Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - January 2012
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Israeli forces continue their campaign of widespread arrests in the occupied Palestinian territories - International Press Center photo

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
17 January 2009 - The Al Ashqar family
Palestinian Center for Human Rights 1/17/2012
      “Madleen refuses to sleep by herself; she will only sleep in her parent’s room” says Nujoud, “she’s afraid to be by herself at all. The other day we were in the garden and I asked her to go to the bedroom to bring something. She refused to go without me.”
     On 17 January 2009, at approximately 05:30, the area surrounding the UNRWA school in Beit Lahiya came under attack from Israeli forces. The area was bombarded using both high explosive, and white phosphorous artillery; white phosphorous is an incendiary chemical which ignites on contact with oxygen, its use in civilian populated areas violates the principle of distinction, and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Nujoud Al Ashqar, along with approximately 1,600 others, was taking shelter in the school at the time of the attack. Nujoud sustained severe head injuries as a result of the bombing, and also losing her right hand. Two of her sons Bilal, 6, and Muhammed, 4, were killed in the attack.
     When PCHR first spoke to Nujoud in the aftermath of the attack three years ago, her life had become extremely difficult, particularly her relationship with her husband, Mohammed. “At first my husband blamed me for the death of the boys. He used to threaten me every day that he would re-marry” says Nujoud, “but things have got better between us since the birth of our daughter Haneen. He loves her deeply and she loves him.”
     Nujoud’s daughter Haneen, 1, was both a blessing and a severe challenge for Nujoud, who, despite being thankful she was able to give birth to another child after the loss of Muhammed and Bilal, is faced with extreme difficulties caring for herself, the household and her children given the loss of her arm and other medical difficulties following the attack. “I get most frustrated when trying to care for Haneen” says Nujoud, “I need help form my daughter Madleen all the time to care for her. I always feel sad for her because she sacrifices so much of her education to care for the house and her sister. But I need her to do it” says Nujoud.....
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The Shining Torch
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 1/13/2012
      Israel's Newest Political Sensation
     “SHINING TORCH” sounds like the name of a Red Indian (or should I say Native American?) chief. In Hebrew, it is the literal meaning of the name of our latest political sensation: Ya’ir Lapid.
     This week, he announced his intention to enter politics and set up a new political party.
     Hardly a surprise. For many months now, speculation has been rife. Lapid has hinted more than once about his intention, giving the impression that he would act on it only close to election time. That was clever, since he was the most popular news anchorman on the most popular TV channel. Why give up a post that gives you unique public exposure (and pays a handsome salary to boot)?
     Now he has been told by his employers, probably under political pressure, to choose: either/or – TV or politics.
     Some 2061 years ago, Julius Caesar crossed the little river Rubicon to march on Rome, exclaiming “iacta alea est” – the die has been cast. Lapid is no Caesar and does not speak Latin, but his feeling must have been much the same.
     A day later, another well-known personality, Noam Shalit, threw a second die. The father of Gilad, the captured soldier who was exchanged for 1027 Palestinian prisoners, has announced that he will run for the Knesset on the Labor party list. After five years leading the immensely popular campaign for his son’s release, he has decided to put to political use his rise from anonymity to celebrity status.
     A whole series of exes – ex-generals, ex-Mossad chiefs, ex-CEOs – are waiting for their turn.
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Obama Delays U.S.-Israeli War Exercise
Gareth Porter And Jim Lobe, CounterPunch 1/17/2012
      Signal to Israel and Iran
     Washington D.C. - The postponement of a massive joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise appears to be the culmination of a series of events that has impelled the Barack Obama administration to put more distance between the United States and aggressive Israeli policies toward Iran.
     The exercise, called “Austere Challenge ’12? and originally scheduled for April, was to have been a simulation of a joint U.S.-Israeli effort to identify, track and intercept incoming missiles by integrating U.S. radar systems with the Israeli Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems.
     U.S. participation in such an exercise, obviously geared to a scenario involving an Iranian retaliation against an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, would have made the United States out to be a partner of Israel in any war that would follow an Israeli attack on Iran.
     Obama and U.S. military leaders apparently decided that the United States could not participate in such an exercise so long as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to give the administration any assurance that he will not attack Iran without prior approval from Washington.
     The official explanation from both Israeli and U.S. officials about the delay was that both sides agreed on it. Both Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Mark Regev, spokesman for Netanyahu, suggested that it was delayed to avoid further exacerbation of tensions in the Gulf.
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Blockade dictates types of flowers grown in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 16 Jan 2012 - Mohammed Omer The Electronic Intifada Rafah Israel’s ongoing blockade has suffocated countless export industries and continues to dictate the types of crops grown in Gaza, including flowers.more

