ISRAEL BOYCOTT OPTIONS

I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

Boycotting Israel, boycotting Macy Gray, and a third option

As I ride the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

By Bradley Burston

Macy Gray
Photo by: AP

Macy Gray AP

 

That familiar sinking feeling in the air, the elevator quietly plummeting at breakneck speed, has a great deal to do with Al-Jazeera’s publication of the potentially game-changing Palestine Papers.

No one can yet know to which floor or sub-basement we’re now descending, nor how shattering our landing. While we’re on the way down, though, this might be a good time to consider the range of options available to that majority in the Holy Land and abroad who want to see occupation end and peace between Palestinians and Israelis finally begin.

Specifically, at a time when Israel is going to be increasingly under the gun as the rejectionist party to the Mideast conflict – and at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman and Eli Yishai, who may all be in the midst of their final term, seem all too ready to take the whole ship down with them as long as they can still be at the wheel when Israel takes its final dive – there’s at least one thing that can be reasonably foreseen: Calls to boycott Israel will only increase.

Accordingly, on this, the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

A sensible place to look is the shrewd and determined band of revolutionaries at +972 Magazine, who continue to carve their way through the deafening white noise of Israeli journalism by never taking the expected for an answer.

A raft of pieces of particular note landed just at the weekend, among then Dahlia Scheindlin’s discussion of the possible upsides – for Israel and America as well as the Palestinians – of a UN condemnation of settlements, and Roi Maor’s thoughtful response to right-wing U.K. journalist Melanie Phillips’ recent, web-shaking appearance on Israel television.

With the Al-Jazeera reports threatening to reinvent the Mideast as we know it, a piece by +972’s Noam Sheizaf was particularly prescient. In combining radicalism and a helping of common sense, Sheizaf’s out-of-the-box proposal on the fascinating, at times hostile, at times hallucinatory Macy Gray-Israel boycott controversy, has set off new streams of debate on the issue.

The case of the pop-soul singer attracted worldwide attention when Gray asked fans to weigh in on her Facebook page over calls that she boycott Israel, where she’s appeared to warm receptions in the past. “What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting,” she wrote on her Facebook site, “but I wana (sic) go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I …don’t know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

The discussion, which effectively pitted anti-Occupation respondents – some pro-boycott, some anti-boycott – against one another, turned ugly when Gray announced her decision to appear for the two scheduled shows next month.

Departing from standard debates over the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, Sheizaf proposed that artists who oppose occupation and who do choose to appear in Israel, should insist that a percentage of the tickets be sold to Palestinians in the territories, who suffer from severe, Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

“If the Israeli organizers of the show refuse or if they are unable to deliver – it will become much harder for them to claim that there is no political problem with the gig, or that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians shouldn’t be compared to Apartheid,” Sheizaf observes. “And if they deliver, the artist gets to play a real part in bringing down the walls between Jews and Arabs. In any case, everyone would know where they stand.”

What follows, in reader responses to the piece, points to one of the primary, and peculiar, elements of the ongoing debate over BDS. Much of the most heated discussion of boycotting Israel – and I am as guilty of anyone of this nastiness and misplaced anger – places a fault line between anti-Occupation activists who favor a one-state solution and anti-Occupation activists who favor two. In this instance, the debate even pits supporters of BDS against one another.

One reader writes, “it’s an interesting idea Noam, but I think it defeats the purpose of the boycott, which should attempt to isolate, marginalize and cut off the Israelis from the rest of the world. That means no international academics, no book tours, no theater, no music, no conferences. Israel must be treated as a pariah state until the Occupation ends. Allowing a few Palestinians to hear Macy Gray is not good enough.”

“Further, we should enhance the effectiveness of the boycott by turning up the heat on those who break it,” the reader continues. “The Macy Grays of the world should be subjected to a concerted campaign of boycott as well. Don’t buy her CDs or attend her shows and spread the word she is persona non grata among conscientious members of the public …”

In this regard, one fundamental question is whether Occupation refers specifically to the land Israel captured in the 1967 war, or if pre-’67 Israel, as a Jewish state, is also viewed as occupied territory. Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, all of it.

The BDS boycott call to Macy Gray hints at this issue, referring to UN Resolution 194, the basis for demands for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes.

“In 1948 Israel expelled and confiscated the land and property of about 800,000 Palestinians. They and their descendants are still denied return and compensation as sanctioned by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194.”

The Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel, the ideological underpinning of the boycott movement, goes further in hinting at a goal of a single Palestine replacing a Jewish state. It declares that boycott should continue until Israel ends “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and respects and promotes “the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. ”
An overwhelming majority of Israelis, including the vast majority of the left in Israel, believes that the Palestinian right of return would spell the end of a Jewish state of any kind in the Holy Land.

“The good news for Israelis is that they maintain a monopoly of violence in the region,” the +972 reader states. “Thanks to the largesse of the United States and its generous donations of fighter jets, armored bulldozers and napalm, no one can militarily challenge Israel. The bad news for Israel is that other than technologies of violence and oppression, it doesn’t produce anything. It has no native culture, so food, music, architecture, literature, film, philosophy…..everything must be imported from the outside world. Cut off this flow of information and the country dries up.”

While I’m still in the reading-while-falling mode, I’d like to add a reader response of my own:

I believe that opposition to Occupation has never been more vital. I’ve seen boycotts work in the past. I understand that the reader quoted above reflects his own opinion alone. Personally, though, I have some questions for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions people.

I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

I want two states here. Tell me, please. Does that now mean that I no longer have any place on the left?
 

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

LATUFF INSPIRES EGYPTIAN PROTESTERS

Demonstrations were held in Cairo yesterday demanding the ouster of President Mubarak and calling for reforms. This was inspired by recent events in Tunisia and by the works of our talented Associate, Carlos Latuff. Carlos’ works were featured on many of the placards carried in the event.

Photo- Mohamed Abed, AFP

Egyptian demonstrators hold up placards during a protest in central Cairo to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms on January 25, 2011. The protesters, carrying flags and chanting slogans against the government, rallied in a protest inspired by the uprising in Tunisia which led to the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Photo- Monasosh

A video of the demonstration, courtesy of Al Jazeera, can be seen here….

DETAILED REPORT ON WHAT WAS LEAKED ABOUT PALESTINE

A highlighted a collection of quotes and key excerpts from the documents themselves to provide a bird’s eye view of the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations.

Playing to lose

Telling Tidbits from The Palestine Papers
The recently released “Palestine Papers” reveal the extraordinary lengths to which Palestinian negotiators have gone to reach a peace agreement with Israel. Below, the IMEU has highlighted a collection of quotes and key excerpts from the documents themselves to provide a bird’s eye view of the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations. 

 

 

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On November 13th 2007, then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made yet another startling remark. She said, “I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer…But I am against law — international law in particular. Law in general. If we want to make the agreement smaller, can we just drop some of these issues? Like international law, this will make the agreements easier.” Read more

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Then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made a few disturbing statements during her conversations with Palestinian negotiators. Livni, according to Al-Jazeera, said Palestinians should, “hope for charity “from [Microsoft founder Bill] Gates and his like.” At another point in time, Livni said, “When you want to curse somebody, you tell [them] ‘go to hell,’ but we shorten it and say, ‘go to Gaza.” Read more

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In a 2009 meeting, Saeb Erekat discussed an Israeli settlement freeze with U.S. Middle East adviser David Hale. The conversation is below:

David Hale: We cannot force a sovereign government. We can use persuasion and negotiations and shared interests.

Saeb Erekat: Of course you could if you wanted. How do you think this will reflect on the credibility of the US, if you can’t get this done?

David Hale: We make the call on our own credibility. Read more

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In 2009, Mahmoud Abbas pressed the issue of a settlement freeze with President Obama. According to Saeb Erekat, Mahmoud Abbas said, “Are you serious about the two-state solution? If you are, I cannot comprehend that you would allow a single settlement housing unit to be built in the West Bank…you have the choice. You can take the cost free road, applying double standards, which would shoot me and other moderates in the head and make this Bin Laden’s region. Or say we are not against Israel but against Israel’s actions. If you cannot make Israel stop settlements and resume permanent status negotiations, who can?” Read more

In a September 2009 meeting, U.S. Middle East Adviser Dennis Ross met with Saeb Erekat to discuss Israel’s “partial-freeze” on settlements. The discussion is below:

Dennis Ross: The package includes no new tenders, no new confiscation…

Saeb Erekat: I’m not coming from Mars! 40% of the West Bank is already confiscated. They can keep building for years without new tenders. Read more

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In October 2009, Palestinian negotiators were surprised that the Obama administration would not honor the Bush administration’s guarantee that “1967” would be a “baseline” for negotiations. U.S. Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell said, “that difficulties with the Israelis on this and other issues, that they would not agree to any mention of 67 whatsoever.” Read more

In another October 2009 meeting, Erekat attempted to bring up the issue again. The conversation is below:

George Mitchell: Again I tell you that President Obama does not accept prior decisions by Bush. Don’t use this because it can hurt you. Countries are bound by agreements – not discussions or statements.

Saeb Erekat: But this was an agreement with Sec. Rice.
[…]

Jonathan Schwartz: It is not legally binding – not an agreement.

Saeb Erekat: For God’s sake, she said to put it on the record. It was the basis for the maps. Read more

In a September 16, 2009 meeting, Erekat had a similar discussion with U.S. Middle East Adviser David Hale. The conversation is below:

Saeb Erekat: Why not resume negotiations from where the parties left off’?

David Hale: We prefer “relaunch” since there was no agreement – nothing is agreed until everything is agreed

Saeb Erekat: There is a detailed record of our negotiations. The US administration kept it – it is perhaps our only achievement with the Bush administration. And so much for Obama and rapprochement…there is not a new word! Give me something at least to save face!

David Hale: There is a lot of new stuff.

Saeb Erekat: If [Barack] Obama cannot stop Netanyahu for 9 months while we negotiate, why would we negotiate ’67 or Jerusalem?

David Hale: But you are in a position to bring peace – this is what distinguished you and your leadership from the others. So yes we need certain principles, and we need something tangible soon. That is the point of New York…something you can deliver. I understand the freeze possible is a little less than what you wanted, but if there is no New York, we lose everything and you have nothing to show for… Read more

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In a March 24, 2008 meeting with Palestinian negotiators, then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni discussed the idea of compensation for Palestinian refugees. She said, “Compensating refugees is an international matter and that is why reference to responsibility would be wrong. [The reason for this is] because it was a problem for all Arab states, then it became a Palestinian Israeli conflict, with the Arabs on the sidelines asking for a resolution.”She then added, “What about the people who suffered from terror attacks, are you going to apologize?” To which Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat responded, “We do. We condemn each one.”Livni then said, “People suffer during war. People suffer with their lives. They die. We can relate both of us to the suffering.”

Livni also said, “I feel like we can’t refer to the past.” Former Palestinian Foreign Minister Ahmed Qurei said, “I do not want to go back to the past to become its slave but to pave the way for the future.” Read more

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In a June 21, 2008 meeting Livni said, “By the way on responsibility-whose responsibility is it for keeping them in the camps? The Arab world! Responsibility not just about the war, but what happened after. For creating false hope. [We need to address also] the Jewish refugees. Maybe as part of the international fund.” Erekat responded by saying, “With all due respect – you had an agreement with Egypt. With Jordan. But we never caused anything to the Jews. This will not be in an agreement.” Qurei then said, “All the Arab countries are ready to receive the Jews.” Read more

In a July 16, 2008 meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a point similar to Livni’s: Israel is not alone responsible. The conversation is below:

Condoleezza Rice: If you want to talk about responsibility it is the responsibility of the international community, not Israel. They created Israel.

[Zeinah Salahi (of the PLO’s Negotiation Support Unit) argues that Israeli actions post-statehood are clearly their responsibility. This is dismissed by Rice.]

Saeb Erekat: It is a nation interrupted!

Condoleeza Rice: That is true – a nation’s development is interrupted. You should [look to a solution that describes the conditions and tries to work from there.] Responsibility is a loaded term. [Notes the example of reparations for slavery in the US.] I’ve always objected to it. It’s not forward looking. Would I personally be better off? I don’t know. But I do support affirmative action…[Bad things happen to people all around the world all the time. You need to look forward.]…Israel had to put away some of their aspirations – like taking all of “Judea and Samara.” Read more

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In an August 14, 2008 meeting Erekat discussed again discussed responsibility and refugees. He said, “Recognition of responsibility is a bilateral issue. I don’t want the Americans to be involved in this.” Livni’s then legal adviser Tal Becker said, “Our respective narratives cannot be reconciled. You think you are the victims. We think we are the victims.” Read more

UPDATED 3:14 p.m.

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In an October 21, 2009 meeting with U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, “Palestinians will need to know that five million refugees will not go back. The number will be agreed as one of the options. Also the number returning to their own state will depend on annual absorption capacity.” Read more

UPDATED 3:06 p.m.

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On January 27, 2008, then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ended a meeting with Palestinian negotiators by saying, “Israel was established to become a national home for Jews from all over the world. The Jew gets the citizenship as soon as he steps in Israel, and therefore don’t say anything about the nature of Israel as I don’t wish to interfere in the nature of your state. The conflict we’re trying to solve is between two peoples. They used to say there were no Palestinian people; my father used to say so too. They used to say Palestinians were Arabs so let them find a solution in an Arab country. The basis for the creation of the state of Israel is that it was created for the Jewish people. Your state will be the answer to all Palestinians including refugees. Putting an end to claims means fulfilling national rights for all.” Read more

UPDATED 2:55 p.m.

