"The so-called 'Palestinian autonomous areas' are bantustans...restricted entities within the power of the Israeli apartheid system."
   Nelson Mandela
   
   
Events: July 14: VTJP Meeting
  Articles
Would-be peacocks and tiny red poppies
Samah Jabr, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/30/2014
     Like poppies, Palestinians’ lives are brief and fragile
     Israeli politicians and spokespersons sound like roosters who think they are peacocks when they boast of "the most moral army in the world," its "surgical strikes," their wonderful "Iron Dome" (paid for by the U.S.), and their status as "the only democracy in the Middle East." From that lofty spot, they spew contempt for "the Palestinian culture of death and hatred" and claim that "Palestinians use their children as human shields." (In this writer's profession, such a statement is known as projection.) The day after ISIS shocked the world with its video of American journalist James Foley being beheaded in cold blood, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu linked Hamas to ISIS—claiming Hamas to be "the enemies of peace; they are the enemies of all civilized countries and I believe they are the enemies of the Palestinians themselves."
     Western leaders dutifully parrot whatever the Israeli rooster says. "Hamas has unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian cease-fire," intone John Kerry and Ban Ki-moon, who described as "outrageous" and "barbaric" the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier on his way to kill in Gaza. No equivalent words were used to describe the deaths of more than a hundred Palestinians every day during Israel's 50-day assault. But Kerry's words were not enough to satisfy Netanyahu, who warned the secretary of state, "Don't ever second guess me again on Hamas!"
     Nor is it only in time of war that the arrogance and entitlement of Israeli politicians are on display: it can be found when they try to intimidate critics with the accusation of anti-Semitism, when they censor mention of the occupation, when they monopolize human suffering through the industrialization of the Holocaust, and when they blur the reality of profound inequalities with the falsehood of rigged "peace talks."
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Egypt’s convenient war in the Sinai
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 10/29/2014
     Sinai is both heaven and hell. This triangular desert boasts an arid landscape of hopeless horizons often interrupted by leftover military hardware from previous wars.
     The land is comprised of breathtaking beaches, incredible history, and a fusion of fascinating cultures that reach back into the past as far as ancient times can possibly go. This thrilling land of contradictions is amazing, yet lethal.
     But Sinai is also a place where hundreds of thousands of mostly poor people struggle to survive against incredible odds. Although poverty and illiteracy in Egypt can reach exceptional heights, hardship in Sinai is especially worse.
     Since Israel returned the last of Sinai territories to Egypt in 1982, I visited the place nearly ten times, the last being two years ago. And each time, the situation seemed considerably worse.
     There was once a time when Sinai thrived in hope; that was when much of Sinai was being reclaimed by Egypt, one piece at a time. Israel bargained every step of the way, before it finally left Taba, but not before having gained many conditions.
     It even placed limits on the number of Egyptian soldiers that could be simultaneously stationed in Sinai at a given time. Since then, the desert the size of 60,000 sq km has been impossible to control.
     Not that Sinai -- perceived as unruly and ungovernable land, rife with drug dealers, kidnappers, and, as of late of "jihadists" and "terrorists" -- needs more military force.
     Violence in Sinai often goes unreported. The area is almost vacant of any independent journalists....
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UK’s Exeter University students in historic landslide vote to boycott Israel
Editor, Redress 10/28/2014
     Students at Britain’s Exeter University have made history by turning out in record numbers to vote in favour of boycotting the apartheid state of Israel.
     The vote, on 24 October, was in favour of a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into respecting international law and human rights.
     The press release below explains the importance of the vote.
     "A referendum at the University of Exeter to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products has passed in a landslide.
     "1,040 students voted in the referendum, the highest voter turnout in the history of the university’s political referenda, with 86 per cent voting in favour. Overwhelming support for the referendum is especially significant given the historically conservative nature of the university. The result demonstrates the growing momentum behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in the United Kingdom and internationally.
     "The decision follows the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS campaigns against Israel, aimed at pressuring the Israeli government to respect international law and human rights. The action also aims to bring the University of Exeter in line with the National Union of Students and recent EU regulations relating to goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. World-renowned historian and University of Exeter Professor Ilan Pappé offered his praise for the campaign organizers. 'I congratulate the group of students that ran the campaign,” he said. “This is just the beginning.'..."
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Nuclear compromise fuels hopes of deal
Gareth Porter, Asia Times 10/29/2014
     WASHINGTON - US and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on.
     The compromise now being seriously discussed would meet the Obama administration's original requirement for limiting Iran's "breakout capability" by a combination of limits on centrifuge numbers and reduction of Iran's stockpile of low enriched uranium, rather than by cutting centrifuges alone.
     That approach might permit Iran to maintain something close to its present level of operational centrifuges.
     The key to the new approach is Iran's willingness to send both its existing stockpile of low enriched uranium (LEU) as well as newly enriched uranium to Russia for conversion into fuel for power plants for an agreed period of years.
     In the first official indication of the new turn in the negotiations, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham acknowledged in a briefing for the Iranian press October 22 that new proposals combining a limit on centrifuges and the transfer of Iran's LEU stockpile to Russia were under discussion in the nuclear negotiations.
     The briefing was translated by BBC's monitoring service but not reported in the Western press.
     Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who heads the US delegation to the talks, has not referred publicly to the compromise approach, but she appeared to be hinting at it when she said on October 25 that the two sides had "made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable".
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Young Palestinians protect history and heritage in Galilee village
Electronic Intifada: 30 Oct 2014 - An annual event helps re-introduce the youngest generation of Palestinians to their history before, during and after the Nakba.
Haj Sami Sadeq and the struggle for Al Aqaba
Palestine Monitor: 28 Jan 2013 -   Al Aqaba is a small Palestinian village located in the northern Jordan Valley, home to around 300 residents. Since 1999 Haj Sami Sadeq has been the mayor of this town, facing a constant struggle...
Nearly ten years after store closures, old city of Hebron still suffering
Palestine Monitor: 28 Jan 2013 -   This report is the second in a new Palestine Monitor series on life in the Old City of Hebron (known in Arabic as Khalil). The Palestine Monitor will publish one report a week on...
Jerusalem in Danger while the World Sleeps
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Oct 2014 - By Tariq Shadid Tensions are rising sky-high in what is considered a Holy City by three of the world’s major religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Its Aramaic name ‘Ur Shalim’, from which hails its current international name Jerusalem, means ‘City of Peace’, yet it has become obvious that it will not be allowed to live up to its name for a long time to come. Israeli plans to discuss a draft law next month aimed at partitioning the Al Aqsa Mosque compound between Muslims and Jews have raised concerns throughout the region, with leaders of the Palestinian Authority voicing their protest and condemnation at such prospects. Nevertheless, the Israelis are undeterred by empty words, and are extremely unlikely to let any of this affect their plans. Nowadays, Jewish extremists barge into the Al Aqsa compound practically on a daily basis, guarded and protected by soldiers of the Israeli occupation army....
Fighting for Survival in the Sinai: Egypt’s Convenient War
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Oct 2014 - By Ramzy Baroud Sinai is both heaven and hell. This triangular desert boasts an arid landscape of hopeless horizons often interrupted by leftover military hardware from previous wars. The land is comprised of breathtaking beaches, incredible history, and a fusion of fascinating cultures that reach back into the past as far as ancient times can possibly go. This thrilling land of contradictions is amazing, yet lethal. But Sinai is also a place where hundreds of thousands of mostly poor people struggle to survive against incredible odds . Although poverty and illiteracy in Egypt can reach exceptional heights, hardship in Sinai is especially worse. Since Israel returned the last of Sinai territories to Egypt in 1982, I visited the place nearly ten times, the last being two years ago. And each time, the situation seemed considerably worse. There was once a time when Sinai thrived in hope; that’s when much of Sinai...
Meet the Israelis Picking Palestinian Olives
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Oct 2014 - (IRIN) It is still dark when the minibus rolls into Jerusalem, picking up Israelis bound for occupied Palestinian land. Their leader, a rabbi, dons a shawl and quietly prays in the back seat. During the autumn olive harvest, Palestinian villagers are especially nervous about visits from Israelis: Last year the UN recorded 38,532 trees destroyed or damaged incidents linked to Israeli settlers between 2009 and the end of August 2013. These are part of a strategy of so called “price tag” attacks carried out by settlers, often coming after actions by the government seen as counter to the settlers’ agenda, or following perceived violence from Palestinians. But armed with sunhats and bottles of water, these Israelis have come to help not destroy. As the elegantly mustachioed Palestinian driver Abu Rami stops for the rest of the day’s volunteers, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, the director of activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (...
How Israel is Turning Gaza into a Super-max Prison
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Oct 2014 - By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting. According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help. Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza. Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but...
SA Fact Finding Mission in Israel Raise Palestinian Hopes
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Oct 2014 - By Iqbal Jassat South Africa’s increasing interest in Palestine and its woes is beginning to manifest in ways that’s likely to attract more antagonism from Israel and her lobbyists. Currently a number of South Africans are in Israel to gain first-hand insight of conditions faced by Palestinians under Occupation as well as experience the political and humanitarian situation there. Delegates include Prof Barney Pityana, Adv Vusi Pikoli, MPL Mbala Ntuli, Adv Adila Hassim, Prof Firoz Cachalia, Dr Christi van der Westhuizen and Brad Brockman. In a statement issued by the joint organizers of the trip, the Heinrich Boll Foundation Southern Africa [HBF] and Open Shuhada Street [OSS], they undertake that the delegates will meet and interact with both Israeli and Palestinian civil society “working to end the conflict and advance human rights and social justice, as well as political representatives…”. Among other activities, the group will visit and observe military...
Canada’s Heart of Darkness
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Oct 2014 - By Jim Miles Once upon a time, Canada was able to create the illusion that it was the “peaceable kingdom”, an illusion accepted domestically and arguably by most of the rest of the world. This history has been well discredited with newer historical research outlining how Canada’s position as a “peacekeeper,” generally under UN auspices, remained effectively within the realm of U.S. foreign policy, just with a kinder gentler face. Over the past decade, Canada has made a clear and distinct turn towards its inner ‘heart of darkness’, becoming much more overt about its right wing militarized alignment with the U.S. empire and its demands. It has done so to the extent of front-running – or trying to out do – the hubris and arrogance of the U.S. in its declamations of its self-righteousness concerning international affairs (with similar impacts on domestic affairs). Much if not all of this is...

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