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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Monday, November 14, 2011
Jerusalem: Explosions, arrests and violence as Israel clears way for settlement activity
Alistair George, International Solidarity Movement 11/14/2011
      13 November 2011, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
     Three Palestinians were arrested and others were detained, beaten and pepper sprayed by the Israeli military in Al-Walajeh yesterday, as villagers attempted to prevent the detonation of explosives used to widen the route for the separation wall on the village’s land.
     Previously, large explosions on 3 November 2011 in the village had sent large rocks several metres into the air, damaging nearby houses and trees and endangering life. The explosions have damaged the foundations of nearby properties. Yesterday, protesters attempted to peacefully prevent a similar explosion from taking place.
     At around 8am yesterday morning, villagers from Al-Walajeh, near Jerusalem, were working on an UN project to enlarge the village’s graveyard at the Western side end of the village. They discovered that the Israeli military and contractors were laying charges to explode rock and widen the path for the construction of the separation barrier on the village’s land. The barrier will completely encircle Al-Walajeh if completed. Access will be gained via a tunnel and checkpoint, manned by the Israeli military and open for a limited time each day.
     A man from Al-Walajeh, who gave his name as ‘Abu Sultan’, explained that he “was the first to arrive at the scene– 10 days ago the officer of the DCO [District Coordination Offices] told us that they were not allowed to make any more explosions, and that if they tried we should stay on the land and prevent it – so the DCO should stand with us.”
     Abu Sultan tried to take the dynamite from the ground but was pepper sprayed and detained for over 3 hours before being released. Another villager, Mustafa Odeh, was beaten and arrested by soldiers.
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Finkelstein highlights international law as powerful weapon for boycott
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/14/2011
      Professor Norman Finkelstein stormed UK campuses in the week to November 11, lecturing to packed auditoriums in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham on How to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
     His main message was that since Israeli settlement, occupation and denial of rights to Palestinian refugees are all acknowledged as illegal under international law, the campaign on these points is as good as won.
     He said that Tzipi Livni, when serving as Israel’s foreign minister, had declared: “I’m a lawyer – and I’m against the law, international law in particular.” She had good reason for saying that because under international law “Israel loses, on Jerusalem, on the West Bank and Gaza, on settlements and right of return for refugees,” said Finkelstein.
     The relevance of this to the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) was teased out in discussion between Finkelstein and Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) on Friday afternoon, Nov 11, at UCL.
     Jonathan Rosenhead, BRICUP
     Rosenhead opened with a review of the history of boycott as a weapon available to the weak oppressed by the strong, as in Ireland in the 1880s and in South Africa in 1960s-90s.
     He said boycotts targeting Israel, begun in 2004, combine “symbolic protest, material intervention and political action.” The overall aim was ending the Israeli system of oppression, as called for by Palestinian civil society.
     Rosenhead said freedom of expression in academia was a vital principle, but it was not absolute and could conflict with a higher principle, such as freedom and self-determination for an oppressed people. -- See also: Source: Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, J-BIG
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Rabin’s legacy
Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center 11/13/2011
      On the hollow words that followed Yitzhak Rabin's assasination and the dangerous men who speak them--Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak
     On Saturday, the 12th of November, the murder of Yitzhak Rabin was commemorated in the Kikar Malkei Israel Square for the fifteenth time. Only 10,000 people bothered to attend to hear the hollow words and nostalgic songs.
     It is difficult, of course, to say what would have been if Rabin hadn't been murdered, taking with him, perhaps, what appeared to be the beginning of a peace process. What is certain is that the murderer's hands critically injured this process. In the wake of Rabin’s murder, one prime minister after another who had incited against Rabin--and through their wild incitement armed Yigal Amir--took power. And they will continue to control the country for a long period because an alternative simply does not exist. Peace Now is dead, as is the Labour Movement and Meretz. Two of the captains of what was dubbed, prior to Rabin’s murder, as the “peace camp” are today starring on centre stage: Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak--two serial traitors who made escaping a sinking ship a considered act, but not without critically harming the ship prior to their jump.
     Shimon Peres--who immediately following the murder of “his friend Yitzhak," whom he hated vehemently--called for “unity of the people” and acted tirelessly to return legitimacy to the camp of the murders, today sits in the President’s house. Despite his advanced age and the seemingly symbolic role which characterizes his position, he continues to take an active role in guiding state matters, not necessarily for the better. Prior to being elected President, Peres managed to defect from the sinking Labour Party. And concerning Ehud Barak, he also ran away from the Labour Party after completely destroying it, and in exchange he received tenure as head of the Ministry of Defence.
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Playground Bullying of Palestine, Iran Must Stop
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By Stuart Littlewood - UK Last Friday I had a 2-hour meeting with my MP Henry Bellingham, who is a minister in the Foreign Office. We spent much of the time discussing the Palestinian statehood question and the absurd sabre-rattling against Iran. Mr. Bellingham listened politely, saying he was more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than some within the Government. He also agreed that the best way to influence Iran was to resume trade. Of course he was anxious to defend his colleagues in the FO saying they are more often accused of being too biased towards the Palestinians. I on the other hand don’t believe there’s a single grain of pro-Palestinian sentiment in the whole gruesome gang of playground bullies that runs things at Westminster. Will anything we said be translated into action? Fat chance. All the same I dropped him a thank-you note with a reminder of my...more