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In a March 23, 2007 meeting with then Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat discussed refugee voting rights. The discussion is below:

Karel De Gucht: Why haven’t you reformed Fatah? You’ve had 14 months.

Saeb Erekat: No good reason. Abu Mazen wants reform to happen, but he’s being blocked. Reform needs money, and you need to help Fatah more.

Karel De Gucht: For Permanent Status Negotiations, you need a strong Israeli government, need Fatah reform. You need to be more than just president in title.

Saeb Erekat: We’ll take the agreement to referendum. We’re experimenting with the third party role now: EU BAM, Japanese, TIPH.

Karel De Gucht: What about the diaspora?

Saeb Erekat: I never said the diaspora will vote. Its not going to happen. The referendum will be for Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Can’t do it in Lebanon. Can’t do it in Jordan.

Karel De Gucht: I don’t think it will go to referendum. I think the only way you can do it is to pass it through Parliament.

Saeb Erekat: I told Sharon before disengagement to do it bilaterally. He said no. I said Hamas will claim victory, like they did in Lebanon. And that’s exactly what’s happened.

Saeb Erekat: Abu Mazen is not a politician. He’s the most decent man. He’ll never call early Palestinian Leadership Council elections without also calling presidential elections.

Karel De Gucht: That may be his weakness.

Saeb Erekat: He’s also tough and smart. Read more

UPDATED 2:06 p.m.

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On June 21, 2008, then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, along with then adviser to then Israeli President Ehud Olmert and Livni’s legal adviser Tal Becker, met with former Palestinian Foreign Minister Ahmed Qurei, and Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekeat. In the meeting, Livni proposed swapping “Israeli-Arab” villages to a future Palestinian state. The discussion is below:

Tzipi Livni: Two issues related to the borders. When you talk about the line of 1967, there were some Palestinian villages separated by 1967. I visited an Israeli Palestinian village on Friday in Wadi Ara.

Ahmed Qurei: What were you doing there? Campaigning?

Tzipi Livni: There are 12,000 Palestinian members of Kadima.

Udi Dekel: Israeli Arabs. I said from the beginning that it can be part of the swaps.

Ahmed Qurei: Absolutely not.

Tzipi Livni: We have this problem with Raja [Ghajar] in Lebanon. Terje Larsen put the blue line to cut the village in two. [This needs to be addressed.] We decided not to cut the village. It was a mistake. The problem now, those living on Lebanese soil are Israeli citizens.

Udi Dekel: Barka, Barta il Sharqiya, Barta il [Garbiya], Betil, Beit Safafa

Ahmed Qurei: This will be difficult. All Arabs in Israel will be against us.

Tal Becker: We will need to address it somehow. Divided. All Palestinian. All Israeli. Read more

On April 8, 2008, Livni (two months prior to the above discussion) Livni discussed the villages. She said, “Let us be fair. You referred to 1967 line. We have not talked about Jerusalem yet. There are some Palestinian villages that are located on both sides of the 1967 line about which we need to have an answer, such as Beit Safafa, Barta’a, Baqa al-Sharqiyeh and Baqa al-Gharbiyyeh.” Read more

January 23, 2010

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In late 2007, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told former Palestinian Foreign Minister Ahmed Qurei, “Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible.” She added, “the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that it had been “the policy of the government for a really long time.” At the end of 2007 she said, “it is still the policy of some of the parties but not the government.”Read more

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Saeb Erekat said to Israeli negotiators on May 4th 2008, “We are building for you the largest Jerusalem in history.” Erekat was referring to these maps of proposed area swaps:

Then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni responded to the Palestinian negotiating team’s area swap suggestions by saying, “I want to say that we do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands, and probably it was not easy for you to think about it but I really appreciate it. I think we have a reason to continue.” Read more

Saeb Erekat said, “In Jerusalem it was hard for us but we decided to give you.” Read more

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On May 29, 2008, Udi Dekel told Palestinian negotiator Samih al-Abed, “I do not have permission to discuss Jerusalem without knowing what arrangements will be in Jerusalem.” Read more

In the same May 29, 2008 meeting, Dekel told Abed, “Since 2000, something happened in those 8 years so we are not at the same starting point. You started a terror war on us and we created facts on the ground. This is the reality that we live in today, so we can’t go back to Camp David. Circumstances changed considerably since then. Facts have changed. So we can’t freeze time and consider that we are in 2000 reality. The Middle East has changed.” Read more

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In a June 15th 2008 meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, former Palestinian Foreign Minister Ahmed Qurei, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurei explained the Palestinian proposition for Jerusalem by saying, “This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David.” Read more

Livni responded, “When we decided on the annexation, we made it clear to the Palestinians that we will not compensate them with land that is part of Israel now. The issue now is that the Palestinians will not accept that some locations become part of Israel.” Read more

Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians were willing to give up, “Zakhron Ya’cov, the French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Ramot Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Tal Piot, and the Jewish Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem.” Read more

Ahmed Qurei proposed the idea that the Palestinian state could include Jewish settlements. He said, “Perhaps Ma’ale Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence. We may also have international forces and make security arrangements for some time. It is the location of Ma’ale Adumim not its size.” Then Foreign Minister Livni responded by saying, ” Future borders will be complicated but clear. I have seen in Yugoslavia how areas can be connected. The matter is not simply giving a passport to settlers.” Read more

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In a July 2, 2008 meeting, Israeli adviser Udi Dekel did not want to discuss Jerusalem. He said, “Why does your side keep mentioning Jerusalem in every meeting – isn’t there an understanding on this between the leaders?” Read more

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Later, in an October 21, 2009 meeting with U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, Mitchell’s Deputy David Hales, and then State Department legal adviser Jonathan Schwartz, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat devised a way to divide Jerusalem. He said, “Even the Old City can be worked out except for the Haram and what they call Temple Mount. There you need the creativity of people like me…” Read more

Erekat added, “It’s solved. You have the Clinton Parameters formula. For the Old City sovereignty for Palestine, except the Jewish quarter and part of the Armenian quarter … the Haram can be left to be discussed – there are creative ways, having a body or a committee, having undertakings for example not to dig [excavations under the Al Aqsa mosque]. The only thing I cannot do is convert to Zionism.” Read more

Jonathan Schwartz responded, “To confirm to Sen. Mitchell, [this is] your private idea.

To which Erekat said, “This conversation is in my private capacity.”

Schwartz then said, “We’ve heard the idea from others. So you’re not the first to raise it.”

Erekat said, “Others are not the chief negotiator of the PLO.” Read more

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In an August 31, 2008 meeting, the issue of Haram Al-Sharif was to, “continue to be negotiated bilaterally between Israel and Palestine with the involvement of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, but without the ability of these third parties to force an agreement on the parties.” Read more

The Israelis offered their package to the Palestinians which included, “Israel would annex 6.8% of the West Bank, including the four main settlement “blocs” of Gush ‘Etzion (with Efrata), Ma’ale Adumim, Giv’at Ze’ev and Ariel), as well as all of the settlements in East Jerusalem (with Har Homa), in exchange for the equivalent of 5.5% from Israeli territory.” On refugees, Israel said, “Not clear what the heads of damage for compensation would be, just that there would be no acknowledgement of responsibility for the refugees, and that compensation, and not restitution or return (apart from the 5,000), would be the only remedy.” Read more

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In 2009, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, told U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, “The Palestinians know they will have a country with limitations,” he told Mitchell. “They won’t have an army, air force or navy.”Read more

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Saeb Erekat later said in a January 2010 meeting with U.S. President Obama’s adviser David Hale, “Israelis want the two-state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians. What is in that paper gives them the biggest Yerushalaim in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarised state… what more can I give?” Read more


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HOW LONG BEFORE AL JAZEERA GETS BOOTED OUT OF THE WEST BANK?

Yesterday I asked how long it will take the Palestinian Authority to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in the West Bank ….. you can see it in THIS post.

They haven’t shut them down yet, but here’s what’s been happening so far….


Palestine Papers spark fury in Ramallah  

Angry protesters storm Al Jazeera’s offices, as release of documents evoke mixed reactions.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has denounced Al Jazeera’s release of the Palestine Papers.

And among Palestinians in the West Bank, opinions are divided. Supporters of the PA, angered by the release of the documents, questioned Al Jazeera’s timing and motives in doing so.

Some opposed to the release of the papers even called for a protest.

Around 50 people stormed Al Jazeera’s offices in Ramallah on Monday, attempting to burst through the door. But they were stopped when police were called to the scene.

James Bays reports from Ramallah.

TIMELY TOON AND ANALYSIS // PALESTINE’S OFFICIAL SETTLER LEADER

He is a traitor to Palestine, a traitor to its people, a traitor to its martyrs and a traitor to  multitudes of  political and  resistance  prisoners  languishing behind bars in Israeli jails.

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

If true, it is treason
By Khalid Amayreh

If al-Jazeera’s Sunday night’s revelations about the secrets of several years of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are true (I am absolutely sure that the revelations are true and authentic) then we can’t escape the conclusion that whoever made these startling concessions to the Zionist regime is a traitor.

He is a traitor to Palestine, a traitor to its people, a traitor to its martyrs and a traitor to  multitudes of  political and  resistance  prisoners  languishing behind bars in Israeli jails.

Al-Jazeera said it obtained as many as 1600 documents, which are actually minutes of meetings between PA, Israeli and American officials.

According  to these leaked documents, PA negotiators agreed effectively to give Israel the bulk of  East Jerusalem, liquidate the right of return for Palestinian refugees and swap “occupied land  with occupied land.”

The PA also agreed to serve and act as a security subcontractor for Israel by hounding, arresting, tormenting and even torturing Palestinians suspected of involvement in the resistance against Israel.

Al-Jazeera is scheduled to reveal more damning leaked documents about other negotiation issues, including the refugees and security coordination.

The documents will lay exposed the stupidity, irresponsibility and inferiority of PA negotiators and officials.

Deeply embarrassed and dumbfounded by the stunning  revelations, PA operatives and officials were visibly shaken and quite at loss explaining what really happened.

Sa’eb Ereikat, whose signature was  prominently shown on many of the leaked papers, tried in vain to evade the real issue, berating al-Jazeera for choosing the wrong time for making the revelations.

Other PA officials denied the authenticity of the papers, alleging that some of them were actually fabricated.

However, the likelihood that the papers were fabricated or doctored seems  extremely low, given the fact that the personal signatures of PA, Israeli and American officials are placed on them.

In addition to expressing its willingness to give most of occupied East Jerusalem to the illegitimate Zionist regime, the PA also reportedly showed a serious willingness to make massive concessions on the other central issue, namely the refugees.

The PA reportedly offered to accept the return to occupied Palestine (1948) of only 100, 000 of the refugees who were uprooted from their homes at gunpoint. However, the  return would be carried out in ten years, whereby 10,000 refugees would be repatriated per year.

Treason in broad daylight

Surely, we never expected the PA to replicate the example of Sallahuddin. They are too undignified to earn such an honor.

At the same time, many Palestinians occasionally sought to assure ourselves that the PA would stick to the Palestinian national constants, which virtually all Palestinian political and resistance factions had agreed to.  These continued, more or less,  to form the very minimum Palestinian could call a consensus.

Now, even this patchy consensus is being ruptured and abandoned by these people who claim to be the guardians of the Palestinian dream of freedom and independence.

The current Palestinian leadership is simply lying to the Palestinian people through its teeth. It is indulging in acts that could be described as treacherous and treasonous outright.

This is more than just a betrayal of precious and long-held national goals and aspirations.  This is treason, pure and simple.

I am saying treason because none has authorized Mahmoud Abbas, Sa’eb Ereikat, Ahmed Qrei’ and the rest of the choir to compromise or sell out the inalienable rights of our people.

Jerusalem after all is the patrimony of the entire Muslim Umma. In the final  analysis,  Omar Ibn Al-Khattab didn’t enter the holy city for the sake of Arab nationalism, nor did Sallahuddin liberate it from the hands of the Franks for the same reason.

Ceding the city, or large parts of it, to the Zionists is therefore a disgraceful  betrayal not only of  the martyrs since 1948, but a betrayal of  numerous generation of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims ever since Caliph Omar the Just humbly entered the city in 637 A.D. and gave its inhabitants his famous covenant, known as al Uhdah al Omariyya.

Finally, the PA and its operative are trying to hide their shame by insisting that they have always shared the documents in question “with our brothers” in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Well, this is an excuse that is worse than a sin.  For since when treachery and treason could be justified if excused, endorsed and accepted by “other Arab tyrants” whose ultimate priority in life is to remain in power, preferably with America’s blessing.

After all, pleasing Israel means pleasing America, and nothing would please Israel and therefore America like ceding Jerusalem or large parts of it to the Zionists.  Besides, since when did these “Brotherly Arabs” really care about Jerusalem or Palestine?

 

 


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The Al-Jazeera documents: what’s next?

