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Articles Archives - September 2010
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Monday, September 6, 2010
Telling friends from enemies
Khalil Nakhleh, Al-Ahram Weekly 9/2/2010
      Boycotting Israeli settlement products is not as simple as it sounds
     Like many thousands of Palestinians in Ramallah, I feel utterly confused by the dishonesty of being railroaded into the local boycott of Israeli settlements products. However, since we -- my wife and I -- are committed to the principle and act of boycott as a means of resistance, I decided to clarify the primary issues involved, in order to minimise, as much as possible, the daily contradictions. I thus embarked on sorting out -- systematically, methodically, and with as much clarity as I could muster, the major issues.
     The distinction between friends and enemies is not as clear as it sounds. The Ramallah government, together with its ministries, agencies, and commissions, repeats one line and wants to ram it down our throats. This line can be simplified as follows: "our primary enemy, at this historical juncture, is the illegal settlements in the West Bank. Therefore, and in order to punish these settlements and force them out, we, and our international friends, must boycott their products."
     The words used do not reflect any conviction on the part of the government that these are Zionist settler colonies, and that, having been established on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank since 1967, they are only another phase in the Zionist settler-colonial project that started in the rest of Palestine much earlier than 1948. They are not the final phase of this onslaught either, however much we are being "duped" into thinking that this is so.
     We are not being prepared to confront other phases in the not-so-distant future of the proliferation of Zionist settler colonies in the body of the Arab homeland. Just as they are doing in the Syrian Golan, it is certain that they will spread into Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf region. Yet, the message imposed on us through this very visible hoop-la of boycotting "settlement" products says that the "settlements" are our enemy and the rest of Zionist Israel, so-called "Israel proper", is not.
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Gaza: a castle in the sand
Graham Usher in Gaza, Al-Ahram Weekly 9/2/2010
      Two years after Cast Lead Hamas is indomitable and the Palestinians withdrawn
     There are no guns in Gaza, not even in the hands of the police. Hamas has banned their display.
     Abu Raad's home is built of mud. Hewn from concrete splits, water and sand, the artifice is necessary because of an Israeli siege that bars all raw materials into the Gaza Strip. Abu Raad lost six houses when the Israeli army blitzed northern Gaza in operation Cast Lead in December 2008.
     Fifty-two of his family ran for their lives, under Israeli fire, waving white flags. In 2006 18 others had been killed when a "stray" army shell smashed into an earlier home near the Israeli border, forcing the flight to northern Gaza.
     Today he sits on his own land before a mud-house that looks like a sand castle. When will he be able to rebuild his home? "When your country ends its blockade of mine," he answers.
     Steadfastness, cynicism, powerlessness: that's the mood four years after the world slapped a blockade on Palestinians in Gaza for the temerity of voting for a Hamas government, and nearly two since the Israeli army tried to restore the lustre dimmed by its defeats in Lebanon by blasting Gaza to smithereens. That onslaught still reverberates, like an aftershock.
     "I lived through the Israeli massacre in Khan Younis in 1956; I lived through 1967. But I never lived through anything like Cast Lead. You thought every moment would be your last," says a friend from Jabalyia.
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An Unsettled Issue
Juliane von Mittelstaedt in Jerusalem, Der Spiegel 9/3/2010
      Israeli Settlement Construction Booms Despite Ban
     In Washington, the Israelis and Palestinians are discussing peace, but in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, construction is proceeding at full speed. A legal ban is being ignored and the government is looking away. The thousands of new homes could hinder reconciliation.
     Officially, at least, this is the hour of diplomacy. For the first time in two years, Israelis and Palestinians are meeting for direct peace talks. United States President Barack Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington. Settlement construction is one of the most sensitive issues at the talks.
     It's also an issue where the fronts are growing increasingly tense. "As far as we are concerned, we will continue building after we have buried our dead," Naftali Bennett, the general director of the settlers' association Yesha said hours before the start of peace talks. Just a short time after his announcement, the settlers began erecting several symbolic settlements in the West Bank. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Bennett had threatening words. "It is not good enough that the moratorium will end on Sept. 26," he said. "Ehud Barak needs to act to approve 3,000 new housing units -- 1,500 of them right now."
     The message is clear: After Hamas terrorists shot four Israelis near Hebron, the settlers no longer want to adhere to the 10-month construction stop that expires at the end of September. An army commander told the newspaper Maariv that the settlers threatened to "flood" the West Bank "with thousands of homes." He said he was concerned that dozens of cement mixers would drive in at night to pour the walls and that there was nothing the military could do to stop it.
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Siege casts shadow over Ramadan
Electronic Intifada: 6 Sep 2010 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - The Muslim festival approaches, but not the end to power cuts that have darkened the month-long Ramadan fasting leading up to the festival. Or to the agony of Gazans, made worse by the reminder that it's approaching festive time.more

Ramadan in Gaza's boundary zone
Electronic Intifada: 6 Sep 2010 - JOHR AL-DIK, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - With power cuts up to 16 hours to full days, a soaring heat wave and unbearable humidity, the Israeli-led siege on Gaza is but one of many factors leaving Ramadan miserable for the majority of Palestinians in Gaza.more

