Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - November 2011
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Gaza: Rebuilding from rubble
Ruqaya Izzidien, Al Akhbar English 11/29/2011
      “He who builds his house here puts his sweat and blood into it, laying stone after stone. When it becomes rubble, it is devastating and personal for him...” Photos by Ruqaya Izzidien
     Despite Israel’s blockade on building materials entering the Gaza Strip, local entrepreneurs have come up with a way to turn destruction into reconstruction by recycling rubble into construction material.
     Gaza - The bedroom of Nasser Abu Said features two-meter holes punched by Israeli rockets and his front door is splattered with deep gashes from the nailbomb which clawed his garden apart and killed his wife. The staircase is half-collapsed, there is no roof and involuntary windows have cropped up all over the house, each one marking the entry of one of the nine bombs that hit his home, meters away from the eastern border with Israel in the Jahr el Deek neighborhood. This is what a shelled house looks like in Gaza.
     The Gaza Strip experiences frequent airstrikes which have targeted every form of infrastructure over the last few months, leaving destroyed farmland, factories and houses in their wake.
     Israel forbids Palestinians in Gaza from importing building materials, obstructing their ongoing attempts to repair damage caused during the 2008-2009 war. Add to this continuing destruction caused by regular, if unpredictable, bombings that rain down on Gaza and it becomes seemingly impossible for Palestinians to reconstruct buildings destroyed by Israel since the siege came into effect in 2007.
     However, a stroll through central Gaza City makes it clear that Palestinians living in the coastal enclave have resorted to ingenious and defiant methods in order to keep Gaza’s homes and businesses running. It is known as ‘rubble recycling.’
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Anti-Arab laws and the appearance of democracy
Nadim N. Rouhana, Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2011
      The spate of anti-democratic bills recently introduced by the Israeli government has forced the issue onto the public agenda in Israel. This is so not because anti-democratic bills are new, but mainly because for the first time some of the proposed bills threaten democracy for Jewish citizens themselves.
     For example, proposals to limit foreign funding to local non-governmental organizations, changes in nomination procedures for Supreme Court justices, and the recent proposed amendment to the libel law (which the left views as anti-free speech legislation) have placed the anti-democratic trends at the forefront of the public's consciousness.
     It is vital that these current anti-democratic bills enter the public discourse. But if, even after the resistance we are witnessing from the diminished Israeli left, these bills are passed, an anti-democratic threshold will be publicly and undeniably crossed in Israel.
     It is also important to place these bills in the context of anti-Arab laws that have been introduced all along, but explicitly and extensively since the 2000 "October events" (when Palestinian citizens staged mass demonstrations against the killing of Palestinians in the occupied territories at the start of the second intifada).
     These new laws will reduce already limited avenues for Arab political participation within the Israeli system: parliamentary elections, NGOs' active participation in political life, and resorting to Israel's legal system, particularly the High Court of Justice.
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A symptom of the occupation
Ghassan Khatib, Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2011
      Israel's Knesset has recently intensified its consideration and approval of numerous laws that appear to compromise the democratic nature of Israel, while strengthening the right wing's control over various aspects of Israeli life.
     In light of this, Israel's media are full of analysis and opinion pieces written by those worried by this trend. They say it will both increase discrimination against Israel's Palestinian minority and narrow the space for freedom of expression and secular elements in Israel.
     One article argued that instead of fulfilling his promise to create two states, Israel and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing for two states in Israel -- one secular and based in Tel Aviv and the other fundamentalist and based in Jerusalem.
     In another example, Haaretz co-owner and publisher Amos Schocken argued that one can easily see many similarities between Israel today and apartheid South Africa.
     The main questions are, why is this happening now, and what can the outside world do about it? It is difficult to separate between Israel's internal state of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights, on one hand, and the Israeli government and the way Israel is behaving toward Palestinians, on the other. Thus, it is easy to argue that four decades of occupation are an important factor in these internal negative developments.
     One way of illustrating this linkage is to note that, for Israel to delegitimize and suppress attempts to reject and resist its occupation by the enemies of that occupation -- who are not all Palestinians, but also include Israelis -- means the use of repression inside Israel.
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Attempts to break Gaza blockade won't stop, vows Freedom Waves activist
Electronic Intifada: 28 Nov 2011 - Michelle Gyeney The Electronic Intifada As the Australian delegate on the Tahrir boat with the recent Freedom Waves initiative, Michael Coleman recently confronted all of the barriers that the government of Israel could muster.more

next Israel will ban oxygen from Gaza
In Gaza: 27 Nov 2011 - (some days ago…) A low rumble mutes the car honks and the cries of children playing on the lane outside our house in Deir al Balah, central Gaza. The vaguely furnace-like sound distinguishes itself as an Israeli warplane flying over our skies, poisoning the mid-morning tranquility. I’d been lost in typing my thoughts, almost oblivious to my surroundings: the Gaza Strip, where at any moment such a warplane’s roar erupts and where likewise any moment the deafening thud of its bomb vibrates through towns and cities and farmland. But the rumble of the circling Israeli warplane snaps me back into reality, making the trivial all the more trivial, and the possible all the more possible. (last night) Ripped from sleep by a loud explosion, which I later learn is in Nusseirat some kilometers north of us. Such is the power of the Israeli F-16 one-ton (or more) bombs that we...more

We've Moved!
Palestine Monitor: 26 May 2011 - Visit our new website at www.palestinemonitor.org - In pictures / photostorymore

