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Articles Archives - March 2010
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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, March 9, 2010
Israeli Defense Ministry goes on trial for Corrie death
Mya Guarnieri, Ma’an News Agency 3/9/2010
      "When we look at the number of cases, and we look at the fact that only six percent yield indictments, it is safe to assume that a soldier in the field today will know that he can get away with pretty much anything," Yesh Din’s research director Lior Yavne remarked.
     Jerusalem - Ma’an - On Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Ministry will go on trial as a court hears a case filed by the parents of an American woman run down by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza, in March 2003.
     A civil suit seeks to hold Israeli forces responsible for the death of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old activist who was crushed to death as she protested a Palestinian home from demolition in the Gaza Strip.
     "We claim that her assassination was intentional," or, at the very least, that the army is guilty of "huge negligence," Hussein Abu Hussein, the attorney who filed the petition on behalf of Corrie’s parents, commented.
     Abu Hussein cites the state’s acknowledgment of the fact that Corrie and other members of the International Solidarity Movement—a Palestinian-led peace organization that advocates non-violent means of resistance to the Israeli occupation—were demonstrating in the area for several hours before Corrie was struck by the bulldozer. He also points out that Corrie was wearing a fluorescent orange vest to increase her visibility.
     At the time of her death, the Israeli military response was that the driver of the machine did not see Corrie.
     "If you see people, you should stop and think of all the needed steps not to harm [them]. Instead of stopping the D9, which weighs 64 tons, they continued. And due to that, [Corrie] was killed," Abu Hussein said.
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Hopeful or hopeless?
Dina Ezzat, Al-Ahram Weekly 3/4/2010
      Under American pressure, Abbas has agreed to indirect talks with Israel, with some Arab support and without preconditions.
     "So that American efforts to revive the peace process succeed." This is how top Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat portrayed the decision of the Palestinian Authority to resume indirect talks with Israel despite the latter’s unchecked construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
     During two consecutive days of Arab foreign ministers meetings, on Tuesday and Wednesday, a qualified green light was given to President Mahmoud Abbas signalling some collective Arab support for his decision.
     The strongest support Abbas received came -- predictably -- from the camp of Arab moderate states: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Morocco. Syria, however, declined to lend its support to Abbas. Walid Al-Muallim, Syrian foreign minister, publicly stated that his country is distancing itself from the Palestinian decision to resume talks, even if indirect, with no clear agenda and no specified target.
     "We have no other choice. The Americans are not doing what we had expected them to do. They are not pressuring (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu and he is putting his hands on more and more Palestinian land every day," said a Cairo-based Palestinian diplomat. According to this diplomat, Abbas was faced with scepticism from some in the foreign ministers meetings, "But he told them that he has nothing else to do and that he is being pressured from the Americans. He even asked them if they can come up with a better exit, but they had nothing to offer except the old story of going to the UN Security Council to put pressure on Israel."
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Iran in Its Intricacy
Roger Cohen, New York Times 3/4/2010
      A year has passed since President Obama’s groundbreaking Nowruz offer to Iran of engagement based on mutual respect. Iran is now a different country, its divided regime weaker and confronted by the Green movement, the strongest expression of people power in the Middle East and a beacon for the region.
     Obama’s outreach has achieved this: the unsettling of Iran’s revolutionary power structure. That alone was worth the gambit. But the 31-year gridlock in Iranian-American relations endures. Sarah Palin, no less, is now urging Obama to “declare war on Iran” to save his presidency. She’s not alone. Daniel Pipes, the conservative commentator, called a recent National Review column: “How to save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran.”...
     But the war option remains unthinkable, a potential disaster for the United States and Israel. It’s therefore worth outlining, before the drumbeat intensifies in the run-up to the mid-term U.S. elections, [some] truths about Iran....
     Attacking Iran has known consequences. Saddam Hussein did so in 1980 — and thereby cemented Ayatollah Khomeini’s theocratic revolution by uniting diverse factions (socialist, liberal and others) in national defense.
     Because the United States and Europe armed Iraq in that war, and Saddam then gassed the Iranians, resentment runs deep: I’ve often been shown war wounds in Tehran on arms and legs as a single word is uttered, “America.” The generation of young officers in that war, like Ahmadinejad, now runs Iran and constitutes the New Right. (Blowback is not limited to Afghanistan.) But most Iranians are under 35 and drawn to the United States.
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Interview with Gaza rights defender: "Siege began in 1967"
Electronic Intifada: 9 Mar 2010 - BRUSSELS (IPS) - For the first time since September 2006, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, a leading figure in the Palestinian human rights group Al Mezan, has been granted permission to travel outside Gaza. More than 30 applications to leave the Strip had previously been turned down by the Israeli authorities and it was not until German diplomats made representations on his behalf that he was finally allowed to visit Europe.

"Palestinian cinema is a cause": an interview with Hany Abu-Assad
Electronic Intifada: 8 Mar 2010 - Nazareth-born filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad is best known internationally for his 2005 film Paradise Now about two young, attractive Palestinian men from Nablus in the occupied West Bank who are drawn into a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. It was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Electronic Intifada contributor Sabah Haider spoke with Hany Abu Assad about how his films are received, Palestinian cinema and the challenges of filmmaking.

random violence
In Gaza: 7 Mar 2010 - * the destruction begins as far as 700 metres from the border It was senseless, random, gratuitous violence against the farmers and their hopes.  Bulldozer treads dug through bean and onion crops, in zigs and zags, seemingly without direction.  Swaths of land were eaten by the military bulldozers’ blades, also seemingly randomly:  the wheat crop which might mature to waist high if not bulldozed was left to grow, but the calf-high beans and onions were mowed, not fully but insultingly so. The 100 or so olive trees that had escaped the winter 2008-2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza and prior and later military invasions this time went with the 4 towering military bulldozers and 3 tanks. Tracks spat out earth in unwieldy clumps, not to be worked again this year, difficult to calm and smooth next year, in an area (near, but still outside of the Israeli-imposed 300 metre no-go zone,...

Refusal to Surrender: 'My Father was a Freedom Fighter' Reviewed
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Mar 2010 - By Robin Yassin-Kassab (An edited version of this review appeared at the Electronic Intifada.) 'From afar,' writes Ramzy Baroud (founder of the indispensable Palestine Chronicle), 'Gaza's reality, like that of all of Palestine, is often presented without cohesion, without proper context; accounts of real life in Gaza are marred with tired assumptions and misrepresentations that deprive the depicted humans of their names, identities and very dignity.' Baroud’s “My Father was a Freedom Fighter” is an antidote to the media’s decontextualisation and dehumanisation of Palestinians. It’s also an instant classic, one of the very best books to have examined the Palestinian tragedy. As the title suggests, Baroud relates the life of his father, Mohammed Baroud. Each step in the story is located in a larger familial, social, economic and political context, one distinguished by eyewitness accounts and made concrete by an almost encyclopedic wealth of detail. But neither the book’s detail...more

Articles Archives - March 2010

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