Khalid Amayreh
According to the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera, PA officials agreed to deprive the vast majority refugees of this right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

According to the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera, PA officials agreed to deprive the vast majority refugees of this right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have lashed out at the Al-Jazeera pan-Arab network for disclosing previously secret documents showing that PA negotiators had agreed to compromise over some cardinal issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict; these include the status of Jerusalem and the right of return for millions of refugees, uprooted from their homes when and since Israel was created in 1948.

In an impromptu press conference held in Ramallah on 24 January, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary-General of the PLO, accused the Qatar-based network of waging a relentless war on the PA and besmirching its leadership’s image for the benefit of Israel and the enemies of the Palestinian struggle. He said Al-Jazeera was fabricating evidence to discredit PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his aides, adding that this campaign wouldn’t have been launched without the personal approval of the Qatari Amir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

However, a close and objective examination of the documents shows that Al-Jazeera didn’t exceed its bounds and that regardless of how the network acquired the leaked documents, elements of concoction, fabrication and doctoring didn’t play any role in the process. Unfortunately, PA officials and negotiators, including chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, didn’t stick to the facts when trying to defend the negotiators’ behaviour. Instead, they resorted to name -calling, abusive language, unfounded accusations and brash mendacity. It is not uncommon for PA apologists and spokespersons to resort to diversionary tactics and red herrings, even unnecessary jokes, to evade the hard issues at hand. In this case, the examination of the issue does show that the PA was willing to abandon and betray inalienable Palestinian rights.

The issue of Jerusalem stands out among other issues over which the PA was obviously willing to compromise. The documents show that the PA was prepared to cede to Israel nearly all of the illegal colonies that the Zionist state has built east of the 1967 armistice line in and around occupied East Jerusalem. It is true that these settlements are not located within the boundaries of the traditional area of al-Quds al-Sharif (Noble Jerusalem) which Israel occupied in 1967. Nevertheless, they remain administratively and territorially an integral part of metropolitan East Jerusalem.

More to the point, it is crystal clear that PA negotiators swallowed the misleading Israeli concept of a “Jewish Quarter” in the Old City of Jerusalem, even though almost all of occupied Palestine was an Arab quarter. Fewer than 20% of the houses in the so-called “Jewish Quarter” were lived in by Jews in 1968. One is prompted to ask why PA negotiators failed utterly to demand the restoration of such Jerusalem villages such as Lifta, Ayn Karem, Bayt Mahsir, Bayt umm al Mays, Dir Aban, Dayr Rafat, Deir Yasin and Al-Malha, to mention a few. Indeed, why do the Israelis have the right to insist on “restoring” Jewish property in the Armenian Quarter and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, while Palestinians who still have the keys to their former homes are denied the right to reclaim their homes and property? Are the Palestinians children of a lesser God? This is not only wantonly unfair and unjust, but also stupid, especially on the part of the Palestinian negotiators.

I know that the negotiating position of the Palestinians is unenviable, to say the least, given the hard realities of the balance of power on the ground. However, the PA shouldn’t just concede historical rights which it can’t obtain by negotiations.

The same applies to the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees. The right of return, or repatriation, along with the right to compensation, was well-established by UN resolution 194. According to the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera, PA officials agreed to deprive the vast majority refugees of this right to return to their homes in what is now Israel. They agreed in principle to accept the repatriation of 100,000 refugees over 10 years, and no more. So what will happen to this historic and legal right for those who have been languishing in miserable exile for more than sixty years? Should they just kiss that right goodbye?

Moreover, it is perhaps more pertinent to ask Ahmed Qurei, Saeb Erekat and Mahmoud Abbas exactly who it was who authorized them to make such compromises. In the final analysis, the right of return is the heart and soul of the Palestinian question. It is also an individual right which no one except that individual has the right to waive. Hence, any agreement by PA officials to cede this sacred right of the refugees is null and void according to all international and moral laws, man-made or Divinely-inspired.

Some PA apologists have sought to justify their faulty negotiating, which amounts to criminal activity in a way, by suggesting that certain Palestinian positions in the negotiations were coordinated with “brotherly Arab rulers”. This beggars belief; since when have these despots been entrusted with the defence of Muslim and national interests in Palestine? Indeed, if these dictators were capable of doing any good at all, they would surely be doing good for the benefit of their own people. The ongoing events in Tunisia are an example of what I mean. In agreeing, even tacitly or implicitly, to accept the de facto liquidation of the right of return, the PA is abandoning a long-held Palestinian national constant, including the resolution of the right of return pursuant to UN resolution 194, which stipulates both repatriation and compensation.

We certainly don’t expect Palestinian Authority officials and negotiators to emulate the great Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi in returning Jerusalem. They are too corrupt and too un-Islamic to deserve such an honour. However, we do expect them to keep the promises they have made consistently to the Palestinian people, including the rejection of the illegal Jewish colonies established in the West Bank since 1967. These settlements are acts of rape against the land of Palestine that should never be legitimized.

The scandal triggered by Al-Jazeera’s revelations has underscored the problem of entrusting the entire Palestinian problem, with all its Islamic and historical dimensions, to mediocre Palestinian negotiators who are left alone at the mercy of Israeli arrogance which springs out of being the occupying power.

Hence, this issue should serve as a wake-up call to all of us, however late it may be, to make sure that these negotiators, indeed the entire PA regime, are not left alone to deal on our collective behalf. After all, Palestine and Jerusalem are Islamic issues. Omar ibn Al-Khattab and Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi never thought of Arab, let alone Palestinian nationalism, when they liberated the Holy City. The holy Qur’an reminds us that we might dislike something in which there is much good for us. As such, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must stop mutual recriminations and make sure that the Palestinian Authority is never put in a position where it can repeat these potentially fatal mistakes.

AMERICA’S SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Still, the U.S. State Department’s desperate attempts to avoid the issue of Israeli aggression, continued colonization, and its consistent criminal violation of international law with impunity and American protection, were never more blatant than in recent statements by both Secretary Clinton and her State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.


How To Say Nothing Without Really Trying: State Dept. Spokesman Stonewalls on Settlement Stance

By Nima Shirazi


“It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office.” 

– Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

On Wednesday January 18, at 1:51PM, a master class in American obstructionism, political spin, question-dodging, the zombie-like repetition of non-committal and meaningless talking points was held by United States State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. When asked by journalists about a new United Nations Security Council resolution draft condemning Israel for its continuing colonization of Palestinian land during the daily press briefing, Crowley managed to avoid giving even a single straight or substantive answer to many of the questions, demonstrating once again the U.S. government’s outright refusal to be honest about anything related to Israel.

 

 

The brilliance of Crowley’s performance as a whole might best be summed up by the following statement he made, which came about in the middle of the lengthy exchange between the spokesman and numerous State Department correspondents:

 

“These are complex issues, and we think they’re best resolved through direct negotiations, not through the unilateral declarations, even if those unilateral declarations come in the form of a multilateral setting.”

In truth, Crowley’s verbal acrobatics speak for themselves and require very little commentary to demonstrate the boundless energy expended by the U.S. government to protect Israel from any public scrutiny. As such, the conversation will be presented in all its glory at the bottom of this post.

But first, some background:

The new resolution, which reiterates the illegality of all Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and demands an immediate cessation of their expansion, will soon come to a vote in the United Nations Security Council. The resolution draft, first put forth by Lebanese representatives and supported by virtually the entire planet (it has nearly 120 co-sponsors from Arab and other non-aligned nations), is wholly uncontroversial in that it simply reaffirms long-standing tenets of international law and repeats the call for the very actions the United States have long demanded, namely for both the Israelis and Palestinians to abide by “previous agreements and obligations” and to continue direct “negotiations on the final status issues in the Middle East peace process.”

The most relevant text of resolution, as revealed by Jewish Telegraph Agency stalwart Ron Kampeas, states that the United Nations Security Council…

1. Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

2. Reiterates its demand that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law and their previous agreements and obligations, including under the Roadmap, aimed, inter alia, at improving the situation on the ground, building confidence and creating the conditions necessary for promoting the peace process;

4. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promoting of peace and security, with negotiations on the final status issues in the Middle East peace process, according to its agreed terms of reference and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;

5. Urges in this regard the intensification [sic] of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and accelerate the peace process toward the achievement of a comprehensive just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Besides the United States, the four other permanent members of the Security Council – Britain, France, China and Russia – are all expected to vote for the draft without objection. Additionally, the ten non-permanent member states currently sitting on the Council – Germany, South Africa, India, Brazil, Portugal, Lebanon, Nigeria, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Gabon – are also expected to vote in favor of the resolution.

In the interest of preserving the “inalienable rights of the Palestinians,” the United Nations human rights board supports the measure, and has called upon “world powers to force Israel to put a dead-end on peace-impeding settlement plans,” while expressing “sorrow over the world’s lack of political will.”

Earlier this week, a letter, signed by fifty academics, journalists, rabbis and public officials, including a number of former Assistant Secretaries of State, U.S. ambassadors and diplomats, and a former U.S. Secretary of Defense, was sent to Barack Obama urging the president “to instruct our Ambassador to the United Nations to vote yes on this initiative.”

The letter continues:

“The time has come for a clear signal from the Unites States to the parties and to the broader international community that the United States can and will approach the conflict with the objectivity, consistency and respect for international law required if it is to play a constructive role in the conflict’s resolution.”

The signatories, who include Lawrence Wilkerson, Thomas Pickering, Andrew Sullivan, Peter Beinart, Paul Pillar, and Chas Freeman, refer to well-established international law and United States policy to strengthen their case. “The settlements are clearly illegal according to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” they write, “a status recognized in an opinion issued by the State Department’s legal advisor on April 28, 1978, a position which has never since been revised.” They also warn that “if the proposed resolution is consistent with existing and established U.S. policies, then deploying a veto would severely undermine U.S. credibility and interests, placing us firmly outside of the international consensus, and further diminishing our ability to mediate this conflict.” 

 

The so-called “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy organization Americans For Peace Now issued a statement to the White House, calling upon Obama to consider the resolution “on its merits: both the context and the content of the resolution matter,” explaining that the draft has come about due to “Israel’s dogmatic refusal to refrain from settlement activity that is destructive to peace and to Israel’s future” and “is a resolution whose text is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy regarding settlements.” The statement concludes,

“Given this context and content, APN calls on the Obama Administration to not veto this resolution in its current form. Vetoing this resolution would conflict with four decades of U.S. policy. It would contribute to the dangerously naive view that Israeli settlement policies do no lasting harm to Israel. And it would send a message to the world that the U.S. is not only acquiescing to Israel’s actions, but is implicitly supporting them.”

The American pro-Zionist lobbying group J Street has also given tacit, albeit begrudging, support of the resolution by stating, “we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.”

An article in the International Herald Tribune, written by former Palestinian legislator and peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, explained that, not only is it “universally recognized that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law,” but they are also “a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” and “under the Rome Statute, they are considered a war crime.” Nevertheless, Ashrawi continues,

“With America unwilling to hold Israel accountable to international law and existing agreements, Israel has remained intransigent in the face of international efforts to revive genuine negotiations. A Security Council resolution would reaffirm today’s international consensus in support of the two-state solution by recognizing the threat posed by illegal settlements.”

The draft resolution also ignited a frantic move on the part of Israel and its American apologists to render the settlement issue moot by presenting maps of a potential Palestinian state with provisional borders. These maps, drafted by Israel’s fascist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and presented by a Zionist think tank in Washington D.C., are intended to “freeze the existing situation in the territories, with minor changes,” thereby legitimizing and entrenching decades of ethnic cleansing, occupation, illegal settlement and land theft. Needless to say, the proposals, which would force Palestinians to create a demilitarized prison state on a mere 13% of their homeland, have even been dismissed by the collaborationist Palestinian Authority as an “invention and a joke.”

Clearly terrified of supporting any resolution that reflects negatively on Israel, however truthful or obvious it may be, the U.S. government’s reaction to the proposal has been nothing short of embarrassing.

A letter, delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from seventeen U.S. Senators and initiated by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), claims the resolution “hurts the prospects for a peace agreement and is not in the interest of the United States” and “strongly” urges Clinton “to make clear that the United States will veto such a resolution if it is raised at the Council, and to clearly communicate the United States’ intent to do so to other Security Council members.” Undoubtedly drafted by AIPAC and passed along to the most die-hard Zionist apologists in Congress, the letter is so fraught with inaccuracies and misstatements that even JTA‘s Ron Kampeas was forced to admit that it makes no sense. The UNSC resolution, he explains, “doesn’t resemble anything Gillibrand is writing about” and, “weirdest of all,” the letter actually “calls for exactly what the resolution calls for.”

Still, the U.S. State Department’s desperate attempts to avoid the issue of Israeli aggression, continued colonization, and its consistent criminal violation of international law with impunity and American protection, were never more blatant than in recent statements by both Secretary Clinton and her State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Clinton, in response to the draft, said that the United States does not “see action in the United Nations or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about that desired outcome,” and stated that “we continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the long-standing conflict and outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We do not think that that is a productive path for the Palestinians or anyone to pursue.”

However, the tour-de-force of doublespeak and duplicity was delivered by Clinton’s spokesman P.J. Crowley at Wednesday’s press briefing. The conversation, led by Associated Press reporter (and perennial thorn in Crowley’s side) Matthew Lee along with others, is remarkable for its clear exposition of both government obstructionism and public stonewalling.

