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Articles Archives - October 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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Thursday, October 14, 2010
Danger of Israel’s racist demands
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 10/14/2010
      Without any reason, the Israeli government has created a totally artificial problem for all future persons wishing to get citizenship: they will have to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
     Once again, Israel is trying to push its internal problems and its hesitation to compromise for peace onto others.
     A cartoon in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth captured the absurdity of the latest Israeli obstacle to the peace process. The cartoon shows secular Israeli intellectuals rejecting the idea of the Jewishness of Israel and at the same time depicts Orthodox Jewish leaders rejecting the same idea. In the cartoon, right-wing Israeli leader Avigdor Lieberman tries to convince a veiled Palestinian woman to make the pledge in return for giving her citizenship and she accepts.
     The cartoon reflects the fact that 63 years after its creation, Israel still does not have a constitution guaranteeing the rights of its citizens, particularly its minorities.
     Secular Israelis clearly prefer a constitution or a basic law to a naturalization pledge that has no legal use. In fact, the opposition Kadima Party is planning to push for a law that will consider Israel's declaration of independence as the basic law, thus having the legal power of the constitution. Of course this will put the government in a bind. It will be hard to oppose the idea, but at the same time, approving such a law would not only preempt the current effort to turn the government decision into law, it would also cause a major rift among Jewish religious parties.
     Some might be surprised to hear that religious Jews are against declaring Israel a Jewish state. The reason is simple, however. For decades, Israelis have been embroiled in endless arguments regarding the simple question of "who is a Jew?"....
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No to a third intifada
Hussein Ibish, Ma’an News Agency 10/14/2010
      Whether or not a solution to the crisis over settlements is achieved in the coming days, it's becoming increasingly clear that the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are in serious trouble. The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted unnamed Western officials as saying the talks are “going nowhere.” And the most cautious, sober and measured of the senior PLO leadership, Yasser Abed Rabbo who is a member of the negotiating team, has been moved to declare that “there will be no serious political process with Netanyahu's government.”
     Most reports strongly suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unforthcoming on permanent-status issues. According to these sources, Netanyahu refuses to meaningfully discuss core question such as borders and insists that security must be the main issue at this stage. This has led to frustration not only among the Palestinians and other Arabs, but in many circles in the West and the United States.
     This frustration is amplified by Netanyahu's refusal thus far to accept an exceptionally generous American inducement package in exchange for a 60-day extension to the partial settlement moratorium that expired in September. Indeed, The New York Times called the package “overly generous.” Moreover, it is unclear what the Obama administration expects to be different in two months time, when the parties are likely to find themselves in precisely the same situation. If the Americans have a game-changing approach to unveil over the course of eight weeks, it's the best-kept secret in Washington.
     The American hope may be that borders can be agreed in short order, rendering the settlement issue largely moot, but the parties themselves show little sign of believing that. We therefore have to face the fact that negotiations would appear to be both stalled in substance and threatened with a political crisis that may produce a breakdown....
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Iran: Negotiations shouldn’t be a last resort
MJ Rosenberg, Palestine Note 10/12/2010
      Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings, wrote in the Nixon Center's "National Interest" last month that an Israeli attack on Iran would be catastrophic. Riedel, no reflexive dove - he is a former CIA officer and adviser on terrorism to three Presidents - explains why the United States has to respond with a "clear red light" to any proposed Israeli attack.
     "An Israeli attack on Iran is a disaster in the making. And it will directly impact key strategic American interests. Iran will see an attack as American supported if not American orchestrated. The aircraft in any strike will be American-produced, supplied and funded F-15s and F-16s, and most of the ordnance will be from American stocks. Washington's $3 billion in assistance annually makes possible the IDF's conventional superiority in the region.
     "Iran will almost certainly retaliate against both U.S. and Israeli targets.... Even if Iran chooses to retaliate in less risky ways, it could respond indirectly by encouraging Hezbollah attacks against Israel and Shia militia attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, as well as terrorist attacks against American and Israeli targets in the Middle East and beyond.
     "America's greatest vulnerability would be in Afghanistan. Iran could easily increase its assistance to the Taliban and make the already-difficult Afghan mission much more complicated. Western Afghanistan is especially vulnerable to Iranian mischief, and NATO has few troops there to cover a vast area. President Obama would have to send more, not fewer, troops to fight that war.
     "Making matters worse, considering the likely violent ramifications, even a successful Israeli raid would only delay Iran's nuclear program.... Support for the existing sanctions on Iran after a strike would likely evaporate."
     It is hard to imagine that anyone could argue with any of that. How could an Israeli attack on Iran not be disastrous for the United States, the region, and Israel itself?
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Shooting in "buffer zone," air strikes across Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 14 Oct 2010 - Israeli snipers shot a Palestinian boy collecting scrap building material in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday. The shooting follows several air strikes across the Gaza Strip, injuring a total of eight Palestinians, according to medical sources.more

Israel conducts population transfer training exercises
Electronic Intifada: 14 Oct 2010 - Israel secretly staged a training exercise last week to test its ability to quell any civil unrest that might result from a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority requiring the forcible transfer of many Palestinian Arab citizens, the Israeli media has reported.more

Surplus of coffins, shortage of medicines in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 14 Oct 2010 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Samir Tahseen al-Nadeem died after waiting 35 days for an exit permit for treatment for his heart condition. He was 26. The medicines he needed could not get in. But the coffins do.more

