NO UNILATERAL ISRAELI PATH TO TWO STATES

If Israel’s leadership is serious about reaching a two-state solution, the road is defined and clear. It requires that Israelis grapple with the real interests and demands of Palestinians as of equal substance and value to their own, rather than wishing them away.

No unilateral Israeli path to two states

By Sam Bahour FOR

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The composition and track record of the current Israeli government leads Palestinians to expect very little from Israel in the way of advancing peace. After five decades of military occupation, and repeated failures of two decades of bilateral negotiations based on the Oslo Accords, there is a clear need for new ideas. But the proposals offered by Amos Yadlin’s post last month, “Two states, four paths for achieving them,” do not accord with basic realities on the Palestinian side, and as such do not offer a viable pathway to a two-state outcome.

Yadlin’s argument is premised on the belief that a negotiated two-state outcome is not possible today because of a Palestinian refusal to engage. He argues: “It appears that in 2016, the Palestinians do not view a two-state solution…as a preferred outcome.” Palestinians, by contrast, see their leaders’ actions, like the November 2012 UN General Assembly resolution that accorded Palestine observer state status, as efforts to save the two-state solution in the face of Israeli actions that undermine it.

The outcome Yadlin offers as one that would meet Israel’s needs would require Palestinians to forfeit basic components of statehood and basic principles of Israeli-Palestinian peace that are enshrined in international law, such as the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their or their families’ places of origin in what is today Israel.

Similarly, Yadlin calls for Palestinians to accept “limitations on their sovereignty” to meet Israeli security concerns. From a Palestinian perspective, though, that sovereignty has been systematically constrained already by Israeli policies, including annexation of territory and the expanding settlement enterprise. These are but two examples of divergent viewpoints between Israelis and Palestinians that doom each of the “four paths” Mr. Yadlin proposes to reach a two-state solution.

Each of Yadlin’s proposed paths for Israel—negotiations toward a final status agreement (with the expectation that they would fail due to Palestinian intransigence), pursuing a regional agreement, seeking an interim bilateral agreement, and taking unilateral action—is problematic.

“A negotiation process resulting in a final status agreement” – The Oslo Peace Accords and the 20 years of unconsummated negotiations that followed were an intensive effort to achieve just that. However, they failed in part because they did not address the fundamental asymmetry between the parties to those accords—Palestinians recognized a state, and Israel, in turn, recognized the representative body of a national movement seeking its right to self-determination.

If Israelis were serious about two states, and heeded lessons from the failed interim agreements of the Oslo process, a good starting point would be for Israel to reciprocate the political recognition of Israel that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) made back in 1993. Israel’s recognition of the state of Palestine is long overdue, especially after more than 130 countries—including the Vatican—have done so.

This symmetrical recognition would also define the end game upfront as the outcome to which both sides are already formally committed—and then both sides can spend their negotiating energies on realizing two states living in peace.

“A regional agreement” – The notion that a regional track could substitute for the bilateral track suggests a failure to learn from the past. At many points throughout the history of this conflict, Israeli politicians and policymakers have sought to transfer the Palestinian issue onto other regional states—as in the Camp David I agreement with Egypt, or the suggestion that Palestinians should instead create their state in Jordan, a sovereign country.

It is positive that Mr. Yadlin seems to embrace the Arab Peace Initiative (API) as a means for progress toward two states—but it can only play the role he envisions if it morphs into something it is not.

The API is not a starting point for negotiations, but rather terms of reference for an agreement that Arab states would recognize as sufficient to gain Israel normalization within the Middle East. As such, Yadlin’s call for an “updated version” in which the “plan should be decoupled from the issue of the [occupied] Golan Heights” and “not be conditional on a solution to the refugee problem according to U.N. Security Council Resolution 194 from 1949,” do not take into account Arab governments’ own interests in these issues. Regional peace for Israel is unattainable without Israel first making peace with Palestinians.

“An interim bilateral agreement” – When Palestinians accepted the interim agreements of the Oslo bilateral process, there were 100,000 illegal settlers on the ground. Two decades of negotiations has left us with over 500,000 settlers and with the Palestinian community in the West Bank and Gaza further fragmented and battered. This is why the Palestinian leadership has been crystal clear in rejecting another interim agreement.

Without more than verbal commitments to a viable two-state solution, and without a clear pathway to get there, another interim agreement would only allow Israel to create more “facts on the ground” that would preclude such a solution. It is hard to understand how such a proposal would offer Palestinians any hope of progress, given the experience of the past two decades.

“In the case a negotiated agreement cannot be realized, an independent Israeli determination of its own borders” – It is even harder to understand how a unilateral Israeli determination of its own borders could, as Yadlin argues, “reinforce the agreed two-state solution paradigm,” especially because this would likely require massive Israeli military force (along with continued blind support from the United States) to create more facts on the ground. It’s understandable why Israelis would prefer to negotiate this conflict with themselves rather than engage with their adversaries, but it is the vast disparity in power between Israelis and Palestinians, not the logic of conflict resolution, that gives Israelis the realistic ability to do so. Still, this does not mean that unilateral decisions by Israel will one day find support among Palestinians.

