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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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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Israel prevents Christian pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem
Palestine Note 3/31/2010
      In a response to a totally nonviolent protest by Palestinian Christians and Muslims demanding their freedom of movement the Israeli army has effectively banned entry of Christian pilgrims and tourists from visiting the birth place of Christ.
     The protest on March 28th focused on the Israeli restrictions to Palestinians from Bethlehem from participating in the Palm Sunday events in the holy city of Jerusalem, a mere 8 miles away. For centuries Christians from around the world have reenacted the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives one week before his crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
     Protesters marched from the Nativity Church in Bethlehem towards the checkpoint near Rachel’s Tomb. In addition to Palestinians, the protest included members of international solidarity groups as well as a number of Israeli peace activists.
     Additionally, and in keeping with the biblical story of the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, the marchers waving palms and olive branches were led by a man riding a donkey.
     When the protesters arrived at the checkpoint they appear to have caught the Israelis totally off guard even though the march that was sponsored by the Palestinian NGO Holy Land Trust was publicized using local media for the past week. The private security company hired to man the checkpoint escaped leaving the protesters the ability to pass through the checkpoint without restrictions. No soldiers appeared to stop them, no one declared the area a military zone and so the protesters which included a senior member of the Fatah movement continued their march.... -- See also: Flickr: Freedom march from Bethlehem to Jerusalem 3/28/2010
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Culture of contempt
Stephen Lendman, Al-Ahram Weekly 3/25/2010
      Israel adopts ever more cynical positions vis-à-vis world opinion to continue settlement expansion.
     An estimated 500,000 Jews reside illegally in over 120 West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements and dozens of outposts. Their numbers grow daily despite occasional pledges to curtail or slow them, the latest last November when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month freeze, calling it a move to "help launch meaningful negotiations to reach a historic peace agreement that would finally end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians".
     The freeze, of course, was rhetoric with no substance, especially so given Israel’s plan to make all Jerusalem a Jewish city, according to Netanyahu, an extremist hard-right zealot. During the Jerusalem Day ceremony (commemorating the city’s 1967 reunification) on 22 May, 2009, he declared: "United Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided."
     For East Jerusalem Palestinians this means removing them one settlement expansion and home demolition at a time.
     On 26 February Haaretz reported that Israel "plans to build another 600 homes in East Jerusalem" on occupied Palestinian land. On 10 March, Israel’s Interior Ministry approved 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo, "an ultra- Orthodox East Jerusalem neighborhood", during US Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit to restart peace talks. A day later Haaretz reported that planning officials had confirmed "some 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem neighbourhoods beyond the Green Line are in various stages of planning and approval". Plans for 20,000 apartments "are in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder have yet to be submitted to the planning committees".
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Gideon Levy Interview: A rare voice of courage
David Cronin, The Electronic Intifada, Israeli Occupation Archive 3/31/2010
      Gideon Levy is a rare voice of courage in an Israeli media generally supine towards the political establishment. Since 1988, he has written the “Twilight Zone” column for the Israeli daily Haaretz, documenting unflinchingly the myriad cruelties inflicted on the Palestinian people under occupation. In his new book Gaza, a collection of articles which has just been published in French, Levy utters phrases that, by his own admission, are considered “insane” by most of his compatriots. The Electronic Intifada contributor David Cronin spoke with Gideon Levy about his background and journalism.
     David Cronin: You were born in Tel Aviv in the 1950s. Were your parents survivors of the Holocaust?
     Gideon Levy: They were not Holocaust survivors, they just left Europe in 1939. My father was from Germany, my mother Czech. Both were really typical refugees because my father came on an illegal ship, which was stopped for half a year in Beirut by the British and only after half a year on the ocean could it make it to Palestine. My mother came on a project with Save the Children. She came without her parents directly to a kibbutz.
     My father always said he never found his place in Israel. He lived there for 60 years but his life was ruined. He had a PhD in law but never practiced it in Israel. He never really spoke proper Hebrew. I think he was really traumatized all his life.
     At the same time, he never wanted to go back [to Europe] even for a visit. He came from Sudetenland, which became Czechoslovakia. All the Germans were expelled.
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A rare voice of courage: journalist Gideon Levy interviewed
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2010 - Gideon Levy is a rare voice of courage in an Israeli media generally supine towards the political establishment. Since 1988, he has written the "Twilight Zone" column for the Israeli daily Haaretz , documenting unflinchingly the myriad cruelties inflicted on the Palestinian people under occupation. In his new book Gaza , a collection of articles which has just been published in French, Levy utters phrases that, by his own admission, are considered "insane" by most of his compatriots. The Electronic Intifada contributor David Cronin spoke with Gideon Levy about his background and journalism.