The briefing came one hundred and fifty-four years and four months after the publication of the tenth chapter of Charles Dickens’ satirical serial novel Little Dorrit. The chapter, entitled “Containing The Whole Science Of Government,” contains the following passages:

“The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office…

…It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving – HOW NOT TO DO IT.”

Crowley’s carefully crafted answers and persistent repetition of the same phrases (notably, “I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the coming days.”) also recall the words of 17th Century English bishop George Morley: “A sudden lie may sometimes be only manslaughter upon truth; but by a carefully constructed equivocation truth is always, with malice aforethought, deliberately murdered.”

Below is the relevant part of the January 18 press briefing.
Fair warning: Reading the following exchange may result in the same severe headache and delirium one would expect from ten thousand hard headbutts to an Apartheid wall. 

 

 

Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
January 18, 2011

QUESTION: Let’s see, where to begin? There are so many places. I’ll – can I start with the Middle East and the Palestinians talking about this resolution that they want to put into the Security Council this week which would condemn Israeli settlement activity. At the same time, they’re continuing their push to get countries to recognize their independence, even without a negotiated settlement. They raised the flag at their mission downtown here today, this morning.

MR. CROWLEY: Which, on that particular point, we had agreed months ago, but it doesn’t change their status in any way.

QUESTION: Well, no, but their status changed in August.

MR. CROWLEY: No, but the granting permission to raise the flag –

QUESTION: Well, that’s actually part of my question.

MR. CROWLEY: — (inaudible) does not change their fundamental status of their diplomatic mission here in the United States.

QUESTION: No —

QUESTION: But did you approve their – the status of the –

QUESTION: Well, hold on a second. Hold on a second. The flag issue –

MR. CROWLEY: We digress.

QUESTION: — would be a sideshow. I want to know what you’re going to do about this resolution at the UN and I want to know if you’re going to continue to oppose or lobby governments not to do what the Palestinians want, which is to recognize them as independent.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we continue to be in conversation with a range of countries on this issue. Our view hasn’t changed. We’ve made that clear in our discussions with the Palestinians and others. We do not think that New York or the UN Security Council is the right forum for this issue, and we’ll continue to make that case.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

QUESTION: Okay. Well, hold on. What does that mean? If you don’t think that New York or the Security Council is the right venue, that means that you will veto a resolution if it’s brought to the Council?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m not going to speculate on what happens from this point forward.

QUESTION: Well, are you trying to keep – prevent them from, or are you trying to dissuade them from – and their allies from bringing this to the Council?

MR. CROWLEY: We have made clear that we do not think that this matter should be brought before the Security Council.

QUESTION: And when you do that, what do you tell them if it – what does that mean, exactly?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, what that means is that we believe that –

QUESTION: Are you going to veto it if it comes up?

MR. CROWLEY: — these issues should be resolved through the ongoing process and through direct negotiations. That is our position. We’ve made that position clear to those who have an interest in this issue. But again, I’m not going to speculate on what will happen in the coming days.

QUESTION: All right. Well, as I understand it, the resolution merely restates what has been U.S. policy for some time, that – basically, it criticizes settlement activity.

MR. CROWLEY: And again –

QUESTION: Why is it not – why are you opposed to the UN adopting a resolution that isn’t – that supports existing U.S. policy?

MR. CROWLEY: We believe that the best path forward is through the ongoing effort that gets the parties into direct negotiations, resolves the issues through a framework agreement, and ends the conflict once and for all.

QUESTION: So it’s not the contents that you’re opposed to; it’s simply the idea of a resolution.

MR. CROWLEY: We do not think that the UN Security Council is the best place to address these issues.

QUESTION: Can I ask why? Because, I mean, the UN is where Israel was created, basically. Why is the UN not the place to deal with these issues?

MR. CROWLEY: These are complex issues, and we think they’re best resolved through direct negotiations, not through the unilateral declarations, even if those unilateral declarations come in the form of a multilateral setting.

QUESTION: Plus, it undermines your own efforts. I mean, isn’t that the real reason, that it undermines your own peacemaking efforts?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we do not believe that this is a – would be a productive step.

QUESTION: But the peace process is not working, and your efforts didn’t achieve anything until now.

MR. CROWLEY: Michel, you’re right; as of this moment today, we do not have a framework agreement. That does not necessarily say that one is – that is not a – that’s an achievable task, in our view. And that remains something that we’re actively engaged in.

QUESTION: Are you contemplating any other – do you have any other levers at your disposal to persuade the Palestinians not to move ahead of these two tracks that you’re – you’re saying constantly that you don’t want them to do it, but they’re forging ahead anyway. What can the U.S. do in this situation?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we continue to engage the relevant actors. We do not think this would be a productive step.

QUESTION: Can you say exactly what will you think would be a productive step?

MR. CROWLEY: We believe the parties ultimately need to – in order to reach a framework agreement, they need to get back into direct negotiations, and we’re working to create the conditions that allows that to happen.

QUESTION: But that’s been going on for the past two years.

MR. CROWLEY: I understand that.

QUESTION: And if you’re talking about productive steps –

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it’s been going on for longer than that if – (laughter).

QUESTION: Well, this Administration, it’s been going on for the last two years. And if you’re talking about productive steps, certainly that process hasn’t produced anything.

QUESTION: Well, but I mean –

QUESTION: Why not –

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, Matt, you’re –

QUESTION: I guess the fundamental question is –

MR. CROWLEY: You’re leading to a kind of a glass half full, glass half empty kind of discussion.

QUESTION: Well, yeah, except that the glass doesn’t have any water in it at all. (Laughter.) It’s not half full or half empty. It’s completely empty. And I don’t really understand why it is that you would be opposed to a resolution that simply restates what U.S. policy has been for a long time. I mean –

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not going to speculate. We’ve made our position clear. We continue to make our position clear. I’m not going to speculate on what happens going forward.

QUESTION: Well, you’ve stated the policy, but the position’s not clear, because – do you think that settlements are illegal or not? And if they’re illegal when you say them from the podium, then why shouldn’t they be illegal according to UN resolutions, which you’ve acknowledged all along? Like why can’t you just restate what you’ve been –

MR. CROWLEY: No, no. Our position on settlements is well known.

QUESTION: Is that they’re illegal.

MR. CROWLEY: It hasn’t changed. You’re talking about is this a prospective step that moves the process forward? In our view, it would not be.

QUESTION: Well, do you think that the building of settlements is a productive step that moves the process forward?

MR. CROWLEY: We believe that unilateral actions on all sides are not productive.

QUESTION: But you seem to think it’s okay – well, I mean, you don’t like it but there don’t seem to – you don’t – there’s nothing that you prevent – you don’t do anything to prevent the Israelis from continuing to build settlements. I mean, they continue to build them.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I can continue to state our position, but I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the coming days.

QUESTION: Can I have a –

QUESTION: Follow-up?

QUESTION: No.

*****

UPDATE:

January 23, 2011 – According to the right-wing Israeli website, DEBKAfile, American sources have indicated that Barack Obama opposes using veto against the UNSC resolution. The sources added that this would mark the first time the United States had not used its veto against Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

*****

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. His analysis of United States foreign policy and Middle East issues is published on his website, WideAsleepInAmerica.com, and can also be found in numerous other online and print publications.

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PALESTINE ‘LEAKS’ CONFIRM WHAT WE ALWAYS KNEW

This is not a new story, it has been happening for years. We now have ultimate confirmation that this is what was happening behind closed doors.

Peace partners OR Partners in crime?…..

The Palestine Papers: The Ultimate Confirmation of Israeli Intentions.

Posted by Joseph Dana

The cables released last night by Al Jazeera, which form the Palestine Papers, have provided ultimate confirmation of what many on the ground have known for some time – Israel is not interested in an equitable two state solution. Instead Israel is interested in maintaining the status quo, which necessarily means that both Palestinian and Israeli society will be in a permanent state of war. Control of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the separation of the West Bank from Gaza is the form of the Israeli-imposed one state solution. Crippling land annexation in the form of settlement expansion and development of Israeli infrastructure permanently change the facts on the ground while the United States, the main broker in the region, remains deftly silent. This continues while Israel informs the world that there is no Palestinian partner for negotiations and refuses to even provide documents detailing the Israeli bottom line.

This is not a new story, it has been happening for years. We now have ultimate confirmation that this is what was happening behind closed doors. However, I am left with a lingering and specific question regarding the United States. During negotiations regarding Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority was ready to give up part of the contentious East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israel simply rejected the offer and began moving settlers into Palestinians homes in the neighborhood. Apparently the Israeli rationale was that the Palestinians were ready to give it up, might as well move settlers in, create facts on the ground and force them to ‘give up’ different territory. A simple land grab. What is striking is that the United States monitored this entire process. American officials were aware of the Palestinian offer and then watched in relative silence while Israel created a new settlement. Hilliary Clinton did deplore the actions of Israel in Sheikh Jarrah but the language was more tempered than that of the Europeans who literally watched the take over from their consulates in the neighborhood.

We are left with a number of revelations that are not surprising or new. Israel is not interested in an equitable two state solution, preferring a one state in which the Palestinians are controlled without democratic recourse. The Palestinian Authority is an effective instrument of Israeli occupation which is not representative of Palestinians. Finally, the United States is a dishonest broker who is acting like Israel’s lawyer and main supplier of aid. Again nothing new, now we just have concrete proof. These documents do not represent the death of the two state solution, they show that it never really began.


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YOUR CHANCE TO STOP THE FBI BEFORE THEY STOP YOU

In a statement, activists subpoenaed to appear on January 25 said, “We have made our decisions to stand strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan. We WILL NOT take part in this fishing expedition. “

From The Committee To Stop FBI Repression

Protests to Challenge FBI and Grand Jury Repression of Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Jill Dowling of The New York Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, “We are holding a demonstration at the downtown Manhattan FBI offices on Tuesday, January 25 at 4:30 p.m. in solidarity with activists standing up against the political repression aimed at human rights, international solidarity and anti-war activists. This demonstration is part of a national day of action taking place in 45 cities.”

Protest organizers called for people to gather on the Broadway side of the FBI offices at 26 Federal Plaza at 4:30 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. the protesters will march to the Justice Department’s offices at 1 St. Andrew’s Plaza on the east side of Foley Square and Centre Street, between the Federal Courthouse and the Municipal Building.

Tom Burke, National Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, “In the month of December, the FBI delivered grand jury subpoenas for January 25 to nine activists in Chicago. Six subpoenas went to members of the Arab American community; the remaining three went to Palestine solidarity activists and individuals who have travelled to Palestine. These subpoenas are related to the FBI raids on seven houses and an office in September, where subpoenas were served on 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.”

All 14 signed a letter stating they would invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and would not cooperate with the grand jury. Subsequently, the grand jury dropped the original September 24 subpoenas. In December, the Chicago grand jury, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, issued nine new subpoenas and reactivated three original subpoenas served on Minneapolis women Tracy Molm, Anh Pham, and Sarah Martin who continue to stand strong and refuse to cooperate.

In a statement, activists subpoenaed to appear on January 25 said, “We have made our decisions to stand strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan. We WILL NOT take part in this fishing expedition. ”

Maureen Murphy, who was among those summoned to appear before the grand jury on January 25 added, “Despite this attempt to criminalize solidarity with the Palestinian people, we will continue to stand with them and work to end US aid to Israel.”

The activist’s principled position of non-cooperation has won them strong support among progressive people around the country and a broad range of political organizations, anti-war groups, labor unions, and civil liberty defenders. The subpoenaed face possible prison sentences simply for refusing to testify against equally innocent friends and acquaintances, should the grand jury offer them immunity from prosecution.

In the period since 9/11, the FBI and other police organizations have stepped up repression of the entire Muslim community in the United States. Police have framed and entrapped many people, regularly with the use of paid informants. The current attacks now expand the repression beyond the Muslim community to all anti-war and solidarity activists.

The FBI was recently exposed for secretly infiltrating a Minnesota political organization whose members are among those subpoenaed. Dowling, of the NY Committee, said, “It’s outrageous that the FBI sent an agent in to spy on peace activists in Minneapolis. What does that mean for people speaking out against war here in NYC? This is a real threat to our basic freedoms of speech and association.”

Local and national organizers continue to urge concerned people to contact President Obama and US Attorney Eric Holder and demand the FBI stop harassing activists, stop the grand jury proceedings, and return the possessions confiscated in the September raids.

A PALESTINIAN’S VIEW OF THE ‘LEAKED PALESTINE PAPERS’

I as a Palestinian and millions of other fellow Palestinians are denied the right to enter Jerusalem whose character is being transformed as the talk about more talks goes on!

  • Jerusalem and the unraveling of “the peace process industry”

    by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, PhD


     

    “There is a clear diplomatic impasse here which will get exacerbated now that the papers on the negotiations have been revealed.”


     

    Al-Jazeera just announced the release of 1600 internal and classified documents that reveal devastating information on the nature and scale of concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators. The Guardian reported that ” The overwhelming impression that emerges from the confidential records of a decade of Middle East peace talks is of the weakness and desperation of Palestinian leaders, the unyielding correctness of Israeli negotiators and the often contemptuous attitude towards the Palestinian side shown by US politicians and officials. ” I think that it spells the end of the peace process industry an 18 year sham that facilitated colonization and enriched a few individuals while destroying our lives.