It’s understandable why Israelis would prefer to negotiate this conflict with themselves rather than engage with their adversaries, but it is the vast disparity in power between Israelis and Palestinians, not the logic of conflict resolution, that gives Israelis the realistic ability to do so.

It is the nature of international conflicts that they can “end” only in one of two ways: either the two parties agree to a solution that meets their mutual interests, or the side with greater power dictates, imposes, and enforces an outcome over the objections of the weaker side. In proposing unilateralism as a “solution,” Yadlin abandons the more sustainable former pathway for the latter, which I see as doomed.

If Israel’s leadership is serious about reaching a two-state solution, the road is defined and clear. It requires that Israelis grapple with the real interests and demands of Palestinians as of equal substance and value to their own, rather than wishing them away. Equality can be achieved in two, truly independent states; or this conflict will default to a single state—as warned by President Obama and Secretary Kerry—marred by a civil rights struggle that may take another 70 years to bear fruition, but whose result is pre-defined.

TRYING TO CROSS THE ‘FLYING CHECKPOINT’ IN PALESTINE

There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.

Hizma flying checkpoint

Hizma flying checkpoint

Biodiversity and terrorism

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

I was with two of my students and an International visitor heading to Birzeit for our first class in biodiversity this semester on Saturday when we got selected for search at an Israeli “flying checkpoint”.  There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.  In this case a long line of cars were held at Hizma.  When it was our turn, a young Israeli younger than my son told me to stop.  I said can I pull to the side to let other cars pass.  He said no.  There were several of them young recruits dressed in police uniforms and in army uniforms.   In the occupied territories the two services are indistinguishable and operate as one fascist occupation force.  Another Israeli was nearby so I said why can’t I pull to the side.  He turned over to his commanding officer who nodded his agreement.  Then the officer asked me to pull onto the circle in the middle of the road.  They asked for all our ID cards and handed them to another person who went to check them via his computer.  Then they demanded each of us get out of the car in turns.  My students in the back first, then the international visitor, then me.  Some of the uniformed occupiers pointed their guns at us while others demanded we empty all our pockets and frisked us.

They searched the car and they flipped through the camera memory to see all our pictures. They were saying things in Hebrew and I was telling them repeatedly we do not speak Hebrew and that we can speak in English or Arabic to them.  I think they all understood English and at least two showed they understood Arabic after persistence from us.  I repeatedly asked in Arabic and in English why we were picked on.  One occupier said it is because he liked the shape of my car!  When I turned to a female soldier and asked her the same question and adding “are we living in a fascist state,” she merely shrugged her shoulders and said “he liked your car”.  They did not smile but I did, which seemed to irritate them.  Ryan was asked if he smokes anything and why is he here.  Then they asked him “do you like Palestinians,” to which he answered “I like all people!”  After delaying us for half an hour, they handed our ID cards to the international visitor and let us go.  For me, I was used to this.  One of my students (also a museum employee) is from an isolated village of Nahhalin which is frequently closed off has also been frisked and checked many times in the past.  His village was closed in the last three days and he sleeps in Bethlehem instead.  My other student (also a museum employee) and the international visitor had never experienced such harassment.  We joked later that this was a “good taste” of colonial occupation for them.

We discussed how these are really mild experiences compared to others.  For example, for the first five weeks of 2016, Israel demolished an average of 30 Palestinian structures weekly, displacing an average of 66 persons a week (this is three times the weekly average than that in 2015).  Palestinian young people as young as 12 continue to be murdered by Israeli occupation forces almost every other day.  Israeli soldiers carry knives in their backpacks to plant as “evidence” against many Palestinians they murder.  But there is growing Palestinian desperation.  Israeli occupation forces currently hold hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge (“administrative detentions”.)  At least one of those who has been held for nearly three months is on hunger strike (taking only water and salt.)  He will likely die in the next couple of days if Israel does not release him (Mohammad Al-Qeeq).  The Israeli Knesset continues to add racist laws to an already long list of racist laws (over 50) that discriminate against non-Jewish “nominal citizens”. This is not counting hundreds of military orders that discriminate against us who are not considered “nominal citizens” in our own country occupied by individuals with a superiority-inferiority complex gathered from around he world under the banner of Zionism.