Swedish fashion chain H&M under pressure
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2010 - More than a year ago, several concerned Swedish organizations asked fashion chain H&M about its plans to extend its franchise to Israel. H&M's management denied the rumors but refused to provide written confirmation. In March, H&M unexpectedly opened a store in Tel Aviv and a second store in Jerusalem's Malha shopping mall. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Interview: Palestine a rich landscape for a mystery
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2010 - Kate Raphael is a Palestine solidarity activist who is currently publishing a mystery novel entitled Murder Under the Bridge one chapter at a time on its own blog. The Electronic Intifada contributor Hannah Mermelstein interviewed Raphael about how the novel came about and where she hopes it will go.

Health workers and advocates support call for U of Arizona to divest
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2010 - A joint group of more than 50 Jewish, Christian, Muslim and agnostic medical and health advocates of the Tucson and surrounding region, following student initiative, are calling on the University of Arizona to divest from corporations benefiting from the global health and humanitarian crisis in Palestine caused by Israel's military occupation, supported by the United States.

AIPAC: Telling A Whopper
Palestine Monitor: 31 Mar 2010 - The theme of this year's annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was 'Israel: Tell the Story.' And it was quite a story that AIPAC wanted to tell. The conference aimed at imparting to the over 7000 attendees 'an intimate understanding of the many ways that Israel is making the world a better place,' with a focus on peacemaking and innovation. According to the AIPAC web site, conference goers will also 'meet Israelis who rush to the scene of natural disasters in far away lands because they believe that to save one life is to save the whole world.' No mention was made of the 1400 people killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza. Against a backdrop of creative blends of US and Israeli flags and icons, the three-day conference in Washington DC included plenary speeches by former Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Secretary...

Netanyahu's Days May Be Numbered
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C. Believe it or not, Benjamin Netanyahu may be coming back to Washington next weekend. The Israeli prime minister has apparently wiped the spit – – not rain – – off his head, which he earned after his stressful encounter with President Barack Obama last month on ending illegal Israeli settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land, especially in East Jerusalem where the Palestinians hope to establish their capital. But whether he will have his tail tucked between his legs remains to be seen. The Israeli prime minister will be one of 40 world leaders expected to participate in the April 12-13 nuclear security summit conference, sponsored by President Obama, “to enhance international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism.” What he may have to say here will be eagerly watched by all those who are eagerly awaiting any revelation about Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Whatever, the serious...more

Defacto State
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2010 - By Jim Miles Part of the dilemma in Palestine is that the more the “peace” process is delayed, moving nowhere, the more Israel gains in the way of confiscated and settled land. There are two basic solutions: either a one state solution (whether bi-national or otherwise); or a two state solution with Palestine existing on some remnant of land left over from Israeli settlement. A recent combination of events/ideas has left me wondering if the one state solution is perhaps the only remaining solution if not the de facto situation now. Christian Peacemakers I recently attended a local presentation of Christian Peacemakers (CPT) on their experiences in Hebron in Palestine. The main presenter Johann Funk is a Mennonite who has been to Hebron several times recently. The CPT ideal as presented on their website is a powerful statement of intent: “CPT embraces the vision of unarmed intervention waged by committed...more

Palestine's 'Turbulent Priest' Delivers Blistering Easter Message
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London Fr Manuel Musallam recently retired at the age of 71 after serving as the parish priest of the Holy Family Church in Gaza for 14 years. For most of that time the Israelis would not allow him to visit his family and friends in the West Bank. So, in spite of failing health, he soldiered on through the devastating siege and the murderous blitzkrieg. I was privileged to meet a couple of years ago and I just love the way this man speaks out. He doesn't mince words. He tells it the way it is, with truth and style. Retirement hasn’t silenced him or dimmed his perceptions. This Easter he's concerned, as always, about the Occupation and how it robs those in the Holy Land of Easter's message of hope and joy. "We Christians of Palestine have been under Occupation for many long years. We’ve...more

Articles Archives - March 2010

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