Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - November 2011
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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, November 3, 2011
Hebron copes with self deifying Israeli military and its settlers
Alistair George, International Solidarity Movement 11/4/2011
      The streets of Tel Rumeida are locked-down and divided; physically occupied by a forceful Israeli military. For the Palestinian community living in this part of H2, Israeli-controlled Hebron, military occupation is an inescapable intrusion into everyday reality. The existence of an estimated 500 Israeli settlers is facilitated by up to 4000 Israeli soldiers stations in Hebron. Grey, austere watchtowers gaze over streets in which Israeli soldiers and military vehicles are stationed at regular intervals, frequently stopping Palestinians as they walk through their own neighbourhood to demand they prove their identity. Those wishing to travel into H2 from Palestinian-controlled H1 must pass through metal detectors and checkpoints, where they may be arbitrarily harassed or detained by bored Israeli soldiers.
     Movement around H2 is severely restricted. In some streets Palestinians are allowed to walk but not drive, forcing them to manually lug heavy supplies such as gas canisters and food. Even ambulances are not allowed to drive through certain areas. Palestinians are forbidden from passing through some streets by car or by foot; the main street linking north and south Hebron has been closed to Palestinians; turning a 5 minute journey into a 45 min trek through alternative roads.
     However, despite the enduring hardship in Tel Rumeida, resistance to the Israeli occupation remains strong. The ‘Study and Challenge Centre’ is located on Palestinian land that is surrounded by four Israeli settlements – the closest of which is only metres from the rear of the building. It faces south Hebron, overlooking steep, dusty terraces, planted with olive trees and cratered by old archaeological digs of excavated Roman artifacts. The centre is a hub of nonviolent resistance and its existence is a testament to the spirit that exists in a beleaguered community under occupation.
     The ‘Study and Challenge Centre’....
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Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO
Richard Falk, Al Jazeera 11/2/2011
      With Palestine getting full membership to the UNESCO, it also serves as a political reminder of its bid for statehood.
     It may not ease the daily pain of occupation and blockade or the endless anguish of refugee status and exile or the continual humiliations of discrimination and second class citizenship, but the admission of Palestine to membership in UNESCO is for so many reasons a step forward in the long march of the Palestinian people toward the dignity of sunlight! The event illuminates the path to self-determination, but also brings into the open some of the most formidable obstacles that must be cleared if further progress is to be made.
     The simple arithmetic of the UNESCO vote, 107 in favor, 14 opposed, 52 abstentions, and 21 absent fails to tell the story of really one sided was the vote. Toting up the for and against votes obscures the wicked arm twisting, otherwise known as geopolitics, that induced such marginal political entities as Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, and Vanuatu to stand against the weight of global opinion and international morality by voting against Palestinian admission as member to UNESCO. This is not meant to insult such small states, but to lament that their vulnerability to American pressure should distort the real contours of world public opinion. Such a distortion makes a minor mockery of the idea that governments can offer adequate representation to the peoples of the world. It also illustrates the degree to which formal political independence may hide a condition of de facto dependence as well as make plain that voting within the United Nations System should never be confused with aspirations to establish a global democracy in substance as well as form. As an aside this consistently compromised electoral process within the UN System demonstrates the urgency and desirability of establishing a global peoples parliament that could at least provide a second voice whenever global debate touches on issues of human concern.
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Goldstone’s ’apartheid’ denial sparks strife
Ben White, Al Jazeera 11/2/2011
      The author of the Gaza War report erroneously argues that Israel does not practice apartheid.
     After his famous article earlier this year on Gaza, Judge Richard Goldstone has written a new op-ed, this time seeking to defend Israel against charges of apartheid.
     There are numerous problems with Goldstone's piece, but I want to highlight two important errors. First, Goldstone - like others who attack the applicability of the term "apartheid" - wants to focus on differences between the old regime in South Africa and what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Note that he does this even while observing that apartheid "can have broader meaning", and acknowledging its inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute.
     As South African legal scholar John Dugard wrote in his foreword to my book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide, no one is saying the two situations "are exactly the same". Rather, there are "certain similarities" as well as "differences": "It is Israel's own version of a system that has been universally condemned".
     Goldstone would appear not to have read studies by the likes of South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council and others, who conclude that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid. The term has been used by the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem.
     Goldstone's second major error is to omit core Israeli policies, particularly relating to the mass expulsions of 1948 and the subsequent land regime built on expropriation and ethno-religious discrimination. By law, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning, their property confiscated - the act of dispossession that enabled a Jewish majority to be created in the first place.
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updates on the Canadian and Irish boats sailing for Gaza
In Gaza: 3 Nov 2011 - At 7.30pm tonight (Thursday) the Irish Ship To Gaza shore team were informed that Israeli warships were seen 6 miles from the Irish (MV Saoirse) and Canadian (Tahrir) ships attempting to break the siege of Gaza. The ships are currently in international waters around 200 miles from Gaza. Israeli spotter planes were also observed flying overhead according to Fintan Lane, who is on board the Irish ship Saoirse. Crew and passengers on the boats fear being boarded tonight. ****************************************************************************** ” Freedom Waves To Gaza ” are 160KM away from Gaza shores. Two Israeli Military warships are closing in on “Tahrir” and “Saoirse”. also Two military spotter aircrafts are above “Tahrir” and “Saoirse”. the peace Activists have called their countries asking them to protect them in International waters. ****************************************************************************** Israel and the U.S. outsourced the siege of GAZA to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2 from sailing...more