    Prime Minister Salam Fayyad maybe the guy salvaged from the process as he can claim only overseeing the institutions to serve the Palestinian population in the ghettos and concentration camps in the rest of the West Bank. The gates to areas like what remains of Bethlehem district (13%) are for now open (yes there are literal gates). The message sent over the past few years is that life is bad for those who resist, easier for quiet Palestinians, and very good for collaborating Palestinians. There are thousands of “general managers” and other office holders in the Palestinian authority. There are tens of thousands of uneducated individuals (selected for being uneducated and for passing security clearance by Israeli and American officials) who serve in the many security divisions of the Palestinian Authority. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer here but this still meant that on average the GDP is higher in the Palustans today than 8 years ago (though per capita not higher than 1999). In Gaza the situation is worse economically as the whole pie is smaller (mostly humanitarian aid and tunnel trade) and thus while the rich there are still rich and the poor poor, their poor are far poorer than our poor.

    I as a Palestinian and millions of other fellow Palestinians are denied the right to enter Jerusalem whose character is being transformed as the talk about more talks goes on! I managed to enter Jerusalem many times like thousands of Palestinians do without seeking permission from the occupying army. Years ago, I taught high school in Jerusalem and I know the city very well. This YouTube video from a recent visit gives you a glimpse http://tinyurl.com/4boo7qg.

    I was both saddened and yet strangely energized by the visit. The relentless effort to transform the city to make it “Jewish” (whatever that means) involved relentless efforts at ethnic cleansing. Just in the past two years, over 10,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem had their residency rights revoked. This is done under 101 pretexts ranging from marrying someone from outside the city to getting a job in another city or renting or buying a peace of real estate outside the city.

    The latest bizarre situation is ruling that four elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council must renounce their election or face deportation. One was already deported (for not showing allegiance to the Jewish state that illegally occupied annexed, and colonized his city). Three others have spent 205 days now in a tent in the yard of the Red Cross Building in Silwan. Yes, as I saw the amazing popular resistance carried out by all natives of Jerusalem against the colonial occupiers, I was uplifted in my spirits. It is just sad that many world governments continue to be silent on this.

    There is a clear diplomatic impasse here which will get exacerbated now that the papers on the negotiations have been revealed. Everyone had a “plan” before and the question is will these plans change:

    • The Zionist leaders have a plan to recognize Palestine as a state in so-called “provisional borders” which will become permanent borders but without recognizing any of the basic Palestinian rights (right to return, self determination, freedom etc). The discussion between extremists like Lieberman and more moderates like Kadima is what are the dimensions of the Palestinian population warehouses (as a friend calls them). This is intended to solve the demographic problem for the state of Israel and get the pressure off for Israel to take care of millions of unwanted non-Jews in the Jewish state. The size of these warehouses range from Lieberman’s 42% of the West Bank (itself with Gaza are 22% of historic Palestine) to 60% (Netanyahu’s maximum) to 92% (some Labor and Kadima ideas). In other words will the Bantustans end-up occupying 9% or 18% (at best) of historic Palestine? It will of course have no control over its borders or its air space or its natural resources or its tourism industry. But the right-wing racist government in Israel is ultimately self-destructive. The world is wising up.
    • Mr. Mahmoud Abbas plans to continue down the line of working with Western governments and Western-backed Arab leaders to maybe have them apply just a little bit of pressure on Israel to end its settlement activity. After dropping the ball on the International court of Justice ruling on the wall and dropping the ball on the Goldstone report, the leadership introduced via to the UN Security Council and the US may or may not veto it. Abbas says publicly that there may be more “initiatives” coming but ultimately he is tied by Oslo agreements and the maximum he could ask for is 1967 borders with some 3-5% territorial swap (which happen to be the best areas of the West Bank) and certainly he is not going to be allowed to demand the internationally recognized rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. The leaked documents at best weaken that branch of Fatah led by Abbas that compromised basic Palestinian rights. They could even lead to the demise of this authority whose terms had expired anyway. Of course there is a remote possibility that Abbas will manage to avoid both assassination and irrelevancy by coming clean with his people and offering a new real innovative approach (like dissolve the PA and call for an anti-Apartheid struggle led by new leaders).
    • Hamas has a plan to essentially hold on to Gaza and hope the now clear failure of the “peace process” gives them more popular support among Palestinians. By controlling the launch of home-made projectiles from Gaza, they could hold on for years waiting for change in powers. Iran and Hezbollah are also hoping the continued disregard for international law by the world powers validates the strategy of relying on military strength and “resisting” to get rights. Their arguments in the absence of meaningful enforcement of international law vis a vis Israel is difficult for others to refute. But many moderate and secular people here wonder what kind of a future will unfold under regimes that do not separate state power from religious authority. And even in Gaza, people would not vote for a party that will offer only vague notions about “Islam is the solution” without a clear strategy or vision for the future.
    • Left Parties have partial and unformulated plans. Many still cling to old rhetoric and old divisions and are not able to think innovatively to design a strategy to recapture their popular support that declined in the past few decades let alone articulate a clear unified vision for goals and ways to get to these goals.
    • The US (and by extension subservient EU) have a plan to support the compromising section of the Palestinian authority but only to the extent that the strong AIPAC (Israel lobby) approve of. The leaked documents show that the ceiling for the PA demands must always be continuously lowered to accommodate Israeli society’s increasingly fascist government demands. Recognizing Israel is not enough anymore, the PA must also recognize the racist NATURE of Israel (as a JEWISH ZIONIST state) and renounce internationally recognized rights like the right of refugees to return. If they do that, will they be then required to recognize that God is indeed a tribal God with his chosen people and that the Goyim are sub-human and not deserving of even the Bantustans that they are allowed now to live on?
    • The Civil Society around the world which supports human rights has a plan of Popular Resistance, Media work, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to arrive at justice and ending apartheid. As the pressure builds to isolate the apartheid (aka Hafrada in Hebrew) regime, these activists believe more Israelis and others around the world will come around to see that giving back what was stolen is the only real road to peace (at least partial restorative justice). It is an uphill battle because of all the brainwashing that goes on by subservient media and essentially a populace around the world that is largely apathetic. But the vocal minority that always changes things is getting more vocal.

    As I say in my lectures: collectively all humanity has a choice and it is not between one-state or two-states, colonialism or an Fundamentalist state structure (whether Islamic Jewish, or Christian). The choice is between having a set of International laws and human rights that apply to everyone (beginning with the 7 million Palestinian refugees and displaced people) OR a law of the jungle where “might makes right.” The latter choice is a lose-lose scenario since we are in an era where biological, nuclear and chemical weapons are easy to come by and can destroy civilization. The former choice requires we begin by educating our selves on our own civil society power. Simon Bolivar, the visionary revolutionary who pushed for independence and unity of countries in South America once said: “They have succeeded in dominating us more through ignorance, than through force”. Indeed. La Luta Continua.

    The above post is dedicated to our friend Anna Aschenbach who died shortly after suffering a
    stroke while receiving an award from the International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) yesterday. Antizionist feminist and humanist from Connecticut.

    Be sure not to miss the following post…

    BIGGEST LEAK OF THE DECADE

    BIGGEST LEAK OF THE DECADE

    And, believe it or not, it’s not from Wikileaks. ….. AlJazeera is the source. Let’s see how long it takes for the Palestinian Authority to shut down their West Bank operations because of this. (Their reaction can be seen in a separate report below)

    The West Bank is a victim of a ‘double occupation’, the first being Israel itself, the second being Israel’s ardent supporter, the PA. The following report is ‘proof of the pudding’….

    Photo: AFP

    The Palestine Papers “The biggest Yerushalayim”
    PA offered to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, an historic concession for which Israel offered nothing in return.

    Ramat Shlomo, Israel – For all the international controversy over construction at this quiet settlement in north Jerusalem, there is little of it in evidence.

    The controversy came last year, when the Jerusalem municipality approved 1,600 new housing tenders while Joe Biden, the US vice-president, was visiting Israel. But construction has yet to begin, and residents of this settlement – populated mostly by Orthodox Jews, a group with one of the highest birth rates in Israel – say politics are interfering with family life.

    “It shouldn’t be a question of politics,” said Avraham Goldstein, a student waiting at a bus stop in the settlement. “People need to build, they want to have their families nearby. There are more than 18,000 people here. And Ramat Shlomo is obviously part of Jerusalem.”

    The US responded to the Ramat Shlomo announcement with anger; Biden said it “undermines the kind of trust we need” to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

    But The Palestine Papers reveal that Israel had no reason to halt construction in Ramat Shlomo. That’s because Palestinian negotiators agreed in 2008 to allow Israel to annex this settlement, along with almost every other bit of illegal construction in the Jerusalem area – an historic concession for which they received nothing in return.

    “We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements”

    The unprecedented offer by the PA came in a June 15 trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, involving Condoleezza Rice, the then-US secretary of state, Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli foreign minister, Ahmed Qurei, PA’s former prime minister, and Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.

    Qurei: This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David.

    Erekat went on to enumerate some of the settlements that the PA was willing to concede: French Hill, Ramat Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Talpiot, and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s old city. Those areas contain some 120,000 Jewish settlers. (Erekat did not mention the fate of other major East Jerusalem settlements, like Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov, but Qurei’s language indicates that they would also remain a part of Israel.)

    An historic concession

    The Palestine Papers include a rendering of the land swap map presented in mid-2008 to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.

    In an October 2009 meeting, Erekat also proposed a geographical division of Jerusalem’s Old City, with control of the Jewish Quarter and “part of the Armenian Quarter” going to the Israelis.

    Settlements in East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, but the Israelis have long treated them as suburbs.

    Ramat Shlomo, indeed, feels little different from Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. It is a 10-minute drive from the Knesset building, the first exit on highway 1 after crossing the Green Line. The Jerusalem municipality provides services in settlements like Ramat and Neke Ya’akov. Pisgat Ze’ev will soon be connected with downtown Jerusalem via a light rail line currently under construction.

    Israelis are deeply divided on East Jerusalem settlements – polls conducted last year by Yedioth Ahronoth and Ha’aretz found that 46 per cent and 41 per cent (respectively) support an East Jerusalem settlement freeze – but the government’s position is resolute. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, likes to say that “building in Jerusalem is no different than building in Tel Aviv”; Tzipi Livni says her Kadima party will “never divide Jerusalem” in an agreement with the Palestinians.

    That is the Israeli framing. But the PA embraces a similar view, according to The Palestine Papers. And it does so unilaterally: The Israeli side refused to even place Jerusalem on the agenda, let alone offer the PA concessions in return for its historic offer.

    In July 2008, Udi Dekel, adviser to then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, asked Erekat why “your side keep[s] mentioning Jerusalem in every meeting.” Six weeks earlier, he told PA map expert Samih al-Abed that he wasn’t allowed to discuss the subject.

    Dekel: I do not have permission to discuss Jerusalem without knowing what arrangements will be in Jerusalem.

    Al-Abed: And Abu Ala said we cannot discuss Ma’ale Adumim.

    Dekel: So let’s eat lunch together, and let them [leaders] decide what to do.

    The PA, in other words, never even really negotiated the issue; their representatives gave away almost everything to the Israelis, without pressuring them for concessions or compromise. Erekat seemed to realise this – perhaps belatedly – in a January 2010 meeting with [US president Barack] Obama’s adviser David Hale.

    Erekat: Israelis want the two-state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians. What is in that paper gives them the biggest Yerushalaim in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarised state… what more can I give?

    An impossible choice?

    Palestinian leaders took a more principled stand on other major settlement blocs in the West Bank. In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA “cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements”.

    All of those (with the exception of Har Homa) are located deep in the West Bank, and their inclusion in Israel would be ruinous for the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Ariel, for example, is nearly halfway to Jordan, connected to Israel by an 18km stretch of highway 5.

    But dismantling these settlements is also not an option for the Israeli government. Ariel is a major industrial zone with nearly 18,000 residents. Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, is a fast-growing “bedroom community” of 30,000 people; during a recent visit, a group of Palestinian construction worker was building family homes on the settlement’s northeastern slopes.

    “The people who will buy these homes, they will not just leave in a few years,” said one of the workers, from the nearby village of al-Jahalin.

    The Palestine Papers, then, underscore the seeming impossibility of resolving the status of settlements like Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel: Palestinian negotiators cannot accept them, and Israeli negotiators cannot dismantle them.

    There is a third option, which Palestinian negotiators raised in several meetings: those Jewish settlements could be allowed to remain as part of the future Palestinian state. Ahmed Qurei made that suggestion to Tzipi Livni several times in 2008, including this exchange in June:

    Qurei: Perhaps Ma’ale Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence.

    Livni: The matter is not simply giving a passport to settlers.

    The Israeli foreign minister refused to entertain the idea. “You know this is not realistic,” she told Qurei in May.

    Asked about Qurei’s offer earlier this month, residents in Ma’ale Adumim reacted with a mix of laughter and disbelief. Some wrote it off as a political impossibility; others worried about their safety, claiming that they would be killed.

    There is, in other words, seemingly no mutually acceptable policy for Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, and other major West Bank settlements within a two-state solution – a fact the Bush administration was willing to acknowledge in July 2008.

    Rice: I don’t think that any Israeli leader is going to cede Ma’ale Adumim.

    Qurei: Or any Palestinian leader.

