Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - July 2011
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Sunday, July 24, 2011
Was the Massacre in Norway a reaction to BDS?
Gilad Atzmon, Gilad Atzmon 7/24/2011
      I learned last night from an Israeli online journal, that two days before the Utoya Island massacre, AUF’s (Labour Party's youth movement) leader Eskil Pedersen gave an interview to the Dagbladet, Norway's second largest tabloid newspaper, in which he unveiled what he thinks of Israel.
     In the course of the interview, Pedersen stated that he “believes the time has come for more drastic measures against Israel, and (that he) wants the Foreign Minister to impose an economic boycott against the country.”
     Pederson went on to say, “The peace process goes nowhere, and though the whole world expect Israel to comply, they do not. We in Labour Youth will have a unilateral economic embargo of Israel from the Norwegian side.”
     The AUF Labour Party Youth Movement have been devoted promoters of the Israel Boycott campaign, The Dagbladet newspaper reporting that “The AUF has long been a supporter of an international boycott of Israel, but the decision at the last congress, demands that Norway imposes a unilateral economic embargo on the country and it must be stricter than before.”
     “I acknowledge that this is a drastic measure”, stated Pedersen, “but I think it gives a clear indication that we are tired of Israel's behaviour, quite simply”.
     Yesterday we also learned that mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik was openly enthusiastic about Israel.... -- See also: JPost: Beware of the European populists and JPost: Norway’s challenge
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For human rights advocates, supporting BDS is a no-brainer
Nadia Hijab,  7/21/2011
      Making the Palestinian case has never been a problem. It is a powerful story grounded in universal principles of human rights and in international law. The question has always been how to shift the balance between one of the strongest military powers in the world and a people struggling with occupation, inequality, and exile.
     That question began to be answered in the mid-2000s. The International Court of Justice issued its advisory opinion in 2004, affirming the illegality of Israel's wall and settlement enterprise, the Palestinian right to self-determination, and the applicability of international law. The ICJ opinion reinforced a resurgent Palestinian civil society movement not seen since the Madrid and Oslo peace processes defused the first intifada or uprising.
     The 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (also known as BDS) marked the first anniversary of the ICJ opinion, becoming another strand in Palestinian non-violent resistance that included the popular struggle against Israel's separation wall in the Palestinian villages directly impacted by its route.
     International solidarity activists flocked to both the popular struggle and BDS. However, while it costs time and money to travel to Palestine, anyone can join a boycott or divestment campaign, or lobby for state sanctions wherever they live. This is one of the strengths of the global BDS campaign. Others strengths include:
     * The campaign is Palestinian-led, and the people whose rights have been violated are now gradually imposing their agenda on a sterile, US-Israeli led process.
     * The call clearly spells out Palestinian goals--self-determination, freedom from occupation, justice for the Palestinian refugees, and equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. This is important because the peace process had reduced Palestinian rights to haggling over land percentages.....
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Seeking signs of health
Samah Jaber,  7/21/2011
      For those who lament the Palestinians' use of violence and sigh, saying, "Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?" here is the answer: Israel delegitimizes all tools of resistance. Most recently, the Israeli parliament passed legislation making it possible to punish any public call for economic, cultural or academic boycott of the Israeli occupation and its settlements.
     A boycott is a very reasonable tool of resistance, one used by many nations--the Irish, the Indians, the Jews--against their respective tyrants. With the notable exception of the state of Israel that continued providing the apartheid regime of South Africa with weapons, boycott was even international policy at one time. At an individual level, each person is entitled to choose to give or not give oxygen to entities that contradict their personal values.
     While Israel's new law is meant to empower the settlers and intimidate the international movement in solidarity with Palestinians, it also generates many thoughts about the Palestinian stance on the boycott. Some Palestinians have a very stratified, complicated and enmeshed relationship with Israelis.
     I, a Palestinian, am writing about the boycott while enjoying a learning experience in London in the presence of Israeli colleagues. In October, I will start a three-year study program at the Israeli Institute of Psychoanalysis. In East Jerusalem, where I live, many Palestinians work in Israeli institutions and when they get sick, are treated in Israeli hospitals. Many Palestinians from the West Bank can only find work in Israeli settlements, and let us not forget the tragic reality that the infamous separation wall was built by Palestinian hands.
     ....One can be sure that there is no win-win situation between the occupied Palestinian nation and the Israeli occupation. The more the occupation expands its settlements, the more it develops its racist policies, the more we suffocate in occupied land.
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the grades
In Gaza: 24 Jul 2011 - For the past week students have been counting the days until their high school exam results are released.  Tawjihi, the last year of high school, is notoriously difficult in Palestine, and many students feel that this year was among the more difficult tests. Some here feel that the reason the test has become more difficult Palestine-wide is, with over 20,000 university and college graduates already sitting unemployed in Gaza alone, not to mention thousands more in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, more challenging exams might persuade potential students to go to trade schools or open small businesses like small grocery stores, to decrease the number of new university students and future unemployed. An ironic solution for a nation which prides itself on its high rates of education and higher education.  I’ve constantly marveled that Palestinians not only pursue higher education in the face of unimaginable obstacles under occupation...more

Gaza's Tunnels: An Inside Perspective
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Jul 2011 - By Alexandra Robinson - Gaza 'Complimentary tour of the Rafah tunnels.' I received this offer a few weeks after arriving in Gaza. In a conversation I was having with my colleague, Joe Catron, it came up that a friend of ours from Gaza City had given an open invitation for us to tour the tunnels. For the purpose of this article we'll refer to her as 'X.' After reading about much of the controversy of the tunnels and the political obstacles they have posed for Hamas since officially taking over the operations in 2007, I jumped at the proposition. Actually managing to get into the tunnels was not such an easy task and ended up taking Joe and I two separate attempts. Our first venture to Rafah was with X, who had initially invited us. Our other colleague from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) joined us and brought a friend...more

Death of Democracy
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Jul 2011 - By William A. Cook 'The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental one, necessary to protect the exercise of all other human rights in democratic societies because it is essential for holding governments accountable to the public.' -- (Human Rights Watch, 'When Speech Offends,' February-March 2006). Contrary to Fox News and Benjamin Netanyahu, Democracy is neither alive nor well in the United States or Israel; indeed it is dying a slow, agonizing death as each nation writhes in pain in adjoining beds unaware that the intravenous feeding tubes controlled by their respective Knessets drip poison into their life sustaining veins. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, in the voice of Carlo Strenger, carries the warning: “The flood of anti-democratic laws that were proposed, and partially implemented, by the current Knesset, elected in February 2009, constitute one of the darkest chapters in Israeli history. The opening salvo was provided by Foreign Minister Avigdor...more

Post-Modern Imperialism: Great Games III
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Jul 2011 - By Gilad Atzmon Though the number of critical voices concerning Israel, Zionism and Jewish power is growing steadily, a clear distinction can be made on the one hand between contributors who operate within the discourse and are politically oriented, and others who transcend themselves above and beyond any given political paradigm. The former category refers to writers and scholars who operate 'within the box,' accepting the restrictive measures of a given political and intellectual discourse. A thinker who operates within such a framework would initially identify the boundaries of the discourse, and then shape his or her ideas to fit in accordingly. The latter category refers to a far more challenging intellectual attempt: it includes those very few who operate within a post-political realm, those who defy the dictatorship of 'political-correctness', or any given 'party-line'. It relates to those minds that think 'out of the box'. And it is actually...more

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