Price tag reprisals in Hebron
Electronic Intifada: 6 Sep 2010 - The Palestinian families which live along Route 60 in the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank have no recourse when settlers attack. The area is under full Israeli civil and military control leaving the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority relatively helpless in dealing with problems caused by Israeli settlers. Joseph Dana reports from Hebron.more

"We need to nationalize the resistance"
Electronic Intifada: 6 Sep 2010 - Public servant Bassem Mohammed al-Tamimi is from al-Nabi Saleh, a small village about 20 kilometers northwest of Ramallah. As coordinator of the local Popular Committee, Tamimi has played a leading role in al-Nabi Saleh's demonstrations against the nearby illegal Israeli settlement and military base of Halamish. Jody McIntyre interviewed al-Tamimi for The Electronic Intifada.more

When the Israeli Jews Lose Their Moral Compass
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By Hasan Afif El-Hasan On the first day of the Palestinian-Israeli direct negotiations, I was reading a book by Avraham Burg on Israel. Avraham Burg, a man who once was at the heart of the Israeli establishment as the speaker of the Knesset, asked the same question which I spent years trying to answer. Why the Jewish people, the yesterday’s victims of Hitler and the survivors of the Holocaust do not view the indigenous Palestinians as people with possibly legitimate needs? Burg wants his fellow Jews, the victims of anti-Semitism, to establish a just and compassionate society that lives according to the principles of its Bible including: “What is hateful to thee, do not do unto thy fellow.” He reminds the Jews that their “existence has not been just to the Father, the King, up in heaven, but up toward the great human calling.” The moral issue of the Israeli...more

Imagining Palestinians as Equal
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By George Polley 'The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.' -- Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963) If the question is, are the Israeli government and its supporters serious about addressing the issues that cause them their biggest public relations problems, the answer is no. Instead of changing its behavior, Israel’s response to criticism is a simple one: Deny wrongdoing, play the role of victim, punish those who resist, and attack and destroy the credibility of those who criticize it. Earlier this year The Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank founded in 2004 by Gidi Grinstein and others, published a 93-page report titled: “Building a Political Firewall against Israel’s Delegitimization”. A primer in designing and carrying out a propaganda campaign (called “public relations” in the report), it is a very revealing document. (For a copy, click here ) Nothing in the...more

God Announces Palestinian State in Uganda
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By Belen Fernandez In an interview this week with Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi, omnipresent Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev addressed the difficulty of defining the border between Israel and Palestine without knowing “what’s going to be on the other side” and whether whatever it is will recognize the Jewish state. Deftly skirting Rattansi’s interjection that the Palestinians had already recognized Israel in 1993 by saying he would “answer that in a second” despite the fact that it was not a question, Regev continued: “How can we agree to a border unless we know what’s the nature and the character of the society on the other side of the border?” As for the nature and character of the Jewish state, comparable spiritual exclusivity on the other side of the fence such as an Islamic Republic of Palestine would presumably not merit comparable insistence by Regev of the state’s utter democracy. As...more

Munir's Story: 28 Years after the Massacre at Sabra-Shatila
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By Franklin Lamb – Beirut The untreated psychic wounds are still open. Accountability, justice and basic civil rights for the survivors are still denied. Scores of horror testimonies have been shared over the past nearly three decades by survivors of the September 1982 Sabra- Shatila massacre. More come to light only through circumstantial evidence because would be affiants perished during the slaughter. Other eyewitness are just beginning to emerge from deep trauma or self imposed silence. Some testimonies will be shared this month by massacre survivors at Shatila camp. They will sit with the every growing numbers of international visitors who annually come to commemorate one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th century. There are no average massacre testimonies. Zeina, a handsome bronzed-faced middle-aged woman, an acquaintance of Munir Mohammad's family, asked a foreigner the other day: "How can it be 28 years? I think it was just...more

Will Hamas Seize the Moment?
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London Can the resistance exploit the fake talks, re-position itself and finally 'come good'? Hamas 'vows to step up attacks on Israel', say reports in the western media. Reading further, we learn that this escalation is either "a natural response to the crimes of the occupation" or a spiteful reaction to being left out of the talks. Either way, Hamas surely knows better than to let such crude impressions be formed. This is their golden opportunity. The eyes and ears of the world are focused on the Israel problem, and will re-focus every two weeks. Instead of hurling threats of more violence, which only serve to reinforce opinion that Hamas is a terrorist organization, the words and deeds of the resistance movement should be carefully chosen to harmonise with the West's values and beliefs. This is Hamas's chance to 'educate' the rest of the world as...more

Towards a New Public Diplomacy – Book Review
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Sep 2010 - By Jim Miles Toward a New Public Diplomacy - Redirecting U.S. Foreign Policy. Ed. Philip Seib. Palgrave MacMillan, New York. 2009. This collection of essays could be summed up in one word: image. Other words used throughout the text range from the more benign terms of “perception” and “communication tactics” through to the harder terms of “propaganda,” the military “strategic communications” and the rather laborious military phrase of “coordinated information dissemination.” At its base however it wall returns to the one word, image. Image as opposed to actions, in that U.S. public diplomacy rarely if ever admits to mistakes in the grand purpose of the U.S. and will only do so under limited circumstances when media exposure catches their actions at cross purposes with their purported rhetorical ideology. The underlying assumption of all authors, some more boldly stated than others, is that the U.S. right, it is good, and therefore...more

Articles Archives - September 2010

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