Gaza’s situation is far worse than the West Bank and Gaza prisoners get no family visits and the Strip is besieged and starved of basic supplies.  Most of the tunnels that “smuggled” humanitarian supplies have been destroyed.  A slip of the tongue by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Egypt’s new policy of flooding the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula with seawater had come at Israel’s request.  The promise of rebuilding after Israel’s last genocidal attack on Gaza never materialized.  We shudder to think that it is again time for Israel to test new weapons on the Gaza “laboratory”. Israel’s largest “export” is weapons-related technology, and Israeli leaders have to “test” their weapons on the nearly two million captives in the open air prison called Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Fatah and later Hamas have taken the bait/infection of “Oslo process” believing it is possible to have an authority under occupation.  Here in teh West Bank many good Fatah leaders admit to us privately that they do not support the president whose erm expired years ago and who firest anyone who criticizes him. Yet he takes unilateral decisions to join the despots in “Saudi Arabia” and his speeches are frequently dotted with statements like “we have our hands stretched for peace.. we stop any armed resistance..we arrest activists… we believe only in peaceful demonstrations…ask [beg] the US and International community to exercise its responsibilities .. etc”.  Contrast this with what Ho Chi Minh once said: “Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.”  Or what Martin Luther King Jr said from Birmingham jail: “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate…who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'” Or even what Yasser Arafat said during the siege in Beirut or when Israel was pounding his last two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters “we will have freedom or die as martyrs”.

It is hard to cope with political leaders who do not seem to push strong enough but it is harder to deal state terrorism (which is far more devastating than individual terrorism). I (almost) retain sanity by staying busy (teaching plus other volunteer jobs including directing the Palestine Museum of Natural History, clinical laboratory work, writing, lecturing on Palestine, visitor guiding, research, and more.)  Birzeit University where I teach (more coach) a Biodiversity course is a beautiful campus with great students and faculty.  Before class, and having been delayed at the flying checkpoint, my two students had to rush to finish their work on “fruit flies/Drosophila”.  Spring is here and he gardens are blooming. The smell of freshly dug air mixes with the smell of almond blossoms. Good people and good food ameliorate life under occupation.  It helps to have a larger cause than one self.  Like MLK Jr and Steven Biko and Malcolm X, we are some times bewildered by the people around (including internationals and Palestinians) who show signs of “mental occupation” or are simply apathetic. But I would like to focus on those who have freed their minds and are helping others do the same.  There are literally millions of points of light out there.  We do not “win” over the darkness but it is those lights that make life meaningful. My own students (at Bethlehem Bible College, Birziet, and Bethlehem University) are also lights. For all those points of light we say thank you.

Here are a few lights expressing via writing “We are not just numbers”

And here is a timeline of positive actions using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) done in 2015 as examples of points of light

Having humility to recognize all these lights can help us amplify our own small light.

If you want to help in lighting our small candle locally, please see this

Photoassay of colonialism

 

ACTION: The UK and US government are introducing new rules that would prevent local councils from supporting BDS.

If you live in the UK, please take action to stop the government doing this.
In the US, please write your representative

TOON OF THE DAY ~~ BRAZIL’S CLUSTER BOMBS IN YEMEN

Image by Carlos Latuff

Thanks Brazil for showing us your true colours …

Brazil's Cluster Bombs prohibited by Geneva Convention used by Saudis in Yemen

Brazil’s Cluster Bombs prohibited by Geneva Convention used by Saudis in Yemen

Related …. (Click on link)

Yemen: Brazilian cluster munitions suspected in Saudi Arabia-led coalition attack

Image by Emad Hajjaj

Valentine's Day in Middle East

Valentine’s Day in Middle East

THIS VALENTINE’S DAY TRY LOVING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

And in honour of Black History Month, formerly National Brotherhood Week and Negro History Week 

As Tom Leher sees it …

Finally, From Russia With Love

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WEEK’S END TOONS ~~ THE NEW AXIS OF EVIL AND …

Images by Carlos Latuff

Obama, Putin Agree on Syria truce. Do You Trust Them?

Obama, Putin Agree on Syria truce. Do You Trust Them?

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Zika and @WHO, Who Will Win This Olympic Marathon?

Zika and WHO, Who Will Win This Olympic Marathon?

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Matariya Hospital On Strike Protesting Police Brutality Against Doctors.

Matariya Hospital On Strike Protesting Police Brutality Against Doctors.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PRESIDENT

Lincoln Mural by Hugo Gellert
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All young children have heroes …. mine was Abraham Lincoln. His name, as well as his image were very much a part of my childhood.
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There was a savings bank in my neighbourhood which carried his name. The upper wall was adorned with a mural of Lincoln leading the slaves to freedom, very much in the style of Moses doing the same thing.
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The local High School, which I attended, was Abraham Lincoln High School. The Brigade of brave American volunteers that went off to fight Franco and his fascists in Spain was named the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, definitely the bravest men I ever met.
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So, wherever I went, whatever I did, the image of Abraham Lincoln was forever present.
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Today, 207 years after his birth, he is still my hero,  a man whose visions of justice would be welcome in America today.

