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Israeli Apartheid: Vermonters Don't Buy It - BOYCOTT!
Interview: Church-based BDS and the Jewish voices beside it
Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Activestills.org, +972 Magazine 7/1/2015
     As more U.S. churches vote on divestment, Jewish Voice for Peace aims to provide key support to a movement often accused of anti-Semitism. An interview with JVP’s advocacy director Sydney Levy.
     This week, three more U.S. churches are voting on resolutions to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. A United Church of Christ (UCC) committee unanimously approved a divestment resolution Sunday night with a final vote by the church’s general assembly expected Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio.
     The Episcopal Church is debating no fewer than seven resolutions related to Israel and Palestine this week at their national gathering in Salt Lake City. However the head of the U.S. church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, directly opposes divestment. A vote may come as early as Tuesday. The Mennonite Church USA’s national convention in Kansas City begins tomorrow, with broad institutional support for a resolution to withdraw “investments from corporations known to be profiting from the occupation and/or destruction of life and property in Israel-Palestine.”
     While final results in all three church decisions may not be known for several days, one can anticipate the response from major Jewish American organizations. If last year’s divestment vote by the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) is any indication, expect accusations that the resolutions are “one-sided,” “divisive,” and “demonizing.”
     While these same organizations have withheld public comment as of this writing, you can expect more of the same. There is no indication that the collapse of the peace process, the bloodshed in Gaza, and the brazenness of the Netanyahu government have in any way affected their response to the broad movement of boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel. -- See also: Major U.S. church backs divestment from Israeli occupation
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Prosecuting Israeli officials in international courts
Hanin Zoabi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/29/2015
     The victim always honours the truth while the perpetrator evades it. Israel refuses to accept, discuss or even refute conclusions reached by any investigation into its actions. Instead, it begins to curse, incite and prevent UN delegations from entering the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, we bless any serious investigation regarding what has happened and is happening in Gaza, despite the fact that we do not need a UN report to confirm to us that Israel committed war crimes against our people. We support the report despite the fact that it is not an indictment against Israel nor is it the result of legal procedures; it is a report presented by the UN Human Rights Council.
     However, such reports can form the basis for filing a complaint and requesting an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Israel's disregard for the UN report is reason enough for international circles to disregard its own reports. Those who disregard international reports and label them as "blood-stained reports" prove their inability to deal objectively with a report of this kind, even if they are the source of the report.
     We are not concerned with Israel's reactions; we are concerned with our reaction and being dealt with as a victim with a document that forms the basis for the prosecution for the child-killers who "do not forget to give them candy".
     The Palestinian response should be that we welcome the report and any serious and independent investigation into the war crimes that were committed. We also accept the report's recommendation to go to the ICC to prosecute the war criminals, as well as the UN recommendation to demand that Israel sign the Rome Statute, especially since the Palestinian Authority signed this document recently.
     As for the group of people in Israel who want to "console themselves" by balancing between the offender and the victim, they claim that the report is more balanced than the Goldstone Report....
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Challenging discourse of occupation
Emma Flesche, Alternative Information Center 7/1/2015
     The term ‘occupation’ readily comes to mind when discussing the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It has been the main description of the political and military situation on the ground since the 1967 Middle East war, but is it still the most accurate and useful term?
     Under international law, occupation is not illegal. There are, however, a number of restrictions and duties placed upon the occupier to ensure the rights of the civilian population of the occupied territory. These are mainly described in the 1907 Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, the most important of which state that “Occupation is only a temporary situation, and the rights of the occupant are limited to the extent of that period.” Furthermore, the Convention prohibits the forced displacement of the occupied population and confiscation of private property, amongst others.
     This definition of occupation could apply to the West Bank and Gaza strip following the 1967 war, although it neglects the time before this war as well as Palestinian citizens of war, refugees, and the Palestinian diaspora. Even if we do accept this narrow definition of the political situation at hand, Israel has violated the rules applying to an occupation power. The occupation is not temporary, protection of civilian rights is not upheld, and forced displacement as well as confiscation of private property occurs regularly.
     Because occupations are not illegal, it is impossible for human rights and legal organisations to end them – it is possible to take Israel to court for war crimes, but not to end the occupation. This also means it is impossible to impose sanctions and similar measures because of the occupation.
     So, what are the alternatives?....
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Palestinian secrets worth sharing
Raya Al-Jadir, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/29/2015
     As a young child born in the city of Jerusalem Nevien Shaabneh dreamt of nothing else but writing; reciting her stories out loud, passers-by would pat her on the head once they listened to her tales. At just five years old Shaabneh regarded writing as serious work spending hours filling notebook after notebook with precious words which paved the way for her journey to becoming an author. Soon after she immigrated with her family to Chicago, US, where these notebooks grew and matured with her and over the years stacked up her room. But they were put aside as Shaabneh became focused on gaining an education.
