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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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Friday, March 26, 2010
Ramallah and Gaza are waiting
Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, Israeli Occupation Archive 3/26/2010
      Satisfaction – that’s what Israeli faces radiate, at least as observed by people who just came out of Ramallah or Gaza and watch Jerusalem’s busy Ben-Yehuda Street, the Ramat Aviv Mall or Ben-Gurion International Airport.
     To the Israelis, nothing exists beyond the moment. It’s just like the smugness exhibited by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his private playing field, the AIPAC conference. Have our diplomats been expelled? Is the American administration angry? We’ll bow our heads for a moment, the storm will pass, and we’ll be accepted into the honorable club of the OECD. The main thing is that Israel’s obstinate policy of separation has succeeded and that two adversarial Palestinian entities has been created.
     One is building its Islamic principality in an isolated enclave, bouncing around promises that the second step toward the liberation of Jerusalem and Haifa has already been taken. The other proudly hosts representatives of donor nations in its small and crowded enclaves, and tries to persuade everybody that this is the way to build a state that includes Area C, no-man’s land, Latrun, Gaza, Al-Aqsa and the approximately 70 square kilometers that Israel has annexed and calls Jerusalem.
     But we Israelis know that everything is equally imaginary. We are the wizards of the status quo. We establish it as we like, moving an acre here and a military base there, until the world says it agrees. When God wants, Ramallah will also be called a holy city and Gaza will be crowned an Egyptian district capital.
     That is not the way the future looks in the two separate entities. Their mutually contradictory rhetoric is based on a similar assumption: Both Gaza and Ramallah believe that change will eventually come from the outside, and that is the popular expectation as well. -- See also: Source
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Provocation at Al-Aqsa
Jonathan Cook, CounterPunch 3/26/2010
      Rabbi Plans "Miracle" at the Western Wall
     The Israeli government has indicated that it will press ahead with a plan to enlarge the Jewish prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, despite warnings that the move risks triggering a third intifada.
     Israeli officials rejected this week a Jerusalem court’s proposal to shelve the plan after the judge accepted that the plaza’s expansion would violate the “status quo” arrangement covering the Old City’s holy places. Islamic authorities agreed to the arrangement after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.
     The site eyed by Israeli officials is located at the Mughrabi Gate, an entrance to the mosque compound known as the Haram al Sharif, the most sensitive site in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Inside are Al Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.
     Earlier encroachments by Israel on Islamic authority at the site have triggered clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians. A heavily armed visit to the compound by Ariel Sharon in 2000, shortly before he became prime minister, to declare Israeli rights there sparked the second intifada.
     In recent weeks, analysts have grown increasingly concerned that a third intifada is imminent as Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has advanced settlement building in East Jerusalem and declared several places deep in the occupied West Bank as Jewish heritage sites.
     Another assault on Muslim control so close to Al Aqsa Mosque risked “pouring fuel on the fire”, said Hanna Sweid, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament who filed the original planning objections to the Israeli scheme.
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'My Fellow Americans, Tonight I’m Going to Talk Frankly About a Pesky Little Nation Israel...'
Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch 3/19/2010
      Don’t get excited. It’ll never happen. Is there really a crisis in US-Israeli relations? Yes and No. Yes, because the world’s premier power doesn’t care to have its vice president publicly humiliated by a midget of a nation whose entire population is smaller than that of Los Angeles county. No, because the elected politicians nominally running the government of the world’s premier power live in mortal fear of the Israel lobby in the United States. This time, as always, No will carry the day. (You can find a detailed narrative by Jeffrey Blankfort on this site today, from which much of this Diary is drawn.)
     Consider Biden’s reaction the day after Interior Minister Eli Yishai, probably with Netanyahu’s foreknowledge, announced the scheduled building of 1600 apartments – Jews only – in East Jerusalem, right at the moment Biden was trying to breathe life into the “peace process”
     So here’s the vice president of the United States of America,standing with all the injured dignity of a man who has just had a bucket of sewage dumped over his head and who amid his discomfiture, actually did use the word “condemn” and “Israel” in the same paragraph. The next day Biden heads for Tel Aviv university and confides to the audience that he is a Zionist and that, “throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.” Get that: “the center of my work.” This mission statement is not quoted in the U.S. press.
     Then Biden repeats the nonsense he spouted when he arrived in Jerusalem: that “there is no space -- this is what they [the world] must know, every time progress is made, it’s made when the rest of the world knows there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space. That’s the only time when progress has been made.”
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Restaurant attacked for barring armed Israeli soldier
Electronic Intifada: 26 Mar 2010 - An Arab-owned restaurant in the Israeli city of Haifa has been caught in a whirlwind of legal action and threats of violence after staff refused to serve a soldier in uniform, an incident that is rapidly tarnishing the city's reputation as a model of good Jewish-Arabs relations. Jonathan Cook reports.

