Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - March 2011
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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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Friday, March 4, 2011
Why we need to divest from the U.S.-backed Israeli Occupation
Stephen Shalom, Israeli Occupation Archive, ZNet 3/4/2011
      This evening a campaign is being launched at NYU to "Divest From the US-backed Israeli Occupation Now!"
     Why is everybody always picking on Israel?
     Is it anti-Semitism? Hostility to democratic values? Jewish self-hatred? Sympathy for terrorism?
     On the contrary, this campaign represents an affirmation of democratic values. It represents a non-violent way to challenge state terrorism. And far from reflecting anti-Semitism or self-hatred it represents an opportunity for Jews and non-Jews to support universal human rights and human dignity.
     But surely, it will be said, Israel is not the worst violator of human rights in the world. It is not. But there are at least four reasons why it is entirely appropriate that those in the United States concerned with social justice devote considerable attention to addressing Israeli crimes against Palestinians, and to U.S. backing for those crimes.
     First, the Israeli occupation and its policy of building settlements and displacing the local population are unequivocally illegal and unjustified.
     Second, the Israeli occupation has been a vicious one, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
     Third, the Israeli occupation has been the most long-standing occupation in the world.
     And fourth, our government, the United States government, has made possible this sordid record of occupation and abuse....
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What are the implications of Middle East-North Africa unrest for the future of the Israel-Palestine peace process?
Zulaikha Abdullah, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 2/28/2011
      In an interview for the BBC during an emergency tour of the Middle East earlier this month, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Amid the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region." Reiterating these perceptions in Tunis, he emphasised that the new status quo would "complicate the process still further" and stressed that it was time to "inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process", particularly on the part of Israel and the US.
     However, the sea change in attitudes, expectation and demands on the Arab street in recent weeks resonates strongly in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in the light of revelations made last month in the leaked Palestine Papers and the subsequent resignation of lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
     A prevalent view is that "peace negotiations" have for a long time been nothing more than an elaborate and interminable process of gradually subjugating and dispossessing the Palestinian people under pretexts of Israeli security considerations. Indeed, calls to return urgently to the negotiating table have been interpreted as "pre-emptive security measures to ensure the tremors of political revolt do not destabilize the status quo in the occupied territories" and are an attempt to circumvent the real issues of justice, democracy, dignity, and human rights.
     ....According to analysts, Israel's peace with Egypt under Mubarak was its second greatest strategic asset after the United States. This was reflected clearly in Israel's frantic international efforts to shore up support for the despotic leader as well as the close military ties it maintained with the regime as it fell, including airlifting anti-riot equipment to Cairo....
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A new era of Arab unity
Lamis Andoni, Ma’an News Agency 3/4/2011
      The Egyptian revolution, itself influenced by the Tunisian uprising, has resurrected a new sense of pan-Arabism based on the struggle for social justice and freedom. The overwhelming support for the Egyptian revolutionaries across the Arab world reflects a sense of unity in the rejection of tyrannical, or at least authoritarian, leaders, corruption and the rule of a small financial and political elite.
     Arab protests in solidarity with the Egyptian people also suggest that there is a strong yearning for the revival of Egypt as a pan-Arab unifier and leader. Photographs of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the former Egyptian president, have been raised in Cairo and across Arab capitals by people who were not even alive when Nasser died in 1970. The scenes are reminiscent of those that swept Arab streets in the 1950s and 1960s.
     But this is not an exact replica of the pan-Arab nationalism of those days. Then, pan-Arabism was a direct response to Western domination and the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel. Today, it is a reaction to the absence of democratic freedoms and the inequitable distribution of wealth across the Arab world.
     We are now witnessing the emergence of a movement for democracy that transcends narrow nationalism or even pan-Arab nationalism and which embraces universal human values that echo from north to south and east to west.
     This is not to say that there is no anti-imperialist element within the current movement. But the protests in Egypt and elsewhere promote a deeper understanding of human emancipation, which forms the real basis for freedom from both repression and foreign domination.
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Palestinians at home, abroad protest division, leadership
Electronic Intifada: 4 Mar 2011 - Palestinian civil society groups are preparing for a day of mass sit-ins on 15 March, to protest the widening split between Palestinian political and resistance factions as Israel's illegal occupation grinds on.more

The struggle for al-Araqib is the struggle for Palestine
Electronic Intifada: 4 Mar 2011 - Al-Araqib was the last village I visited before my arrest. Al-Araqib is not just a village, but the very heart of a nation and a people. On 5 May 2010, I was there under the tent of Sheikh Sayah, a local leader. There was a big crowd after the destruction and the reconstruction of the village. We met there until late at night, taking advantage of the desert darkness. Ameer Makhoul comments.more