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Happy Birthday Mr. President!
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His famous speech in Gettysburg is still an inspiration for all who strive for Statehood and Freedom….
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The Gettysburg Address
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– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Nov. 19, 1863

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

 

 

Image of Lincoln by Charles White


SHATTERING HELEN THOMAS’ DREAM

MK demands trips to death camps in Poland be suspended

At a Knesset Education Committee meeting Monday, MK Yaacov Margi insisted a solution for disadvantaged students who can’t afford to go on the trip be found; MK Itzik Shmuli: We cannot acquiesce to the fact that these trips are only for the rich.calls for the trips to be suspended until a solution that allows disadvantaged pupils to also go

The Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Yaakov Margi (Shas), demanded Monday at a committee meeting that all March of the Living trips to Poland be suspended until a budget solution for disadvantaged students who are forced to forgo the trip was found.

“We cannot continue the status quo. The Committee is strongly opposed to the fact that the Ministry of Education did not handle the issue,” said MK Margi. “This is a very important issue, but because of the costs it scars the students. We cannot continue and support this industry of trips to Poland,” he added.

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) who participated in the Committee’s discussion of the issue noted that the protocols show that about 30,000 students out of about 120,000 students a year go to Poland. “We cannot acquiesce to the fact that these trips are only for the rich. The thought that a child who was denied the chance to go only because he has no money gives me no rest.”

The meeting was attended by MKs and representatives of teachers’ unions, student representatives and the Ministry of Education. Although the Ministry of Education allocates scholarships of 50 million shekels to students, students told the officials that the procedure embarrasses them in front of their friends. MK Shmuli added that scholarship recipients feel that they are being done a favor. “If they think it is important, they must include the trips in the curriculum with all the financial implications that entails,” he argued.

Also attending the discussion was Ohed Friedman, an eleventh grader from Yehud who said that “the trip to Poland cost 7,000 shekels, including preparations. I could go afford to go on the trip, but as a Scout I leaned the value of solidarity. I will not take care of myself and leave my friends who are less well-off remain at home. Scholarships are degrading and today there is no discretion. When a child asks for a scholarship everyone in the school knows about it and it is degrading.”

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu) argued that we should examine the students’ willingness and perhaps reconsider the justification for the trip during the school year in high schools. “My feeling is that over time a real investigation into what students go through while on a trip to Poland has not been carried out,” she said. “I’m not sure about the trips’ effect. We should ask ourselves if this is the only way to teach the Holocaust. Maybe we should find an alternative, perhaps even in a military framework.”

 

SOURCE

THURSDAY’S TOONS ~~ ISRAEL TO FENCE ITSELF IN

Images by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu plans fortress Israel to protect against ‘wild beasts’

Netanyahu plans fortress Israel to protect against ‘wild beasts’

Related from HaAretz

Netanyahu: We’ll Surround Israel With Fences ‘To Defend Ourselves Against Wild Beasts’
The government is preparing a multi-year plan to surround Israel with security barriers, prime minister says.’ In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves.’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a tour to the construction site of a barrier on the eastern border on Tuesday that he wishes to surround the country with fences and barriers “to defend ourselves against wild beasts” that surround Israel.

“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” said Netanyahu. “I’ll be told, ‘this is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”

Netanyahu added that the government is preparing a multi-year plan to surround all of Israel with security barriers, as well as a plan to close the breaches in the separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank.

The other fence …

Erdogan-Merkel Deal on Refugees

Erdogan-Merkel Deal on Refugees

DESERTPEACE STANDS IN SILENCE TODAY FOR THE PASSING OF A TRUE WOMAN OF VALOR

 

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

This morning I received an email from Sue, the daughter of the woman pictured above, informing me of the passing of her mother Anne Yellin yesterday, just a month short of her 99th birthday. She lived a full life and changed the lives of many who knew and loved her, including my own.

Anne played a special role in my life and I credit her more than anyone else for making me what I am today. It was she that handed me the leaflet in front of Woolworth’s in 1960 …. the leaflet that changed my life as can be seen in THIS post from the archives.

Anne was a pillar of the community I grew up in, known to all and loved by all. She was predeceased by her loving husband Jack, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in his own right, a true hero. She is survived by two loving daughters and Sue and Nancy and their children. May they all be comforted in the knowledge that the memory of their mother and grandmother will live on for years to come.

Bella Ciao dear Comrade and Friend!

My dear friend Matt Weinstein adds the following …

A good friend and one of the great “old-timer” activists and champions of peace and justice passed away today: Ann Yellin. She was a friend of my parents and a doting mom to her two daughters, Sue and Nancy as well as a very loving grandma. Ann, an RN by trade who worked for many years at Coney Island Hospital, was married to Jack Yellin, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—those courageous premature anti-fascists who fought in Spain before WW II, standing up to Franco and his backer, Hitler. And she was very proud of him. He died a long time ago but Ann carried his memory with her as the years passed and that memory helped bolster her to carry on. Ann was active throughout her life—she was a member of the Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach chapter of Women Strike For Peace, fighting for a world free of the nuclear threat and then later in the Shorefront Peace Committee—its successor. Strongly opinionated but never wavering in her commitment, Ann Yellin was a strong partisan of socialism and with that as her goal she was one of those rare women who translate their beliefs and world outlook into concrete action on behalf of humanity. She was a beautiful woman—inside and out. We won’t soon forget her and the larger than life contributions she made for a better world.Ann died a month before her 99th birthday.