Israel Will Not Attack Iran. Period.
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Nov 2011 - By Uri Avnery Everybody knows the scene from school: a small boy quarrels with a bigger boy. 'Hold me back!' he shouts to his comrades, 'Before I break his bones!' Our government seems to be behaving in this way. Every day, via all channels, it shouts that it is going, any minute now, to break the bones of Iran. Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb. We cannot allow this. So we shall bomb them to smithereens. Binyamin Netanyahu says so in every one of his countless speeches, including his opening speech at the winter session of the Knesset. Ditto Ehud Barak. Every self-respecting commentator (has anyone ever seen a non-self-respecting one?) writes about it. The media amplify the sound and the fury. “Haaretz” splashed its front page with pictures of the seven most important ministers (the “security septet”) showing three in favor of the attack, four against. A...more

And Now for Syria
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Nov 2011 - By Jeremy Salt – Ankara 'We came, we saw, he died'. So did Hillary Clinton, paraphrasing Julius Ceasar, only a few years before his own brutal death, she should perhaps be reminded, describe the conquest of Libya and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi. Asked if there was a connection between the killing and her visit to Tripoli a few days earlier, when she spoke of looking ahead to the capture or killing of Gaddafi, she remarked: 'Of course there was'. So we can reasonably surmise she was there to inform the 'national transitional council' of what had been decided. The Americans knew exactly where Gaddafi was. Knowing also that a breakout was imminent, they had decided that he would be prevented from escaping but also prevented from appearing before the International Criminal Court. Whether someone said it out loud or not we don't know. They probably did, but what it...more

“Islamists” on Probation: Western Reaction to Tunisian Elections
Dissident Voice: 3 Nov 2011 - Following Tunisia’s first fair and free elections on October 27, the Western media responded with a characteristic sense of fear and alarm. For many, it seemed that the ghost of the Islamic menace was back to haunt ‘Western values’ throughout the Arab world. The narrative employed by media outlets was no more than cleverly disguised Islamophobia, masquerading as genuine concern for democracy and the welfare of women and minority groups. The victory of the Ennahda (meaning Renaissance) Party was all but predictable. Official results showed that the party won more than 41 percent of the vote, providing it with 90 seats in the 217-member new Constituent Assembly, or parliament. To quell fears of Islamic resurgence, leading party members seemed to direct their message to outsiders (the US and Western powers), rather than the Tunisian people themselves. Ennahda’s Secretary General Hamadi Jebali, slated to be the next prime minister, labored to...more

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