Detoxing Yemen's UN Resolution 2014
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By James Gundun – Washington, D.C. Over three weeks have elapsed since the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed resolution 2014. Addressing Yemen's 10-month revolution, the resolution calls for Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a power-sharing agreement drafted by the Saudi-bankrolled Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The White House quickly heralded the UNSC’s “unambiguous signal to President Saleh that he must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately.” Except resolution 2014 is opposed by Saleh and protesters alike. Not every part of the resolution is rejected by Yemen’s mass of revolutionaries; many clauses outside of the GCC are welcomed, but several key terms remain cloaked in ambiguity. The notion of an immediate transfer of power conceals the GCC’s extended time-frame, which encourages Saleh to remain in office seven months after its introduction. The initiative stipulates a 30-day grace period after transferring executive authority to his...more

Road to Damascus: Pro-Israel Groups Plot Intervention
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By Maidhc Ó Cathail On November 8, the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies jointly issued a discussion paper that outlines “policy options for the United States and like-minded nations to further assist the anti-regime Syrian opposition.” Entitled “Towards a Post-Assad Syria,” the paper advocates imposing “crippling sanctions” on the Assad government, providing assistance to Syrian opposition groups, and imposing no-fly/no-go zones in Syria. Founded in 2009, the Foreign Policy Initiative is the successor organisation to the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative advocacy group that relentlessly pushed for war with Iraq from its inception in 1997. FPI’s board of directors consists of PNAC co-founders, Robert Kagan and William Kristol; Dan Senor, a former intern at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; and Eric Edelman, a Paul Wolfowitz protégé at the Pentagon who, thanks to support from Richard Perle, succeeded the scandal-ridden Undersecretary of...more

Across the Wall – Book Review
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By Ludwig Watzal (Ilan Pappé/Jamil Hilal eds., Across The Wall. Narratives of Israeli-Palestinian History, I. B. Tauris, London-New York 2010, 462 pp.) 'Across the Wall' arose from collaboration between scholars from Israel and Palestine, seeking to arrive at a shared framework for studying the history of this tormented land. Historians from Israel/Palestine came together for dialogue on history, identity, and the meaning of the conflict. They argue for a concept of a “bridging narrative” that can accommodate incompatible national met-narratives. “Bridging narratives are usually intercalary chapters, short pieces that help connect the so-called ‘plot' chapters”. (3) All contested issues in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are discussed. This get-together was characterized by mutual respect for each other not like a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian historians in Paris in May 1998, in which they clashed about issues such the equation between Zionism and colonialism and the designation of the...more