Intellectual Healing At The Freedom Theatre
Palestine Monitor: 14 Oct 2010 - At Jenin's Freedom Theatre, the guiding principle is to use art as resistance. As Nabil Al-Raee, director and acting instructor says, “theatre can open the minds of people, it can make them free from the occupation mindset.” This is the message the theatre wants to send to Jenin, Palestine and the world. The theatre is located in the middle of Jenin refugee camp. It aims to oppose the subtle psychological and mental effects of occupation by enhancing social change through high quality artistic products. That is the way to break cultural isolation, Nabil believes. The Freedom theatre seeks to provide a free space where the students can process their feelings and break through the cycle of daily routine under occupation. The theatre produces professional artists and high quality artistic products. Through drama therapy, workshops, acting school, dance classes, performances and multimedia, the school hopes the participants, in particular children, will...more

The Tide Has Changed: A Musical Essay and a Lesson in Humanity
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud If one tried to fit music compositions into an equivalent literary style, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble’s latest release would come across as a most engaging political essay: persuasive, argumentative, rational, original, imaginative and always unfailingly accessible. But unlike the rigid politicking of politicians and increasingly Machiavellian style of today’s political essayists – so brazen they no longer hide behind illusory moral façades - the band’s latest work is also unapologetically humanistic. Those familiar with the writings of Gilad Atzmon - the famed ex-Israeli musician and brilliant saxophone player, now based in London – can only imagine that Gaza was the place that occupied his thoughts as he composed The Tide Has Changed. The title track, an 11-minute melody, transmits the host of emotions that engulfed many of us when Israel began mercilessly pounding the resilient and hostage Gaza Strip in late 2008. First there...more

Israeli Forces Test Transfer Scenario
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Israel secretly staged a training exercise last week to test its ability to quell any civil unrest that might result from a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority requiring the forcible transfer of many Arab citizens, the Israeli media has reported. The drill was intended to evaluate the readiness of the civil defence units, police, army and prison service to contain large-scale riots by Israel's Arab minority in response to such a deal. The transfer scenario echoes a proposal by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's far-right foreign minister, for what he has termed a "population exchange". Lieberman proposes land swaps that would force many of Israel's 1.3 million Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state in return for annexation to Israel of most of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The scheme has been widely criticised as a violation of international law. He outlined his proposal...more

Letter from an Israeli (Birmingham) Jail
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By Dallas Darling If Martin Luther King would have been a Palestinian, I sometimes wonder how Israeli authorities would have treated him. This came to mind again when it was reported that an Israeli military court sentenced Palestinian nonviolence activist Abdullah Abu Rahmeh to one year in prison. Evidently, the military tribunal found him guilty of “incitement” and for organizing illegal protests. It also fined him $1,400, a stiff penalty for someone who lost over half of his farmland to land seized by Israeli settlement programs. Similar to Martin Luther King, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh has experienced years of racial oppression and religious intolerance. Like Martin Luther King who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to help achieve equality for blacks, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh is the coordinator of the Bilin Popular Resistance Committee against the Wall and Settlements. Since 2005, the movement has nonviolently challenged Israeli segregation and exclusive religious laws....more

A Question for the British Foreign Secretary
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London 'Mr Hague, is it not your responsibility to keep seaways open?' 'The unbroken thread of Conservative Party support for Israel that has run for nearly a century from the Balfour Declaration to the present day will continue. Although it will no doubt often be tested in the years ahead, it will remain constant, unbroken, and undiminished by the passage of time.' No prize for guessing which leading politician uttered these words. It was your goodself, Mr Foreign Secretary, back in 2008. Now for a reality check. I want to share with you, Mr Foreign Secretary, this powerful and moving interview with Lilian Rosengarten by Philip Weiss. 75 year-old Lilian, an American, was on board Irene, the Jewish boat to Gaza, when the vessel was assaulted by “dehumanized” Israelis. Lilian and the other passengers were abducted. She was later deported and told never to come back....more

London's Jazza Sings in Tune with Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By Mamoon Alabbasi – London London's 'Jazza Music Festival' kicked off Tuesday with a number of artists performing free of charge to help raise aid for the occupied Palestinian territories and highlight their plight. The event offered a mix of music genres that crossed both cultural as well as generational divides, where a diverse audience enjoyed tunes from classic Arabic oud to a touch of contemporary Palestinian hip-hop passing through styles of jazz and into a melodic portrait of England's north east. The evening began with warm oud tunes of Palestinian artist Nizar Al-Issa, a traditional genre of music that is a favourite generally with older Arabs, but nevertheless still captures the imagination of younger generations. This was followed by a passionate performance that is customary of singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie, which included my personal favourite 'Million Moons' and a number of new songs that will feature in her new album,...more

The Main Question that Israel Misses
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Oct 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C. It is generally recognized that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), now a 100,000-member pro-Israeli lobbying group, has had an impressive record since the fifties in advocating pro-Israel policies mostly to Congress. But of late several key officials, all American Jews in sensitive government positions, have outpaced this lobbying group established in 1950. It may be a sign of their self-confidence that these officials are now publicly discussing the role of their colleagues in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, who have yet to establish their independent state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip where they number about four million. (Israel’s population totals a little over seven million including some 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs mostly in the Galilee region). Take the case, revealed recently, of how an unidentified person had inserted in a...more

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