"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
The Palestinian who won’t give up on the power of nonviolence
Meir Amor, Haokets, +972 Magazine 12/19/2014
     At the end of 2000, as the Second Intifada was beginning to spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Professor Meir Amor sat down to speak with Dr. Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian expert on nonviolent resistance. Fifteen years later, the two met once again to talk about nonviolence, growing religious fundamentalism, gender equality, Palestinian refugees and Jews from Arab countries. This interview will be published in Peace Magazine in January 2015.
     Meir Amor: About 15 years ago you and I had a discussion published in Peace Magazine. The editors think it’s a good opportunity to have another one. So let me ask you: Does your approach to nonviolence have a religious basis? Do Jewish or Muslim religious authorities consider it compatible with their teachings?
     Mubarak Awad: Personally, I do it from a Christian perspective. For me, it’s time for us all to learn not to kill or destroy. But I did not push that belief on any Israelis or any Muslims. However, I did study Islam and nonviolence a lot, and I thought it would be great to have a Muslim who was interested in nonviolence so we could have a strong campaign. At that time I was interested in a fellow by the name of Faisal Husseini, a great Muslim who believed in nonviolence. I bought a lot of books about a Muslim who had been with Gandhi—Abdul Ghaffer Khan, who said that Islam is a nonviolent religion.
     I did this because the majority of Palestinians are Muslim. We held conferences studying Islam and nonviolence, discussing what jihad really means and Sufism in Islam. Sufis are like the Quakers in Christianity. There are many Sufis in Islam who accept the challenge of nonviolence. It’s a big struggle for them—not only between the Palestinians and Israelis or Arabs and Israelis, but also between themselves, for them to be nonviolent at home and active in nonviolence in their community. They can see that we human beings have brains, not just guns, and can resolve any conflict, however big, by debating, by forgiveness, by conciliation.
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Israel’s splendid isolation
Uri Avnery, Redress 12/19/2014
     Almost a thousand Israeli personalities have already signed an appeal to European parliaments for their governments to recognise the state of Palestine.
     I am honoured to be among the signatories, which include former ministers and members of the Knesset, diplomats and generals, artists and businessmen, writers and poets, including Israel’s three outstanding writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua.
     We believe that the independence of the Palestinian people in a state of their own, next to the state of Israel, is the basis for peace, and therefore as important for Israelis as it is for Palestinians. This, by the way, has been my firm conviction ever since the 1948 war.
     The extreme right wing, which has ruled Israel in recent years, holds the opposite belief. Since it wants to turn the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into the “nation-state of the Jewish people”, it totally rejects the setting up of a Palestinian state.
     These, then, are the battle lines:
     Palestinian state or permanent war?
     A Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, the end of the occupation, peace between Israel and the entire Arab and Muslim world, or a Greater Israel, continuous occupation or annexation, more settlements and ethnic cleansing, permanent war.
     Israel has to choose.
     So has the world....
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Is there peace partner in Israel?
Fadi Elhusseini, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 12/19/2014
     Again, the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis has been grinded into halt and each party blames the other for this unfortunate failure. Israeli officials repeat continuously that there is no Palestinian peace partner and accuse Abbas and his authority of flexing their diplomatic muscles in an attempt to isolate Israel internationally and making unilateral steps; i.e. avoiding negotiations and seeking individual and/or collective recognition of the state of Palestine. However, it would be outlandish to imagine that the Palestinians would succeed in this approach (if it is true) without a minimum international understanding of the Palestinian narrative. In order to fully comprehend this state of affairs, it is crucial to make an assessment of the positions and announcements of each party.
     Since he began his tenure as president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005, Mahmoud Abbas renounced violence and announced repeatedly his vision: a peaceful resolution of the conflict that would eventually lead to a Palestinian independent state. His vision complies perfectly with widely accepted and supported two-state solution based on relevant international and UN resolutions.
     The path Abbas opted to take was not an easy one especially that it came in the aftermath of the second Intifada with massive amount of causalities and damage in the Palestinian infrastructure, society and lives. Notwithstanding the Palestinian domestic conditions were not ready for such approach, Abbas stated it clearly and irked many of his companions and political rivals as well.
     Abbas said “We don't want to use force. We don't want to use weapons. We want to use diplomacy. We want to use politics. We want to use negotiations. We want to use peaceful resistance. That's it.” Better still, Abbas dared to criticize home-made rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. His criticism was neither to please Israel nor to satisfy Americans, but rather came out of his deep conscious and belief in a peaceful resolution of this conflict.
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Israel – America’s torture consultant
Jamal Kanj, Redress 12/20/2014
     "...the reported CIA torture techniques had striking resemblance to what I personally heard from many Palestinian prisoners who were once held in Israeli dungeons."
     I watched painfully former Vice-President Dick Cheney on NBC television’s “Meet the Press” programme trying to defend and redefine his role in the “authorised” CIA torture. Whenever he was asked about a specific torture case, Cheney always referred back to the “tortured” Americans who lost their lives in 9/11.