Girls' School Evacuated After Bomb Threat
Palestine Monitor: 4 Mar 2011 - Fareen Diyaseen unlocked the gates to the ‘Einabouss Secondary School for Girls before any other staff had arrived. The threats had already started, and her routine was interrupted by calls from scared parents. “If we got to face it, we will,” Diyaseen said she told parents over the phone. “Eight students didn't come in the morning because of fear. Fear of death.” Teachers were posted on the roof to watch the adjacent hilltop's outposts from the notoriously vicious, illegal settlement of Yitzhar. Former Israeli Prime Minister called a violent march from Yitzhar a “pogrom” and its settlers have killed people, bombed houses and burned cars in many towns around Nablus . Diyaseen was in a meeting with a parent when the phone rang. In what sounded like a Hebrew accent to her, the caller said: “We are settlers. After all these threats, there are still people in the school? Right away,...more

BDS Success Answered by 'Boycott Arab Goods' Smear
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Mar 2011 - By Stuart Littlewood Congratulations, BDS campaigners. Your global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions effort is hurting Israel so much that panic-stricken propaganda bosses are casting about in desperation for something to hit back with… for example, the libelous press release which portrays yours truly and other Palestine freedom campaigners as promoters of a new movement boycotting Arab goods. This tissue of lies arrived the same day as news that Israel is spending $1.6 million to train "new media warriors" in the use of social media tools for disseminating the regime's endless stream of disinformation. Of course, it’s nothing new. Israel's Ministry of Dirty Tricks launched a revised training manual eighteen months ago to serve as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers it was then recruiting to spread Zionism's poison across the internet. According to the lie machine I addressed hundreds of Muslim Britons in front of the Libyan embassy...more

Beacon that is Israel: Self-serving by Delay, Denial
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Mar 2011 - By William A. Cook 'Calls for democracy … stem from …an inner hunger for freedom.' -- (Tzipi Livni, Washington Post, 2/24/11) A beacon is a signal fire, a warning light to guide one out of darkness; as the former Foreign Affairs Minister for Israel noted in late February, “These are days of momentous change in the Middle East …” Courageous thousands demand their rights as human beings, she intones, there is an inner hunger for freedom abroad in the land. But those courageous thousands have lit a fire that is a beacon for Israel, if it heeds it, a warning that it alone of all the states in the Middle East could be left defying the peoples’ demands for human rights and freedoms. Yet Livni, and Edward Koch last week, went to the media not to announce that Israel would alter its treatment of the Palestinians, they simply ignored the...more

Can“Justice”Sink Lower Than the Bradley Manning Case?
Dissident Voice: 4 Mar 2011 - Every day we are confronted with another atrocity perpetrated by our government and its leaders against the people of the world, including our own citizens. The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a crime punishable by death is certainly the low point of American jurisprudence. It is on a par with the show trials put on by Stalin and Hitler, and marks the peak of prosecutorial hypocrisy. This trial has everything: torture, intimidation, gross overcharging, media hype and pathological lies. It is the highest form of drama put on by those who would destroy democracy in the U.S. Since his arrest in May of 2010, Manning has been incarcerated under conditions that Amnesty International (AI) says is torture, coupled with sensory deprivation. AI has filed complaints with the United Nations, attempting to force the U.S. to comply with minimal standards of conduct towards prisoners. When WikiLeaks started publishing documents indicating...more

Beats Against Repression in Zimbabwe
Dissident Voice: 4 Mar 2011 - No more internal power struggle; We come together to overcome the little trouble. Soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionary, ‘Cause I don’t want my people to be contrary. — Bob Marley, “Zimbabwe” March 3rd marked the fifth annual “Music Freedom Day.” Associated with Danish artists’ rights organization Freemuse, it’s designed to bring attention to the repression and exploitation of musicians around the world.  Over 30 events were held in a variety of countries, including, notably, some in North Africa and the Middle East, whose nations have recently been gripped by uprisings and revolutions.  Egypt and Jordan were both among those counties whose Music Freedom Day took on a whole new meaning. And so it was in Zimbabwe .  This year’s event took place in Harare’s Book Cafe, featuring performances from three of the country’s best-known political artists.  The really impressive act, however, came from the 2,000 artists who...more

Republicans and Democrats Agree: Cut Aid to Poor People, Not Israel
Dissident Voice: 4 Mar 2011 - With the U.S. economy in the tank and governments at all levels facing massive budget shortfalls, politicians left and right are seeking ways to curb spending. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to eliminate collective bargaining rights and the decent pay that goes with them. President Barack Obama’s budget includes halving the home-heating oil subsidy poor households depend on. As Republicans and Democrats propose cuts in programs that actually benefit their increasingly impoverished constituents, though, they agree there’s one area of the budget that’s not to be touched: the annual $3 billion subsidy U.S. taxpayers provide to the Israeli military. One of the biggest defenders of the handout is House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “There will be no cuts to security assistance to the Jewish State of Israel,” her chief of staff declared in a recent letter to House Republicans. The rest of the U.S. foreign aid budget, including...more

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