In honour of Anne’s 90th birthday, Matt wrote the following … (Click on link)

THE GREATEST GENERATION~~ A GUEST POST

Matt and Anne in happier times ...

Matt and Anne in happier times …

And finally, a Biblical tribute to our wonderful Woman of Valor …

Eshet Chayil אשת חיל (Psalm 31 Hebrew and English text translation)

HOW ZIONISM STEALS QUOTES TO JUSTIFY EVIL

Maya Angelou stood with Palestinians, but Israeli military uses her for Black History Month hasbara ….

On the morning of February 8, the IDF spokesperson’s office tweeted this:

 To commemorate #BlackHistoryMonth, we find strength in the words of the late author & poet, Maya Angelou.


To commemorate #BlackHistoryMonth, we find strength in the words of the late author & poet, Maya Angelou.

Perhaps they have forgotten that Angelou stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people when she honored the late Rachel Corrie:

The video above was produced to be part of the Rachel’s Words event to honor the life of Rachel Corrie in 2012. Writer Jen Marlowe was involved in organizing the event and remembers:

Dr. Angelou’s reading of Rachel’s words was powerful and poignant. But I was moved for reasons beyond that. I was moved that Dr. Angelou recognized the importance of Rachel’s writings, and of why we were insisting that Rachel’s voice not be silenced. I was moved that, in participating in the ‘Rachel’s Words’ event, Dr. Angelou was making her own stand to honor not only Rachel, but the dignity and humanity of the families in Gaza that Rachel was there to protect.

There is no doubt that it was the courage of people like Corrie and Palestinians living under occupation that Angelou sought to honor, not that of an occupying military.

Thanks to Dave Reed

And to Adam Horowitz of Mondowiss for the above

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Does this poem sound like it was written by a supporter of zionism?

#FreeGaza ~~ THE WINNING LOGO

Freedom Flotilla

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC*) initiative that seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people.

The initiative was launched with a call to all artists/designers globally for submissions of a criterion based logo for the WBG that represented the undeniable contributions and indomitable spirit of Palestinian women who have been central within the Palestinian struggle.

The deadline of logo submissions was extended to the 25th of January 2016. We received and compiled approximately 40 logo submissions from different artists and organisations, after which a shortlist was created and collectively voted on by the media and steering committee of the WBG on the 31st January 2016.

We would firstly like to thank all the artists/designers and applicants who gave their time and effort  toward the logo submissions which were carefully reviewed and considered individually.  Your creativity and drive is noted and much appreciated.

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by South African graphic designer and activist Atiyyah Mohamed. Atiyyah’s involvement in the project was initiated through her enthusiasm for human rights and peace around the world and which centres directly around the struggle of Palestinian women in particular. Atiyyah is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance youth league and is involved in digital activism as well. Her logo was selected on the base of clarity and *-representation of the core message of the WBG.

The logo may be used in all WBG related campaigns and organisations and by individuals in support of the project. Should you require the logo in a specific format, or for any other information, enquiries or to engage in the campaign please do not hesitate to contact us via email at mediawbg@gmail.com.

We encourage all participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza – together we will break the blockade!

In solidarity!

FFC is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade of Gaza for years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.

MR. APARTHEID LOCKS HIS DOORS RATHER THAN FACE THE MUSIC

More photos can be seen HERE

More photos can be seen HERE

On the spot observation by Chippy Dee

Our Leviev Valentine’s event was yesterday – we shut him down again – they were supposedly closed for inventory (on a Saturday?). Again there were some crazies carrying on, screaming, grabbing someones phone and throwing it.  The NYPD was there and refused to arrest him because the phone was still working.  All of us ‘law & order types’ were chanting, “Arrest him!” but they didn’t.  Of course if that was a Black kid he’d be at Sing-Sing by now or on a coroner’s gurney. 

See the ugly face of zionism here …

Some background on why we demonstrate FROM

Love Under Apartheid at Leviev in New York City, Valentine’s 2016

A week before Valentine’s Day, as couples in many countries prepare to celebrate their love for one another, at our protest at Leviev diamonds in New York City we remembered that Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose due to Israel’s apartheid policies. We celebrated through the stories below the many Palestinians who dare to defy apartheid with love. Leviev, by building Israel settlements, contributes to Israel’s apartheid program. For more information see

Palestinians — whether living in Israel as Israeli citizens or in Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza, live under Israeli rule. Israel assigns separate ID cards to the Palestinians living in each area, and each ID card carries a different status and different rights. While this impacts Palestinians in many ways, one of the most intrusive and harmful results is the separation of loved ones.

Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose because multiple Israeli policies prevent them from doing so. For instance, if someone from the West Bank fell in love with someone from Gaza, they could not be together, because one carries an Israeli government-issued “West Bank only” ID and the other a “Gaza only” ID. This is despite the fact that both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are designated as Palestinian territories.