US War Rhetoric: The Road to Sedition
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By Ismail Salami Following the recent IAEA report released on Iran's nuclear program which many observers found professionally faulty, Washington once again ratcheted up the 'bomb, bomb Iran' rhetoric. The rhetoric escalated even more in the US presidential debate on Saturday when some of the Republicans made it loud and clear that a war with Iran would be the ultimate solution to Iran’s nuclear program. "Totally. Absolutely without any doubt the Iranians if they develop a nuclear weapon ... the whole region is going to want a nuclear weapon. Then you march down the road of Armageddon. If you open Pandora's box, if you attack Iran, if they get a nuclear weapon you empty Pandora's box, that's the world we live in. So I support the option of a military option as a last resort," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday. To hawkish Graham, attacking Iran’s nuclear sites is not enough...more

No War on Iran? Think Again
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2011 - By Richard Lightbown Uri Avnery in a considered assessment of the chances of an Israeli attack on Iran (Palestine Chronicle, November 03) stated categorically that it will not happen. I hope he is right, but I think there is a major flaw in his reasoning. The U.S. cannot be relied upon to keep Israel under control. Put simply, the current American president does not have the audacity of former incumbent Dwight D Eisenhower. In 1956 when Ike faced down Britain, France and Israel he was the undisputable top dog in the western world. The Israeli lobby in Washington did not at that time have a stranglehold on decision makers in Washington, and Eisenhower had just been re-elected US president in a second landslide victory. Nobody was going to tell this former supreme commander of NATO what to do. Eisenhower’s message to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion was simple and unequivocal: Israeli forces...more

Freedom Waves: Another Challenge to the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza and the U.S. Congress
Dissident Voice: 14 Nov 2011 - Why I wanted to Challenge the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza In the overland five trips I have made to Gaza since March, 2009, I have seen the disastrous effect of the brutal Israeli land and sea blockade has had on the Palestinian people.  I have seen the terrible level of destruction that the 2008-2009 Israeli attack wrecked on Gaza, in which 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the 22 day attack, 5,000 were wounded and 50,000 were made homeless.  I was on the Gaza Freedom March in 2009 and I was a passenger on the US Boat to Gaza , the “Audacity of Hope” that was forbidden from sailing June, 2011 by the Greek government on behalf of the Israeli government. As one of two American citizens on the Gaza “Freedom Waves,” I represented hundreds of thousands of Americans who are challenging Israeli and US policies concerning Palestine.  We are using...more

Tragedy In Vermont
Dissident Voice: 14 Nov 2011 - In an incident that can only be described as tragic, a man apparently took his life inside a tent at the Burlington, VT Occupy camp the afternoon of November 10, 2011. Like every Occupy camp, the one in Burlington, VT. has a fair share of men and women without homes living there. This man Josh was one of them. In a statement released to the press, Occupy Vermont-Burlington wrote: “Despite our best efforts to provide care and support to all our members of the (Occupy) community, occupations are not equipped with the infrastructure and resources needed to care for the most vulnerable members of our community…. This tragedy draws attention to the gross inequalities within our system.” The location of the camp in Burlington is in a small city park adjacent to the City Hall building. This park has been a traditional gathering spot for some of the homeless, transient...more

The Battle in Portland
Dissident Voice: 14 Nov 2011 - Faced with a 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning eviction from the three city parks occupied for more than a month, Occupy Portland and its city supporters turned out in mass Saturday night and well into Sunday morning.  At their height around the midnight deadline, crowds swelled to over 6,000 strong.  This massive turnout came despite a police led fear campaign, in which reports were circulated via the local media claiming police “intelligence” indicating an influx of 150 out of town “anarchists” coming into the city for a violent confrontation. When I first arrived at the occupied parks at 9:30 Saturday night, the encampments were noticeably thinned from just days earlier.  Given that Mayor Sam Adams (who claims “support” for the Occupy movement) ordered the eviction in part to “clean” the parks so as to be able to reopen them to the “public,” campers had worked through the day to clean the parks themselves. ...more

Articles Archives - November 2011

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