    Rice: Then you won’t have a state!

    Rice may prove to be correct: Two and a half years later, the parties are no closer to a solution on settlements, and the Israeli government may be gearing up to issue a “massive” new round of housing permits for illegal settlers in the West Bank.

    Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Jerusalem on plans to annex illegal Israeli settlements

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Reaction to the leaked Palestine papers

    Palestinian negotiators have angrily dismissed accounts as lies, fabrications and half truths

    As Palestinian negotiators named in the secret accounts of negotiations with Israel angrily dismissed them as lies, fabrications and half truths, there was an equally hostile backlash over their offer to let the Jewish state keep its settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and other concessions.

    The two leading Palestinian negotiators named in the documents, Saeb Erekat and Ahmed Qureia, reacted furiously to the leaks. Erekat called them a “bunch of lies”. Qureia claimed that “many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership”.

    But a former colleague of the two men on the negotiations team, Diana Buttu, called their secret proposal in 2008 to let Israel keep all but one of the Jewish settlements within Jerusalem shocking and “out of touch” with the wishes of the Palestinian people.

    She called on Erekat to resign and said that the concessions effectively mean that Israel’s strategy of continuing to expand Jewish settlements is delivering it a greater share of Jerusalem.

    “It is highly, highly problematic because it rewards Israel for its settlement activity,” she said.

    “It highlights to me that we’ll never be able to get anything from negotiations. You’ve got one party that’s incredibly powerful and another party that’s incredibly weak and my own experience is that we got nowhere during negotiations.

    “I’ve no reason to believe it’s any different now, 18 years after the peace process started. The Israelis are stronger than they were 18 years ago and the Palestinians are weaker. It is clear that there is a rising level of desperation [by Palestinian negotiators] and complete lack of any connection to the reality Palestinians face.”

    But former US negotiators said that the concessions made by the Palestinians were the logical result of adhering to the principle laid down by then president Bill Clinton at the 2000 Camp David talks that Israel would have sovereignty over those parts of Jerusalem that were predominantly Jewish, including settlements in the occupied east of the city.

    Martin Indyk, Clinton’s national security adviser on the Israeli-Palestinian question and a former US ambassador to Israel, said: “My reading is there’s nothing more here on Jerusalem than [Yasser] Arafat agreed to in Camp David. The principle was very clear from Camp David on, that what’s Jewish in Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty and what is Palestinian will be under Palestinian sovereignty. That was the specific concession that Arafat made at Camp David.”

    Buttu disputes that account, backing the assertion in the documents by Qureia, the lead Palestinian negotiator, that “this is the first time in history that we make such a proposition. We refused to do so in Camp David”.

    She said that the Palestinians did not previously agree that Jewish areas of East Jerusalem would fall under Israeli sovereignty.

    “It was rejected at the Taba summit [in 2001] which I attended. Nabil Shaath [former chief negotiator] said that if we accept the Clinton parameters we would need a GPS in order to navigate which part of Jerusalem is Palestine and which part of Jerusalem is not Palestine,” she said.

    Aaron David Miller, who was part of the negotiating team during the Clinton years and a senior advisor on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the Bush administration, said that the Palestinian hand was being forced by the reality of population numbers. “The Palestinians have bought off, theoretically, on the proposition that what was contained in the Clinton parameters … that demography will out. I think the Palestinians would move toward that position and if they got what they think they need on the issue of territory and refugees I think they’d be willing to turn that position in to a real one that would stand the harsh light of day within Palestinian society,” he said.

    Miller said the documents show that the Palestinians were serious about reaching an agreement but that the Israeli leadership, under then prime minister Ehud Olmert, was too politically weak to deliver.

    “At the beginning of Star Wars there’s a wonderful phrase: a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. When I read these documents that’s essentially what I thought about. What appears is very serious and creative ideas. The issue has always been the absence of will, leadership and the right political environment to actually do the deal,” he said. “We’re talking about negotiations that didn’t have legs. Ehud Olmert could never have taken what developed given his political circumstances and sold it.”

    Daniel Levy, a former member of the Israeli negotiating team at Taba, said the documents reveal the extent to which the Palestinians remained wedded to a strategy that had failed to deliver peace over the previous 15 years.

    “What’s so striking is not so much the nature of the concessions, it’s that year after year they’re pursuing the same strategy which not only shows itself to have failed but showed itself to be on a slope of constant Palestinian slippage. They knew that the Israelis were pocketing whatever they gave, building more settlements and then saying: we need more land,” he said.

    “The Palestinians never extracted themselves from that structurally losing proposition especially the expectation that the Americans would deliver Israel because the Palestinians thought they were the ones being reasonable in the negotiations. But it didn’t happen and it didn’t happen. The Americans constantly sided with the unreasonable side and the Palestinians kept digging themselves deeper and deeper in to this losing proposition.”

    Buttu said the revelations are likely to damage the credibility of the Palestinian leadership.

    “Through all of this talk about Jerusalem as the capital, they’ve never revealed that they were going to make any concession like this. On Thursday, Nabil Shaath said East Jerusalem in its entirety is our capital, there are no concessions on our part. He’s talking about no concessions when behind closed doors there are major concessions that are being made,” she said.

    But Miller suggested that the Palestinians may have leaked the documents in an attempt to counter Israeli claims that they are the obstacle to peace.

    “You have to ask yourself the question: why have these documents appeared now? The answer is that the Palestinians, as part of a campaign to gain international support and recognition for the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood and to increase pressure not only on the Israelis but the Americans, have chosen to say to the world: look, it’s not so hard.

    “Previous Israeli governments were interested in a serious negotiation. So why can’t we have one now based on the principles that previous Israeli governments have agreed to?”

    Source

    HEROES ARE CRIMINALS, CRIMINALS ARE HEROES ~~ ONLY IN ISRAEL





    Jonathan Pollak
    ~~~

    Yonatan Shapira
    ~~~
    Emily Henochowicz

    Named above are three Jewish heroes. There are more, many more, but these three have one thing in common.

    The first is sitting in an Israeli jail for taking part in a ‘bike ride’ against the illegal actions of the Israeli military in Gaza.

    The second was tasered by Israeli authorities for being a passenger on a humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza.

    The third lost an eye while protesting Israel’s attack on a Turkish flotilla to Gaza where 9 passengers were murdered in cold blood.

    According to Israel, these three individuals are criminals. Also according to Israel, the actual criminals are seen as heroes and are being protected by law. Once again, Israel defies international law and all common sense by issuing the first part of their Turkel Committee report, absolving itself from piracy, murder on the high seas and theft.

    Below is the eloquent response from Adalah, (‘Justice’ in Arabic) an independent human rights organization and legal center based in Israel. It works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living under occupation in the OPT before Israeli courts. 

    (Haifa, Israel) Today, 23 January 2011, the Turkel Committee (the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010) issued part one of its report. It is Adalah’s position that the conclusions reached by the Turkel Committee completely contradict international law and the findings released in September 2010 by the International Fact-Finding Mission to Investigate the Israeli attacks on the Flotilla, which was established by the UN Human Rights Council.

    The main conclusions reached by the Turkel Committee were that:

    · Israel’s ‘effective control’ of the Gaza Strip ended with the disengagement [in 2005];

    · The purpose of Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza was primarily a military-security one and that it was imposed lawfully;

    · Israel is complying with its humanitarian obligations towards the people of Gaza;

    · The blockade does not constitute ‘collective punishment’;

    · The Israeli military?s interception and capture of the Gaza Flotilla vessels in international waters was in conformity with international humanitarian law;

    · The tactics and force used by the Israeli naval commandos to board the ships and against the civilians on board was consistent with international law.

    The Turkel Committee’s finding concerning the purpose of the blockade – namely that it was established for ‘military-security’ reasons – even contradicts statements made by the Attorney General before the Israeli Supreme Court in the al-Basyouni case. In this case, which involved cuts to fuel and electricity in Gaza, the Attorney General argued that the blockade is justified as an economic sanction taken against an enemy entity. It is part of ‘economic warfare’ against the Hamas regime (see HCJ 9132/07, Jaber Al-Basyouni Ahmed v. The Prime Minister; decision delivered 30 January 2008).

    The principal and ultimately devastating defect of the Turkel Committee is that it was not independent, impartial or transparent. The Committee’s members were appointed by the government after being carefully selected by the Prime Minister. Further, at least two committee members made statements prior to the Committee’s establishment that indicate their pro-Israeli political bias and raise serious questions about their impartiality toward the Israeli military’s attack on the flotilla.

    In addition, the Committee’s powers and mandate were extremely circumscribed. Under Israeli law, official commissions of inquiry have the widest investigatory powers. However, even commissions of inquiry do not have the full powers granted to prosecutors or the police. The powers granted to the Turkel Committee were even less than those of an independent official commission of inquiry. Thus, for example, the Committee was expressly prohibited from interviewing Israeli soldiers and security officers, and consequently relied almost exclusively on the testimonies and reports of Israeli military and political leaders.

    Thus, it did not have the tools or the powers to open an investigation to collect evidence regarding Israel’s interception of and attack on the flotilla in international waters, which left nine Turkish citizens dead and dozens of other passengers injured. The Turkel Committee did not possess the authority to criminally indict or otherwise order the prosecution of any individual. Finally its conclusions and recommendations are not binding.

    The members of the Turkel Committee are: Justice (Ret.) Jacob Turkel, Chairman; Ambassador Professor Shabtai Rosenne (deceased 21.9.10); General (Ret.) Amos Horev; Ambassador Reuven Merhav; Professor Miguel Deutch; Foreign Observers: Lord David Trimble (United Kingdom); and Brigadier General (Ret.) Kenneth Watkin, Q.C. (Canada).

    To note, during the Flotilla events, Adalah together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel filed an extraordinary petition for habeas corpus to the Israeli Supreme Court to demand the whereabouts and status of the Flotilla passengers. The organizations also met and took testimonies from tens of passengers who were detained at Ela Prison in Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva) and represented Muhammed Zeidan, Chair of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; Sheikh Raed Salah, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel; and Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabes, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (southern branch), and Ms. Lubna Masarwa of the Free Gaza Movement following their arrest from the Mavi Marmara. Adalah has provided legal assistance to numerous passengers from the Flotilla in an attempt to secure the return of their personal possessions confiscated by Israel during the attack, and to gain compensation – and demand a criminal investigation – for one passenger whose credit card was used by a soldier without her authorization. Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel are also representing MK Haneen Zoabi in a petition before the Israeli Supreme Court challenging the Knesset’s decision to revoke several of MK Zoabi?s parliamentary privileges due to her participation in the flotilla. The hearing in this case is scheduled for 28 March 2011.

     

    Adalah’s Statement is taken from THIS Uruknet report.

    A TALE OF TWO JONATHANS

    Jonathan Pollard is an American who was paid to spy for Israel. He got a life sentence in 1987 because of the damage he’d done to national security.

    Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli citizen who earns just enough to live as a graphic designer so that he can participate in the struggle of Palestinian villagers trying to save their land from Israel’s remorseless settlement-building.

    The Other Jonathan
    By Nadia Hijab *

    Israel prime minister recently appealed for the release of Jonathan Pollard from an American jail. Just a week later, Israel sent Jonathan Pollak to jail. Although they share a first name and almost all of a last name, the two men could not be more different.

    Jonathan Pollard is an American who was paid to spy for Israel. He got a life sentence in 1987 because of the damage he’d done to national security. Israeli governments first claimed he was a rogue operator, then embraced and naturalized him, and then began clamoring for his release.

    Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli citizen who earns just enough to live as a graphic designer so that he can participate in the struggle of Palestinian villagers trying to save their land from Israel’s remorseless settlement-building. This Jonathan has gone to jail — he started his three-month sentence on January 11 — instead of accepting community service because he refused to recognize the court’s right to judge him for fulfilling “my duty to do everything within my power to change the unbearable situation of Gaza’s inhabitants and to bring to an end Israel’s control over the Palestinians.”

    The very different stories of these two men powerfully illuminate the past and future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s request that the United States show Pollard clemency comes hard on the heels of its rebuff of the American administration on settlements. It illustrates the arrogance that permeates the Israeli political system because no Western country has held it accountable for its violations of international law before and since its occupation of Palestinian lands in 1967. Worse, the U.S. has for decades actively prevented others from holding Israel accountable, bringing the region to its present impasse.

    By contrast, Pollak, the activist, is a shining light in the growing civil society movement — Palestinian, Israeli, and international — that is challenging Israel’s occupation and discrimination as well as their own governments’ inability or unwillingness to stop these human rights violations.

    Many Israelis and internationals have put themselves at similar risk to Palestinians under occupation in order to protest Israel’s appalling human rights abuses. Too many have paid with their lives or with injury and imprisonment. They are a model of courage and humility. The parents of 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she sought to non-violently prevent the demolition of a Palestinian pharmacist’s home in Gaza, often point to the far greater number of Palestinians killed. Pollak is using his jail term to draw attention to the much harsher verdicts given to Palestinians involved in non-violent protests, including Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leader of the civil resistance.

    Further, Pollak exemplifies the growing number of young Jews from within Israel as well as in America and in Europe who are joining older generations of activists in speaking out against the crimes being committed in their names. They face ostracism by their communities and worse.