The Israeli Citizenship Law, which was enacted in 2003, prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying the spouse of their choice. This law affects thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and many couples have been forced to leave the country as a result, leaving behind their homes and their families.

Here are a couple of stories from the Love Under Apartheid campaign:

Taiseer and Lana, affected by Israeli Citizenship Law

Taiseer is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the city of Akka and his wife Lana is a Palestinian from the city of Jenin. Taiseer is an anthropologist and Lana is a librarian. Though they were already married, once the Citizenship Law was put in place, Lana was placed in a new legal category. She lives constantly in fear that she could be separated from her husband and their three young children.

Taiseer says: “We have the right to love and live just like any other people in the world. We are not any less than any people who choose whom, how or where they love.”  

Lina, affected by Military Order 1650 

Lina’s parents met while they were college students in the West Bank in the 1980’s. They fell in love, got married and had children. Lina’s mother has a West Bank ID and her father is a British citizen and originally from Gaza. In the 1980’s, Palestinians were more free to live and travel between the Palestinian territories, but in 2009, Israeli Military Order 1650 changed everything. One day while traveling for his work as a journalist, Lina’s father was stopped at checkpoint, arrested by soldiers and deported to Gaza, without a chance to say goodbye to his family.

Lina says: “One day we found our family split right in the middle…for my parents not to see each other…it was really emotional watching the effects on them…My dad would send me text messages at the most random hours of the day. I knew he was unable to sleep, thinking ‘I had my family with me, I had a job, I had a house, and overnight that completely changed.'”

These stories offer just a glimpse into life under Israeli policies. Palestinians are forced to adjust their lives every time a new policy is in place, every time a border shifts around them. These couples and families don’t break the law, the law breaks them. Still, despite these obstacles, Palestinians choose to love, and choose to fight for their rights every day.

SUNDAY’S SPOOF ~~ PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKER NEAR DEATH IN ISRAELI JAIL

‘And before I be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be Free’

Image by Carlos Latuff

Despite his critical condition, journalist captive Mohammad al-Qiq refuses to bow.

Despite his critical condition, journalist captive Mohammad al-Qiq refuses to bow.

See the following sites … (Click on links)

#FreeAlQeeq

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#Journalismisnotacrime

NEWS AND ACTIONS THIS COMING WEEK IN HYPOCRISY LAND

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Hypocrisy land news and Actions this coming week:
Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that calls for equality (after all
all this must remain a state by and for Jews). And a video emerged of
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu praising Israeli Fascist Group Im
Tirtzu which believes in "Jewishness" of Palestine and acts and
supports to effect ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in favor of
European and other Jewish colonization. The Zionist leaders attacked
Ban Ki Moon for mildly speaking about the need to end the occupation
and let Palestinians live free. The heads of the EU misssions in
Jerusalem issued a report saying that Israel must respect human
rights. They explained that 660 Palestinians are being held without
charge or trial. They also mention Mohammad AlQeeq, a Palestinian
Journalist on hunger strike for 70 days since his illegal detention.
The tragedies around us continue and we sympathize with suffering
people seeking freedom from tyranny and from terrorism (much of it
emanating from the USA through its its "protectorates" like Israel and
Saudi Arabia).

My students struggle to come to class through tear gas and other
challenges of Israeli repression. This past week I gave courses on
research, critical reading, and writing for master students in tourism
and also for diploma students in drug education and prevention at BU.
In good news, more and more people acting on their convictions to
challenge oppression and/or build a better future. For example the
boycott campaign continues to grow around the world (for examples of successes ). 
Do act to promote BDS. in the media work and other actions. We were impressed
with the action of distribution of over 10,000 "spoof" New York Times
(major US newspaper). This biased newspaper not reporting on Israeli
colonialism but parroting Israeli propaganda about terrorism was
taught a good lesson by this action and thousands of New Yorkers
appreciated the gesture (electronic version of spoof here

IDF CLAMPING DOWN ON BLOGGERS

In yet another attempt to silence the truth, Bloggers are now targeted …

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IDF clamps down on web journalists

About 30 bloggers and webmasters receive order to submit articles to the military censor for approval before publication.

Yossi Gurvitz thought he was being pranked. The blogger behind the Facebook page “Friends of George” recently received a message from the military censor demanding that he forward all material before it is published in order to get approval.

The skeptical blogger called the censor and discovered the message was accurate. In the past few days, chief military censor Col. Ariella Ben-Avraham has sent missives to about 30 bloggers and webmasters demanding that they seek approval for articles dealing with “subjects that obligate examination”, such as those dealing with the IDF, in accordance with emergency regulations.

Gurvitz was furious. “I have no intention of meeting this demand,” he wrote. “The meaning of this demand is the eradication of new media in Israel, whose core is the speed of the response. I am examining legal proceedings available to me.”

