Posts tagged ‘Human Rights’

2011/03/02

Israel Allowing Gazans To Sell Tomatoes – Issues Worldwide Press Release


Israel today issued a press release to announce it was “answering Western demands” when it “further eased its blockade” of the people of Gaza today by permitting “a truckload of cherry tomatoes destined for Europe.”

The press release provided details of the truck’s route through a main crossing as well as an Israeli Defense Ministry statement explaining how the shipment would go with other the produce to Europe.

Since 2007, 184 truckloads of strawberries, carnations and peppers have been exported via Israel to Europe, the Israeli press release said.

Human rights groups say the embargo has worsened economic conditions for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza. The United Nations World Food Program estimates 80% of Gaza’s people live in poverty.

Israeli settler groups expressed outrage at the tomato truck, describing it as Israeli “economic aid to the Gaza Strip.”

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2011/02/23

The Palestinian Cage House


The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel’s 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement.

The family’s 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high heavy-duty metal fence.

The same fence rings the simple one-story house, separating it from the surrounding settlement houses. Some of those dwellings are so close that the family can hear the insults shouted by a nearby Jewish neighbor.

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2011/02/18

Egypt’s Missing Raise Doubts About Army

Ramadan Aboul Hassan left his house one night about three weeks ago to join a neighborhood watch group with two friends and did not return. The next time their relatives saw the three men they were emerging Wednesday night from a maximum security prison, 400 miles from home, run by Egypt’s military. Some family members said they bore signs of torture, though others denied it.

While many here have cheered the military for taking over after last week’s ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and for pledging to oversee a transition to democracy, human rights groups say that in the past three weeks the military has also played a documented role in dozens of disappearances and at least 12 cases of torture — trademark practices of the Mubarak government’s notorious security police that most here hoped would end with his exit.

Some, like Mr. Aboul Hassan and his two friends, were not released until several days after the revolution removed Mr. Mubarak.

Now human rights groups say the military’s continuing role in such abuses raises new questions about its ability to midwife Egyptian democracy.

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2011/02/13

The Roar of the Democratic Wave


[Ed. Note: While not all of the recommendations in the following commentary, The Roar of the Democratic Wave, are agreed with, much of the overall analysis is quite insightful. Bold and audacious, de Vasconcelos lays out a path that could keep “the wave” cresting. In regards to the current fast-moving events in Egypt, his call for US pressure on Egypt’s military is absolutely the right one. Mubarak’s not going to budge but if the generals issue orders to shoot protesters, it is a very open question whether they would be carried out.]

The Roar of the Democratic Wave
By Álvaro de Vasconcelos

Has the uprising in Tunisia sparked a new democratic wave that will conquer Egypt and eventually sweep away the authoritarian “Arab exception”? After southern Europe in the 1970’s, Latin America in the late 1980’s, and Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990’s, it seems that now it is the Mediterranean region’s turn. For Europe, democratization immediately to its south is a vital interest.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster in Tunisia signaled the collapse of the Arab “stability” model, praised by many Western leaders, consisting of authoritarianism and overrated economic performance. The surge of anger and revolt in Egypt, whatever its final outcome, marks the beginning of the end for authoritarian nationalist Arab regimes.

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2011/02/11

HRW 2011: Israel & Palestinian Territories

The human rights crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) continued in 2010, despite marginal improvements. After Israeli commandos enforcing the naval blockade of Gaza killed nine civilians on a flotilla attempting to run the blockade, Israel announced it would ease the severe import restrictions on the territory. Still, Israel continued to block exports, having a devastating impact on the Gaza economy.

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2011/02/10

Getting to Pluralism in the Arab World

Getting to Pluralism:
Political Actors in the Arab World

After a half decade of seemingly hopeful developments, the drive for political reform in the Arab world has ground to a halt. In their new book, Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Marina Ottaway and Amr Hamzawy present the collected findings of years of research and direct engagement with key political actors across the Arab World. They discussed these findings with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in an event moderated by Carnegie’s President, Jessica T. Mathews.

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2011/02/03

Will Democracy Become Islam’s Best Friend?


Millions of people in the Middle East want freedom, just as Eastern Europeans once did. Twenty years ago, the West was a role model, but it betrays its own values. In doing so, it is also strengthening its enemy: militant Islamism.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because, in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.”

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