    These young Jews have built up trust with Palestinians, despite the shedding of so much blood and painful loss of the last 62 years. Together, they paint the possibility of a different tomorrow. As Tony Karon, a journalist from Cape Town who lives in New York recently recalled in a piece on this phenomenon in The National, when the whites stood in solidarity with blacks in apartheid South Africa, “we briefly inhabited the shared future for which we were all striving.”

    Even as it fears the fate of South Africa, Israel is escalating its repression against Jewish activists while it seeks to crush Palestinian non-violent resistance and speed up its colonization of East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other lands it covets in the occupied West Bank.

    The human rights alliance between Palestinians, Jews, and internationals is using non-violent protest, boycotts, and new media to shake up the international status quo that has let Israel get away with so much for so long. And, in the process, they are laying the foundation for a future of equality, justice, and peace.

    *Nadia Hijab is Co-director of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network


    Written FOR

     

    Also see THIS post


    ISRAELI ARMY NEVER MISSES AN OPPORTUNITY TO MISS AN OPPORTUNITY

    The army seems to never miss an opportunity to attack unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank even when mainstream Israeli news is filming.

    The army never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity

    Posted by Joseph Dana

    Right wing pundits have often said that Palestinians, when in talks with Israel, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The more time that I spend in the West Bank and watch the behavior of the Israeli army towards Palestinians, the more I feel that the statement should be said about the army. The weekly demonstration in Bil’in last Friday is a perfect example.

    The Bil'in Demonstration Before Tear Gas. Photo: Joseph DanaThe Bil’in Demonstration Before Tear Gas. Photo: Joseph Dana 

    The demonstration was much smaller than the previous weeks. However, there was a television crew from Israeli Channel 2 present. We were told that they had another crew embedded with the army for a story about the demonstration which would air on a weekend news show. As we marched to the barrier, I was eager to see how the army would handle the demonstration with the presence of such important Israeli media. Would they not fire any tear gas? Would they arrest people?

    We arrived at the barrier and the chanting began. The demonstration was in honor of Jonathan Pollak and a number of demonstrators formed a peace sign each holding a photo of Pollak. Twenty minutes into the demonstration there was no tear gas. Soldiers threw a couple of sound bombs and had resorted to spraying demonstrators with the ’skunk,’ a horrible petrochemical that smells like shit and stays on your skin for weeks, but there was no tear gas. I told one of the Channel 2 people that it was unusual that the army had restrained on the gas and the reason was most likely the crew’s presence.

    The Army Gases Us as We are Leaving. Photo: Joseph DanaThe Army Gases Us as We are Leaving. Photo: Joseph Dana 

    As we were talking some Palestinian youth began to throw stones at the barrier and soldiers. Great, I thought to myself, Channel 2 is going to paint this whole thing as a violent riot. The Israeli public will eat it up and use it to support their claim that the army can do no wrong in their treatment of unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank.

    The stone throwers were calmed down after a short time by leaders of the popular committee in Bil’in. Mohammad Khatib, the coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, read a brilliant speech by Gandhi on the megaphone and then informed the crowd in three languages, English, Arabic and Hebrew, that the demonstration was over. He thanked everyone for coming, invited all of us for tea and vowed that we will return next week and the week after and the week after.

    Tear Gas in Bil'In. Photo: Joseph DanaTear Gas in Bil’In. Photo: Joseph Dana 

    Oren Ziv, the incredible photographer with Activestills, walked next to me as we made our way to the village. “This is a historical event,” he said, “There was no tear gas in Bil’in!” Exactly as he said those words to me, the gate to the barrier opened behind us and 30 soldiers entered and began chasing the demonstrators. Suddenly, there was tear gas in every direction and big clouds were engulfing parts of the Channel 2 news crew. Without warning and as we were walking back to the village, we were all attacked with gas.

    I ran to the Channel 2 reporter who I had been chatting with throughout the day. “Do you see?” I asked in a huff. “This is how it normally is here. We just said on the megaphone that the demo is over!” She was in disbelief and clearly shaken by what she had experienced. As if she came out of a shell, she began agreeing with me, “Yes yes, yes, I will make sure it goes into the report. This is just insane!”

    So there you have it. The army seems to never miss an opportunity to attack unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank even when mainstream Israeli news is filming. So, how is Channel 2 going to show the events of day?

    Posted AT


    I CAN CALL THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT A MORON

    A joke that was circulated in days gone by went as;
    American: I live in a free country. I can say anything I want to, I can even call President Kennedy a moron!

    Soviet: My country is free as well. I can also call President Kennedy a moron!

    I was reminded of that silly joke this morning when I read the following report from the Ma’an News Agency….

    In this case, it appears that the PA is the joke ….. unfortunately, not a very funny one.


    Journalist faces PA court for insulting Abbas

    RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority prosecutors have set a final court date for a journalist accused of mocking the president on Facebook, the reporter told The Associated Press on Saturday. 

    Mamdouh Hamamreh was detained for several weeks in September after he was tagged in a picture on Facebook allegedly ridiculing President Mahmoud Abbas, the AP reported.

    He told the AP he is accused of insulting a public figure.

    The image showed Abbas alongside a Syrian actor who portrayed a spy in a popular soap opera, the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

    Hamamreh was charged with libel and slander in a PA court in Bethlehem, the newspaper said.

    The journalist works for Al-Quds TV, a channel sympathetic to Hamas, bitter rivals to Abbas’ Fatah party.

    The reporter was not the first to be targeted by the PA over online activity.

    In October, PA forces detained a young blogger from the West Bank city of Qalqiliya over his postings online.

    Walid Al-Husseini, 26, was accused of blasphemy for criticizing Islam in posts on his blog and Facebook.

    Facebook closed his account following complaints from users, but he started a blog, Enlightenment of Reason.

    In an August post, he wrote that all religions “are to me a bunch of mind-blowing legends and a pile of nonsense that compete with each other in terms of stupidity.”

    His detention drew sharp criticism from human rights groups.

    In November, Human Rights Watch slammed the PA’s claim that offending Muslims was grounds to detain the blogger.

    The organization questioned the PA’s use of foreign assistance “to arbitrarily detain a man for peacefully expressing his views,” noting that the US donated $350 million for security and program assistance and an additional $150 million in direct budgetary support to the PA in 2010.

    “Because a prosecutor was ‘offended,’ the PA spent security and judicial resources to investigate and detain Hasayin in violation of both Palestinian and international law, and yet has not managed to charge him with any crime after more than a month,” said Joe Stork, the organization’s regional deputy director.

     

    Also see this AP report taken from Ynet…..
     

     

    Palestinian charged with insulting Abbas online

     

    ZIONIST INSPIRED WITCH HUNTS CONTINUE AT AMERICAN COLLEGES

    Campus Watch
    Mr. Kristofer Petersen is an active partisan of Palestinians in Gaza. As a recent graduate student, he has published his views in one of the most virulent pro-Palestinian forums and elsewhere, and I have found little else in his online record displaying either balance or a wider scholarly understanding of Israel and the Palestinians… His writings and associations point to an apparent one-sidedness with regards to the Middle Eastern issue of Israel and Palestinians.

    One- sidedness? That accusation coming from folks who don’t even recognise the existence of the ‘other side’. How could atrocities be committed against a people that do not even exist?

    In Kristofer’s own words…. Outside the academy, I worked for some time as a human rights activist in Gaza and the West Bank and I still maintain close contact with the Palestinian activist community.

    Does it sound like he was trying to hide anything when he applied for his teaching position at Brooklyn College? The zionists make it sound like he did. One of them went as far as to write to the Department Chair of Middle Eastern Politics saying that; The key question is whether Mr. Petersen is capable of wide scholarship, balance, and presentations that will bring credit to Brooklyn College and not legitimate criticism from students, alumni or the public. I think it appropriate to have sympathy for Palestinians. However, there is much more to the complex story, as you must be aware. That is why careful and sober scholarly analysis and presentation is so needed. From Mr. Kristofer Petersen’s writings available online and his associations, it appears that this may not be what the students at Brooklyn College can be assured to receive.

    Careful and sober scholarly analysis? In other words, the zionist point of view ONLY. For example, they continue with;

    An indication of Mr. Petersen’s more supposedly serious work is the chapter Petersen recently co-wrote, Retooling Peace Philosophy: A Critical Look at Israel’s Separation Strategy in the book Peace Philosophy in Action. It is a polemic masquerading as scholarship. Petersen’s co-authors, Johannes Schmidt and Jacques Hirsh, are Danish academics. Hirsh is avidly anti-Zionist, writing in the Marxist periodical Monthly Review: “As the focus on the Holocaust evolved, it came to be seen as related to the transformation of the struggle for a secure Israel into one of an expanding and conquering state.” Schmidt is active in the international “peace” movement.

    Petersen’s chapter presents Israel’s Zionism as a “philosophy of separation” and “ethnic separation” creating an apartheid state and so treating Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. “This chapter argues that the philosophy of separation is a logical extension of Zionism’s exclusionary ideological history and that its implementation in the Gaza Strip has not reduced the level of violence against Israeli civilians.” The chapter goes on this “has led some to draw comparisons with South African apartheid, a parallel that has become increasingly justified…”

    Now, many within Israel forecast and most now see that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from occupation of Gaza would allow the most violent among Gazans to take control, as Hamas did, and imperil Israel, as homemade rockets and the Iranian arming of Hamas has done. But, Petersen’s chapter treats the cause of Gazan violence against Israel as if it is Israel’s fault, somehow a consequence of ensuing Gazan poverty: “…Israel’s general security situation has actually worsened, roughly commensurate with the plummeting humanitarian conditions in Gaza.” There’s no exploration of the murders by Hamas of its Palestinian political foes, its authoritarian control of Gazan society, pocketing or use on arms of hundreds of millions of dollars a year of international humanitarian aid from the West, other Arab states avoidance of support for Hamas, or Hamas dedication from its inception to eradicate Israel.

    Peace is a concept alien to the zionist ‘mind’, a threat to their very existence, therefore someone like Kristofer Petersen is a threat to them as was a Norman Finkelstein before him. Hopefully Brooklyn College won’t follow the example of DePaul University or be influenced by anything a Dershowitz might have to add to this particular situation.

    I have personally known Kris for a number of years through his solidarity work in Gaza and the West Bank. His first hand knowledge of the situation here makes him the perfect candidate to teach in the Department he is connected with. His thoughts are there for all to see on his HomePage. He hides nothing about himself or his activities.  He is the type of friend that one can be proud of having. He is the type of teacher that a student can actually learn something from.

    The report from Campus Watch can be seen HERE.

    It is they that should be watched, not those that teach the truth.

    Kristofer Petersen

    SATANICAL RABBIS

    The Torah, after all, was supposed to be a light upon humanity. But when it becomes, thanks to those rabbis of Satan, a tool for genocide, there is obviously a huge catch-22 hanging over Judaism’s conscience.

    The rabbis of the devil
    By Khalid Amayreh

    Imagine, just imagine, the outcry that would follow an imagined call by a European Muslim or Christian religious leader suggesting sending hundreds of thousands of Jews to concentration camps.  The Sheikh or priest or  bishop would be lambasted  beyond imagination, and his  denomination  or church  would immediately distance itself from his foolish remarks. 

    Political authorities would also declare that Nazi-minded Sheikh or bishop has no place in modern Europe and that governments would nip the hateful and racist elements in the bud. In short, he would be looked upon  as a pariah, to say the very least. He even might be forced to commit suicide under public pressure.

    As to Jewish circles, their protests would be clarion and omnipresent.

    But how would things look like if such a call took place in Israel and was made by a popular rabbi, with hundreds of thousands of followers?

    According to a weekly Hebrew magazine, several rabbis, including the rabbi of Safad, Shmuel Eliyahu,  recently proposed  the establishment of death camps for the Palestinians.

    The magazine indicated that the creation of these camps would be the duty of all devout Jews.

    The Yedeot Ahronot’s YNet on Saturday, 15 January quoted the rabbis  as stating that the Torah requires Jews to wipe out any trace of the so-called Amalek in Palestine . Many religious Jews refer to their perceived or real enemies as Amalek.

    The YNet quoted Jewish intellectual Audi Aloni as saying that calls for the extermination of Palestinians are openly made in the synagogues as the genocidal idea has become a practical option.

    “No one objected to Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Chief Rabbi of Beit El, who undersigned the advisory opinion, which suggested approval for their opinion.”

    I realize that these evil men don’t represent Jews everywhere, nor do they even represent the entire rabbinic community. There are many esteemed rabbis who reject outright the satanic mindset permeating through the landscape of the sick minds of people like Elyahu,  his cohorts and evil colleagues.

    The Torah, after all, was supposed to be a light upon humanity. But when it becomes, thanks to those rabbis of Satan, a tool for genocide, there is obviously a huge catch-22 hanging over Judaism’s conscience.

    Again, the fact that these nefarious rabbis don’t represent the entirety of Judaism is no guarantee that their damage will be limited. A fool man’s fire could frustrate a thousand wise men who wouldn’t know how to put it off.

    Isn’t this the way the holocaust started? It didn’t start with concentration camps, or even with Kristalnacht.  Such death camps as Auschwitz , Treblinka, Mauthauzen and Bergen Belsen became only known much later.

    The purpose of this small piece is not to vilify or demonize Jews. Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about hurling Nazi epithets at Jews. However, nothing should be further from truth.