Sources in the military censor’s office said that its legally-defined authorities “apply to every type of publication relating to national security”. Ben-Avraham told Yedioth Ahronoth: “the censor’s office works to monitor public online pages. It began back under the previous censor. We do not intent to apply the instructions on private profiles, but only public pages that defined themselves as dealing with news.”

It should be noted that the IDF can demand that bloggers submit their posts to the censor, but if they refuse, its ability to delete them is severely limited by the fact that Facebook controls the information. That said, governments around the world occasionally contact Facebook with a request to remove illegal content.

The company considers the requests and does make illegal content unavailable – but only in that country, which in this case means it is of limited use. On the other hand, violating the censor’s rules could lead to legal proceedings.

Source

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In depth report HERE

Israeli dissident ordered to submit Facebook posts to military censor

WEEK’S END SPOOFS OF JULIAN ASSANGE

Images by Carlos Latuff

UN Announces that Assange is Unlawfully Detained  More https://justice4assange.com/

UN Announces that Assange is Unlawfully Detained …  More HERE 

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ISRAEL ‘FEELING HEAT’ OVER SETTLEMENT BUSINESSES

The consequences of Israeli occupation and anti-Palestinian discrimination for Israel’s economy are now coming faster than ever.

In this Nov. 22, 2010, photo, Palestinian women collect scrap timber in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Palestinian advocates contend that multinational companies will need to face "clear legal and moral liabilities" for operating in Israeli settlements. (Associated Press)

In this Nov. 22, 2010, photo, Palestinian women collect scrap timber in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Palestinian advocates contend that multinational companies will need to face “clear legal and moral liabilities” for operating in Israeli settlements. (Associated Press)

Israel ‘feeling heat’ over settlement businesses: Sam Bahour and Edward E. Thompson (Opinion)

The consequences of Israeli occupation and anti-Palestinian discrimination for Israel’s economy are now coming faster than ever. Like so many previous military occupations, Israel is starting to feel the heat of the international community. However, this heat is not of the political kind that Israel has become accustomed to deflecting, but rather the economic kind that has a mystical way of invoking action from the political echelon. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope the message is arriving loud and clear: It’s time for Israel to end its nearly 50-year occupation and allow Palestinians to live in freedom in an independent state.

The latest thoughtful criticism of Israel’s actions is a 162-page report titled “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights.” Issued by the reputable, international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), the report documents how settlement businesses facilitate the growth and operations of Israel’s settlement enterprise, an enterprise deemed illegal by every country in the world, except Israel. These settlement businesses depend on and contribute to the Israeli authorities’ unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources.

Human Rights Watch’s director of the Business and Human Rights Division, Arvind Ganesan, noted that “Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources. The only way for businesses to comply with their own human rights responsibilities is to stop working with and in Israeli settlements.”
Speaking of the stone and marble industry, Ganesan said, “Every dollar of stone that settlement businesses extract and sell from the West Bank is a dollar taken from Palestinians. The bottom line is no settlement business should be operating and profiting from land and resources illegally taken from the Palestinian people.”

In light of the clear illegality of doing business with Israeli settlements, multinational companies will need to face clear legal and moral liabilities in continuing to do business as usual. However, for those firms that have been operating in the settlements, there is another option they can pursue to compensate for their past wrongdoings; they can redirect their business investments to the Palestinian economy and become a constructive element in helping Palestinians recover from the real economic damage caused by nearly half a century of military occupation.

Making such investment and business options materialize is exactly why we co-founded Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE) as a tax-deductible organization based in Chicago, Illinois. As two Americans, one a retired Chicagoan and the other a Palestinian American from Youngstown, Ohio now based in Ramallah, we have witnessed firsthand the damage on the ground caused by Israel’s deliberate battering of Palestine’s economy. But we also have visited Palestinians’ firms, those keeping their businesses’ doors open despite all odds, and want to connect them to the U.S. market. After a year of operations, AVPE documented serious interest from Palestinian businesspersons interested in linking to American business partners.

Large-scale projects that global firms can surely relate to are taking shape. The first planned Palestinian city, Rawabi, is now witnessing its first tenants taking up residence and offers international high-tech firms the opportunity to locate their operations in the new Rawabi Tech Hub. From Dead Sea products that compete head on with similar products produced in illegal Israeli settlements to olive oil soap and Bethlehem greeting cards, Palestinians have products and services worthy of note.

This new HRW report is actually the second vital criticism that calls into question business as usual for Israel. The first was issued by the European Council on Foreign Relations and titled EU Differentiation and Israeli settlements (July 22, 2015). In this past report, Israeli banks, among other businesses, were a main target, given most have branches in settlements. The Israeli business community took note. With this new HRW report, they will take note again, and all indications are that the reports and actions against illegal business practices will continue until occupation comes to an end.