     While the jury is still out on the real operatives behind 9/11, there is no doubt that more than 3,000 citizens lost their lives in one of the most heinous crimes of the 21st century. And Cheney is hiding behind those Americans to justify one of the most disgraceful and sadistic abuses and complete disregard for human dignity in US history. America was duped into believing that torture saved life, when in fact America lost its humanity.
     When asked how he could explain the report’s findings that “25 per cent of the [tortured] detainees turned out to be innocent”ť, the former vice-president retorted: ‘I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective… It worked now for 13 years.’”
     Not surprisingly, this is coming from an ungrateful person who is living on someone else’s borrowed heart. Larry King once asked him what he thought of his heart donor. He callously responded: “I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.”
     How could such a person be capable of caring or wondering about the life of other Americans – he exploits their suffering to advance his partners’ business in the oil and military-industrial complex?
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Prisoner from Gaza barred from seeing son for nine years
Electronic Intifada: 19 Dec 2014 - Emad Saftawi had been shot in the head by an Israeli prison guard.
Understanding why scholars get silenced for defending Palestinian rights
Electronic Intifada: 19 Dec 2014 - Two new books provide valuable insight into why freedom of speech can be suppressed at American universities.
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...
Israeli Role in Syrian Conflict Brought into the Open
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2014 - By Nicola Nasser Overtly, the Israeli superpower of the Middle East has been keen to posture as having no role whatsoever in the four-year old devastating conflict in Syria, where all major regional and international powers are politically and militarily deeply involved and settling scores by Syrian blood. In his geopolitical weekly analysis, entitled “The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East,” on November 25 Stratfor’s George Friedman raised eyebrows when he reviewed the effects which the terrorist group had on all regional powers, but seemed unaware of the existence of the Israeli regional superpower. It was an instructive omission that says a lot about the no more discreet role Israel is playing to maintain what the Israeli commentator Amos Harel described as the “stable instability” in Syria and the region, from the Israeli perspective of course. Friedman in fact was reflecting a similar official omission by the US administration. When...
The Unspeakable in Afghanistan
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2014 - By Patrick Kennelly – Kabul 2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into America’s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Most recently, the central government failed (again) to conduct fair and organized elections or demonstrate their sovereignty. Instead, John Kerry flew into the country and arranged new national leadership. The cameras rolled and a unity government was declared. Foreign leaders meeting in London decided on new aid packages and financing for the nascent ‘unity government.’ Within days, the United Nations helped broker a deal to keep foreign forces in the country, while simultaneously President Obama declared the war was ending—even as he increased the number of troops on the ground. In Afghanistan, President Ghani dissolved the cabinet...
Pro-Palestine Parliaments: Hopes and Danger
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Dec 2014 - By John V. Whitbeck European parliamentary resolutions urging their governments to recognize the State of Palestine must be followed by actual recognitions of the State of Palestine The European Parliament, after a late compromise in pursuit of consensus, has now passed, by a vote of 498 to 88 with 111 abstentions, a resolution stating that it “supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.” This language bypasses the fundamental question of when the State of Palestine should be recognized, using vague words whose imprecision neither those who genuinely wish to achieve a decent “two-state solution” (and thus support recognizing Palestine now so as to finally make meaningful negotiations possible) nor those who support perpetual occupation (and thus argue that recognition should await prior Israeli consent) can strongly object to....
US Feels the Heat on Palestine Vote at UN
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Dec 2014 - By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On Friday the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France and Spain. In coming days similar moves are expected in Denmark and from the European Parliament. The Swiss government will join the fray too this week, inviting states that have signed the Fourth Geneva Convention to an extraordinary meeting to discuss human rights violations in the occupied territories. Israel has threatened retaliation. But while Europe is tentatively finding a voice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, silence reigns across the Atlantic. The White House appears paralysed, afraid to appear out of sync with world opinion but more afraid still of upsetting Israel and its powerful allies in the US Congress. Now there is an additional complicating factor. The Israeli public, due...
Whitewashing CIA Torture: ‘We Are (not so) Awesome’ after All
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Dec 2014 - By Ramzy Baroud “This is not who we are. This is not how we operate,” were the words of President Barack Obama commenting on the grisly findings of a long-awaited congressional report on the use of torture by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). But what if this is exactly who we are ? The report is difficult to read , not just because it is awfully long – hundreds of pages of a summary of a nearly 6,000-page investigation, including 38,000 citations based on the review of six million pages – but because it was most disturbing. Parts of it resemble the horror of an extremely dark Hollywood movie. But it was all real: from rectal feeding (as in putting hummus in detainee’s rectums), to rape, to torturing prisoners to death, to blinding prisoners, to forcing them to stand on broken feet, for days. It is beyond ghastly. Also, it was...

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