Lebanese army encircling Baddawi refugee camp
Electronic Intifada: 26 Mar 2010 - The relationship between the Lebanese government and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon is changing. The process of redefining the old relationship began explosively with the battle and subsequent demolition of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, near the northern city of Tripoli, in 2007. Now the Lebanese army is erecting a barrier around the nearby Baddawi refugee camp because of "security concerns." Ahmed Moor and Deen Sharp report for The Electronic Intifada.

Visions of Palestine's present and future in "Invictus" and "Avatar"
Electronic Intifada: 26 Mar 2010 - The recent Hollywood films Invictus and Avatar inspire reflection on the past, present and future hopes of the Palestinian nation. The response to these movies among audiences around the world underscores the amount of sympathy around the world for moral struggles that ensue after the creation of an unjust reality, a sympathy Palestinians have been slow at garnering. Abdaljawad O.A. Hamayel comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Israeli soldiers target Gaza’s poorest, including children
In Gaza: 26 Mar 2010 - Said Abdel Aziz Hamdan, 15, went for his first time to Gaza’s northern border area to try gathering scrap metal for re-sale. Although an area lined with Israeli military towers and notorious for Israeli soldier shooting, shelling and abductions of Palestinian workers and farmers, Hamdan did not feel he would be in danger. “People go there everyday to gather bits of metal and concrete. The Israelis see us and know we are just working, it’s normal,” he said from his hospital bed in Jabaliya’s Kamal Adwan hospital. Hamdan set out from home shortly after 10 am Friday, going with his younger brother Suleiman, 13, to earn whatever shekels they could. From a family of 7 brothers and 5 sisters and whose father is unemployed, Said Hamdan had no other options for employment. “My friends go every Friday, so I decided to join them today, to try this work.” The bullet...

Israeli Military Critically Wounds Gazan Fisherman
Palestine Monitor: 26 Mar 2010 - Hazem Gora'ani was critically wounded at 9AM on Thursday morning when the Israeli navy fired at his fishing boat. He was brought to Shifa'a hospital in Gaza City with serious head wounds where he underwent emergency surgery. His condition is currently too unstable to risk removing the pieces of shrapnel lodged in his brain. Gora'ani, age 26, was fishing from a small boat well inside the Israeli imposed fishing boundary of three nautical miles from shore when a navy speed boat approached. The soldiers attempted to arrest Gora'ani and his brother. They panicked and tried to sail towards the coast. In response the Israeli soldiers opened a barrage of fire, which critically injured Hazem and punctured a number of holes in his boat. Israel claims to have reduced the permitted fishing zone to 3 nautical miles offshore, but in fact is attacking Palestinian fishermen and other civilians inside of the...

Another Day Of Repression In Nebi Saleh
Palestine Monitor: 26 Mar 2010 - Around 70 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched on Friday in Nebi Saleh, nearby Ramallah. Israeli soldiers besieged residents inside their homes, and used a massive number of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the crowd. According to local sources one Palestinian protester was injured in the foot and dozens were treated for gas inhalation. Palestine Monitor reported from the field. All photos were taken by FLV.

How Neutral is US Neutrality in the Middle East?
Palestine Chronicle: 26 Mar 2010 - By Ershad Abubacker The recent dueling positions of long time friends and all time allies Israel and America over the construction of 1,600 new apartments in east Jerusalem has obviously hit the headlines worldwide. This has lead to a few high dramatic enactments including the Vice President Joe Biden being reported to be ‘embarrassed;’ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling the Israeli land policy ‘provocative’ and termed it as not in Israel's long-term interests and undermined U.S. credibility as a neutral mediator. At this juncture it is really worthwhile to examine the claims of America as the neutral broker in the long standing Israeli Palestine conflict. Israel recently announced new housing plans for east Jerusalem, the part of the city Palestinians want for a future capital, drawing unusually sharp criticism from the Obama administration. The drama reached its high-end when President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu...more

Apartheid on Two Continents
Palestine Chronicle: 26 Mar 2010 - By Mats Svensson We all have a common history that crosses borders in terms of both country and time. Together with black and white in South Africa we acted forcefully, taking a stand against apartheid and defining the evil and the good. We became part of a historic decision. A decision that was made by an earlier generation and led to that many today can feel pride over our common history. Today we can unfortunately read analytical reports showing that the evil remains in other parts of the world. Today we should therefore again react forcefully when this appears, when it becomes visible. Tor Sellström has in his work documented what Sweden did to fight apartheid in southern Africa. South African researchers have now found signs of apartheid in Palestine. But how do we use this knowledge? How does the world react? Most surfaces are covered with post-its; yellow, green...more

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