    The call for sending millions of Palestinians to concentration camps means that a sizeable segment of the Israeli Jewish society is capable, at least mentally, of embarking on the unthinkable. It means that a real Jewish holocaust against the Palestinian people is not outside the realm of imagination.

    This matter is well known, even known too well for us who live in this part of the world. After all, Israel demonstrated two years ago, during its Nazi-like onslaught on the Gaza Strip, that it could do the unthinkable.

    And that was not the first time Israel behaved manifestly nefariously. In 2006, during the Israeli aggression on Lebanon , the Israeli air force dropped more than 2,000,000 cluster bomblets on South Lebanon civilian areas, arguably enough to kill or maim at least  2 million Lebanese children.

    The scant media coverage of the latest diabolic statements by the rabbis of evil in no way lessens their gravity and seriousness. After all, these are not marginal or isolated figures in society.

    In fact, paying not sufficient attention to this phenomenon is tantamount to encouraging it. If Germans and others had not kept silence in the late 1920s and early 1930s, many things wouldn’t have occurred.

    I would want to be cautious drawing historical analogy between every thing happening in Israel today and everything that happened in Europe several decades ago.  However, there are certain parallels that shouldn’t escape our attention, and the latest outrageous statements by these diabolical rabbis are one of them.

    Let no one say that words are innocuous and can’t kill; nay, words can kill and do kill. A few years ago, a Jewish immigrant from France decapitated a Palestinian cabby from East Jerusalem after the taxi-driver gave the killer a ride to his home north of Tel Aviv. And when the murderer was eventually arrested and interrogated by the police, he said he heard his neighborhood synagogue rabbi say that the lives of non-Jews had no sanctity.

    More to the point, it is abundantly clear that thousands of Israeli soldiers would rather heed and obey their respective rabbis’ homilies than their army superiors’ instructions when it comes to treating Palestinians. This fact was revealed during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza two years ago when Israeli soldiers knowingly and deliberately murdered innocent civilians, including children, by the hundreds.

    But this is not the time for demonization; it is rather the time for action. Jewish leaders of all orientations should speak up as strongly as possible against those who are besmirching the good name of their religion.

    The likes of Shmuel Eliyahu must be told that there is no place in Judaism for those who advocate genocide for non-Jews. In the final analysis, when Jews or anybody else think or behave or act like the Nazis acted, they simply become Nazis themselves.

    Finally, Jews shouldn’t keep silent in the face of these abominations just because the media and public opinion in the West are more or less keeping silent. Well, since when a moral stance was decided by other people’s apathy or silence?   In fact, the immoral silence of much of the west toward what is happening in Israel these days is bad and dangerous for Jews and their future.

    Anything that causes moral desensitization to occur is definitely bad.  This is to put it extremely mildly.

     

    TRULY REVOLTING ‘HUMOUR’

    The video presented below is supposed to be funny….. it might have been if it wasn’t true. Not only is racism taught in many homes in Israel, it is reinforced by the educational system. A guaranteed way to preserve everything zionism stands for today.

    A brilliant skit from the Israeli comedy show “Eretz Nehederet” (lit: “Wonderful Country) on Channel 2. This skit depicts a joint education program devised by the right-wing (yet mainstream) organization Im Tirtzu with the Ministry of Education that helps kindergarten children be prepared for the complicated life in Israel.


    Thanks to Norman Finkelstein for posting this

    AN AMERICAN ACTIVIST FINDS LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS OF PALESTINE

    Despair and heartbreak are commonplace among the Palestinians I met. And yet, in the words and actions of Palestinians like Omar Barghouti, a leader in the Palestin­ian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, there is reason for hope. It’s a sentiment echoed by Allam Jarrar, director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society who said, “in every dark situation there is a tiny light.”

    Finding Light in Dark Times

    Posted by Alex Kane

     

    REFUSING TO BE SILENT: Soubhiya Abu Rahmah stands outside her home next to posters commemorating the deaths of her son and daughter. Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahmah were both killed by the Israeli military while demonstrating against the separation barrier that illegally confiscates land in their village. PHOTO: Alex Kane

     

    BIL’IN, West Bank — Tear gas burned my eyes and throat, and I ran for cov­er. Moments before, more than 15 of us from a solidarity delegation organized by American Jews for a Just Peace had been protesting Israel’s illegal separation bar­rier that confiscates Palestinian land. It was Jan. 7, a week after U.S.-made tear gas had killed Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 36-year-old woman from the same village. Not to be deterred by Israeli military checkpoints and roadblocks around Bil’in, more than 100 Israelis, Palestinians and internationals par­ticipated in the demonstration against the barrier. Jawaher was on everyone’s minds, and demonstrators held up posters with the words “gas won’t tear us apart” written above photos of her face.

    DIFFERENT WORLDS

    Just an hour before, I had been sitting in my hotel room in Ramallah. The landscape of Israel/Palestine, profoundly compact, bog­gles the mind. Different universes, ranging from siege and hardship to a bubble of nor­malcy and hope, exist simultaneously.

    Ramallah, the effective capital of the West Bank, continues to be the exception to the Palestinian experience with its flourishing cafes and bars that cater to foreign business­men and aid workers — and the Palestinians who benefit from these travelers.

    It also currently serves as the administrative capital for the Western-backed Palestinian Au­thority, which has grown into an increasingly repressive governing apparatus. Reminders of Palestinian resistance are confined to posters of the late leader Yasser Arafat.

    Tel Aviv is another story. Far from Israel’s border towns near Gaza, where people are often reminded that Palestinians exist in the form of crude homemade rockets that do little damage, Israel’s capital is artificially idyllic. Israelis go about their daily lives, seemingly oblivious to the Palestinians liv­ing under the grinding boot of apartheid.

    HARDSHIP AND HOPE

    Then there’s Hebron, located in the southern West Bank, where more than 163,000 Pales­tinians are held hostage by 500 IDF-backed Israeli settlers. I stayed with a large Palestin­ian family there and witnessed what is often considered the flashpoint of the most intense of Israeli-Palestinian relations. Surrounded by extremist settlers, the family was forced to build a wall around their house to protect themselves from almost weekly attacks. One of my hosts, a woman in her 20s, told me that a few years ago a group of settlers hit her in the head with a rock, knocking her unconscious. Israeli checkpoints prevented the Palestinian ambulance from reaching her for two and a half hours. Her vision was impaired for months after the incident.

    The Hebron settlers are mostly followers of the assassinated anti-Arab leader Rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated the expulsion of the Palestinians. While they are by far the most extreme (and perhaps the smallest) fac­tion of settlers, they have a disproportionate amount of Israel’s support, despite the pro­testation of many left-wing Israeli activists who consider them fascists.

    Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieber­man, is an illegal settler who openly calls for Palestinian citizens to be transferred out of Israel. Earlier this month, the Israeli Knesset passed a McCarthyist initiative to inves­tigate leftist Israeli groups. And the docu­mented massacre of more than 1,300 Pales­tinian civilians during Israel’s 2008-09 siege has done little to deter talk of a renewed as­sault on Gaza.

    Despair and heartbreak are commonplace among the Palestinians I met. And yet, in the words and actions of Palestinians like Omar Barghouti, a leader in the Palestin­ian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, there is reason for hope. It’s a sentiment echoed by Allam Jarrar, director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society who said, “in every dark situation there is a tiny light.”

    Two weeks after Jawaher’s death, I had the chance to interview her mother, Soubhi­ya. She recalled the nearly identical death of her son, Bassem, an integral part of Bil’in’s resistance to the apartheid wall. In April 2009 the IDF shot a high velocity tear-gas canister directly at Bassem’s chest.

    I asked her whether she still thought it was worth protesting after two of her chil­dren died as a result. “Yes, for sure,” she answered. “When the army keeps doing this stuff, and the Israeli government steals more land, yes, for sure I support this and everybody has to do some­thing against them. We have never stopped. We will not be silent about this.”

     

     

    Posted AT


     

    This article originally appeared in the latest issue of the Indypendent

     

    BARAK’S DEADLY BLOW TO THE LABOUR PARTY

    Barak’s deadly blow to Labour

    With the left in Israeli politics all but collapsing entirely, the neo-fascist right wing is virtually unopposed, reports Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem


    Ehud Barak


    In a dramatic though not entirely unexpected step, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, decided this week to leave the party, along with three others of his colleagues, effectively condemning the party to irrelevance.

    The socialist-Zionist party that ruled Israel, especially during its formative years up until 1977, had been in a state of disarray for a long time, with several key party leaders accusing Barak of destroying the party by succumbing to the rightwing agenda of the current Israeli government.

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seemed quite pleased with the rupture, saying it ensured that his government would live for a long time to come.

    Barak’s decision to leave the Labour Party and set up his own faction leaves the embattled party with only eight seats in the Knesset. Three cabinet ministers affiliated with Labour quit their portfolios, saying they will devote themselves “to rebuilding the party and restoring its former glory”.

    Barak had been facing significant challenges from members demanding his ouster, citing “his absolute humiliating subservience” to the rightwing government. Hence Barak’s departure can be viewed as a sort of pre-emptive action against his critics — an action that critics say contains clear elements of conspiracy and vindictiveness.

    His former colleagues in the party accused Barak of betraying the Labour movement, of self-centeredness, and spitefulness. “Barak brought tragedy to the Labour Party, sullied it and broke it apart,” said Labour MK Shelly Yachimovich, lambasting Barak for the “corrupt and opportunist” way in which he chose to split from the party.

    Another party leader, Eitan Cabel, described Barak’s coup as proof that “these people have destroyed the Labour party and that they must ask me and my colleagues for forgiveness.”

    Meanwhile, the remaining “Labourites” are trying to put the best possible face on the situation. Veteran Labour leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the party would eventually overcome its ordeal: “Labour has had its ups and downs, and I have no doubt that Labour will return to what it once was.”

    Ben-Eliezer said he would do whatever was necessary to help rehabilitate the party. He is likely to become temporary chairman of the dwindling party until a race is held to succeed Barak.

    Another Barak critic, Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Baverman said the party would seize on the opportunity left by Barak’s departure: “In every crisis there is opportunity. The main problem of the Labour Party is that it didn’t stand up for its ideals. Barak decided to support Likud and [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman, instead of fighting for the values of Labour. Sharon left Likud to advance peace. Barak is splitting from Labour to be a second rate Likudnik at best, and another Lieberman at worst.”

    Although Barak’s desertion from the party is unlikely to have immediate political ramifications in Israel, the dramatic split in what once was the ultimate left Zionist party will boost the confidence of the Netanyahu government.

    Netanyahu claimed that the Labour split would help the cause of peace with the Palestinians. The hawkish Israeli premier suggested that the blow would make the Palestinians understand that the Israeli government will not collapse anytime soon, and that they will have no choice but to submit to Israel’s conditions.

    “The Palestinians saw the threats of the Labour ministers and toughened their stance because they thought the Israeli government was about to collapse. Now they understand the government is going nowhere and they will return to negotiations.”

    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official, who had been involved in negotiating with the Palestinians for 15 years, as saying: “if officials in the prime minister’s bureau think that this is the way to advance the peace process then they are disconnected from reality.”

    Netanyahu has been offering the weak Palestinian Authority a small and deformed state, leaving much of the West Bank — including virtually all of occupied East Jerusalem — in Israeli hands. Most Palestinians, including Fatah, the party of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, view such a settlement as the liquidation of the Palestinian national cause and inalienable Palestinian rights.

    It is uncertain what road the new Barak faction, called “Independence”, will travel. According to a quick poll carried out by the Panels polling institute for the Knesset Channel, three per cent of the Israeli public said they would vote for Barak’s party.

    Barak said the faction would be centrist and Zionist. However, there is little doubt that should Barak maintain his stamp and hegemony on the new party, it would have either of two choices: joining the effectively neo-fascist right-wing camp, or dying down as an opportunistic group unaccepted by authentic right-wingers and rejected by an embittered and betrayed mother party.

    There is no doubt that the Israeli leftist camp is going through difficult times, not only because of the blow that has been dealt to the Labour Party. Israeli society itself has been drifting towards extreme nationalism, in both its religious and secular forms. Jingoism, chauvinism, anti- internationalism, xenophobia, and plain racism already have deep roots in Israel. One Israeli cabinet minister declared recently: “We are already a fascist state.”

    Hence, with or without the rupture of the Labour Party, Israel was already charting a dangerous course. A few days ago, an Israeli journal quoted several prominent rabbis as calling for creating concentration camps for the Palestinians. The Nazi-minded rabbis, who included the rabbi of Safad, Shlomo Eliahu, said in their “advisory opinion” that it was the duty of all devout Jews to help send Palestinians to the ovens.

    The edict issued said the Bible called on all Jews to annihilate the Palestinians. The manifestly criminal call was scantily covered by the media and generated negligible reactions from Israeli society.

    A few weeks ago, the spiritual mentor of the Shas fundamentalist party, Ovadia Yosef, said during a Sabbath homily that all non-Jews were effectively donkeys — animals of burden created by the Almighty in human shape only in deference to Jews. Yosef has hundreds of thousands of loyalists and followers ready and willing to carry out his instructions to the letter.

     

     

    Written FOR

    TUNISIA TOON ~~~~ THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

    Image by Bendib
    click on image to enlarge

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