Palestinian predicament.

Palestinians need a mediator who is simultaneously capable and equitable. The problem is that the only capable mediator, the United States, is not a fair one. Appeasing Israeli concerns, securing its safety and meeting its demands are central tenets of the American approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From a Palestinian perspective, Israel often takes advantage of the passage of time in order to impose new facts, not only on the ground, but also upon the mediator. 

Palestinians believe that the United States does not treat them fairly, despite the fact that they have lost their homeland and are forced to live under a bitter, oppressive occupation. They see themselves as the party that is forced to capitulate over and over again, offering concessions and backing down in order to meet Israeli demands. Palestinians also have concerns, fears and demands.

One example is the current Israeli demand that Palestinians recognize the Jewishness of the Israeli state. This demand has met with automatic American approval, and will likely become one of the focal points of Mr. Kerry’s framework. This demand did not exist in past talks; in fact, it didn’t exist until the thought occurred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, most likely because he was looking for a way to sabotage the peace process, which he could then blame on the Palestinians while continuing to usurp our land. 

It has become both an Israeli precondition of sitting at the negotiating table, and a demand taken up by the American side, which has begun to pressure the Palestinians into accepting it.
But what exactly does the Jewish nature of the Israeli state mean? What are the de jure and de facto definitions of this term? What are the defining lines of this term, so that it does not remain open-ended, free-floating and elastic, allowing Israel to use it in the form and manner it chooses to in the future? And how can the United States, which claims to be unbiased, impose...READ MORE

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.

[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]

  A UN Committee Expresses Concern over Recent Developments in Occupied Jerusalem

NEW YORK/ PNN
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People expressed concern over the recent developments and increased tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem, especially the increasing incursions by Israeli extremists and political leaders, including Government officials, on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which provoke the Palestinians and other Muslim worshippers.

The committee said in a statement issued Wednesday that the most dangerous development is that the Knesset recently began a debate on a bill to impose "Israeli sovereignty" over Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

The committee stated that such actions with regard to this highly sensitive area provoke the Palestinians and may also be perceived as serious acts of incitement in the wider region. Moreover, these actions undermine the current negotiations process, threatening the prospects for peace.

The committee added, 'These recent actions are indicative of a strategy aimed at altering the legal, demographic, physical and cultural character of East Jerusalem. Such actions are clearly prohibited under international law. House demolitions, evictions, land expropriation and the revocation of residency rights of Palestinian Jerusalemites are also on the increase. In 2013, 565 structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing 298 Palestinians, including many women and children. 

Palestinians are permitted to build in only 14 per cent of East Jerusalem, and a third of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem has been expropriated since 1967. In the same period, the residency status of more than 14,000 Palestinians has been revoked by Israel. Moreover, the wall, a vast system of checkpoints and the imposition of a strict "entry permit" regime have effectively cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, restricting Palestinian movement, fragmenting the Palestinian Territory and exacerbating the already dire economic and social conditions of Palestinian residents.'

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. Since the resumption of peace talks last July, Israel announced construction plans for more than 5,000 new settlement units in Palestinian neighborhoods in the city.

The committee stressed that the East Jerusalem remains an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and is subject to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as affirmed by numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly states: "The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.'

The committee pointed out that the question of East Jerusalem is a crucial permanent status issue. A sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all, is a core requirement for the achievement of a just and lasting peace.

The Bureau of the Committee calls on the Security Council to act without delay to address these alarming developments, which are in defiance of the Council's resolutions, including 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 271 (1969), 298 (1971), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 672 (1990) and 1073 (1996). The Bureau also calls on the Security Council to continue monitoring violations of the aforementioned resolutions and to act accordingly for their implementation.

The Committee confirmed that it will continue to carry out its mandated work until the question of Palestine is resolved in all its aspects. It calls on the international community to do its utmost to make 2014, the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a decisive year in achieving the freedom and national rights of the Palestinian people and a peaceful solution to the conflict in all its aspects.

Official: Israel refused to let Palestinian refugees in Syria return

[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]
Official: Israel refused to let Palestinian refugees in Syria return
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah central committee member Mohammad Ishtayyeh said on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority had attempted to negotiate the return of Palestinian refugees from Syria, but Israel had refused.