America's Aid for Israel's Political 'Continuum'
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Nov 2011 - By Clive Hambidge A Military Conquest '… We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours … When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do will be to scurry round like drugged roaches in a bottle.' (Rafeal Eitan) A ‘moral articulation’ by successive American administrations as to the primary reason for their unilateral support of 0.001% of the world’s population, namely Israel, is not standing up to international law or American scrutiny. The perpetuated myth of an Israel surrounded by mortal enemies, battling heroically for its democratic rights against all odds fades as the world of right mindedness recognises in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip the daily abuse and horror for Palestinians under illegal occupation in Israel’s ‘battlefield’ to test new weaponry. That abuse, brought into sharp focus by the U.S Department of...more

Palestinian Paradigm Shift
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Nov 2011 - By Stuart Reigeluth Despite the eruption of turmoil in the centre of Cairo, the Palestinian factions met in the Egyptian capital on November 24, to advance an agreement of national reconciliation. This accord is long overdue for the Palestinian people but it comes now more out of necessity for Hamas and Fatah — both of which seem to be drifting now towards a new paradigm. With changes underway in Syria, the headquarters of Hamas’s politburo may no longer be as secure as it has been when hosted for the past decades by the Assad regime in Damascus. For Fatah, the continual failure of peace negotiations with Israel has left PLO Chairman and Palestinian National Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, with little legitimacy and no leverage. Coupled with the cuts in funding from the United States to UNESCO (as US punishment for accepting Palestine as a member) as well as cuts to...more

Kadima's Black Flags and Israel's Image Problem
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Nov 2011 - By Dan Freeman-Maloy Israel is currently experiencing an internationally visible collapse of its 'liberal democratic' camp, raising significant problems for a state whose underlying theocratic and apartheid features have historically been partially covered from international view by liberal democratic pretenses. Given that the governments of Greece and Italy are apparently being seized for direct political rule by the financial system, one might suggest that dispensing with democratic niceties is the international order of the day. Perhaps, then, Israel won’t find itself all that isolated after all. But it might. In any case, developments in Israel and the commentary that they have triggered should provide the opportunity to forcefully brush aside any lingering illusions about Israeli establishment ‘moderation’. Such illusions are little more than an unfortunate hangover from years gone by, when Israeli colonial rule found unlikely allies even among ostensible Western progressives. The Authoritarian Challenge to Ariel Sharon’s Democracy The...more

November 29, 1947: War, Ethnic Cleaning Unleashed
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Nov 2011 - By William James Martin November 29, 1947 was the date the UN passed the Partition Resolution partitioning Palestine, more or less equally, into a Jewish and an Arab state. In fact, the ethnic cleansing commenced the very next morning when the 75,000 Arab citizens of Haifa were subjected to a campaign of terror jointly by the terrorist group, the Irgun, under Manachem Begin, and the Haganah, the regular militia under David Ben Gurion. The Jewish settlers who had arrived during the previous decade had built their homes higher up the mountain and thus occupied a higher topographical space. From the superior height, they could snipe at the villagers at will. They began doing this while the Jewish troops rolled barrels of burning oil down their roads and then ignited them. When the terrified residents came out to try to extinguish the rivers of fire, they were sprayed with machine gun...more

On Power, Morality and Courage
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Nov 2011 - By Deepak Tripathi My reflections last week were about the United States grand strategy anchored in the energy resources and Israel’s defense in the Middle East. How that grand strategy, offering a validation for the Cold War in Asia and Africa, has lived on since the end of the Soviet threat two decades ago gives us plenty of food for thought. Merciless continuation of that grand strategy meant the same old policies of propping up corrupt, repressive dictatorships, which at long last brought the Arab Spring in late 2010, and which is now a bitter and bloody winter. New retaliation by Egypt’s ruling Military Council in recent days has created conditions for a second revolution in that country, whether it happens or not. The crowds at Tahrir Square are smaller than early this year. The Muslim Brotherhood, eyeing the parliamentary elections starting tomorrow (November 28), does not support the latest...more

Military Industrial Complex: Full Fruition
Dissident Voice: 29 Nov 2011 - This week Congress is expected to vote on a bill advanced by John McCain and Carl Levin, a Republican and Democrat who united to bring us the foundation needed to propel us fully into a militarized nightmare state similar to what we have been exporting these last few years. It is the Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act. In case you haven’t heard the details (which is likely if you have spent much time watching traditional news), the bill essentially labels every spot on this earth as a battlefield, including the United States. It’s a telling moment when they concede, or, in fact, advance a never ending war, and its present under each rock, according to these lawmakers. It’s certainly the stuff of 1984 (we’ve always been at war with Eastasia). From this notion springs the advancement of military tribunals dealing with all citizens of the globe (once again,...more

Kadima’s Black Flags and Israel’s Image Problem
Dissident Voice: 29 Nov 2011 - Israel is currently experiencing an internationally visible collapse of its ‘liberal democratic’ camp, raising significant problems for a state whose underlying theocratic and apartheid features have historically been partially covered from international view by liberal democratic pretenses. Given that the governments of Greece and Italy are apparently being seized for direct political rule by the financial system, one might suggest that dispensing with democratic niceties is the international order of the day. Perhaps, then, Israel won’t find itself all that isolated after all. But it might. In any case, developments in Israel and the commentary that they have triggered should provide the opportunity to forcefully brush aside any lingering illusions about Israeli establishment ‘moderation’. Such illusions are little more than an unfortunate hangover from years gone by, when Israeli colonial rule found unlikely allies even among ostensible Western progressives. The authoritarian challenge to Ariel Sharon’s democracy The English-language webpage of...more

Articles Archives - November 2011

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