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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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Sunday, March 21, 2010
Taking Sides
John Mearsheimer, London Review of Books 3/17/2010
      In the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s ill-fated trip to Israel last week, many people would agree with the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s remark that ‘Israel’s ties with the United States are in their worst crisis since 1975… a crisis of historic proportions.’ Like all crises, this one will eventually go away. However, this bitter fight has disturbing implications for Israelis and their American supporters.
     First, the events of the past week make it clear in ways that we have not seen in the past that Israel is a strategic liability for the United States, not the strategic asset that the Israel lobby has long claimed it was. Specifically, the Obama administration has unambiguously declared that Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, are doing serious damage to US interests in the region. Indeed, Biden reportedly told the Israeli prime minister, Binyahim Netanyahu, in private:
     This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace.
     If that message begins to resonate with the American public, unconditional support for the Jewish state is likely to evaporate.
     Right after Biden’s remarks were reported by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Mark Perry, a Middle East expert with excellent contacts in the US military, described a briefing that senior officers working directly for General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, gave on 16 January to Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The central message Petraeus sent to Mullen, according to Perry, was that ‘Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardising US standing in the region… and could cost American lives.’....
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An open letter to Ban Ki-moon - One Democratic State Group
Ma’an News Agency 3/21/2010
      The following is an open letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon penned by the One Democratic State Group, a civil society group in Gaza, upon the UN chief’s visit to Gaza on Sunday.
     Your Excellency:
     You are already well aware of the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza consequent on Israel’s devastating military attacks and its siege. As recently as 27 December 2009, you called the blockade of Gaza "unacceptable." While this statement is certainly valid, it constitutes a gross understatement of the actual situation which amounts to slow genocide. Such understatement suggests that you are trimming your language to accommodate US pro-Israeli policy. We live an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege that has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as "a prelude to genocide." Your own UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of "war crimes and possible crimes against humanity," as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report concludes that Israel’s war on Gaza was "designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability."
     Mr Ban,
     The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly says that one instance of genocide is "the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.’’.....
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art for art’s sake
In Gaza: 20 Mar 2010 - “Mirror” –Salem Awad “The colors of sunset are wonderful but the sun is the most wonderful. When the black clouds with their golden warm colors play on the sound of a bird that dialogues with the leaves of trees that were eaten by the wind and dance with a beautiful golden dress coloured by the sunset appearing in the far horizon behind the clouds I try to touch the sun before it closes its eyes to mix my brush with its colour and my white painting is the mirror.” ‘Random’ is a word a friend uses to describe Gaza. For all the truths we know and see in Gaza, after years of full-closure siege, after the 23 day Israeli massacre of Gaza and the Israeli invasions and military aggressions before and after the massacre…there are certain norms one expects to see, and does: destroyed homes, businesses, factories, cars; devastated families...

Checkpoints
Palestine Monitor: 17 Dec 2010 - “The right to freedom of movement provides that people are entitled to move freely within the borders of the state, to leave any country and to return to their country.” Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. December 10th, 1948 Movement Restrictions: The Facts By September 2008 there were 699 closure obstacles in the West Bank– approximately 130 of these have been added after the Annapolis Conference began in November 2007. 630 of the obstacles have been identified: trenches (3%), partial checkpoints (3%), earth walls (7%), road-blocks (11%), road barriers (12%), checkpoints (12%), road gates (16%) and earth mounds (36%). 74 % of the main routes in the West Bank are controlled by checkpoints or blocked entirely. In the period from April to September 2008 the weekly average of flying (or random) checkpoints was 89. Due to...

Two More Teenagers Killed 'In Cold Blood' At Awarta Checkpoint
Palestine Monitor: 21 Mar 2010 - Mohammed and Salah Quriq, both 19, were gunned down this morning at the Awarta checkpoint by Israeli soldiers. Military spokesmen claim the men were attempting to stab a soldier, a claim denied by local sources. A third man, injured at the scene, was taken by Israeli medics. Following the deaths of two youths at Iraq Burin, today's violence brings the death toll to four in the past 24 hours. Army reports claim the Mohammed and Salah were shot in response to threatening behaviour with a pitchfork and axe. "Two men tried to stab a soldier during a routine patrol near the Awarta security crossing near Nablus. The force opened fire and confirmed their death", a spokeman told us. No warning shots were fired and the men died at the scene. Hassan Awad, head of the Awarta council, contradicted this version of events. Speaking through an interpreter he told us "the...

Palestinians Must Not Stay On The Sidelines
Palestine Monitor: 21 Mar 2010 - Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the PLO, sees a weakening of the Palestinian Authority over the hobbled peace process and is skeptical that the U.S. will keep the pressure on Israel. Read the interview by Edmund Sanders, first published on LA Times. Mustafa Barghouti while being arrested by plainclothes Israeli policemen in traditionally Arab East Jerusalem as he tried to reach the Al Aqsa mosque area of the Old City for Friday prayers. It was the second time Barghouti had been arrested in East Jerusalem for not having a permit to campaign for the Palestinian Parliament. Photo: Lazar Simeonov Almost overshadowed in the recent days of diplomatic tussle between the U.S. and Israel is the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders have been watching with concern — and perhaps a little amusement. It's not often Palestinians get to see the U.S. and Israel clash so publicly. On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud...

The Doomsday Weapon
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Mar 2010 - By Uri Avnery It is already a commonplace to say that people who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat their mistakes. Some 1942 years ago, the Jews in the province called Palaestina launched a revolt against the Roman Empire. In retrospect, this looks like an act of madness. Palestine was a small and insignificant part of the world-wide empire which had just won a crushing victory against the rival power - the Parthian Empire (Persia) - and put down a major rebellion in Britain. What chances could the Jewish revolt have? God knows what was going on in the mind of the "Zealots". They eliminated the moderate leaders, who warned against provoking the empire, and gained sway over the Jewish population of the country. They relied on God. Perhaps they also relied on the Jews in Rome and believed that their influence over the Senate would restrain the...more

This Palestinian Life – Film Review
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Mar 2010 - By Ben White In the interests of transparency, I should declare that Philip Rizk and I are personal friends. Having already seen his documentary, This Palestinian Life, before being asked to review it, I was happy to accept the offer, knowing that I would only want to commend this excellent short film to readers. The strength of This Palestinian Life is hinted at in the title; what Rizk explicitly sets out to do is share the personal, everyday stories that do not feature in media coverage of Palestine/Israel. As Rizk comments in the film, the Palestinians he talks to do not represent ‘the severest cases’, in terms of experiences of Israeli occupation, but are the kind of stories ‘most rarely told’. These are glimpses of lives lived in defiance of Israeli apartheid rule, examples of sumoud, of steadfastness. The concluding sequence of shots feature the Palestinians we have met during...more

'Settlement Freeze' - Take It to the UN
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Mar 2010 - By Jim Miles The political events and comments surrounding Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel stand only to highlight the hypocrisy and arrogant ignorance of the United States command. There are two factors here: first is the avoidance - in spite of superficial appearances - of the UN security council; and secondly - again in spite of superficial appearances - that the U.S. military command is concerned about the welfare of their troops in the Middle East because of the Israeli situation. As most followers of the news are aware, the Israelis announced plans to construct another 1600 settlement units in the Jerusalem area. They did this in the face of Biden who at the time was meeting with Netanyahu concerning the rebooting of the “peace process.” The main purpose of the “peace process” - at least for the Israelis - is to be able to establish communities - “facts”...more

Articles Archives - March 2010

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