Ishtayyeh said in a meeting with diplomats organized by the Heinrich B├Âll Foundation in Ramallah that the PA had tried with all its might to "end the suffering" of Palestinians in Syria through international mediation.

Israeli officials, however, had refused to allow them to come to the Palestinian territories.

At least 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syria conflict, and around 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their homes in Syria due to violence in the country.

Prior to the conflict, 600,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria.

Between 7-800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, and today their descendants number around five million, spread across the world.

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


We ask your Holiness to publicly call upon the government of Israel to 
end its mistreatment of Palestinian children;

to respect the rights of refugees to return under international law, recognized 
by the Vatican;

to end the prolonged military occupation of the West Bank including East 
Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip;

and to end the punitive and illegal siege and blockade of Gaza. Of the 1.8 million 
people living in Gaza, 51% are under 18 years old and 43% are under 15 years old.

We also ask your Holiness to publicly call upon all nations to address policies 
toward Israel that have allowed the abuses of occupation and colonization to fester 
for so many decades, and to call upon those nations to demand justice, accountability 
and the implementation of international law.

As we pray, we examine our own lives for how individually and collectively we can 
best contribute to ending the suffering of children in Palestine and of all children 
of the world. 
 *****
 Thursday, 06 March 2014 07:10

In anticipation of the Pope’s May visit to the Holy Land, an Open Letter signed by over 200 bishops, clerics, members of religious orders and theologians from several faith traditions, was delivered today to Pope Francis. The letter asks the Pope to speak out against the Israeli army’s program of kidnapping, detention, and systematic abuse of Palestinian children and to call for an end to the occupation and colonization of Palestine.

The letter, whose signers include over 20 bishops, cites a recent UNICEF report that documents nighttime arrests, blindfolding and shackling of children between 12 and 18 years of age. Based on over 400 sworn testimonies, UNICEF concluded that the “ill-treatment of children who come into contact with the system appears to be widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process.”

“With this letter, we are raising the profile of the well-documented systematic mistreatment of Palestinian children,” said Rev. Don Wagner.  “The Israeli government is purposefully going after children, who are clearly vulnerable, to deeply scare and traumatize them.”

Wagner is the National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA.org), which initiated the letter. FOSNA supports the work of Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based peace and justice organization founded by Palestinian Christians.

The letter notes that similar concerns about the mistreatment of Palestinian children have been raised by Save the Children, the United Nations Commission Against Torture, Military Court Watch, Defense of Children International, and B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

“The enthusiastic response to our request for signers to the letter indicates the urgency of these concerns,” Wagner said. “Now that the letter has been delivered, we would like to invite people worldwide to join this appeal to Pope Francis and raise this issue with their media, human rights organizations, and governments until this targeting of children and the occupation are ended.”

The petition to support the letter is hosted at www.endtheoccupation.org/Letter2Pope

Wagner said that FOSNA initiated the letter in the hope that Pope Francis would speak out for the people of Palestine as he has boldly spoken for the poor and oppressed elsewhere.

“During his upcoming May visit, we want the Pope to publicly call upon the Israeli government to end its intentional mistreatment of Palestinian children,” Wagner said, “as well as to end its prolonged military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip and its punitive and illegal blockade of Gaza, where 51 percent of the 1.8 million residents are under the age of 18.”

The letter is the first step, Wagner said, in a larger campaign to educate and mobilize faith and other communities in an effort to end the abuse of Palestinian children and the occupation that oppresses them and their families.




Just because it isn't happening here doesn't mean it isn't happening...

Published on Mar 5, 2014 A young girl's life gets turned upside-down in this tragic second a day video. Could this ever happen in the UK? This is what war does to children. Find out more at http://bit.ly/3yearson

My letter to the NYTimes RE Israel’s Choice By The Editorial Board

Springtime in Palestine circa 1900s

Palestinian Life

RE: Israel’s Choice
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/opinion/israels-choice.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

Dear Editor,

For the past sixty sovereign years Israel's choice as a "Jewish State" has been to oppress, persecute, impoverish and displace the native non-Jewish population of historic Palestine.

The proposition that Israel needs to make peace in order to remain "Jewish" is a dangerous proposal- and a dishonest argument: Official demographic tallies intentionally exclude Palestinian men, women and children pushed into forced exile, as if they do not exist. But they do exist, and they have been living in stateless limbo for decades because a Jews-preferred Israel refuses to respect the Palestinian refugees inalienable legal, moral, ethical and natural right to return to original homes and lands.