     Achieving a Bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Master of Arts from Saint Xavier University, distracted Shaabneh further from pursuing her dream of writing which then became a distant memory as marriage, children and work took over. Since graduating she has taught American Literature and Contemporary Literature to high school students.
     But one day the longing for her childhood dream and the nostalgia of the past became stronger and so she brushed the dust off one of her manuscripts. This gave birth to "Secrets under the olive tree" which was published as Shaabneh's first ever novel.
     Her earliest writings were in Palestine where she says: "I began writing before I was able to write. I sat for hours and wrote stories and letters to relatives that I would hand deliver." Surrounded by pomegranates, grape vines, olive trees, a breeze that carried with it the indulgent scent of warm bread, mint tea and a friendly hello is how Shaabneh remembers Palestine, the place that inspired her passion for writing and the focus of her novel.
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The Month in Pictures: May 2015
Electronic Intifada: 5 Jun 2015 - A monthly roundup of photographs documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, and international solidarity with Palestine.
Khader Adnan is starving for freedom again
Electronic Intifada: 6 Jun 2015 - While concerned for his health, Adnan’s family supports his decision to go on hunger strike and is confident he will emerge victorious.
Apartheid Wall: 10 years of existence
Palestine Monitor: 12 Feb 2015 - June 18, 2012-Under the slogan ‘Annexation Wall: Ten Years Too Long’, the Palestinian NGO for the protection of human rights Al Haq launched ...
Community Center Targeted 1
Palestine Monitor: 12 Feb 2015 - June 20, 2012-Community Center Targeted 1
Community Center Targeted 2
Palestine Monitor: 12 Feb 2015 - June 20, 2012-Community Center Targeted 2
Baskin’s Generous Offer: Making Peace with Israeli Occupation
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Jul 2015 - By Ramzy Baroud It would be fair to assume that Gershon Baskin’s recent article in the Jerusalem Post – Encountering Peace: Obviously no peace now, so what then? (June 24) – is not a mere intellectual exercise aimed at finding ‘creative’ solutions to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Baskin is a regular contributor to the Jerusalem Post, a rightwing newspaper. He is more or less embodied in the Israeli political establishment, otherwise, he would have never been allowed to initiate the “secret back channel for the release (of captured Israeli soldier) Gilad Schalit” as he proudly states in his bio. In the article, Baskin offers a way to manage the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Not an end to the occupation, but a gentler way to sustain it, if not profit from it. The co-chairman of ‘Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives’ is indeed being ‘creative’, the kind...
On Intimidation and Counter-BDS Efforts
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Jun 2015 - By Samah Jabr The Orange Affair The Orange affair here is not the ominous orange of the victims of Guantanamo or the Islamic state – it about the French telecommunication company Orange and its recent affair with Israel. After announcing in Cairo that Orange was suspending its contract with Israel’s Partner Company, the CEO of Orange (in response to Israeli pressure on the French government), arrived in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here he expressed his denial of reports claiming that “he would sever ties with Israel ‘tomorrow’ if the financial ramifications would not be as severe as his company estimates.” The CEO then wrote a letter to the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipip Hotovely, complimenting Israel as a “land of innovation and dynamism.” He stated here that Orange would not succumb to “political pressure from certain movements or organizations,” and that the company “does not support...
Sisi’s Strategy behind the Sudden Opening of the Rafah Border Crossing
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Jun 2015 - By Matthew Ayton The people of the economically immiserated Gaza Strip have been given a semblance of relief as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has announced that the Rafah crossing – Gaza’s lifeline with the outside world – will open more frequently. Sisi has observed Israel’s blockade on Gaza since his coming to power, and the Rafah border crossing has remained hermetically sealed since October 2014. Relations between Sisi and Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, have been tenuous at best, as Hamas are an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that Sisi has dedicated most of his presidency to purging from Egypt. The Rafah crossing remained open for a week during the beginning of Ramadan to, according to the Major General of Egypt’s borders, “ease the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza.” Sisi allegedly said that the crossing will be opened more regularly, making particular...
Will the UN’s Gaza Report Force Change?
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Jun 2015 - By Annie Slemrod A United Nations investigation accusing Israel and Palestinian armed groups of alleged war crimes in last summer’s Gaza conflict caused a stir on Monday. The report singled out Israel for its use of explosive weapons with wide-ranging effects in heavily populated areas and said Palestinian militants sent rockets indiscriminately into Israel. Both Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hamas hit back at the Committee of Inquiry’s report immediately, with Israel calling the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which commissioned the report,  “a notoriously biased institution.” Hamas denied any culpability for war crimes. So will the report – which includes details of both Israeli and Palestinian militant practices that targeted civilians – lead to real change? The case for no Those who argue it won’t can point to one obvious precedent. In September 2009, a Human Rights Council fact-finding mission – headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone –...

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