Bamboo furniture-making tradition, brought from Jaffa, survives in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 17 Jan 2012 - Rami Almeghari The Electronic Intifada Gaza City It is a craft that has been passed down from one generation to the next. The al-Mathloums were one of the best-known bamboo furniture-making families in Gaza but now, of his brothers, only Zakariya, the eldest son, is struggling to keep the tradition and the business alive.more

A Roadmap for Brave UN Reforms
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Jan 2012 - By Ramzy Baroud Theodore MacDonald was too ill to attend the launch of his book, Preserving the United Nations; Our Best Hope for Mediating Human Rights. Less than three weeks later, on March 7, 2011, the longtime champion of human rights and social justice passed away. Professor MacDonald’s last book was in many ways the intellectual zenith of a vision gleaned from lifelong experiences. He was a kindly, humble and ever-positive individual, with whom I had exchanged many letters in previous months. Palestine occupied much space in his thinking and writing, and was a major component in his vision aimed at achieving global peace and justice. It is very telling that MacDonald’s last book was concerned with the arduous task of reforming the UN. “My main concern is international development and equity. The growing inequity between the First and Third World nations … is a matter of immense worry and...more

Unlawful, Unresolved: Israeli Settlers in Foreign Land
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Jan 2012 - By Graham Peebles Violence, abuse, non-accountability, hate, such is communal living today within the occupied West Bank, where some 518,974 colonisers sit within 200 illegal settlements. According to Noam Chomsky, "The settlements cover over 42% of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), not counting the Jordon valley, which they are taking over." Estimates of colonisation vary from the 42% reported by Chomsky and B'Tselem to that of Human Rights Watch who at 60% set the figure even higher. Around half a million ‘settlers’ - more accurately, colonisers - now squat upon Palestinian soil, huddled within walled encampments upon stolen land, branded blue and white. Noisily perching upon hilltops, rooms with a view, or flourishing in verdant valleys, these settlements creep shamefully throughout the West Bank and the sacred city of Jerusalem. Jimmy Carter said, “the occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land that doesn’t belong to Israel, the building of settlements on...more

Truth Tiptoeing through Antisemitism Minefield
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Jan 2012 - By Vacy Vlazna That an Australian Senate Complaints Committee will be holding a hearing in February on a complaint about the broadcaster SBS promoting antisemitism for its screening of Kosminsky's The Promise is testimony to the egregious influence of the Zionist lobby in Australia. The Promise dramatises the political upheaval in Palestine in the final period of the British Mandate and the Palestinian Nakba through the perspective of a British soldier and also the contemporary ongoing violence of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine through the perspective of his grand-daughter. Peter Wertheim, the executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) wrote an epic 31 page complaint to the SBS Ombudsman maintaining it "promotes, endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews as a group." He makes a hackneyed comparison to the Nazi film 'Jud Suss' and takes a clichéd jump to a fantastic conclusion - "The ancient libel...more

CPDS: Gaza Youth Discuss Zionist Role in US Elections
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Jan 2012 - By Yousef M. Aljamal, Gaza For the second week in row, the Center for Political Development Studies [CPDS] holds a video link on the role of Zionist lobby in US election. Ali Abunimah, the founder of The Electronic Intifada joined Gaza activists via Skype and emphasized the reasons of this "unshakable" relation between Israel and the US, which is known to Palestinians more than any other nation in the world. "The reason of this would be briefly put up into two theories. Some people say Israel plays an important role in U.S Imperialism, in allowing it controlling the Middle East and its resources. Meanwhile, there are other people (theory) that say there are powerful organizations and networks that consider support for Israel very important and they influence the politics of the United States through elections and contributions to political campaigns to make candidates adopt to Israel's position", he emphasized. Still,...more

In Signal to Israel and Iran, Obama Delays War Exercise
Dissident Voice: 17 Jan 2012 - IPS – The postponement of a massive joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise appears to be the culmination of a series of events that has impelled the Barack Obama administration to put more distance between the United States and aggressive Israeli policies toward Iran. The exercise, called “Austere Challenge ’12″ and originally scheduled for April, was to have been a simulation of a joint U.S.-Israeli effort to identify, track and intercept incoming missiles by integrating sophisticated U.S. radar systems with the Israeli Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome anti-missile defence systems. U.S. participation in such an exercise, obviously geared to a scenario involving an Iranian retaliation against an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, would have made the United States out to be a partner of Israel in any war that would follow an Israeli attack on Iran. Obama and U.S. military leaders apparently decided that the United States could not participate in...more

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