In an interconnected global marketplace of ideas does America really want to be advocating the notion that citizen rights and an individual's economic survival and security can or should depend on arming religion with lethal weaponry- and tax payers funds. 

Ending the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fully secular two state solution is the best way forward- for everyone's sake.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
Hussein Ibish: Israel's "PR problem" is actually a reaction to its indefensible policies, and the US has just issued a blunt warning

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.

Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate: Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine

Israel says it doubled new settlement building in 2013

Israeli citizens living in the illegally occupied territories uproot a Palestinian farmer's 180 olive tree saplings

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
( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/ )

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." http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/85255e950050831085255e95004fa9c3/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174?OpenDocument 

Thousands of Palestinians trapped in Syria camp 'slowly dying'

United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

"There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current government, continues to disregard international law," PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP. "If there was a committed partner, we wouldn't even have needed nine hours..."

New identity law raises fears of Israeli effort to divide Christians

What message do we send?

A World Not Ours: Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, A World Not Ours is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

A day at the Aida Camp Normal life can never be normal when it is lived under brutal military occupation, writes Kholoud Al-Ajarma from the Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank

History writing that aims at damage control
Ralph M Coury: "...The fact is that the “heresy” of which Shavit speaks was a main current in Zionist speculations from the outset. The new settlers, Theodor Herzl (the founder of the Zionist movement) writes in his diary in 1895, should “gently” expropriate the natives’ property and “try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property-owners will come over to our side. But the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” (The Complete Diaries, NY, 1960, vol 1, P88.) "

This Week in Palestine: Human Rights in Palestine

Palestinians will not sway on principles, Abbas tells Kerry

Israeli Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah... Israel's army is often present during attacks and rarely intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler violence.

It’s important for people to know how far the Palestinians have come to put an end to the conflict with Israel.

Palestinians seek UN heritage status for ancient village

"Since the beginning of our struggle for Cremisan, we have been determined to tell the world about the story of a small Palestinian community that, like many others, is threatened once again with dispossession and colonization..."

Israel confiscates Palestinian land near Nablus

BADIL: Six decades after their initial forced displacement from their homeland, Palestinian refugees and IDPs still lack access to voluntary durable solutions and reparations (which include return, restitution, compensation) based on international law, UN resolutions and best practice.

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.

The number of Palestinian structures (including many Palestinian homes) demolished by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan Valley in 2013 more than doubled, from 192 in 2012 to 393 in 2013

ISRAELI DEMOLITIONS OF PALESTINIAN PROPERTY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY, 2013... UNITED NATIONS OCHA MAP


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. " http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This Week in Palestine: Where to Go Bird Watching in Palestine

[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]

 Where to Go Bird Watching in Palestine
From www.VisitPalestine.ps


  Most people do not realise that Palestine’s location at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and Asia makes it a birdwatchers’ paradise. In fact, Palestine is considered one of the most important places for monitoring bird migration in the world. Each year, between March and April, over half a billion birds soar above our tiny stretch of land. The fields of the West Bank become extraordinarily populated with all kinds of birds making their journey to their breeding grounds in Europe. For the smaller birds, our land’s uniquely diverse ecosystem offers a wide range of food sources and temporary habitats essential for their journey. Larger birds such as storks rely on air currents during their journey and rarely land.  Palestine’s small size, moderate climate, and diverse ecological topography and geography are a great advantage for birdwatchers. During the migration season, there is a chance to see over 540 bird species.

These migrating birds use three routes as they make their passage: the western path crossing the Mediterranean Sea over Morocco and then into Spain, the central path over Tunisia and into Sicily, and finally the eastern path over the Sinai Peninsula and into Palestine. There are 13 important bird areas in Palestine stretching from Um Al-Rihan forest near Jenin to Wadi Gaza and the Gaza coast in the south. Popular areas include Ein Al-Fashkha, Al-Ouja, and the Botanical gardens in Jericho. Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem there are several designated areas including the Jerusalem Wilderness, Wadi Qadron, and Wadi Al-Makhrour in Beit Jala.  Today, there are two ringing stations in the West Bank: one in Beit Jala at the Talitha Kumi School and the second at the Jericho Wildlife Monitoring Station in the Botanical Gardens.