The World Bank estimated in 2013 that Israeli restrictions in Area C (the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control) cost the Palestinian economy $3.4 billion annually, approximately equal to 33 percent of Palestine’s GDP. Settlement businesses contribute to and benefit from unlawful and discriminatory policies that leave many Palestinians with no alternative but to work in Israel or settlements. As multinationals divest from illegal settlements, redirected economic activity can be a key component to further advance the Palestinian economy, while putting more Palestinians in jobs and giving them hope for a day when they will live in freedom and occupation-free.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian American businessman originally from Youngstown now living in Ramallah, where he is managing partner at Applied Information Management. He is a policy adviser at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. Edward E. Thompson, a retired consulting psychologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, is the co-founder and president of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy.

 

Originally found AT

PHOTO ESSAY OF REBELLIOUS PALESTINIAN YOUTH

Portraits of Palestine’s youth rebellion

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

For nearly four months, popular protests, violence and general unrest have buffeted the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, leading some commentators to suggest a third intifada or uprising.

Most of this is driven by restive and young people tired of endless and evidently pointless negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that have brought no end to Israel’s military occupation and only seen its illegal settlements expand.

“This is our land. We must do anything to free it from occupation,” says Mahmoud, 26, from al-Azzeh refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Mahmoud (not his real name, since Israel frequently arrests protesters) has been a regular participant in demonstrations against the military occupation, in which youth confront Israeli forces with stones and, less frequently, Molotov cocktails. The army tries to suppress these protests with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition.

Since the beginning of last October, which witnessed increased confrontation with the occupation, more than 160 Palestinians and approximately two dozen Israelis have been killed. A United Nations monitoring group recorded a weekly average of 1,000 Palestinian injuries at the hands of the Israeli army during the last quarter of 2015.

Approximately one-third of those Palestinians killed, and many of those injured, were hit by live ammunition while taking part in demonstrations or while they were in the vicinity of protests.

Risks

The youths confronting the Israeli army know all too well the risks involved.

“I have mixed feelings during clashes. Sometimes you are afraid of dying,” Mahmoud explained. “But it’s also good to get the anger out. I have two children. I am married. In the night, I start to think about them, what they will do if I do not come back. But during the clashes, I try not think about it.”

The protests are led by youth and not any particular political party.

Khaled (also a pseudonym), a 21-year-old student from the Ramallah area, said the Palestinian Authority’s only role has been to try to stop them.

“Their role is to bring down the spirit of the people. It does not support us,” he said.

Palpable frustration

Their frustration is palpable and has sparked a debate among analysts and journalists whether this could be termed a third intifada. But the youths themselves seem not to care much about designation.

“First intifada, second intifada, it doesn’t matter. The intifada is connected to the occupation,” said Mahmoud, “and so it will continue. It is an ongoing process.”

The above series of photographs were taken at protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past four months. The quotations included are from the two Palestinian youths interviewed, neither of whom are featured in the photos.

Images by Activestills photographers Anne Paq in Bethlehem, Ezz Al-Zanoon in the Gaza Strip, Mohannad Darabee in the Ramallah area, Oren Ziv in Bethlehem and the Ramallah area. Photo editing by Shiraz Grinbaum.

Activestills is an independent collective based in Israel/Palestine which uses photography as a tool for social and political change.

DAILY SPOOFS ~~ ‘BOMBS AWAY’

Images by Carlos Latuff

U.S.-led Coalition Airstrikes on Daesh

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UN Suspends SyriaTalks in Geneva

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AMERICA’S STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Moral:
You Are Known by
the Company You Keep

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Obviously oil is more important than Human Rights as far as Obama is concerned

Saudi Arabia overturns execution, sentences Palestinian poet to prison, 800 lashes

A Saudi court overturned the death sentence for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh on Tuesday, his lawyer announced in a statement the same day.

A Saudi court overturned the death sentence for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh on Tuesday, his lawyer announced in a statement the same day.

Fayadh was sentenced to the death penalty in November for “apostasy” and allegedly emitting “blasphemous statements” in some of his poetry.

The poet’s sentence has been changed to eight years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court of the city of Abha in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

Fayadh’s lawyer, Abd al-Rahman al-Laham, hailed the downgraded sentence, while maintaining that Fayadh was innocent on all charges.

Under the new sentence, Fayadh would be subjected to 16 sessions of 50 lashes each, al-Laham said.

The lawyer added that he would appeal in the coming days.

In May, the general court of Abha sentenced had Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes, but the prosecution, which had called for the death sentence, had successfully appealed. The downgraded sentence effectively adds four more years in prison to the original sentence.

Fayadh has denied all charges against him, saying that another man made false accusations to the country’s religious police following a personal dispute.

Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice arrested Fayadh in January 2014 for poetry he had published in 2008.

Fayadh had previously been arrested in 2013 after a complaint was filed against him alleging that he spread “misleading ideas.” However, he had quickly been released due to lack of evidence.

In November, Human Rights Watch slammed the death sentence handed down to Fayadh, calling it “yet another indictment of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.”

According to the organization, Saudi Arabia executed 158 people in 2015, the highest number of executions in the Wahhabi kingdom in 20 years.

Source

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