Unfortunately, bird watching is not a popular activity among locals yet, even though worldwide, bird watching is become more and more popular. For those interested in learning about and experiencing bird watching in Palestine, be sure to join this year’s annual bird watching festival, which is organised by the Palestine Wildlife Society. This year the Festival is planned for the 28 and 29 of March, and will be held the Jericho Botanical Gardens and other nature sites in Jericho. Along with birding, events will include guided hikes, traditional Palestinian food, and tours between Jericho and Jerusalem. For more information on the planned activities, please contact the Palestine Wildlife Society at pwls@wildlife-pal.org  or www.wildlife-pal.org.

My letter to the NYTimes Re "Aipac Is Good for America"

DISCOVER HISTORY... The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
RE Aipac Is Good for America
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/opinion/aipac-is-good-for-america.html?ref=opinion

Dear Editor,

The American Task Force on Palestine is much better for America than AIPAC.  You let the political editor for The Jewish Journal and a fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute have his say - now how about exposing your readers to some more diversity aware Americans who are much more in tune with both the Middle East and American ideals... and much more willing to notice the vital importance of actually ending the Israel-Palestine conflict with a just and lasting peace:

Ziad Asali, founder of the American Task Force on Palestine:"...the Arab world must begin to find ways of promoting pluralism, tolerance, freedom, accountability, rule of law and real equality for minorities and women." http://www.aawsat.net/2014/02/article55328732

Hussein Ibish (a brilliant thinker and prolific writer you really should be featuring regularly in your pages): " What Obama, and many other friends of Israel including prominent Jewish Americans, are trying to tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli society is that they don't have an "image problem." They have a reality problem. Israel's occupation, and its policies toward the Palestinians, are realities that cannot be defended internationally.https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/537774-obama-puts-israel-on-notice

Or perhaps you could notice Dr. Zogby of the Arab American Institute who writes about Netanyahu's Games: " 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" http://www.aaiusa.org/dr-zogby/entry/netanyahus-games/

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

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

Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate: Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine

Israel says it doubled new settlement building in 2013

Israeli citizens living in the illegally occupied territories uproot a Palestinian farmer's 180 olive tree saplings

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
( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/ )

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." http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/85255e950050831085255e95004fa9c3/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174?OpenDocument 

Thousands of Palestinians trapped in Syria camp 'slowly dying'

United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

"There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current government, continues to disregard international law," PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP. "If there was a committed partner, we wouldn't even have needed nine hours..."

New identity law raises fears of Israeli effort to divide Christians

What message do we send?

A World Not Ours: Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, A World Not Ours is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

A day at the Aida Camp Normal life can never be normal when it is lived under brutal military occupation, writes Kholoud Al-Ajarma from the Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank

History writing that aims at damage control
Ralph M Coury: "...The fact is that the “heresy” of which Shavit speaks was a main current in Zionist speculations from the outset. The new settlers, Theodor Herzl (the founder of the Zionist movement) writes in his diary in 1895, should “gently” expropriate the natives’ property and “try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property-owners will come over to our side. But the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” (The Complete Diaries, NY, 1960, vol 1, P88.) "

This Week in Palestine: Human Rights in Palestine

Palestinians will not sway on principles, Abbas tells Kerry

Israeli Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah... Israel's army is often present during attacks and rarely intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler violence.

It’s important for people to know how far the Palestinians have come to put an end to the conflict with Israel.

Palestinians seek UN heritage status for ancient village

"Since the beginning of our struggle for Cremisan, we have been determined to tell the world about the story of a small Palestinian community that, like many others, is threatened once again with dispossession and colonization..."

Israel confiscates Palestinian land near Nablus

BADIL: Six decades after their initial forced displacement from their homeland, Palestinian refugees and IDPs still lack access to voluntary durable solutions and reparations (which include return, restitution, compensation) based on international law, UN resolutions and best practice.

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.

The number of Palestinian structures (including many Palestinian homes) demolished by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan Valley in 2013 more than doubled, from 192 in 2012 to 393 in 2013

ISRAELI DEMOLITIONS OF PALESTINIAN PROPERTY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY, 2013... UNITED NATIONS OCHA MAP


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. " http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml

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